Old Crafty Hen
Greene King / Morland Brewery

Old Crafty HenOld Crafty Hen
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Style:
Strong Ale - English
Ranked #29
ABV:
6.5%
Score:
85
Ranked #32,847
Avg:
3.77 | pDev: 13.26%
Reviews:
97
Ratings:
290
From:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  12
Gots
  59
SCORE
85
Very Good
Old Crafty HenOld Crafty Hen
Notes: A strong fine ale combines the malty taste with a smooth raisin finish.

Challenger provides a key herbal dry hop character, First Gold and Goldings give some citrus fruit and crystal malt provides warming toffee in the main beer of this blended ale. The use of some old 5X 12% ale adds dried fruit and raisin and produces a complex flavoured and richly satisfying ale. The tradition of brewing a Strong Suffolk Ale and maturing in Oak Vats is one that unlike other UK brewers, GK have continued - the practice is mentioned in 1810 in connection with GK.
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Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 290 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Dave1999:
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Dave1999 from North Carolina

3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Dec 13, 2019
More User Reviews:
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superspak from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/7/2015. Pours clear reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, oak, light vanilla, raisin, plum, apple, herbal, mint, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, oak, light vanilla, raisin, plum, apple, herbal, mint, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy hop and tannic oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread, toasted biscuit, nuttiness, oak, raisin, plum, apple, herbal, mint, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitter/tannic notes as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy/grainy, and light tannic/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a great English strong ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink. Really solid amount of oak presence for only being a small blend. A very enjoyable offering.

Aug 13, 2016
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monkist from Hungary

4.74/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had the pleasure to taste a terribly good classic, Old Crafty Hen. Known and tried Old Speckled Hen but it is nothing in comparison with the ole Crafty.
It is an oak-aged vintage the bottle tells you as if it was some sort of a whiskey - and in a way nothing could be more spot on! Looks and feels like a bourbon or at least something beyond your average ale, and to a mortal like me it is still a mystery how they are able to produce this kind of taste. Guess aging it in specific barrels for excessive periods of time does the trick.
Raisin, cherry, sherry and above all, malts dominate is taste and in what a way! This is extremely good, really overwhelming - as I am typing these lines drinking it I need to keep focusing on staying put. It is THAT much outstanding.
A classic indeed. Full stop.

May 23, 2017
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mbs11 from Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Apr 21, 2012
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beerbtl from California

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Jun 28, 2013
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smithj4 from New York

3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jul 25, 2015
Photo of brandonld23
brandonld23 from Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Nov 01, 2013
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csurowiec from Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Dec 25, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, caramel, and a slight skunk aroma. Taste is much the same with a slight bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but not something I would go for again.

Oct 03, 2012
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mychalg9 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +6.1%

Sep 02, 2013
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Howlader from Canada (AB)

3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Jul 20, 2014
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TheBigBoy from Pennsylvania

2.25/5  rDev -40.3%

Feb 28, 2013
Photo of mtrain237
mtrain237 from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Jun 30, 2012
Photo of cam477
cam477 from Canada ()

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Sep 28, 2013
Photo of sommersb
sommersb from Tennessee

3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 08-30-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 500ml clear bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Nonic pint
Purchased: Single from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

Clear and amber in appearance, showing an average-sized head off-white in color. Good amounts of lacing and head retention. Aromas feature bready malts as the main smell, plus some spices such as cinnamon, vanillas, and oak.

Very malty with a fairly sweet taste; rich caramels combine with woody hop notes, but there's really no bitterness to speak of. Mouthfeel is clean on a light to medium body. A moderate amount of carbonation makes for a mellow finish that is slightly sweet.

Very good all-around on this ale. Reminded me a lot of Innis & Gunn's beers.

Aug 31, 2012
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spinrsx from Canada (ON)

3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO part of a mixed 4 pack for $13

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size beige oloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, pears, an earthiness

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, hops and pears/apples. There is also some caramel/toffee and a bit of a woodiness.

Overall - Another very tasty enjoyable beer from this brewer. Lots of malty flavour and some nice earthy/fruity flavours to go with it. I'd pick this up again if it was available in single bottle/can formats locally.

Nov 15, 2013
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MoreThanWine from Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 1.5" off-white head which appeared to exhaust the effervescence in the glass and fade fairly quickly. Body is a quite attractive clear amber, almost like a radiant varnish. Smell is quite complex with an array of malts, hops, toffee, caramel, vanilla. Taste mirrors all the smells but is much milder than expected. A fairly long bitter finish follows and I'd call that a trademark of the Hen trio of beers. All in all this is a good beer but I like the bites of both Speckled Hen and Hen's Tooth better.

