Many, many months ago my pal Deron brought me a bottle of the John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale, brewed by Cold Spring Brewing Co. and I finally decided it was time to give it a go. It’s labeled as an American Strong Ale aged in oak bourbon barrels, which definitely piqued my interest.
Appearance: The John Henry poured much like a cola, with a slightly more viscous head than one would see on a cola. Notice the word “slightly” used here. Seriously, this brew is really rather thin, especially for an American Strong, with more than its share of carbonation. The head is wicked thin too, and dissipated almost as soon as I finished pouring the beer.
Aroma: Vanilla. Lots of vanilla. There’s a hint of oak in the back of the nose but this is very, very sweet smelling and overwhelmingly vanilla with a bit of complexity added by some dark fruit.
Taste: What a bummer. Seriously. Not only did the John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale look like cola, it tasted a lot like it too! The best way for me to describe it, in all honesty, is vanilla cola with a hint of oak and beer. Because of the 9.1% ABV there’s some alcohol heat present in the finish, but I really expected a bit more out of this one. Not a fan of this and finding it hard to understand how it fits in the American Strong Ale category. Whatever dimensions I thought might exist from its aroma were absolutely not present.
Mouthfeel: Thin, just like it looked and over-carbonated, which I expected from the pour. Its body makes it as refreshing as a 9.1% ABV brew can get, if I can say anything positive at all. Really a let down in almost every aspect.
Overall: I would not buy this. If it was the last beer available and all I wanted was a beer, I might drink it. Might. I do not recommend the John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale.
How about all of you out there? Have a different experience? I’d love to hear how you all feel about this brew.
[techtags: AMERICAN STRONG ALE, BEER REVIEWS, COLD SPRING BREWING, JOHN HENRY 3 LICK SPIKER ALE]