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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: 2,736
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 21.16%
Wants: 2,127
Gots: 740 | FT: 98
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: 2,736
Photo of Smokesnotes
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 poured into a tulip. Dark, thick body without much head. Really chocolate flavored, barrel comes through well. Turns one of my favorite RIS into a fantastic beer that should be sought out.

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Photo of -Rick
4.39/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: oil like, with almost no head
S: booze/bourbon some sweet chocolate
T: bourbon, chocolate, and some fruits, maybe rasins
F: creamy and thick, leaves a great coating on the pallet
O: an amazing beer. not much you could ask for in a BB ale!

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Photo of JoeyStats707
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 12 oz bottle in the latest de garde 3rd quarter party glass
Nice and dark, almost opaque, very little head
smell is rich sweet bourbon
tastes of milk chocolate and a dash of bourbon
Nice mouthfeel, could use a little more though.

Overall pretty dam good

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Photo of deadsincebirth
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ohhhh baby! So glad I popped this. 2014 vintage. Very dark with a nice lasting tan head. Smells a bit thin with milk chocolate, cocoa and coffee. Taste is big milk chocolate and really great coffee, slight bitterness, minimal vanilla. Feel is wonderful with lingering coffee and cocoa. Overall such an excellent brew here. My new favorite go to.

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Photo of SGerrard
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, bitter chocolate with vanilla and bourbon notes. Not a trace of coffee but a hint of smoky undertones. Beautiful, rich, and vibrant. Highly recommend procurement of this lovely beer!

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Photo of winningwes91
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excited about this one. Pours out the blackest of black. Pure motor oil. Smells of some baker's chocolate and bourbon with some smoky notes. Taste follows suit perfectly. The perfect balance of roast and sweet. Much better than the base. Full bodied. Awesome.

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Photo of raynmoon
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

looks great, as good as a stout can look. Jet black, viscous, brown head that sticks around.

smell is savory, smokey. a little bourbon on the back. Some chocolate as well. But mostly smokey.

taste comes through with a good amount of smoke, chocolate. No typical hard booze that you'd expect in a bourbon county or parabola. The barrel aging just adds a layer of complexity.

I honestly wouldn't know this was even aged in bourbon barrels without the label suggesting. Just a really awesome russian imperial stout.

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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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Photo of xICooRsYIx
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

Pours out very dark/deep brown with a nice mocha brown head that dissipates quite fast. Smells follows right into the taste with strong notes of chocolate and bourbon. Some coffee and a hint of tobacco in there as well. Roasted malts finish it off.

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Photo of beardown2489
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the better beers in the style once it cools down. Like many fresh imperial stouts that spent time in bourbon barrels it was hot at first but it hits it's sweet spot somewhere 6 months and 2 years.

Hot barrel characteristics went away and left a nice vanilla character from the barrel along with some coconut. Really nice mouthfeel just under what I'd call world class. Well balanced with roasted and chocalate character. Some nice dark fruit notes can be found as well.

Great beer. Well worth seeking out if you are a fan of the style.

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Photo of Bferber
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

My impression of this was much different than many reviews, so here goes. 2014 vintage

L- not at all the motor oil many described, not even black. More of a deep brown, with a nice mocha head, pleasant appearance but no standout.

S- had a slightly metallic tinge at first when cold, but went away after warmed slightly. Bourbon present but very muted. Roasty, malty, dark fruits - maybe some raisin, and slightly vinous.

T- very similar to smell. Bourbon pretty muted, dark fruit is strongest secondary flavor to the malts.

F- mouthfeel is excellent. Low carb, pretty full mouthfeel. Creamy and smooth.

O - solid beer, really enjoyed mouthfeel. Was hoping for more of a bourbon barrel presence, but enjoyed the straightforward flavors without having much "adjunct" qualities of chocolate, coffee or vanilla that seems to be all the rage lately.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.74/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to northernbrebws for satisfying this long time want. 2014 vintage served in my Funky Buddha snifter. Pours one shade shy of black with a two inch, loose, mocha-colored head that dissipates into a fizzy swirl around the shoulders. Nose expresses cocoa, roast and a slightly vinous quality. Taste follows nose - really not getting much of the barrel here. There are also some oxidized notes towards the back. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a mild carbonation and a light acidity. Overall, not bad but a bit thin and lacking the barrel presence.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.26/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage into a Teku at cellar temp.

Look: so thick and dark, with a great light brown head.

Smell: bourbon, vanilla, tobacco, pecan pie.

Taste: bourbon, alcohol heat, vanilla, tobacco. Little roast or bitterness, some chocolate. No dark fruits, cherry, etc. Some bacon-like savory flavors.

Feel: medium, maybe a bit overcarbonated, a bit dry on the end.

Overall: not sure if it's the difference in vintage, age, or the barreling, but I liked the 2014 non-BA bottle I had a few nights ago a bit better than this. The barrel influence overwhelms some of the nuance I got from that. Still, good.

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Photo of Raziel313
2.57/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Did a vertical 2012-2014. The best was when we combined all three. That one was better than the rest. Barrel taste was of cheap bourbon. The best thing about this beer was the appearance. Straight motor oil. Followed by a huge let down of what I expected.