Nov 25, 2011
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mrfrancis from Kentucky

4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark burnished amber with a creamy whitish head that recedes quickly, leaving only a modest amount of lacing.

S: Aromas of leather, toffee, caramel, roasted nuts, heather, tobacco, black pepper, black tea, mild citrus, biscuit, raisin, and oak slowly reveal themselves.

T: Earthy and spicy up front with nicely layered flavors of oak, black pepper, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, black tea, moss, black currant, leather, heather, tobacco, bitter orange, and lemon. Around mid-palate malty notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, sweet cream, and biscuit kick in and balance the peppery, woody notes from the hops. On the finish, a delicate, complex blend of herbs, lemon, oak, pepper, tea, leather, biscuit, and toffee gives way to subtle flavors of raisin and prune.

M: Relatively full in body and dryish, though well-balanced. Carbonation is firm, but not exactly crisp. Alcohol presence is nonexistent.

O: A really nicely executed and wonderfully balanced old ale. While Old Crafty Hen is not the sort of lactic, oaky old ale for which I normally reach, it is still very appealing. All of the traits of Old Speckled Hen, The Tanner's Jack, and Hen's Tooth that I admire seem to have been amplified in this ale. I could see this beer being a wonderful introduction to the world of traditional English old ales and strong ales.

Jul 18, 2013
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celticfutblclub from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - copper body with no little carbonation present. nice fluffy off white head two fingers thick. very good retention and ok lacing.

S - toffee caramel sweet malts and raisins.

T - caramel and sweet malts and raisins most present here. nice oak flavor as well. theres a pretty decent grassy hop bitterness to it (more than I expected at least). really tasty stuff.

M - moderate carbonation. unbelievably smooth with a good dry finish nice astringency and nice feel of alcohol on the tongue and throat, its subtle but its there.

O - very good brew so glad its finally made its way state side.

Nov 05, 2011
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swgwilt from Tennessee

3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Aug 05, 2012
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ste5venla from California

3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Jun 20, 2013
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jazzyjeff13 from England

3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of March 2012. The label mentions that it is blended, and includes beer matured in oak vats.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A clear coppery-amber with low carbonation. Produces a small off-white head that disappears after a minute or so. Aroma of rich, fruity malt with hints of plums, dried fruit, brown sugar, oak and stewed hops. A whiff of booze in the background.

Tastes of fruity malt with a sweet, woody character. Notes of brown sugar, caramel, dried fruit, raisins/prunes, oak and stewed hops. Sweet but quite dry, with a prickly alcoholic hint upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and spicy, but perhaps a tad thin and slick for the style. Slightly astringent. Aftertaste of fruity, woody malt.

Not bad - quite tasty and rounded. A decent enough beer, although it seems a bit bland and shallow for the style. I can imagine an aged ale with more depth and intensity. Would probably benefit from bottle conditioning. Still, the woody/fruity flavours are nice. Worth trying.

Mar 16, 2012
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: Light fruity esters, herbal, earthy hops, malty sweetness. Appearance: brilliant copper brown, ½” off-white head dissipates to a film but provides delicate lacing. Flavor: Moderate high British hops supported by the malt backbone. The British hops are features and the malt and hop flavors work well together through the finish and into the after taste. The malts suggest nutty, toffee and come out and become more apparent as the beer warms. Mouthfeel: medium low body and carbonation, medium warming, clean. Overall Impression: This does not have the hick chewiness and complex fruity esters that you often associate with old ales but the finely tuned balance between the hops and the malt make up for the lack of dark dried fruit, sherry like qualities.

Jun 22, 2015
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Extrajoker00 from Ohio

3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Jul 20, 2013
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digitalflood from New York

4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Crafty Hen - 6.5% ABV. Pours into a short fluffy head with good lacing and retention. Caramel brown body. Small bubbles with very active carbonation. Smells of nutty bread and caramel. All malt on the front nose. Crisp sugars and raisins. A rum filled mid-palate. Great crisp clove and plum back palate. Lingering rum and oak aftertaste. Beautiful rum like charectar. Thick syrup filled mouthfeel. So well rounded. So full. For a malt head this is it-- 4.0. Very good. Highly recommended for the malt lover or those searching for the anti-hop beer.

Jun 10, 2014
Old Crafty Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 290 ratings