Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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409 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
409
Ratings:
2,943
Avg:
4.49
pDev:
20.71%
 
 
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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thDark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by MbpBugeye on 07-25-2010

User Reviews
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Reviews: 409 | Ratings: 2,943
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.04/5  rDev -10%
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.

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Photo of standardcherry
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle of the 2011 vintage poured into my snifter.

A: Jet black with a mocha colored head that did not stay for long.
S: Roasty malts, chocolate, bourbon. Slight scent of coffee.
T: Chocolate, oak, bourbon, caramel, vanilla. Surprisingly drinkable for a 14% stout. Nice dark chocolate aftertaste lingers in the mouth.
M: Medium to full body, thick and creamy. Great medium carbonation and absolutely no alcohol burn. Excellent for the style.
O: Excellent beer. One of my favorite barrel aged stouts to date.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.69/5  rDev +4.5%
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)

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Photo of cnbrown313
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been looking for this beer for the last couple years now and BA mia4ipa was kind enough to share one with me. Poured from a 12oz wax sealed bottle into mini pint glasses. Served at just below room temperature.

A - Pours out like thick, black motor oil with little to no head. Super-viscous. This has the classic look for a big, barrel aged imperial stout. Looking good...

S - I was expecting a huge bourbon smell, but it's not over powering. Hints of bourbon, oak, dark chocolate and fudge.

T - Upon taking a sip, the initial notes are chocolate, toffee, and bourbon. There's just the right level of sweetness without being cloying, which is balanced by that nice bourbon barrel flavor, and a little bitterness at the end. This is one of the tastiest stouts I've ever had. It was surprisingly drinkable at 14% ABV too.

M - The mouthfeel was perfect for the style. It was slightly thick and chewy, but really enjoyable to sip on.

O - Probably one of my favorite barrel aged stouts. The bourbon wasn't as pronounced as it is in something like BCS, but this seemed much more balanced and enjoyable to drink. I wish I had more...

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to raymo55 for this bomb brew!

Poured from a silver waxed, 2011 vintage bottle into a snifter.

Pours a thick as hell, black as hell, viscous liquid that settles and sits like a tar pit. I'm talkin' zero light transfer. There is less than a fingers worth of orange tinted, tan head. Not much lace but a few spots.

The nose has some complex bourbon notes such as toasted coconut, and vanilla while mixed in the the base brews chocolaty characteristics. Boozy in the end. Wow.

The taste is toasted oak and coconut with a nice amount of bourbon that isn't in-your-face. However, the bourbon shows it's glorious attributes with ease. The base beer still shows through the barrel treatment. There is some chocolate, leather, and tobacco working with the bourbon. There are some firm tannins and oak flavors when aggressively sloshed within my mouth.

Hidden ABV + Drinkability = Awesome

The mouthfeel is what I love about these Plead brews. Velvety smooth with a silk-like feel against my palate. A nice, low amount of carbonation helps this feel become successful.

Overall, totally awesome, great brew that deserves the hype. This is because of a great balance and a nicely hidden ABV. The durability of the base brew was easily withstandable when put into a barrel. Bravo, once again!

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.19/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours black as night, as expected, with a small and chocolate brown head forming. The head is just a whisp of foam on the top of the beer, but it does leave a pretty good lace pattern.

S- Big and dark roasted malts hit the nose first, just like a good Russian imperial should. Next comes a bit of bourbon barrel spiciness. Oak and vanilla are the prominent barrel scents, with just a touch of the bourbon sneaking in. Towards the back end of the smell, it turns sweeter than most stouts, but then the dark malts return and leave you with traditional stout flavors on the nose.

T- Just like the smell, this beer starts with a bang of deep, dark malts. Slightly bitter dark chocolate and just a touch of coffee hit the tongue and lead you into the middle of the drink. The barrel spice moves in during the middle of the drink with a touch of vanilla and a bit of boozy bourbon. The barrel flavors mix in with the dark malts and form a fairly complex overall flavor. The beer leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste on the tongue after the drink is finished.

M- The alcohol is evident a little bit while sipping this beer, but it really shines in how smooth it is. Low carbonation levels and a thick and heavy flavor profile make this somewhat of a slow drink. On the whole, this is a silky smooth, thick, and heavy beer that goes down smooth for its weight.

Overall, this beer is very, very good. The great dark malts with chocolate and coffee interact with the bourbon barrel very well without overpowering the malts or becoming to aggressive to be enjoyed. I like this beer.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.52/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Gray waxed 12 oz. bottle chilled and poured into a Cigar City snifter glass. 2012 vintage with an ABV listed 11%. With the huge amount of snowfall, a barrel aged imperial stout seemed like the way to go.

