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: 930
Photo of shutupdoodah
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Creamy off-white head develops as the nitrogen begins to dissolve. The fine bubbles due to the nitrogenation seem to linger a bit longer than with Guinness, Bodingtons, or the like. Final head about 1-2 fingers, and is retained for the duration of enjoyment. Copper color, not too opaque though. Very fine bubbles remain on the edge and bottom of glass, but not throughout.

S - Something sweet on the front of the nose. Perhaps a bit of caramel?

T - Up front, a initial hit of bitterness, followed by something sweet-some of the caramel coming out. Lingering toasty/nutty flavor stays long after.

M - Heavy, a bit chewy, and smooth as could be. Again, not particularly bubbly, which is a nice change.

D - The flavor is a bit too "rich" for me to think to have several in a row, but I'd definitely enjoy one or two.

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

Poured from a 335 ml clear bottle, I am always a bit scared of the clear glass.
Copper color, hardly any head or lace, and minimal carbonation. Smells a bit sweet, and some hops come through as well. Nice flavor, typical english pale ale. Good balance of malt and earthy hoppiness. Medium body and mouthfeel. Nothing flashy, just a solid example.
I am interested to try the canned an draft versions for comparison.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.15/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Classic amber color with an off-white head.

The aroma is very nice, caramel, tea leaves, and earth.

Maris otter and English yeast work well together as far as the taste goes. A touch of toasty toffee and earthy hops are there. It's malty but manages to stay dry, which is a plus.

Really drinkable, impressive English ale. I could session this every day and not complain.

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Photo of brentk56
3.33/5  rDev -4%
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 capewellmj
3.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Reddish brown colour. The widget in the can delivers a very creamy head that stays to the bottom with lots of lacing.

Smell - Very light smell, so light in fact I couldn't really smell it.

Taste - Very mild taste at first but delivered a very pleasant malty aftertaste that was very sticky on the tongue for a while afterwards.

Mouthfeel - Very very silky smooth, probably as a result of the widget. Very nice.

Overall - I love it, a nice silky smooth mild beer that leaves a good aftertaste. However I wouldn't drink this beer after an IPA as I don't think I would taste anything.

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Photo of Kexx
3.39/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a thick white head that looks like whipped cream. Carbonation is low. Color is beautiful reddish-amber. A little lacing.

Aroma: The nose is of caramel, and mild malt. Not particularly interesting. No perceptible hops.

Taste: Flavor seems a bit bland and watered down, but good. Very smooth and creamy, a bit like an Irish Cream Ale. My first impression is flavors of mild malt with bread dough in the background with just a hint of something sweet and cider-like. A very drinkable beer, but not exceedingly flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied. Lower-level of carbonation is well suited to the style. Leaves a milky aftertaste.

Overall, it's a pretty good beer, though I prefer English Bitters with a bit more character like Fuller's or Samuel Smith's. Cheers.

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Photo of BARFLYB
2.24/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Nitro can on a cold snowy night.

A- OSH is a deep amber slightly bronze color with a nice tight cap from the nitro.

S-, smells like caramel, butter, and some faint odd smell that I cant place.

T- "It's like butter baby, it's like butter, it's like butter baby, it's like butter." Q-Tip.

M- Smooth from the nitro with a light build but not very interesting because the taste is bland.

D- Next.

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Photo of MaineBirdMan
4.21/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I started drinking Old Speck this fall. Fell in love with it. One of the local pubs in town carries the nitro-cans.
A: copper. Pours with a nice creamy 1" head.
N: one of the only downfalls to this ale. Not much of a nose but there is enough to make you curious and want to take a drink.
T: great example of a traditional English Pale Ale. Very smooth. The hops are distributed evenly. Hints of toffee.
M: Good amount of carbonation yet very smooth. Not a long finish but enough to make you want another sip. Dry finish.
D: Very easy to drink. Could drink it all day. Very close to a cream ale.
The history of the beer is pretty interesting. The making of "old Speckled Hen has something to do with the 50th anniversary of the MG Car company.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ordered a pint at St. James' gate in JP last Saturday night. Man, the bartender certainly took her time finishing off pouring this beer. Took forever. Sunset yellow color body. Thin white head finally settles at the top. Smells creamy like a cappuccino, warming and thick. Taste was slightly above average. Not a lot too it, but enough flavor to be satisfying. The nitro really makes this beer shine. Gives it a creamy texture that helps keep each successive sip just as thick as the last. Low in abv helps make this beer a great session choice. Old Speckled Hen is a mainstay in Brit/Irish pub for a reason: it's good.

