Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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875 Reviews

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Reviews: 875
Hads: 1,907
Avg: 3.46
pDev: 24.57%
Wants: 35
Gots: 206 | 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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 875 | Hads: 1,907
Photo of seedyone
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%

Moreland Old Speckled Hen
Have Tried ▼
12/19/12 On tap at Rattle n Hum. Great looking pint arrives. Inviting color & thick creamy looking head. First sip hit me as acidic& turned metallic. Mediocre body.

Once is enough on this one.

Just saw that this is the same brewery that makes Innis & Gunn Oak Aged. Both are bottled in clear bottles. I was warned long ago about beer that is not protected from the light. Never had a reason to come down on one side or the other on this point. What I do know is this brew needs a little sumpin' sumpin'. Gnome sayin'?

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Photo of barczar
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%

Reviewing from a distant memory, but this one always stuck out in my head as being dominated by toasted, lightly sweet malt that reminded me of caramel corn, accompanied by floral hops.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
2/5  rDev -42.2%

Poured into a Branded glass in Paddy O'Ryans, Leeuwarden (Netherlands).

I feel a little bad about posting what is to follow but I can only review and post on the basis of what I had on this occasion....

A – A deep red amber colour with a finger of light head that dissipates to thin cover leaving mild lace with no activity in the glass.

S – Straw and hay notes with an oddly eggy whiff. There are even some slightly sweet candy smells, some alcohol esters some faintly bread smells and a little pine wood. To sum it smells like an old egg sandwich served in a wooden hay shed.

T – Bready hop with mildly sweet malts no real fruit flavours but some alcoholic apple tinges. Definite egg taste again along with the slight hint of pine wood.

MF – Fairly creamy with sulphur and metallic edges.

O – Not particularly well balanced this one is palatable but it is not especially nice. I could drink this if there was literally nothing else to drink.

Again I do feel a bit bad about this review, and based on what others are saying here I wonder if I got a bad one or the bar hadn't cleaned their pipes in a while. Certainly I have had Speckled Hen before a long time ago and I don't remember it being that bad, so I feel there is a good chance something was up here. SO, I promise to give it another day in court back in the UK and see if it improves any, If it does I will re-post.

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Photo of FLima
3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber copper color with a thick beige head with medium retention. Lots of apparent carbonation on the glass wall.
Predominant aroma of caramels and hints of oranges peel.
Flavor starts with a malt sweetness but ends with English earthy and herbal hops bitterness. Lots of musky, which makes you wonder. Hints of oranges, herbal, caramels, green apples, toasted malts and nuts. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Light to medium body with medium carbonation.
Relatively easy to drink but still with a bold English bitterness. Loved the feminine musky notes.
Ap.3,5 Ar.3 Sab.3,5 Sens.3,5 Cj.3,5

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

such a different beer (and far superior) from the nitro tap than it is from the bottle. this is often thin and skunky in its clear glass, but its rich and frothy and malty in that nutty but not too sweet way from the nitro tap. the infusion of the nitro gas helps its feel too, creamy and puffy on the palate with a lasting white head and ring lacing as it sips down. plenty of bittering hops, characteristic more of an esb type than an english pale to me, but it sort of traverses style norms in a number of respects. i like the almost almond flavored malt on the front end, and that it stays pretty light throughout. enough hops to balance it, but remain drinkable. i know this one is a classic overseas that has been largely under appreciated by the north american crowd, but i think thats a little unfair, and that that the clear glass hasnt done it any favors. overall a beer that demands a time and a place, but when those to occur, its delicious.

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Photo of Nightwing
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Poured from can. Strong aroma of caramel. Clear amber color with white head. A light sweet taste. Medium body, creamy texture, with average carbonation, and a very mild bitter finish. Overall a very smooth brew that goes down easy.