Appearance: As close to midnight black as possible. Pours a one finger dark brown head that quickly recedes into a light lacing.

Aroma: Really surprisingly good balance in the nose for 11%. Lots of chocolate fudge, dark fruit, vanilla and bourbon. The alcohol is there and isn't hidden at all, but it works really well.

Taste: Big sweet chocolate fudge tones with really strong bourbon barrel tones. Big caramel, vanilla, oak and bourbon throughout. The barrel is very well integrated with the base. There is a touch of booziness but it works well with this kind of beer. I really like the dark fruit tones that incorporate even more sweetness into the beer. Really tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied overall, but a little light for the style. Goes down very smooth.

Overall, a top tier barrel aged stout. It is a bit big and boozy at times, but I really like the big, sweet characteristics of this beer. The barrel is incredibly well integrated and really enhances the base beer. I remember not really loving this base beer, but the barrel makes this one of the best in this style.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a midnight black with a very thin tan head.

S - Aroma is bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla.

T - The flavor is bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. The finish has some lingering heat from the alcohol.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth creamy mouthfeel with dry finish.

O - An incredibly solid BBA Russian Imperial Stout. Can only imagine this will be amazing with a year on it.

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Photo of yamar68
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to randjuke for this gem. 2011 vintage poured into a brandy snifter:

Pours a pitch black ink. A dense, boozy finger of dark brown head swells up only to recede back to a neat collar. Sexy ass legs. Slow, fine beading hovers just below the cap. Beautiful.

Rich dark chocolate, molasses, big bourbon, various cocoa, more big spicy bourbon, think BCBS. I could sit and snort at this all day.

Hot damn. Thick wood (hehe) notes, vanilla, bourbon, breakfast syrup, boozy finish. I feel like the vanilla might really pop with some age. Unfortunately, this is my one and only bottle but I'm very grateful to have had the chance to try it!

Just another example of why the midwest conquers every other corner of the world when it comes to imperial stouts.

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Photo of mattboyer182
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - pours dark black and a vague tan head.

S - bourbon hits you in the face. Rich malts and apparent alcohol.

T - wow. Sweet intense bourbon. Great wood taste lies underneath.

M - heavy, rich body and light carbonation.

O - for sure the best out of these stouts. So sweet and delicious.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.81/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter; 2014 vintage.
Shared with a craft beer noob…and blew his mind (his brains are still on my ceiling)!
Thanks to I_BYE_MI_BEER for the bottle.

A: Pours “…darker'n a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night.” Billows up to one finger of creamy, thick mocha head that dissipated relatively quickly, settling to a persistent, creamy collar and leaving no lacing.

S: A massive nose; big bourbon boozy nose with some hot alcohol; dark roasted malts, cocoa nibs, and some subtle vanilla sweetness.

T: Wow, a really complex profile that starts with thick, rich dark roasted malts, dark chocolate and boozy bourbon. The dark fruits (dates, raisins, prunes), tobacco and sweet malt fill out the palate with subtle vanilla and toffee notes coming out. The finish is long and dries out a bit with some bittering hops and espresso char.

M: Medium-heavy body and low carbonation make it smooth, creamy and rich but not cloying.

O: This is one of the best BBA stouts I have ever had. I loved it…and wished I didn’t share it ;-)

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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 gcamparone
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Utopia glass. Thanks Keith for this baby!

A- Pours an oily black, opaque body with a modest mocha colored head that reduces slowly and leaves blotchy lacing.

S- Very inviting and upfront on the nose.. creamy vanilla and milk chocolate, soft bourbon, caramel, burnt marshmallows.

T- Wow.. this is amazing.. sweet vanilla and molasses, whiskey and milk chocolate upfront. The follow through is burnt coffee and dark chocolate. The finish leaves a delectable charred, nearly burn malt taste on the tongue. Very complex, very balanced.

M- Creamy and easy to drink. Rich, full of flavor. Low carbonation.

One of the best bourbon barrel aged stouts I've ever had, this one has the upper hand most others due to it's smooth, creamy, balanced character and rich, bold flavor.

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Photo of mulder1010
4.78/5  rDev +6.5%
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

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Photo of themind
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok the aroma is the only thing off for me. This beer when you dissect its flavor profile is very clean, definitive and balanced. The barrel aging flavor is so crisp, its truly an amazing beer. The stout backbone from Plead the Fifth is there, creamy as usual and the added BB just puts this at an elite level. This is a beer to seek out as its incredibly well made and balanced. Just a masterpiece, the only downfall is the aroma is weak which is weird because the taste is pronounced and amazing!

