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Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

Educational use only; do not reuse.

893 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 893
Hads: 1,964
Avg: 3.46
pDev: 24.86%
Wants: 38
Gots: 236 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
United Kingdom (England) | website

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 (61) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Speckled Hen Alström Bros
Reviews: 893 | Hads: 1,964
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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Photo of Wobbly
4.15/5  rDev +19.9%

Perhaps I have not had one in a while or am just remembering how good it tasted on tap in England, but I guess I am in the minority on this one. I have always thought it to be a fine English pale/bitter with such a lovely aroma. The creamy, buttery body and malt-hop balance always impressed me. On some level, I do object to so many English ales being overlooked in the U.S. That may be due to lack of freshness, but with some of the sturdier, higher alcohol level bitters, that should not be as much of an issue. Perhaps English pales and bitters are just not en vogue right now like IPA's and strong stouts.

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Photo of Portertime
3.21/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: I am partaking this one in my Kronenbourg 1664 pokal. It pours a fiery rouge with the tell-tale clarity. There is only a one-finger head but it floats on top like a halo.

Smell: bread crust, herbal hops, melted caramel, nice and aromatic.

Taste: strong wheat bread overtones followed by smooth and creamy malts fading into a spicy hop finish. It is like a liquid loaf of bread!

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Photo of StuartCarter
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle.

Appearance: clear copper color, thin head that quickly collapses into nothing.

Smell: beautiful grassy, earthy British hop funk.

Taste: oh, wonderful. Presents initially with a hard hop bitterness wrapped in toffee. Once it warms a little the hard bitterness fades leaving a wonderful balance of toffee-caramel Maris Otter and earthy/grassy hop funk. Aftertaste leaves a lingering hop bitterness and sweet toffee caramel.

Mouthfeel: hard edged carbonation.

Overall: a wonderful example of an English Pale Ale. Hits all of the points I expect an EPA to hit.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.75/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

14.9 oz nitro-can into a pint glass.

A: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo it looks stunning. It pours a mostly clear copper color, capped off by a stunning one-finger white head. Retention is unbelievably good - it hasn't even faded a millimeter since I poured it a minute ago - and the head will leave behind an indestructible wall of lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo the aroma is damn mild. In fairness, it's less mild than others (looking at you, Guinness Draught...), but with only touches of butter, mild fruitiness, and some earth, there's nothing showstopping here. What's there smells perfectly fine, at least.

T: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo flavors are almost negligible. What DO I pick up? Maybe some buttery tones to start, and a sweet tea-like finish. Actually, this drinks a lot like hard semi-sweet tea in general, but with a mild yet bothersome bitterness on the back end that I don't like.

M: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo it feels watery and un-carbonated. It doesn't even have that spectacular drinkability most nitro-cans do, thanks to the fact it's not entirely dry on the back end. An easy drinking nature should have been it's next best trait next to how it looks in a glass - and it just isn't.

O: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo it wasn't going to be plagued by the skunk you get from clear bottles. That, and it's drop dead gorgeous look, is about where my praise ends. There's nothing BAD about it...there's just not much good about it, either. It's really telling that this is far less drinkable than the 8.7% DIPA I had right before this.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this beer years ago and decided to give it a go once again. While I didn't recall this being that great, I can appreciate it more now given how long it's been since I last had it. This is about as good an example of a session English Pale Ale as can be found and it almost felt like a forerunner to the Innis and Gunn beers, since this was that smooth and enjoyable. While nothing stood out here, there weren't any flaws to be found as well.

The pour to this was nice, as this had a dark copper hue, a good amount of head, and wonderful lacing from top to bottom. Not much of an aroma to this and the taste was a bit varied. Lots of sugar, light rum, macro-like corn filler (even though this was certainly an ale), noble hops, and some Lemon zest that kicked in later on. The alcohol was faint, but certainly present, and the bitterness that kicked in was a bit leathery. It was to be expected in an English beer such as this and the carbonation was quite strong too. This ensured that the flavors did not stick around that long during each sip and only the warming aspect of this beer endured for the duration.

This certainly felt stronger than it was in actuality and had I bought another one of these, I could have easily downed it after finishing this off. There wasn't a lot of body to the malt here and because this was so light, it wasn't heavy or even as bitter as other English beers that I've rated highly in the past. This is a no-frills Ale that's a good example of the style but at the same time, needed something to go along with it as a snack. Perhaps some fish and chips?

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Photo of Trout
3.67/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: poured on nitro, nice cascades of off-white fine nitro bubbles settling into a beautiful and brite amber/orange beer with nearly 1" of creamy, dense foam.

Aroma: sweet bread and caramel with hints of clean stone fruit. Hops, slightly spicy with subtle fruit dominating.

Flavor: clean and dry with very minimal hop character. Malt flavors dominate with residual sweetness and a hint of roast and caramelized sugar. A touch of diacetyl in both aroma and flavor is appropriate for the style.

Mouthfeel: soft and silky on nitro. Smooth, not chewey... No carbonic sting and hop astringency minimal.

Overall: a good pale with Classic British malt character and a nice "noble" hop balance. At 5.2 this beer approaches being sessionable. The draught on nitro added to the drinkability.

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Photo of delta490
3.71/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured out a nice clear amber with a thick creamy off-white head. The head has great retention and leaves some nice lacing. The aroma is pretty mild, with slight hints of dark fruit and bread. The taste comes through, though, with more developed flavors similar to the aroma with a nice earthy hops character in addition. It's not a huge flavor, but it works well. The body is a little lighter, but mirrors the flavor profile. It's not the most outstanding English Pale, but a good one all the same.

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Photo of Premo88
3.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 3.25

14.9 oz. nitro can poured into Guinness pint glass

(07:47 L2333 printed on bottom of can)

L: (key note: this is my first nitro can, so take it for what it's worth)

amazing pour ... the nitro can may or may not be worth the trouble, but the crazy silky creamy pour is fun to watch, and old speckled hen is a pretty brew anyway -- crystal clear red, the most red/pink brew; the head percolates almost throughout the entire column until it settles into the thickest, creamiest 1/2-inch head of offwhite foam

S: pure english pale ale notes -- malt, malt and malt ... the good light kind of sweet bread

T: follows the nose

F: to my american palette, almost a 0. the nitro can may serve a purpose, but it leaves you with water that tastes and smells like good beer -- feels flat.

O: really cool experience and there is NO question this beer tastes better out of the can than the clear-glass bottle, BUT the lack of carbonation is a hit/miss thing depending on your palette and your expectations.

it feels flat to me but tastes great. something to continue experimenting with ...

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 893 ratings.