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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Ratings: 414 |  Reviews: 173
Photo of Hershdawg
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
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 NEhophead
3.57/5  rDev -3%
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 ThisWangsChung
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours an extremely dark cola color. It *almost* looks like a stout, but not quite. The head is about a fingers worth of mocha shaded head, with some nice creaminess. Retention isn't fantastic, though some decent (if thin looking) lacing is left behind.

S: Sweet and bourbon-y. The sweet (most noticeably vanilla) and the bourbon-y notes upon opening it up are quite pleasant, later being supplanted by caramel, toffee, and cherries. Aromatically, it's a bit too mild, but has decent (if not stunning) depth.

T: At first, it starts with a barrage of vanilla sweetness. It introduces the same problem I had with Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Stout, its flavor is overly reminiscent of cola, Dr. Pepper in this case. The bourbon character is there (if rudimentary), but there's no oak character, either. After the vanilla sweetness opens the palate, it shifts somewhat abruptly to a roasted nut character and afterwards, into a clean yet dry toffee laden finish. Actually, the finish has a strange bitter element to it; it's also a touch leathery as well. Thankfully it's not boozy in the least. Good complexity - in an unrefined, messy way that is. Having said that, there's just something very, very likeable about this brew. Warts and all, I'm genuinely enjoying this a lot.

M: The feel is airy, decently carbonated, and somewhat light. A thicker, creamier feel would help suit the sweetness better. Then again, with the light feel, dry finish, and lack of alcohol, it's surprisingly drinkable. It's lack of a decadent feel is its biggest problem.

O: Flawed yet endearing. That's my takeaway from this. It's hardly perfect, and honestly, that's why I enjoy it so much. This is one of those few beers that take you on a wild ride - some of the stops on the journey aren't the greatest, but the end result is something that leaves you craving for more. I could do another bottle of this, honestly.

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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 bushbeer75
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz brown bottle with a hard to read "produced on" date of 7/24/12 ink jetted on the shoulder
John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale poured into my tulip glass a very dark brown and some might say black hue. A 1-finger tan head was produced and quickly shrank to a thin collar of foam with no lacing. The nose is of roasted malt with chocolate and smoke also noted. The smell of bourbon and oak was almost nonexistent. The taste like the nose was dominated by roasted malt and a stronger presence of chocolate and bourbon was noticed. Mouth feel is pretty smooth, a little chewy and medium bodied.

This ale is approximately 3-years old. As a result of its age I feel it has lost some of its bourbon and oak flavor, However, I have not had a fresh ale so I have nothing to compare it to.

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Photo of taez555
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
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 LambicLion
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of d_cook_roc
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of gregy55902
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

3 Lick Spiker ale, 9.1%, bottle poured into brandy snifter

A - Pours a very dark brown into the glass with minimal head on a gentle pour. Sitting in the glass, it almost looks like an (under-carbonated) imperial stout.

S - Molasses, brown sugar, bourbon, oak. The smell warns that this beer may be overly sweet.

T - Follows the nose with an almost syrup-like quality. It's like they added a dollop of liquid molasses to every bottle. That being said, the alc is hidden incredibly well.

M - Decent but a bit low on carbonation. Doesn't really have the staying power of many other strong ales.

O - Good beer but not great. Could really benefit from the full treatment of barrel-aging, instead of just aging it with oak chips. I support MN microbrewing best I can, but I usually have to look to a company outside the state to find something I can really enjoy.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours dark black with an inch of dense tan head that holds on tightly. The nose is faint alcohol (that gets hotter as it warms), coffee, oak, aluminum (also much more pronounced when warm), and caramel wood sugar. The taste brings forward more of the yeast's fruitiness, which i expected to find in nose. There is some subtle roastiness in the beer's finish that dries out the beer's semi-sweet, medium body.The bourbon/wood doesn't carry through to the beer's taste as I would have preferred, but it's very smooth and drinkable nonetheless. Although this beer is labeled as a strong ale I would have compared it to a strong porter or stout instead. The lacking yeast character/full-bodied sweetness brings this beer down to being slightly better than average, despite its drinkability.

