3 French Hens | The Bruery

very good
401 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 401 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of Pencible
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy chestnut with a good amount of tan head.
S: It smelled like strong Belgian yeast and metallic hops, with some dry earthy cocoa powder and toffee, and a bit of prune.
T: It tasted like sweet raisin and prune and candi sugar, with sour Belgian yeast and a little caramel and oak and copper. It had a mellow and mostly sweet aftertaste.
M: It was thin with lots of natural carbonation. A bit weak.
D: This beer tasted great, but the scent and body weren't great. The alcohol was well hidden, so it was easy to drink. It would probably improve with age, but it was enjoyable fresh. I just wish the oak character showed through more.

 650 characters

Photo of atsprings
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a tulip glass a deep ruby red with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is sweet fruits, berries, dark malts and mild alcohol. The taste is slight tart berries in front of dark malts and mild spice. The beer is a bit on the heavy side, but a smooth sipper. This is certainly a beer worth trying, I wish I had bought a bottle to age.

 360 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Somewhat ruddy mahogany brown color. Poured a 1 finger tan head that dissipated slowly to skim around the edge. Thin lace sheeted the glass.

S: Sweet, dark fruit; fig and raisin. Slightly burnt caramel, Belgian yeast and spice. Very complex and interesting.

T: Very consistent with the nose. Very subdued; almost a little flat. Finish is dry and earam.

M: Medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Sweet and smooth to a dry, warm finish.

D: Flavorful; nose better than the taste. ABV makes this on s sipper.

 514 characters

Photo of Murchmac
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So far two turtle doves was the only one of the days i've liked so far.

This one looks fine, dark brown and red, with some carbonation and a white head.

Smells of some dark fruits, raisins mostly, some spice. not much

Too hot, too much raisin taste, not any balance. Not enjoyable.

Wouldnt drink a whole lot of this beer, hope it improves with age.

 355 characters

Photo of claspada
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of dark malts, spicy Belgian yeast, bubblegum, chocolate, oak and cherries, prunes and raisins.
The taste follows the nose but with a much sweeter finish. Lots of brown sugar and Belgian yeast banana and bubblegum. Some darker fruit and malts. Has a lot of German Dunkel characteristics to be honest. Not getting much oak qualities; not totally sure if a Belgian ale/yeast can handle the oak barrel in my opinion.
This was an enjoyable beer to drink, I thought this would be a good beer but nothing special and in that regard it really surprised me; definitely not worth the inflated price tag if you ask me. It had a nice drinkability as it enters the mouth soft, fills it with flavor and goes down leaving a touch of dryness at the end to prevent the sweetness from being to high. It would be interesting to see what the aging will do to this one.

 858 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
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

 339 characters

Photo of Avagadro
4.26/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: served in The Bruery's own snifter, 3FH is deep mahogany, bordering black, with a creamy head that fades to a film.

S: bouquet is quite shy, with only the faintest wisps of fig noticeable.

T: this brew is an onslaught of fruit; deep fig, apricot, and dried cherries meld with a balsamic sweetness. This is certainly a well made brew.

M: round mouthfeel, but a touch thin.

D: another great beer from the bruery!

 417 characters

Photo of chumba526
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

 897 characters

Photo of perrymarcus
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

 530 characters

Photo of beerhan
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter with relatively no head with a very slushy brown color. Smells like toffee, cocoa, caramel, licorice and a little coffee as well. Tastes very licoricey and toffeeish at the same time with little else. There is also something sour to it which is a little odd as well as a rather floral aftertaste. The aftertaste is much better than what you taste at first. The carbonation appears subtle but is a bit over the top and this is not the most drinkable beer however it was quite appropriate for Christmas night if not just for novelty's sake. I do have hope for this beer tasting better in the future just because it is suppose to age.

 653 characters

Photo of xnicknj
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into snifter glass and shared with tasting group

Pours a copper with light orange hues, a lighter head fades to cloudy film and some spotty lacing.

The nose is an assortment of dark fruits with dates and a slight yeasty spice.

Nice progression of dark fruit and roasted malt from the get-go. Sweetness is mellow but well done. Interesting hoppiness towards the end with some boozyness throughout. Some pine stickiness during the finish.

