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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.

1,590 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1590
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: 1,590 | Reviews: 288 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Fux


4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2012 21:35:39 | More by Fux
Photo of rtaps


4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
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 

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2012 20:19:07 | More by rtaps
Photo of deebo


4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2012 04:56:40 | More by deebo
Photo of CruisaC


4.76/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 15:26:03 | More by CruisaC
Photo of chanokokoro


4.76/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 05:42:37 | More by chanokokoro
Photo of oline73


4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 bottle poured into my colossus snifter. I got this in a BIF today and was so excited I decided to open it up.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black with a half finger layer of cocoa colored head. The head fades to a ring around edge of the glass with just a swirl of carbonation in the middle.

Smell: Sweet roasty malt with some dark fruit and smooth alcohol. I'm picking up some caramel and vanilla from the barrels. There is also cocoa and bourbon in the nose. Very nice.

Taste: This is a really smooth BA Imperial Stout. The slightly burnt roasty malt sweetness hits you first, with some dark fruit just behind. The barrel aging was artfully done. The bourbon and caramel from the barrel are very present in the taste, but not hot at all. The finish is warm and full of bourbon and sweet cocoa notes.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium, but thin compared to what I was expecting. Tingly carbonation with a very slick finish. The beer sticks to you mouth long after you swallow.

Overall: Not disappointed at all. This is a fantastic brew and I plan on having more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 02:56:54 | More by oline73
Photo of inlimbo77


4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, Vintage 2011
Hunahpu's snifter

A: Pours completely black. Initially I don't get much head, just a faint ring of dark tan around the edges of the glass. There is some carbonation because I can see it along with the alcohol feet. Some dark lacing sheets on the swirl. Also, this conjures up a little more of that dark mocha head.

S: Smelled it as soon as I opened it. Very pronounced bourbon notes: vanilla and oak aromas. Also pulling some alcohol esters and dark fruits. Rum soaked raisin etc. Some char as well.

T: This is an incredible beer. Up front I get some deep, dark chocolate bitterness on the tip of the tongue. It's like high quality chocolate that you let dissolve in your mouth. In the mid-mouth you get more of the bourbon hints. Vanilla, toffee, and caramel for sure. The flavors really develop as the sip goes on and on. I am amazed that it's as smooth as it is. There is definitely booze there but it's hidden pretty well aside from the normal warming in the back of the throat. The sweetness helps with this I assume too.

M: Full bodied brew. Syrupy mouth coating in a good way.

O: I have to go super high with this one. Solid A moving towards A+ for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 19:29:51 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of kscaldef


4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2012 05:37:59 | More by kscaldef
Photo of chalsk

New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2013 01:58:33 | More by chalsk
Photo of kevanb


4.74/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2013 02:29:27 | More by kevanb
Photo of 4thelvofbeer


4.73/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grey-waxed top, 2011 vintage, drank September 2012. This was great...only had one bottle, wish I had more. Poured a nice deep, dark black. Sweet notes of bourbon, choc, coffee...all the big nice flavors of a really powerful big stout! Huge fan of Dark Horse beers! Pours a thick black with a brown thin tan head. Smell and taste are up there...really nice. Mouthfeel...smooth, overall....right on for a really really nice BA brew...

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2012 13:20:28 | More by 4thelvofbeer
Photo of chugalug06


4.73/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011 into an Avery Tulip

3/4" head slowly rises from the thick black oil looking brew. Head is made of dense soapy bubbles.

Strong vanilla/bourbon scent, smells great, a bit on the strong side, but still great! Oakey, woody and dense 90% dark chocolate.

Chalky, milky, dark and robust. Tons of well hidden heat. Bourbon flavor is fantastic! Lots of vanilla flavors Light carbonation, no bitterness, and fantastic after tastes.

If you follow my reviews, you'll see I rarely "throw around" "5s"... This brew is Fantastic and is a total ass kicker @ 14%, wow. Great depth and character in this fine, fine brew.. Highly recommended and should be considered a MUST try. Thank you for sharing abanton!!!

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2012 23:15:30 | More by chugalug06
Photo of founder26


4.73/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this review is for a fresh bottled 2012 poured into a snifter at around 45 degrees

Apperance: poured thick black oil. head at first was about 2 inches sort of khaki brown, lots of big bubbles. fadded quickly into small head small bubbles, nice lacing.

Smell: big chocolate and vanilla up front with some of that bourbon oak. also got some coffee, tobacco, and leather at the end.

Taste: bourbon and oak up front, followed by the chocolate and coffee in the finish.

Mouthfeel: thick and creamy, just the way I like my big stouts. coats your mouth. abv is there but pretty well hidden.

Overall: I honestly think I like this better then kbs/bcbs. reason is because the bourbon is not overpowering and blends with the base beer very well.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 20:43:36 | More by founder26
Photo of davey101


4.73/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 12 oz silver waxed bottle into a brandy snifter. Can't thank Steimie enough, this was a huge want of mine!

A - Pours a thick black body with a finger of dark mocha head. After that fizzles away its quite difficult to recreate a head with a swirl. Just some splotchy lacing with some nice retention. Alcohol legs stain the sides of the glass.

