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

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

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

363 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 363
Hads: 2,666
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 3.36%
Wants: 2,100
Gots: 731 | 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
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Reviews: 363 | Hads: 2,666
Photo of MrVonzipper
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black, oily and viscous with a 1/2cm light brown head. Low retention and spotty lacing if any.

Nose is very pleasant and bold. Sweet. Full of brown sugar, fresh chocolate brownie and smooth bourbony oak.

Flavor is phenomenal. Characteristics follow and exceed the nose quite a bit. Sweet double chocolate brownie, toasted brown sugar, vanilla and well blended (not hot at all) bourbon with a touch of oak.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Velvety smooth and creamy. Full bodied with medium creamy carbonation.

Overall this is phenomenal. I loved the standard Plead the 5th. This is even that much better and at 14% its balanced so well with no alcohol characteristics you'd never know it was 14%. (699 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 Cvescalante
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Bottle poured into a tulip, black, opaque, tall brown head leaves nice lacing.

S- Oak, vanilla, dark fruits, dark chocolate, some licorice

T- Follows the nose, very roasty, lots of dark chocolate, dark fruit, licorice, and a warm bourbon finish

M- Thick and smooth, warm, always left wanting more

O- This is a fantastic beer. Definitely among my favorite barrel aged imperial stouts, and one of my favorite beers in general. I hope to try this again sometime. The beer I've tried from Dark Horse never ceases to impress me. (530 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A dark black pour with a red hue on the brown lacing. Finger of head with instant dissipation.
Smells fantastic. Bourbon, coffee, chocolate, licorice.
The flavor is even better, an amazing blend of bourbon, dark roasted grains, sweet and dark chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, vanilla. Fan tastic.
Full body with low carbonation. Thick, creamy, and a pleasure to drink.
This was well worth the patient wait to acquire. An amazing bba stout. (436 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BIG, BIG want. Thanks to Urbancaver for the bottle. Much appreciated.

12oz bottle poured into a Lost Abbey tulip 2011 vintage

A-- Poured black, settled black. Just hints of ruby in the pour and at the top of the beer. At best a dark reddish brown film. Good collar though. Very little if any head. A few carbonation bubbles but not a lot to this. A dark oily residue left with this and just a bit of spotty lacing. No ABV legs for this ABV of a beer.

S-- Wow, big aggressive nose. Big, dark chocolate. Not powder but chocolate. Roasted fig or date, roasted prune, almond or walnut (the wood from the barrel) smell underneath the fruit and chocolate. Rich and thick nose full of bourbon and barrel. Heck yeah.

T-- Thick liquid chocolate, followed by prune, walnut, carmel, and some small amounts of roasted almond. Bourbon is really present in this. Just a thick and rich taste. Flipping scary beer.

M-- Heavy feel but lighter in the mouth than one would suspect. Carbonation?? Try again on that. Little to no carbonation. Silky smooth feel though. Alcohol is very obvious on this going down. Very oily, rich feel in the mouth. Dark, bitter chocolate is also made known in the mouth. Literally gets richer and gets more depth as work through this. Bourbon that hides as a port. Long lasting flavor that kicks ass. Wicked stuff.

O-- Slow sipper is a good starting point. Big, bold balsy beer. Not for the faint one bit. Beats the heck out of most BA RIS. Worth finding. Worth savoring (1,492 characters)

Photo of glazeman
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap at Local Option in Chicago into a snifter. As a precursor, I really enjoyed the standard version of PTF and had high expectations for the BA version.

A: 1.5 finger mocha head with excellent retention and excellent lacing

S: Bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla were than main smells of this beer. I thought all were in excellent harmony and balance. This is truly a remarkable smelling beer.

T: As with the nose, the main tastes I got were bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate. Wonderfully balance, wonderful flavors, nothing in excess or out of place. This is hands down one of the top 3 tasting beers I have had to date. Better than Dark Lord, Parabola, BCBCS, BCVCS, Ivan, Hunahpu etc.

M: Again, spot on as far as the viscosity and carbonation goes. Not supper thick, but it sits on the tongue nicely, is smooth, and has a wonderful aftertaste.

D: Sky high drinkability. The only thing that could hinder this is the ABV at 14%. With that being said the alcohol was pretty much undetectable to me as this beer was not hot at all.

Overall: This is my favorite beer to date. I was close to giving it my first all 5's but refrained. If I could choose one thing to drink all fall, winter, and spring, this would be it. This beer in every way exceeded my already high expectations and is proof to me that barrel aging an already great beer, if done correctly, can make it even better. I really hope they bottle this at some point. An absolute must try if you ever make a trip down I-94 to Marshall, are in Chicago anytime soon and can make it to Local Option, or at pre-darkness day at Stub and Herbs! (1,614 characters)

Photo of cadaugherty
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Local Option a couple times and at Stub&Herbs on Darkness Eve. This is a beer that I will always seek out whenever it is available.