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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.

 497 characters

Photo of SykDoc
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
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 HopHead84
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

 560 characters

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.

 530 characters

Photo of brutusmuktuk
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown ale with a light brown head. Has a bourbon aroma and a strong bourbon flavor, with some toasty malts in the mix. Sits nice and warm in the stomach. The bourbon, for me, is a touch overpowering. Highly recommended for those who love the taste of bourbon. Still, I find this a good brew overall.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served into my Duvel tulip at 50°F

A - Poured a dark chocolate brown with mahogany hues in the light. A decent 1" light tan head that reduced soon after to a creamy ring. No lace in the glass. 3.5

S - Caramel is the most pronounced in the nose, followed by vanilla and bourbon. Light plum and chocolate notes round out the rest. Altogether rather muted. 3.0

T - Heavy on the caramel. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla is quite pronounced and gladly bumps the flavor points up a notch. Faint roastiness and plums in the finish, complemented by the lingering bourbon aftertaste. Much more satisfactory than the nose leads it to be. 4.0

M - Medium/light bodied, somewhat slick with very crisp, pilsener-like carbonation. Surprises me with a somewhat dry finish. Interesting. 4.0

D - Decent, the alcohol is noticeable, but to me the real culprit is what the heck is this beer trying to be? It has the alcohol of a barleywine or a strong ale, has a very crisp carbonation, but the body is a bit light for a stout or porter. Despite its identity crisis, I still enjoy it. I may grab another bottle to age.

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Photo of Gkruszewski
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of gatornation
3.64/5  rDev -1.1%
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 BeerFMAndy
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

 988 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

My thanks in this case to a college chum, David, who sent me a box of beer recently. Cheers!

From the bottle: "Ale aged on bourbon chips".

Well,despite and aggro pour, I still only managed less than a finger of deep-tan head that quickly became wisps. Nose was boozy, bourbon?, if they say so. Color was a deep, dark-brown with cola highlights at the edges. Mouthfeel was dense and hot, like pudding with an extra sumpin' sumpin'. Whew! The taste was chocolate, bourbon and toffee. Rather sweet for my taste, but still not bad. The finish was where the bourbon chips really asserted themselves and combined with the inherent heat of the beer, I felt like I had been drinking spirits. I am a beer drinker for a reason - I can usually realize my limit and ramp back or stop but liquor for me is like standing on the edge of the abyss and looking down. When I drink liquor, I break out in handcuffs. This was a novelty and a once-and-done for me.

 945 characters

Photo of JRhode
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with tan, short, quickly dissipating head.

Aroma of bourbon, brown sugar, oak/vanilla, a little boozy.

taste is similar. I hope I was not predisposed, but I couldn't help but feel like this is what a BMC bourbon barrel aged beer would taste like. Take Amber Bock and throw it in some bourbon barrels? Not bad at all. Maybe a little artificial tasting?

Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I expected. Abrupt finish too.

Drinkability isn't bad at all. Although I could feel the 9.1% abv after finishing one bottle.

Not a bad beer at all considering the $6.99/sixer sale pricetag.

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Photo of mothman
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass

Pours 1/2 finger dark tan head. Not very good retention. Leaves some slight splattered lace. Color is a deep black, very opaque.

Aroma: Oak, honey, bourbon/booze, caramel, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. A big malt bomb. This is a great smelling beer from Cold Spring, not saying too much.

Taste:Oak, bourbon/booze, chocolate, coffee, big roasted malts, honey, I love the barrel aged aspect of this beer. Very great tasting beer from Cold Spring.

Mouthfeel: Bourbony and smooth. A tad creamy. Leaves a big bourbon malt aftertaste. Full bodied. Lower level of carbonation but it's alright. Lots of oak feeling across the palate.

Overall, I am very fairly with this beer. They need to make more beers like this and less beers like their normal offerings. Boozey but good for Cold Spring.

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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 Soneast
3.68/5  rDev 0%
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.

 958 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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