Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

Educational use only; do not reuse.

882 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 882
Hads: 1,935
Avg: 3.46
pDev: 24.86%
Wants: 37
Gots: 223 | 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 (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: 882 | Hads: 1,935
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.

 988 characters

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.

 379 characters

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.

 1,687 characters

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.

 1,443 characters

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.

 375 characters

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.

 1,025 characters

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.

 353 characters

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.

 610 characters

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!

 391 characters

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.

 589 characters

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.

 1,620 characters

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?

 1,595 characters

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.

 793 characters

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.

 499 characters

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 ...

 1,080 characters

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

Imperial Pint bottle poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a medium-to dark amber color with two fingers of off-white head that slowly dissolved into a nice lacing of foam that covered the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt and sugar, like freshly baked bread and caramel. Reminds me of sweetened cereal.

Taste: Toasted malts and cereal flavors followed by sweet honey and toffee and slightly, very slightly hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth as hell, (on tap, with nitro, its actually smoother) with almost no carbination.

Overall: This is one of my favorite session beers, especially on tap. I love the malty, toffee flavor and the smooth finish.

 674 characters

Photo of Libationguy
3.09/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Clear reddish-copper color. Fine cream colored thin head that remains after the beer has settled.

Metallic note, iron, cream, honey and light malt notes.

Lightly carmelized malt, metallic, hazelnuts, light malt. No real bitterness in the beer.

Light to medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel. Very mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

Rather underwhelming.

 356 characters

Photo of T100Mark
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in an imperial pint glass, on tap (nitro), at Shakespeare Pub and Grill, in San Diego, CA.

Appearance - A light copper color. Initialy cloudy but becomes ecceptionaly clear as the head forms (must be a nitro thing). Thick, creamy head (again, the nitro).

Smell - The beer smells a bit like a cleaning agent (Pine-Sol?) Odd.

Taste - Malt. Slightly sweet. Minimal hops. Very mild.

Mouth - Buttery smooth. Fine, mild carbonation. Very pleasant on the pallet.

Overall - A similar expieriance to Guinness on nitro tap. Unlike Guinness, however, this beer is a little lacking in character. There is nothing wrong with this beer (aside from the unique aroma). The mouthfeel is cool and it sure is pretty to look at. The taste, however, is underwhelming.

 759 characters

Photo of gr0g
3.16/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a coppery-amber in color with the requisite nitro-widget cascading head. Very nice head retention. Herbal, tea-like aroma thanks to esters and English hops. Dried fruit is also present. While demure, this fits the bill for an English bitter, and it's an aromatic profile I've come to enjoy.

A malty, fruit-laced flavor profile is let down by a disappointing (and not entirely unexpected) texture. The velvet-smooth nitro texture leads to a thin, watery consistency. With a more robust, darker, and/or higher gravity style like a stout, the flavors work better without much carbonation, but that's not the case here. What you're left with is a flat-tasting ale with notes of ripe pear and apple. Moderately dry through to a clean finish.

A promising ale let down by the draught can format. Except for some visual flair, it just doesn't work for pale ales.

 862 characters

Photo of recoveringmormon
3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Not sure if it was the can or the nitro but somehow this beer came out with a pretty different flavor than I'm used to on the tap. Part of it is metallic can-taste, which is less enjoyable. I usually think nitro is ok to round off beers with a stronger flavor, but in this case I didn't see it doing a lot of anything, except fun to watch.

Usually though, I agree that this is a reasonably solid standby, on draft at least. I remember liking it best the first time I had it, for its hearty bready malt. Really like a freshly baked loaf of whole-grain bread in refreshing liquid form. Since then I have liked it a little less each time but still regard it as a good first beer.

 677 characters

Photo of Samp01
3.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear ruby amber with a medium slowly fading beige head. Aroma and Taste of toasted cereal, malt, yeast, slightly fruity with a bit of toffee flavor. A medium body, smooth with good carbonation on the palate. The finish is toasted caramel malt, light fruity and yeast notes ending with some sweet toffee and nutty flavors. Overall a good, refreshing session brew

 370 characters

Photo of Oakenator
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a full brown color with a good head at pour. Some spotted lacing present on the glass.

S: Bitter hop aroma.

T: Earthy, spicy hops present throughout. Mild roasted malt flavor shows on the back.

M: Somewhat fizzy, and yet somewhat flat.

O: Still a good staple ale.

 279 characters

Photo of Tobiasmjh
4.15/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous summertime ale. Enjoyed poured from bottle on a beach in perfect sunshine! bright golden amber colour, clear as the sky I drank it under with a single centimeter of cloudlike head resting and holding for some time. Scent perhaps obscured by the saltiness of the sea but caught pleasant wiffs of apricot and berrys. distict peachy taste with slight hop bittering just like so many of the ales I like the most. 5.2% but didn't realise until part way through the fourth bottle!! Aha!

 489 characters

Photo of scotorum
4.1/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Third of the four bottle "Hen House" variety pack I have tried. Somehow Hen's Tooth did not get reviewed.

a. Poured straight from the clear 16.9 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English Tulip pint glass. Beautiful translucent medium amber with an inch head which hangs on to a thicker than usual surface film surrounded by good lacing.

s. Mildly fruity. No noticable skunking.

t: As anticipated, refreshing mildly peachy-apricoty flavor.

m: Smooth, with light hop bite.

o: Somewhat similar to the Old Golden Hen already reviewed in its refreshing fruitiness, but OSH is lighter and with more of a distinct peach-like tinge. It was great as a dinner ale, and continued to delight as it was finished afterwards. Perhaps ironic that the entree was...chicken. Surely a fine choice in warm weather.

 798 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A brightly clear pale ale, it's pretty much a stright dark yellow color. A nearly pure white head get up to a finger tall, and retention is good. Lacing is left on the glass in some thin legging off of hefty patches.
Toasty malts mingle with earth, wood and a lightly herbal bitterness. There's sweetness, too, from notes of toffee and caramel. A bit of yeast and nut rises up from below as the session continues. Some fruity esters make their way out in the flavor. It's an English pale, and for that it does well enough, but I still think a bit more hopping would do it some good.
There's a touch of smoothness in this beer that isn't particularly crisp. Barely more than light in body, it does seem to be stretching for medium and just makes it.

 748 characters

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 882 ratings.