1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,184 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,184
Reviews: 323
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 1,918
Gots: 538 | FT: 63
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:
Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: MbpBugeye on 07-25-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,184 | Reviews: 323 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brentk56
4.14/5  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 Bierguy5
4.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black. Tan head holds for a couple minutes, then fades to a thin ring. Not much lace, but still good looking.

Lots of roasty malt. Oak and bourbon notes abound. Dark chocolate. A good amount of wood, without being overwhelming.

Roasty malt, nice bourbon character with some oaky tannins. Very minimal fruit. A hint of vanilla.

Medium body with a nice creamy feel. Some warming alcohol. Overall, very nice, but a bit hot.

Photo of HopHead84
4.15/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12/29/2011

2011 batch. Snifter. Huge thanks to Ed for the bottle.

My pants were extremely tight at work today. It was uncomfortable, to say the least. Though, it's nothing I can't sort out over a barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout. Any lapse in advocacy may lead to depression and torpidity. I have much thinking to do, it may require efforts from a bomber of IPA as well.

A: The beer resembles motor oil as it flows forth from the glass when I gently tilt the bottle. The head strikes me as a mixture of russet and sepia. It lingers for half a minute before receding to a small collar of froth around the edges of the glass.

S: Caramel drizzled dark chocolate cake, brown sugar, and big oak notes. Vanilla is light and bourbon is dominant (in a good way). Roasted grains are evident, blending with milk chocolate and alcohol.

T: Liquid dark chocolate, rich and delicious, with a light molasses presence and an upper low earthy bitterness. There's a lot of booze in the flavor, but the taste manages to still be quite good. I get a shadow of caramel and a fair amount of oak with big fudge notes. Bourbon is well integrated. Roasted grains are restrained. Alcohol takes over in the late midpalate and dominates through the finish. It's a bit rough near the end, knocking this from a 4.5 to a 4 in the flavor.

M: Full in body with lower medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is silky, chewy, and sticky.

Overall: Enjoyable, but this is just a bit too boozy at this point. I'll bet this will be excellent in 6 months if it manages to avoid becoming infected like many other barrel aged strong ales. A pleasure to try.

Photo of PlinyBeMiney
4.15/5  rDev -9%
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 mfavoino
4.15/5  rDev -9%
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 sukwonee
4.2/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black and black... tiny mocha head, with very little lacing.

S: Wow... bourbon, cherry, molasses, oak, brown sugar, chocolate. Very boozy but strong smell.

T: Bourbon, vanila, brown sugar, chocolate, quite strong cherry and dark fruits, some smoke and hops near the end. Sweet and Slightly too boozy for me, but big big taste (follows the nose)

M: A bit too hot for me and surprisingly not as thick nad syrupy as I expected for a big beer like this.

O: Very nice bourbon barrel aged stout, but not my favorite. I much prefer this over the normal plead the 5th (which was a bit too smokey for my taste).

Photo of joshuaseresse
4.2/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks goes out to erikkoppin for this bottle in a recent trade. 12oz bottle, served into a snifter:

A - Pours a deep black with a nice chocolate mocha head that dies into a nice foam ring around the edges. Murky clouds in the middle with other hints of foam. Lacing is there but doesn't stick around for too long.

S - Smells of fresh bourbon, wood, roast and some chocolate. Little bit of vanilla and tobacco leaf, leather and touches of espresso and mocha. Pretty decent smell, but could use a few years of age to be perfect. I'd rank this one a 4.25 but I'll round up since I have a feeling it will reach perfection in a few years.

T - A decent amount of charred oak, roasted coffee/espresso and smooth bourbon. Notes of chocolate, fudge and again, some tobacco leaf. Even though you can tell the bourbon is there, there is no heat to it. Mostly some bitter coffee notes and more of the above mentioned flavors. Even though I like it, I'm going to also score this a 4.25, and since I upped the smell, this one will be a 4.

M - A little bit of sweetness from the bourbon and chocolate flavors, but toward the end this thing starts to dry out the mouth. Again, no burn from the bourbon or ABV. The carbonation is smooth and creamy.

O - This is a pretty decent BA stout. I really enjoy the smell and taste, but the mouthfeel is slightly off putting. This is the first time I've had this brew, and while I like it now, I know that it'll be the bees knees in a few years. Thanks again Erik for the assist!

