Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Year of Craft Beer, Vol. 83, Old Speckled Hen, Greene King / Morland Brewery

First off, let me apologize for missing last night for not posting.  I have come to realize that it will not always be possible for me to make it every day!  Sometimes it just isn't possible.  I wasn't at home all day and night.  I did have a great day working with the crew from Gazela milling up a huge Quercus Alba down in Delaware and then after work there was a pot luck party which are always fun!  I had 3 very good whiskeys paired up with 3 Philadelphia Brewing Company beers and 3 different meats off the grill and with talking with a member of the guild I have decided to go this route with a dinner pairing at some point.  So there was beer progress amoungst all the fun that was had and I feel that I have learned something!  And now on to Old Speckled Hen which was originally brewed for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the MG automobile plant and named after the little car they used to run around the plant in.
This beer is considered an English Pale Ale and generally has mild malty, fruity, and hoppy characteristics about it.  And that pretty much describes Old Speckled Hen.

The bottle gets points for being reusable, but it's clear and so not exactly the best for storing beer for a long time because of UV exposure which makes beer taste skunky.  But when I reuse these bottles I drink the beer first from the clear bottles.

The beer pours a crystal clear and deep amber color with a nice thin off-white head that remains throughout the drink as a thin ring around the glass with nice, but minimal lacing.

Initially cold out of the bottle the beer smells more skunky than malty.  Not terribly skunky and definitely not detracting from the beer, really.  As the beer warms in the glass the beer becomes more caramel malty sweet in aroma and notes of dark fruit and light bread come out.  The skunky becomes barely noticeable.

The flavor is pretty much the same as the beer starts off sharp with carbonation then mellows to a lightly sweet flavor and as the cabonation completely flattens out some bitter from hops comes through with a faint skunk taste.  Amoung the sweet there notes of caramel and dates, but very light.  It finishes with a hoppy note a bit dry, but ultimately sweet overall and could be balanced a little better.

The mouthfeel is lightly sweet and medium to light bodied and it really drops off flat near the end and gets a bit watery.  This may be a function of the carbonation which seems plenty enough until you get half way through the sip and it dies.  There is a bit of a slimy feel on my tongue in between sips.

Overall I would give this beer high 3s out of five.  It's an excellent beer, but not what I would call world class.  Would I seek this out.  Probably not as I have built up a list of beers in this realm that I like better.  I do like it though!  Would I recommend this beer?  HAYLE YES! Just as I would recommend trying any new beer just to try something different because you never know if this could be the one!  There is the chance this could be it for you.

For me, it's not the one, but I had to try because life is too short to drink crappy beer!


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