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 B967ierhunter177
2.46/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a very dark brown with a 1 finger tan head and thin lacing. The aroma is of dark fruit, dark roast, and a hint of smoke. The flavor is plums, roasted malt, and wood notes with a heap of coffee in the finish. There's a mild alcohol burn as it warms. It's mouthfeel is full and a bit syrupy. Cold Spring John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale is a decent beer, recommended.

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Photo of drpimento
2.52/5  rDev -31.5%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.58/5  rDev -29.9%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.61/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Tried this in my pre-reviewing days and enjoyed it, so I figured I'd give it another go and get a tick while I'm at it. It pours a seemingly opaque black-brown topped by a finger of ecru foam, which settles out into a ring momentarily. The nose comprises bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, butter, and plenty o' booze. If it weren't for the last blast of alcohol, it wouldn't be so bad, but instead it burns us a bit too much. The taste holds notes of bourbon, wood, chocolate, and roasted malts, but these are singed away by that pesky alcohol. Boo. Some cedar lingers in the aftertaste. The body is a hefty-feeling medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry-ish finish. Overall, way too boozy and uneven to work properly. It could have turned out okay, but, alas...

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.62/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out somewhere in between light brown and dark gold, 1/16" head, dissipates to nothingness, not much cling, lace or retention, really looks like a glorified homebrew. Smells strongly of alcohol moreso than bourbon, didn't really pick up the wood, the sweetness may be some kind of syrup or molasses.

Taste, heavy alcohol, the bourbon wood chip thing seems to be a cover for just adding hard alcohol straight from the bottle to your beer, yeah, sanitize, let soak etc. . .but all I get is a beer with too much hotness, lacking depth and without the body to take it all in with a requisite semblance of enjoyability for the drinker. Some pruney dark fruit bitterness, although maybe the prune reference is just because of the high alcohol heat a la pruno made in a jail cell.

Some toffee, vanilla and caramel, not enough two row in this though. Comparing this to something aged well in a bourbon barrel is not fair.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.62/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into my Cigar City pint glass.

Deep dark pour that resembles molasses. A finger and a half of mocha head. A little lacing remains. Really nothing moving or impressive in my glass. Big bourbon booze with fig and plum on the nose. Like a fig newton gone rogue. Carbonation isn't bad. You want it to feel creamy but it quickly says no soup for you. In the taste the bourbon is forefront. Then it's quickly followed by a wood like medicinal booziness. Crushed aspirin in my beer. Oh joy. This really smelled like it had a possibility. Maybe I'm incredibly fussy. Flat out this beer sucked.

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Photo of Zorro
2.71/5  rDev -26.4%
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 Trilogy31
2.71/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A deep dark cloudy molasses color with a thin creamy khaki head that gives way to thick curtains. The nose is sweet and buttery with movie theatre popcorn, goobers, toffee, along with sweet buttery vanilla oak. The tasty is syrupy sweet with black strap molasses, vanilla, a hint of corn and sweet bourbony caramel along with a weird metallic note at the end. Not that good of a beer.

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Photo of garymuchow
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well this is the darkest, roastiest, coffeeist Am. Strong ale that I've ever experienced.
Pours with minimal head showing an off-white ring at the most. Black with minimal light shown through the dark red edging.
Aroma for this bottle at least has none of the vanilla extract. It's mostly roasted coffee, pretty simple, non-complex and straight-forward.
I find the vanilla flavor initially appealing, but in time distracting. Too bad, because the notion of vanilla with this beer is pretty good. But it's too extracty and strong (like a cheap vanilla ice cream), in that it dominates and overpowers, what I think may be a decent base beer. The coffee and roast are in the background, and long after the drink is done and the vanilla has left, there is a mild dryness that mixes with decent bitterness and coffee roast that isn't too bad.
Moderate to a bit higher body, with a decent slickness and smoothness.
This beer might work okay as a vanilla float as the bitterness is low enough and the already apparent vanilla flavor may blend adequately. While this isn't terrible, it is rather hard to get through the whole bottle, even if I'm adequately distracted. That's not a good sign.

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Photo of sm007thie
2.78/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

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Photo of jneiswender
2.82/5  rDev -23.4%
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 felipe2toes
2.85/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a creamy tan head that dissipates into a thin crust.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla, smoke, and wood. There's also some dark chocolate and coffee on the nose as well.

