Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

2,089 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 2,089 |  Reviews: 931
Photo of avaldivia
2/5  rDev -42.4%

Photo of Lawnboy33
3/5  rDev -13.5%

Photo of TheAlamoWrocker
2.01/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 440 mL nitro-can into a Blue Star Brewery Pint Glass.

A: The head is a solid one fingered head that appears nice thick and creamy. This appears as a nice Mahogany. The head does last, but does not lace.

S: This simply appears to have a slight malt smell. Maybe it's the thick head that it pours that makes it difficult to smell.

T: The taste of this is slightly malty when first taking this in. While this is firmly in the mouth a caramel taste makes a nice appearance. The aftertaste is really nothing to speak about, either you get nothing or you get a undesirable spice to it.

M: Since this is a nitro-can it holds a creamy head so when you take it in you can feel it. The body is watery and not very appealing. I hardly feel any carbonation to this.

O: I will avoid this in the future. The consistency is what really killed this drink for me. In all reality the reason I picked this up was just because it was a nitro-can and this was obviously a bad way to pick a beer. If you enjoy a watery beer then you might enjoy this, but this is not for me.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a amber/orange colour with an average size creamy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - malts, caramel, spices

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a low amount of carbonation and most of the taste consists of malts, caramel, and a pear juice sweetness. There was a spice that I couldn't put my finger on and a bit of a tea taste. It ends with a malty slightly spicy aftertaste.

Overall - A beer that is very easy to drink but at the same time quite boring. For the price there are many other beers I would rather be having.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.1/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear and copper-color. Thanks to the nitro-widget, it has a thick, creamy head that fades to 1/4" that lasts to the bottom of the glass.

S: Sweet malt dominates, with a faint sharpness (almost artificial) in the background

T: The taste is not strong - a mixture of mildly-sweet malt, diacetyl, and slight citrussy tartness. The finish has mild hops bitterness. It's quite good, but lacks any "wow" factor.

M: Smooth, moist, but a little flat (I think all the bubbles ended up in the head).

O: Tasty and drinkable, but not a stand-out. A good, safe-bet for everyday drinking, either alone for quenching thirst or with mild-flavored foods (fish and chips comes to mind as a good pairing for this English pale ale).

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Photo of MichaelBurns
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a weizen glass (all I have at the moment).

A: Ruby-orange. Clear & inviting. 2 finger fluffy head that settled to a thin cap that lasted. Minimal lacing, most slid back down.

S: Semi-sweet, a little unpleasant at first (funky). Warmed up a bit and now I get some caramel/toffee notes.

T: Sweet up front, some hints of biscuit/grain, then hops to finish and linger. Nothing too special.

M: Light and watery throughout, nice crisp finish, barely dry. Very drinkable.

O: Tasted pretty good & balanced. Nothing extreme, would be a good beer to change someone's BMC mindset IMO.

Check it off the list, and on to the next one. Won't have again for awhile.

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Photo of barleyroad
2.88/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is clear with a slight amber tint. Smell is typical euro ale aroma. Mouthfeel is ok and the good thing is it does not linger. The taste is that of a pale ale and it does have that euro taste. For us americanized tasters it is not what we desire, some may prefer. Overall this is a drinkable beer, not one we will seek out.

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Photo of rapayn01
3.26/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I drank this ale in a seafood restaurant near Covent Garden last Friday night. Typical of too many tourist-friendly places in London, they did not have any real ales on tap and this was the only ale they had by the bottle. Luckily, it was a decent choice.

It looked a bit reddish-orange in the clear bottle and poured the same color in a glass (mine was an Old Speckled hen glass, but it had a stem -- not a normal pint glass).

It has a mild pleasant odor and fairly mild taste of hops. It is not especially bitter. I was glad the restaurant had something to offer, but this was a bland choice.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.61/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: shiny burnt orange body, 2 finger white pillow top,
brilliant lacing

S: earthy grain, light sweet malt

T: sweet banana/tea, earthy malt, mild grain,
light bitter crisp finish

M: light/med body, creamy smooth mouth, semi-dry finish

O: One of my favorite English ales.
Love this with some fine English food.
Fine session brew and would recommend
this to newbies to imports, ales, or craft brews.


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Photo of Crundy
2.32/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

appearance: clear copper, amber color, barely there head

smell: not a very strong smell, some hop, some sort of spice, skunky smell

taste: flat, very little flavor, bland, not very bitter, tiny bit of malt and hop

mouthfeel: smooth, light medium body, no bite, very little carbonation

overall: very boring beer, the color of the beer was what drew me too it, but it just fell flat. just a bland British beer.

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Photo of codfeast
3.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Nice Mahogany, 1/4 creamy off white head, lots of carbination and lacing.

S: Malt, tea leaves, hints of fruit and chocolate.

T: Sweet malt start, hints of bananna, turns a bit roasted and then a bitter end.

M: Thin and watery, dry finish.

