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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.

170 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 170
Hads: 406
Avg: 3.69
pDev: 21.41%
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
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Reviews: 170 | Hads: 406
Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.61/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours dark black with an inch of dense tan head that holds on tightly. The nose is faint alcohol (that gets hotter as it warms), coffee, oak, aluminum (also much more pronounced when warm), and caramel wood sugar. The taste brings forward more of the yeast's fruitiness, which i expected to find in nose. There is some subtle roastiness in the beer's finish that dries out the beer's semi-sweet, medium body.The bourbon/wood doesn't carry through to the beer's taste as I would have preferred, but it's very smooth and drinkable nonetheless. Although this beer is labeled as a strong ale I would have compared it to a strong porter or stout instead. The lacking yeast character/full-bodied sweetness brings this beer down to being slightly better than average, despite its drinkability.

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Photo of emerge077
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Luckily stumbled across a single of this for $1.99.
I'd heard it was alright, but never bought it to try considering the source. Consider this Cold Spring's surprise hit. Shoulder printed "JACD 0801", which I have no idea if its a Julian date or not. Early 2011 if it is... meaning over a year old.

Dense reddish black in the glass, hints of dark brown and red in the pour. Huge and creamy tan head that dwindles quick after the first couple sips.

Caramel, oak, vanilla cream nougat, nice mix of smells happening here, though the bottle may be a little old, and possibly muted.

Light but creamy feel, some overt oak and vanilla notes lead off. Chocolate and nougat in the middle. Lingering oak and chocolate notes in the dry aftertaste. Body is a little thin, and the oak is the main flavor, though its a good effort. Would drink again, though they don't seem to be pushing this one... its a resounding homerun against their regular lineup of quasi-craft mediocrity.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. Healthy fine light tan head with good retention and lacing. Very nice aroma of dark sweet malt, oak, dark fruit with a hint of bourbon. Flavor is not as intense as the aroma, but combines the dark fruit, caramel malt, bourbon and oak. Flavor fades rather quickly, but leaves a pleasant oaky sweet malt aftertaste. A slight astringency to the finish that was not great, but was moderated by the other flavors. Medium bodied not quite reaching creaminess. With more intensity of flavor could compete with the top tier oak aged strong ales. Reaches for the ring, but misses. On the other hand, the flavor is light but complex and well integrated. I enjoyed this strong ale and will buy it again.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.04/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Black/Dark Brown with a surprisingly dark brown head. This looks almost like a Porter or Imperial Stout sans the lacing.

Smell - Chocolate Orange, Oak, Figs, Caramel, Bourbon and Sweet malts. It's definitely an interesting yet good smell.

Taste - Oak, Chocolate, Spices, and Sweet and Roasted malts. It's like a porter but with some rather sweet characteristics to it.

Mouthfeel - This is a very heavy bodied ale and the carbonation is a couple notches above average. Not a beer you can drink in just a minute.

Overall - I remember visiting my friends at St. Cloud State a few years back. While I was there, I had an absolutely dreadful beer called Hackstein Light, which you could pick up a 24 pack for roughly $7 at one of the many college liquor stores. Hackstein was brewed by Cold Spring Brewery and I bring this up because I was surprised to see John Henry was made by thatsame brewery.

In general, this is a pretty good beer and considering Cold Spring made one of the worst beers I have ever tried, I can say at this point that I can forgive them for making Hackstein Light.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a CCB snifter. I have been sitting on this one for a while. Like a year and a half.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown with no head at all. A little transparency around the edges, but nothing else. No lacing.

Smell - Oak all over. Fruity aroma. Figs and raisins. Bourbon is an afterthought, but it's there. A nice aroma. Very oaky, though.

Taste - Falls short of the smell. Caramel malts and astringent oak. The fruits don't translate. A little bit of hop bitterness in the finish. Faint, but earthy. The tannic oak character is overwhelming in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Dry and astringent in the finish. Makes it tough to drink. I don't think it's that boozy, but there's a bite.

Overall - Lots of things going for it in the aroma, but the taste falls flat. Tough to drink. Not something I'd drink again.

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

Very dark brown with a black appearance. Short khaki colored head with weak retention. Bold, pungent aroma full of heavy molasses, espresso roast, cream, oak and bittersweet chocolate. First sip is an interesting, robust combination between oaked mahogany, rich coffee and thick molasses. flows into a big bodied, boozy, mildly nutty overall flavor. Hints of orange and maple make their way through eventually to a boozy, woody finish.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Evan for this one.

Poured into a Duval tulip.

Apperance Pours a dark brown with ruby tones against a bright backlight. Thin ring of tan creates little lacing.

Smell Rich oak and boozy aroma hit the olfactory.

Taste is like the nose...strong oak pairing with sweet caramel. Strong alcohol bite.

Medium mouthfeel, not much carbonation.

Overall A decent sipper. My first experience trying a Cold Spring brew.

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

Pours dark brown, had to hold it up to a light to see the red hints. A medium mocha head leaves great lacing and flattens to a ring.

