Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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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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Reviews: 923 | Ratings: 2,069
Photo of ChrisCage
4.32/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a clear coppery toned color with a nice cascading head that forms into about 2 fingers thick and it does quickly settle into a creamy froth over the brew. Lacing is very nice with many medium sized patches of foam clinging to the side of the glass! Carbonation appears to be smooth and lumbers to the top of the liquid. Overall this is very decent and British looking!

S- Smooth, semi sweet malts, with caramel undertones dominate the aromas. Roasted Toffee/molasses, perhaps a hint of nut shells, and perhaps some light milky chocolate. There is definitely notes of hop bitterness on the finish with is refreshing on the nostrils!

T- Flavors follow the aromas rather closely, but perhaps more refined. The nuttiness comes through more and is almost buttery glazed in flavor. Caramel/toffee/molasses defines the sweetness of the malts, slightly toasted/dark fruity notes. The finish is fresh hop bitterness that doesn't overpower the palate and its rather cleansing, leaving me want to have another sip.....almost green tea leaf like.

M/O- Creamy, and reasonably full bodied and well balanced....the alcohol is very well hidden and there is medley of flavors and characteristics going on with this one. Characteristic English Session Bitter that is quite nice, very smooth and highly drinkable....I've had this before and I'll have it again....nice easy going Ale!

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Photo of DeeZee83
3.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Widget pint can into a English pub glass. Pour is full of tight swirling bubbles that settle into the perfect head. Smells of sweet malt and mineral water, though not off putting. The creaminess hits you first before the actual taste. Sweet malts and bitter hops with a nice sweet aftertaste. A very simple and enjoyable beer. Nothing too exciting though, but it does give a nice representation of a classic English pint.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.18/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

500 ml can served cold into an Amsterdam Boneshaker snifter. A leftover remnant from a party last week.

Appearance - Rich copper colored beer with a three quarter finger tan head that dissolves quickly. Clear although immediately after the beer was poured there was a convergence of bubbles near the top a la beers on nitro tap.

Smell - Large malty nose with a few dark fruits. Reminiscent of this brewery's Abbot ale, albeit less pungent.

Taste - The fruitiness comes through although there's a strong earthy bitterness throughout. Malty, but taste is a bit sharp on the tongue

Mouthfeel - Very good, smooth, reasonably well carbonated and comforting. Exactly what you want in an English EPA.

Overall - Not a bad EPA, but there's better options out there.

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Photo of Pavlovian_Programming
2.14/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Just awful. Tasted like water with slight hints of gross-ness. No carbonation at all, yet had a head that had the texture of custard and tasted as much like beer as custard does. Do not recomment.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brilliant gold with a lacy white foam collar. A trace of sulfur in the aroma. Fruit and biscuit flavors. Exceptionally creamy with almost a nitro quality.

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Photo of PeachIsAnIndependentWoman
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got a four pack of the cans. Always enjoy the creamyness caused by the widget. Overall it was good, worth trying. Probably won't be purchasing a second pack though.

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Photo of ARoman
3.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask, poured into a shaker. The aroma is a mellow blend of caramel, sweet orange, and candy sugar up front, and then settles to a biscuit and caramel blend. It's a deep, near clear, copper hue with a full, creamy, dense, off white head that has good retain, and a thick, heavy lace. The taste is a medium light sweet front that blends nicely into a medium bitter finish. The texture is smooth and creamy, but light, with a touch of fizziness to the carbonation. The medium body has a mild cola and sugar flavor, with some spice, and citrus. It finishes with a zip and spice as well as a roasty caramel and floral note. The aftertaste is light, waxy, burnt, with some bread crust, but overall, very mellow.

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Photo of beeragent
2.44/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

A - pours a deep Amber with a thin off white head. Light lacing on the glass.

S - caramel malt aroma.

T - caramel malts at first followed by a very unpleasant bitterness which I don't believe comes from the hops.

M - medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - this beer tastes like my first batch of homebrew....infected! The only thing decent about this one is the appearance and aroma. The flavor is just awful though. I compare this to Shiner Commemerator as one of the worst beers I've had.

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Photo of Tone
2.95/5  rDev -15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of pale malt, hint of sugar, slight roasted malt, hint of hops, and sweet malt. Fits the style of an English Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of pale malt, hint of roasted malt, and sugar. Overall, weak appearance, aroma, body, and but okay blend.

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Photo of Grogsky
2.93/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have had this beer only in a tin can. It's either been absolutely horrible, or phenomenal. Worth a second taste if you have had a bad experience from years ago.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.29/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nitro can pours amber with perfect nitro foam. Smells of bread, biscuit, and cooked sugar. Flavors are the same in this highly drinkable brew, a staple. If not the most interesting, certainly reliable and enjoyable en masse.

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Photo of mark5692
2.08/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

A bit disappointed with this beer. Had a decent color but lacked any strong scent. Hint of a bitter caramel. Tasted watered down. Pretty dull and disappointing but there is worse out there.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
4.2/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a can which notably was not nitro.

Pretty much the pinnacle of an amber/copper color, typical of ESBs/English pale ales. One finger of head ,even after a vigorous pour, suggests low carbonation typical of imitation cask ale; head stuck around throughout the experience, however. On the nose I get mostly caramel malts, a touch of bready malts and yeast, some fruit esters, and perhaps a touch of English hops, just to tie everything together. On the palate i get a rich , yet balanced and not overly dense, caramel flavor, coupled with some slight fruity esters. Toffee and a touch of butterscotch are also there. Bitterness is well managed and makes the beer very quaffable. This could be easy to drink many of. I personally found it subtle, yet refreshing. It embodies many of the qualities that make a good bitter, yet in a more subtle, drinker friendly manner

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Photo of abner
2.82/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I wasn't expecting much and what I got was slightly more than that. Nice on the front end but the after taste was reminiscent of a run-of-the mill brew.

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Photo of BcCraft710
2.48/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Had one a few years back and enjoyed it, baught a case as it was on sale. Think I got a bad batch the taste was quite savoury almost like a V8, very unexpected

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Photo of SmashPants
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Format: a clear embossed 355mL bottle with a traditional, iconic label.

Appearance: pours out a vibrant deep golden with constant carbonation across the profile. A one-finger off-white head drops to a creamy thick cap. Plenty of lacing down the glass.

Aroma: the aroma is dominated by caramel and treacle, with some bread malts behind. Fairly one-dimensional, but not suffering from it.

Taste: the flavour in the mouth is lighter than on the nose. The caramel and treacle are definitely there, but are joined by heavy fruits in the background. Really rather nice.

Aftertaste: quite sweet on the finish, with much more of a malt-driven profile rather than hops. Nice.

Mouth feel: a medium feel with moderate carbonation. Well enough to carry the flavour quite well. A touch cloying on the finish.

Overall: quite a nice traditional English Pale Ale - driven by sweet malts, and definitely something one doesn't put away too quickly. I found it a bit cloying if I tried to down it - better to just read the paper, chat to the barman and enjoy it over a decent session. By the time it gets to us in Aus it is usually expensive at AU$83 a case, but I'll take a 6-pack every now and then.

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Photo of cbish68
2.5/5  rDev -28%

The Old Speckled Hen is a caramel colored ale with a thin head and very light lacing and low to medium carbonation. I found this beer to be very hoppy and bitter with a mediciny aftertaste.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I thought I'd had this beer before. But it sure didn't seem all that familiar once I opened it!

L (4.5): Beautiful color. Deep copper/red color to it. Almost photograph worthy, really
S (4): Had this intriguing fruity/brandy/port wine smell to it. I almost thought it was barrel aged or something.
T (4.25): Again, this fruity/brandy/port wine taste to it. Not a lot, and not distracting. But really tasty. I might be crazy, but I just couldn't shake it. (Not that this is a bad thing either!) Not hoppy at all, but I don't know if it really should be.
F (3): Nothing to write home about here. Not much of a mouthfeel. Smooth, but unexciting. No head really. Some of this is nature of the style, but I expected a little more here.

