Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
2,135 Ratings
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:
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.

Added by Quaffer on 10-23-2000

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,135 |  Reviews: 945
Photo of Sammy
3.15/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

light orange, aggressive carbonation but some pleasant taste of hops, a touch metallic finish. Good amount of lace and creaminess of head Very dry aftertaste. Have had mixed results from this brewery, and it seems the LCBO have a relationship so we see a number coming through. OK to share a bottle.

 299 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and some slightly fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but nothing too exciting.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

such a different beer (and far superior) from the nitro tap than it is from the bottle. this is often thin and skunky in its clear glass, but its rich and frothy and malty in that nutty but not too sweet way from the nitro tap. the infusion of the nitro gas helps its feel too, creamy and puffy on the palate with a lasting white head and ring lacing as it sips down. plenty of bittering hops, characteristic more of an esb type than an english pale to me, but it sort of traverses style norms in a number of respects. i like the almost almond flavored malt on the front end, and that it stays pretty light throughout. enough hops to balance it, but remain drinkable. i know this one is a classic overseas that has been largely under appreciated by the north american crowd, but i think thats a little unfair, and that that the clear glass hasnt done it any favors. overall a beer that demands a time and a place, but when those to occur, its delicious.

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +15.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Knapp85
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This Old Speckled Hen pours out as a nice amber color with a decent white head on it. The head settles and leaves behind just axiom without a whole lot of lacing. The smell of the beer is of malts. Much like most of the English Ales I've had. No hops on the nose or anything else really. It smells a little sweet, and has some fresh grains in there too. The taste of the beer is very much full of rich malts and just a slight amount of hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth, the carbonation is very light here. This is something I'd like to try from a cask. I feel that the style would go better with that then from a can. Overall it's a decent brew and worth trying.

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Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -27.5%

Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of metter98
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has no evidence of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high creamy beige head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of fruity yeast and sweet malts in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is both fruity and malty.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and also goes down very smoothly.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml can, procured at a local beer-friendly (trying, at least) Indian restaurant chain - at least they provide generally appropriate glassware.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber hue, with two fingers of densely foamy, creamy, and somewhat bubbly tan head, which renders a few broad swaths of paint splatter lace around the glass as it duly settles.

It smells of semi-sweet bready caramel malt, sugary apple and pear, a bit of wet minerality, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more sweet grainy, bready caramel malt, broader, yet muddled orchard fruit, an odd vegetal sourness, oversteeped black tea, and weak earthy, musty hops.

The carbonation is soft, barely a nip or a tic on the tongue to be had, the body a decent medium weight, smooth, and even a bit creamy. It finishes off-dry, some over-sugared breakfast cereal and bland drupe fruitiness lingering alongside the needling and strangely persistent herbal, earthy hops.

A fine enough, old-school English ale, to be sure, stiff upper lip and all that, but still just kind of dull, all things being relative. The sweetness does go a certain distance in allaying the heat from my more piquant choices from the lunch buffet, so all is not lost.

 1,225 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of many beers that I am tired of passing on without trying. Glad I did. Quite Pale Ale-ish in nature. Moderately bready, caramelly, nutty, and hopped to balance. The nitro gave a terrific creamy texture while remaining clean and refreshing. Nicely malty and yeasty through to the finish. Lightly estery due to the fermentation and hopping adds to the complexity. Easy to drink until the finish where a lightly phenolic-plastic-ey flavor was pronounced that made the swallowing a bit tough. Otherwise, I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.53/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into a Hoegaarden (nonreal) pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland, on October 19th, 2010. Pours a clear medium amber-gould. No haze. Three finger head is of moderate thickness but a bit lacking in cream, and retains fairly well. Moderately appealing.

Smell: A clean, moderately strong scent of amber and a little cream. Maybe some hops. Difficult to detect with my broken nose.

Taste: Not what I expected from the smell. A light note of cream, then a nice well-built note of ambery goodness followed by a bitter finish. Even for a pale ale, the bitterness is unwelcome. I like what they're trying to build with this pale ale, but I'd like more cream. The bitterness would better suit the beer in the body, not in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Wet but not watery, with a slight dryness at the finish, but not enough. The dryness clashes with the bitterness. Not enough cream. A little overcarbonated.

Drinkability: I'd have another if it were available but I won't be searching for this at the local Dunnes anytime soon. This is worth trying for people who enjoy pale ales, and for people who don't like traditional pale ales, to see what can be done with the style.

Old Speckled Hen is a bold work within the pale ale style but it falls short of its ambition.

 1,299 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the soon to be "old" Red Lion Pub in Chicago. While this pub isn't Beerfly worthy, it's worth a mention here since I went there specifically for an English ale. The place is an old British-style pub that claims to be haunted, and was built a few years after the Chicago fire in 1871. Long story short, they are demolishing it to rebuild a new pub with condos above it...boo.

It arrives with an inch of creamy foam, and has a caramel/amber color to it. Nondescript aroma some husky grain, maybe a touch of honey.

Flavors of butterscotch, caramel, sawed wood, with a mild hop bitterness that surfaces midway and lingers into the aftertaste. Clean feeling, and easily consumable. It leaves a favorable impression, but isn't too suprising or bold. Slightly above average, but worth a try.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

 1,417 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out a reddish/amber color. It had a short-lived, small head. No lacing.

S - It smelled of pine, yeast and malt.

T - It tasted very malty with a little spicy bitterness.

M - Crisp and slightly dry. It is light to medium-bodied.

D - I was mildly surprised by how good this beer was. It is a nice English Pale Ale.

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Photo of brentk56
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a creamy beige head that doesn't quite rise to the expected occasion and fails to leave as much lacing as would be anticipated for a nitro

Smell: Biscuity, toasted grain with hints of brown sugar and earthy hop

Taste: Biscuity, up front, but the grainy flavors quickly take a turn in a bitter nut-skin direction that, fortunately, fades after the swallow, allowing the sweeter malt flavors, including a bit of buttery diacetyl, to shine

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth, but low, carbonation

Drinkability: Not as good as I remembered this in the bottle, unfortunately; the nut-skin bitterness doesn't appear to work very well

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can: Poured an amber color ale with a medium white bubbly head with average retention. Aroma of floral malt with some fruit-like sweetness. Taste of floral malt is pleasant with some faint fruit-like sweetness and some slightly bitter finish. Overall this is a nice standard ESB that I wouldn’t mind revisiting again.

 318 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of LXIXME
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of SocalKicks
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on nitro tap at Drop Off Service in New York, NY

A: Pours a crystal clear amber in color. The beer has a half finger tall creamy off-white head that is retained throughout the drinking of the beer. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Very light aroma overall with subtle hints of malts and hops.

T: The beer has a very mild flavor with some light hints of the malts and hops.

M: Light bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Extremely creamy.

O: Super easy to drink and very refreshing with a light flavor and wonderful creaminess.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 2,135 ratings