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

354 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 354
Hads: 2,643
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 2,076
Gots: 722 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 354 | Hads: 2,643
Photo of PerHops
3.68/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 Bottle into Snifter.

A- Jet black with a little bit of carbonation at the end of pour. The head is thin and tan but the retention is beautiful. This is a 100 percent perfect looking bb stout.

S- There is bourbon, roasty notes, oak and a slight damp funk at the end. Not quite what I was hoping for and not what I remember.

T- I dont pick up any funk like I did on the nose, but again slightly dissappointing. I get dark fruits, a little bitter chocolate, a little bourbon, but it has a light finish with red wine characters. A little astringent.

M- Starts off slightly syrupy but finishes pretty light and moderate carbonation.

O- To be honest this beer isn't quite what I remember it being. I am going to sit on my other too and hope they mellow out and evolve a little bit. (786 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.04/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I have been waiting a while to try this one, but I was finally able to acquire it in a trade. Needless to say, I was excited to try it but found myself experiencing a mild letdown.

The stout had a mild bourbon aroma with malts lingering in the background. For a 14%ABV, I was anticipating a stronger bourbon aroma. In the initial taste, I detected vanilla, malt, bitter dark chocolate, burnt malts, and perhaps dark fruits. However, the taste just seems to end there with malts. There is a warming nature to the aftertaste, which one might find quite pleasant. In terms of taste, I just do not think this beer finished well. The thickness of the mouthfeel allow a sort of vacuum of malt which led to nothing more. For such a bold style, I expected more taste, and it just was not there. (788 characters)

Photo of tbdkev
4.14/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, motor oil color with some tan lacing. The aroma leaves something to be desired. Although the normal constituents of bourbon are present on the nose (i.e. vanilla, oak, etc.). There's a faint "saltwater" aroma as well, which is a little disconcerting. The taste follows the standard bourbon profile, with big burned elements and a heavy alcohol warmth throughout. The mouthfeel is pleasant, although I wish it was slightly thicker. The finish leaves something to be desired, as the big flavors from the initial taste disappear rather quickly, leaving only the burn. A solid brew from Dark Horse, but I'm a little let down. (641 characters)

Photo of Sarlacc83
4.27/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle from Jim M. Thanks! Poured into my LA Teku.

A: Pours in an inky, almost treacly manner to the glass. Fills up with a solid dark mocha head which fades quickly. Some carbonation bubbles are disturbing the surface of this black puddle. Legs are thick, thick, thick.

N: Hearty bourbon with a big chocolate and espresso background. Vanilla and caramel and oak. Coconut and more fudge. Brown sugar and some molasses. Big sweet sugars here. Some rye and oatmeal.

T: Very, very sweet. Bourbon appropriates the top level here and adds a sweet sting on top of a very pronounced sweet malt body. There’s a little bit of earth, pine and spice from what I assume are the hops and there’s some additional roast. This has some surprising balance, though it’s still a heavy confection. Does have a salty soy sauce aspect.

M: Super boozy, but it’s got a wonderfully filling mouthfeel. Other RIS’s should pay attention to this aspect, it’s the best I’ve had outside Apple Brandy Hunahpu’s.

O: I wish I had split this bottle because it’s absolutely going to sit in my stomach, but at the same time, I don’t think I’m going to get sick of it. This might get a few more points if it turned down the bourbon heat, but at the same time, it’s done an excellent job of making both the bourbon and the stout distinct, so what else can you want? (1,365 characters)

Photo of Ahappyhiker2
3.96/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

A- Poured dark and thick, black in color. Barely any head or noticeable carbonation. Dark brown lacing.

S- Bourbon, vanilla, coconut, some booze on the nose as well. The smell is sweet, I don't get as much chocolate or bitterness that I got when I had this fresh. The aroma is mostly bourbon and vanilla.

T- Bitter on the tongue as it goes down, and has a dominant coffee flavor. It's so much different from when I had it fresh. I remember tons of bourbon in the taste, and I'm honestly barely getting any. There is some vanilla in the aftertaste, but it's predominantly coffee and a bitter dark chocolate flavor throughout. Reminds me of KBS.

M- Could use a little more carbonation, but it's nice and thick.

