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Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,655 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,655
Reviews: 844
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 15
Gots: 71 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Quaffer on 10-23-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,655 | Reviews: 844 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ybnorml

Rhode Island

2.9/5  rDev -15.7%

A clean golden amber beer. Has a small very creamy off white head that coats the glass all the way to the bottom. The aroma has a very light malt sweetness with ahint of hop spiceyness. A hint of sweetness on the tip of your tongue with some bitterness on the finish. But the watery mouthfeel washes away all the flavor on the end.

02-02-2005 18:19:08 | More by ybnorml
Photo of Hibernator


3.73/5  rDev +8.4%

I had this out of a slender 12 oz clear bottle and served in an imperial pint glass.

Pours a copper color with a 1/2 inch fluffy white head, but it vanishes within a minute or so.

Aroma of lighly roasted malts, caramel and sugary sweetness. Faint whiff of some hops too.

A nice tasting beer that has that distinctive English malt character that blends creamy caramel sweetness. Slightly bitter and dry hop finish. Is it the Goldings hops that leave the clean, dry finish?

Well balanced for the style. Probably overpriced at most places and there are certainly better options on the shelves, but worth trying. The clear bottle presentation is scary and I have had some skunky encounters in the past with this beer, but this time around everything was okay.

01-29-2005 19:04:44 | More by Hibernator
Photo of GClarkage


3.3/5  rDev -4.1%

01/28/05- On tap at the Prince of Wales in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 14.2 oz nitro can poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Beautiful honey-tan-golden creamy pour with a nice 3/4 inch fat solid head. Lacing is a solid sheet of white down the entire glass.

Smell- Very very minimal scent here. I guess a light malt scent. Had to struggle to get anything.

Taste- At first a bit metallic, but gets a tad creamy as the malt flavors come out. The bitterness of the hops also come out throughout the consumption.

Mouthfeel- Very creamy and smooth. Low carbonation.

Drinkability- Brought back one of these from the UK in 1998, but gave it away to someone. Not bad, would love to try it from a tap in London.

01-29-2005 17:38:47 | More by GClarkage
Photo of kosmoraios


3.35/5  rDev -2.6%

Pours a deep red-amber with a head that dissapears almost instantly. Smell is of the caramel malt with a tinge of citrus. Taste is well-rounded, but no hops to speak of and none of the bitterness that I am fond of in this style. To me it was a bit bland. As it warms, some of the subtler tones come out, maybe spiced apple and a bit of light yeast. The moutfeel is lacking something. Just doesn't hit the palate like it should. Maybe it was what I ate beforehand, but this ale is not the best of it's style in my opinion. Drinkable, though.

01-23-2005 00:52:37 | More by kosmoraios
Photo of Cwrw

Alberta (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +14.2%

OSH poured from the distinctive 500ml clear bottle, a clear copper tone, topped by a small but fine layer of cream-coloured head. At first, the head did not seem very consistent, however, after a few sips, the head actually began to form up, to become a little more velvety, but still remaining at about 1 finger. Appealing mixture of light red and rust colours in the beer. The lace, too, became better after a few minutes of sitting, and it then leaves thick sheets of lacing. The aroma is a delightful hit of roasted caramel, delicious Goldings hops, musty fruits, butterscotch, candy apple, maple syrup, cream and butter, raisins, light roasted meat, but of all these I get caramel/butterscotch the heaviest. OSH has an extremely mouth-watering, very English, aroma. Masterful English malt/hops balance. Initially the malt dominates the taste, bringing with it some fruity and buttery nuances. The middle senses the hops beginning their drying effect, and this follows through on the finish, leaving a noted bitterness, but absolutely nothing overwhelming; in fact there is just enough grassy herbal dryness to make this an outstanding English Pale Ale as regards balance, with the hops outdoing the malt in the finish perfectly, but not overly. Indeed, a balance which I prefer over some overhopped NA Pale Ales. In the long aftertaste, the hops bring some metallic notes, some sourish burnt toast from the crystal malt, and more caramel. Butter, raisins, subdued fruits, compared to the aroma, toasted bread, and fruitcake. The mouthfeel could use just a tad more fullness, as it becomes somewhat watery after a few sips, which adds to the drinkability while detracting from the mouthfeel. A very balanced British Pale Ale, and one which almost no one would find disagreeable for the style.

01-14-2005 09:27:34 | More by Cwrw
Photo of soper2000


3.45/5  rDev +0.3%

Nitro pour at Chumley's in Lafayette. This has been something I've always wanted to try but has always been pushed to the back burner. Typical cascading nitro effect leaves this beer with a substantial creamy head atop of darker golden body. Aroma is practically nonexistent. Hints of biscuit are present but that's about it. Taste is very biscuity with malt dominating this beer. Hints of apple peak out around the finish. Smooth creamy mouthfeel. OK session beer. Not much to keep coming back, but nothing that would send me running away.