Fuller medium body, carbonation is a little too high and very sticky feel. Drinks nice, but this is definitely a good one to share. The hop bitterness was somewhat unsettling and seemed to throw off the flavors, but this could be really tasty with some age on it.

 726 characters

Photo of JLeege
3.17/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a large snifter. Merry Christmas to me!

Appearance- Pours a very deep amber almost brown color with a 2 finger just off white head. When held to the light it is almost ruby red, crystal clear, with lots of active carbonation streams. Decent head retention, though no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell- Purple grapes right up front, a bit tart in the aroma. Under there is some dark malts, getting a hint of chocolate. Some belgian yeast and a bit earthy as well. No alcohol is noticed on the nose, a welcoming sign.

Taste- Pretty good, but there is almost two completely different things going on here. The "25% ale aged in french oak barrels" is noticed right on front of the pallate. Sweet and vinous and a tad oaky. Then after the swallow the "75% dark ale" shows up. Chocolate and bready notes, and some very subtle belgian yeasty notes. The flavors are all there, but they really don't seem to be coming together all that great. With some age I feel this beer would get much better (which is intended by the brewer). Big boozy warming on the finish, which seems to be masking some of the flavors, still "hot".

Mouthfeel- High carbonation and a tad syrupy. The 10.00% is warming the cheecks.

Overall- Glad I tried this now, have another bottle to age. With some time on it, I feel this beer will really start to come into its own and be much, much better. I think a rereview is in order a couple of years down the road, or atleast look at this one and note some hopefull improvements.

 1,509 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmmmm... Finally cracking this open.
Pours a dark, plum/cherry color. Rather lifeless-- not a lot of head or retention.
After a while, it looks like a glass of bourbon.

Smell is interesting. A Belgian dark ale is clear-- some sweetness, malts, unrefined sugar, spicy yeast notes.... Then an odd soft grape note--- white grapes. Tart, acidic, white grapes. Like chardonay.
The booziness is not going away. Great big alcohol note on the finish.

Feel is undercarbonated-- almost still-- and medium bodied oily beer.

Overall-- I'll be interested in trying this in a few years-- perhaps 9 years? It isn't bad... But to brew a beer to be drinkable now, as well as 10 years for now, is a challenge... They may have banked on reputation to carry them until this one matures.

 770 characters

Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Merry Christmas Review!!!

A: A hazy dark chestnut. Nice tan head on top.

S: Malty, a touch of raisons and strawberries. A touch of yeast in the smell as well.

T: There is a nice malt flavor, with raisons and strawberries. A touch of oak, and just a bit of roasty.

M: Medium body, high carbonation, and just a bit of a sting form the booze.

D: Good, but not great. For the price there are better brews for the style.

 421 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown with an inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent. The aroma is fruity and sweet, the brew smells like dark fruit, yeast, candy sugar, bready malt and some brown sugar. It tastes like dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel, tart cherries, dark bread, yeast, and some oak. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is OK, it's smooth and the ABV isn't very noticable when drinking it, although it does hit you later. Not a bad overall brew.

 559 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Distillery in Savannah, GA

A - Very dark brown with slight red highlights and a thin ring of white head.
S - Dark malts, spicy Belgian yeast, bubblegum, chocolate, oak and raisins.
T - More dark malt, bubblegum, dark berries and chocolate. Very nice, reminds me more of a big dunkelweizen. The oak is lovely and adds a nice vinous quality to the beer.
M - Slick with a medium body and sharp carbonation.
D - Decent drinkablity, the ABV will hit you hard, though. Looking forward to seeing how this will age.

 523 characters

Photo of bernie879
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Duvel tulip, hugh bubbly tan head covered the black ale. Retention feel to about .5cm after a couple of minutes leaving plenty of lacing.

Oak and raisons jump out right away with wheaty bread and yeast following not far behind. Chocolate cherry aspects came out with warming playing nicely with the oak. While there wasn;t a strong hop presence, they may have added some of the earthiness and minor floral touches.

On the palate, the breadiness took a greater role, almost reminding me of their black orchard beer though much more pleasant and softer in the mouth. Brown sugar seems to have also seems to have replaced the raison which were noted on the nose. The choco-cerry came out in the flavors as well.

