Hen's Tooth
Greene King / Morland Brewery

Hen's ToothHen's Tooth
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Style:
English Strong Ale
Ranked #89
ABV:
6.5%
Score:
80
Ranked #45,587
Avg:
3.49 | pDev: 16.62%
Reviews:
235
Ratings:
369
From:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  9
Gots
  32
SCORE
80
Good
Hen's ToothHen's Tooth
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 235 | Ratings: 369 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Nass
2.6/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

There is nothing much to some about the Hen's Tooth. This is just a bitter drink without much flavor to carry the bitterness through. There is some slight toffee & caramel there but its being overwhelmed by the bitterness. Cheers! C

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Photo of danmouer
3.61/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is the Old Speckled Hen's big sister. My first glance of a big strong bitter in a flint glass bottle set me looking for some freshness faults, and I surely did find a few. Nonetheless, this is my sort of beer, writ large. It poured into my pint beautifully clear with a fat huge head that settles down to a quarter-inch cap and holds it. Beautiful deep amber hue.

The aroma is what I expect, but in this case with more than a touch of oxidation. This bottle has, of course, travelled across the pond and sat for heaven-only-knows in my local beer shop waiting for me to come rescue it. That aroma of sweet malt and earthy--I want to guess maybe Challenger--hops is numbed and tainted a bit with that distraction, but augmented a bit with a puff of alcohol.

This is a nicely mouth-filling ale that pleases every bit of the mouth, the nose and the throat. Rich full body with a moderately hefty maltiness, a good element of caramel sweetness and all balanced by a hefty hop backbone. It goes down smooth and easy, leaves you chewing the afterglow and readying for more. But don't be too anxious. At 6.5 abv, this isn't exactly the "same-again" session beer you enjoyed at your last pub visit.

Bottom line, I suspect that this bottle conditioned real ale was a prize winner back in Suffolk when it went into its bottle, but even with big abv and reasonably big ibu, it just hasn't travelled all that well. So let me go see if my favorite publican can figure out how to get hold of a cask...

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: brilliant deep copper capped by a 2" cream to tan layer of foam that drops to 1/2" moderately fast and then stays producing light lace.

S: Moderately low aromas of malt, treacle, nuts, light fruit, spice and dank wood rise from the glass.

T: The flavors are moderate to moderately low starting lightly sweet leading to a crisp weak black tea bitter finish. Malt flavors of grain, nuts and treacle are medium to medium low. Hints of peach are in the background. The bitterness is moderate to moderately high. Alcohol is barely noticeable.

F: medium body and medium low carbonation. The balance leans ever so slightly to the malt.

O: good but not outstanding British Strong Ale

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Photo of Whatsmyname4
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm tasting this for the second time. It's been a few months since I first tried it. This bottle pours with a ridiculous amount of head, about three fingers deep. Foam has some tight lacing that fades down after a couple of minutes to about a half an inch high. Color is a medium amber color. Smell is yeasty/bready and a little metallic, with hints of butterscotch. Feel is light to medium bodied. The taste is mix of malty, bitter, dank, earthy, skunky, and buttery, with hints of alcoholic heat.

I could see how some wouldn't like this, but I'm enjoying it the second time around. The current score on BA seems a bit harsh. It's probably best enjoyed occasionally by the slightly adventurous.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.14/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried the Hen's Tooth at Montanos in Roanoke. The beer poured a clear copper with thin white head that is not leaving any lace. The scent was skunky. The taste was bitter through the drink. Definitely an English style ale. The Mouthfeel was lighter in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's ok...smells awful bit worth a try.

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Photo of vinicole
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Rich clear amber colour. Thick frothy head which lingers. Gentle effervescence.
Sweet malt and hops. A rather jarring aroma.
Toffee flavour. Sweet butterscotch. Some vanilla? Quite complex but not balanced.
The bottle conditioning lends this brew a smooth profile.

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Photo of rupert_turtleman
4.07/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aggressive pour in a full pint glass led to about 4 fingers of head, but I let it settle before pouring the rest after giving the yeast in the bottle a good swirl. Also, I let it sit for a bit after taking it out of the fridge to let it get to cellar temp (about 50 degrees). Solid cloudy brown amber color with heavy lacing. Smell was a bit floral but not as strong as the malty taste. Very complex flavor with malty sweetness (vanilla and toffee) along the sides of the tongue that mask the 6.5% ABV even with the warmer drinking temp. Very smooth with low carbonation after letting it settle. Overall, was pleased that it wasn't skunky given the clear bottle. Reminded me of "real ales" from London pubs. I'm thinking a tilted pour with a small head leaves the bitterness that others have mentioned. Drink the yeast!

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Photo of Dentist666
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
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 +1.4%
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 -3.7%
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 +12.9%
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 -4.3%
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 +43.3%
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 +7.4%
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 +14.6%

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 +29.2%
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 +17.5%
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.

RJT

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Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
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 EmperorBevis
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottled and definitely bottle conditioned
Pours an amber body with big foaming white head that retreats to the edge of the glass
Aroma is caramel and wholemeal bread
Big malty body with bitter fin8sh

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.64/5  rDev +4.3%
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 +11.5%
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 of English ales.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4/5  rDev +14.6%
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 +8.3%
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 0%
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 +11.7%
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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Hen's Tooth from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 369 ratings