Old Speckled Hen
Greene King / Morland Brewery

Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Pale Ale - English
Ranked #289
Ranked #47,315
3.5 | pDev: 16.29%
Greene King / Morland Brewery
England, United Kingdom
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: 983 | Ratings: 2,246 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of pmfox155
pmfox155 from Montana

3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased a tall can at a wine/beer store in Montana, beer was poured into a pint glass. The beer was very clean and had a great taste. Overall it was a fine beer, but I wish it would have had a stronger coffee flavor. I could not figure out which fruits were utilized in the beer though.

Feb 15, 2021
Photo of BubbleBobble
BubbleBobble from New York

3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear amber from the bottle, nice 1.5" light beige head, good lacing. Nose is light fruity malts and yeast balanced with earthy hops; there is a noticeable banana and butter note as well, but not enough to make it off putting. Taste is drier than expected, only a light amount of toffee, while the hops led a pronounced bitter and spicy flavor; light banana on the finish as well. Mouthfeel is on the thinner side, but carbonation is bright. Wish it was easier to find around here.

Feb 13, 2021
Photo of StoutSkull
StoutSkull from England

4.17/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have tried canned and bottled versions of this beer, and I personally recommend the bottled version.; it pours amber hazel colour with a bone colour foamy top, the aroma is floral, hoppy and a bit yeasty, tastes malty with slightly sweet notes of light maple syrup rather than caramel or toffee however it is a beer that is not sickly sweet, it is refreshing and has a light body and a mild bitter aftertaste; it is enjoyably and easy to drink as a session beer.

Feb 06, 2021
Photo of JRybacki
JRybacki from Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 4-pak of 16oz cans with nitro widget. This is one of the first imported beers served at an Irish pub we would frequent during the work week.
Poured from a 16oz can into a stem glass.
About one finger head with not much lacing on the glass.
Color is a nice dark amber.
Aroma is bold, fruity and maybe a little caramel.
Tastes first of earthy fruitiness with a strong malty finish.
Mouthfeel was not so great even with the nitro widget in the can. Fairly flat with strong maltiness throughout.
Overall, this was an average drink. One can appreciate the complexity in the beer added by the earthy fruitiness and caramel notes. This 4pak may have been sitting for a while before i bought it today.

Jan 31, 2021
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. No dating information found. Label has admonition to 'ENJOY CHILLED'.
Clear, medium amber colored body. Egg shell white head stocks around. Leaves behind clinging sheets of lacing.
Aroma is light grain and floral hops. Slightly metallic.
Taste is full of the roasted malt and a slightly spicy and floral hop flavor. Grainy and a touch of apple/pear fruit aftertaste.
Mouth feel is thin. Very good carbonation.
A real pub ale, that can be a choice for a session with other drinkers. Takes no real thought to drink, and has enough rewards to continue on.

Nov 22, 2020
Photo of OK_Denise
OK_Denise from Oklahoma

2.77/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I just cannot say that this a good beer. It is an okay beer but just not a good one. Is it totally horrible...no. I think there are a lot better Pale Ales out there though. The taste is just....off. I have tried it several times and just can't come up with a reason to enjoy it. Good luck!

Nov 16, 2020
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The pour is mahogany colored. The taste is caramel, toffee, & green apple skin. One of my the best English Ales that I've had, highly recommended. cheers! B

Nov 15, 2020
Photo of realJohnnyHobo
realJohnnyHobo from Maryland

3.87/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice amber color for this rich malt-forward pale ale. Smells of toasted malt with caramel and toffee flavors with the slightest hop notes found in the finish. The head is creamy, proofs for 2 minutes to leave a bit of a light soapy head. The first flavor notes are a mild sweetness that is both balanced and easy to drink with no real sharp rise in the mids apart from the hops that finish in a mildly dry way.

There is a sort of resin-like hop texture that is clean but enjoyable. 16 IBUS perhaps? Highly drinkable, mild carbonation, with a medium body. Notes of breadiness barely noticeable, though very clean. Naturally, as the beer warms up it really becomes outstanding. Hell of a brew.

Oct 17, 2020
Photo of NCSapiens
NCSapiens from Indiana

3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap and it was surprisingly good. Appearance reminds me of a lighter colored Guinness. Brownish amber, with a thick foamy two fingers of white foamy head that lasts forever. Flavor is pretty mild—biscuit, caramel, hint of vanilla. Creamy mouthfeel. Overall solid and grew on me as I drank it.

Oct 14, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours clear copper red amber orange with a creamy frothy light khaki colored foam head. Notes of toffee, biscuits, toasted malt, caramel, stone fruits, dried fruit, subtle chocolate, clean and easy drinking, with some earthy herbal hops in the finish. Feels slick, creamy, medium-light bodied, smooth with fairly low carbonation. Overall a really nice English pale ale.

Oct 09, 2020
Photo of hk117
hk117 from Hong Kong

3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml can - nice fluffy head, smooth drinking experience with a dry bitter finish. Aroma is relatively faint but the malty flavour is definitely the best part of this beer.

Aug 14, 2020
Photo of gary928
gary928 from Ohio

4.19/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is my first English pale Ale.I loved the malt forward taste with a little bit of hop bitterness at the end.Everything for me just blend it so well.

Jun 21, 2020
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82 from Texas

3.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass
Appearance - The beer is served a golden amber color with a one finger head of foam. The head fades fast leaving a decent sum of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell - The aroma of the brew is light overall with a little bit of caramel and a bit of grain. Along with these aromas comes a little bit of herb and earth and a touch of molasses.
Taste - The taste begins with a grainy and lightly Carmel sweet taste that has a decent showing of herbal hop. As the taste advanced the herbal gets stronger all while some spice and earth come to the tongue. A touch of oak and a load of the caramel at the end leaves on with a nice easy going taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel- The body of the brew is light and thin with a moderate carbonation level. For the style the feel is good and makes for an easy sipper.
Overall - A nice flavorful and very easy drinking English pale ale. Very tasty.

Jun 21, 2020
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 North Dakota

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 (ON)

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.


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
Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 2246 ratings