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 | 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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
424
Ratings:
3,020
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
20.54%
 
 
Wants:
2,165
Gots:
851
For Trade:
116
User Reviews
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Reviews: 424 | Ratings: 3,020
Photo of PerHops
3.68/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2012 Bottle into Snifter.

A- Jet black with a little bit of carbonation at the end of pour. The head is thin and tan but the retention is beautiful. This is a 100 percent perfect looking bb stout.

S- There is bourbon, roasty notes, oak and a slight damp funk at the end. Not quite what I was hoping for and not what I remember.

T- I dont pick up any funk like I did on the nose, but again slightly dissappointing. I get dark fruits, a little bitter chocolate, a little bourbon, but it has a light finish with red wine characters. A little astringent.

M- Starts off slightly syrupy but finishes pretty light and moderate carbonation.

O- To be honest this beer isn't quite what I remember it being. I am going to sit on my other too and hope they mellow out and evolve a little bit.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.74/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to northernbrebws for satisfying this long time want. 2014 vintage served in my Funky Buddha snifter. Pours one shade shy of black with a two inch, loose, mocha-colored head that dissipates into a fizzy swirl around the shoulders. Nose expresses cocoa, roast and a slightly vinous quality. Taste follows nose - really not getting much of the barrel here. There are also some oxidized notes towards the back. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a mild carbonation and a light acidity. Overall, not bad but a bit thin and lacking the barrel presence.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%
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

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Photo of Trent
3.77/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Update for 2015 vintage: 12 oz bottle.

Poured a translucent black, little to no head. What head was present was decidedly tan.

Smells excellent, hints of sweetness. Not overly boozy as some in the style can be.

Taste is mild, like the smell, it's not overpowering or boozy. Some sweetness and vanilla, seemingly well balanced. However... Taste is also watery.

Which leads to mouthfeel, which is where this really falls flat. The overall theme of this is "thin". The 2015 vintage Plead the 5th was a touch watery (and odd), and the same seems to be hindering the BA version of Pt5th. They are from different batches, but the same issue persists.

Overall: Good beer. Has been GREAT in the past, so expectations were high, not quite met.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.8/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(750ml shared at Dak's Final Four tasting!). Pours oily dark brown with think khaki head. Aroma has sweet bourbon, vanilla and oak. Taste is sweet with some sour notes. Full bodied with oily texture. Good, but I had higher expectations of this one..

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Photo of n2185
3.82/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of brown head that fades into a hin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of creamy cocoa and chocolate notes up front followed by woody oak aromas. Slight caramel notes follow with stronger notes of bourbon.

T: roasted malts up front followed by semi-sweet chocolate flavors. Lots of oak notes follow with some caramel and bourbon flavors. The finish is lightly roasted and smokey with a light alcohol burn.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer is smooth and creamy.

O: a good bbal stout, overall. I'd like some more bourbon presence and more depth of aroma, but it hides the alcohol very well.

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Photo of brystmar
3.82/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JBuddle for sharing!

Looks like an imperial stout, leaving good lace. Nice aroma of bourbon-coated roasty malts. Dark, almost burnt. Slight oxidization too.

Roasty up front, though the bourbon takes over quickly and overwhelms the other flavors. The barrel aging is a kinda out of control here; the barrel character shouldn't be this prominent.

Huge body is this brew's savior. Bourbon be damned: the viscous mouthfeel is right where it needs to be.

I prefer the base beer -- especially with age -- but this isn't bad. I hear last year's batch was much better (makes sense; the beer I'm drinking isn't anywhere near deserving of a 4.48 average). Hope I can try a 2010 bottle someday.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.84/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage.

Pours completely pitch black with no head. Very faint spots of lace appear during the drink down.

The smell is of dark chocolate, vanilla, pipe tobacco, dark fruit and faint coffee.

The taste is dominated by dark chocolate and roasted malt. There is an strong Earthy oak aftertaste.

The texture is heavy bodied with no carbonation.

All of the characteristics of a bourbon barrel stout are here but, there is an out of place and unpleasant herbal aftertaste. I'm not sure if the age of this bottle is an issue but, I am underwhelmed with this offering.

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Photo of timc100
3.85/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2014 bottle

Previously had the 12 and 13 at the 4 Elf party on draft and remembered them fondly, the review is for the 2014 bottle however.

Great looking oily stout, very dark. Aroma of bakers chocolate, burnt chocolate, charred oak, note of espresso. Palate follows suit - the bitter chocolate and roast take the first and only step. Maybe a bad bottle, but this was very one-note. I remember the 12 and 13 being fudge bourbon bombs and north of 4.5 rating wise. So it goes.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.87/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, thanks Adam! (mrbubbler)

A: Quarter inch cap of creamy cappucino colored head. The beer is a black, no light penetration, with a dark brown hue.

