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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thDark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th

Educational use only; do not reuse.

379 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 379
Hads: 2,740
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 7.8%
Wants: 2,127
Gots: 742 | FT: 99
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MbpBugeye on 07-25-2010

Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 379 | Hads: 2,740
Photo of HeartofMiami
3.63/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Smell and taste of cheap Bourbon dominates. Thin malt backbone and minimal carb doesn't help. Bad bottle or maybe just not my taste even though I really like many BA Stouts

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Photo of Yourahoser
4.48/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic beer. Highlights are look - dark with chocolate colored head, feel - so creamy and smooth, taste - rich chocolate, warming bourbon, no bitterness. Smell is ok. Better than a more widely known BBA stout from state of Michigan.

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Photo of danh53
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with one finger brown head. Aroma is oak, chocolate, bourbon, caramel, and vanilla. Taste is chocolate with subtle dark fruits and good barrel character. Nice roast and slight anise to balance the chocolate and malt. Medium to full mouth feel with low carb. Very consistent mouth feel from start to finish.

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Photo of corby112
4.21/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black and opaque with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Very good retention for style and ABV, taking a while to settle and lingering throughout the pour. Sporadic streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Nice barrel presence in the nose that's decently integrated into the base. Stronger oak/wood/toothpick than expected wih sweet, spicy bourbon silky vanilla and marshmallow. Not overly boozy however with complex barrel character not just a complete bourbon bomb. Sweet an roasted malts underneath with some robust coffee bean, oatmeal, dark chocolate and liquid smoke. Some dessert like sweetness with silkier, lighter chocolate, lactic cream, caramel, toffee and bakers chocolate. Pretty tame aroma but it's complex and well rounded.

Fuller end of medium body with a strong, boozy barrel character that's nicely integrated into the flavors of the base beer. Again, there's a strong charred oak/toothpick character along with prominent spicy bourbon and boozy heat dominating the flavor. Lots of spicy bourbon along with vanilla bean and mallow. A touch of cinnamon and spicy heat but not too hot or overbearing. Although there is plenty of alcohol flavor, the high ABV is relatively well masked. Underneath the strong barrel flavors, there is some robust, roasted dark malt notes with burnt sugar, coffee grinds and bitter dark chocolate complimenting the oak and spirit. Could use a bit more sweetness but this beer is nicely balanced and surprisingly easy to drink at 14%. The complexity of the barrel component adds depth of flavor making this beer very enjoyable.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark, viscous pour with a thin brown head that barely retains. The nose is rich and bourbony. I could smell this beer the moment the cap was removed. Bittersweet chocolate, toasted oak, bourbon, a little dark fruit, and some candy-like sweetness. Nice!

Full body with a rich bourbon-forward flavor and a nice silky feel. Lots of bittersweet chocolate and coffee with the bourbon coming on strong around mid-palate. Not much vanilla, as the heavy chocolate tends to mask some of the toasted oak. I do get some dark fruit near the finish and a little alcohol warmth as well. Some coffee and chocolate lingers behind.

I'm always amazed at how the top-of-the-line bourbon-barrel-aged stouts get so much bourbon flavor into their beers without making them boozy. Like all the best ones, this one drinks like a liqueur. It reminds me a lot of Bell's Black Note Stout, only with more chocolate in the profile. It's amazing stuff and I hope I am fortunate enough to get to try it again someday.

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Black with a dark brown head that dissipates quickly.

Smell - Sweet; thick of bourbon and molasses with chocolate and dark malts present as well.

Taste - Not quite as intense on the bourbon as the nose was, surprisingly. The caramel taste melds with the bourbon to create a smooth, sweet, rich flavor that doesn't quite have the bite that bourbon would have on its own. Taste some oak, chocolate and tobacco (I am smoking an Oliva cigar with it which probably brings out that aspect).

Feel - Exactly what you want a good stout to feel like, thick, oily, but still smooth.

Overall - A very good BA stout (that pairs well with a medium body cigar!)

