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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

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393 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 393
Reviews: 167
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.48%
Wants: 16
Gots: 34 | 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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Ratings: 393 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of silentjay
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a very murky brown (almost black) with almost no head with no retention and little lacing.

aroma is of oak, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, a bit of teriyaki and soy sauce and a touch of chocolate.

taste follows the nose nicely providing vanilla, caramel, bourbon, oak and caramel flavors to produce a very sweet brew. brown sugar, dried sweetened dark fruits, and molasses add to the sweetness as well as add some distinct flavors. hops are not apparent. a tiny touch of booze adds another element. seems like it wouldn't have been a good beer without the barrel aging, but with it, its pretty damn decent.

medium bodied with barely any carbonation with a bit of a syrupy sweet finish, but some bourbony burning on the back end.

drinks rather well for a beer that skirts any style guidelines. Decently complex, but not terrific. I would definitely try this again, as it was a complete impulse buy... if you put the words bourbon and aged on a beer label, price it under $10, and I will try it. This didn't let me down, though it didn't quite wow me either.

Photo of jlindros
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours very dark, like a muddy brown pond water (in a good way) but flat, no head at all, thanks to the stupid screw cap.

N: Lots of malts! Very malty, with dark malts, some sweetness, little syrupy, slight barleywine-ish, some barley, some fruits and raisin, etc. Touch of bourbon with all that.

T: Very barleywine-esque again. Lots of thick malts, slightly syrupy, some fruit, raisin, little brown sugar, etc. Then comes bourbon. Quite a bit of a bourbon flavor, nothin in particular just a generic bourbon flavor. WIth that comes a little oak too, as well as a hint of vanilla, molasses, and some type of syrup I can't put my finger on.

M: Medium to heavier body, slightly syrupy, with almost no carbonation.

F: THe booze starts to show a little towards the end. It gets a slight boozy taste as well as some alcohol warmth and tingle. It's still sweet on the finish, with a little more barley, more syrups, brown sugar, etc. Also the bourbon sticks around through the finish and lingers on the tongue. More molasses as well on the finish. No real oak here though.

Photo of cbutova
4.26/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours out black but not a black I would call pitch, it seems like some light can make it into this one. The head builds up to one finger but quickly dies down to nothing but a puny ring. No lace here either.

S- Notes of soft bourbon, oak and vanilla, the trifecta. Besides that, there is a definite smoke character and roast malt aspect to this beer. Slight caramel malt as well, good strength aroma.

T- I like where this is going. The bourbon is there and is subtle enough to be very well balanced with the other flavors. The barrels also lend oak and vanilla notes. There is a slight smoke taste here that probably comes from toasting the barrels. I get some fruit, cherry would be the closest comparison. The roasty malt profile balances this beer very well. Some whiskey graininess as well. Hops are there but do not make a huge presence, just some earthy, grassy balance. VERY well hidden ABV.

MF- Very creamy, heavy body. The carbonation is pretty high but makes the beer feel more drinkable instead of a sludge. A coat of roast bourbon oak stays on the palate.

DB- The oak flavor here is the best thing about this beer. The whiskey is somewhat subdued but works in this case. I think this beer is fairly underrated. I would have to say it is the most drinkable bourbon influenced ale I can think of, nice job. I could session this thing, great price too. It is a shame its looks were so weak.

Photo of sm007thie
2.78/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- deep dark brown with nice thick creamy tan head that dissipates leaving behind thin lacing and a solid ring. thick and viscous pour.

S- smells sweet with a strong oaky odor. hints of vanilla, coffee... come to think of it, it smells a lot like kaluha.

T- taste (to me) is cloying in many ways. cloyingly sweet, cloyingly oaky and cloyingly fruity in general. granted, it's well advertised for it's bourbon barrel aging, so i shouldn't complain too much about the oakiness. doesn't seem well balanced to me though. after about 4 oz, i was over it.

M- the sweetness mixed with the thickness didn't work well with me. it's like drinking an alcoholic syrup.

D- like i said, 4 oz and i was over it. if i stuck to a 3 oz serving, it would have been more enjoyable.

Overall: Not a horrible brew by any means--just not my shtick. I can definitely see how other people can enjoy this. If you prefer your beers on the sweeter side and/or are an oak junky, 3 Lick Spiker is worth a try.

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub and Herb's. Never knew Cold Springs could make such a good beer.