Smell is all bourbon and oak, with booze. A touch of vanilla is in there, but it's fighting for dear life.

Taste is woody, dark fruit, with roasted caramel malt on the finish.

Feels extremely heavy. A touch of burn, this is a one and done beer.

Glad I could try this, but won't do so again. Not because it's bad, but just a little hard to drink.


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Photo of WEBBEER
3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark coffee that shows a cherry syrup color in strong light. Thin but dark khaki head, dissipates to a nice lace that lingers for the entire serving.
Strong coffee smell and roasted taste. Has sweet notes but not really picking up the raisin or plum mentioned by reviews. Some caramel
Great stout mouthfeel. Weak carbonation.

Aged in oak bourbon chips? Any trace of bourbon flavor or oak for that matter would be a hallucination although the label is marked "flavored ale"

John Henry is a 9.1% So it has a substantial alchohol flavor that pairs with dessert. That is how I will use this case. I feel like this beer would be outstanding at a pub on tap. The case was clearly marked "ale aged ON bourbon oak chips' so "my bad" it was a bit of a disappointment

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Photo of jneiswender
2.82/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a twist top 12oz bottle into a nonic. Served cool.

Tan head, black walnut body.

Licorice, booze and chocolate smell.

Oaky, strong red wine tannin, beer flavored a bit subdued. Boozy finish.

Full, and light carbonation.

Very heavy oak flavor. Mutes most everything else. Not a thriller.

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

Interesting beer with a strong bourbon aroma and taste. Pours a thin head and is very dark.

Decent beer that's aged with oak chips. I enjoyed it and it hides the 9.1% well. I have never tried a beer from this brewer and after trying this I would give another a run.

Bottom line: worth a try

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Photo of TaySuth
3.29/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very dark brown in color with a nearly non-existent head that disappears quickly. A little lacing but not much.

Smell: Smells like a strong ale. The alcohol is certainly present with a sweet grain character and some mellow hop aroma in the background.

Taste: Sweet and alcoholic. Molasses flavor. Nice balance between the malt and the hops. Pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall: Not a bad beer but not something I would buy again.

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Photo of samyoung
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle at Cost Plus in Eastern market.

Poured into Duvel snifter. Dark brown with a quickly vanishing head. Smells of roasted malt with hints of smoked chocolate. Tastes buttery with a bit of whiskey; chocolate and smoke are again apparent. Not much mouthfeel; quickly dissipates with a pleasant, subtle aftertaste.

The best part of this beer is the ABV; it is very smooth considering higher alcohol levels. This style confounds me "bourbon oak chips"; the bourbon barrel branding is deceptive considering the minimal and weak presence of bourbon in the taste and smell. I'd rather have a truly barrel-aged beer that exudes bourbon character in a much better fashion.

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Photo of Zorro
2.71/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear black colored beer with a small brown colored head that doesn’t last.

Smell is sweet with scents of raisin, vanilla oak and whiskey. Not much more to it than that just not a lot of subtlety.

Starts out sweet with a strong raisin flavor. Little bit of fig in the taste. Mildly bittersweet taste. Not that complex though.

Mouthfeel is average.

Overall this is just OK. No real reason to buy again.

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Photo of tone77
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of bourbon, somewhat sweet. Taste is also bourbon up front, considerable malty sweetness, a touch of alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall was a unique and enjoyable beer and worth giving a try.

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Photo of theopholis
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a very dark brown into the glass with minimal head on a gentle pour. What head there is is a light brown, with good retention and some lacing.

Smell - Strong notes of molasses, bourbon and a mild oakiness. Some malt comes through the nose as well. No aroma hops detected.

Taste - Really pleasant mix of maltiness, some malt sweatness, and molasses. Good bittering hops level. Hints of toffee too.

Mouthfeel - Great sticking power on your tongue and mouth. Gives it a wonderful sweat after-taste. Appropriate (low) carbonation.

Overall - Good beer. Maybe not quite to style, but it's quite tasty.

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Photo of nicnut45
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Can barely see through it as I pour. Jet black in the Duvel tulip. A slight tan minimal head. Settles to a wispiness with a thick creamy ring on the side.

S-Not much fragrance here. What there is smells like burnt meat, dark roasted coffee and bitter sweet bakers chocolate.

T&MF-Delicious burnt smokey flavors with a touch of maple syrup sweetness. Has a striking similarity to corn beef. The burnt flavors tone down as you drink and the pleasent malt sweetness takes over. Would expect a bit more fullness to this beer. Alcohol is well hidden.

O- I was suprised by this beer. Its very well crafted and a lot better then most other bourbon barrel attempts.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a dark shade of gold almost a brown color with a thin white head on top. The smell of the beer was malty, rich and roasted, not much of a hoppiness there. The taste of the beer was decent, as it warmed up there were some really interesting vanilla flavors that came through. The mouthfeel of the beer was average to me, it had a good body but I just felt it was missing something. Overall I was a little bit surprised by this beer, I was glad I tried it.

