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Old Crafty Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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BA SCORE
85
very good
86 Reviews
Old Crafty HenOld Crafty Hen
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
England, United Kingdom
greenekingbeers.co.uk

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by GreenCard on 10-17-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
86
Ratings:
262
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
22.96%
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
46
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 262
Photo of Pencible
2.53/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: This poured a clear dark copper with a little white head.
S: It smelled like strong skunky lager yeast, with some sweet raisin and toffee, and a little biscuit and maraschino cherry.
T: It tasted like strong skunky lager yeast, with a little sweet raisin and subtle nutty malt and biscuit. It had a lasting skunky aftertaste.
M: It was watery with some carbonation. Fairly light body.
D: Clear glass strikes again. Moreland needs to fix this, since I can only imagine ever getting skunky beers from them in the US. The scent and taste were not pleasant, and the body was pretty weak. The finish was rough, so it was not easy to drink in any regard. Boo.

 656 characters

Photo of Dan-76
2.6/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured nice and smooth without a lot of concern for too much head. About 1/2" with light lacing. Smell was dark fruity...fig/raisin like. Taste was not far off from prune juice with an alcohol burn at the end. Mouthfeel was great and light. Was hoping for a better taste from a barrel aged ale.

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Photo of R_J_FearNoBeer
2.74/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Pours a amber color, head fades quick. Very little to no lacing
S - Light hints of carmel, almost a slight smell of hops but nothing exciting
T - Taste comes through with the same ammount of hops as the smell, almost absent. And maybe a hint of fruit. Somewhat earthy.
O - An alright beer not the worst ive had. Will not seek out again

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

50cl bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

Pours a rich white head .5 finger head with low retention. Beer is a clear mahogany. Lacing is spotty and stringy with average stick but thin and oily legs that really cling to the glass. Not bad for the style.

Nose is corn, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, and an effervescent hop bitterness. Moderately aromatic. OK.

Opens sweet. Notes of caramel, toffee and brown sugar. A slightly sour hop bitterness emerges in the middle but fades quickly. End is brown sugar and nutmeg with a sweet aftertaste. Average.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and filmy in the mouth and goes down slightly bubbly with a lightly boozy finish and a lingering, filmy aftertaste. Thin.

I always used to think that Old Ales were thick, robust and complex but this beer is demonstrating a completely different take. I don't know if that's good or bad. I only know that I prefer what I used to think what an Old Ale was.

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Photo of DerBayer
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

What a rip-off almost 3 quid for a pint sized bottle in Sainers. But it looks very good, promising almost:

A - A beautiful ruby to dark fawn colour - this must be great

S - Smells lovely also - fruit notes, hops, some malt and spiciness

T - Now it starts to disappoint it s not hideous but just a bit bland with a confused taste of a bit of everything

M - Too stale and manages to be dry also

D - I would not recommend this beer and probably not drink it again myself unless in dire need. Stick to Old Speckled Hen for a tastier AND mor affordable experience

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Photo of fullsweep
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500 mL clear bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: clear brown beer with a thick-ish head and plenty of lacing

S: sour, mushroom/earthy, and fermented

T: alcoholic with a sweet aftertaste

M: first sip or two is actually numbing to the tongue, has a syrupy thickness to the feel/body

D: not bad, but not great either. The higher 6.5 (for English ales) makes it less appealing in some ways, BUT that is characteristic of the style.

I've only tried two old ales at this point (Old Peculiar and this one) and I definitely prefer OP over OCH.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ML bottle poured into a mug

Appearance - clear copper/amber color with thick, frothy white head

smell - burnt brown sugar, toffee, malts, I also think this may have skunked a little bit due to the clear bottle

taste - malt, toffee, caramel, a little bit of wood in the finish

mouthfeel - thin body to this one, low carbonation, flavors do not stay around long enough to savor

Overall - not a bad beer, but within the style, this falls flat, lacking depth of flavor that I've experienced from other old ales. Factor in what I paid for it and I can't see buying this again.

Price Point - $3.99/500ML Bottle

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml clear bottle, no date

appears a brilliant dark copper color with amber highlights. small thin head. sweet malty aroma. brown sugar, a touch of golden raisin and earthiness. taste is unfortunately not as complex. a bit too sweet, could use a bit of hop balance. medium body, medium to higher carbonation.

overall - a bit disappointed. doesn't seem much different than the regular Old Speckled Hen.

 406 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours an coppery-orange amber. Fine off-white one finger head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dark fruit and light oak, sadly mixed with light skunking. Taste is mild caramel and bready malt and dark fruit, finishes somewhat dry with a light woody earthy flavor, a little sour and a bit of hops. Subdued flavor, but pleasant. Flavors are not that well integrated. A bit more of the skunkiness in the aftertaste. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. A nice ale marred by off taste caused by use of clear bottles. Why do breweries work hard for a nice ale and then allow it to deteriorate in shipping, when the solution is so simple? This would have scored a point higher without the skunking. This is fairly new in the local market, so this bottle is not that old.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours the color of maple syrup, clear and woody. Nearly an inch of light tan head develops but dissipates fairly quickly. to an island and thin film. No lace to speak of.
Smell is, at first pour, a bit skunky and acidic. After a 15 minute rest and warming period, malt, grape juice and apple notes join the acidic while the skunk is gone. Balance is pretty good.
Taste istart with grape juice, apple and malt notes. Fairly acidic with a tannic/iced tea note, as well. Balance is pretty good here too.
Effervescence is pretty pronounced for the style, IMO, and fairly sharp on the tip of the tongue. Body is medium-full. Aftertaste has a whiskey note show up after some more warming, about 30 minutes as well as a bit of hops.