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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 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 mabermud
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Look: The beer seems to chug out, versus pouring out of the bottle. Super dark-brown, sultry body. The head is a dark mocha that is ultra fine. At first I thought I could see a reddish hue in the head, but it must be my eyes playing tricks on me. Or maybe the Ghost in the Machine had a positive affect on my mind. The melting curtains this beer leaves on the glass are awesome. Some of the best curtains I have seen. The curtains are so slipper and slick, no lacing is left on the glass. An amazing look.
Smell: First whiff - Sweetened medium roast coffee with quality cream, balanced superbly. Even on the booze. Not too robust, but even, and balanced.
Taste: The smell is similar to the taste, and also precedes it. I wish this tasted as good as the smell. It doesn't, but it's still a top shelf beer. All of the flavors are nicely blended and balanced to create a rich, high-end BBA stout.
Feel: I have no complaints. The feel does not disappoint.

Overall - Definitely a world-class beer, and deserving of the place it has been given on the top 250 roster.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.69/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally tried this on tap thanks to Barley and Rye in Moline Il. Just a wonderful beer that finished off a great night with my beautiful wife and good people at B &R.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.01/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 1 finger dark tan head that settles into a ring around the edge. Aroma is mostly roasted malts and oak. Bourbon is actually rather subdued for the most part. Fair amount of chocolate and earthy tones. Flavor is pretty sweet, and a healthy dose of the bourbon I was missing in the nose. I am digging the dark fruits and they only add to the depth. The body is creamy, rich and full. Runs a little hot, but obviously a BA stout that will only get better with time.

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Photo of cvm4
4.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2014 vintage

L - Has that motor oil pour and deep, black body with a minimal medium tan head.

S - Rich aroma of caramel, vanilla, oak, bourbon and roasted malts.

T - Roasted malts that develop into a sweet bourbon through the middle and a coffee as well as light charred oak ending.

F - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Has a smooth mouthfeel. The body could be a bit thicker &/or chewier.

O - A legit BBA RIS. Glad I got to try it and wouldn't turn down another.

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Photo of aleigator
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ba plead the 5th '12 vintage, huge thanks to Ron for the bottle!

Has a viscous black color, with a dark brown, fizzy head, revealing a small film of lacing at the edge of the glass.

Smells of cocoa nibs, toffee and lots of warm oak, exhibiting distinct vanilla notes. A hint of cinnamon settles among toasted malts and tobacco, while the aromas lead into a rich chocolate direction. Well pronounced barrel reveals quite a bit of Bourbon, which gets gently balanced by melted chocolate.

Drinks expectedly smooth, letting the complex character evolve.

Tastes of bakers chocolate and fudge, accompanied by whipped cream, while scorched malts, hot oak, cinnamon and mint reveal the beers fantastic flavors. The brews smooth mouthfeel sets new standards, which gets especially well accentuated by carbonized malts, earth and bitter coffee, providing a tremendous range of flavors. Has a hot, oak supported finish, with toffee, fudge and vanilla on top, while coffee creates a long lasting, slightly dry ending, with tobacco and earth.

Awesome beer, incredibly rich in flavors - very focused on creamy chocolate, and roasted coffee with burned malts as its counterpart, while staying focused and in perfect balance. This intriguing melange gets enriched by the hot boubon barrel, adding vanilla and wooden oak to the taste, as well as a hot glow. Chocolate developes on the palate, beginning as creamy milk chocolate, while ending as slick bitter chocolate.

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Photo of OneEye78
4.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mini-vertical, thanks @theperk.
2014: poured a dark black with a small deep brown head. Smell was sweet chocolate and vanilla. Taste led by vanilla and some milk chocolate, followed by a toffee finish. Mouth was pretty light with little carb. Overall this is a solid BA stout, the toffee taste was unique.

Similar look, with a bit less head. Smell added some additional brown sugar notes. Milk chocolate, vanilla, and some dark fruit, with a bit of butterscotch on the finish. Overall, I think I liked the '13 a bit more. It was a bit more integrated and smoother than the '14.

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Photo of dboon
3.93/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, 750ml, 2010 vintage. Black pour with a small tan head. Bourbon and chocolate nose. Vinous with big cabernet, deep roasted malt, and bourbon notes. Good, but maybe not what the brewer intended

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.48/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very thick, oily looking dark brown and settles into the glass with a very dark brown body and a frothy, mocha colored head. Aroma is of rich caramel, sweet bourbon, oaky wood and big roasted malts. Flavor is big bitter roastiness up front with a dash of coffee, then it hits with a wave of sugary sweet bourbon, toasted oak and finished with some roastiness and caramel flavors. Definite waves of flavor with this one. This one is full bodied with medium-light carbonation and a slick oily feel. Up there with the great class of BB stouts, very nicely done.

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Photo of Floydster
4.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle wax dipped

Appearance is pitch black and resembles motor oil, two fingers of medium brown head, decent lacing and retention

Smell is oatmeal, booze, bourbon, vanilla, both milk and dark cocoa, along with fresh brewed java

Taste starts off with dark chocolate and big coffee notes, fades into oak, vanilla, and Christmas spices, as it warms the whiskey notes come out more, by the end the notes from the barrel are very pronounced and do a great job of rounding out the roastiness

Mouthfeel is full bodied, perfect level of carbonation, a little sweet once it warmed fully through, liked the chewiness from the roasted malts

Overall this is a big tasty beer, alcohol is pretty hidden for 11% but the bourbon makes itself known with all the wonderful barrel characteristics, I prefer the barrel aged version over the standard Plead the 5th, glad I got to try this

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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.