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
100
world-class

2,618 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,618
Reviews: 373
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 7.69%
Wants: 2,077
Gots: 707 | FT: 93
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,618 | Reviews: 373
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2012 vintage.

Appearance - Very think inky black pour with a small mocha head. Nothing left after a while. Just a thin collar and three measly and miniscule islands of foam.

Smell - The barrel is very nice, but the aroma of the beer is intense. Bourbon, tons of oak, and a nice hint of vanilla from the barrel. Sweet malts, licorice. Coffee and dark chocolate are afterthoughts compared to the barrel, booze, and sugars.

Taste - The base beer shines through the barrel, but it adds a nice layer. Bourbon is immediately apparent. Deep dark chocolate flavors and a sweet fruit layer. Oak is really intense in the back. Lingering oaky finish is too strong and just pegs it back from perfect.

Mouthfeel - It's heavy, boozy, and overly oaked. Low carbonation. A monster of a beer.

Overall - While this beer is spectacular, the barrel hasn't improved it. Intense oak creates an unpleasant aftertaste. That being said, I had this on tap and it was incredible. Batch to batch may vary. I certainly won't mind exploring different vintages of this.

Photo of Gobzilla
4.42/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a dark as night black in color with a dark brown ring sitting at the top with absolutely no head that didn't leave no lacing whatsoever on the glass.

S: plenty of chocolatey oat grains were noticeable upfront in the aroma with brown sugar molasses sweetness, subtle burnt sugar, good bourbon barrel booze present and a little coffee bean coming through as well.

T: molasses with brown sugar sweetness were more prominent on the palate alongside chocolate goodness, nice roastiness, coffee accents, a touch of vanilla, plenty of oat grains, well balanced booze and bourbon barrel notes that added plenty of character to the base beer.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a roasty, boozy, chocolatey, sweet, rich and chewy finish.

O: definitely a must have, plus the bourbon barrel treatment really gave this beer great qualities all around; Delicious

Photo of sweemzander
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of davey101
4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
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!

Photo of lurpy1
3.88/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage (I think, shouldn't have recycled the bottle) picked up in a trade. Split the bottle with my wife.

Beautiful pour that runs out of the bottle like black ketchup. Not much head. Smell is fruit and bourbon, a little bit of chocolate behind. But it's all more faded than I expected, doesn't assert itself with sweet bourbon.

Taste. Hmmmm...again, faded a bit. Except for a surprising hoppy bitterness. Is this an 11 that past it's prime? Or is it not all that? Again, not bad, but not all that.

Mouthfeel - because the bourbon isn't as pronounced as expected, zero burn. Great viscosity. Can't believe it's 14%. Consistency is probably all that keeps me from declaring this a par beer.

Overall, a very good beer, but as with the base BT5, I apparently like this less than the average bear. And in the pantheon of bourbon barrel stouts, stunningly, I would rate this as slightly below average. Worth drinking, and recommended, but I would not pay $7/bottle for it or trade for it at a high premium.

Photo of zac16125
4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a snifter
2011 vintage

A big thanks goes out to injuredreserve for sending this one over in a trade.

A: Pours black as night with less than a 1/2 finger sliver of dark mocha colored head, which quickly dissipates down to just a thin outer ring. Leaves a few patches of lacing.

S: Initially I get tons of dark fruit notes accompanied by an equally large bourbon presence. Also get milk chocolate, roasted malt, cherries. Wonderful.

T: Milk chocolate, bourbon, and roasted malt all explode onto the palate with the first sip. Its rather sweet, and noticeably bitter. Coffee, raw oak, bakers chocolate. Quite complex. Nice combination of sweetness and barrel notes, but I could do without the bitterness, which tends to be the flavor that lingers in the aftertaste at the finish of each sip.

M/D: Very smooth, appropraite carbonation, maybe a touch thin for the style. ABV is exceptionally well masked though, and drinkability is insane. Really cant believe this is 14%.

O: Overall, an excellent beer. Doesnt quite stack up with the best of the style, but certainly an enjoyable drink that I would drink again in a heartbeat. Highly recommend.

Photo of Holmgrown
4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Friend of mine saved a bottle for me. Poured it in a pint glass.

A: dark...almost looks like oil with a perfect amount of carbonation

S: bourbon

T: fantastic. Really enjoyed the strong bourbon flavor.

O: I'm going out on a limb to say this may be the best beers I have ever tasted. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of bourbon.

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

12oz bottle from the first release of that format, courtesy of warnerry, into a NEBCO 668 glass. Enjoyed alongside regular Plead the 5th and BCBS.

