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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
100
world-class

2,446 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,446
Reviews: 353
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 7.69%
Wants: 2,032
Gots: 663 | FT: 83
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: 2,446 | Reviews: 353
Photo of LanePerson
4.06/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Fern13
4.06/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of ManVersusBeer
4.07/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the the silver waxed 12 oz. 2011 version of this delicious beer.

It is a very dark, though subtle dark tan with a little head.
A nice sweet coffee bean in the nose followed by chocolate bar and caramel, not toffee. Just like a Milky Way.
Vanilla, huge vanilla and then caramel with touches of milky cocoa and chocolate milk. That's the bourbon coming through, although I don't taste too much oak. I get some nice butterscotch dipped vanilla ice cream, too.
The mouthfeel has a bit of roasty bitterness which is nice when paired with the sweetness of this brew. It is creamy, mildly sticky with what I feel is below average carbonation. The Bourbon Barrel version is definitely better, and bolder, than the original.

Photo of Verecund
4.07/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 batch thanks to StoutFest. February 16, 2012.

Pours black with a quarter-finger mocha head.

Rich and decadent nose: fudge brownie; toasted graham cracker; strong bourbon presence (with some heat); light vanilla; charred oak and roasted grain. Impressive.

Lots of chocolate notes on the palate, half milky, half dark. Bourbon and fudge. Fairly sweet, but there's an earthy bitterness throughout the mid-to-late palate. It's also pretty oak-forward for a -bal stout; the char is almost spicy on the finish. Still fairly hot -- the bourbon seems to be quality, but it's a bit messy, all things considered.

A little thin in body, with medium carbonation. Appropriately sticky.

Happy to have finally had this. An above-average -bal stout, but a bit hot and messy at this stage to be top tier.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.08/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage, thanks bevoduz !!

pours jet black, pretty decent viscosity. little to no head. appears pretty still.

very bourbon forward, alcohol infused stout paired with bitter dark chocolate

similar to nose, very alcohol forward. has a lot of Jack Daniels flavors popping out up front. the base is a bit subdued but deep in there is a sweet roasted body.

very moderate carbonation mixed with the alcohol, you get some bite. this has some bite.

good BA stout, maybe needs some time? this is a tad rough on the edges. i am grateful for finally being able to try this thanks to a generous BA.

Photo of apasternak
4.09/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Rutager
4.09/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thank you to yeahnatenelson! 2011, silver wax.

Appearance. Poursalmost thick and black with almost no head, just a fine skim of dark brown bubbles on the surface.

Smell. Bourbon for sure, not very boozy though. Wood and Vanilla are there too, some roasty dark malts and a little caramel and coffee.

Taste. Bourbon, sweet vanilla, sweet caramel and coffee, some booze and a little burnt sugar (more burnt than caramel, anyways), just a little dark roasted malts.

Mouthfeel. Full body, low carbonation. A little warm.

Overall. A nice bba stout, no question. Seemed a little boozy and could probably use another year or two, but really not that bad for a 14% beer. Would love to try it again nicely aged.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour shared by DarthKostrizer at his place.

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, cocoa, cinnamon, wood, and bourbon. Taste is pretty much the same with an alcohol kick in the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but it’s a bit hot in my opinion.

Photo of Gfunk720
4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Out of my HFS stemware.

A- Pitch black, with a reddish mocha colored head. Some light lacing and a ring of foam retains around the glass.

S- Smells kinda rummy, with hints of roast malt and chocolate. Some excellent light peat and barrel character is also present. There is definitely still some heat and astringency.

T-Oh so smooth at first, then the flavors start to come out. Rich chocolate and bourbon flavors hit the tongue, dark roasted malt and even a hint of smokiness are present. More sweet oaky bourbon flavor, touches of vanilla and caramel.

M- While it is easy to drink for the %, the beer is lacking body. The carbonation is a little too light, and it's just a touch watery. While it does have a nice creamy feel on the tongue, this is the weakest trait.

O- Overall, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. The base beer is a little thin, but the barrel aging has quite a nice touch. Could use a little time, but the flavors are still excellent.

