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3 French Hens - The Bruery

Not Rated.
3 French Hens3 French Hens

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

380 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 380
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 105
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:
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: 380 | Reviews: 228 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GbVDave
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets and a small snifter. Special thanks to HeatherAnn and HollyAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a hazy, reddish-brown with a short lived layer of creamy, light-tan foam. No lace was left behind and there was a bit of suspended sediment visible in the glass.

S: Neat mixture of caramel/tootsie roll, tart berry, fruity Belgian yeast, cocoa, dark fruit, cherry, and citrus.

T: Just as above with the addition of oak and more emphasis on the tart berry/tangy fruit flavors.

M: Starts off like a typical Quad. Big, sweet, and delicious. This quickly turns a bit tangy and dry. A slight hint of a white pepper finish? Fantastic.

D: A excellent winter treat with nary a hint of its' 10% to be found. Very nice!

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

Pours dark brown/almost black with a slight head that dissipates to a ring of fat bubbles.

Nose has malt, sour cherry, vanilla, oak, toffee, sugar, and spices.

Taste is malty and a bit sour, chocolate, holiday spices. Sweet finish. This is so much better as it warms up with the vanilla and oakiness coming through.

Body is light and carbonation is light, giving this a spritzy mouthfeel.

A nice holiday ale, although not exceptional.

Photo of gford217
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle.

Pours a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head that doesn't leave much lacing except when swirled a few times.

Aroma is sweet with lots of caramel malts and dark fruits, raisins, plums, and some candi sugar. There is some spiciness but it's very subtle as is the oaky notes.

The taste seems a little spicier. It starts with the sweet sugary fruits with vanilla and caramel but the finish is where the spices come out, almost herbal, with some oaky tannins.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with soft carbonation and very sticky sweet overall.

It's a decent beer though not all that drinkable due to the overwhelming candied sugar character.

Photo of emmasdad
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although I was not at all impressed with Partridge, I enjoyed 2 Turtle Doves, and with that in mind, I was really looking forward to trying this one. Saw it on the shelf at Argonaut the other day, picked it up, and here we are.

A mildly aggressive pour straight into the snifter yields a ruddy brown beer, with a quickly disapating finger of tan head on top. Aromas of oak, caramel, rum soaked raisins and baking spice. On the palate, medium bodied and lightly tart, with Belgian candi sugar, wood tannins, caramel apples, leather and tobacco. A very enjoyable and somewhat complex beer. These holiday beers seem to get better every year.

Photo of nrbw23
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark brown color with a tannish colored head. Head has pretty good retention, turns into a layer of bubbles on top and leaves very little lacing.

S- Smells of toasted bread and brown sugar. Caramel and toffee come through as well. Some belgian yeast fairly dominante and give off some scents of cherry, raisin, fig, and dates.

T- Quite a bit of taste comes from Belgian yeast. Cherries, dates, figs, and plums shine through along with raisins and toffee. A bit of woody and spices also come through.

M- Medium in body and a bit higher in carbonation.

D- Fairly easy to drink. We'll see how this one is in 9 years.

Photo of Bmoyer0301
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:

Tonight I reached for a new glass in my collection, a super cool Westmalle Belgian goblet that was made just for these styled ales. It has all different kinds of leafs and designs cut into the very thick glass which just adds to the overall beauty. As I popped the cap off there was a generous amount of hissing coming from the large bottle. On the pour I decided to go a little slowly because this glass has etching on the bottom to help entice a thick head. It appeared I was slightly incorrect, there really was not much of a head forming and I was left with a cocoa colored one finger thick prickly head that diminished quickly. As I hold it up to the light the color reminds me of root beer with some reddish and orange tints thrown in and comes off pretty clear. As I give a slight swirl the viscosity appears to be pretty low and it is not sticking to the walls of the glass.

Smell:

In the front end there is a load of brown sugar with some of that wood from the barrel pushing through. There also is a large amount of plums, raisins, and some cinnamon spice wrapping around all the caramel and specialty malts. Very solid but there isn't anything outrageous here, very typical for the style.

Taste:

Right off the start I am pulling out a lot of fresh cut apples that have been sprinkled with cinnamon and caramel. The carbonation in this beer is very sharp and almost tingles when it hits your tongue, then it delivers the dark fruits that I mentioned in the aroma. The oak aging that was done is very faint but it is still there and it adds a certain amount of earthy spice complexity to the overall package. In my opinion the mouth feel comes across as a little bit thin for the style but it is still a well made Christmas ale. In the finish you are left with no signs of the alcohol and a very dry taste which makes you want to keep coming back for more.

