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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: 99
Gots: 373 | 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:
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 rdickey
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown into my Chimay tulip. The small amount of light that gets through on the edges shows a reddish cast. A large rocky off-white head lingers. This is a nice-looking beer.

Smell: Belgian yeast spices pair with a certain element of tartness. It's not funky, just a little tart. Bready malt notes come through as well, and there is a hint of the ABV.

Taste: Classic Belgian spiciness leads, with candy sugar surrounding it - so far, pretty typical for the style. As it warms, though, mellow oaky notes develop, rounding this into a really very nice beer.

Mouthfeel: Truly viscous to start (which is not a bad thing), but as it warms it seems to loosen up a little. I recognize that the immediately preceding sentence is not supported by, and in fact is probably contrary to, established laws of physics, but that's how it felt in my mouth.

Drinkability: Not high overall, but you wouldn't expect any beer of this style to be something you can swill for hours. It's good for the style and a late-night (probably a late winter night) sipper.

rdickey, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of slayer3604
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
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!

slayer3604, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of Sixofsigmas
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Sixofsigmas, Oct 04, 2012
Photo of NickT1218
4/5  rDev +5%

NickT1218, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of TysonA
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

TysonA, May 12, 2013
Photo of tjfinkle
4/5  rDev +5%

tjfinkle, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of pzymali
4/5  rDev +5%

pzymali, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of StarRaptor
4/5  rDev +5%

StarRaptor, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of Moose34
4/5  rDev +5%

Moose34, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of chicano4craft
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Dark ruby with some brown in the light. Off white head that settles to a bubblt crown that sticks around.

Nose is sweet. Belgian yeast mixed with sweet plum, dark cherries, and dried raisins. Reminds me of a Quad.

Taste is quite sweet up front. Sugary fruit with a surprisingly spicey finish. Cherry flavor is somewhat tart. Complex. Alcohol is there without being hot.

Mouthfeel is nice. Creamy with the right amount of carbonation for me. Drinkability is brought down by the high alcohol. Wish I would have split the bottle.

Overall I was impressed. The Bruery is hit or miss with me and I like this one. Look forward to how much this will change with age.

chicano4craft, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of BuckyFresh
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at a tasting party with TCHopCraver, TCgoalie, and zoso1967. Thanks to zoso1967 for sharing this beer!

Appearance: Pours a clear dark brown, with a one-finger head. Retention is decent and the lacing is good. There is a pretty significant bubbly film that remains on top of the beer after the head recedes. Very active carbonation can be seen through the dark recesses of this beery world.

Smell: The aroma of this one is like a funky, yeasty chardonnay. Sweet apple, pear, mineral water, and peppery spice abound. The alcohol is also fairly discernible and compliments the other aromas well.

Taste: Lots of tannins and fruity sweetness. Oak lends a dry astringency to the flavor and the spicy yeast adds depth and complexity. I find that most of the sweetness is up front in this one, but is eventually cut down by the dryer elements. The aftertaste is pretty dry and keeps your mouth in that state for quite a while.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light-bodied for a beer with this much alcohol. Sweet and smooth up front, with oak astringency coming through at the end.

Drinkability: Very delicious and funky. The ABV is well-hidden, making this one a fairly easy drinker. The spiciness is the only limiting factor with me, as that element always seems to compound over time.

BuckyFresh, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of waltersrj
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pour: Dark brown as you would suspect for the style with a one fingered tan head that quickly dissipates into itself.

Nose: Belgian candy sugar, Belgian yeast, dates, figs, pepper, Belgian spices, vinous notes (from the barreling), and caramel.

Taste: Pepper at first, candy sugar, Belgian yeast, caramel, and dark fruits follow, ending with a vinous, oak driven palate, and caramel, and dark fruit aftertaste. I didn't get a huge alcohol presence like some have said.

Mouthfeel: Moderately carbonated and somewhat creamy. If the carbonation can last 9 years is my biggest question.

Final Thoughts: a decent BSDA from a usually great American brewer. This isn't as good as 2TD.

waltersrj, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of clarkenstein
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

clarkenstein, Jan 08, 2012
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 jcone17
4/5  rDev +5%

jcone17, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of angelogarcia3
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This Belgian-style dark ale aged in french oak barrels pours clean with a slight head. This tawny colored beer is partly hazy. The french oak imparts a sophiscated creamy taste that is very sweet almost dessert-like. Though the sweetness is not overpowering. This is a very good beer which according to the label is suitable for aging up to 9 years. Will have to purchase another for the cellar.

angelogarcia3, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of mymrnngjckt
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a nice two finger head. The smell is very spicey. Hints of honey, clove and caramel. The taste is also very similar to the smell. It has a rich roasty and spicey taste which is very enjoyable. The spices work well with the heavy roasted flavor of the malts. Nice carbonation gives the beer a good mouthfell.

I enjoyed this beer. Of the three "12 days of Christmas" brews this is the best of the three fresh.

mymrnngjckt, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of Compton25
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Compton25, May 10, 2013
Photo of JoeySchlitz
4/5  rDev +5%

JoeySchlitz, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of Hatzilla
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Hazy dark amber pour with a beige head and minimal lacing. S - Strong notes of grapes, plums, cherries, raisins, chocolate and Belgian yeast. T - More dark fruits with chocolate, spices, brown sugar and definite alcohol as the beer warms, M - At the low end of medium carbonation with a tart, dry finish and slight alcohol burn. O - A nice BSA for the holidays, Glad I got to try this one.

Hatzilla, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of mexikrainian
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

720ml poured into a Stone tulip.

Appearance: dark brown amber with thick, foamy tan head and smooth lacing.

Aroma: dark fruits, sweet malts, vanilla, caramel and molasses.

Flavor: caramel, raisin, molasses, candi sugar and Belgian spices.

Mouthfeel: SMOOTH, crisp medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall impression: smooth, sweet and malty beer that warm you from the inside out.

mexikrainian, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

MexicanSkittel, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of Goldstar81
4/5  rDev +5%

Goldstar81, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of smarcoly
5/5  rDev +31.2%

smarcoly, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Chadpaq
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Chadpaq, Jan 05, 2011
3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.