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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
99
world-class
424 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
3,018
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
7.81%
 
 
Wants:
2,165
Gots:
851
For Trade:
116
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 424 | Ratings: 3,018
Photo of scottfrie
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, 2011 vintage. Thanks for this one, Mark. (Compared side-by-side with regular version).

A: Pours black with a very thin dark chocolate head that quickly dispersed into a faint collar leaving wisps of lace.
S: Huge notes of sweet bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, caramel and dark chocolate. I’m getting almost none of the roast and anise that I pick up in the regular version.
T: A huge improvement on the original. Rich and decadent flavors of buttery oak, chocolate fudge, sweet and sticky bourbon, raisins, caramel, and vanilla. The bourbon and oak and integrated very well and have seemed to smooth over all the rough edges of the original. I’m getting some peat in the original that isn’t found in the barrel version. Very smooth and rich.
M: Low but creamy carbonation, slight alcohol warmth, rich and smooth mouthfeel with a full body.
O: Side by side these two beers are like night and day. While the original is good, the flavor profile on the barrel aged one makes it taste like it doesn’t even have the same base beer. Well worth finding a bottle or two. Thanks again, HosP, for sending me a couple.

 1,133 characters

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle, big thanks to Loweball 727!

Appearance: Black as Eddie Murphy with a small tan head that quickly recedes to the perimeter.

Smell: Oh yea! Barrel notes galore with vanilla, caramel, bourbon, dark fruit, dark chocolate, roasted malt sweetness. I'm even getting a bit of red wine character in there, nice.

Taste: Everything I like about normal Pt5, with barrel character to boot. I was almost afraid to drink this because I thought it would ruin the normal Pt5 for me. I don't even think I would say that this is better, it just adds another dimension with the barrel notes. I like both versions. What I like about this is that the bourbon character isn't overwhelming at all. Rather, it is evident but not overbearingly so and helps the other components to blend together with more unity.

Mouthfeel: This is a bit more viscous than the standard version of this brew. A little more stickiness is evident.

Overall: I love the non bb aged version of this so much, and this is a nice variation. Some of the malt sweetness I love in the fresh version of this beer is muted here, or it is perhaps this way because this is an '11 bottle. Either way, I like this, but until I try a fresh version of this, Fresh Pt5 wins out for me.

 1,239 characters

Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle 14,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
2011 Vintage

Thanks to Lurchingbeast for this long time want.

Appearance: Plead the Fifth pours midnight black, with only the faintest hint of deep red visible along the edge of the glass. A rough pour yields a good sized mocha coloured head that lasts pretty well for a 14% barrel aged beer and leaves some good looking lacing as it recedes. A light swirl coats the glass in incredibly heavy, yellow tinted alcohol legs.

Smell: As expected, quality bourbon dominates the initial nose, with the base imperial stout notes becoming apparent as the beer warms. Warming also yields some nose tingling alcohol, but it stops just short of becoming bothersome.
Notes include: Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, sweet caramel, butterscotch, spicy oak, dark chocolate, cocoa, raisins, molasses and a little roasted malt.

Taste: Unexpectedly, the flavour is actually a little boozier than the nose, though still stops short of being unpleasant. Notes include: Caramelized brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, dark fruit, molasses, cocoa, a touch of coffee and a surprising amount of roasted malt. The finish is moderately bitter and lightly astringent.

Mouthfeel: Just shy of a full body, with a medium level of smooth carbonation. The finish is moderately bitter and surprisingly dry.

Overall: Plead the Fifth is certainly a delicious barrel aged imperial stout, but I don't think it quite lives up to the hype and I would choose KBS or Parabola above it. That said, I would still love to have this again and would be very interested to see how it is after another year or two in the bottle.

 1,669 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev -4%

From notes on 3/25/14

4 once sample on the brewery tour. I've had regular Plead the 5th, so I was excited to try this one. I was not let down. You can tell it is Plead the 5th, just barrel aged. You get all the great chocolate flavors and roasted tastes with a nice addition of boozy bourbon. I really enjoyed this one.

 320 characters

Photo of cbeer88
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tasted blindly courtesy of Blind BIF #8. 12oz bottle poured into Delirium Tremens snifter…

Appearance: Inky black with a wispy tan head. Small amount of tan lacing.

Smell: Bourbon and roasted malts, a bit of coffee.

Taste: Bourbon bomb. Coffee, nutty, sweet, vanilla, chocolate, oak all there. Lot of heat coming off this guy from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick and full-bodied. Adequate carb.

Drinkability: A real sipper. Alcohol and heat are high.

Overall: Excellent bourbon stout, but could stand to get a bit of age for the heat to die down.

 552 characters

Photo of kzoobrew
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black and opaque body. Two finger mocha colored head sits atop. The head recedes slowly. A substantial amount of lacing is left clinging to the walls of the glass.

Bourbon aroma is very prominent. Sweet bourbon aroma, rather soft boozieness. Big chocolate and caramel aromas meld seamlessly with the bourbon. Moderate roast and vanilla noted.

The flavor starts out bourbon heavy before a healthy dose of chocolate floods the palate. A rather assertive roasted malt flavor begins to emerge on the midpalate. The caramel flavor is much more subtle in the bottle version than on tap. Flavors are well integrates though not nearly as much as the tap version. A bit of heat on the back is noted but not obstructive.

Full bodied Imperial Stout. The carbonation levels are low and appropriate. Very silky, soft texture. The finish is long and enjoyable.

