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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.

378 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 378
Hads: 2,737
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 7.8%
Wants: 2,127
Gots: 741 | FT: 99
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: 378 | Hads: 2,737
Photo of jeonseh
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Dark brown, almost black with a small frothy mocha colored head that settles mostly on the sides. Appears to have a nice thickness to it as I swirl it in the glass

S - Dark chocolate, brandied raisins, caramel sweetness with a hint of bourbon barrel aging. Has a strong and powerful nose that really brings the scents.

T - First there is sweetness as I taste Mexican sugar and caramel. The coffee and more bitter dark chocolate comes next. There is also a strong oak presence where you can definitely see how the bourbon barrel adds complexity. On the finish, wow, that's where you really get the bourbon coming through. It had a strong alcoholic presence along with more typical bourbon flavors of oak, caramel, English Christmas pudding, and brandied dates.

MF - Medium body with light carbonation. The finish is dry and leaves a tingling alcohol feeling. It could improve by being a bit thicker.

O - A solid and quite boozy BA stout from Dark Horse. The barrel aging adds a lot of complexity to the flavor. I would like it to be a bit thicker and to cover its alcohol a little better as right now it's a bit hot. Curious to see how this develops in a few years.

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Photo of papat444
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***2011 Vintage***

Big thanks to Masterski for this one.

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance: 1.5 fingers of dark brown foam with a dense brown body. After every sip, a trace of lacing is on the side of the glass.

Smell: Bourbon soaked chocolate, oatmeal-raisin cookies and coffee beans. Very powerful.

Taste: Dates, a bit of black licorice, and nuts mixed with grinded coffee. Bourbon mixes with roastedness but is rather tame.

Mouthfeel: Thick yet smooth with a slick feel and a bit of carbonation (not much). A bit thin in the finish but otherwise great.

Overall: Really liked this one and it doesn't pack too much heat. Grab one if you can.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at EBF on Saturday afternoon. Pours a solid black with a decent tan head with some retention. Smell is heavy on the bourbon with lots of chocolate and roast, and some vanilla and wood. Taste is chocolate bourbon and roast. Thick body with a creamy smooth mouthfeel and a light level of carbonation. A big thick stout, one of my favorites of the day.

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Motor oil black, tan head with some lacing
S: some bourbon barrel, but not overwhelming, bitter chocolate, dark fruit, grape gum.
T: same as the nose, with a little vanilla and oak, and a hint of leather and menthol in the finish.
F: light side of heavy
O: very tasty. The fruit flavored lighten it nicely. Very much a fruity BA RIS as opposed to a chocolatey/roasty BA RIS

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Photo of orangesol
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Capone's on Black Friday. First beer of the day...

A - Pours dark as night black with a small, creamy, one finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of warm bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate, charred wood, and the ever present dark roasted malt. The booze is big up front but the other flavors grow stronger as it warms.

T - Fairly similar to the nose. Hints of vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar, dry oak tannins, and a big dose of booze at the end of each sip. Pretty sweet initially but it gets better as it warms up. It has a ton of flavor but it remains easy to drink.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sweet, boozy, feel that clings to the pallet long after each sip. It developed a little bit of a chalky feel toward the end of the glass..

O - Overall a very good barrel aged stout. It was a little bit out of balance but I had no problem finishing my glass. Glad I finally got to try it.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's Black Friday 2011:

A: Black body. Moderate khaki cap. Spotty lacing.

S: Profound bourbon up front with all of the accompanying aromas of wood and vanilla. Dark chocolate and hints of burnt sugar.

T: Like the nose, this has a strong bourbon component. It isn't overbearing, however. Roasted malts, chocolate and brown sugar round out the profile.

M" Medium bodied, perhaps a little thin in the back end. Moderate carbonation.

O: A very good bourbon barrel stout, but not my favorite option.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by TurdFurgison, thanks Eric! Poured into 3F wine glass.

A - Pours black, a fingers-worth of tan/mocha head, some good lacing and a thin cap on top which hangs around.

S - Peanut butter, tons of it. Like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Sweet milk chocolate, light on the bourbon, oak, caramels, expresso. All very rich and decadent on the nose.

T - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate, some dark fruit notes, oak, smooth bourbon character, coffee beans. I was really impressed how smooth and rich this was for 14%, very well-done. Bitter chocolate finish.