-GFunk

Photo of tarheels86
4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

355mL 2011 ed silver wax thanks to mikem409. Pours ink with a larger reddish mocha head settling abruptly to a bubbly layer. Nose is richer vanilla with thicker sweet bourbon. Very reminiscent of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Rich wood and mild dark cherries. Very inviting, dessert nose. Taste is silky, rich, spicy bourbon, big dark chocolate. Thankfully only hints of ash that sometimes plague Dark Horse beers. Bitter, thicker. Very enjoyable. Great palate. Lower carbonation with super rich, oily palate. Beautiful stuff. Glad to see this bumped into the Top 50 on both sites. 1/13/2012 8/4/8/5/16=4.1

Photo of mjpolzin
4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 4 oz pour of this at Great Taste of the Midwest. Because I only got to have 4 ounces and because you try so many different beers at this festival, it is tough for me to give this the review it deserves but here it goes...

Bourbon seemed to be the dominant taste in this beer. It was overpowering but enough so that it did mask some of the other stout flavors I usually like to find. From reading some other reviews on this site, I am sure that if I had let this beer warm a bit some of the other flavors would have come out.

I am slowly starting to appreciate Dark Horse as I have started to have more of their beers. When comparing other big stouts that I had during the day at Great Taste, this was for sure one of the top 3.

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of claaark13
4.11/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Cam. Poured into a Founders snifter after being slightly chilled.

A - Pours black and a light-tan head forms. It soon disappears and leaves minimal lacing. Sticks to the glass alright. It looks extremely appealing.

S - Dark fruits with light amounts of vanilla and oak. Some fudge comes through as well.

T - Fudge quickly turns into into some oak and vanilla, some heat, then a dry vanilla finish. There is also a little bit of burn once the dryness begins to subside. The oak really makes itself present towards the end. The fudge/cocoa/chocolate is there, but really seems to take the back seat to the barrel. There is a little bit of sweetness, which helps create some balance.

M - Medium body with lower carbonation on the tongue. It does the job with the flavors.

O - The flavor seems a little heavy on dryness and virgin oak for me without providing as much caramel/vanilla as I would expect/prefer. I think if they could pull back the barrel just a little bit, it would surpass what I'd call similar beers. Or, if the barrel would be able to present more charred characteristics. I'd drink it again happily and would be interested to open one among similar beers to see how it stacks up.

7/1/12 Update - Dark fruits are showing up in the flavor, oak is still strong and the heat is faded. If you've been holding any of these for a while, you should really think about opening at least one of them soon. 5/4/4.5/4.5/4.25

Photo of isu68mbt
4.11/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of mfavoino
4.11/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared between three friends and poured into a Surly tulip. Side by side with the base.

Appearance: Looks like thick motor oil with a nice mocha rim to it. A ring is left along the top of the glass.

Smell: Bourbon dominates the nose. Alcohol, oak, and a dark roasty aroma are the most prominent aromas beyond the initial bourbon.

Taste: Smooth bourbon is the first thing to touch my palate and has a huge flavor. Some roasted malt, sweet chocolate, and oak give it the complexity it needs. Booze warmth as it finishes.

Mouthfeel: Heavy mouthfeel, creamy, and boozy.

Overall: Very much different from the base beer, as the bourbon is strong. I honestly think I prefer the base in this case, but that is not to say that they took anything away from it with the BB version.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2012 vintage.

Appearance - Very think inky black pour with a small mocha head. Nothing left after a while. Just a thin collar and three measly and miniscule islands of foam.

Smell - The barrel is very nice, but the aroma of the beer is intense. Bourbon, tons of oak, and a nice hint of vanilla from the barrel. Sweet malts, licorice. Coffee and dark chocolate are afterthoughts compared to the barrel, booze, and sugars.

Taste - The base beer shines through the barrel, but it adds a nice layer. Bourbon is immediately apparent. Deep dark chocolate flavors and a sweet fruit layer. Oak is really intense in the back. Lingering oaky finish is too strong and just pegs it back from perfect.

Mouthfeel - It's heavy, boozy, and overly oaked. Low carbonation. A monster of a beer.

Overall - While this beer is spectacular, the barrel hasn't improved it. Intense oak creates an unpleasant aftertaste. That being said, I had this on tap and it was incredible. Batch to batch may vary. I certainly won't mind exploring different vintages of this.

Photo of PlinyBeMiney
4.12/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage received via trade w/ TheCherryMan, thanks!

Pours graciously with no apparent head until I force the last on the bottle straight down. Head is a crown of caramel bubbles which settle along the edges of my snifter. The smell is dark chocolate, coffee, burnt vanilla and a musty bourbon. Despite the variety of flavors, everything seems somewhat muted. I appreciate the aggressive (but well integrated) taste of bourbon in an aged stout, but that isn't the case here. I'm just a bit disappointed, and as it warms I get a bit more bourbon, though not as well integrated and a bit fusel. The taste is something I can appreciate. It's smooth and mellow. No alcohol burn, and a nice roastiness. Mouthfeel is silky but a tad thin. My bottle says its 11% despite the description saying it should be 14%. I attribute the thinness to this. This may have been a thicker beer, but this version is definitely a lot lighter on the tongue. Overall, I'm happy to try this. I am starting to realize rarity can elevate a beers score, but in this case the beer gets the job done and I am more than happy to enjoy it. Cheers.

