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 ppoitras
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light brown head over the cloudy brown brew. Head recedes gradually, with lasting lace. Aroma is sweet and oaky.

Taste starts chocolatey sweet with a touch of fusel upfront, creamy in the middle, with a lightly boozy close and a lingering aftertaste, . Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is alright. Doesn't quite all come together as well as I would hope, but not too bad.

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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 AndyAvalanche
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Dark brown in the liquid portion in the thickest regions it's black with brown highlights. Dark tan cap with mostly small bubbles, not much in the way of lacing.

Smell is adequate to good. It's pretty roasty, a strong malt backbone, gives some slight hints of chocolate. However the strongest aromas are vanilla and oak.

Taste again has some roasted malt qualities. Oak, vanilla and some tannins. All meshes together pretty well, not overly strong though.

The mouthfeel is close to full, but a little thinner than I expected. Carbonation is slightly flat, but not too bad. Slight bite from the alcohol and a little bit of an earthy finish at the end, sort of acidic. Fairly drinkable, more of a sipper. Overall worth trying.

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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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Photo of SerialHiker
3.51/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with caramel hues along the edges, not transparent at all…very little head formed or hangs around for the party…doesn’t really liven up much when I swirl it around…(3/5)

Smell: Bourbon oak aroma right off the bat, no doubting this spent some time maturing in a barrel…I’m also getting caramel, sweet fruit (cherry, strawberry), dark fruit (raisin, fig), alcohol heat, roasted malts, vanilla and some light chocolate notes playing delicately in the background…(3.75/5)

Taste: Hmm…lot’s going on here…there’s the obvious bourbon oak aged flavor, it’s very strong and right up front…sweet and dark fruits (cherry, strawberry, fig, raisin), alcohol, faint chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, yeast, faint green apple...maybe the faintest hint of citrus hops…it’s roasted and sweet all at the same time…(3.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, light carbonation…no real bitterness to speak of…melts away to a bourbon/oak/vanilla after taste…it’s a little weak in this department…(3.25/5)

Overall: Classic good, not great…tons of roasted malts and bourbon flavor going on here and playing well, but there’s something missing that would take this ale to another level…for the higher ABV, it’s very drinkable and light…if it were a little chewier, more of a “sipper” style brew, I think it would be rated much higher…as it is, it’s alright, but nothing that stands out…(3.5/5)

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Photo of JamesMN
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Black with decent clarity even though you can't see through it because of the color. Thin light brown head with some nice froth around the edges.

Aroma: A lot of nice characteristics here, all slightly subdued. Vanilla, oak, roasted malt, char, caramel, and a touch of pineapple.

Taste: Starts with lightly roasted malts that really aren't all that special. The special part of this one is all in the finish. Right away after each sip there is a warmth on the palate and then a smokey flavor emerges that is quite interesting. A mix of smoked oak and alcohol. Not getting too much bourbon flavor. Very moderate bitterness here. I think I'd file this one more under Imperial Brown Ale.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin for 9.1% ABV but that lends to an ease of drinkability. The effervescence can be a bit much. I would not session this as one is plenty.

Final Thoughts: For what it is and the price point ($8.99 for a four pack) it's not a bad deal. It would work well as an introductory beer for someone just getting into oak aged ales. However, it doesn't pack the bourbon punch that was expected and lacks in body. Would I drink it again? Let's put it this way, I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a minimal head that reduced to nothing quickly. It is a pitch black color with no clarity, but you can see bubbles coming up the top of the snifter.

Smell: bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee, molasses, sweet aromas, and oak.

Taste: A nice blend of above flavors. Some lingering bitterness in the end and the boozy alcohol is hidden well too.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation, and a warming feeling on this cold winter day.

Overall: A nice ASA that does well with the addition of bourbon oak chips. Some slight off flavors, but still a good beer overall.

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Photo of RashyGrillCook
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a 12oz bottle into my CCB snifter.

A: Pours like a stout. Dark, viscous and with minimal head.

S: Lots of roasted malts, some smoky oaky bourbon sweetness as well. The nose was very surprising. Scored high in this category.

T&M: Again, HUGE roasted malts right up front. Bourbon and oak are almost non existent. Maybe some oaky vanilla notes on the finish. Feel is a little numbing on the tongue.

O: I had no real expectations when I cracked this but was pleasantly surprised and am really glad I gave this beer a try. I would buy this again and would definitely recommend it to those who like roasted malt bombs.

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Photo of bashiba
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep clear brown with dark ruby highlights, a light creamy tan head.

Has a sweet caramel and chocolate nose with a touch of oak. Good just a bit mild.

A nice mixture of chocolate and caramel malts, a bit sweet with some light touches of oak and vanilla.

The mouthfeel has a nice silky creamy quality to it.

A pretty drinkable strong ale, drinks like a nice imperial vanilla porter to me, has more chocolate and vanilla qualities than it does bourbon, but the oak does come through a touch.

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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 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 Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bourbon beer that wasn't bad, its like a black beer. Malts, including chocolate malts, made it pretty drinkable. aged just under a year. Black body, with a nice licorice spice.
Medium mouthfeel, and understated carbonation.Bottle from Flanders Ned.

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Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: murky, extremely dark brown hue with a one-finger cap of frothy tan foam. Dark for a beer of the style, but I like it.

