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
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Reviews: 354
Hads: 2,646
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 3.36%
Wants: 2,077
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: 2,646
Photo of mdaschaf
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to funhog for this one, been a top want for a while!

A: Pours a deep black with a very small tan head that reduces quickly leaving a very thin ring on top. Minimal lacing forms and dissolves quickly.

S: Lots of bourbon and roasted malt up front, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and a little bit of dark fruit. As it warms the wood comes forward a bit as well. There is a little bit of alcohol, just to let you know its there.

T: Fantastic flavor profile. A great blend of bourbon flavors, vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, mixed with a little bit of chocolate and light roasted malt. The bourbon really shines nicely in this beer, not too in your face. Faint dark fruit flavors add a bit of sweetness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly dry, but sweet finish. No sign of the alcohol in the taste.

O: Really great beer. The flavors blend nicely with the level of bourbon presence being spot on. I can see why it is so sought after. (972 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours the customary used motor oil black; a fairly aggressive pour yields an expected short lived mocha / almost cinnamon tone head.

assertive nose offers a wallop of bourbon right out of the gate, which is followed by chocolate and roasted malt characters; secondary notes of vanilla, molasses, and a subtle dark fruit-like presence.

flavor follows the nose pretty closely. make no mistake, this one is a bourbon bomb (which i live for), but the bourbon doesn't overwhelm the other elements. the chocolate, roastiness, vanilla et al pull through in fine form. delicious. full bodied mouthfeel, velvety more than chewy if that makes sense. some heat but not what you'd expect from a 14% monster.

overall, a stellar imperial stout. almost unfair to lump some of these barrel-aged beers in with the general population, but this one stands out even among other barrel aged brews. if you're fortunate enough to come across it, don't hesitate.

(originally reviewed: 01-18-2012) (1,025 characters)

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

I received this in a trade at the KBS release, and was waiting for a special occasion in order to enjoy it. So I am enjoying it with the pleasure of accepting a new job offer.
Pours black as night with absolutely no head. I never knock a stout for no head. The head on a stout just doesn't do it for me anyway. I still love the thickness of this beer to give the appearance a 4.5
Strong Bourbon smell in the aroma of this beer. Little bit of chocolate aroma, but mostly bourbon.
Taste is a huge rival of KBS and all the top stouts. I actually think this tops KBS for me. It drinks a bit smoother and is actually higher in ABV. Quite a bit of bitterness here as well as alcohol burn, but still goes down smooth.
Mouthfeel is medium to low carbonation, but a little higher bitterness than most of these BBA stouts.
Overall, this is a great stout that I enjoy just as much if not more than KBS. I would say if you like BBA stouts you have got to try and get this. It's a wonderful beer in this genre! (997 characters)

Photo of greenmonstah
4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle enjoyed in a blind tasting alongside BCBS and KBS

A - Thick black with no head, alcohol lacing, dark brown edges.

S - Cherry, molasses, sweet, alcohol, cocoa, vanilla tinted bourbon.

T - Bourbon!!!! Chocolate, molasses, cherry, alcohol. So much bourbon, the barrel dominates the flavor. Oak, vanilla extract, light char.

M - Medium body, zero carbonation.

O - Fantastic! A perfect display of bourbon barrel flavors layered onto an excellent stout base. Thought this beer had more bourbon notes than KBS, which I didn't realize was possible. (558 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (725 characters)

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

A: dark black with a thin brown head. Delicious and thick looking.

S: caramel, bourbon, roasted malt, and done dark fruits?

T: huge bitter dark malt flavor with all of the bourbon, oak, and slight sweetness.

M: this is thick and rich, but has nice carbonation as well.

