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 Sammy
3.83/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of JanM
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

British ale with an ostentatious label but I was not impressed. It poured with two fingers of quickly setting foam. Not much smell to it at all except a little bitterness. The taste was bitter too, with notes of roasted malts a little aniseed and sweetness. It was alright but nothing to write home about. The bottle conditioning does not seem to make any noticable difference.

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Photo of balconybrew
3.04/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into an imperial nonic pint. Some lacing after the head fell (quickly). A little dry and malty with a strong hop aroma, typical pale ale, a little alcohol warmth. Clear, considering it advertised it has sediment in the bottle. Somewhat metallic taste, Mouthfeel was light but not very light. It left a somewhat clean glass.

Overall: Not a beer you would want more than once.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip it forms a humongous rocky head that is foamy and takes quite some time to settle. Amber body with some oragne hue around the edges. Appetizing appearance.

Off the get go my initial thoughts were lots of rind to this brew. There is a definate bitter finish that seems to me tastes like the rind of an orange and an unripe pear. Toasted wheat bread makes up the malted middle and is in strong support of this amazing brew. Plenty of yeast and a mild earthiness. Some hidden spices lend to an enjoyable aftertaste. Alcohol comes out harsh for just a 6.5% brew would be my biggest complaint. Light and citrusy in the nose.

Notes: Dare I say the best English Pale ale that has crossed these lips? Well I will say to this point it has to be up there with the best of a style I generally don't particularly enjoy. I'd pick this up again for sure.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.16/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle conditioned. 500 ml clear bottle, courtesy of Cardinal pub, Stavanger. Beautiful amber colour, huge and fluffy head lasts "forever". Lovely hoppy aroma, also notes of red wine vinegar, oak and barnyard. Interesting flavour with a substantial hoppy bitterness, oaky and vinous notes. Relatively dry. Notes of balsamic vinegar too, but the beer is neither sour nor sweet (does that make sense?). A very good beer in my book.

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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.

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Photo of dherling
3.3/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

slightly cloudy honey brown color with very minimal amount of white head. The nose gives off mollasses, malt, maple syrup, little bit of hops, but not much.Sweet flavor, mor emollasses than anything, pretty staright forward drink. Finishes big, yet clean. A nice beer, a little too sweet for sessioning.

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Photo of Damian
3.19/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Drank from a bottle purchased at Connecticut Beverage Mart, Newington, CT

Poured a deep, copper brown with a huge, foamy head that quickly faded.

Smell was mild yet somewhat unpleasant initially. Slightly metallic and soapy with some faint hops in the background. These smells later subsided and some subtle malts and fruits become detectable.

The taste of this beer changed drastically as it traveled along the palate. It started sweeter with some faint malts. Later, it turned mildly fruity on the back end before the big hop bite took over. Remarkably dry finish.

Drinkability was hampered by the intense dryness.

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Photo of vancurly
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking bottle, with the austere labelling and the bright orange liquid shining throught. The clarity of the beer made me question the "bottle conditioned claim"... but I can see a patch of scum sitting tightly on the bottom.
Nose of green hop, tobacco leaf, some slight ginger spice. Hint of orange peel / marmalade.
Again, leafy flavours, with the complexity of crystal malts and some yeasty fruitiness, kinda like apple or pear.
Full bodied, excellent bitterness.

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Photo of wl0307
3.57/5  rDev +3.2%
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?

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear bottle dispenses a clear reddish orange alixer with a half finger white head that melts to top capping lacing.
Aroma is faint sweet malt and dry apple peel.
Taste is really british..hahaha.
Uh, there is a sweet malt with a drying biscuit like yeast being used and some nice bittering hops that are not too citrusy. This is an interesting brew. I can surprisingly taste and feel the alcohol on the swallow making this more of a sipping beer than merely an English Ale.
As it warms it also grows on you.
Honest bottle conditioned steady carbonation in this beer that leaves a sharp taste in your mouth...a clean drying...and a wonderful warming as the alcohol settles down in your belly.
I read some of the reviews on this beer and didn't think I would like it.
I think it's a wonderful sipping brew.

