Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thDark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

354 Reviews
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Reviews: 354
Hads: 2,646
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 2,077
Gots: 721 | FT: 93
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: 354 | Hads: 2,646
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.04/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I have been waiting a while to try this one, but I was finally able to acquire it in a trade. Needless to say, I was excited to try it but found myself experiencing a mild letdown.

The stout had a mild bourbon aroma with malts lingering in the background. For a 14%ABV, I was anticipating a stronger bourbon aroma. In the initial taste, I detected vanilla, malt, bitter dark chocolate, burnt malts, and perhaps dark fruits. However, the taste just seems to end there with malts. There is a warming nature to the aftertaste, which one might find quite pleasant. In terms of taste, I just do not think this beer finished well. The thickness of the mouthfeel allow a sort of vacuum of malt which led to nothing more. For such a bold style, I expected more taste, and it just was not there. (788 characters)

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Most recent batch

A - One of the darkest beers I've seen. serious brown head. Good.

S - Vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, dark fruits, tanned leather. Dang, it's good.

T - Great complexity to this taste. It's sweet (dark fruits and chocolate), dry (earth, wood, meaty), and bourbony. A very nice thing here. Kind of hot.

M - Very smooth. Big mouthfeel. A bit astringent from the alcohol.

O - this is a great beer. It's huge, but works great. Tasty, complex, balanced. Much approval. (482 characters)

Photo of themind
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok the aroma is the only thing off for me. This beer when you dissect its flavor profile is very clean, definitive and balanced. The barrel aging flavor is so crisp, its truly an amazing beer. The stout backbone from Plead the Fifth is there, creamy as usual and the added BB just puts this at an elite level. This is a beer to seek out as its incredibly well made and balanced. Just a masterpiece, the only downfall is the aroma is weak which is weird because the taste is pronounced and amazing!

Bottom Line: Legendary brew! (527 characters)

Photo of Retail1LO
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured on tap at Capone's Black Friday event. 5 oz. snifter.
Pours jet black with a thin coffee rim. The nose is a lovely blend of bourbon, vanilla, coffee, and a bit of cocoa. The taste is a perfect meld of the bourbon, sweet vanilla, toffee, and a bit of cherry. The mouthfeel is smooth as silk. Doesn't get much better than this. Has a slightly bittersweet finish that lingers for a short while. This kicked in 40 minutes. A real privilege to try this. (456 characters)

Photo of maxcoinage
4.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage (acquired in a trade with @MichiganderHB) poured into snifter.

look - pitch black with a few cm mocha head that settled down quickly

smell - amazing - slight bourbon, dark fruit, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate

taste - unbelievable! Follows the aroma. dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, some booze on the finish

mouthfeel - fairly thick, lower carb, finshes smooth

overall - wow. this is amazing - it's actually more drinkable than BCBS fresh . it'd be such a tough choice if I had to pick between the two. Glad I got a 4 pack!!! (557 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Dark brown, almost black with a small frothy mocha colored head that settles mostly on the sides. Appears to have a nice thickness to it as I swirl it in the glass

S - Dark chocolate, brandied raisins, caramel sweetness with a hint of bourbon barrel aging. Has a strong and powerful nose that really brings the scents.

T - First there is sweetness as I taste Mexican sugar and caramel. The coffee and more bitter dark chocolate comes next. There is also a strong oak presence where you can definitely see how the bourbon barrel adds complexity. On the finish, wow, that's where you really get the bourbon coming through. It had a strong alcoholic presence along with more typical bourbon flavors of oak, caramel, English Christmas pudding, and brandied dates.

MF - Medium body with light carbonation. The finish is dry and leaves a tingling alcohol feeling. It could improve by being a bit thicker.

O - A solid and quite boozy BA stout from Dark Horse. The barrel aging adds a lot of complexity to the flavor. I would like it to be a bit thicker and to cover its alcohol a little better as right now it's a bit hot. Curious to see how this develops in a few years. (1,204 characters)

Photo of drmcleod10
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing from two different tastings, both from the 2013 batch

A - Dark and viscous with minimal head as with most BA beers. Solid lacing

S - Dark chocolate hints with vanilla smells, the barrel comes through on this with the always vanilla, oaky, earthy, roast balance coming through

T - Thick chocolate feel with amazing barrel character that is not overpowering. Dark fruits come through this towards the end on the back of the tongue with the vanilla, oak, and bourbon tastes shining through to create an amazing balance

M - Medium to full-bodied, a little thinner than most other stouts but with the high ABV i guess that can happen

O - I was definitely excited and hyped this beer up, it certainly was not a let down (728 characters)

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle, big thanks to Loweball 727!

