Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

2,082 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: 2,082 |  Reviews: 928
Photo of kojevergas
2.53/5  rDev -27.1%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a tall, clear bottle. First time I've had this bottled - usually I get it on draught or in canned form.

Poured into a nonic. Big carbonation bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. Russet-orange in colour, with a thin, soapy head, not much lacing or retention. Not that this is uncommon for the style, however, but I can't say it's visually appealing beer.

Nose is caramel, tea, toffee, leafy hops. Not bad.

Taste gets considerably better as it warms up (definitely one I'd prefer at English serving temperature). Malty, with notes of caramel, toffee and tea. Hops to the finish. I don't think the bottle has helped matters, as there is a slight sour skunk to the whole thing, but generally it's not bad. Standard big-market EPA.

Watery, slightly oily, aggressive carbonation at first which settles down near the finish.

Not bad, but certainly very different in this clear bottle from what I remember the draught version tastes like. Certainly a more manufactured feel to it here, a very run-of-the-mill English pale. Still, it's going down well and I'll probably come back to it again, just next time in another serving type.

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

Pours a pretty copper color with a thick white head and some residual lacing. Smells of strong hops and toasted grain. A very well blended mix of hops, semi sweet malts, and nice grain flavors all hit the tongue well. Mouthfeel is average and a little fizzy. Drinkability is not too shabby. A classic brew here.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Clear bottle, eh? Alright, fair enough. The beer inside pours a straight amber topped by a thin half-finger of off-white foam. The nose is strictly a combination of rye bread and walnuts. Nothing more, nothing less. The taste adds in a touch of oak, a drop or two of light maple syrup, and some light greenery. The body is a heavy light/light medium, with a very light carbonation and a very smooth feel. Overall, a nice EPA, nothing eye-catching (or 'bud-catching, I guess) but tasty enough and highly drinkable.

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Photo of HuppMJH
2.73/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Look - Pours the color of a dark amber stone. I notice that the head disappeared very quickly. By the end of the beer, you could scarcely tell that a head existed.

Smell - Not a lot going on with the smell of this beer. I mostly notice a fruity aroma; possibly plum?

Taste - A slight fruity taste which is mixed with a strong hop finish. Honestly, if I were to close my eyes and take a drink, I would think that some trickster mixed a light beer and a rose' wine together. Not a horrible taste, but definitely not what I'm looking for in a beer.

Overall, I wouldn't rank this offering above average in my quest through the world of beer. I chalk it up as a learning experience and will forge ahead.

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Photo of bsp77
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from nitro-tap into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear, bright amber with thick nitro head and layers of lacing.

Smell: Spicy and floral English hops, cherry & other fruit and light tea.

Taste: Light malts with some cherry, dark fruit and tea-like characteristics. Fairly strong English hops take over and carry through the finish. Slightly sour. I feel strange saying this, but it is a little unbalanced toward the hops; the malts should supply better support.

Feel: Smooth and creamy nitro body with low carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Very drinkable English Ale that is almost too hoppy considering the relatively weak malts.

Still trying to find the ideal version of this beer as nitro mutes the malts and the clear bottle is usually a little off. Guess I need to go to England for a cask beer for the real thing.

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Photo of gfreed
2.34/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Hmmm... I'll try not to let the fact that I'm drinking this beer in a depressingly undecorated, dirty room at the Chelsea Hotel in New York, from a water glass of questionable pedigree, and in the company of a clanking old air conditioner and a slight odor of sewer gas color my review. I had to fight like hell to open the bottle because I forgot to buy an opener at the store, so who can tell what damage I caused when banging the bottle cap against a dresser, a table, a chair arm, a refrigerator and a door jamb before finally getting the thing open.

Bourbon in color, with minimal head. There's a distinct smell that's not unlike a Bud or Coors-- sharp and sour, rather old-sock in nature; not very inviting. Fortunately the taste is better than the smell, with a decent dose of pears and a light touch of citrus that is rounded off by a malty spike and a final quiet growl of hops. Not a bad refuge in my situation, or from the slim pickings at a grocery store that really had nothing else to offer except the usual unspectacular offerings from Sam Adams and Magic Hat. This beer is best enjoyed while holding the nose.

And as for the Chelsea Hotel... enjoy the ambience from the sidewalk, from a Leonard Cohen song or a Virgil Thomson composition. Don't waste a dollar on the accommodations.

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Photo of flipper2gv
3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Perfectly translucent amber color with off white head. Retention is ok but lacing is good (for the ABV)Gorgeous beer.