Appearance- Dark black with a thick and creamy head of foam that sticks around long past most BA stouts.

Smell- The bourbon jumps out immediately and dominates the nose. With some patience the chocolate and roasty malt come out.

Taste- Bourbon, bourbon, and then more bourbon. It is amazing and worth every bit of effort to get. Drinking this beer on draft just makes me want to get a bottle and let it sit for 2 years and see what happens. Chocolate and vanilla are very present along with some oak definitely comes through.

Mouth- Thick and lustrous. Rich with a full coating that makes your mouth want more and more.

Drink- Yea it is heavy and thick, but it is also just so delicious that none of that matters. You can drink all you can handle and it won't be drinkability (more likely alcohol and coordination) that stops you.

I wake up craving this beer, even if I had this in bottles I could never age it because it would be impossible to resist. (1,109 characters)

Photo of rudylaw
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Local Option

Pours quarter to midnight black with a small deep tan head.

Vanilla, chocolate, molasses, candy and bourbon in the sniffer.

Exact same in the taste and it is a sweet concoction of epic proportions! As it warms, it gets that much smoother. Everything is balanced.

Medium to low carbonation with a chewy, slick mouthfeel. A true sipper for an early fall afternoon. It hides the 14% rather well... but it's still 14%!

Dark Horse has it's lynch pin here. While I quite enjoy Plead the 5th, the barrel wasn't just kind to this beer and to me, it gave it up on the first date, cooked me breakfast and paid for my cab home! (643 characters)

Photo of smokeypeat
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got to try this at Capone's for the end of PBW. Poured into a snifter the chocolate brown head dissipated quickly leaving no head to speak of, but major alcohol legs were present with each swirl of the glass. Smell on this was great. I must have looked like a junkie with the deep inhales I kept finding myself taking. Lots of deep roast espresso, dark chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla. Taste was even better. The integration of the bourbon into the base beer was exceptionally well done. This beer was exceptionally well balanced with great bourbon flavors present, but at no point did it overwhelm the stout. Nice coffee, roasted malt, and smooth bourbon on the tongue, with a great charred oak character right there. Vanilla became ever more present as the glass warmed up. I also got a hint of campfire type marshmallow. All of this had a great coating effect on the palate. I could drink this all the time. Definitely worthy of seeking out, and making efforts to go to tasting events to get a chance to try. Highly Recommended! (1,039 characters)

Photo of kscaldef
4.77/5  rDev +7%
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. (903 characters)

Photo of chanokokoro
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz. into an unbranded snifter

Pours a dark used motor oil brown capped by a creamy one finger beige head. Excellent retention especially for a barrel-aged stout; light, splotchy lacing. Dark chocolate, dried dark fruit, oak, and bourbon on the nose. An explosion of flavor: dense dark chocolate, scorched malt, dried black cherries, hints of prune and raisin, mild vanilla, charred oak, all capped off by charred oak and pleasant, warming bourbon booziness. Full bodied, low carbonation. Ridiculously smooth, creamy and velvety mouthfeel; as close to perfect as possible. One of the most balanced barrel aged imperial stouts I've ever enjoyed. This brew is a true marvel year in and year out. (710 characters)

Photo of deebo
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 version on tap at The Happy Gnome

A-Black as night with a skimming of dark tan head which leaves some lacing as you drink.

S-Dominant aromas of bourbon, earthy oak, and heavily toasted malt. Also plenty of whiffs remniscent of sweet aromas vanilla and burnt sugar. The aromas really come out nicely as the beer warms.

T-Similar to the aroma but more layers and really nice complexity. Bourbon upfront, the oak and earthy aromas are quite present and really pleasing. I don't think I've noticed this quality as strong in any other BB RIS. Plenty of sweet, dark malt. Hints of bitterness but really mild for some of the chocolate and coffee like tastes detected. The sweet tastes of burnt sugar and vanilla really balance out the heavy characteristics.

M-The mouthfeel is wonderful. My biggest complaint of most BB RIS is the syrupy, cloying and or alcoholic burn qualities. This one has none of the above and at a reported ABV of 14% it is absolutely world class. I've had 5%+ beers have more alcoholic sting than this baby. Body is heavy yet clean and almost crisp, a bitterness that is there but not at all lingering, this baby is smooth.

O-I was hesitant to get this on a hot day but had not had the pleasure before so had to brave the heat to try this, very glad that I did. This is a winner, now I have another beer that I have to add to the hit list to try to get every year. (1,392 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 OrangeMen
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap

Bourbon characteristics are undeniably present but not overwhelming.

