Hen's Tooth | Greene King / Morland Brewery

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 hustlesworth
4.35/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bought on a trip to OBX at an organic market with the best beer selection i've ever seen.

A- clear orange amber brown with 2in of clumpy dense head that had decent retention. i left the yeast in the bottle as i do with all bottle conditioned ales then i drank the yeast and liked it. i enjoyed the little card around the neck of the bottle. that's "as rare as a hen's tooth"

S- dried fruit and cereal, nothing too complex, almost smelled diluted. maybe because of the name it made me think of old speckled hen only aged longer. it's got that english aroma that i love bust not enough of it. in the back there were spicy notes like some sort of spiced bread and faint malt.

T- dry and slightly bitter with with a nutty cashew macadamia finish and undertones like plum and figs. woodsy with herbal reefer hop qualities and a lip smacking grainy finish that made me wish i could find another bottle.

MF- silky smooth and crisp without being too heavy the carbonation was brilliant and quenched my thirst on a hot summer night.

D- i wish this ale was readily available so i could drink it more often but sadly i don't think i'll ever find it in my area unless i persuade some distributor to find it for me. i'd love to try more from moreland.

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Photo of Padron4KM
2.65/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

16.9 oz clear bottle. No freshness date noted.

Clear amber with a two finger beige head

Very active carbonation. It looks as though an alka seltzer tablet was dropped in the glass.

Carmel malt aroma with a touch of sourness.

Flavor is mostly caramel with some light fruitiness and a bitter metallic finish.

Metallic flavor dissipates a little as it warms and the fruitiness comes out more.

Way too much carbonation for my liking. I felt full a little more than halfway through the bottle, and in serious need of a burp.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No so happy with the pour...did a proper pour and was presented with a glass 1/4 beer 3/4 head. Took a good five or ten minutes to pour properly.

Off smell. I'm used to the unique scent of bottle conditioned beers, but this smells a bit on the foul side. Skunky, yeast scent with bready background. The off scent may be due to the clear bottlle as others have pointed out.

Better taste...bready malt flavour, faint hops and fruit...and bit more rounded and certainly less industrial than Old Speckled Hen. Much smoother on the tongue and rounded out in the mouth. Still retains that slightly copper taste that I found in OSH, but it is much more subdued.

The smell and the pour are the two major detractors to this otherwise fine beer. As a side note, as it warms the skunkiness lessens.

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Photo of demcorhip
3.54/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to manaryp for picking this one up at the LCBO for me, finally getting around to drinking it.

A very impressive looking ale. Clear, deep coppery amber hued ale. Mildly and finely carbonated. Huge whipped off white head formed on a very gentle pour. Excellent head retention, and thick, clingy clumps of lace stick to the inside surface of my Samuel Smith pint glass.

Bready scents of yeast and pale barley malts, fruity yeast esters, and grassy, almost skunky hops. Perhaps a clear bottle wasnt the best choice.

Tastes surprisingly better than the aroma. The bready pale malts are there, with hints of lightly buttered toasted crusty bread. The yeast esters have a pronounced apple cider flavour that accentuates the malt bill quite nicely. There is a subtle metallic character which blends nicely with the grassy and slightly woody hop bitterness. Surprisingly, and pleasantly, the slight skunkiness apparent on the nose doesnt really carry over into the taste.

Decent medium bodied ale with a smooth, almost creamy and slick feel. The malts, yeast, and hops all make solid contributions to this ale and its enjoyment. The mild hop skunkiness does detract from the overall presentation however.

Pretty drinkable brew. The 6.5% alcohol is barely noticeable and is kept in check by the body and flavour present in this brew. The yeasty esters along with a mildly acidic touch make for a refreshing drink on this warm summer's eve. Surprising depth for a pale ale, and a relatively challenging version of the style, although the hop contribution, which could have made this ale stellar ultimately detract somewhat from its overall enjoyment. It would be interesting to see if this is characteristic of this brew or just an unfortunate result of being too long in a clear bottle.

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Photo of bradybeer
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes in a pint bottle with a little card explaining the history of the beer and how to enjoy it. Pours dark copper with nice tan head and moderate carbonation. Hops and malt aroma comes through nicely. Taste is sharp and tangy with a crisp finish. Mouthfeel is a little chewy and drinkability is high.

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Photo of PeatReek
3.95/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear and coppery orange, with a tight yellowish head. Smells sweet and caramelly with an intense but pleasant grassy, floral aroma of British noble hops. Maybe just the slightest whiff of light fruity esters, totally in character for the style. The ample, chewy body is nicely balanced by a nice stiff bitterness and a hint of alcohol warmth. The aftertaste is sparkley with carbonation and plenty hoppy, with that funky ester character making another appearance. These all combine and linger for kind of a dirty finish that compromises the drinkability a little, but it's otherwise delicious.

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Photo of TerryW
2.84/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Grabbed a couple of bottles of this. A good thing, too, as the first one pretty much leapt out of the bottle on opening. I managed to rescue most of it, but my first impression was that the beer was a little too aggressively carbonated.

Overall too bitter and metallic. And fizzy. Aroma was interesting, but didn't deliver for me after that. Until the beer quieted down some. After the fizz was off the glass it came across a a pretty tasty bitter. A bit of a dual identity to this one.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.37/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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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 slyke
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hen's Tooth pours a pleasing, slightly hazy, red-orange color with a steady stream of carbonation bubbles rising and a pillowy tan head that started high enough that I couldn't get the entire 16.9 ounce bottle poured into my imperial pint glass at first. After a few minutes the head falls to about 1/4 inch.

The aroma of the beer at first seemed to be dominated by alcohol at first, but as time passed a citrusy (lemon) character emerges.

Taste has a nice caramel sweetness to it. The lemony character is present as well. Alcohol is present too.

