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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 Jeckel
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of fear025
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

 452 characters

Photo of RichBeer
3/5  rDev -21.5%

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 RedBrewer83
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip...

A: Pours a dark chocolate brown bordering on black, small one finger frothy tan head falls into a thin foam on top.

S: Smells like coke with hints of figs, raisins, hint of booze and mocha.

T: Follows the nose with added depth of flavor especially in the areas of fruit. The coke factor is wild but pretty tasty and that combined with the flavors of raisins and a hint of bready malt.

M: Smooth medium body with light carbonation and a smooth dry finish. Would never guess this has 10% sitting beneath the rich flavors...

D: Incredibly drinkable for the strength and style, very smooth and lots of depth. Curious to see what this will be like in a decade!

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Photo of Crazydaddyo
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

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 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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Photo of cooch69
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew poured a chestnut brown with some almond highlights. It had a tight 1-2 finger head atop. It was a gorgeous bright and semi clear beer.

Nose consisted of caramel, candied sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of an alcoholic zing. There was a lightness and delicatness to this beers nose that I found pretty intruiging. Loaded with nuances yet not too strong.

The first sip brought forth dark candied sugar, slightly sour apples, raisins and a caramel maltiness. The beer was already around 45 or 50 degrees when I sampled it but there was a bit of vanilla hanging out in the back waiting to be discovered. It was very subtle and warming. Bitterness was kept to a minumum. Only a decent amount came through in the end and lingered for a while.

This beer is a great catch. Lighter side of full bodied this brew makes the holidays much more cozier and warmer. Now I got to get the fireplace roaren.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750mL Bomber poured into a snifter. No freshness date, but I know this was bottled in 11/2010.

Was happy to find a lot of this at Lukas Liquors, and snagged an appropriate 3 bottles of the 3rd installment of the 12 years of Christmas.

L: Deep nut brown, like a cross between autumn maple and rochefort 8. Tiniest bit of wispy yet thick head. Looks a touch under-carbonated, but still good. Touch of sediment in the glass (my pour could be off here).

S: Delightfully sweet and deep in its spices. Yeast adds that trademark bruery funk, resolves in the middle to a bold boozy fatness and fades into a lingering sweetness.

T: Sweet up front, wonderfully rich in spice and booze. Middle is a roasted rich booziness fading into a lingering funkiness.

F: A might under-carbonated, but smooth.

D: Damn good beer here. Wonder how it will hold up to 9 years in the cellar.

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Photo of bombadil
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Krakistophales
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours burgundy with a bit of off white head that disappears quickly

S: Lots of tart fruit. Cherries, grapes, and some spice like clove and other strong spices. Also some berries, like currants, but overall has a briny sort of smell, too.

T: Again, lots of tart fruit at first, followed by a slight shift into some malty sweetness, though very little and pretty hard to describe what kind, which then finishes with a puckering, sour sort of finish and a touch of sherry booziness.

O: I don't like tart belgian strong darks. I'm looking for creamy sweetness with berry, dark fruit and other elements in there, not a sour puckers ale. Still, it's not bad, it's just not good either.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer with zoso1967 (the supplier of the bottle), TCGoalie, BuckyFresh, and another good friend on 12-11-10. Happy marriage, Zach!

3 French Hens makes its way from the bottle to my oversized wine glass with a ruby-mahogany color. A tan one-finger head recedes a little, but retains quite well. Tiny carbonation bubbles are quite dense and jog up through the beer. The lacing on the glass is sticky, splotchy, and dotty.

The smell reveals a lovely, spicy Belgian yeast scent that blends harmoniously with candied fruits, a very fresh pear aroma, and a whiff of Granny Smith apples. The French oak that the beer was aged in lends a Chardonnay-like quality to the bouquet. I also smell some Christmas-sy spices of clove and coriander. I find this aroma very yummy.

The flavor is a little sweeter than I expected. Christmas candies, pear, crisp apple, and a smooth vanilla characteristic from the oak complement each other well. The smell had a dry scent; conversely, the taste has a very impactful sweet middle of the sip. The finish dries out that sweetness with a tannic oak influence, though. The spicy Belgian yeast is ever-present throughout the sip.

The mouthfeel is fairly light-bodied with a spicy nip from the yeast and a dry finish from the oak. The carbonation adds a refreshing and effervescent influence to the end of the sip.

3 French Hens is a nice, rare treat that agreed with the whole of our tasting party. I would certainly have it as a time to time treat, but it would not be a beer that I would imbibe regularly due to the sweetness.

 1,572 characters

Photo of MrFootstones
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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 bsling
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mcgwire756
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Faina
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

Photo of Verecund
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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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....

 982 characters

Photo of BigV
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of boomer31
3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had 2 Turtle Doves not too long ago and enjoyed it. Looking forward to this.

A - Pours a deep brown with a light tan head that looks almost like soap. Holding the beer up to the light you see red come thru

S - Sweet caramel and candi sugar

T - Sweet malts and candi sugar with a touch of oak drying it out in the back. Notes of dark fruits as well. Though the sweetness lingers the spice lingers even longer. There is an odd spice in this beer that keeps it from being overly enjoyable.

M - Very sweet, high carb and sticky

D - Too sweet to be easily drinkable.

Overall a bit disappointing. Way too sweet for me. Perhaps more oak would balance this out.

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Photo of crashoveride
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of clegolfski
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

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%.

 582 characters

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