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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.

378 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 378
Hads: 2,736
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 21.16%
Wants: 2,127
Gots: 739 | FT: 98
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: 378 | Hads: 2,736
Photo of nilesschmidt
1.25/5  rDev -72.2%

Caps leaked, damaged plastic seal inside cap, sent email to Dark Horse and called twice with no resolution, i like the base beer and i like barrel aged beer, but i dont like poor quality control that leads to flat beer with no attempt to remedy the problem

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
1.36/5  rDev -69.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip. Thanks to Dunt for the sample.

Appearance: This pours an oily molasses brown, nearly black in the center of the glass. A faint ruby tint in the edge of the glass, but almost no light sneaks through. No head whatsoever, even with an aggressive pour. Uh oh.

Smell: I get the requisite bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate and roasted malt, but there is also a good amount of sour cherry and a little bit of funk that pull the aroma down.

Taste: I would say it is unfortunate that the lack of carbonation really flattened out all of the flavors, but since there is also an unnatural infection in this bottle, maybe not. I can taste a bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, and roasted malt, but they are all nuanced behind a dominant sour cherry flavor with some funk as well. The lack of carbonation also makes it difficult for any one flavor to stand out. This is an unfortunate composite of flat flavor.

Mouthfeel: The first problem is that there is no carbonation in this bottle at all. With it being completely flat, none of the flavors are allowed to blend together and come through. The second problem is that by being infected, the body has thinned out, leaving a dry, medium bodied 14% bourbon barrel aged stout in its wake.

Overall: This is a beer I was really looking forward to, to have it flat AND infected was a huge disappointment.

Note: This IS the bourbon barrel aged version, not the Aigre version that is supposed to be sour.

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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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Photo of vinny21bal
3/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is ok. Like the fourth dimension I don't get it. If you compare this beer to Kbs, bcbs, cbs, Black Tuesday, it isn't even close in my opinion. But that is why everyone has there own opinion. I have different vintages at different times. I want to really like it, but I just don't care to much for it.

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Photo of MaybeSoMaybeNot
3.29/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

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Photo of ajmmin
3.39/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2012 12 oz poured into a sniffer on 4.29.2014.

A: Opaque with small tan head. Okay legs. Similar to BCBS. 4.50
S: Honestly? Not exactly pleasant. Kinda smells like fish food. 3.00
T: Kinda off... bitter and astringent as bourbon barrel barrel stouts go. 3.50
M: Nothing special. Kinda unpleasant aftertaste... like coffee-breath. 3.00

I think this bottle may have oxidized.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.42/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Batch

Look: Pours a midnight black with a tiny head and no real retention and leaves a slight coating on the glass

Smell: The barrel character on this one is extremely present. Lots of bourbon and oak upfront with some nice chocolate notes picking up the backend

Taste: For me this is where the beer goes wrong. The bourbon and alcohol and upfront and very overpowering and off putting. Disguised behind the Alcohol are some chocolate and oak and not much else.

Mouthfeel: The body is slightly thin for the style and not much carbonation and quite a bit of alcohol burn.

Overall: If you like stouts that taste like cheap bourbon this one is for you. There is no balance whatsoever in this beer and I don't feel like it even holds a candle to some of the high alcohol big stouts

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Photo of Johnd8
3.59/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Averaged from a 2012 and 2013, both drank near Christmas 2014.

2012 was horrible. some stout flavor with rotten fruit and an ash finish.
2013 was better, but the hints of bad fruit and ash are there to be tasted.

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Photo of s1ckboy
3.65/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage.

A - Black with a 2-3 finger mocha head that sticks around.

S - Chocolate, booze, bourbon, roast.

T - Chocolate, coffee, bourbon, roast. Very bitter finish that stays with you. A lot of alcohol burn as well which wasn't immediate but lingered for a while.

M - Full. A good amount of carbonation.

I had high hopes for this beer but the alcohol burn coupled with the bitterness made it a bit too harsh. Perhaps it will mellow with age.

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Photo of PerHops
3.68/5  rDev -18%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 Bottle into Snifter.

A- Jet black with a little bit of carbonation at the end of pour. The head is thin and tan but the retention is beautiful. This is a 100 percent perfect looking bb stout.

S- There is bourbon, roasty notes, oak and a slight damp funk at the end. Not quite what I was hoping for and not what I remember.

T- I dont pick up any funk like I did on the nose, but again slightly dissappointing. I get dark fruits, a little bitter chocolate, a little bourbon, but it has a light finish with red wine characters. A little astringent.

M- Starts off slightly syrupy but finishes pretty light and moderate carbonation.

