John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale - Cold Spring Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
John Henry 3 Lick Spiker AleJohn Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

169 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 169
Hads: 404
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 16
Gots: 33 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Cold Spring Brewing Co. visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-02-2009

Three Lick Spiker Ale is brewed with three different roasted malts creating chocolate flavors and full body taste. After fermentation has been completed with our top fermenting ale yeast we infuse our brew with bourbon oak aged chips and let the extended aging process take over. Hints of bourbon and vanilla from the oak come through the aroma and flavor.
View: Beers (9) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 169 | Hads: 404
Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours an extremely dark cola color. It *almost* looks like a stout, but not quite. The head is about a fingers worth of mocha shaded head, with some nice creaminess. Retention isn't fantastic, though some decent (if thin looking) lacing is left behind.

S: Sweet and bourbon-y. The sweet (most noticeably vanilla) and the bourbon-y notes upon opening it up are quite pleasant, later being supplanted by caramel, toffee, and cherries. Aromatically, it's a bit too mild, but has decent (if not stunning) depth.

T: At first, it starts with a barrage of vanilla sweetness. It introduces the same problem I had with Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout, its flavor is overly reminiscent of cola, Dr. Pepper in this case. The bourbon character is there (if rudimentary), but there's no oak character, either. After the vanilla sweetness opens the palate, it shifts somewhat abruptly to a roasted nut character and afterwards, into a clean yet dry toffee laden finish. Actually, the finish has a strange bitter element to it; it's also a touch leathery as well. Thankfully it's not boozy in the least. Good complexity - in an unrefined, messy way that is. Having said that, there's just something very, very likeable about this brew. Warts and all, I'm genuinely enjoying this a lot.

M: The feel is airy, decently carbonated, and somewhat light. A thicker, creamier feel would help suit the sweetness better. Then again, with the light feel, dry finish, and lack of alcohol, it's surprisingly drinkable. It's lack of a decadent feel is its biggest problem.

O: Flawed yet endearing. That's my takeaway from this. It's hardly perfect, and honestly, that's why I enjoy it so much. This is one of those few beers that take you on a wild ride - some of the stops on the journey aren't the greatest, but the end result is something that leaves you craving for more. I could do another bottle of this, honestly. (1,937 characters)

Photo of Suds
3.76/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a 750ml wine-bottle shaped container, the beer pours an intense dark brown...with hints of ruby when held to the light....tan foam tops the beer. The smell is malt and alcohol...some caramel and slightly bunt toffee. The taste is sugary...sweet and boozy. Firm bitterness in the finish. The beer is very full in body, and a little sweet at times. (351 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

So crazy a bourbon oak chip aged beer would be a twist off. I press on.

A - A very dark brown black so deep must be the darkest strong ale I ever seen. Head is a 1/4 inch that settles to just a lace ring.
S - Not very much bourbon in the smell but it's not barrel aged just chips so its not going to be heavy. Mild sweet malts, some caramel malt, and a mild twang of oak in the smell.
T - Ah yes the taste does in fact have some bourbon in the taste. Then some chocolate sweetness followed by your typical caramel and toffee taste you expect in a strong ale with no oak though.
M - Medium bodied, silky smooth, easy drinking.

Overall far from the best bourbon ale but quite a steal at just $2.69 a bottle. Taste is smooth! (724 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 FL. OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

I'll just call this beer black. It poured with virtually no head. The few bubbles that briefly appeared were mocha colored.

I smelled some bourbon when I poured it. I nose into it it and get some chocolate and vanilla to go with a mild bourbon scent.

I taste the bourbon and vanilla up front and get some chocolate and roasted malt in the aftertaste.

It is very smooth with very little carbonation. It had a screw top, and I have had it for over a year. Maybe some carbonation leaked. I had no idea it was a screw top or I would have consumed it earlier.

This is not a bad beer. It kind of reminds me of a roasted malt version of Kentucky Bourbon Ale. I would definitely drink it again. (732 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown with about an inch tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like molasses, vanilla, dark fruit, oak and chocolate. It tastes like oak/wood, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and some molasses. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and has moderate carbonation. The bourbon character seems stronger in the aroma as compared to the taste. I liked this brew, but I wish there was a little more of a bourbon kick. Still, for $7.99 a bottle it's certainly worth trying. (617 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a thin layer of head. The nose is sweet, almost molasses-like. The brown sugar taste is dominant upfront, but it gets significantly less sweet by the finish. Unlike many sweet beers, this offering is not syrupy. However, this offering certainly gets sweeter as it warms.