Excellent roast/toast, w/ oaky flavor and boozy presence throughout. As the beer warms the vanilla unfolds, chocolates too.

An exceptional beer. Totally worth going out of my way to try this on tap as i have little chance of getting this bottled. A real treat. (340 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 Hesscabob
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Acquired via inebriated Dark Lord Day Trade.. Totally awesome finding a bottle of this in my backpack the morning after.

A - Dark as night, tan head quickly sunk into the abyss.
S - Chocolately, slight bourbon, fudge, vanilla oakiness. Almost identical smell to BCBS, definitely notice a difference in ABV just by the smell.
T - Perfection for a BA IRS, great lingering chocolateyness mixed with subtle barrel aging characteristics. Like the smell, a less boozy BCBS and thats the only .25 off because I happen to like the alarming 14% ABV and im partial to Chi-town's Goose Island... GO BEARS!
M - Coats the palate with a melted brownie, roasted malt liquid. Subtle carbonation does not over/under power the aspects of this brew.
O - Love it, glad I had it, going to try and get some more dressing like an Elf at the party in December. (837 characters)

Photo of BeRanger
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Jet black with a light coffee rim

S - Heavy bourbon with chocolate and malt notes.

T - Exceptional taste with the Bourbon coming through very smooth and balanced with the of chocolate, vanilla and malts.

M - Very light feel for how powerful the taste is. Finishes very clean

O - Wonderful Imperial stout. Given the high ABV, it's fantastic that it has such a smooth taste with no harsh after-taste. (407 characters)

Photo of rtaps
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a nice mocha brown head decent retention.

Smell is great choclate brownie like with some heat, coffee like notes.

Very rich chocolate, like a chocolate brownie with some heat to it witch I like

Mouth smooth full bodied and creamy low carb

Overall it's just all around great  (306 characters)

Photo of mattboyer182
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - pours dark black and a vague tan head.

S - bourbon hits you in the face. Rich malts and apparent alcohol.

T - wow. Sweet intense bourbon. Great wood taste lies underneath.

M - heavy, rich body and light carbonation.

O - for sure the best out of these stouts. So sweet and delicious. (290 characters)

Photo of Fux
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque dark, deep black with no light getting through this. Very small brown head which fades quickly into a thin collar and some wandering, appealing laces.

S: Smell is of dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla. Huge! A smooth smoky and nutty scent along with some dark fruits and a bit of alcohol follow.

T: Massive dark chocolate, sweet and roasted malts. Bourbon, vanilla very well blended to this malty profile. The upcoming booze brings dark fruits aroma. Finishes on nutty and resinous hops notes.

M: Full bodied, sweet, creamy, a bit chewy but not sticky. Not as warming as one could expect given the ABV. Easily drinkable. Just perfect!

O: A beautiful barrel aged stout. Smell and taste profiles are huge, massive. But this is so easy to drink, so good, one can be delighted for many many bottles! (812 characters)

Photo of chalsk
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle in celebration of Radiohead. A great gift from Damico. Pours a black color with a soapy caramel colored head. Heavy alcohol, vanilla, and oak. Some chocolate and caramel notes. Sweet vanilla taste with that oak bite and creamy chocolate finish. Wow. What a beer. (269 characters)

Photo of CruisaC
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally able to track this one down, thanks dblab33! Split two ways with my brother. 2012 vintage

Pours pretty standard but solid for the style, slight bump for nice head given the ABV

Smell is very inviting, nice blend of chocolate, bourbon, oak, some coffee and dark fruit in there as well.

Wow. I've had Pt5 many times and don't remember having anywhere near this reaction. Clearly a base beer that takes to a barrel very well. Nice warm milk chocolate, bourbon oak, toasted coconut, and some subtle smoke or charred oak. Incredibly balanced and nuanced. Not at all one dimensional.

Almost no alcohol burn. Really nice chewy mouthfeel. Like drinking cold hot chocolate if that makes sense.

One of the better beers I've ever had; really, really good stuff. Would love to snag several more bottles. And not that it matters, but stouts tend to be my 3rd or 4th favorite style, so I'm even more impressed. (913 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 drmcleod10
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing from two different tastings, both from the 2013 batch

A - Dark and viscous with minimal head as with most BA beers. Solid lacing

S - Dark chocolate hints with vanilla smells, the barrel comes through on this with the always vanilla, oaky, earthy, roast balance coming through

T - Thick chocolate feel with amazing barrel character that is not overpowering. Dark fruits come through this towards the end on the back of the tongue with the vanilla, oak, and bourbon tastes shining through to create an amazing balance

M - Medium to full-bodied, a little thinner than most other stouts but with the high ABV i guess that can happen

O - I was definitely excited and hyped this beer up, it certainly was not a let down (728 characters)

Photo of kevanb
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (1,168 characters)

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