S: Super strong biscuit malts mostly. Good level of floral hops and herbal hops. Also, good sweetness that comes in the form of caramel. Some toasted whole grain bread. Light smell though.

T: Quite exactly the same thing as the smell. Biscuit and caramel malts. Good floral and herbal hops. Also some multi grain bread toastiness. Some spicyness that wasn't in the smell though. A bit light tasting.

M: Good medium body with medium carbonation. Good

D: Like most british beers I had the chance to drink, this one is also extremely drinkable with being very balanced. Good brew.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.82/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on September 18, 2010. It pours a reddish-amber with about an inch of puffy off-white head that bubbles downward little by little and leaves some nice lacing. Caramel malts and molasses seem to greet the nose with a crisp thin hoppiness in the background. There is a fine bitterness to the flavor with a buttery-caramel sweetness and with a sharp hop bite at the end. Very English. I used to buy this one frequently but not as much anymore. But I still like it from time to time.

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Photo of confer
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the clear bottle. The color is different. Copper with a red tint.
Nothing but bready malt in the smell.
Funky taste, weak start with a slightly bitter finish.
Simple beer and easy enough to drink. I wouldn't turn it down but wouldn't go looking for it .

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Photo of Sleestak
4.11/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at The Olde Ship in Fullerton last night. Tried this beer years ago from the bottle and thought it was ok so let's see how it is from a nitro tap. Smooth, creamy, crisp with just a bit of hop kiss at the finish. Very good on tap. Hit the spot for me and worked well with the bangers and mash I ordered.

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Photo of sdj5
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a nitro-can.

3 finger head that settles to a 1 finger head over time. Smells like caramel, butterscotch.

Tastes of malt, and many of the same things it smells like. Nice muted hop bite on the end.

The mouthfeel is very good. Sort of smooth.

I could drink these all night.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep coppery orange colour, with a fairly full head of off-white foam. Lacing is excellent. The body looks pretty thick, as though the sparse bubbles have trouble pushing their way to the surface. Head dissipates rather quickly, but it looks pretty tasty.

Pleasant green aroma on the nose, with a hint of fragrant skunkiness, in the best way possible. Some mellow roasted grains give a lightly nutty aroma as well, perhaps like hazelnut praline. Really quite fragrant, and with lots of character - a very good EPA nose.

Taste is also reasonably good, but it has some drawbacks - for a start, it's quite aggressively carbonated on the palate, which attacks the front and overwhelms the subtle flavours. There's also a slightly metallic bitterness mid-palate which adds too much harshness. Otherwise, there's a pleasant mellow, slightly nutty caramel character which glides through all the way to the very back, and which gives some good depth. Shame about the drawbacks though.

Still, this is a very decent English ale - probably one of my favourites, even though I'm not a huge fan of the style in general.

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Photo of tronester
3.61/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark copper with a creamy off-white head. Smells of sulfur, and butter. Taste is juicy grapes up front, with a toasted bread middle, and an earthy, dry bitter finish. Mouthfeel is good, low carbonation. Quite drinkable, I would imagine this is loads better at the source (on cask), but in bottled form its a pretty good beer too.

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Photo of LacquerHead
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at The Friendly Spot in S. Antonio TX 8/21/2010

It was poured into a regular pint glass. The pour looked similar to a Boddingtons. There was a cascading effect that led to a 1/2inch settlement of very smooth foam. It had a crystal clear deep copper color.

The aroma reminded me of amaretto. It was very sweet smelling, sort of buttery.

The taste was not to dissimilar from the aroma. Sweet caramel malts, and a little nutty. Not a whole lot of hops on duty in this one - I think they took the night off. Still, there was just enough there to keep the malts from getting out of line, and provide a nice dryness.

Very smooth texture and M/F - a very soft beer. Unlike Boddingtons, this one didn't taste watery. It was very full flavored.

A decent beer that I'd drink again, especially on-tap because it looks cool being poured. However, I still like the bottle version better. While it may be good, I couldn't see myself drinking too many of these.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving type - can poured into tulip

A - Good thing I poured this into a glass! Didn't shake the can up at all, but the nitro unit in the can sure managed to cause this thing to make one super thick, creamy head pouring out! Pours a transparent ruby hue, with a rather thick, creamy, off white head.

S - Smell is of light, pale and caramel malts, butterscotch, and a light noble hop presence.

