Hen's Tooth - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Hen's ToothHen's Tooth

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343 Ratings

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Ratings: 343
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 16.81%
Wants: 4
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-02-2001

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 343 | Reviews: 228
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of damndirtyape
3.76/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt 0.9oz bottle served in a Tulip Stout glass. No date.

Appearance: Mostly cloudy coppery amber. Very thick head upon pouring dying back to a thin foam across the top. Initial thick sheets and lots of strands of lacing, eventually becoming just a few strands and islands of lacing here and there. Took care to keep the sediment in the bottle and it looks like most of it was left behind but some came along with the pour.

Smell: Not a lot going on. Hint of yeast, some fruit-like sweetness initially, then becoming more like a copper penny and then not a lot after that.

Taste: Nice fruit and malt up front, moving into a metallic and sharp bitter finish. Very English style hops here. Some buttery flavor comes out with the malt as it warms up to just below room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Lively carbonation but not fizzy. Just right really. Nice thickness, a little bit sticky on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: Quite nice. A very good English ale. Good with food (Bangers and Mash in this case) but I could easily have one of these by itself. Quite dangerous in drinkability - I would easily want another pint of this. I suspect this would be a fantastic beer fresh on cask.

Photo of fx20736
4.35/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a Nonic, served chilled.

Had this beer once before but the bottle was skunked so I did not review it then. Even with the skunking I could detect the promise of good beer and since I like the other Morland brews; Old Speckled Hen, Tanner's Jack and Old Crafty Hen I decided to buy an unopened case to avoid a repeat of the skunking. I am so glad I did.

Burnished Copper with an old. faintly yellowed linen head that leaves decent lacing. The aroma is Crystal Malt, Jolly Rancher fruitiness and a faint whiff of English Hops. Mouthfeel is effortless and smooth with a slight tickle of carbonation. Taste is Pale malt, apple fruitiness and a mild herbal bitterness on the aftertaste. This is a lovely and delicious beer that I eagerly savor each swallow. Great stuff.

Photo of tvv375ia
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from 500ml bottle into pint glass

A-nice copper colored with lots of a big fluffy head that sticks around quite a while

S-not a lot here some faint carmel malt at the end of a long sniff

T-some good biscuit and carmel notes with none of the alcohol showing through and none of the off flavors that I usually get with imports

M-lots of carbonation giving it some creaminess

O-definitely better than I had anticipated nice easy to drink beer

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Oct 2012. Picked up cheap from an off-licence a while back. A strong ale conditioned with live yeast (highly unusual for Greene King).

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A deep coppery-orange with faint sediment and medium carbonation. Forms a large head of frothy off-white foam that lasts for a few minutes before disappearing. Aroma of rich, fruity malt with notes of caramel, brown sugar, dried fruit, stewed hops, wet cardboard and subtle earthy yeast. There is a background hint reminiscent of maple syrup, along with a warming whiff of alcohol.

Tastes of fruity malt with a dry, bitter finish. Notes of caramel, mild roasted grain, brown sugar, dried fruit, a slight nuttiness, cardboard, dry yeast and stewed hops. A hint of booze lingers in the background, along with a stale note. A harsh, dry bitterness upon swallowing - this is overbearing and dominates the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, dry and tingly, though rather slick and a bit thin for the style. Highly astringent - dries the palate. Aftertaste of fruity malt and harsh stewed hops.

An OK ale, but doesn't fulfill it's potential. The clear glass bottle is an obvious no-no. It has an interesting complexity that raises it above most Greene King brews, but the harsh bitterness from the hops spoils the balance. The fruitiness and caramel notes are nice, but I would expect a strong ale to have a more malt-dominant character. Aims high and falls short. It's quite drinkable and I would have it again, but not the best example of the style. Worth trying (once).

Photo of Cozzatoad
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

A- Rich and beautiful dark amber/light red colour. Two fingers frothy head that shows good retention throughout the whole tasting. Nice amounts of lacing on the sides of the glass. Great looking beer

S- Malty notes of biscuit and butter among a crisp grainy base. Some vivid mineral/metallic notes. Some light fruity undernotes and a hint of estery spiciness may be detected as well.

