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Hen's Tooth - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Hen's ToothHen's Tooth

Educational use only; do not reuse.

328 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 328
Reviews: 224
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 17.1%
Wants: 4
Gots: 16 | 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: 328 | Reviews: 224 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrSeth
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint tumbler with a 2" white-tan head and a transparent medium brown color. Pretty impressive head retention, still a 1/8" head minutes later.

Not a whole lot going on in the nose, some light toasty malt. Maybe a gentle waft of earthy hops here and there. The simplicity continues in the taste. Medium bodied, pretty rich for a pale ale, the mouthfeel is well carbonated and a bit on the dry side, not too bad though. Almost a full malt taste, but not all the way there.. This is an otherwise straight-forward pale ale.. it's like the Marlboro Medium of English Pale Ales. [a decent price for a decent pale ale]

Photo of bark
4.47/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle fermented. The colour is medium dark amber; the finger thick beige foam dissolves into a thing lid rather quick. Looks nice to me!

The smell is quite delicate; lots and lots of aroma hops, chocolate chip brownies (!), and a sour - metallic touch.

The carbonation is soft, mellow and very pleasant, perfectly for this style.

The taste is full of full-bodied, somewhat sweet malt; there are notes of diacetyl (toffee), Ceylon tea, salt gravy, chocolate-toffee and sweet dough. The finish got subtle notes of sour yeast and dry hops.

I really liked this ale, and I found it very enjoyable although the label text, which goes something like ”the closest thing to a real ale that you can get in a bottle”, isn’t really true. I will get back to this one!

Photo of Billolick
1.48/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

16.9 ounce clear bottle, with no freshness dating. the pour immediatly tells me I've got a problem on my hands, A huge head develops, tons of bubbles continue to rise from the bottom. Uh oh, beer gone bad, nose is soapy, mouthfeel is prickly, flavors are off and winey, nah, I've experienced enuf, was it the clear bottle? , was it on the shelf for too long? Anyway bad beer is not for me, down the drain it goes

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.12/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation: Rather cool looking 500ml clear glass bottle, wide body with a tall thin neck which has the Morland artist embossed in 4 places on the neck and the words “Morland Established 1711” in raised lettering around the base….seems they didn’t have room to add “and closed by Green King in 1999”. A logo crown cap and a red & black bordered cream colored label both have a quality look to them. Labeled as “Hen’s Tooth” [the name is supposed to indicate its rarity] and as a “Bottle-Conditioned English Ale”. All of this is finished off with a small folded cardboard tag which is the same color as the main label and is held in place around the neck with red string (red is often associated with royal documents, seals, paper, etc.) and also adds a rather high end look to this brew. Listed at 6.5%, but with No Best Before Date that I could find. Cost $2.99 so it wasn’t too expensive, which was surprising give its obvious wish to impress the quality beer punter.

So it’s obvious which sector of the market this brew is aimed at, namely the Fullers and Young’s brews with similar excellent packaging, but I wonder how it will stand up to the tougher London Boys……?!?

Appearance: Beautiful lacing on the glass sides from the light tan head which phases between dirty white and a creamy vanilla yellow depending on the angle of the incandescent light. Scrumptious ruddy body that is clear, despite the thick layer of yeast visible on the bottom of the bottle, which remained undisturbed by the single pour. Head retention is superb and the conditioning is excellent too. A good start then…?...

Nose: ….erm maybe not!! Funky Malts and a whiff of dirty unemptied Teapots laden with cold tea from days gone by. Remember Farley’s Rusk’s?, maybe not if you’re not English, well I get those too.

Taste: From the first sip it’s a let down. Sharp tastes, angular profile, disjointed components that are ill-fitting. The English malts and hops are there, but it’s all wrong. A weird buttery cum fatty bacon taste intertwines with a tannin laden cold tea middle. Finish has some rescuing malts which exhibit a rather dry and strange tealeaf acidity, the hops maybe? I just don’t get this at all. Seems to have the right ingredients, but they are all in the wrong place. A Salvador Dali English Pale Ale if you will.

Mouthfeel: Weak, I hate to repeat myself but I get cold Tea again, and it’s not good, and I like cold Tea.

