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
415 Ratings
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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Ratings: 415 |  Reviews: 173
Photo of mactrail
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black malt and toasty flavors. Raisiny and roasted, like a dark Belgian. A pleasant boozy smell with a nice whack of vanilla and whiskey. Rich mouthfeel but not viscous. Slightly sweet but has a fruity tartness and maybe a little sour from the burnt barley. A bit of a winey character. Not tasting overly strong of alcohol, the chocolate malt and woody flavors seem to make it play well. An interesting turn on the black beers, kind of a free spirit. You could call it an Old Ale, as it has that hint of rusty flavor, but somehow different from the big stouts.

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Photo of JDizzle
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

It's a deep brown to black color with a brown head that chills around the glass like a fresh brewed coffee would.

It smells pretty good, malty with a little bit of oak. Promising?

Here is where it lets you down. It has a good bit of oakiness that makes you think it's special, but the it doesn't deliver as a oak aged ale should. It's hoppy up front with a big carmel backbone but just doesn't deliver. It's bitter and has a good plum taste to it with a smokey malt feel, but comes up short.

Drinkability is good considering a 9.1% abv. It's priced good as well-$9.99 4-pack

Overall, I would seek this out again if I had nothing else close in the sto that compares. It does not leave a lasting impression, but not bad.

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Photo of cindiwindi1025
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- dark chestnut color, no carbonation retention or lacing at all

s- right off the bat was booze, then oak

t- burnt carmel, coffee, oak, bourbon booze does not taste boozy like it smells

m- smooooth. very drinkable. the carbonation bubbles are very, very tiny and just the right amount.

o- a very good beer, i will be getting this one again

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Photo of pBRale
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From tasting notes on 8-19-11

Appearance: This beer pours a deep brown to black color with a light cocoa head that slowly condenses and has great retention, leaving a thick lacing down the entire glass.

Smell: Roasted malts, hint of cocoa, faint hint of alcohol on the nose.

Taste: Heavy roasted character, strong hints of an earthy/oaky taste and a prominent alcohol aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light, a medium-bodied feel that goes down very smooth considering abv.

Overall: A tasty brew with lots of character, surprisingly drinkable, and a must-try from Cold Spring Brewing Co.

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Photo of Bung
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. This was actually listed as a stout where I had it, glad to see it's listed differently.
Not a terribly dark brown pour, few whispy bubbles of off white is about it.

Aroma, molasses, caramel some bourbon soaked oak.

Taste about the same. Mostly toffee and boubon booze. The oakiness lingers.

Solid medium body, more carbonation than in the appearance. Pretty warming. Actually reminded me quite a bit of New Holland Dragons Milk.

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
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 gatornation
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a dark black color with a slight garnet hue with a black cherry 1 finger head that dissipates fast with almost no collar or lacing

S- was oak and light smoke with earth and dark fruit smells a touch of whiskey ans sweet caramel a dash of vanilla bean

T- was sweet with an oak chip and wood taste mixed with smoked malts,in the middle dried currant fruit like plums and raisins were present some earth and spice with a smoked bourbon finish

M- was full with medium carbonation lots of boozy woody malts it was a tongue coater

O- could only drink one of these both for ABV and thickness and robust taste its a tongue and palate coater but a tasty one

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
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 Mdog
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, with an ok head that fades out pretty quickly.

Smell: Lots going on, sweet, fruit, booze, chocolate, vanilla all make an appearance.

Taste: Vanilla, booze, woody flavors. The bourbon chips definitely make their presence known. Sweetness, light fruitiness.

Drinkability: Though the booze is detectable, it is not a difficult drinker. Not too expensive for an "aged" beer too.

I finally got to try this beer as Casanova's had a single. You can definitely taste the contributions of the bourbon oak chips in this beer, but the base beer doesn't add too much. A pretty good beer, definitely the best Cold Spring offering I've had.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Company last week for $2.50 at The Lager Mill. This beer just arrived at The Lager Mill, I never heard of it or heard of the brewery before, so since I am always down to try beer from a new brewery I figured I would give it a shot and see how it goes. No visible bottling date but I'm sure it's a 2011 vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it is just a simple drawing of a man working on the train tracks shaded in red, simple yet classy. It poured a very deep dark brown color that is so dark it is virtually black, it looks like dark brown motor oil. It only had a thin ring of head that looked pretty weak, but it still managed to leave a little bit of lacing behind.