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Photo of BeerMasterD
3.66/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 335ml bottle a perfect rich copper color into a pint glass, barely any head on this, alittle dissapointed with that but maybe it was my pour. Nearly no bubbles or indication of carbonation but it still looks inviting. Smells malty sweet, and tastes of hops and malt blended near perfectly. Sweet but not intense, a slight bitter. A full rich medium feel with little carbonation or liveliness, but overall a very solid drinkable ale, very well rounded and im pleased. Ill be getting this again, ill be looking to try this on tap also. The color of this in the bottles makes them look very nice and interesting and is probably the reason for the use of clear bottles, but i dont think its really worth possibly letting damaging light get at the beer, especially a good beer.

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Photo of Stimack
4.15/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can remember finding this beer on tap at the Gingerman in Albany about 15 years ago and being blown away by it. Over the years I have had it a number of time but solely from the bottle with not so great results. Was able to give it a try last evening on Cask at Mahars and once again was really impressed. Brew was pulled to a nice golden color with some amber/orange highlights. Good sized frothy head that had nice retention and lacing. The aroma is nice, toffee and caramel, slight hop. Very impressed with the delicacy of it. The flavors are similar to the nose, hops feel seems to come out a little more. Nice toffee flavor, extremely smooth feel. An excellent English brew IMO. Now at 5.2 ABV this might not be a sessional brew but it sure has that feel.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml can poured into pint glass jan12 2010

A clear golden orange with tiny slowly rising bubbles floating up to a thick thumbs width of head that slowly falls to a film that leaves a few rings of lace

S caramels with some very mild hops

T malty toffee and a little something I can't place, nothing bad just unique

M quite creamy one of the better aspects of this beer

D a good beer and worth trying, one can only wonder how much better this would be out of something other then a can

when it's on par in price with our macros here in Canada it's a pretty easy choice.

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Photo of adamette
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken last night at Bspot, Michael Symon's place in Woodmere, Ohio. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass.

A The silkiest of silky looking abundant had rides on top of a yellow/orange translucent body. I really like the look of this beer. 4.5

S Light hops, malt to the nose. I may even pick up a bit of light spices. Inviting. 4.0

T Smooooth with barley malt and hops in the front. I can tell right away that this is a very drinkable beer. 4.0

M As stated, the beer is so smooth, it is like velvet. The overall feel was bigger than I thought it might be too. 4.0

D Good drinkability. 4.0

Notes: I have seen this beer in so many places and finally having one shows me why it is so popular. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
2.58/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Source/Serving: Draught

Smell: I've had this beer 3 times at 3 different places and each time I think that its close to being "off". However these are all well-regarded places and I've inquired and people assure me that its normal. Very estery (apples) that boarder on dank and musty. It really smells like I'm in a vineyard or orchard on a really humid, dewy morning at dusk. There is a slightly "off" smell that I'm attributing to old wood. Oddly enough none of this is bad...more unique and interesting.

Taste: Oddly like apple cider that has slightly turned. Very bready and bisquity with low carbonation and very smooth. Very dry throughout with a finish that progressively gets more bitter.

Notes: I find this beer incredibly unique and like nothing I've ever tasted....however it makes me feel like I'm losing my mind since no one else seems to have a similar experience regarding its smell/flavor profiles. I find this beer fascinating, but difficult to drink much of.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.01/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Poured from a nitro-tap with a huge, thick, white head. It pours a nice light amber/dark yellow color. It has some awesome lacing due to the nitro-tap.

S-Not much going on in the nose. Mostly some caramel and malt, with a faint hoppiness.

T-Very similar to the nose with some caramel and perfect balance between hops and malt. It has a nice bitterness to it.

M-Thick and creamy which makes it delicious.

D-For me this is extremely drinkable. It is so creamy and delicious I could drink it all day long. Its average abv. make this a great session beer.

Overall, I enjoy drinking this beer and would recomend it to fans of English Pale Ales. I know some people do not like nitro-taps, but I for one, love them. I will definitely drink this again in the future.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the SoNo brewhouse, served in an OSH glass.

Pours a hazy amber with a thick creamy head of white foam. Looks like a layer of whipped cream at the top.

Smell is mildly malty, but otherwise indistinguishable to me.

Tasted clean, backed by a hop, tad watery, but overall a good brew. Very creamy in the mouthfeel, low carbonation. A drinkable english pale - not exceedingly flavorful, but easy to drink.

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Photo of crhensel
3.04/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(bottle into pint glass) Poured a rich dark amber with half finger head with good lacing. Aroma of faint citrus and spice with no other real distinguishing notes. Very lively in the mouth, but left a bit of a bitter aftertaste that hung on a little longer than pleasurable.

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Photo of Durge
3.86/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First time I've tried this old standby on tap. The appearance is a clear amber copper color with a thick and healthy sized off-white head and bullish lacing. The aroma is slightly fruity bread, bright but light, pretty neutral. The taste is a tart fruity hop with toffee bread and sour mash malt. There's somewhat of a dry finish. It's more than mid-bodied and very creamy. Tiny bubbles with good mouth action, refreshing and very drinkable.