A: opaque, jet black
S: slight bourbon nose - sweet, vanilla
T: very, very good - vanilla with great caramel roasty - well-balanced, excellent overall
M & D: amazing, incredibly mild for a 9.1 ABV beer

Photo of drpimento
2.52/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Aack. Whoa, totally unexpected! With an aggresive pour got a smallish tan head that quickly subsides. Color is an opaque very dark brown. Aroma is vanilla, chocolate malt. Flavor is massively cherry. And then a few other components - vanilla and.... man, I just cant get away from the cherry. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor. Could cook with it. Or give it to someone who likes dark cherry beer. But it's definitely not for moi.

Photo of dwilson01
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz into my arrogant bastard pint glass, small amount of tan mocha head that leaves a nice film layer on the top. Unfiltered hazy dark brown body look, just what I like in a brew.

The smell is actually quite refreshing to me, I get chocolate and caramel malt, roasted as well; a freshly dampened deciduous forest in smell, dark woody scents and vanilla as well.

The flavor profile is very different than the smell, it's heavy and thick with a solid alcohol bite in the end. The oak wood really comes through and the vanilla from it is present along with it, small amount of chocolate, not much in the roasted category but I do get some caramel and crystal malt smoothness in there too.

The mouthfeel is solid, malty and thick this bad boy lets you know he's in there kickin some taste bud ass. Overall I think this is a quality brew, rivals the oaked arrogant bastard to be honest and the price was better too, I will definitely be buying some of this again.

Photo of hardy008
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a 1 finger tan head with decent retention. Smells of oak, vanilla, booze, and caramel. The aromas are not very strong.

The taste is just like the aroma, oak, vanilla, booze, and caramel. Not very strong with flavor, but decent for what it is. Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Nothing to get to excited about. Decent drinkability.

Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dzyneguru for this one. Poured into14oz glass. Poured a slightly translucent black, with just a thin cap of tan head that had no retention or lacing.

A sweet, malty aroma has a bit of bourbon in the background. On the tongue the bourbon takes an upfront spot and borders on overpowering the rest of the beer. The sweet malts are pushed to the back and there is just a trace of hops apparent.

The body was a bit too thin for a beer this strong and flavorful. Drinkability was pretty good for a beer this size, although the bourbon can be a bit powerful and could affect how you view drinkability. Overall, a pretty good brew, worth trying if you see it.

Photo of DrewHodges
3.99/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

4/12/10 tasting; poured from bottle to Darkness tulip.

A-inky jet black, with light brown foamy head that settled to a thin line

S-chocolate malt and roasted coffee bean aroma, whiskey, oak

T-same taste as smell, with nutty caramel and strong bourbon sweetness, vanilla, definitely opens up as it warms

M-medium carbonation, silky and smooth mouthfeel

D-a little strong for a session, but easy to drink the bottle

Photo of BastardKing24
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought this looked interesting when it first showed up at my local store, so I gave it a try. I enjoy oaked beers so it caught my attention quickly. Never heard of this brewery before so its my first impression.

Looks cola like, as I can faintly see through it when held up to light. Dark brown color, off white head that starts 2 fingers and settles to a film with plenty lacing as I take sips.

Smell is very sweet with chocolate, whiskey, some vanilla, a mild lactic smell.

Taste is quite nice, super intense flavors all around. Vanilla aspect seems just huge, also wood, dark fruit, bourbon, caramel, chocolate. I cant detect the 9% in this.. Lots going on. I love this stuff!

Mouthfeel is also good, nice carbonation, creamy texture, but not too thick.

Drinkability is just ok since its strong in alc. and flavor per sip.This might be offputting to some, but I could put back 3 of these easy. Personally I give it a 4 cuz its so darn tasty

Photo of DmanGTR
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served into my Duvel tulip at 50°F

A - Poured a dark chocolate brown with mahogany hues in the light. A decent 1" light tan head that reduced soon after to a creamy ring. No lace in the glass. 3.5

S - Caramel is the most pronounced in the nose, followed by vanilla and bourbon. Light plum and chocolate notes round out the rest. Altogether rather muted. 3.0

T - Heavy on the caramel. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla is quite pronounced and gladly bumps the flavor points up a notch. Faint roastiness and plums in the finish, complemented by the lingering bourbon aftertaste. Much more satisfactory than the nose leads it to be. 4.0

M - Medium/light bodied, somewhat slick with very crisp, pilsener-like carbonation. Surprises me with a somewhat dry finish. Interesting. 4.0

D - Decent, the alcohol is noticeable, but to me the real culprit is what the heck is this beer trying to be? It has the alcohol of a barleywine or a strong ale, has a very crisp carbonation, but the body is a bit light for a stout or porter. Despite its identity crisis, I still enjoy it. I may grab another bottle to age.

