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Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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1,793 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,793
Reviews: 868
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 26
Gots: 127 | 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:
Beer added by: Quaffer on 10-23-2000

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 1,793 | Reviews: 868 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnW
3.26/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have to confess that this beer is not one of my favourites, and have tried it on hand pull in various places and at various times, and in bottle - just to check if it was my taste buds. I find the smell very off putting...a strange mixture of spices but some sourness or almost sulphery edge which does not appeal at all. Taste is a little better but still thin, and has a hint of spice and sourness that is just not to my liking at all. Strange, because I like other Green King Beers...their Abbot Ale is an old favourite of mine. Just not to my taste, not a bad beer, just not me.

John H
Bham UK

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dull copper color with a head that quickly dies. Yellow-leather highlights appear when I hold the glass next to a lamp, but no carbonation is visible. Smells pretty good, like light, biscuity malt with a backdrop of reedy hops. An element of wet paper bag wafts through, but not enough to ruin things. There's a slight--but definite--cidery sharpness right at the top of the nosefeel. Going down, the taste is something like graham crackers or wheat bread dough with a suggestion of nectarine. The aftertaste is surprisingly full of mealy, dried green apple, and bitter, earthy hops spilling out of dusty burlap bags. Unfortunately, the beer stumbles when the deflated-cola mouthfeel catches up to it. Pinpricks of bitterness through the aftertaste aren't enough to prevent things from being a watery wash. Easy to drink, though. If this were coming out of a cask, I could do a session of it.

Photo of rhythmpirate
3.57/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks quite nice really, dark brown with a nice off-white head that has a decent longevity. Theres decent lacing down the inside of the glass as well.

Smells fairly malty with a kick of sugar and fruits.

Initially has quite a standard ale type taste, then half way through sipping you get a fairly bitter taste. This then gives way to a bittesweet aftertaste that lasts a while.

Feels nice and smooth going down, not too bubbly, not too flat, very nice.

I tend to have a pint of speckled hen from time to time, not my usual beer, but its still a nice solid ale.

Photo of BDTyre
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I try to avoid canned beers unless that is the only container a particular beer comes in (i.e. Lighthouse Brewing).

However, Old Speckled Hen is one beer I don't mind from a can.

This pours a deep amber colour with a good, foamy white head. It smells yeast, with a bit of malts and somewhat reminscent of fresh bread --a doughy, fresh smell.

This tastes like a good, hearty ale that would work very well with a ploughman's lunch. A tame taste of malts (but this works well here), with a tinge of hop bitterness. A bit of a yeasty, bready hint.

Mouthfeel is okay, but there is a bit of acidity perhaps attributed to the fact this beer comes from a can. Overall, a good session beer, especially with a meal. I would love to try this cask conditioned.

Photo of Zorro
3.19/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a good-looking clear deeply copper colored ale with a tight off white head. VERY impressive head longevity and sheeting in the glass, this has incredible looks.

Smell is lots of fruitiness from the yeast used and a good strong scent of herbal hops.

Taste is woody and spicy with the usual fruity flavors that British Ale yeast gives. Good strong herbal hop level makes this one much more like an ESB than a pale ale. Flavor level could be a bit higher though.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Easy to drink but this is a bit light in the flavor department. This would work well for eating a bland dish like fresh bread or potatoes.

Photo of ghostwalker
3.34/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice pour! Orange/tan liquid suffused with white foam, rushing up to a giant head, then subsiding in the best "Guinness waterfall" effect that I have ever seen outside of a Guinness on tap in Europe. Then, finally leaving a typical nitro-can frothy/foamy head.

Smell is mild, malty and nutty.

Taste is smooth and mild. Sweet malt and mild hops, some caramel too. Not much finish at all. After the sweet lead-in, I was hoping for kind of a bitter finish, oh well... Slight bitter aftertaste creeps in after half of the pint. It has the subtleness typical of an English Ale, but overall is a pleasant flavor.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, due to the nitro-can. Kind of silky, not bad.

Drinkability is moderate. I will enjoy another, but I don't know that I would call it a good session beer.

Photo of mwrseeley
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

You have to be careful with this beer. If you aren't drinking it fresh in an English pub you're probably buying it from the local beer store and running the risk that the clear bottle will precipitate, in short order, a marked degree of skunkiness. With this in mind, and under the suspicion that such a fate has befallen my sample, I am hesitatingly submitting my score. The thing is, and this might sound weird, but I kind of enjoy the flavour of a beer with a funky skunky edge.

I'll agree with one reviewer who noted that the nitro in the can has an adverse effect on the taste and mouthfeel. The aroma is, however, wonderful and it is a pleasant beer to look at.

