3 French Hens - The Bruery

Not Rated.
3 French Hens3 French Hens

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

228 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 228
Hads: 393
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 105
Gots: 368 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 228 | Hads: 393
Photo of GrandCruDrew
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle in my DFH snifter! Go figuire.

A- Dark, dark brown and a great 1 inch off white head, little retention and some lacing.

S- A great Belgian yeast nose with candied sugar, orange peel, oak, spice, subtle banana.

T- Resembles the taste. Oak, drak malts, banana, orange peel, candied belgian sugar, what does that mean...I dunno. Taste great!

M- Great, smooth, love the balance.

Overall- I love this beer, I think it will hold up to the years it needs to stay a part of this vertical. A great French Belgian! (522 characters)

Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a 75% opaque very dark brown color with mahogany accents when held to the light. The light that does get thru reveals this to be a pretty clear body. Three fingers of khacki tan head, very dense and tight bubbled with good staying power, rises agressively above the beer. Falls slowly and surprisingly with fairly little lacing left behind.

S - Spicy and fruity up front - no shortage of Belgian yeast character here. Oranges and cloves mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, maybe some molasses, caramel. Light citrusy hoppy aroma and some roasted and toasted malts at the base.

T - Very Christmasy to go along with the aromas. Flavors follow the aroma nicely - fruits - oranges, currents, prunes and spices - cinnamon, nutmeg are in abundance. Sugary sweetness - candy, caramized and brown sugars throughout. Light to medium booziness with alcohol warmth easily noticed. Mild astringency in the background and on the swallow. Roasted malts underneath that continue into the finish where they are most noticeable. Hop bitterness also makes the most impact after the swallow with a good crisp bitterness that just continues to linger.

M - Medium bodied - maybe a touch on the light side which is a bit surprising, although it seems fairly well attenuated with the lingering sweetness more as a result of the spices than anything else. A bit warm and boozy - really mostly get the alcohol feel after the swallow when breathing and a mild tingle on the lips.

O - This is a pretty good winter beer. I'm drinking this a bit out of season, but it still pretty much hits the spot. Not an easy drinker, not a sipper - just somewhere in the middle asking for good sized gulps along the way. Pretty good accompanyment to food too. Glad I have a couple left in the cellar - one for the big vertical years from now, and a couple for sampling along the way. (1,904 characters)

Photo of Errto
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale brown. Very modest head - sort of surprising for the style.

The smell has rich fruit - plums especially - and a hint of alcohol.

The taste is sweet at first. Warming alcohol is definitely present. Towards the back that yeasty flavor you associate with Belgians. The wood flavor is very mild - I wouldn't have picked it up without being told. Not a bad compliment on the overall package.

I suppose I should have taken the warning about age seriously. The alcohol is simply too sharp for this to be really enjoyable right now. Edit: on second thought, I think I may have first opened this beer too warm and without enough food in my stomach. Fixing that fixed the alcohol a bit. (693 characters)

Photo of AdamBear
4.44/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-dark brown with a maroon tint. has a thin light tan head that fades quickly. not much carbonation

S-smells like dark cherries and belgian spices. it sort of smells like a dark, musty lambic. has a good strength. this smells awesome!

T-comes in with very sweet belgian malts. it then hits with slightly tart cherries, brown sugar, and molasses. it ends with a flavor of roasted sugars and dark fruits...possibly plums. this forms a long lasting after-taste. there's some warmth to it as it goes down the throat. this is a very unique take on the belgian style. i wouldn't call this balanced, but i do love it. it does have an odd bitterness to it, i must admit.

M-low carbonation and creamy. not very characteristic of the style, but i do like it this way a lot.

O-i love this beer a lot. it is so completely different. for the ABV, it goes down so easily. a bottle is easily consumed by one person. i feel with a little more time and effort, this can been brewed perfectly. if you expect to drink a good Belgian Strong Dark Ale, you'll be let down. Go in to this one just wanting to try a good, new beer. I could finish off a whole case of these in record timing if given the chance. to me this tastes like a blend of lambic and Belgian Strong Dark Ale. (1,259 characters)

Photo of wnh
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a tulip. Reviewed 12/25/2010.

