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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.

398 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 398
Reviews: 169
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.48%
Wants: 16
Gots: 32 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 398 | Reviews: 169
Photo of TheDudeRules
2.62/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into my Cigar City pint glass.

Deep dark pour that resembles molasses. A finger and a half of mocha head. A little lacing remains. Really nothing moving or impressive in my glass. Big bourbon booze with fig and plum on the nose. Like a fig newton gone rogue. Carbonation isn't bad. You want it to feel creamy but it quickly says no soup for you. In the taste the bourbon is forefront. Then it's quickly followed by a wood like medicinal booziness. Crushed aspirin in my beer. Oh joy. This really smelled like it had a possibility. Maybe I'm incredibly fussy. Flat out this beer sucked.

Photo of adman08
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very dark mohagany, some deep red with minimal creamy brownish head.
S-Slight aroma of bourbon with some chocolate and a slight sour smell.
T-Rich chocolate malt flavor with some bourbon but not too much.
M-Thick and malty with moderate carbonation.
Overall and interesting beer. I really don't see many american dark strong ales around but compared to the few I've had this is very good. Similar to a bourbon barrel aged stout with less of the smokey hoppy harshness that some stronger stouts have. A very smooth easy drinking beer for a dark ale that is around 9% abv.

Photo of BruChef
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a brandy snifter, poured a dark ruby brown with little head retention and some decent lacing. The smell is slightly of vanilla, bourbon, oak, and cola. Taste is similar to smell, just less of each. Generic cola, vanilla extract, and a root beer-like, sassafras characteristic which is some what unappealing. Could use just a bit more in the hop department as the finish is slightly unbalanced.
The body of the beer seemed thin as i poured but the mouth feel is actually pretty solid on this beer. Medium carbonation, and coats the mouth like an English porter, which is good considering this is a strong ale. Alcohol is well subdued making it pretty drinkable, especially considering it's over 9% abv.
I'm glad i finally tried this beer but probably wouldn't seek it out again.

Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours dark brown, almost black, with 3/4 inch of thin head. Reduces quickly, leaving substantial lacing.

S-Oak, caramel, chocolate malts, frothed milk.

T/M-Moderately sweet, with plenty of caramel sweetness. The oak chips are well integrated, and contribute a roundness to the finish. Body is soft and full, with a lingering oaky finish.

O-Fine for what it is, but not terribly interesting. It's very easy to drink and masks the alcohol well. Overall this is a well made beer that I would not hesitate to try again.

Photo of jdhilt
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger brown head that fades slowly leaving traces of lace. Brown/black color, no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Nose is bourbon, flavor is a mellow oak bourbon. Higher ABV is hidden. $2.65 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Photo of RoyalT
4.57/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - This is a super-dark brown with a nice tan head that showed good retention.

Smell - I poured this in my Arrogant Bastard glass and it showed some similarities to the classic AB. The malt is much sweeter though like fresh caramel right off the stove. There are actually some hops in this nose as well which again reminds me of the AB.

Taste - The roasted nature of the malt comes out more at the taste and the woody bourbon, which I picked up at the nose but failed to mention, comes on very strong in the mouth. It would be too much in most beers but the malts here are so roasted that it seems to balance.

Readers of my reviews will note that I am not a big fan of wood, but here this works exceptionally well. It's one of the few occasions where I think it is appropriate because the malts are so substantial. The stiff vanilla, which again normally offends my taste buds, seems right at home here. This is a big, aggressive flavor profile.

Mouthfeel - This is close to full-bodied and hides well the 9+ ABV. The giant flavors balance each other out so it goes down dangerously well.

Drinkability - I usually hate the idea of a woody, oaky, vanilla-laden ASO with this and the oak-aged AB being the exception. This is a quality ale, done right by no accident, that stands apart from the pack.

Photo of mdfb79
3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. 2010 vintage received in the Birthday BIF from jyounger30; thanks Jay!

a - Pours a deep brown color with two inches of tan head and light carbonation evident. Head lasts for two to three minutes.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, caramel malts, cream, and chocolate. Smell is amazing and not too hot. The vanilla/cream comes through a lot, which I really like.

t - Tastes of oak, very light bourbon, light cream and vanilla, and bready malts. Taste was good, but a big step down from the nose. Seemed a bit faded and maybe watered down.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy body; quite nice.

d - I got to try about 3 oz's of this a few months ago and remembered liiking it, so I was really glad to get a bottle of this to review. I remembered it having a great smell, which it lived up to. Lots of cream and vanilla mixing with chocolate and caramel malts, with nice bourbon and oak added to it. Unfortunately the taste seemed a little flat and faded, though it was still decent. A nice beer I would like to try fresh sometime.

