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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

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 424 | Ratings: 3,031
Photo of NolaHopHead
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Pours jet black, thin creamy tan head fades slowly to a ring, spotty lace. Deep chocolate aroma, mild bourbon and vanilla. Big chocolate flavor, vanilla notes, coffee. The bourbon notes are very soft, no heat. Mouthfeel is on the thin side, semi-soft and silky, oily. Very good bourbon barrel stout, glad I have another bottle.

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Photo of M_chav
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect pitch black with copper head lacing, silk in a glass. Smell is dominated with typical RIS raisen-chocolate-sweetness. Taste is so good, super smooth feel goes down way too easy. Overall this is a really well done BB-RIS. Virtually no heat, but somehow I want more from it, still left hanging for that "special" quality.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very thick, oily looking dark brown and settles into the glass with a very dark brown body and a frothy, mocha colored head. Aroma is of rich caramel, sweet bourbon, oaky wood and big roasted malts. Flavor is big bitter roastiness up front with a dash of coffee, then it hits with a wave of sugary sweet bourbon, toasted oak and finished with some roastiness and caramel flavors. Definite waves of flavor with this one. This one is full bodied with medium-light carbonation and a slick oily feel. Up there with the great class of BB stouts, very nicely done.

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Photo of MarcWP
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Copper wax Van Winkle. Joke.

Pours typical, black with no light coming through, small toasted almond colored head that leaves a tiny ring around the edge of the snifter.

Aroma is heavy bourbon, molasses, bitter dark bakers chocolate, fudge, brown sugar, and a definite date and fig fruitiness.

The taste brings heavy roast, bourbon, molasses, fudge, brown sugar, burnt fig, oak, vanilla extract, and bitter coffee. The flavor is pretty balanced between the roast, sweetness, fruitiness, and booziness of the bourbon. The finish lacks the complexity of the mid palate though.

Mouthfeel suffers a bit compared to the rest of the beer but is still good. More fullness would be awesome but the carbonation is spot on for the style. A medium mouthfeel when it should be at least a heavy side of medium.

Overall an excellent bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Not at the level of some of the best I've had, but definitely on their heels. Will be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of Hamburgers
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Happy Barrel Aged Beer Day! Pours jet black with thin brown head. Still pretty boozy even after a year in the cellar. Aroma of bourbon, dark chocolate, soy sauce, and dried fruit. Flavor is chocolaty up front with the bourbon lingering in the finish. Slight undertone of roasted malts. Nicely balanced. Heavy without being syrupy. Moderate carbonation. Overall an excellent barrel aged stout. Not a ton of depth but very balanced.

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Photo of djmitche
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this in a snifter at local option and the strong recommendation of the server.

A: Dark and thick with a decent chocolatey brown head and some reasonable lacing.

S: The other reviews suggest that the nose only emerges as the beer warms, but even at serving temperature this has a nice roasted nose with coffee and a bit of heat. There may be a hint of honey in there, too?

T: I'll admit I worry when I see "bourbon stout" - they tend to be extremely sweet and thick. But this was advertised as overcoming that problem, and delivered. There's roasted malt, bitter chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and enough bitterness to keep you mind off the possibility of cavities.

M: As hinted above, this is less chewy than most beers of this style, although it does thicken up as it warms

D: This is no session beer, but it is not limited to dessert and breakfast purposes.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got on trade from a friend. Thx Markus! Served at 12deg C in a chalice. 2014 vintage.

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high dark brown head that films out in around 2mins. The head is very airy and the brew nearly black. Might even be too dark to use as a welding glass!

S- Oodles of bourbon. Tons of heat even though it's only 11%.

T- Bourbon on bourbon. Did I say lots of bourbon? Aged for a perfect time in a barrel that must have had a nice seepage into it during the bourbon aging. You can sure tell when a company re-uses a barrel but this one is fresh from the first use barrel. Might be a touch overpowering which takes it down from perfect in the flavor department. Touch hot. This one needs to sit.

M- A touch watery.

O- Excellent brew. If I ever find it, it's bought be it draft, bottle, whatever. This is an excellent brew on the verge of being perfect. Looking forward to finding more out there but want to let it sit at least 3yrs from vintage date to get that heat down a bit and get the subtle coffee and chocolatiess out of the brew.

Food Pairing

This food pairing is actually a bit difficult. It's the reason you don't see a lot of reviews of hard liquor with food- it overpowers. With that being said, this brew went very well with....... Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Bourbon and chocolate pair well together and the cake with definitely move that cake up a level.