Pours a clear dark chestnut brown with a mahogany tint around the egdes. Topped by a fizzy, lightly creamy tan head.

Up front on the nose is an herbal, medicinal root beer-like note. Dark fruits, primarily fig, lie underneath, and underneath that hints of the French oak--decidedly different than American oak; woodier, perhaps, more tannic, lacking the sweet notes (caramel, vanilla, coconut). Earthy brown sugar and an almond-cherry note round things out.

Sweeter on the palate, fruitier and a bit tart (cherry?), followed by the herbal/medicinal root beer character that is thankfully lighter than on the nose. Fades into an earthy, almost bitter molasses flavor that lingers. Oaky, tannic dryness on the finish. Spicy and wintery, an interesting take on both the spiced holiday ale and the Belgian-style dark ale. Finishes with a sweet brown sugar upturn.

Medium bodied, leaning toward full. Firm and bit minerally. Prickly carbonation, not to my liking, but bearable and expected for the style. Interesting, if not a style I care much for, but it wasn't in my willpower to turn down a one-off from an esteemed brewery that I can't get at home. I'd like to see how this ages but, alas, I only got one bottle. (1,272 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (1,546 characters)

Photo of Spider889
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark caramelized red onion color, mild haziness, with a short head that quickly recedes.

Smelled really yeasty. Peppery yeast with lighter fruits seem more reminiscent of a saison than a BSDA. Some dark fruit can be detected, but overall I wasn't too impressed.

Tartness plays a role not seen in the average BSDA. Citrus - orange and lemon dominate, with milder notes of caramel malt.

Dry, with a dusty funk to it. The alcohol was really well masked, couldn't believe it was 10%.

Overall not too impressed here, though I'd be curious to see what bourbon barrels did to this beer. (591 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
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. (1,880 characters)

Photo of trappistlover
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(On tap at Papago). Pours mahogany with thin tan head. Aroma of spices and caramel malt. Taste is sweet with a bit of a sour twang and some bitterness thrown in. Light to medium bodied with a slick texture. Finish is spicy and tart. This is a nice beer. (253 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
2.71/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours a somewhat cloudy deep red, almost merlot color with a bubbly light brownish head.

S-the nose has hints of yeast, light clove, a bit of raisin with sweet plums behind. there is a strong metallic note in the back with an unapealing twang.

T-the taste has a much strong malt presence, roasty with notes of black malt. rum soak raisins, plums, more booze, and that same metallic twang in the back.

M-medium body that is slightly thin on the back end. slightly grainy up front but smoother in the back with a semi dry finish.

D-not aweful but there are definintely some unattractive flavors. typical bruery beer with a strong booze presence and off-putting flavors. (673 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle courtesy of Mikesgroove. Pours a murky brown color with a bubbly tan head that fades fast and leaves little lacing.

Nose is very yeasty - fruit and bread dough galore. Ripe, mushy strawberries, honeyed granola bars and figs. Big nose...and tasty. Cinnamon-sugar comes out as it warms.

The creaminess of the beer stands out first to me, along with the bright fruit and raspberry jam. Yeast is as bready as it is fruity, hiding the ABV well behind a melange of spices and fruit. Very nice brew! I would seek this out again, even if it means having to trade for it. (578 characters)

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

Thanks goes out to G311 for this brew.

750ml

Poured into a chalice a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy light tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some yeast notes, nice touch of raisins, figs, plums. The taste is very nice malty, slightly yeasty, with some dark fruits. Medium Body. A very nice brew. (366 characters)

Photo of Radome
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Pours a murky brown with maybe some red highlights. Very little light gets through when held up to a light bulb. Head starts out thick and tan but quickly fades to a wide ring around the glass. The beer cleared as time went on while drinking. By the end of the glass it was a clear dark brown.

