Hen's Tooth | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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Hen's ToothHen's Tooth
366 Ratings
Hen's ToothHen's Tooth

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
England, United Kingdom

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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 366 |  Reviews: 234
Photo of Billolick
1.48/5  rDev -57.2%
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

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Photo of MisterClean
1.64/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Shared at a brew club meeting

A - Lt brown pour, 2 fingered crusty white head, and it sticks around.

S - Skunky. Can't get discernible flavors out of it.

T - Barley and skunkiness. A fellow brewer put it correctly, Corona Dark.

M - Ultra-thin and tanniny.

D - Down the drain you go.

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Photo of tigg924
1.72/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Appearance: copper, no head, no carbonation

Smell: a bit skunky, salt, unsweetened toffee, malt

Taste: better than the smell, light hops, tea leaves, a bit of tobacco

Mouthfeel: clean, smooth--a biiter bite for a finish

Drinkability: I had to double check this one to see if it was my preference or just the style...After doing so, it is not the style--it is the beer...I think there are way better English Pale Ales...This one just missed my palate on every level...I get bitter, just not a lot of taste thereafter...Those that like dry hoppy, bitter beers should give this a shot, but I for one would rather have a Fuller's London Pride

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
1.74/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Shared a 16.9oz bottle on 2/24/07 at British Beer Company, poured into an imperial half-pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is quite pungent and contained caramelized malt, hops, nuts and a little brown sugar.

T: The taste is very bitter and malty, with flavors of caramel, nuts and apple. There’s a mild hops presence but it’s not what causes the bitterness.

M: Crisp but not smooth at all, medium body, medium carbonation, dry finish.

D: I didn’t find it tasty at all; good kick, but I definitely would not drink it again. My thanks to the individual that purchased the bottle and shared it with me. I consider myself fortunate that I did not have to spend money to try this beer.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
1.8/5  rDev -48%
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.

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Photo of thebierbrewery
1.82/5  rDev -47.4%
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.

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Photo of rastaman
1.96/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Yipes, sourish off-milk flavour, and quite yeasty, monstrously weird, quite hard to drink, i'll give it a miss if ever offered it again, definitely didn't agree with me.

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Photo of SetarconeX
2.1/5  rDev -39.3%
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.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.1/5  rDev -39.3%
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.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.12/5  rDev -38.7%
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.

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Photo of Pencible
2.12/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This poured a clear copper color with light tan head. Although it was bottle conditioned, it came in a clear glass bottle, and I believe it was improperly stored, causing it to be "skunked". Therefore, the scent was very sour, like soy sauce and limestone, with undertones of wheat, cultured yeast, and caramel malt. It tasted mostly acidic and chalky like vitamin C, although there was noticeable earthy and caramel malts with copper hops. It was watery with some carbonation and a slightly bitter aftertaste. As it warmed, the true rich malty flavor became a little more noticeable. It's a shame it was ruined, because I think this would have otherwise been a very delicate and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Greggy
2.16/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

A- Pours a decent 1 finger head over an orange body with nice sediment. No lacing present.

S- Definite skunk here with some nice hop oil

T- A big fruity hopiness is immediately present with a sweeter malt backbone. Notes of applejuice after you just mouthwashed (honestly), light pinneaple and an odd metallic tart/sour fruity finish.

M- Low carbonation works but the finish is odd, tart, and sour.

D- I have no doubt that this could be good on tap but in a clear bottle, this is pretty hagard. I got some really bad tart sourness along with some bad skunkiness which made this an obvious drain pour.

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Photo of chaz410
2.2/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this on tap at the flying saucer. Pours really really cloudy and orange-red with a frothy head. No real noticable smell except for slight malty notes, maybe some caramel. The mouthfeel on this beer is very creamy and pleasant, however this beer seriously taste like they made a guinness and then ripped out all the good taste. The has very little taste, it's so mild you don't even get the feeling like your drinking a beer, moreso a beer flavored cream soda. Not impressed at all, probably one of the last times i get this one.

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Photo of clvand0
2.23/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a pale orange color with a large, fast dying head that leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma was pretty plain with some alcohol notes budding in from time to time. The flavor of this reminded me too much of a malt liquor such as Colt45. Maybe I just got a bad bottle, but I really didn't enjoy this brew very much.

