John Henry West Indies Pale Ale
Cold Spring Brewing Co.

John Henry West Indies Pale AleJohn Henry West Indies Pale Ale
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American Strong Ale
3.62 | pDev: 15.47%
Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
John Henry West Indies Pale AleJohn Henry West Indies Pale Ale
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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 92 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ClavisAurea
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

04/3013 bottle.

Very dark. I'm guessing it took on the intense Dark brown color from the rum. Kinda boozy, Rum forward, malty sweetness, very oaky, vanilla, coconut, caramel and toffee, nutty, moderate carbonation. Probably would have been better fresh but it was a nice bottle to share.

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Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Slightly hazed coppery brown color with very nice foam and lacing in the tall Maredsous goblet. Quite sudsy in the mouth. Nose of raisin and vanilla.

Sweet but not overly sugary. The rum and vanilla oak taste is not a bad combination. Flavors are almost subtle. I'd say this wants a little Belgian yeast, but it's a robust flavor with enough bitterish balance. Roasted grain flavors more than the expected caramel. Not a bad brew even though it's a bit of a pig with lipstick.

Purchased at the rather remarkable Park Blvd Foods a couple blocks south of the Small Bar. For a mere $3.99 they even made this a 750 ml instead of the usual 22 oz.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

The bottle said Pale Ale so not sure what I was expecting but this was not it. Poured a dark with a hint of red. You definitely get a dark malt aroma in the smell that jumps out at you, there is some caramel in there and some dark fruit. Reminds me a bit of a strong dark belgian. Taste is similar, you pick the same flavors as the smell. But this is where you notice the alcohol, it lingers on the back of your tongue. Really good beer up to that finish which makes it harder to drink and overwhelms the tastiness. It does not maintain smoothness with the ABV. Still worthy, just not outstanding.

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Photo of jooler
2.75/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Kind of like a porter mixed with rum mixed with wine. Does has a noticeable hoppy taste. When it says indies pale ale, I assume ipa but this is hard to say this is an ipa. I don't really know what this is

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Photo of mpyle
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Deep amber color, relatively clear. Pours moderate sized head, tan colored and with mediocre retention.

Aroma - Fairly sweet, caramel and candy instead of a richer malty aroma. Nice wood aroma, no hops of note.

Taste - Rich malty sweet flavor. Wood flavor cuts through the sweetness. Enough hops to temper sweetness in finish, but no distinct hop bitterness.

MF - Med-full body, medium carbonation. Distinct alcohol warming.

Overall - Fairly easy drinking, bit malty woody beer, but not all that complex.

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Photo of communionofthesaints
3.21/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2013 Vintage
Poured slightly chilled from bottle into snifter.

Very little head, spotty lacing.
Nice smell, but not nearly as potent as I expected. Oak and rum are present, but very minimal, no hop aroma whatsoever.

Taste is nice and smooth. I keep reminding myself that this is a pale ale and I shouldn't expect so much from it. The draw of this beer is Dark-Rum oak spirals; these features were underwhelming. The mouthfeel is crisp and smooth, but also leaves me wanting more.

This isn't a bad beer. I suppose the explosive barrel aged beers out there have made me expect more and this beer doesn't have it.
Enjoy it for what it is; a slightly complex, clean, smooth pale ale.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 750ml (25.4 oz.) bottle
Glass: Stone Ruination IPA pint glass
From: Cherokee Market Beer & Wine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $4.99
Purchased: June 21, 2014
Consumed: June 21, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark reddish, brown, opaque color with two fingers of frothy tan head. Didn’t notice any bubbles on the sides of the glass. Above average circular lacing along the sides. Above average retention on the top.

Smelled oaky wood, bourbon, rum, dark fruits, plum, purple grapes, caramel, toffee, faint chocolate, black cherry and light crayon.

Tasted slightly better than the smell. Lots of wood, then oak, bourbon, caramel, toffee, crayon, roasty nuts, some chocolate, rum and plum. Lingering boozy astringent taste on the tongue.

Medium body. Creamy-to-oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming, slightly bitter finish.