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Photo of mhksuccess
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from bottle into founder snifter
had back to back with the regular version
and this one is much better
it is dark and not much head just like regular
although this smell is boozy maybe hint of chocolate on back end
and taste is similar although is extremely smooth maybe a touch of heat
slight lacing on this also
aftertaste is so good almost perfect would prefer this over the regular although both are amazing brews

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Photo of Floydster
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle wax dipped

Appearance is pitch black and resembles motor oil, two fingers of medium brown head, decent lacing and retention

Smell is oatmeal, booze, bourbon, vanilla, both milk and dark cocoa, along with fresh brewed java

Taste starts off with dark chocolate and big coffee notes, fades into oak, vanilla, and Christmas spices, as it warms the whiskey notes come out more, by the end the notes from the barrel are very pronounced and do a great job of rounding out the roastiness

Mouthfeel is full bodied, perfect level of carbonation, a little sweet once it warmed fully through, liked the chewiness from the roasted malts

Overall this is a big tasty beer, alcohol is pretty hidden for 11% but the bourbon makes itself known with all the wonderful barrel characteristics, I prefer the barrel aged version over the standard Plead the 5th, glad I got to try this

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

truly delicious, and enormously better than the base beer. this is perhaps the greatest improvement from base beer to barrel aged edition i have ever seen, not that there is anything wrong with the base beer, but that its not so outstanding and one of a kind as this variant. beautiful stuff, high luster dark brown, with a milky thick mocha head. the nose isnt all barrel, but that vanilla sweetness is robust. it pulls the bitter out of the base beer and balances it brilliantly, all united in oak. i get some coconut and some dark chocolate in here in the taste, even some dark fruits, maybe dried cherries for a minute, before the bourbon slowly starts to take over the palate. amazing how mellow the alcohol is on this, especially considering its not all that viscous compared to others in the same style. the finish is long but only a little sweet, i could have another glass no problem. toffee and espresso to finish with the bourbon, its like dessert and an after dinner drink in one package. the best ive had from dark horse, one of the best bourbon barrel beers period. wow.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'11 vintage. Second time around, and I've got two more from my four-pack. Mad Elf snifter.

Pours black as black, not much head. A few bubbles chunking on-top.

Bright bourbon nose with bar chocolate, heavy roast, rocket fuel, espresso, Nutella, marzipan, and malt bitterness. Smells phenomenal.

Sweet bourbon upfront with gooey choco-fudge brownie, walnut, hazelnut creme, milk caramel, Mexican coffee, and hefty booze strength. Charred malts with extreme roast. Black and sweet with lovely breath of whiskey. Some of the best bourbon barrel qualities in a stout I have ever had.

Big-bodied and lightly-carbonated to style. Hot, even with a year down, but it's at a goddamn 14%. Still a great feel for the strength.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a nice big tan colored head on top. Aroma is boozy and sweet. Notes of bourbon, toffee, sweet caramel, roasted malts, and dark chocolate make up this whale's smell.

It's flavor truly has a lot going on. Dark chocolate, walnuts, roasted malts, bourbon, coffee, more roasted malts. A significant alcohol warmth is noticed.

This is one tasty stout, I'm glad I got my hands on one of these.

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Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick ink black with a small amount of bubbly light brown head that very quickly disappeared leaving only a thin ring around the glass.

S - Bourbon, wood, raisin, dark and milk chocolate, vanilla, and hints of cherry.

T - Roasted malt upfront with oak, dark chocolate, caramel, black cherries, raisins, coffee and a bit of vanilla and cream. The bourbon is very noticeable, which might be it's only weakness.

M - Low carbonation with a medium body. A rich and oily mouthfeel that coats the tongue. A warm finish, but the ABV is kept in check pretty well.

O - Great BA stout. If the Bourbon wasn't so noticeable this would be an A+ beer. Nothing a little more time can't fix. Glad I got to try this.

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Photo of Marius
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle, 2014 vintage, sipped early 2016. Pitch black pour, with a small espresso head that gives way to a thin lacing. Smells of maple syrup, vanilla, bourbon, milk chocolate, cocoa, barrel sourness, caramel fudge and roasted malts. The taste is sweet, bitter and a bit sour, with notes of sweet bourbon, dark cherries, vanilla, cocoa and dark chocolate. The alcohol is quite present, but not too annoying. Medium to full bodied, with a sticky sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Turdferguson for this one. Poured from a waxed and capped 12oz. bottle into a Darkness Snifter. 2011 vintage. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a thin, fine layer of chocolate colored head with poor retention. Beer is a dark, dense opaque black. Lacing is stringy and spotty with decent stick. Really oily and slick, thick legs. Decent looking beer.

