Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Hen's Tooth | Greene King / Morland Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
231 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 231 | Ratings: 360
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ok, pretend this is a blind taste. Looks like an IPA, grapefruity with bubbles, lots of foam in pour (the ackward way I pour on purpose). Funky smell, a wild ale...then taste, a hoppy bitter ale, malting, and then sourish. You like sour people, right, you Cantillon it. A different British.

 290 characters

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.

 544 characters

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.

 810 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

OK beer. Has lots of flavor and sweetness with a body that weighs a bit on the heavy side. Most characteristics are blended well, but can't seem to descern the flavors. Some obvious fruity notes in the nose and flavors, malt profile seems heavy. Lowly carbonated for a heavier effect. Viscous and bright orange to the sight. Finishes with a mild hoppy / sweet lingering quality. It's ok.

 387 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -16%
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.

 1,190 characters

Photo of oberon
3.44/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well it was a damn fine pour in to the imperial pint glass right to the top a deep clear copper,with a quick to vanish one finger head.Somewhat downhill from there I have to say aromas of hard water and fruit but light and that clear/green bottle skunk but I wont hold it against the actual beer itself.Flavors are ok it has the English fruitiness a touch of brown sugar and iron but not much hop presence just a light herbal note in the finish after a few sips.Quite light for a 6.5% alc beer goes down easily just nothing to make u want more,a decent beer none the less to be had.

 582 characters

Photo of mothman
2.96/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Best before date was not stamped on my bottle.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass. Decent layer of head, but leaves no lacing. Color is a brown ruby.

The aroma is very skunky, nothing to pleasing. No other notable smells. Taste has that same skuny flavor to it. Has some kind of hops, but I can't determine it. Also, there are some bready malts.

Mouthfeel is very crisp and bitter. Leaves a sticky aftertaste. Has an overpowering level of carbonation.

Overall, this is not something I would like to drink again. I received as a gift so I took a shot at it. The worst part about this is that I have over half of my .5L left... oh gosh...

 642 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.08/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its slightly hazy (bottle-conditioned) copper body displays bronze and ruby highlights beneath a short, creamy head of off-white foam that drops readily but holds a thin cap throughout the pint. The nose displays and iron/mineral character, some delicate apple-ish fruit, and some leafy hops over a caramelish malt. The body is full, creamy and smooth in the mouth with a very fine, natural carbonation that just lightly caresses the tongue (similar to a cask-conditioned pint!). The flavor delivers a biscuit-like maltiness, some lightly-dry and apple/pear-ish fruitiness, a distinct note of diacetyl, and a subtle touch of blood-like iron all backed by a solid bitterness and some leafy, tea-like hop flavor. It finishes dry with a lingering character from almost all of its attributes except for its slightly elevated alcohol which seems to remain hidden at all times. Quite nice!

 883 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
1.74/5  rDev -49.3%
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.

 809 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.41/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a brilliantly clear, orange-hued body with a tall, foamy, light beige head on top.

Smell: Dry malt scent with accents of toffee and bread and a light fruitiness with a notable spiciness.

Taste: Sweetish, toffee-tasting maltiness with a bit of crumbled bread crusts thrown in for good measure. Slight English ale fruitiness. Hops are both spicy and grassy and provide a bit of herbaceous bitterness. Dry, spicy, crisp finish with the zing of carbonation accentuated the bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Though I don't find myself particularly enamored with it, it's still a decent lil' beer.

 656 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ripe pumpkin orange with butterscotch edges; easily seen by looking through the clear glass bottle shown at right. The large, orangish ivory crown is tight-bubbled and is clingingly sticky. I like the color quite a bit and the head is one of the best on an English pale ale that I've seen in ages.

Amazingly, there's no trace of skunk. This bottle must have been especially well cared for. The nose consists of lightly sweet, lightly toasted grain and an equal measure of musky, earthy hops. There may be a little orange fruit as well. It doesn't smell like the more common English hop varieties have been used, but it still smells unaccountably English. Go figure.

If you like your EPAs on the malty-sweet rather than the hoppy-bitter side, then Hen's Tooth should be right up your alley. Since I prefer the latter, I'm not warming up to it all that much. The flavor profile isn't very deep. Actually, the beer tastes somewhat dumbed down to me. I keep sipping, hoping to find some nuance, but what you taste is pretty much what you get.

That isn't to say Hen's Tooth is bad, just that it isn't especially interesting. I find myself longing for a little of that classic English pale ale bottom-of-the-teacup, tea leafy bitterness. The soft, subdued, yet still effective, carbonation matches up well with the medium body and with the lightly mouthcoating finish. A cask feel from a bottle, in other words.

This beer isn't my preferred sort of EPA, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have some positives or that it won't appeal to a wide range of people. In the official pecking order of English pale ales (according to me), Hen's Tooth is at least as much pecker as it is peckee. In trying to decide if it was a worthwhile purchase, I spot the sticker that reads '$3.99'. If I had it to do over again, at that price, I'd pass.

 1,836 characters

Photo of Jason
2.91/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

16.9 clear bottle with no freshness date.

Sunset orange hue with a good frothing and good retention. Buttery, grainy, slight orange and mint and salty aroma.

Smooth carbonation with a medium body. A buttery musty diacetyl sticks to the palate, maltiness brings caramel and toasted biscuits. Hops are a little bitter with a quick minty note. Graininess and a flash of solvent alcohol show some roughness within this ale. Finishes a little funky with alcohol on the breath.