T- A malty beer. Caramel and biscuit malts, with a dense butter-like feel on the palate, where some light fruity hints show up as well. A touch of earthy and mineral hops, on the tongue and in the aftertaste. Some plain metallic notes as the smell suggested, expecially on the tongue, maybe a bit too strong. Overall nice, though maybe a bit too raw

M- Raw, or rough, is once again a good way to define that. Medium body and medium to high carbonation. Not at all a dry beer, but at the same time not very smooth nor mouthfilling

O- An easy drinker with decent complexity. Not so clean on the taste and mouthfeel part

Photo of Murrhey
2.1/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 1pt .9 oz bottle into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Overcarbonated. Four finger dense khaki head with rapidly shrinking retention. Clear coppery color with heavy carbonation. Some lacing.

S- Grassy and light malts. Smells kind of skunky. Very strong smell.

T- Light malts and some sugary flavors. Has a medium bodied fruitiness as well. Toffee flavoring, but really rather bitter.

M- Medium bodied and very wet.

O- Not executed well. Avoid this bad boy.

Photo of airforbes1
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The yeast in this bottle-conditioned ale did their job as the head is profuse (about two-fingers thick) and retains well. I swirled the bottled to make sure it'd get all the yeasty cloudiness in my glass. The aroma isn't as noteworthy; I smell some earthy hops and some fruity notes. Maybe banana?

I'd describe the taste as earthy upfront, mildly fruity in the middle, and strongly earthy on the finish. As in the aroma, it's hard for me to pick out a single fruit. I think I'll stick with mild banana and maybe pear.

I thought this beer was OK, but considering I bought it in California I doubt it was fresh. It might have received a better score from me if it was fresher.

Photo of hmf05
3.49/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautifully clear caramel color with a two finger head that seems to be sticking around. The first thing that hits me in the aroma is skunk. God damn you, clear bottle!!!! Behind the skunk, I get some smokiness, some caramel, and some sweetness. The taste is exactly like the smell. This brew is just above average. Too skunky and too one dimensional to be anything more than barely above average. This needs to be bottled in something darker. I can tell this beer has potential, but the sun sure has damaged this one. Worth a shot, but I'd only get again if I can find it on tap.

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 2 1/2" off-white head which floated a lasting merengue on top. Smells like skunking had just barely started (why do so many still bottle in clear glass, geez?), but also smells of the bitters and some malt. Clear dark amber body. Taste follows the smell hints but stronger and without the skunking. There's a higher dose of the bitter hops and even some hints of cocoa butter. Body is velvety but not as much as their Old Speckled Hen.

Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Bay Brewery pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland. Reviewed live. Acquired at Spar Off license in Galway.

A: Obviously, the first question I have regards the presentation: what brewer okays a clear bottle for production bottling? Inexcusable. Three finger head devoid of cream but of fair thickness and decent retention. Colour is a nontransparent dark amber. Appealing.

Sm: Amber hops, maybe some butterscotch? There's definitely something familiar there. Maple syrupy note, but it's well concealed. Some earthy fruit notes, but none subtle and focused enough to directly detect.

T: A bit of dry caramel punches through in the climax, which is unexpected. The fruits are very non-berry but not quite dark; they're not balanced alongside the earthy hops, which don't sit correctly in the beer's build. Bittering hops typical of the style are mysteriously absent, but I count this as a benefit. Open has slight caramel. It's built well for the style, but poorly balanced.

Mf: Smooth and dry enough, but not complementary to the taste. The absence of bittering hops is indeed peculiar.

Dr: Expensive, but not bad. I'd have it again, maybe in the UK at a better price.

Photo of 4000qtrap
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Source/Serving: Bottle

S: Smooth, musty and earthy hops of moderate intensity. A touch of biscuit and some maple hidden way in the back.

