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Hen's Tooth | Greene King / Morland Brewery

227 Reviews
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Hen's ToothHen's Tooth

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-02-2001

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Reviews: 227 | Ratings: 354
Photo of Dentist666
3.36/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into pint.
Pours not very clear copper/amber beer with sediment & thick beige head, good retention.
Smell - caramel, oak, slightly fruity.
Taste - sweet malts, toffee, english herbal hops in the finish, somewhat stale.
Medium body, soft carbonation.

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Photo of stevoj
3.54/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nice rich dark brown color, with small head, but leaves sticky lacing on glass. Aroma is whiskey, molasses, oak. Flavor is bitter, nutty, burnt toast. A nice tasty ale....

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.36/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes out of the bottle a caramel color, dark amber, decent head. Smell is noticeable skunked (across multiple bottles), thanks clear glass! Some sweetness and fruit. Taste isn't that great either, big maltiness, some fruit, medicinal bitterness, and skunk. Not good, pass!

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper color. Aroma: sweetish malt, caramel, fruit jam, floral hops. Taste: malt with hazelnuts, butterscotch, pine needles and oak bar, jam, earthy bitterness.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.34/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From the clear bottle marked 13264 around the neck. Unknown that that means. I sampled it on March 11, 2015.

A lot of these Morland beers look about the same with their medium amber-reddish pour under a cream colored, foamy head. But lots of sediment floating about.

The aroma is mildly malted with toffee notes, sweetness, a British yeast strain (I expect), and vague grassy hops.

Light to medium body

The taste tends to bring out an English bitterness along with an English sweetness. The bitterness is grassy but clean and lingers albeit briefly. Not a high ABV but it feels punchy.

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Photo of trondo
5/5  rDev +45.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i was moved to review when i read someone say it was a worse version of new castle. when new castle goes to sleep at night it dreams of being hens tooth. this is a glorious masterful delicious beer that will replace bass or new castle in your cooler. youre welcome.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.75/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber, full head, moderate carbonation. Smells of classic English hops and sweet malt...fuller nose than most English ales. Taste is sweet malt and caramel, but higher alcohol helps balance out sweetness to some extent. Light bitterness comes in after with mellow, light roast on finish to compliment malt.
I don't know if i just got lucky with a fresh bottle (they aren't doing themselves any favors with the clear glass) or lack of diacetyl some are mentioning, but based on what I just had, I can't understand the low scores here.

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Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev +16.6%

A: Amber, cloudy and fresh squeezed apple juice. A finger of beige head with large and small bubbles. Moderate fine bubbled carbonation within.

S: Rich caramel, toffee, sweet and creamy, like I’m about to bite into a creamy Highlander Toffee. Light apples, apple juice. A little dried hay, straw. Fruity, yes, like apricots, stone fruit.

T: Caramel, malty, clean linen, prunes yes, and apricots, light dried hay, creamy, toffee, clean finish, little bittering hops. Alcohol well hidden, but comes across as clean and crisp, like linen.

M: Thick bready, biscuit body, medium fine bubbled carbonation, dry crisp finish.

O: Beautifully done brew. I don’t understand the low ratings for it. Great mouth feel, smooth and classic to style. Bought and drank in Thailand, Oct 1st, 2014.

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Photo of TheGenesisOfElegance
4.51/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured half of the bottle into a 12oz ale glass, with plenty of room to breathe at the top. It has a deep brown color with a nice hint of red. Moderate carbonation. Thin head, no lacing.

S: English toffee, nuts, yeast and malt.

T: Tastes like a classic brown ale but obviously with better care taken throughout the brewing process.

M: Slippery but also a bit dry. Good carbonation.

Then I poured the remaining four inches of the bottle, containing the sediment at the bottom, into the glass and let it mingle. This changed the dynamic considerably. The flavors and aromas exploded and it suddenly became a whole new beer. If I had a bigger glass to contain the entire bottle it would have been this good from the beginning. I will buy this beer again.