O: great beer. Worth tracking down. It's darkness and huge roasted and bitter flavors make it stand out from other bourbon barrel stouts. This is still very much a stout. (446 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to cmrillo for sharing this one after a ticking session at a local restaurant this evening! Thanks brother! Served from bottle into a Ommegang Three Philosophers chalice. Poured pitch black with a half finger brown head that subsided to a minimal amount very quickly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised roasted malt, sweet malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, wood, sweet alcohol, and vanilla. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark fruit, raisin, vanilla, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. The aroma on this one was really quite nice and very complex. All of the right components for the style were present in this one. The barrel really did a nice number on this brew as the regular version was quite good, but this turned that up to 11. The flavor was very well balanced and inviting making it quite easy to drink despite the high ABV. This could definitely get you in A LOT of trouble if not careful. An absolute must try if you are a fan of beer. Really glad I finally got the chance to try this one myself! Thanks again Rillo! (1,181 characters)

Photo of rtaps
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a nice mocha brown head decent retention.

Smell is great choclate brownie like with some heat, coffee like notes.

Very rich chocolate, like a chocolate brownie with some heat to it witch I like

Mouth smooth full bodied and creamy low carb

Overall it's just all around great  (306 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.42/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Batch

Look: Pours a midnight black with a tiny head and no real retention and leaves a slight coating on the glass

Smell: The barrel character on this one is extremely present. Lots of bourbon and oak upfront with some nice chocolate notes picking up the backend

Taste: For me this is where the beer goes wrong. The bourbon and alcohol and upfront and very overpowering and off putting. Disguised behind the Alcohol are some chocolate and oak and not much else.

Mouthfeel: The body is slightly thin for the style and not much carbonation and quite a bit of alcohol burn.

Overall: If you like stouts that taste like cheap bourbon this one is for you. There is no balance whatsoever in this beer and I don't feel like it even holds a candle to some of the high alcohol big stouts (789 characters)

Photo of Auracom
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (1,690 characters)

Photo of aasher
4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was courtesy of Lukafer, who gave it to me just to spread the love. Thanks Luke!

This beer pours a full bodied, black chocolate black with no head but a dark khaki lacing around the rim. The nose is very rich and roasty. T has some fudge brownie to it, LOADS of chocolate. That said, there isn't much bourbon at all. The flavors are really smooth and chocolaty. Again, loads of chocolate fudge and brownie. There is barely any bourbon at all and moderate roast. Great flavor on the chocolate standpoint, but disappointing in terms of barrel aged imperial stouts. This is the most palatable chocolate I've ever experienced in a beer. It is pretty light in body, compared to others of the style. I would describe it as a light medium. It does however increase drinkability. Overall this is a very nice beer, but doesn't show the bourbon you would expect. If I had to guess, I would say that this is oak aged or just aged regular Plead the 5th. All of that said, this beer was delicious. (997 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'11 vintage. Second time around, and I've got two more from my four-pack. Mad Elf snifter.

Pours black as black, not much head. A few bubbles chunking on-top.

Bright bourbon nose with bar chocolate, heavy roast, rocket fuel, espresso, Nutella, marzipan, and malt bitterness. Smells phenomenal.

Sweet bourbon upfront with gooey choco-fudge brownie, walnut, hazelnut creme, milk caramel, Mexican coffee, and hefty booze strength. Charred malts with extreme roast. Black and sweet with lovely breath of whiskey. Some of the best bourbon barrel qualities in a stout I have ever had.

Big-bodied and lightly-carbonated to style. Hot, even with a year down, but it's at a goddamn 14%. Still a great feel for the strength. (718 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great thanks to dlello2 for this bottle, now drained into two small taster cups. Consumed as part of a Friday night lineup that included the '10, '11, & '12 vintages. One of my favorite regularly available stouts, so I've been looking forward to this vertical. 12 oz. wax-capped bottle.

Pour is black & close to flat, but it makes up for it in the smell. Lush bourbon loveliness pours out after the wax is busted, but fades quickly. By the time it warms there's nothing but a hint of malt & figment of bourbon left. Huh.

Bourbon Barrel Plead the Fifth is a shot of Maker's Mark to the gut; I wouldn't be surprised if this was 25% bourbon. Bourbon suffuses the base beer & overwhelms it with goodness (except I love the base beer). Roast manages to thrash its way out of the bourbon, & it retreats as it warms. Chocolate emerges rapidly; rich. Gorgeous. Deep wood that really adds some depth. Wasn't really digging this initially, but after some time, it grew on my rapidly. Up, up, & away. Heavy. Luscious.

