Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
2,098 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by Quaffer on 10-23-2000

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,098 |  Reviews: 933
Photo of Cozzatoad
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
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 +2.3%
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 +11.3%
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 +11%
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 +1.2%
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 +12.8%
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 +5.2%
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 +11.3%
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 +14.5%
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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Photo of Stocean1
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average is the word that best describes this brew. It poured a one finger head of pillowy foam over an amber(light) coloured body with some lacing. The smell was malt with somehops coming through. The tastes was much the same with a a cloying sweetness coming through. It had a little hops bite and was somewhat dry. A medium bodied brew with little carbonation. Overall this brew did nothing to impress although it is certainly drinkable.

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Photo of rvdoorn
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look: the beer pours a clear orange-copper color, with a nice fluffy head.
Smell: Malts, caramel, toffee and butter
Taste: Malts, nuts, butter, caramel and yeast dryness in the aftertaste. Bit metallic finish.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, medium body.
Overall: Nice brew, easy to drink

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Photo of tdm168
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can.

Pours a deep amber with large amounts of foamy head. Head develops much like a Guinness. Smells of caramel malt. Taste is creamy bordering on soapy with a slight sweet malt. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

I'm glad I tried a this classic, but not sure I'd seek it out again.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.91/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a dark copper color. Not much brightness in the color, just very clear, and dim. Fresh white head comes and goes. A smallish layer sits and laces a bit.

S-Good god, skunk ass. Could this one smell more skunky than Heineken? Literally seeps from the bottle. Then once poured, it gets progressively more powerful. If I really try to find any aroma behind the skunkiness, I find some subtle pale maltiness. So this is an English Pale Ale huh?

T-Skunk is found on the palate too (not as intense as in the nose). First comes the skunk, then a mildly enjoyable sweetness. Getting a bunch of toffee. But then the skunk comes back and muddles the flavor. A combination of good and bad here. A slight hop shove tries to fight the predominant flavor.

M-The carbonation is the first thing I notice here. Beyond that, I get a 'hard to describe' macro feel. A bit watery with a strange slickness left on my tongue.

O/D-Pretty confused by this one. Has good points, but is one of the skunkier beers I have had. As it warms it gets better. But as it gets better, I am already thinking of what I should be drinking next.

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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 beerdrinker4life
3.36/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got on a recent can obsession after having a few great beers in the can. Wanted more!

Ok poured this one into my glass. Something was weird! Then I realized it was a nitro pour. Took forever! The head cascaded down and then finally settled into a fine layer of cream on the top. Ok, here we go!

Tasted OK. Just OK. No real hop presence. The malt was nice and creamy and smooth but it just did not quench my thirst. Especially on a hot day. Seemed more like a beer milkshake.

Good mouthfeel for what its worth but did not hit the spot. Overall just lacking in real pronounced character. Drinkable for sure, but not real quenching.

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Photo of drinkiusmaximus
3.15/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a clear copperish color with a two fingers head that fades quickly but plnty of retention and some nice lacing.

S- medicinal herbal and a little sweet malts.

T- bitter herbal hops that play across the tongue and finish with a ricola kick. the herbal hops subdue the sweetness from any malts that are present.

M- medium bodied with a slight creaminess which ends up dry.

D- not my favorite english pale but servicable. this one does laeve a tad lacking on the hops front.


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Photo of WhiteOak
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It is hard to get an Old Speckled Hen in perfect condition because they are often affected by Clear Glass Bottle Disease. But if you can find a fresh, un-skunked example, it's a good beer indeed.

A- Dark, brilliant amber color with a lovely tan head.

S- An un-skunked one will offer a sweet, alluring aroma of burnt caramel, butterscotch, a touch of yeasty malt, and herbal hops.

T- The Hen is very creamy, just like a Storck or Werther's caramel candy. Flavors of toffee-coated walnuts, sweet cereal grains, fruity yeast, sweet granola, black licorice. The grassy hops flavor may be from extract, but I remain satisfied even if so.

Creamy and very drinkable.

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Photo of obrendano
4.3/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one I love picking up in the can, as I do not trust the clear bottled version I always see.

A - deep copper body and creamy head that takes a good amount of time to set up after pouring. I love beers in nitro cans.

S - good smell of strong sweet malt, almost no hop presence in smell

T - GREAT hit of butterscotch flavor followed by a nice dry malt taste, again almost no hop presence in taste, but the hops are probably behind a slight bitter balancing note in the background of the finish.