Taste is cloying and sweet right up front. I found it to be too cloying and sweet actually. Everything from the nose is lost to sweetness, very disappointing. I'd say it tastes more like kahlua than bourbon.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, which would be fine, but I'm still distracted by the sweetness of this beer.

Would not want to drink more than one of these at a time, maybe as a dessert beer.

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Photo of imagese
2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No bottle date.

A- Dark ruby with light edges. Slight head faded fast and left barely any lacing

S- light bitter chocolate malt and an odd buttery fruit smell

T- undefined bitterness and light roasted malt. Not getting any of the bourbon chip flavor I was hoping for

M- light to medium oily body

D- Overall a very average beer. Not sure if this is best fresh or aged. Not sure what my bottle is on that scale, but nothing makes me want to buy it again

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Photo of MrBluto
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Despite nice dark appearance, thick head and reasonably good body, this beer was disappointing. It's not very well balanced IMHO...not enough hop flavor and an overabundance of maltiness, though it does have a nice finish. It seems like there is something missing, and I wonder if I simply got a bad batch. Seems unlikely, but I suppose it's possible.

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Photo of ThickNStout
2.94/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle from the Beer Baron (Detroit, MI). 3.29. No apparent bottling info. Served in a Founders snifter. 

Pours deep dark brown with a quarter finger tan head. No lacing. 

Smells sweet overall. Vanilla, bourbon, oak and malt. 

Sweet bourbon notes dominate the taste. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, fruity esters and a little alcohol. The booze is fairly soft for over 9% but there really isn't much going on here. 

Light to medium body with strong carbonation. Long bourbon soaked finish. 

Where is the base beer? I kind of feel like I could put bourbon oak chips in water to come up with the same thing. I enjoyed the sweet flavors at first but it left me wanting more. 

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Photo of ScaryEd
2.96/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

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Photo of HeavyMetalBrew
3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber in color. There was a head, but it went away rather quickly. Definite signs of carbonation sliding up from the bottom of the Samuel Adams glass.

Smell: Roasted malt, a faint hint of bourbon. Some hops. Some alcohol. The scents are there, but they're not as strong as a bourbon aged ale deserves.

Taste: Roasted malts followed by chocolate with a bourbon finish. Hints of oak and hops. It starts out with a powerful flavor, seems to lose everything, then has a moderate finish that leaves the palate all too quickly.

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated. Thin. Dry.

Overall: I expect more from anything that is bourbon aged, especially if I'm only getting four bottles of it. This is an average beer that I'd consider a gateway into the intensity of anything oak aged, but it's not worth the price tag that comes with it. I'd gladly pass this up for New Holland's Dragon's Milk or Arcadia's Shipwreck Porter.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
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.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
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 samyoung
3.11/5  rDev -15.5%
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 drcarver
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

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Photo of slayer3604
3.16/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this 9%er for $2.50 a bottle, so damn, thats a deal right there...lets see how she drinks...

Pours a khaki head, over a ruddy dark brown almost black body, with some lacing.
Smells like chocolate, and some odd rusty thing going on....Thank god for the chocolate or it would have just been rated lower....
OH NO! The weird rust thing followed into the taste. Borderline drain pour....hmmm..Maybe its just this bottle but no bueno.
Has a tight little body to it, though, but I can't detect ANY oak aging in this thing.
Has some drinkability for the ABV, thats about it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a tan head. In the aroma, oaky and a small bourbon like presence. In the taste, oaky, notes of bourbon, a touch watery but decent. A small bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry oak and small bourbon presence in the aftertaste. A bit thin and a touch watery, with a decent flavor. Not to shabby.

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Photo of themind
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
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 JLeege
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this as a free throw in on my last trip to the beer store. Lets give it a whirl.

Appearance- pours deep brown w/ tan head. Little lacing.

Smell- roasted malt, some vanilla, some soy.

Taste- dark fruits, roasted malt, a bit of bourbon from the oak chips, caramel. The alcohol is hid nicely. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel- much thinner than i was expecting.

Overall- Not bad. Fairly complex actually, but just didnt do much for me. I wouldn't spend my money on this, but for free I'm glad I got to try it.

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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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