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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

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,117 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,117
Reviews: 317
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 7.91%
Wants: 1,891
Gots: 497 | FT: 47
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:
Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: MbpBugeye on 07-25-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,117 | Reviews: 317 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Jason, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Kegatron, Apr 05, 2013
Photo of jlindros
4.53/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

As my birthday arrives in a couple hours, I figured I'd scratch a top beer off the list, one I've been waiting to do for a while. This sits at #21 currently so relevant. 2011 vintage thanks to juliusseizure (Reddit). And this being a smaller bottle I can actually finish and enjoy it without needing a friend. I think the requires a fun review too.

Pours out like a midnight waterfall of black as black beer, light not even getting through the pour, but not thick as I expected, no motor oil in this one. A light fizzy super dark colored head forms like the dew attempting to form on a nice spring day, only to disappear like my paycheck after I visit the liquor store, never to be seen again, but typical for this high abv, a nice slick on the sides of the glass produces legs running from here to Arkansas.

Nose is about what I expected, a glass of disappointme... wait no not that, glass of awesomeness! It has all the characters of a great barrel aged imperial stout with a few years under it's belt. No alcohol at all, not even a whisp, nice dark chocolate but not overly fudgey or cocoa like, a good baker's chocolate perhaps from a good version of Hershey's (cause Dark Horse is also from PA, get it... eh nevermind). It also brings a nice layered soft aged malt like a big aged barleywine or old ale would do, but this time in stout form! Malts, form of Stout! Roast, attempting to roast it up, but just mellows out like it matured nicely. And barrel, that good old vanilla barrel, with a mild bourbon note, just wish the bourbon was abit more for an old bourbon fanatic such as myself.

Taste is loaded with anticipation, wait that's what I have before I sip it. I spit it out, well not me, the glass spit it into my mouth and it was delicious. Again that huge layered soft aged malt kicks ass, that old ale stout hybrid shizzle. Then more dutch chocolate, little fudgey and very thick, cocoa infested for sure, with a nice tongue tickling luscious velour chocolate flavor, not quite Choc Rain level but very nice regardless. Again that roasty and super dark malt character wants to just smash my mouth, but aging to the rescue! The 3 years just smacks the want to be super roasty soy sauce and shows it a thing or two, and now it's delicious, and even hints at roasted coffee. A layer of caramel nudges through, as well as a little fluffy chocolateized nougat, a bit airy too. A hint of bitterness I think, or perception of it. Barrel also comes into play a bit but not as much as I'd like. Probably the one thing that the aging process screwed over, the nice barrel, but I end up with a bit of a nice vanilla and hint of bourbon notes in the background. Finish is drier but a little mouth coating feel, layered fudgey choc, and more cocoa vanilla and pure deliciousness lingering.

Mouth is thick, rich, velvety and creamy, velour! with decent carb for the age and style, and the faintest hint of booze somewhere in teh background just slightly nagging at me like an ant crawling on my leg.

Overall, just one word, YES!

jlindros, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Local Option. Served in a snifter. The perfect nightcap for a Thursday night filled with drunkenness and debauchery.

A - Filled to the brim, so it's hard to get a handle on head volume/retention. Thick ring with a bit of film on top, and some spotty lacing as the beverage is consumed. Ominous black body.

S - A lot of dark roasted grain character, with an earthy and fairly mellow bourbon character. I'm not sure what barrels were used, but they certainly seem to be of high quality. This really needs to warm up, and even then it isn't the most aggressive nose.

T - The taste is quite excellent, with a hefty amount of dark roasted grain, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, and other sweet things. Again, the bourbon makes its presence known through barrel flavors and depth, rather than in-your-face harsh whiskey.

M - Shockingly little warmth for a 14% beast. Full body, with sufficient carbonation to keep it from getting too syrupy. Stick finish, with only light tannic character.

D - This was quite drinkable for the ridiculous ABV. I'm tempted to trek back to Local Option for another pour under more sober conditions. Also, kudos to Dark Horse for enhancing an already excellent beer with tasteful and well-integrated barrel-aging. They've also done a good job keeping the beer from thinning out too much or getting too astringent.

MasterSki, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

XmnwildX12, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of oline73
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 bottle poured into my colossus snifter. I got this in a BIF today and was so excited I decided to open it up.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black with a half finger layer of cocoa colored head. The head fades to a ring around edge of the glass with just a swirl of carbonation in the middle.

Smell: Sweet roasty malt with some dark fruit and smooth alcohol. I'm picking up some caramel and vanilla from the barrels. There is also cocoa and bourbon in the nose. Very nice.

Taste: This is a really smooth BA Imperial Stout. The slightly burnt roasty malt sweetness hits you first, with some dark fruit just behind. The barrel aging was artfully done. The bourbon and caramel from the barrel are very present in the taste, but not hot at all. The finish is warm and full of bourbon and sweet cocoa notes.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side of medium, but thin compared to what I was expecting. Tingly carbonation with a very slick finish. The beer sticks to you mouth long after you swallow.

Overall: Not disappointed at all. This is a fantastic brew and I plan on having more in the future.

oline73, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At the time of this review, this beer is the #7 top Russian Imperial Stout on the beeradvocate.com "Top Beers - Russian Imperial Stout" list. Another top 10 beer for me. A big thanks to Thorpe for letting me have some of this beer during our impromptu epic New Years Day tasting.

Beer served in a sniffer. Beer is black, oily, this dark brown head of small bubbles, low retention, falls back to halo the glass minimal lacing and low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, chocolate, strong malt presence. The boubon come through strong. Mild oak. Smells like a big bourbon stout.

