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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
98
world-class

364 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 364
Hads: 2,669
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 2,104
Gots: 736 | FT: 95
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 364 | Hads: 2,669
Photo of johnnnniee
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at EBF on Saturday afternoon. Pours a solid black with a decent tan head with some retention. Smell is heavy on the bourbon with lots of chocolate and roast, and some vanilla and wood. Taste is chocolate bourbon and roast. Thick body with a creamy smooth mouthfeel and a light level of carbonation. A big thick stout, one of my favorites of the day. (357 characters)

Photo of thebigredone
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finding this beer on tap the one time I stopped by Dark Horse on a random April day completely made my vacation.

I'll skip to overall impressions. This will be the barrel aged stout by which I judge all other barrel aged stouts, and they will all fall short. This beer was perfect, a fantastic blend of bourbon and dark chocolatey stout, with a thick, creamy mouthfeel. I honestly don't think it could be improved upon. 5 out of 5. Well done Dark Horse, I tip my hat to you. (476 characters)

Photo of Dennoman
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to trading partner Pnell316, hope you enjoyed the De Molen bottles!

2011 vintage, poured into a 25 cl tasting tulip.

A: Pour is thick and black, with a dark brown caramel head. Slight redness on the pour and legs, but very hard to detect. A textbook imperial stout look-wise.

S: Bourbon notes, alcohol warming your nostrils, big bourbon hit and pleasant dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness is the first thing that touches the palate, which is then swept away by candy sugar and bourbon sweetness. I could spend ages trying to describe the tastes that pop up in this brew. It's a taste explosion that lingers far into the aftertaste. The after-sip aroma on the tongue is pleasantly bitter, as if to fool you the sweet, woody bourbon was never there.

M: Soft carbonation through a thick oily mass makes this slide down deceptively easy. Velvety smooth and just as sexy.

O: I cannot sing the praises of this beer enough. Though it would have probably scored higher if it had a slight touch of extra bitterness from the dark roasted malts, I find it very hard to fault this. If you can somehow get this, you definitely should. I'll be after you if you don't. (1,185 characters)

Photo of kawilliams81
4.27/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 8 oz snifter. 2011 vintage with silver wax.

A- pours a thick black with a 1 finger dark cola head. Small amoeba blotches remain on the glass.

S- huge vanilla aroma, marshmallow, chocolate, bourbon, some ashy roastiness.

T- bourbon, dark chocolate, oak, roasted dark malts, big coffee bitterness at the finish.

M- full body and medium carbonation. Rich and slick feel with a slight burn from the abv.

O- very good BA stout. From the regular version I guess I should expect the as hipness and dark chocolate. Just didn't have that amazing vanilla, chocolate, bourbon combo I love from bcbs. (627 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, 2011 vintage. Thanks for this one, Mark. (Compared side-by-side with regular version).

A: Pours black with a very thin dark chocolate head that quickly dispersed into a faint collar leaving wisps of lace.
S: Huge notes of sweet bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, caramel and dark chocolate. I’m getting almost none of the roast and anise that I pick up in the regular version.
T: A huge improvement on the original. Rich and decadent flavors of buttery oak, chocolate fudge, sweet and sticky bourbon, raisins, caramel, and vanilla. The bourbon and oak and integrated very well and have seemed to smooth over all the rough edges of the original. I’m getting some peat in the original that isn’t found in the barrel version. Very smooth and rich.
M: Low but creamy carbonation, slight alcohol warmth, rich and smooth mouthfeel with a full body.
O: Side by side these two beers are like night and day. While the original is good, the flavor profile on the barrel aged one makes it taste like it doesn’t even have the same base beer. Well worth finding a bottle or two. Thanks again, HosP, for sending me a couple. (1,133 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Derek. Thanks!

Black in color with a nice viscosity and a finger of dense brown head. Heavy on the bourbon and vanilla, as expected. Great chocolate character with hints of roasted malt, caramel, and molasses. Pleasantly sweet, but not cloying. Great milk chocolate and vanilla flavors all the way through with tons of bourbon as well. Not too heavy on the oak, but a little bit is present. Mild roasted malt and caramel flavors. (442 characters)

Photo of yamar68
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to randjuke for this gem. 2011 vintage poured into a brandy snifter:

Pours a pitch black ink. A dense, boozy finger of dark brown head swells up only to recede back to a neat collar. Sexy ass legs. Slow, fine beading hovers just below the cap. Beautiful.

Rich dark chocolate, molasses, big bourbon, various cocoa, more big spicy bourbon, think BCBS. I could sit and snort at this all day.

Hot damn. Thick wood (hehe) notes, vanilla, bourbon, breakfast syrup, boozy finish. I feel like the vanilla might really pop with some age. Unfortunately, this is my one and only bottle but I'm very grateful to have had the chance to try it!

