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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

376 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 376
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.6%
Wants: 102
Gots: 375 | 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: 376 | Reviews: 228 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ColdPoncho
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very excited to try this beer after reading the description.

It pours a lovely dark ruby-brown with a half inch or so of light tan head that thins out to a lingering ring and patch in the middle.

It's got a really prominent dark fruit smell that's quite characteristic for the style, as I see it. There's undertones of chocolate, oak (French oak, I suppose), and olives. It's possibly a bit too refined for what I consider to be ideal, but very good.

This beer is fairly complex, and yields some tastes not expected after smelling it. The first thing to hit you is a good full roasted malt character which makes you wonder if it is Belgian after all? But then you get the nice dark fruit and Belgianness. There's a touch of sour on the finish, with an aftertaste that makes it feel/taste like your mouth was just coated with butter. It's quite good, but not exactly what it should be, perhaps, with the sour finish being the biggest problem.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin, even for being 10% alcohol, but it's made up for with it's smoothness and buttery feeling.

It's quite drinkable, and has a nice warming feeling to it as it goes down. The only issue for me is the sourness, but it's a small problem.

ColdPoncho, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of jwinship83
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml capped bottle drank out of my chimay chalice. this was purchased and consumed shortly after it appeared on the local shelves.

A- this one pours out a rather dark brown colored body with a finger of solid looking off-white colored head. the head lasts longer than expected and leaves behind small spots of lacing.

S- the smell starts out with some toasted bread and sweet brown sugar. caramel and toffee come through as well. fruity belgian yeast shine through fairly dominantly and give off some scents of cherry, raisin, fig, and dates. the alcohol seems pretty well hidden. little to nothing from the barrel.

T- the belgian yest i could smell comes through first and im able to pick out cherries, dates, figs, and plums. raisins/tobacco also. toffee and caramel come through and add a pretty high level of sweetness. theres also plenty of brown sugar in here. the barrel aging (25% anyways) makes itself barely known with a little bit of vanilla/oak. somewhat spicy also.

M- light bodied, some might consider it moderate. the carbonation. the alcohol is pretty well hidden.

D- definitely different than the previous "beers of christmas" series. decently enjoyable now. well see how well this beer comes together in a few years, and if i can hold out, 9 more.

jwinship83, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a goblet. Brought this back from my trip to Cincinnati.

4.0 A: Looks black in the goblet, but there is brown around the periphery, so I'm thinking this is a dark brown. Two fingers of beige frothy/creamy hybrid head with average retention and moderate amounts of lacing.

4.0 S: Interesting anyway. The strongest aroma is a bit hard to interpret. I think I'll call it a "flowery pruniness." I suppose there's some goofy spice in here. Next I get healthy portions of peppery yeastiness and perhaps a touch of corriander. Malts are mainly doughy, but there is a sweet cracker component like a graham cracker. Light plum fruitiness. Pretty good.

3.5 T: The main flavor is doughy and bready malts, which gives a "rancid-type sweetness" that is surprisingly good. Flowery and herbal like many a saison. Again, light fruitiness in the form of plum and fig. Oak is initially fairly light, but definitely comes through near the end of the glass. Along those lines, the first few sips were much more enjoyable than the last, but a lot of that has to do with the mouthfeel.

3.0 M: Medium body. Spritzy carbonation is very active, but appropriate for the style. The main issue with the mouthfeel is that it is super chewy. I didn't notice at first, but halfway through the first glass, it's at the front of my mind. The chewiness manifests at the finish and even after the swallow.

2.5 D: I'm not sure if it is the overly chewy mouthfeel or flowery spice overload, but this one is hard to drink a full bottle of. I really enjoyed the first half of my first glass, but the experience goes downhill from there. This is the type of beer that would be good in a 12 oz format, but that's not going to happen and it hurts the drinkability. If I had shared this with another, I bet I would have given it a much higher score.

DavoleBomb, Nov 23, 2010
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 jjh19
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark red, tiny bubbles, looks rich
Smell: Plenty of wine-like smell
Taste: Spicy, with a lot of red wine notes, and a little tart.
Mouthfeel: Really tight carbonation
Drinkability: A terrific sipper with tight carbonation. Definitely worth a try.

jjh19, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of Chaney
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark, taupe brown color, with a one finger head that quickly withered away into an off-white froth.

S: Belgian funk for sure, followed by alcohol, and a dark fruit presence that was softened by oak. The candy-Christmasy sweetness was abundant.

T: The oak added SO much to this brew, especially on the very soft, velvety finish. The body itself was very typically of many Strong Dark Ales that I've tried, but the way the brew exits, and even cleanses the palate is remarkable.

M: Even though I got some booze on the nose, the oak softened that blow when it got to the taste portion. Sure there was some alcohol burn, but nothing offensive. The lacing was minimal, and the sugar didn't linger... at least not in a bad way.