The body is hearty and this beer clearly "feels" like a high octane brew, but in actuality, the alcohol is well hidden for 9.1%.

I had this with a peanut butter sandwich as a late night snack - the two flavors paired well. (517 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.06/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

75 cl

Pours a deep slightly hazy brown with a minimal bit of lacing for the head.

Smells of roasted malts and some dark fruit sweetness along with oak and caramel.

Flavor is rich, bourbon over molasses, sweet dark fruit, some vanilla, a bit of caramel, and a balance from bitter oak.

Medium body with a mild carbonation.

A very good and flavorful ale, worth trying, masks the strength pretty well but it's a sipper, good body and complex flavor. Worth having. (467 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pitch black-brown body, just barely not completely opaque, three fingers of tan foam in a pint

S: roasted malts suggestive of freshly roasted coffee and dry bitter cocoa; earthy and herbal

T: oaky and deeply roasted malts, dark and rich; mild and smooth bitterness; notes of cocoa and wood

M: dry bourbon barrel feel, nicely weighted body, smooth, mellow, slightly coating, airy vapors

O: a really compelling dark beer - dry and bitter, but with a bit of bittersweet chocolate sweetness to fall back on; great work done with the malts. (542 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.44/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thin head on a pitch black body.
The aroma has a strong oak and burnt wood smell, which is rounded out by a caramel and chocolate note.
The taste is not as great as the aroma. It is a watered down version of what should have been burnt wood, roasted malt and dark chocolate.
The texture is borderline sticky with low carbonation.
Try it, you may like it. (355 characters)

Photo of DMarlinJ
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Strong pour into a nonic pint glass to get a one finger head that dissipated quickly to eventually nothing. Color is rich dark brown and had some sticky lacing.

I picked up the roasted malts smell and some raisin also hints of vanilla and oak. Mostly the caramel roasted malts.

The taste is great! These are flavors I love and not overpowering, well balanced. Not too sweat for such a malty beer. I do notice the heat from the alcohol but it fits and I like it. The raisin and vanilla are what stand out to me. Yes, the oak is there but not dominate. Just a bit of bitter to keep it from being too sticky. Did I say I really like this taste? Pour another right now! (reminds me of Kuhnhenn's Dark Heathen Triple Bock, just not as meaty and with more carbonation)

The feel could be better if it were a little thicker and chewy. Just a bit thin and watery but still above average. If it were thicker I think it would add to the taste and make this exceptional but on the other hand it could become to sticky. So? Still nice carbonation and clean feel. No lingering unpleasantness.

Overall for the price and ease of drinking, I plan to come back to this one and will try the other John Henry offerings. Nice job on this one. After having another I had to come back and rate it higher on taste. It does not have to be complex to very enjoyable. (1,344 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Firestone restaurant pint glass
From: Cherokee Market Beer & Wine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $9.99 for a 4-pack
Purchased: May 11, 2013
Consumed:May 11, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured an almost pitch black color with two fingers of pillowy tan head. Not as much lacing as I’d thought there would be, average with sporadic spots. Very nice retention of tan foam all the way down.

Smelled chocolate, toffee, caramel, oak, chocolate milk, faint coffee and bourbon. Very malty.

Tasted similar to the nose, just so smooth. Got toffee, caramel, tobacco, oak, chocolate, bourbon, chocolate milk, vanilla and faint coffee beans. Touch of bitterness, but smooth.

Medium-to-full body. Slick texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming, smooth finish with just a tad bit of bitterness.

A very good beer and I think a great price at $2.50 a bottle. Would love to try it again. (911 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light brown head over the cloudy brown brew. Head recedes gradually, with lasting lace. Aroma is sweet and oaky.

Taste starts chocolatey sweet with a touch of fusel upfront, creamy in the middle, with a lightly boozy close and a lingering aftertaste, . Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is alright. Doesn't quite all come together as well as I would hope, but not too bad. (497 characters)

Photo of Cameron89
4.94/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great beer from start to finish. Fully body beer especially for being a 9.1% alc/vol. easy drink ability an great to have with steaks or other food parings depending on your food preference. love the idea of aging on bourbon oak chips. Plus it being Minnesota brew scores more points in my book. Love all three varieties that Cold Spring Brewing offers! (353 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Dark brown in the liquid portion in the thickest regions it's black with brown highlights. Dark tan cap with mostly small bubbles, not much in the way of lacing.

