Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

923 Reviews
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Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Quaffer on 10-23-2000

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Reviews: 923 | Ratings: 2,071
Photo of willfman
5/5  rDev +44.1%

Drink this everyweek. Best home beer in a bottle you could want. Not a big fan of chilled beer but a cool 'specklage' hits the spot. Love this beer. If you have not tried it please do.

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Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +44.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"OK," I said to my friend. "Let's do English beers now."
Old Speckled was an obvious choice, and we paired it with a John Courage. It was all over as soon as the beers were set in front of us. Speckled had a "creamy" head in a way that shames all other uses of that descriptor. I dipped my finger in the foam and it was solid! Creamy, buttery, thick and highly aromatic as it offered caramel and vanilla perfume. Then, on the palate, the same notes repeated, this time with traces of maduro cigar and roasted pig fat. The finish was a battle between candy, bitter plant and ash.
Absolute perfection!

Sabina @ The Berkley Front is to blame. She's more surly than you-know-who.

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Photo of BeerLover48Fan
4.92/5  rDev +41.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I tried this beer on reccomendation from Sam Matson at Red White And Brew in Florence NJ . It poured to a pint glass real smooth , Its taste is typical of the european ale's that I have tried. I am not sure about the availability elsewhere but Red White and Brew just brought it back so I know I will be buying it. It is a beer that I have told lots of people to buy and they have echoed my sentiments

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Photo of Brianmerrilyn
4.73/5  rDev +36.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed pint at Kinsale Tavern on 93rd & 3rd Avenue in NYC.

Light nose, sweet caramel, Some soft vanilla tones.

Finger and half head that was thick and remained with each quaf, happy to add.

Striking red to orange (i'm colorblind)

Very balanced, creamy & smooth, resonating with caramel to open your eyes.

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Photo of ThreePistols
4.63/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark amber in color with a huge foamy off white, almost tan head. Sweet, fruity and floral nose. Rich and smooth. Sweet malt caramel, rich fruity flavor with a tad of hops. Heavy on the malt and light on the hops. Very drinkable!

This beer went great with my smoked sausage hoagie with grilled onions and peppers. Prosit.

For this particular style, English-style Pale Ale, Old Speckled Hen should have more hops in both the flavor and aroma for me to have given a solid "5". Nevertheless, this as a superb beer.

After reading all the not so good reviews I feel privileged to have gotten a couple sixers of Old Speckled Hen that wasn't light struck or tasted foul.

I noticed that several negative remarks pertained to this beer when the serving type was the nitro can. This only reinforces my view that beer in nitro cans should be avoided if possible.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.62/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a perfect amber color that has a strong long lived head that leaves thick traces down the side of the glass. The beer is effervescent and more lively than champagne. The nose is rich with hops and buttery malt tones that are truly exceptional. The flavor is refreshing with a spicy maltiness that is well balanced with strong hops and goes to a warming feeling in the stomach. The hops are just awesome. The mouthfeel is excellent as well with a nice pillowy soft body that is quickly subdued by the hops. Very bitter in the middle of the quaffed finishing even more bitter, but leaving very little aftertaste for the amount of hop flavor. I am so glad I bought a few of the 50cl bottles.

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Photo of ronniebruner
4.6/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow! This is probably the best beer Ive ever had in a can other than Guinness. The bottles are even better and would rank a quarter point higher, but the taste of this beer is velvety smooth, and you can taste the hardwork and character of this reddish color brew. If you happen to see this beer, buy it!

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Photo of alankwak
4.6/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Deep Copper/Amber with super head retention and lacing. Nicely carbonated.

S: Lightly hopped and a bit of butterscotch.

T: Super awesome beer. Medium malt/bread flavor and a nice graininess. Great malt presence here. Butterscotch hints big time and it's good.

M: Full medium

O: High quality Ale here. That's the bottom line.

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Photo of DrCruise
4.59/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First time I've tried this ale. Fantastic from start to finish. Easy drinkability. I believe this will become one of my all time favorites, but there are a lot of beers I haven't tried yet. I will definitely share this with friends.
Sweet aroma on opening the bottle, smooth and very balanced. I have yet to pour it into a glass.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.56/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have seen this on the shelves but have normally passed it up due to its price. But since it is on sale, I thought I would give it a try.

Pours a very attractive light amber liquid, clear, with a slight head.

Aroma is grain laden and bready.

Flavor is very well-balanced, everything I imagine an English beer will be. Nothing dominates but instead it is a nice marriage of grain, a slight toastyness, some caramel, some hops and some herbal notes.

Very smooth medium-to-full mouthfeel.

I like it. I'm not sure it is worth what I sometimes see it priced at, but it is very good. I will buy it again if it is on sale.

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Photo of StuartCarter
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle.

Appearance: clear copper color, thin head that quickly collapses into nothing.

Smell: beautiful grassy, earthy British hop funk.

Taste: oh, wonderful. Presents initially with a hard hop bitterness wrapped in toffee. Once it warms a little the hard bitterness fades leaving a wonderful balance of toffee-caramel Maris Otter and earthy/grassy hop funk. Aftertaste leaves a lingering hop bitterness and sweet toffee caramel.

