Old Speckled Hen
Greene King / Morland Brewery

Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
English Pale Ale
Ranked #287
ABV:
5.2%
Score:
80
Ranked #45,764
Avg:
3.5 | pDev: 16.29%
Reviews:
972
Ratings:
2,225
From:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  49
Gots
  363
SCORE
80
Good
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
Notes: Old Speckled Hen is popular with ale drinkers up and down the country and renowned for its unique character and consistent quality.

The great British ale was first brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It was even named after the factory’s old run around car which was often parked outside the paint shop. Spattered in paint, the car became known as the “Owld Speckl’d Un”. The eagle-eyed might even see the resemblance between MG’s logo and the Old Speckled Hen label!

More than 35 years on, the great premium ale continues to be a finely balanced beer with a distinctive rich, malty taste and fruity aroma.
View: Beers
Reviews: 972 | Ratings: 2,225 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Singlefinpin
Singlefinpin from North Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Found this on tap at a taproom in Jacksonville Florida.
On tap poured into a pint glass.
Appears light amber, with a nice foamy head that dropped quickly.
Smells lightly bready, caramel.
Taste mostly caramel, fruity, lightly bitter.
Mouth feel is medium light for the style.
Overall, a trip down memory lane that wasn't quite as good as I remember.
I probably wouldn't order again.

Feb 28, 2020
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Upon cracking the bottle a loud hiss as the carbonation escapes. Pours a light brown or deep amber color with a massive and loud creamy, cream-colored head. SRM of 18. (4.25)

Aroma: Huge aromas of strong cinnamon, caramel, and brown sugar. Toffee. Syrup. Only hints of orange marmalade and cherry red fruit. (4.25)

Flavor: Strong flavors of cinnamon, caramel, and brown sugar upfront, but then it evolves into a strong smokey cedar flavor in the middle. Slightly sour, but then finishes with a bread pudding malt with cinnamon and brown sugar to support. Lots of caramel and nitro. Finishes dry and clean though. (4.25)

Feel: Medium to heavier bodied. Great carbonation, but feels nitrogenated and creamy, not crispy. Finishes dry and relatively clean. (3.75)

Compared w/ Bass Pale Ale: Pours a slightly darker amber with a larger, creamier head. Stronger malt and spice aromas. Stronger malt flavors too. Stronger all around. More spices. Similar sweetness though. A creamier and less zesty body.

Overall: This is a fantastic English Pale Ale. Lots of malt flavors here. Not as much citrus as I expected. Very smokey though. It's like a nitro Guinness, but instead of the roast there's a smokey, caramel, brown sugar aspect. Incredibly flavorful, while being dry. Should compare to Anchor Steam? (Final Rating: 4.15)

Feb 13, 2020
Photo of SaltofOH
SaltofOH from Ohio

3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz. bottle, indecipherable date code. Great Lakes Snifter.

A: pours a crystal clear dark amber like over-steeped tea, with one finger of foamy off white head that dissipates disappointingly quickly. Lots of visible small-bubble carbonation. I have to give an extra quarter point for the shape of the bottle, and the classy, MG-inspired label.

S: Mild English hops and Ale esters get you right away, some toasted malt, but a more muted nose than I remember the last time I had it. Kind of flat, actually. Maybe I have a cold.

T: arrives with loads of carbonation and English hop and yeast character. Earthy, floral hops, mildly sweet toffee malts and a vague stewed fruitiness like red delicious applesauce made with the skins on.

M: lighter than I remember, but crisp, though not as crisp as Fullers ESB, and this has noticeably more carbonation. Perhaps a little thinner than I’d like.

O: I saw a single of this and had to pick it up. I’ve had it on a couple of occasions in UK-themed pubs, and loved it every time. I recognize it is macro, but this English pale ale taste is what introduced me to beer beyond fizzy yellow lager in the late 90s, and no matter where craft beer goes this taste feels warmly familiar. This is not the best English pale I’ve had, but is perhaps the most typical of the style in my mind’s eye, and is one I’ll come to again and again. Crisp, malty, earthy, floral, slightly sweet, clean-finishing. Superb. I’d buy a four pack.

