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Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

904 Reviews
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Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Quaffer on 10-23-2000

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Reviews: 904 | Ratings: 2,000
Photo of SD-Alefan
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a crystal-clear dark reddish-amber with an offiwhite head.
The aroma is caramel and biscuit with a bit of underlying spice and earthiness.
Taste is malt forward at first; toffee and bread followed by a bit of spicy hops with a middle bittering bit, a hint of fruit comes in. then it finishes with a slight bitterness. There's also a flavor in there that I can't quite figure out. It's not unpleasant, I just can't put a name to it.
Mouthfeel is medium-smooth.
Overall, refreshing and drinkable.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a stem glass. Age unknown.

Looks clear, bubbly amber with a finger of beige head.

Smells of caramel, toffee, toast, light oily nuttiness, a bit of earth, and a touch of cherries, figs, and raisins.

Sweet malts up front. Candied and caramelized malt flavors of butterscotch, caramel, licorice, toffee, brown sugar, toasted bread and biscuits, brandy-soaked cherries, and raisins. Faint earthy hoppiness just keeps the sweetness in check. Mouthfeel is mostly light and watery, but well carbonated and smooth, and it finishes mostly clean with only a touch of lingering sweetness.

A tasty English ale that I find to be fairly enjoyable. I could easily quaff some pints of this.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.67/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nitro tap: after it settles, beer is clear amber color with a creamy white head that persists. Light toffee, fresh bread and a light herbal hop touch. Smooth creamy mouthfeel from nitro and a dry but lightly caramel, toffee sweetness and a layered malt caramelization. Just enough hop bitterness to take the sweetness back to and light bitter bite on the tongue. Delicious for the style and it paired well with fish and chips.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Named after a British sports car, Old Speckled Hen is a semi-sweet ale: it pours a nice froth, which dissipates into a dark amber body. It has a subtle caramel nose with a toast and grass bite on the palate. The body is creamy and a tad silky. While not complex or overwhelming it does make for a pleasant quaff - I find the draft version better than the canned version, on which this review is based. In any case, I always order one when I see it available, even at venues like the Gingerman in NYC. I have always enjoyed it, the perfect "go-to" quaff. Cheers!

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Photo of Tucquan
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2015-09-18 in Columbia, PA from a 16oz can

A - Remarkable pour. Big hiss when opening the can but it didn't foam over. Pouring into the 20oz tulip glass filled it to the top. Clear copper and a mighty 4-finger head. The head dropped quickly to 1.5 fingers and stayed that way for a good while. Leaves big lace on the glass.

S - Mild aromas of white grape and biscuit.

T - Earl Grey tea, light-medium roasted sourdough bread, earthy spice including cinnamon, orange rind. All-in-all; lots of malt character. Mild-moderate bitterness. Flavors linger quite awhile in the aftertaste and turn a bit medicinal.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth and creamy

O - Different than any other beer I've had. It really seems like this was pulled from a cask. The tea flavor is too prominent and the medicinal flavor comes on too much in the finish but even so, I wouldn't mind having it from time-to-time.

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Photo of EricVonStein
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Light clear Amber colour with a hint of orangey copper. Two fingers of off white head with large bubbles.

Hint of sweet malt. Mild bread notes. A bit metallic.

Taste shows way more than the nose lets on. Caramels and toasty whole grain bread up front. Caramel or honey sweetness through the middle. Tart bitterness at the end with nice earthy woody bitters. Finishes bitter and pretty dry though malts linger a touch.

Medium to light body. Low carbonation. Smooth but a bit watery at the end. Slides off the back of the tongue.

Overall nice complexity. Good flavours but a bit thin and lacking in malt profile to balance the herby bitterness.

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Photo of Wiffler27
3.76/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I bought this because I wanted something English, I'm sure their were better or worse options but this is what i chose.

Look - i got a 16oz 4 pack of cans! immediately after cracking the can it releases the noise of a beer craving to be opened. a nice rush it had. pouring the beer resulted in a cascade very similar to Guinness draught cans with a widget. this is a draught pub ale after all. the head is thick and frothy, staying for a while (also similar to Guinness draught cans).

Smell - also very similar to a Guinness draught can, it smells like a buttery Guinness.