A: Looks identical to the regular: pitch black body, thin brown head. Solid.

S: Wow. This is amazing. Huge bourbon, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and major coconut. Big, rich, and complex. BA RIS perfection.

T: Follows the nose initially, with enormous barrel presence providing generous bourbon, vanilla, and coconut. Roasty coffee and dark chocolate behind. The only downside is a significantly boozy finish. Wonderful.

M: Thick, creamy, and moderately carbonated. Terrific.

O: This was an absolute winner - a huge step up over the non-BA version, and a clear superior to the overly-syrupy (in comparison) BCBS. The coffee and bourbon worked beautifully together, and I'm simply enjoying the hell out of it. Thanks Ryan!

Cheers!

Photo of Pete27lax
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 Vintage, big thanks to Cosmicevan for gifting this bottle to me at a tasting!

Pours a straight black with minimal head. The small head that does form is a perfect deep brown, really awesome appearance. Spots of lacing around the glass.

Smell is sweet chocolate! Like you're smelling melted chocolate, really enjoyable. Dark and milk chocolate with bourbon bringing it together perfectly.

Taste is PHENOMENAL , all the characteristics to look for in a stout. Mainly taken over by sweet chocolate, slight roasted notes toward the tail end and the bourbon hitting the palate perfectly. The balance here is really remarkable, the way the traditional stout flavors tie together so well with the barrel aging. Can't say enough about how enjoyable this is.

Mouthfeel is just what I look for in a stout. Just the right amount of viscosity and stickiness. coating the palate and so smooth for a barrel aged beer. I love barrel aged beers but I have never had one that is this easy and smooth to sip on. The fact that this beer is 14% abv is just unbelievable, not a trace of alcohol heat.

So I think I've found my benchmark for barrel aged stouts. Just can't find a flaw in this beer. Such a fantastic balance and everything else is just outstanding. Best stout by a mile and my second perfect 5.

Photo of MikeyMikee
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a snifter at fridge temp..

Thanks to cosmicevan for the bottle

This is an amazing looking beer.. Jet black with a dark, dark brown head.
It literally smells like a combo of milk and dark chocolate.. With a hint of a marshmellow-ly sweetness that is complimented with a subtle ethanol/bourbon combo.

This beer, tastes and feels like you are taking a bite out of a half melted bar of chocolate that has been infused with a little bourbon.. Perfectly balanced, perfectly carbonated.. Viscous and chewy.

And 14%? What a joke, easily the smoothest BA imperial stout I've ever had.

I give this beer a perfect score.. And because of this beer.. I am revisiting my past reviews and downgrading any beer that I have previously given a 5, for no beer deserves a 5 in comparison to this beer.. Regardless of style.

Flawless brew

Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, joshrosborne!

(Aged for 1 year)

Nearly black in color with a very small whisper of dark brown head that falls away quickly. Leaves the glass somewhat messy with irregular webs of sticky, small bubbles.

Pleasant, complete aroma of oak and bourbon, very mild chocolate, some roast. All the expected players are in the pool.

The flavor follows the aroma, with the bourbon and oak leading the way, along with roast, very mild chocolate, and dark black bread. Low bitterness, and the alcohol is exceptionally well hidden given the known heft.

Full in body with low carbonation. Oily, slick, and rich. Lingering chocolate finish. Incredible.

Excellent, but I actually think the base beer is better--full disclosure, the base beer is one of my all-time favorites.

Photo of founder26
4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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

2011 batch (silver wax) into my founders snifter. just shy of a year old at this point.

a - pours black and clearly has a high viscosity to it. a thin cap of dark brown head creeps up slowly, then settles back to a thin film. leaves some nice long legs of lacing in the glass.

s - bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, raisin, faint char. an absolutely divine nose on this one.

t - all of the nose, really. starts off roasty and chocolatey, then the vanilla and barrel aged goodness comes out. has some faint dark fruity notes in there and a pleasantly smooth bourbon finish. very well put together.

m - full bodied, medium carbonation, finer co2 profile. has some alcohol heat still but very smooth.

o - honestly i'm pretty impressed by this one. i haven't had many bourbon barrel beers, but this definitely gives kbs and bcbs a run for their money. reputation is well deserved here and this is certainly worth seeking out if you're into big stouts.

Photo of xnicknj
4.22/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter - thanks to erikkoppin

Pours a midnight black color with barely any head. Wisps of retention slink across the top, with a few spots of lacing on the glass.