Just another example of why the midwest conquers every other corner of the world when it comes to imperial stouts. (756 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.19/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (884 characters)

Photo of brystmar
3.82/5  rDev -14.3%
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. (697 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
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). (611 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (972 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours the customary used motor oil black; a fairly aggressive pour yields an expected short lived mocha / almost cinnamon tone head.

assertive nose offers a wallop of bourbon right out of the gate, which is followed by chocolate and roasted malt characters; secondary notes of vanilla, molasses, and a subtle dark fruit-like presence.

flavor follows the nose pretty closely. make no mistake, this one is a bourbon bomb (which i live for), but the bourbon doesn't overwhelm the other elements. the chocolate, roastiness, vanilla et al pull through in fine form. delicious. full bodied mouthfeel, velvety more than chewy if that makes sense. some heat but not what you'd expect from a 14% monster.

overall, a stellar imperial stout. almost unfair to lump some of these barrel-aged beers in with the general population, but this one stands out even among other barrel aged brews. if you're fortunate enough to come across it, don't hesitate.

(originally reviewed: 01-18-2012) (1,025 characters)

Photo of MichPaul
4.81/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I received this in a trade at the KBS release, and was waiting for a special occasion in order to enjoy it. So I am enjoying it with the pleasure of accepting a new job offer.
Pours black as night with absolutely no head. I never knock a stout for no head. The head on a stout just doesn't do it for me anyway. I still love the thickness of this beer to give the appearance a 4.5
Strong Bourbon smell in the aroma of this beer. Little bit of chocolate aroma, but mostly bourbon.
Taste is a huge rival of KBS and all the top stouts. I actually think this tops KBS for me. It drinks a bit smoother and is actually higher in ABV. Quite a bit of bitterness here as well as alcohol burn, but still goes down smooth.
Mouthfeel is medium to low carbonation, but a little higher bitterness than most of these BBA stouts.
Overall, this is a great stout that I enjoy just as much if not more than KBS. I would say if you like BBA stouts you have got to try and get this. It's a wonderful beer in this genre! (997 characters)

Photo of greenmonstah
4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle enjoyed in a blind tasting alongside BCBS and KBS

A - Thick black with no head, alcohol lacing, dark brown edges.

S - Cherry, molasses, sweet, alcohol, cocoa, vanilla tinted bourbon.

T - Bourbon!!!! Chocolate, molasses, cherry, alcohol. So much bourbon, the barrel dominates the flavor. Oak, vanilla extract, light char.

M - Medium body, zero carbonation.

O - Fantastic! A perfect display of bourbon barrel flavors layered onto an excellent stout base. Thought this beer had more bourbon notes than KBS, which I didn't realize was possible. (558 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Hawthorne's, Philly, PA

This guy eluded me for a while, but I finally caught it at Hawthorne's. Served in a Chimay chalice, I can't imagine a better looking beer: thick, dark black like motor oil, capped with a creamy dark chocolate head that quickly sank to a ringlet of bubbles. Maybe a little more retention would've been nice, but I didn't expect much from such a high octane beer. Aroma of dark malts, moderately roasty, dark chocolate, heavy bourbon. Dark sweet malts in the taste, chocolate chips, toasted marshmallow, heavy yet smooth bourbon with notes of vanilla and oak. Full body, creamy and delicious, a great sipper. Not quite as smooth as a nicely aged BCBS, but a great brew nonetheless. (725 characters)

Photo of Holland
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark black with a thin brown head. Delicious and thick looking.

S: caramel, bourbon, roasted malt, and done dark fruits?

T: huge bitter dark malt flavor with all of the bourbon, oak, and slight sweetness.

M: this is thick and rich, but has nice carbonation as well.

O: great beer. Worth tracking down. It's darkness and huge roasted and bitter flavors make it stand out from other bourbon barrel stouts. This is still very much a stout. (446 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to cmrillo for sharing this one after a ticking session at a local restaurant this evening! Thanks brother! Served from bottle into a Ommegang Three Philosophers chalice. Poured pitch black with a half finger brown head that subsided to a minimal amount very quickly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised roasted malt, sweet malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, wood, sweet alcohol, and vanilla. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark fruit, raisin, vanilla, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. The aroma on this one was really quite nice and very complex. All of the right components for the style were present in this one. The barrel really did a nice number on this brew as the regular version was quite good, but this turned that up to 11. The flavor was very well balanced and inviting making it quite easy to drink despite the high ABV. This could definitely get you in A LOT of trouble if not careful. An absolute must try if you are a fan of beer. Really glad I finally got the chance to try this one myself! Thanks again Rillo! (1,181 characters)

Photo of rtaps
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a nice mocha brown head decent retention.

Smell is great choclate brownie like with some heat, coffee like notes.

