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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

2,443 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,443
Reviews: 351
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 7.69%
Wants: 2,034
Gots: 662 | FT: 85
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: 2,443 | Reviews: 351
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Eric for bringing this bottle to the post-Christmas tasting in Chicago.  Really glad to be able to try this.  Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pour yields a beer that is near black with a thin whisper of a mocha head without any real retention, just a few bubbles here and there.  The nose brings forward all sorts of delight with nice bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, and roast.  Also, there was a bit of a creamy peanut butter note that I really enjoyed.  The taste wasn't quite as nice and explosive but the bourbon did quite a few great things for the base beer.  Good oak and bourbon throughout, creating a really nice feel.  No hint of the huge alcohol presence. Drinks quite well and my pour was gone well before I had gotten enough of this to satisfy my thirst.  Thanks again, Eric!

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 ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.59/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing what a barrel can do, Dark Horse's Plead the 5th goes into the barrel as an slightly unrefined catterpiller but emerges from its oaken cocoon as ominous and succulent butterfly. Upon its revival, utter decadence is realized!

You don't so much as pour the beer, rather you pop the cap and let it crawl out on its own. As it settles in the snifter, its lavish pitch-black body creeps to the bottom while a mocha-laden lather billows above. Its fledgling head character eventually succumbs to the beer's weight and renders it lacing as unimportant. What transpires instead in a shaddowy port or brandy appearance.

Its decadent dessert-like and boozy sweetness soothes the soul with a mere sip. Dark chocolate, espresso, creamy toffee-wrapped malt, walnut brownies and molasses round out the stouts surly scent. But a rise of bourbon happens as the beer warms, unlocking its sweet booziness with a soft pillow of caramel, vanilla, coconut and vinous cherry aroma.

Sipping as a cordial, the most subtle draw seeps into taste buds with sheer dominant roasty-sweet flavor. Coffeehouse espresso is softened with bittersweet chocolate, black-strap molasses and a creamy fudge flavor. As the stout slowly treks over the middle, its hearty sweetness slowly fades into a bitter coffee trail that's once again greeted with drunken oak. Its boozy char brings about a host of elegant power- its thin caramel is slightly of honey as the unmistakable coconut and vanilla offer the whimsy that only fine bourbon can. Even a savory vinous tone offers up sherry, port, merlot and even soy sauce.

Its full body simply laughs at any attempt for drinkability- this is a sipper as its enormous viscosity coats the mouth its oily chewiness. As its warm and toasted finish transpires, the stout retains much of its body, refusing to be dissected by its strong alcohols or its vinous tannin spiciness.

This special Plead the 5th doesn't pair with any after dinner dessert or snack. It is the after dinner dessert. Just sit back, relax and let this decadent ale steal your soul!

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of Knapp85
4.41/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011: The grand finale to the night spent with jzeilinger. Poured this between the two of us. This beer was black it had a brown head that was faded quickly but left a ring around the edge of the glass. The look of the beer is pretty typical for the style. The smell of the beer is surprising to me, I expected the barrel aging to stand out a lot more on this. There is some vanilla on the nose along with some other sweet aromas. The taste of the beer is also really subtle. I was surprised by this, Really thought you'd be able to get much more intense flavors of the barrel and the bourbon. It's a great tasting beer regardless. The mouthfeel is thick and gently carbonated, it's a very smooth beer. Overall it's much more balanced than I expected, it's a solid beer from start to finish. I would have enjoyed a little more bourbon on it though. It's good but I don't feel it's worth the 100% rating on here.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of emerge077
4.52/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second time trying this, too bad it's served in such a tiny glass. I can only imagine the pure devastation that a growler would bring.

Jet black with a sticky cap of mocha foam. It sticks around for the duration, and adheres to the sides. Did I mention sticky? Doesn't look all that different from Plead the 5th, it seems to have definitely retained carbonation after time in the barrel.

Deep fudgy chocolate and blackened, fried plantains dripping in brown sugar syrup. Not overly sweet, but with a vanilla barrage from the barrel. Dark roast and bittersweet chocolate figure large in the equation. Rich flavor, blackened roasted barley, toasted marshmallow, vanilla and chocolate intermingling, with a light sweetness peeking through in the middle. Even carbonation, and with a bigger swig the alcohol is evident, but creeps by unnoticed when sipped. It has an unwavering intensity that is impressive. A solid A+ RIS from Dark Horse.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.51/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tumbler.

