1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,811 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,811
Reviews: 873
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 27
Gots: 136 | 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.
View: Beers (59) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Speckled Hen Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,811 | Reviews: 873 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.11/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes on March 1 06. Served at King Street Grille in Charleston.

Poured from a nitro can into a frosted glass. Typical nitro can apperace with a creamy, white head on top of a hazy, dark gold colored beverage.

Aroma was pretty much muted. Dont if its from the can or frozen glass. Caramel and scotch whiskey. Peat, busciuts. A little sourness in the aroma as well.

Taste was as muted as the aroma. Sour oranges, smoked whiskey. Pretty tangy finish. Slight earthy hop presence.

Average beer at best. Probably wouldnt try this again. Maybe a brown bottle would be better than the nitro can, but I wasnt impressed.

Photo of jettjon
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highs: Appearance, head
Lows: A bit too sweet

Beautiful pour from the 14.9 oz. nitro can, produces very attractive head of two fingers which lingers. Color is reddish brown. Nose is malty and sweetly applish with light hops. Mouth is interesting: appley-sweet with some light hops and fruit. Finish is almost but not quite cloyingly sweet. Mouth is watery and smooth, and the finish is lightly sweet.

Overall: A good floral ale.

Photo of Sammy
3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

light orange, aggressive carbonation but some pleasant taste of hops, a touch metallic finish. Good amount of lace and creaminess of head Very dry aftertaste. Have had mixed results from this brewery, and it seems the LCBO have a relationship so we see a number coming through. OK to share a bottle.

Photo of hanco005
2.91/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Nitro can poured into a nonic pint glass

A—starts like orange Yo-J, then bubbles cascade up from the bottom into a ½ inch thick creamy tan head, amber color and clear, excellent head retention, not much for lacing, however

S—sweet and fruity, candy smells, marshmallow crème, a little chocolate, apricot, plum, lots of smells…something different with each whiff. What is this beer?

T—bitter, mild coffee flavor at first, then gives way to fruit flavors and finishes dry. Weird

M—smooth, medium bodied, good carbonation

D—glad I tried it, but won’t have it again. I am confused by this one. It is like two different beers in one. Started like a porter, then switched to a Belgian, then finished like an English Bitter. Maybe it is just me…I hope so.

Photo of JustinBathurst
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle. Pours a caramel brown with a frothy off-white head. Smells like a sweet bread loaf laced with a bit o' cut hay. Smells a bit on the grainy side of things. There's a bit of sour apple in there.

The mouthfeel is smooth and medium carbonated. A bit creamy.

Taste is nice and malty (a dark molasses), a bit of tartness (that apple, for sure), balanced with an earthy hop bitterness. The finish is subdued, but pleasant, with the aftertaste a nice lingering memory of the bitter and sour overtones. This is what it should be. Very English.

A nice one to fall back on. I certainly won't refuse it, although it's not an 'exciter.'

Photo of Drew966
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy orange from a 440ml nitro can. Caramel predominates the aroma. Caramel is also present in the flavor, with some hop toward the end. Creamy mouthfeel from the nitro. Not bad, definitely worth a try (tough choice here, nitro can or clear bottle - I kind of like the nitro thing now and then, but I may have to try the bottled version - but I'm not thrilled they are putting it in a clear bottle, that's a lot of traveling and potential for bad handling).

Photo of Enola
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Six Pence Pub in Blowing Rock.

This beer was a golden color with a thick creamy head. Lots of lacing left in the glass. The smell was fairly hoppy. The taste was bitter but very smooth. There was plenty of foamy head to sip up. You gotta love these nitro beers. I could drink these again. A good representation of the style.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of many beers that I am tired of passing on without trying. Glad I did. Quite Pale Ale-ish in nature. Moderately bready, caramelly, nutty, and hopped to balance. The nitro gave a terrific creamy texture while remaining clean and refreshing. Nicely malty and yeasty through to the finish. Lightly estery due to the fermentation and hopping adds to the complexity. Easy to drink until the finish where a lightly phenolic-plastic-ey flavor was pronounced that made the swallowing a bit tough. Otherwise, I'm glad I tried it.

Photo of Byeast
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance--Old Speckled Hen poured a clear , reddish copper with a head of about an inch.

Smell-- slightly malty , yeasty , a bit of buttery diacetyl.

Taste-- a firm, semisweet malty body , some diacetyl again ,dry yeasty flavors , a bit of bittering hop flavor as well. Smooth and round.

Mouthfeel-- Smooth with a dry finish and pleasant, long lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability-- Very drinkable English pale ale. I could imagine throwin back quite a few of these in an English Pub.

