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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 436 | Ratings: 3,106
Photo of jp32
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 MichaelCoyne
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer all around. Just a notch below Founders KBS and Bells Black Note in my opinion. Regardless, another great Michigan BBA Stout worth trading for/trying!

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Photo of DblDiamond
4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sweet baby Jesus! Looks like motor oil, smells like bourbon and sweetness. Beautiful smooth bourbon that just lingers on the palate. This is an outstanding stout that I'm so happy to have had.

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Photo of Eiwatts9
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best BBA stouts around. Would happily trade for more again. This was provided as an extra in a trade and I got the better end of the stick in my opinion. If you like BBA stouts this is hands down a "need to try".

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Photo of iliketurtlesthx
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 bottle poured into a snifter

I love normal Plead the 5th. Of course when they barrel age it, it takes it to another level. Pours thick and super dark. Not too much head on it. Taste is absolutely wonderful, with chocolate and bourbon. A fair amount of heat, but I love the heat.

Please get this into distro in 2016 =)

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Body : Dark. Dark dark dark. Obsidian, cascadian, just...dark. Nothing escaping from this pit of black.
Head : Angry reddish brown with 2 fingers fading to a ring in my snifter.

Initial : Dark fruits, namely plum and black cherry; some burnt malts, a hit of coffee, and a sappy bourbon aroma chasing everything.
With Agitation : adds a shade of brightness over everything - tart cherries, melon, and chocolate fountain.

Front end : Explosion of dark malts, burnt cocoa, tobacco.
Back end : Theres the Plead The Fifth we all love. A sweet, syrupy chocolate rush with plums, raisins, and dark cherry
Finish : The bourbon hits and the heat rises up from the throat to dry out the tongue. A sweet, sappy, syrupy chocolate/dark fruit/bourbon/ground coffee note persists and tantalizes for another sip.

I mean, how do I explain a feel that I don't particularly pay attention to because it's so right on the money? The flavor and aromas are overwhelming enough, but the feel fits it just like it should with buzzing carbonation, dryness, and succulent sweetness. Lick the lips and you want more.

Overall : Who was even surprised here? Dark Horse makes some of the best stouts around and there's no doubt they know what they're doing. They've taken a perfect stout to another level by barrel aging it. If you lke the original Plead The 5th, this is one to check out when you're feeling like you want just a bit more heaviness and warmth to coddle you.

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Photo of turfy
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A 2015 bottle.

A - A deep brownish-black, with a thin tan head after pouring that disapates to a light film with a heavier ring.
S - Bourbon, chocolate, roasted malt
T - Silky bourbon with chocolate notes and coffee. Maybe a hint of leather.
M - Just about perfect. Substantial mouthfeel without being too heavy. Very smooth with the right amount of oiliness.
O - If I had to choose any BBA stout, it would be this one. Well done, Dark Horse.

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Photo of Slack
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown to black in color with zero head and no lacing.

Oak, Bourbon, vanilla, coffee, and a roasted note.

Bourbon, vanilla, coffee, oak, and a warming booze finish.

Mouthful is medium to heavy and super smooth. Carbonation is very low. Finish lingers.

An extremely well balanced beer. Very drinkable with hidden alcohol only present on the finish and as it warms. Mouthful is nice, not too heavy but not light. The minor negatives and I mean minor might be the oak being so strong on the nose. Seek this out and try it against the regular Pt5th.

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Photo of earljones199
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle.

All chocolate.

It pours a jet black with not much head. Very thick and oily looking.

The smell is roasty, chocolatey goodness.

The taste follows the nose with a huge hit of chocolate and the dark rich roasted flavor I like in a big BB stout. This still had a good amount of the bourbon barrel flavors in it.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a midnight black with a very thin tan head.

S - Aroma is bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla.

T - The flavor is bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. The finish has some lingering heat from the alcohol.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth creamy mouthfeel with dry finish.

O - An incredibly solid BBA Russian Imperial Stout. Can only imagine this will be amazing with a year on it.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.71/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with a tan colored head, no head retention, slight lacing, not much carbonation, looks like motor oil, looks really nice.

