Old Speckled Hen
Greene King / Morland Brewery

Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
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English Pale Ale
Ranked #278
Ranked #45,195
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.
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Reviews: 970 | Ratings: 2,214 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by arkanu:
Photo of arkanu
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of MacMalt
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed on draught in a pub. The color was something between a dark yellow and a light amber, with a very thin, milk-white head and lacing. The head disappeared very quickly and the lacing was minimal. It primarily of malt and hops with a slight toffee sweetness. The taste really follows the nose: primarily malty with biscuit, nuts, and faint butterscotch. It is rather bland but very easy to drink given its light body, low carbonation, and low ABV. This is a classic sessionable pub ale. You can drink a lot of it without feeling it. Overall, this isn't an ale to savor but it is great to drink with friends in a pub.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I thought I'd had this beer before. But it sure didn't seem all that familiar once I opened it!

L (4.5): Beautiful color. Deep copper/red color to it. Almost photograph worthy, really
S (4): Had this intriguing fruity/brandy/port wine smell to it. I almost thought it was barrel aged or something.
T (4.25): Again, this fruity/brandy/port wine taste to it. Not a lot, and not distracting. But really tasty. I might be crazy, but I just couldn't shake it. (Not that this is a bad thing either!) Not hoppy at all, but I don't know if it really should be.
F (3): Nothing to write home about here. Not much of a mouthfeel. Smooth, but unexciting. No head really. Some of this is nature of the style, but I expected a little more here.

Overall (4): Solid beer. I am going to purchase another one next time I'm at the beer store.

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Photo of bcgoldtoe
1.22/5  rDev -65.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1


Words cannot express how nasty I found this beer to be. I have NEVER dumped part of any beer, but I was pretty much tempted to toss half this can.

A=The best part. Dark brown with a decent head.

S= Just plain nasty.

T= Disgusting, skunked.

M= Too thick for my taste, probably about right for this style though.

D= With a smell and taste this noxious, I can't see anyone asking for a second.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into an Irish pint glass.

Look: Copper, English breakfast tea. Light cream colored head recedes to a wisp, no lacing.

Aroma: Faint caramel malts, some skunk from the clear bottle.

Taste: Mostly malt sweetness, some toffee, sour hop finish, some skunkiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Overall: The skunkiness ruins a lot of this. The canned version would be a good bet.

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Photo of matcris
3.66/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

APPEARANCE: Poured into pint glass from the nitro pint can. Leaves an ultra creamy 1"+ eggshell head that sticks around. Leaves incredible creamy lacing down the glass. After the cascading effect the beer is a very clear dark amber.
AROMA: Sweet toffee/caramel and a nice earthy note.
TASTE: Very mild toffee and a little mild earthy spice.
FEEL: Creamy and smooth. Quite thin body. A little slick and it dries up a little on the finish.
OVERALL: A very mild, smooth brew, in both taste and feel.

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Photo of brainwilson
3.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I have a soft spot in my heart for this beer. I drank 12 or so on Christmas day in 2006, having been dumped by my girlfriend on Christmas eve. Why would I have fond memories of this beer? I have no idea, so I decided to revisit it.

It's a pretty beer, clear, with a nice copper color. Smells good, sweet and of malts. Tastes much as it smells, with a touch of bitterness.

Verdict: not a bad beer, but best when you're heartbroken in the heart of winter.

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

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a thistle glass. Very pretty crystal-clear amber color, almost cream sherry-like in appearance. Brewer's notes state that this is "...a beautifully malty ale with subtle notes of toffee and fruit." This description is spot on. There is a ton of light toffee sweetness and flavor up front. As you let it warm in your mouth, you begin to notice notes of orange, pear, tart apple, plum, and peppery spice. Medium body, with a clean, peppery finish. Delicious and well crafted. This one deserves some love!

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 11/30/2013. Pours crystal clear reddish copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, brown bread, plum, apple, honey, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, yeast ester, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, brown bread, plum, apple, nuttiness, light roast, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Very clean in flavor as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with no warming present after the finish as expected of 5%. Overall this is a very nice English pale ale! All around good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Stoven5
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.

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Photo of mothmanscott
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.

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Photo of hero27
3.13/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

14.9 oz nitro can.
5.2% abv

Clear amber color...cascading off-white head that sets up like concrete on top of the brew. Aroma of molasses & pale malts..if a bit musty...but not bad.
Sometimes nitro tends to really kill off some of the flavors in a beer, but in this case it works alright. The pale malts show off pretty well, but there's a slight cigarette ash taste that I could have gone without. Flavor fades quickly after each sip, as the body is a little on the weak side. That being said, it is a nitro and goes down very smoothly. I'd have no hesitation about trying this on-tap if given the opportunity.

