Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen
2,135 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:
Old Speckled Hen is popular with ale drinkers up and down the country and renowned for its unique character and consistent quality.

The great British ale was first brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It was even named after the factory’s old run around car which was often parked outside the paint shop. Spattered in paint, the car became known as the “Owld Speckl’d Un”. The eagle-eyed might even see the resemblance between MG’s logo and the Old Speckled Hen label!

More than 35 years on, the great premium ale continues to be a finely balanced beer with a distinctive rich, malty taste and fruity aroma.

Added by Quaffer on 10-23-2000

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Ratings: 2,135 |  Reviews: 945
Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
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 +33.3%
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 +10.1%
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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Photo of Metalmonk
3.14/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A fine looking beer, offering a rusty red color that shines like a jewel, and a creamy, rocky, long-lasting, dirty white head on top.

Unfortunately, the aroma brings me down to earth a bit--it's musty-smelling and not unlike a big pot of boiled veggies, although a fruity/candy essence saves it somewhat (cherry and plum, mostly).

Flavor is okay, but it hardly lasts long enough to tell, as a dryness enters quickly and steals the flavor from the tongue. What's there is tart red fruits and unripe green berry (like gooseberry), a slight hint of taffy and caramel, and something recalling the peaty character you get in a good Scotch/Scottish ale. After a bit it seemed very "Luden's cough drop," and I'm not sure I dig that. The quick-drying finish is a bummer, and it's not even that great of a flavor in the first place.

Pretty drab mouthfeel, quite dry and doesn't really have much presence, texturally. In fact, the more I sipped, the more I disliked the pucker this creates. A bit of stickiness keeps the candy-like character of the flavor going.

Not exactly ho-hum, as there are other English ales out there more worthy of that distinction, and it's pretty unique among other English pale ales, but I'm definitely not crazy about it.

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Photo of BBBosco
3.12/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Old Speckled Hen has an inviting appearance- a distinct amber color and a foamy head. The ale will continue to lace the glass. The aroma is a combination of overripe fruit and the sweetness of caramel. The taste is at first sweet and followed by bitterness. The two are so separate that it cannot be described as balanced. The texture is smooth and velvety. For me, I can drink one glass and then move one to something more balanced.

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Photo of sfprint
3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very beautiful. I love the nitro head on a non stout. Golden with a reddish tinge.

S: Not much of a smell

T: Light. Both slightly hoppy and malty.

M: Very smooth, nitrogenation creates a nice texture.

D: Easy to drink and nice however the flavor is lacking.

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Photo of sholland119
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at George Keeley's, 6/27/10.

A-Pours a clear golden amber with a generous creamy nitro head. Very well poured by our bartender.

S-A little bit of malt sweetness. Otherwise not much going on here.

T-Taste is malty, mildly sweet with a dusty hop undertone and a bit of yeasty zing.

M-Light bodied, a little bit of creaminess from the nitro pour but also rather watery.

D-A pleasant, easy drinker. More interesting than many of the style but still nothing special. The first Old Speckled Hen I have had in several years. I would not seek it out, but would not turn one down.


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Photo of likethetaste
3.09/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nitro can review.
this poured beautifully but then just settled to a average appearance. Not much smell. Taste... average with a corn like flavor. no great mouthfeel. nothing special happening here. Except for the beautiful initial pour there is nothing special about this English Pale Ale.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.96/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What CAN you derive from Woody with a Widget while waiting for worthwhile words when conducting the CANQuest? Woof, woof. Whisk me away from this nonsense. When? Well, once we CAN get our act together, I suppose.

From the nitro-CAN: "Distinctive rich malty taste, bursting with character and aroma, and deliciously smooth. This CAN contains a floating widget which may rattle. Please do not shake the CAN before opening. (Oops.) First brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory and affectionately named after an old MG car used as a factory runaround, 'The Owld Speckled Un'. A finely balanced ale, with a smooth rich malty taste. Perfect with Sunday roasts, cured meats and cheese."

I didn't really shake it, but you might have thought that I had from the way it initially exploded out of the CAN until I put things right by beginning the pour. The cascade from the widget was lovely! It settled into a deep orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity and a finger of light-tan head with great retention that looked like a cap of clouds. Nose was, indeed, quite malty, very reminiscent of many house beers that I had while traveling through CANada. Mouthfeel was silky smooth, a real benefit from the widget. Lots of interplay between the malt and some soft hops on the tongue. Finish was slightly dry and I certainly agree with their suggested food pairings. Some cheese would be really nice right about now.