T: Soft, sweet biscuit and grain up front which blend into a mild, flavorful citric/orange, hoppy center with a hefty dose of caramel that isn't too sweet due to restrained, well-balanced bitterness in the background that’s just a touch harsh. Really smooth overall and highly drinkable but a bit too restrained on the hop character even for an English IPA. Malt character is also a bit one dimensional and dull, but not bad and the balance is just right. Definitely some diacetyl in there. Finish dries out nicely with bit of a bite, has a touch of iron which isn't ideal but also has a nice, lightly fruity (citrus/berry) edge to beady malts that’s very pleasant. Eventually the not as pleasant metallic character wins out as it lingers though.

Photo of thierrynantes
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (50 cl.), tasted in 2011.

Appearance : amber color, with a white foamy head (not persistent).
Smell : malty and fruity aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : malts and caramel flavours with hoppy notes.
Drinkability : a good beer in the English extra strong ale.

Photo of sj660
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An average beer. You'd be better off getting an American Pale Ale if that's what you're after.

Caramel color is a bit dark, and it has a poor head that goes away fast. I don't smell much aroma. The taste has a bit of diacetyl, nuts, and plenty of hops of an almost Cascadian type. Did I taste any fruitiness?

Astringent and gassy mouthfeel. I probably can't do more than one of these, but despite my complaints, it's not swill.

As an aside, I wonder if English Ales are under pressure to conform to the tastes of US drinkers and make them all hop bombs the way French wines have succumbed to certain reviewers' preferences for fruit bombs.

Photo of hophopandaway
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured an amerish colour and the head dissapated after about 3 or 4 minutes.

S- no strong smells just a bit of malt.

T- starts off with malts and then you get a bit of sweet spicy flavour that I don't find particularly appealing. A touch of bitterness but not a lot.

M- fairly smooth but a little oily and the carbonation is way too agressive for this style of beer.

D- not one for me too fizzy and for its strentgh I think quite a bland beer. Green King not my favourite brewer by a long way.

Photo of wajacobs
2.91/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Comes in a clear bttle which always makes me worry.
A. Pours a clear ornagish with a nice white head.
S. The aroma is sweet and malty with light hints of european hops.
F. The flavor is is lightly sweet with a ow bitterness with hints of toffee a starnge aftertase developed and became more noticable with each swig, not sure but could be oxidation.
M. Hens Tooth is light with a low level of carbonation.

Greene King basicaly calls it cask conditioned ale in a bottle and it definately ake me think of many english cask conditioned ales but really doesn't fit the bill, might be better in a pub in england.

Photo of thebierbrewery
1.82/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Served out of a clear 12oz bottle.

A- Crystal clear, copper color, some head retention.

S- Caramel, some hops, oxidized big time, cheesey smell from being old.

T- Tastes like a homebrew, diacytal, stale hoppiness, minerally, astringent, oxidized

M- Medium light, low carbonation

D- Not very, couldn't finish it, has a lasting weird bitterness, taste like someone's 1st batch of homebrew.

Maybe we got one that has been sitting on the shelf too long because I'm sure that at the brewery the beer is really good.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear orange/amber, with an initial bubbly cream colored head. No lacing, and this beer becomes rather still quick.

Bitter herbal aromas, some buttered toast, light fruit sweetness.

Bitter hops up front, balanced with toasted malt and some fruity notes. There is some buttery grain and and some element of harshness, like bitter husk, in the finish. Fruit does have some tart elements as well, akin to apple skin.

Mushy, but not to the point where it is detrimental. Just softer than i want this to be. The body is about medium, but this needs a little zip to it.

Funny beer - starts good and ends rough. I dislike the finish enough where I wouldn't chase this too often. Not bad, but not great.

Photo of darkmartin
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours to a translucent amber with strong red undertones. Fairly creamy, small, off-white head that doesn't last long.

Smell: Somewhat fruity with sweet malt and cracked grain.

Taste: Much like the nose suggests, the spicy fruit up front is really quite pleasant. This is followed by sweet, toffee malt and cracked grain, with faint hops and a small hint of alcohol towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with minimal carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite high, a little sweeter than expected but overall a nice brew.

