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

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thDark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,557 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,557
Reviews: 367
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 7.69%
Wants: 2,082
Gots: 695 | FT: 92
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,557 | Reviews: 367
Reviews by EdwardFortyHands:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jjski
4.73/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage. Gorgeous nose of dark roast, chocalate and bourbon.

Taste follows perfectly with a profile that echoes BCBS but lighter in mouthfeel, as this is 11% versus 14% for the other. Balanced and punchy.

For its " low " ABV the category of mega- BA RIS : it is fantastic. I bet it was much hotter when fresh, but still has strong BB character at 2 years.

I just had a fresh BA Narwhal that wasn't nearly as good. Over the last week of vacation we tried Black Tuesday and had a few BCBS. This is in good company of those exemplars.

Outstanding.

Photo of beersinthebuckystate
4.05/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Metallic taste. Non barrel aged version is better in my opinion.

Photo of beer-wheezy
4.71/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a great beer. I was lucky enough to score a 4pk of 2013 from my cousin who attended the release at Dark Horse in the cold of winter.

I am a big fan of stouts/ba stouts and try to have enough regular PT5 to last me from one release to the next, but let me tell you...the barrel-aged version of Plead is just AWESOME! The smell, the lacing of the glass, the mouthfeel...everthing about this beer makes you step back and re-evaluate other BA stouts that you've had in the past. Dark Horse knocked it out of the park with BBPT5, as many already know. I just landed a 2012 vintage and can't wait to try the '12 and '13 side by side.

Overall....although I didn't break everything down by category, if you have the opportunity to try this at a tasting or whether through a trade, be sure you jump on the chance as this is a fantastic brew that you'll be sure to savor!

Photo of tectactoe
4.81/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Jeff for cracking open one of the last of his stash. BBPt5 pours out even darker than the regular version (which was already darker than a black hole), although it doesn't seem to be quite as syrupy and thick, as this one actually creates some noise and light turbulence as it hits the glass. A dark-ish tan head slowly bubbles up into a thin foam and perches still on top of this black abyss of a beer.

Bringing this one to my nose and taking a big whiff reveals its huge bourbon barrel characteristics - there's no denying that this bad boy spent some considerable time encased in boozy wood. The bourbon in the aroma is very smooth, however, not harsh, pungent, or stinging like many of these BBA beers can tend to be. Other notable aromas include vanilla, light coconut, mild wood, roasted malts. There's also some sweet brown sugar and a huge, creamy coffee undertone that can be found on the back end. This is really a complex beer, just from the aroma alone. Sometimes BBA beers can kind of blend together and get repetitive, but this one smells wonderful and distinct.

BBPt5 slides across my palate as I take the first sip - it's super creamy and smooth, maybe even more so than the original (not surprisingly so). The first tastes to emerge are light syrup and sweet molasses. Before long, the bourbon inches its way into the flavor profile, but just like the aroma, it remains very smooth and easy to handle. Warming, but not "hot", and it's wonderful. Some heavy oak and vanilla tones charge in about halfway through.

As it warms up, I pick up more generous notes of dark, thick fudge and even some lightly sweet, dark fruits. Roasted coffee bounces in and out for pretty much the entire duration - a big component in the base beer that certainly isn't lost through the barrel. Overall, a seriously well developed and complex beer. Even in the finish, there are still a ton of things going on; mostly dark fudge, roasted coffee beans, sweet and warming bourbon, and heavy oak. The body stays creamy throughout - heavy and lightly chewy, low-medium carbonation - more carbonated than the base beer, which as surprising.

Considering the high 14% ABV tag, this beer was insanely drinkable. I've never seen bourbon show up so heavily while remaining so smooth and tame at the same time. This is a barrel-aged beer done correctly - the flavors meld together extremely well. One of the best bourbon barrel beers I've had.

