Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #4
Ranked #101
4.55 | pDev: 7.69%
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Notes: This beer is a big and full bodied Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels with lots of roasted malts, but very balanced with heavy hops. Brewed with a top secret root, this beer has an amazingly complex flavor that you must wait for.
Reviews: 467 | Ratings: 3,324 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of bret27
bret27 from California

4.56/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of JohnnyHops.
Unsure of bottling date.
Black, almost no head.
Aromas of vanilla, bourbon, licorice, roastiness, maybe dates and chocolate.
Taste similar. In addition maybe raisins.
Syrupy mouthfeel. Warming finish.
Overall very well done.

Dec 26, 2019
Photo of Sandis
Sandis from Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2016 version poured into a snifter. There is a nice booziness in the aroma however it is more subdued in taste. I enjoy the mouthfeel a great deal. I was anticipating this being a little sweeter with less char and bitterness in the finish.

Jul 15, 2019
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Dark-stained chestnut with a finger of mocha head. Spotty, short-lived lacing.

Big brownie chocolate and bourbon in the aroma. Hints of vanilla, cherry, wood and root beer.

Nice depth of flavor: chocolate, roasted malts, gentian, root beer, vanilla, nuts, earthy hops and alcohol burn.

Smooth, slick feel — a touch on the light side for the style — with plenty of carbonation.

Plenty of barrel presence in this with a nice root beerish twist. Very enjoyable.

May 12, 2019
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

3.43/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A big-bodied dark brew pour. Smells of all the chocolate, molasses, toffee, and roast you would expect, but taste mellow as if I overaged it (in under a year). I will drink fresh next time.

May 04, 2019
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NathanBeets from South Dakota

4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jet black beer in a glass. Small tan head.

Sweet vanilla booze, chocolate, lots of dark fruit, coffee on the nose and taste.

Only complaint which is a minor one is the mouthfeel. An absolute stunner of a stout although.

2016 version

Dec 25, 2018
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CanConPhilly from Pennsylvania

4.48/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - 1-finger dense mocha head atop a pitch black body.

S - oak, raisins, chocolate, vanilla. Not even a hint of booze.

T - tons of dark fruit, smoke, chocolate, roast, vanilla, then some bourbon on the finish. Low bitterness. Moderate-low sweetness. Low booziness.

F - medium-full body. Carb has held up well (2014 bottle)

O - superbly well balanced and dangerously drinkable for 11%.

Dec 09, 2018
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Tshane from Michigan

4.44/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

I've kept this aging in the bottle about a year I think. It needed aging because it first tasted somewhat raw, not as good as the regular Plead the Fifth.

Appearance: brownish black with a very short head, hints of copper and dark red when strong light is shined through the head.

Aroma: sweet light molasses and sugar

Taste: pronounced molasses and malt notes with counter-balancing, almost appropriate bitterness.
Lingering bitter and burnt aftertaste almost ruins the overall effect. I prefer the beer without charred bourbon barrel aging.

Mouthfeel: towards heavy-bodied.

Overall: Delicious, but I could do without the barrel char and bitter character. A little goes a long way, and this offers too much.

Oct 31, 2018
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RaulMondesi from California

4.49/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet hell. Like Karl Malone in the 4th quarter, this one delivers. Think of your darkest moment, think of your darkest fantasy, think of your darkest memory... and then bottle that in a 12 ouncer and Plead the 5th Barrel Aged is what you have. The most beautiful, the most visceral, the most wild moment of your life... Think and dream. And in this beverage, I do.

Oct 11, 2018
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Batch

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a finger of dense tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of intense chocolate and roasted malts with some hint of vanilla and a touch of coffee. Slight malted milk ball aroma
T: Taste is chocolate and roasted malts with some coffee. Charred wood and burnt sugars with some slight caramel, oak and vanilla. Nice roasted undertones throughout with that slight malted milk ball flavor going on. On the swallow this beer is malted milk balls, chocolate, espresso beans, and roasted malts with some lingering vanilla.
M: This beer is on the heavier side of medium in body with carbonation that is on the low end but adequate for the style. The style and ABV ensure that this beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really well crafted beer. The flavors are impeccable and it has held up surprisingly well to the time. Definitely worth trying if you like the style and can find it.

