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

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Reviews:
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Ratings:
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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thDark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by MbpBugeye on 07-25-2010

User Reviews
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Reviews: 409 | Ratings: 2,943
Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage, silver wax 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. The brew appears black with a mocha head that fades leaving string lace.

Aroma has a bit of meaty thing going on then bourbon, caramel and coconut. Some earth and char with plenty of booze.

This is a boozy tasting brew with roast, earth and a surprising amount of coconut. A little solvent then slight caramel and vanilla.

This is medium in body with modest carbonation. Pretty good stuff that has really not decreased in intensity for the 2 years it has been aging. I see what all the buzz is about now but if I had more bottles id likely age them even longer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2012 vintage.

Appearance - Very think inky black pour with a small mocha head. Nothing left after a while. Just a thin collar and three measly and miniscule islands of foam.

Smell - The barrel is very nice, but the aroma of the beer is intense. Bourbon, tons of oak, and a nice hint of vanilla from the barrel. Sweet malts, licorice. Coffee and dark chocolate are afterthoughts compared to the barrel, booze, and sugars.

Taste - The base beer shines through the barrel, but it adds a nice layer. Bourbon is immediately apparent. Deep dark chocolate flavors and a sweet fruit layer. Oak is really intense in the back. Lingering oaky finish is too strong and just pegs it back from perfect.

Mouthfeel - It's heavy, boozy, and overly oaked. Low carbonation. A monster of a beer.

Overall - While this beer is spectacular, the barrel hasn't improved it. Intense oak creates an unpleasant aftertaste. That being said, I had this on tap and it was incredible. Batch to batch may vary. I certainly won't mind exploring different vintages of this.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At the time of this review, this beer is the #7 top Russian Imperial Stout on the beeradvocate.com "Top Beers - Russian Imperial Stout" list. Another top 10 beer for me. A big thanks to Thorpe for letting me have some of this beer during our impromptu epic New Years Day tasting.

Beer served in a sniffer. Beer is black, oily, this dark brown head of small bubbles, low retention, falls back to halo the glass minimal lacing and low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, chocolate, strong malt presence. The boubon come through strong. Mild oak. Smells like a big bourbon stout.

Beer is medium to big in body, malty sweet with a strong bourbon character. Fudge and chocolate with minimal roast. The sweetness carries through all the way to the end. The bourbon wins in this beer. So sweet, so oaky, vanilla, booze but without heat. I really liked it.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on-tap at Capone's Restaurant for the Black Friday event. Poured into a miniature 5 oz snifter.

A: Deep black body with a bubbly, creamy brown/mahogany head. Moderate amounts of sticky lacing with thick bubbles around the rim. No retention in the center but this is a wonderful looking beer.

S: Loads of matured bourbon, wood, spice, vanilla, maple syrup and hints of pepper. Huge dark rich chocolate malts come through towards the back end. An absolutely incredible display of flavors, exactly what a BA Imperial Stout should smell like. Simply divine.

T: Front of the palate is warming rich bourbon, tobacco, toffee, vanilla and chocolate chip cookie is mid-palate. Finishing are some more wonderful dark malts and a hint of leather. It's not unnaturally sweet but has a some to it; more liquor on the back end. Crazy drinkable, wonderfully complex and seriously delicious.

M: A bit lighter on the body than I'd anticipate but still retains a nice fullness to it. Sticky, rich and a bit of booze going down. Fairly carbonated yet creamy.

Honestly, this has to be one of the absolute best bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stouts I've had to date. The intensity and complexity of the flavors in this beer are missing in so many others in the style. You've got to like, or love, bourbon to enjoy this beer. It's nearly perfect.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.42/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a dark as night black in color with a dark brown ring sitting at the top with absolutely no head that didn't leave no lacing whatsoever on the glass.

S: plenty of chocolatey oat grains were noticeable upfront in the aroma with brown sugar molasses sweetness, subtle burnt sugar, good bourbon barrel booze present and a little coffee bean coming through as well.

T: molasses with brown sugar sweetness were more prominent on the palate alongside chocolate goodness, nice roastiness, coffee accents, a touch of vanilla, plenty of oat grains, well balanced booze and bourbon barrel notes that added plenty of character to the base beer.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a roasty, boozy, chocolatey, sweet, rich and chewy finish.