Overall (4): Solid beer. I am going to purchase another one next time I'm at the beer store.

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Photo of willfman
5/5  rDev +44.1%

Drink this everyweek. Best home beer in a bottle you could want. Not a big fan of chilled beer but a cool 'specklage' hits the spot. Love this beer. If you have not tried it please do.

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Photo of ClePaul
3.27/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Greene King Old Speckled Hen

Look 9/10
Smell 12/20
Taste 32/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 80/100

Nice English Ale, smooth and easy to drink... Doesn't have an overwhelming taste either way. Makes a great session ale with nice malt presence~

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Photo of Giuseppina
4.13/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My expectations were pretty low on this, maybe it was the label not particularly fancy, maybe the price, maybe the lack of designation on the label, generally marked "beer".

I tell you what, wrong I was. That's a really smooth and wide pale ale, with strong taste and smell of grassy hops and a fantastic, bitter, aftertaste. Low carbonation like from a cask, it's a real pleasure to drink.

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Photo of seedyone
2.5/5  rDev -28%

Moreland Old Speckled Hen
Have Tried ▼
12/19/12 On tap at Rattle n Hum. Great looking pint arrives. Inviting color & thick creamy looking head. First sip hit me as acidic& turned metallic. Mediocre body.

Once is enough on this one.

Just saw that this is the same brewery that makes Innis & Gunn Oak Aged. Both are bottled in clear bottles. I was warned long ago about beer that is not protected from the light. Never had a reason to come down on one side or the other on this point. What I do know is this brew needs a little sumpin' sumpin'. Gnome sayin'?

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Photo of barczar
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%

Reviewing from a distant memory, but this one always stuck out in my head as being dominated by toasted, lightly sweet malt that reminded me of caramel corn, accompanied by floral hops.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
2/5  rDev -42.4%

Poured into a Branded glass in Paddy O'Ryans, Leeuwarden (Netherlands).

I feel a little bad about posting what is to follow but I can only review and post on the basis of what I had on this occasion....

A – A deep red amber colour with a finger of light head that dissipates to thin cover leaving mild lace with no activity in the glass.

S – Straw and hay notes with an oddly eggy whiff. There are even some slightly sweet candy smells, some alcohol esters some faintly bread smells and a little pine wood. To sum it smells like an old egg sandwich served in a wooden hay shed.

T – Bready hop with mildly sweet malts no real fruit flavours but some alcoholic apple tinges. Definite egg taste again along with the slight hint of pine wood.

MF – Fairly creamy with sulphur and metallic edges.

O – Not particularly well balanced this one is palatable but it is not especially nice. I could drink this if there was literally nothing else to drink.

Again I do feel a bit bad about this review, and based on what others are saying here I wonder if I got a bad one or the bar hadn't cleaned their pipes in a while. Certainly I have had Speckled Hen before a long time ago and I don't remember it being that bad, so I feel there is a good chance something was up here. SO, I promise to give it another day in court back in the UK and see if it improves any, If it does I will re-post.

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Photo of D-HopSupreme
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to give a clear coppery body with just a touch of creamy off-white head. The aroma is largely grainy, with caramel and some spice in the malt along with some alcohol. The taste is just a faint bit sweet at the front of the palate, leading into a bit of a flat, generically malty taste, not necessarily bad, but far from anything exceptional. It could certainly benefit from a touch of additional hops, but this is just my opinion, and I understand that the historic legacy of this beer outweighs any current criticisms. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth, with some average carbonation leading into a very clean finish. This is a great beer for something dependable, and one of the most recognizable pub ales in the UK. It might not live up to the hype of the current wave of excessively bold beers entering the market, but altogether this is a good beer at the end of the day,

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.47 out of 5 based on 2,069 ratings.
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