Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
2,110 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:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,110 |  Reviews: 934
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 jmdrpi
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

brillantly clear amber color. thin white head that fades quickly.

as expectly, no hint of hops, just a mild malty aroma.

sweeter malt taste with just a slightly bitter finish. clean tasting. just enough carbonation to tingle. thinner body.

super easy to drink, great session beer.

 286 characters

Photo of secondtooth
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean amber, with a brisk head.

Nose evokes caramel and sugar.

Flavor is nice and sharp, with the malts prominent but not dominating. Good hoppy finish, with a hint of bitterness.

Overall, a solid and easy-to-drink English ale that should please most palates.

 262 characters

Photo of JayS2629
1.62/5  rDev -53%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Orange with huge creamy head that took way too long to die but left descent lace.

S- Sweet and boozy with skunk spraying all over it.

T- Like a skunk with a licorice stick and a bottle of whisky. Boozy, skunky, and sweet. Not a good combo. No hops, but a fruity biscuit with musky skunk. Awful.

M- Creamy and watery with booze burn

D- Overly sweet and skunky with booze taste. Won't buy it again.

 403 characters

Photo of slackerlack
2.8/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Amber/orange color
S - I smell very little hops, smells a bit like whiskey for some reason.
T - Mellow, a little bitterness in the end. Taste reminds me of whiskey also.
M - Very creamy.
D - Smooth beer, but is filling and thick tasting.

When they poured this beer and handed it to me, it had a 95% creamy head on it. It took a few minutes but the head slowly smoothed out into the beer. Not sure if this had anything to do with the odd taste and smell.

 458 characters

Photo of Beerbluesbiology
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red-amber body with a 2 finger head dwindling down to a thin layer of foam on the body. Looks quite appealing. Smells of toffee, sweet hints of alcohol and biscuit-y malt. Tastes of the biscuit malt along with a lingering bittersweetness and cooked vegetable flavour resulting in a very dry finish. Overall, a nice beer but the finish is almost too dry along with the vegetable-like finish. It is good, not great.

 421 characters

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.9/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: poured a 16 oz. draught can. Nice foamy creamy head. Great lacing that sticks to to the side of the glass. It's so thick a penny could float on top. The head taste like a latte. The bear is auburn brown.

Smell: The beer picks up the can. I've had it on tap before. Nutty caramel malts. Hops back it well.

Taste: Nutty desert. Has a bit of a liquer taste. Finishes well. Sweet.

Mouthfeel: Slighty watery. Chalky

Drinkability: Great beer. I'd drink it again. Great pub fall season beer. Might try blending it with guinness

 537 characters

Photo of robnews
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour from a can into a Harp Pint Glass.

Nice amber orange color with creamy white head.

Head quickly fades.

Nice fresh sweet smell, almost like maraschino cherries.

Bready malty taste, caramel and slight licorice. Nice creamy feel. I like this ale. So unique. Quite flavorful if you are used to macro lagers.

Low carbonation, low fizz.

One of my favorites available locally. Worth a try.

 394 characters

Photo of NickRivers
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Great looking redish brown hen colors

S - Malty skunk aroma

T - Strong alcohol with a malty aftertaste, some hop presence but overpowered by the roasted caramel.

M - Fizzy and light which contributes to the Drinkability

D - Exceptional and light in the belly

My friend from England brought this to me so this review is for the original(Non-Import). I first heard about this on a talk show where the host was in a L.A. pub and explained OSH was the brewers choice. The color on t.v. was amazing and looking really refreshing. The t.v. wasn't off by much now that i've had this, in fact it tastes exactly like i'd imagined, sort of like a maltier NewCastle. The smell is kinda a turn-off but over all its a great beer. I love the use of malts in English beers, it almost tastes as if theres no hops added. I can't imagine what this would taste like on tap. Great with food.

Thanks to Daniel for bringing this down. Cheers Mate! It's the dog's bollocks!

 960 characters

Photo of pjordan29
1.86/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I have never had (to my knowledge) an English Ale. If this is indicative of a typical English Ale, then I will never consume another. This was just not for me, and I love beer.

A - Dark brown with a nice head. Very attractive.

S - Like a beer with a hint of fish.

T - Skunky, fishy. Unimpressed

M - For me, too watery and light in the mouth.

D - For me, not at all drinkable.

I will be avoiding English Ales in the future.

