Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

363 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 363
Hads: 2,667
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 2,102
Gots: 733 | FT: 95
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: 363 | Hads: 2,667
Photo of Bobloblawlawblog11
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pour jet black, with a small brown/tan head. Smells like chocolate and bourbon. Can smell the bourbon presence. Taste is sweet, some dark fruit flavor as well as bourbon and chocolate. Mouthfeel is a bit thin compared to some other BA stouts. (242 characters)

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

2014 vintage. Poured into a snifter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capsule review: this beer has more barrel character than any stout I've had not named Bourbon County. The aroma Is overwhelmingly bourbony. Stages of flavor: nonspecific heat, roasty malt, chocolate, and a lingering bourbon finish. Everything is executed to a tee. Wish it were easier to get hold of, I only managed to secure two bottles of the 2014. (350 characters)

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

2012 vintage. Gorgeous nose of dark roast, chocalate and bourbon.

Taste follows perfectly with a profile that echoes BCBS but lighter in mouthfeel, as this is 11% versus 14% for the other. Balanced and punchy.

For its " low " ABV the category of mega- BA RIS : it is fantastic. I bet it was much hotter when fresh, but still has strong BB character at 2 years.

I just had a fresh BA Narwhal that wasn't nearly as good. Over the last week of vacation we tried Black Tuesday and had a few BCBS. This is in good company of those exemplars.

Outstanding. (557 characters)

Photo of larryi86
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to bstyle!
12 oz bottle, 2014, poured into a teku

A- Pitch black with a small mocha head.

S- Bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, oak, dark fruits, roasted coffee.

T- Much more complex than the nose, rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee, charred oak, bourbon, vanilla, some dark fruits, very nicely balanced.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- A very well made bourbon barrel stout. Sweet but nicely balanced with a bitter finish that lingers nicely. Truly worth seeking out, nose made me think this was going to be a little one dimensional but it is really complex. (580 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of floridadrift
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

L: Even after a couple minutes, the mocha-colored head sticks to the sides
S: Chocolatey
T: great Imperial stout, no actual bourbon taste. Just the heat from it with chocolates and coffee on the first taste.
F: Milk-stoutish, very nice
O: A pretty great stout but falls very short of any live bourbon character. Tastes like it's all had some age. (360 characters)

Photo of EveningCordial
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A- Pitch black, not much of a head but some small brown carbonation and lacing. Looks thick.

S- Wonderful aromas of bourbon, cask, vanilla, coffee, and dark tannins. Some maple syrup sweetness going on as well. Charred malts and barley present too. A bit of alcohol present on the nose.

T- Great balance between the bourbon and beer itself. Not too much heat on this one and as the nose predicted, lots of dark grains, chocolate, syrup, vanilla and some dry oak. The flavors blend quite well and make this a smooth drinker.

M- Full bodied. A little sticky in a good way. Rolls off the tongue pretty silky. Not much carbonation present.

O- Dam fine BA stout. Not much room for improvement here. Could maybe use a hint more bourbon if anything, but this is for sure a top BA stout. Look forward to each year's batch. (868 characters)

Photo of waitwhatamidrinking
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

01/19/2015: Poured into the usual GoT Ommegang tulip. Many thanks to @funhog for making this happen.

L - Good ol' pitch black that appeared to have an event horizon once poured into the glass. Little to no lacing. Head is pleasantly more coffee than I've seen in other BA stouts.
S - Do I have a cold? I hope I don't have a cold. Definitely some cocoa and roastiness but not as intense as I would've hoped.
T - Now there it is. Huge notes of oak, whiskey, birch, dutch cocoa, and jaggery.
F - Unexpectedly creamy based on the appearance. Finishes clean with no oily aftertaste.
O - This, my friends, is a lovely beer that I will be happily standing in the Michigan cold to procure at the next release. More balanced of a flavor than BCBS, but just short of the mark in the other spaces. That's not to say I wouldn't hunt for another bottle... (856 characters)

Photo of dlino11
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Like others have said I feel the 2014 needs to age some. Pours dark and had a nice thick constancy. Just felt the barrel aged flavor was weak and tasted like breakfast stout. (174 characters)

Photo of Billquirk
4.91/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow. Blown away. What an amazing beer. The base beer is really amazing, and the bourbon barrel aging just takes it over the top. A bit thin on the mouthfeel, but other than that, absolutely perfect. I accidentally spilled a few drops on my sweatshirt, and for the rest of the night, I smelled chocolate brownies. It was unbelievable. (339 characters)

Photo of More_betterness
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Midnight black body topped with a one finger dark mocha head after a vigorous pour. The head recedes quickly to a small ring around the edge of the glass. Small spots of lacing and slight legs remain after a swirl.

S: Rich cocoa, marshmallow, and caramel upfront, followed by a hint of bourbon/vanilla that becomes more pronounced as it warms. Purely decadent, smells like an effing candy bar.

T: Milk chocolate, and vanilla and caramel notes from the bourbon are most prominent, and are layered with roasty malt and a slight tinge of alcohol. Delicious.

M: Medium/thick bodied and viscous with a moderate carbonation and a long lingering finish.

O: Damn this was on point. My first Dark Horse offering and Im impressed. Need more immediately. (755 characters)

Photo of MOVERTON1284
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 Vintage, consumed fresh and with up to 6 months of age. Beer is super smooth, not boozy at all, perfectly balanced. One of the best BA stouts available, a great example of the style (186 characters)

Photo of Furlinator
3.84/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage.