Drinkability:

Overall this was a great addition to the twelve beers of Christmas series and I think this has great potential to age. Based off a fresh tasting, compared to the other two this one fell a little short in my opinion. If you are collecting this series be sure to go out and grab this one before it all goes away because as the trend catches on they will become much harder to get. I hope I get to keep posting a review every year until I hear the twelve drummers drumming and complete my personal collection.

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

Presentation:
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?

Appearance:
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.

Aroma:
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.

Taste:
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.

Mouthfeel:
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.

Harmony:
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 codewarrior
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750mL Bomber poured into a snifter. No freshness date, but I know this was bottled in 11/2010.

Was happy to find a lot of this at Lukas Liquors, and snagged an appropriate 3 bottles of the 3rd installment of the 12 years of Christmas.

L: Deep nut brown, like a cross between autumn maple and rochefort 8. Tiniest bit of wispy yet thick head. Looks a touch under-carbonated, but still good. Touch of sediment in the glass (my pour could be off here).

S: Delightfully sweet and deep in its spices. Yeast adds that trademark bruery funk, resolves in the middle to a bold boozy fatness and fades into a lingering sweetness.

T: Sweet up front, wonderfully rich in spice and booze. Middle is a roasted rich booziness fading into a lingering funkiness.

F: A might under-carbonated, but smooth.

D: Damn good beer here. Wonder how it will hold up to 9 years in the cellar.

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3 french hens pours a deep garnet red color with a off white head that fades pretty fast for a bsda. No lacing to speak of. Very familiar bruery yeast aroma on the nose coupled with dried fruits, cherries, and a faint bit of woody grape aroma. The flavor is dominated by chewy malts, nice spice notes, and alot more dried fruit raisins, plums and cherries, figs etc. I do detect some vinous oak, but faintly. 3 french hens drinks surprisingly well for the size of the beer, and has a nice full and round mouthfeel. A nice offering from the bruery overall.

Photo of jamie2dope
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The third installment from the Bruery in their holiday series of beers. Thanks to Justin from WWS for putting this aside for me. Poured directly in to a balloon glass, the large amount of fluffy white heading springs up. Color is very murky light brown/dark orange. The French Oak comes through nicely in the nose, giving off vanilla, a toasted character, as well as a bit of cinnamon and other holiday spices. More of the same from the flavor, with the wood becoming more pronounced. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and is extremely elegant. All of the flavors work together in a really soft, not overbearing sort of way. The alcohol is not detectable in the flavor at all as far as I can tell. This one seems to be bordering on the Belgian Strong Pale/Dark front, which is fine by me. Final thoughts are that the 12 Days of Xmas beers keep getting better every year. I am fully planning on grabbing one more of these, as well as some 2 Turtle Doves before they both become whales like PiaPT.

Photo of alpinebryant
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a chestnut brown with a white dusting of a head. Smell of figs, raisins, plums and belgian yeast.

Taste of mostly dark dried fruits. Raisins, prunes, figs and a slight white pepper flavor edges its way out. Slight cocoa and cherry. There is a brown sugar feel mixed with slight booziness although as warming, brown sugar and caramel flavors become more pronounced and mellow the beer out.

Not bad overall, not as good as 2TD, but it is hard to live up directly after last years christmas annual from The Bruery.

Photo of alcstradamus
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Scott for snagging these for me to continue the 12 year adventure!

Pours a very deep murky brown with two fingers of head that dies down to a nice collar and some lacing.

The aroma has a dose of alcohol heat up front with oaky dryness and some light raisin and brown sugar. Notes of banana, yeast, and peppery spice.

The flavor is more rich than I expected, with deep raisin and cocoa notes as well as a bit of alcohol burn. Some wateriness, but still flavorful. A light burn in the bottom of my throat begging me to take another sip.

The body is medium and maybe a tad watery at times. Carbonation is at appropriate levels for the style.

Overall this beer is good at this age and I can see it improving for a year or two. But I don't think it has the legs for the 9 year journey. Can't wait to find out!

Photo of impending
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a tulip. Pours a deep dark ruddy mahogany with garnet highlights. Dense two finger head subsided slowly, decent lacing.

