Brewed by Greene King
Style: English Strong Ale
Bury St. Edmunds, England


on tap

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RATINGS: 324   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.32   EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%
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Bottle: Pasteurised.
A blend of 10 - 14% Old 5X (aged up to 5 years in oak vats - and used in Strong Suffolk) and regular Old Speckled Hen.
"A distinctive malty taste with a satisfying, smooth raisin finish. This delicious dark amber ale is perfect for indulging yourself and your friends."

slash_1_uk's rating

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
slash_1_uk (22) - annesley, Nottinghamshire, - DEC 22, 2011
Bottle on 22/12/11 pours a burnt Orange colour with diminishing off white head smell of caramel, nice warming toffee and biscuit flavour with long lasting flavour miles ahead of speckled hen

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
commonmac (542) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - MAY 2, 2015
Last bottle from a sampler pack received as a Christmas gift. The goal was to save the "best" for last which is, in actuality, a bit of a stretch of the word "best" since this sampler was pretty weak overall. Consumed in snifter glass. Quickly dissipating head that has some tan qualities to it. Color has a slight haze with a copper/amber quality. Aroma is raisin with a slight funk (seems to be the theme with this brewery) and a malty/caramel note. Definitely leans towards the sweet side with malt coming through strong. The kind of toasted nut or dark caramel presence is welcomed. Ends with a hit of the dark fruit and a finish I appreciate. It reminds me of much better dark abbey ales I’ve had in my lifetime. Like a poor Englishmen’s attempt. Overall, I would recommend trying it if you’re looking for something in the "___ _______ Hen" varieties.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
BeerViking (2940) - Brentford, Greater London, ENGLAND - APR 24, 2015
Notes of toasted caramel and vanilla on the nose, sweetish with burnt caramel, hints of green apple, oak, dry grass, and warming alcohol. Burnt bittersweet finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
at_the_hop (36) - Worcestershire, ENGLAND - APR 17, 2015
Rich, boozy ruby taste with a coppery film on the lips. Was worried this would be muddy and dull but it’s bright and clean. Red cherries and sticky malt but not a malt mess. Style wise this is not my bag but this is a decent stab at it. A good dry hopping away from a really good brew.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 16/20
princepurple (22) - wirral, Merseyside, ENGLAND - APR 14, 2015
Vintage really is the Word here, Take Old Speckled Hen and knock up the intensity. On the nose is nothing particularly special, rather like the standard variation, a malty, hoppy fresh aroma, but this one has notes of warm clove like spice. It pours an even more rich, red copper liquor of solid body, but noticeable darker and cloudier, with a similar but slightly thicker head. In the mouth there is very little to go on, it’s certainly heavy, and of mild carbonation, but this is quickly subsides for the flavour. This ale is really all about the taste, a strong, demanding, complex variety of various malty and spicy notes, hoppy, lively, crisp and nutty with distinct Caramel undertones and spicy background. it’s finish is a little shorter than it’s basic version, but still packs it’s extea malty caramel esque after taste. A powerful, elegant beer that goes hand in hand with a good cheeseboard.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
nihtila (1394) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - MAR 25, 2015
17.11.2013. Brittialen tuoksu, kypsiä hedelmiä ja rusinoita, karamellista mallasta. Maussa myös kypsiä hedelmiä ja rusinaa sekä hieman tammisuutta. Lämmittävä jälkimaku, kohtuullisesti hieman pistäviä hiilihappoja ja bitteriä lopussa. Jotenkin jälkimaku on hieman pettymys.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
ERB92 (477) - Bergen, NORWAY - MAR 23, 2015
Caramel, biscuits, fruits, grass, wood and some dried fruits in the aroma. Amber with a off-white head. Medium + sweet and medium bitter. Full body with a soft carbonation. Overall a really decent English Strong Ale, really enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
puboflyons (2389) - Allenstown, New Hampshire, USA - MAR 11, 2015
From the clear bottle stamped 13235. I would like to know what Vintage it is since I did not see a date. The pour is an attractive looking medium amber-copper. Off-white head and good clarity. Clear bottle but not skunked. I pick up a nice English malt roastiness, a touch of raisin, and a grassy character behind it all. Medium, smooth body. Those English malts shine in the taste with a moderate sweetness and a a pub bitter finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JorgeLee (1354) - Greater London, ENGLAND - MAR 3, 2015
Bottle from Sainsburys. Copper colour, poured with quite high carbonation. I guess it does just taste like a beefed up Speckled Hen, but it is pleasantly warming, solid malty background and well balanced bitterness. Nice and drinkable for the abv, there are probably more complex beers available in this niche but this one wasn’t bad.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Wixie (94) - BELGIUM - FEB 15, 2015
Clear, light brown liquid. No head. Aroma of malt and citrus. Light body, light carbonation. Taste is bitter.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1342) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 13, 2015
I don’t tend to drink that much English beer mostly due to the fact that much of what’s for sale in my area is old and stale. That’s fine if the beer is intended to be aged, or at least is not harmed by aged. Greene King/Morland’s “Old Crafty Hen” – a blend of fresh and vintage “Old Speckled Hen” is the kind of English beer that’s apparently unaffected by age. It has the palette I associate with traditional British pub-style brews (even though I’ve never been to a pub in the U.K.). It’s held up surprisingly well despite its age and clear bottling. I should drink beers like this more often.

I poured a 500ml bottle into an English pint glass. It was bottled on 8/23/15 and cost $4.79 ($0.28 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful burnished copper hue; slightly cloudy but constant carbonation is visible. Pours to a two-finger, white, frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Noticeable skunky aroma from the clear bottle, though the genuine malty aroma is present as well. Sweet fruity and confectionery notes are detectable.

Taste: There seems to be a gray area when it comes to differentiating between beers of the “Old Ale” style and the “English Strong Ale” style. I think Old Crafty Hen probably fits either category due to the fact it’s a blend of new and old beer, though the former is a classic BJCP-recognized category and the latter is New School. Disirregarless, the flavor here is surprisingly flavorful and appealing. The malts comprise the classic British flavor notes of caramel, toffee and raisin bread. It’s almost pudding-like (“Spotted Dick” to be specific) in its composure. Little in the way of hops, but it’s in no way sickly sweet or cloying. Minor notes of vanilla or rum from the alcohol, but it’s well-blended with the palette to accentuate, rather than distract from, the base brew. I do notice a slight tanginess from the lightstrike and/or the old ale blend. A slightly cleaner brew would be pretty amazing I’m sure, but what’s here is damn tasty.

Drinkability: One thing I absolutely love about English-style pub ales like “Old Crafty Hen” is how extremely soft, smooth and comfortable they ale. This isn’t just a great-tasting beer, it’s a pleasure to have in the mouth as well. Medium-bodied, though still slightly crisp; yet it has distinct weight and doesn’t finish completely clean. The aftertaste is tolerable. At 6.5% ABV it has the drinkability of a session cask ale, but the robustness of a strong brew. A 500ml pint is the perfect serving size. It makes a great night cap.

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