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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
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
darkhorsebrewery.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
427
Ratings:
3,048
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
7.59%
 
 
Wants:
2,151
Gots:
852
For Trade:
113
User Reviews
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Reviews: 427 | Ratings: 3,048
Photo of kmatlack
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Patchmaster for trading me this bottle.

Vintage 2011, poured into my Bruery snifter.

A: Pours a used motor oil looking, completely opaque, pitch black. The only head on this beer is the tiniest ring of a thin mocha coloring along the top of the beer that clings to the glass for dear life.

S: Bourbon, wood, toast, raisin, dark and milk chocolate, vanilla, and just the slightest hint of cherry. Damn, this is exactly how I imagined this beer to smell. It's incredible.

T: Starts off with a nice boozy kick in the face, but all of the flavors of this beer shine through as that first hit begins to mellow. I'm getting dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and wood. The raisin and cherry don't come through in the taste, and I'm fine with that. The finish is milk chocolate, some lingering booze, and a bit of burnt toast. Fantastic.

M: Full bodied beer. It's not over or under carbonated. The flavors are a bit sticky, but nothing overwhelming. It's boozy, but ohh so creamy.

O: This beer is phenomenal. The hype is totally justified. I can't wait to see how this beer ages!

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this at a local beer bar. It had very little head, and even that didn't stick around very long; there was also very little carbonation. The smell was of bourbon, oak, and a well balanced malty sweetness. The taste was of bourbon and oak first with a very slight roast barley bitterness. This faded to a bourbon vanilla sweetness that coated the mouth. Finally, it finished with a bit of alcohol heat, but not too much, especially considering its high ABV. The mouthfeel was thick and rich, coating your whole mouth leaving a malty sweetness that lingers. For a beer this big it is surprisingly drinkable. I couldn't resist getting a second glass, but the alcohol in this drink is well hidden, and could easily creep up on you.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the '10 Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival. Jet black pour with a small, loose, off-white head. Smoky, rich bourbon, tons of dark fruit, raw cacao and massive dark roast coffee. There's a nice little whiskey kick at the end too. Creamy, oily, full body with soft carbonation. What a huge beer with incredible balance and layered flavors!

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Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.96/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle, 2013 vintage, copper wax, @ 48° F into a snifter.

Special thanks to biniek13 for this opportunity!

A: Dark, thick, with an open, tan-brown head that quickly dissipates.

S: Bourbon, coffee, fig, chocolate.... some booze, but not overpowering.

T: Heaven in a glass. This is a perfectly balanced Bourbon barreled RIS. Sweet, bourbon and dark fruit, bitter chocolate... not noticing a coffee flavor like I did in the nose.

M: Thick enough, and sticks to the palate. Slight burn in the throat after the swallow to let you know the booze is there.

O: If this was available in GA (or easily available anywhere!) I would definitely stock up on these. Fantastic. Saving the other bottle for a while to see how it changes....

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Photo of Smokesnotes
4.93/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 poured into a tulip. Dark, thick body without much head. Really chocolate flavored, barrel comes through well. Turns one of my favorite RIS into a fantastic beer that should be sought out.

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Photo of JLDyer
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very good example of the style. Chocolate and licorice sit fairly thick on the tongue then changes to hints of spices at the finish. Very smooth with no bite or sense of the high alcohol content. Pairs well with beef and sharp cheddar cheese. I have had this from the tap at the brewery every time it is on the tap list, which is not very often. One of my very favorite beers.

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Photo of travMI13
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage. 12 oz. bottle (silver wax) poured into a snifter.

A: This beer pours black as night with slightly reddish edges. Even with an aggressive pour, there is only a very slight tan head to this. The head recedes quickly. Very little lacing.

S: Booze (bourbon), vanilla, and chocolate. All of the things you would expect from a bourbon barrel imperial stout. I must say that the booze definitely dominates, but there is a very sweet quality about it as well.

T: All the flavors from the nose come together beautifully. The chocolate and bourbon dominate the taste, but not in a boozy way. It is very sweet and sticky. A definite liquid dessert. I am very surprised this is not more boozy. The alcohol is well-hidden.