Photo of eamays
4.04/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Listed as an ale, but more like an imperial stout (at least so claimed by the distributor at a local beer tasting). The bourbon barrel smell and taste overcomes the beer for such a "mild" abv (9.1%) for a bourbon aged ale. However, if you bypass how they label it, this is actually a decent high alcohol sipper in a brandy glass, especially for Minnesota offerings. Also, very nice when you get near the last 4 oz. of your snifter and you aggressively swirl it to get that bourbon scent moving.
Also, when it sits in the glass for 45 minutes, the last few ounces go down better than the first, so this is probably better served in the 45-55 degree range as an after dinner ale.

Photo of emmasdad
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown, almost black in the glass. Nice light brown head forms immediately, and sticks around for a while. Aromas of milk chocolate, bourbon, oak and vanilla. On the palate, I get muddled versions of the above mentioned flavors, mostly milk chocolate and vanilla. Drinkable, but not all that impressive.

Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to morimech!

Pours a murky-ish (but hidden enough by darkness) dark brown. Head is relatively well-retained.

The smell is of molasses and carmelized brown sugars. Some oak chips - giving a vanilla touch - comes through. Not particularly bourbon-y - more of oak chips dipped in bourbon.

The taste is of molasses, carmelized brown sugar, vanilla-ish oak chips. Woody but with a dark maltiness. Starts sweet, finishes dry. Rather abrupt finish, with a touch of a tingle from the carbonation.

Alcohol is well-integrated. Oak chips come across strongly. Sweet, turns dry quickly. Little to no aftertaste, an enjoyable enough brew - not quite as rich or bourbony (more woody) than expected. The sweetness fades to a dry finish. Wish that taste lingered on more (and was fuller), Still-in-all a respectable strong dark ale with woody/bourbon-ish notes.

Photo of Parrotbeak
4.23/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark mohagany--almost black--with a one finger tan head that quickly dissipates, leaving a ring around the perimeter that remains. I'm surprised at how dark this is--looks like a stout.
Smell is subtle toffee, with caramel and rich malts. Little bit of booze is detectable as well.
Rich, malty body, with whiskey tones, as well as some of the caramel following on a creamy finish.
Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Little bit of alcohol heat in the back.
Good drinkbility. Alcohol is well disguised, and it's smooth and tasty.
Excellent beer from this brewery, which hitherto hadn't made any sort of substantial impact on me. I'm a little more interested now...

Photo of crossovert
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the bottle it looks like an AB clone. No date, unfortunately twist off.

It pours a dark black/brown with beet red hues. The head is medium dark tan, foamy, and big and lasts for a while.

This has a huge bourbon oak presence, with bourbon and vanilla, the hops are there but in the backseat. The malts are butterscotch and caramel like. Reminiscent of Oaked AB.

The taste is a big letdown there are roasty malts, and some slight bourbon/oak. But it is watery and bitter, the mouthfeel isn't that great, the taste/mouthfeel shows that this was from a second-rate craftbrewery.

Overall it is a good effort for the brewery but nothing too special go with Oaked AB.

Photo of jjhbrfdds
4.02/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up in Cold Springs for reasonable price,pours deep brown with a solid head,Nice winter warmer has done well with a little age,robust oaken ale taste,solid alcohol finish,a great deal at this price,I have had many a beer that are more expensive and in now way as complex in taste,solid job by cold spring.

Photo of satchelbrewer1
4.83/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

traveled to Cold Spring Brewing Company Mn, awesome tour,free, had the John Henry on tap! wow!! tour was with the brewmaster took us through the whole plant, amazing facility! if you ever get the chance its a must on your list to do in central minnesota. John Henry Imperial Stout Bourbon Oak Aged black in color, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, and bourbon the flavor hits you but very smooth, at 9.1% ABV, you can hardly tell, until its time to leave which was hard to do. John Henry Imperial Stout on tap, did i mention free!!!

Photo of mbunje
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Never hear of this. Saw that it was aged on bourbon oak chips. So I will give it a shot.

A - Dark, dark, brown not a hint of light gets through. Thin head dissipates quickly. Nice lacing of bone white foam.

S- Smells like a porter...roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, and hint of wood. I don't smell the bourbon.