Just an OK strong ale. I was a bit disappointed as I was a big fan of the 3 Lick Spiker Ale.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours crystal clear very dark reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light chocolate, light vanilla, raisin, fig, plum, oak, rum, and toast/oak earthiness. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and rum oak notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, brown bread, brown sugar, light chocolate, vanilla, raisin, fig, plum, oak, rum, and toast/oak earthiness. Light earthy oak/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light chocolate, raisin, fig, plum, oak, rum, and toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt and rum oak spiral flavors; with a great malt/oak flavor balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good oak aged strong ale. All around well balanced dark/bready malt and rum oak spiral flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Produced on April 2nd 2013.

A dark murky reddish brown body, fairly translucent up to the light. A solid one finger head, with some creamy perfect tan color appearance. Little retention and disappears quickly to a fairly thick bubbled collar, and slightly oily but whispy top.

Really odd nose. Very hard to describe. Thick oak and lots of buttery tones. Lots of deep melted and patted butter. It makes me wonder of diacetyl but it doesn't have that quite popcorn aroma. Some hazelnut and molasses like character a bit, just a hint of sweetness. Not sure how this is going to turn out, it's seemingly kind of scary.

Palate you would think could be considerably stronger than hinted on the nose. Very fizzy tight carbonation for a strong ale. Muted hints of caramel and just overall flavor. Muted brown sugar sweetness and a hint of spirit like booze finish. Some woody tannic quality but lost among a very thin body.

Overall it's not bad, but lacks a lot of depth flavor wise.

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

A: it ain't a pale ale, so that's misleading - rather a deep ruby brown with a quick couple of fingers of beige head that slimmed down to a filmy collar in rather short order

S: woodsy oak and hints of dark spice, weak vapors of rum...

T: there are some musty, dark malt flavors as well as some earthy and herbal hops; spices and oak notes mingle, and tastes of watery rum hovering throughout; some dark fruit, maybe dark cherry or figs, and molasses present themselves as it warms

M: thin and light-feeling, sparkle of carbonation and alcohol, vapor of rum and wood on the roof of the mouth

O: not what I expected, but not terrible either - it's lost between styles - not rich or lush enough to enjoy sipping, not brisk enough to drink like an IPA - reminded me of watery dark rum mixed with a weak brown ale - the kinda beer I'd wish I knew what I was getting before I bought it.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with a thin head that lasts. Nice enough color, but very dark for a "pale" ale. Some scattered lacing sticks.

The smell is of spiced rum and bourbon, vanilla, hint of chocolate.

The taste is sweet and spicy. It has characteristics of chocolate/cocoa with spiced rum and bourbon - cinnamon and black pepper spicing. This is malty and spicy - not much in the hop category, which works well enough here.

Pretty creamy despite obvious high abv.

It is a decent sipping ale. It is oddly named, as it's not "pale".

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.13/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

75 cl

Pours a dark brown with a bit of lacing.

Smells of chocolate, licorice, molasses and rum.

Heavy malt flavor with rich molasses, cocoa, dark fruit, rum and oaked characteristics.

Full body with a smooth viscous feel and minimal carbonation.

The beer rep presenting this was careful to point out that a West Indies Pale Ale is NOT supposed to be taken as an India Pale Ale. Two totally different things by his description. Anyway this is pretty good if you want to feel like you got socked in the face. Great flavor but super-rich. Best enjoyed in small amounts slowly.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark for whats supposed to be an IPA an I dont know what they mean by aged on "oak spikes". I'm guessing it's not a true barrel aging? Super deep russet color with a thin light tan head. really rich nose. Coco-cola, black chocolate covered raisins, rich grains, licorice, anise. Very very rich nose, doesnt smell like an IPA.

Strong ale is categorizing this beer properly and as that it's a good beer. But for them to label this as a Indies Pale Ale is very misleading. Anyway, onto the tasting:

Huge malty body. Can definitely taste the wood, lots of boozeyness, too be honest, tastes more like bourbon than spice rum. A strange brewery and perhaps they mislabeled this bottle? Again, american strong ale , lots of wooden and booze, vanilla bourbon like flavors but then again aged rum can have flavors like a bourbon, but the malt profile of this beer is nothing at all like a pale ale. Great beer but terribly mislabeled. Tons of complex flavors that are layered well.

