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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: 172 | Ratings: 412
Photo of WastingFreetime
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
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 JDizzle
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
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 Gavage
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown in color with a wispy head that break apart immediately.

Smell: roasted malt and bourbon is easy to detect.

Taste: roasted malts, bourbon, oak, prunes, and a bit of chocolate are most notable. Alcohol and a moderate bitterenss rounds it out.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish. Long lasting bourbon and alcohol flavored aftertaste.

Overall: this beer was decent but the flavor profile seemed a bit disjointed to me. Worthy of a try.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
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 TaySuth
3.29/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very dark brown in color with a nearly non-existent head that disappears quickly. A little lacing but not much.

Smell: Smells like a strong ale. The alcohol is certainly present with a sweet grain character and some mellow hop aroma in the background.

Taste: Sweet and alcoholic. Molasses flavor. Nice balance between the malt and the hops. Pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall: Not a bad beer but not something I would buy again.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Weird little bottle found on the shelf at Julio's today. Looks like a macro in micro clothing to me, but I'm a sucker for oak aged so the bottle made its way home with me. Pours a solid dark brown/black with a thinnish tan head that dissipates almost instantly. Smells of brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, earthy and woody. This is listed as a strong ale, the website describes this as an Imperial Stout, it smells like a cross between a Belgian dark strong and a porter. There isn't much roast in the aroma or in the taste for that matter. Taste is sweet and malty with dark sugars and fruits dominating the taste. Slight alcohol and earthy hop in there as well. Bit of a roasted grain ash in the finish. Medium body and level of carbonation, with a slick watery mouthfeel. Decent brew, but really nothing special here. I have my doubts that the Cold Spring Brewery actually exists, but I won't lose much sleep over it.

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Photo of scottoale
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. longneck brown bottle with a red twist-off cap. It pours a dark rootbeer brown with deep ruby highlights when held to the light. The 1/4" cocoa tan head fades very quickly leaving initial delicate lace clinging to the glass.

Sweet dark fruity nose with hints of oak, smoke, caramel and definetly alcohol as it finally warms up.

The taste is pretty good at first with butterscotch, oak, smoke and some roastiness. After a few sips it becomes a little cloying in flavor and sweetness. The 9.1% ABV start to creep in as it warms, along with a stronger bourbon soaked oak chip flavor and a rauch like smoke taste.

The carbonation makes the brew a bit fluffy giving the otherwise thinnish body some girth. The finish is a little spikey on the tongue...hops perhaps? Overall it's ok drinking, but I doubt I'll buy this one again

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Photo of flannelman808
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: looks great! this one pours a very dark brown/Black color. It has a frothy tan head which has rather large bubbles.

S: Smells like chocolate malts. I also get some coffee/espresso out of it. Vanilla extract. Maybe a mocha latte with a shot of vanilla syrup.

M: This is strangely a little more rough around the edges than I would have expected. It has a somewhat gritty/course character, but conversely finishes creamy. I cant help but think of the texture of a cappuccino that has some espresso grinds in it. Perhaps this is from the tannin in the bourbon oak chips the beer was aged on.

T: Definite espresso character present in this beer, The vanilla is there as well. Though I will say I'm not getting a whole lot else. Went into this one with little to no expectation other that a dark oak aged ale... and that is pretty much all I got. Good for dessert I guess, but not much else.

D: Don't think I would want more than one of these in a sitting. Though I will say that the 9.2% alcohol is well hidden

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Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dzyneguru for this one. Poured into14oz glass. Poured a slightly translucent black, with just a thin cap of tan head that had no retention or lacing.

A sweet, malty aroma has a bit of bourbon in the background. On the tongue the bourbon takes an upfront spot and borders on overpowering the rest of the beer. The sweet malts are pushed to the back and there is just a trace of hops apparent.

The body was a bit too thin for a beer this strong and flavorful. Drinkability was pretty good for a beer this size, although the bourbon can be a bit powerful and could affect how you view drinkability. Overall, a pretty good brew, worth trying if you see it.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
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 CHSLBrew
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Murky, opaque, dark brown beer. Dark tan head rose off a vigorous pour, fronth, 2 cm, then reduced moderately quickly to sparse bubbles.

S-Strong aromas of vanilla and oaky character. An ale fruitiness lies beneath, subtle, with some bready malt aroma, and a bit of earthy, roast/toast, almost smoky malt.

T-Strong vanilla, earthy, slightly spicy, with a hearty, almost fine chocolate flavor. Then fruity characters, subtle and berrylike emerge, followed shortly by the return of the oaky character and vanilla. Hop bitterness provides a pleasant offset.

M-Low carbonation, but just enough, pairs well with a thick, creamy full-bodied brew. Somewhat viscous within my mouth.

D-The oakiness seems a bit out-of-balance, overwhelming at times to the point of detracting from the beer flavors. This seems to be an otherwise well-developed beer, and a breath of fresh air compared to some of Cold Spring's less-craft-oriented brews.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
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 jmerloni
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
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 BruChef
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
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 bitterbeerguy
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My dad shared this one with me about 3 months ago- decided it was time to give it a shot.