Bottom Line: Legendary brew!

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Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%

From notes on 3/25/14

4 once sample on the brewery tour. I've had regular Plead the 5th, so I was excited to try this one. I was not let down. You can tell it is Plead the 5th, just barrel aged. You get all the great chocolate flavors and roasted tastes with a nice addition of boozy bourbon. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of davey101
4.7/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 12 oz silver waxed bottle into a brandy snifter. Can't thank Steimie enough, this was a huge want of mine!

A - Pours a thick black body with a finger of dark mocha head. After that fizzles away its quite difficult to recreate a head with a swirl. Just some splotchy lacing with some nice retention. Alcohol legs stain the sides of the glass.

S - Bourbon dipped fudge brownie is the description I would use here. Rich and gooey dark chocolate, dry cocoa powder, light espresso and coconut. Finishes with smooth oak and vanilla and warming alcohol which does comes off as a bit too distracting.

T - Starts with dark chocolate and light roasted malts. Then comes a huge wave of vanilla, oak, and butterscotch. Lighter notes of coffee beans, coconut, and dark fruits. The finish is fudge with a bit of leather. Rich and decadent, just fucking perfect!

M - Thick and coating, just a notch below syrupy. Carbonation is spot on.

O - Truly one of the best BA stouts out there. How anyone can trade this stuff after sampling it is beyond me. Compared to its major 12 oz competition, well I think I like BCBS a bit more since its a brash stout that is all about the bourbon. This beer is much more balanced with the bourbon complimenting the base beers notes. God dammit this is good stuff!

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Photo of brew3crew
4.23/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was drinking this from a 2/3s fill growler. Dont know if it affected anything. If someone wants to send me a bottle, i can re-review it :).

A-Dark black with zero head
S-very large bourbon upfront. Can pick up some chocolate and malt through the bourbon
T-Once past the bourbon, can pick up some malts and chocolate. somewhat oaky taste
M-Very smooth and no burning
D-Crazy Drinkable. Would not have guessed 14%. WOW

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.84/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage (acquired in a trade with @MichiganderHB) poured into snifter.

look - pitch black with a few cm mocha head that settled down quickly

smell - amazing - slight bourbon, dark fruit, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate

taste - unbelievable! Follows the aroma. dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, some booze on the finish

mouthfeel - fairly thick, lower carb, finshes smooth

overall - wow. this is amazing - it's actually more drinkable than BCBS fresh . it'd be such a tough choice if I had to pick between the two. Glad I got a 4 pack!!!

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.79/5  rDev +6.7%
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%.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.71/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with a tan colored head, no head retention, slight lacing, not much carbonation, looks like motor oil, looks really nice.

A: Bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, dark fruits, touch of coffee, no alcohol on the nose, has a lot of aroma, I could smell the bourbon and vanilla as I poured, very nice.

T: First impression is that this is very balanced and full of flavor, bourbon up front, vanilla, hint of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits, touch of moderate coffee-like bitterness, finish is dry with notes of bourbon and dark fruits, the alcohol is noticeable and some heat lingers in the finish, but this drinks incredibly smooth for the high ABV.

M: Full bodied, low carbonation, dry finish, smooth, creamy mouthfeel, some heat but the other characteristics impress enough that the heat does not affect the pleasure of drinking this beer.

O: Very impressed, incredible amounts of aroma and tastes, big full bodied creamy smooth mouthfeel. I really wish I could this in southern California.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Most recent batch

A - One of the darkest beers I've seen. serious brown head. Good.

S - Vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, dark fruits, tanned leather. Dang, it's good.

T - Great complexity to this taste. It's sweet (dark fruits and chocolate), dry (earth, wood, meaty), and bourbony. A very nice thing here. Kind of hot.

M - Very smooth. Big mouthfeel. A bit astringent from the alcohol.

O - this is a great beer. It's huge, but works great. Tasty, complex, balanced. Much approval.

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Photo of Retail1LO
4.6/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured on tap at Capone's Black Friday event. 5 oz. snifter.
Pours jet black with a thin coffee rim. The nose is a lovely blend of bourbon, vanilla, coffee, and a bit of cocoa. The taste is a perfect meld of the bourbon, sweet vanilla, toffee, and a bit of cherry. The mouthfeel is smooth as silk. Doesn't get much better than this. Has a slightly bittersweet finish that lingers for a short while. This kicked in 40 minutes. A real privilege to try this.

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Photo of MichPaul
4.81/5  rDev +7.1%
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!

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 409 ratings.