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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no score

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Reviews: 354
Hads: 2,647
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 3.36%
Wants: 2,077
Gots: 722 | FT: 91
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: 2,647
Photo of CrellMoset
4.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of a recent trade - thanks! Poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours an onyx, deep and pool like, viscous but at the same time oily and slick looking. A moderately vigorous pour yields a surprising amount of head for a barrel aged, 14.0% abv brew - about three quarters of a finger of foamy espresso with surprising retention sits atop the body, about as thick as the inky sludge it's sitting on top of. It ultimately fades in to a similarly thick, foamy ring and a few sparse wisps of surface bubbles, with the persistence of the former being somewhat of a mystery, as even direct exposure to light reveals no internal carbonation. Half a point off for the inability of this one to hold any modicum of lacing on the sides of the glass, but half a point only given the aforementioned factors weighing against this one's ability to do so.

Aroma: Rich, but still somewhat subdued. Smoke, roast, hints of fruit, and a very smooth barrel presence belies absolutely no hint of alcohol spice or heat, even as this one warms, which is a definite plus. There's an interesting juxtaposition here between a lot of light fruity notes - cherries, sour apple, almost bordering upon jolly rancher-ish notes at times - and the deep, velvety smokiness of the malts and (I presume) some hint of barrel char. The latter also obviously compliments the bourbon and other barrel notes, which suggest strong vanilla and hints of cinnamon, along with a persistent but very heavy and low-in-the-register woodiness.

Taste: A slightly different tasting -bal RIS than I expected, heavy on the extremes. What I mean is that, typically, -bal RISs are bourbon, chocolate, and coffee bombs; and, while this one has all three of those components, none of them really dominate, or are even that prevalent. This one is more about fruit notes at the top of the register, smoky, charred malts at the bottom, and flashes of intermittent barrel notes filling in the blanks. It's unique, a little different, and still pretty good. Deep espresso roast and fudge brownie notes are definitely still present, mind you, but they're balanced by a slew of raisins, figs, cherries, dates, and even berry notes - way high up in the mouth, in a way that leaves that tinge of acidity.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, but what is here is well-embedded, smooth, creamy, and works perfectly with the flavor components. The end result hits all the right notes.

Drinkability: Fantastic. A really solid beer, with a very interesting flavor profile, despite the 14.0% abv. (2,541 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, Vintage 2011
Hunahpu's snifter

A: Pours completely black. Initially I don't get much head, just a faint ring of dark tan around the edges of the glass. There is some carbonation because I can see it along with the alcohol feet. Some dark lacing sheets on the swirl. Also, this conjures up a little more of that dark mocha head.

S: Smelled it as soon as I opened it. Very pronounced bourbon notes: vanilla and oak aromas. Also pulling some alcohol esters and dark fruits. Rum soaked raisin etc. Some char as well.

T: This is an incredible beer. Up front I get some deep, dark chocolate bitterness on the tip of the tongue. It's like high quality chocolate that you let dissolve in your mouth. In the mid-mouth you get more of the bourbon hints. Vanilla, toffee, and caramel for sure. The flavors really develop as the sip goes on and on. I am amazed that it's as smooth as it is. There is definitely booze there but it's hidden pretty well aside from the normal warming in the back of the throat. The sweetness helps with this I assume too.

M: Full bodied brew. Syrupy mouth coating in a good way.

O: I have to go super high with this one. Solid A moving towards A+ for sure. (1,192 characters)

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

2011 Vintage. Pours a thick, black color with a small, dark tan head that turns to bubbles shortly. Scent is out of this world! Such great bourbon...smells like expensive bourbon. Not sure what barrels were used for this beer, but it's fantastic. Sweet vanilla and toffee as well. Such a smooth, inviting aroma. Taste is just as nice...immediately I get sweet chocolate and vanilla. Then a nice transition into delicious bourbon whiskey with some alcohol flavors and toffee. This beer is sweet, but not overly sweet. At first there was a hint of soy, but as you take more sips it disappears. Great barrel profile with dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. Warm finish. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and very warm from the alcohol...feel it in my chest as it goes down. Drinkability is surprisingly high for such a big ABV. Overall, this beer is stellar. Such an extraordinary imperial stout. (885 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Pours opaque flat black from the bottle and is the same in the glass. Might be the darkest stout I've poured. Very small dark brown head forms that quickly goes away. Some nice signs of carbonation as I play around with it. Although no legs or lacing were left behind the sheer darkness of this beer was astonishing.