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Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.21/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer, while tasty, was horribly underwhelming. Thin in the mouth, decadent in the smell, my senses didn't know what to make of it. It would have been a 3.75 overall, but #datwaxdoe

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to WesMantooth for this bottle.

S - Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, light char.

T - Nice bitter chocolate from start to finish and the chocolate ends somewhat sweeter on the back end along with vanilla, bourbon, lots of complimentary oak tannin with a lingering bourbon oak/chocolate lingering finish.

M - Thick medium body, smooth velvet body, no carbonation on the tongue. ABV well hidden.

O - Awesome beer, hands down.

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Photo of timc100
3.85/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2014 bottle

Previously had the 12 and 13 at the 4 Elf party on draft and remembered them fondly, the review is for the 2014 bottle however.

Great looking oily stout, very dark. Aroma of bakers chocolate, burnt chocolate, charred oak, note of espresso. Palate follows suit - the bitter chocolate and roast take the first and only step. Maybe a bad bottle, but this was very one-note. I remember the 12 and 13 being fudge bourbon bombs and north of 4.5 rating wise. So it goes.

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Photo of MichaelNeelsen
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into snifter.

L: Pitch black, obviously. Has a wonderful mocha, almost cherry red/brown color.

S: Like wonderful chocolate milk mix.

T: Like oaky, bourbon chocolate milk. Just incredible. So freaking delicious.

F: Creamy like wonderful whole chocolate milk. So smooth and wavy. Glugs out of the bottle.

O: UNREAL. Immediately knew it was a 5/5 after my first taste. Never had such a quick positive reaction to a beer like this. Amazing.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.07/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours viscous like oil. Not much head, just lacing similar to espresso. Lace remains in a ring on the edges of the glass. The beer sits like black coffee in my snifter. 4.75

Soy sauce bomb on the aroma. Dark chocolate and oxidized hops. Subtle caramel and vanilla and sweetness. Light molasses. 4

Also heavy on the soy sauce, but there's more dimension here. Oak and bourbon notes and a richer dark chocolate flavor. Sweetness appears mid-palate and imparts caramel, oatmeal cookie (which also lingers on the finish) and vanilla. Traces of booze creep in. 4

Medium body and occasional creaminess while at other moments booze appears and thins out the feel. There's a bit of a spicy feel from the bourbon as well. Bitter and dry on the finish. 4.25

Pretty good. I have no complaints.

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Photo of Smokesnotes
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 poured into a tulip. Dark, thick body without much head. Really chocolate flavored, barrel comes through well. Turns one of my favorite RIS into a fantastic beer that should be sought out.

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Photo of -Rick
4.39/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: oil like, with almost no head
S: booze/bourbon some sweet chocolate
T: bourbon, chocolate, and some fruits, maybe rasins
F: creamy and thick, leaves a great coating on the pallet
O: an amazing beer. not much you could ask for in a BB ale!

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Photo of JoeyStats707
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 12 oz bottle in the latest de garde 3rd quarter party glass
Nice and dark, almost opaque, very little head
smell is rich sweet bourbon
tastes of milk chocolate and a dash of bourbon
Nice mouthfeel, could use a little more though.

Overall pretty dam good

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Photo of deadsincebirth
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ohhhh baby! So glad I popped this. 2014 vintage. Very dark with a nice lasting tan head. Smells a bit thin with milk chocolate, cocoa and coffee. Taste is big milk chocolate and really great coffee, slight bitterness, minimal vanilla. Feel is wonderful with lingering coffee and cocoa. Overall such an excellent brew here. My new favorite go to.

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Photo of SGerrard
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, bitter chocolate with vanilla and bourbon notes. Not a trace of coffee but a hint of smoky undertones. Beautiful, rich, and vibrant. Highly recommend procurement of this lovely beer!

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Photo of winningwes91
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excited about this one. Pours out the blackest of black. Pure motor oil. Smells of some baker's chocolate and bourbon with some smoky notes. Taste follows suit perfectly. The perfect balance of roast and sweet. Much better than the base. Full bodied. Awesome.