01-10-2005 17:38:39 | More by soper2000
Photo of TastyTaste


4.05/5  rDev +17.7%

Light brown copper color, slightly red. Pours with a 3/4" head, and fades into a quarter inch layer covering the top of the beer. Smells very sweet, with a fruity tart smell, most likely hops presence. Taste is very vinous, with lots of fermented fruit flavors. Pretty good beer, very unique, I think I like Ol' Dirty Hen is better from a bottle than a nitro can.

12-26-2004 05:54:37 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.63/5  rDev +5.5%

Clear orangish copper (noted before the pour due to the clear bottle). The nice looking beige head is on the large side, is persistent and is reasonably firm. Adequate lace. A random smattering of spatters adorns the upper reaches of the glass and a solid collar accompanies the falling surface of the beer.

The initial (slight) aroma of skunk has faded and is now unnoticed. What's left is a sweet, herbal, woody aroma that's more moderately toasted malty than hoppy. It tastes like chicken. Only kidding, I don't believe that any actual hens were tossed into the brew kettles. As the label points out, the beer was named after a vintage MG roadster.

OSH is an okay English pale ale, all things considered. The flavor profile is dominated by an herbal, somewhat earthy, toasted maltiness and a respectable quantity of hops. An initial mild sweetness dries out progressively, leading to a frankly dry, bitter, unsweetened tea-like finish. The body is light-medium and the carbonation is understated.

Old Speckled Hen is a pretty decent quaff. Like the bird that it's named for (okay, like the bird that the car that it's named for is named for) it glides along for brief periods without ever really taking flight. I found it to be enjoyable though and just might buy it again if I could be certain that my next bottle(s) will have avoided that razor-clawed, black and white, odor-spewing, beer-hating little bastard, as this one seems to have done.

12-23-2004 15:43:11 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Skidz


3.58/5  rDev +4.1%

Pour out a creamy pale gold and cascades into a bright amber in the glass with a 1/2 finger creamy white head, sticks to the very last drop. Glass becomes white through drinking.

Smells nice and malty, good toasty build. Apples, pears and canned peaches within. Light hopping, aroma muted by nitrogen.

Tastes lightly sweet up front, doughy, yeasty character. Hopping clear and distinct. Nice herbal spicy characters and faint hints of oranges. Bits of apple and pear in the background. Finish filled with smooth bitterness and lingering flavors of herbal hops.

Rich, creamy, nitro-smoothed out. Medium body underneath it all.

Damn tasty EPA, would probably be better outside of a nitro atmosphere. Going to have to find a non-nitro version. Definately a beer I would drink more often than not.

12-11-2004 03:42:23 | More by Skidz
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +9.9%

I like English bitters a lot, and this one is a decent example of the style. Except of course for the stupid clear glass bottle.

It pours copper with a big foamy almond collar and moderate lacing. The aroma is bready, with caramel and some diacytel and a bit of fruityness from the yeast. A nice bit of Goldings aroma is also detectable on the nose. The taste is nicely malty with a noticeably dry yeasty finish. The hop flavor is moderate, but complimentary. Theres some signs of oxidization, a slightly metallic astringent finish being one of them. The mouthfeel is medium and only moderately carbonated. This beer is worth a try, but try to get a fresh bottle because it is prone to getting skunked.

12-07-2004 21:47:42 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of merlin48


2.1/5  rDev -39%

OSH was first brewed by Morlands, in Abingdon, as a 50 year tribute to MG cars, in 1979. It is supposed to be a bitter or ESB, with a prominent sweet toffee and caramel character from crystal malts and a floral hoppiness from Goldings hops. Sadly, the MG factory closed in 1980, and was later razed. OSH is now brewed elsewhere by Greene King. As an MG enthusiast, I was hoping that the Hen would be a pleasant and nostalgic British bitter. In the USA, unfortunately, in most cases it is not. I've had this in the nitro infused, widget cans, but this review is based on a pouring from a clear, 12 oz bottle.
Served into an English pint glass, this pours a clear, copper body with an initially promising boneivory head that falls into a film almost immediately.
Aroma is skunked, worse than sulfuric. No caramel or toffee from the crystal malts, and definitely no floral hops.
Mouthfeel has adequate carbonation, but is ruined by the skunkiness.
Taste is somewhat better than the aroma and mouthfeel, and some caramel is picked up near room temperature. It is claimed that this is still brewed with a Morlands yeast strain from the 19th century, and this does have a pronounced dry and dank yeastiness. The finish is dry and bitter as it should be, but not so much in the pleasing manner of a good English bitter or pale ale.
Very little here to encourage drinkability. It is actually better in the widget cans which at least lack the skunkiness. Stores in central Kentucky, stopped selling this by the bottle because of complaints similar to what I have noted here. If you can kind this from a fresh keg or cask, I would recommend trying it. By all means, avoid this in the clear bottles, unless you're certain they are fresh and have been kept away from light and extreme temperatures. The Old Hen,obviously, does not like to travel far from the coop.