Highly recommend.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.1/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Morland Hen’s Tooth has a thick, spongy, quickly-dying, cream-colored head, a murky, tan appearance, with bubble streams of tiny and large bubbles, and practically no lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet, white bread crust, light fruit, caramel, and a sharpness from the hop extract. Taste is of those elements, with some cellar mold, noticeable, straightforward bitterness, and brandywine. Mouthfeel is chewy and slimy, and Morland Hen’s Tooth finishes semi-dry and harsh, but in a good way, if that makes sense. Overall, this is an interesting, fairly perplexing, and very delicious beer.


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Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is not the first bottle of Hen's Tooth I've had with thick clumps of sediment caked to the lip of the bottle like spring mud. It's not the most welcomed sight to see right after prying the cap. But bottle-conditioning has done little to spoil the beer's blazing orange-auburn colour and clean, fiery complexion. Its head is dainty but leaves doily-like patterns of lace.

The aroma is comprised of all things irresistible to the British palate: biscuits, toffee, dried fruits, honey. As you can gather these are sweet flavours, but they're airy enough and masqueraded by such a floral perfume that this doesn't smell even remotely saccharine. It's a very pleasant, if slightly reserved bouquet which opens up further with hints of grapefruit and jasmine.

Be sure to consume this English ale the way the English would: cellar temp at coldest. This is a beer that doesn't just benefit from air, it requires it. Serve it chilled and you miss out on the subtle green tea grassiness and delicate wild flower honey notes. A brandy glass, or any kind of wide bowled vessel, is definitely a superior option than a standard pint glass.

All that said, don't expect the moon and the stars - this is an *English* strong ale after all. Just as its 6.5% alcohol doesn't qualify this as a particularly "strong" ale in the minds of most craft drinkers, its relatively mild flavour profile isn't likely to meet North American expectations for the style nor strike them as overly rich or complex, not compared to modern American Strong Ales.

But there is often intricacy in simplicity, volume to quietness. Without making any less sense trying to wax philosophical I'll just come out and say it: Hen's Tooth may not be a double-digit strength, barrel-aged beer that twists your palate inside out and knocks you upside the head, but it is "strong" enough to withstand the test of time and holds a quiet confidence and balanced composure few new-world offerings can offer.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.64/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the bottle to a pint glass

A: pours a clear amber color with a thick two to three finger head that breaks quicker than I expected leaving a thin layer of foam.

S: bready malts and a touch of hops

T: the malts come through on the taste with the hops just find the end but coming in smooth.

M: low carbonation and slightly sticky feel.

O: if someone handed me this beer without telling me what it was, I would likely have no problem identifying it as a Greene King / Morland brew. It has that distinct taste. Not a bad beer, but not really anything outstanding either. Seems a bit mild for my liking, but that is the opinion of but one man.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.89/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500 mL bottle from a sampler picked up at the LCBO. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours a deep, amber-brown colour, with one finger of creamy, light beige-coloured head that wilts slowly over a period of minutes. A thin cap and collar cling to the surface, along with a few strands of lacing on the sides. The liquid itself is a little hazy, but to be fair I poured all of the sediment in. The aroma is vaguely skunky at first, but after some time to breathe a lot of this brewer's usual tropes come through - biscuity malt, toffee/caramel, orchard fruit, raisins and leafy hops, with a touch of yeast as well.

I am impressed at this one's balance - this style usually tends toward the higher ends of the ethanol and malty sweetness scales, but Hen's Tooth keeps everything in check deftly. Perhaps this is a double-edged sword, though - while the brown sugar, toasted nuts and biscuity malts are inviting enough, the touch of dried stone fruit isn't enough to make this a very interesting beer. The finish is where the hops and yeast start to shine, providing a light, tea-leaf bitterness and almost woody astringency that lingers briefly into the aftertaste. Not much of an ethanol presence, but you can tell it's there. Medium-bodied, with a slick, almost chewy mouthfeel. The carbonation is mild, contributing to this one's surprisingly high drinkability - not something I'd want to sip all night, but a bottle or two would be welcome in my rotation.