M - Full body, rich, thick, and creamy finish.

D - I never did get to try this on-tap, but I was very impressed with this out of the bottle. Def a top-notch -bal, no doubt about it. Still can't get over how easy this was to drink for 14%. Recommend.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz, silver wax dipped bottle to CBS snifter on 1/23/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to TurdFurgison & normyk for the hook-ups --

Vintage 2011

A: Pure, unadulterated motor oil. One of the thickest, glass coating beers on the planet. A hearty pour straight down the middle of the snifter yields a tightly packed and dense .5 finger head. Killer retention.

S: Hot bourbon and tannic, charry wood. Immensly rich. Good Jesus is this an angry beer.

T: Wow. It's like a sucker punch to the jowels. This is a massive, complex and jaw droppingly big beer. It's charry up front, which coats my mouth. Hints of crispy vanilla and hard, firm tannin on the mid. The finish is big league booze and gallons of over the top bourbon with a healthy kick of hops. As it warms, the alcohol becomes much more pronounced. In my opinion, this needs some serious time in the cellar.

M: In a category that contains BCBS, KtG, BT and more, this pony holds it's own and then some. Extremely silky - it's creamy and smooth with a luxurious vibe to it. This literally envelops my mouth.

O: Hand this over to your cellar. I'll bet that six to eighteen months will settle this bad boy down, and allow it's colossal amount of potential to shine through. With a bit of time, this could be one for the ages, and something so epic, words won't begin to describe it.

Dark Horse has created a near masterpiece with their BB Plead the 5th. Like John Wayne in "The Searchers", I highly recommend getting on your stallion and tracking this beast down.

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Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage, 12 oz bottle

A - Pitch black, no lights getting through this bad boy

S - light bourbon notes on top of a roasted toffee aroma

T - The bourbon is there, but it's mild, but pleasant. Compiiments the other flavors well

M - Quite sticky, near perfect for this style

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, but not quite the best barrel aged stout I've had. Definitely a worthy addition to the BA top 250, but not quite a top 25 beer in my opinion. But in the end, this beer is still excellent. Seek it out!

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A-EBF sample pour. Pours pitch black with a bubbly, brown head.

S-The smell of bourbon is quite potent. Sweet chocolate and coffee with more woodiness and some vanilla. A high quality, textbook bourbon barreled stout. Really excited to try this one.

T-Rich, dark and milk chocolate. Smooth, potent coffee and a pronounced bourbon character. Vanilla, oak and straight up bourbon whiskey.

M-Full and creamy. Sneaky heat. Lower carbonation. Really agreeable feel. It sits and melts on your tongue.

O/D-A tasty, decadent barrel aged Imperial Stout. I understand why this has such a high rating and why it is so sought-after. It didn't blow my mind but I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Overall a great beer and very tasty.

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Photo of mattsander
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage

A: Dense black with chestnut edges. Tenacious ring of brown clings to the edge of the glass. Very syrupy.

S: Fudge, dark fruits, booze, sweet vanilla oakiness.The booze element is a little distracting, nonetheless this is delicious.

T: Big dark chocolately malt, tons of toasty nutty oak, drier than I expected from such a huge beer. Complex and delicious.

M: Lighter bodied than BCBS, a bit boozier, but highly drinkable for a beer of this girth.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to WesMantooth for this bottle.

S - Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, light char.

T - Nice bitter chocolate from start to finish and the chocolate ends somewhat sweeter on the back end along with vanilla, bourbon, lots of complimentary oak tannin with a lingering bourbon oak/chocolate lingering finish.

M - Thick medium body, smooth velvet body, no carbonation on the tongue. ABV well hidden.

O - Awesome beer, hands down.

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Photo of JohnParadee
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap into a small tulip glass. Deep dark black. Thin beige head, dissipates to minimal rim, lots of tiny bubbles. Awesome lacing & retention. Beautiful nose of chocolate & coffee, burnt roasted malt. On the palate, roasted chocolate and coffee flavors dominate. Not as boozy as others. Alcohol is almost unnoticeable, but strong carbonation. Overall, a delightful experience.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter

In a world of ever evolving and growing barrel-aged stouts, let's see how this one ranks.

A - Looks like a stout, pours pretty thick but couldn't get much of a head to develop or stay.