Drinkability: I worked my through this one…for one reason and one reason only, I don’t think that it is bad, or even “off”, neither is it repulsive…but it is a real surprise, extremely harsh, sharp, acidic and spiky….this is one cheese grater of a brew…..and this makes it very hard to enjoy.

Overall: Great start with the presentation and appearance in the glass, but it’s all down hill from there. Shockingly disappointing…..what happened guys???

I am most certainly not one of the US knee-jerk “it’s clear glass therefore skunked” brigade, this sample clearly isn’t, but I’m wondering if I had an old bottle…yet I KNOW where I bought it from is an exceptionally reputable store, I get all my Samuel Smiths from there too, and I have never had a problem with any of those – so no, definitely not skunked…..though with no discernable freshness date I do wonder if it’s just old…..of course, it could just be utter crap….after all, we are talking Greene King…but wait they do Olde Suffolk which is OK….ahhh fuck it, who knows…..I’m so confused…..I’ll give it a whirl again one day, but maybe whilst back in England…not here in the US.

Photo of GreenCard
3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best before 29.12.05...

Appearance: light brown with red highlights, medium layer of off-white foram that dissipates a bit too quickly to a sparse skin with a flotilla of bubbles in the center

Aroma: confectionary malt sweetness, hint of ripe pear, faint floral hops, melon, and surprisingly no skunkiness

Flavor: slight initial sweetness, full malty flavor, quick balance of roast and hop bitterness, faint taste of roots and wood, finishes semi-dry with a somewhat vegetal hop flavor in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, gentle carbonation, soft texture slight alcohol warmth

Other comments: I was quite surprised at the fact that there wasn't even a hint of skunkiness. Not sure how they accomplished that. This was a clear bottle taken from a supermarket shelf!

Photo of SetarconeX
2.1/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Really a pretty big dissapointment. It's a really nice, orange color, with bubbles set up in just the right way.

The smell however, is something special. I'm not even quite sure how to describe it. Other reviews here have called it "yeasty rotting apple," and that probably sums it up as well as anything I can think of. It really must be smelled to be believed.

It claims to be a traditional English Pale Ale, but it's not like any I've ever had. An all pervasive corn husk flavor, common in some macro beers but foreign to most English Ales shows itself here.

Harsh and sharp, all the way down. Lousiest mouthfeel in recent memory.

Can't recommend this one. Best avoided.

Photo of GClarkage
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

02/16/05- Purchased at Mollie Stones in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 16.9oz bottle poured into my 20oz Radeberger pils glass. Coed of L04-204 on the back.

Appearance- Great looking glass bottle. Pours an amber color with average foamy head and light lacing. Lots of yeasties floating in my glass.

Smell- Not really skunky, but a really bittersweet malt scent.

Taste- Good sweet malt character with just the right amount of bitter ESB type hop flavor. Right at the borderline for me. Quite tasty one. Grapefruity, but not like an IPA grapefruity, if that makes any sense.

Mouthfeel- Low to medium carbonation and a bitter dry mouthfeel.

Drinkability- One would be perfect for me considering it's bitterness, but that one is pretty refreshing. Would like to have this one on tap in the UK. A bit pricey though. I think I paid $3.49. Drop this one a buck and I may pick up a few more for the DBF.

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

Pours a clear medium-dark orange with a huge head of large bubbles that collapse quickly.

The aroma comes through strong, malty, aromatic, something slightly off (or is it the allergies?).

Flavor is ok- malty for sure, a hint of toasty/caramel-type flavors, with a slight hop finish. Generally mild all the way round. Note that I had this on tap recently, and that version was thin/watery in both flavor and mouthfeel- out of the bottle it's better both in flavor and mouthfeel.

Photo of rkhaze
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear burnt orange color with a creamy off white head. Good retention and sparse lacing.
Smells of sweet earthy malt, mild fruit, a bit of caramel and a grassy hop aroma.
Taste nails the aroma. Bittersweet, rich and slightly earthy. Good balance of malt/hops.
Light bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and a good level of carbonation.
Certainly not as rare as a "Hens Tooth" as the bottle claims. Actually more of a by the numbers English Pale Ale.

Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.26/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich amber brown ale with a nice white head that subsided slowly to a thin ring. The aroma reminded me of cheap vodka blended with ale like aromas. A bit of dry malt and some fruity esters blend with a strange alcoholic scent. The taste is a very dry and malty brew with some fruity hops thrown in to give complexity. Kind of weak in the hop flavor department this brew leaves a little to be desired overall but the yeast flavors seem to be the only point of realt intreset as the fruityiness really comes out due to the lack of other flavors to compete. Body is about perfect for an ale though as the carbonaiton is present and continues to replenish the head without lending any carbonic bite. Very smooth and refreshing this could be a very nice session beer.

Photo of Magery
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was apprehensive when first trying Hen's Tooth. I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

When I first opened the bottle, the smell was rather intense, but not offputing. As I poured the beer, it had a very pleasing appearance in color and the aroma actually grew on me and became rather pleasing.

The taste is very good. It is clean and does not leave a bad aftertaste at all. Overall, a good beer that I will buy again.

Photo of steinlifter
3.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this poured a hazy copper, lots of bubbles, the head was as if on steroids! even though I had the glass tilted properly it still foamed up incredibly, big frothy head, that held all the way through.
smell was of sweet grain
tasted like a mild belgian pale ale or wittbier, quite nice actually.
mouthfeel was bubbly with a bit of a dry chewy finish.
drinkability I would say is good! nothing wrong with this beer! worth a try.

Photo of bmills1608
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a clear bottle, 500 ml, lovingly brought across the pond by LondonPorter.

Bottle conditioned, strong ale, 6.5% ABV. Pours a real clear, copper color with a massive pillowy white head. Had to wait a minute or so for the head to subside before pouring the remainder into my imperial pint glass. Head eventually fades to a 1/2 inch thick, creamy pancake that lasts till the end.

On the nose, dry grass, herbs and musty wood. Taste is initially flinty and herbal followed by some nice bready/doughy notes, yeast, and a bit of that British fruity yeast esters. Very lightly toasted pale malts make themselves known towards the end along with a medicinal sour twang and lots of tea like flavors. Different, but nice. Reminds me a little of Old Speckled Hen's medicinal character. Finished dry and bitter, somewhat sharp with loads of herbs. Mouthfeel was really nice, creamy and full. Carbonation was low and tight,

Overall - A rather uniquely flavored ale. Very drinkable and complex. Thanks Simon for bringing me this!

Photo of gentlebubbles
1.8/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Boastfully bottle-condtioned. Lot L-04-77.

Clear reddish amber with briefly ample white head.

Incredibly nasty sweet-sour fermenting hay scent. Oh man, I'm getting a bad feeling about this one.

First sip. Ugh. Let's try again. Maple syrup malt overwhelmed by sourness. Has this gone bad? Bearable resiny finish that slowly peeps out as if to say, 'It's okay, there's some actual beerlike qualities in this.'

Reasonable prickle on the tongue.

Drinkable? No. I wish this was rare as a hen's tooth.

Photo of cypressbob
2.33/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

500ml bottle...clear

Pours with a dark amber body, large pieces of sediment float aimlessly around the glass, tan head forms

Smell, very musky, almost knocks you back, yeast aromas are very strong, slight malt

Taste, thick and yeasty, slight sweetness followed by a hefty musky malt, slight hop bitterness, alcohol finish

A poor effort, very hard to finish a bottle to be honest, i gave some to my dog who was stung by a wasp and needed some pain relief, even she didnt like it

Photo of Guinness4me
3.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As a rule, I shy away from clear bottles due to the skunk factor. A whif of skunk as I gently poured added to my fear, yet I marched on and I'm glad I did.

The color is a reddish-golden with a slight head. The first taste was caramel, then went a little bitter and finished with almost a butterscotch finale. I love this stuff!

Little did I know what a nice surprise I would find later as I licked my lips and got a wonderful sweet taste from the dried beer which lingered there! I'll definately drink this again and appreciate the 6.5% alcohol.

Photo of ark57
4.35/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a dark orange with some brown and is mostly clear, though there is a slight haze. The light tan head is a good size. The aroma is malty, fruity, and hoppy. The smell of the english hops is very nice. It has a fruity maltiness and some sweetness and woody notes. It finishes with a nice dry bitterness (Fuggles and EKG?). It is a great bottled beer that could almost pass for a cask ale.