Pours completely pitch black with no head. Very faint spots of lace appear during the drink down.

The smell is of dark chocolate, vanilla, pipe tobacco, dark fruit and faint coffee.

The taste is dominated by dark chocolate and roasted malt. There is an strong Earthy oak aftertaste.

The texture is heavy bodied with no carbonation.

All of the characteristics of a bourbon barrel stout are here but, there is an out of place and unpleasant herbal aftertaste. I'm not sure if the age of this bottle is an issue but, I am underwhelmed with this offering. (574 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Jet black pour. Coffee colored head settles quickly. Minimal spotty lacing.

S: Fudge sauce, bitter dark chocolate, mocha. The barrel blends into this, creating scent profiles of chocolate/marshmallow candy and caramel chews. Whiffs of toasty oak and bourbon too. Some berry fruitiness rests underneath everything.

T: Rich mocha flavors and fudge sauce at the outset. Woody roast turns into more acrid flavors of French roast coffee. The barrel brings decadence as it melds with malt. Bourbon balls, walnut brownies, caramel chews and chocolate covered nougat come to the forefront. Quick flashes of figs and dates. Oak and some assertive bourbon toward the back. Bitter dark chocolate, oak, and bourbon on the finish.

M: Big and thick in body. Coating in the mouth, though not sticky or syrupy. It glides over the tongue with a satiny but chewy texture. Light carbonation. Warming alcohol.

O: Almost perfect. It's everything you could ever want in a bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout. It's such a delicious sipper in its own right that I fear any attempt at a pairing would only bring it down. Truly a stellar brew. (1,161 characters)

Photo of Johnd8
3.59/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Averaged from a 2012 and 2013, both drank near Christmas 2014.

2012 was horrible. some stout flavor with rotten fruit and an ash finish.
2013 was better, but the hints of bad fruit and ash are there to be tasted. (214 characters)

Photo of docoman
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is now one of my favorites, glad was able to get some this year... great BBA smell, taste, just overall really, really good... a must try if you like BBA stouts. (166 characters)

Photo of Suds_Suds
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Notes of dry fruit and cherry. Tastes sweet and smooth with a nice balance of molasses and chocolate with some bready character. Glad I got a few this year! (156 characters)

Photo of Flight317
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%

Had this one a bit later in the night which is unfortunate. It was scary drinkable at 11abv and likely my favorite beer of the night. Not as much bourbon as some other barrel aged stouts but the flavor goes amazing that you get from it. Smooth nearly oatmeal stout mouthfeel. Would love to try this fresh and as my first beer. (326 characters)

Photo of absoluthamm
4/5  rDev -10.3%

Was a lot thinner than I was expecting. Not much to the aroma. Taste was good, but lacking what I'm looking for in a BBA stout. Was really excited for this, but let down. Could be partial palate fatigue from the Black Tuesday before it though. (243 characters)

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
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. (405 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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 (1,249 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Serving: Draft pour into a 10 oz. snifter. At this point, I believe this beer is close to 9 or 10 months out from its release.

A: Barely a trace of light brown head/lacing. Pitch black, but not motor oil black.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, coffee, faint cinnamon, dark cherry.

T: Bourbon, chocolate. Some smokiness to the flavor. Lots of oak/charred oak. Some creamy sweetness/marshmallow flavors coming through as well.

M: Full, smooth, creamy. Not super chewy or thick.

O: This is a legendary beer, obviously. This is my 3rd time having it, and each time I like it more. I've never been hugely impressed by it, and I normally rank it last among the popular BA Imp Stouts. But that doesn't mean it's not a great beer, it's just I like KBS, Parabola, BCBS, KBS, etc. a lot more. This one reminds me most of Black Note because of the creamy sweetness I pick up. The barrel character isn't huge, unlike BCBS, and I like that here. It's also 9-10 months old, but I wouldn't say it's "aged". I don't get any oxidation or off flavors. Surely not fresh, but not old either. Drinking great right now. It's very drinkable and smooth. Well-balanced. Not my #1 BA Imp Stout, but still one hell of a fantastic beer from DH that I will try to drink every chance I get.

Recommendation: A must-try for any beer lover. (1,305 characters)

Photo of nilesschmidt
1.25/5  rDev -72%

Caps leaked, damaged plastic seal inside cap, sent email to Dark Horse and called twice with no resolution, i like the base beer and i like barrel aged beer, but i dont like poor quality control that leads to flat beer with no attempt to remedy the problem (256 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

truly delicious, and enormously better than the base beer. this is perhaps the greatest improvement from base beer to barrel aged edition i have ever seen, not that there is anything wrong with the base beer, but that its not so outstanding and one of a kind as this variant. beautiful stuff, high luster dark brown, with a milky thick mocha head. the nose isnt all barrel, but that vanilla sweetness is robust. it pulls the bitter out of the base beer and balances it brilliantly, all united in oak. i get some coconut and some dark chocolate in here in the taste, even some dark fruits, maybe dried cherries for a minute, before the bourbon slowly starts to take over the palate. amazing how mellow the alcohol is on this, especially considering its not all that viscous compared to others in the same style. the finish is long but only a little sweet, i could have another glass no problem. toffee and espresso to finish with the bourbon, its like dessert and an after dinner drink in one package. the best ive had from dark horse, one of the best bourbon barrel beers period. wow. (1,084 characters)

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.