S - Definitely at correct serving temperature and this one doesn't open up much on the nose. Most great BA stouts I can smell once the cap is popped but when I jab my nose in the glass this beer still doesn't have a lot of aromatics. Hints of bourbon, alcohol and roasted malt...not much doing.

T - Thankfully this beer is much different than the aroma. A sweet bourbon flavor at the beginning then transitions to a velvet malted barley flavor with hints of deeply roasted coffee and a hint of toffee. Finishes off pretty boozy/hot but with hardly any age it is to be expected.

M - A little thin for my liking but it works with the low volumes of carbonation in the beer. It's a little astringent on the tongue and the booze tingle is definitely present in the aftertaste, which lasts forever. Definitely a sipper to the definition.

A very well made barrel-aged stout which I'm sure improves with a little age but I wouldn't sit on it for more than a year guessing by the thinner body. Easy to drink, great bourbon flavor and a nice stout overall.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed blind as part of the Blind Beer BIF 6, thanks to Abraxel

A - Poured from a paper bag wrapped 12 oz. bottle, i'm surprised when an oil black liquid spews forth leaving no foam until after the pour when a 1/2 of rich brown foam forms on top. A quick swirl leaves an oily sheen dripping down the sides of the glass
S - Deep rich cocoa, coffee and roasted malts fill the nose, maybe some bourbon in there as well. Very nice smell indeed. No one thing stands out, but meld nicely together.
T - Big chocolate taste with hints of coffee with some bourbon I think, very roasty but not detracting. Just a big hit of chocolate that sticks with you the whole way through. Very enjoyable and makes you go back for more again and again.
M - smooth and silky, very creamy with just a hint of carbonation peeking through. It fits this beer perfectly.
D - Very easy to drink, I don't know the alcohol, but if its there you can't tell at all.

the unveiling...

Awesome! Bourbon Barrel Plead The 5th! First time having this beer and it sure lives up the what i've heard about it. Big thanks to Abraxel for another homerun!

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Better than KBS, not as good as Black Note or BCBS.

This beer may still be too young to be consumed. I will sit on my other bottles for a year and revisit when time has altered its many characteristics.

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Photo of mechamifune
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black with a whispy mocha head. Decent lacing. Looks the part.

Smell is bourbon, bittersweet chocolate, and sweet vanilla.

Taste is bourbon upfront followed by roasted and chocolate notes. Ends with a bit of sweetness. Not cloying or anything. Bourbon is well integrated and is prominent without being overwhelming. Reminds me a good deal of BCBS.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and well done for the style. Not quite as good as, say, BCBS or FIS but it is at least in the same ballpark. Full and velvety without feeling hard to drink.

Overall this is a really well done example of the style. If I could get it with some degree of ease I would do so regularly.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Hawthorne's, Philly, PA

This guy eluded me for a while, but I finally caught it at Hawthorne's. Served in a Chimay chalice, I can't imagine a better looking beer: thick, dark black like motor oil, capped with a creamy dark chocolate head that quickly sank to a ringlet of bubbles. Maybe a little more retention would've been nice, but I didn't expect much from such a high octane beer. Aroma of dark malts, moderately roasty, dark chocolate, heavy bourbon. Dark sweet malts in the taste, chocolate chips, toasted marshmallow, heavy yet smooth bourbon with notes of vanilla and oak. Full body, creamy and delicious, a great sipper. Not quite as smooth as a nicely aged BCBS, but a great brew nonetheless.

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Photo of Auracom
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ramiro - thanks mate. Ticking a top-three want of mine since I got into the hobby. Also a big thanks to Dark Horse for brewing so much more this past year and actually making it obtanium.

2011 vintage. 3-4 oz. poured into a CBS snifter on May 18th, 2012.

A - Looks almost identical to the regular Pt5, though maybe a tad thinner with a little less residual film across the sides of the glass.

S - Great Heaven Hill barrel notes. Charred oak. Vanilla beans throughout. Balanced bourbon. Milk chocolate. Roasted malts. Roasted peanuts and almonds. It leads you on but doesn't press too much, if that makes sense.

T - Is this my stairway to heaven? Awesome vanilla, more milk chocolate bar, additional deeper cocoa, almonds, and rich espresso beans. I find it pretty cool that the barrel elements are so pronounced yet don't overtake the great dark chocolate bitterness I love in the regular version. Really nice oak/wood flavoring, with subtle tannins before and after the finish.