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Photo of carlborch
2.37/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Nitro can.. After settling: 1-inch thick, creamy, tan head above golden-amber ale. Caramel-toffee, butter nose! Very smooth, medium weight body. Slightly bitter finish, albeit short. Creamy, thick "lace." Just OK. I will not seek it out again.

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Photo of mdwalsh
3.26/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a weak head. Even with an aggressive straight down pour I was able to pour the entire bottle into a pint glass. The beer is deep golden, almost amber, with a good amount of of active carbonation. The head is light tan/sandy and shrinking fast, with lots of big bubbles.

S: Whew. I don't know if this is skunked, though it shouldn't be as it's well out of direct light, or if I just don't like the English Hops. Some deeper olfactory investigation tells me it's more so the hops. It's like a herb cabinet full of stuff I don't like. There's no malt in the nose either.

T: The taste is maltier, I can stand it, but there's still a lot of hops, which I'm finding almost soapy. But the malt is nice, a bit caramelly. Apparently "caramelly" isn't a word. I'm still thinking a little skunked. I may re-review this soon.

M: Slick. Leaves the mouth feeling wet.

D: Would be better without the soapyness.

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Photo of g00dness
3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

look: Constantly moving white lace climbs through the copper beer. As pretty as beer poured out of a can into a glass can be.

nose: bread, V8, malt, noble hops

taste: sweet fruity and light. Like a Jack Daniels with no burn. Starts sweet/boring but finishes fruity malty and interesting.

mouthfeel: nitro creaminess, nothing more, nothing less

drinkability: Very smooth but too sweet.

Really I can't say enough about how just plain pretty this beer is.

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Photo of samEBC
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Bnoise11
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of Bidcaller2
2.75/5  rDev -21.4%

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

Photo of TheSarge
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got me a can of OSH at the local supermarket in good ole France in an assorted four pack, hopefully this is a bit better than the Greene King IPA. I do remember Hen's tooth being decent, but it's been a while.

I poured this from the can into my coveted Sam Adams glass, you know the ones that are always on the back of the BA magazine. Anyhow, with a relatively rough pour, I got a little bit of cranium display, which was thin, but stuck around pretty good. The body is clear, and semi dark amber in color.

I immediately detected good aromas coming out from just pouring this into my glass. Mostly there's chocolate in the nose, with a hint of a citric aroma.

Tasting this brew was kind of what I expected, but maybe a little more complex. First up is the sweetness of chocolate, and then immediately a leathery middle, and finally a smack of bitterness I can't quite describe.

This brew seems light to medium in body, but not something I'd prefer after working out in the hot sun all day, but not so complex that this couldn't' make a decent session beer.

If and when I ever go back to England to visit, I wouldn't snub my nose at this brew in a pub, unless it's too over priced with the crap that's going on over there with the jacked up beer prices.

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Photo of botham
2.89/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

on cask at the Map Room in Chicago. pours a rich amber color with a half finger of super loose off white head with good retention and no lacings. the head looks rather pathetic in the glass.

aroma is of light caramel malts and a touch of yeasty banana esters. not much else in the nose with a restrained character.

taste is similar to the nose with the same subtle caramel, yeasty fruit and banana. a bit too thin on the palate, but still decent.

mouthfeel is light bodied without much of a mouthfeel. watery with a clean finish.

drinkability is decent. for a cask beer, this is a bit underwhelming. thin and watery without much of a character. usually cask beers are exercises in subtleties, but this is more of a one-trick-pony without much of a trick. decent, but nothig to seek out.

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Photo of chitoryu12
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.

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Photo of Hoss76
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got a 6-pack as a gift and was quite surprised by how easily this went down. The clear bottle gave me low expectations.

A - nice 1-1/2 finger head that died down immediately. amber color was beautiful.
S - got some slight bread smell; no hops to speak of.
T - i'm a hops guy, but i wasn't disappointed. no real hops, but the malt wasn't overpowering either. sweet, but well balanced. slightly bitter from yeast strain used?
M - seemed to have slightly high carbonation which worked fine.
D - hate the word, but this would be sessionable.

This was a well balanced beer that I would have again if available on tap. Certainly better than your average pale ale.

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Photo of Milkysunshine
2.25/5  rDev -35.7%

Photo of thornburyslasher
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 2214 ratings