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

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BA SCORE
99
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409 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
409
Ratings:
2,936
Avg:
4.49
pDev:
7.8%
 
 
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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: 2,936
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 Ri0
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured 12oz bottle (2013) into snifter.

A - Very dark brown that lightens around the edge of the glass. Thin oak brown head that doesn't stay long. No collar or lacing on my glass.

S - Bitter chocolate and slight char/smoke from the base stout. Nice notes of sweet bourbon, caramel, and vanilla blend nicely with the stout.

T - The base stout is very flavorful and not overtaken by the barrel. Bitter chocolate and a bit of char from the dark roasted malts. Sweet notes of bourbon, caramel, and vanilla liven as the beer warms. Excellent!

M - Medium bodied - a bit slick and smooth. I thought it would be a bit fuller with some chewiness, but this is pretty good for a stout.

O - I have had Pt5 and was intrigued by what barrel aging would bring to it. It really adds an element of sweetness to the bitter stout. I recommend trying this beer. I will age the few I have left and see what it is like in a year or so.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, half finger of caramel head

Smell is wow, coffee, caramel, oak, toffee, chocolate, bitter cocoa, dark fruit (raison and figs), roasted malt

Taste is... Well here goes nothing! oak, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, dark fruit, toffee, caramel, earthy hop, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, bitter back finish

Mouthfeel is full, silky, light carbonation. Not hot at all.

Nice BB Stout, I am happy to have finally have had this.... With that said, I am starting to think that all barrel aged stouts have nothing on BCBS... Not that this is not amazing... I got 2 bottles I am going to age the second for a couple years and see what happens with that hoppy bitterness character!

Thanks Ri0!!!

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Photo of MCain04
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This was the very first beer I traded for, 1 yr ago, just after the 4 elf party. I told myself I would age it for a year then drink it and compare it to the newest batch fresh. 12 oz bottle poured into a Half Acre snifter, served chilled to 40 and allowed to warm.

Appearance: Pours a deep deep dark brown akin to motor oil. Head is thin and dark tan with varying sizes of bubbles. Fades fairly quickly into rimming around the side of the glass.

Smell: Age has not made the barrel character fade away in the nose. Bourbon is present but a good amount of oaky, toffee, and vanilla. Chocolate and roasty malts similar to the base beer are present as well.

Taste: The bitter roasty chocolate base beer is forefront. Bourbon again is present but not strong. Vanilla and toffee add sweetness. A substantial amount of bitterness throughout. Remarkably not very boozy for 11%. Dark chocolate and cacao linger on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is low-medium, body is heavy and full, finish is sticky and dry. Not the ultimate in chewy mouthfeels but pretty close.

Overall, I really enjoy the base beer of plead the fifth, and while this is fantastic, I had imagined it might be just a little better. I am intrigued now to try this fresh and compare. I don't think this would benefit from further aging as it is very drinkable and far from hot. If anything, the barrel character might just be more subdued than I would appreciate, and thus perhaps it is better fresh. Regardless, a real treat to drink.

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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 MichiBrew
4.41/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage waxed bottle poured into a small snifter...wanted to revisit this prior to 4Elf 2013 to prepare! Only have a 4pack left from last year and 3 from 2011...

Appearence is opaque black with that signature chocolate milky head...its always a serious affair with this brew...

Nose has a surprisingly noticeable amt of alcohol considering this bottle has almost a year on it...this is followed by smooth notes of roasty dark chocolatish malts that suggest the beer has smoothed out...

Yup...this is indeed the case...taste is tremendously smooth with extremely complex notes of dark flavors I simply cannot begin to describe accurately...that makes this very high abv beer very dangerous so use good judgement and proceed with caution...no question that a lil time on this beer creates a masterpiece however the full flavored nature of the fresh bottles are not to be ignored either...

Mouthfeel is top notch velvety smooth and without a hint of chalkiness as sometimes happens with bottles of this style...

Overall a must try...I personally consider it one of the best RIS available...of course it helps that I live an hour away from the brewery...a perfect stout night for me includes Black Note, BCBS, KBS, and good ol' BBPlead from Dark Horse...

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Photo of vinny21bal
3/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is ok. Like the fourth dimension I don't get it. If you compare this beer to Kbs, bcbs, cbs, Black Tuesday, it isn't even close in my opinion. But that is why everyone has there own opinion. I have different vintages at different times. I want to really like it, but I just don't care to much for it.

