1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,567 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1567
Reviews: 288
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 8.13%


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:
Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: MbpBugeye on 07-25-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,567 | Reviews: 288 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of doughanson78
doughanson78

Washington

4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Huge thanks to rfraga77 for this want. 400th BA review.

A: Super black. One of the blackest I've seen. Half finger super dark mocha head that actually had decent retention and lacing for an ABV this high. Awesome looking RIS.

S: Big bourbon, but not boozy at all. Very nice oak notes. Lots of vanilla and butterscotch. Dark chocolate, a touch of dark cherries.

T: Wow. Bourbon is amazing. Vanilla and butterscotch is awesome mixed with dark chocolate, oak, and a hint of cherries. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. One of the smoothest RIS's I've had.

M: Super thick. Chewy to the fullest. Medium low carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O: One of the, if not the best beer I've had. How is no alcohol detected in a 14% beer?

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 03:09:15 | More by doughanson78
Photo of Dreadnaught33
Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Ben, thanks to BigSexy410. Big want of mine.

The beer pours a nice black hue with some decent sized tan head and some sticky lacing.

The beer has great smell but it seems muted out of the
glass somehow. Some round sweet barrel notes round out done roasty and chocolate stout flavors. Maybe a little licorice abd gum drop spice.

The taste is more animated and features the aspects of the smell nicely with some great highlights of cigar sweet tobacco, roasty malts, nice bourbon notes with slight vanilla malt, and a little molasses.

The feel is pretty good and a little hot; not that thick but also not offensive.

Overall a great beer and very tasty.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 01:55:41 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of claaark13
claaark13

Indiana

4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2012 00:55:25 | More by claaark13
Photo of mgp2675
mgp2675

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this after a regular Plead the 5th for comparison.

A- black, much thicker than Plead the 5th, minimal tan-colored head on it

S- very, very sweet...some chocolate and coffee at the end. As it warmed up though I got some vanilla out of it, but overall not the most impressive nose on this one

T- some initial bitterness with the first sip and then tons of vanilla, very smooth, aftertaste of dark chocolate. This tastes great, and you cannot sense the 14% ABV

M- honestly pretty perfect, just the right amount of thickness

O- great stout...top 5 for me and I've had a lot of them. One of the most impressive things was how much the barrel aging process changed the base beer. I thought Plead the 5th was way too sweet and not incredibly smooth, and this is the opposite of that. It tastes very similar to Parabola, just with a much different aroma. I've been a bit disappointed with a lot of BA stouts with hype like this one has, but this beer honestly is worth seeking out. Good stuff

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 01:50:18 | More by mgp2675
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a recent trade with hotpipes29. This one comes eagerly anticipated, so we made quick work of it. Thanks for the trade!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drunk right after the base beer for comparative purposes

APPEARANCE: Basically the same out of the bottle as the base beer, but perhaps even darker and thicker. A sludgy, thick black pour yields a small, medium looking, slightly bubbly, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a bubbly wisp and ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Though the head is a little bubbly compared to the base, this is incredibly thick and menacing. Totally evil.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon on the nose with notes of oak and milk chocolate from the barrels. Quite barrel forward, but some roasted malts and dark chocolate notes do make their way through the barrel aging. Medium strength nose.

TASTE: Quite barrel forward on the palate with very little of the base beer left over. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some nice milk chocolate up front. Bourbon barrel dominates through the middle with a touch of roasted and dark chocolate flavors after the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste is barrel heavy with lots of bourbon and plenty of alcohol. Very little base beer sticks around. Flavorful, but not much of the regular Plead the 5th is left to be found.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of slightly prickly carbonation. Thick and creamy enough on the palate, especially after it has sat in the glass for a bit, goes down fine with a bite after the swallow. Finishes sticky on the palate and lots of heat lingers. Not as thick and full as the base, but still pleasant.

