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 BeerFMAndy
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip. 9.1% ABV, no date.

A - Clear dark brown through the pour but black in the glass, 3 Lick is topped by moderate tan foam with ok retention but great sheets of Swiss-cheese-looking lace left over.

S - Toasted, bready malts fill the background with a pleasant molasses aroma. Notes of mocha and vanilla come through with the smooth bourbon oak chips. Mellow hops help balance in the background.

T - While there's a decent bourbon oak chip flavor going on that imparts mocha and vanilla notes, the beer the chips are added to is a bit thin. Toasted malt and woody, earthy hops are balanced nicely but don't really come to fruition.

M - Medium-bodied but for the aroma, the beer feels pretty thin. Somewhat smooth though and medium carbonation is nice but the body feels slightly lacking. Warm alcohol finish.

D - The alcohol is hidden well in this. It's got some good aspects going on but seems to be lacking something. Decent drinkability though.

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Photo of Chaz
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, ruby-amber in color topped with a medium-dark tan head which falls after a couple of minutes, leaving a small, thin cap in the middle of the glass and a rather fine ring of sticky lace. When held to the light there are some golden-orange highlights to this one.

A hint of smoke, along with broader bourbon and oak on the nose. In fact, this bourbon/oak presence is fairly strong, as I can smell it from a few feet away -- not bad at all if you like a slightly-smokey, oaky/whiskey barreled strong ale! Slight tangy on the nose, too, perhaps indicative of some funk and yeasty-beasties left in the wood -- either that or the wicked barmy Cold Spring house yeast strain.

Smokey, woody, and bittersweet on the first sip, this one is also livelier on the palate than I recall from earlier visits. As the carbonation is only average, the liveliness makes me wonder: could it be spontaneous bottle re-fermentation? Seems to be rather full-bodied on the first sip, but in fact it's closer to medium-bodied, and aided with the aforementioned liveliness makes this bigger beer a dangerously-drinkable sipper!

The bourbon barrel treatment almost eliminates some of the lighter fruit characteristics, but they are there in fits and starts: pear and golden apple, along with even lighter fig and plum. There's also a very mild tartness here than somehow adds an element of dryness toward the end of the palate -- impressive.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both fairly good here, and overall this is an above average beer, even for such a broad and diverse style as "American Strong Ale". Indeed, this is one of the best beers to ever pass through the doors of the brewery at Cold Spring -- no matter what name ultimately graces the package. VIVA LA JOHN HENRY!

Served chilled, in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter : )

NOTE: Bottle code -- JCBJ 0915

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Photo of imagese
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
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 horshack7
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: From a twelve ounce bottle. This beer is well regardless of you slice it it's dark with a two finger head.

Aroma: Fruity hop notes that do have a roasted character to them. Malts are roasted and give off a little dryness in the nose. Dark breads present themselves well. A small amount of alcohol but not a bad thing.

Taste: Creamy mouthfeel. Roasted malt and hops are up front with alcohol notes along the way. Graininess as it roams on the pallate shows up middle to end.

Notes: Not too shaby at all a good one to pick up and I shall pick up again. Cheers.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.61/5  rDev -29.5%
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 herman77
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark pour, pretty much black with a light brown head that looks pretty nice for being higher abv.

S: Oak is very evident. Bourbon, Chocolate, molasses, vanilla and dark malts. Smells pretty good.

T: Oaky, chocolatey and bourbon are the main flavors. A bit of roasted malt, vanilla and molasses too. A touch of hops can be found near the finish. Bourbon flavor shows itself more in the finish. A bit rough around the edges, but still good.

M: Body is a bit light for being a big beer. A tad creamy. Lower carbonation

D: Pretty good for being a barrel aged high abv ale. Not sure what the age is on this one, but it seems fairly fresh since the bourbon flavors are still very evident and a bit powerful.

By far, this is gotta be the best offering from Cold Spring Brewery.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.62/5  rDev +24.9%
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 womencantsail
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The pour is a dark brown color with some black cherry sort of highlights when held up to the light. Very little head formation, just a thin ring of tan bubbles.