M: Sticky, creamy, and smooth. The lingering flavors are nice on the tongue. I don't get an overly heavy feeling in my mouth, but the sweetness definitely lingers a while. It does not have that full-coating feeling I have gotten from other bourbon barrel imperial stouts.

O: This beer is fantastic. I love sweet imperial stouts, and this is one of the best. Dark Horse takes an already fantastic base beer and hits a grand slam with it. After having it on draft last week at Ashley's in Westland, I decided to crack a bottle to compare. Draft and bottle versions of this are very comparable and equally impressive. I may even stack this alongside KBS and Black Note. One of the true gems of the Michigan craft beer community.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Obviously the first beer I sampled from Dark Horse's living room at the Brewers Guild Fest in Ann Arbor 2010. I was excited to get to try this one as Plead the 5th is one of my favorite beers.

Quite vinous at times but chocolate and bourbon squash that. There is dark fruits, vanilla, oak, chocolate, bourbon and alcohol.

Taste is fantastic. This beer beat out CBS, KBS, Black Note and lots of other big stouts with major hype that were at the fest. We ended up going back for more of this. Our resounding favorite of the day. Theres nothing too frilly about it. Its just a big ass stout with dark fruits, coffee, chocolate, molasses soaked in oaky and vanillay tasting bourbon barrels.

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Photo of Billquirk
4.91/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow. Blown away. What an amazing beer. The base beer is really amazing, and the bourbon barrel aging just takes it over the top. A bit thin on the mouthfeel, but other than that, absolutely perfect. I accidentally spilled a few drops on my sweatshirt, and for the rest of the night, I smelled chocolate brownies. It was unbelievable.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.91/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks MichiganderHB! 2013 vintage. Pours jet black with a super thin, mocha head that quickly fades to a thin ring around the glass. Good lacing. Complex aromas of vanilla, raisin, bourbon, molasses, and dark chocolate. This is one of the best BA stouts I've ever smelled! Smooth dark chocolate hits the front of the palate followed by caramel,vanilla, and dark fruits. The bourbon isn't as pronounced as in other BA stouts and it's extremely smooth and mellow. As it warms the chocolate really comes out with hints of toffee and molasses. Finish is chocolate with a hint of bourbon heat. Full bodied and incredibly smooth. Not much carbonation to speak of. Sweet finish. Overall, this is the best example of a bourbon barrel stout I've yet had. Simply outstanding!

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Photo of justinp444
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a minisnifter on draft it has a black body with a thing beige head. Smell of roasted malt chocolate coffee, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. Taste is big roasty coffee and malt, vanilla, bourbon, some minor chocolate, and some caramel on the end. Mouthfeel is full as well as well as the body, moderate carbonation. A great roasted malt barrel aged stout.

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Photo of Alpar
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Sugar Maple, what a fantastic surprise :)

A: Dark with a perfect level of carbonation that sticks around for a while.

S: Bourbon, malt, bread, vanilla, charred oak and a minute amount of anise.

T: Vanilla bourbon BOMB, awesome! Very smooth bourbon flavor. It tastes like marshmallows :) Reminds me of Vanilla Bean Dark Lord! I gwt some of the oak, malt and bread on the aftertaste, this is beautiful.

M: Surprisingly thin, but works to the beers advantage. I think it is perfect.

O: This is stellar. I hope I can get to the release of this beer if there is one in the future. Simply outstanding!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 Vintage on tap at The Happy Gnome in St. Paul, Minnesota. 10 oz. pour served in a New Belgium Globe glass.

Appearance: Color is an oily pitch black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of deep tan head which fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Smells very big, rich, and fairly sweet. Nice scent of bourbon with good hints of vanilla, wood, and oak chips. Big dark malts with big hints of chocolate, coffee, molasses, maple syrup, burnt caramel, toffee, and dark bread. A little bit of smokey roast. A scent of alcohol is present but it blends in well with the dark sweetness. The vanilla and chocolate really stands out. Very rich and good aroma.

Taste: As good as the aroma leads, Big taste of bourbon upfront with some good notes of vanilla, oak, and wood cask. Rich and sweet dark roasted malts with big notes of dark chocolate, bitter coffee, maple syrup, molasses, burnt toast, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and a little bit of smoke. Some alcohol heat is tasted but not as overwhelming as one might expect. Good balance of sweetness from the vanilla and chocolate, with the bitter roast. Really great taste here.