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Photo of Damian
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a waxed dipped 12 fl. oz. bottle acquired in a trade with surge1311
Vintage 2012
Served in a snifter

Review #850

Super viscous with a dark brown/black, motor oil-like appearance. There was no head but merely a frothy mass of saddle brown bubbles atop the liquid. The bubbles quickly dissipated to a thin ringlet.

Bourbon notes dominated in the aroma. Super fragrant and boozy. Loads of vanilla. Deep, dark, roasty and smoky malts came through strong. Good amount of wood and ash. Slightly sweet with caramel and brown sugar notes. Touch of coffee and semi-sweet chocolate. As the beer warmed, more sweetness came forth to balance things out.

The flavor profile was very similar to the nose. Super rich and robust. Tons of bourbon and fresh vanilla bean. Lots of roasted malt, caramel and barrel character. Notes of charred wood and ash were apparent. Good dose of espresso and bakers chocolate. Hints of dark fruits (prunes and raisins) came through as well. The finish was bitter, ashy and quite hot with a whiskey-like burn. Like the nose, the flavor profile mellowed out with time.

The mouthfeel was really intense. Chewy and almost milk shake-like. Rich and oily with a fine, plush, supple effervescence. Velvety smooth on the palate. After each sip, the liquid left a sticky film on my lips.

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th Imperial Stout is an unapologetically bourbon-forward beer that some (myself included) might describe as being a bit rough around the edges. Although the booziness and the charred malts were at times distracting, the many amazing aspects of this beer made up for these relative shortcomings.

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

A: black, opaque, thin khaki head

S: bourbon, a fresh woody oakiness, chocolate malt

T: bourbon, more vanilla and less wood than in the nose, chocolate and coffee in the finish

M: pretty darn thick

O: one of the better bourbon barrel stouts, came in second in my bcbs, bbpt5, black note and kbs blind taste test

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Photo of peensteen
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Liam, 2012 bottle.

Nearly jet black, ring of tan head with no lace to speak of. Smell an incredible mix of bourbon, oak and roast, lots of vanilla and chocolate, a bit of coconut, coffee grinds and a bit of alcohol, similar to BCBS in the nose. Taste is bourbon and oak, coconut, vanilla, chocolate, fudge and a light sweetness, roasted malt with some dry coffee in the finish. Lightly carbonated, medium-full body. Incerdibly solid, up there with some of the better BA stouts, will actively seek out more of this stuff.

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Photo of PlinyBeMiney
4.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage received via trade w/ TheCherryMan, thanks!

Pours graciously with no apparent head until I force the last on the bottle straight down. Head is a crown of caramel bubbles which settle along the edges of my snifter. The smell is dark chocolate, coffee, burnt vanilla and a musty bourbon. Despite the variety of flavors, everything seems somewhat muted. I appreciate the aggressive (but well integrated) taste of bourbon in an aged stout, but that isn't the case here. I'm just a bit disappointed, and as it warms I get a bit more bourbon, though not as well integrated and a bit fusel. The taste is something I can appreciate. It's smooth and mellow. No alcohol burn, and a nice roastiness. Mouthfeel is silky but a tad thin. My bottle says its 11% despite the description saying it should be 14%. I attribute the thinness to this. This may have been a thicker beer, but this version is definitely a lot lighter on the tongue. Overall, I'm happy to try this. I am starting to realize rarity can elevate a beers score, but in this case the beer gets the job done and I am more than happy to enjoy it. Cheers.

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Photo of hardy008
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011

Pours dark black with a 1/4 inch mocha head which fades quickly. Has a very nice sweet aroma with chocolate, roasted malt, bourbon, raisins, figs, coconut, oak, and vanilla. Even though I can clearly smell the bourbon, it does not have a boozy smell to it.

Tastes as great as it smells. Sweet with chocolate, roasted malt, bourbon, raisins, figs, coconut, oak, and vanilla. Just like with the aroma, the taste is not boozy, even though I can taste the bourbon. This aged the perfect amount of time to turn out this nice.

For some reason, the Plead the 5th base beer tastes boozier than this version. I may need to buy some more of the base beer, and age for a couple of years to compare.