Taste - again, very similar to a Guinness draught can! it tastes like a Guinness stout/pale ale mix. its weird only because I enjoy Guinness draught from time to time. if i didn't i would not have noticed the similarities. it's not bad but just nothing noteworthy, a simply easy to down pub brew. no complaints here.

Feel - this does go down smoothly; not thick, syrupy, or too much of any great or undesirable trait. just a smooth drinker that i could put down all night.

a solid beer, nothing great and nothing terrible. oddly similar to Guinness draught can which i find weird. it's not good or bad it's just an observation. not something i would seek out but something i would "put down" if need be. it was a cheap 16oz 4 pack of a draught pub ale. it is what it is

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.32/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a clear coppery toned color with a nice cascading head that forms into about 2 fingers thick and it does quickly settle into a creamy froth over the brew. Lacing is very nice with many medium sized patches of foam clinging to the side of the glass! Carbonation appears to be smooth and lumbers to the top of the liquid. Overall this is very decent and British looking!

S- Smooth, semi sweet malts, with caramel undertones dominate the aromas. Roasted Toffee/molasses, perhaps a hint of nut shells, and perhaps some light milky chocolate. There is definitely notes of hop bitterness on the finish with is refreshing on the nostrils!

T- Flavors follow the aromas rather closely, but perhaps more refined. The nuttiness comes through more and is almost buttery glazed in flavor. Caramel/toffee/molasses defines the sweetness of the malts, slightly toasted/dark fruity notes. The finish is fresh hop bitterness that doesn't overpower the palate and its rather cleansing, leaving me want to have another sip.....almost green tea leaf like.

M/O- Creamy, and reasonably full bodied and well balanced....the alcohol is very well hidden and there is medley of flavors and characteristics going on with this one. Characteristic English Session Bitter that is quite nice, very smooth and highly drinkable....I've had this before and I'll have it again....nice easy going Ale!

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Photo of DeeZee83
3.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Widget pint can into a English pub glass. Pour is full of tight swirling bubbles that settle into the perfect head. Smells of sweet malt and mineral water, though not off putting. The creaminess hits you first before the actual taste. Sweet malts and bitter hops with a nice sweet aftertaste. A very simple and enjoyable beer. Nothing too exciting though, but it does give a nice representation of a classic English pint.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.18/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

500 ml can served cold into an Amsterdam Boneshaker snifter. A leftover remnant from a party last week.

Appearance - Rich copper colored beer with a three quarter finger tan head that dissolves quickly. Clear although immediately after the beer was poured there was a convergence of bubbles near the top a la beers on nitro tap.

Smell - Large malty nose with a few dark fruits. Reminiscent of this brewery's Abbot ale, albeit less pungent.

Taste - The fruitiness comes through although there's a strong earthy bitterness throughout. Malty, but taste is a bit sharp on the tongue

Mouthfeel - Very good, smooth, reasonably well carbonated and comforting. Exactly what you want in an English EPA.

Overall - Not a bad EPA, but there's better options out there.

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Photo of Pavlovian_Programming
2.14/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Just awful. Tasted like water with slight hints of gross-ness. No carbonation at all, yet had a head that had the texture of custard and tasted as much like beer as custard does. Do not recomment.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brilliant gold with a lacy white foam collar. A trace of sulfur in the aroma. Fruit and biscuit flavors. Exceptionally creamy with almost a nitro quality.

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Photo of PeachIsAnIndependentWoman
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got a four pack of the cans. Always enjoy the creamyness caused by the widget. Overall it was good, worth trying. Probably won't be purchasing a second pack though.

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Photo of ARoman
3.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask, poured into a shaker. The aroma is a mellow blend of caramel, sweet orange, and candy sugar up front, and then settles to a biscuit and caramel blend. It's a deep, near clear, copper hue with a full, creamy, dense, off white head that has good retain, and a thick, heavy lace. The taste is a medium light sweet front that blends nicely into a medium bitter finish. The texture is smooth and creamy, but light, with a touch of fizziness to the carbonation. The medium body has a mild cola and sugar flavor, with some spice, and citrus. It finishes with a zip and spice as well as a roasty caramel and floral note. The aftertaste is light, waxy, burnt, with some bread crust, but overall, very mellow.

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Photo of beeragent
2.44/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

A - pours a deep Amber with a thin off white head. Light lacing on the glass.

S - caramel malt aroma.

T - caramel malts at first followed by a very unpleasant bitterness which I don't believe comes from the hops.

M - medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - this beer tastes like my first batch of homebrew....infected! The only thing decent about this one is the appearance and aroma. The flavor is just awful though. I compare this to Shiner Commemerator as one of the worst beers I've had.

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Photo of Tone
2.95/5  rDev -15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of pale malt, hint of sugar, slight roasted malt, hint of hops, and sweet malt. Fits the style of an English Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of pale malt, hint of roasted malt, and sugar. Overall, weak appearance, aroma, body, and but okay blend.

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Photo of Grogsky
2.93/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have had this beer only in a tin can. It's either been absolutely horrible, or phenomenal. Worth a second taste if you have had a bad experience from years ago.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.29/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nitro can pours amber with perfect nitro foam. Smells of bread, biscuit, and cooked sugar. Flavors are the same in this highly drinkable brew, a staple. If not the most interesting, certainly reliable and enjoyable en masse.

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Photo of mark5692
2.08/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

A bit disappointed with this beer. Had a decent color but lacked any strong scent. Hint of a bitter caramel. Tasted watered down. Pretty dull and disappointing but there is worse out there.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
4.2/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a can which notably was not nitro.

Pretty much the pinnacle of an amber/copper color, typical of ESBs/English pale ales. One finger of head ,even after a vigorous pour, suggests low carbonation typical of imitation cask ale; head stuck around throughout the experience, however. On the nose I get mostly caramel malts, a touch of bready malts and yeast, some fruit esters, and perhaps a touch of English hops, just to tie everything together. On the palate i get a rich , yet balanced and not overly dense, caramel flavor, coupled with some slight fruity esters. Toffee and a touch of butterscotch are also there. Bitterness is well managed and makes the beer very quaffable. This could be easy to drink many of. I personally found it subtle, yet refreshing. It embodies many of the qualities that make a good bitter, yet in a more subtle, drinker friendly manner

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Photo of abner
2.82/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I wasn't expecting much and what I got was slightly more than that. Nice on the front end but the after taste was reminiscent of a run-of-the mill brew.

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Photo of BcCraft710
2.48/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Had one a few years back and enjoyed it, baught a case as it was on sale. Think I got a bad batch the taste was quite savoury almost like a V8, very unexpected

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Photo of SmashPants
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Format: a clear embossed 355mL bottle with a traditional, iconic label.

Appearance: pours out a vibrant deep golden with constant carbonation across the profile. A one-finger off-white head drops to a creamy thick cap. Plenty of lacing down the glass.

Aroma: the aroma is dominated by caramel and treacle, with some bread malts behind. Fairly one-dimensional, but not suffering from it.

Taste: the flavour in the mouth is lighter than on the nose. The caramel and treacle are definitely there, but are joined by heavy fruits in the background. Really rather nice.

Aftertaste: quite sweet on the finish, with much more of a malt-driven profile rather than hops. Nice.

Mouth feel: a medium feel with moderate carbonation. Well enough to carry the flavour quite well. A touch cloying on the finish.

Overall: quite a nice traditional English Pale Ale - driven by sweet malts, and definitely something one doesn't put away too quickly. I found it a bit cloying if I tried to down it - better to just read the paper, chat to the barman and enjoy it over a decent session. By the time it gets to us in Aus it is usually expensive at AU$83 a case, but I'll take a 6-pack every now and then.

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Photo of cbish68
2.5/5  rDev -28%

The Old Speckled Hen is a caramel colored ale with a thin head and very light lacing and low to medium carbonation. I found this beer to be very hoppy and bitter with a mediciny aftertaste.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I thought I'd had this beer before. But it sure didn't seem all that familiar once I opened it!

L (4.5): Beautiful color. Deep copper/red color to it. Almost photograph worthy, really
S (4): Had this intriguing fruity/brandy/port wine smell to it. I almost thought it was barrel aged or something.
T (4.25): Again, this fruity/brandy/port wine taste to it. Not a lot, and not distracting. But really tasty. I might be crazy, but I just couldn't shake it. (Not that this is a bad thing either!) Not hoppy at all, but I don't know if it really should be.
F (3): Nothing to write home about here. Not much of a mouthfeel. Smooth, but unexciting. No head really. Some of this is nature of the style, but I expected a little more here.

Overall (4): Solid beer. I am going to purchase another one next time I'm at the beer store.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 904 ratings.