Photo of Globetrotter
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stopped by one of my favorite (because of the good, varying beer selection) supermarkets yesterday and found them unloading a case of this beer. I immediately grabbed a bottle. Tall and clear, the bottle sports a white and red label promoting the fact that the brew is bottle conditioned and strong. Sure enough, there's plenty of sendiment here. Ingredients conform to the purity law. Best before 10/20/04, I opened it on 4/2/04.

Poured a clear (I kept the sediment in the bottle on the initial pour) dark copper verging on red under a one finger light tan head that settles to film fairly quickly. On the secondary pour, the liquid become slightly cloudy. The nose features sweet malt and yeast, with a touch of cherry. The mouth is very well carbonated and medium-bodied. The opening is nice and smooth, with lots of yeast and a hint of cherry. This is followed by an ample portion of typically British hops. There's a nice bitter finish and a crisp aftertaste. I quite enjoyed it, and noticed no skunkiness at all. A very smooth, quite drinkable brew.

Photo of coasterfreak75
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was excellent, a great one and one half inch head that dissapated to a creamy foam that stuck to the sides of the glass for the entire drink. The smell was very citrusy with a slight spice overtone. The taste started with a mellow hop bite followed by a sweet middle and a slight kick of hops at the end with a very smooth and refreshing finish. A very drinkable beer that I will come back to as much as possible.

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

Hen's Tooth came in a clear 16.9 fluid ounce bottle. The aroma was better than I anticipated with elements of floral hops and toffee. The color was a transluscent amber/copper with a decent head. The smooth taste was a good blend of hops (flavorful and a bit citrusy) and toffee with a good bite. The finish was a little bitter and citrusy with some sweetness. The 6.5% abv contributes to the worthiness of this beer. This is definately a good beer to seek out and keep on hand.

Photo of marburg
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is definitely a beer I don't buy unless I see it being stored and cared for properly in the store. Off of a dusty shelf is just begging for shitloads of trouble.

That said, I recently had a pretty good bottle. Mildly hazed, bronzed statue sort of copper-ish color. Mildly herbal, definitely malty -- caramel, grainy husks, discarded wet cardboard. Pretty creamy. An eye dropper full of well water and the rest is malty English ale -- borderline grassy on the finish. Mild ester quality, but predominantly soggy bread crusts and mild spent grains. Not bad.

Photo of DagFishHead
3.94/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50 cl clear bottle with sediment settled at bottom.
Admit I was scared of this beer based on many of the reviews posted, but me thinks I got a good bottle!
Appearance: Careful, decanting pour to prevent disturbing sediment as recommended on tag attached to bottle. Slight chill-haze copper-amber body. Weak, fizzy, off-white head that quickly fades to a small sustained edge ring. No lacing to speak of.
Smell: Slightly toasty, sweet caramel malt pokes through an earthy/yeasty/mineral aroma.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied slick, sweet caramel malt start, tingly cask-like carbonation at the top releases a biscuity and mineral/iron-tinged flavor. Finish has a drying floral hop, unsweetened tea character. Let this warm close to room temp and you'll be glad you waited.
Drinkability: Don't have a lot of bottle-conditioned experience, but I like this and will pursue other examples.

Photo of Starchild
2.63/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Amber color. Think fluffy foam. Nice burst of hops and slightly bitter taste. I've had this one before and enjoyed it, but I think my bottle was bad. Morland needs to start using dark glass bottles because I think this happened to me with Tanner's Jack. Ok, but I'll get some Ruddles Country next time I'm in the mood english ale.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
2.68/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a bright amber with a thick tan head. Smell is hoppy...and skunky.

Taste is coppery with a bit of alcohol bite. Spicy with a hoppy finish. Apple flavors with a skunky undertone through out. Hoppy aftertaste and medium-bodied.

I think this bottle is a bit skunked but it's in a clear bottle so it's fair game. Not one I will try again, at least not in this side of the Atlantic.

Photo of beergeek279
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 500 mL bottle. The color is amber, with a nice, thick white head. The smell is a nice malt. The taste is a nice hop on top of the old ale malt, and the alcohol just starts to be noticable in the beer. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy. Drinkability-wise, could have a few.

I wasn't expecting a lot from this, just a different review, but this is a nice, quality old ale. It's amazing how the English can send clear bottles and not have any "skunking", but somehow they manage. A quality beer, and one I'd have again.

Hen's Tooth from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 328 ratings.