D: Despite the octane level, I was able to take fairly good sized sips without wincing. This was my favorite of the Bruery Christmas series for sure. Also, this is the one in the series that I'm willing to endorse as an "it's fine to drink now as opposed to waiting for it to mellow."

Chaney, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of John_M
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a fairly dark, slightly cloudy amber color with fairly good head retention and not much lacing. The nose is attractive, albeit pretty sweet. I get some noticeable sweet cherry, vanilla, rootbeer, orange citrus and considerable underlying spice. While the flavor profile tends to replicate the nose, I also pick up some light sour and a hint of bourbon. The finish is fairly long, with a slightly tart, spice infused ending. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and drinkability is OK. I can tell the abv. is up there in this, but it's not too intrusive or obtrusive.

While a very solid beer, not sure how much of this I could drink on any given evening. Nevertheless, this is another well made beer from Bruery.

John_M, Nov 19, 2010
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 FosterJM
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

54th review on BA
Bottle to tulip

App- Caramel dark brown with mahogany highlights, 3 finger foamy head with nice color. Head lasted quite a bit but failed to leave a pertinant lace.

Smell- Belgian spicy with molasses and alcohol. I thought it was very balanced on the nose though.

Taste- It's a blend of tart, dark black cherry and a warming feeling as all the flavors come together to play well together.

Mouth- A medium bodied not overly sweet or dry based on the spice and alcohol content.

Drink- I think after all 3 this is my favorite so far. The adventure continues to keep the 1st 3 in the cellar for 9 years and have one hell of a party with 12 bruery bottles.

FosterJM, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of fear025
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma:Dark fruit and spices in the nose. Nice Belgian yeast notes.

Appearance:Dark brown and nearly opaque. Nice light tan head with good retention.

Taste:More dark fruits and spices in the foretaste. Maybe some savory chestnuts. The aftertaste has some metallic/copper notes.

Mouthfeel:Medium body, good carbonation. A little bit harsh.

Drinkability:This beer is very good, lots of complexity. It will probably age very well over the next 9 years.

fear025, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of ferrari29
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into over-sized wine glass from bottle

A - Dark coffee/brown color body; creamy & bubbly 1 finger head formed; moderate carbonation & lacing

S - Fruit (grape); high ABV content aroma; champagne, muscat fruit smell

T - Caramel notes; with coriander & spices coming out as it washed over the tongue; dry hop aftertaste

M - Effervescent feel; like most Belgian ales; smooth feel and moderate viscosity

D - Surprisingly enough it does not taste like it smell; smooth drink and definitely enjoyable with a few friends; good beer to pair up with foods and cheeses; doesn't come off as being to heavy and you can have a few of these drinks during one evening without feeling like you are going to topple over

ferrari29, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of mwilbur
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 mL bottle into NBB snifter.
A: Pours a smooth extremely dark brown (very little light comes through with backlighting). 2+ inch tan head with great retention. Very nice.
S: Bready yeast, sweet and warm spices, dark dried fruit, molasses. With warming, a strong note of oak (honestly very close to sticking your head inside an oak barrel) and a hint of chocolate come through.
T: Very interesting...not what I was expecting...spicy pumpernickel, dark toast, dry chocolate, and a vinous oak quality comes through especially with warming. Hints of citrus, bready yeast, and vanilla pop up every now and then.
M: Fairly light body considering the style. Smooth and light on the palate. Slightly sticky sweet. With warming, a bitter note starts to emerge.
D: Good drinkability especially for style and ABV (I will say the alcohol is well hidden). Definitely a different take on the Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Worth a try, but don't expend too much energy to seek it out. This one is supposed to last up to 9 years. I'm thinking it will be well past peak then.

mwilbur, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of bonkers
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a bomber into a snifter. It pours an opaque, ruddy, brown with a thin white head. The aroma is dark fruit, and hints of alcohol. The flavor is strong dark fruit notes, and some spices, finishes with a light lingering alcohol. The beer is really smooth and the carbonation is just right. A nice BSDA, very enjoyable.

bonkers, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of GRG1313
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

GRG1313, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 25 oz bottle into my Zatec Fluted glass. Short pour resulting in about a finger of very light brown colored head. Dark amber body. Head dies reasonably slowly, a little bit of lacing. Not much. Smells ungodly good. That sort of bubblegummy spice of Belgian yeast, chocolate, caramel sweetness, oak and a bit of alcohol. Sweet up front on the palate. Some dried dark fruit (raisins and such). Sort of rum-ish. Vanilla. I wish I could put into words how complex it is on my tongue. Finishes with a nice tartness. Nice kinda chalky mouthfeel. Drinks like a champ for 10%.