Smell is adequate to good. It's pretty roasty, a strong malt backbone, gives some slight hints of chocolate. However the strongest aromas are vanilla and oak.

Taste again has some roasted malt qualities. Oak, vanilla and some tannins. All meshes together pretty well, not overly strong though.

The mouthfeel is close to full, but a little thinner than I expected. Carbonation is slightly flat, but not too bad. Slight bite from the alcohol and a little bit of an earthy finish at the end, sort of acidic. Fairly drinkable, more of a sipper. Overall worth trying. (781 characters)

Photo of pkalix
4.16/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours ultra black, no head, with some floaties. wonder if i was supposed to pour that sediment in....?
smells thick and malty with dominating dark fruit.
a dryness at the finish. very light for what i was expecting from the aroma. and the abv. some fruit; well, lots of fruit but not 'fruit-y', and lots of roasted malt mixed with the fruit. seems to be lots of vanilla in the middle.
overall, a great brew with a great abv. nice, typical roasted malts, easy to bring down. (473 characters)

Photo of SerialHiker
3.51/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with caramel hues along the edges, not transparent at all…very little head formed or hangs around for the party…doesn’t really liven up much when I swirl it around…(3/5)

Smell: Bourbon oak aroma right off the bat, no doubting this spent some time maturing in a barrel…I’m also getting caramel, sweet fruit (cherry, strawberry), dark fruit (raisin, fig), alcohol heat, roasted malts, vanilla and some light chocolate notes playing delicately in the background…(3.75/5)

Taste: Hmm…lot’s going on here…there’s the obvious bourbon oak aged flavor, it’s very strong and right up front…sweet and dark fruits (cherry, strawberry, fig, raisin), alcohol, faint chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, yeast, faint green apple...maybe the faintest hint of citrus hops…it’s roasted and sweet all at the same time…(3.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, light carbonation…no real bitterness to speak of…melts away to a bourbon/oak/vanilla after taste…it’s a little weak in this department…(3.25/5)

Overall: Classic good, not great…tons of roasted malts and bourbon flavor going on here and playing well, but there’s something missing that would take this ale to another level…for the higher ABV, it’s very drinkable and light…if it were a little chewier, more of a “sipper” style brew, I think it would be rated much higher…as it is, it’s alright, but nothing that stands out…(3.5/5) (1,470 characters)

Photo of JamesMN
3.74/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Black with decent clarity even though you can't see through it because of the color. Thin light brown head with some nice froth around the edges.

Aroma: A lot of nice characteristics here, all slightly subdued. Vanilla, oak, roasted malt, char, caramel, and a touch of pineapple.

Taste: Starts with lightly roasted malts that really aren't all that special. The special part of this one is all in the finish. Right away after each sip there is a warmth on the palate and then a smokey flavor emerges that is quite interesting. A mix of smoked oak and alcohol. Not getting too much bourbon flavor. Very moderate bitterness here. I think I'd file this one more under Imperial Brown Ale.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin for 9.1% ABV but that lends to an ease of drinkability. The effervescence can be a bit much. I would not session this as one is plenty.

Final Thoughts: For what it is and the price point ($8.99 for a four pack) it's not a bad deal. It would work well as an introductory beer for someone just getting into oak aged ales. However, it doesn't pack the bourbon punch that was expected and lacks in body. Would I drink it again? Let's put it this way, I wouldn't seek it out. (1,200 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a minimal head that reduced to nothing quickly. It is a pitch black color with no clarity, but you can see bubbles coming up the top of the snifter.

Smell: bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee, molasses, sweet aromas, and oak.

Taste: A nice blend of above flavors. Some lingering bitterness in the end and the boozy alcohol is hidden well too.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation, and a warming feeling on this cold winter day.

Overall: A nice ASA that does well with the addition of bourbon oak chips. Some slight off flavors, but still a good beer overall. (650 characters)

Photo of RashyGrillCook
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a 12oz bottle into my CCB snifter.

A: Pours like a stout. Dark, viscous and with minimal head.

S: Lots of roasted malts, some smoky oaky bourbon sweetness as well. The nose was very surprising. Scored high in this category.

T&M: Again, HUGE roasted malts right up front. Bourbon and oak are almost non existent. Maybe some oaky vanilla notes on the finish. Feel is a little numbing on the tongue.