 430 characters

Photo of Hoss76
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

 659 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.49/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a nitro-can 16oz.

Appearance was great. Perfect cascade action and a thick tan head that lasted. Amber-brown in color and clear in complexion. Sticks all over the sides of the glass.

Smelled of caramel malts and fresh baked bread with a little earthiness.

Tastes of caramel malts with a light fruitiness to it. A faint spiced taste and not a lot of hops, skewed a little towards the malted side on taste.

Mouthfeel is quite typical of a nitro can. Smooth and creamy. Fairly dry and medium bodied.

Goes down easy. Not a bad beer at all.

 549 characters

Photo of g00dness
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

 457 characters

Photo of jsdunlop
3.31/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice cascading effect with the nitro can going on, leaves a thick and creamy white 1/2 inch head patiently sitting on top of the amber colored brew. Aromas of sweet, malty goodness hit the nose first, along with some cinnamon and a random veg-all smell that seems out of place. The extremely smooth mouthfeel is evident upon first sip, followed by a sweet caramel flavor, some alcohol presence, and bitter hops that show up just long enough to let you know that they are there. The hop bitterness quickly retreats, and you are left with a slight metallic aftertaste that lingers on the tongue for a while. Very low carbonation in the beer, but it adds to the creamy, smooth texture, leading to an extremely high drinkability.

 725 characters

Photo of Liverpool08
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first cask experience. A very smooth creamy flavor with just a hint of grass or iron maybe. There is just something hiding in there. But on cask its really good. The lack of carbonation and the warmer temp gives it a nice smooth creamy flavor and feel. You could definately drink several. But you need to enjoy that earthy grassy flavor and aroma. I did.

 357 characters

Photo of devilben02
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a glorious deep but clear reddish amber color and a respectable creamy off-white head that unfortunately doesn't hang around long. The aroma is sweet and malty. In fact, it gives the impression of being a little too sweet at first, but the flavor actually has a nice balance, with a pleasant, muddled combination of toffee, caramel, and cherries being held in check by a dull, mild, and somewhat nondescript hop bitterness. The smooth texture works with the flavors, but it doesn't necessarily stand out on its own. Overall, this was different, unexpected, and quite pleasant.

 582 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First couple times I had this, I hated it. From the bottle. Not accustomed to the "English" nuances, most likely.

Had it from the bottle again last year. Different story. Palate used to English ales by this point. Must say, I thought it wasn't bad.

Crossed paths with it on-tap last night. Thought I'd give it another shot. Yeah, it's alright. The pour was nice (fond of the nitro-file). Despite a smooth, creamy first look, the head petered out rather early and the sheeted lacing stopped halfway down (not a spotless class, hmm?). The aroma is a tad bready and certainly a larger degree 'fruity', but there's a decidedly whiskey quality overall. Not just the aroma but the color and flavor as well. Reminds me vaguely of Bass...maybe. But, anyway, yes, the whiskey edge is strong - a watered-down beer version of the spirit. Decent smoothness in feel - the nitro certainly blandifies the drinkiness and flavor-taste. This is an ideal session or fish-n-chips (et al - pub food) drink, notwithstanding.

 1,004 characters

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

Old Speckled Hen is an English classic of the greats. One can classify this beer as (strong) Pale Ale, but it can also easily 'just' be described as an extremely complex Bitter. There is most likely used barley malt for this genuine sweetness, and I imagine that there are at least used Goldings hops (my all-time favorite hops), and just that somewhat simple, contrasting composition makes an exuberant experience.

So here we have a fruity, malty, while fresh beer. It is a beer with great body, nice head and inviting color.

A classic beer, I always have to consume in significant quantities when I visit the English pubs, but the bottled version is indeed worth the money too (if you can muster it).

 705 characters

Photo of ejreynolds
3.21/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Attractive burnt-orange / copper color. Small head (perhaps just over a quarter inch) that dissipates quickly leaving a bit of lacing.

S: Mild and sweet. Caramel malt notes, some faint hops, not much else.

T: Taste matches the nose. Some mild hops to round it out. Almost a sense of "not enough hops" for a pale ale, but I do love hops.

M: Carbonation leaves a clean, light feeling. Yet, there's an element of creaminess to it. Odd, but enjoyable.

D: Effortless. I could happily drink multiple as it goes down easy and isn't overly complicated.

Not sure I'd buy it again in a bottle, but will most certainly grab it on tap if I ever see it.