S Heavy sweet bourbon scent upfront with chocolate and dark fruits. Bourbon definitely wins the battle of the nose easily but other scents can be noticed easily.

T Bourbon is very well integrated in this beer. Rich vanilla and wood come through first with waves of chocolate and sweet dark fruits. The finish is sweet malts with warming vanilla-y bourbon heat. This stuff is really nice, and dare I say perfect to sip on. Not quite a 5, but definitely closer than a 4.5

M Medium-ish feel for a stout with very little carbonation. Definitely a sipper. I wouldn't mind a more robust feel on the tongue but I'm not going to complain either.

O This stuff is excellent. Taste is pretty spot on with what I want in a bourbon stout and worthy of the hype. (1,072 characters)

Photo of indytdmiller
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was fortunate enough to have this beer on tap at the brewery for St. Paddy's Day (my one and only beer, so read on with confidence). Plead the Fifth is in my opinion one of the best imperial stouts out there, including all of the barrel-aged beers. So when I saw that they were pulling out a Bourbon barrel-aged version, I jumped at the opportunity to try it!

Appearance
Black (surprise) with a tan head that did not linger too long. nice lacing.

Aroma
Dark chocolates, coffee roastiness, BOURBON, vanilla.

Taste
That delicious Plead the Fifth base (Roasted coffee, and bitter chocolate) with a great dose of vanilla and bourbon with that oaky finish. Really good!

Mouthfeel
Nice and heavy, but not so much that you feel like you need to chew. Carries the flavors well. Nicely lightly carbonated and the perfect temp.

Overall
This may be the best beer I have had the opportunity to taste, especially when you consider that it was this year's release and would more than likely get even better with another year or two! (1,025 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to alampear for sending me a 2011 bottle.

A - Pours a motor oil black with a dark tan head that quickly fades to the edges.

S - Mostly bourbon and some dark fruit.

T - Lovely chocolate, toffee, and bourbon.

D - Mild carbonation with a heavier body.

O - Complex, layered, and pleasant. Boozy, but very, very nice. I really enjoyed this one. (357 characters)

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

A: Opaque dark, deep black with no light getting through this. Very small 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, one can be delighted for many many bottles! (812 characters)

Photo of Azurescens
4.68/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle 2011 vintage, poured into snifter reviewed on 3/8/11

A: Pours a deep dark black with brown head, next to no light gets through the edges even when held up to a light.

S: Lots of chocolate, oak and bourbon up front. Roasted malt with a slight smokiness followed by spicy alcohol.

T: Delicious and rich dark chocolate laced with bourbon followed by vanilla and oak. Lots of sweet roasted malt with a touch of booze. Mouth coating deliciousness with every sip.

M: Talk about a full bodied beer, this is smooth, thick, chewy and creamy. Can't get any better than this. Low-moderate carbonation, sweet finish.

O: This is absolutely fantastic. So rich and delicious, hard to not take big sips. I am simply blown away by how drinkable and how little heat there is for a beer this big. Easily up there among my favorite stouts to date. Will seek out more. (864 characters)

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

2011 vintage courtesy of waltersrj. 12oz bottle into a Stone IRS snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with a tan head that foams up to about half an inch and quickly disappears just as fast it shows up leaving a small island of bubbles in the middle of the glass. No lacing to speak of. Completely opaque. So dark that the glass actually reflects like a mirror.

S: Bourbon, and a lot of it, damn. Neat bourbon, vanilla and oak. Nutty and slightly buttery as well. Lots of chocolate and a little bit of roast. Really reminds me of these chocolate bourbon balls that a lady I used to work with made around the holidays. The bourbon smell makes me think booze, but it isn't really boozy at all.

T: Impressive, chocolatey and vanilla meld together to make a massively sweet beer with undertones of chocolate, oak, and even a slight hop resin profile in there. Huge barrel character in this. Long oaky finish. This is an absolutely massive beer. Massive stout that has a ton of raw bourbon barrel flavor as well. Impressive.

M: Spot on, thick but not cloying, slight amount of warmth but not hot, and just the right amount of carbonation to make this velvety smooth. Excellent.

