Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thBourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thBourbon 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:
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.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 463 | Ratings: 3,299
Photo of gatornation
4.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black color with a thin tan head. Smell is bourbon first with chocolate,vanilla wood and roasted malts. Taste is excellent nice mellow bourbon taste is in the lead its complimented by chocolate ,coffee and vanilla. mouth feel is medium thick with a very nice barrel. very impressed with the taste on this.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.31/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with no head
S: Bourbon, dark chocolate, brown sugar, coconut, dark fruit
T: Bourbon, roasty, dark chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, light licorice, oak, vanilla, fudge
M: Medium full
O: A great beer and so happy it's a 12 oz format

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Photo of BeantownBrews
4.61/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, almost no head thin ring of bubbles line the glass
Smells of chocolate, oak, alcohol and some dark fruitiness
Definitely more going on taste wise than the nose suggests, very roasty, dark chocolate, prune, oak, whiskey
Feel is pretty spot on for the style a bit shy of syrup-like
Worth seeking out for sure

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.69/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely a great BA Stout! I had a 2012 saved in my cellar and cracked it solo the other night and enjoyed it slowly from a tulip over the course of an hour or so. Super dark chocolate and very nice deep bourbon notes but since it was a 2012 it was sooooo smooth!! Amazing beer!

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Photo of jeffreed61
4.46/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 release, poured at 60-ish degrees. Deep, rich, boozy bourbon nose carries all the way through. So smooth & sweet. What really gives this character is a hint of roughish wood to close it out. Terrific.

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Photo of rypkr
4.2/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2015 poured into a snifter. Inky and frothy with little head.

Smells has me concerned. There's a very, very evident sour green apple smell I'm picking up. Mild bourbon, no roast, lots of candied sugar.

Taste like watery acidic nothing. This is nothing like the base beer. Something is very wrong here. It's mostly flat which is perplexing given that it's only a year old and wax sealed. This is clearly a botched bottled. I traded for this and gave no idea the history of how it was stored etc but this is a sad, sad drain pour.


2-16-17 new review. Very eager to retry this.

This time it's a draft pour. 1 hour old it was poured to a 16oz mason jar growler. From there it was poured into a snifter at home.

Dark coca cola inky body, lots of frothy khaki head. Sticky, sugary lacing. (Appearance bumped to 4.25 from 4)

Smells heavily of dark fruit and molasses. Lots of carmel,vanilla and oak. Bourbon comes through just right, not too strong and well meddled in. Still getting something faint along the lines of a granny smith apple. (Smell bumped to 4.25 from 2)

Tastes roasty and sweet at the same time. Lots of cream, lots of vanilla cues. More char than I recall from the base beer strangely. Bourbon isnt that prominent in flavor. (Taste bumped to 4.0 from 2.0)

Mouthfeel is awesome. It's creamier than most oatmeal stouts. It's very, very mild on the carbonation and heavy in body. Also quite dry. (Feel bumped to 4.75 from 1.5)

Overall. A much better experience. Very good beer, but after all the bb stouts I've had over the last few years I'm honestly not sure this is among the best of them. It's good, but not awesome like I wanted it to be. (Overall score bumped to 4.25 from 1)

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Photo of Zoomslowik
4.24/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L- Black, not much of a head. Slight ring of dark tan bubbles. Leaves some lacing on the glass.

S- Mostly bourbon and dark chocolate. A little bit of vanilla and coffee.

T- A little bitter up front. Roasted malts, bitter chocolate and coffee. Good fudgy, chocolatey base with a bit of vanilla.

F- Smooth. Solid thickness and creaminess on the palette despite being slightly on the thin side.

O- Pretty solid. It definitely has flavor. It's slightly too bitter for me, but I like the change of pace. I'd like to be able to keep a couple of these around.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Late 2015 vintage; drank 1/13/16 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Inky black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small dark tan head; almost no lace.

Oak, dark cherry, marshmallow & bourbon notes in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Bakers chocolate & dark cherry flavors up front; oak & bourbon notes on the finish. Banana notes emerged as this warmed. A bit boozy when fresh, but the nose points toward transcendence. The rest are sentenced to the cellar...

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

Very very nice barrel aged beer. Little boozy but a nice vanilla, coffee, bourbon with chocolate mix going on. Nice thick body. Very dark look but very solid beer.

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Photo of TonyLema1
4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: jet black, thin tan lacing head
S: roasty malts, coffee, and vanilla
T: vanilla, coffee, roasted malts, slightl bourbon
F: smooth, all of the mouthfeel is upfront
O: this beer is 2 years old, and really tasty, the booze has softened, but it's noticeable

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Photo of justinp444
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
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 RUWatching
4.76/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014. Holds bourbon aromas well. Smooth and balanced on average. Thinner than I remember but sits nicely on the tongue.