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Photo of TheDoctor
3.76/5  rDev +8.7%

BEST BEFORE: 5/31/2015

Pours a crystal clear amber with a big whipped cream dollop of light tan head that takes its sweet time settling to a lumpy finger's cap that is solid as a rock. Great retention; lots of even lacing. (4)

Cereals and fruit. Powdery spiciness with citrus rind, touch of overripe dark fruits, warm dark bread, caramel really comes out as it warms. (3.75)

Bready sweetness. Earthy dryness, hard water, orange pith, bread, fairly neutral malt flavors. (3.75)

Thin-medium bodied with okay carbonation, a thick, creamy head, smooth finish; super drinkable. (3.75)

Tasty English Ale.
I am by no means well-versed in English styles, but this tastes to me like it at the very least touches every point that makes English beer and pub culture identifiable.
It pours really nice with a lovely cream head that sticks around and leaves beautiful concentric lace designs. Smell and taste are both very pleasing, but are quite subtle (at least to me). It is definitely more robust than a big macro, but it is also pretty inoffensive and accessible. Very easy drinking. It definitely should be served pretty 'warm' (by average person standards) to bring more of everything out.
Not the second coming of Christ, but a solidly made, highly drinkable beer with its own personality.
Would have again; worth trying. (3.75)

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.3/5  rDev -4.6%

Part of a London supermarket beer tasting I just worked through after moving here and finding a place that has a reasonable selection of less-than-high-end-craft beers.
Actually, the first time I had this beer was at an Irish bar in the Japanese area of Bangkok about 10 years ago, so...just in case you wanted to know...
Pours an orange-hued amber with off-white head...some retention. Like most of the English ales I've tasted this week, the nose is quite weak, but does give some malt, must, and sweet bread. Flavor is better than expected. Balanced malt, brown bread, and some fruity notes. No lingering off flavors that I've experienced with most of the other cheaper ales here (Bombardier in particular, but also with Bank's bitter and others).
At 5%, this is a little higher ABV than what I would call a good session beer. But then again, I probably drink a little more than I should, so I'm likely to find myself drinking a few more of these until I find myself a good supplier of better micros.

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3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Solid brew overall. Really drinkable and approachable. Mellow body and slight cinnamon apple feel going on towards the end of the palate. Apple feel is more on the green side. One of the first beers that I really enjoyed when getting into craft beers nearly 15 years ago.

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Photo of Bobhoya
3.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had from cask at the Iron Duke Pub in Victoiia Station, London. Had a bit of a sour taste from the cask. Don't remember that from a bottle. Love most cask ales but would pass on this one in the future - unless it was all hey had. We are in the UK and Ireland for 42-days are hitting 2 to 3 pubs per day.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 11/30/2013. Pours crystal clear reddish copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, brown bread, plum, apple, honey, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, yeast ester, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, brown bread, plum, apple, nuttiness, light roast, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Very clean in flavor as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with no warming present after the finish as expected of 5%. Overall this is a very nice English pale ale! All around good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of archyquaffer
4.25/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 440 ml (15 ounce) nitro can into a schooner glass. The can doesn't have a nitro ball, but a "nipple" attached to the bottom. Crack, fizz, let settle and then a gentle pour that produces about 2 inches of creamy, golden-white cascading head that settles down to about 1/2 inch. The color is a ruddy pale amber with curiously very little carbonation. Sticky, sticky lace on the sides of the glass. A very attractive and enticing appearance.

I get that mineral, sweet, malty aroma and flavor that I've grown to crave from these English bitters. The overall effect is of a dry, yet curiously sweet and creamy brew with low to medium bitterness and some caramel. Easy drinking, creamy and smooth mouth feel and flavor with satisfying burps. Not a ton of complexity but very satisfying. The aroma is lovely and doesn't fade away, and complements the overall flavor.

I really dig English beers and this one is a definite winner. American pale ale drinkers who become weary of all the hops in American ale should try this as a change-up.

This beer was purchased as part of a 4 pack of 15 ounce cans at Hennessey Grocery in Butte, Montana. I had not seen this particular brand before. The price was $11.59, which struck me as reasonable in comparison to the other exotic brews available, though I wish it were cheaper....

An extra note (bitch) for you English exporters out there: What gives with the chincy, metric 440 ml can (a weird, odd size that doesn't correlate to anything except a ball park proximity to an American pint). GIVE US IMPERIAL PINTS!! If these cans were a wee bit bigger, they would fly off the shelves and we wouldn't feel like you were trying to pull a fast one on us (Perfidius Albion!).

