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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 drcarver
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extremely nice beer

A - Deep brown clear body with an off-white head that is light and fluffy. Lacing that lasts down the glass.

S - With a 3 to 1 ratio of dark belgian to oak aged the belgian wins and it should be expected. Beglian yeast with dark fruit notes. Alcohol is absent... which is scary.

T/M - Full bodied with full flavor yet a velvet like feel going down. Alcohol is in the back of the throat which slows you down. Oak is not very present. More of a vanila with the classic dark fruit flavors to be expected for a dark belgiam.

D - goes down nicely.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this one in the cellar for 5 years, and figured it was about time to break it out, since I gave up on my dream to find 2 Turtle Doves and a PIAPT, and am knocking the remainder out.

Very fruity overall between the aromas and the flavor. Nothing heavy about this beer.. quite "thin" in fact for the 10% ABV. The look is spot on - deep brown/burgundy, with short head and foamy lacing. Fruits include plums, raisins, and strawberries... in that order. Slightly oaky, and just a light spice. Wonderful Christmas beer flavors. It held up pretty darn well, but I'll bet it was a notch above this last year at this time.

If you have one, and don't plan on keeping it in a full vertical 'til the "12th day" in the series, then go ahead and take it down now. Waiting a couple more years may hurt this, unless it's been perfectly stored in 40 degree darkness.

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Photo of Janderson91
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
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....

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Cosendonk tulip glass.

Pours a hazy, deep ruby color with lots of billowy, light tan, creamy head. No lace, but lots of legs.

Aromas of oak aging, yeast, alcohol, and dark fruits.

First sip is of dark, bitter cherry skins and cherry pits, some oak tannins, and a nice alcohol burn. Flavors of dark fruits, raisins mainly, come through, combined with the oak giving it a winey presence. A touch of sourness.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy. Some lingering bitterness from the oak tannins and dark grains. No hop bitterness noticeable. Very long finish that seems to go on forever betweens sips.

Very drinkable, or I should say, sippable beer. This is going to take a while to finish off this bottle. This is one that I would let cellar for a year or two before digging into. This has some potential to greatly improve.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

zozo1967 was kind enough to share this at our special 12/11/10 tasting with TCHopCraver and BuckyFresh.

Pours a clear brown with hues of gold and red. A lovely eggshell colored foam head with nice splotchy bubbly lacing.

Belgian yeasts greet my nose with apple and pear notes. There is also an oaky red wine scent.

The taste is very smooth with oak and yeast notes throughout. Mellow fruits, red wine, and grape also exist with a slightly sour drying aftertaste.

Medium light in the mouth also exhibiting smoothness. Slightly dry in the end.

This is very drinkable, especially for 10%. Wow. This could cause issues if you didn't know it was such a high ABV.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

pours a dark mahogany tone with a creamy finger-plus tan head. nice retention; slowly fades to a lasting cap. superb walls of lacing. high score for presentation - great looking BSDA.

really nice aroma as well: notes of fig, raisin, caramel malt, belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. definitely intrigues. flavor follows the nose with some brown sugar and a hint of oak, maybe cinnamon. very enjoyable, though it doesn't blow you away. medium-bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

originally reviewed: 12-27-2010

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- When I popped this bottle you could tell it was excited to join the glass. Lots of initial carbonation, I'm guessing due to an infection. Nice dark red brown color.

S- Oh yeah this has something in it the brewers probably didn't intend on having. I'm picking up a lacto sour bacteria. Dark fruits, cherries, figs, pineapple.

T- This tastes infected for sure, nice sour hit with good BSDA type flavors. This actually makes for a nice subtle sour beer. I'm glad I have another one somewhere in my beer collection.

M- Good feel, but the sourness leads a bit of a slight dryness at first, but after a while it goes away.