O: I had no real expectations when I cracked this but was pleasantly surprised and am really glad I gave this beer a try. I would buy this again and would definitely recommend it to those who like roasted malt bombs. (632 characters)

Photo of bashiba
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep clear brown with dark ruby highlights, a light creamy tan head.

Has a sweet caramel and chocolate nose with a touch of oak. Good just a bit mild.

A nice mixture of chocolate and caramel malts, a bit sweet with some light touches of oak and vanilla.

The mouthfeel has a nice silky creamy quality to it.

A pretty drinkable strong ale, drinks like a nice imperial vanilla porter to me, has more chocolate and vanilla qualities than it does bourbon, but the oak does come through a touch. (502 characters)

Photo of jermarley
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a beer! In MN we have some amazing breweries. Infact, we have so many new breweries we sometimes forget to step back and take a look at what craft beers have been around for some time. I was recently given a 4 pack and the appropriate glassware to enjoy John Henry with.

What a treat, We have a pretty popular brewery around the twin cities that really has the market on dark beer, and a smokey beer as well. While good for what they are...They certainly have not fused the two together nearly as well as Cold Spring Brewing has.

I have taken a bottle from the fridge and let it rest for about 12-15 minutes before I opened and poured. The reason I only gave a 4 on appearance was the lack of a thick dark rich foamy head on the beer. Now, I may be assuming what it should pour and look like, but I would love a creamy thicker foam.

Next the smell...No let down here at all. The beer promises bourbon barrel aged and its all there! Yet, compared to some others around its not sharp...In fact, its a pleasant mild experience that tends to linger on for a bit while you comment on this great experience. On the bottle in mentions bourbon barrel chips and I think that helps make this difference in aroma and taste! On your first through last sip, as the beer warms a bit you notice a slight change in taste, aroma and levels of flavor.

This brings up the taste...the real reason I have decided to put up a review. This beer was a gold medal winner many times over. I can see why.
If you decide to try something new and are reading these reviews...
Dark, Rich, Smooth, Amazing balance of oak, smoke and bourbon all come together in a fantastic beer! (1,655 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a tan head. In the aroma, oaky and a small bourbon like presence. In the taste, oaky, notes of bourbon, a touch watery but decent. A small bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry oak and small bourbon presence in the aftertaste. A bit thin and a touch watery, with a decent flavor. Not to shabby. (356 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bourbon beer that wasn't bad, its like a black beer. Malts, including chocolate malts, made it pretty drinkable. aged just under a year. Black body, with a nice licorice spice.
Medium mouthfeel, and understated carbonation.Bottle from Flanders Ned. (251 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: murky, extremely dark brown hue with a one-finger cap of frothy tan foam. Dark for a beer of the style, but I like it.

Smell: rich, roasty aroma with a nice dark fruit component of plum and date, along with a hint of raspberry and cherry. Reminds me of a dubbel or quadrupel; good stuff.

Taste: chocolatey, roasty and a little bit fruity. There's not a lot of dynamism in the flavor here, but the first wallop is pretty attractive to me.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with a good carbonation and a nice, smooth, silky creaminess. Good.

Overall: I quite like this beer. I'm rating it a lot higher than other reviewers, but despite its provenance (Cold Spring isn't necessarily a strong-ale powerhouse), this beer has a lot of good flavor and a smooth drinkability. Good on ya, Cold Spring! (843 characters)

Photo of BeerMe315
3.54/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark color blocks most light from shining through glass, carbonation is low, head and its retention is low to non-existent. Looks a little flat but the pour promises a good body underneath.

Smell - Typical smell for the style. Alcohol (bourbon obviously), malty back bone with nice roast but not quit coffee.

Taste - Good balance for the style. I like how the roasted malt comes through the alcohol taste. Good bourbon flavor that lingers just enough, then you want another sip. Hops hide far the background. Fairly strong flavor but very drinkable.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation levels, but it works, seeming to give the beer more lean towards a heavier body. I love the body. I know it's a 'sipping ale' and not a porter, but I expect a good thicker-than-normal body to accompany bourbon beers.

Overall - Once past the lack luster head, where the low carbonation manages to work with the thicker body, I enjoyed the body in this beer and its very tasty flavor. I was planning on just having one, but instead enjoyed three in a row, and then went to bed happy.
However, with that said, could this beer be improved?... Yes. Do I recommend it?... Yes. (1,166 characters)

John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.