A: Bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, dark fruits, touch of coffee, no alcohol on the nose, has a lot of aroma, I could smell the bourbon and vanilla as I poured, very nice.

T: First impression is that this is very balanced and full of flavor, bourbon up front, vanilla, hint of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits, touch of moderate coffee-like bitterness, finish is dry with notes of bourbon and dark fruits, the alcohol is noticeable and some heat lingers in the finish, but this drinks incredibly smooth for the high ABV.

M: Full bodied, low carbonation, dry finish, smooth, creamy mouthfeel, some heat but the other characteristics impress enough that the heat does not affect the pleasure of drinking this beer.

O: Very impressed, incredible amounts of aroma and tastes, big full bodied creamy smooth mouthfeel. I really wish I could this in southern California.

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Photo of Trevor11
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An underrated bba stout from an under-appreciated brewery. The Tres Blueberries is outstanding but Plead the Fifth is on another whole level. I opened up a 2013 vintage on 2/17/16 and despite the 2+ years of aging, the bourbon barrel still comes through tremendously. There is very little head and not much aromatics either besides the wood of the barrel. I picked up a lot more dark chocolate in the initial notes and bourbon at the end with not much coffee given the age. Complexity remains and their is tremendous balance that lends drinkability regardless of its strong abv.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a jet black color with a very small mocha head. It quickly dissipates to a small rim around the edge of the glass. There are few small spots of lacing. The smell is roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and bourbon. Taste is the same, but stronger than the smell. Slight alcohol heat on the finish. Feel is thick, oily and really coats your whole mouth, perfect. Overall an amazing, world class beer. Only problem is now I have to trade for more.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

'14 Vintage bottle given to me unexpectedly by a craft beer enthusiast (Aaron <3). Haven't had this before because, for obvious reasons, I've never seen it anywhere. Heard great things, so I'm expecting great things. I wonder how this will be with 2-3 years on it (if you include how long it was in the barrel). Bbl #100.

Appearance: Aggressive-ish pour didn't do a whole lot at all for a head. Tiny tan ring on top of the beer, but that's it. In the glass, the beer looks black and viscous. Plays the part of a BBA'd imperial stout. (4.25/5)

Smell: In a word... mellow, I guess. Great aroma, but all a bit subdued. Maybe a preferred word would be balanced. I'm making it sound like a bummer. Nice bourbon, vanilla, and oak nose, with some coffee. There's a faint amount of booze as well, and quite a bit of sweetness. Right now, I think this may be past its prime just because its aroma is on the quiet side. I may also be crazy. Regardless, this stuff smells incredible. (4.75/5)

Taste/feel: Starts off with a rich roasted coffee flavor with a bit of chocolate until mid-sip where more depth/the barrel starts to come through and stay until the finish -- very pleasant and usual BBA'd flavors come in, like the barrel itself, bourbon, and vanilla. I get a little plain cake doughnut in there on the back end too, which is something I pick up occasionally in the style. The alcohol is exceptionally well-hidden, no doubt helped by the age on this bottle -- I don't taste or feel much alcohol at all. This is impressive to me just because I've yet to personally have a BBA'd imperial stout that was aged this long. The mouthfeel on this isn't ideal at first, but it's close. It goes in feeling a little thin with an unexpected fizz of carbonation, but as it sits on the tongue, it eventually starts to thicken and slicken (not a word, my apologies) up. Delicious as all hell. (4.75/5, 4.5/5)

The more I drink this, the more I believe the time to drink the '14 Vintage is NOW. There is no alcohol to really note, and the flavors are not going to randomly improve with more age. If you have any '14, drink it up or trade it up or give it up now so everybody is happy. This is truly a remarkable BBA'd stout. The way the age (presumably, given some reviews of fresher bottles) has mellowed this beer out has made it one hell of a delicious beer. I wish I had a lot more of this stuff, but I can't thank Aaron enough for this one bottle. If you have the opportunity to buy or trade for it, certainly do... just remember to not sit on your bottles for too long. Beer is meant for you to consume, not store in a shoe box in your bedroom.