OVERALL: This was a really good bourbon barrel aged stout. Despite the slightly milder nose and lighter palate compared to the base beer, the look was outstanding and the barrel flavors were very interesting and enjoyable. Like many barrel aged versions of a base beer, however, the barrel aging on this one has almost completely erased everything that was so enjoyable about the regular Plead the 5th. In that sense, you could say this is a phenomenal bourbon barrel stout, but not a phenomenal bourbon barrel Plead the 5th, if that makes any sense. Anyways, I was stoked to be able to try these together and we really enjoyed the pair. Thanks again for this one hotpipes. This was a lot of fun!

UPDATE: Trying a 2012 and 2011 together tonight. Everything is the same in the 2012, though the palate is a little heavier and creamier. I'd give a solid 4 to the newer vintage in this department.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 16:26:33 | More by Jeffo
Photo of Verecund
Verecund

Texas

4.05/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 batch thanks to StoutFest. February 16, 2012.

Pours black with a quarter-finger mocha head.

Rich and decadent nose: fudge brownie; toasted graham cracker; strong bourbon presence (with some heat); light vanilla; charred oak and roasted grain. Impressive.

Lots of chocolate notes on the palate, half milky, half dark. Bourbon and fudge. Fairly sweet, but there's an earthy bitterness throughout the mid-to-late palate. It's also pretty oak-forward for a -bal stout; the char is almost spicy on the finish. Still fairly hot -- the bourbon seems to be quality, but it's a bit messy, all things considered.

A little thin in body, with medium carbonation. Appropriately sticky.

Happy to have finally had this. An above-average -bal stout, but a bit hot and messy at this stage to be top tier.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 00:17:39 | More by Verecund
Photo of CuriousMonk
CuriousMonk

Virginia

4.64/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12oz bottle with a gold wax cap (2011 vintage) into a tulip glass. Pours dark chestnut with thin tan lacing head that lasts throughout. Aroma of sweet oak, vanilla, bourbon, some blueberries. Really nice aroma! Taste some alcohol heat from the bourbon, sweet dark fruits, vanilla, oak, cocoa, and some chocolate. Thin to medium mouthfeel. Smooth and mild bitter back finish. Quite enjoyed this one!

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 23:09:34 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of InebriatedJoker
InebriatedJoker

Ohio

4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

poured from 12oz bottle into tulip -2011 release

A: Black as a crows feather, one finger head that descends into a thin frothy lacing, great carbonation, legs for miles.

S: Vanilla , Oak, Bourbon, Roasted Malt, Dark fruits,slight chocolate.

T: Slight bitter hop, dark fruits, warming bourbon, vanilla,semi sweet chocolate and oak notes.

O: Very tasty beer, not overwhelming for 14% , would definitely have again, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 17:34:11 | More by InebriatedJoker
Photo of schwaeh
schwaeh

Ohio

4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz from this year, huge thanks to inebriatedjoker for this.

A: Pitch black with a nice half inch brown head. The head fades quick into some light bubbles. Well carbed for sure. I think this permanently coated the glass in brown oil.

S: The most vanilla and oaked whiskey I've smelled in a beer since BCBS rare. Huge fudge cake, bourbon, chocolate covered chocolate with chocolate icing. Dark fruit is making this real complex; I would believe it if you told me this is blended with a bit of quad its so fruity.

T: This is crazy good. Everything from the aroma comes through in waves. The alcohol is hidden really well except for in the stomach, it's warming there. The malt shows well through the bourbon, they do a nice job on the base and it goes fantastic with the barrel influence. Moderately sweet, but not cloying whatsoever.

M: Slick, rich, and full bodied. Sticky as hell. Carbonation is pretty low.

O: Chocolate, fudge, smooth/matured bourbon- this is fantastic. BBPt5th is everything I look for in this style.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 17:22:38 | More by schwaeh
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

4.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011, thanks Jamie!

pours a dark, inky black ale with just a little bit of mocha rim. No lace. Aroma bursts from the bottle with cocoa, cake batter, caramel, oak, bourbon, bourbon...did I mention bourbon?

