John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale
Cold Spring Brewing Co.

John Henry 3 Lick Spiker AleJohn Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale
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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #253
Ranked #37,590
3.72 | pDev: 13.71%
Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Minnesota, United States
John Henry 3 Lick Spiker AleJohn Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale
Notes: 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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Reviews: 174 | Ratings: 417 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of VoxRationis
VoxRationis from New York

3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) bottle into a conical pint glass; no production information therefore no idea how long this bottle has been sitting.
A: Pours a very dark brown to black color with a brief, quarter inch, tan head rapidly resolving to a rim leaving virtually no lacing.
S: Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, sweet coffee, and molasses predominate.
T: Sweet. Very boozy no doubt from bourbon barrels. Palate largely follows the nose. Relatively low bitterness creates a very limited counterpoise to the sweetness.
M: Full bodied with very little effervescence after decanting.
O: Fairly typical of a barrel aged, dark ales that have been allowed to remain in the bottle for a while. Certainly comparable to those and enjoyable enough given the style. Would not suggest with dinner, but rather with a rich dessert.

Jul 02, 2018
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ScaryEd from New Hampshire

2.96/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle dated 04/03/13.

Pours a dark mahogany color with a finger of khaki head. The head is gone in a hurry, settling into a halo around the top of the beer. Leaves very little in the way of lacing.

The aroma is pretty much straight up bourbon. It's a solid aroma but not what I expect from a beer.

The taste has plenty of roasted malts, vanilla, and bourbon. That's about it.

The feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly watery but relatively smooth.

Overall, a pretty mediocre beer. I honestly wonder if this would be better fresh. It's basically just bourbon with slight hints of beer in it. Not something I'd try again.

Mar 22, 2017
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Bought a fourpack of this Minnesota BBA brew at a local store on recommendation. First I've seen anything by Cold Spring in my state.

Bottled way back in 2013. Hoping there will still be some BBA flavor.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Unibroue Blanche de Chamblay flute.

a; Clear dark ruby with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and very dense lacing.

s: Bourbon.

t: Initially follows the nose along with some smoke. Dry finish with some mild dark fruit notes developing. 9.1 ABV is well covered. Bourbon flavor is less evident later, perhaps a result of the age on this.

m; Light to medium, ok body and above average carbonation tingle.

o: A pretty good BBA brew, which I'd call a porter despite the unusually high ABV, although I have no issue with it being called an American Strong Ale. Should enjoy the other three.

Feb 12, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.58/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Comes out light brown and dark yellow, almost nothing for a head and what was there wasn't long for this life. Aroma was more alcohol than wood.

Taste again was driven by the alcohol. Doesn't seemlike it was barrel aged, moreso like they made a boilermaker. Too bitter, dark fruit, aged, impressions. You can look for all the nuances from the wood, but I just couldn't find them.

Dec 31, 2015
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dpgoblejr from New Hampshire

4.61/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled date of 04/03/13. Enjoyed on 11/13/15. Two and a half years old now. Must be the explanation for a $3 price tag on a 22oz bomber. Pours a very nice dark brown color with a tan, foamy, head. Aroma of vanilla, oak, and tannin rise up. Flavors of oak wood, vanilla, burnt sugar and molasses mix perfectly. Medium to full feel on the palate and just a hint of burn from the bourbon and abv. I'm perplexed by the overall low ratings on this well crafted and pretty balanced aged ale. If I ever saw this again I'd be game. Only wonder what it tastes like fresh but age sure has done it well!

Nov 14, 2015
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bushbeer75 from Michigan

3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz brown bottle with a hard to read "produced on" date of 7/24/12 ink jetted on the shoulder
John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale poured into my tulip glass a very dark brown and some might say black hue. A 1-finger tan head was produced and quickly shrank to a thin collar of foam with no lacing. The nose is of roasted malt with chocolate and smoke also noted. The smell of bourbon and oak was almost nonexistent. The taste like the nose was dominated by roasted malt and a stronger presence of chocolate and bourbon was noticed. Mouth feel is pretty smooth, a little chewy and medium bodied.

This ale is approximately 3-years old. As a result of its age I feel it has lost some of its bourbon and oak flavor, However, I have not had a fresh ale so I have nothing to compare it to.

Jun 22, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: bourbon, malt, vanilla, no hops, Appearance: Dark brown, ¼” head that quickly dissipates. Flavor: rich malt flavors, slight chocolate, caramel, some vanilla with bourbon in the background. A touch sweet but balances the malt and bourbon flavors. Mouthfeel: moderate body to moderate full, moderate carbonation. Overall: the bourbon flavor is very well done and the rich malt goes very well with the bourbon barrel aging. The alcohol is there but is not as noticeable as 9.1% alcohol would suggest. It is very smooth and drinkable.

