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3 French Hens - The Bruery

Not Rated.
3 French Hens3 French Hens

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

388 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 388
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.3%
Wants: 102
Gots: 369 | FT: 22
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: 388 | Reviews: 229
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch khaki head that settles to a thin film. Random streaks of lace stick around the glass on the drink down. There is also some sediment floating around in this beer. Smell is of dark fruits, some wood aromas, and spicy yeast. Taste is of dark fruits, slight wood, and a slight sour fruit/vinegary taste. There is an astringency on the palate after each sip. This beer has a bubbly carbonation with a crisp but slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good BSDA from The Bruery. I was going to save this and do a broken vertical since I missed the first 2 releases but I am glad I just opened this now.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of acurtis
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GRG1313
3.34/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a crystal clear deep, dark copper red with burgundy tints; thick, firm and bold off white head.

Nose is big sweet plums, ripe pears and sweet cooked peaches with light spice - big, full, rich and assertive with big candi sugar tones.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with an elegant carbonation.

Flavors are very complex and layered. Front palate is sweet spiced cola and compote cooked fruit that goes to a dull bitter mid palate and finish.

The front end of this beer is wonderful but the flavors then back off and the wood and barrel aging come into play and goes to a bitter, almost bitter/sour carmel finish.

The mid palate on this beer is a strange spice/herbal character, almost a sour chocolate character, that prevents this brew from really shining. The high alcohol is well hidden!

Personally, I don't see this beer doing very well 9 years from now when we all do our "12 year vertical" for the "12 Days of Christmas." However, time will tell.

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Thorpe429
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
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 kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger white head with little retention and some lacing on a clear deep amber body.

S: lots of dark fruit mostly with cherry, strawberry and plum the primary notes. hint of chocolate. overall the aroma is a little mild.

T: pretty tart dark fruit with mostly raisin, plum and cherry for dark fruits. peppercorn, milk chocolate, belgian yeast, brown sugar.

M: medium body, a little syrupy and moderate carbonation. pretty dry.

Overall: again, very complex, the ABV is well hidden. smooth with excellent belgian character with good tart and sweet balance.

Photo of brentk56
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a tawny brown color with a finger of a head that drizzles lace on the way down

Smell: Brown sugar and dark fruit, with vanilla and oak barrel tones

Taste: Brown sugar and dark fruit (fig and date) up front, with undertones of vanilla and oak; by mid-palate, a tart cherry layer appears bringing vinegary elements that linger, after the swallow, though the sweetness doesn't fade; overfall, rather vinous

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation; somewhat syrupy

Drinkability: An interesting beer, but the growing tartness really detracts from the BSDA character; the vinous element is interesting, but perhaps there is just too much going on to make it very drinkable

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of light oak with caramelized sugar and light fruity notes. Taste is a very good mix between some brown sugar and caramelized malt with notes of fruity ester and some oak to round up the flavour. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed and better then I had anticipated considering some of the previous offering from this brewer. Good balance between complexity and drinkability.

Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

French Hen's pours out as a murky looking brownish red color. The head was a light tan shade, the lacing was decent for a little while on this one before the head faded. The smell of the beer had a lot of oak aromas coming off of it. There was a lingering scent of spices also. The taste was spicy upfront that switched into a subtle tart oak flavor that essentially became a fresh wooden softness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad, I was hoping it would have been thicker. Overall I'm glad I had gotten to try this one. I would like to try the others in the series. Looking forward to next years for sure.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg".

--Samuel Butler

Dark caramel brown with a generous orange juice infusion when backlit with the rising sun. The upper half of the chalice is now filled with an attractive crown of sandstone colored cream that isn't quite Belgianesque, but looks damn good nonetheless. A solid start.

The nose is unalloyed BSDA from stem to stern. The beer smells dark malty, medium-dark fruity, and has loads of spicy yeast esters, all essential elements of the style. This might be the best '12 Days of Christmas' brew yet.

3 French Hens, although the final score may not reflect it, is my favorite member of this series to date. It's everything that a Belgian-style strong dark should be. Truthfully, The Bruery hasn't always hit the mark where authenticity of flavor profile is concerned.