S - A very complex mix of aromas. There is a barnyard funk, cherries, oak and alcohol. It almost makes me think of a cherry lambic, but the funk is not as sharp.

T - Taste starts out like a dark Belgian ale with a light touch of funkiness. Then there's a sudden wallop of stronger, sharply astringent funk that has a slight metallic aftertaste. I do not taste the oak that the label mentions.

M - Body is light to moderate. A small amount of carbonation, some hops bitterness giving a foundation, then a bit of alcohol burn. Surprisingly dry finish.

D - This is a very complex beer, and fairly drinkable, but the astringent finish is not to my liking. Not my favorite in the Twelve Days of Christmas series. (1,064 characters)

Photo of KAP1356
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. 750 ml bottle poured into a Victory snifter...

A - Poured a nice dark cherry color that borders on a brown color. A one finger head formed about 1 fingeer thick and retained quite well.

S - Dark fruits, some brown sugar, vanilla, and some oak notes in there as well. Slight vinous notes.

T - Dark sticky fruits up front with a brown sugary coating. Some nice oak and vanilla flavors come through as well. Quite vinous after a while with some slight hints of vinegar towards the back of the palate.

M - Medium-full bodied with slight carbonation. Quite sweet and slightly astringent.

O - Quite sweet and a little too vinous for me to really enjoy it as a BSDA. Hoping that the other bottle I have isn't infected as I hear it's possible. (761 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first beer from my RS shipment. Thank you, Andy.

Pouring a dark reddish brown with the red highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and moderate lacing. The nose is interesting. I recently had an unintentionally infected St. Vincent's Dubbel from Captain Lawrence, and this has similar characteristics. A mixture muddled Brett funk, spices (mostly a blend of yeast and some alcohol) and that characteristic Bruery sweetness, the one that was present in Two Turtle Doves, this is oddly compelling. Mild cocoa and cream are present, and as it warms up, it grows increasingly vinous. The oak really comes out as it warms up, and in a good way, working nicely with the vinous notes While sweeter than it needs to be, this still smells good.

The palate opens with a sweet, vinous funk, with wet hay and leather, along with sugar, brown sugar, red wine and some spices. The alcohol is present mostly in conjunction with the vinous character and as a spice component. Moderately fruity, there's some plum character here. Again, the yeast is pretty spicy, and even a little muddled. Sweet in the mid-palate, almost like a brown ale in some regards, there is no hop presence here. Drying on the finish, thanks to the alcohol, this beer has a mild sweetness, a little cocoa and some wine that lingers. Medium in body with moderate, creamy carbonation, this feels quite enjoyable on the palate. No tannins are present. Ultimately, this is just too sweet and suffers from a lack of definition. That does not get in the way of enjoyment, though. (1,585 characters)

Photo of Verecund
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened on 03.09.2011 with the lady friend while vacationing in the mountains. Wanted to try this one before going the long haul with my other bottle.

Pours a dark cherry red with a half finger barely tanned head. Pretty attractive sitting in its wine glass.

Sweet grape, plum, and poached pear, with some spicy phenol character. Oak doesn't jump out. There's some heat on it.

A nice blend of sweet and vinous fruitiness on the front of the palate: dark sugar, grape, pear, (soft) caramel maltiness. Then there's a spicy, almost peppery kick, supplemented by some phenols. A tiny bit of tartness and heat on the finish, though it works better than on the nose.

Medium bodied with medium-low carbonation. Fairly silky, nicely warming while sitting beside a fire.

Slightly better than I expected, really. It's a little spicier and yeasty than I would have liked, but the fruity and (slightly) vinous character works. Still, a half bottle is all I want. (956 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

3/6/2011

On tap at Churchill's in a snifter.

A: Dark reddish brown with a small off white head.

S: Rich bready malt notes with plum and grape. Oak character is light. Moderately spicy, with a little ginger. The beer exhibits a nice balance, and the malt profile is nice.

T: Vinous, with oak notes and a moderate sweetness. Lightly spicy, with cinnamon, ginger, and a dash of pepper. Malt is rich and soft, with some caramel and bread. Finish is rich and spicy. Alcohol is soft and warm.