O- More than I could say I'm disappointed, I'm just so surprised. This is the same exact beer I had fresh 2 years ago, and it's completely different. It's a little sweeter which I expected, but it has so much more coffee presence and so much less bourbon. It really reminds me of KBS, which is not a bad thing at all but the first time I had it it reminded me of Parabola. I'm putting this one down as a beer not worth aging. It's delicious in its own right still, but I enjoyed it so much more fresh. Still a solid barrel-aged offering from Dark Horse, and one of the better barrel-aged stouts floating around in my opinion. For those of you that are aging a few: drink them. (1,404 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of light dry roasted malt notes with some black chocolate notes with medium bourbon notes with some vanilla undertones. Taste is also dominated by creamy black chocolate notes with some light dry roasted malt. Body is full with creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Not as complex as I was expecting but very well balance overall with chocolate and bourbon creating an efficient mix. (541 characters)

Photo of beerpirates
4.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into my CBS snifter

A: Opaque dark, deep black with no light getting through this. 2 finger 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 ! (808 characters)

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.99/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty pint glass. Dark brown to black color. Tastes of caramel and chocolate. The strong taste left me wanting more and more. The smell of Chocolate always means and wonderful tasting beer. Dark Horse has out done themselves with this one. One of the best this company has. (289 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 ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown-black with thin finger of frothy chocolate head. Fades fairly quickly.

S - Sweet roasted chocolate and caramel malts, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, molasses, black licorice, some booze.

T - Sweet roasted chocolate and caramel malts, oak, vanilla, Bourbon, black licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, coffee, earthy hops, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with mild carbonation. Smooth and fairly thick with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Great barrel aged imperial stout. Super smooth and rich. (503 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 zipper8650
4.51/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

the 1st "Good Beer Sunday" review drinking down the cellar, special thank you to woodchopper for throwing this one in as an extra, 2012 in snifter
A - pours a jet black, little bit of a mocha colored head that faded quickly
S - very smooth smell, well balanced mocha/coffee/hot boozy smell but the booze balances well
T - intial flavor is a smooth well made creamed coffee taste, I find too many BA Stouts have a more bitter burnt coffee taste, not this one, very smooth. The end note is a little hot, to be expected but again balanced well
M - great mouthfeel, nice and heavy
O - overall this is a really well made, well balanced smooth drinking BA RIS, I prefer this over a new KBS. If I have not said it enough, smooth and balanced!
Skol (741 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4.41/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A-Black in the glass, one finger brown head.

S-Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate coffee and roasted malt.

T-Bourbon, chocolate, roasted malt, molasses.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation though.

O-Really improves as it warms, was expecting a little more but still a wonderful beer. (283 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

the beer pours a jet black with a thin tan halo of tan head...rather ominous looking. the nose is slightly boozy, with intensely earthy chocolate/coffee, and bourbon vanilla. the taste is also intense with caramel upfront, burning booze, lingering milk chocolate and a touch of bitterness. the mouhfeel is definitely thick, full bodied and flavorful. The roasty lingering chocolate aftertaste has a subtle hint of bourbon, but blends well. This is a world class BBA stout that drinks super smooth...tasty

Round 2 updates - 2012 vintage consumed 07/2014
minimal head, masked booze when cold - but still big bourbon notes, silky smooth mouthfeel, a little more coconut than before. This beer has aged very well.

Round 3 - 2013 vintage consumed 07/2014
really similar experience -- went in it with higher expectations and feel as though the 2012 was a bit smoother. Surprisingly I get more oxidation from this beer than the 2012 (927 characters)

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle, big thanks to Loweball 727!

Appearance: Black as Eddie Murphy with a small tan head that quickly recedes to the perimeter.

Smell: Oh yea! Barrel notes galore with vanilla, caramel, bourbon, dark fruit, dark chocolate, roasted malt sweetness. I'm even getting a bit of red wine character in there, nice.

Taste: Everything I like about normal Pt5, with barrel character to boot. I was almost afraid to drink this because I thought it would ruin the normal Pt5 for me. I don't even think I would say that this is better, it just adds another dimension with the barrel notes. I like both versions. What I like about this is that the bourbon character isn't overwhelming at all. Rather, it is evident but not overbearingly so and helps the other components to blend together with more unity.

Mouthfeel: This is a bit more viscous than the standard version of this brew. A little more stickiness is evident.