S: The nose starts off with some sweet vanilla notes followed by a definite dark fruit aroma. Strong notes of prune, plum, and raisin along with a moderate booziness.

T: The flavor is sort of flat and not as intense as I would have expected from the nose. Some tannic oak character on the back end along with a sweet malt base and caramel coming closer to the front.

M: The body is medium with a low but smooth carbonation.

D: The nose and mouthfeel are nice, but the flavor falls way short. Even after letting this one warm up a fair amount, it was still pretty plain and woody.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
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 deadbody
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprisingly good offering from Cold Spring. Pours a good dark color, with a small head, my bottle had a thick yeast residue at the end of the bottle. Very boozy smell, has a bit of a malty undertone to the smell, but booze is the strong characteristic which makes sense in a beer with 9.1% alcohol. Taste is very good, roasty and dark, with a bit of a booze aftertaste. Mouthfeel is what you expect from a dark ale. A bit thin but not bad. Drinkability is great. Easy to drink. Would be really easy to drink a couple of these too quickly and get pretty drunk pretty quick.

Loved it and I will be buying more.

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Photo of taez555
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brownish/black body with a small tan head. To be honest I was a little surprised by the color. Since it's listed as an basic ale, a beer that pours more like a porter wasn't exactly what I was expecting to see.

Nose is a mix of malt, chocolate, even a little licorce, some oak and mild bourbon flavors. Not over the top at all, but very nice and inviting.

Taste is medium to full bodied with an initial hit of a very root/earth sort of licorise and candy malt flavor mixed with wood and some very sweet bourbon, maple syrup and touches of vanilla. I can't really taste any hops in this beer, but it has a nice solid backbone of bitterness that never shows it's face but balances nicely. Very simple and not in your face for a 9.1%abv beer. Ends very clean and simple.

Really an interesting beer that rides a fine line between Ale, porter, stout, imperial something, oak aged, bourbon and whatnot. It's never over the top anywhere, but very nicely balanced. Really a very good beer.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.57/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a snifter.

Thick, opaque maple in color. Not much of a head besides a thin, off-white ring around the snifter's sides. A few traces of thin lacing with not much strength.

Rich, creamy toffee and caramel aromas that mingle well with a range of sourly, acidic fruit: orange, pear, and green apple. Sharp bourbon whaffs give the nose a nice punch without overpowering the other aromas.

Creamy caramel and toffee richness that is short-lived once the bourbon traces knife their way through this ale. The alcohol presence is acidic and strong, but a bit too much like vinegar. Strong, flattering notes of vanilla with a thin, milk chocolate aftertaste.

Almost full in body; velvety smooth in spots, but primarily vaporous and slick. Texturally unbalanced.

Some distinct and flattering flavors; however, the imbalance both in flavor and texture make it tough to have more than one.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on 10-25-10

Pours very dark and black, with a little light brown around the top edge. Just a thin ring of head, that slides down intact.

Smell is very sweet and malty, almost cloying. Lots of booze, a tiny bit of bourbon and oak, and aromas of dark fruit and molasses. Not bad, just a little too thick.

Taste is surprising. Huge woody sweetness dominates, just tons of oak flavor. The alcohol is there too, leaving a slightly drying finish. Different, if not very good.

Mouthfeel is very thin, which I think is a bad thing, can't tell.

Drinkability gets better as it goes, but maybe it's the booze working.

Overall, different and cheap, so try it.

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Photo of garymuchow
2.75/5  rDev -25.7%
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 srandycarter
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark brown pretty close to black. Lots of chunky sediment can be seen, though. Off white head almost non existent, some cling lace.

S - Coffee and chocolate, somewhat smoky, boozy.

T - Chalky, mocha, boozy.

M - All over the place. Huge beer and not well hidden or balanced.

D - Hard time having more than one.

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Photo of smcolw
3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Light head that settles to a single bubble layer. Any lace that appears slides down the the glass, leaving none. The color is near black where no light shines through.

Dark malt aroma, slightly sweet. No apparent alcohol or hop. Mildly toasty.

Relatively tasteless on the initial sip. That gives way to a strong molasses, toasted malt flavor with a powerful alcohol content. Very thin body for the style with an equally low carbonation.