A rich mix of vanilla and chocolate soaked in bourbon in the nose. A bit sweet with roasted dark malts and some softer tones of dark fruits. Softly charred oak, booze and really faint smoke.

Boozy vanilla bean up front with plenty of syrupy bourbon and softly charred oak. Dark chocolate, nuttiness and layers of roasted dark malts. Syrupy with a prolonging boozy warmth, followed by a light undertone of leather and very subtle smoke. Finishes sweet and boozy with vanilla.

Fuller medium body, milder carbonation, sticky and creamy on the tongue. I've had this one tap before and it was one of my favorite BA stouts ever, although the bottle doesn't quite recapture that moment for me. Definitely still a top notch offering, but the appearance and feel were slightly lacking.

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

355ml bottle 14,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
2011 Vintage

Thanks to Lurchingbeast for this long time want.

Appearance: Plead the Fifth pours midnight black, with only the faintest hint of deep red visible along the edge of the glass. A rough pour yields a good sized mocha coloured head that lasts pretty well for a 14% barrel aged beer and leaves some good looking lacing as it recedes. A light swirl coats the glass in incredibly heavy, yellow tinted alcohol legs.

Smell: As expected, quality bourbon dominates the initial nose, with the base imperial stout notes becoming apparent as the beer warms. Warming also yields some nose tingling alcohol, but it stops just short of becoming bothersome.
Notes include: Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, sweet caramel, butterscotch, spicy oak, dark chocolate, cocoa, raisins, molasses and a little roasted malt.

Taste: Unexpectedly, the flavour is actually a little boozier than the nose, though still stops short of being unpleasant. Notes include: Caramelized brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, dark fruit, molasses, cocoa, a touch of coffee and a surprising amount of roasted malt. The finish is moderately bitter and lightly astringent.

Mouthfeel: Just shy of a full body, with a medium level of smooth carbonation. The finish is moderately bitter and surprisingly dry.

Overall: Plead the Fifth is certainly a delicious barrel aged imperial stout, but I don't think it quite lives up to the hype and I would choose KBS or Parabola above it. That said, I would still love to have this again and would be very interested to see how it is after another year or two in the bottle.

Photo of chugalug06
4.69/5  rDev +3.1%
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!!!

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
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...

Photo of jegross2
4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Plead The Fifth (2012) from Dark Horse Brewing Company out of Michigan.
Score: 98

2012 vintage bottle served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 03/13/12. A big thank you to Nick for sharing this bottle with me; I had been wanting to try it forever.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a super thin, creamy layer of mocha head that settles to a pencil thin ring around the glass. Good lacing too. 4.5/5

Smell: Lots of vanilla and raisin. Smooth bourbon, vanilla cupcakes, molasses, rich chocolate, fudge, tobacco and a hint of cherry. 4.5/5

Taste: Luscious dark chocolate and a little caramel flavor. Incredibly creamy and absolutely no alcohol presence whatsoever. Mellow vanilla too. Fig and prunes. As it layers and warms, molasses and a little bit of toffee and smooth bourbon-without-the-boozy-bite flavor comes out. Fudge, milk chocolate and melted dark chocolate on the midpalate. Super chocolatey backbone here. Finish is cocoa and dark chocolate with a hint of bourbon flavor. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, minimal carbonation. Incredibly creamy mouthfeel. Slightly sweet finish. 5/5

Overall: This is one of the best barrel-aged stouts out there; it is every bit as good as the FiftyFifty Eclipse White Wax (Elijah Craig 18-aged version). The taste is absolutely incredible. I wish I had a bottle of my own! Thanks again for sharing this one with me Nick!

Recommendation: Go get yourself a bottle of this magnificent elixir. Even casual beer drinkers should be able to revel in its chocolatey glory.

Pairings: French vanilla ice cream.

Cost: $8 for a 12 oz bottle.

Photo of Rutager
4.09/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thank you to yeahnatenelson! 2011, silver wax.

Appearance. Poursalmost thick and black with almost no head, just a fine skim of dark brown bubbles on the surface.

Smell. Bourbon for sure, not very boozy though. Wood and Vanilla are there too, some roasty dark malts and a little caramel and coffee.

Taste. Bourbon, sweet vanilla, sweet caramel and coffee, some booze and a little burnt sugar (more burnt than caramel, anyways), just a little dark roasted malts.

Mouthfeel. Full body, low carbonation. A little warm.

Overall. A nice bba stout, no question. Seemed a little boozy and could probably use another year or two, but really not that bad for a 14% beer. Would love to try it again nicely aged.