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Photo of dfried
3.45/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear toffee like color, frothy large with big bubbles caramel colored head, "Holy bottle conditioning Batman." The aroma was very sweet like candy with caramel malt. Some fruity esters like plum and nutty almond. Some musty resinous hops there as well. The taste leaned on the malty side as you would expect from a English PA, but the hops did provide some balance. The beer has a candy-like sweetness on top of fruity apple peels, and again a little almond-like nutty flavor. Relativly dry mouthfeel that was a little sticky. Pretty easy to drink though it wouldn't be my first choice for a session beer.

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Photo of JustinOSU99
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium red color with large bubbles that settle quickly into a head that is almost non-existent.
S: Honey subleties, with almost a rust smell. Definitely not overpowering.
T: Again I get an almost copper sense from the beer, with mixtures of rose, and it has an aftertaste where you can really sense the 6.5% alcohol that is contained in the beer.
M: Not very thick at all, but definitely not thin. Sits on the palate and feels like a normal pale ale.
D: This beer is a pretty average beer despite its labels claiming. I would't mind having one of these once in awhile, but certain flavors in the beer keep it from being a beer you can enjoy over and over again.

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Photo of mjc410
4.85/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle looks wonderful - some friends mistook it for whiskey at first, noting the style of the bottle and the color of the ale.

Poured into a Sam Smith tulip, the ale offers up an off-white, large-bubbled rocky froth which recedes slowly, leaving fanciful lacing. The liquid is clear copper, more golden along the glass's edges. A great sniff brings the aroma of fresh white country bread (compared and verified this morning, even the leftover, unwashed empty bottle retains this marvelous odor), and earthy yeast. Pouring in the yeast increases the aforementioned earthiness, and adds a bit of citrus to the nose, as well. On my first sip, I'm amazed. It's just like eating a warm loaf of bread, perhaps with a bit of marmalade to provide the citrus burst. The bread analogy ends, but the beer does not. It progresses to a spreading, dry bitter finish. In the mouth, it is unexpectedly thick, very low in carbonation, and wildly warming. This is a fiendishly strong bitter, quite complex, and yet easy to savor on all of its levels. The crafty deception of its abv only increases my joy. Buy this, and HOPE it has been stored properly - you won't be disappointed!

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Photo of TheLiterati
4.5/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The fact that this hard-to-find ale (at least in So Cal) comes in a clear pint bottle was enough for me to pass on it when my neighbor called from a nearby local beer-lover's heaven, Galco’s Soda Pop (and beer) Shop (Highland Park, CA) and offered to buy me a pint or two.

Years ago, after a four-year search, I’d paid $25 to have a six-pack of Morland’s sister brew, Old Speckled Hen, shipped to my home, only to find that the clear bottles held a disappointingly weak ale.

Still, there was something about the Speckled Hen’s sibling that intrigued me. So I drove over to Galco’s today and snagged a pint, which sported a fancy hangtag that proclaimed, “One of England’s finest traditional ales.”

Admittedly cynical, I bought the pint for $4.59 and put it in the chiller as soon as I got home.

“England’s finest”…Sure, I thought: I’d heard that before.

Still, the sediment at the bottom of the bottle bore the promise of a nice brew. I gave it a good swirl, popped off the top, and gave it a pour.

Beautifully orange in color with a rich tan, two-finger high head, the clear-bottled Hen’s Tooth had all the necessary elements of a great ale, in spite of its packaging.

Still suspect, I sniffed. The caramel-fruit aroma wafting from my glass seemed to reinforce what I suspected all along: even with the 100-year old yeasty sediment, this would likely be another English ale that’s high on syrupiness and low on complexity.

Even so, I sipped.

Clear bottle be damned, this truly is a surprisingly rare English ale. A delightful effervescence gives way to a pleasant dryness, as all the while hints of fruit, caramel and yeast dance around on the tongue. Every sip held a nice surprise, and as Morland head brewer John Bexon proclaims on that fancy hangtag, this is “Truly an ale of rare quality…as rare as a hen’s tooth!”