CAN I add? Great lacing throughout!

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Photo of RuudJH
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'The Owld Speckled Un'.

Orange brown, copper colour, with a creamy thin head, and a a lot of carbonation.

Smell is malty, hoppy and yeasty. It's a bit like a lager, with some fruits and roastyness too.

Similar to the smell, the taste however is a bit faint. After leaving it a few minutes, there comes a good hoppyness, making it very ok.

Smooth and easy, a bit watery in the mouth. The carbonation makes it refreshing.

All in all, an ok ale. Easy.

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3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Copper in color with a thin white head. semi-good lacing.

S: Aroma much like many other English brews. A bit weak on the aroma.

T: Very smooth and fruity. Lemon drops. Spice on the finish. Light carbonation.

M: A smooth, light feel, one that is an easy drinker.

D: Great, is brew is easy drinking and good for a session beer. No heavy feeling.

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Photo of aristeros
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Served at about 52 degrees fahrenheit. Pours a medium copper with light to moderate carbonation visible and nearly no head. Smells moderately malty, with the funk I associate with certain central Euro-style lagers. Interesting, but mildly off-putting for me.

Taste is slightly bitter up front, light coffee over toasted malts, with light hop presence. Carbonation level is low and goes well with the nose. The finish is hoppy and a bit musty. Mouthfeel is disappointingly watery, but I'm not having the nitro can like some other reviewers.

I'm curious to try it on tap. It's interesting and sessionable, but not the first or even second pale ale I'd grab for.

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Photo of IronLover
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served fron a bottle, poured a light amber, almost like a dark tea color with a reddish hue. Thin foamy head that didn't last. Wasn't overly impressed with the character until I let it sit and warm up a bit. Sweet toasted malt aromas with hints of fruit. Similar tastes with sweet malty toasted flavors and a clean fruity, dark cherry finish. Easy to drink. Although I'm used to ice cold beer, this one showed it's character when it was more at +50F. Pleasantly surprised by this English Ale.

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Photo of konadrinker
4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml poured into a pint glass.

A- Clear red with a frothy 2 finger head that diminished fairly quick and left a nice cap.

S- Malt with a hint of grain and chocolate, a little sicy hops aroma and a slight musty smell.

T- Smooth malt with a moderately bitter finish.

M - Creamy/oily with soft carbonation.

D- A very sessionable ale, would be no problem to drink this all evening.

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Photo of rfabian
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass it forms a thundering big head with moderate lacing. The appearance is amber and clear. The aroma is of light malt and a hint of spicy hops. The taste is lightly sweet and not bitter. The feel is light bodied and smooth with a clean finish.

This is a refreshing, drinkable, and delicious ale. The nitro can serving smooths the taste considerably.

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Pub while in Lexington, KY.

Pours a nice red hue with a creamy head. Great look in a too cold glass.

Not much coming off this but a hint of sweet malt.

The taste has a nice sweet start and just enough bitter to balance. Some hints of sweet grain linger.

The mouthfeel is creamy and luxurious.

Pretty drinkable. Nothing extravagant, but still a good beer. Much better than the bottled verrsion.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Speckled Hen

Appearance: Poured from a nitro tap into a tulip pint glass. Cascades of nitrogen infused beer, waves and lots of creamy foam. Underneath is a hazed amber ale.

Smell: Not a whole lot going on here, slight malt, even fainter hops.

Taste: Lightly roasted creamy ale. Hop bitterness is moderate, just a bit of leafy hops. Similar to a Guinness with perhaps a little more hop character and the color of course.

Mouthfeel: Undeniably smooth, creamy, carbonation is low but not flat.

Drinkability: A solid Nitro pub ale. Not much different from the Guinness and Boddingtons of the world.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.29/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"Old Speckled Hen" English Pale Ale poured from a Nitro-can into a pint glass. 5.2% alcohol. 14.9 fluid oz.

A- Pours a brilliant pale orange fluid with massive and lingering off white sticky head that leaves huge fluffy lacing on glass.

S- Light scents of sweet malts and tangy hop spice. Almost an alcohol estery scent lingering as well.

T-M- Taste is off toasted sweet malts, mild flat floral hops and creamy buttered bread fininsh. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with little to distiguish it from others of its kind.

D- Well as most nitro-can english pub ales this is a session beer in all aspects. Drink up and cheers!