Mar 23, 2015
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KYGunner from Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

The nose is relatively light with coconut and chocolate. The flavor has light malt and grain but a stronger chocolate and coconut mid palate to finish. This isn't particularly complex, strong or even interesting but it's a good drinking beer and that's all I'm in it for.

Dec 03, 2014
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fx20736 from New York

4.24/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought a single bottle from Beers of the World, March 2014. Poured into a pint, served cool.

appearance: opaque lignite brown with a 1 finger khaki head.

smell: Bourbon, Brown Sugar, Molasses, vanilla.

taste: toasted brown malt, some charred barley with some burnt toast bitterness.

mouthfeel: good

overall: a nice dark ale, enjoyable and drinkable.

Apr 26, 2014
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RutgersEng from California

3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a very dark brown, almost black from the bottle. There is a very thin head that dissipates within a few minutes. The smell is of hops and very little oak, although it said that it was aged with oak chips, they didn't leave much of a mark on the beer. The alcohol is present although not overwhelming. The main focus of the beer is the malt flavor. A bit too noticeable when considering the total package. The mouth feel is nice and full, but the hop bite comes on toward the the back of the mouth.

Overall, it is a good strong ale, a bit hoppy and I have to get used to the dark color, but the mouth feel is nice and full making it an enjoyable drink. The alcohol is well hidden, but jumps up at you about half way through the glass. The flavors of the malts and hops are each pronounced and singular rather than being molded into a smooth blend sharing the glass.

Feb 23, 2014
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BradMacMullin from Massachusetts

4.31/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had in Vegas at random bar. Haven't heard of Cold Springs brewery on east coast. This starts with a popping 9% and heavy bourbon smell right off he bat. This pours extremely dark with little to no head. Bourbon dominates here with a great malty presence. This separates itself from other strong ales as the alcohol doesn't overwhelm the drink. This would be perfect on a cold day. I will drink it until it gets cold out as a result. Great find

Feb 21, 2014
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brutusmuktuk from Michigan

3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown ale with a light brown head. Has a bourbon aroma and a strong bourbon flavor, with some toasty malts in the mix. Sits nice and warm in the stomach. The bourbon, for me, is a touch overpowering. Highly recommended for those who love the taste of bourbon. Still, I find this a good brew overall.

Feb 19, 2014
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BierJager89 from California

4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark opaque brown with a creamy mocha head.

S: Dark fruit, malt, vanilla, caramel and oak in the nose.

T: Sweet nutty malt, plum, fig, dark fruit, orange, caramel, a touch of sweet milk chocolate, oak, vanilla.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

O: Knowing nothing about the brewery, but being intrigued by the description of the beer itself, I didn't really have any expectations. That said, this is a great beer. Perhaps not the best of strong oaked/barrel aged beers, but a damn good beer. Definitely recommended if you can find it. I've only seen it at a couple places in the Sacramento area.

Jan 27, 2014
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ckollias from Maryland

3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed this 12 oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a thick black hue with a fluffy white head that slowly dissipates leaving a decent trail ending in wispy lace.

S: Strong bourbon scent with a malt backbone.

T: Sweet bourbon and malt flavor that has a smooth middle and finishes on the dry side of boozy.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: Solid brew – nice bourbon malt mix.

Oct 21, 2013
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chicagoish from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- Pours black out of the bottle. Small head that leaves a soapy film as you drink

S- Notes of soft bourbon, oak and vanilla. Caramel .

T- Bourbon, vanilla and even chocolate. You would never guess this is 9.1ABV

MF- Very creamy, heavy body. Smooth...

O- Very nice, balanced and flavorful. Many times with a Strong Ale you taste the Alcohol, not with this. Very Nice. Could get into trouble fast with this one..

Oct 04, 2013
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.57/5  rDev -4%
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.

Sep 30, 2013
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Suds from Missouri

3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Sep 29, 2013
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.69/5  rDev -0.8%
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!

Sep 27, 2013
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buschbeer from Ohio

3.87/5  rDev +4%
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.

Sep 16, 2013
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Sep 01, 2013
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57md from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Aug 08, 2013
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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Jul 31, 2013
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Greywulfken from New York

3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Jul 21, 2013
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Fatehunter from Oregon

3.44/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Jun 19, 2013
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DMarlinJ from Michigan

4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Jun 12, 2013
John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 417 ratings