Mouthfeel: hard edged carbonation.

Overall: a wonderful example of an English Pale Ale. Hits all of the points I expect an EPA to hit.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the nitro widget can, Old Speckled Hen has a roiling, thick, creamy head, and a clear, amber appearance. Lots of thick lacing is left down the glass. The aroma is sweet, musty, creamy, and one even gets a cafe-au-lait aspect here. Taste is of sweet caramel, cream, hop bitterness, and clean water. Mouthfeel is medium and soft, but an underlying wateriness does present itself. Old Speckled Hen finishes semi-dry, clean, and easy drinking. Overall, this beer is all upside and no downside. Get some!


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Photo of shuriyukum
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite summer beers. Smooth, easy going, a great session beer with a little extra alcohol content (compared to similar English brews) for those who prefer the extra bite. A draft version on nitrous is an extra special treat! A very delicious beer.

A - Excellent, foamy head with good retention and a white lace that appears as you drink it up.

S - Creamy, light caramel smell with a slight hop undertone.

T - Light and smooth with a full malt flavor that's offset by the hops. No hoppy after taste that resembles the Bitter style, no lingering hoppy after taste that resembes the American Pale Ale style. Well-balanced throughout the taste cycle.

M - Creamy, smooth, and light in heft. Leaves your mouth feeling clean with very subtle alcohol after-taste.

D - Tasty with a very agreeable mouthfeel. Makes a great session beer. :)

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.5/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY. Review from notes.

A - poured a transparent tawny brown with reddish hues. 1 inch creamy head that kept well and decent lacing in an English pint glass

S - fruity, almost white wine like with caramel/toffee malts. Some tobacco and citrus with light hoppiness.

T - white wine fruits and smoky wood, sweet malt, some slight yeastiness and a bittersweet finish. Light touch of alcohol in the finish as well.

M - extremely smooth and medium bodied with light carbonation

D - highly sessionable and drinkable

Overall - I was quite impressed with this beer on tap. I was somewhat skeptical at first... a beer that looks orange-brown?! Then I gave it a smell.... not bad at all! Diacetyl perhaps? Well, something sweet and fruity, like a good Riesling... in any case, it was a delightful session beer that I am sure to have more of in the future. Looking forward to trying it from the bottle. Cheers to the Old Speckled Hen!

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Photo of Reverand
4.48/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off I realy like this brew as you can tell the scores. A gorgeous amber color with a off white head that clings all the way down to the bottom of the glass. Amazingly smooth that makes for a great session beer.

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Photo of sennoma
4.47/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A fine pale ale, not in the least bit overhopped as seems to be the trend these days. Beautifully balanced and smooth... ish. There's an edge there, but I don't know how to describe it: it's not non-smooth, it's something else (that I like). To me this is a straightforward beer: malt, hops, balance, yum.

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Photo of maek228
4.47/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is certainly one of the finest beers i have ever drank, top five stuff. im suprised that the majority of people who review this don't share my setiment. oh well, to each their own. in my opinion though, old speckled hen is a gem. heres the low-down

appearance: a cranberry juice like color, but fainter. a watered down blod red, maybe a reddish copper. nice looking lace forms on the beer after it's poured.

smell: this was aroma therapy, i swear. it perked me up and put me in a good mood, a warm mood to be alil more specific. i have to say im very imrpessed. ok, less talk about what the smell did for me, and more talk about the smell itself. it smelled kinda like these honey roasted almonds i got once at some morroccan restaurant. maybe a faint hint of toffee, and some fresh fruit thrown in too. i could kinda smell hops as well. can't say enough about the smell of this one. really hits you as your lifting it to your lips, such a nice touch.

taste: top-notch hop/carbonation/flavor/body balance. complex taste here....honey roasted nuts, caramel, toffee, and a boquet of fresh fruit all gently explode on the taste buds when the beer first hits the tonge. after these tastes gently fade they are replaced with a moderate kick of hops that lingers for awhile, but doesn't overstay its welcome. all of the things that were detected when i sniffed this brew were present in the taste. the body of this brew is light to medium, and accomodates itself to the taste perfectly.

mouthfeel: the beer's carbonation, which was mild, lends itself to the taste in that it does not interfere with the complexity of the flavor. this beer just feels right in your mouth. it gives forth an amazing and unique taste, follows up with the nice lil kick of hops, and is never ever offending to the taste buds at anytime. smooth like silk, but at the same time bold. i dont know how they pulled it off.

drinkability: highly drinkable. could certainly be a prime time session beer, but would also be a great compliment to many a meal. this beer would be a great breakfast beer. some scrapple, scrambled eggs, maple syrup, and an old speckled hen sounds like a perfect saturday or sunday morning breakfast. i cant think of a situation that wouldn't be appropriate for this.

this beer is one of the only beers that really "wowed" me. i feel the high scores ive given this beer are more than appropriate.

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Photo of drperm
4.46/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm always a bit apprehensive when it comes to the Clear Bottle - especially when said bottle has traversed the Atlantic. However, best I can tell this one *seems* to have fared decently in its evil-light-permitting glass home.