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Photo of RyanLigeia
3.42/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A lot darker than I expected, I was anticipating a dark golden color not brownish/black. Minimal head, probably due to the high abv.
Smells malty/roasty...I like that.
Cant taste the oak as much as I hoped, thats sort of a dissapointment but its still good. I cant quite tell what it is exactly but theres something unique in the after taste.
Medium body, I think this beer would be better with slightly less carbination.
Overall not too bad. Im not sure Ill buy it again anytime soon but its worth the try.

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
3.52/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, code on bottle but no freshness date, purchased 12/2011 from a local bottle shop.

Poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Pours a rather thin head which rapidly reduces to a very thin film.
Black opaque color

Has a malty, black roasted aroma to it. Molasses and yeast. No noticeable wood but there is soom bourbon. It’s good.

Nice crisp entry on the palate, followed by malt and molasses, after some warming the bourbon/oak kicks in, but is relatively tame compared to its peers. The 9.1% ABV is never noticeable.
Full mouth feel with mild balanced carbonation.

Overall a good drink but not anything exciting. Needs to be at least 55 degrees for anything meaningful in the aroma or taste to come forward.
I am glad that I tried this brew, but that being said it’s not one I will search for.
It’s enjoyable enough, if priced right. I paid $11 a 4/pack, which is fair.

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Photo of karait95
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a strong dark beverage, even the alcohol is high is not disgusting as with some beers with high content.

A: Color looks very dark it is a dark brown almost not translucent, body looks thick, carbonation is not too rich, the head is poor as could be and dissipates a little fast not leaving enough traces behind, the color is a medium brown.

S: The bourbon oak container where this one was aged is very present, the malts are also present, toasted barley of course.

T: The flavor of this one is good, showing barley character and of course all the tasting of the oaks or bourbon like, the malts are toasted and the alcohol is well blended in the mixture.

M: Not the easiest beer to drink but the character of this one is good enough for enjoying it.

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Photo of bitterbeerguy
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My dad shared this one with me about 3 months ago- decided it was time to give it a shot.

Pours a very dark brown color- the only touch of light that makes its' way through is at the very top, which has a dark orange tint. Bubbles showed up and left very quick.

Smell is absent. Being that this is aged in bourbon, I expected there to be a burst of aroma. Maybe the slightest hint of bourbon and chocolate, but that is pushing it. Definitely a little disappointing.

Taste has notes of the oak right off the bat, which I really liked. With that said, the flavor after is flat- slightest marshmallow and marmalade jam notes. Surprisingly, there is not much alcohol flavor, which really surprised me.

Overall this is a brew that could do with with some age. I was very surprised how aroma was missing from this brew. Anyone who likes oak, might enjoy this brew.


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Photo of gregy55902
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

3 Lick Spiker ale, 9.1%, bottle poured into brandy snifter

A - Pours a very dark brown into the glass with minimal head on a gentle pour. Sitting in the glass, it almost looks like an (under-carbonated) imperial stout.

S - Molasses, brown sugar, bourbon, oak. The smell warns that this beer may be overly sweet.

T - Follows the nose with an almost syrup-like quality. It's like they added a dollop of liquid molasses to every bottle. That being said, the alc is hidden incredibly well.

M - Decent but a bit low on carbonation. Doesn't really have the staying power of many other strong ales.

O - Good beer but not great. Could really benefit from the full treatment of barrel-aging, instead of just aging it with oak chips. I support MN microbrewing best I can, but I usually have to look to a company outside the state to find something I can really enjoy.

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Photo of whatthehull
3.94/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted sept. 17th 2011 (from notes)


A - super black/brown, hardly any deep tan head and some lacing

S - lots of sugar, alcohol, toasted, smells like a black lager or imperial stout a bit, bourbon, molasses, very bright smells, fresh and lots of oak and earth

T - very oaky, alcohol, tons of huge malts, lots of sugar, toasted everything, very earthy, some bourbon and more alcohol

M - full bodied, low acidity, nice complexity, well balanced and long finish

D - for having a high abv and lots of flavor. This is a very drinkable beer. Every malt head should love this unless they don't like tons of alcohol

Final thought - 9.1 abv is nice but the price at $11 a sixer is not my fav

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Photo of hdelavega
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sent as a bonus by Baldo, thanks bud.
Pours a deep rich brown with a thin light tan head that settles toa thin film. Very little lacing.
Nice aroma, has a barleywine like sweetness to it, I defiantly pick up some bourbon and wood, I also get some candy sugar, tobacco, and sweet dark fruit.
The taste is lacking a bit compared to the nose. I get more of the tobacco and some leather. I am getting brown ale like maltieness, some bourbon, defiantly some more sweet dark fruit, a bit of prune, a bit more bourbon on the finish.
I the nose really lead me to believe there would be more body to this guy. There are a lot of great flavors to this beer but the center is hollow. The taste is thin on the front with a decent center and a big finish.
This is a pretty good beer but could really be improved if it was a little more balanced. I feel the body was the most lacking part of this beer. I don't know if that is fixable without negatively changing the flavor. Overall worth a try, another good American Strong Ale from California.

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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.