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Photo of burnerfinger
3.77/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

poured from the 12 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

A pours a deep honey color - and a nice 1 finger head that settles to a this foam but no lacing

S bland really - not much to the nose, a bit marco style

T ahh much better on the palate - malty ness takes the front seat by far,

M smooth and silky

D: very drinkable - at 5.0 id say it's a true session beer.

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Photo of generallee
3.45/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a clear 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The label lists the abv at 5.2%.

Appearance: It has a light amber body with good clarity and a small quick fading white head.

Smell: The aroma is light overall. The hops are up front and offer very light mineral like notes with a slight skunked presence over a very pale thin malt.

Taste / Palate: The flavor has a nice bready maltiness up front along with some mild caramel and toffee sweetness. Hop flavor comes in quickly and adds some dryness and mellow bitterness to the finish.

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Photo of reebtaerG
3.62/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Twisted Victoria on 4/5/14

A-Pours dark orange with a wonderful waterfall effect with a two fingers of creamy white foam sites on top while carbonation slowly releases to meet the head.

S-Aroma of caramel and malt.

T-Taste is malty, a little sweet, a little musky and a bit of hop on the back end.

M-Palate is creamy and smooth.

O-Overall a great beer was surprised how tasty especially for breakfast.

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Photo of MarkoNm
3.31/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clean coppery color, topped with just slightly off-white foamy head of average size.
The aroma is (surprisingly) mild - malts and some biscuity note also present.
The taste starts sweet, followed by some roasted feel, not too strong, finishing with a slight bitterness that lasts not too long.
A very nice beer.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.56/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have seen this on the shelves but have normally passed it up due to its price. But since it is on sale, I thought I would give it a try.

Pours a very attractive light amber liquid, clear, with a slight head.

Aroma is grain laden and bready.

Flavor is very well-balanced, everything I imagine an English beer will be. Nothing dominates but instead it is a nice marriage of grain, a slight toastyness, some caramel, some hops and some herbal notes.

Very smooth medium-to-full mouthfeel.

I like it. I'm not sure it is worth what I sometimes see it priced at, but it is very good. I will buy it again if it is on sale.

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Photo of JaimeLondon
4.22/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark orange color, doesn't make too much foam and is somewhat transparent.
Taste and smell are spectacular: a malty aroma, bit roasted and spicy. I also could feel a bit of apple aroma. The taste is similar but you can feel the hops quite well.
Mouthfeel is really light; the end is dry, really nice.

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Photo of Richardp
2.82/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

This is suppoed to be a special bitter, and I'm sure it used to be better. It is possible this was a bad bottle. I'm unable to find a bbe on the bottle neck, just a batch code

The appearance was not good, even in the bottle. Too golden, and slightly cloudy for a bitter.

Once poured, it did smell ok. I'd considered leaving it, as it was hard to pour, way too gassy, and cloudy without sediment. The smell of goldings and / or fuggles hops, a hint of sulphur, and dankweasel (undefined anaerobic smell). The malt seems to have gone missing?

Tastes ok, if it was a home brew, then I'd be enthusiastic, and ask the brewer to contine to refine the process. I suspect some sort of contamination?

The mouthfeel was not good, oily in the mouth, with a drying on the toungue. Not really great.

I may try another and update this, as it's dissapointing, it's a big brewery, and usually consistent. Green king IPA is a good choice if no other ale is available, even if it's not that exciting.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.31/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into an Irish pint glass.

Look: Copper, English breakfast tea. Light cream colored head recedes to a wisp, no lacing.

Aroma: Faint caramel malts, some skunk from the clear bottle.

Taste: Mostly malt sweetness, some toffee, sour hop finish, some skunkiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Overall: The skunkiness ruins a lot of this. The canned version would be a good bet.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.09/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

14.9 fl oz. can, with some kind of coded canned on date on the bottom. I am assuming that this is the nitro-can version of this beer, because the can mentions something about a "fixed widget which may rattle". My first encounter with this beer and this brewery; acquired as part of a mixed six pack at the local Binny's.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Oh yeah, this was definitely a nitro-can. It hissed open, and poured a crazy looking triple layered white / khaki colored head on top of a beautiful burnt copper colored body. Lots of tiny flecks of sediment in the glass and some bubbles clinging to the side. Two to three fingers of thick creamy white head with excellent staying power. Looks pretty damn awesome.