Appearance: Black as Eddie Murphy with a small tan head that quickly recedes to the perimeter.

Smell: Oh yea! Barrel notes galore with vanilla, caramel, bourbon, dark fruit, dark chocolate, roasted malt sweetness. I'm even getting a bit of red wine character in there, nice.

Taste: Everything I like about normal Pt5, with barrel character to boot. I was almost afraid to drink this because I thought it would ruin the normal Pt5 for me. I don't even think I would say that this is better, it just adds another dimension with the barrel notes. I like both versions. What I like about this is that the bourbon character isn't overwhelming at all. Rather, it is evident but not overbearingly so and helps the other components to blend together with more unity.

Mouthfeel: This is a bit more viscous than the standard version of this brew. A little more stickiness is evident.

Overall: I love the non bb aged version of this so much, and this is a nice variation. Some of the malt sweetness I love in the fresh version of this beer is muted here, or it is perhaps this way because this is an '11 bottle. Either way, I like this, but until I try a fresh version of this, Fresh Pt5 wins out for me. (1,239 characters)

Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter

In a world of ever evolving and growing barrel-aged stouts, let's see how this one ranks.

A - Looks like a stout, pours pretty thick but couldn't get much of a head to develop or stay.

S - Definitely at correct serving temperature and this one doesn't open up much on the nose. Most great BA stouts I can smell once the cap is popped but when I jab my nose in the glass this beer still doesn't have a lot of aromatics. Hints of bourbon, alcohol and roasted malt...not much doing.

T - Thankfully this beer is much different than the aroma. A sweet bourbon flavor at the beginning then transitions to a velvet malted barley flavor with hints of deeply roasted coffee and a hint of toffee. Finishes off pretty boozy/hot but with hardly any age it is to be expected.

M - A little thin for my liking but it works with the low volumes of carbonation in the beer. It's a little astringent on the tongue and the booze tingle is definitely present in the aftertaste, which lasts forever. Definitely a sipper to the definition.

A very well made barrel-aged stout which I'm sure improves with a little age but I wouldn't sit on it for more than a year guessing by the thinner body. Easy to drink, great bourbon flavor and a nice stout overall. (1,272 characters)

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.19/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours black as night, as expected, with a small and chocolate brown head forming. The head is just a whisp of foam on the top of the beer, but it does leave a pretty good lace pattern.

S- Big and dark roasted malts hit the nose first, just like a good Russian imperial should. Next comes a bit of bourbon barrel spiciness. Oak and vanilla are the prominent barrel scents, with just a touch of the bourbon sneaking in. Towards the back end of the smell, it turns sweeter than most stouts, but then the dark malts return and leave you with traditional stout flavors on the nose.

T- Just like the smell, this beer starts with a bang of deep, dark malts. Slightly bitter dark chocolate and just a touch of coffee hit the tongue and lead you into the middle of the drink. The barrel spice moves in during the middle of the drink with a touch of vanilla and a bit of boozy bourbon. The barrel flavors mix in with the dark malts and form a fairly complex overall flavor. The beer leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste on the tongue after the drink is finished.

M- The alcohol is evident a little bit while sipping this beer, but it really shines in how smooth it is. Low carbonation levels and a thick and heavy flavor profile make this somewhat of a slow drink. On the whole, this is a silky smooth, thick, and heavy beer that goes down smooth for its weight.

Overall, this beer is very, very good. The great dark malts with chocolate and coffee interact with the bourbon barrel very well without overpowering the malts or becoming to aggressive to be enjoyed. I like this beer. (1,577 characters)

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.41/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 into a CS snifter

A- Half jet black, half dark roasty brown. Little to no carbonation. Thinnest of thin lacing around the glass.

S- Great coffee notes. I am getting malty notes. I feel like I may have a bottle that is not up to par. I have had the two previous years that tasted/smelled better. The lack of carbonation makes me wonder.