In short, some bottles, at least from the LCBO, are better than others.

Photo of tesguino
3.86/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A fruitty flavor, like a pure english beer, i try this beer from Carrefour, almost a year, a rare beer in my country, well ballanced ingredients, very flematic like english men, i visit its site regularly "www.oldspeckledhen.co.uk", very attractive, its holding Greene King, its famous for good beers; recommended for a six o´clock with a snack or american food.

Photo of BeerBeing
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 0.5 liter clear glass custom bottle, cherry red/black/gold on yellow label

Appearance: hazy amber color, medium off-white head, good lacing

Smell: sweet malts and some medicine

Taste: medium to full body, very smooth mouth feel, sweet toasted malt, spiciness, lemon, hops, minor yeast

Notes: nothing special, just good all around English ale

Photo of KoG
3.96/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nitro cascade into an amber liquid. Good head retention and lacing.

Smell is slightly grainy with some light malt sweetness. Odd phenolic twinge on the end.

Taste is pretty mild, lightly malty with no real bitterness. No metallic off taste that some Nitros have had, pretty well balanced.

Easy to drink, and light on the palate.

Photo of JanM
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looking a bit reddish in the glass and pours with 1,5 finger of foam. It's a pretty palealey taste although very dry and with a strong bitterness. The mouthfeel is oily and not so inviting. Bottle version is too carbonated. The taste actually reminds me of a wormwood beer I had at Appolo Micro Brewery in Copenhagen (yes, it's true!).

Photo of DogFood11
3.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsener glass it produced an inspired 2 finger head that eventually falls to a thin ring that leaves occassional spotty lacing. A bit darker than the usual pale ale with reddish tone.

I got a nutty, wood, earthy type aroma that was heavily malted. Tasted more caramel than I could pick up in the smell but it was challenged by a mild hop finish. This brew has alot of flavors sprea out through each drink and changed complexity as it warmed up. Smooth creamy mouthfeel and extremely drinkable as it is interesting enough to keep my attention and silky mouthfeel is a joy.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: An aggressive pour gives it a creamy half inch of head at first. The beer is a clear light amber color with only a few bubbles rising. There is a good bit of lacing after the beer is consumed

Aroma: Some hops noticeable at first along with some caramel malts, and a hint of butterscotch.

Taste: The flavor definitely starts out being led by the hops, but then it has a bit of a dry assertive bite that sets in as the initial floral impression fades. The finish is leaves you thinking that this is a medium bodied beer that has a bit higher carbonation to give it a lighter impression. There are definitely some Sulfates in this beer.

Opinion: Well, I am not too big on British beers, but I just can’t help but keep trying them. This beer is really pretty good. I got an example that was WAY back on the shelves as this beer is in a clear bottle. I don’t get any skunk in this one.

This is one of the better British beers that I have tried here lately. It is definitely worth a shot.

Photo of danielharper
2.93/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

Pours a dark orange/reddish color with a thick white foamy head. Head sticks around for awhile, although it remains thin and leaves only a bit of lacing. Nice appearance, but nothing special.

Smell is average, with a sweet backend covered up by a hoppy presence up front. Not a lot of smell to it at all, i.e. very few discernable aromas, but it seems fairly unique in its indescribability, and it's enjoyable so far as it goes.

The taste is bizarre; maybe it's just a psychosomatic reaction or something, but I could swear I can actually taste a bit of chicken in this brew. The power of suggestion strikes again. Other than that, it's mainly fruity up-front with a decent if unfulfilling bitter finish. It goes down easy.

Mouthfeel is medium, not too heavy, not too light, leaving a thin watery foam around the mouth and a reasonably decent aftertaste. Just, "eh".

Overall drinkability is low-average, because I really don't find myself wanting another after I finish the first one. Nothing special in these bottles, but it might be worth a try if you're looking for something easy-drinking but more flavorful than Bud, et al.

Photo of quasimoto
2.36/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The O.S.H. poured a light copper brownwith a big frothy head. The aroma was of hops, glue, and some wine, like a cabernet. The taste of it was also glue, malt and like 1% of smoke. The mouthfeel is light and easy, with the slight bitterness of hops on the end. This is a 100% session beer. These were so easy to put back one after another. Overall, it's not something I'm going out of my way again to get.

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.04/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal-clear bright amber with a frothy white head. Aroma has a sweet, caramel sourness to it, not skunk but sulfurous.

Taste is again a caramel, malty sweetness cut with more than a bit of a soured element. Toasted grains and past-date milk flavors; a twinge of hoppy bitterness, but no identifiable variety. Nothing to put off the taste; on the contrary, the mild sour mash flavor is what makes this ale unique.

