Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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1,771 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,771
Reviews: 861
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 24
Gots: 114 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,771 | Reviews: 861 | Display Reviews Only:
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
2.93/5  rDev -14.8%
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
4.08/5  rDev +18.6%
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.

Photo of ikonoklast7
3.05/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Old Speckled Hen looks great, with that wonderful nitro masking effect from the can and a big creamy head. It also has a very smooth, buttery mouthfeel. But other than that, it isn't all that great. Smell is just a typical beer smell, the kind of scent I associate with American mass-produced beers. Taste-wise its decent, with a nice mild, hoppy character, but that's about it.

Photo of Zraly
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A light golden brown with a frothy white head. The nice settling nature of a nitro can pour is always welcomed and comforting. Strong bready smells with the head following faithfully down the side of the glass.

Malty, bready and slightly sour...it starts off interesting in the mouth. However, the finish is too subtle and too buried by a slightly off-grain flavor. Not unpleasant, just too mild...a bit more hops may help. It's medium bodied, with a sweet middle. I would be interested in having it on tap and contrasting the nature/flavor of the two. However, I could drink this all night because it is easy on the palate.

It's not bad, but it isn't the best interpretation of an English ale.

Fish n' chips would do just fine.

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

This one was a surprise for me. This is a differentt EnglishPale Ale and it is pretty tasty.

It is a dark brown in a mug as compared the light body it has in the bottle. Not much headbut pretty good lacing. I smelled some roasted malts off the bat and a little hops.

The taste didnt finish as well as I wouldve liked but it is a solid beer for the flavor and drinkability. I can understand the Pale Ale of this as the hops really do come out with that roasted flavor. Not as good as the Tadcaster but as I said before its different because of the carbonation. Pretty good I must say.

Photo of Backer2004
3.98/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm glad I tried this as a draft instead of a bottle . . . I may have lowered by rating on appearance with the clear glass and very light color. Instead, I found a very impressive brew. this did not seem to be a Pale Ale in terms of hops. One of the smoothest drinks to go down, very creamy in taste and appearance. Great lacing and head around the glass. i only tried this in 5 ounce taster and may have a different opinion next time, but my initial response was great.

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

On cask at Victoria’s in Chester, UK
Pours amber, but on the brownish side
Lightly citiric smelling on the nose with little to no hops to speak of

Interesting flavor, with pear fruitiness and sweet and nutty malt flavors dancing around. Very light hop finish that is surprisingly dry

Medium to heavier mouthfeel. I tried this on tap in NY, both were good. However, after a week or so drinking cask conditioned real ales, this was very average.

Photo of horndecker
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at my neighborhood tavern.
The color is clear golden bronze, with a fine fine tan head. Pillowy and long lasting. The scent of river grass and piney herbal hops is what greets you at first, then a sweet subtle fruity malt aroma. It's wonderfully bitter, the hops takes precedence here over the malt, but it doesn't drown it. After a few sips and a bit of warmth, there's plenty of toasty malt to chew on - and it's all so smooth and refreshing. A very nice pale ale. I would order this over most of the usual fare we get here.

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.85/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice amber in color, with a 1" thick head with great retention. Not as much fins watchig this settles as a Guiness ot a Boddington's. The aroma is kind of soured vegetables. The taste is hoppy, but it has a unhappy sour tinge to it. The malts are slightly overdone(?). Not sure, just way too heavy on the palate (at least for me). The mouthfeel is pretty heavy, and does nothing for me. However, I don;t find it a complete loss, and still find this beer fairly drinkable.

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

440 ml.

Very creamy, bone white 1" head with good retention. Condensed and spotted lacing with solid strength. Slightly cloudy, dull bronze in color.

Mellow caramel malt aroma. A touch of biscuit with a drop of diacetyl.

Bready maltiness with a moderate caramel sweetness. Moderate grain-flavored bitterness; very bland tasting beyond the initial caramel-biscuit sweetness. Dry finish with a grainy aftertaste.

A shade lighter than medium bodied; smooth and mellow on the palate. Little to no carbonation.

This one goes down like water. Nothing special but nothing bad either.

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

A very average, pedestrian English Pale ale. Well, it does pour pale, and it has a decent head. Aromas are grassy and slightly floral, with a hint or caramel there. Malt forward taste with the grassy hops bringing up the rear. Smooth tasting, easy to drink. Not bad as English Pale Ales go, but not great.

Photo of taez555
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After a very long cascading effect from the nitro can, this beer poured a clear orange/tan body with a thick foamy white head.

The nose was a classic English biscuit malt smell. Slightly farmy with a very faint fruity caramel note. Almost a caramel candy sort of smell. There’s a very very very faint hint of wood in the background.

It starts soft to medium thick, with a nice malty, caramel, and biscuit taste and is actually rather sweet. It then ends with this HUGE lingering bitterness. Wood, skunk, earth, soggy earth. Very dry tasting. Really just a classic English hop bitterness. Very mild and subdued but just in your face at the same time. There’s also a very present sour taste with slight touches of garbage.

Dry and bitter with a crazy sour malt flavor. This is just a great example of traditional English “bitter”. The nitro can makes me yearn for cask ales. The bitterness really overpowers the malt, but damn, I like this. Hook me up with another.

Photo of medic25
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a clear bottle into an imperial pint glass. Pours a nice, clear amber color, with an ample creamy head. Not much in the way of odor to talk about. Delicious from the first sip. This is a very well balanced beer; after getting used to the American super-hopped IPA's, it's great to drink something that so nicely balances out hops and malt. If I ever find a bar with this on tap, I may have a new session beer!

Photo of chugamugofsud
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thie beer pours relatively clear and amber with a light set of yeasty tracings across the top. I'm not too much a fan of these watery euro pales but this beer is greatly drinkable. It is a little bit offensive to the taste buds (delightfully) but goes down lightly and quickly. Not bad, not great. Try Tetley's or Boddington's instead.

Photo of beertastegood
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this out of the bottle.

Appearance: Clear golden color with a white head that dissipated fast.

Smell: Hops. Like spicy hops. A little yeast.

Taste: More hops, little malt, slight "grassy" flavor with the hops. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Light and smooth.

Drinkability: Goes down pretty easily, I could kill a six pretty quickly.

Overall, not too bad. A little light for me, but a good change of pace.

Photo of ybnorml
2.9/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of Hibernator
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of GClarkage
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of kosmoraios
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Cwrw
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of soper2000
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.05/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,771 ratings.