Nose is booze, fudge brownie, cocoa, chocolate, and molasses. Extremely aromatic and dense. Almost smells like it looks if that makes any sense. Very rich. Really enticing.

Opens chocolate, honey, and cocoa. Fudgey and boozy in the middle with notes of molasses sweetness. End is sweet and sticky with some prune notes. Barrel presence crescendos at the finish. Aftertaste is sweet honey, chocolate, and fudge. Really tasty with a very balanced barrel flavor.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily, slick, and silky in the mouth and warm and smooth going down. Finishes warm with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Absolute perfection.

Although this beer has had quite some talk behind it, its still under-the-radar in my opinion. Absolutely amazing and pretty much everything you could possibly want out of a barrel aged imperial stout. I'll definitely be seeking out more of this to lay down.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage
12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a jet black color with a small foamy dark tan head that sticks around for a while before settling into a ring around the edge of the glass

S- aroma opens with a mixture of dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, black cherries & light espresso. There's a nice oaky bourbon note that flows throughout the aroma, adding light touches of vanilla, coconut & spicy wood

T- opens up with smoky charred roasted malt flavors that brings out a coffee-like bitterness, followed by a big hit of bourbon barrel that brings notes of spicy wet oak, caramel, vanilla and bourbon. The finish brings a sweetness of dark fruits, along with a linger of caramel and more bourbon

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a viscous mouthfeel that turns creamy into the finish

O- an already awesome RIS receives a barrel treatment very well, creating a sipper that gets better as it warms

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 12/30/11. Last review of 2011.
Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Thick ink black with a small amount of bubbly light brown head that very quickly disappeared leaving only a thin ring around the glass.

S - The barrel aging really dominates the nose up front with bourbon, vanilla and oak aromas. A decent sweetness is evident and cuts through the ABV, which is somewhat noticeable but well hidden given the 14% ABV. Some roasted malt and chocolate notes are hidden in the background.

T - Follows the nose - big flavours from the barrel aging dominate. Bourbon, vanilla and oak flavours are meld together in a good balance. The characteristics of the base beer are hidden behind the barrel flavours but some subtle roasted malt and chocolate notes come through along with hints of licorice and smoke. The ABV is somewhat noticeable but is complimented by sweet molasses flavours to subdue it well.

M - Full body, somewhat viscous at times. Light carbonation.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starter of the night at an EPIC tasting at RB's Footbalm's house... Eric set the bar high.. Thanks buddy... I hope your travels treat you well, and our paths always cross.

Not much of a head... oily.. thick staining the glass deep brown brew...

I had a surprising number of proper pours of this brew over the evening and was increasingly impressed on each one.

Deep dark chocolate with dark malts punctuating the nose.. good oak and bourbon without ever becoming overdone...

Flavor is brownie batter spiked with dark chocolate covered espresso beans and good bourbon.. vanilla and oaky bourbon... something that I wrote down as toasted marshmallow.. everything is amazingly well integrated ... especially when warmer.

Thick and inviting.. wonderful.. lite carbonation but nobody complained.. I could have easily sat content with this bottle the entire night.

all 4.5's

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got this beer in a recent trade with Evbowski. Huge thanks for the beer Evan. Really wanted to try this since it was released last year!

vintage 2011.

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance: dark motor oil black with a dark brown head that is one finger tall. Nice lacing on the side of the glass; this stout stains the glass because its just that dark of a monster! Head recedes into a little bigger than thin cap.

Smell: This beer smells great! The thing that is really setting it apart from other barrel aged imperial stouts is the huge smoke notes mingled in with the mellow barrel notes of bourbon and oak. The smoke note is really meaty type of smoke. It also smells really roasty almost to the point of charcoal.

Taste: This beer starts off tasting like a fairly intense liquid smoke; it bacony and meaty. The roasty malts are found middle palate along with the start of some really smooth and mellow barrel notes. The beer finishes sweet and smokey with a little whiskey kick and mild warming burn in the back of your throat. Its almost like the flavor of charred marshmellows. Little mild sour note is also found in the aftertaste, but its not off putting. The smoke never really backs down throughout the entire time you drink this beer; but its not overpowering or overdone. The vanilla really becomes more pronounced as the beer get to room temperature and begins to balance out the smoke notes.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with low almost moderate carbonation levels. Its just right to deliver a sublime mouthfeel on this barrel aged stout! Super smooth, silky, slick, oily, yet still a bit chewy. Definately a sipper because of the robust smokiness.

