Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

2,083 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: 2,083 |  Reviews: 929
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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Photo of natelocc787
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great pour out of the nitro can. Long time cascading effect, big, thick sheets of lace as you drink it and when you tip the glass the foam just sticks-suspended in place along the wall of the pint, ebbing away as fast as clouds move. The color is a beautiful reddish amber color. The nose offers sweet red taffy, fresh macadamia nuts, caramel malt and mild notes of warm biscuit. The taste is effected by the lack of a mouthfeel. Still pleasant with caramel, honey, ginger shavings and a malty, nutty sweetness. Not much of a finish, thin mouthfeel with low carbonation-still a good beer just pour it slowly, don't try and make your head crest the glass.

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Photo of prosper
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a clear gold. Small off-white head.

Smells faint, but there is some caramel, toasty bready malt. Slight skunking in one of my bottles.

taste - whoa caramel! Very sweet, cloying caramel. Generous bitter hoppy zip to balance things somewhat. Fades to a pleasant hoppy glow after a few seconds. Not really a lot of hop flavour, just bitterness. Fruity.

Mouthfeel is very full. I've had barleywines with less body than this. Low carbonation.

It's too cloying to be really solidly drinkable, or much of a quencher.

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Photo of cnozzy
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought from Carrefour Supermarket.

.5L bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Very beautiful amber color, a medium head disappeared very quickly with little lacing.

Smell: Nothing commendable, just mild malt and caramel aroma.

Taste: Started with toasty caramel, then an aftertaste of bitterness. Not diverse.

Mouthfeel/Drink: Light bodied, enough carbonation, a little bit dry feeling aroud mouth when finished. Enough drinkability, worth a try.

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Photo of Buebie
3.86/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 15 ounce nitro can into a pub glass. Off the pour an all milk looking beer becomes a beer with a half inch of milk fat head and a transparent deep amber. I love these widgets!
Head retention is stellar too leaving thin coats of rings all the way down.

Aroma is nutty and would lead me to believe its a darker beer had I been blindfolded. Some caramel honey malt goodness and just a wiff of chocolate malt.

Creamy mouthfeel with little to no carbonation, just like a nitro tap pour, its velvety indeed.
Taste is nutty and mildly bitter, hazelnuts, chalky overtones and mild caramel grain malt flavors. Just a touch of chocolate carrying over from aroma into taste. Plenty of bitters with grassy hops lingering.

A good sessionable beer with excellent visual appeal.

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

Appearance: This beer poured a clear, deep amber color. The head was a creamy, off white. I like the way the the widget makes the beer pour into the glass. It creates an interesting "beer falling down the sides of the glass" effect. Lacing was present throughout as was the head.

Smell: There was a very sweet maltiness present right up front. Hints of toasted toffee with an interesting caramel aroma. Not much in the way of hops that I can tell.

Taste: An immediate metallic(penny)taste followed by a sweet maltiness. Lots of toffee and breadiness present. As I let the beer warm up closer to room temp the coin taste goes away. Has a nice hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy body with medium carbonation.

Overall: Not a great beer but also not too bad. I'd be very interested in trying this on draft or maybe even cask. The metallic taste was a bit of a turn off but I didn't take off points because it did go away when the beer hit proper serving temp.

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Photo of Methodd
4.45/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL can poured into a mug.

Appearance: Beautiful. Very clear amber/copper color with reddish highlight when held up to light. Very nice head which never completely dissipated. Very little lacing.

Smell: I could swear this ale is oak aged but I’ve never heard any mention of such. Lots of toffee, floral hops and spice.

Taste: Very mild bitterness. Toffee, roasted malts, nuts and I’m reminded of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Not quite enough carbonation. Very smooth and refreshing.

Drinkability: I don’t think this brew gets the credit it deserves. I’m a huge fan of Old Speckled Hen. It smells good, it tastes good and it all comes at a good price. I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing you need to be drinking this beer right now. Except maybe if you’re in a job interview. No, wait, even if you’re in a job interview. Do you really want to work for someone who doesn’t like this stuff?

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.47 out of 5 based on 2,083 ratings.
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