O: definitely a must have, plus the bourbon barrel treatment really gave this beer great qualities all around; Delicious

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On Tap at Hulmeville Inn in a fricken pint glass, are you guys trying to kill me!?!???!?

A- Bourbon 5th is a big ol black stout, it looks dark as night. Really thick looking to, not on the thin side at all. The liquid kinda coats the glass. A very minimal dark brown cap on top not leaving any traces on the glass.

S- While not the most explosive nose on this, 5th remains a big ol roasted malt masterpiece with malts(duh), getting a nice chocolate base with cocco and some underlining vanilla. Dark fruits play a big part in this and bourbon is there but muted. Smells delicious:)

T- Regular 5th is smooth as silk and this bourbon aged one is just as smoooth, if not smoother. The bourbon does not overpower and sort of takes a backseat to the base beer. Chocolate, deep roasted malts, dark fruits, vanilla and some bourbon. This is not hot at all.

M- For the supposed 14% this is not hot at all, no heat whatsoever. Creamy, thick, coating, inviting. Thick bodied, almost barely carbed up. This just glides down. An excellent feel on this bad boy.

D- Ok, 14% is very high and all, nowhere near a session beer. I drank my pint with ease. I would drink more but I have to stay alive, if I was at home drinking this, bourbon 5th would be a all dayer. Im not a big stout guy lately but this one is worth the damage that the alcohol will do over time. This one is a winner and possibly the best bourbon aged stout that I ever had. I drank this along with older vis and bourbon black and this one took the cake.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 12/30/11. Last review of 2011.
Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Thick ink black with a small amount of bubbly light brown head that very quickly disappeared leaving only a thin ring around the glass.

S - The barrel aging really dominates the nose up front with bourbon, vanilla and oak aromas. A decent sweetness is evident and cuts through the ABV, which is somewhat noticeable but well hidden given the 14% ABV. Some roasted malt and chocolate notes are hidden in the background.

T - Follows the nose - big flavours from the barrel aging dominate. Bourbon, vanilla and oak flavours are meld together in a good balance. The characteristics of the base beer are hidden behind the barrel flavours but some subtle roasted malt and chocolate notes come through along with hints of licorice and smoke. The ABV is somewhat noticeable but is complimented by sweet molasses flavours to subdue it well.

M - Full body, somewhat viscous at times. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks a ton to 4DAloveofSTOUT for this one, thanks Brian!

A- pours a thin dark mocha head that recedes fairly quickly into a collar around the glass.

Aroma is of sweet, faint booziness.

Roastiness blends well with the -bal qualities. As alcoholic as this seems I would not guess it at 14%abv

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Low but fitting carbonation.

Reminded me a lot of BCBS and while this was a very good example of melding an imperial stout with bourbon barrel aging I'd have to give my preference to BCBS. That said, this is definitely worth seeking out if you are a fan of the style.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starter of the night at an EPIC tasting at RB's Footbalm's house... Eric set the bar high.. Thanks buddy... I hope your travels treat you well, and our paths always cross.

Not much of a head... oily.. thick staining the glass deep brown brew...

I had a surprising number of proper pours of this brew over the evening and was increasingly impressed on each one.

Deep dark chocolate with dark malts punctuating the nose.. good oak and bourbon without ever becoming overdone...

Flavor is brownie batter spiked with dark chocolate covered espresso beans and good bourbon.. vanilla and oaky bourbon... something that I wrote down as toasted marshmallow.. everything is amazingly well integrated ... especially when warmer.

Thick and inviting.. wonderful.. lite carbonation but nobody complained.. I could have easily sat content with this bottle the entire night.

all 4.5's

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Almost pitch black color with dark mocha head. Aroma is dominated by bourbon and dark malts. Taste is very well balanced, with great barrel character, some sweetness in the beginning but finishing roasty and bitter. Body is not as heavy as other imperial stouts, making it easy to drink. Overall a very nice barrel aged stout, up there with the other big hitters. Reminded me a lot of Bell’s Black Note.

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Photo of SadMachine
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a viscous black with a finger of mocha head that slowly recedes to a film. No lacing is left on the glass.

S- Smells of sweet molasses, dark roasted malts, charred oak, vanilla from the bourbon, and figs/dates. There are also hints of coffee and booze. Really smells wonderful!

