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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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

397 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 397
Hads: 2,860
Avg: 4.48
pDev: 20.98%
Wants: 2,164
Gots: 816 | FT: 109
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 12.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

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

Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 397 | Hads: 2,860
Photo of Lukafer
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Dark Horse, served in a snifter.

Appearance is black and oily, with a thin tan head that leaves great lacing. Smells are bourbon, oak, some chocolate, smells delicious. Taste is some sweet malts, bourbon, oak and some smoke, very good. Mouthfeel is sticky, chewy and just enough carb or this style. This beer is really boozy, but in a really drinkable way. I only had one, because it was early afternoon and I didn't want to get too plowed, otherwise I could've had a few. This is a very good beer!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355ml 2013 silver waxed bottle poured into tulip 21/10/14, can't thank alfie enough for this one

A she pours dark alright, thumbnail's edge, a fast falling finger of foam leaves no lace, wide legs and some color left behind on the glass, dark liquid

S charred wood, bourbon, burnt marshmallow, vanilla, heaps of fudge and chocolate syrup, sweetened coffee, more barrel, a hint of smoke, the barrel's done wonders for this one

T this has picked up a shitload of flavor from the barrel, strange really how different this is from the base, faint nutmeg, heaps of burnt barrel and the bourbon has a little sweet smoke to it, just a hint of dark fruit and roasted coconut, holy barrel batman

M full is an understatement, the bubbles thicken it up even more, very faint heat, my lips are beyond stuck together there might be some super glue in there, massive amounts of char and bourbon with a hint of spice on the finish

O a massive improvement over the base beer, strangely so really, one of the better BB stouts I can recall, very intense at every turn

I have little to complain about as this one sinks into my gut, a big beer that explodes at every turn, I can't recall a barrel transforming a beer like this before, seek and destroy

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Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at DH and at Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Fest

Pours 1 finger of creamy dark tan head that has amazing retention. Color is an oil black.

Aroma: Warming bourbon, thick rich chocolate. Roasted malts. The nose is fairly muted.

Taste: Much better here. Bigger bourbon flavors, oak, sweet chocolate, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, and raisins.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, and warming. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends rich, sweet, and malty.

Overall, a solid -bal aged stout. Great flavors and very drinkable. Very impressed with DH on this one.

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Photo of barczar
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Looks like engine oil with a very chocolatey head. Aroma is chocolatey, oaky, and bourbon laden. Flavor is rich, roasty but not bitter, dark chocolate, with toasted notes, oak, and a smooth bourbon weaving throughout. A real treat of a beer.

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

poured from 12oz bottle into tulip -2011 release

A: Black as a crows feather, one finger head that descends into a thin frothy lacing, great carbonation, legs for miles.

S: Vanilla , Oak, Bourbon, Roasted Malt, Dark fruits,slight chocolate.

T: Slight bitter hop, dark fruits, warming bourbon, vanilla,semi sweet chocolate and oak notes.

O: Very tasty beer, not overwhelming for 14% , would definitely have again, highly recommended.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage with a gray wax seal. Cheers to aasher for sending it. Been on my Wants for quite some time. Thanks again, Al!

Pours a jet black color with a dense dark tan foam that stood just under a couple fingers tall before collapsing down thin. The foam is mostly retained atop the beer though a small section has erased completely. Complex aroma includes molasses and toffee along with a prominent bourbon barrel component that takes shape as maple, vanilla, and a bit of charred oak. As the beer continues to warm, I'm picking up a candied fruit note reminiscent of chocolate covered blueberries. Diving into the first sip, it's the molasses and char/smokiness that stand out to me first. Dark, bitter chocolate comes up next and there's a bit of raisin on the back end. Lots of bitterness here to make sure this keeps the massive malt bill in check and this lingers on a bit in the finish. Hefty on the palette while carbonation is taking a back seat.

This is a malt heavy, complex beast of a beer and the bourbon barrel components blend right in. I'll be savoring this slowly over the rest of the evening. Thanks again, Al!

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black color with an average creamy brown head that mostly lasted and produced excellent lacing. Heavy toasted malt, bourbon and chocolate aroma. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Moderate to heavy complex toasted sweet bourbon flavor with a heavy toasted sweet finish of long duration. Best of fest complex standout brew.

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Photo of SGerrard
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
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 Hamburgers
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of djmitche
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got on trade from a friend. Thx Markus! Served at 12deg C in a chalice. 2014 vintage.

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high dark brown head that films out in around 2mins. The head is very airy and the brew nearly black. Might even be too dark to use as a welding glass!