EDIT: 4/29/2013

After having this back-to-back(-to-back?) with KBS, Black Note, and BCBS, I think I can finally and honestly say that this is my favorite of the bunch. They are all extraordinary brews, but the thing that really sets BB Plead the Fifth apart is the incredible smoothness of the bourbon. Not ONCE, not even after warming up for nearly an hour, does the bourbon ever seem any bit stronger than "warm". So incredibly smooth and complex. Fantastic integration of the barrel flavors with the base beer as to not mask or hide any of the substantial flavors, either. Probably my favorite Bourbon Barrel beer. I love this stuff.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick ink black with a small amount of bubbly light brown head that very quickly disappeared leaving only a thin ring around the glass.

S - Bourbon, wood, raisin, dark and milk chocolate, vanilla, and hints of cherry.

T - Roasted malt upfront with oak, dark chocolate, caramel, black cherries, raisins, coffee and a bit of vanilla and cream. The bourbon is very noticeable, which might be it's only weakness.

M - Low carbonation with a medium body. A rich and oily mouthfeel that coats the tongue. A warm finish, but the ABV is kept in check pretty well.

O - Great BA stout. If the Bourbon wasn't so noticeable this would be an A+ beer. Nothing a little more time can't fix. Glad I got to try this.

Photo of MaybeSoMaybeNot
3.29/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Overrated. I was definitely dissapointed. I thought that it literally smelled like nothing. I couldnt even detect bourbon on the nose and 2.5 may actually be a bit of a generous rating. As far as feel goes, it is thin. As far as taste goes, its all bourbon. i really can't taste much of the stout-ish qualities to it. It was like a completely different beer compared to the non BA version.

Photo of Hamburgers
4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Happy Barrel Aged Beer Day! Pours jet black with thin brown head. Still pretty boozy even after a year in the cellar. Aroma of bourbon, dark chocolate, soy sauce, and dried fruit. Flavor is chocolaty up front with the bourbon lingering in the finish. Slight undertone of roasted malts. Nicely balanced. Heavy without being syrupy. Moderate carbonation. Overall an excellent barrel aged stout. Not a ton of depth but very balanced.

Photo of Jared14
4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to markgugs for this one. 2013 bottle.

Pours dark chocolate brown to black. Very little head generated. Fades to the sides quickly.

Smell is of cocoa nibs and bourbon. Not bad, not great.

Taste is amazing chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon booze notes. Mingle together very well.

Mouth feel was good when I poured it near 40 but as it warmed up the feel got thicker.

Overall beats KBS, BCBS, and scores a tad under Black Note for the past year vintages. Well done bottle. First of many from this brewery.

Photo of barhoc11
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

Amazing beer, nice and smooth. I can't wait to get more.

Photo of djmitche
4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this in a snifter at local option and the strong recommendation of the server.

A: Dark and thick with a decent chocolatey brown head and some reasonable lacing.

S: The other reviews suggest that the nose only emerges as the beer warms, but even at serving temperature this has a nice roasted nose with coffee and a bit of heat. There may be a hint of honey in there, too?

T: I'll admit I worry when I see "bourbon stout" - they tend to be extremely sweet and thick. But this was advertised as overcoming that problem, and delivered. There's roasted malt, bitter chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and enough bitterness to keep you mind off the possibility of cavities.

M: As hinted above, this is less chewy than most beers of this style, although it does thicken up as it warms

D: This is no session beer, but it is not limited to dessert and breakfast purposes.

Photo of standardcherry
4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle of the 2011 vintage poured into my snifter.

A: Jet black with a mocha colored head that did not stay for long.
S: Roasty malts, chocolate, bourbon. Slight scent of coffee.
T: Chocolate, oak, bourbon, caramel, vanilla. Surprisingly drinkable for a 14% stout. Nice dark chocolate aftertaste lingers in the mouth.
M: Medium to full body, thick and creamy. Great medium carbonation and absolutely no alcohol burn. Excellent for the style.
O: Excellent beer. One of my favorite barrel aged stouts to date.

Photo of deebo
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 version on tap at The Happy Gnome

A-Black as night with a skimming of dark tan head which leaves some lacing as you drink.

S-Dominant aromas of bourbon, earthy oak, and heavily toasted malt. Also plenty of whiffs remniscent of sweet aromas vanilla and burnt sugar. The aromas really come out nicely as the beer warms.