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Photo of felipe2toes
2.85/5  rDev -23%
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 slayer3604
3.16/5  rDev -14.6%
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 jmerloni
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Absolutely jet black. Jet black the whole pour. Head is moderate and lacing is moderate as well. Totally black. Kind of impressive.

S - Buttery chocolate smell. Hops as well.

T - Follows the nose on the dot.

M - Slick like oil. Not a dry finish at all but a lingering milk chocolate one.

D - Not real drinkable. Pretty mammoth and intimidating and intense. Probably wouldn't get this again, but a pretty good beer overall.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours an almost black to very dark brown color with no head, and a consistent cream lacing ring with moderate carbonation. Has some tan colored floaties in the bottom of the glass.

S - Light bourbon, a little bit nutty, traces of vanilla and smokiness with mild expresso.

T - A very generous amount of caramel sweet malt with a huge bourbon character, very cake-like and woody with some smokiness. All the flavors blend evenly and immediately, staying constant throughout the entire sip. The caramel flavor nips the tip of the tongue while the dry smoked oak bourbon flavor sits in the background with a small amount of vanilla mixed in. Not overly deep or complex, just very one dimensional and up front. Also has some expresso and bittersweet chocolate. Coats the mouth with a bitter sweet chocolate and mild coffee bean coating.

M - Dry. Medium light body with mild carbonation on the tongue, moderately clean finish.

D - Very good, but not sure I'd buy this again.

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Photo of JLeege
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
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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Photo of SykDoc
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a dark brown, opaque when held to the light. A less than 1/8 inch dark tan head forms and reduces to almost no lacing.

The aroma is quite good with a blend of dark fruits and caramel malt sweetness. Almost soy sauce without ruining the other scents.

The taste is a sweet blast of caramel malt and dark fruit with some brown sugar making it feel like syrup. Again just a little like soy sauce.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied but has a unique denseness to it. The carbonation is lacking a little to balance the sweetness. A lingering dryness hangs over.

Overall, this is an okay beer and I can enjoy it but would not want a whole lot at any given sitting. Some alcohol presence, but not too much.

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Photo of silentjay
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a very murky brown (almost black) with almost no head with no retention and little lacing.

aroma is of oak, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, a bit of teriyaki and soy sauce and a touch of chocolate.

taste follows the nose nicely providing vanilla, caramel, bourbon, oak and caramel flavors to produce a very sweet brew. brown sugar, dried sweetened dark fruits, and molasses add to the sweetness as well as add some distinct flavors. hops are not apparent. a tiny touch of booze adds another element. seems like it wouldn't have been a good beer without the barrel aging, but with it, its pretty damn decent.

medium bodied with barely any carbonation with a bit of a syrupy sweet finish, but some bourbony burning on the back end.

drinks rather well for a beer that skirts any style guidelines. Decently complex, but not terrific. I would definitely try this again, as it was a complete impulse buy... if you put the words bourbon and aged on a beer label, price it under $10, and I will try it. This didn't let me down, though it didn't quite wow me either.

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Photo of jlindros
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours very dark, like a muddy brown pond water (in a good way) but flat, no head at all, thanks to the stupid screw cap.

N: Lots of malts! Very malty, with dark malts, some sweetness, little syrupy, slight barleywine-ish, some barley, some fruits and raisin, etc. Touch of bourbon with all that.

T: Very barleywine-esque again. Lots of thick malts, slightly syrupy, some fruit, raisin, little brown sugar, etc. Then comes bourbon. Quite a bit of a bourbon flavor, nothin in particular just a generic bourbon flavor. WIth that comes a little oak too, as well as a hint of vanilla, molasses, and some type of syrup I can't put my finger on.

M: Medium to heavier body, slightly syrupy, with almost no carbonation.

F: THe booze starts to show a little towards the end. It gets a slight boozy taste as well as some alcohol warmth and tingle. It's still sweet on the finish, with a little more barley, more syrups, brown sugar, etc. Also the bourbon sticks around through the finish and lingers on the tongue. More molasses as well on the finish. No real oak here though.

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Photo of cbutova
4.26/5  rDev +15.1%
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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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 415 ratings