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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.

378 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 378
Hads: 2,737
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 21.16%
Wants: 2,126
Gots: 740 | FT: 98
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: 378 | Hads: 2,737
Photo of brew3crew
4.23/5  rDev -5.8%
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

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
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%.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Retail1LO
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.84/5  rDev +7.8%
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!!!

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Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of drmcleod10
4.73/5  rDev +5.3%
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

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Photo of MichPaul
4.81/5  rDev +7.1%
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!

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Photo of mattboyer182
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.81/5  rDev +7.1%
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 ;-)

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Photo of zookerman182
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of mabermud
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Look: The beer seems to chug out, versus pouring out of the bottle. Super dark-brown, sultry body. The head is a dark mocha that is ultra fine. At first I thought I could see a reddish hue in the head, but it must be my eyes playing tricks on me. Or maybe the Ghost in the Machine had a positive affect on my mind. The melting curtains this beer leaves on the glass are awesome. Some of the best curtains I have seen. The curtains are so slipper and slick, no lacing is left on the glass. An amazing look.
Smell: First whiff - Sweetened medium roast coffee with quality cream, balanced superbly. Even on the booze. Not too robust, but even, and balanced.
Taste: The smell is similar to the taste, and also precedes it. I wish this tasted as good as the smell. It doesn't, but it's still a top shelf beer. All of the flavors are nicely blended and balanced to create a rich, high-end BBA stout.
Feel: I have no complaints. The feel does not disappoint.

Overall - Definitely a world-class beer, and deserving of the place it has been given on the top 250 roster.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.41/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of tewaris
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
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!

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Photo of Gushue3
4.62/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.67/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.87/5  rDev +8.5%
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!

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Photo of gcamparone
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Utopia glass. Thanks Keith for this baby!

A- Pours an oily black, opaque body with a modest mocha colored head that reduces slowly and leaves blotchy lacing.

S- Very inviting and upfront on the nose.. creamy vanilla and milk chocolate, soft bourbon, caramel, burnt marshmallows.

T- Wow.. this is amazing.. sweet vanilla and molasses, whiskey and milk chocolate upfront. The follow through is burnt coffee and dark chocolate. The finish leaves a delectable charred, nearly burn malt taste on the tongue. Very complex, very balanced.

M- Creamy and easy to drink. Rich, full of flavor. Low carbonation.

One of the best bourbon barrel aged stouts I've ever had, this one has the upper hand most others due to it's smooth, creamy, balanced character and rich, bold flavor.

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Photo of beerpirates
4.21/5  rDev -6.2%
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 !

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Photo of Alpar
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
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!

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Better than KBS, not as good as Black Note or BCBS.

This beer may still be too young to be consumed. I will sit on my other bottles for a year and revisit when time has altered its many characteristics.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 378 ratings.