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Photo of t2thebro
4.82/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


A- pours a very dark amber, almost black but red shades in light.
Thin one finger head that quickly fades. Slight lacing.

S- strong brown ale tones. Dark roast coffee, brown sugar, vanilla, and musty chocolate hints of rum.

T- Yum! Roasted coffee, chocolate milk, rum, vanilla, sugar cookie.
This is so complex nice and sweet, but not to heavy, and I can taste the pale malt.
Flavor in one word.

M- perfect, enough said

O- this is a crazy fantastic beer, in my top five of all time. Rivals surly darkness in my opinion, just a step behind. The rum makes this smooth and adds that sweet, vanilla to balance the dark roasted malts. A must have at the steal of a price! Exceptional!


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Photo of maximum12
3.24/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

An affordable bottle of barrel-aged (OK, spiral-aged) beer in Minnesota? Say it ain't so. Sub-$5 price point reeled me in, & since the 3 Lick Spiker is pretty good, gonna give this one a shot too. 750 ML bottle split with my wife.

OK, first of all, the label says "pale" & this comes out a rusted pail red. WTF? A brewery should really warn a guy with a weak heart. Low carbonation. Smell is nice. Ton of maple syrup, bit of rum, then plenty of toffee. Interesting. Draws me in & makes me want to drink. Mission accomplished.

John Henry West Indies Pale Ale's identity confusion works its way from the name all the way into the taste. What is this? The pretty nose is lost in a strange web of tastes. What I get most in the mouth is scorched-earth sugar. Muddled in the middle is a bit of rum, reminder of alcohol, burnt toffee. Finish is burnt rum sweetness. Taste is indeed thin, neither the rum nor the base is sufficient to hold this one up. For what it's worth, it is easy to consume.

Well, this didn't quite work for me. Mediocre. Needs a bit more punch. The thinness of the brew works against it, & there's no cohesion to the flavor (lord, was that pretentious - I'm ashamed - but it's true).

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Photo of jera1350
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber color with a thinner head of foam. Decent lacing.

Kind of a soapy/cola smell going on. Mild whiffs of rum and oak in there too.

A bit of a watered down flavor. Getting some toffee, caramelized sugar, hint of pine with the rum coming in at the end pretty noticeably, but not overly strong. Plenty of spice/spiced rum at the end actually. Touch of oak and alcohol on the finish also.

The feel is thinner than it should be, but the carbonation is low and has a nice soft feel. The finish dries out the tongue considerably.

I really like the idea of this beer, but it's not executed perfectly here. Not sure if it's the base beer or the use of the spirals as opposed to barrels, but just not quite a complete beer. The flavor is pleasant, but more body and malt flavor would go a long way. Worth a try though at a reasonable $6 750ml bottle.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in an Ohio State shaker pint glass.

A deep-seated ticking instinct and a lack of skill with regard to Spelunky isn't a safe combination... Anyway, this stuff pours a murky sunset amber topped by a half-finger of glowing off-white foam. The nose comprises toasted oak, light toffee, and a hint of pine needle in the distance. The taste focuses on the toffee and pine, with the oak a bit of a side story. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a slick feel. Overall, a meek bit of oak-aged pale ale, with the constituent parts kinda muddled in the confluence thereof.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.08/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle pour at the BevMo Holiday Beerfest held at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, alcohol, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer with a pretty boozy aspect that comes across in the flavor.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.67/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured into a pint.
9.4% ABV, Rum spiral aged.

Review from notes.

A - Clear mahogany in color with a thin tan head that leaves dots of lace on the pint.

S - Maple syrup opens with very light oak and caramel malt following. Faint warming spice notes from the rum come through but very little alcohol perception.

T - Incredibly malt with sweet caramel, light woodiness, and touch of spice on the back end.

M - Smooth with biting carbonation and light alcohol spice on the finish. Warming but not suggesting alcohol as high as it is.

O - Sweet malt and a medium body pave the way for faint alcohol spice and moderate drinkability. The name is quite confusing, however.

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John Henry West Indies Pale Ale from Cold Spring Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 92 ratings