T-Similar to the aroma but more layers and really nice complexity. Bourbon upfront, the oak and earthy aromas are quite present and really pleasing. I don't think I've noticed this quality as strong in any other BB RIS. Plenty of sweet, dark malt. Hints of bitterness but really mild for some of the chocolate and coffee like tastes detected. The sweet tastes of burnt sugar and vanilla really balance out the heavy characteristics.

M-The mouthfeel is wonderful. My biggest complaint of most BB RIS is the syrupy, cloying and or alcoholic burn qualities. This one has none of the above and at a reported ABV of 14% it is absolutely world class. I've had 5%+ beers have more alcoholic sting than this baby. Body is heavy yet clean and almost crisp, a bitterness that is there but not at all lingering, this baby is smooth.

O-I was hesitant to get this on a hot day but had not had the pleasure before so had to brave the heat to try this, very glad that I did. This is a winner, now I have another beer that I have to add to the hit list to try to get every year.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to lurchingbeast for this awesome extra!

pours out complete opaque motor oil black with a dark mocha colored head that rather quickly faded to a thin yet retentive ring. off a swirl, a little sticky lace, but more so some nice legs left on the glass.

big boozey bourbon attacks the nostrils, oaky, woody vanilla, burnt roasted malts, a little dark chocolate and dark fruits. more and more bourbon comes out as it warms.

wow, that first taste almost blew me away. awesome bourbon flavors, big vanilla, more so towards the finish, burnt, dark roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, burnt marshmallows, dark chocolate cake. really some wonderful bourbon flavors in the finish, for me, thats when the magic really happens. there is such a wonderful marriage of flavors here that i dont even have words for.

creamy, low carb which is nice, big chewy mouthfeel. very warming. silky.

really a wonderful bourbon barrel aged stout. the regular plead the fifth was such a well done impy stout, so i had such high hopes for this and i was definatly not let down. ill definatly seek out more of this for the cellar if possible. great beer, loads of bourbon, still i dont think i can say its better than bourbon county, although extremely close.

Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, joshrosborne!

(Aged for 1 year)

Nearly black in color with a very small whisper of dark brown head that falls away quickly. Leaves the glass somewhat messy with irregular webs of sticky, small bubbles.

Pleasant, complete aroma of oak and bourbon, very mild chocolate, some roast. All the expected players are in the pool.

The flavor follows the aroma, with the bourbon and oak leading the way, along with roast, very mild chocolate, and dark black bread. Low bitterness, and the alcohol is exceptionally well hidden given the known heft.

Full in body with low carbonation. Oily, slick, and rich. Lingering chocolate finish. Incredible.

Excellent, but I actually think the base beer is better--full disclosure, the base beer is one of my all-time favorites.

Photo of MattyG85
4.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 Vintage on tap at The Happy Gnome in St. Paul, Minnesota. 10 oz. pour served in a New Belgium Globe glass.

Appearance: Color is an oily pitch black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of deep tan head which fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Smells very big, rich, and fairly sweet. Nice scent of bourbon with good hints of vanilla, wood, and oak chips. Big dark malts with big hints of chocolate, coffee, molasses, maple syrup, burnt caramel, toffee, and dark bread. A little bit of smokey roast. A scent of alcohol is present but it blends in well with the dark sweetness. The vanilla and chocolate really stands out. Very rich and good aroma.

Taste: As good as the aroma leads, Big taste of bourbon upfront with some good notes of vanilla, oak, and wood cask. Rich and sweet dark roasted malts with big notes of dark chocolate, bitter coffee, maple syrup, molasses, burnt toast, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and a little bit of smoke. Some alcohol heat is tasted but not as overwhelming as one might expect. Good balance of sweetness from the vanilla and chocolate, with the bitter roast. Really great taste here.

Mouthfeel: A rich and heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and fairly syrupy and creamy. Sweet but far from cloying. Smoother than expected at 14%.

Overall: A really great Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Big, rich, and dark while keeping the sweetness and booze taste under control.

Photo of HoppySeb
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12 oz. waxed bottle into Teku glass. Beer was stored in cellar at 50 degrees and I have been looking forward to trying this one out for a long time. The past week in the PNW has been hot and sunny, today it’s been pouring and the temperature has dropped to the 50s, perfect setting to enjoy this brew.