O: Thoroughly enjoyable, easily one of the best BA stouts that I've had. Tons of massive bourbon, but the stout shines enough to make it really interesting. Definitely a beer for whiskey lovers. Glad to try it!

Thanks Ryan! (1,401 characters)

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

Thanks to ramnuts

A-Black appearance with a dark tan head.

S- Dark chocolate. Alcohol and some vanilla.

T- Chalky, bitter chocolate. Dry after taste. Not as much vanilla in the taste as there was in the aroma.

M- Medium to thick. A tad thinner than I would have expected.

O- Good ba stout. Nothing extrordinary. Lacks something, but can't really put my finger on it. Maybe a little more complexity would make this better. (431 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.82/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of brown head that fades into a hin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of creamy cocoa and chocolate notes up front followed by woody oak aromas. Slight caramel notes follow with stronger notes of bourbon.

T: roasted malts up front followed by semi-sweet chocolate flavors. Lots of oak notes follow with some caramel and bourbon flavors. The finish is lightly roasted and smokey with a light alcohol burn.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer is smooth and creamy.

O: a good bbal stout, overall. I'd like some more bourbon presence and more depth of aroma, but it hides the alcohol very well. (628 characters)

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, big thanks to Slentz for this one.

A: Pours out super thick and a fizzy, tan head develops and simmers down to a ring around the glass. Pitch black, what were you expecting? Pissy yellow? You can just tell this beer is huge by looking at it.

S: Hell of a bourbon hit, but I can still manage to smell the Plead the 5th under it all. Something I find quite impressive in barrel aged beers. Huge toffee/caramel notes on top of a gigantic roasty stout. Notes of wood and tobacco as well.

T: Wow, bourbon plays so well with this beer. Had this on tap before, but I certainly notice a difference. Sweet bourbon mingles with an already near perfect stout. Sticky caramel and toffee cling to the lips and it ends with a bittersweet chocolate flavor. I find nothing wrong here. Easily one of the best barrel aged stouts I've had.

M: Not even smacked with booze up front, sweet with bourbon notes. Heavy for sure, but the carbonation crisps things up a bit.

O: Want more, give me more. One of the better barrel contributions to a beer. Works out very well and you aren't hit with a bourbon booze monster or just a meager stout. (1,139 characters)

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

Phineasgage is a gentlemen.

Pour is dense, opaque and inky. Black. Looks very nice.
The first thing that hits me on the aroma is the bourbon and how strong it is without getting fusel, that is really nice.
Flavor wise the bourbon is there but softer allowing more vanilla, chocolate, oak, and roast to come through. really awesome.
This one shows the barrels very nicely without coming out to much, really impressive, i really like it.
The mouthfeel is full, not as thick as BCS or Marshall Z, but a tick behind and nice.

Very good beer. (543 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge Thanks to Thorpe429 for providing this great beer. He’s quickly become a regular trading partner.

When you pour this beer, you know it’s serious. Looks as thick as Bourbon County Stout. You can see the body even before the head billows up from within. The head builds and is a milk chocolate color while the beer is motor oil, including the shine with about 50,000 miles on it. Head does settle to nothing and a scant amount of lace remains.

Aroma is also fantastic. bourbon, CHECK, vanilla, CHECK, dark chocolate, CHECK, a well rounded sweetness pulling all of these together. Double CHECK. Great.

A mellow chocolate bourbon flavor is immediate and then some vanilla. Chocolate returns and there is a nice balance of ABV and some sweetness. You can tell there is a kicked up ABV, but it’s so rounded and smooth it’s crazy. Is this vintage really 14%? That’s amazing. Dangerous beer.

Just a fantastic beer. Loved it from front to back and was sad when it was gone. Have to score another somehow.

I am a little concerned how much this reminds me of Bourbon County. (One of my favorite all time beers) If I ever get the chance, I’d love to do a side by side comparison.
(EDIT - I promise I never looked... I scored this the exact same score as Bourbon County Stout) Too frigging funny (1,304 characters)

Photo of kmatlack
4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to my man Kgristoff for supplying me with this unbelievable beer. Poured from a bottle into my finest snifter. Vintage 2011.

P- A black viscous liquid glugs out of the bottle throwing up milk chocolate colored bubbles that don't stick around for too long, but leave a nice lacing of bubbles along the edges.