Oct 04, 2018
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Zach_Attack from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

02/2016 - vintage 2015 - a lot of brownie, fudge, nice tobacco notes, smooth bourbon on the nose; slightly sweet, a bit creamy too, rich chocolate, bourbon on the palate; the body is to be desired, but overall it's tasty.

Oct 03, 2018
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black coloration with a tiny, fizzy head. Smells of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla, with a lightly boozy bourbon note. Taste follows the nose, with strong notes of chocolate, coffee and vanilla and ligher notes of toffee, dark fruits, tobacco, charred oak, bourbon and a hint of a certain musty earthiness. Finishes with a light bitterness and booziness. Thick, creamy mouthfeel with a rich body and low carbonation.

This is reasonably complex and quite well-balanced, although the barrel-character is not that much at the forefront. Still, all the different notes intermingle harmoniously without anything standing out too much. Remionds me a little of KBS, actually.

Jun 28, 2018
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

4.29/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle with no date on it. Pours a viscous black with no head. Zero lacing. Boozey aroma with vanilla, molasses, caramel and chocolate syrup. The taste is the Bourbon up front followed by dark chocolate, roasted malts, earth, tobacco and espresso. Woody, Bourbon finish with some cocoa. About as much alcohol heat as expected. Very low carbonation with a mouthfeel that is slightly lighter than expected. Overall, a great variant of an already great RIS.

May 18, 2018
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larryarms847 from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours midnight black and thick as motor oil, with a plump head of off-white foam.

Deep roasted malt lends coffee like aroma, dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and oak barrel notes.

The base beer actually stands out in flavor tremendously, while the barrel character adds vanilla, oak, bourbon, and toffee notes.

Full-bodied, medium carbonation, thick, chewy, delicious.

Overall, a smooth but heavy sipper and one to enjoy every sip of!

Apr 15, 2018
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buschbeer from Ohio

4.28/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black in color with just a light film of head that leaves some nice lacing for as little head as it has.

I smell chocolate, vanilla, and caramel.

The taste starts out with anise and hints of alcohol. It has some dark chocolate with a little vanilla and caramel. I taste black coffee in the finish that provides a lingering bitterness.

Full, pillowy mouthfeel

I like it a lot better on draft. I have tried this beer three times and had three different experiences. My first draft was far superior. Maybe I should have drank this one more timely.

Mar 22, 2018
Photo of RAFH
RAFH from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a four pack for $22 from Liquor Cabinet on Hilltop Road in St. Joseph, Michigan on February 18th, 2018. Was worth the wait! Outstanding beer very near as good as the great ones like KBS, Goose Island BCBS, and Bells Black Note.

Feb 19, 2018
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Wolvmar from Michigan

4.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recent vintage although I forgot to tlook for a date. Poured into tulip glass.

Pour: deep black with some brown hints. Well used motor oil. Surprisingly, absolutely no head no matter how I tried. Really thin collar but no lacing at all. Maybe a bad bottle?

Aroma: dark dried fruits, some mellow bourbon, Oak, chocolate. Really nice. Balanced with nothing dominating but all working well together.

Taste: surpringly sweet upfront, almost sugary. Definite hops bitterness on backend with chocolate and bourbon in the middle. Bitterness lingers a bit more than I would like. Aftertaste reminds me of pot a little (which I haven’t had in 30 years!). but, still a very good beer.

Feel: very little carbonation. As with the lack of head, maybe a bottle issue? But nice viscosity and very smooth. Not a milkshake but closer to that than water.

Overall: it’s really good beer that probably ages well. Have one in the cellar to try in a Year or two. Really like it but the lingering bitterness is a slight turn off relative to BBA stouts like CBS and Bourbon County. But that’s a high standard!

Jan 21, 2018
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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

4.61/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours black with nice mocha colored head that lasts longer than expected settling to a rocky mountain with decent lacing.

Aroma - Huge amount of oak and vanilla this is a 2015 so the bourbon has settled a bit ad is working well with the chocolate, leather and roasted malts. Very complex aroma.