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.2/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of beerpirates
4.21/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into my CBS snifter

A: Opaque dark, deep black with no light getting through this. 2 finger brown head which fades quickly into a thin collar and some wandering, appealing laces.

S: Smell is of dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla. Huge! A smooth smoky and nutty scent along with some dark fruits and a bit of alcohol follow.

T: Massive dark chocolate, sweet and roasted malts. Bourbon, vanilla very well blended to this malty profile. The upcoming booze brings dark fruits aroma. Finishes on nutty and resinous hops notes.

M: Full bodied, sweet, creamy, a bit chewy but not sticky. Not as warming as one could expect given the ABV. Easily drinkable. Just perfect!

O: A beautiful barrel aged stout. Smell and taste profiles are huge, massive. But this is so easy to drink, so good !

Photo of cpetrone84
4.21/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Compared the '11 and '12 next to each other. Pour is jet black with a dark caramel head but not a lot even after a strong pour. Nose is a nice mix of bourbon and light chocolate cake. There are some chalky notes and a bit of booze in back. Taste is more woody, light bourbon. Chocolate notes, faintly chalky but less than the nose. Full bodied and soft, a hint slick with moderate carbonation. Taste gets a little sweet in back and some lingering roasted malts.
The '11 has a richer nose and less sweet in the flavor. More balanced but less bright so you sacrifice a little in flavor expression for balance and tightness. Both are very solid, I would prefer the '11 with the 2 years in it. Rate from the '11.

Photo of mistakebythelake
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at a recent BA barrel aged tasting with some Cincy folks. Thanks for providing this gem!

Was impressed with the pitch black color and lacing that this growler pour revealed into my snifter. A beauty on the nose as well with a medium amount of bourbon touched off with some cocoa. The taste with the bourbon, chocolate and some vanilla characteristics from the oak really impressed me with the balance of this stout. The carbonation may have been a bit off due to the growler pour being the last out of the keg when filled, but still was a sludgy, creamy feel. I was surprised that it was around 14% as its drinkability was very high for me without the booziness some ba stouts can get.

Photo of brew3crew
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was drinking this from a 2/3s fill growler. Dont know if it affected anything. If someone wants to send me a bottle, i can re-review it :).

A-Dark black with zero head
S-very large bourbon upfront. Can pick up some chocolate and malt through the bourbon
T-Once past the bourbon, can pick up some malts and chocolate. somewhat oaky taste
M-Very smooth and no burning
D-Crazy Drinkable. Would not have guessed 14%. WOW

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.23/5  rDev -7.2%
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 Arbitrator
4.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours a dark, oily black -- the color of motor oil that has been used several thousand miles past spec. A pinky finger of dark mocha head caps the beer; retention is short.

S: Vanilla, caramel / burnt sugar, fudge, bourbon, oak, molasses. The net effect here is reminiscent of early, keg-only Parabola. I shed a tear for the hoppy abomination the bottle form has become, and give praise that Dark Horse seems to have stumbled onto Firestone-Walker's formula.

T: As in the nose, the flavor captures a delicious blend of fudgy vanilla. Bourbon is somehow less prominent than the vanilla bean character, though it is by no means hidden. A touch of roast evokes earthy coffee, but this is a minor element; the beer clearly prefers the chocolate-dessert approach, and I'm not one to complain about that.

M: Chewy and oily, but not lingering or difficult to remove from the palate. In fact, it finishes relatively cleanly for something this big. And it hides the ABV quite well. I'm sure this is beyond 14% (isn't that what the base beer has?). My only complaint is that as it warms, it has a distinct solventy aftertaste, which in several bottles became unbearable at the proper serving temp.

O: I had this a few times out of the bottle and detected noticeable variation. Two bottles were outstanding; very fudgy and rich, with great bourbon integration. Others were a little cardboardy and solventy. I'm tweaking my score so that the overall grade is a rough average of the bottles I've had.

Incidentally, I compared this to early batches of Parabola, but it also reminds me of a chewier Silva Stout. Overall, this is a fantastic beer and needs more love.

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of bishopdc0
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of LGB362
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of deuce9259
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of kevwcamp
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Schlafly33
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of DerekQXQX
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Beerontwowheels
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of EricLarcom
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,184 ratings.