Photo of Soneast
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown to black in color. Nice and clear, growing a quarter inch sized, brown colored head that dissipates quickly, leaving minor lace.

Aroma is decidedly malt forward, with some mild roast character, chocolate and maybe a hint of toasted marshmallow. Certainly not much bourbon character, if any.

The flavor starts out with mostly chocolate and mild roast character. Then I start to pick up a bit of wood and marshmallow, and right when I expect a bit of bourbon, I get let down. This beer has no bourbon character that I can detect. Sure there are some "woody" notes, but certainly no bourbon.

I dunno, I mean John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale is a pretty good beer overall, rather stout-like, I'd say, but there is next to no Bourbon character, to me it tastes more like a lightly-hopped RIS than anything. Good, but not as advertised, is my final assessment. In the beer's defense, there is next to no booziness making it pretty dang drinkable.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip. 9.1% ABV, no date.

A - Clear dark brown through the pour but black in the glass, 3 Lick is topped by moderate tan foam with ok retention but great sheets of Swiss-cheese-looking lace left over.

S - Toasted, bready malts fill the background with a pleasant molasses aroma. Notes of mocha and vanilla come through with the smooth bourbon oak chips. Mellow hops help balance in the background.

T - While there's a decent bourbon oak chip flavor going on that imparts mocha and vanilla notes, the beer the chips are added to is a bit thin. Toasted malt and woody, earthy hops are balanced nicely but don't really come to fruition.

M - Medium-bodied but for the aroma, the beer feels pretty thin. Somewhat smooth though and medium carbonation is nice but the body feels slightly lacking. Warm alcohol finish.

D - The alcohol is hidden well in this. It's got some good aspects going on but seems to be lacking something. Decent drinkability though.

Photo of Chaz
3.74/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, ruby-amber in color topped with a medium-dark tan head which falls after a couple of minutes, leaving a small, thin cap in the middle of the glass and a rather fine ring of sticky lace. When held to the light there are some golden-orange highlights to this one.

A hint of smoke, along with broader bourbon and oak on the nose. In fact, this bourbon/oak presence is fairly strong, as I can smell it from a few feet away -- not bad at all if you like a slightly-smokey, oaky/whiskey barreled strong ale! Slight tangy on the nose, too, perhaps indicative of some funk and yeasty-beasties left in the wood -- either that or the wicked barmy Cold Spring house yeast strain.

Smokey, woody, and bittersweet on the first sip, this one is also livelier on the palate than I recall from earlier visits. As the carbonation is only average, the liveliness makes me wonder: could it be spontaneous bottle re-fermentation? Seems to be rather full-bodied on the first sip, but in fact it's closer to medium-bodied, and aided with the aforementioned liveliness makes this bigger beer a dangerously-drinkable sipper!

The bourbon barrel treatment almost eliminates some of the lighter fruit characteristics, but they are there in fits and starts: pear and golden apple, along with even lighter fig and plum. There's also a very mild tartness here than somehow adds an element of dryness toward the end of the palate -- impressive.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both fairly good here, and overall this is an above average beer, even for such a broad and diverse style as "American Strong Ale". Indeed, this is one of the best beers to ever pass through the doors of the brewery at Cold Spring -- no matter what name ultimately graces the package. VIVA LA JOHN HENRY!

Served chilled, in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter : )

NOTE: Bottle code -- JCBJ 0915

Photo of imagese
2.88/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No bottle date.

A- Dark ruby with light edges. Slight head faded fast and left barely any lacing

S- light bitter chocolate malt and an odd buttery fruit smell

T- undefined bitterness and light roasted malt. Not getting any of the bourbon chip flavor I was hoping for

M- light to medium oily body

D- Overall a very average beer. Not sure if this is best fresh or aged. Not sure what my bottle is on that scale, but nothing makes me want to buy it again

Photo of horshack7
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: From a twelve ounce bottle. This beer is well regardless of you slice it it's dark with a two finger head.

Aroma: Fruity hop notes that do have a roasted character to them. Malts are roasted and give off a little dryness in the nose. Dark breads present themselves well. A small amount of alcohol but not a bad thing.

Taste: Creamy mouthfeel. Roasted malt and hops are up front with alcohol notes along the way. Graininess as it roams on the pallate shows up middle to end.

Notes: Not too shaby at all a good one to pick up and I shall pick up again. Cheers.