WestValleyIPA, Nov 11, 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 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 jminsc76
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a tulip, pours a dark brown, murky body. Exhibits some soapy head on top, about half a finger's measurement. This is cask, so I am not holding my breath for a large amount of head to emerge/re-emerge.

Aromas primarily of fried-bananas and other tropical fruits that yield a wonderfully intense and expansive bouquet. Pretty much perfect.

Flavors include an overall oaky mixture of the previously-mentioned bananas, cabernet sav (or franc; too miniscule to presently and properly determine), and even a bit of bourbon and pumpernickle. This is a deliciously intense version of 3 French Hens, far more intense than the more mellow version I had per the bottle.

Mouthfeel is fine, thin, and condusive to the flavors.

Overall, 3 French Hens on cask is wonderfully tasty. More flavors than I can shake a leg at in distinguishing (though the taste of fried bananas and other tropical fruits is unmistakable) with a bouquet that will not quit in lifting my nostrils to high heaven. Bravo Bruery.

jminsc76, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brown and red appearance, kinda cool looking, good head, sticks around forever. Smells like cinammon and sugar cookies.

Dark fruity flavor, more spice, mahogany wood effect to it, the mo, another complex, but amazing beer so far. I don't even like these styles I kept thinking. This one was good enough on tap that I bought a bottle afterwards. Lots of caramel underneath the darker aspect of the beer. Not overly sweet, strong, but alcohol is hidden for its actual might. I liked it quite a bit. Be interesting to see how it is in a decade out of a bottle. Although I have a feeling I'll have it at least one more time this year.

Beerandraiderfan, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Bruery tulip. Beer is brown and hazy with a big brown head on top of it. Carbonation moderate and the head leaves some lacing on the glass.

Beer smells like a big Belgium beer but its not roasty in the nose at all. Lots of esters, lots of biscuit, some stone fruits, smells good.

Beer is lead off sweetness with a medium body that gives way to an almost weizenbock kind of roast in the back. There is a ton of fruit esters in the midpalate region. Beer is pretty drinkable, I don't recall the other releases from this series but this one is fine.

drabmuh, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

womencantsail, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Overlord
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruddy-ish brown with an inch or so of foam.

Smells like dark malts, a bit of ... oak? Woodsiness, at least. And a bunch of spices and bready yeastiness. A hint of fruit to the nose. Raisins?

Taste is all bready, yeasty malt with more than a bit of spices and oak/wood on the aftertaste. Kind of an odd duck, actually. Interesting, chewy, but the spices are a bit wearying after a while.

Nice robust mouthfeel.

Overlord, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 750 mL bottle,

A: Pours a medium brown with a moderate off-white head, good lace.

S: Quite yeasty, dark Belgian style fruit, with a hint of cinnamon, dark sweet breads.

T: Dark brown sugar and molasses, not as fruity as the nose. A straight up dark malt flavour with the Belgian yeast to round it off, very tasty.

M: Full-bodied, very smooth, soft carbonation on the palate, an elegant beverage.

D: Easily the best of the 12 Beers of Christmas so far right out of the gate. It will be interesting to see how this ages, and how The Bruery will add some new twist to this in the coming weeks.

Halcyondays, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of IKR
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Bottle into a tulip glass

A: Dark Brown with half an inch of very light brown head. Noticeable lacing on the glass.

S: upfront Belgian Yeast aroma with a bit of toffee/caramel smell. Slight roast aroma.

T: Slight Belgian funk, caramel and dark sugar elements.

M: Good body with medium carbonation.

D: Good flavor with hidden alcohol.

To me this tastes like the base for last year's Autumn Maple which, off topic, I preferred to this year's batch. The majority of people will find this preferable to 2 Turtle Doves but I'm missing 2 Turtle Doves' bolder, more complex flavors. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Trappiste Rochefort 8 listed as one of the top beers for this style. I found the Trappiste Rochefort 8 to be a far more complex flavorful beer. That being said this isn't a bad beer it just doesn't overwhelm me like some of the other Bruery's offerings.

IKR, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of domtronzero
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear reddish copper brown with a long lasting frothy off white head that leaves quite a bit of lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet caramel malts, a little bit of vanilla and rich malty goodness. Light alcohol is perfumy and pleasant. Dark fruity esters and melanoidins.

F/M - Caramelly bready sweet malts with lots of dark fruity flavors. Very much a malt-forward beer with moderately low bitterness behind it. Vanilla and very light oaky flavors are pleasant and add complexity. Slightly sweet finish, with a nice drying alcohol warmth. Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lingering sweet malty bready toffee flavor.

D - Good but the sweetish finish make it difficult to put down more than a glass or two at a time. Very flavorful and enjoyable. Nice seasonal offering for winter time.

domtronzero, Oct 24, 2010
3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 376 ratings.