T- Pretty coffee forward with mellowed bourbon note for this fresh '13.

M- On the thin side for me for a BA stout, but still pretty good.

O- I have one other bottle of '13. I would like to revisit this if that bottle comes off fresher. (585 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%

From notes on 3/25/14

4 once sample on the brewery tour. I've had regular Plead the 5th, so I was excited to try this one. I was not let down. You can tell it is Plead the 5th, just barrel aged. You get all the great chocolate flavors and roasted tastes with a nice addition of boozy bourbon. I really enjoyed this one. (320 characters)

Photo of tewaris
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from a small sample, poured on tap, at Heritage Liquor's annual Beer Geek Christmas.

Pours pitch black with a dark brown bubbly collar. Tough to comment on retention and lacing but looks like a classic barrel aged stout. Excellent aroma, full of vanilla and chocolate notes with plenty of sweetness, but no harsh alcohol. Bourbon is certainly present, and dominates the aroma but only in good ways.

Taste is similar to aroma with bourbon shining, bringing a great oak-vanilla element to taste and enhancing the chocolate. Bittersweet with coffee like acidity that was absent in the nose, and seems a little over the top. Finishes clean and bitter. The body is a little thin for my liking and carbonation a tad higher. If this is actually 14% ABV, it drinks amazingly easy!

One of the best examples of Bourbon Barrel aged beers in the sense that Barrel aging has made an otherwise average RIS excellent! Do not pass it up if you ever get the chance to try it! (970 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Pours opaque flat black from the bottle and is the same in the glass. Might be the darkest stout I've poured. Very small dark brown head forms that quickly goes away. Some nice signs of carbonation as I play around with it. Although no legs or lacing were left behind the sheer darkness of this beer was astonishing.

S Heavy sweet bourbon scent upfront with chocolate and dark fruits. Bourbon definitely wins the battle of the nose easily but other scents can be noticed easily.

T Bourbon is very well integrated in this beer. Rich vanilla and wood come through first with waves of chocolate and sweet dark fruits. The finish is sweet malts with warming vanilla-y bourbon heat. This stuff is really nice, and dare I say perfect to sip on. Not quite a 5, but definitely closer than a 4.5

M Medium-ish feel for a stout with very little carbonation. Definitely a sipper. I wouldn't mind a more robust feel on the tongue but I'm not going to complain either.

O This stuff is excellent. Taste is pretty spot on with what I want in a bourbon stout and worthy of the hype. (1,072 characters)

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

Deep black and opaque body. Two finger mocha colored head sits atop. The head recedes slowly. A substantial amount of lacing is left clinging to the walls of the glass.

Bourbon aroma is very prominent. Sweet bourbon aroma, rather soft boozieness. Big chocolate and caramel aromas meld seamlessly with the bourbon. Moderate roast and vanilla noted.

The flavor starts out bourbon heavy before a healthy dose of chocolate floods the palate. A rather assertive roasted malt flavor begins to emerge on the midpalate. The caramel flavor is much more subtle in the bottle version than on tap. Flavors are well integrates though not nearly as much as the tap version. A bit of heat on the back is noted but not obstructive.

Full bodied Imperial Stout. The carbonation levels are low and appropriate. Very silky, soft texture. The finish is long and enjoyable.

Reviewed from a bottle this time to compare the the tapped version. Unfortunately I do not know the age of the keg, the tap version does seem slightly smoother. Very drinkable Imperial Stout. Despite the heat the alcohol is hidden rather well. Impressive beer. (1,119 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz waxed bottle into a snifter - 2011 Vintage

A: Pours black as night with a decent dark brown head that quickly fades to a ring and leaves the tiniest lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is really amazing. Big aromas of whiskey, chocolate, vanilla, and a slight licorice smell. The whiskey is really apparent and I like it.

T: The taste is wonderful as well. Huge flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, whiskey, roasted malt, and licorice all assault the tounge with each sip.

M: The feel is damn thick and creamy...about as good as you can get. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen which is incredible for a 14% beer!

O: This is one of the best barrel aged stouts I've had so far. It's huge in all areas. The taste is just a tad bit weak on the barrel notes or else this would be close to perfect. I will say as it warms it vastly improves the taste. Highly recommended! (869 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 Beerandboards
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a large wine glass

A - black black black. Aggressive pour produces only a small amount of light brown head, which dissipates very quickly into some whisps on top. No lacing.