S - The smell is comprised of English / amber malt breadiness, some cheap grainy adjuncts, and lots of raisin.

T - Taste is hardly comprised of anything at all. Cheap grainy adjuncts, bready / pilsner malt, some sticky green apple skin, and little else. Poor depth and duration of flavor.

M - The mouthfeel might be the worst thing about this beer; very contrasting. Extremely smooth and creamy from the nitro, but extremely thin and watery. Grainy and dry on the finish, with some lingering breadiness / green apple skin. Feels like a cheap adjunct lager.

Overall, this is an interesting and unique beer, but the concept is definitely greater than the finished product. Extremely conflicting though - looks great, smelled okay, taste was just not there at all. It grew on me the more I drank it, but this was very boring and one-dimensional. Glad to have had it, especially on nitro-can, but I wouldn't want this again.

Morland Old Speckled Hen ---3/5.

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Photo of troobie
3.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

My 100th beer on BeerAdvocate!!!

I just learned from the BJCP website that an English Pale Ale is also known as an ESB. I knew of the ESB style but didn't know it was an English Pale Ale. Fascinating.

A: Very underwhelming. Despite a hard pour the head disappears quickly and the lacing is almost nonexistent. All of the previous reviews I read noting a great appearance also mentioned being poured from a nitro-tap. Beer appears almost pink inside its clear bottle but is a more acceptable copper upon being poured. Neat trick that.

S: Caramel, toffee, butter, nuts, wood, toasted bread, and tea. Strong, strong alcohol coming off of this, so much so that it slightly burns my nostrils. With the addition of the alcohol in my nose this reminds me of a blended whiskey. Strange.

T: Way more flavor than expected. Starts out sweet but very quickly turns to hop bitterness. Strong hop bitterness that lasts well after swallowing. Can't find the IBU's for this but would love to know. Strong caramel, toffee, tea, and toasted bread flavors. Nutty, as in cashews. I'm even picking up some light mint. Hops only provide bitterness.

M: Strong, stinging carbonation after a solid pour. Tea like drying that lasts too long. Slightly slick.

O: "Owld Speckled Un" is probably my first true example of this style. It has so much more flavor and character than I expected. Very sessionable. I enjoyed it but won't seek it out again anytime soon.

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Photo of Captain_Komamura
3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a dark amber color, with not much of a head.

Smell - a sweet caramel malt smell, with some hoppy smell to it.

Taste - a nice sweet / bitterness taste as well as a smokiness to it , with a hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - a good bodied beer, perfect amount of carbonation.

Overall - a pretty decent English pale ale; I'm a huge fan of the smokiness in this beer.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.45/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 440 ML (14.9 oz.) nitro can
Glass: Stone Ruination IPA pint glass
From: Cherokee Market Beer & Wine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.79
Purchased: Oct. 25, 2013
Consumed: Oct. 27, 2013
Misc.: A part on the can read, “This can contains a floating widget which may rattle. Please do not shake the can before opening.”

Poured an auburn clear color with three fingers of khaki cream head after settling on the top. Getting there was a treat as the foam and lacing slowly made its way up. Very nice. Healthy amount of uneven thick lacing along the sides. Tons of thick foamy retention on the top all the way down.

Smelled caramel malts, sourdough bread, cereal, honey, iced tea, rye, plum, dark cherry and old apple.

Tasted pretty close to what I thought it was going to and a lot like the smell. Got iced tea, rye notes, caramel, honey, plum, figs and warm bread.

Medium body. Creamy texture. Soft-to-flat carbonation. Abrupt finish.

A decent English Pale Ale overall. I’d probably have it again.

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Photo of Etan
3.27/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nitro at The Coopers Tavern.

A: Pours a clear cherry red with a moderate light tan head.

S: Smells of bread and overripe fruit, a bit cidery and syrupy.

T: Taste brings notes of soft cherries, apricot, a bit leafy, grain.

M. Medium-bodied with light carbonation.

O. Not enjoying the hop profile on this very much. Has a bit of a syrupy taste to it.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 875 ratings.