Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
Dark Horse Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thBourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #4
Ranked #100
4.55 | pDev: 7.47%
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thBourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
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: 465 | Ratings: 3,306 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sandis
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.

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Photo of thebeers
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.

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Photo of NathanBeets
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

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Photo of CanConPhilly
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%.

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Photo of Tshane
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.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
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.

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Photo of SHODriver
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.

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Photo of Zach_Attack
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.

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Photo of Snowcrash000
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.

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Photo of PicoPapa
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.

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Photo of larryarms847
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!

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Photo of buschbeer
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.

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Photo of RAFH
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.

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Photo of Wolvmar
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!

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Photo of Dragginballs76
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.

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Photo of DMarlinJ
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

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
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.

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Photo of Buck89
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.

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Photo of peterpunk15
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.

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Photo of Sabtos
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.

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Photo of Vidblain
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.

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Photo of Rristow
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.

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Photo of Blackop555
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.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
2.55/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Why this beer is on the 250 top list? Like all Dark Horse beers this is brewed horribly. No balance, hardly any bourbon, and no barrel flavor. Dark as night, dark fruity boozy smell but really no enjoyable flavor. Dark Horse is a disappointment every time. Licorice, tobacco, dark fruit flavors with harsh booziness. Slightly smoother than regular Plead the 5th but not smooth or tasty enough to belong in top 250. Witch's Hat Night Furies need to take its place.

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Photo of Radcpa
4.54/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark appearance with a small tan head. Aroma is a molasses and bourbon that is a little sweet. The taste is a very nice molasses and bourbon without any alcohol taste. Very nice

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 3306 ratings