The appearance is viscous and obscure, blackberry in color – motor oil would be an appropriate descriptor as well. Almost no head was formed, even after the last portion of the pour was done at 90 degrees into the glass. The little head that briefly formed was mocha in color and quickly dissipated into the darkness of the liquid it covered, forming a thin ring that perfectly surrounds the glass. As I poured the beer its appealing aroma of vanilla and oaky bourbon escapes the confines of the glass, its scent is sensual and inviting. Faint traces of coconut, dark chocolate, licorice and cinnamon linger after the vanilla and the bourbon are absorbed. Upon tasting the beer, you feel it’s silky creamy body touch your tongue and make its way towards your palate. The first feeling you get is a slight burn from the alcohol immediately followed by a balanced invasion of vanilla extract and toasty oak. As the beer dances further in your mouth, dark chocolate and cinnamon make a cameo appearance, albeit short. The aftertaste leaves you with a French roast coffee flavor beneath its aforementioned dominating flavors. Carbonation is very mild, which in my opinion bodes well with its flavors and allow them to take center stage.

Overall – this is an excellent beer that will make it to my permanent ISO list. So rich, well balanced, and easily enjoyable. I also love the fact that such a great BBA Stout is available in a 12oz presentation. In my opinion this tastes & smells like a distant relative to Parabola.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.19/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep black with almost nothing as a head, kind dark cherry cola looking wisp to it. Aroma, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, all almost equally present, not domineering, nice.

Taste, wow, really smooth, more of the same elements from the nose keep their equitable place on the palate. Overall sweetness is up there, but never diabetes inducing stuff, really, this is a well balanced flavor profile for a huge beer, that doesn't knock you over the head with the alcohol.

This is one of those special beers. Plead the 5th is an already great base beer. Sometimes (Rasputin) you can throw a great base beer into a bourbon barrel, and it becomes less great. Not the case here. It isn't a pretty beer, and the first look and smell won't tip you off to how good this is, but drink it, you'll like it.

Thanks to largadeer for breaking this, and many other gems out at the Solar Eclipse party.

Photo of rudylaw
4.77/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Local Option

Pours quarter to midnight black with a small deep tan head.

Vanilla, chocolate, molasses, candy and bourbon in the sniffer.

Exact same in the taste and it is a sweet concoction of epic proportions! As it warms, it gets that much smoother. Everything is balanced.

Medium to low carbonation with a chewy, slick mouthfeel. A true sipper for an early fall afternoon. It hides the 14% rather well... but it's still 14%!

Dark Horse has it's lynch pin here. While I quite enjoy Plead the 5th, the barrel wasn't just kind to this beer and to me, it gave it up on the first date, cooked me breakfast and paid for my cab home!

Photo of jeonseh
4.32/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Dark brown, almost black with a small frothy mocha colored head that settles mostly on the sides. Appears to have a nice thickness to it as I swirl it in the glass

S - Dark chocolate, brandied raisins, caramel sweetness with a hint of bourbon barrel aging. Has a strong and powerful nose that really brings the scents.

T - First there is sweetness as I taste Mexican sugar and caramel. The coffee and more bitter dark chocolate comes next. There is also a strong oak presence where you can definitely see how the bourbon barrel adds complexity. On the finish, wow, that's where you really get the bourbon coming through. It had a strong alcoholic presence along with more typical bourbon flavors of oak, caramel, English Christmas pudding, and brandied dates.

MF - Medium body with light carbonation. The finish is dry and leaves a tingling alcohol feeling. It could improve by being a bit thicker.

O - A solid and quite boozy BA stout from Dark Horse. The barrel aging adds a lot of complexity to the flavor. I would like it to be a bit thicker and to cover its alcohol a little better as right now it's a bit hot. Curious to see how this develops in a few years.