M - Moderate body, appropriate carbonation, and a fair amount of finishing dryness.

D - Infinitely drinkable for the ABV, as much so as KBS. Absolutely one of best barrel-aged stouts I've had, and more importantly one of the best barrel implementations I've had regardless of style.

Edit - Split a 2012 vintage on 1/20/2013, thanks Dan. Though the ABV seems to have dropped roughly 3%, this is still rocking. I'm not sure 2012 is quite as mammoth as 2011 was, but it's close enough to give DH the nod for consistency.

Edit #2 - directly compared another 2012 vintage to regular 2012 Bourbon County. I must say, it didn't hold up well at all. Docking a number of points, as much as it pains me to do.

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Photo of nkersten
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, on tap at local option. Pours black into a snifter, no head and a very small ring of tan foam that sits at the edge of the glass. Smells of sweet dark cherries, vanilla, light bourbon, and milk chocolate. Taste is chocolate covered cherries, bourbon, and oak with a very slightly hot finish - not nearly as boozey as i would expect for 14%. Delicious. Mouthfeel is very thick and coating, light carbonation helps keep it from being too sticky, perfect for the style. For a massive, high abv stout, this one is surprisingly drinkable.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on the eve of the August 27th JO's bottle release. Big thanks for sharing this. ~2 oz from a tasting snifter.

4.5 A: Black. Small medium brown head with good lacing.

5.0 S: Excellent duality between bourbon and beer. Sweet leathery bourbon that integrates seemlessly with the stout. Bourbon and barrel contribute a light fruitiness and touches of oak, but leave out any astringency. Super smooth I say. The beer below offers a deep chocolate, moderate roast, and ample caramel. Mild coffee too. Awesome.

4.0 T: Not as comples as the nose suggests. The sweetness is there with the chocolate and caramel, but the roastiness is much subdued. Mild sourishness, but not the infected kind. Moderate bourbon contributions and subtle oak. It's impossible to think that this is 14%. I still don't believe it.

4.0 M: Heavy body, but on the lighter end of the spectrum. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy.

4.5 D: A great beer that would be worth seeking out if they made a reasonable amount of it.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to bierenutz for hooking this one up.

a - pried open the wax and opened the bottle filling my oversized southampton ris snifter. poured a deep ominous sludgy black with a thin creamy tan head that was gone quick leaving hardly a trace that it was ever there aside from some bubbles. swirling the glass brings things back to life, but again, gone quick. lacing is spotty and slippery, but swirls of the glass definitely leaves traces.

s - as soon as i opened this, i smelled the wonderfulness. deep whaf of the glass is HUGE booziness. dark chocolate and fruits from the original are there...but the sweetness of the boozy wood enhances this one quite a bit. REALLY really nice...exactly what i look for in a bourbon barrel aged RIS...boozy magic!

t - yowza, that's a big beer. really roasty. big malt bill with lots of chocolate and even hints of fresh french roast coffee. the bourbon is there as well but much more integrated in the flavor than the smell. after the initial shock of the fullness of the beer, the flavors settle in and the barrel adds a really nice touch. as it warmed it did become a bit of a chore to drink (which is usually the opposite of these kinds of beers for me). perhaps it was the bourbon element coming out more, but i found that it was a sipper and taking my time with it helped at first and then there was a sweet spot that once passed, it was more meh than great.

m - dangerously easy drinker for such a big beer. silky and rich. coats my mouth and leaves a subtle tingle. finishes a tad bitter.

o - overall i wish i had a regular plead to do the side-by-side as i remembered loving it and remember the flavors rich and bold much like this. i'm a big fan of this and glad i have a few more of these and really glad i got to try it and that dark horse made enough to go around this time. enjoyable beer for sure, but not as earth shattering as i had hoped...i actually prefer the 2011 fresh BCBS that i swapped for this, but again, glad to have a few of these to taste over time.

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Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014. Thanks, ineedbeer. The beer is wall to wall black with a small light brown head. The bubbles fade to a ring after a couple minutes. The aroma is silky chocolate milk. Big vanilla. Plenty of caramel in the background. Mild oak. Medium bourbon, sweet and rich. Some booze. The taste is sweet with milk chocolate and vanilla. Mild roast. Creamy full flavor. Medium to moderate bitterness in the finish. Smooth mouthfeel. Very easy to drink for a big barrel-aged stout. Tasty stuff.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 378 ratings.