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3 French Hens - The Bruery

Not Rated.
3 French Hens3 French Hens

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

373 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 373
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.6%
Wants: 100
Gots: 372 | FT: 21
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Three French Hens is the third in the 12 Days/Years of Christmas Series. We again drew some inspiration from the name and decided that at least a portion of this beer had to be aged in French oak barrels. What we came out with is a bold and spicy Belgian Dark Strong Ale, 25% aged in oak. This beer is designed to take the journey through time until 12 Drummers Drumming, but is a delightful holiday treat right off the shelf.

(Beer added by: claspada on 10-08-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 373 | Reviews: 228 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of corby112
1.58/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

My wife surprised me with this one for Xmas.

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with deep, dark amber/mahogany edges when held to a light source and a two finger frothy yellowish beige head. Decent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring. Minimal lacing.

Slightly vinous aroma with hints of zesty spice, medicinal syrup, dark fruit and citrus. I'm picking up lots of pepper as well as hints of dark fruit and a very prominent cough syrup character. Subtle earthy oak in the nose as well.

Medium bodied with a huge, harsh blast of peppery spice up front that lingers throughout over the funky fruit, earthy oak, robitussin and burning alcohol heat into an awfully astringent warm finish. The spice is overbearing and the medicinal flavor is horribly overpowering. The ABV is not well masked at all with lots of alcohol flavor and heat in the finish. This beer has a lot of bad flavors bouncing off each other and is kind of a mess really. Very tough to drink. I couldn't even stomach more than a few sips before dumping it down the drain.

corby112, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of iemailjack
2/5  rDev -47.5%

iemailjack, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of richbrew
2/5  rDev -47.5%

richbrew, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of rpaul2012
2/5  rDev -47.5%

rpaul2012, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of HopStoopid120
2/5  rDev -47.5%

HopStoopid120, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of baybum
2/5  rDev -47.5%

baybum, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of acurtis
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

acurtis, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of CaptainNomihodai
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

CaptainNomihodai, Feb 20, 2013
Photo of Wisconsinality
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into Delirium tulip.

A- Pours a deep molasses brown that lets a small amount of light in around the edges. A small half finger worth of head dies down quickly and leaves no lacing.

S- The Belgian yeast is pretty dominant. There is a bit of a tart note hiding in there to go with some candi sugar. I seem to pick up a little bit of cotton candy and that is about it.

T- The Belgian yeast isn't nearly as dominant but still on the forefront. The malt comes in and again, the little tart note. The alcohol never appears.

M- A little thinner than I like for the style, medium to lighter bodied. Some crisp carbonation but it just feels watered down.

D- This one becomes really sweet to the point where it is hard to drink more than a glass, which is unfortunate because it comes in a bottle that is more than 12oz. Not impressed with this beer at all. Not even going to bother getting another bottle to age.

Wisconsinality, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of AlexFields
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

AlexFields, Jan 11, 2013
Photo of Faina
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%

Faina, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of craytonic
2.5/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown pour, decent head and lacing

Smell: Boozy and medicinal, with dark fruits, pepper and cough syrup

Taste: Similar to the above, booze and medicine. Very hot with alcohol and the spices are not integrated with some dark fruits like prunes, raisins and figs. Very messy and overtly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Big body, but felt thin due to the alcohol heat

Drinkability: I had a taster pour on tap and didn't even finish it.

craytonic, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of cpetrone84
2.7/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours a somewhat cloudy deep red, almost merlot color with a bubbly light brownish head.

S-the nose has hints of yeast, light clove, a bit of raisin with sweet plums behind. there is a strong metallic note in the back with an unapealing twang.

T-the taste has a much strong malt presence, roasty with notes of black malt. rum soak raisins, plums, more booze, and that same metallic twang in the back.

M-medium body that is slightly thin on the back end. slightly grainy up front but smoother in the back with a semi dry finish.

D-not aweful but there are definintely some unattractive flavors. typical bruery beer with a strong booze presence and off-putting flavors.

cpetrone84, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of julian
2.7/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It has honestly been quite awhile since I've had a strong dark belgian ale. I didn't even realize that till now. Also this is the first Bruery beer I've rated.

A: pours a dark, dark amber perhaps brown, with good clarity despite it's darkness. Hints of crimson when it hits the light. Aggressive pour yielded a nice 1 finger almond head that quickly disappeared. Absolutely no lacing.

S: This smells really sweet. Lots of brown sugar, dark malt, holiday spices (nutmeg, clove, coriander) some fruit (raisin, plum), and booze. Hint of cold mud (earthy) aroma.

T: Sweet, earthy, some almost saison like funkiness going on too. Is there Brett in this? Almost a wine like essence present. Were the French Oak barrels, wine barrels? I'm not so sure about this. This is a poor representation of the style, IMO.

M: Very decently carbonated, a little thin in body.

D: Meh...not the best belgian strong dark. Alcohol limits consumption rate, and well, it's just average. Like I've said before, it's hard to beat Unibroue in terms of belgian style representation, quality, availability and price.

julian, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of hippityhops85
2.73/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a beautiful 750 ml bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. Pours a brown/amber with slight ruby/orange highlights and a spotty off white/light tan head that dissipates and forms spotty lacing on the glass. Alcohol legs visible.