S- The aroma has a lot of different things going on. It starts out with loads of sweet caramel malts that impart a pretty sweet and caramel like aroma along with some brown sugar, candied sugar, and vanilla. I also got a little bit of chocolate and a good amount of dark fruits that seems to stick out from the rest. The most dominating aroma was the bourbon, it wasn't as strong and robust as Backwoods Bastard, but it stick out the most and doesn't over power the Strong Ale base of this beer.

T- The first thing I pick up is a lot of malts, the malts seem to be more roasted in the flavor then they were in the aroma and I like that. They impart a wide range of flavors like chocolate, caramel, vanilla, dark fruits, and candied sugar. The sweetness was on the medium side which fits this beer nicely. The bourbon was not nearly as strong as I thought it was going to be, it has to be the lightest amount of bourbon that I have gotten from any bourbon related beer. The bourbon goes nicely with the base strong ale flavors and it blends nicely instead of overpowering. The finish has a medium light amount of bitterness and nice smokey flavor that stays with you for a little bit.

M- Smooth, sticky, and on the heavy side of being medium bodied, just right for this beer. Carbonation was light and pretty weak, I don't expect a lot of carbonation from this style but this one had barley any and it wouldn't hurt to bump the carbonation up a couple notches.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good American Strong Ale. Most beers with the word bourbon in their name have a pretty dominating bourbon aspect to them, this one didn't and I thought that worked well with this brew. The lightness of the bourbon must be because it was aged on bourbon oak chips instead of being aged in the barrel, it seems like by using the chips you have more control on how bourbony the beer will be instead of just throwing it in the barrel and praying for the best. The nicely blended bourbon aspect of this beer would make this a great beer to introduce people to bourbon beers, it gives you a taste of the bourbon but it doesn't hit you over the head with bourbon and that can be too much for people who aren't used to it. What I liked most about this beer was it's balance and how nicely blended the flavors were, what I liked least about this beer was it's lack of carbonation, it was pretty close to being flat. I would buy this beer again, it has a good price point compared to the other bourbon beesr and it would make a good go to bourbon beer. If bourbon beers are your thing, give it a try, its nice to have something other then a stout that has the bourbon treatment, and if your are wanting to get into bourbon beers this is a pretty good place to start. This was a good first impression for Cold Spring Brewing Company, before this beer this brewery wasn't even on my radar but now that I have tried it I will be on the look out for other beers from them, good job guys thanks for making a nice Strong Ale with bourbon flavors and not a bourbon bomb.

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Photo of techfed87
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very little head. Color is pitch black. Smells of sweet caramels and dark-roasted grains.

First sip is a bit mellower than what I was expecting. Usually when breweries are so bold as to market a beer as aged in bourbon barrels, it comes off as something a bit more intense, like a Bourbon County of a Kentucky Breakfast. Maybe the fine details are in the statement "aged ON Bourbon Oak Chips" and not specifically "bourbon barrels". Either way, the beer is still very nuanced and has a great body to it. In fact, I might recommend it over some of the other beers, as this may be much more palatable than the rest to someone who's never tried such a style before.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Bottle shared by Javier, thanks! After taunting us with ph1 and Veritas 007, he settled on John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale. A cruel man.

A: Very dark brown with a frothy light brown head. 

S: Lots of oak with chocolate and light bourbon. There's a little vanilla, as well as caramel and brown sugar.

S: Light chocolate with faint oak and bourbon. Moderately roasted malt and a low earthy bitterness. Faint alcohol. 

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation and a smooth, sticky mouthfeel.

Overall: A better than expected oaked strong ale.

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Photo of rye726
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well quite the name this one has. It wa spoured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass at cellar temp. A dark brown with a thin tan head. Nose has big malts, oak and whiskey. Also some vanilla, coconut, candy and booze. Taste is thin and lacks complexity. As is the body.

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Photo of Hershdawg
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle to Avery flute

A:black color with little head. It dissipates quickly.

S:bourbon oak, some dark malts, nothing impressive but decent for a porter or stout in bourbon barrels.

Taste: Bourbon, 130 caramel malt, not much complexity

Mouthfeel: Its thick but its to be expected for the style

Overall: This is pretty average for anything even trying to do anything barrel aged. It lacks the complexity of many bourbon barrel aged beers

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Photo of Duff27
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Thin layer of tan head on top of a very dark brown beer. below average head retention but decent enough spot lacing.

S- Smells boozy up front. Dark fruits perhaps.

T- Rich caramel malts. "Buttery vanilla". Sweet boozy finish.

M- Medium to medium-heavy mouthfeel. Slick and creamy.