S - Bourbon dipped fudge brownie is the description I would use here. Rich and gooey dark chocolate, dry cocoa powder, light espresso and coconut. Finishes with smooth oak and vanilla and warming alcohol which does comes off as a bit too distracting.

T - Starts with dark chocolate and light roasted malts. Then comes a huge wave of vanilla, oak, and butterscotch. Lighter notes of coffee beans, coconut, and dark fruits. The finish is fudge with a bit of leather. Rich and decadent, just fucking perfect!

M - Thick and coating, just a notch below syrupy. Carbonation is spot on.

O - Truly one of the best BA stouts out there. How anyone can trade this stuff after sampling it is beyond me. Compared to its major 12 oz competition, well I think I like BCBS a bit more since its a brash stout that is all about the bourbon. This beer is much more balanced with the bourbon complimenting the base beers notes. God dammit this is good stuff!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 04:11:51 | More by davey101
Photo of drmcleod10


4.73/5  rDev +4%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2014 23:00:04 | More by drmcleod10
Photo of alleykatking


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

Had on tap at Dark Horse. Pretty stoked to try this one out. Served in a snifter.

A- Pours a deep dark brown...almost black color. Dark chocolate colored head very little dies to a ring on the glass. Some streaky lacing on the glass. A very nice looking beer.

S- This has big roasted malt in the front of the aroma. Some light vanilla and dark cocoa in the middle. Don't pick up any wood notes but I do pick up hints of bourbon in the back end of beer. Typical coffee notes as well with a slight smokey presence as well. Light alcohol hits the nose and sticks to it.

T- Good roasted malt bites from the front with a light vanilla and cocoa ending. Some toffee and coffee notes toward the middle that adds to the sweetness. This beer isn't all sweet though which is where it turns into a bourbon laced beer. Light bourbon notes through the backing leading to a warming alcohol as you drink this one down. There is also a return to light roasted malts to this that add a finishing character as well. This is what a bourbon barreled beer should taste like to me.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is prefect for the beer although I think a little subdue for the style. Nice heavy roastd malts left on the palate with a touch of chocolate. Bourbon and light roasted malts left on the aftertaste. Flavors were bold and clean tasting. Everything mixed together pretty well but still had strong single flavor qualities to it.

D- This to me was a perfect style of a bourbon barrel beer. The higher ABV (14%) limits this to a couple snifters at best. I do enjoy this beer and hope they do something like making a short bottle run of it. Dark Horse knows how to make their beers very drinkable and I have never had a problem doing just that. Cheers to you Dark Horse!

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2010 19:37:28 | More by alleykatking
Photo of sidetracked


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

On-tap at Dark Horse. Served in an 8oz(?) snifter--black with a thin light brown ring of head.

Smell is bourbon, dark roasted malts, and dark chocolate with a light woodiness.

Taste is semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts with the bourbon and wood coming through nicely at the finish. As it warms some molasses-like sweetness begins to come through at the finish.

Full bodied and smooth with a slight chewiness. Becomes slightly syrupy as it warms.

Really great balance of bitterness and sweetness. Just the right amount of bourbon aroma and flavor allows others smells and tastes to come through. One of the best barrel aged stouts I've had.


Serving type: on-tap

09-06-2010 19:51:43 | More by sidetracked
Photo of spdyfire83


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 ShanePB


4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2011 14:37:32 | More by ShanePB
Photo of MichaelRausch

4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I wasn't sure what to expect from this brew. A friend and customer brought it in to share, having located a beer not available in my region. I was impressed with this find. The nose was pungent, with strong aroma's of vanilla, brown sugar, alcohol, and light hints of chocolate. The taste was creamy and rich, with just a slight bitter oak bite. The long finish was spectacular, with flavors of white, dark, and milk chocolates blending beautifully together with just the lightest bit of burn. Highly recommended, if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 09:29:00 | More by MichaelRausch
Photo of sweemzander


4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. 2012 vintage. **Note that my bottle had the ABV listed as 11%, NOT 14% as it does on this page**

(A)- Pours pitch as black night and fairly thick. A surprising crown of brown froth formed. Even some lacing was left behind as it dissipated.

(S)- A lovely rich combo of a molasses / chocolate / roasted caramel / and bourbon barrel sexiness. A really harmonious aroma.

(T)- Same as the smell, only a distinct higher level of bitter roastedness coming through. Combined with the superb barrel characteristics, I have absolutely zero complaints.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. As great as the sweet and rich barrel notes are in this, the underlying roasted qualities from the base beer still coming through is quite superb. Makes for a very dynamic tasting and feeling beer.

(O)- Overall, world class. I had a sample of this years ago at a beer fest and it has haunted me since. Now finally trying it in bottled form was really rewarding. Fantastic fresh, but for me, it just might benefit with a little more time on it. Looking forward to seeing if I am right. One of the best for the style hands down.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 02:45:39 | More by sweemzander
Photo of jbwimer


4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from a trade with Alex. This is the first of my five bottles. So excited. Regular Pt5 is one of my favorite imperial stouts. Can only imagine how well it does in a barrel. Here we go!