T- The flavor opens sweet, with molasses, chocolate, and candied figs and dates. This gives way to tons of bitter roast/coffee, bitter baker's chocolate, vanilla, and charred oak. There's also a bit of a dry, vinous bite on the back of the tongue in the finish. It's very impressive how this brew toys with being cloyingly sweet and then excessively bitter, but manages to use this to stay balanced. A bit of the bourbon comes through, but a little more would make this almost perfect.

M- The mouthfeel is thick and viscous, coating the tongue, with just enough carbonation. Only a mild amount of boozy heat comes through, which is impressive considering the 14% abv.

O- Overall I am thoroughly impressed with this beer! I love more roasty/coffee forward stouts, and this delivers, while adding sweet and charred flavors from the barrel!

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Photo of aasher
4.23/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of weeare138
4.62/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dense, dark midnight toned onyx. A small tan head slowly fades into a gentle cap and collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of campfire s'mores with black grapes and sugary syrup.
Taste is of the aromas with a sugary sweetness up front followed by an oaky, vanilla, caramel blast.
Mouthfeel is sticky, full bodied, sugary, intensely insane, and smooth in the finish.
Jeez! This is one sick beer!

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Photo of corby112
4.21/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black and opaque with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Very good retention for style and ABV, taking a while to settle and lingering throughout the pour. Sporadic streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Nice barrel presence in the nose that's decently integrated into the base. Stronger oak/wood/toothpick than expected wih sweet, spicy bourbon silky vanilla and marshmallow. Not overly boozy however with complex barrel character not just a complete bourbon bomb. Sweet an roasted malts underneath with some robust coffee bean, oatmeal, dark chocolate and liquid smoke. Some dessert like sweetness with silkier, lighter chocolate, lactic cream, caramel, toffee and bakers chocolate. Pretty tame aroma but it's complex and well rounded.

Fuller end of medium body with a strong, boozy barrel character that's nicely integrated into the flavors of the base beer. Again, there's a strong charred oak/toothpick character along with prominent spicy bourbon and boozy heat dominating the flavor. Lots of spicy bourbon along with vanilla bean and mallow. A touch of cinnamon and spicy heat but not too hot or overbearing. Although there is plenty of alcohol flavor, the high ABV is relatively well masked. Underneath the strong barrel flavors, there is some robust, roasted dark malt notes with burnt sugar, coffee grinds and bitter dark chocolate complimenting the oak and spirit. Could use a bit more sweetness but this beer is nicely balanced and surprisingly easy to drink at 14%. The complexity of the barrel component adds depth of flavor making this beer very enjoyable.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.77/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz, silver wax dipped bottle to CBS snifter on 1/23/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to TurdFurgison & normyk for the hook-ups --

Vintage 2011

A: Pure, unadulterated motor oil. One of the thickest, glass coating beers on the planet. A hearty pour straight down the middle of the snifter yields a tightly packed and dense .5 finger head. Killer retention.

S: Hot bourbon and tannic, charry wood. Immensly rich. Good Jesus is this an angry beer.

T: Wow. It's like a sucker punch to the jowels. This is a massive, complex and jaw droppingly big beer. It's charry up front, which coats my mouth. Hints of crispy vanilla and hard, firm tannin on the mid. The finish is big league booze and gallons of over the top bourbon with a healthy kick of hops. As it warms, the alcohol becomes much more pronounced. In my opinion, this needs some serious time in the cellar.

M: In a category that contains BCBS, KtG, BT and more, this pony holds it's own and then some. Extremely silky - it's creamy and smooth with a luxurious vibe to it. This literally envelops my mouth.

O: Hand this over to your cellar. I'll bet that six to eighteen months will settle this bad boy down, and allow it's colossal amount of potential to shine through. With a bit of time, this could be one for the ages, and something so epic, words won't begin to describe it.

Dark Horse has created a near masterpiece with their BB Plead the 5th. Like John Wayne in "The Searchers", I highly recommend getting on your stallion and tracking this beast down.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage into an old hickory snifter. bottling date dec 5 2013 bottle # 4724 / 4813

Pours a pitch black with a big inch and a half thick beige head. Smell is very big no bourbon...nice! the taste and feel is so creamy and the bourbon is very big up front...bigger than bourbon county even. Alcohol heat is also very pronounced...this is a big beer for sure! very full bodied, on point. the creaminess feel is so amazing, my god.

overall lives up to the hype as a world class beer....sweet!