Wow. This one didn't impress me out of the gate, but as it warmed - really warmed, after about 25-30 minutes - it became amazing. This is an excellent beer that really complements the excellent base beer. Worthy. Glad I have one more. (1,247 characters)

Photo of kscaldef
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Motor oil pour, raises a partial topping of thin brown bubbles, leaving nothing more than a ring within a minute of rest.

S: Bourbon and roasted wood fill the room from the pour. Closer sniffs yield caramel, vanilla, dates; lesser notes of chocolate. Swirling uncovers dessert bread aromas and an unexpected lighter fruit note... strawberry? red currant? Really beautiful layers of aromas here.

T: Like drinking a flourless chocolate cake. Rich and decadent, chocolate dancing with some fruity and herbal accents, slightly sweet but not overly. Strong alcohol bite on the finish.

M: Strikes an perfect balance. It's full and rich; but it's not sticky or cloying. Not much of any carbonation, but at this ABV, what can you expect; it doesn't detract at all in my opinion.

O: Damn good beer. My only regrets are not realizing this was 14% (or how good it would be) and not sharing it with a friend. (903 characters)

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black, oily and viscous with a 1/2cm light brown head. Low retention and spotty lacing if any.

Nose is very pleasant and bold. Sweet. Full of brown sugar, fresh chocolate brownie and smooth bourbony oak.

Flavor is phenomenal. Characteristics follow and exceed the nose quite a bit. Sweet double chocolate brownie, toasted brown sugar, vanilla and well blended (not hot at all) bourbon with a touch of oak.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Velvety smooth and creamy. Full bodied with medium creamy carbonation.

Overall this is phenomenal. I loved the standard Plead the 5th. This is even that much better and at 14% its balanced so well with no alcohol characteristics you'd never know it was 14%. (699 characters)

Photo of MichaelRausch
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I wasn't sure what to expect from this brew. A friend and customer brought it in to share, having located a beer not available in my region. I was impressed with this find. The nose was pungent, with strong aroma's of vanilla, brown sugar, alcohol, and light hints of chocolate. The taste was creamy and rich, with just a slight bitter oak bite. The long finish was spectacular, with flavors of white, dark, and milk chocolates blending beautifully together with just the lightest bit of burn. Highly recommended, if you can find it. (533 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Out of my HFS stemware.

A- Pitch black, with a reddish mocha colored head. Some light lacing and a ring of foam retains around the glass.

S- Smells kinda rummy, with hints of roast malt and chocolate. Some excellent light peat and barrel character is also present. There is definitely still some heat and astringency.

T-Oh so smooth at first, then the flavors start to come out. Rich chocolate and bourbon flavors hit the tongue, dark roasted malt and even a hint of smokiness are present. More sweet oaky bourbon flavor, touches of vanilla and caramel.

M- While it is easy to drink for the %, the beer is lacking body. The carbonation is a little too light, and it's just a touch watery. While it does have a nice creamy feel on the tongue, this is the weakest trait.

O- Overall, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. The base beer is a little thin, but the barrel aging has quite a nice touch. Could use a little time, but the flavors are still excellent.

-GFunk (979 characters)

Photo of papat444
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (654 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to injuredreserve for sharing!

Pours black as night, with a mocha finger of head.

Aroma has big oaky bourbon notes with a soft, silky chocolate note.

The taste is far more complex: chocolate, vanilla soaked oak, rich roasted coffee, with bourbon notes mixing and adding to the complexity, not overpowering things. Awesome.

Nice full bodied, creamy, chewy feel. Can't really complain.

Can't taste the alcohol, super drinkable. Lives up to the hype IMO. (465 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks a ton to 4DAloveofSTOUT for this one, thanks Brian!

A- pours a thin dark mocha head that recedes fairly quickly into a collar around the glass.

Aroma is of sweet, faint booziness.