Final Grade: 3.89, a B+. Hen's Tooth won't blow your mind, but it's still a well-constructed English-style strong ale that I'd consider picking up again at some point. A serviceable ale, comparable in quality to the other three brews in this sampler (Speckled, Golden and Crafty). None are the hallmarks of their style, but they're all easy to enjoy and worth at least one shot, at least assuming you're not a vehement opponent to English ales.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear red, no head. Caramel, malt, pepper, some orange fruit. Nicely balanced, medium malty body combined with pleasant bitterness in the aftertaste. Considering this is bottle-conditioned ale, and should be aging some time for fuller taste, keep those white bottles away from light. Not overly exciting, but still very good and underrated.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.78/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I often only tolerate this style - it is not normally a favorite. Being that is the case, I find this one a little easier to drink than some. The sample bottle was supposedly fresh in the store - they made a point of saying so.

It looks great in the glass. Loads of head. Fairly clear. Perhaps a bit too red. Nice, though and appetizing. The aroma is a little odd. Slightly soapy (I know that may sound odd). The taste has that similar off skunky flavor common in the style. This is not surprising since it is in a clear bottle - always a bad idea.

Similarly the aftertaste is a little off, but it is pleasant, as is the overall experience. I am pretty sure this was not the first time I had this but I will seek out others (won't buy this) when I am looking for that British experience.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.49/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperial Pint bottle poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a very attractive reddish-mahogany with two fingers of off-white head, speckled with reddish-mahogany highlights, that dissolved into a nice lacing of foam that covered the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow, very interesting. Lots of fresh bread, but also lots of dried stone fruit, like raisins and prunes, or figs, followed by some toffee and very Belgian-like yeast.

Taste: More malty breadiness upfront followed by toffee, caramel and dried stone fruit. Very Belgian in flavor. More like a Belgian brune. Very, very good.

Mouthfeel: Medium to slightly chewy. Nice coating of the mouth. Not much in the way of carbonation.

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer and will certainly look for more. I would love to try it on tap!

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Photo of TheGreatGizzo
3.9/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I quite enjoyed this ale, it brought back memories of my short trip to London while in college.

The smell was great, call me crazy but it had that weedy smell to it, you know what I'm talking about with yeast. You could tell from the smell that it wasn't your average bottle of ale. The fact that the fermentation process continued, (more so) in the bottle gave it extra nuances that you wouldn't get with other ales..

The taste slightly medium, only slightly. It was a taste that I could enjoy glass after glass. Again you got some nuances with it, fruity and sweet. There was hardly a hint of bitterness, it was there, but not forefront at all.

The mouthfeel was definitely not the highlight of the beer. It had no sting to it, no bite. It was very mild feeling, which I suppose some would like. This is surprising given the 6.5% ABV.

Overall I give this beer two thumbs up. It's good, and I will probably pick up a couple extra pints next time.

Oh and just a suggestion, drink this at, or slightly below room temperature (an air conditioned room).

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Photo of Wasatch
4.19/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up in LV

Poured into a true pint glass a very nice cloudy golden amber color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice two-finger foamy off white head, which leaves some very nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is very nice sweet, malty, with a slight hop note. The taste is very nice sweet, malty, with a touch of buttery thrown in. Medium body, the finish is sweet on the lips, dry, and very slightly bitter. Overall this is a very tasty brew, would definitely buy again when in Vegas.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Reddish-Brown; cloudy; medium head

Aroma: Malty; peppery; slight hops

Taste: Juicy malty start; warming alcohol mid range; slightly bitter finish; overall, well balanced

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.87/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, fruit, and slightly sour Brett-like aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors that I am not entirely sure were intended.

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Photo of breakingbland
3.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 pt., 0.9 oz. (0.5 liter) clear glass bottle (marked T6 12094 16:29).

Appearance: Poured with a one-finger light brown head with coarse bubbles. There was initial vigorous, large-bubbled effervescence. The head faded quickly to a thin irregular head of big bubbles then to a thin layer. The color of the beer is a lovely deep copper.