Mouthfeel: A rich and heavy body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and fairly syrupy and creamy. Sweet but far from cloying. Smoother than expected at 14%.

Overall: A really great Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Big, rich, and dark while keeping the sweetness and booze taste under control.

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Photo of MBrausen
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Dougofthefuture for holding this great tasting!

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A. Pours a dark charcoal color with a caramel head about 1mm thick. Settles as a nice foamy ring around the glass

S. Sweet chocolate dominating the smell, noticeable bourbon, caramel and light fruit

T. Sweet and sugary, but not overbearing at all. Very very malty, with dark chocolate and a slight toffee finish.

M. Medium body, coarse and dry finish

O. This is true a top shelf beer. It's sweet but not over done, very malty but not dominating the whole beer, the chocolate is at a good level, and a nice light coffee finish. This is a beer I will be looking to get more and more of. I suggest everyone try this!

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Photo of cnbrown313
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
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 BARFLYB
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On Tap at Hulmeville Inn in a fricken pint glass, are you guys trying to kill me!?!???!?

A- Bourbon 5th is a big ol black stout, it looks dark as night. Really thick looking to, not on the thin side at all. The liquid kinda coats the glass. A very minimal dark brown cap on top not leaving any traces on the glass.

S- While not the most explosive nose on this, 5th remains a big ol roasted malt masterpiece with malts(duh), getting a nice chocolate base with cocco and some underlining vanilla. Dark fruits play a big part in this and bourbon is there but muted. Smells delicious:)

T- Regular 5th is smooth as silk and this bourbon aged one is just as smoooth, if not smoother. The bourbon does not overpower and sort of takes a backseat to the base beer. Chocolate, deep roasted malts, dark fruits, vanilla and some bourbon. This is not hot at all.

M- For the supposed 14% this is not hot at all, no heat whatsoever. Creamy, thick, coating, inviting. Thick bodied, almost barely carbed up. This just glides down. An excellent feel on this bad boy.

D- Ok, 14% is very high and all, nowhere near a session beer. I drank my pint with ease. I would drink more but I have to stay alive, if I was at home drinking this, bourbon 5th would be a all dayer. Im not a big stout guy lately but this one is worth the damage that the alcohol will do over time. This one is a winner and possibly the best bourbon aged stout that I ever had. I drank this along with older vis and bourbon black and this one took the cake.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
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?

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Photo of JDizzle
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a goblet at the brewery.

I feel lucky to have come across this!!!

It's black as night with a thin cocoa brown head.

Smells like a huge RIS with a nice bourbon scent. It's actually pretty strong- more comes out as it warms. You can smell that it has the potential to be HOT.

Pure bliss!! Great bourbon flavor hits you right away. Really outstanding compared to Plead the 5th. Really oaky, roasted malt, fairly hot-as expected for a 14% beer. There is a good amount of coffee on the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is dry, slick, with low carbonation.

This is a beer I will try and seek out anywhere on tap again. IMO, it's much better than Bells Black Note and KBS, and that is saying a lot!!

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Photo of dar482
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a pitch black color with a brown head.

The aroma offers thick dark chocolate and almost brownie. Bourbon sweetness, a touch of coconut and almond.

The beer offers a medium plus mouthfeel, smooth and chewy, and really good for the ABV. Up front is bourbon, dark fruit, rich chocolate. Lingering bourbon on the back with some oak drying, along with a coconut aftertaste.

It reminds me of ’14 BCBS.

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Photo of EveningCordial
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A- Pitch black, not much of a head but some small brown carbonation and lacing. Looks thick.

S- Wonderful aromas of bourbon, cask, vanilla, coffee, and dark tannins. Some maple syrup sweetness going on as well. Charred malts and barley present too. A bit of alcohol present on the nose.

T- Great balance between the bourbon and beer itself. Not too much heat on this one and as the nose predicted, lots of dark grains, chocolate, syrup, vanilla and some dry oak. The flavors blend quite well and make this a smooth drinker.

M- Full bodied. A little sticky in a good way. Rolls off the tongue pretty silky. Not much carbonation present.