Roastiness blends well with the -bal qualities. As alcoholic as this seems I would not guess it at 14%abv

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Low but fitting carbonation.

Reminded me a lot of BCBS and while this was a very good example of melding an imperial stout with bourbon barrel aging I'd have to give my preference to BCBS. That said, this is definitely worth seeking out if you are a fan of the style. (600 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thin tan head that recedes into nothingness.

Aroma is deep dark chocolate some roasted malt and just a hint of bourbon.

Similar flavors. Chocolate some sweeter roasted malts and just a hint of bourbon along with oak and some vanilla. Bourbon is very well integrated. It's there for the warming effect, but not overpowering.

Nice and sludgy, but not cloying. Lower carbonation.

Outstanding bourbon barrel stout. Bourbon is well integrated and not overpowering. The bitter malts I usually like in beers of this style aren't as present, but even though the flavor profile is on the sweeter side, it's not cloying or overly sweet. Will definitely seek this out again. (686 characters)

Photo of JDizzle
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a goblet at the brewery.

I feel lucky to have come across this!!!

It's black as night with a thin cocoa brown head.

Smells like a huge RIS with a nice bourbon scent. It's actually pretty strong- more comes out as it warms. You can smell that it has the potential to be HOT.

Pure bliss!! Great bourbon flavor hits you right away. Really outstanding compared to Plead the 5th. Really oaky, roasted malt, fairly hot-as expected for a 14% beer. There is a good amount of coffee on the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is dry, slick, with low carbonation.

This is a beer I will try and seek out anywhere on tap again. IMO, it's much better than Bells Black Note and KBS, and that is saying a lot!! (708 characters)

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

2011 Poured into Duvel glass

A: Thin dark mocha head that dissipates quickly, jet black color, decent carbonation for 14%

S: Dark chocolate, dark fruits, bourbon, roasted malts, barrel notes, hint of cinnamon, and something I'm missing but have smelled at least a few times before

T: Bourbon, dark chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, the bourbon is definitely present, but by no means overwhelming. This is up there with some of the best BB Imperial Stouts, I would not use the word 'boozy' with this, the alcohol is balanced very nicely

M: Smooth and velvety, good carbonation, medium-full bodied, warming, pleasant aftertaste of dark fruits and light bourbon

O: Very tasty, very drinkable, this is a very good RIS, I wish I had more (745 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour shared by DarthKostrizer at his place.

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, cocoa, cinnamon, wood, and bourbon. Taste is pretty much the same with an alcohol kick in the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but it’s a bit hot in my opinion. (515 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BIG, BIG want. Thanks to Urbancaver for the bottle. Much appreciated.

12oz bottle poured into a Lost Abbey tulip 2011 vintage

A-- Poured black, settled black. Just hints of ruby in the pour and at the top of the beer. At best a dark reddish brown film. Good collar though. Very little if any head. A few carbonation bubbles but not a lot to this. A dark oily residue left with this and just a bit of spotty lacing. No ABV legs for this ABV of a beer.

S-- Wow, big aggressive nose. Big, dark chocolate. Not powder but chocolate. Roasted fig or date, roasted prune, almond or walnut (the wood from the barrel) smell underneath the fruit and chocolate. Rich and thick nose full of bourbon and barrel. Heck yeah.

T-- Thick liquid chocolate, followed by prune, walnut, carmel, and some small amounts of roasted almond. Bourbon is really present in this. Just a thick and rich taste. Flipping scary beer.

M-- Heavy feel but lighter in the mouth than one would suspect. Carbonation?? Try again on that. Little to no carbonation. Silky smooth feel though. Alcohol is very obvious on this going down. Very oily, rich feel in the mouth. Dark, bitter chocolate is also made known in the mouth. Literally gets richer and gets more depth as work through this. Bourbon that hides as a port. Long lasting flavor that kicks ass. Wicked stuff.

O-- Slow sipper is a good starting point. Big, bold balsy beer. Not for the faint one bit. Beats the heck out of most BA RIS. Worth finding. Worth savoring (1,492 characters)

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