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

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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker AleJohn Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale

Brewed by:
Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

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.

Added by ClockworkOrange on 01-02-2009

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Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 414
Photo of Cameron89
4.94/5  rDev +34.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great beer from start to finish. Fully body beer especially for being a 9.1% alc/vol. easy drink ability an great to have with steaks or other food parings depending on your food preference. love the idea of aging on bourbon oak chips. Plus it being Minnesota brew scores more points in my book. Love all three varieties that Cold Spring Brewing offers!

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Photo of satchelbrewer1
4.83/5  rDev +31.3%
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!!!

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.62/5  rDev +25.5%
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.


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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.61/5  rDev +25.3%
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!

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.59/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a deep brown pour with a finger of head which quickly dissipated. no lacing decent retention.
smells awesomely sweet.. lots of malt, nuts, caramel, molasses, caramel, lactose ?
OH MY GOD THIS IS AWESOME. the taste is very pecan/butterscotch like. very sweet yet an earthy bitterness in the background... holy crap this is good. tastes like a souped up nut brown ale honestly. notes of caramel, lactose sugar, wet walnuts (the ice cream topping).. just very sweet and delicious.
medium body, nicely carbonated, slightly creamy and slight warmth from the booze but it hides well behind the sweet flavors.

don't judge a beer by it's appearance.. lesson learned! this is a fantastic beer regardless of style. it's pretty much a liquid dessert, and you cannot go wrong. pick this up, open it up, and enjoy.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.57/5  rDev +24.2%
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.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.56/5  rDev +23.9%
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

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Photo of GRG1313
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw a six pack for the first time while visiting San Diego and I had to try it at 9.10%, if for nothing else.

Pours thick and black with a nice tan head. Good looking.

Rich sweet dark chocolate nose with hints of vanilla (the oak). Hints of smoke. A most welcoming nose. I was delighted and hoped the flavors would match the nose.

Creamy mouthfeel and flavors of mocha, creamed sweet coffee and sweet dark chocolate flavors. Flavors are full and rich and delicious while very being very straightforward. Flavors are rich while a bit shorter than a big imperial stout. This like a rich "baby stout" to me. I generally need 3 "sips/tastes" before I get the full character. This one starts off slow but on that third taste really came through.

Can see this with a variety of foods, as well.

Very attractive and drinkable. Worth seeking out if you're a stout fan or just a fan of beers that taste good!

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.42/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pitch black with a brown ring at the top. 1/8 inch head which disappears extremely quickly

Smell: Dark fruits purnes dates and raisin. Notes of biscuit and roasted malts and just a ever so slight hint of bourbon

Taste: Right off the bat I tasted roasted marshmallows and vanilla and I loved it. The dark fruits are there in the middle of the beer and it ends with a delicous coffee note that lingers on forever very complex flavor profile

Mouthfeel: Full body and light carbonation. A syrupy like feel that coats the mouth

Overall: I was totally and completely blown away by this beer. Insanely complex and great flavor profile and is incredibly easy to drink for it being 9.1 abv. Well done and highly recommended

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Photo of fizzy
4.38/5  rDev +19%
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!

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Photo of BierJager89
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.31/5  rDev +17.1%
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

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Photo of Gump
4.27/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.27/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of cbutova
4.26/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of jermarley
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a beer! In MN we have some amazing breweries. Infact, we have so many new breweries we sometimes forget to step back and take a look at what craft beers have been around for some time. I was recently given a 4 pack and the appropriate glassware to enjoy John Henry with.

What a treat, We have a pretty popular brewery around the twin cities that really has the market on dark beer, and a smokey beer as well. While good for what they are...They certainly have not fused the two together nearly as well as Cold Spring Brewing has.

I have taken a bottle from the fridge and let it rest for about 12-15 minutes before I opened and poured. The reason I only gave a 4 on appearance was the lack of a thick dark rich foamy head on the beer. Now, I may be assuming what it should pour and look like, but I would love a creamy thicker foam.

Next the smell...No let down here at all. The beer promises bourbon barrel aged and its all there! Yet, compared to some others around its not sharp...In fact, its a pleasant mild experience that tends to linger on for a bit while you comment on this great experience. On the bottle in mentions bourbon barrel chips and I think that helps make this difference in aroma and taste! On your first through last sip, as the beer warms a bit you notice a slight change in taste, aroma and levels of flavor.

This brings up the taste...the real reason I have decided to put up a review. This beer was a gold medal winner many times over. I can see why.
If you decide to try something new and are reading these reviews...
Dark, Rich, Smooth, Amazing balance of oak, smoke and bourbon all come together in a fantastic beer!

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Photo of dwilson01
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aged by about 6 months

A-pitch black with a ran head that quickly disapates

S-slight bourbon and malt hints to it

T-get aloy of the bourbn but in a mellow way. nice aftertaste.

M- medium body and smooth

O- very good beer. Nicely drinkable and delic

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Photo of fx20736
4.24/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
4.23/5  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...

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
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

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Beer pours a deep coffee color, with a slight foamy tan head. Head dissipates quickly, leaving a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: As advertised, there's a definite bourbon barrel tone to the nose...though unlike some other brews which attempt this, the bourbon tone is gentle and pleasant. Vanilla, coffee bean, and a slightly sour plum vibe all mingle with the usual hops'n'malt combo that is beer. Pretty nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer is very gently carbonated, and enters without much fanfare. Despite the high alcohol content, there's almost none detectable in the taste! However, the same can be said about flavor. It's not bad at all, but all the dials are set to "5." Bitterness is prominent but not overpowering, and in the aftertaste, a gentle sweet breath of warm alcohol lingers. Beer finishes wet and begs for more sips.

*Addendum...after drinking it for a little while, I begin to notice a distinct cinnamon/sugar aftertaste. Almost like cider and donuts. Pretty cool!

Overall: A good beer in a category which has the potential to be completely terrible. Go Cold Spring!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Firestone restaurant pint glass
From: Cherokee Market Beer & Wine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $9.99 for a 4-pack
Purchased: May 11, 2013
Consumed: May 11, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured an almost pitch black color with two fingers of pillowy tan head. Not as much lacing as I’d thought there would be, average with sporadic spots. Very nice retention of tan foam all the way down.

Smelled chocolate, toffee, caramel, oak, chocolate milk, faint coffee and bourbon. Very malty.

Tasted similar to the nose, just so smooth. Got toffee, caramel, tobacco, oak, chocolate, bourbon, chocolate milk, vanilla and faint coffee beans. Touch of bitterness, but smooth.

Medium-to-full body. Slick texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming, smooth finish with just a tad bit of bitterness.

A very good beer and I think a great price at $2.50 a bottle. Would love to try it again.

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Photo of pkalix
4.16/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours ultra black, no head, with some floaties. wonder if i was supposed to pour that sediment in....?
smells thick and malty with dominating dark fruit.
a dryness at the finish. very light for what i was expecting from the aroma. and the abv. some fruit; well, lots of fruit but not 'fruit-y', and lots of roasted malt mixed with the fruit. seems to be lots of vanilla in the middle.
overall, a great brew with a great abv. nice, typical roasted malts, easy to bring down.

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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 414 ratings.
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