Taste follows suit with cocoa, cake, vanilla, caramels, hints of tannin, praline and even a little bit of....bourbon! I can't believe this beer is 14%, it is sooo well hidden, insane. Really lovely flavor.

Mouthfeel is liquid oil. Really smooth with full body and low carb. Im really impressed with this beer overall. Wish I had more of theses puppies. Damn fine brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 15:31:17 | More by harrymel
Photo of ChugginOil
ChugginOil

Illinois

4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to raymo55 for this bomb brew!

Poured from a silver waxed, 2011 vintage bottle into a snifter.

Pours a thick as hell, black as hell, viscous liquid that settles and sits like a tar pit. I'm talkin' zero light transfer. There is less than a fingers worth of orange tinted, tan head. Not much lace but a few spots.

The nose has some complex bourbon notes such as toasted coconut, and vanilla while mixed in the the base brews chocolaty characteristics. Boozy in the end. Wow.

The taste is toasted oak and coconut with a nice amount of bourbon that isn't in-your-face. However, the bourbon shows it's glorious attributes with ease. The base beer still shows through the barrel treatment. There is some chocolate, leather, and tobacco working with the bourbon. There are some firm tannins and oak flavors when aggressively sloshed within my mouth.

Hidden ABV + Drinkability = Awesome

The mouthfeel is what I love about these Plead brews. Velvety smooth with a silk-like feel against my palate. A nice, low amount of carbonation helps this feel become successful.

Overall, totally awesome, great brew that deserves the hype. This is because of a great balance and a nicely hidden ABV. The durability of the base brew was easily withstandable when put into a barrel. Bravo, once again!

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 07:32:34 | More by ChugginOil
Photo of MrFootstones
MrFootstones

California

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very very black. Darker head than your typical stout.

Aroma is a pleasing mix of dark fruit as well as heavy roast and toasty malt. A little booze and sweetness as well.

Reflects the nose. Roasted barley, toasty malt, sweetness and some estery alcohol sweetness as well. Bourbon is a nice complexity rather than the main event.

Rich and decadent without being overbearing. Not as intense as BCBS, but worlds better than -bal aged Rasputin.

Great beer. Reminds me of the best attributes of all of this years Eclipses put together.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 06:22:48 | More by MrFootstones
Photo of SkiBum22
SkiBum22

New York

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 - Bourbon, wood, raisin, dark and milk chocolate, vanilla, and hints of cherry.

T - Roasted malt upfront with oak, dark chocolate, caramel, black cherries, raisins, coffee and a bit of vanilla and cream. The bourbon is very noticeable, which might be it's only weakness.

M - Low carbonation with a medium body. A rich and oily mouthfeel that coats the tongue. A warm finish, but the ABV is kept in check pretty well.

O - Great BA stout. If the Bourbon wasn't so noticeable this would be an A+ beer. Nothing a little more time can't fix. Glad I got to try this.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 14:42:47 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of BarrytheBear
BarrytheBear

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz silver waxed bottle into my Darkness snifter. Thanks go to RuckerDu's Chicago connection for helping me track this down. Much appreciated!

Pours inky black with a medium bubbled cinnamon mocha cover, half an inch thick, that settles to a few islands.

Smells rich and decadent: huge cake batter and dark chocolate, swirl of caramel drizzle, and a spike of alcohol heat that hints at the bourbon.

Where the nose plays coy with the barrel, the taste does not. Tidal wave of bourbon from the get-go. Heat weaves a tight spiral throughout. Abundance of cake batter and baker's chocolate, firm tannins, hops, and a dry finish of fudgey vanilla bourbon.

Body is coating and thick. Carbonation helps lift this to a nice luxurious feel. Hops leaves a lingering bitterness that melds with the bourbon heat.

Overall, this is a really impressive offering by Dark Horse. I enjoyed this significantly more than my previous experience on tap at the Great Taste. A solid ba stout that is impressive as is and stands to potentially age quite gracefully. Well done!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 03:02:08 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 19:15:19 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. It poured pitch black in color with a thin tan head scattered across the top of the beer and concentrating around the edges of the glass.

