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3 French Hens - The Bruery

Not Rated.
3 French Hens3 French Hens

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

384 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 384
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 103
Gots: 374 | FT: 23
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:
Beer added by: claspada on 10-08-2010

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 384 | Reviews: 228 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chadpaq
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap over at Vintner in The Arboretum. Excellent spot. I'd been wanting to sample this stuff for quite some time and was excited to see it flowing from one of Vintner's always eclectic sixteen taps.

The beer had a fairly dark hue, but allowed minimal light penetration. I'd call this beer "Indian brown." I'm really not attempting to be verbose in such a description; I merely feel that the term's necessary to illustrate the dark brown and extremely dark reddish qualities that are shown to one's eye through the glass. All this aside: This is one pretty beer. The head itself, however, is a little lack-luster. I'm sure it would be bigger if I were pouring from the bottle, but because this beer's pretty cold coming off the tap, the head formation's hindered a bit. Trivial, really.

This beer has an extremely complex aroma, not unlike most BSDAs. I smell a lot of sugars: Dates, cinnamon, apples and pears. Hardly any alcohol lingers in my nostrils whatsoever.

My experience with this style of beer is limited, but I know what tastes good to me, and although I've been pretty skeptical of most BSDAs in the past based upon prior tastings, this one's really pleasing me. It's sweet, but not sugary or syrupy. There's a lot of Belgian yeast present, especially as the beer warms. The alcohol makes no appearance mid-sip, only appearing slightly in the beer's aftertaste.

This beer is smooth. It feels smooth on the palate and it goes down smoothly. It's extremely drinkable for a high-alcohol, huge beer. Hell, it's extremely drinkable for any beer. Scary. But excellent.

Photo of chumba526
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears full-bodied brown with a small off-white looking head.

It smells, of cherries, plumbs, raisons, brown sugar, and bready malts. There is a bold peppery clove like yeast quality to this beer as well.

It tastes initially slightly fruity. I get notes of cherries, pears, plumbs and various dry dark fruit. There is a nice subdued sweet brown sugar to the beer. The yeast in this beer adds a nice subdued peppery flavor to this beer. There is a nice earthy quality to this beer and dry bread like malt taste. There are a lot of flavors to this beer but all of them blend perfectly with each other. The finish of this beer is semi-dry due to the yeasty and earthy flavor of this beer.

The carbonation is moderate low and complements the taste of the beer.

The drinkability of this is pretty good because the beer has a nice balance to it.

Overall a very good ale, that is worth seeking out.

Photo of tpd975
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice ruddy reddish brown. Small tan head.

S: Nice sweet fruit, toffee, chocolate, and spice. Subtle oaky notes as well.

T: Really like this one. Sweet malty goodness. Dark fruits, with nice subtle oak. Hints of vanilla, and a dash of xmas spice goodness.

M: Rather full in body, rich, smooth, good.

D: great my favorite of the series one of the best Bruery beers to date.

Photo of GregSVT
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle into a snifter

A: Pours dark brown with a beige head that fades to a small layer and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is very good with lots of sweet malt and belgian yeast esters with a nice oak and wine aroma in the background.

T: Flavors of vanilla, bready malt, toffee, and grape/wine are on the forefront with that belgian flavor on the finish. Very tasty.

M: The feel is medium bodied and nice and creamy.

D: The wine barrel aging in this one really adds a nice touch. I'm glad I have another one to age because I plan on having this again.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep maroon color with good carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Candy sugar, dark fruits, spice

T: Has elements of warming booze, caramelized sugar, candy, dark fruits(yams, raisins, figs) some maple. I felt a big presence of grapes in this as well

M: Nice, warm, medium body, booze sting

D: Pretty tasty and good overall

Photo of slayer3604
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Murky brown with a hint of mahogany middle ground. Nice beige head, with some spotty lacing and formidable head retention.

S- Spice, dark fruit, bready-biscuity and herbaceous notes here and there.

T-Creamy, firm and complex with a lot of dark fruit emphasis and a nice zap of spice at the end. Just a tad of booziness, and a well balanced finish.

M-Full bodied, sweet, and spicy. Does not strike me as a necessarily "clean" finisher but it is no where near annoying. Almost just kicks back in your mouth for a bit and waits for the next drag!

D- Pretty nice beer, I don't see this evolving into a beast in 9 years when the Christmas song is complete but at the same time, its a damn good beer and very drinkable for 10%. Cheers, Bruery!

Photo of beergod1
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Mahogany with a thin tan head. A wonderful smell filled with candied sugar, dark fruits, spices, and oak. The oak really hits your mouth initially with some smooth vanilla, and a light sourness. More dark fruit - raisins, figs, dates and red grapes linger long after the sip. A touch of citrus / spice falls to the back of the mouth. Light bitter finish with sweet (almost syrupy) malts, molasses and caramel. A bit of warmth on the end.

Photo of wvsabbath
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - 25.9 oz bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/golden brown with a monster 3+ inch head and some nice lacing.

Smell - Malts, sweet fruits like cherry, apple, grapefruit. Lots of spices. Yeast and a biscuit aroma. Oak, vanilla and some added sugars. Alot going on here.

Taste - Nice mix of malts, yeast and oaked vanilla plus spices. Dark and sweet fruits add flavors, as does sugary mix of vanilla and molasses. Alcohol is present and fairly dominate but not overpowering. Has a nice earthy/grainy flavor at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Rather smooth and mild for such a big beer. Tounge gets fruits, malts, oak and booze, along with added sugars. Palette gets same flavors along with some mild hops and spices. Aftertaste is dry and warm from the alcohol.