Poured still. No head. Black.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours black with a film of dark brown head. Looks pitch black on the glass
S: holy sweet bourbon! Also chocolate and some dark fruit sweetness. Good aroma, I could go without the fruity notes
T: well the dang fruity notes pop out first, and true bourbon and chocolate are 2nd. It's good, but not my preference.
F: no alcohol, super smooth. Not near as thick as I imagined.
O: slightly underwhelmed. But still a good beer.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.29/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a motor oil black color with thin mocha head. Aroma is lightly sweet roasted malts. Flavor is candied dark fruit and semi sweet.has notes of roasted chocolate malts and the bourbon is really mellow. Has a rich body and overall really delicious.

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Photo of OompaMentor
4.74/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into snifter. Black color with modest carbonation leading to caramel color head. Bourbon is heavy to the nose but the first sip is well balanced. Bourbon, coffee, vanilla and chocolate are delicate on the palate. I must disagree with one rating that said it "poured like motor oil." Obviously he hasn't had Ole Dubh 12 or 18. This is an enjoyable beer!

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.13/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma and flavor of dark baker's chocolate, booze, smoke, coffee, and oak. Distinct taste of black licorice too, which is really nice. A fairly rich stout, in the vein of Parabola and BCBS, but with a unique smokiness and more relaxed booziness, and boasting some of that licorice flavor you get from Expedition. Quite enjoyable.

But I should say that I'm a bit torn on how to rate it. First time I had it, I loved the unique smoke and licorice aspects. Subsequent tastings have left me non-plussed. Having had the 2013, 2014, and 2015 batches I've found the 2014 especially has an off-putting tuna fish aroma, related I would guess to perhaps the oxidization of smoked malts? All batches could use a bit more body, and maybe a bit more bourbon character. Still quite enjoyable, and so I suppose I enjoy it more than Parabola, but less than BCBS.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
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 nawpnawp
4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick black with brownish head that subsides with a sticky lacing. The smell is heavy chocolate and coffee with notes of bourbon. There is a nice balance between the sweetness and bitterness. The chocolate and coffee are both present, and the bourbon comes in on the aftertaste.

I haven't had non-BA Plead the Fifth, but the bourbon isn't very strong on this. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but regular Pt5 might be just as good.

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Photo of eppie82
3.96/5  rDev -12.6%
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 Masonz223
4.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Note: 2015 bottle
Smell: cinamon vanilla coconut sugary rasin sweet chocolate
Taste: upfront vanilla charcoal middle of the mouth sugared coverd rasin malt sweetness a faint cinamon sticky sugary milk chocolate. Finished with a real sharp dark roasted coffee dark chocolate a little bit of smokiness and some alchool heat present.
Feel: medium body a nice coffee biterness lingers in the finish.
Overall: it has all the flavores you look for in a barrel aged stout. Though I wished the flavores were more in your face especially that cinamon I got in the nose. Still a little boozy to could age longer which isn't a big surprise still pretty young. Saying all that this beer is still pretty damn good!

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Photo of Amguerra305
4.46/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured pitch black like motor oil with almost not head. Smelled of barrel, bourbon, chocolate, and hints of vanilla and coffee. Taste did not follow suit. There was a bit of chocolate up front but something was lacking in the middle. The taste of the barrel connoted more green wood than barrel wood. At the end there is a flavor that merges and connotes a very woody expression. The mouth feel was stupendous. Thick and coating. Overall this is a very good beer with a great nose that needs to work a bit on the taste.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
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 FBarber
4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a viscous opaque shiny black with pretty much no head. There was a hint of foam along the outside of the beer, but nothing beyond that. Beer appeared to be still with next to no carbonation.

Smell had aromas of cocoa, milk chocolate, espresso, and roasted malts. All of this was encompassed by a bourbon aroma that was present but not at all overwhelming. The base beer still shined through while the barrel character also came through. Mild aromas of sweet bourbon are also noted.

Taste follows the nose with notes of cocoa, milk chocolate, espresso and a slight almond-like nuttiness come through. Barrel characteristics are noted throughout with notes of bourbon, oak, and hints of vanilla coming through. Wonderful balance between the barrel and the base stout - its really one of the best BA stouts out there.

Feel was thick, smooth, and velvety. Drinks like a decadent stout. However, its still very drinkable and hides the high ABV very very well.

Overall this was one of the best BA Russian Imperial Stouts I've ever had - like top 5. If you like barrel aged beers, this is a must try.

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Photo of pants678
4.34/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Black with thin khaki head.

Sweet and sorta sharp bourbon.

Dark chocolate and bourbon. Not as potent and sweet as Chocolate Rain. Robust, though, more intense than expected. Alcohol's not exactly covered but isn't a detractor.

Fairly sharp as opposed to smooth.

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Photo of jp32
4.49/5  rDev -0.9%
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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Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.53 out of 5 with 3,299 ratings