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours completely opaque black, even on the pour with a finger of dense brown head. Retention is very good.

S: Molasses are most prevalent, but dark chocolate is close behind with light toffee in the background. Oak and bourbon are also there, but even further back.

T: Dark chocolate is now upfront with molasses and caramel close behind. I also get very well integrated bourbon way in the background. The flavors of this beer mix incredibly well. A bit too boozy, but not over the top and expected for the ABV.

M: The best part of this beer - extremely thick and creamy.

O: The integration of the flavors in this beer are phenomenal. The mouthfeel is also nearly perfect. I could use a bit more complexity and a bit more roast, but this beer is very, very good.

Photo of fiver29
4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours pitch black and coats the glass like oil. Tan head. Heavy mouthfeel. Aroma is wood, bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate. Flavor follows the nose and has a nice chocolate note upfront, some booze, rich caramel in the middle, and finishes with a great chocolate bourbon note. This beer is simply fantastic.

Photo of Arbitrator
4.19/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours a dark, oily black -- the color of motor oil that has been used several thousand miles past spec. A pinky finger of dark mocha head caps the beer; retention is short.

S: Vanilla, caramel / burnt sugar, fudge, bourbon, oak, molasses. The net effect here is reminiscent of early, keg-only Parabola. I shed a tear for the hoppy abomination the bottle form has become, and give praise that Dark Horse seems to have stumbled onto Firestone-Walker's formula.

T: As in the nose, the flavor captures a delicious blend of fudgy vanilla. Bourbon is somehow less prominent than the vanilla bean character, though it is by no means hidden. A touch of roast evokes earthy coffee, but this is a minor element; the beer clearly prefers the chocolate-dessert approach, and I'm not one to complain about that.

M: Chewy and oily, but not lingering or difficult to remove from the palate. In fact, it finishes relatively cleanly for something this big. And it hides the ABV quite well. I'm sure this is beyond 14% (isn't that what the base beer has?). My only complaint is that as it warms, it has a distinct solventy aftertaste, which in several bottles became unbearable at the proper serving temp.

O: I had this a few times out of the bottle and detected noticeable variation. Two bottles were outstanding; very fudgy and rich, with great bourbon integration. Others were a little cardboardy and solventy. I'm tweaking my score so that the overall grade is a rough average of the bottles I've had.

Incidentally, I compared this to early batches of Parabola, but it also reminds me of a chewier Silva Stout. Overall, this is a fantastic beer and needs more love.

Photo of tarheels86
4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

355mL 2011 ed silver wax thanks to mikem409. Pours ink with a larger reddish mocha head settling abruptly to a bubbly layer. Nose is richer vanilla with thicker sweet bourbon. Very reminiscent of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Rich wood and mild dark cherries. Very inviting, dessert nose. Taste is silky, rich, spicy bourbon, big dark chocolate. Thankfully only hints of ash that sometimes plague Dark Horse beers. Bitter, thicker. Very enjoyable. Great palate. Lower carbonation with super rich, oily palate. Beautiful stuff. Glad to see this bumped into the Top 50 on both sites. 1/13/2012 8/4/8/5/16=4.1

Photo of deebo
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of MattyG85
4.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 Vintage on tap at The Happy Gnome in St. Paul, Minnesota. 10 oz. pour served in a New Belgium Globe glass.

Appearance: Color is an oily pitch black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of deep tan head which fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Smells very big, rich, and fairly sweet. Nice scent of bourbon with good hints of vanilla, wood, and oak chips. Big dark malts with big hints of chocolate, coffee, molasses, maple syrup, burnt caramel, toffee, and dark bread. A little bit of smokey roast. A scent of alcohol is present but it blends in well with the dark sweetness. The vanilla and chocolate really stands out. Very rich and good aroma.

Taste: As good as the aroma leads, Big taste of bourbon upfront with some good notes of vanilla, oak, and wood cask. Rich and sweet dark roasted malts with big notes of dark chocolate, bitter coffee, maple syrup, molasses, burnt toast, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and a little bit of smoke. Some alcohol heat is tasted but not as overwhelming as one might expect. Good balance of sweetness from the vanilla and chocolate, with the bitter roast. Really great taste here.

Mouthfeel: A rich and heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and fairly syrupy and creamy. Sweet but far from cloying. Smoother than expected at 14%.

Overall: A really great Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Big, rich, and dark while keeping the sweetness and booze taste under control.

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,618 ratings.