S: Marshmellow, graham cracker, light vanilla, touch of bouurbon. Bakers chocolate

T: Oak, kiss of vanilla, touch of toast, vanills, & light roasted malt blended with bourbon.

M: semi dry, light carbonation, medium roasted sweetness.

O: Large margin improvement from regular plead the 5th. Glad I got the chance to try it. Not my favorite -bal RIS but still quite tasty. Worth a try.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.88/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage (I think, shouldn't have recycled the bottle) picked up in a trade. Split the bottle with my wife.

Beautiful pour that runs out of the bottle like black ketchup. Not much head. Smell is fruit and bourbon, a little bit of chocolate behind. But it's all more faded than I expected, doesn't assert itself with sweet bourbon.

Taste. Hmmmm...again, faded a bit. Except for a surprising hoppy bitterness. Is this an 11 that past it's prime? Or is it not all that? Again, not bad, but not all that.

Mouthfeel - because the bourbon isn't as pronounced as expected, zero burn. Great viscosity. Can't believe it's 14%. Consistency is probably all that keeps me from declaring this a par beer.

Overall, a very good beer, but as with the base BT5, I apparently like this less than the average bear. And in the pantheon of bourbon barrel stouts, stunningly, I would rate this as slightly below average. Worth drinking, and recommended, but I would not pay $7/bottle for it or trade for it at a high premium.

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Photo of dboon
3.93/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, 750ml, 2010 vintage. Black pour with a small tan head. Bourbon and chocolate nose. Vinous with big cabernet, deep roasted malt, and bourbon notes. Good, but maybe not what the brewer intended

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Photo of Ahappyhiker2
3.96/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

A- Poured dark and thick, black in color. Barely any head or noticeable carbonation. Dark brown lacing.

S- Bourbon, vanilla, coconut, some booze on the nose as well. The smell is sweet, I don't get as much chocolate or bitterness that I got when I had this fresh. The aroma is mostly bourbon and vanilla.

T- Bitter on the tongue as it goes down, and has a dominant coffee flavor. It's so much different from when I had it fresh. I remember tons of bourbon in the taste, and I'm honestly barely getting any. There is some vanilla in the aftertaste, but it's predominantly coffee and a bitter dark chocolate flavor throughout. Reminds me of KBS.

M- Could use a little more carbonation, but it's nice and thick.

O- More than I could say I'm disappointed, I'm just so surprised. This is the same exact beer I had fresh 2 years ago, and it's completely different. It's a little sweeter which I expected, but it has so much more coffee presence and so much less bourbon. It really reminds me of KBS, which is not a bad thing at all but the first time I had it it reminded me of Parabola. I'm putting this one down as a beer not worth aging. It's delicious in its own right still, but I enjoyed it so much more fresh. Still a solid barrel-aged offering from Dark Horse, and one of the better barrel-aged stouts floating around in my opinion. For those of you that are aging a few: drink them.

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Photo of eifster82
3.96/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2015 bottle into mini snifter.

Dark, black appearance with a slight amber ring on the edge of glass. Smell was basically same as regular Pt5th. Taste had some bourbon presence but not nearly as much as you would expect out of a double digit abv stout. Some raisin and black licorice taste. The sad highlight of this beer is how fast it must have fallen off. I don't know if it wasn't cellared properly or what, but back end was all cardboard and nothing resembling an imperial stout. I got nothing resembling what people are describing in reviews below mine. Very disappointing.

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Photo of dlino11
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Like others have said I feel the 2014 needs to age some. Pours dark and had a nice thick constancy. Just felt the barrel aged flavor was weak and tasted like breakfast stout.

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Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage, silver wax 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. The brew appears black with a mocha head that fades leaving string lace.

Aroma has a bit of meaty thing going on then bourbon, caramel and coconut. Some earth and char with plenty of booze.

This is a boozy tasting brew with roast, earth and a surprising amount of coconut. A little solvent then slight caramel and vanilla.

This is medium in body with modest carbonation. Pretty good stuff that has really not decreased in intensity for the 2 years it has been aging. I see what all the buzz is about now but if I had more bottles id likely age them even longer.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another from my trade with deyholla. Pours viscous black with one finger brown mocha head. Aroma of chocolate, sweet molasses, dark fruits, roast, and something off that I am not a fan of (similar characteristics to Tres). Thick viscous mouthfeel with medium low carbonation. Heavy dark fruit up front followed by lots of dark bittersweet chocolate. Slight booze, but don't get much of the bourbon barrel in this. Was expecting a bit more vanilla oak, though my palate might be tainted from the Kuhnhenn BA 4D I had right before this. I tend to prefer non-fruity stouts, but this is generally well done. Relaxing sipper. I find it strange that the regular version was so full of roast and chocolate and this one went more fruity despite the barrel. Oh well, good beer just not as great as I had hoped.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of light dry roasted malt notes with some black chocolate notes with medium bourbon notes with some vanilla undertones. Taste is also dominated by creamy black chocolate notes with some light dry roasted malt. Body is full with creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Not as complex as I was expecting but very well balance overall with chocolate and bourbon creating an efficient mix.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours just shy of black as can be with just a touch of mahogany around the very edges. small, very dark brown head with weak retention. no lacing but does leave brown viscous legs as it swirls around the glass. completely opaque.