Aroma: There was initially a slight hoppiness and a slight skunkiness (characteristic of Morland with their clear bottles?) -- both of which receded later as the beer warmed -- and a very slight maltiness.

Taste: Starts with a bready maltiness that changes to a sweet caramel. There is only a very slight hops bitterness as perhaps would be expected with this style. (The hoppiness was initially more pronounced which may be due to initially serving the beer at too low a temperature. It definitely improved as it warmed.) There is a slight lingering bitterness along with the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with fine to medium carbonation. The mouth feel improved as the beer warmed; see "Taste" above).

Overall: This beer was part of a Hen House 4-pack from Morland. Reviewed Old Crafty Hen last night. I'll rate Hen's Tooth a bit below Crafty -- but I still like it and would look for it again. As noted above, proper temperature is important (this is a lesson I'm just beginning to learn....).

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Photo of ONUMello
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Amber color with a one-finger head that settles instantly
S: Caramel up front with sweet malt to fill it out
T: Quite sweet with caramel & sweet malt, a bit of brown sugar & fruitiness
M: Fairly light, noticeable sweetness
O: A bit sweet for my palate making it decidedly average; if the sweetness was decreased &the hop amount increased it could be quite nice

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Photo of mtboozeaddict41
2.97/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: pours a solid red amber with half a finger of white bubbly head. Medium retention digresses to thin white lacing

S:Attractive aromas of sugary dark fruit. Alot of apple and even some banana mixed in. Also lends to some sweet toffee and caramel. Pleasant but weak aromas

T: Large yeast and malt character on the palate. A very strange skunky lingering aftertaste has me pondering...oh well. A very complementing bitterness to the dark fruit of the malts. Hints of citrus. Not completely outstanding but still good

M: Low carbonation and a bit of oil left behind. Medium bodied and off-dry

O: I can see this being an off putting beer for some because of its bold flavors but this is much of a novelty beer. Very malty-sweet jammed packed with fruit. For the most part its a good english strong ale.

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Photo of metter98
3.47/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: The beer is crystal clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger dense high beige colored head that never completely faded away and left a coating of bubbles down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of fruity yeast in the nose—apples seem to stand out in particular.
T: The taste is fruity like the smell but also has some notes of caramel malts and toffee with hints of herbal hops. There is a slight bit of sweetness and no bitterness is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and rather smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is relatively easy to drink. I wouldn't mind drinking this again if I was in the mood for a bottle conditioned English Ale but something a little stronger than a pale ale.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A lot of potentially great things going on in this - but Old Speckled Hen seems to have just as much (and likely more) boldness and depth in flavor.

It starts off auspiciously enough with a high and mighty (and thankfully un-infection-derived) foam pour atop a rich-looking, rather bright, deep-tawny-hued liquid. Drinking down, it leaves some broad splotches of thin, crystalline lace. Not bad.

Very fruity (apple juice) on the nose, at first, it lends some hints of lightly-browned caramel, later opening up into some mild toffee. At its warmest, maybe a little tangy, drying bread dough and delicate earthy hop, however, the aromas lose a lot of their steam, surprisingly enough. You gotta strain... Overall, aside from some promise in the malts, a relatively standard bundle of scents, brought on weakly.

Initial palate sensation is hop bitterness, or perhaps some alcohol or yeast bite coupled with the active carbonation - I would even suggest it's a unmistakable (tea-like) tannic quality. Slowly coming through is, more up front, the esters, which added to the apple show some grape as well. Is that some hops in there, too?!....Phantom alcohol and certain floral notes through the finish... The overall taste is nice, but begs to be more (especially in the malt and caramel richness and depth department)...Really comes across as a modestly stronger OSH or other familar-profiled English pale....

The beer drinks rather clean, but has a good bit of bite that I wished would've been met with a more substantial malty body. Seems way too clean and far from heavy.

All in all, it's a fine beer, I suppose, just way too restrained. And I don't believe extended aging will aid in revealing much more.

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Hen's Tooth from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 227 ratings.