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Photo of JohnParadee
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap into a small tulip glass. Deep dark black. Thin beige head, dissipates to minimal rim, lots of tiny bubbles. Awesome lacing & retention. Beautiful nose of chocolate & coffee, burnt roasted malt. On the palate, roasted chocolate and coffee flavors dominate. Not as boozy as others. Alcohol is almost unnoticeable, but strong carbonation. Overall, a delightful experience.

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Photo of rudzud
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade. Cracked this on the eve of the blizzard of 2013 in honor of surviving a day of work and a strenuous car ride home. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a wonderful dark, rich brown with a very nice quarter inch dark chocolate head that fades to leave a thin blanket and a fluffier halo.

S - Woah. Alright, so yeah. The alcohol is super faint. Nice gentle bourbon (dont get me wrong, its there but not in a burning, boozy sense), rich, deep bakers chocolate. Some nice roasted malt notes, and almost like a cookie batter type aroma. That combination of malts, vanilla, chocolate lends a very cookie like aroma. Loving it.

T - Oh, hi there coffee. how are you today? Nice coffee notes along with some more bourbon. The alcohol continues to be light, with good chocolate notes, faint barrel notes as well. Nice vanilla too.

M - Chewy, lowly carbonated, with that 14% hidden nicely. Nice and creamy.

O - Overall, this was a very, very tasty bourbon barrel stout. Its hard to believe that regular Plead the 5th becomes this. Unreal.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is jet black with a dark khaki head. The lacing is nonexistent. The aroma is crisp vanilla with a dark licorice complexity and beautiful bourbon notes. The flavor is booming work vanilla and bourbon with a common imperial stout complexity. There is beautiful licorice and roasted malt character and this is just great.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.86/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, shared by stillmatic2232. Thanks a lot, man!

Pours a beautiful velvety black into matching snifters. Nice mocha-colored head lasts for about 15 minutes.

Smells great- dark malt, cocoa, oak, and well-integrated bourbon.

Tastes even better. All of the above smells are amplified. This is one of the best barrel-aged stouts I've ever had. Dark Horse really knew what they were doing here. The roasty bitterness of the dark malt intermingles so well with the sweet, leathery, oaky bourbon flavors. Awesome!

Pretty sticky and viscous mouthfeel. Goes down so easy. Well carbonated.

Awesome BA stout. Don't let the slightly amateur label job fool you- this stout is great. More and more people know about this winner of a beer- so it's no longer a "dark horse."

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Photo of wordemupg
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355ml 2013 silver waxed bottle poured into tulip 21/10/14, can't thank alfie enough for this one

A she pours dark alright, thumbnail's edge, a fast falling finger of foam leaves no lace, wide legs and some color left behind on the glass, dark liquid

S charred wood, bourbon, burnt marshmallow, vanilla, heaps of fudge and chocolate syrup, sweetened coffee, more barrel, a hint of smoke, the barrel's done wonders for this one

T this has picked up a shitload of flavor from the barrel, strange really how different this is from the base, faint nutmeg, heaps of burnt barrel and the bourbon has a little sweet smoke to it, just a hint of dark fruit and roasted coconut, holy barrel batman

M full is an understatement, the bubbles thicken it up even more, very faint heat, my lips are beyond stuck together there might be some super glue in there, massive amounts of char and bourbon with a hint of spice on the finish

O a massive improvement over the base beer, strangely so really, one of the better BB stouts I can recall, very intense at every turn

I have little to complain about as this one sinks into my gut, a big beer that explodes at every turn, I can't recall a barrel transforming a beer like this before, seek and destroy

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Photo of dar482
4.87/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a pitch black color with a brown head.

The aroma offers thick dark chocolate and almost brownie. Bourbon sweetness, a touch of coconut and almond.

The beer offers a medium plus mouthfeel, smooth and chewy, and really good for the ABV. Up front is bourbon, dark fruit, rich chocolate. Lingering bourbon on the back with some oak drying, along with a coconut aftertaste.

It reminds me of ’14 BCBS.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 409 ratings.