Very rich chocolate, like a chocolate brownie with some heat to it witch I like

Mouth smooth full bodied and creamy low carb

Overall it's just all around great  (306 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.42/5  rDev -23.3%
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 (789 characters)

Photo of Auracom
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ramiro - thanks mate. Ticking a top-three want of mine since I got into the hobby. Also a big thanks to Dark Horse for brewing so much more this past year and actually making it obtanium.

2011 vintage. 3-4 oz. poured into a CBS snifter on May 18th, 2012.

A - Looks almost identical to the regular Pt5, though maybe a tad thinner with a little less residual film across the sides of the glass.

S - Great Heaven Hill barrel notes. Charred oak. Vanilla beans throughout. Balanced bourbon. Milk chocolate. Roasted malts. Roasted peanuts and almonds. It leads you on but doesn't press too much, if that makes sense.

T - Is this my stairway to heaven? Awesome vanilla, more milk chocolate bar, additional deeper cocoa, almonds, and rich espresso beans. I find it pretty cool that the barrel elements are so pronounced yet don't overtake the great dark chocolate bitterness I love in the regular version. Really nice oak/wood flavoring, with subtle tannins before and after the finish.

M - Moderate body, appropriate carbonation, and a fair amount of finishing dryness.

D - Infinitely drinkable for the ABV, as much so as KBS. Absolutely one of best barrel-aged stouts I've had, and more importantly one of the best barrel implementations I've had regardless of style.

Edit - Split a 2012 vintage on 1/20/2013, thanks Dan. Though the ABV seems to have dropped roughly 3%, this is still rocking. I'm not sure 2012 is quite as mammoth as 2011 was, but it's close enough to give DH the nod for consistency.

Edit #2 - directly compared another 2012 vintage to regular 2012 Bourbon County. I must say, it didn't hold up well at all. Docking a number of points, as much as it pains me to do. (1,690 characters)

Photo of aasher
4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was courtesy of Lukafer, who gave it to me just to spread the love. Thanks Luke!

This beer pours a full bodied, black chocolate black with no head but a dark khaki lacing around the rim. The nose is very rich and roasty. T has some fudge brownie to it, LOADS of chocolate. That said, there isn't much bourbon at all. The flavors are really smooth and chocolaty. Again, loads of chocolate fudge and brownie. There is barely any bourbon at all and moderate roast. Great flavor on the chocolate standpoint, but disappointing in terms of barrel aged imperial stouts. This is the most palatable chocolate I've ever experienced in a beer. It is pretty light in body, compared to others of the style. I would describe it as a light medium. It does however increase drinkability. Overall this is a very nice beer, but doesn't show the bourbon you would expect. If I had to guess, I would say that this is oak aged or just aged regular Plead the 5th. All of that said, this beer was delicious. (997 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (718 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great thanks to dlello2 for this bottle, now drained into two small taster cups. Consumed as part of a Friday night lineup that included the '10, '11, & '12 vintages. One of my favorite regularly available stouts, so I've been looking forward to this vertical. 12 oz. wax-capped bottle.

Pour is black & close to flat, but it makes up for it in the smell. Lush bourbon loveliness pours out after the wax is busted, but fades quickly. By the time it warms there's nothing but a hint of malt & figment of bourbon left. Huh.

Bourbon Barrel Plead the Fifth is a shot of Maker's Mark to the gut; I wouldn't be surprised if this was 25% bourbon. Bourbon suffuses the base beer & overwhelms it with goodness (except I love the base beer). Roast manages to thrash its way out of the bourbon, & it retreats as it warms. Chocolate emerges rapidly; rich. Gorgeous. Deep wood that really adds some depth. Wasn't really digging this initially, but after some time, it grew on my rapidly. Up, up, & away. Heavy. Luscious.

Wow. This one didn't impress me out of the gate, but as it warmed - really warmed, after about 25-30 minutes - it became amazing. This is an excellent beer that really complements the excellent base beer. Worthy. Glad I have one more. (1,247 characters)

Photo of kscaldef
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Motor oil pour, raises a partial topping of thin brown bubbles, leaving nothing more than a ring within a minute of rest.

S: Bourbon and roasted wood fill the room from the pour. Closer sniffs yield caramel, vanilla, dates; lesser notes of chocolate. Swirling uncovers dessert bread aromas and an unexpected lighter fruit note... strawberry? red currant? Really beautiful layers of aromas here.

T: Like drinking a flourless chocolate cake. Rich and decadent, chocolate dancing with some fruity and herbal accents, slightly sweet but not overly. Strong alcohol bite on the finish.

M: Strikes an perfect balance. It's full and rich; but it's not sticky or cloying. Not much of any carbonation, but at this ABV, what can you expect; it doesn't detract at all in my opinion.

O: Damn good beer. My only regrets are not realizing this was 14% (or how good it would be) and not sharing it with a friend. (903 characters)

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
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%. (699 characters)

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 364 ratings.