Mouthfeel is above average. There is a creaminess to the head, maltiness in the center of the tongue, with crispness around the edges.

Drinkability is good on this one. While I wouldn't drink a bunch of these. An hour or two would be well spent sipping at this one. Try it if you like the style.

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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 Stephen63
3.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Amber body and pretty decent head from the bottle conditioning.

S - Fruity without being impressive.

T - Got the hoppy bitterness as being dominant. Struggling to get much else. Felt a bit tinny.

M - Natural carbonation reflects a nice mouth.

D - Interesting enough but looking elsewhere for my next drink.

Bit of a dilemma over this one. A bottled conditioned beer should be an excuse for celebration. The little tag is there on the bottle, looks like it should be special. It just does not deliver on what one would expect. A bit of a disappointment. Not at all moreish, a real pity.

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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 auntfloyd
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 500 ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

Pours a clear dark copper with a big foamy white head, with excellent retention. Hops and a slight fruitiness dominate the nose, and the flavor is similar: hoppy with some sweetish fruit, and a slightly metallic finish. The mouthfeel is full, with good carbonation, and drinkability is high.

I'm kind of disappointed in this ale; I had thought it would be better. Perhaps the clear glass bottle did not do it any favors.

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Photo of kernalklink
2.95/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poors a light amber with a billowing head that takes a while to settle thanks to the conditioning. Aromas are dominated by yeasty tartness, as is the flavor. Other aromas were of ripe fruit esters- not much else. The musty yeast lends a bitterness not asserted by the hop presence. High carbonation with a light body, though surrpisingly sticky on the tongue. Alcohol is also very evident, perhaps due to the lack of malt or hop flavors- quite a yeasty brew but as advertised nonetheless.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.84/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hen’s Tooth pours with an exorbitant amount of carbonation. The thick head is sticky and is light tan. The body of this brew is dark golden amber, and there is quite a bit of sediment floating around here.

This produces aromas of sweet spice and floral hops. I detect hints of cinnamon.

The taste is a bit complex. Initially it feels like biting into a grapefruit, and then I notice sublet hints of vanilla and maybe a hint of a whiskey flavor. It definitely finishes warm.

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Photo of arizcards
3.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 50 cl bottle from AJ's in late October for $3.79.

Exceptional looking beer that poured an amber-orange with a big long sustaining head. Yeast sediment left at the bottom of the bottle. Nose is a hint of grassy hops and not much else. Taste is a blend of malts that are dominated by the grassy and floral hops. There is a slight apple aftertaste Mouthfeel is smooth and lively on the palate. Drinkability is OK. It is an interesting beer to try but something I do not plan on pursuing in the future

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Photo of RoyalT
3.11/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a crystal clear dark orange in color with a nice, easy head.

Smell – The yeast packs a wallop to be sure. It’s not bad, just extra funky. The malts are toasty but faint and the hops a bit too grassy for my tastes.

Taste – These are some sharp flavors sure to offend some. The yeast especially just takes over the flavor profile. The finish is sweetish malt; very sugary in an artificial way with loads of butter. No, wait, I think it’s Parkay.

Mouthfeel – This is light-bodied with some tight carbonation and a healthy dose of bitterness.

Drinkability – This was very different to say the least. I didn’t have much trouble laying down the bottle but I can see how others would disapprove.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a bright amber color with plenty of champagne like carbonation bubbles. The head is has big bubbles around the sides and rocky and dense in the middle. Its enormous at first but rapidly retreats, leaving some sheets of lace behind. The aroma is sweet with a peppery alcohol heat and some fruity esters. The taste is dryish and malty with a pronounced booze heat. There is really way to much alcohol present for a beer of this weight. Some resiny hops lie in the background as does a pleasant understated caramel butter flavor. The mouthfeel is thick with an alcohol numbing sensation. The finish is long, malty, boozey and minimally bitter.

This beer is OK, it would be way better with half the alcohol and double the hops.

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Photo of pootz
3.77/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured, or more correctly; "erupted" like a foaming malt geyser...put a clouded tea-colored ale in the glass after the cap settled down. Very effervescent.

Aroma is pungent sweet malt with some underlying wet hay from the Goldings....great pungent bready aroma ( could be the extra maltose syrup)

Medium bodied, creamy mouth feel, malty and rounded yet dry-sparkling character.

Up front you chew on a deep whallop of crystal malts then a nice dose of citrus-piney hopping shows up to give decent balance....mid palate more fruity esters are detected like a rich malty sparkling pear cider...then the dry finish is lightly bitter and spritzy with some toasted caramel tones.

A nice quenching swig with some body to it...like Cooper’s sparkling ale on steroids.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When first poured, the color was a medium amber with loads of light tan foam and a fair amount of lace. The smell of lightly roasted malts and hops were evident.

The taste was of a tart/sour flavor of roasted malts, caramel and coriander. Not to impressed with this english pale ale.

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Photo of funkengruven
3.68/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured interestingly, the first bottle I opened it exploded all over my countertop. The second one I was a bit more careful. This poured into the glass with a ridiculous amount of head that finally subsided after quite some time. Smell was interesting, some malt and a touch of sourness. This is reflected in the flavor as well. Some elements of this beer reminded me of a Belgian Oud Bruin, and others of course of an English Pale Ale. It's a little strange, but not offensive. It is drinkable, and not too bad.

The best way to describe this beer is - Interesting. Not bad though

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Photo of Derek
3.46/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of shamus
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good beer but I don't really like it. It's too sweet for me personally, however for it's style I can let my preferences go and recognize that it has a complex and "sophisticated" flavour. it's a beer that my palette had some adventures with even though I would rather not repeat them they remain tales to tell down the road. If you like traditional beer then try this. It is well made. Just not my style.

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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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