Medium to full bodied with light carbonation. Has a chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon aftertaste. This is a very well made beer. I'm very glad to have a few more bottles to drink.

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Photo of Hamburgers
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Happy Barrel Aged Beer Day! Pours jet black with thin brown head. Still pretty boozy even after a year in the cellar. Aroma of bourbon, dark chocolate, soy sauce, and dried fruit. Flavor is chocolaty up front with the bourbon lingering in the finish. Slight undertone of roasted malts. Nicely balanced. Heavy without being syrupy. Moderate carbonation. Overall an excellent barrel aged stout. Not a ton of depth but very balanced.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
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...?

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Photo of shand
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Here it is, beer 1000. Had to make it something epic. So here goes, an epic BBA stout. And epic is the word to describe this, it's a hell of a BBA stout. Vanilla up front yields to a huge of bourbon flavor, but doesn't choke out the big, complex fruit character that rides with the normal imperial stout roast/coffee/chocolate thing in the back. Very big and smooth mouthfeel, a great BBA stout.

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Photo of kevanb
4.73/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle, 2012 vintage with silver wax, poured into a Dark Horse Shaker Pint.

The beer pours a deep, thick, black color, great motor oil texture with a thick, dense, khaki head that has very good retention and leaves some nice sticky lace behind. The aroma is beautiful, tons of bourbon and barrel character, rich toffee, boisterous chewy, charred oak, chocolate, pitted stone fruit and a little licorice and molasses creep through at the end. The flavors are right in line, wonderful barrel presence, lots of oak, char, soft bourbon, sweet toffee, bitter dark chocolate, plum, fig and cherry pits, light licorice and a touch of warm alcohol and strap molasses are known at the finish. The body is wonderful, luscious, silky, rich, full bodied, coats the mouth well, carbonation is perfect, low on the spectrum, but it makes the beer so great, the finish is warm, soft and delightful.

Verdict: A darn delicious bourbon barrel stout, the flavor profile is perfect, the amount of fruit and complexity is mind boggling. One of the most impressive bourbon barrel stouts on the market and the showcase of the Dark Horse line up, if not the showcase of the Great Lakes.

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Photo of portia99
4.26/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle (2012 vintage) poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours with a thick and oily appearance as it enters the glass. Pitch black in color with almost not head formation that really only results in a thin dark brown collar and no lacing.

S - Sweet on the nose with molasses and dark caramelized sugar, brown sugar, chocolate, some anise and some boozy bourbon. As it warms in the glass a bit, I get some sugar cookies, light butter and some vanilla.

T - Bourbon up front that puts a tingle on the lips and tongue immediately. Chocolate, molasses, a bit of char, dark roasted malts and hints of coffee. Not as sweet as the aroma would indicate. Coffee comes on more on the back end of each sip and eventually leaves a long lingering flavor past the swallow. Bourbon smoothes out as the beer warms too and a smooth vanilla kicks up a notch as well.

M - Thick and full bodied - a bit slick and oily. Sweet with bourbon flavors and bitter and roasty blending together quite well to give an excellent overall balance. The thickness is great yielding a luxurious soft feel.

O - Overall, very nice BA imperial stout. I like this quite a bit more than the standard version and actually think this is a smoother drinker even with the addition of somewhat boozy bourbon. Alcohol is noticeable throughout but isn't at all harsh and burning, just a very desirable warmth. Barrel works well to add some extra nuance in the flavor and aroma. One of the better BA beers out there.

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Photo of dowen17
4.39/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

Pours a pitch black with minimal head and lacing. Very thick and viscous.

On the nose is bourbon and dark fruits. Lots of oak. Some hints of vanilla as well. Maybe a bit of bitter coffee and some bittersweet chocolate.

Taste is bitter chocolate and bourbon. Being that the beer is almost three years old I think it may have given the bourbon time to die down, which I like. Some beers really overdo the bourbon. No real alcohol presence either but it's still a sipper. Dark fruits begin to come through in the middle as well as the oak. Very complex as the coffee hits towards the finish.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy. Very rich. Not as thick as BCBS but thicker than KBS.

Very very good BA stout. Would drink again for sure. Curious to see how it tastes fresh.

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Photo of WesM63
4.86/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Vintage 2013. Poured into a over-sized snifter.

A: Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black with a 1 finger mocha head.

