Crafty brew is home to roost

19 September, 2008

Greene King has blended its Old 5X beer with a stronger version of Old Speckled Hen to create a

vintage oaked beer.

Old Crafty Hen has a 6.5% abv and retails

at £2.49 for a 50cl bottle.

It went into 600 Tesco and Sainsbury's stores last week. "I nitial sales are very encouraging," said take-home director Neil Jardine.

Greene King claims to be the only brewery in Britain to practice the technique of blending oak-matured strong ales with other beers.

Head brewer John Bexton said: "I was keen to reproduce the distinctive toffee notes of Old Speckled Hen. It had to deliver greater strength, full

body and a wider range of characters.

"Adding Old 5X has given an eruption of fruity, raisiny notes. There is also a hint of oakiness - but there would be, given that the marvellous 12% abv Old 5X has been matured in 100 barrel oak vats."

Jardine added: "It's not a limited edition, it's here to stay. We feel excited about the opportunity to tap into what consumers want - which is premium products."

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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