10-27-2004 10:44:28 | More by merlin48
Photo of SheepNutz


3.28/5  rDev -4.7%

Nitro can poured into a snifter. It pours a medium copper color with one finger of creamy white head. Some lace. The smell is malty and light, not too much coming out in the smell. The taste is the same, malty, but there's not much else there. A little more bland than what I'm used to. The body is light and watery (damn nitro) but the drinkability is alright. It's there.

10-25-2004 17:53:08 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of TheLiterati


2.58/5  rDev -25%

After literally searching for years for the elusive Old Speckled Hen, which was named for a vintage MG car, I first located "the Hen" at an online beverage outlet and paid upwards of $25 for a six-pack of (bottled) beer and shipping costs. Apparently this stuff is not readily available in California.

Now, almost a year after my initial quest, our local Whole Foods has a limited supply of the golden English ale available in cans, complete with a "floating widget." I figured, why not give the can a try.

Sadly, my reaction to the can I'm having right now is, "eh." I felt the same about the bottled stuff.

Appearance wise, the color is nice - coppery, with a thick, creamy head. As for aroma - and for that matter, taste - the malt is predominant, but the hops is barely detectable. The mouthfeel is very smooth, almost frothy, but it does little to save the overall composition. In fact, it finishes with a skunky bitterness.

All in all, not a superior beer.

10-15-2004 05:02:33 | More by TheLiterati
Photo of DrJay


3.3/5  rDev -4.1%

Clear, coppery auburn colour topped with a thick cream-coloured head of fine bubbles. The aroma is malty sweet and smells like crystal malt grain. Little hop character is present, but it is there and is very faint (hiding just behind the malt). The flavour is balanced towards maltiness as well, with just enough bitterness to keep it in balance. Hop flavours are very weak, but there is a bit of earthiness and floral quality. Some fruity esters are noticeable as the beer warms. The finish is mildly bitter and most of the maltiness has dissolved by this point. Low carbonation and medium bodied with a decent smoothness, though it does dry the palate a fair bit.

500 mL can with clearly marked best before date on the bottom.

09-25-2004 19:13:19 | More by DrJay
Photo of Sigmund


4.13/5  rDev +20.1%

(500 ml clear bottle, now available in Norway). Pours with a beautiful brown / dark golden colour with a moderate to low head. Inspiring glug-glug sound due to the shape of the bottle neck.This classic English ale has a moderate malty aroma and a pleasant malty flavour with a good bitterness. Very nice.

09-10-2004 21:26:09 | More by Sigmund
Photo of tomthumbsblues


4.15/5  rDev +20.6%

I was lucky enough to get this one on tap at Mellow Mushroom on a visit to C-ville in Virginia.

This beer was a lovely mahogony color topped by a creamy thick head which resembled egg nog. Good lacing about the glass. Smell was hoppy and a bit sweet. Taste was really a dream being a sorty of cross between a smooth creamy caramel and what I can only describe as something like whiskey. Very bitter in the mouth, but it left a good lasting impression on my tastebuds. A pretty damn good beer, I may say!

09-08-2004 01:30:27 | More by tomthumbsblues
Photo of rugger


3.55/5  rDev +3.2%

This beer poured a nice amber with a nice head that stuck around. The smell was the downfall of this beer. It smelled as if it were skunky. It kinda smelled like a botttle of Heineken. I wasn't really suprised seeing that it comes in a clear bottle. The taste however was a very smooth sweet malty taste with undertones of caramel and toffee, with a light crisp hop finish. The mouthfeel was nice and thick with a full body. This was a very good beer with the exception of the smell. I can't wait to get a hold of another one. Cheers.

09-03-2004 15:26:20 | More by rugger
Photo of allengarvin


4.47/5  rDev +29.9%

Pint bottle, poured into a generic English pint glass.

Appearance: clear golden color, with a big creamy head (I purposely poured it a little agitated, as I like my English beers to get the carbonation out).

Aroma: Big fresh hop aroma.