Delicious strong dark aroma. Lots of candied sugars with caramel, vanilla and pleasant spices plus the addition of the barrel is quietly perceptible.

Dark dense bread with dark rum notes and generic anonymous dark fruits.

The dominant characteristic is the long slowly subsiding aftertaste which unfortunately I didn't find too appealing as it is dull muted spices wrapped in alcohol, blunt as if drunk from a steel can. Creamy mouthfeel.
wish I liked this more
cheers
jd

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a soft walnut brown color, opaque in the middle but somewhat transparent around the dges. A bubbly tan head forms with a good pour, staying around for a bit and leaving a few touches of lacing.

Smell: Caramel malt, dark fruit - figs, dates, and raisins, and an herbal hop presence.

Taste: This starts out really sweet, almost cloyingly so, with dark fruit - mostly the same fig,date, and raisin that was there in the aroma, almost with a caramel sweetness. It turns actually citrusy and tart, which I would not have expected. A dash of spice and herbal hops at the end provide for an interesting finish.

Mouthfeel: Oily and sticky at the same time. Lemony mouth pucker.

Drinkability: One serving is enough, although I liked the unique flavor. Maybe some time on it would help out?

Photo of NCSUdo
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle

A: Dark brown body under a good sized light tan head. Good retention and decent lace.

S: Malty, sweet, floral a bit, fig, nutty, hint of oak, rather complex aroma.

T: Sweet malt up front before giving way to toasted and roasted hints, bit of chocolate, decent bitter finish, alcohol is only slightly apparent, grassy hints.

M/D: Medium to full bodied, carbonation is high. Drinkability is good. A good beer, even tends to show some character of a lighter Belgian ale at times.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a very dark purplish-brown color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of large amounts of fruits - partly dark grapes but also plums and figs. Also present are sweet and dark malts with mild amounts of spices.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet dark malt flavors with a hint of caramel malts kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are sweet dark fruits - crisp dark grapes with ripe plums. Near the end of the sip hints of indistinct spices make a brief appearance before fading out into a mildly sweet ending leaving a bit of alcohol burn on the back end. As the beer warms the influence of the spices increases.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was certainly one of the fruitiest BSDA's I've had in a while, most skew toward heavier malt and spice profiles. Worth a shot.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My 8th beer from The Bruery.

750ml capped bottle.

A very dark red coloured brew with a smallish head of foam, good lacing to start. Man this is a dark brew that doesn't let much light shine through...if any.

The smell seems quite tart and woody with notes of dark fruits. A bit of vanilla mixed in there. I'm digging the aroma big time.

The taste is oaky with dark fruits, plums & raisins, good note of vanilla, slight tartness compared to the smell, interesting. Oh, now the alcohol is kicking in giving me a lot of warming. It finishes a bit on the bitterish side.

I'm kind of undecided right now as to how I'm going to score the taste. A & S were easy.

I waited a while to let this warm up some more. Now I'm getting some real spiciness that I didn't notice when it was colder. Initially, I felt the flavours were on the too smooth side, if you catch my drift. With some extra degrees, it's starting to shine. It's still a beast alcohol wise. ;^)

The body is on the light side for the style and the carbonation is medium and right for this beer.

Drinkability is okay. Definitely hot for me but slow sipping will work..I reckon this should be a good one to cellar for quite some time. A nice brew.

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 BARFLYB
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at The Hulmeville Inn and a bottle late at night. This is a bottle review.

With some hiss from the cap pry 'three' came out looking dark shoe polish brown with a dark red tint up towards the skies. A brown fullish finga of foam rose up, peeped around and left without a trace plus no lace.

Smell is brighter from the bottle than the cold tap. A lot of malt, sweets, candi sugar, brown suga. Just a bit of wood/bourbon, Im thinking the dark fruit rounds that out a bit. Holiday spice, cinnamon, etc.

Bready up front Belgian style, dark fruit following apple/plum/berry style, make that tart apple. Some cinnamon and spice. Brown sugar, roasted malt. Some cocco in the back. Taste is surrounded by spice and fruit, the bourbon/oak, is well, minimal. Maybe some time will round that out, but I doubt it.

Feel is smooth although a bit dull. It comes off with some tug but becomes a smooth sail. A semi full body, silky with a sweet middle and tangy finish, not dry at all, it's in style. A fruity aftertaste that is relaxing.