O- To be honest this beer isn't quite what I remember it being. I am going to sit on my other too and hope they mellow out and evolve a little bit.

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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 kojevergas
3.75/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with silver wax-ed over branded pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a trade (I forget who with; sorry!) and served into an Odell stem-tulip in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. 2011 vintage. Reviewed as an imperial stout because the label identifies it as such. Expectations are sky-high; I loved the regular Plead the 5th.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of great khaki colour. Fantastic mocha-like creaminess. Great thickness. Sadly, the head retention is quite poor - maybe 25 seconds at best. Uneven spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a solid opaque dark black. No yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking real good for an imperial stout, but is far from unique or special. I've seen much better in the style, especially inasmuch as the head is concerned.

Sm: Chocolate malts, dark malts, cream, and complementary bourbon notes - some rich vanilla and pleasant guiding oak. It's not as toasty or roasty as would be ideal. The coffee has also faded substantially, but there's some vague cappuccino. Caramel.

It's a pleasant aroma of mild strength. To be honest, I expected more complexity and subtlety from the aroma.

No hop character or yeast character is detectable. It's quite clean.

T: I dig the bourbon; the vanilla and oak are nice, but I do want some toasty character from it. Dark malts and chocolate malts provide the foundation, with some sparse coffee/cappuccino in there too. Cream. Caramel. I'm not finding much (if any) roasted barley. It's a well balanced build, but while cohesive isn't quite gestalt. The barrel notes are well integrated into the base, but it doesn't feel like a perfect marriage. Good complexity and some nice subtlety. Not particularly nuanced or intricate. It's a bit too ashy and burnt on the climax, which is joined unfavorably by an unbecoming coffee-like bitterness.

It's certainly on the sweeter side.

Mf: I love the creaminess. Smooth. Wet. Has an even consistency. Well-carbonated. Good thickness and body. Good presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: I'm not sure if age has really helped it, but it's a tasty imperial stout. I'm glad I got to try it, but it's not amongst the best in the style. I'd pick it up if I saw it on the shelf, sure, but I wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out. I'd like to try it fresh. Hides its ABV pretty well. Damn good, but not world class. Quite drinkable, though.

High B

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Photo of trappistlover
3.8/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(750ml shared at Dak's Final Four tasting!). Pours oily dark brown with think khaki head. Aroma has sweet bourbon, vanilla and oak. Taste is sweet with some sour notes. Full bodied with oily texture. Good, but I had higher expectations of this one..

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Photo of n2185
3.82/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of brown head that fades into a hin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of creamy cocoa and chocolate notes up front followed by woody oak aromas. Slight caramel notes follow with stronger notes of bourbon.

T: roasted malts up front followed by semi-sweet chocolate flavors. Lots of oak notes follow with some caramel and bourbon flavors. The finish is lightly roasted and smokey with a light alcohol burn.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer is smooth and creamy.

O: a good bbal stout, overall. I'd like some more bourbon presence and more depth of aroma, but it hides the alcohol very well.

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Photo of brystmar
3.82/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JBuddle for sharing!

Looks like an imperial stout, leaving good lace. Nice aroma of bourbon-coated roasty malts. Dark, almost burnt. Slight oxidization too.

Roasty up front, though the bourbon takes over quickly and overwhelms the other flavors. The barrel aging is a kinda out of control here; the barrel character shouldn't be this prominent.

Huge body is this brew's savior. Bourbon be damned: the viscous mouthfeel is right where it needs to be.

I prefer the base beer -- especially with age -- but this isn't bad. I hear last year's batch was much better (makes sense; the beer I'm drinking isn't anywhere near deserving of a 4.48 average). Hope I can try a 2010 bottle someday.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.84/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage.

Pours completely pitch black with no head. Very faint spots of lace appear during the drink down.

The smell is of dark chocolate, vanilla, pipe tobacco, dark fruit and faint coffee.

The taste is dominated by dark chocolate and roasted malt. There is an strong Earthy oak aftertaste.

The texture is heavy bodied with no carbonation.

All of the characteristics of a bourbon barrel stout are here but, there is an out of place and unpleasant herbal aftertaste. I'm not sure if the age of this bottle is an issue but, I am underwhelmed with this offering.

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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 Retsinis
3.87/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, thanks Adam! (mrbubbler)

A: Quarter inch cap of creamy cappucino colored head. The beer is a black, no light penetration, with a dark brown hue.

S: Marshmellow, graham cracker, light vanilla, touch of bouurbon. Bakers chocolate

T: Oak, kiss of vanilla, touch of toast, vanills, & light roasted malt blended with bourbon.

M: semi dry, light carbonation, medium roasted sweetness.