S- Its hard for me to try and describe to you the complexity of the aroma. This is absolutely incredible. Im just going to name off the aromas as they come to me. Smooth buttery bourbon, chocolate, black licorice, charred wood, super dark roasted malts, little bit of booze, oak, bakers chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, burnt marshmallows, smokiness.

T- Follows the nose well. Front end is sweet on the tongue with a lot of bourbon and chocolate. The smokiness of the wood char comes in strong mid palate for me as the sweetness fades. On the back end there is a profound bourbon and chocolate presence mixed with a lasting fudge aftertaste. Fucking incredible.

M- I served at cellar temp so it wasn't super thick but thick enough to impress me. Great carbonation, a little boozy but, hey...its still young.

O- This is bar none the best imperial stout I've had to date. Would i go so far as to say this is the best beer I've ever had? In this moment, yes, but it could change tomorrow. EVERYTHING is so well balanced here that i can't think of another imperial stout to dethrone this beast. Goddamn Dark Horse, bravo....bravo. (1,454 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (1,204 characters)

Photo of doughanson78
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Huge thanks to rfraga77 for this want. 400th BA review.

A: Super black. One of the blackest I've seen. Half finger super dark mocha head that actually had decent retention and lacing for an ABV this high. Awesome looking RIS.

S: Big bourbon, but not boozy at all. Very nice oak notes. Lots of vanilla and butterscotch. Dark chocolate, a touch of dark cherries.

T: Wow. Bourbon is amazing. Vanilla and butterscotch is awesome mixed with dark chocolate, oak, and a hint of cherries. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. One of the smoothest RIS's I've had.

M: Super thick. Chewy to the fullest. Medium low carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O: One of the, if not the best beer I've had. How is no alcohol detected in a 14% beer? (758 characters)

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.33/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (675 characters)

Photo of claaark13
4.11/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Cam. Poured into a Founders snifter after being slightly chilled.

A - Pours black and a light-tan head forms. It soon disappears and leaves minimal lacing. Sticks to the glass alright. It looks extremely appealing.

S - Dark fruits with light amounts of vanilla and oak. Some fudge comes through as well.

T - Fudge quickly turns into into some oak and vanilla, some heat, then a dry vanilla finish. There is also a little bit of burn once the dryness begins to subside. The oak really makes itself present towards the end. The fudge/cocoa/chocolate is there, but really seems to take the back seat to the barrel. There is a little bit of sweetness, which helps create some balance.

M - Medium body with lower carbonation on the tongue. It does the job with the flavors.

O - The flavor seems a little heavy on dryness and virgin oak for me without providing as much caramel/vanilla as I would expect/prefer. I think if they could pull back the barrel just a little bit, it would surpass what I'd call similar beers. Or, if the barrel would be able to present more charred characteristics. I'd drink it again happily and would be interested to open one among similar beers to see how it stacks up.

7/1/12 Update - Dark fruits are showing up in the flavor, oak is still strong and the heat is faded. If you've been holding any of these for a while, you should really think about opening at least one of them soon. 5/4/4.5/4.5/4.25 (1,439 characters)

Photo of mgp2675
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this after a regular Plead the 5th for comparison.

A- black, much thicker than Plead the 5th, minimal tan-colored head on it

S- very, very sweet...some chocolate and coffee at the end. As it warmed up though I got some vanilla out of it, but overall not the most impressive nose on this one

T- some initial bitterness with the first sip and then tons of vanilla, very smooth, aftertaste of dark chocolate. This tastes great, and you cannot sense the 14% ABV

M- honestly pretty perfect, just the right amount of thickness

O- great stout...top 5 for me and I've had a lot of them. One of the most impressive things was how much the barrel aging process changed the base beer. I thought Plead the 5th was way too sweet and not incredibly smooth, and this is the opposite of that. It tastes very similar to Parabola, just with a much different aroma. I've been a bit disappointed with a lot of BA stouts with hype like this one has, but this beer honestly is worth seeking out. Good stuff (995 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.01/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a recent trade with hotpipes29. This one comes eagerly anticipated, so we made quick work of it. Thanks for the trade!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drunk right after the base beer for comparative purposes

APPEARANCE: Basically the same out of the bottle as the base beer, but perhaps even darker and thicker. A sludgy, thick black pour yields a small, medium looking, slightly bubbly, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a bubbly wisp and ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Though the head is a little bubbly compared to the base, this is incredibly thick and menacing. Totally evil.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon on the nose with notes of oak and milk chocolate from the barrels. Quite barrel forward, but some roasted malts and dark chocolate notes do make their way through the barrel aging. Medium strength nose.