Flavor/Body: Good deal of malt flavor (slightly nutty and toasted), well-balanced by earthy hop tones. Slighty fruitiness, with a lingering finish, very dry in the end.

An excellent export bitter, definitely in my top 10 favorite English beers available in the US. Also, far superior to the nitrogenated canned version of this beer (though I admit a prejudice against nitrogen-injected beers).

09-01-2004 01:34:48 | More by allengarvin
Photo of oelergud


4/5  rDev +16.3%

Ruby bronze body, white small bubbled head with good retention and lace, very low carbonation. Clearly define border between head and body.
Good hoppy nose migled with light earthyness.
Sweet and fruity, certainly not your typical english pale ale. Citrus, hay and earth flavors, a tangy, twanged and lightly spiced after taste lingering well.
Your classical smooth and creamy mouthfeel resulting from the nitro widget, havent decided if I like that in a pale ale, it's certainly different and intriguing.
Low abv and the sheer novelty of a creamy pale ale makes this a beer that could stay interesting through most of the night.


08-23-2004 22:39:25 | More by oelergud
Photo of kmpitz2


2.08/5  rDev -39.5%

After all this time I still love to see a good nitro beer settle. The beer pours a deep golden to amber color with about two fingers of very creamy head. The nose is nothing but sweet malts...no hint of any hop. Hmm. There was an overpowering metallic flavor in my first sip. Bad bad and bad. Its there again in the second sip as well. I just can't get past that. The mouthfeel is hard for me since I don't want to keep it in my mouth long enough to get much of a feel. The feel is thick, but it lacks the creamy texture I would want. I just can't get past the metallic flavor. It is still with every sip I take from the beer. I don't know if this is a function of the can I have here to drink or if this is common, I think if I do try it again, I will go for a different presentation.

08-18-2004 01:43:44 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of smcolw


3.4/5  rDev -1.2%

Wonderful cascading head from this nitro-can. Creamy thick head with a clear, amber colored appearance. Excellent lace as expected.

There is a metalic aroma that detracts from the maltiness. Too bad, since the hop seems to be missing completely. The hop is very present in the flavor, although muted. This is predominately a malty beverage. Unfortunately, the metalic notes persist in the flavor, seriously compromising the malt flavors. Interestingly, I presume the hop aroma to be muted by this, while in the tasting, the malt is affected. Thinner than other nitro-can beers and slightly more carbonated.

Sadly, this had a poor showing in the flight of British Ales tested. I suspect that it would do well against beers that differ from the pale ale category. Head to head, this one falls short.

08-07-2004 20:49:02 | More by smcolw
Photo of joecast


3.6/5  rDev +4.7%

clear amber/copper color with only a fine lace of a head.
appetising caramel and earthy hop aroma.
not too hot on the flavor, though it smooths out as it warms. some hop bitterness combines nicely with the malt though it seems to lack a bit of fullness on both counts.
doesnt make much of an impression, though its not exactly bad. more memorable for its name than anything else.

07-18-2004 02:49:48 | More by joecast
Photo of TagoMago

New York

3.68/5  rDev +7%

Presentation: 12 oz. clear bottle, poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Honey colored with a reddish hue. The beer pours with a thick, creamy head.

Smell: Malty, with noticeably yeasty, herbal notes. A buttery diacetyl is also noticed.

Taste: Sweet malts coupled with an herbal, buttery flavor. Some spicy hops are detected in this beer's nicely dry finish.

Overall: This is one of my favorite English ales - great flavor and smooth body. This is a highly drinkable beer and is highly recommended. This makes for a great session beer.

07-11-2004 05:31:27 | More by TagoMago
Photo of CRJMellor


3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

Pours a clear amber with some golden undertones and thin veneer of tan head.
Aroma of sweetened toffee and minor dark fruits with some piney fairly weak hop notes.
Flavor of caramel and some grains with a minor resin and pine background.
Mouthfeel is middle of the road, nothing to note that is significnat other than sweetness tends to dominate a little bit too much.
Drinkability is average to slightly above.

07-06-2004 02:20:39 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of sublimesipping


3.48/5  rDev +1.2%

A decent session beer I think but was not overly impressed beyond that. Don't get me wrong, still an above average beer, but my palate has been spoiled by all the wonderful beers I 've tried, thanks in part to this web site. Color reminds me of a macro, Molsen golden maybe. Not much head to write of. aroma subltly sweet, and taste strongly of malts with not much hop character. An enjoyable English ale but again not one that I would be apt to include in my regualr drinking rotation. May stick to trying this next in England. am also open to revise my opinion after another taste.

06-29-2004 22:49:55 | More by sublimesipping
Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,655 ratings.