Beer is medium to big in body, malty sweet with a strong bourbon character. Fudge and chocolate with minimal roast. The sweetness carries through all the way to the end. The bourbon wins in this beer. So sweet, so oaky, vanilla, booze but without heat. I really liked it.

drabmuh, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

feloniousmonk, Mar 08, 2013
Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

mendvicdog, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
4.38/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Rifugium, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

MarkyMOD, Oct 13, 2013
Photo of beernads
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

beernads, Aug 21, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to immobilisme for sending a few bottles of this my way; thanks Todd! One of my biggest wants…I love the normal Plead the 5th so have been wanting to try this since they started releasing it.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and low to moderate carbonation evident. Head only lasts for about 30 seconds and no lacing or retention.

s - Smells of bourbon, rich, sweet chocolate, light bakers chocolate, roasted malts, oak, vanilla, cream, toasted malts, and coffee. While the bourbon is there and up front, it isn't overpowering at all. Very surprised how much sweet chocolate still comes through, but I love it. A really great nose here.

As it warmed up, more bourbon came out in the nose as well.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, oak, sweet chocolate, sweet dark fruits, roasted malts, bakers chocolate, coffee, fudge, and alcohol. More bourbon here than the nose. Again, really great, though I slightly prefer the nose.

m - Medium body and very low carbonation. Thinner than I was expecting for the look and 14%, but still good for a stout. Would have liked a tiny bit more carbonation too. Weakest point of the beer in my opinion, but it's still good; the rest is just great.

o - Overall I thought this was a great BBA RIS, and an improvement on an already fantastic base beer. I love the normal version and had high hopes for this one, and it did not disappoint. The nose and taste both had a ton of bourbon and chocolate, with the nose having more chocolate and the taste having more bourbon, though for 14% it isn't overwhelming. I think another thing I love about this is that they sold it in 12 oz. bottles. So many great BBA RIS's come in 22 oz/750ml bottles, and cracking a 12 oz. bottle of this tonight was just perfect. Very happy to have another bottle of this.

mdfb79, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage
Poured jet-black, inky into tulip with a one finger tan head. Big bourbon nose with hints of chocolate. Taste follows nose rich, well-balanced bourbony sipper with traces of chocolate and maybe cherries...very smooth. Surprisingly full-bodied for its fluidity. Very enjoyable

DrunkinYogi, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Rochefort10nh, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -12.1%

oriolesfan4, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of kojevergas
3.75/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with silver wax-ed over branded pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a trade (I forget who with; sorry!) and served into an Odell stem-tulip in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. 2011 vintage. Reviewed as an imperial stout because the label identifies it as such. Expectations are sky-high; I loved the regular Plead the 5th.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of great khaki colour. Fantastic mocha-like creaminess. Great thickness. Sadly, the head retention is quite poor - maybe 25 seconds at best. Uneven spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a solid opaque dark black. No yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking real good for an imperial stout, but is far from unique or special. I've seen much better in the style, especially inasmuch as the head is concerned.

Sm: Chocolate malts, dark malts, cream, and complementary bourbon notes - some rich vanilla and pleasant guiding oak. It's not as toasty or roasty as would be ideal. The coffee has also faded substantially, but there's some vague cappuccino. Caramel.

It's a pleasant aroma of mild strength. To be honest, I expected more complexity and subtlety from the aroma.

No hop character or yeast character is detectable. It's quite clean.

T: I dig the bourbon; the vanilla and oak are nice, but I do want some toasty character from it. Dark malts and chocolate malts provide the foundation, with some sparse coffee/cappuccino in there too. Cream. Caramel. I'm not finding much (if any) roasted barley. It's a well balanced build, but while cohesive isn't quite gestalt. The barrel notes are well integrated into the base, but it doesn't feel like a perfect marriage. Good complexity and some nice subtlety. Not particularly nuanced or intricate. It's a bit too ashy and burnt on the climax, which is joined unfavorably by an unbecoming coffee-like bitterness.

It's certainly on the sweeter side.

Mf: I love the creaminess. Smooth. Wet. Has an even consistency. Well-carbonated. Good thickness and body. Good presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: I'm not sure if age has really helped it, but it's a tasty imperial stout. I'm glad I got to try it, but it's not amongst the best in the style. I'd pick it up if I saw it on the shelf, sure, but I wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out. I'd like to try it fresh. Hides its ABV pretty well. Damn good, but not world class. Quite drinkable, though.

High B

kojevergas, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of InspectorBob
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

InspectorBob, Nov 09, 2014
Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

drewone, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

imperialking, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

yourefragile, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of orangesol
4.33/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Capone's on Black Friday. First beer of the day...

A - Pours dark as night black with a small, creamy, one finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of warm bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate, charred wood, and the ever present dark roasted malt. The booze is big up front but the other flavors grow stronger as it warms.

T - Fairly similar to the nose. Hints of vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar, dry oak tannins, and a big dose of booze at the end of each sip. Pretty sweet initially but it gets better as it warms up. It has a ton of flavor but it remains easy to drink.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sweet, boozy, feel that clings to the pallet long after each sip. It developed a little bit of a chalky feel toward the end of the glass..

O - Overall a very good barrel aged stout. It was a little bit out of balance but I had no problem finishing my glass. Glad I finally got to try it.

orangesol, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of duceswild
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

duceswild, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of corby112
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%

corby112, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of weeare138
4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dense, dark midnight toned onyx. A small tan head slowly fades into a gentle cap and collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of campfire s'mores with black grapes and sugary syrup.
Taste is of the aromas with a sugary sweetness up front followed by an oaky, vanilla, caramel blast.
Mouthfeel is sticky, full bodied, sugary, intensely insane, and smooth in the finish.
Jeez! This is one sick beer!

weeare138, Jun 14, 2011
Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,117 ratings.