3 French Hens - The Bruery
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Ratings: 365 | Reviews: 227 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Pahn:
3.98/5 rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. 2110 L 060 ISG5 printed helpfully on the neck of the bottle.
Appearance: Free-ish pour yields a 3 inch light tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves a thick ring of lacing. Pours a dark ruby and leaves a few small islands of lacing.
Smell: Belgian yeast with a cola like effervescence. A little fruity, with some spice coming out with warmth. Smells a bit like most Unibroue BSDAs.
Pretty one note. Smells like the start of a good quad, but just stays vague and mildly fruity. Gets a little better with more warmth, though not much. The smells that are there are pleasant, but not much is going on.
Taste: Up front there's lots of estery goodness, that transitions to a long and smooth, oaky vanilla and toffee finish. Tastes a little roasted near the end. The aftertaste is beautiful; some of the dark fruit from up front stays and colors the taste, but there's some beautifully decadent pastry notes and a very prominent French oak influence influence. Overall, the taste is nowhere near as pedestrian as the nose.
For the entirety of the bottle, I'm impressed by how constant this transition of fruit forward Belgian yeasty flavors to smooth, malty and oaked flavors stays. The flavor develops with warmth, though it doesn't change too much. The beginning gets a little smokier, the transition a bit more sugary. There's an apple tartness up front that sometimes starts to get out of hand, but it's always reined in by the great finish. For the majority of the bottle, there's almost no alcohol flavor at all, but when the heat comes it does nothing but compliment the rest of the flavor.
That excellent French oak / dessert liqueur finish pushes the taste from 4.0 to 4.5. Neither the start nor the end (which are amazingly distinct throughout) are "world class BSDA" on their own, but that balance and the fact that instead of turning to acidic juice as you get deeper in the bottle the smooth, delicate flavors in the finish win out and become slightly dominant... I just can't resist it. There's no cookie cutter mold for BSDAs anyway, so I think this deserves its 4.5 even if it bears little resemblance to the benchmark beers of its style.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, heavy carbonation, juicy. *Long* semi-dry finish. This beer would be considerably better if the feel was softer and creamier.
Drinkability: This beer isn't a homerun, but it's a solid triple at least. I'm in love with some of the flavors and had no trouble finishing the bottle, but I admit that I'm not losing any sleep over the fact that I probably won't be able to obtain another bottle. I wouldn't say no to one if offered, however.
Despite the (again) amazing balance of fruity esters and oaked malty perfection (honestly, each sip is like starting with one beer and then transitioning into an entirely different beer with just a few references to the other), on the whole this beer is very unbalanced. The feel isn't great, the smell is very weak, neither end of the flavor is that complex (and they probably should be--it's a BSDA after all)... but I'm in love with what it does well.
Like most beers I've had from the Bruery, 3 French Hens is unconventional, surprising, and ultimately satisfying.
Serving type: bottle
02-24-2011 06:51:40 | More by Pahn
More User Reviews:
3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 365 ratings.