Photo of TMoney2591
2.61/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Tried this in my pre-reviewing days and enjoyed it, so I figured I'd give it another go and get a tick while I'm at it. It pours a seemingly opaque black-brown topped by a finger of ecru foam, which settles out into a ring momentarily. The nose comprises bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, butter, and plenty o' booze. If it weren't for the last blast of alcohol, it wouldn't be so bad, but instead it burns us a bit too much. The taste holds notes of bourbon, wood, chocolate, and roasted malts, but these are singed away by that pesky alcohol. Boo. Some cedar lingers in the aftertaste. The body is a hefty-feeling medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry-ish finish. Overall, way too boozy and uneven to work properly. It could have turned out okay, but, alas...

Photo of herman77
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark pour, pretty much black with a light brown head that looks pretty nice for being higher abv.

S: Oak is very evident. Bourbon, Chocolate, molasses, vanilla and dark malts. Smells pretty good.

T: Oaky, chocolatey and bourbon are the main flavors. A bit of roasted malt, vanilla and molasses too. A touch of hops can be found near the finish. Bourbon flavor shows itself more in the finish. A bit rough around the edges, but still good.

M: Body is a bit light for being a big beer. A tad creamy. Lower carbonation

D: Pretty good for being a barrel aged high abv ale. Not sure what the age is on this one, but it seems fairly fresh since the bourbon flavors are still very evident and a bit powerful.

By far, this is gotta be the best offering from Cold Spring Brewery.

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.62/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Date: 14 December 2010
Glass: Standard 10oz snifter
Type: 12oz bottle from trade with 'brewseum'

Thanks 'brewseum' for this unbelievable beer!

I have no idea how old this beer is, but 'brewseum' is a collector, so who knows! The bottle stamp says 'ICJB 0301' but I have no idea how to decipher that.

Split between two snifters, shared with a family member, head is easily 2, almost 3-fingers for both snifters, average lacing, light-caramel color head, deep deep brown in color.

Aroma is phenomenal. Heavy (but not hot) bourbon, vanilla, matured oak, some caramel and bittersweet chocolate, maybe even a stab of cinnamon.

THIS BEER DRINKS SO SMOOTHLY. There is no way this is 9.10% ABV. People keep saying that this beer is boozy, but not the bottle I was given. The same notes of vanilla, bourbon, chocolate and caramel are extremely smooth on the tongue. This beer is a perfect score for mouthfeel, as nothing bad lingers. Instead, my tongue is dry and I'm craving another sip.

The closest comparison I've ever had to this beer is between Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and BA Blackout Stout. I could drink this beer all night long.


Photo of womencantsail
3.37/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a dark brown color with some black cherry sort of highlights when held up to the light. Very little head formation, just a thin ring of tan bubbles.

S: The nose starts off with some sweet vanilla notes followed by a definite dark fruit aroma. Strong notes of prune, plum, and raisin along with a moderate booziness.

T: The flavor is sort of flat and not as intense as I would have expected from the nose. Some tannic oak character on the back end along with a sweet malt base and caramel coming closer to the front.

M: The body is medium with a low but smooth carbonation.

D: The nose and mouthfeel are nice, but the flavor falls way short. Even after letting this one warm up a fair amount, it was still pretty plain and woody.

Photo of Jwale73
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle served in a standard pint glass. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a thin, tan-colored head the quickly disperses towards the shoulders, forming a thin band. No lacing on this one. Pleasant nose - faint bourbon notes and a slight buttery quality on a malty backbone. Taste consistent with nose with the addition of toffee and vanilla. Mouthfeel is light-medium, with an even, easy carbonation. This is a really flavorful and drinkable bourbon imparted beer. Not at all boozy, but imparted with some exceptional flavor without being cloying. Well worth a try if you get the opportunity. I bet this would be fantastic on cask.

Photo of deadbody
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprisingly good offering from Cold Spring. Pours a good dark color, with a small head, my bottle had a thick yeast residue at the end of the bottle. Very boozy smell, has a bit of a malty undertone to the smell, but booze is the strong characteristic which makes sense in a beer with 9.1% alcohol. Taste is very good, roasty and dark, with a bit of a booze aftertaste. Mouthfeel is what you expect from a dark ale. A bit thin but not bad. Drinkability is great. Easy to drink. Would be really easy to drink a couple of these too quickly and get pretty drunk pretty quick.

Loved it and I will be buying more.

Photo of taez555
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brownish/black body with a small tan head. To be honest I was a little surprised by the color. Since it's listed as an basic ale, a beer that pours more like a porter wasn't exactly what I was expecting to see.