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Photo of joecast
2.25/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

500ml bottle. best before 11/06.

pours a clear light copper color with a small beige head that settles down to a thin lace after several minutes allowing the beer to warm slightly.
sediment has an interesting look to it. basically a thin film at the bottom of the bottle. even pouring half the bottle didnt disturb it.

whoa. somebody slipped some orval in my hens tooth. ugh. belgian yeasty funk going on there. its just enough to keep anything else getting through.

holding my nose while i take a sip seems to cut out most of the funk. mostly sweet with little hop character. kind of goes down without much hoopla. the sweetness being the main culprit with funk its minor cohort.

not sure where this went wrong. age and sun must have contributed to its downfall. writing on the back label is italian or spanish so this may have travelled a long way before getting into my fridge. either way, i wont visit this again.

 935 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
2.28/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

16.9 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear semi-dark copper color. Head, off-white, is frothy and thick; seems to retain well.

Smell: Seems like a relatively well-balanced combination of sweeter malts and bitter hops. A bit of apple is there too. Maybe a bit too much on the bitter side.

Taste: Sickening. Actually it's not that bad, but something isn't right here. There's slightly sweet apples and hop bitterness. Not a very good combination.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, light- to medium-bodied beer. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Bearable, but the flavor is pretty difficult to take much of, I must confess.

Could have been a good beer (looks nice, smells fine), but the taste has gone wrong. I don't want my beer tasting like bitter apples, thank you. I'll pass on this in the future.

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Photo of EvilKeith
2.31/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

16.9 ounce clear bottle- No date- 15-045 marked on rear label

Poured into the glass a hazy dark orange-amber color with a thin off-white head. The head quickly faded to a wispy cap and halo. Lace was spotty.

Smell was sweet caramel malts, yeasty dough, fruity, somewhat medicinal with a faint trace of skunk.

Taste was...alright, is this another one of those that I lack the "training and experience" to appreciate? Or does it taste like this to everyone?
I wanted to enjoy it, I just couldn't. Aspirin comes to mind in regard to the taste. Sorry guys.
The drain finished the rest of this one (my apologies to the drain).

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Photo of benmiliron
2.32/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Paid 2.99 for a fancy bottle complete with attached cardboard info card!

Pretty bottle, pretty beer. Rusty orange color, little head. Smell is somewhat winey, medicinal. Taste is also a bit winey and overall mellow. Some fruit in there too, but that my be from the winey taste? Small carbonation and little fizz with this beer.

Maybe not the best notes above, but this isn't a bad session beer - if only you could afford it.

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Photo of cypressbob
2.33/5  rDev -32.7%
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

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Photo of allergictomacros
2.33/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Whiff of skunk on opening the bottle. I hope it's a passing phenomenon.

A - Clear amber with a huge, steady head.

S - Sweet, somewhat cloying aroma. Pungent even. Skunkiness clears up after a minute or so into a more lemony aroma.

T - A little tart. Odd. Soft buttery undertones are overwhelmed by an initial sourness followed by a hard, hard bitter edge in the finish. I can taste the characteristic EPA, but it's overwhenled by the tartness and bitterness.

M - Surprisingly dry. Astringent and puckery.

D - Very warming. This is a big, bold brew, but I wouldn't say it's good.

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Photo of Taverner420
2.34/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not a very good beer. Almost a drainpour, except I paid $4 for it. Pours a crystal amber with off-white head. Flavor is almost lager-like, but instead of a good lager, it reminds me of a cheap pale lager that's been skunked. Great job with the clear bottles Morland! Despite this, you can taste some of the hop profile - and that isn't bad. Nice and bitter back of the mouth flavor. But other than that, a bleh beer.

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Photo of bashiba
2.4/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a hazy amber color with a thick off white head, mild lacing.

The smell had a lot of musty yeast and a mineral quality.

The flavor had a nice bit of caramel malt then a strong mettalic coppery flavor took over completely, probably oxidized.

Mouthfeel was average.

Clearly a flawed beer, hopefully just a bad bottle, why the clear glass Green King?

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Photo of tjsmith910
2.41/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

boring, boring boring boring and boring

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Photo of ADR
2.44/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Murky copper color and giant creamy carbonation of over an inch in height. Laces in thick glue-like sheets. Some floral hops in the aroma, LOTS of skunkiness with maybe some weasel musk added for good measure. Medium buttery diacetyl flavors abound here, possibly the beer's best characteristic, some sense of mown grass and nutmeg as well. Hops are harsh and extremely un subtle at the close, drying the beer harshly. I don't know -- this bottle was picked out of some just put in the fridge at Thomas Liquors, but alas there's a big sense of oxidation, yeast gone out of control, and light-striking skunkiness here. I'll re-rate some day...

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Photo of tbryan5
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%

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Hen's Tooth from Greene King / Morland Brewery
Beer rating: 3.46 out of 5 with 366 ratings
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