At this relatively early date in its potential life span, this offering is on the sweet side. Since the alcohol is masked expectionally well, why not drink it now? In my opinion, further aging isn't likely to add much of value and will probably result in some deterioration.

Flavors include caramel-toffee pudding with chunks of figs and dates, brown sugar, hints of chocolate syrup, port wine, and a clove and black pepper spiciness that ties things up in a neat little Belgian-style bow. I'll have to check prior reviews, but this may be my favorite The Bruery brue to date.

The mouthfeel comes oh so close to the Belgian masterpieces. It's crushed velvet plush and stays inflated just long enough to push the 'damn, that's nice' button. Definitely a bottle-conditioning success story.

If you're cellaring a bottle (or more) of 3 French Hens, there's no reason to do so any longer. This expertly crafted ale is drinking mighty fine right now. It looks like The Bruery beer might finally be living up to the excellence and promise of its labels.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

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

poured it into the glass. A rich, deep, dark brown was shown right before me, just barely letting the slightest bit of color come through to give it a nice tint to the reddish side. Lots of carbonation rippling up toward the surface though out. The head was enormous, towering to a height of at least four inches before finally settling down to a modest three inches! This thing was a beast, leaving behind enormous amounts of side glass lace everywhere it touched. The aroma was extremely big as well, I could literally feel it popping in my nose as I took in every breathe. Really extremely well done. Big aroma of raisins, and figs started it off, with a nice little hint of spice and just the tiniest bit of alcohol way in the back making it a touch bigger. There was the unmistakable aroma of cocoa in there as well, which really threw me for a loop. Nice subtle earthy tones as well, overall this was extremely well done.

The flavor started out very nice. A rich, warming palate of dark fruits washed over the tongue from the very first sip. It had loads of rum soaked raisins, figs, plums, and was just very dark overall in its profile. The cocoa then showed up again as well, very sweet, and creamy hints of chocolate showing out here. It was fleeting at first, but then became wrapped up in the roasted malts and a slightly smoked like flavor. As it warmed though all of the subtleness of it then faded, and instead the roasted malts dominated, and eased up on the overall complexity of it.

Overall I thought this was really well done.

Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark brown color with some hints of blood red and a finger's worth of khaki colored head.

S: A fair amount of dark malts without much roast character, but a nice toast. Very bready and heavy on the yeast with some dark fruits, but I can't quite pick out what they are.

T: The sweetness is moderate with a bit of subtle roast. Dark and malty with a bit of sugar (caramel and toffee) and lots of yeastiness like the nose indicates.

M: The body is medium with a soft, rolling carbonation.

D: I'd say this is probably better than Partidge but not quite as good as Turtle Doves. It'll be interesting to see how this one ages over the next ten years.

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 emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a wine goblet at South Loop Tasting Room.

Dark reddish brown, high clarity, visible trails of upward bound carbonation. Creamy, frothy tan foam that leaves spotty lacing inside the glass. Good retention, the head never dissipated.

Muted spice and dark fruit in the nose, dried cherry, plum, raisin.

Flavor is malt dominant with some lingering sweetness, even a slightly tart fruit note. Light cherry and dates, belgian yeast, vague vanilla that suggests barrel-aging, but it gets a bit lost in there. Moderately carbed, certainly doesn't feel like 10%, and slightly slick in feel. One and done, not one i'd revisit, or would seek out a bottle of.

Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of dense, khaki colored foam on top of a dark brown body with a touch of muddy amber showing through. The foam fades gently and leads nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - dark bread, caramel, a little bit of clove, and some gingerbread.

T - Dry, dark sugar (maybe!?) up front with some clove and anise. Slightly tart dark malt in the middle with a touch of cherry and a finish of sour chocolate, clove, and licorice.

M - moderately thick body, aveage carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - This beer is much dryer than I would have expected it to be. This is both good and bad in that it is somewhat more easily drinkable for it, but less flavorful and robust. The lit tartness is a nice counterpoint to the malt but it doesn't play that well with the spice notes. Lastly, the barrel character is largely lost amoung everything else th just a touch of oak and the tart character to vouch for it. Probably my least favorite of the beers of Christmas so far (having had #2-#5).

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%

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3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 388 ratings.