S- Oodles of bourbon. Tons of heat even though it's only 11%.

T- Bourbon on bourbon. Did I say lots of bourbon? Aged for a perfect time in a barrel that must have had a nice seepage into it during the bourbon aging. You can sure tell when a company re-uses a barrel but this one is fresh from the first use barrel. Might be a touch overpowering which takes it down from perfect in the flavor department. Touch hot. This one needs to sit.

M- A touch watery.

O- Excellent brew. If I ever find it, it's bought be it draft, bottle, whatever. This is an excellent brew on the verge of being perfect. Looking forward to finding more out there but want to let it sit at least 3yrs from vintage date to get that heat down a bit and get the subtle coffee and chocolatiess out of the brew.

Food Pairing

This food pairing is actually a bit difficult. It's the reason you don't see a lot of reviews of hard liquor with food- it overpowers. With that being said, this brew went very well with....... Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Bourbon and chocolate pair well together and the cake with definitely move that cake up a level.

Enjoy

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Photo of mhksuccess
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from bottle into founder snifter
had back to back with the regular version
and this one is much better
it is dark and not much head just like regular
although this smell is boozy maybe hint of chocolate on back end
and taste is similar although is extremely smooth maybe a touch of heat
slight lacing on this also
aftertaste is so good almost perfect would prefer this over the regular although both are amazing brews

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Photo of Floydster
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle wax dipped

Appearance is pitch black and resembles motor oil, two fingers of medium brown head, decent lacing and retention

Smell is oatmeal, booze, bourbon, vanilla, both milk and dark cocoa, along with fresh brewed java

Taste starts off with dark chocolate and big coffee notes, fades into oak, vanilla, and Christmas spices, as it warms the whiskey notes come out more, by the end the notes from the barrel are very pronounced and do a great job of rounding out the roastiness

Mouthfeel is full bodied, perfect level of carbonation, a little sweet once it warmed fully through, liked the chewiness from the roasted malts

Overall this is a big tasty beer, alcohol is pretty hidden for 11% but the bourbon makes itself known with all the wonderful barrel characteristics, I prefer the barrel aged version over the standard Plead the 5th, glad I got to try this

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

truly delicious, and enormously better than the base beer. this is perhaps the greatest improvement from base beer to barrel aged edition i have ever seen, not that there is anything wrong with the base beer, but that its not so outstanding and one of a kind as this variant. beautiful stuff, high luster dark brown, with a milky thick mocha head. the nose isnt all barrel, but that vanilla sweetness is robust. it pulls the bitter out of the base beer and balances it brilliantly, all united in oak. i get some coconut and some dark chocolate in here in the taste, even some dark fruits, maybe dried cherries for a minute, before the bourbon slowly starts to take over the palate. amazing how mellow the alcohol is on this, especially considering its not all that viscous compared to others in the same style. the finish is long but only a little sweet, i could have another glass no problem. toffee and espresso to finish with the bourbon, its like dessert and an after dinner drink in one package. the best ive had from dark horse, one of the best bourbon barrel beers period. wow.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'11 vintage. Second time around, and I've got two more from my four-pack. Mad Elf snifter.

Pours black as black, not much head. A few bubbles chunking on-top.

Bright bourbon nose with bar chocolate, heavy roast, rocket fuel, espresso, Nutella, marzipan, and malt bitterness. Smells phenomenal.

Sweet bourbon upfront with gooey choco-fudge brownie, walnut, hazelnut creme, milk caramel, Mexican coffee, and hefty booze strength. Charred malts with extreme roast. Black and sweet with lovely breath of whiskey. Some of the best bourbon barrel qualities in a stout I have ever had.

Big-bodied and lightly-carbonated to style. Hot, even with a year down, but it's at a goddamn 14%. Still a great feel for the strength.

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Photo of Brenden
4.48/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Jet black pour. Coffee colored head settles quickly. Minimal spotty lacing.

S: Fudge sauce, bitter dark chocolate, mocha. The barrel blends into this, creating scent profiles of chocolate/marshmallow candy and caramel chews. Whiffs of toasty oak and bourbon too. Some berry fruitiness rests underneath everything.

T: Rich mocha flavors and fudge sauce at the outset. Woody roast turns into more acrid flavors of French roast coffee. The barrel brings decadence as it melds with malt. Bourbon balls, walnut brownies, caramel chews and chocolate covered nougat come to the forefront. Quick flashes of figs and dates. Oak and some assertive bourbon toward the back. Bitter dark chocolate, oak, and bourbon on the finish.

M: Big and thick in body. Coating in the mouth, though not sticky or syrupy. It glides over the tongue with a satiny but chewy texture. Light carbonation. Warming alcohol.