I drank a big goblet at the bar and had another, I did not quite get hens. The bottle brang out some more flavor and while this semi barreled version is top notch, Im sure the 100% will be a treat. As with all Bruery beers, it's a big bottle of 10%, it's not the most drinkable out there but it is quite nice.

Photo of largadeer
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Bruery Provisions.

Caramel colored, this would look like a glass of tawny port if not for the small beige head.

The aroma is a mix of vinous notes, plums, general yeasty-estery fruitiness and dark candi sugar sweetness.

The palate likewise is quite vinous, bringing to mind red grapes and plums, a little cherry and black pepper. The wine barrel comes through well, despite only being a small component of the beer. The body is medium-full, and it's semi-sweet, more drying toward the finish. Quite good for the style, but as with the other two Bruery Christmas beers, it's not particularly noteworthy. I have a feeling that this series is going to end up much like Stone's Vertical Epic series - decent beers with a ton of unjustified hype.

Photo of nickd717
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A couple samplers had at The Bruery Provisions in Orange, CA.

3 Freedom Hens is dark brown in color, not clear, with an average-sized and average-density light tan head sitting on top.

The aroma is somewhat Belgian, as I expected, with dark bread, dark fruits, and brown sugar malt notes. A little spiciness to it.

The flavor is pretty good but not spectacular. Sweet caramel malts, Belgian yeast, brown sugar, raisin and fig, and spices. Just a slight hint of oak - could use a little heavier-handed -bal aging.

Body is on the fuller side, and carbonation is average.

Not quite as good as 2 Turtle Doves, but a reasonably enjoyable beer. Could see this improving a little bit with age.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in Columbus for $9.99, opened to toast the Bears week 12 game against the Eagles. This pours a dark brown color, opaque with a little light coming through the edges, thick but short-lived tan foam.

This smells yeasty in a Belgian way, maybe even a little Unibroue-ish. Some dark fruits and a little bit of a hefe note too, some phenols apparently. It tastes more like a wiezenbock than any other style, big fruity notes and a bitter anise-like aftertaste. Very yeastie throughout. The alcohol is a little noticeable in the aftertaste but not objectionably strong.

The body is medium-plus, not exactly a chuggable beer but drinkable nonetheless. Kind of gimmicky again with the Christmas beer, fun idea but not really satisfying stuff.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Bruery tulip and served with Thanksgiving leftovers.

The color is a somewhat-light chestnut brown that pours with a moderately-disappointing single-finger head with just a touch of lacing and not that much retention. There is a slight bubble ring around the glass throughout, however. The nose is nice with some cherries, dark fruits, light oak, a bit of booze, a touch of caramel, and a tad bit of molasses. The French oak becomes much more prominent as it warms in the glass.

The flavor is quite powerful and complex. My initial taste is some darkened cherries and malt as well as some dates and figs. This makes way for a good dose of French-oak taste without the accompanying tannic character of a lot of barrel-aged beers. Throughout, I really have trouble getting over how nice the barrel-aged portion of this beer really is. There's some light spiciness and Belgian-yeast character intermingling throughout.

The body itself is a bit light for the boldness of the flavor, but the carbonation is nice and the barrel character just contributes wonderful qualities throughout. Drinkability is really nice and I simply am having a hard time getting enough of this beer and will certainly be going back to grab a few extra bottles of this.

Photo of mdfb79
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 11/17/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey in DC.

a - Pours a dark amber color with one inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, caramel malts, spices, yeast, and dark fruits.

t - Tastes of dark fruit, caramel malts, and a little spice. Caramel and sweet fruit really come out in the taste which I liked a lot.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, the body was super smooth and real easy going down. Surprised it was 10%, couldn't notice in the mouth.

d - I really like 3 French Hens a lot. I liked the caramel in the taste alot and thought it had a great mouthfeel. Would certainly drink again and going to grab one for the cellar.

Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Giving thanks to the 3 french hens

A: poured a slightly reddish brown with brown highlights and a thin bubbly head that left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S:I could definitely dectect dark fruits like prunes along side brown sugar, pear esters, slight vinous notes, and aromas that remind me of belgian yeast.

T: the pear eaters and dark fruits mesh quite well but the belgian style yeast does add to the style. I did detect brown sugar and honey like notes;pretty complex flavors.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation and had a sweet, dark fruity, boozy, and sticky finish.

D: it drank decent but was definitely a sipper. Really tasty brew and was a great beer to give thanks to.

3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.