Photo of Brenden
4.48/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This big beer is pretty close to black. It looks quite similar to the original (sans the barrel, if you will), with the exception that the sandy head isn't quite as well structured. Still, it rises to about the same height and holds up pretty well, coming only a little short of having the original's staying power and lace.
This beer shows off how tasty it's going to be right off the nose. The bourbon is very nicely integrated, warm but not too hot or abrasive. The stout is already roasty, and good use of a bourbon barrel always seems to smooth it out as well as adding the vanilla and woods that are found in this beer. There was a bit of dark chocolate, plenty of dark fruit that doesn't come off too forcefully but lays under some char, and a certain nuttiness. Hops add just a bit to balance, a light leafy sort of addition. The chocolate notes almost go milky about midway.
This is very nearly as smooth as it gets. A sipper for sure, the brewers took great care to not let alcoholic heat thin it or add too much bite, the body's richness and thickness or its robust fullness to get too sickeningly heavy or slick, and the sweetness to overcome the balancing dry notes that keep it in check. This is one of the silkiest, most smoothly slowing brews I've yet had the pleasure to drink.

Photo of AdamF625
4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- thick and black with a thin mocha head. It leaves a nice brown lacing on the glass.
S-bourbon, sweet chocolate, toffee, booze, oak, and spiced rum.
T- bourbon and cocoa forward then some nice roasted, chocolate, and black malts take over. Licorice, vanilla, caramel, and espresso are also lingering. As the beer warms up you get a lot of marshmallow and fudge.
M- thick and oily with low to medium carbonation. It leaves you with coat of sweet fudge and bourbon on your palate.
O- There is a lot going on here and it mends so well. Take your time and really accept all the wonderful nuances this beer has to offer.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to funhog for this one, been a top want for a while!

A: Pours a deep black with a very small tan head that reduces quickly leaving a very thin ring on top. Minimal lacing forms and dissolves quickly.

S: Lots of bourbon and roasted malt up front, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and a little bit of dark fruit. As it warms the wood comes forward a bit as well. There is a little bit of alcohol, just to let you know its there.

T: Fantastic flavor profile. A great blend of bourbon flavors, vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, mixed with a little bit of chocolate and light roasted malt. The bourbon really shines nicely in this beer, not too in your face. Faint dark fruit flavors add a bit of sweetness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly dry, but sweet finish. No sign of the alcohol in the taste.

O: Really great beer. The flavors blend nicely with the level of bourbon presence being spot on. I can see why it is so sought after.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.79/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black, oily and viscous with a 1/2cm light brown head. Low retention and spotty lacing if any.

Nose is very pleasant and bold. Sweet. Full of brown sugar, fresh chocolate brownie and smooth bourbony oak.

Flavor is phenomenal. Characteristics follow and exceed the nose quite a bit. Sweet double chocolate brownie, toasted brown sugar, vanilla and well blended (not hot at all) bourbon with a touch of oak.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Velvety smooth and creamy. Full bodied with medium creamy carbonation.

Overall this is phenomenal. I loved the standard Plead the 5th. This is even that much better and at 14% its balanced so well with no alcohol characteristics you'd never know it was 14%.

Photo of dowen17
4.39/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

Pours a pitch black with minimal head and lacing. Very thick and viscous.

On the nose is bourbon and dark fruits. Lots of oak. Some hints of vanilla as well. Maybe a bit of bitter coffee and some bittersweet chocolate.

Taste is bitter chocolate and bourbon. Being that the beer is almost three years old I think it may have given the bourbon time to die down, which I like. Some beers really overdo the bourbon. No real alcohol presence either but it's still a sipper. Dark fruits begin to come through in the middle as well as the oak. Very complex as the coffee hits towards the finish.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy. Very rich. Not as thick as BCBS but thicker than KBS.

Very very good BA stout. Would drink again for sure. Curious to see how it tastes fresh.

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

Reviewed from notes, on tap at local option. Pours black into a snifter, no head and a very small ring of tan foam that sits at the edge of the glass. Smells of sweet dark cherries, vanilla, light bourbon, and milk chocolate. Taste is chocolate covered cherries, bourbon, and oak with a very slightly hot finish - not nearly as boozey as i would expect for 14%. Delicious. Mouthfeel is very thick and coating, light carbonation helps keep it from being too sticky, perfect for the style. For a massive, high abv stout, this one is surprisingly drinkable.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,557 ratings.