This was an enjoyable beer to drink, I thought this would be a good beer but nothing special and in that regard it really suprised me. It had a nice drinkability as it enters the mouth soft, fills it with flavor and goes down leaving a touch of dryness at the end to prevent the sweetness from being to high. It would be interesting to see what the aging wold do to this one.

 1,102 characters

Photo of boomer31
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

 660 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this from Secret Santa. Thanks Santa! Poured into a tulip. Nice dark brown kind of prune color. An off white head sits atop the body nicely.

I get a nice aroma of prunes, and raisins, indicating nice malty sweetness. I also get a hint of tart cherry yeasty aroma too.

The taste is a nice, fruity assortment of plums and raisins. There is a touch of heat from this one as well. The finish is nice and sweet, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.

This is relatively light for the style, and the carbonation is relatively aggressive for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale; neither of which are deal breakers. Really enjoy what I've had from the Bruery.

 646 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Andy and I got this in our Secret Santa box. Thanks Santa! Poured into a tulip. The beer pours dark hazy chestnut brown with about a finger of off white head that reduces to a thin layer of foam with soapy lace. The smell is fruity right up front. Dark fruits like raisins and dates but rounded out with a tart oaky cherry aroma. The taste is kind of sweet. Loses any trace of tart from the aroma but finishes with a caramel sweetness. Has a really earthy musty finish to it. The mouthfeel is decent. Good carbonation and full body. Kind of an aggressive drink to. At ten percent this one isn't the easiest to go down but the flavors are on point.

 647 characters

Photo of cooch69
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 901 characters

Photo of drcarver
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

 569 characters

Photo of younger35
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this brew from both Gibby and Murchman, thanks guys! The first two in the series weren't bad and I'm hoping this is tasty stuff. Drank from my Surly Surlyfest stein.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish ruby with a terrific one finger creamy off-white head. A really nice cap and collar is maintained the entire beer but nothing in the way of lacing.
Smell- Not the most intense smelling beer ever. Sort of has a mixed nose that's somewhat Belgium, somewhat a English Mild. Dark fruits consisting of plums, raisins and prunes are probably the most dominate along with a light yeasty note. A bit of toasted grain and light Belgium candy sugar give a slightly sweet smell. It opens a bit as it warms but it's still fairly subtle.
Taste- Like the nose, it's just not overly potent. Starts lightly sweet with a bit of a tannic twang. Brown sugar gives way to a bit of a toasty note and some dark coffee like malts. Some dark fruits make their way in with notes of raisins and prunes. The Belgium yeasts are probably the most dominate taste and a bit of warming comes into play toward the finish. The beer finishes with a bit of lingering sweetness and a touch of toasted grain.
Mouthfeel- Surprisingly aggressive carbonation as the beer really tickles the mouth. Medium body with a touch of warming.
Drinkability- Overall not a bad beer but it's just sort of blah. The flavors just aren't there at this point but maybe in 9 years for the vertical, they will be. It's a bit warm too but considering its 10% I probably shouldn't complain. I look forward to seeing what becomes of this one for the vertical. Thanks much Jeff and Tim!

 1,633 characters

Photo of aasher
3.42/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had to try this since I've watched PiaPT and 2TD pass by. This pours a medium bodied raisin in color with little to no head. The smell is of very strong bananas and cloves and has a brown sugar sweetness to it. It actually smells like a Dunkel. The taste is of brown sugar with a yeasty, banana like after taste. It's very sweet. This is alot more carbonated than I expected. It has a bite to it. The alcohol is well hidden but this beer, at this stage at least, doesn't drink very smoothly. It was just ok.

 509 characters

Photo of ElGordo
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Body is a deep brown with garnet highlights,. Aroma of French oak and dark fruit on top of a solid malty backbone. A nice, fruity character comes through at the front of the mouth, with a mild sour character from the yeast. Interesting notes of wood, light brown sugar, and a very light astringency. It will be interesting to see how this beer ages (it is supposedly good until 2012); right now it seems like it could use a little more time for the yeast to work its magic.

 473 characters

3 French Hens from The Bruery
3.83 out of 5 based on 401 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.