The nose definitely has fruits on it but they smell more like strawberries and other red berries rather than the dark fruits I'm used to from Belgian Strong Darks. I don't really get any of the oak. There's definitely an almost "fake" sweetness going on here. It still holds a lot of the Belgian Yeast character though. Interesting.

The taste has a lot of that fake sweetness but the beer definitely finishes mostly dry. Lots of alcohol still on the taste a year later on this beer. It's seriously distracts from the brew especially at mid palate. This beer just starts a mess and totally falls apart. There's also a weird metallic "twang" right at the end of the sip. Bummed.

The mouth feel is medium bodied but again the alcohol just tears it a part.

Really not a fan of this beer at all which bums me out because I generally am a big fan of The Bruery. Can't win 'em all I guess. I don't see this getting any better in the cellar either.

hippityhops85, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of mmcnaughton
2.75/5  rDev -27.8%

mmcnaughton, Sep 09, 2013
Photo of axeman9182
2.83/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle, allowed to warm a bit before serving, poured into my Duvel tulip.

The beer pours a burnt brown color, one could almost call it black. Faint hazelnut streaks appear around the rim of the glass when properly backlit. The light tan crown is decent sized, three plus fingers, but the retention and lacing are both subpar. The nose is lacking many of the standard BSDA traits, in fact I can't get anything besides a heavy vinous note (I gave my father a sniff and he told me it smelled more like wine to him), as well as a bit of oak. It's not awful smelling, but I certainly hope there's more to this beer than that. Each sip seems to rush through what seems to be a pretty tasty BSDA to get to the barrel influences. A nice swirl of milk chocolate is a welcome addition to the plums and figs to lead things off, before some peppery, spicy belgian yeast notes show up. All of that passes rather quickly though, and 3 French Hens finishes with some almost tart acidic and overly tannic notes from the oak barrels. I had the same problem with Loakal Red, so I don't know if maybe there's a problem with some of the oak barrels The Bruery is using, or maybe they just tend to leave their beers in there a bit long for my taste. The mouthfeel is a bit better, but still easily a step below being top of the class. The body is nice, a bit light and nimble, but not to the point of becoming thin for the style. This impression is probably helped by somewhat subdued carbonation that, again, doesn't cross the line into too light. All in all I'm not a big fan at all of 3 French Hens right now, so hopefully some time in the cellar will let the over-oaked nature of the beer mellow out.

axeman9182, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of jrallen34
2.88/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into my Rodenbach Grand Cru glass... Dark brown look, but in the light there is tons of amber, so-so. A light tan head, ok retention and lacing... Damn it, I'm infected too. Right away lactic grape juice notes that just ain't right. Trying to finding something else in here but infected, unsuccessful... The taste is terrible, infected and skunked, leather, sour grapes, light oak. Total drain pour sadly.

jrallen34, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of MbpBugeye
2.95/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wow, what a beautiful looking bottle. Ive always been a fan of The Bruery's labels and bottles but this might be my favorite so far.

A- Poured into a Duvel tulip. The head is pretty big but very short lived. There is no retention of lacing to speak of. If it werent for the laser etching in the glass this beer would appear stagnant. The color is a deep type of brown with shades of purple, maroon and root beer.

S- It seems essential to allow this one to warm adequately to the recommended 50 degrees. A slight warming brings forth lots of Belgian candi sugar sweetness in the aroma that coats the deep, rich fruits. New oak is not timid here, it proves itself in a creamy, woodsy way.

T- This beer's two main points are reiterated in the taste. Woody and sweet. This is in no doubt a Belgian style. Its filled to the brim with rich fruits. Figs, plums, raisins, prunes, and that coating sugariness. There is a nice roasted nuttiness but the sugariness is a bit too much. The finish is nearing sugar bomb territory with a spike of alcohol. I can only hope this calms down in years to come.

M- The carbonation, thankfully, calms down after about half a glass. At first its much too lively for this type of beer. Once it calms down a little bit the fullness of the body becomes apparent. It has a slick, oily feel that creates a long, slick finish.

D- Eh, I was excited for this. Its a pretty decent beer and part of a really awesome vertical. Ill tuck one away, but I might not necessarily be jonesing to drink it.

MbpBugeye, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of Mooch273
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Amber brown body with slight head with fine bubbles. Looks inviting.

A: Smells like Rugbrod. Sugary sweet and a bit grassy.

T: Rye hits immediately with a hint of some unidentifiable spice. Not boozy at all.

M: Way too dry to be enjoyable. It's like instant cotton mouth after each sip. Not what I expected.

D: It was alright, but really dry and not refreshing.

Mooch273, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of IdrinkGas
3/5  rDev -21.3%

IdrinkGas, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of -NESTO-
3/5  rDev -21.3%

-NESTO-, Aug 30, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.3%

ygtbsm94, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of litheum94
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aged a year.

Very dark brown, with copper highlites. Tan head settles to a small cover with a good amount of lacing on the glass.

The nose presents a ton of oak, to the point where that's almost all I smell. Some dark wine grapes, with a salty sweetness, akin to ketchup. Not a lot going on here.

Again, a ton of oak in the flavor. Some spicing and a vinous quality. A little bit of vanilla. A slightly cheesy and earthy flavor starts to come out, but again, it's a little one dimensional.

This is a somewhat bland beer, with the oak really dominating everything. I'm a little disappointed, especially since I've aged this a year. My first let down for the Bruery.

litheum94, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of RichBeer
3/5  rDev -21.3%

RichBeer, Nov 16, 2011
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3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.