OVerall - Really nice and smooth, yet a big beer that demains respect for its complex flavors. A sipper for sure but it is easy enough to have nice big mouthfulls in each drink. The oaked aspect of this beer truly shines and is a special beer to enjoy if you can get your hands on it now.

Photo of RickS95
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rich, dark brown fudge color. On top is an off-tan head, about a finger and a half thick. When the head dissipates, it leaves a creamy ring of bubbles around the edge.

Smells Belgian, with a funky yeast and ripe dark fruits (and some apple). There's a note of alcohol, almost a port-like scent. As the beer warms, a hint of anise develops.

Taste matches the smell. Dark fruits--grapes, apple, raisin, figs--dominate with the slightest mention of oak. Alcohol is only slightly present.

Very creamy mouthfeel. A bit like wine, particularly the adity, but a bit sweeter and more 'beer like' thanks to malt backbone and a bit of hoppy bitterness to balance.

Overall, this is a really good beer. It's a tad sweet and wine like, or I'd have given it a 4.5. I'm glad I tried this.

Photo of Crazydaddyo
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of Sixofsigmas
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of Kmccabe33
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of mdlb44
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of smithdc33
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into St Bernardus tulip glass and resulted in a nice off-white head that fades pretty quickly. Tasted this beer immediately after having a St. Bernardus Christmas; similar styles; very different beers.

A nice dark red-brown color with minimal lacing. A roasty smell with an array of spices, and definitely some caramel. The flavor is bold at first with an initial hit of alcohol, followed by cocoa and cherry flavors with a touch of oak on the finish. Smooth carbonation that supports the complex flavors in this beer rather than overpowering them. This is a very smooth, drinkable beer, which is impressive for how powerful it is.

I'm a big fan of Bruery beers, and 3 French Hens does not disappoint! Time to go out and stock up.

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of Compton25
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of macrosmatic
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a .750 into my crystal tulips.

A pretty dark brown, blackish red pour. Held up to light let's a strong strong dark amber hue through. A larger bubbled head sits just shy of 1/4 thick but fades shortly into a film.

I enjoy the aroma quite a bit...
Where to start...caramel, toffee, espresso, marshmallow, vanilla, oak, cocoa powder. Yup

The taste was Belgium styled sweetness, with a slight bite. There was some vanilla extract, maple syrup, roasted malt, dried stewed fruit, underlining all of this is a slight spicy tone.

Mouthfeel was gental, soft, light carbonation. I found the finish leaning more towards the wood and spice notes. A little brown sugar, but all of which weren't over powering or too lengthy. Maybe do to the lightness of the beers body. I personally don't get 10% abv from this beer.

Overall I'm very pleased, almost wish I saved this for a later date, but it was cold tonight, we made a good dinner and had a "Thursday" night beer.

Photo of nanobrew
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of rab53
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of BeerNemesis
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

3 French Hens | 750 ml. | 10.0% ABV | 2010

Brewer: The Bruery
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Glass: Duvel tulip

[The third brew in a 12-part annual installment]
75% Belgian-style dark ale
25% ale aged in French oak barrels

The Bruery's signature label design is eye-catching. And the pale green and pastel orange color scheme works remarkably well. This is one of those beers that you would choose solely for its good looks. But does it live up to the label?

A vigorous pour produced one heck of a towering cream head. It frothed and seethed for about a minute before it was in any shape to drink. The body was chestnut brown and just a bit translucent. Decent lacing, mediocre head retention.

I was very impressed with the aroma from the moment I popped off the cap. It's light and airy, with teasing hints of fig, raisin, plum, and Belgian candi sugar.

There's a wonderful interplay of flavors from the get-go. The figs, raisins, plums, prunes, dates, caramel, and Belgian candi sugar deliver a sweet and warming taste (that's the alcohol) that begs to be swished and savored in all its complexity. The aftertaste is a touch herbal, oaky, and flecked with hints of brown sugar.

As enjoyable as the taste is, it's hampered by a subpar mouthfeel. The carbonation bursts and crackles at the back of my throat, but aside from that bit of liveliness, the requisite heft just isn't there.

A very palatable brew, 3 French Hens has a complex flavor profile and a subdued sweetness that keeps me coming back for more. However, there are times when it verges on cloying, and the thin mouthfeel leaves something to be desired.

Would I get it again?:
Yes, but it's unlikely considering this is a one-off brew.

Bottled: ? unfiltered/bottle-conditioned
Served: December 6, 2010

Will it age gracefully?:
Yes. Allegedly it can be cellared for up to nine years (i.e. from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2019).

Price = $10.99 at Witherspoon Wines

Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark amber color with a white head. The aroma is full of dark fruit and toffee.

The flavor is more complex. I get a lot of dark fruit, grapes and cherry notes as well as some toffee and some Belgian candy sugar. The beer also has a dry red wine component and some tannic notes that are very tasty. The alcohol is present but is not overpowering and the beer is very easy to drink for a beer of its strength and complexity. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

My first one of The Bruery's 12 Days of Christmas beers and it didn't disappoint.

Photo of pwoods
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kels for sharing.

750ml corked and caged brown bottle poured into a Russian River tulip.

A: Pours a dark woody brown, opaque. Big tan head, frothy, and dies fairly quickly. Some lacing.

S: Belgian pilsner and dark sugars. Nice yeasty spices, very nice. Some spicy breathless and toffee.

T/M: Maltiness isn't huge and is definitely highly fermented as the body is thinner than expected. Some dryness from sugar but I think it was mashed pretty low for fermentability. Lots of the spicy yeast with some esters mixed in there as well. A bit more carbonation and dryness would be an improvement.

D: Very drinkable and the 10% ABV is very well hidden.

3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 384 ratings.