O: All fur coat and no trousers, a decent pint, nicely balanced just not a huge fan of the balanced flavors

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Photo of tony223366
3.61/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From my beer journal. Reviewed on July 13, 2011

A: Dark reddish brown color. Amber. Fantastic head that is thick, milky and dense. This head sticks around throughout. Thank you nitro can!

S: Sweet malts, caramel and slightly fruity

T: Definitely get that butterscotch then immediately hit with a roasted malty backbone. Finishes with a nice bitterness.

M: Thin and lots of smoothness from the head

O: This is a nutty and very clean beer. Much better than I anticipated.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a slightly hazy copper colour with an amber hue, finger of big bubbled head with solid retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - A tad mild and one dimensional, but the musty caramel and leafy green hops come through.

T - Bready caramel and leafy green hops with toffee and buttered bread that lingers on the palette. Could use a bit more on the hop side of things, but certainly not terrible.

M - Lighter bodied ale that comes across a tad thin, but goes down smooth and finishes nice and wet.

O - A tasty English Pale Ale and not too shabby for a mass produced ale. I could easily drink this stuff all night long.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 mL can from the LCBO, best before June 2012. Pours a clear, deep copper-amber colour, topped with a finger of white head. Very creamy look to the head, like melted marshmallows, kind of like a nitro head but without the volume. Good retention too, there's a creamy cap on top for much of the session and a bit of lacing on the sides. Not a lot of aroma here, good or bad... bready malts with some toffee, maybe a bit of fruit. Typical EPA fare.

Taste is dominated by lightly roasted bready malts, a bit nutty with some toffee and light pear fruitiness. Leafy, earthy english hop bitterness provides a bit of a counterbalance to the malts; with the mineral qualities of the water also taken into account this brew has a classic bittersweet taste that I have always kind of associated with the style. A creamy, slightly buttery feel in the mouth. Medium-bodied with very little carbonation.

Although I often see this on store shelves I've never had it until now... but I'm pretty happy with the purchase. One of my favourite EPAs is also made by this brewery so maybe it's not terribly surprising that I like it. Perfectly sessionable, mild, and quintessentially English in character, Old Speckled Hen is worth a try for any fan of english pales. Wouldn't mind trying the nitro version of this stuff.

[Updated Nov. 11 2013]

There was a 500 mL bottle of this in a sampler pack I picked up, so I decided to update its score. It really stinks like skunk at first, but beyond that it smells and tastes like a typical EPA - toffee, leafy hops, orchard fruit; that sort of stuff, but with a little more hop dryness than usual. This is a good example of the style that I will happily drink with no complaints, but I've definitely had better. And seriously guys, clear glass looks nice, but it's not worth raunching your beer's aroma up.

Final Grade: 3.62, a B.

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Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

440ml can of Old Speckled Hen was poured into a .6L Austrian mug. Lots of foam from the nitro can; in fact, I was left with a glass completely full of creamy, dense off-white foam .. no liquid!. {And no problems with overflow either}. This settled after a few minutes to a fine looking clear amber liquid with about 2 fingers of exceptionally creamy looking head. This remaining head had excellent durability, with nearly a finger high amount still left when all the liquid had been drained.

Aroma: The beer smells of toasted caramel malt with hints of hops and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: exceptionally smooth and creamy! Medium body.

The flavor features caramel malt with some over-matched hops, although reaching a nice sweet/bitter balance. Trace of over-cooked flavor, probably from the malt.

O - Old Speckled Hen is a fine English pale ale. It exceeded my expectations. This style, however, is overall underwhelming and hard to get excited about.
Paired well with Mexican food.

Fresh bottle sampled in April 2014 produced a higher taste rating (3.75) but a lesser mouthfeel and appearance.

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Photo of BrewMaester
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark amber with decent head, little retention but leaves a nice lace. The nose is warm, malty and inviting. A little bitter has a malty fruity flavor with a biting finish. Light and smooth on the palate. Overall its a good beer, nothing amazing but enjoyable.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- A nice deep amber colour. One finger white head whit very small bubbles. Retention is scarce but the beer still leaves some lacing on the glass

S- Very delicate (almost weak) aroma. A delicate malt breadiness, with a hint of roastiness and that mineral feel that is common with many english ales

T- Sweet malts at first, again with a hint of roastiness, bringing a nice, delicate fruity feel (expecially on the tongue). Some faint mineral/leafy notes may be detected on the palate. A leaf-like bitterness that kinda reminds of tea bursts out on the back of the palate while swallowing and stays in the aftertaste, bringing a nice refreshing feel

M- Not so light in body for the style. Still very delicate on both tongue and palate with that typical smoothness you would expect in an english ale

O- Easily drinkable, decently refreshing, enough flavourful and complex. All you could ask, but nothing really special

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rarely do I review the same beer twice, let alone three times, but I just felt the need to do so on this occasion.