T - Taste is of light caramel and butterscotch like malts, with some mild fruity tones (apple, pear), some tea flavors, and a mild hop kick at the end to balance things out. This EPA is well balanced, but leaning in favor of the malts.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied, velvety smooth, and creamy. Carbonation is very minimal.

D - Drinkability is above average. Not something I'd want to drink all night, but one or two is nice.

Overall - A pretty nice English Pale ale. Haven't got around to trying too many EPA's yet, but they're most definitely a different animal than APA's. For those looking for a smooth, subtle, malty pale, this one delivers.

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Photo of rodenbach99
3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought at the SAQ. From a translucid 500ml bottle. Very nice clear copper colour ale. White head, little retention. Nice cristal malt nose, with some roastiness. Sharp hop bitterness, nice flavor, little malt but lots of hops. Nice English style pale ale.

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Photo of darkmartin
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours to a clear, caramel-brown with ruby tones, and a small tan head. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Smells slightly of roasted malts, with faint citrus hops.

Taste: Taste is fairly complex, a sweet caramel malt notion hits me first, which is then followed by a fairly intense, hoppy bite.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth mouthfeel. Feels very creamy in the mouth, yet still finishes clean. Simply excellent.

Drinkability: Overall the great mouthfeel and interesting taste makes this a very fun beer to enjoy. Quite good.

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Photo of thecarster1
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a pint, orangey brown coloring, one finger of head leaves behind some lace.

s- earthy nose, malt dominates, light hopping.

t- nice malt mix here, not the average pale ale, a bit earthy, some sweetness, very light on the hops.

m- smooth and creamy medium body.

d- really drinkable, i had this a little bit ago for the first time, and i would drink it again for sure.

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Photo of albern
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the beer that Newcastle would do well to emulate. This is a very classic English Pale Ale that hits all the right notes. It pours a nice clear amber color, light carbonation, nice off white creamy head, some retention going on. The nose is toffee, caramel, a touch of diacetyl, and English herbal malts.

The taste is not particularly sweet, it has a nice caramel malty mid section, lots of toffee and butterscotch flavors, a good deal of drying and slightly bittering leafy hop in the finish. The beer is just a classic English Pale, with the herbal caramels, slightly roasted toffee flavors, and the drying finish. There is subdued sweetness here and this is what really separates this out from faux EPAs. As the beer settles, it really brings out the pale malts. There is a touch of minty mouthfeel to the beer as well.

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Photo of 828beagle
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass a ruby-like amber orange with a creamy one finger head. Substantial amount of lacing. Smells of fresh cut spring flowers and caramel sweetness. Sweet bubblegum taste offset by a slight bitter hoppiness. Considerable carbonation and a medium to light body. Quite refreshing with a dry finish and nice aftertaste. A pleasant surprise, I would happily buy and drink a sixer of this brew without regret.

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Photo of donniecuffs
4.31/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a translucent copper/amber into a pint glass, with one finger of off-white, great Guinness-like waterfall and retention, and excellent lacing. The aroma consisted of toffee, caramel, apple, and pear. The taste equaled the aroma, with a nice caramel malty dissolve at the finish. Silky smooth feel, with no carbonation, excellent lacing, and excellent retention. Truly an awesome session brew. Had this on a nitro-tap at a small wannabe Irish pub around the corner from dba Manhattan, and it was amazing as well. Presentation and texture is KEY to this beer, as I couldn't imagine this beer tasting as good in a regular bottle or carbonated tap.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.97/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml can poured in a chalice.

Very nice British Ale. Smooth and refreshing

A: Red and clean with many bubbles around. Huge and creamy yellow head which dissipates slowly leaving a thin layer on top and many lacings around the glass
S: Smells caramel malts and fresh flowery hops, basically. A bit fruity and a bit of alcohol can be felt in the end
T: Tastes is pretty much like the nose. Sweet up front. Sweet caramel malts and a moderate bitter and "hoppy" end
M: Pleasant. Quite creamy to a light body and refreshing beer. Well done, for sure. Moderate bittereness and carbonation. A little bit molasses
D: High. Delicious bitter. I would drink all they long, you can bet it... ;)

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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 tone77
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to woodychandler for the trade.Poured from a 14.9 oz. nitro can. When it finally settled down has a caramel color with a 1.5 inch head, considerable lacing throughout. Smells of malts and hops, a bit of sweetness to it. Taste is of caramel up front, the hops coming out later, slightly sweet. Feels creamy in the mouth and is very drinkable. Overall this is a fine quality beer.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.47 out of 5 based on 2,082 ratings.
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