Overall: I love the non bb aged version of this so much, and this is a nice variation. Some of the malt sweetness I love in the fresh version of this beer is muted here, or it is perhaps this way because this is an '11 bottle. Either way, I like this, but until I try a fresh version of this, Fresh Pt5 wins out for me. (1,239 characters)

Photo of Beerandboards
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a large wine glass

A - black black black. Aggressive pour produces only a small amount of light brown head, which dissipates very quickly into some whisps on top. No lacing.

S - smells mainly of bourbon and oak, some chocolate, booze, vanilla.

T - big blast of smooth vanilla, bourbon, oak up front. Some chocolate notes on the edge, vanilla and hop bittering at the end. Leaves an after taste of vanilla and bourbon. A damn tasty barrel aged stout!

M - it's a bit thinner than I would like. Starts out a little high on the carb, but as it warms the carb settles down. Last third of the pour was very nice.

O - an absolutely fantastic beer. Maybe the best BA stout I've ever tried. If it were a little thicker, it would be perfect. A+, no question. (779 characters)

Photo of thegoon55
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage.

A- thick oil sludge, medium tan head. great appearance!

S- bourbon and oak up front, followed by chocolate roast and sweet hints of vanilla.

T- wonderful. following the nose, hint of bourbon (not overpowering) followed by sweet chocolate and vanilla then booze.

M- perfect. full body, but yet light and very well balanced.

O- one hell of a beer. very well balanced, a real treat too have. (407 characters)

Photo of nataku00
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 2012 bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours very dark brown, bordering on black, with a half a finger of thin light brown head. Head dissipates immediately to a thin collar and a few patches of lacing, but plenty of alcohol legs on the glass surface.

Nose is big on bourbon, charred oak, toasted nuts, vanilla combined with fruity dark chocolate, freshly brewed espresso, roasted malt, burnt sugar. Even straight out of the fridge, the aromas are huge.

Taste started with a touch of bitter hops, burnt sugar, then lightly bitter dark roasted espresso and roasted malt, lightly smoky, before mellowing into sweeter dark chocolate and caramel. Bourbon flavors flourish on the finish, along with the dark chocolate.

Full bodied, thick and creamy with some soft barely there carbonation. Very sticky on the lips so a bit of residual sugar. A very good imperial stout. (877 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-dark brown black color with a tan head and some lacing

S-chocolate, dark roasted malt, coffee, bourbon, hints of dark fruit

T-dark chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malt, vanilla, dark fruit, bourbon, slightly bitter finish

F-medium body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-great BA stout, super flavors and a great balance, bourbon is very well integrated into the beer (394 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.81/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Jeff for cracking open one of the last of his stash. BBPt5 pours out even darker than the regular version (which was already darker than a black hole), although it doesn't seem to be quite as syrupy and thick, as this one actually creates some noise and light turbulence as it hits the glass. A dark-ish tan head slowly bubbles up into a thin foam and perches still on top of this black abyss of a beer.

Bringing this one to my nose and taking a big whiff reveals its huge bourbon barrel characteristics - there's no denying that this bad boy spent some considerable time encased in boozy wood. The bourbon in the aroma is very smooth, however, not harsh, pungent, or stinging like many of these BBA beers can tend to be. Other notable aromas include vanilla, light coconut, mild wood, roasted malts. There's also some sweet brown sugar and a huge, creamy coffee undertone that can be found on the back end. This is really a complex beer, just from the aroma alone. Sometimes BBA beers can kind of blend together and get repetitive, but this one smells wonderful and distinct.

BBPt5 slides across my palate as I take the first sip - it's super creamy and smooth, maybe even more so than the original (not surprisingly so). The first tastes to emerge are light syrup and sweet molasses. Before long, the bourbon inches its way into the flavor profile, but just like the aroma, it remains very smooth and easy to handle. Warming, but not "hot", and it's wonderful. Some heavy oak and vanilla tones charge in about halfway through.

As it warms up, I pick up more generous notes of dark, thick fudge and even some lightly sweet, dark fruits. Roasted coffee bounces in and out for pretty much the entire duration - a big component in the base beer that certainly isn't lost through the barrel. Overall, a seriously well developed and complex beer. Even in the finish, there are still a ton of things going on; mostly dark fudge, roasted coffee beans, sweet and warming bourbon, and heavy oak. The body stays creamy throughout - heavy and lightly chewy, low-medium carbonation - more carbonated than the base beer, which as surprising.