Taste - Wow excellent balance of chocolate, vanilla a little cinnamon, oak and leather. This thing is money with almost 3 years on it.

Feel - Full bodied soft creamy feel little heat with a slightly dry finish.

Overall - An amazing beer, never tried it fresh but aged the flavors are so well balanced and it is very easy drinking.

Jan 02, 2018
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DMarlinJ from Michigan

4.13/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The hype out does the beer. I aged my bottle 3 years and love bb aged stouts but this was just... meh. Darkhorse Plead the Fifth is average and only becomes enjoyable after a year so I hoped this would do well with time. Got the flavors of dried fruits, raison, fig still had chocolate notes but the alcohol burn was still too present and not smooth. This one can't compete with Founder's Imperial stout or KBS or with Goose Island

Dec 23, 2017
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Scott17Taylor from Iowa

4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black with quickly fading tan head.
The aroma is bourbon forward with some roast, molasses and chocolate. There is also a mild black licorice note that is weaker than the base beer, but still present.
The bourbon is stronger on the flavor than the aroma, but is still very well balanced. The oakiness vanilla and booziness plays really well with the light roast chocolate dark fruit and licorice.
The mouthfeel is somewhat thick with more carbonation than normal in this style.
Overall, it's a very good beer, but not quite on the level I was expecting for a beer this highly rated. It's still definitely worth checking out, but for being one of my main wants it was a little disappointing.

Dec 10, 2017
Photo of Buck89
Buck89 from Tennessee

4.24/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Opaque brown color with a soft tan head. Nice retention for the ABV. Aromas of whiskey, oak, vanilla, chocolate. The taste followed with a nice mix of the above flavors. Heavy on the bourbon but reasonably balanced. all in all, a great BA RIS.

Dec 03, 2017
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peterpunk15 from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was pretty good. Again, non-adjunct stout which is uncommon in today's market. The barrel aging brings out all of the notes in it. I wouldn't put it among the best stouts I've had but it's pretty solid.

Sep 09, 2017
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.62/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pour is viscous shiny black with a minimal but vibrant mocha froth receding to a thin ring.

Nose is unabashedly barrel-forward, drastically hotter and oakier compared to the base, with a dominant maple bourbon glazed pecan note that's almost bacony.

Taste is warming, spicy bourbon with dark chocolate and nutty molasses featuring some raisin and black licorice. Roastiness from the base is still present, but the booze does take over with reckless abandon.

Feel is crisp and surprisingly full of fine fizz with a slick heat and a slightly spicy, chalky dry finish.

Side by side with regular, I liked regular better due to the potency of the barrel here, and really, the base is very well done to begin with. Not every dark beer needs help from the bourbon trail.

Sep 04, 2017
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage, an LIF bottle from outstanding BA FlintB - thanks again, sir!

Beer pours a very deep brown-black with a pleasant beige head. The beer has a curious almost fruity, floral aroma to it. Odd. Maybe my nose isn't great - entirely possible.

BA Plead the 5th has a significant dry, woody barrel character to it while it warms - it fades slightly when it reaches room temperature-ish. There is a slight taste of vanilla, with plenty of cocoa/chocolate - and while the mouth feel is slightly thin, the chocolate feels like it adds some richness and complexity to the taste.

BA Plead has never been my favorite BA beer - and I've had several vintages - but I will always be happy to drink it. While it may be a bit dated, compared to your Fundamental Observations and whatnot, it will always be very reliable and quite well done for what it is. Cheers, Dark Horse.

Aug 23, 2017
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Rristow from Ohio

4.79/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Tasted from draft. Pours black with white head. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, bourbon. Mouthfeel is super thick, sticky, oily. Moderate to heavily sweet with mild to moderate bitterness. Flavors of bourbon, chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, vanilla. Huge very well done BA stout.

Aug 16, 2017
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Blackop555 from Michigan

4.37/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black. Thin, short, brown head fades fast.

Smells light bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and dark fruit.

Tastes heavy dark fruit and light roast malt at first. Followed by chocolate, roasty malt, bourbon, light oak and vanilla hints. Finish is semi sweet with a roasty and dark fruit linger. Lighter medium body and creamy medium carbonation.

Aug 07, 2017
Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 3324 ratings