Photo of mbrown26
2.72/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

A: Great three finger white head that stayed around for a while. Amber color that was pretty clear.

S: Great smell of fruity notes that weren't citrus. A different smelling beer.

T: The balance of this was way off, in my opinion. The alcohol was too present for me to enjoy the flavor. I like the alcohol to hide in the background, but this one was more upfront. Taste was present, but I couldn't get into it.

M: Nothing to write home about.

D: It's a quality product, but I don't think I'll waste my time with this anymore.

Photo of FreshHawk
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy bronzed orange color with a large, foamy, fluffy, cloud-like, slightly sticky, off-white head. Pretty good retention finally settling into a thin, patchy lace.

S - Definitely an English Pale Ale. Toffee malt is plentiful along with a fruitiness that features apple along with some golden raisin. Some spiced bread/grain aroma in the back.

T - Similar to the nose with toffee and some caramel malt. Spiced apple and golden raisin comes out mid-sip and last to the end. Faint floral and tea like hop flavors also start coming out mid-sip. Faint alcohol taste comes out along with some mineral. A little too sweet, but not cloying.

M - Lighter side of medium body with a bit above average carbonation. Pretty smooth with a sticky sweet finish.

D - A little too sweet to be really drinkable, but there is a nice tea/floral hoppy bitterness that balances it a bit.

Notes: Not a bad beer and a good example of an English Pale Ale. Plenty of toffee malt and golden fruit give it a definite sweetness. Even though it is bottled (and a clear bottle at that), it has a cask-like taste to it. Worth trying, especially if you like sweeter English beers, although the cost could be deterring (got it on sale myself).

Photo of beerdrifter
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper-amber pour with creamy one finger head with decent retention and great lacing. Malt dominates the nose with caramel and brown sugar with hints of tea, tobacco and pennies. The taste is also dominated by the caramel malt, but as it warms the bitterness of the hops emerges with a nice mildly tangy fruitiness as well. The mouthfeel is slightly thick and chewy but extremely smooth. Hugely drinkable. A great English ale!

Photo of rebel1771
4.11/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a crystal clear dark amber color with almost no head.

S: Mild malt aroma with a slight hop note in the end.

T: Solid malt flavor up front that fades to a slightly fruity/floral hop flavor.

D: Not an earth shattering brew but damn tasty. This is actually a pretty excellent beer.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.62/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber orange color with a small head, fades fast and leaves no real lacing on the glass.

Smell is mostly malty with a strong presence of caramel, the hops are quite mute.

Taste is similar to the aroma in that the malt is really the controlling factor, the caramel is quite noticeable and pleasant, very slight hop bitterness in the aftertaste, doesn't stay long though, there's a buttery slickness that I think works in it's favor.

Photo of JohnnyP3
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a clear glass bottle (50cl) into an imperial pint glass. This beer pours beautifully with an amber-copper hue and a frothy white head of at least three fingers. Foam really sticks to the glass as the beer goes down. Excellent lacing. Can see yeast particles floating in the glass. Slightly hazy with signs of vigorous carbonation.

The smell leaves me eager to taste. Quintessential English bitterness, butterscotch (diacetyl), toffee, hard water, hops, luscious malts.

And the taste...hmmm, not quite on par with the smell, but many of the scents are detectable here. The key issue seems to be the mouthfeel, which suffers from what I think is excessive carbonation that masks some of the taste. Nevertheless, I do note the bitter qualities that arrive after the initial maltiness and the butterscotch/toffee flavors. Nice English hop character to the beer. But, leaves me wondering what might have been.

Mouthfeel, as noted, is a big problem for me. Not sure if it's just this bottle or if that is how this beer normally is. Way too much fizz in the mouth. As far as drinkability, again, what might have been....Also, the 6.5% abv shines through a bit more in the overall character of the beer. Imparts a bit of the "alcohol burn" going down at times.

Hen's Tooth from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.