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Photo of stevoj
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep orange/amber with silky/creamy head. Head stays with the drink and coats the glass. Taste of toffee with some bitterness. Some of the oak barrel comes through in the flavor. Different from the usual English bitter....

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

 1,030 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Photo of Vader444
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle pour into pint glass.

This sounded right up my alley on paper but the cask influence was overbearing for my tastes. Too much sweet vanillin and not enough body. Pleasant fruity, malty base which I feel did not need the massive woody supporting cast. Not a repurchase for me I'm afraid.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, honey, nuts, some hops and some fruit.

T: The taste starts out with flavors of caramel, honey, bourbon and a little bit of fruit. Then there’s a hearty but not too heavy malt character that comes in. The hops presence is mild and brings a little balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it’s a decent beer but there are better beers in the style.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two-finger cream head that fades very slowly leaving a very good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Earthy hops nose and flavor is caramel and hops. Light lingering bitter aftertaste. Slightly higher ABV is hidden. $4.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

 319 characters

Photo of oberon
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this for a night cap last night.Poured into an imperial nonic a clear rich amber with a thinner white head atop that was gone pretty quickly.Sweet caramel malts and biscuit in the nose,mild yeasty fruity esters as well.Deep caramel and toffee flavors with a faint but noticable shot of drying woody/leafy hops in the finish.Lighter but pretty smooth going down,this is a full on malty English old ale,although not a big and brash it is flavorful in an English subtle way.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear deep amber copper hue with a fine off white light khaki head. Aroma has an herbal hop note with tobacco leaf notes...mild fruity caramel tones to round it out. Flavor is balanced ripened fruit sweetness with mild earthy/citrus/tobacco notes wrapped around caramel malts with an ongoing earthiness about it. Overall another generic English ale that does absolutely nothing to set itself apart, other than the higher than average 6.5% abv and labeling it a Vintage ale. I knew what I was getting into it's definitely drinkable carbonation on the mouthfeel is a little higher than I wanted but not bad as a whole.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml clear bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear orange/copper color with a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is toasted malt, toffee, herbal/earthy hops, oak, and a little bit of skunk. The brew tastes like toffee, toasted and caramel malt, nuts, herbal hops, and a bit of tea and fruit. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy with moderate carbonation. I thought it was a decent enough overall brew. I tend to stay away from beers that come in clear bottles, but since it was a new arrival at a local store I hoped that the brew wasn't too old yet. I think it's worth a try.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper-amber with short but dense head. Smell is malt and the typical fuggles/EKG wet cardboard hops. Taste is a tad sweet, but has malt and a touch of hops to balance it out, although it feels a bit off on the balance and mouthfeel to me. Funk on the finish, which would seem out of place if it wasn't an old ale oak-aged blend. Overall, pretty good, but not great. Would be worth a side-by-side with Old Peculiar and Olde Suffolk to compare apples to apples.

 473 characters

Photo of Ferb
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I've had Old Speckled Hen, so I was expecting something like that only "more." My expectations were answered "yes" and "no."
It is dark amber, beautifully clear with a one finger head after a gentle pour. It smells like leather and wood. The first word out of my mouth at that initial sip was "apples." To me it has a ghostly cider taste that, after it warms to more than refrigerator temperature, evolves to add malty, grassy (English hops?), citrus and apple skin/raisin notes. English ales have been confusing to me so far (bitters that aren't bitter, appellations like "extra fine" and "extra special"), but I generally enjoy their balance and flavor, and this one is no different.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.6/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of RickS95
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby-orange-brown color. Mostly clear. Thin white head up top, little retention.

Huge malt smell with some welcome spices and dark fruits, raisins.

Very malt forward taste. Despite moderate alcohol, the alcohol taste is clearly present. Medicinal. Hoppy bitter finish.

Mild complexity as it starts off sweet for a note, then the alcohol shines its head, followed by a hoppy bitter, clean finish.

It's not really a bitter, but kind of. It's not really a pale ale, but kind of. Not so easy to drink, but not a bad beer, just different...not sure I've had an 'old ale' before.

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Photo of FLima
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice copper color with a thick beige head with medium retention and leaving some laces.
Aroma with notes of English hops, toffee, mild ginger, fresh tea leaves, pear and white grapes.
Flavor with notes of English hops, a bit of licorice and plums, distant oak, minerals, ginger, toffee, nuts, butterscotch, grapes, apple juice and vanilla. Dry aftertaste with a mild bitterness.
Light bordering medium body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 6.5% is not felt.
Tasty Old Ale, a bit less intense than other exemplars, but still it tires a bit. Though the style is rather broad with different blending.

 605 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the clear bottle stamped 13235 but I don't know what that entails. Sampled on March 11, 2015.

Handsome looking copper, maple color pour with a lingering off-white head. Great clarity.

English malts on the nose with a hint of raisins, grass and vegetable oil. Not too badly skunked for a clear bottle.

Medium body. Smooth.

The taste is malt forward with an assertive but clean bitterness to finish. Better than their flagship Old Speckled Hen.

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Old Crafty Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.79 out of 5 based on 262 ratings.
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