D/O- Pleasantly surprised by this one, didn't really know what to expect when I picked up a single. Had always saw ads for it in beer magazines and it looked interesting enough. Would drink again.

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Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to MarcatGSB for this, thanks for the extra! Above average head retention & good lacing

Pours ebony with a fnger+ of brown head.

S: Oaky, smokey & vanilla notes

T: Follows the nose, nice caramel notes as well up front. Warming booze wraps around the edges as this warms up, vanilla & oak are hanging in there fine. Finishes dry, oaky with dark fruit & faint figgyness

MF: Medium bodied/chewy with a bit too much carbonation, nice warming effect to this...

I liked this. This is easily the best beer I've had from these guys by far. Would hapily buy this again if it makes it down this way. God knows enough of their cheap crap doea...

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Photo of Trilogy31
2.71/5  rDev -26.8%
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 TheDudeRules
2.62/5  rDev -29.2%
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 adman08
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very dark mohagany, some deep red with minimal creamy brownish head.
S-Slight aroma of bourbon with some chocolate and a slight sour smell.
T-Rich chocolate malt flavor with some bourbon but not too much.
M-Thick and malty with moderate carbonation.
Overall and interesting beer. I really don't see many american dark strong ales around but compared to the few I've had this is very good. Similar to a bourbon barrel aged stout with less of the smokey hoppy harshness that some stronger stouts have. A very smooth easy drinking beer for a dark ale that is around 9% abv.

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Photo of BruChef
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a brandy snifter, poured a dark ruby brown with little head retention and some decent lacing. The smell is slightly of vanilla, bourbon, oak, and cola. Taste is similar to smell, just less of each. Generic cola, vanilla extract, and a root beer-like, sassafras characteristic which is some what unappealing. Could use just a bit more in the hop department as the finish is slightly unbalanced.
The body of the beer seemed thin as i poured but the mouth feel is actually pretty solid on this beer. Medium carbonation, and coats the mouth like an English porter, which is good considering this is a strong ale. Alcohol is well subdued making it pretty drinkable, especially considering it's over 9% abv.
I'm glad i finally tried this beer but probably wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours dark brown, almost black, with 3/4 inch of thin head. Reduces quickly, leaving substantial lacing.

S-Oak, caramel, chocolate malts, frothed milk.

T/M-Moderately sweet, with plenty of caramel sweetness. The oak chips are well integrated, and contribute a roundness to the finish. Body is soft and full, with a lingering oaky finish.

O-Fine for what it is, but not terribly interesting. It's very easy to drink and masks the alcohol well. Overall this is a well made beer that I would not hesitate to try again.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger brown head that fades slowly leaving traces of lace. Brown/black color, no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Nose is bourbon, flavor is a mellow oak bourbon. Higher ABV is hidden. $2.65 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.57/5  rDev +23.5%
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 mdfb79
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. 2010 vintage received in the Birthday BIF from jyounger30; thanks Jay!

a - Pours a deep brown color with two inches of tan head and light carbonation evident. Head lasts for two to three minutes.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, caramel malts, cream, and chocolate. Smell is amazing and not too hot. The vanilla/cream comes through a lot, which I really like.

t - Tastes of oak, very light bourbon, light cream and vanilla, and bready malts. Taste was good, but a big step down from the nose. Seemed a bit faded and maybe watered down.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy body; quite nice.

d - I got to try about 3 oz's of this a few months ago and remembered liiking it, so I was really glad to get a bottle of this to review. I remembered it having a great smell, which it lived up to. Lots of cream and vanilla mixing with chocolate and caramel malts, with nice bourbon and oak added to it. Unfortunately the taste seemed a little flat and faded, though it was still decent. A nice beer I would like to try fresh sometime.

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Photo of Soneast
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown to black in color. Nice and clear, growing a quarter inch sized, brown colored head that dissipates quickly, leaving minor lace.

Aroma is decidedly malt forward, with some mild roast character, chocolate and maybe a hint of toasted marshmallow. Certainly not much bourbon character, if any.

The flavor starts out with mostly chocolate and mild roast character. Then I start to pick up a bit of wood and marshmallow, and right when I expect a bit of bourbon, I get let down. This beer has no bourbon character that I can detect. Sure there are some "woody" notes, but certainly no bourbon.

I dunno, I mean John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale is a pretty good beer overall, rather stout-like, I'd say, but there is next to no Bourbon character, to me it tastes more like a lightly-hopped RIS than anything. Good, but not as advertised, is my final assessment. In the beer's defense, there is next to no booziness making it pretty dang drinkable.

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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 415 ratings