Jan 19, 2020
Photo of jkblr
jkblr from Indiana

4.01/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle marked 19099 (about 9 months old) poured into tulip pint glass at just above fridge temp 5% ABV per label. The beer pours bright light copper in color with sticky light khaki head. The head recedes to thick ring and leaves a little lacing behind. The aroma is mild with toasted malt, caramel and stone fruit. The taste is semisweet fruit (pear, apple) rolling into dark toffee muted earthy hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with just less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, very good. A lot of nuanced flavor and depth here for a 5% beer.

Jan 05, 2020
Photo of shigg85
shigg85 from Japan

3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had it on a nitro tap at Pigalle in Tokyo. Nitro is the way to go! Creamy, smooth, malty, and delicious! I really enjoyed it, but I bet it would taste different out of a bottle or can.

Nov 06, 2019
Photo of EmperorBevis
EmperorBevis from England

3.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle and part of a Greene King head brewers choice that I received as a gift
Pours almost got brown body with good white head
Aroma is seaside rock
Slight sweet malty taste
Not as good as when Morland but not terrible

Aug 20, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 10/26/18; drank 7/17/19 @ the Yarchives.

See-through amber appearance.

A violent pour yielded a nice khaki nitro head; a thick curtain of lace.

Cream & oat notes in the nose.

Creamy medium mouthfeel.

Cream, oats & mild creamed corn flavors.

Mild but flavorful; a nice take on the classic style.

Jul 18, 2019
Photo of Thisdrinkinglife
Thisdrinkinglife from Switzerland

1.8/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Review: 50cl bottle of Morland Old Speckled Hen (Filtered): 5.0% vol.

On a nice white bottle with the red colour of the beer shining through, read that this is an “English Fine Ale”. This brew, is considered “Great Britain’s number one premium ale”, as they said so themselves on their website so who am I to disagree!

Looks pretty good on pour, as expected it has a nice pretty amber copperish colour but the head is smaller than I had expected, a small whitish head that goes a bit flat very quick. Head and beer look pretty rubbish to be honest!

A very interesting smell on the nose, I am getting a whiff of caramel and toffee notes, but it is very light, and also it smells of pale malts, some fruits and light grains. Light but interesting.

On the taste got a real bitter aftertaste, which was very creamy and all a bit “urgh!”

Not one to sip and enjoy, very, very bitter, not one to enjoy at all, all a bit too strong in the taste for me. That hoppy aftertaste is a right killer for me.

It feels half between an IPA and a lager ale. Can get the malts, fruits and caramel, but it’s the hop bitterness that kills everything in its way! According to their site, a blend of Challenger, Pilgrim, First Gold and Goldings hops, all knocking seven shades out of your tastebuds!!!

It is shit, lets call a spade a spade, not enjoyable at all. Was strong enough to drink, felt the alcohol for sure, but urgh, yuck.

The English must be crazy fuckers drinking these hard core bitters and ales! Fuck that, the mad bastards!

Jun 03, 2019
Photo of eberesford
eberesford from Canada

3.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pause a deep coppery amber. Modest head but good lacing. Light biscuity aroma. The flavour adds some estery fruit notes and a pleasantly balanced bitterness.

Jun 01, 2019
Photo of Snowcrash000
Snowcrash000 from Germany

3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep amber, coppery coloration with a small, fizzy head, Smell is quite subdued, but with faint aromas of biscuity, grainy malt and grassy hops. Taste follows the nose, being dominated by biscuity, grainy malt, toffee and lighter grassy, earthy hop accents, with just a hint estery fruit notes, diacetyl and a certain mineral note as well. Finishes with a light/medium bitterness and a certain mineral note lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a light/medium body and medium carbonation.

This starts out rather sweet, but is reigned in nicely by a decent bitterness in the finish. A nice, easy-drinking Pale Ale with a good overall balance, but suffers slightly from some light diacetyl and mineral notes.

Mar 14, 2019
Photo of Lingenbrau
Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.04/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

An ugly, yeasty, milky pour transforms into a beautiful, clean burnt amber with a tightly bubbled tan foam resti g above the leaves exceptional lace ng.