M - a little thin, as with all nitro beers, but is more than made up for in flavor

O - I never have any trouble taking this one nice and slow, especially as a substitution for dessert. Great beer

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red dead redemption is the color, a slight white heady with quick dissipating skills and a little bit of lace...

Super malty and sweet in the nose, a hint of copper in the rear

Molasses and sweet cloying malts, apples, some strong yeast and a hint of bitter in the aftertaste

Medium light body, and soda pop carbonation

Good job from the blokes across the pond

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Photo of woosterbill
1.64/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Handpump half-pint at the Windmill in Stratford-upon-Avon.

A: Slightly cloudy light-brown body with a 1/2" cap of frothy tan foam. Surprisingly good retention for such big bubbles, but practically no lace.

S: Umm, watered down wort? Slightly sweet and malty, but weaker than a newborn.

T: Terrible. Musty, astringent, cidery, and watery. Almost no flavor, and what is there is bad.

M: Medium body, almost still. Limp.

O: Perhaps this was a poorly kept cask, but the other real ales at this pub were just fine. This was probably the single worst ale I encountered in the UK, and I tried plenty of clunkers. Avoid at all costs (which is depressingly hard to do, since this beer is often the only cask ale offered at a given pub).


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Photo of thegodfather1076
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - Very Very simple classic style bottle and label.

Appearance - Poured out a super clear copper color with a 1 1/2 finger khaki head that slowly dissipates into a thin foam film. Slight lacing.

Smell - Smells of butterscotch and caramel maltiness and a slight hint of citrus hoppiness.

Taste - Tastes of a hoppy bitterness right of the bat followed by a nutty sweet caramel maltiness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel with a light carbonation.

Drinkability - Smooth and very drinkable.

A very different taste that caught me offguard at first but as it warmed a bit the flavor started coming out and I found myself thinking the more I tasted it the better it got.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beverage with my fish fry at the Five O'Clock Club. I was very pleased to see this on tap.

A) Arrived cascading nicely in a standard pint glass. The ale is amber, with a very silky inch to inch and a half of white head. The head thinned slowly, and really stuck around. There was nice lacing.

S) Malty, with some sweetness, maybe honey or caramel. There is a hint of short bread or perhaps English muffin.

T) Slight sweetness to start, maybe even a little banana flavor. If it was banana, it was very mild. The finish was easier to pinpoint, as it was bitter English hops.

M) Smooth and crisp. I'd describe it as medium bodied, with light carbonation.

O) I've always enjoyed English pale ales, and Old Speckled Hen is no exception. I haven't had the pleasure of enjoying it on tap since my last visit to the UK, which was unfortunately eight years ago. I have found that marriage and children tend to keep you stateside.

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Photo of Forb
3.06/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap at the Yard House in San Antonio, TX...

Appearance: Caramel and amber colors below a 2 finger fluffy head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Malty, honey, resembling bready sweetness.

Taste: Many malts of caramel and biscuit essence with very faint spice or hop influence.

Mouthfeel: Immediate flatness in the low to no carbonation; Smooth, creamy, silky.

Overall: Worth having had but not by any means my favorite of the style...

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

What a difference a fresh sample makes. First time I tried this it was a skunked bottle past it's prime and I wasn't impressed. But last night I had it fresh and on tap. Huge difference. Poured a 1/4" silky head which lasted almost to the last drop in the glass. Color as far as I could tell in the dark bar was a lovely clear reddish hue. Taste was pretty mild but followed with a long lasting bitterness which I could still taste after I got home. And the body itself is fairly silky smooth. Not a favorite of mine but a perfectly acceptable beer on tap.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank a whole bunch of these over the past week or two, starting in London, then in Harwich, then on the ship that left from that port. Each was poured into a large nonic pint glass.

An aggressive pour is never a bad idea with this beer, as it really opens the nose and body up. These pours would typically create a 1-1.5 inch cap of fluffy white head. The body can be slightly chill hazed, but the color is deep ruby brownish amber color. There is not much lacing to be seen.

The aroma is very English, as far as things go. Earthy and mineraly in the base of the aroma, with grassy hops, butterscotch, caramel, and light fruity notes coming through with a supple bready quality to give a very compelling overall impression of the aroma. On the palate, there is a touch of sweetness along with a hint of diacetyl butterscotch flavor. Bitterness is neatly present to balance the sweetness, as the grassy hops come through more strongly than they do in the aroma.

Easy to drink with a light to medium feel, this is one of those 'go out and buy a case' beers. I could drink this every day. Granted, probably better the closer to England you go, the better it will be, with the clear glass bottle and everything...

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 2,098 ratings
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