O- I know the infection isn't what was intended, but the beer is tasty.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

pours a dark mahogany tone with a creamy finger-plus tan head. nice retention; slowly fades to a lasting cap. superb walls of lacing. high score for presentation - great looking BSDA.

really nice aroma as well: notes of fig, raisin, caramel malt, belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. definitely intrigues.

flavor follows the nose with some brown sugar and a hint of oak, maybe cinnamon. very enjoyable, though it doesn't blow you away.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark burgandy body. Clear and glowing. Thin beige head with a little retentiveness. Lacing is quite full. Very nice aroma of anise oil, black licorice, leather, black cherries and light rum. Overall flavor impression is sweet. Dark fruit juice and sweet tobacco juice. Squeezed raisin and dates to boot. Leather impressions and rummy alcohol presence. Light bodied and pretty clean and drinkable, yet still a sipper, as it should be. Overall, a high quality beer though not as balanced as the best of the best in this style.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-poured as an amber but filled my oversized snifter as a ruby purple with a thin yeasty head which was gone almost immediately after forming (I find that this is what typically happens with most BA beers, but that's just what I've noticed, don't know if there is any validity to that though?). Lacing is pretty slick sliding on the glass and sparse to ever appear.

S-very festive. medley of dark and tropical fruit with vanilla peppery clove-ish spicing. the vanilla oak is very present and really adds a nice element to the beer. reminds me of Adoration Ale but sweeter.

T-not your typical BSDA. very good though. wine-like grape flavor with figs and plums. the alcohol is pretty present...sort of...it must be the barrels (which I can't pick out in the taste, but would make sense) but the alcohol has a different kind of quality to it that is a bit wine-like. kind of tastes like a cross between a BDSA and a white wine. different, but I kind of wish I could taste the beer without the artifact. the hints of normal BSDA flavors are really nice and I feel like this wine-like alcohol flavor/feel detracts a bit from it.

M/D-the first thing I noticed about this beer when I took my first sip was the drinkability. this is possibly the smoothest easiest drinking beer I've ever had. it sits in my mouth like a glass of juice and goes down like a glass of water. what the wine-like thing does to the taste, it does the opposite to the feel and drinkability (and smell). glad i tried it and looking forward to trying it with some time on it. aftertaste is like a sweet wine. leaves a bit of a tingle in my mouth.

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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.

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

Pours dark brown/almost black with a slight head that dissipates to a ring of fat bubbles.

Nose has malt, sour cherry, vanilla, oak, toffee, sugar, and spices.

Taste is malty and a bit sour, chocolate, holiday spices. Sweet finish. This is so much better as it warms up with the vanilla and oakiness coming through.

Body is light and carbonation is light, giving this a spritzy mouthfeel.

A nice holiday ale, although not exceptional.

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Photo of beergod1
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Mahogany with a thin tan head. A wonderful smell filled with candied sugar, dark fruits, spices, and oak. The oak really hits your mouth initially with some smooth vanilla, and a light sourness. More dark fruit - raisins, figs, dates and red grapes linger long after the sip. A touch of citrus / spice falls to the back of the mouth. Light bitter finish with sweet (almost syrupy) malts, molasses and caramel. A bit of warmth on the end.

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

Very clean and clear looking, deep bronze color. Decent carbonation but not much head. Nice aroma of dried fruits, caramel, bready and yeasty. Huge spicy malt flavors. Sulfury/earthy. Caramel like sweetness with a bevy of dried fruits. Orange/cloves/cinnamon...Viscuos mouthfeel. Came out of the gate very boozy and sweet but having now nursed this for close to an hour it has turned into quite the nice, very sippable beer. I have gone from not impressed to quite enjoying it.

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Photo of mexikrainian
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of Chadpaq
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of chumba526
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears full-bodied brown with a small off-white looking head.

It smells, of cherries, plumbs, raisons, brown sugar, and bready malts. There is a bold peppery clove like yeast quality to this beer as well.

It tastes initially slightly fruity. I get notes of cherries, pears, plumbs and various dry dark fruit. There is a nice subdued sweet brown sugar to the beer. The yeast in this beer adds a nice subdued peppery flavor to this beer. There is a nice earthy quality to this beer and dry bread like malt taste. There are a lot of flavors to this beer but all of them blend perfectly with each other. The finish of this beer is semi-dry due to the yeasty and earthy flavor of this beer.