Mouthfeel is light and clean, very drinkable. A wonderful example of fine English ale and one of my all-time faves, ultimately sessionable. Believe it or not, the bottled version is far superior to either a tap serving or the nitrous can (ugh). Find yourself a fresh, well-kept (clear) bottle and enjoy.

Photo of Citadel82
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at the Full Shilling, Pearl Street near corner of wall. Tasty from the brewery glass. Strangely it tasted like it would be stronger than the 5.2% listed. I initially enjoyed the creamy balance between the caramel malts and the English Hops. There were not many other options that appealed to me so I stuck to this stuff most of the evening. Could be a good session beer, perhaps a tad sweet, but not very remarkable otherwise.

Photo of fisherman34
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Orange in colour with medium carbonation. Aromas are of caremel malts, fruity yeast, and perhaps a bit of licorice. Flavors are about what I’d expect from a typical bitter: sweet malt, goldings hops, cooked apples, a bit of spice, and a slightly woody note. The only flaw with this beer is its body, which is way too light... almost like a pale lager. Close, but no cigar.

Photo of battlekow
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My girlfriend brought me back a couple beers from Britain and Ireland, including two English Pale Ales: this and Innis & Gunn. I'm reviewing them together to compare.

Appearance: Both are a beautiful, crystal-clear dark reddish-gold. Minimal head but good lacing.

Smell: Lots of piney and floral hops. Hints of apple. Unbalanced; not much malt.

Taste: Speckled Hen is a really dry beer. There's some maltiness, but, as expected, the primary character is hops, though it's actually not that bitter. Aftertaste is slightly appley.

Mouthfeel: Really dry. Kinda creamy.

Drinkability: Not bad. Not nearly as good as the I&G, though; too unbalanced.

Photo of cracgor
4.02/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: rich orange color. With a white velvety head that just sticks to the glass in a way I can only describe as sexy.

Smell: Kind of weak on the aroma. A sweet malty/caramel smell to it. A little spicy.

Taste: Buttery, toffee. A great fruitiness to the beer.

Mouthfeel: This beer is just like velvety smooth butter. Rich and creamy.

Drinkability: This beer is fantastic on tap. It is exceptionally drinkable, earthy, and just great flavors to forget yourself in.

Photo of LiquidBreadMan
2.91/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love the UK. Honest. But I am not impressed with Old Speckled Hen.

This brew pours a rich copper color, like iced tea, with a thick (quickly dissipating) head. It pretty much goes downhill from there. The aroma is a potpourri of lemon, sweat and spinach. Although I can (barely) discern some hops, this brew has a prominent "photosynthetic" flavor -- from start to finish -- much like. . . spinach. It's middle of the road, as far as carbonation, which makes it fairly easy to swallow.

Cute name. But I won't be buying the bottled version of this brew in the future.

Photo of packetknife
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Don't bother with the bottle, the nitro can is an entirely different experience. I like it better than any taps I've had of it. Orange with maroon highlights, a near-bleach white head that was dense and at least three fingers out of two pours. Classic beer-book look. Can't smell anything but acid & bubbles but it's not offensive, don't want to take away too much for that. Perhaps a bit sweeter than some would prefer but this isn't an IPA. The sense of caramel, malts, and hops on the finish was consistent between each can's pour. The density makes it feel more like a decent thick stout or porter which I really enjoyed (the texture so to speak). Drinkable for most environments.

Photo of Franchise
3.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a golden amber color, it leaves a thin tan lace of head that disapates pretty quickly. Has a faint "skunky" oder with a finish of vanilla and hops. The taste when it first hits the palate is smoothe, goes down easy def session quality. The strongest flavors on the tounge are honey, sour grapes, with a malty finish. This beer would be paired well with some classic english eats such as fish and chips, or shepard pie.

Photo of whartontallboy
2.91/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear bottle pours out kind of a caramel color with a head that's initially big but fades into nothing quickly.

Smell is lightly skunked and stale hops, a bit of caramel malt and maybe a little hint of vanilla.

Taste is not much to crow about: light skunky flavors, thick malty sweetness, and then a little more skunkiness kicks in with some bitterness. Eh.

Overall: Not so great, especially for the money. The tap version may be better, but I find this one too sweet and too offputting to warrant further purchases.

Photo of Noelito76
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. In the store the color looked darker than the light brown it was. Not too much head. However, it had a good balance between the subtle sweetness I detected and the hops. The drinkability was quite smooth as the mouthfeel was good enough to savor each sip (or gulp if that's your style). I'd buy this one again.

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,793 ratings.