Overall: Great effort by dark horse. This is my favorite beer that I have tried from this brewery. I love smokey dark beers and when barrel notes meet the smoke like they do in this beer its makes a really tasty beer.

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Photo of MrFootstones
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very very black. Darker head than your typical stout.

Aroma is a pleasing mix of dark fruit as well as heavy roast and toasty malt. A little booze and sweetness as well.

Reflects the nose. Roasted barley, toasty malt, sweetness and some estery alcohol sweetness as well. Bourbon is a nice complexity rather than the main event.

Rich and decadent without being overbearing. Not as intense as BCBS, but worlds better than -bal aged Rasputin.

Great beer. Reminds me of the best attributes of all of this years Eclipses put together.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really glad to finally get my hands on this one. Thanks, Tyler!

A: Pours a thick, viscous black with a thin mocha colored head that disappears into the body pretty quickly. Light on the lace, but it seems like the beer is just too heavy for it.

S: This isn't the most potent smelling barrel aged beer out there, but there is a ton going on in here. Upfront, you're met with rich dark chocolate, coconut and espresso. Beyond that, you get some toffee, marzipan, chocolate covered cherry and bourbon. Fantastic.

T: Dark chocolate with a bourbon bite right off the bat. Then settles into some roasted malt, espresso, toffee, light barrel char, and fudge. Finishes with some milk chocolate and a good dash of bourbon. A ton of aggressive flavors in here, but none of them really take charge, which is nice. Instead, they all meld together, held intact by a velvety and just a touch slick mouthfeel. Really well executed.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz silver waxed bottle into my Darkness snifter. Thanks go to RuckerDu's Chicago connection for helping me track this down. Much appreciated!

Pours inky black with a medium bubbled cinnamon mocha cover, half an inch thick, that settles to a few islands.

Smells rich and decadent: huge cake batter and dark chocolate, swirl of caramel drizzle, and a spike of alcohol heat that hints at the bourbon.

Where the nose plays coy with the barrel, the taste does not. Tidal wave of bourbon from the get-go. Heat weaves a tight spiral throughout. Abundance of cake batter and baker's chocolate, firm tannins, hops, and a dry finish of fudgey vanilla bourbon.

Body is coating and thick. Carbonation helps lift this to a nice luxurious feel. Hops leaves a lingering bitterness that melds with the bourbon heat.

Overall, this is a really impressive offering by Dark Horse. I enjoyed this significantly more than my previous experience on tap at the Great Taste. A solid ba stout that is impressive as is and stands to potentially age quite gracefully. Well done!

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Photo of winningwes91
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excited about this one. Pours out the blackest of black. Pure motor oil. Smells of some baker's chocolate and bourbon with some smoky notes. Taste follows suit perfectly. The perfect balance of roast and sweet. Much better than the base. Full bodied. Awesome.

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Photo of Lukafer
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Dark Horse, served in a snifter.

Appearance is black and oily, with a thin tan head that leaves great lacing. Smells are bourbon, oak, some chocolate, smells delicious. Taste is some sweet malts, bourbon, oak and some smoke, very good. Mouthfeel is sticky, chewy and just enough carb or this style. This beer is really boozy, but in a really drinkable way. I only had one, because it was early afternoon and I didn't want to get too plowed, otherwise I could've had a few. This is a very good beer!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355ml 2013 silver waxed bottle poured into tulip 21/10/14, can't thank alfie enough for this one

A she pours dark alright, thumbnail's edge, a fast falling finger of foam leaves no lace, wide legs and some color left behind on the glass, dark liquid

S charred wood, bourbon, burnt marshmallow, vanilla, heaps of fudge and chocolate syrup, sweetened coffee, more barrel, a hint of smoke, the barrel's done wonders for this one

T this has picked up a shitload of flavor from the barrel, strange really how different this is from the base, faint nutmeg, heaps of burnt barrel and the bourbon has a little sweet smoke to it, just a hint of dark fruit and roasted coconut, holy barrel batman

M full is an understatement, the bubbles thicken it up even more, very faint heat, my lips are beyond stuck together there might be some super glue in there, massive amounts of char and bourbon with a hint of spice on the finish

O a massive improvement over the base beer, strangely so really, one of the better BB stouts I can recall, very intense at every turn

I have little to complain about as this one sinks into my gut, a big beer that explodes at every turn, I can't recall a barrel transforming a beer like this before, seek and destroy

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.48 out of 5 based on 3,031 ratings.
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