The aroma shows a little more of the bourbon and barrel character to it. I get some dark chocolate and brown sugar to it with just a bit of roasted malts to it. The bourbon is nice in it, very smooth.

The taste really integrates the bourbon barrel flavors into the beer nicely. It has a very rich, dark chocolate, brownie batter like flavor to it up front with a little more of a bitter, coffee, roasty character in the finish. The bourbon is smooth and adds some great complexity with some notes of brown sugar, oak, vanilla and alcohol. It had some really great flavors to it but what really impressed me is how well they balance the beer and barrel flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a fantastic beer. The flavors came together extremely well in it and the barrel flavors complimented the beer perfectly instead of overpowering it. This one definitely lived up to the hype for me, one of the best barrel aged beers I've had.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 02:14:06 | More by billab914
Photo of spdyfire83
spdyfire83

Ireland

4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

131st Review
750mL bottle to Avery snifter

From notes. Thanks Doodler! Your generosity and ability to track down hard-to-get beers is superb. I'm just thankful that I'm around to enjoy such tasty treat and can't wait to return the favor.

A: Deep, dark brown. Barely a quarter (mocha) fingernail head on medium pour.

S: Burnt cocoa nibs, sweet bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted dark malt, and a hint of coffee.

T: Amazing! Deep, complex, dark, and just so smooth. Much like the smell with the addition of raisin, molasses, and toffee.

M: Full bodied and soft carbonation.

O: Truly a wonderful beer! Excellent barrel aging here. I thoroughly enjoyed the complexity and think it is a nice compliment to the regular (base) beer. I could drink this often and think it will age beautifully.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 11:47:10 | More by spdyfire83
Photo of ShogoKawada
ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Uh whoa. That's the long and short of it. Into 25cl saison glass @ room temp thanks to my main man kzoobrew.

Pours low carbonation with a very dark brown head that's about a 1/2 finger. Considering the ABV, I'd say it looks damn good.

Aroma is intoxicating- I am swooning. Toasted oak, bourbon, vanilla and deep dark malt.

Taste... what can I say? This beer is hot and heavy. Lots of bourbon. The base holds up well, though, and the flavors meld. I think this is an improvement on an already great beer. Bourbon drinkers will appriciate this. The toasted oak and caramel/vanilla bourbon flavors do the base beer well. Already a rich stout, the barrels make it opulent.

This one is pretty hot- I really like it although I like hot beers. I think the bourbon is rather dominant but it's not over-reaching. Assertive without being overbearing.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good stuff. Thanks, kzoo.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2012 16:48:06 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of ManVersusBeer
ManVersusBeer

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the the silver waxed 12 oz. 2011 version of this delicious beer.

It is a very dark, though subtle dark tan with a little head.
A nice sweet coffee bean in the nose followed by chocolate bar and caramel, not toffee. Just like a Milky Way.
Vanilla, huge vanilla and then caramel with touches of milky cocoa and chocolate milk. That's the bourbon coming through, although I don't taste too much oak. I get some nice butterscotch dipped vanilla ice cream, too.
The mouthfeel has a bit of roasty bitterness which is nice when paired with the sweetness of this brew. It is creamy, mildly sticky with what I feel is below average carbonation. The Bourbon Barrel version is definitely better, and bolder, than the original.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 19:54:36 | More by ManVersusBeer
Photo of perrymarcus
perrymarcus

Massachusetts

4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours the customary used motor oil black; a fairly aggressive pour yields an expected short lived mocha / almost cinnamon tone head.

assertive nose offers a wallop of bourbon right out of the gate, which is followed by chocolate and roasted malt characters; secondary notes of vanilla, molasses, and a subtle dark fruit-like presence.