Smell: rich, roasty aroma with a nice dark fruit component of plum and date, along with a hint of raspberry and cherry. Reminds me of a dubbel or quadrupel; good stuff.

Taste: chocolatey, roasty and a little bit fruity. There's not a lot of dynamism in the flavor here, but the first wallop is pretty attractive to me.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with a good carbonation and a nice, smooth, silky creaminess. Good.

Overall: I quite like this beer. I'm rating it a lot higher than other reviewers, but despite its provenance (Cold Spring isn't necessarily a strong-ale powerhouse), this beer has a lot of good flavor and a smooth drinkability. Good on ya, Cold Spring!

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Photo of BeerMe315
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark color blocks most light from shining through glass, carbonation is low, head and its retention is low to non-existent. Looks a little flat but the pour promises a good body underneath.

Smell - Typical smell for the style. Alcohol (bourbon obviously), malty back bone with nice roast but not quit coffee.

Taste - Good balance for the style. I like how the roasted malt comes through the alcohol taste. Good bourbon flavor that lingers just enough, then you want another sip. Hops hide far the background. Fairly strong flavor but very drinkable.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation levels, but it works, seeming to give the beer more lean towards a heavier body. I love the body. I know it's a 'sipping ale' and not a porter, but I expect a good thicker-than-normal body to accompany bourbon beers.

Overall - Once past the lack luster head, where the low carbonation manages to work with the thicker body, I enjoyed the body in this beer and its very tasty flavor. I was planning on just having one, but instead enjoyed three in a row, and then went to bed happy.
However, with that said, could this beer be improved?... Yes. Do I recommend it?... Yes.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out dark brown with two fingers of tan head that lasts for about two minutes, receding back without leaving any lacing. Oddly thin body for a strong ale, medium carbonation levels.

Smells quite boozey with bourbon, but it's not really a sort of well-balanced bourbon aroma. It's more chocolate-vanilla smell than wood smell and unusually sweet and ripe in tone, reminding me more of a rail bourbon than a name brand. The flavor is similar to the nose, but at a relatively muted level and somewhat drier compared to the nose. And the malts are somewhat lost in the shuffle at times underneath the bourbon. It's an average sort of beginner's introduction to bourbon beers, but overall it gives off the impression of being raw, unbalanced, and I'm not quite sure that cellaring would fix it given the odd disparity of sweetness between the nose and the flavor.

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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 n2185
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with two fingers of khaki head that recedes to a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Caramel and vanilla dominate at first with oak and some sweet bourbon aromas. Simple, but pleasant.

T: There are some roasted malt flavors up front with oak and vanilla following. The finish is bready and slightly charred with some alcohol and bourbon flavors.

M: Medium-thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is more carbonated than I expected, which works with the relatively lighter body.

O: A solid beer, overall. Not terribly complex, but enjoyable enough.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with loads of heavy, ruby highlights and a somewhat thin, light khaki-colored cap that recedes to a thin sheet atop the dark brew within a minute or so. Aroma is very reminiscent of a winter warmer or a BSDA Christmas-time specialty. Sweet vanilla, burnt and toasted brown sugar, molasses, sweet dark fruits; figs, plums, booze-soaked raisins. Some spiciness comes out, maybe with ginger or a touch of cinnamon. Heavy oak and wood aromas tie everything together. The taste isn't too far off, starts out sweet with dense, heavy fig and anise flavors that come hand-in-hand with a high level of sweetness; brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup. Booze is a bit heavy and noticeable, along with the musky presence of oak and wet wood. Very malt heavy all around, very little hop presence to be found, if any at all (I can't detect it). Some vanilla hangs around in the dry, warm finish, along with a faint woody flavor and a mild sweetness. Medium-thick body, silky and smooth with relatively low carbonation.

Didn't have high expectations for this one, but I actually enjoyed it. Nice flavor, though the alcohol won't hurt to be toned down just a bit.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink. Smell is of toasted malt, dark fruit, cocoa, wood, and bourbon. Taste is much the same with distinct roasty and soy sauce flavors as well. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that has a good aroma but the flavor just doesn't match up.

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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 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 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 superspak
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours almost pitch black color with a nice 1 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some good spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, prune, molasses, toffee, vanilla, toast, bourbon, oak, earth, and light herbal spiciness. Nice and enjoyable aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of big caramel, molasses, raisin, prune, toast, toffee, biscuit, oak, earth, herbal, and light bourbon. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, dark fruit, earth, oak, and light bourbon on the finish for a bit. Very nice flavor balance and complexity; the bourbon and oak flavors compliment this very nicely without being overpowering. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very nice creamy, thick, and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with pretty much no warming noticed at all after the finish. Extremely smooth and easy to sip on. Overall this is a damn nice bourbon oak aged ale. Very nice flavor balance and complexity; and very smooth to sip on for being over 9%. Very enjoyable stuff.

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Photo of B33R501
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good little beer aged on bourbon oak chips? Could benefit from the full barrel aged treatment I suppose. Good, not great, had just the one single, included in another reasonably priced 4 Pak. Pretty similar in quality to Weyerbacher Heresy.

Black, good head, carbonation. Mild aromas of oak, bourbon, little smoke. Taste follows, very nice dry, tart finish that lingers awhile.

Very decent, I would have no problem at all with an entire 4 Pak.

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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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