John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale | Cold Spring Brewing Co.

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John Henry 3 Lick Spiker AleJohn Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale

Brewed by:
Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Three Lick Spiker Ale is brewed with three different roasted malts creating chocolate flavors and full body taste. After fermentation has been completed with our top fermenting ale yeast we infuse our brew with bourbon oak aged chips and let the extended aging process take over. Hints of bourbon and vanilla from the oak come through the aroma and flavor.

Added by ClockworkOrange on 01-02-2009

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Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 414
Photo of SerialHiker
3.51/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Bung
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
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 JTSbeerislife
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, code on bottle but no freshness date, purchased 12/2011 from a local bottle shop.

Poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Pours a rather thin head which rapidly reduces to a very thin film.
Black opaque color

Has a malty, black roasted aroma to it. Molasses and yeast. No noticeable wood but there is soom bourbon. It’s good.

Nice crisp entry on the palate, followed by malt and molasses, after some warming the bourbon/oak kicks in, but is relatively tame compared to its peers. The 9.1% ABV is never noticeable.
Full mouth feel with mild balanced carbonation.

Overall a good drink but not anything exciting. Needs to be at least 55 degrees for anything meaningful in the aroma or taste to come forward.
I am glad that I tried this brew, but that being said it’s not one I will search for.
It’s enjoyable enough, if priced right. I paid $11 a 4/pack, which is fair.

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Photo of mbunje
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Never hear of this. Saw that it was aged on bourbon oak chips. So I will give it a shot.

A - Dark, dark, brown not a hint of light gets through. Thin head dissipates quickly. Nice lacing of bone white foam.

S- Smells like a porter...roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, and hint of wood. I don't smell the bourbon.

T - Sweet but not syrupy. Mild bourbon flavor and wood. Mild bitter flavor, finish is a tart wood.

M - Much more carbonated than I thought it would be. A bit lighter bodied than it appeared. Slick and leaves a bit of a soapy coating on the tongue.

Overall - very interesting. Not really something you could box into a particular style. I would say it is an Imperial Porter aged on bourbon. Nice attempt but could be refined a bit more.

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Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at Princeton Liquors in Maple Grove, MN. Poured a dark brown body with a short tan head. Based off of reviews I've read, this is probably the best thing coming out of Cold Springs. It's just a mellow bourbon ale that relies almost entirely on the bourbon and wood aging for it's character. There's a hint of dark malt in the background, but that's about it. It drinks without a hint of alcohol and is thin enough for me to suspect adjunct sugar was used. However, if you're looking for an affordable beer with bourbon character, this is it.

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Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to morimech!

Pours a murky-ish (but hidden enough by darkness) dark brown. Head is relatively well-retained.

The smell is of molasses and carmelized brown sugars. Some oak chips - giving a vanilla touch - comes through. Not particularly bourbon-y - more of oak chips dipped in bourbon.

The taste is of molasses, carmelized brown sugar, vanilla-ish oak chips. Woody but with a dark maltiness. Starts sweet, finishes dry. Rather abrupt finish, with a touch of a tingle from the carbonation.

Alcohol is well-integrated. Oak chips come across strongly. Sweet, turns dry quickly. Little to no aftertaste, an enjoyable enough brew - not quite as rich or bourbony (more woody) than expected. The sweetness fades to a dry finish. Wish that taste lingered on more (and was fuller), Still-in-all a respectable strong dark ale with woody/bourbon-ish notes.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Evan for this one.

Poured into a Duval tulip.

Apperance Pours a dark brown with ruby tones against a bright backlight. Thin ring of tan creates little lacing.

Smell Rich oak and boozy aroma hit the olfactory.

Taste is like the nose...strong oak pairing with sweet caramel. Strong alcohol bite.

Medium mouthfeel, not much carbonation.

Overall A decent sipper. My first experience trying a Cold Spring brew.

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Photo of Floydster
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle I brought back from my recent trip to Colorado, poured into my Dogfish Head snifter tonight, originally from a six pack

A-Medium brown color with some darker tones, thin 1/2 inch creamy off white head that did not last long, not much lacing either
S-Light bourbon, caramel, salt, oak, vanilla, burned bread, dark chocolate, light hops, and caramel
T-Starts off salty with some lingering oak, boozy in the middle with moderate whiskey notes, lots of caramel and toffee in the finish, gets more mellow as it warms up, still is a little hot by the very end, needs more dryness, not a very big oak presence
M-Dry, oaky, salty, and slightly boozy mouthfeel, thin to medium body, moderate carbonation, taste lingers
D-Filling and not smooth, decent drinkability but pretty heavy on the stomach, would have liked to taste less alcohol

Surprised to find a beer like this in this serving size, usually an expensive bomber with this style but this came in a ten or eleven dollar six pack, would drink again, too bad I did not bring more back, recommended

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of adman08
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
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 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 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.

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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.

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

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

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