Nose is a mix of malt, chocolate, even a little licorce, some oak and mild bourbon flavors. Not over the top at all, but very nice and inviting.

Taste is medium to full bodied with an initial hit of a very root/earth sort of licorise and candy malt flavor mixed with wood and some very sweet bourbon, maple syrup and touches of vanilla. I can't really taste any hops in this beer, but it has a nice solid backbone of bitterness that never shows it's face but balances nicely. Very simple and not in your face for a 9.1%abv beer. Ends very clean and simple.

Really an interesting beer that rides a fine line between Ale, porter, stout, imperial something, oak aged, bourbon and whatnot. It's never over the top anywhere, but very nicely balanced. Really a very good beer.

Photo of NEhophead
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a snifter.

Thick, opaque maple in color. Not much of a head besides a thin, off-white ring around the snifter's sides. A few traces of thin lacing with not much strength.

Rich, creamy toffee and caramel aromas that mingle well with a range of sourly, acidic fruit: orange, pear, and green apple. Sharp bourbon whaffs give the nose a nice punch without overpowering the other aromas.

Creamy caramel and toffee richness that is short-lived once the bourbon traces knife their way through this ale. The alcohol presence is acidic and strong, but a bit too much like vinegar. Strong, flattering notes of vanilla with a thin, milk chocolate aftertaste.

Almost full in body; velvety smooth in spots, but primarily vaporous and slick. Texturally unbalanced.

Some distinct and flattering flavors; however, the imbalance both in flavor and texture make it tough to have more than one.

Photo of BMoney575
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on 10-25-10

Pours very dark and black, with a little light brown around the top edge. Just a thin ring of head, that slides down intact.

Smell is very sweet and malty, almost cloying. Lots of booze, a tiny bit of bourbon and oak, and aromas of dark fruit and molasses. Not bad, just a little too thick.

Taste is surprising. Huge woody sweetness dominates, just tons of oak flavor. The alcohol is there too, leaving a slightly drying finish. Different, if not very good.

Mouthfeel is very thin, which I think is a bad thing, can't tell.

Drinkability gets better as it goes, but maybe it's the booze working.

Overall, different and cheap, so try it.

Photo of garymuchow
2.75/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well this is the darkest, roastiest, coffeeist Am. Strong ale that I've ever experienced.
Pours with minimal head showing an off-white ring at the most. Black with minimal light shown through the dark red edging.
Aroma for this bottle at least has none of the vanilla extract. It's mostly roasted coffee, pretty simple, non-complex and straight-forward.
I find the vanilla flavor initially appealing, but in time distracting. Too bad, because the notion of vanilla with this beer is pretty good. But it's too extracty and strong (like a cheap vanilla ice cream), in that it dominates and overpowers, what I think may be a decent base beer. The coffee and roast are in the background, and long after the drink is done and the vanilla has left, there is a mild dryness that mixes with decent bitterness and coffee roast that isn't too bad.
Moderate to a bit higher body, with a decent slickness and smoothness.
This beer might work okay as a vanilla float as the bitterness is low enough and the already apparent vanilla flavor may blend adequately. While this isn't terrible, it is rather hard to get through the whole bottle, even if I'm adequately distracted. That's not a good sign.

Photo of srandycarter
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark brown pretty close to black. Lots of chunky sediment can be seen, though. Off white head almost non existent, some cling lace.

S - Coffee and chocolate, somewhat smoky, boozy.

T - Chalky, mocha, boozy.

M - All over the place. Huge beer and not well hidden or balanced.

D - Hard time having more than one.

Photo of smcolw
3.49/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Light head that settles to a single bubble layer. Any lace that appears slides down the the glass, leaving none. The color is near black where no light shines through.

Dark malt aroma, slightly sweet. No apparent alcohol or hop. Mildly toasty.

Relatively tasteless on the initial sip. That gives way to a strong molasses, toasted malt flavor with a powerful alcohol content. Very thin body for the style with an equally low carbonation.

Photo of felipe2toes
2.85/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a creamy tan head that dissipates into a thin crust.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla, smoke, and wood. There's also some dark chocolate and coffee on the nose as well.

Taste is cloying and sweet right up front. I found it to be too cloying and sweet actually. Everything from the nose is lost to sweetness, very disappointing. I'd say it tastes more like kahlua than bourbon.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, which would be fine, but I'm still distracted by the sweetness of this beer.

Would not want to drink more than one of these at a time, maybe as a dessert beer.

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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 398 ratings.