T - Sweet but not syrupy. Mild bourbon flavor and wood. Mild bitter flavor, finish is a tart wood.

M - Much more carbonated than I thought it would be. A bit lighter bodied than it appeared. Slick and leaves a bit of a soapy coating on the tongue.

Overall - very interesting. Not really something you could box into a particular style. I would say it is an Imperial Porter aged on bourbon. Nice attempt but could be refined a bit more.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought this one over for xmas eve dinner at the parents house. Served chilled and poured into a snifter2, this one was /consum4ed on 12/24/2009.

The pour was about what I would expect given the style. Nice color, rich dark brown, near black with a light head of tan that comes up and caps the top of the glass nicely. Aroma is dominated by aromas of oak and vanilla, which meld seemlessly into the chocolate notes that become ever more present as time goes on. First sip is wonderful, more carbonated then I typically see with barrel aged beers, with a nicely lively presence and rich, velvet like carbonation. First sip is loaded down with oak notes, hints of bourbon and vanilla start to come out as I dive further into it. Suble at first but then it starts to build. Nice backbone of chocolate coming through as well as a light touch of smoke. Nicely put together I have to admit. Smooth, with the alcohol all but absent from the profile making it for a smooth, sublte, and wonderfully complex nightcap.

Overall I have to say it was outstanding. I was not expecting much but was more then happily suprised with the results. An outstanding barrel aged beer.

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

Pours rather flat and not at all exciting. Hard to tell if it's even carbonated because the head is just a thin layer of mocha colored bubbles.
Woodsy, aged, oak-like, bourbon aroma. Wonderful.
First sip does reveal adequate carbonation.
Taste is intensely strong, with a warming alcohol feel. Toasted malts, coffee, almonds and cherry. Finishes with a medicinal, antiseptic quality and cocoa aftertaste.
Alot of hops went into this.
This beer has a lot of what I like. Wood cask flavors, dark malt, high alcohol and a lot of hops.

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

Poured into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: Very deep brown almost black opaque. A thin tan head faded quickly. Leaves some lacing

S: Rich bourbon roasty malty aromas. A hint of sweet chocolate and plum raisin-like dark fruit characters. A slight alchol heat. No hop aromas.

T: Sweet oaky bourbon chocolate flavors with a touch of dark fruit characters, raisin plum. Roasty malty rich tastes as well. Nice complexity.

M: Medium full body. Medium carbonation.

Very rich sweet malty strong ale with aromatic bourbon characters and a touch of dark fruity esters. Nice to sip in front of a fire place during cold seasons.

Photo of fizzy
4.38/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped by the brewery and had one "on-tap"yesterday. The rich creamy head persisted through the whole glass. The brewery is the only place I know that serves it like that since I do most of my drinking at home.

I have had in bottles and can honestly say that on tap this brew actually improves. This is a one glass ale, however, since at the +9% ABV you can go to far to fast. I've got a few bottles aging in the basement, it will be fun to see how it ages over the next year or so.

I agree with the others here about the ale and it's quality. I had a chance to speak with the brew master about it and the other (blech) Cold Spring varieties. Also bought a couple of the new Cold Spring bottom etched glasses. They work with other brands too, as my testing at home last night proved. :-)

I put away a bottle of this brew in 3-11 and opened it this evening. Cooled down to just above 40 the ale had taken well to the aging. At over 1.5 years old this ale is smooth, flavorful, and easy to take. Better now after aging than when first purchased. This is not my favorite even among those Cold Spring makes, but darn good anyway!

Photo of homebrew311
3.72/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a deep mahogany and appears dark and opaque in the glass. A very thin head is present on the pour, but dissipates quickly. Leaves heavy lacing.

S: hints of vanilla and oak along with molasses and a sweet malty back bone. Bourbon is subtle on the nose but definitely there. I don't notice any hop profile.

T: on the front is all of the bourbon character with vanilla as the dominant flavor, this bourbony flavor melds nicely with the malt backbone of this strong ale. Finishes with touch of dark fruit and heat from the alcohol. Overall it is pretty well balanced but lacking on the complexity in comparison to other bourbon barrel (wood chips in this case) beers

MF: medium carbonation and medium body

D: This is pretty drinkable considering its ABV. I would've liked a little more presence from the bourbon, but the subtle hints of vanilla went nicely with the malts. I would drink this again but wouldn't go out of my way for it.

John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 393 ratings.