When I first had this beer many moons ago, even in the midst of other harder-than-usual-to-come-by barrel-aged stouts and such, I felt lucky as hell to have had the privilege of its acquaintanceship. Then I was given a second chance. Pinch me. Anyway, this stuff pours a bedevilingly dark and murky black-brown topped by a short finger of sandstone foam. The nose comprises bourbon, roasted malts, dark chocolate powder, light wood, a touch of booze, and the faintest hint of vanilla bean. The taste brings in more of the same, everything colluding to effect a luscious melange of bourbon-y, chocolate-y, and roast-y tastiness. The body is a light hefty, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a fairly chewy feel. Overall, this is still one of the best barrel-aged stouts I've ever come across. Perhaps the beer gods will smile on me again in the future...?

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of oline73
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 bottle poured into my colossus snifter. I got this in a BIF today and was so excited I decided to open it up.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black with a half finger layer of cocoa colored head. The head fades to a ring around edge of the glass with just a swirl of carbonation in the middle.

Smell: Sweet roasty malt with some dark fruit and smooth alcohol. I'm picking up some caramel and vanilla from the barrels. There is also cocoa and bourbon in the nose. Very nice.

Taste: This is a really smooth BA Imperial Stout. The slightly burnt roasty malt sweetness hits you first, with some dark fruit just behind. The barrel aging was artfully done. The bourbon and caramel from the barrel are very present in the taste, but not hot at all. The finish is warm and full of bourbon and sweet cocoa notes.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium, but thin compared to what I was expecting. Tingly carbonation with a very slick finish. The beer sticks to you mouth long after you swallow.

Overall: Not disappointed at all. This is a fantastic brew and I plan on having more in the future.

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of jlindros
4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

As my birthday arrives in a couple hours, I figured I'd scratch a top beer off the list, one I've been waiting to do for a while. This sits at #21 currently so relevant. 2011 vintage thanks to juliusseizure (Reddit). And this being a smaller bottle I can actually finish and enjoy it without needing a friend. I think the requires a fun review too.

Pours out like a midnight waterfall of black as black beer, light not even getting through the pour, but not thick as I expected, no motor oil in this one. A light fizzy super dark colored head forms like the dew attempting to form on a nice spring day, only to disappear like my paycheck after I visit the liquor store, never to be seen again, but typical for this high abv, a nice slick on the sides of the glass produces legs running from here to Arkansas.

Nose is about what I expected, a glass of disappointme... wait no not that, glass of awesomeness! It has all the characters of a great barrel aged imperial stout with a few years under it's belt. No alcohol at all, not even a whisp, nice dark chocolate but not overly fudgey or cocoa like, a good baker's chocolate perhaps from a good version of Hershey's (cause Dark Horse is also from PA, get it... eh nevermind). It also brings a nice layered soft aged malt like a big aged barleywine or old ale would do, but this time in stout form! Malts, form of Stout! Roast, attempting to roast it up, but just mellows out like it matured nicely. And barrel, that good old vanilla barrel, with a mild bourbon note, just wish the bourbon was abit more for an old bourbon fanatic such as myself.

Taste is loaded with anticipation, wait that's what I have before I sip it. I spit it out, well not me, the glass spit it into my mouth and it was delicious. Again that huge layered soft aged malt kicks ass, that old ale stout hybrid shizzle. Then more dutch chocolate, little fudgey and very thick, cocoa infested for sure, with a nice tongue tickling luscious velour chocolate flavor, not quite Choc Rain level but very nice regardless. Again that roasty and super dark malt character wants to just smash my mouth, but aging to the rescue! The 3 years just smacks the want to be super roasty soy sauce and shows it a thing or two, and now it's delicious, and even hints at roasted coffee. A layer of caramel nudges through, as well as a little fluffy chocolateized nougat, a bit airy too. A hint of bitterness I think, or perception of it. Barrel also comes into play a bit but not as much as I'd like. Probably the one thing that the aging process screwed over, the nice barrel, but I end up with a bit of a nice vanilla and hint of bourbon notes in the background. Finish is drier but a little mouth coating feel, layered fudgey choc, and more cocoa vanilla and pure deliciousness lingering.

Mouth is thick, rich, velvety and creamy, velour! with decent carb for the age and style, and the faintest hint of booze somewhere in teh background just slightly nagging at me like an ant crawling on my leg.

Overall, just one word, YES!

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.39/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage
Poured jet-black, inky into tulip with a one finger tan head. Big bourbon nose with hints of chocolate. Taste follows nose rich, well-balanced bourbony sipper with traces of chocolate and maybe cherries...very smooth. Surprisingly full-bodied for its fluidity. Very enjoyable

Photo of Rifugium
4.36/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,443 ratings.