Beer Review: Old Speckled Hen (Low Alcohol) – Greene King

Unfortunately this is the last low alcohol beer I have kicking around and sadly I don’t think it is a particularly interesting one. ‘Old Speckled Hen’ is a British staple in terms of classic old school ales. Originally brewed by Moorland Brewery, they were taken over by regional giants Greene King in 2000. Going into this one my initial worry was that, like many regional and macro brewers, Greene King will have just churned out any old beer just to have a presence in the alcohol free market without trying to make a quality product.

Visually the beer pours a rather nice clear copper or chestnut colour, with a white head that dissipates quickly. The smell is instantly disappointing however, with that worty, raw aroma that a lot of the cheap, ill-thought AF beers seem to have. Likewise the flavour is slightly insipid and overly sweet through the malts. Flat and thin with nothing backing it up.

A quick note on the bottle art: Very little going on. I suppose the name recognition alone is enough to carry sales for the beer.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had enough AF beers to know really good ones from the bad ones. These cheap low alcohol beers available in the super market almost always taste and smell identical with little ambition put in them to make them remotely good. Additionally they’ve made the egregious error of using a clear bottle. This lets in light and can result in skunking the beer and producing off flavours. Despite adding a variety of classic English hops, there is very little hop profile at all on the body, with the beer lacking that distinctive British ale bitterness. While this beer isn’t undrinkable I wouldn’t recommend it at all.

Score: 3/10

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Additional Information:

  • Hops: Challenger, Pilgrim, First Gold, Goldings
  • Malt: Pale, Crystal
  • IBU: Not Available
  • ABV: 0.5%
  • Gluten Free: No
  • Vegan: No
  • Purchase Location: Tesco
  • Purchase Price: £1.29

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