S: Smells of heaven. Anise, Black Licorice, Chocolate, Coffee, fudge, roast and a solid amount of bourbon.

T: Tastes like heaven. Nearly spot on the nose. Huge amounts of coffee, chocolate and a perfectly balanced amount of bourbon.

M: Medium to full body. Medium carbonation. The beer comes off thick yet slick and creamy on your tongue. This beer is ridiculously drinkable. Moderate amounts of bourbon reminds you, you are drinking an BBA Imperial stout.

O: This is the pinnacle of BBA Imperial Stouts. Everyone does them differently and they all taste a tad bit different, but this one, this one is perfectly balanced. Just the right amount of fudgey goodness paired with just right amount of barrel from the bourbon makes this beer ridiculously easy to drink . If you can't make it to 4elf, i'll let you in on a secret. Hit the brewery any time of the year and pay the money for the tour, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.39/5  rDev -2.2%
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

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

12 oz bottle.
Aroma/Flavor: Rich, complex, and smooth. Well balanced Very lightly boozy; ABV seems notably lower than 11%. Fine whisky notes.

Mouthfeel: Very Full bodied.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.1/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 4 oz pour of this at Great Taste of the Midwest. Because I only got to have 4 ounces and because you try so many different beers at this festival, it is tough for me to give this the review it deserves but here it goes...

Bourbon seemed to be the dominant taste in this beer. It was overpowering but enough so that it did mask some of the other stout flavors I usually like to find. From reading some other reviews on this site, I am sure that if I had let this beer warm a bit some of the other flavors would have come out.

I am slowly starting to appreciate Dark Horse as I have started to have more of their beers. When comparing other big stouts that I had during the day at Great Taste, this was for sure one of the top 3.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had two 4oz pours of this beer at the Great Taste. The first pour was so good as it warmed up that I had to go back and get more. I should honestly not be reviewing this beer despite having 8oz- but just keep in mind that I intend this to be for my own personal records. YMMV.

The beer is a viscous, very dark black looking beer that came with a small dark brown head that disappeared fairly quickly. Looks to be par for the course for a nice barrel-aged stout. Not much film, not much collar, not much lacing to be found.

The beer smells fairly tame out of the tap. You get a little bit of dark chocolate and roast malts. Starts out nothing special but it really evolves into something amazing when it gets warmed up (which after 5 minutes out in that 80 degree temperature and in the sun at the GTMW was enough), it becomes a full blown roasty malt and chocolate+vanilla bomb. You can smell a bit of oak, but it was dominated by the roast malts and the chocolatey vanilla combination. It was great.

The taste is the same as the nose- it was disappointingly tame when it was cold but after it warmed up, it became something really special. So much vanilla, roasty malts and dark chocolate sweetness with a bit of coffee bitterness to balance everything out. It was great, honestly the best part of the beer.

The feel on this one is full bodied, very thick and resinous. It's so easy drinking for such a big beer. Aftertaste is so much of that sweet roast malt with some sweet bourbon flavour in the back. Not a lot of booze here either, which is fantastic.

Great beer, I would have gone back for more but my friends told me there was other beer at this festival. Oops. I really enjoyed this one, and I would have to say its comparable to Black Note, and beats BCBS by a decent bit because its just not as boozy.

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Photo of Jimmeekrek
4.16/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

did a tasting with 4 other bourbon barrel aged stout, and unbelievably this took 5th.we had such high hopes for this beer, yet when drink against the other beers that night it tasted very average. I don't know if we got a bad bottle somehow, but nothing stood out about this beer.for the record the other four beers were bells black note, Great Lakes Bourbon Barrel blackout, 2012 KBS, and central waters 15.

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Photo of cbeer88
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tasted blindly courtesy of Blind BIF #8. 12oz bottle poured into Delirium Tremens snifter…

Appearance: Inky black with a wispy tan head. Small amount of tan lacing.

Smell: Bourbon and roasted malts, a bit of coffee.

Taste: Bourbon bomb. Coffee, nutty, sweet, vanilla, chocolate, oak all there. Lot of heat coming off this guy from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick and full-bodied. Adequate carb.

Drinkability: A real sipper. Alcohol and heat are high.

Overall: Excellent bourbon stout, but could stand to get a bit of age for the heat to die down.

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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.