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Old Crafty Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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very good
86 Reviews
Old Crafty HenOld Crafty Hen

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
England, United Kingdom

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

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Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 262
Photo of barczar
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant amber with a half inch light khaki head that dissipates slowly, leaving sheets of lacing.

Caramel malt, nuttiness, and general toasted malt caramelization, melanoidins form the aroma, with a touch of floral and citrus hops adding intrigue.

Citrus and floral underpinnings eventually give way to toasted, bready, caramel malt. Nutty toffee sweetness adds to the backbone of the profile. The finish is lightly roasted breadcrust and a touch of fruity esters. Lacks the skunky character of the golden. Melanoidins dominate, with herbal tea hops complementing.

Body is moderate to full, creamy, with light carbonation. There's a bit of alcohol warmth.

Fairly sweet brew, pretty malt dominant, with enough hop character to prevent out from being cloying.

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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 macpapi
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Speckled Hen was one of my gateway brews. So I was a bit intrigued when I saw this one on the shelf today. Thought I'd give it a try.

Old Crafty Hen comes in a 16.9 oz, clear glass bottle. It pours a reddish-brown color; clear with a pretty full tan head. Translucent and and very inviting-looking in the glass.

Smell is dominated by a pretty crisp maltiness, followed by bread and biscuit notes. Also a bit of buttery aroma present.

Tastes of malt, bread, and a bit of caramel. A small, yet somewhat muted, hop bite comes at the end of the swallow. Overall a pretty full and pleasant taste. Well balanced.

In the mouth, Old Crafty Hen is full and flavorful. Medium carbonation. Leaves a nice post-swallow taste as well.

On the whole, this is a pretty pleasant, if not terribly overwhelming beer. There is definitely a bit going on here; some complexity and balance. This is a nice beer for someone not looking to be blown away by one strain of flavor or another--i.e. hop or malt bombs, smoked/barrel-aged monsters, etc... I like this beer a bit more than I expected to, and would return to it again.

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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 sommersb
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of Offa
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great ale similar to, but a bit different from, the other Morland beers.

Deep reddish copper, it has a medium-big pale tan head slowly shrinking to a foamy ring.

Aroma is strong nutty character, hint of sulphur, caramelised barley - a new take on the normal Morland character.

Taste is nice caramelly nut (walnut & hazelnut) & barley, juicy orange zest, long spicy herbal-peppery bitterness esp. in finish, toasty bread crust. It has a nice feel.

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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 WastingFreetime
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garnet in color with excellent clarity and a collar of creamy foam that stays around for about a minute but leaves no lacing. Aroma is bready and fruity (apples, white pears) with just a hint of alcohol. Flavor was also warmly malty with fruity aspects, but had more focus on raisins and dark fruits than the aroma did. If I had to criticize something, it would be that the lightly hopped bitterness comes across as somewhat murky, unfocused, and nondescript compared to the sharply focused stellar composition of the malt bill. Has a rich mouthfeel without being heavy in texture, and is lightly carbonated. Finish is semi-dry but stubby short in duration.

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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 rangerred
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a nonic.

Pours a clear medium brownish red with a thin half finger head. No lacing at all.

Aroma is very malty with tons of caramel, toffee, and molasses.

The taste continues the characteristics in the nose with additions of dark fruit. Still toffee and molasses and quite prominent with some undertones of pipe tobacco. Bitterness is light to moderate with the mouthfeel being full and smooth.

Overall, this is wonderful if you like malty beers. I tend to love English ales and this one was not a let down. Would love to have on cask sometime.

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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 metter98
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger-high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a big patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a ring around the edge.
S: Light to moderately strong aromas of fruity yeast and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of biscuit malts, fruity yeast, toffee and spices along with some hints of butter.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink for the style but has some interesting flavors that make it pleasurable to sip.

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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 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.

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Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Nonic. Served cool.

Orangish amber with 2 fingers of offwhite head. Scraps of lacing.

Aroma of malts with a faint plumminess.

Mouthfeel: frothy

Taste: malt, then an oaken flavor with a touch of plums on the fade.

Notes: I've had many English 'Old Ales' before. This tastes like one of them.

I had a 2nd bottle the next day at cellar temp and it was much better' the oak was more balanced, the taste more enjoyable. My evaluation went from 'decent' to 'good'. This beer cost me one quarter of that of Yorkshire Stingo and while Stingo is a better beer, this is pretty good one. At less than $ 5 for a 500ml bottle this is a very nice beer to sip on a Sunday.