Photo of Halfbrother83
4.12/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of redblacks75
4.12/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark black, no lacing, very little head, and what color there is to the head is a mocha, tan.

S: Bourbon, & vanilla.

T: Vanilla, burnt sugar, anise, a slight oak taste which may be due to the dryness.

M: It's thinner than allot of stouts I have had before. A medium-low carbonation, with an extra dry finish.

O: The best Dark Horse offering I have had to date. If you are looking for a bourbon forward stout I recommend this. It is a worthwhile offering.

Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Vintage 2012

Appearance: Pours pitch black, with some brownish highlights on the edge; the head lays a film on top of the liquid and then fades to a ringlet while leaving a nice pattern of lacing around the chalice

Smell: Dark fruit, licorice, dark chocolate, citrus and some oak; not picking up much in the way of Bourbon

Taste: The dark fruit (prune, primarily), licorice and dark chocolate flavors dominate the front end with some citrusy hops appearing, in the middle; the Bourbon appears, after the swallow, adding oak and vanilla; chops more wood into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: For what is currently #19 on the Top 250 list, I was expecting something a bit more than what I got; still, this beer is a solid Bourbon barrel RIS, just not an earth shatterer

Thanks, Tenchi221, for the opportunity

Photo of CrellMoset
4.13/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of a recent trade - thanks! Poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours an onyx, deep and pool like, viscous but at the same time oily and slick looking. A moderately vigorous pour yields a surprising amount of head for a barrel aged, 14.0% abv brew - about three quarters of a finger of foamy espresso with surprising retention sits atop the body, about as thick as the inky sludge it's sitting on top of. It ultimately fades in to a similarly thick, foamy ring and a few sparse wisps of surface bubbles, with the persistence of the former being somewhat of a mystery, as even direct exposure to light reveals no internal carbonation. Half a point off for the inability of this one to hold any modicum of lacing on the sides of the glass, but half a point only given the aforementioned factors weighing against this one's ability to do so.

Aroma: Rich, but still somewhat subdued. Smoke, roast, hints of fruit, and a very smooth barrel presence belies absolutely no hint of alcohol spice or heat, even as this one warms, which is a definite plus. There's an interesting juxtaposition here between a lot of light fruity notes - cherries, sour apple, almost bordering upon jolly rancher-ish notes at times - and the deep, velvety smokiness of the malts and (I presume) some hint of barrel char. The latter also obviously compliments the bourbon and other barrel notes, which suggest strong vanilla and hints of cinnamon, along with a persistent but very heavy and low-in-the-register woodiness.

Taste: A slightly different tasting -bal RIS than I expected, heavy on the extremes. What I mean is that, typically, -bal RISs are bourbon, chocolate, and coffee bombs; and, while this one has all three of those components, none of them really dominate, or are even that prevalent. This one is more about fruit notes at the top of the register, smoky, charred malts at the bottom, and flashes of intermittent barrel notes filling in the blanks. It's unique, a little different, and still pretty good. Deep espresso roast and fudge brownie notes are definitely still present, mind you, but they're balanced by a slew of raisins, figs, cherries, dates, and even berry notes - way high up in the mouth, in a way that leaves that tinge of acidity.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, but what is here is well-embedded, smooth, creamy, and works perfectly with the flavor components. The end result hits all the right notes.

Drinkability: Fantastic. A really solid beer, with a very interesting flavor profile, despite the 14.0% abv.

Photo of tbdkev
4.14/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, motor oil color with some tan lacing. The aroma leaves something to be desired. Although the normal constituents of bourbon are present on the nose (i.e. vanilla, oak, etc.). There's a faint "saltwater" aroma as well, which is a little disconcerting. The taste follows the standard bourbon profile, with big burned elements and a heavy alcohol warmth throughout. The mouthfeel is pleasant, although I wish it was slightly thicker. The finish leaves something to be desired, as the big flavors from the initial taste disappear rather quickly, leaving only the burn. A solid brew from Dark Horse, but I'm a little let down.

Photo of Jho3325
4.14/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JackNip
4.15/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bnelson997
4.15/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,446 ratings.