The beer pours quite handsomely into my trusty John Courage glass: bold English copper-pale-ale in tone, sharp and clear. True to form with many bottled brews of this ilk that I've had, the head billows up and then retreats to a lacing.

On the nose, I wonder if some light pollution may have had play. Not promiently, mind you, but there's a whiff of something flirting with unseemliness. More favorable notes follow: English floral yeasts, butterscotch, hay, summer wheat fields, white pepper.

I take my first sip and am greeted with a liquid embrace: fresh grain, grassy hops, caramel, toffee, quenchingly mild bitterness, and that wonderful English flower-fruit yeast goodness. Perfect.

As it coats the palate and continues on its way, it leaves a wonderful creaminess to linger behind, with a slight hoppy snap on the tail. I can only imagine what this is like with nitrogen.

This beer is pure delight, with plenty of that wonderful English subtlety that I love. Sometimes you just don't want an Imperial- anything. Sometimes a 5.something% ABV Pale Ale is exactly what is called for, and here's an acme of its genre. It is simple and light enough to make a wonderful session beer throughout the night, but complex enough to keep you interested in it the whole time. This is an all-around winner, provided that the clear glass bottle doesn't betray you.

Try with roast beef sandwiches, fish & chips, mild cheese and pickles, or your drinking buddy.

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Photo of Sazarac
4.46/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

You have to drink this beer on nitro to give it a true review. As far as English pub ales go, this one is at the top of my list. The look is beautiful bronze whith a thick, creamy head. The smell is of British grains, taste is creamy, lingering, the feel is creamy, overall, i love having this on a rainy day. Cheers!

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Photo of Methodd
4.45/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL can poured into a mug.

Appearance: Beautiful. Very clear amber/copper color with reddish highlight when held up to light. Very nice head which never completely dissipated. Very little lacing.

Smell: I could swear this ale is oak aged but I’ve never heard any mention of such. Lots of toffee, floral hops and spice.

Taste: Very mild bitterness. Toffee, roasted malts, nuts and I’m reminded of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Not quite enough carbonation. Very smooth and refreshing.

Drinkability: I don’t think this brew gets the credit it deserves. I’m a huge fan of Old Speckled Hen. It smells good, it tastes good and it all comes at a good price. I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing you need to be drinking this beer right now. Except maybe if you’re in a job interview. No, wait, even if you’re in a job interview. Do you really want to work for someone who doesn’t like this stuff?

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Photo of allengarvin
4.45/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pint bottle, poured into a generic English pint glass.

Appearance: clear golden color, with a big creamy head (I purposely poured it a little agitated, as I like my English beers to get the carbonation out).

Aroma: Big fresh hop aroma.

Flavor/Body: Good deal of malt flavor (slightly nutty and toasted), well-balanced by earthy hop tones. Slighty fruitiness, with a lingering finish, very dry in the end.

An excellent export bitter, definitely in my top 10 favorite English beers available in the US. Also, far superior to the nitrogenated canned version of this beer (though I admit a prejudice against nitrogen-injected beers).

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Photo of Caveworm
4.44/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this brew's head is two fingers thick and off-white, with solid lacing, and a clear reddish amber body.

I smell a pleasant honey bicuit malt accented with toffee and slightly fruity yeast. Hops are rather delicate&hardly there, but this IS an English(literally) pale ale, so what elese would one expect?

Tastes like a slighty drier, yet refreshing version of the aroma. I can defintely tell this was brewed with hard water, which is not to say this is a bad thing by any means. Gives it more authenticity, IMO. I think it adds to the balancing bitterness akin to the hops mentioned on the labeling.

The mouthfeel is medium-light with mild carbonation.

Overall, I'll choose to give Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery a 4.5. A sessionable UK-born pale ale that I could knock back all night at a pub, preferably the Jockey of "Shameless" lore.

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Photo of Rzzzzz
4.41/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Rose & Crown, Palo Alto. Served in a tall Old Speckled Hen glass. Superb presentation. Orange/amber with that creamy nitro-head, nice clarity once it settles, with constant racing bubbles. Armoas of toasted grain and carmel malt. Full malt flavors, with an initial sweetness that's pulled back into line by a subtle bitter finish. Medium to light bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. A perfect companion to fish and chips. This is what beer should be.

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Photo of Squelch
4.4/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: beautiful crystal clear golden dark brown with a white long lasting head that laces nicely.

Smell: Woodsy hop aroma with a slight sweet malt background

Taste: Wonderful. Caramel and Toffee with a touch of hop bitterness that cleans the palate.
UPDATE, I knocked this down a bit because I got an astringent 6- pack. from 4.5 to 4.0 on taste.

Mouthfeel: Neither good nor bad. Low carbonation here which is to style.

Drinkability: I drink this one as often as I can. I just love the unique flavors of this beer.

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Photo of grdahl
4.4/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This ale really surprised me..I'm usually not a big ale person but I really enjoyed this one..Beer was slightly bitter and sweet at the same time...Color was reddish amber and cloudy like a yeast beer...I'll be sure to get more of this in the future.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.47 out of 5 based on 2,071 ratings.
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