Aroma and flavors mirror each other with the truest form of dough highlighted by traces of caramel, toffee, and an earthy and floral hop finish.

Light and creamy with good overall balance just leaning on the bitter side of the fence. Wonderfully smooth and quickly vanishing.

A great English Pale. I used to drink this a lot with my older brother years ago. I miss beers like these, for their incredible drinkability, simplicity, and unpretentious flavors.

Cheers.

Feb 25, 2019
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewing as part of BJCP training. 11B. Best bitter
Big fluffy white head, good retrain and great lacing, very clear pale amber mild rosy hue

Nose brings some malts, toasted bread and little caramel, earthy herbal tea like hops, toffee and a white coffee like aroma, candy vanilla cake thing too, which might be coming from some diacetyl, the more it warms the more I think diacetyl which is acceptable in minor levels but this is starting to border too much,, caramel and toffee really coming as it warms, mild sulfur minerals

Taste quite bitter, moderate hop flavor earthy herbal and more tea, fair malty flavor more caramel toffee notes but mostly biscuity berry like, fair balance but bitterness wins overall, flashes of fruity esters in the background mostly overpowered by the bitterness, drier but long bitter finish, as it warms more mild diacetyl, but also that sulfury minerals

Mouth is medium to lighter bod, little soft, fair carb

Overall not bad, fairly well done representation of the style, other than the weird vanilla cake on the nose, nothing impressive though. I wonder if the low score is due to previously clear bottles since its brown now

Jan 27, 2019
Photo of edward_boumil
edward_boumil from New York

3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: orange red brown colored beer, decent head retention, soapy lace. Very bright and clear in the glass
S: pretty inviting. Lots of dark sugar aromas, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and touches of herbal hops
T: unfortunately these great malt aromas are weaker on the palate. Hops are a little stronger though, providing a vegetal bitterness, soft yet present. Get a littler buttery touch, I’m not the biggest diacetyl fan but it’s tastefully done as it complements the malts.
F: remarkably smooth. Very silky, sudsy, and refreshing.
O: good beer, probably worth a try as I’d expect this to be really sessionable.

Jan 13, 2019
Photo of chitoryu12
chitoryu12 from Florida

3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look: Very pale amber, verging on yellow. A finger of off-white head with good retention.

Smell: Mild pale malt with a little fruitiness. A bit of hop bitterness.

Taste: Following the nose, with a taste that manages to simultaneously be hop-forward and very mild. The hop bitterness is the strongest note, but nowhere near the strength of an IPA's flavor.

Mouthfeel: A little thick and creamy. Mild carbonation.

Overall: A very plain pale ale. A decent drink, but not one I'd be heartily recommending.

Jan 12, 2019
Photo of Amendm
Amendm from Rhode Island

3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz. bottle needed an average pour for a short lived light beige foamy head with little lace.
Clear pale amber color, appears yellow straw in front of light.
Bready and grainy smell with faint hops.
Taste begins semi-sweet and lightly bitter, pale malt, biscuit and faint roasted malt.
Middle taste has some ripe pear, apple and plum as it drys and bitters.
The finish is semi dry with a spicy bitterness, quick and clean.
Faint aftertaste of spice and hops.
Light body, average carbonation. Smooth feel. Semi-dryness and bitterness build up during the taste and improve as it warms.

Jan 12, 2019
Photo of mothmanscott
mothmanscott from Georgia

3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From notes 1/13/12: Pours crystal clear copper with super, foamy, tightly bubbled, long lasting, beige head that leaves a coating of thin lacing. Aroma is weak but a number of things come through as the beer warms: mildly acetic, biscuit, light caramel malt, honey and something akin to over ripe banana. Taste is watery up front, a little dry from middle through the finish and slightly sour throughout with biscuit, faint caramel and cherry, a hint of nuts and hop bitterness in the finish that intensifies in the aftertaste. This thin bodied beer can not be rushed to be fully appreciated. 3 stars.