Smell: strong sweet chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar, bourbon and booze. notes of vanilla, oak and dark fruits are lighter.

Taste: opens up with huge amounts of sweetness coming in the form of brown sugar and chocolate. the middle is full of barrel and dark malt character, with bourbon and a strong espresso taste. strong alcohol in the back end along with some dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: heavy, slick and chewy. large amounts of sweetness but the bitter black malts win out leaving behind some bitterness. warming alcohol

Overall: easily the best beer I have had from dark horse, but with all the great barrel aged stouts out there, this one falls at the lower end of the upper tier.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ramnuts

A-Black appearance with a dark tan head.

S- Dark chocolate. Alcohol and some vanilla.

T- Chalky, bitter chocolate. Dry after taste. Not as much vanilla in the taste as there was in the aroma.

M- Medium to thick. A tad thinner than I would have expected.

O- Good ba stout. Nothing extrordinary. Lacks something, but can't really put my finger on it. Maybe a little more complexity would make this better.

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Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft. Sampled at Great Taste. Pours a pitch black brown/black color with a slight mocha bronw head. The barrel and booze is pretty evident in the nose along with the normal imp stout characteristics of dark chocolate and some leather. The booze is pretty in your face to me on this one with it being the first thing I notice upon tasting, followed by the barrel, dark chocolate, and slight leather. Medium mouthfeel. Overall, I thought it a tad hot but otherwise pretty drinkable.

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Photo of absoluthamm
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Was a lot thinner than I was expecting. Not much to the aroma. Taste was good, but lacking what I'm looking for in a BBA stout. Was really excited for this, but let down. Could be partial palate fatigue from the Black Tuesday before it though.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.01/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 1 finger dark tan head that settles into a ring around the edge. Aroma is mostly roasted malts and oak. Bourbon is actually rather subdued for the most part. Fair amount of chocolate and earthy tones. Flavor is pretty sweet, and a healthy dose of the bourbon I was missing in the nose. I am digging the dark fruits and they only add to the depth. The body is creamy, rich and full. Runs a little hot, but obviously a BA stout that will only get better with time.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.01/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a recent trade with hotpipes29. This one comes eagerly anticipated, so we made quick work of it. Thanks for the trade!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drunk right after the base beer for comparative purposes

APPEARANCE: Basically the same out of the bottle as the base beer, but perhaps even darker and thicker. A sludgy, thick black pour yields a small, medium looking, slightly bubbly, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a bubbly wisp and ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Though the head is a little bubbly compared to the base, this is incredibly thick and menacing. Totally evil.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon on the nose with notes of oak and milk chocolate from the barrels. Quite barrel forward, but some roasted malts and dark chocolate notes do make their way through the barrel aging. Medium strength nose.

TASTE: Quite barrel forward on the palate with very little of the base beer left over. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some nice milk chocolate up front. Bourbon barrel dominates through the middle with a touch of roasted and dark chocolate flavors after the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste is barrel heavy with lots of bourbon and plenty of alcohol. Very little base beer sticks around. Flavorful, but not much of the regular Plead the 5th is left to be found.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of slightly prickly carbonation. Thick and creamy enough on the palate, especially after it has sat in the glass for a bit, goes down fine with a bite after the swallow. Finishes sticky on the palate and lots of heat lingers. Not as thick and full as the base, but still pleasant.

OVERALL: This was a really good bourbon barrel aged stout. Despite the slightly milder nose and lighter palate compared to the base beer, the look was outstanding and the barrel flavors were very interesting and enjoyable. Like many barrel aged versions of a base beer, however, the barrel aging on this one has almost completely erased everything that was so enjoyable about the regular Plead the 5th. In that sense, you could say this is a phenomenal bourbon barrel stout, but not a phenomenal bourbon barrel Plead the 5th, if that makes any sense. Anyways, I was stoked to be able to try these together and we really enjoyed the pair. Thanks again for this one hotpipes. This was a lot of fun!

UPDATE: Trying a 2012 and 2011 together tonight. Everything is the same in the 2012, though the palate is a little heavier and creamier. I'd give a solid 4 to the newer vintage in this department.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.04/5  rDev -9.8%
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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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.48 out of 5 based on 3,020 ratings.
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