In addition to drinking Hen, I am also eating crow and savoring every moment!

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Photo of zjungleist
3.99/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orangish with an average white head, with sediment in the bottle. Smells very yeasty and slightly fruity/nutty. The smell reminds me exactly of Samuel Smith's pale ale, which is a good thing. Lots of malt and yeast flavors, as well as a small amount of spicey hops. There is something about the smell and taste that just reminds me of a brewery. That sounds pretty generic, but it's hard for me to put my finger on as well. I'm sure it's a combination of the right yeasts at the right temperture. Mouthfeel is right on for the style and drinkability is pretty good too.

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Photo of belias
4.05/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, deep red/amber with a sizable offwhite head. Some yeast sediment from the bottle got into the glass and the beer went cloudy and the head quickly dissipated, lacing was minimal as well. However, ive had much better head retention with this brew before. Smelt really good, malty scents mixing with fruit (apple was very apparant) and strong yeast smell to round it off. The taste had a lot going on, a little malt sweetness, some apple taste, almost spicy hops and yeast. The mouthfeel is nice as well, its fairly carbonated, nothing that hampers the enjoyment of one or two, but i definitely wouldnt want put down a number of these in one night. Overall not a bad english ale at all, and my second favourite Greene King offering right behind "Olde Suffolk".

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Photo of tobyandgina
3.47/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pretty OK English Ale.

One of the reasons I picked this one up was the sediment at the bottom of the clear glass bottle. Upon pour, there was quite a bit of head, but it didn't hang around very long. Lots of bubbles and a good amount of sediment to make it a little cloudy. A cloudy deep amber.

Smell wasn't too impressive. Definitely had the typical hint of English Ales, but not very exciting. The taste made up for the smell - or lack thereof.

Thick, smooth and a little malty. A decent English Ale worth trying.

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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 BEERchitect
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This came recommended by the owner of M&R Liquors in Carpinteria, CA. And while it's good, I found it a little too sharp for my tastes. After the first couple sips I thought I'd found my new favorite English Pale Ale, but then the alcohol favor hit me and stayed in my mouth almost the right down to the remaining last sips.

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.81/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful reddish-orange-amber body with a nice finger of creamy white head that clings to the glass.

Nose is a little skunky. Tart apple and biscuit malt.

Flavor is great! This is much more flavorful and tasty than OSH. The Bottle Conditioned vs Nitro can serving type probably makes most of the difference, but this brew has serious complexity and flavor compared to the bland regular Hen. Tart apples and more biscuity malt make a strong appearance. Floral British hops on the finish. A treat!

Mouthfeel is creamy and well carbonated. Semi-soft on the palate but still quite tangy and bitter.

Drinkability is outstanding. I am planning a belated honeymoon to England this summer, and this is exactly the type of ale that I am looking forward to sampling at great length.

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Photo of oberon
3.44/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
3.55/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer exits the 500ml clear bottle a deep copper color, the head piles high on the body, texture semi-creamy and the color light tan, as it slowly evaporates the lace forms a thick blanket to conceal the glass, a bit of dregs coats the bottom of the bottle. Nose is malt sweet, fruit like tones, I’d say over ripe apples, fresh and appealing, start is sweet, the grain profile adequate, top is light in feel. Finish has minimal carbonation, the hops delectable, and at the end a bit of rusty nail bitterness, aftertaste dry, a nice mild beer that is a nice change of pace.

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Photo of pentathlete
2.73/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark orange, some light shining through with a big frothy head. No lacing and a sturdy table remain after a few moments. Smell is somewhat astringent, just a slight zest note and suggestions of hoppiness. Taste is bubbly bitter citrus like chomping an orange seed accidentally and washing it down with tonic. Mouthfeel is not substantial, leaving no platform for the lingering flavors. This gives the distinct impression that the mouth has been stained with orange seed flavor and not bathed in a swirl of interesting beer flavors. Not really a beer I will return to anytime soon.

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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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