flavor follows the nose pretty closely. make no mistake, this one is a bourbon bomb (which i live for), but the bourbon doesn't overwhelm the other elements. the chocolate, roastiness, vanilla et al pull through in fine form. delicious. full bodied mouthfeel, velvety more than chewy if that makes sense. some heat but not what you'd expect from a 14% monster.

overall, a stellar imperial stout. almost unfair to lump some of these barrel-aged beers in with the general population, but this one stands out even among other -bals. special thanks to abanton for this gem.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 05:33:16 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of ColdPoncho
ColdPoncho

Ohio

4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 00:51:54 | More by ColdPoncho
Photo of GregSVT
GregSVT

Texas

4.88/5  rDev +7.3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 03:44:45 | More by GregSVT
Photo of travMI13
travMI13

Michigan

4.93/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage. 12 oz. bottle (silver wax) poured into a snifter.

A: This beer pours black as night with slightly reddish edges. Even with an aggressive pour, there is only a very slight tan head to this. The head recedes quickly. Very little lacing.

S: Booze (bourbon), vanilla, and chocolate. All of the things you would expect from a bourbon barrel imperial stout. I must say that the booze definitely dominates, but there is a very sweet quality about it as well.

T: All the flavors from the nose come together beautifully. The chocolate and bourbon dominate the taste, but not in a boozy way. It is very sweet and sticky. A definite liquid dessert. I am very surprised this is not more boozy. The alcohol is well-hidden.

M: Sticky, creamy, and smooth. The lingering flavors are nice on the tongue. I don't get an overly heavy feeling in my mouth, but the sweetness definitely lingers a while. It does not have that full-coating feeling I have gotten from other bourbon barrel imperial stouts.

O: This beer is fantastic. I love sweet imperial stouts, and this is one of the best. Dark Horse takes an already fantastic base beer and hits a grand slam with it. After having it on draft last week at Ashley's in Westland, I decided to crack a bottle to compare. Draft and bottle versions of this are very comparable and equally impressive. I may even stack this alongside KBS and Black Note. One of the true gems of the Michigan craft beer community.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 04:14:40 | More by travMI13
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sent by seeswo in the Blind Beers BIF. The 12-ounce bottle was poured into my fantastic new Three Floyds snifter and reviewed blind.

Inky black, with a dark, fizzy, cinnamon-colored head.

The nose on this one is decidedly swee. Big showing from the underlying stout here, with notes of sugary chocolate, toast and sweet wort immediately noticeable. Below those is more of the fresh oak and smooth bourbon.

Flavor’s great. As the aroma suggested, there’s a big showing from the sweet, chocolatey malt. Cocoa nibs, toffee and a big hit of toasted coconuts play off a nice bourbon character. The liquor here is top-shelf. The flavor continues to improve as it warms, eventually getting to where there’s so much coconut and chocolate, it’s like drinking a liquified Almond Joy. With bourbon.

Carbonation is a notch under medium. The tiny bubbles massage the tongue as I move the thick, medium-full-bodied brew around. There’s even a nice tongue-coating action from the residual sugars. Alcohol seems a little bit bigger than is necessary, though.

A great flavor. Loving the toasted coconut notes, and the bourbon is very well-blended. A tasty, sweet, drinkable stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 03:32:37 | More by Phelps
Photo of MBrausen
MBrausen

Minnesota

4.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Dougofthefuture for holding this great tasting!

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A. Pours a dark charcoal color with a caramel head about 1mm thick. Settles as a nice foamy ring around the glass

S. Sweet chocolate dominating the smell, noticeable bourbon, caramel and light fruit

T. Sweet and sugary, but not overbearing at all. Very very malty, with dark chocolate and a slight toffee finish.

M. Medium body, coarse and dry finish

O. This is true a top shelf beer. It's sweet but not over done, very malty but not dominating the whole beer, the chocolate is at a good level, and a nice light coffee finish. This is a beer I will be looking to get more and more of. I suggest everyone try this!

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2012 21:46:13 | More by MBrausen
Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 1,567 ratings.