Dec 13, 2018
Photo of beersampler6
beersampler6 from Michigan

3.59/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad English ale but fairly bland and unexciting. Pours a nice amber color with minimal lastly head or lacing. Smells mainly of malt, roasted nuttiness, caramel and some toffee. Tastes similarly, along with some stone fruitiness. Smooth mild thin mouthfeel, decent carbonation. Not bad but I would look elsewhere for a go-to easy-to-drink brew.

Nov 27, 2018
Photo of elnachooo
elnachooo from Spain

2.9/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cerveza de cuerpo medio y de carbonatación moderada. Tiene aroma a malta, tostado y un poco de lúpulo. En boca tiene un amargor pero con una sensación dulce que recuerda al caramelo.

Nov 07, 2018
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L- Mid chestnut, clear, pours with a 5mm just off-white head. Minor rising carbonation.
S- It's 'roasty-toasty'. It smells good, and it's fragrance is quite clear too, but toasted grains are what I get, no more.
T- Toasty caramel, into a somewhat bitter finsish.
M- Tangy/fresh with enough richness from the malts and 5.2% to balance it.
O- Lovely beer, eminently drinkable, and there is zero question whether this will remain a brew I enjoy every couple of weeks. Bought from Tesco in London. If it has a BB date on it I'm unable to find it.
ps. I've enjoyed this beer for years, and even recently reviewed it's gluten-free version. So I was amused to notice last night that I'd never reviewed this original version, despite having enjoyed it for say 25 years.

Nov 02, 2018
Photo of jamesroses
jamesroses from Argentina

1.44/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

Ruby red with big creamy co2 induced head.

Green apple both in aroma and taste and an extra weird strawberry note on the palate.

Weird artificial bitter aftertaste.

Absolutely horrendous.

Aug 26, 2018
Photo of Foyle
Foyle from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from 12 oz bottle into English pint glass. A thin frothy cream colored head drops slowly with plenty of lacing. Color resembles iced tea, moderate streaming carbonation. Aroma of turned fruit, earthy hops and yeasty bread dough. Mouthfeel between light and medium, somewhat astringent, with a somewhat damp finish. Flavor is milder than I expected -- more watery than the malt on the nose. However, the flavors that present are pleasant -- a bit of honey, toasted bread, raisins, a little caramel, turned fruit, and and a nice earthy hops. Overall: very pleasant ale.

Jul 27, 2018
Photo of gvickery
gvickery from Texas

2.04/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

Ok, I didn’t see on the can that this was a “nitro can” which means they use nitrogen instead of co2 so they are absolutely flat. They taste like they were opened the day before and left out. It has a nice red/amber color with a crystal malt toffee smell. I couldn’t detect any hop smell at all. The taste is all Carmel and no distinguishable hop flavor. If it had some actual carbonation it would be ok. I am very disappointed since I was going to get the Bass ale and got this instead. I also don’t see any reviews mentioning the lack of carbonation, that would have been nice I wouldn’t have wasted $10 on a 4 pack. So, despite my 54% English DNA, the rest of these will be used to simmer some brats tomorrow. Cheers

Jul 06, 2018
Photo of Schlitz74
Schlitz74 from Illinois

3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It poured a medium orange color with an off white finger of head. It was a little bitter to me at first, but as it warmed up a bit it tasted a little less bitter. Overall it it is a descent beer, but nothing I would want to drink again.

Jun 02, 2018
Photo of Stoven5
Stoven5 from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +42.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Its good up there with the best. Unlike Abbot ale which is better as is in a non widget can this is better in the bottle or the widget. Here in the States I only see the bottle or the widget while up in Canada the 500ml non widget can. So lets say on tap would be the best then the widget, 3rd the bottle and 4th the non widget can. They are all very good but that is my choice of order.

May 19, 2018
Photo of spectru
spectru from Florida

3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A clear dark amber with a creamy head. the aroma is fruity but subdued. the mouthfeel is unremarkable, not much sparkle. The flavor is sweet and tangy, but subdued. A pleasant ale. I love the MG connection.

May 16, 2018
Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 2225 ratings