Pours a very dark brown color- the only touch of light that makes its' way through is at the very top, which has a dark orange tint. Bubbles showed up and left very quick.

Smell is absent. Being that this is aged in bourbon, I expected there to be a burst of aroma. Maybe the slightest hint of bourbon and chocolate, but that is pushing it. Definitely a little disappointing.

Taste has notes of the oak right off the bat, which I really liked. With that said, the flavor after is flat- slightest marshmallow and marmalade jam notes. Surprisingly, there is not much alcohol flavor, which really surprised me.

Overall this is a brew that could do with with some age. I was very surprised how aroma was missing from this brew. Anyone who likes oak, might enjoy this brew.


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Photo of RyanLigeia
3.42/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A lot darker than I expected, I was anticipating a dark golden color not brownish/black. Minimal head, probably due to the high abv.
Smells malty/roasty...I like that.
Cant taste the oak as much as I hoped, thats sort of a dissapointment but its still good. I cant quite tell what it is exactly but theres something unique in the after taste.
Medium body, I think this beer would be better with slightly less carbination.
Overall not too bad. Im not sure Ill buy it again anytime soon but its worth the try.

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Photo of Psilo707
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

My roommate picked this new release up from our local liquor store as soon as he saw it and brought me home a couple. I had never heard of it before and was very curious about it.

Pours a *dark black* molasses color in the mug. Really thick stuff here. The head and lacing is both thick/heavy and quality. A scent of cocoa and a bit of sweetness eminates from the top. Interesting smell.

The taste is even more interesting. A complex swirl of nuts, chocolate, piney oak trees, and smokey aftertastes fills the mouth for minutes on end. The mouthfeel comes out extremely creamy and solid and I believe it's the best aspect of this beer. Drinkability on the other hand is the lowest - I do not believe I can drink more than a few of these in a night, due to the thickness and extremity of the intricate taste.

Overall, I feel this is a great beer, but one that I would buy on sporadic occasions. I am pleased to have tried it, and can't say any other beer I've tried is comparable.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.44/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thin head on a pitch black body.
The aroma has a strong oak and burnt wood smell, which is rounded out by a caramel and chocolate note.
The taste is not as great as the aroma. It is a watered down version of what should have been burnt wood, roasted malt and dark chocolate.
The texture is borderline sticky with low carbonation.
Try it, you may like it.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a dark shade of gold almost a brown color with a thin white head on top. The smell of the beer was malty, rich and roasted, not much of a hoppiness there. The taste of the beer was decent, as it warmed up there were some really interesting vanilla flavors that came through. The mouthfeel of the beer was average to me, it had a good body but I just felt it was missing something. Overall I was a little bit surprised by this beer, I was glad I tried it.

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Photo of WEBBEER
3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark coffee that shows a cherry syrup color in strong light. Thin but dark khaki head, dissipates to a nice lace that lingers for the entire serving.
Strong coffee smell and roasted taste. Has sweet notes but not really picking up the raisin or plum mentioned by reviews. Some caramel
Great stout mouthfeel. Weak carbonation.

Aged in oak bourbon chips? Any trace of bourbon flavor or oak for that matter would be a hallucination although the label is marked "flavored ale"

John Henry is a 9.1% So it has a substantial alchohol flavor that pairs with dessert. That is how I will use this case. I feel like this beer would be outstanding at a pub on tap. The case was clearly marked "ale aged ON bourbon oak chips' so "my bad" it was a bit of a disappointment

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Photo of RutgersEng
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a very dark brown, almost black from the bottle. There is a very thin head that dissipates within a few minutes. The smell is of hops and very little oak, although it said that it was aged with oak chips, they didn't leave much of a mark on the beer. The alcohol is present although not overwhelming. The main focus of the beer is the malt flavor. A bit too noticeable when considering the total package. The mouth feel is nice and full, but the hop bite comes on toward the the back of the mouth.

Overall, it is a good strong ale, a bit hoppy and I have to get used to the dark color, but the mouth feel is nice and full making it an enjoyable drink. The alcohol is well hidden, but jumps up at you about half way through the glass. The flavors of the malts and hops are each pronounced and singular rather than being molded into a smooth blend sharing the glass.

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Photo of smcolw
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
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 crossovert
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the bottle it looks like an AB clone. No date, unfortunately twist off.

It pours a dark black/brown with beet red hues. The head is medium dark tan, foamy, and big and lasts for a while.

This has a huge bourbon oak presence, with bourbon and vanilla, the hops are there but in the backseat. The malts are butterscotch and caramel like. Reminiscent of Oaked AB.

The taste is a big letdown there are roasty malts, and some slight bourbon/oak. But it is watery and bitter, the mouthfeel isn't that great, the taste/mouthfeel shows that this was from a second-rate craftbrewery.

Overall it is a good effort for the brewery but nothing too special go with Oaked AB.

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Photo of rye726
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
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 SerialHiker
3.51/5  rDev -4.9%
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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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
3.69 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
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