My third review is of a 500ml can consumed in Room 110F of the Combined Officers Mess RAF Mount Pleasant, West Falklands.

Poured into a UK pint sleeve glass it produced a huge off white/cream coloured head of foaming bubbles, below sat a clear amber body. If anything it looked better than the cask and bottled versions I’ve reviewed back in 2006 and 2010.

No aroma could burst through the head at first, but slowly those earthy malty smells began to appear, sweeter than I remember, almost toffee molasses type esters in fact.

The head left some good lacing and the beer had a pleasant malty smooth taste. Glad I noticed it on the beer list behind the bar before I retired to my room; it was a perfect nightcap on my first evening back in the Falklands (only stayed a week this time).

First time I've ever enjoyed a canned beer more than the cask version, might have been the occasion of course. I'll remember that though, I usually slag off the tins!

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.84/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

$5.50 @ The Old Spot, Salem MA.

Coppery color like a glass of apple juice. Thick and creamy nitro head. Glorious nitro head and glorious nitro retention - nitro casks are pretty much cheating in the appearance department because it makes all beers look near flawless.

Typical English toasted mineral swampy aroma.

Flavor is full of fruity esters tempered by metallic minerals. Toasted quality throughout.

I don't think I'd like this beer as much as I do if it wasn't nitro-tapped. But it is and I do.

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Photo of MoustacheHero
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nitro pour of this old bird is just what the doctor ordered.

A: A copper colour with a thick off white head from the nitro.

S: A roasty nose, semi sweet with almost pilsner like qualities.

T: Layers of flavour. Dark, roasty flavours lead into spices, alfalfa and sweetness. Reminds me of a black and tan with its great layering.

M: Rich, creamy mouthfeel that makes nitro pours great. Washes clean.

O: A great beer with a ton of complexity that is never fowl.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.49/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a light copper. Head is thick and wonderfully nitro'd. Very fine bubbled and leaves lots of lacing.
S- Smell is mildly bready with some light malt sweetness. Occassionally picking up some toffee.
T- Taste is about the same. Initially bready with some toffee notes in the middle. Finish is lightly sweet with some tinny notes as well.
M- Relatively creamy, largely due to the nitro tapping. Body is relatively light, but not too much so considering the style.
O- Better than Bass or some of the other well-known English Pale Ales, but it's still only a slightly above average beer for me. The odd tinny note in the finish didn't help much.

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Photo of chocosushi
3.89/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First Nitro-Can not consumed straight from the Can.
440ml->Young's Pint
A ~ One of the finest looking UK beers I have ever seen. The "Fall" effect is a joy to watch. Carbonation is in rows with the head literally not going anywhere. Lacing is akin to heavy cream.

S ~ White bread, Barley, & Oak leaves..not much else. A bit of banana skin.

T ~ Buttered bread & Banana Bread notes ... There's savory toffee & walnuts as well with hints of vanilla-cream. Leafy/Organic flavors similar to spinach or tobacco are also abundant. I'm reminded of of pepper & dried apricot, but these are mostly just whispers in the background.

M ~ Nice creamy texture that is butter-like, while remaining the thin feel of an English pale. At times the nitro was a bit off, I must admit.

D ~ Session level beer with tons of flavor & a pretty decent price tag. Check it out if you haven't had it (out of the can). Even if you don't prefer English brews, this is still a must-try.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is a clear dark amber. The head is composed of rather large bubbles, but leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. It smelled much like a glass of wine to me - some alcohol and fruity scents. The taste was different though, with malts in the forefront. An initial biscuit flavor from the malts was followed by a lemony-grassy flavor from the hops. Nicely balanced. There is a slight alcohol flavor in the aftertaste, much like after drinking champagne. Aggressive carbonation created a prickly feel on the tongue. Enjoyable and very drinkable.

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Photo of dudelove7485
3.84/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

Orangey copper in color. Small-bubbled, white, foamy head diminishes quickly. Very mild aroma. Medium body and buttery on the tip of the tongue. Seems slightly less carbonated out of the bottle. Taste is earthy, piney, a bit toasty; there are slight hints of citrus, champagne and biscuit. The flavor is surprisingly strong and complex considering the lack of aroma. Very drinkable.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 14.9oz nitro can into a pint glass.

Appearance: beer is a rich orange hue with a huge creamy cascading nitro head. What you'd expect from a nitro widget but I like the color as well.

Smell: rich caramel malt aroma with a touch of sweetness and a touch of biscuit. I like it.

Taste: sweet caramelly malt with a little bit of a dryer backend. Nice balanced bitterness as well, with just a little bit of an earthy hop flavor coming through. Good stuff.

Mouthfeel: medium body with that nitro creaminess. I love a good creamy body, but the nitro just seems ... unnatural. I would like to try this some time on just CO2.

Overall: tasty beer which I would like to try on draught or just on CO2 sometime. Quite refreshing and satisfying.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.47 out of 5 based on 2,089 ratings.
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