1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

384 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 384
Reviews: 166
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 14
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:
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.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-02-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 384 | Reviews: 166 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrewHodges
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
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

DrewHodges, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of BastardKing24
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
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

BastardKing24, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of DmanGTR
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

DmanGTR, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of eamays
4.03/5  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.

eamays, Apr 08, 2010
Photo of emmasdad
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

emmasdad, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

jwc215, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
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...

Parrotbeak, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of crossovert
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

crossovert, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of jjhbrfdds
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

jjhbrfdds, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of satchelbrewer1
4.85/5  rDev +31.1%
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!!!

satchelbrewer1, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of mbunje
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

mbunje, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

mikesgroove, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of Gump
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Gump, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of scubazook
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

scubazook, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of fizzy
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
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!

fizzy, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of homebrew311
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

homebrew311, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of drcarver
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Hmm... I want to start by saying I was really excited by this beer. I've had Innis and Gunn's bourbon aged beer which is phenominal! Not what I was expecting. I reach for the opener and to my disappointment realize that I didn't need it... twist-off.

A - Way darker than any other strong ale I've ever had. Black as night with a thick heavy light brown head. Head fades quickly with little lacing.

S - Smoky, more of the smoked meat kind of aroma not campfire smoke. A dry dirt smells as well.

T/M - The flavor is forced. Very sweet with a smokiness that hangs at the back of the throat. A bit of char and earthiness as well. Not bad but there is an unnaturalness to the flavor that I can't explain. It may be due to the thick syrupy body.

D - Definitely taking my time with this one and not having another.

drcarver, Oct 24, 2009
Photo of jera1350
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a syrupy pure black with a thin layer and ring of dark tan froth.

Subtle smelling, but dominated by raisin. Some really sweet smelling deep roasted malt and some hops are present.

Very similar to a scotch ale. Deep roasted malt which is really sweet. Some earthy, smokey peat flavor. Good hop presence at the back. A bit of scotch/whiskey flavor. Some vanilla extract and coffee. Very flavorful and has nice depth.

Thicker than medium bodied, syrupy smooth. Nice subtle soft carbonation.

Really nice beer. I would call this more of a scotch ale than a strong ale, but still has to be the best thing to come out of Cold Spring in a long time or maybe even ever. Very drinkable. I would drink this again.

jera1350, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of flannelman808
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: looks great! this one pours a very dark brown/Black color. It has a frothy tan head which has rather large bubbles.

S: Smells like chocolate malts. I also get some coffee/espresso out of it. Vanilla extract. Maybe a mocha latte with a shot of vanilla syrup.

M: This is strangely a little more rough around the edges than I would have expected. It has a somewhat gritty/course character, but conversely finishes creamy. I cant help but think of the texture of a cappuccino that has some espresso grinds in it. Perhaps this is from the tannin in the bourbon oak chips the beer was aged on.

T: Definite espresso character present in this beer, The vanilla is there as well. Though I will say I'm not getting a whole lot else. Went into this one with little to no expectation other that a dark oak aged ale... and that is pretty much all I got. Good for dessert I guess, but not much else.

D: Don't think I would want more than one of these in a sitting. Though I will say that the 9.2% alcohol is well hidden

flannelman808, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of Mistofminn
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'll be completely honest. I am worried about this beer. Cold Spring has some awful beers, and I can only assume this one will be the same.

Pours a murky brown into my Darkness Tulip. About half a finger of just off white head produced, and it doesn't have great staying power. Eventually dissolves to a small ring with splotches here and there.

The nose definitely lets you know this was oak barrel aged. I don't get much Bourbon, but the oak is definitely there. Vanilla and nuts, caramel, light chocolate and roasted malts. I'm surprised at how good this smells, pleasantly surprised.

Here goes nothing. Wow...again, completely not what I was expecting from Cold Spring. Oak and very light Bourbon, almost not noticeable, but there is a pleasant chocolate and roasted malt with a hint of vanilla and caramel. I'm enjoying this, and glad that I am.