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

This was a Christmas present from my brother (thanks bro-bro).

I found this one to be reminiscent of a pilsner because of it's sharp taste, even though it's amber in color and doesn't produce a mountain of head. It has medium body and carbonation. The sharp taste doesn't last all the way through, smoothing out on the way down. In the end, I'm damn confused. What is this beer suppose to be?

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Photo of MPLS
2.49/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I have had this on nitro-tap before, but never out of the bottle.

A: 12 oz clear bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a darker golden shade with a head that rose to 3 cm from an aggressive pour. Good head retention as an asymmetrical off-white cap stays on the top. There is some lacing, albeit mellow.

S: A little bit of toasted caramel malt, slight herbalness, also maybe it has certain skunk level to it that I am not fond of.

T: Average taste, caramel sweetness up front, followed by a herbal twist that is finished with an unpleasant finish. The finish is dry with a soapy taste, not to my liking.

M: Lively carbonation and a light body make for easy drinking of a low ABV beer, the foam cap was nice too.

D: I can drink this beer ice cold on nitro, but from the bottle is not to my liking because of two factors: perceived skunk and soapy finish. The best thing about this beer is what it looks like, but really we are after the taste here.

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Photo of Richter35
4.36/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a 500ml can, I poured it into my Leffe-branded chalice. Colour is a beautiful orange/medium brown. A thick head is created and sticks around a lot longer than most.

The smell is quite distinct, with hints of caramel, malt and fruit combining to make a good first impression.

The taste is like no other beer. This ale tastes a lot like it smells, followed by a crisp and slightly bitter end to all of the sweetness that is paramount in this beer. Mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing, with almost no noticable carbonation.

The drinkability of this beer is unequalled, in my opinion. Smooth, distinct, refreshing, and with an aftertaste that will not offend the inexperienced beer drinker. This beer is one that I come back to very often and I never regret it! The reasonable price it can be had for seals the deal for me...

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Photo of beergod1
3.36/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured a medium head of Med. white bubbles with a good lacing. Its body is a beautiful amber brown color with carbonated bubbles rising up the side of the glass. I smelled an aroma of hops and citrus. It has a fizzy hoppy kinda grainy taste that starts off slightly bitter and finishes slightly bitter too. Not a bad brew but it could be better. not my favorite Pale. this is the 3rd time I gave this beer a try, and still it's just OK.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.09/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - one of the few craft beers I've had on nitro tap, in the nitro can, and in the bottle. I don't usually go for the bottle as it is the most sensitive of the three, but as this was part of a gift set, well, there you are. Basically an iced-tea color, it pours into a Belgian glass with a light cover, which laces fairly well. Looks good in the glass.

Aroma - none of the skunk I was concerned about. Unfortunately, I can't smell much of anything else here, either. A trace of grain? It's really hard to tell.

Taste - soft, light grain, a hint of diacetyl but well-contained. Excellent balance on the swallow, the hops evening things out superbly with a light mild bite. A simple swallow and finish, drying on the palate, the finish is hop-centered.

Mouthfeel - crisp and lighter than I like it. It's best on nitro, smooth and heavier feeling. This is more in line with I think of body-wise when drinking a pale ale, but I'm conditioned to like this via the nitro format.

Drinkability - sessionable, sure, but more so any other way.

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Photo of botham
2.89/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

on cask at the Map Room in Chicago. pours a rich amber color with a half finger of super loose off white head with good retention and no lacings. the head looks rather pathetic in the glass.

aroma is of light caramel malts and a touch of yeasty banana esters. not much else in the nose with a restrained character.

taste is similar to the nose with the same subtle caramel, yeasty fruit and banana. a bit too thin on the palate, but still decent.

mouthfeel is light bodied without much of a mouthfeel. watery with a clean finish.

drinkability is decent. for a cask beer, this is a bit underwhelming. thin and watery without much of a character. usually cask beers are exercises in subtleties, but this is more of a one-trick-pony without much of a trick. decent, but nothig to seek out.

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Photo of Schnitzengiggles
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice amber color with a medium size head, dissipates fairly quickly. Leaves decent lacing.

S: Smells similar to a Guinness Draught, but sweeter and more floral notes. Slight alcohol tinge, but overall pleasant.

T: Sweet, almost marshmellowy, like those Peeps everyone eats around Easter time. Brown sugary characteristics with a slight alcohol finish. Also picking up some nutty flavors.

M: Creamy, sooo creamy. I love these nitro cans, and this drinks just like a Guinness Draught. Almost feels like drinking milk.

D: Good, if you don't mind the sweetness you can drink a few of these without much problem.

I'm a sucker for English beers, and this one hits the spot. Not an elite brew by any means, but damn fine in it's own right.

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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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