3 French Hens | The Bruery

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3 French Hens3 French Hens
Very Good
402 Ratings
3 French Hens3 French Hens

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by claspada on 10-08-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 402 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of JoshBeerNow
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of Clifton
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of MeisterSmudge
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of photomike
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of smarcoly
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of Jbrett13
4.7/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The color was hazy dark brown and light brown colored foam. Smell of brown sugar, notes of toasted nuts, oak, balanced sweetness along with great spices that you would expect from a Christmas beer.

Had this at Max's Tap House in Baltimore.

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Photo of SteveGNC
4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark black ruby with one finger of head that dissipates quickly. Lovely aroma of malt and spice. I taste black cherry, spice, and malt. Slightly sweet but not overly so. Alcohol is well hidden and warms you gradually. Overall an outstanding beer and one that would cellar well I am sure. Would be hard to keep from drinking though. I think I will have to buy a few more while I still can. If you see this one - grab it - you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mustache pint glass. No freshness date but I assume it was brewed somewhere around December 2010.

A- Pours a murky dark brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass with heavy surface foam. Average lacing.

S- Some wild, fruity notes and spice but not as much malt as expected for such a dark beer. However, the malt that is detected is biscuity and toffee-like. Also a mild hop aroma.

T- Initial flavor of strong Belgian yeast and alcohol. Midway things become multidimensional and the spice, along with the oak, tip the scales to a more broad spectrum of taste. Notes of cinnamon and clove plus raisin, caramel, and black cherry. The intense cornucopia of flavors mellow out as the palate acclimates and the stomach and face warms. Pumpernickel aftertaste.

M- Tingly from the spice and alcohol, as well as somewhat syrupy. Medium carbonation and a husky body.

O- Pretty close to perfect. Definitely better than 4 Calling Birds but who knows? Maybe, after a year of aging, it'll be just as good as this.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bmur112
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of patm1986
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of psoriasaurus
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of Captainren
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of jvillefan
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of BigV
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.49/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.47/5  rDev +17%
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%.

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Photo of robbrandes
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

reviewed from notes
poured from the 750ml into a highball glass (shoot me now...)

pours a dark, slightly brown. i swear i see some purple hints wafting through the mix too. initial big head, but quickly fades to not much. dark fruit, belgian yeast, some malt and a bit o' spice on the nose and palate. this beer continued to open up a ton for a good half hour after opening. nice full mouthfeel, perfectly carbed and begging for repeated drinks.

i went into this bottle not knowing what to expect and was blown away. very nicely done belgian dark. glad i've got a couple more kicking in the cellar.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.44/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on 12/11/10 at a pre-wedding tasting party for fellow BA TCGoalie.

Pours a ruby/cherry brown color with a light tan head. The head has pretty decent retention and leaves some splashy lace on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is extremely fruity with tons of cherry and pear. The yeast also plays a big role with a nice peppery clove quality to it that plays off the fruit without being overbearing. Brown sugar and caramel round out the aroma, as well as some wine like notes.

The flavor strikes me as less fruity, but still has plenty of cherry, pear and a candied fruit/fruitcake sort of vibe to it. Brown sugar and caramel mix with spicy Belgian yeast and some earthy oak character. I also pick up just a little bit of musty funk that makes a nice addition. This is a pretty darn tasty beer and masks it's strength well.

The mouthfeel is medium and super smooth. The carbonation is light, but not dead, and I like how it lends to the smooth character. The finish is a bit on the sticky side, but it is not too offending.

I found this beer to be very drinkable as well as pretty unique. It strikes me as being a great Christmas beer, and I bet it would be great with Christmas dinner, or just to sip in front of the fire.

 1,236 characters

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Bruery tulip glass. I drank this about 2 months ago and am just catching up on uploading all of my reviews.

A - Pours a murky brown with a slight tint of red with a light brown head and moderate lacing. About 1 finger head with good retention.

S - A beautifully complex blend of aromas. Nice brown sugar, malty, and faint tart, fruity hint. It ends nicely with a holiday-like spice such as clove and nutmeg. .

T - Taste starts out like a dark Belgian ale with a bit of leather. I think I taste a hint of toffee before the dark fruit flavors come in. There is definitely that Belgian yeast flavor that The Bruery prides itself on. Extremely complex and yet, familiar to their Anniversary recipe.

M - Body is light to moderate. A small amount of carbonation upfront that mellows after 10-15 minutes. Surprisingly dry finish.

D - This is a very complex beer and should mellow with age. Alcohol is well hidden. I definitely want to hold onto some of these bottles for a vertical in about 8 years. I slightly remember the barrel-aged version as being even more robust and desirable than the regular version.

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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.

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

My first experience with this elixir occurred during a lunchtime visit to Pizzeria Paradisio (See My Review). Served in a snifter, the Three French Hens boasts a dark russet body, impervious to all light, crowned with beige razor thin foam. There seemed to be little carbonation within; the lacing was slippery without seeming to cling to the glass at all.

The nose and palate discerned a myriad of fruity esters with the primary ones evoking plum, maple and blueberry; all of it ending in a subtle maltiness. To experience this at its best, I would recommend quaffing it at the proper temperature by allowing it to sit for about 15 minutes.

The Three French Hens makes for an extraordinary, if complex, quaff. Unfortunately it has been retired.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Three French Hens

Thanks to Sowa for this one.

A: This beer has a deep mahogany tone a bit dimmer than arrogant bastard as light has difficulty passing through the rich wood appearance, nice lacing from the bottle even with a moderate pour. Nice lacing that coats the edges with moderate spider webbing.
S: Huge toffee and caramel nose with notes of almond, turbinado sugar, orange peel, and brown sugars.

T: The fruits on this beer kick in first with great coriander zest, the orange body is there, plums, some sweet figs. Feels like a seasonal beer but more refined. Like a J Crew tacky sweater that knows it is well tailored. The roasted notes come on last and almost come off as a hoppy finish, capped off wish the slightest hint of alcohol waft. It’s like a 12 piece jazz band and there’s one guy syncopating rhythms but you don’t really care because its just cacophonous deliciousness.

M: Perfect balance in between enough to cover the alcohol but not so much to make it bready or overly sticky. Too much malt and the sweet nuances would be lost. A careful balancing act this doesn’t disappoint. The swallow has this clean finish despite the weight of the beer with a mild heat.

D: This is a great beer with many complex aspects to it. You will find yourself wanting to try it again and again, however, it is not a beer you want a lot of at one time. It is akin to a Mars Volta album where you are blown away, but a solid 60 minutes of it and you want to move on. That being said, 22 oz is a great slice to do a variety of things with this as your companion, play marvel vs. capcom, discuss keynsian economics, hit up planned parenthood: the world is your oyster.

Narrative: Sure, people frequented the Christmas warehouse off the 86 for a solid 5 weeks out of the year. And what a glorious 5 weeks it was for that building, the happy people buying combustable, non-compostable items from China, sharing in their festivities. The building held this proud glow even until mid January when it was gutted and whored on the short lease market. It might change a bit over time, fireworks outlet, Costume Extravaganza; it’s potential was limitless. What made this building so appealing was its austere nature, the way that the wind naturally cleared the foyer for the guests. That calming aura of halogen lights pulsing at just a rapid enough pace to feel like dulcet tones. This versatile building would endure. The fight club in the basement, it did not approve of. Not at all.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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3 French Hens from The Bruery
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 402 ratings