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Photo of Jason
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50cl clear bottle w/ no freshness date.

LOOK: Clear amber, amazing lacing

SMELL: Fresh cut grass, lemon pith, apple skin, faint alcohol, buttered biscuits

TASTE: Grassy, caramel, cotton candy, biscuity, faint buttery tone, woody hops, herbal, mild esters, ripe pears, mealy apples, yeast, orange pith

One to sit down with and let breath, a sipper to have with a sharp cheddar. Better with something than alone. Certainly worth a go.

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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 BeerResearcher
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

50cl clear bottle. Some code stamped on bottle, but no freshness date.
Served in a Nonic tumbler.

It pours a bright tannish/copper color with a solid, but fast-fading off white frothy head, along with lots of lacy rings.
Smells of toasted malt are upfront. Just underneath are a lively mix of peaty malt, citrusy and tea-like hops, distant whiffs of sulfur and a dose of amber rum.
Flavors of roasted malt, toffee, strong tea and honey, maple, figs, rum and tobacco are easy to notice. Distant tastes of lime-like citrus, dark berries and an ever-so-slight metallic tang lie in the finish.
The body is full, yet not thick. It’s buttery, but not oily. There’s a bubbly carbonation, yet it’s not spritzy.
It’s a bit potent, but not overwhelming
I’m VERY impressed with this ale! It’s Old Speckled Hen’s busty and sexy mother.
Well Done!!!
Well, all except for the clear glass bottle.

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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 damndirtyape
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a tulip stout glass.

Appearance: Clear and bright coppery color. Off white foam upon pouring with that typical English ale mix of bubbles and foam (some really large, most quite small). Some lacing noted, but not very persistent. Good looking beer.

Smell: Malty - toasted malt mostly with some hints of caramel thrown in.

Taste: Buttery toffee, roasted malt bitter finish. Clean, simple flavor profile, but deep and rich in those simple flavors. Back of the bottle talks about some raisin-like finishes, but I'm not getting that very much. Maybe raisins taste different in the UK? Regardless, I'm not tasting raisins much, but in spite of that, this is a very very good beer.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, little bit chewy. Combined with the taste - felt very much like a rich English ale.

Overall: A very nice English ale. Went fantastic with fish and chips and I think it would be even better on cask. Definitely something I would pick up again. A little bit weak in aroma, but it more than made up for it in taste.

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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 Xanthros
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Small head that disappeared rather quickly.

Nose is mostly the earthy/toffee hops, even some grass in there. Taste starts off more or less what one would expect from the nose, with forward hops much like an English bitter. Somewhat alcoholic, golden raisin and malt flavors.

Very clear, crisp and light in the mouth.

If you are a fan of English ales and bitters, you will probably like this more than most.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright amber with a coppery hue topped by a fluffy beige cap. Plenty of lacing with good head retention. Fruity aroma, earthy and woody with some sugar and leafy hops. Bitterness was nicely balanced and present throughout. Sweetness was sugary, flavour was a bit citrusy and spicy, and there was a slight alcohol presence and old/stale notes. It finished with more of a plum and raisin character, slight woody astringency, and herbal hops. Medium bodied with creamy carbonation, mild dryness, nice texture. Overall, quite enjoyable with plenty of English character.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (50 cl.) purchased from Bières & Chopes, and tasted in 2012.

Appearance : amber color, with white foam head.
Smell : fruity and hopy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : malty flavours with lightly bitter finish.
Drinkability : a good beer in the English style Old Ale.

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Photo of ArrogantBastage
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 0.9 fl oz, clear bottle poured into an appropriate mug

A- Pours a bright, clear, rich copper with a nice dense, creamy head. Some lacing clings to the glass as the head settles slowly and the beer is sipped. Nice cap of foam lingering for the remainder of the session.

S- Rich bready malts tinged with some raisins spiked with herbal, spicy and floral hops.

T- Intense malt starts off the experience followed swiftly by spicy hops lending smoothness to the beer. The middle is loaded with intense sweet, bready malts, rich English hops, and a subtle tartness. The finish is ever so slightly sweet but kept in check by a nice dose of hop bitterness that slowly fades between sips.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation leading to a creamy smoothness to the beer which accentuates the taste.

D- Absolutely enjoyable and easy to have more than one back to back.

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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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