 690 characters

Photo of amartin1718
3.27/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured the 500 ml can into a pint mug, to be greeted with a very pretty copper/amber/burnt-orangey-red colour. What little head there was (about 1/4 inch) was a nice, creamy, fine-bubbled foam, but it quickly dissipated in favour of the initially enthusiastic carbomation bubbles. Slight lacing.

S - Moderate sweet smell, for sure. Repeated attempts to blow my nose (not into the beer!) and clear things up in there gave me little additional smell info. Sort of caramel, maybe a little "toastiness."

T - A lot like the taste, with the odd hop peek-a-booing through. Nothing was particularly strong about its taste characteristics. Also, toward the bottom of the glass (and once it was a little warmer), I started noticing a bit of metal on the tail end, heading on through the aftertaste. Could be from the can, I suppose.

M - Sort of creamy, but then a lot of beers might feel creamy when the carbonation dissipates like a bat out of Hell. By the time I was half done, the only bubbles I could see were the odd clusters stuck around the sides of the mug. Trying very hard to be objective here, but I do like my carbonation and it really hurts my view of this beer to lose it so soon after pouring.

D - Provided the taste and feel are for you, I see no reason why one couldn't enjoy several of these at a time. Goes down quite easily for an ale, as one would expect from a pale ale.

I got these in a 4-pack, and I'll certainly drink the rest now that they're in my fridge, but I can't see myself buying it (especially in this serving type) again.

 1,555 characters

Photo of mountsnow1010
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a DFH glass

A - pretty copper color with a nice head that subsides pretty quickly - a bit of lacing as well
S - sweetish smell, a bit of nondescript fruit, not much else
T - sweetish taste, a bit of hops structure but not too much (glad I'm planning to have a Dale's Pale after and not before! also a hint of metal a couple times but not very obvious
M - very clean mouthfeel, a nice bit of carbonation that feels almost cleansing
D - quite high - one of the first times I drank beer when visiting family in england (maybe was fifteen or sixteen??) I was able to drink it without issue and frankly didn't feel the alcohol as much as I would have expected. I could drink a lot of this (if I so desired)

Still a very nice beer for a change. Bit of nostalgia value too, of course.

 799 characters

Photo of GeoJ
1.52/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Clear bottle, nice copper color, poured into a pint glass giving a 1-finger head. Not much aroma other than faint malt. Mouthfeel was *ok*, nothing outstanding. I found that any malt taste was quickly overpowered by bitterness, and not the good kind.

Nasty, overpowering metallic after-taste that settled in after the first sip and would not let up. After 5 sips it turned into a drain pour - I could not force myself to drink any more.

I'll give the benefit of the doubt and say I had a VERY badly skunked bottle and would be willing to try it on tap, as I do enjoy English ales. There is an English Pub in town that serves it, so I'll give it a try with a good plate of bangers and mash and post another review.

As far as the bottle? Not a chance I would buy it again.

 775 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber-copper color with a creamy off-white head that persists and leaves a good deal of lacing. The nose is quite plain with a bit of bready malt and some very, very faint floral hops. The taste suffers from the same fate as there really is just not much to this one. Mouthfeel is light and creamy. Drinks well enough but just is not a terribly flavorful or complicated beer.

 414 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - It is served a nice maple-amber hue, with a small white cap and good lace.

S - Simplistic nose of vague sweetness and toasty biscuit.

T - The flavor is about the same as the aroma, except it seems to taste even more bland. It is mostly vague sweetness and toasty biscuit. Also a hint of peach fruitiness, but just the smallest hint.

M - There is a strange conflict between the watery feel of this brew, and the undeniable creaminess. The both inhibit the effectiveness of one another. In other words, they should be mutually exclusive. Still, it has a better feel than most brews out.

D - Easy drinking, partially because it is near-flavorless.

 652 characters

Photo of afksports
3.26/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Spring Lounge this evening. I've had much fonder memories of it. American Craft has apparently ruined my appreciation for English beers with great head.

It's a transparent amber red, has little to no carbonation, but has a foamy head on top that stays for a while and eventually recedes to thin lacing. Smell is caramel, some malts, hint of hops, but not much overall.

It tastes very smooth, about the same as the nose. Mouthfeel is good, but the lack of carbonation really hurts. Still, it's non-offensive. And that makes it drinkable, if a bit overly boring.

 576 characters

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 2,110 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.