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

Some new-new from that SAQ-Q.

Had to pick this up, looks like a small whisky bottle.

A- Very nice, perfectly clear, copper. Sloppy but thin layer of lace all over. Dirty-white head lasts a couple seconds. Still, a nice crown and some very elegant swirls of foam are left.

S- Cap smells real macro lager like. Similar smell coming from the glass too. But mixed in there is some more typical English ale maltiness. A bit of peach and honey and some red licorice.

T- This is pretty good. Bitterness finish is kind of dirty but I'm still enjoying it. Nice hoppiness. I'd like to know what hops were used in here. Alcohol is pretty present and/but brings something nice. A bit of burnt rubber (I guess clear bottles were not the best idea).

M- High carbonation. Dry. Full mouthfeel. Very lager like feel.

D- Good. Easy drinker. Refreshing. This is like a pale ale lager mix.

I haven't had enough EPA to know how good an example this is. I wouldn't really buy this again but I would recommend it.

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Photo of DoppleJock
3.94/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Poured a high clarity amber. Quickly receding head, but decent lace ring around the glass.

S: Buttery malts and earthy notes.

T: Earthy notes up front with a chewy malt finish.

M: Very smooth. Light-bodied but still containing "substance."

D: Pretty decent session beer if you're considering sticking with EPAs for the night.

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

A clear deep amber brew, a beige head that settles nicely leaving some lacing.

Some sweet bread notes, toast, egg, old leaves.

The taste is also mostly sweet, bread and porridge, some saltness. Rather little bitterness.

Low carbonation, a nice dry finish.

Well, I almost suspect that this bottle was a bit old. Would have liked more hops to balance the sweetness.

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Photo of lamergod
2.71/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass

App: A nice 3 finger fluffy bone coloured head. Nice copper body with slight carbonation.

Smell: Prominent malts, very slight hint of caramel and even less obvious hops at the end. Very sweet smelling beer.

Taste: Not very impressed. I was expecting a lot from this pint. Very nice malts runs around in your mouth. As it gets down your throat, taste of nice bitter english hops comes in with a dry finish to finish your mouthful on a high.

Mouthfeel: Very balanced carbonation. Nothing much noteworthy.

Drinkability. Quite drinkable, but the carbonation goes away very fast, so it isn't as drinkable as I hoped. I wanted a light bodied beer to go with some south park but I was quite dissapointed. I would rate it a medium body.

Overall, might go back if I have nothing to drink in the pub or if it's on sale.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.09/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P- Pittsburgh Bottle Cafe

A- a pale mahogany color. A decent lacing but nothing to get excited about. Minimal head as well.

S-barley and grain malts dominate. Nothing to extravagant on smell but like a EPA should. Very malty.

T- A highly bitter malty flavor. I cant really taste anything else in the flavor. On the backend it has a semi-sweet taste.

M- malts and grains. Bittersweet feel and cool.

D- I have to be honest i struggled to put this one down. It just had too much of a bitter malty graininess to me.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle (no date on bottle) poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Amber color (quite a bit orange) with a light tan head. Some lacing noted. Very clear beer with some bubbles noted coming up as you hold it up to the light.

Smell: Malty - and that's about it. The malt smell is good though - I can smell something like the malt in milk duds along with some other malts.

Taste: Fine balance between bitterness and malt with the bitterness just slightly ahead. A hint of skunky hops in there, but not at all off-putting. There is an unusual flavor to the bitterness which I cannot place and I can't decide if I like it or not.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation on the tongue, and just thick enough to be noticeable. Goes down easy but otherwise nothing special.

Drinkability. I could easily have another, and I thought it went well with a meal. It has an unusual taste the more I drink it, and I can't decide if I like it or not.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.37/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. It comes in a clear bottle, but it was kept out of light at the store.

Appearance: A clear red copper color, with only a moderate, quickly fading head. No noticeable lacing.

Smell: There is a very distinct, sweet roasted English malt presence here. It is sweet all the way through, with some light bitterness at the end. Simple, but pleasant.

Taste: Not quite as sweet as the smell, but it still maintains a soft sweetness throughout. A somewhat pungent bitter oily aftertaste. I can't really place the hop bitterness, it just has a vague presence.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation, slight oily residue. Medium body. Slightly syrupy, maybe related to the malt.

Drinkability: Not bad, not great. A pretty simple, moderately drinkable English pale ale.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 2,135 ratings