The carbonation is moderate low and complements the taste of the beer.

The drinkability of this is pretty good because the beer has a nice balance to it.

Overall a very good ale, that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice ruddy reddish brown. Small tan head.

S: Nice sweet fruit, toffee, chocolate, and spice. Subtle oaky notes as well.

T: Really like this one. Sweet malty goodness. Dark fruits, with nice subtle oak. Hints of vanilla, and a dash of xmas spice goodness.

M: Rather full in body, rich, smooth, good.

D: great my favorite of the series one of the best Bruery beers to date.

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

750ml capped bottle into a snifter

A: Pours dark brown with a beige head that fades to a small layer and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is very good with lots of sweet malt and belgian yeast esters with a nice oak and wine aroma in the background.

T: Flavors of vanilla, bready malt, toffee, and grape/wine are on the forefront with that belgian flavor on the finish. Very tasty.

M: The feel is medium bodied and nice and creamy.

D: The wine barrel aging in this one really adds a nice touch. I'm glad I have another one to age because I plan on having this again.

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

A: Poured a deep maroon color with good carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Candy sugar, dark fruits, spice

T: Has elements of warming booze, caramelized sugar, candy, dark fruits(yams, raisins, figs) some maple. I felt a big presence of grapes in this as well

M: Nice, warm, medium body, booze sting

D: Pretty tasty and good overall

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Photo of slayer3604
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

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Photo of RickS95
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rich, dark brown fudge color. On top is an off-tan head, about a finger and a half thick. When the head dissipates, it leaves a creamy ring of bubbles around the edge.

Smells Belgian, with a funky yeast and ripe dark fruits (and some apple). There's a note of alcohol, almost a port-like scent. As the beer warms, a hint of anise develops.

Taste matches the smell. Dark fruits--grapes, apple, raisin, figs--dominate with the slightest mention of oak. Alcohol is only slightly present.

Very creamy mouthfeel. A bit like wine, particularly the adity, but a bit sweeter and more 'beer like' thanks to malt backbone and a bit of hoppy bitterness to balance.

Overall, this is a really good beer. It's a tad sweet and wine like, or I'd have given it a 4.5. I'm glad I tried this.

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Photo of smithdc33
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into St Bernardus tulip glass and resulted in a nice off-white head that fades pretty quickly. Tasted this beer immediately after having a St. Bernardus Christmas; similar styles; very different beers.

A nice dark red-brown color with minimal lacing. A roasty smell with an array of spices, and definitely some caramel. The flavor is bold at first with an initial hit of alcohol, followed by cocoa and cherry flavors with a touch of oak on the finish. Smooth carbonation that supports the complex flavors in this beer rather than overpowering them. This is a very smooth, drinkable beer, which is impressive for how powerful it is.

I'm a big fan of Bruery beers, and 3 French Hens does not disappoint! Time to go out and stock up.

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Photo of kels
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer looks great! It pours a warm golden-brown with some ruby highlights throughout. It is slightly translucent with visible viscosity. The initial head is an impressive 2 fingers of off-white fluffiness. It fades fairly quickly but not without leaving good creamy swirls atop the beer and nice spots of spitty lace along the glass walls.

Aroma is rich and spicy with notes of cinnamon, sweet and fruity yeast, and caramel malts. It is bright and clear, and it keeps any trace of the alcohol to a minimum.

The taste and feel come together to create a great balance between flavor and lightness. Great flavors of cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, ginger, caramelized grains, brown sugar, and prunes come through nicely and fade into a hint of sweet pears in the aftertaste. The feel is moderately viscous, and the finish is bubbly with light alcohol vapors left in the mouth. There's a hint of chocolate malt taste in the finish.

Very highly drinkable. The 10% abv is so well hidden, I had to look again to make sure the notation was correct. Really nice beer. Wonder what it would be like aged.

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Photo of jminsc76
4.24/5  rDev +11%
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.

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