Not bad, sure its English, bottle conditioned and all but it just does not seem to hit its stride. A bit of a chore to put down.

 603 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours bright reddish copper with nice clarity. The thin head almost immediately becomes a lasting patch.

The smell is of sweet grain with hints of caramel and earthy fruitiness.

The taste is of caramelish graininess - almost grassiness. Some earthy fruitiness and a leafy bitterness push to balance sweetness, but don't quite make it, leaving the sweetness too imbalanced. The alcohol that is well-covered at the start slowly creeps in and becomes more pronounced as the drink progresses.

It has a medium body buttery slickness. Slightly drying.

This reminded me of Old Speckled Hen with more sweetness and alcohol. It emphasizes "rarity", "rare as a Hen's Tooth", etc. but, I didn't really find anything exceptional about it. Not a "session" ale, but not good enough for a "sip and savor" either. Not bad, but rather boring and too imbalanced, both with sweetness, and by the end, with alcohol.

 907 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.14/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

 335 characters

Photo of Billolick
1.48/5  rDev -56.9%
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

 412 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.88/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 910 characters

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....

 171 characters

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.

 499 characters

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.

 1,964 characters

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

50 CL clear glass bottle carefully selected from back of the cooler at the Green Jug.

Pours a clear darker copper colored ale with a good tan head.

Smell is sweet and fruity with a fairly strong scent of herbal hops. Fruity scent is the standard British ale smell that I can best describe as juicy fruit. Spicy scent of alcohol and a secondary sweet vanilla scent. Absolutely no funk or skunk in this bottle.

Taste is sweet and herbal at the very start. Strong herbal hop level here and I like it. Fairly fruity with the standard British ale yeast flavor. Sweetness here has several levels, toffee, honey, malt, butterscotch, and caramel. Earth flavor play a part here too, wood and leather are the major ones.

Mouthfeel is good.

Quite a tasty pleasant ale here but only if you get a properly treated bottle. I REALLY wish British brewers would just give up on clear glass, it doesn't protect the beer at all. A tasty satisfying ale that I liked a lot. Be absolutely sure you get a good bottle because this one will not tolerate shoddy treatment at all.

 1,068 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.37/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear 500ml bottle, best before Jan 2008, drank March 2007.

Poured into a pint sleeve glass (2004 Cotswold Beer fest). A light chestnut amber with a good white foaming head.with bubbles rising to replenish any head that is leaving.

Very little aroma from my bottle or glass, a bit of hops and yeast, but great shakes here.

I've had this beer twice before and thought it awful (both times years ago), this time however I like it. There is depth and flavour where before there was nothing, a liveliness where before it was dead. Hops and malts aplenty in every mouthfull.

Pleased I had this beer again (it was given to me), I shall not be frightened to try it another time.

 684 characters

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.

 592 characters

Photo of Derek
3.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Copper/light-amber; fluffy off-white head; great retention & lace.

S: Floral, citrus & earthy hops with a little bread.

T: Orange-citrus zest & floral hop flavours, with a nutshell-bitterness that I'm not fond of. Alcohol is perceptable & warming (a little forward for its strength). Light caramel flavour is balanced with a reasonable bitterness. A little grainy-astringency. There's a mineral flavour (possibly from their water) than I'm not fond of either... though it's hell of a lot better than their old speckled hen.

M: Moderate body is perhaps a little thin for its weight. Moderate carbonation.

D: It's alright.

 635 characters

Photo of wl0307
3.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Guess what, this bottle-conditioned beer just won the Silver Medal in the category of bottle-conditioned beer at the GBBF 06!! How is it possible, crying out loud~~?! as my last encounter with the beer last September was less than satisfactory, to put it mildly. Well I get the chance to revisit the beer today, as it's now on sale at the Sainsbury's supermarkets. I'll see if my low score last time was to do with that specific bottle or simply that this beer is not my cup of tea.

BB 05/07/07, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.
A: bright copper hue, poured with great clarity and a slowly growing off-white beer head of fluffy texture, gradually breaking down to just a thin foam, regarless of the lively fizzy support underneath.
S: plenty of hop resins abounds initially; a rich layer full of dried-fruitiness (like sour-sweet apples coated with caramel and dried black dates), lively spicy+grassy hays, sticky/syrupy sweet and burned-sugary malts, caramelised orangey note and a savoury hint. Overall, smelling very "Greene King" for that hop formula and eggy+floral yeastiness; rich and full, showing good inputs from fruity hops (incl. Goldings I'm sure) and malts, while a slightly stinky edge of yeasts is not to be missed.
T: a mouthful of sour-sweet toffee-ish malts, intertwined (without clear structures) with deeply sour-sweet apple-ish fruits, tangy citric-syrup, tea-leafy bitter-sweetness, lightly buttery note, and an earthy bitter aftertaste of hops lingering with a moderate length. Warming down the throat in the very end.
M&D: slightly overly fizzy on the mouthfeel, perhaps the bottle-conditioning hasn't been long enough to soften the texture. Overall this beer is a full-bodied strong ale. Compared with my previous note, this bottle seems to perform much better. But a Silver Medallist in the RAIB category surely should've been more impressive and complex, I reckon?

 1,913 characters

Photo of tigg924
1.72/5  rDev -49.9%
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

 642 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Hen's Tooth from Greene King / Morland Brewery
3.43 out of 5 based on 360 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!