Considering the high 14% ABV tag, this beer was insanely drinkable. I've never seen bourbon show up so heavily while remaining so smooth and tame at the same time. This is a barrel-aged beer done correctly - the flavors meld together extremely well. One of the best bourbon barrel beers I've had.

EDIT: 4/29/2013

After having this back-to-back(-to-back?) with KBS, Black Note, and BCBS, I think I can finally and honestly say that this is my favorite of the bunch. They are all extraordinary brews, but the thing that really sets BB Plead the Fifth apart is the incredible smoothness of the bourbon. Not ONCE, not even after warming up for nearly an hour, does the bourbon ever seem any bit stronger than "warm". So incredibly smooth and complex. Fantastic integration of the barrel flavors with the base beer as to not mask or hide any of the substantial flavors, either. Probably my favorite Bourbon Barrel beer. I love this stuff. (3,080 characters)

Photo of mattsander
4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
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. (464 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.41/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011: The grand finale to the night spent with jzeilinger. Poured this between the two of us. This beer was black it had a brown head that was faded quickly but left a ring around the edge of the glass. The look of the beer is pretty typical for the style. The smell of the beer is surprising to me, I expected the barrel aging to stand out a lot more on this. There is some vanilla on the nose along with some other sweet aromas. The taste of the beer is also really subtle. I was surprised by this, Really thought you'd be able to get much more intense flavors of the barrel and the bourbon. It's a great tasting beer regardless. The mouthfeel is thick and gently carbonated, it's a very smooth beer. Overall it's much more balanced than I expected, it's a solid beer from start to finish. I would have enjoyed a little more bourbon on it though. It's good but I don't feel it's worth the 100% rating on here. (919 characters)

Photo of azdback
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a small snifter. Ultra black color with not a hint of highlights. Head is almost non existent but does have a nice collar that is light brown colored and leaves just a bit of lace.

Smell is quite bourbon forward. Lots of vanilla, burnt wood, tart dark fruit. Definitely some alcohol. Very very nice!!

Taste is lots of roast, char, chocolate, vanilla, some mild tart cherries. Tons of booze but not unwelcome.

Body is viscous and rich, mouth is full with medium to mild carbonation. Finish is very long and wet.

Overall I was very impressed with this. I have had the base beer and enjoyed it but the barrel did an amazing job to this. Very smooth and rich barrel characters reminded me a lot of Parabola or Old Raspy XI. Possibly a bit better and more drinkable. (778 characters)

Photo of sleuthdog
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

How do I thank Steimie enough for this bottle? Thank you so much man!

2012 vintage 12oz bottle with silver wax poured into Kuhnhenn tulip

Pour: The pour on this was very thick and very dark black with not a hint of light coming through. There was a half finger of dark brown head that did not last. Lacing is spotty to non existent but the alcohol legs are all over the sides of the glass.

Smell: Chocolate fudge brownie or cake drizzled with bourbon! There is a touch of coffee, vanilla and a pleasant oak character.

Taste: Huge rich chocolate up front with some roasted notes mixed in. There is the vanilla, coconut and definite oak. Some coffee, though mild comes through without creating much bitterness and considering the abv it is very well hidden. An absolutely phenomenally well balanced beer!

Mouthfeel: Oh so thick and creamy coating the palate very well creating a definite full beer. Carbonation seems just right here.

Overall: Without Steimie's great generosity I would not have had the opportunity to try this sensational beer. I never would have thought I would say this but I have found a BA stout that gives my all time favorite BCBS a run for it's money! Like I said before this is just so well balanced it is an absolute enjoy to sip on. BCBS is an in your face bourbon bomb that I too enjoy but wow this is just a perfect balance with the bourbon complementing everything else. (1,406 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another from my trade with deyholla. Pours viscous black with one finger brown mocha head. Aroma of chocolate, sweet molasses, dark fruits, roast, and something off that I am not a fan of (similar characteristics to Tres). Thick viscous mouthfeel with medium low carbonation. Heavy dark fruit up front followed by lots of dark bittersweet chocolate. Slight booze, but don't get much of the bourbon barrel in this. Was expecting a bit more vanilla oak, though my palate might be tainted from the Kuhnhenn BA 4D I had right before this. I tend to prefer non-fruity stouts, but this is generally well done. Relaxing sipper. I find it strange that the regular version was so full of roast and chocolate and this one went more fruity despite the barrel. Oh well, good beer just not as great as I had hoped. (801 characters)

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 354 ratings.