O: Large margin improvement from regular plead the 5th. Glad I got the chance to try it. Not my favorite -bal RIS but still quite tasty. Worth a try.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.88/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage (I think, shouldn't have recycled the bottle) picked up in a trade. Split the bottle with my wife.

Beautiful pour that runs out of the bottle like black ketchup. Not much head. Smell is fruit and bourbon, a little bit of chocolate behind. But it's all more faded than I expected, doesn't assert itself with sweet bourbon.

Taste. Hmmmm...again, faded a bit. Except for a surprising hoppy bitterness. Is this an 11 that past it's prime? Or is it not all that? Again, not bad, but not all that.

Mouthfeel - because the bourbon isn't as pronounced as expected, zero burn. Great viscosity. Can't believe it's 14%. Consistency is probably all that keeps me from declaring this a par beer.

Overall, a very good beer, but as with the base BT5, I apparently like this less than the average bear. And in the pantheon of bourbon barrel stouts, stunningly, I would rate this as slightly below average. Worth drinking, and recommended, but I would not pay $7/bottle for it or trade for it at a high premium.

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Photo of dboon
3.93/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, 750ml, 2010 vintage. Black pour with a small tan head. Bourbon and chocolate nose. Vinous with big cabernet, deep roasted malt, and bourbon notes. Good, but maybe not what the brewer intended

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Photo of Ahappyhiker2
3.96/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

A- Poured dark and thick, black in color. Barely any head or noticeable carbonation. Dark brown lacing.

S- Bourbon, vanilla, coconut, some booze on the nose as well. The smell is sweet, I don't get as much chocolate or bitterness that I got when I had this fresh. The aroma is mostly bourbon and vanilla.

T- Bitter on the tongue as it goes down, and has a dominant coffee flavor. It's so much different from when I had it fresh. I remember tons of bourbon in the taste, and I'm honestly barely getting any. There is some vanilla in the aftertaste, but it's predominantly coffee and a bitter dark chocolate flavor throughout. Reminds me of KBS.

M- Could use a little more carbonation, but it's nice and thick.

O- More than I could say I'm disappointed, I'm just so surprised. This is the same exact beer I had fresh 2 years ago, and it's completely different. It's a little sweeter which I expected, but it has so much more coffee presence and so much less bourbon. It really reminds me of KBS, which is not a bad thing at all but the first time I had it it reminded me of Parabola. I'm putting this one down as a beer not worth aging. It's delicious in its own right still, but I enjoyed it so much more fresh. Still a solid barrel-aged offering from Dark Horse, and one of the better barrel-aged stouts floating around in my opinion. For those of you that are aging a few: drink them.

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Photo of dlino11
3.98/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Like others have said I feel the 2014 needs to age some. Pours dark and had a nice thick constancy. Just felt the barrel aged flavor was weak and tasted like breakfast stout.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.98/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another from my trade with deyholla. Pours viscous black with one finger brown mocha head. Aroma of chocolate, sweet molasses, dark fruits, roast, and something off that I am not a fan of (similar characteristics to Tres). Thick viscous mouthfeel with medium low carbonation. Heavy dark fruit up front followed by lots of dark bittersweet chocolate. Slight booze, but don't get much of the bourbon barrel in this. Was expecting a bit more vanilla oak, though my palate might be tainted from the Kuhnhenn BA 4D I had right before this. I tend to prefer non-fruity stouts, but this is generally well done. Relaxing sipper. I find it strange that the regular version was so full of roast and chocolate and this one went more fruity despite the barrel. Oh well, good beer just not as great as I had hoped.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of light dry roasted malt notes with some black chocolate notes with medium bourbon notes with some vanilla undertones. Taste is also dominated by creamy black chocolate notes with some light dry roasted malt. Body is full with creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Not as complex as I was expecting but very well balance overall with chocolate and bourbon creating an efficient mix.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours just shy of black as can be with just a touch of mahogany around the very edges. small, very dark brown head with weak retention. no lacing but does leave brown viscous legs as it swirls around the glass. completely opaque.

Smell: strong sweet chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar, bourbon and booze. notes of vanilla, oak and dark fruits are lighter.

Taste: opens up with huge amounts of sweetness coming in the form of brown sugar and chocolate. the middle is full of barrel and dark malt character, with bourbon and a strong espresso taste. strong alcohol in the back end along with some dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: heavy, slick and chewy. large amounts of sweetness but the bitter black malts win out leaving behind some bitterness. warming alcohol

Overall: easily the best beer I have had from dark horse, but with all the great barrel aged stouts out there, this one falls at the lower end of the upper tier.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 378 ratings.