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Photo of hardysf
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This pours like a thick black sludge. Pours with a nice head, that vanishes quickly. No hints of lacing. A bit of foam can be stirred up with a swish of the glass. The nose on this beer is quite good. Loads of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, wood, and some alcohol. Very pungent. The taste is of fudge and coffee. Big Chocolate bomb here. There are slight hints of vanilla and some oak, maybe some bark. Not overly sweet at all. Love the bitterness in this one. The finish is pretty thick and luscious, but could be a little more full. This is truly a great beer though. Do not drink this one below 45 degrees as the flavors and texture really come out as it gets closer to room temp.

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Photo of ragnar3
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage poured into a teku. Roasty, chocolate, bourbon and more coffee than anticipated in this one. The alcohol is more apparent than other BA stouts but was not overwhelming. Very enjoyable overall.

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Photo of Kraj30
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

had two 8oz drafts... i has very light bourbon smell... a little thing for my liking.. vanilla and bourbon are on the taste but it is not very strong.. like to have a bottle or older bottle because this was very young

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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 superspak
4.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2014 vintage bottling. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark brown head with great retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, light smoke/char, light licorice/raisin, and roast/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with fantastic balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, light smoke/char, light licorice/raisin, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, light smoke/char, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is incredible. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a world class barrel aged imperial stout! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. The barrel integration and balance was absolutely spot on. There was no additional booziness or warming alcohol vs the base beer of similar age; and you still get plenty of the barrel flavor characteristics that aren’t overwhelming to the base stout at all. An insanely amazing offering.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Super black, like 2% head by volume. Aroma was blended well between bourbon, wood and vanilla. A little bit or roast.

Very smooth drinking experience. More sweet than the base version it seems. Very well balanced in every way. This beer keeps getting better it seems. Very well made big barrel aged stout, and in a convenient 12oz format too.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

'15 version poured into a Duvel

Even for a barrel aged beer, I was a little disappointed in the amount of head produced with a hard pour straight down the middle. It still looks very nice otherwise. Dark and fairly viscous.

Smells incredible! Tons of milk chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, light coconut, roasted barley. Not really hot at all for a very fresh batch.

The flavor basically lives up to the expectations. It does drink a little hotter than it smelled, but not bad.Everything else is there. A bunch of bourbon character without being overpowering at all. Lots of oak and molasses.

I am really impressed with the body. It didn't seem to lose any of that fullness during the aging process.

This is one of the better barrel aged stouts out there which isn't a surprise because the base beer is so solid. Every bit as good as I expected

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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 dorianmarley
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance is rich black with no head but some lacing.

Nose is sweet and dusty, with toasted malt, dark chocolate, biscuit, oak.

Taste is luxurious. Chewy chocolate, nutty oak, buttered rum, cashew. Alcohol tingle throughout.

Mouthfeel is velvety. Light carbonation.

Overall, this is wonderful.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.51/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Quick review:
Inky to oily pour, head struggles to make appearance. Thin ring of brown head, swirl shows carbonation is present.
Initial nose banana cream pie, but cold beer. Chocolate/coconut/coffee nicely balanced but light in scent, mid-pour. Little more cocoa on a warm beer.

Taste is a nice balance of dark chocolate brownie, banilla, coffee powder. Rich flavors, blended well. Bourbon and wood come in late, as an accent. True stout flavors become more prominent on a warmer beer, but flavor lingers more as well.
Lighter beer the expected, and early on the flavors faded too fast. Warmth added some coating to the flavor, but also just a little chalkiness.

Really enjoyed this beer, including how it changed a little as it warmed. More true to a stout than say a BCBS, a little smoother but less bold than say a BBB. Not something to pass up, ever (as if it were that easy to find).

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Photo of BlushingMonk
4.81/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Stood in a long line to get this. Totally worth it. Pours deep black with a foamy tan head that disputes into brown sugar lace cookies. Deep and thick this oil black goodness smells of booze, sugar cookies, vanilla and cocoa. It tastes like a mouthful of awesome. Honestly, I dig this more than the BA stout from that other brewery in Grand Rapids. This is a winner. I'll stand in line for it again next year.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.48 out of 5 based on 3,106 ratings.
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