TASTE: Quite barrel forward on the palate with very little of the base beer left over. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some nice milk chocolate up front. Bourbon barrel dominates through the middle with a touch of roasted and dark chocolate flavors after the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste is barrel heavy with lots of bourbon and plenty of alcohol. Very little base beer sticks around. Flavorful, but not much of the regular Plead the 5th is left to be found.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of slightly prickly carbonation. Thick and creamy enough on the palate, especially after it has sat in the glass for a bit, goes down fine with a bite after the swallow. Finishes sticky on the palate and lots of heat lingers. Not as thick and full as the base, but still pleasant.

OVERALL: This was a really good bourbon barrel aged stout. Despite the slightly milder nose and lighter palate compared to the base beer, the look was outstanding and the barrel flavors were very interesting and enjoyable. Like many barrel aged versions of a base beer, however, the barrel aging on this one has almost completely erased everything that was so enjoyable about the regular Plead the 5th. In that sense, you could say this is a phenomenal bourbon barrel stout, but not a phenomenal bourbon barrel Plead the 5th, if that makes any sense. Anyways, I was stoked to be able to try these together and we really enjoyed the pair. Thanks again for this one hotpipes. This was a lot of fun!

UPDATE: Trying a 2012 and 2011 together tonight. Everything is the same in the 2012, though the palate is a little heavier and creamier. I'd give a solid 4 to the newer vintage in this department. (2,682 characters)

Photo of Verecund
4.07/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 batch thanks to StoutFest. February 16, 2012.

Pours black with a quarter-finger mocha head.

Rich and decadent nose: fudge brownie; toasted graham cracker; strong bourbon presence (with some heat); light vanilla; charred oak and roasted grain. Impressive.

Lots of chocolate notes on the palate, half milky, half dark. Bourbon and fudge. Fairly sweet, but there's an earthy bitterness throughout the mid-to-late palate. It's also pretty oak-forward for a -bal stout; the char is almost spicy on the finish. Still fairly hot -- the bourbon seems to be quality, but it's a bit messy, all things considered.

A little thin in body, with medium carbonation. Appropriately sticky.

Happy to have finally had this. An above-average -bal stout, but a bit hot and messy at this stage to be top tier. (798 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12oz bottle with a gold wax cap (2011 vintage) into a tulip glass. Pours dark chestnut with thin tan lacing head that lasts throughout. Aroma of sweet oak, vanilla, bourbon, some blueberries. Really nice aroma! Taste some alcohol heat from the bourbon, sweet dark fruits, vanilla, oak, cocoa, and some chocolate. Thin to medium mouthfeel. Smooth and mild bitter back finish. Quite enjoyed this one! (410 characters)

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

poured from 12oz bottle into tulip -2011 release

A: Black as a crows feather, one finger head that descends into a thin frothy lacing, great carbonation, legs for miles.

S: Vanilla , Oak, Bourbon, Roasted Malt, Dark fruits,slight chocolate.

T: Slight bitter hop, dark fruits, warming bourbon, vanilla,semi sweet chocolate and oak notes.

O: Very tasty beer, not overwhelming for 14% , would definitely have again, highly recommended. (436 characters)

Photo of schwaeh
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz from this year, huge thanks to inebriatedjoker for this.

A: Pitch black with a nice half inch brown head. The head fades quick into some light bubbles. Well carbed for sure. I think this permanently coated the glass in brown oil.

S: The most vanilla and oaked whiskey I've smelled in a beer since BCBS rare. Huge fudge cake, bourbon, chocolate covered chocolate with chocolate icing. Dark fruit is making this real complex; I would believe it if you told me this is blended with a bit of quad its so fruity.

T: This is crazy good. Everything from the aroma comes through in waves. The alcohol is hidden really well except for in the stomach, it's warming there. The malt shows well through the bourbon, they do a nice job on the base and it goes fantastic with the barrel influence. Moderately sweet, but not cloying whatsoever.

M: Slick, rich, and full bodied. Sticky as hell. Carbonation is pretty low.

O: Chocolate, fudge, smooth/matured bourbon- this is fantastic. BBPt5th is everything I look for in this style. (1,027 characters)

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