S - smells mainly of bourbon and oak, some chocolate, booze, vanilla.

T - big blast of smooth vanilla, bourbon, oak up front. Some chocolate notes on the edge, vanilla and hop bittering at the end. Leaves an after taste of vanilla and bourbon. A damn tasty barrel aged stout!

M - it's a bit thinner than I would like. Starts out a little high on the carb, but as it warms the carb settles down. Last third of the pour was very nice.

O - an absolutely fantastic beer. Maybe the best BA stout I've ever tried. If it were a little thicker, it would be perfect. A+, no question. (779 characters)

Photo of mtomlins
4.81/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter; 2014 vintage.
Shared with a craft beer noob…and blew his mind (his brains are still on my ceiling)!
Thanks to I_BYE_MI_BEER for the bottle.

A: Pours “…darker'n a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night.” Billows up to one finger of creamy, thick mocha head that dissipated relatively quickly, settling to a persistent, creamy collar and leaving no lacing.

S: A massive nose; big bourbon boozy nose with some hot alcohol; dark roasted malts, cocoa nibs, and some subtle vanilla sweetness.

T: Wow, a really complex profile that starts with thick, rich dark roasted malts, dark chocolate and boozy bourbon. The dark fruits (dates, raisins, prunes), tobacco and sweet malt fill out the palate with subtle vanilla and toffee notes coming out. The finish is long and dries out a bit with some bittering hops and espresso char.

M: Medium-heavy body and low carbonation make it smooth, creamy and rich but not cloying.

O: This is one of the best BBA stouts I have ever had. I loved it…and wished I didn’t share it ;-) (1,077 characters)

Photo of mattboyer182
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - pours dark black and a vague tan head.

S - bourbon hits you in the face. Rich malts and apparent alcohol.

T - wow. Sweet intense bourbon. Great wood taste lies underneath.

M - heavy, rich body and light carbonation.

O - for sure the best out of these stouts. So sweet and delicious. (290 characters)

Photo of zookerman182
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is pitch black with not even a half finger of brown head that left quickly.
Aroma is oak, vanilla and just enough bourbon. Slight chocolate covered dark fruit.
Taste is so complex. Where do I start. Up front is bourbon and toasted oak. In the middle it's chocolate covered cherries and dark chocolate. At the end its light roasted coffee and baking chocolate. No hint of alcohol AT ALL.
Mouthfeel is so thick and rich. It's like a milkshake. The lingering chocolate bitterness puts is beer on another level. Probably the most chocolate I've ever detected in a beer.
So glad I have a couple more of these. (616 characters)

Photo of Alpar
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Sugar Maple, what a fantastic surprise :)

A: Dark with a perfect level of carbonation that sticks around for a while.

S: Bourbon, malt, bread, vanilla, charred oak and a minute amount of anise.

T: Vanilla bourbon BOMB, awesome! Very smooth bourbon flavor. It tastes like marshmallows :) Reminds me of Vanilla Bean Dark Lord! I gwt some of the oak, malt and bread on the aftertaste, this is beautiful.

M: Surprisingly thin, but works to the beers advantage. I think it is perfect.

O: This is stellar. I hope I can get to the release of this beer if there is one in the future. Simply outstanding! (616 characters)

Photo of s1ckboy
3.65/5  rDev -18.2%
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. (451 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage. Poured into a snifter.

L- Black, maybe only a slight amount of light on the edges, half a finger of medium brown head that quickly dissipated to a ring.

S- Raisins, dates, molasses, black cherry, vanilla, alcohol comes through, some dark chocolate and marshmallow in there too.

T- Similar to aroma, lots of dried dark fruits, molasses, vanilla, oak, more chocolate than in the aroma, alcohol is a bit more biting than others of the style, lingering note of chocolate and brown sugar on the end.

F- Not on the thick side for an Imperial stout, being a bit thinner adds to the drinkability which can be dangerous. Good amount of carbonation for the style.

O- Very nice and up there with all the other great BBA stouts. Hard to say which BBA stout form Michigan is the best as there are so many great ones you can't lose. (841 characters)

Photo of claaark13
4.11/5  rDev -7.8%
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 (1,439 characters)

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 354 ratings.