O: Almost perfect. It's everything you could ever want in a bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout. It's such a delicious sipper in its own right that I fear any attempt at a pairing would only bring it down. Truly a stellar brew.

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Photo of Yourahoser
4.48/5  rDev 0%
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 stephenjmoore
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very thick, oily looking dark brown and settles into the glass with a very dark brown body and a frothy, mocha colored head. Aroma is of rich caramel, sweet bourbon, oaky wood and big roasted malts. Flavor is big bitter roastiness up front with a dash of coffee, then it hits with a wave of sugary sweet bourbon, toasted oak and finished with some roastiness and caramel flavors. Definite waves of flavor with this one. This one is full bodied with medium-light carbonation and a slick oily feel. Up there with the great class of BB stouts, very nicely done.

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Photo of MarcWP
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Copper wax Van Winkle. Joke.


Pours typical, black with no light coming through, small toasted almond colored head that leaves a tiny ring around the edge of the snifter.


Aroma is heavy bourbon, molasses, bitter dark bakers chocolate, fudge, brown sugar, and a definite date and fig fruitiness.


The taste brings heavy roast, bourbon, molasses, fudge, brown sugar, burnt fig, oak, vanilla extract, and bitter coffee. The flavor is pretty balanced between the roast, sweetness, fruitiness, and booziness of the bourbon. The finish lacks the complexity of the mid palate though.


Mouthfeel suffers a bit compared to the rest of the beer but is still good. More fullness would be awesome but the carbonation is spot on for the style. A medium mouthfeel when it should be at least a heavy side of medium.


Overall an excellent bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Not at the level of some of the best I've had, but definitely on their heels. Will be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of philbe311
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Slight medium brown colored head quickly fades leaving just a thin collar around the glass... Slightly menacing black color... Minimal carbonation...

S - Lots of roasted malts... Vanilla... Smoke... Some dark chocolate... The scent of the bourbon barrel is present, but far from overpowering... It adds nicely to the overall aroma...

T - Fudgie brownies... Dark fruit... Roasted malts... A touch of smokiness... The bourbon continues to take prominence as this one warms a bit, but never overwhelms...

M - Full bodied... Thick... Slightly viscous... Subtle carbonation... Sleek... Silky smooth...

D - This one isn't for the timid or shy... A full bodied, full flavored, full throttled barrel aged stout... Lots of good things going on here... This one deserves a seat at the table of the best of the big time barrel aged stouts...

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Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Adam and Anna. Thanks!

Oily, viscous black with a small dark brown cap.

The aroma is great - rich dark malts backed by strong but well integrated bourbon barrel. Milk chocolate, fudge, caramel, slight mustiness from the barrel and a hint of tar from the dark malt. Some noticeable alcohol, but no harshness.

Flavors of dark chocolate fudge and scorched malt frolic alongside caramel and vanilla. The body is huge and oily with a low level of carbonation. Tarry, burnt malt lends some balance to an otherwise sweet finish. The lingering sweetness reminds me of Jack Daniels. Alcohol is surprisingly reigned-in, I'd never guess this was 14%.

Plead the 5th is already a great beer, and this is even better. Impressive stuff.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from IAmJacksHopTongue (thanks so much man!). The Julian dating on the neck has partially rubbed off but appears to be 3363, or 12/2/13. Served in a Clown Shoes snifter.

Pours oil black with a tiny eighth finger cap of tan head. Very little retention and no lace.

Sweet, inviting aromas of bourbon, vanilla, cocoa and caramel. Nice.

Taste follows the nose but so much better. Flavors of soft, sweet bourbon throughout with layers of dark chocolate, vanilla, roasty malts, oak, molasses, caramel and espresso. Terrific balance of bourbon and classic imperial stout. A slight tingle of alcohol but this goes down easily.

Creamy, medium full feel with low carbonation. Perhaps not quite as thick as I'd prefer but it settles on the tongue nicely. Aftertaste of soft bourbon and bittersweet dark chocolate.

I've enjoyed Plead the 5th before but nothing like this. The barrel aging really makes this beer come alive. An excellent treat that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of Etan
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz 2011 bottle shared by ravot. Thanks!

A: Brownish black with a very dark brown head. Thick looking.

S: Huge vanilla, maple, chocolate. Creamy and richly aromatic.

T: Mild roast, chocolate, slight raisin, vanilla, caramel, solid oak, pleasant hit of booze in the finish.

M: Thick with a bit of carbonation.

O: Very, very good bourbon barrel stout.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 397 ratings.