M: Lower full in body with lower moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and silky, and alcohol provides much warming.

Overall: A pretty good BDSA. I'm not sure why people hate this, it's pretty innocuous with no major flaws. Perhaps the bottles are much different than this cold stored keg. (787 characters)

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

Homebrew day and this one has been begging me to open it. Pours a deep garnet color with a huge tightly bubbled beige head that takes forever to recede. Smells of dark fruit, cherries and plums come to mind, brown sugar, and spicy Belgian and wheat phenols round out the nose. There are hints of oak and a slight tartness somewhere in there as well. Taste is sweet up front with dark sugars and fruit, but that gives way to some spicy phenols and a hint of alcohol. Alcohol and a fruity tartness are apparent in the finish. Medium to full body, generous level of carbonation, creamy sticky mouthfeel. This is a nice brew, but I think it still needs some time for the flavors to harmonize. Can't wait to open another of these in 9 years :) (738 characters)

Photo of Janderson91
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to caroberts for sending me this one in a trade. One to drink now and one for 2018! Enjoyed on 03/05/11.

A - Pours darker than expected. Dark purple with some ruby red around the edges. Two finger cream colored head that leaves good lacing.

S - Aroma is quite unique. Belgian yeast, some dark fruits, candy sugar, an interesting sour woody character as well. Somewhat of a grape/bubblegum aroma as well. Very nice, kind of champagne-like.

T - The taste is also unlike any beer I've had. Very dark fruity and sweet malt with some Belgian yeast fruitiness. Waves of different flavors come toward the end. An oaky, vanilla flavor, followed by a tart cherry-like character. Leaves a fruity sugary sweetness on the tongue. An extremely complex beer.

M/D - Carbonation may be just a tad too high on this one. Highly drinkable, this stuff is delicious.

A very good beer from The Bruery once again. It's going to be hard to hold on to the other bottle for 8.5 more years.... (982 characters)

Photo of angelogarcia3
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (395 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
2.91/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into my Rodenbach Grand Cru glass... Dark brown look, but in the light there is tons of amber, so-so. A light tan head, ok retention and lacing... Damn it, I'm infected too. Right away lactic grape juice notes that just ain't right. Trying to finding something else in here but infected, unsuccessful... The taste is terrible, infected and skunked, leather, sour grapes, light oak. Total drain pour sadly. (425 characters)

Photo of nickthetick
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: held to the light it pours a very dark brown with some ruby sparkles and a finger of dirty white head.

S: ugh, I thought this was the first skunked beer I've ever had. Wet leather, earthy and... Well skunky.

T: this beer shines through here. Deep roasted malts, sweet caramel, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bitter pine like hops that balance out the sweet. There is a leathery note but its a good one unlike the nose.

MF: full body and effervescent, a tad astringent.

D: I would pick this up for the holidays but wouldn't actively search or trade for it. (564 characters)

Photo of emagana
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

open this one after hearing this might be infected.
Poured a dark brown in a tulip. retains a short lived white head.
aromas of oak, cherry, belgium candy, and sour rasberries.
stars off strong in alcohol and dark candy residual sugars. burn caramel also takes presidence. follows with tight carbonation and finishes with some sour under tones. not sure if this was because of the oak or other bugs.
overall this beer seems hot and doesnt hide the alcohol well yet. i hope the sourness does not take over the rest of the notes. in fact if it does i woudl suggest drinking this one with in a couple months.
it was an ok beer as i hope it changes over time. (658 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
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 (690 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with some lighter hints on the edges and a massive cream colored head.

S: Chardonnay-like scent from the aging process, sweet yeast smell and some spices and dark fruits as it warms.

T: Pretty complex flavors going on here. A lot of yeast flavor along with some spices that I couldn't pick out individually. Some fig and raisin as well along with some bready malts and a bit of oakiness. Looking forward to trying this down the road. (449 characters)

3 French Hens from The Bruery
86 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.