Mouthfeel is medium, but on the lighter side. Nice and smooth, almost...almost creamy. I do get a weird metallic aftertaste that sort of takes away from the rest of the beer, but other than that, great.

Drinkability is very impressive. The 9.1% is hidden completely. Not even a little warming presence, just completely hidden. Dangerous, even.

I am totally taken aback by this beer. I was told from a reliable source that despite my prior misconceptions, this was in fact a good tasting beer. I didn't believe it, but figured for the price tag it was worth it. I'm very glad I gave it a shot. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if this was in my fridge a lot this fall.

Mistofminn, Aug 15, 2009
Photo of JRhode
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with tan, short, quickly dissipating head.

Aroma of bourbon, brown sugar, oak/vanilla, a little boozy.

taste is similar. I hope I was not predisposed, but I couldn't help but feel like this is what a BMC bourbon barrel aged beer would taste like. Take Amber Bock and throw it in some bourbon barrels? Not bad at all. Maybe a little artificial tasting?

Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I expected. Abrupt finish too.

Drinkability isn't bad at all. Although I could feel the 9.1% abv after finishing one bottle.

Not a bad beer at all considering the $6.99/sixer sale pricetag.

JRhode, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of ZAP
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A little worried plopping down $10+ for a Cold Spring beer but it appears to have promise...quality bottle...9.1 ABV and I've heard some buzz on this somewhere..

A-Black/brown...little head..

S-The oak aging is immediately evident...oak...vanilla....nougat...it's all there...some caramel as well...not much for stout notes though..

T-I love oak aged beers and this one is big in those notes...nougat...vanilla...oak....good flavor but where are the stout flavors?? They are totally overwhelmed by the oak aged notes....with that said I do enjoy how this tastes but a little more chocolate/coffee notes from the stout would have been nice...

M-Not as big or creamy as I expected....more of a medium body....smooth but thinnish.

D-The best Cold Sping/Gluek beer ever made and well worth trying...just not up there with the top in the class. Still, this is an enjoyable beer to drink..a few tweaks and this could be really good.

ZAP, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of mdwalsh
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours thick with lots of legs in the stream. Very dark, nice and black. Starts with a decent head, but that does away pretty quick. Could have some active carbonation, but I can't really see.

S: From a foot away I can smell malty sweet. Digging my nose in I get that, some candi sugar, and dark fruit, particularly plum. No hops though. The slightest hint of unroasted coffee bean.

T: A good strong ale. Not boozy, leaves a good tingle on the tongue. The aftertaste has a hint of charcoal, but is otherwise very similar to the nose. There's a good amount going on here, and the flavor profile changes a bit with each sip as it builds upon itself.

M: Not as creamy as I'd hope, but still good. The strength mixed with the feel is a nice combo.

D: Because of the strength, flavor and mouth feel, I could see getting pretty messed up on this.

mdwalsh, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of morimech
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a stout like black color with a small tan head that settles to a thin cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass. Not that impressive looking but considering its high ABV, it is good. Has a rich malt aroma of mocha and roasted grains. Hints of vanilla and bourbon from the oak chips. You can definately sense the 9.1 % ABV before you even taste this ale. The bourbon charactor dominates the flavor. There are hints of vanilla, espresso, and chocolate. Great flavor up front but it all disappears even before the ale leaves my mouth. Very dry and slightly boozy. Medium body with a chewy texture. Nice carbonation that compliments the flavor. I applaud Cold Spring for brewing this beer. Please bring us some more beer of this caliber.

morimech, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of Tballz420
4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black body. Amber hues show through when held to the light. Little brown head that disappears quickly. Serious chocolate malt scent. Dark fruit tones. Spicy alcohol. Major malt taste. Caramel and chocolate. Dark fruit, licorice. Some bitter hops. Somewhat thinner mouth for a beer of this size than i expected. Very tasty

Tballz420, Jul 28, 2009
John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 384 ratings.