O- Dam fine BA stout. Not much room for improvement here. Could maybe use a hint more bourbon if anything, but this is for sure a top BA stout. Look forward to each year's batch.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz waxed bottle into a snifter - 2011 Vintage

A: Pours black as night with a decent dark brown head that quickly fades to a ring and leaves the tiniest lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is really amazing. Big aromas of whiskey, chocolate, vanilla, and a slight licorice smell. The whiskey is really apparent and I like it.

T: The taste is wonderful as well. Huge flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, whiskey, roasted malt, and licorice all assault the tounge with each sip.

M: The feel is damn thick and creamy...about as good as you can get. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen which is incredible for a 14% beer!

O: This is one of the best barrel aged stouts I've had so far. It's huge in all areas. The taste is just a tad bit weak on the barrel notes or else this would be close to perfect. I will say as it warms it vastly improves the taste. Highly recommended!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.86/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, shared by stillmatic2232. Thanks a lot, man!

Pours a beautiful velvety black into matching snifters. Nice mocha-colored head lasts for about 15 minutes.

Smells great- dark malt, cocoa, oak, and well-integrated bourbon.

Tastes even better. All of the above smells are amplified. This is one of the best barrel-aged stouts I've ever had. Dark Horse really knew what they were doing here. The roasty bitterness of the dark malt intermingles so well with the sweet, leathery, oaky bourbon flavors. Awesome!

Pretty sticky and viscous mouthfeel. Goes down so easy. Well carbonated.

Awesome BA stout. Don't let the slightly amateur label job fool you- this stout is great. More and more people know about this winner of a beer- so it's no longer a "dark horse."

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Photo of WesM63
4.86/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Vintage 2013. Poured into a over-sized snifter.

A: Pours a deep dark brown, nearly black with a 1 finger mocha head.

S: Smells of heaven. Anise, Black Licorice, Chocolate, Coffee, fudge, roast and a solid amount of bourbon.

T: Tastes like heaven. Nearly spot on the nose. Huge amounts of coffee, chocolate and a perfectly balanced amount of bourbon.

M: Medium to full body. Medium carbonation. The beer comes off thick yet slick and creamy on your tongue. This beer is ridiculously drinkable. Moderate amounts of bourbon reminds you, you are drinking an BBA Imperial stout.

O: This is the pinnacle of BBA Imperial Stouts. Everyone does them differently and they all taste a tad bit different, but this one, this one is perfectly balanced. Just the right amount of fudgey goodness paired with just right amount of barrel from the bourbon makes this beer ridiculously easy to drink . If you can't make it to 4elf, i'll let you in on a secret. Hit the brewery any time of the year and pay the money for the tour, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of jegross2
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Plead The Fifth (2012) from Dark Horse Brewing Company out of Michigan.
Score: 98

2012 vintage bottle served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 03/13/12. A big thank you to Nick for sharing this bottle with me; I had been wanting to try it forever.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a super thin, creamy layer of mocha head that settles to a pencil thin ring around the glass. Good lacing too. 4.5/5

Smell: Lots of vanilla and raisin. Smooth bourbon, vanilla cupcakes, molasses, rich chocolate, fudge, tobacco and a hint of cherry. 4.5/5

Taste: Luscious dark chocolate and a little caramel flavor. Incredibly creamy and absolutely no alcohol presence whatsoever. Mellow vanilla too. Fig and prunes. As it layers and warms, molasses and a little bit of toffee and smooth bourbon-without-the-boozy-bite flavor comes out. Fudge, milk chocolate and melted dark chocolate on the midpalate. Super chocolatey backbone here. Finish is cocoa and dark chocolate with a hint of bourbon flavor. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, minimal carbonation. Incredibly creamy mouthfeel. Slightly sweet finish. 5/5

Overall: This is one of the best barrel-aged stouts out there; it is every bit as good as the FiftyFifty Eclipse White Wax (Elijah Craig 18-aged version). The taste is absolutely incredible. I wish I had a bottle of my own! Thanks again for sharing this one with me Nick!

Recommendation: Go get yourself a bottle of this magnificent elixir. Even casual beer drinkers should be able to revel in its chocolatey glory.

Pairings: French vanilla ice cream.

Cost: $8 for a 12 oz bottle.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.48 out of 5 based on 3,048 ratings.
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