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Photo of raynmoon
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

looks great, as good as a stout can look. Jet black, viscous, brown head that sticks around.

smell is savory, smokey. a little bourbon on the back. Some chocolate as well. But mostly smokey.

taste comes through with a good amount of smoke, chocolate. No typical hard booze that you'd expect in a bourbon county or parabola. The barrel aging just adds a layer of complexity.

I honestly wouldn't know this was even aged in bourbon barrels without the label suggesting. Just a really awesome russian imperial stout.

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Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014. Thanks, ineedbeer. The beer is wall to wall black with a small light brown head. The bubbles fade to a ring after a couple minutes. The aroma is silky chocolate milk. Big vanilla. Plenty of caramel in the background. Mild oak. Medium bourbon, sweet and rich. Some booze. The taste is sweet with milk chocolate and vanilla. Mild roast. Creamy full flavor. Medium to moderate bitterness in the finish. Smooth mouthfeel. Very easy to drink for a big barrel-aged stout. Tasty stuff.

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Photo of xICooRsYIx
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

Pours out very dark/deep brown with a nice mocha brown head that dissipates quite fast. Smells follows right into the taste with strong notes of chocolate and bourbon. Some coffee and a hint of tobacco in there as well. Roasted malts finish it off.

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Photo of beardown2489
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the better beers in the style once it cools down. Like many fresh imperial stouts that spent time in bourbon barrels it was hot at first but it hits it's sweet spot somewhere 6 months and 2 years.

Hot barrel characteristics went away and left a nice vanilla character from the barrel along with some coconut. Really nice mouthfeel just under what I'd call world class. Well balanced with roasted and chocalate character. Some nice dark fruit notes can be found as well.

Great beer. Well worth seeking out if you are a fan of the style.

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Photo of Bferber
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

My impression of this was much different than many reviews, so here goes. 2014 vintage

L- not at all the motor oil many described, not even black. More of a deep brown, with a nice mocha head, pleasant appearance but no standout.

S- had a slightly metallic tinge at first when cold, but went away after warmed slightly. Bourbon present but very muted. Roasty, malty, dark fruits - maybe some raisin, and slightly vinous.

T- very similar to smell. Bourbon pretty muted, dark fruit is strongest secondary flavor to the malts.

F- mouthfeel is excellent. Low carb, pretty full mouthfeel. Creamy and smooth.

O - solid beer, really enjoyed mouthfeel. Was hoping for more of a bourbon barrel presence, but enjoyed the straightforward flavors without having much "adjunct" qualities of chocolate, coffee or vanilla that seems to be all the rage lately.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.74/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to northernbrebws for satisfying this long time want. 2014 vintage served in my Funky Buddha snifter. Pours one shade shy of black with a two inch, loose, mocha-colored head that dissipates into a fizzy swirl around the shoulders. Nose expresses cocoa, roast and a slightly vinous quality. Taste follows nose - really not getting much of the barrel here. There are also some oxidized notes towards the back. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a mild carbonation and a light acidity. Overall, not bad but a bit thin and lacking the barrel presence.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.26/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage into a Teku at cellar temp.

Look: so thick and dark, with a great light brown head.

Smell: bourbon, vanilla, tobacco, pecan pie.

Taste: bourbon, alcohol heat, vanilla, tobacco. Little roast or bitterness, some chocolate. No dark fruits, cherry, etc. Some bacon-like savory flavors.

Feel: medium, maybe a bit overcarbonated, a bit dry on the end.

Overall: not sure if it's the difference in vintage, age, or the barreling, but I liked the 2014 non-BA bottle I had a few nights ago a bit better than this. The barrel influence overwhelms some of the nuance I got from that. Still, good.

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Photo of Raziel313
2.57/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Did a vertical 2012-2014. The best was when we combined all three. That one was better than the rest. Barrel taste was of cheap bourbon. The best thing about this beer was the appearance. Straight motor oil. Followed by a huge let down of what I expected.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.