Photo of dwheeler
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle with a rock hard white head, sitting on a deep golden beer, beautiful! English hops upfront, great aroma, the smell reminds me of hot sweet biscuits just out of the oven.

What balance, slides down the throat with ease. As a homebrewer, most of my battles are with balance, if I could get it this good I would retire tomorrow. Nice caramel overtones with some bitterness to back it up. Not to bitter, not to sweet, pleasant and easy drinking, wow.

Overall: A really nice pale ale, good aroma and great balance. Fault: It lacks a little body, but hay, I could drink this to I fell over (with a smile on my face)!

Photo of Absumaster
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the few English beers that is available in supermarkets in Holland. With Belgium around the corner, I never gave it any attention, because English beers have a reputation to have very little carbonation, being bland and are drunk at roomtemperature. But after reviewing a lot of Belgian beers, one seeks to find new tastes. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised about this beer.

Appearance: amber coloured, little carbonation, small head.
Smell: caramel, slightly fruity, bitter and nice hop aroma.
Taste: nice maltiness, bitter and hoppy. Caramel like in a caramel pudding or like the topping on a McDonalds ice cream. Although this beer is bitter, it is magnificently in balance and very pleasant to drink.

Photo of lpayette
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber with just a little white head. Slighltly hazy.

Smells mostly of malts along with some hops... basic beer stuff here.

Tastes- while I found the malt to prevail in smell, the hop bitterness won slightly in taste. Nothing too exciting, but there is a bit of caramel, and maybe even some medicinal notes.

Photo of vanrassel
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured from a clear pint bottle a cloudy amber colour into my pint glass, with a frothy head that dwindled to a thin ring by the end.

The smell was strong and distinctive — yeasty with a bread aroma and prominent alcoholic smell.

When drank, it hit he palate with a hoppy bitterness and finished with a malty, caramel sweetness. The carbonation was lively and there was a warm boozy aftertaste that was OK at first, but I found kinda cloying by the end.

I'd be curious to try this on tap in England — I wonder if I'd like it more if I drank it fresher and closer to its home.

Photo of hunteraw
3.19/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice clear honey... Nice looking.

Doesn't smell very pleasant to be honest... difficult to place, but not particularly appetizing.

Taste is intriguing. Starts out creamy, then the hops come out, and there's a butter and caramel finish. One of the friends I was sampling this with said it reminded him of how he would imagine the "butterbeer" in Harry Potter.

Mouthfeel is creamy at first, but resolves to mild wateriness...

A decent brew, but not for drinking in large quantities.

Photo of canucklehead
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Weird I have been playa hating this beer for years and yet here i am enjoying a glass of this same beer. All those memories of a anemic ale that had off flavours is no longer. The malty nose is very prominent, the taste is full and creamy hops with good malt on the backend. A quality English ale that sells for not a bad price in cans no less. Sorry OSH I will start to buy you again.

Photo of skillerified
2.33/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours very orange and amber with about a half finger head that dies pretty early. Very little lacing is left after that. Moderate carbonation is visible.

Scent starts malty but favors the hops. There's an interesting backend to it. That's the unique yeast, I suppose.

Taste pretty much follows the scent pattern. Starts slightly malty, hops follow in force, then a unique aftertaste that's a mix of malt and the yeast.

The mouthfeel leans toward the pathetic side. Very light and watery feel. The carbonation is maybe a little too aggresive for the flavor.

It goes down pretty easy, but it's not impressive by any means. I don't think I'll be having another one of these.

Photo of IceAce
2.91/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear bottle Julian dated 5095

Pours a lovely bronze with a thick and sticky light tan collar of foamand excellent clarity. Nose is earthy malt, distinctive yeast, and a hint of skunk.

Entry zings the cheeks with prickly CO² and a watery mouthfeel. Midtaste is supported by the typical earthy malt which has made Sam Smith famous...I just wish there was more of it. Rather than a backbone of malt...this has a limp wrist.

Finish is ushered in with a dose of hops (fuggles?) quickly followed by a malty fade with hints of the speckled hen yeast.

Not horrible by any stretch...but also not noteworthy. I guess I should've known by the fact that this 'English Fine Ale' has yet to be reviewed by The Long Beach Bum.

Photo of TPSReports
3.92/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this brew with my brother-in-law on Thanksgiving Eve.

All in all, quite tasty. I tend to favor higher alcohol Belian beers, but this isn't a bad option.

It has a nice nose with mild hops and slight biscuity flavor.

I will add this to my cellar for a bit a change-up from a dark bold Belgian ale.


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.

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,811 ratings.