A- Love the look of this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Great Lakes snifter/tulip and got a finger of a rich mocha head. Fades to a centimeter of foam. Pretty good retention, especially for a BA stout of this magnitude. Absolutely no light getting through. As black as Taye Diggs. Love it.

S- This has a really complex nose. So many scents to discern. Of course, there is bourbon. Tannins and vanillins. Bakers chocolate. Dark chocolate. Some caramel. Definitely retained some roast, which is awesome. Oatmeal. Great nose. Could only ask for a little more bourbon, though it does come out more as it warms.

T- Oh my stars, this is rich. I'm enamored. Such great balance between the bourbon, chocolate, and roast. This is what I love in a BA stout. Sweet and roasty with a hint of booze. Such well integrated flavors. Chocolate and bourbon hit you first, and the roast comes mid-palate and lingers with the warmth of the alcohol. This is fantastic. The 11% isn't overwhelmingly obvious, but you know it's there.

M- Not the most viscous BA stout I've had (that honor goes to BA D.O.R.I.S.), but this is a smooth, thick beer. More carbonation than most BA stouts, but it's not offensive. Well done.

O- I've become, instantly, a fan of this beer. There is a great deal of balance, and all of it's flavors are so well integrated. The only thing I could ask for is a tad more influence from the barrel. Just a TAD. Other than that, this beer is spot on. Good thing I have four left. Gonna see what time does to this beast. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2014 01:52:53 | More by jbwimer
Photo of ms11781


4.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours as thick and as black as can be. Somehow this beer seems a darker shade of black than black, as absurd as that sounds. An aggressive pour yields a decent sized dark brown head that doesn't stick around for long at all. A thick ring of lighter brown foam settles at the edges of the glass and stays for the duration. Once the initial pour settles in the beer looks completely still, like 12oz of spent motor oil sitting in the glass.

Bourbon was detected as soon as the beer was poured from the bottle to the glass. Despite being picked up from a foot or two away the bourbon really isn't overwhelming. The nose is sweet with nice chocolate and roasty aromas. There is a subtle vanilla note and, to even a lesser extent, some wood/oak notes. Kind of surprising that the bourbon is integrated so well with the other characteristics when it was so prominent from a distance. Either way, the nose is exceptional.

As good as the nose was, the flavor is actually a step up. The bourbon is prominent and is present throughout each sip but, like the nose, it's not overwhelming or overpowering. There are excellent chocolate and and vanilla notes that go along with a complimentary roasted character. The oak presents itself as a slightly woody charred character that is tough to pick up, but definitely comes on before a nice, pleasant warming from some alcohol at the finish.

This is a nice big, full bodied stout. Huge, thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. The beer is slick, extremely rich and velvety smooth.

This beer is amazing. The base beer was already an excellent stout and the nicely integrated barrel treatment take it over the top. I'm not sure when this beer was bottled but it was released just weeks before I sampled it and it is already drinking phenomenal.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 03:56:10 | More by ms11781
Photo of BobZ


4.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to bstyle & benjaminahudson for the fact that I have (or had) two of these.

12oz. Bottle poured into a Huna snifter, 2012 vintage. Poured along-side a 2013 Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout and a 2013 KBS as part of a side-by-side tasting.

Appearance: Dark brown almost black with very little head that quickly dissipates to a small ring.

Smell: Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, bourbon, and a sweetness that is like black licorice. Very nice and complex mixture of aromas.

Taste: This is one complex beer, the black licorice and molasses flavors meld very well with the mocha flavors from the malt. Next, you can taste the vanilla and the bourbon, just and incredible diversity of flavor very rich and very, very, delicious. The alcohol is completely masked.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and smooth yet clean on the palate.

Overall: An exceptional BA stout in every way, very happy I had the chance to try this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2013 15:38:36 | More by BobZ
Photo of pmarlowe

District of Columbia

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

Big thanks to urbancaver and seeswo for this one. 12oz bottle to tulip glass.

A: Pours a motor oil consistency with about a cap of creamy brown colored head, maybe a slight red tint, which recedes to a ring. Good retention, no lacing.

S: Wonderfully balanced, mild vanilla and bourbon, oak barrel and associated spices, with dark chocolate and malt undertones. The barrel characteristics come to the forefront as it warms.

T: Airy chocolate cake and fudge, vanilla, oak barrel with some spice, and a touch of bourbon. Some alcohol is noticeable towards the end of the sip, a minor ding on an otherwise fantastic beer.

M: Full bodied and medium carbonation. Wow, amazingly smooth.

O: Great balance, smooth, and really drinkable for a bba stout. The mildness of the beer really increases the drinkability.
After 1 year, the 2012 has lost much of the barrel character but is still tasty enough. After 2 years, this has lost all barrel character, some of the chocolate notes, and has taken on more fruit and anise (not in a pleasant way); it's really gone downhill. Overall, I would say that it's at peak when fresh, falls off some after a year, and has gone completely downhill after two years. So drink soon.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 05:17:12 | More by pmarlowe
Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.