Reviewed from a bottle this time to compare the the tapped version. Unfortunately I do not know the age of the keg, the tap version does seem slightly smoother. Very drinkable Imperial Stout. Despite the heat the alcohol is hidden rather well. Impressive beer.

 1,119 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.31/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with wisps of cocoa brown cream, this barrel aged stout kept a lace of thick foam for a head.

The aroma is absolutely decadent with strong milk chocolate and creamy vanilla but I catch some dried fruit. Touches of raisin and prune mix with the barrel and bourbon to finish a delightful nose.

The flavor is creamy, milky, with lactose-sweetness and vanilla. The bourbon is very present on the tongue as some of the oak and woodsy properties finish it off.

The feel is warm and creamy, a little thinner than anticipated, with a bit of bourbon tang.

This is strangely different than the regular Plead the Fifth as the barrel has truly transformed the flavors to a creamy, vanilla dessert beer.

 700 characters

Photo of JoeyStats707
4.31/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 12 oz bottle in the latest de garde 3rd quarter party glass
Nice and dark, almost opaque, very little head
smell is rich sweet bourbon
tastes of milk chocolate and a dash of bourbon
Nice mouthfeel, could use a little more though.

Overall pretty dam good

 262 characters

Photo of floridadrift
4.31/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage

L: Even after a couple minutes, the mocha-colored head sticks to the sides
S: Chocolatey
T: great Imperial stout, no actual bourbon taste. Just the heat from it with chocolates and coffee on the first taste.
F: Milk-stoutish, very nice
O: A pretty great stout but falls very short of any live bourbon character. Tastes like it's all had some age.

 360 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.31/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled from a 12oz bottle from 2013. Thanks surge1311!

A - Deep black with no light coming through and very little head. Looks like a glass of motor oil.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, oak and a hint of molasses. Gets better and better as it warms.

T - Lots of bourbon! It hits hard on the first sip but the palate adjusts quickly. It's got great depth and richness with a moderate bitterness in the finish. The alcohol is pretty apparent. This is a big bold beer.

M - Thick and creamy. The carbonation is there but very much in the background.

O - The bourbon might be a bit too dominant but it was still a special beer.

 618 characters

Photo of Suds_Suds
4.31/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Notes of dry fruit and cherry. Tastes sweet and smooth with a nice balance of molasses and chocolate with some bready character. Glad I got a few this year!

 156 characters

Photo of jeonseh
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Dark brown, almost black with a small frothy mocha colored head that settles mostly on the sides. Appears to have a nice thickness to it as I swirl it in the glass

S - Dark chocolate, brandied raisins, caramel sweetness with a hint of bourbon barrel aging. Has a strong and powerful nose that really brings the scents.

T - First there is sweetness as I taste Mexican sugar and caramel. The coffee and more bitter dark chocolate comes next. There is also a strong oak presence where you can definitely see how the bourbon barrel adds complexity. On the finish, wow, that's where you really get the bourbon coming through. It had a strong alcoholic presence along with more typical bourbon flavors of oak, caramel, English Christmas pudding, and brandied dates.

MF - Medium body with light carbonation. The finish is dry and leaves a tingling alcohol feeling. It could improve by being a bit thicker.

O - A solid and quite boozy BA stout from Dark Horse. The barrel aging adds a lot of complexity to the flavor. I would like it to be a bit thicker and to cover its alcohol a little better as right now it's a bit hot. Curious to see how this develops in a few years.

 1,204 characters

Photo of papat444
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

***2011 Vintage***

Big thanks to Masterski for this one.

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance: 1.5 fingers of dark brown foam with a dense brown body. After every sip, a trace of lacing is on the side of the glass.

Smell: Bourbon soaked chocolate, oatmeal-raisin cookies and coffee beans. Very powerful.

Taste: Dates, a bit of black licorice, and nuts mixed with grinded coffee. Bourbon mixes with roastedness but is rather tame.

Mouthfeel: Thick yet smooth with a slick feel and a bit of carbonation (not much). A bit thin in the finish but otherwise great.

Overall: Really liked this one and it doesn't pack too much heat. Grab one if you can.

 654 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at EBF on Saturday afternoon. Pours a solid black with a decent tan head with some retention. Smell is heavy on the bourbon with lots of chocolate and roast, and some vanilla and wood. Taste is chocolate bourbon and roast. Thick body with a creamy smooth mouthfeel and a light level of carbonation. A big thick stout, one of my favorites of the day.

 357 characters

Photo of MissSmisje
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Motor oil black, tan head with some lacing
S: some bourbon barrel, but not overwhelming, bitter chocolate, dark fruit, grape gum.
T: same as the nose, with a little vanilla and oak, and a hint of leather and menthol in the finish.
F: light side of heavy
O: very tasty. The fruit flavored lighten it nicely. Very much a fruity BA RIS as opposed to a chocolatey/roasty BA RIS

 377 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Capone's on Black Friday. First beer of the day...

A - Pours dark as night black with a small, creamy, one finger tall tan head leaving small streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of warm bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate, charred wood, and the ever present dark roasted malt. The booze is big up front but the other flavors grow stronger as it warms.

T - Fairly similar to the nose. Hints of vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar, dry oak tannins, and a big dose of booze at the end of each sip. Pretty sweet initially but it gets better as it warms up. It has a ton of flavor but it remains easy to drink.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sweet, boozy, feel that clings to the pallet long after each sip. It developed a little bit of a chalky feel toward the end of the glass..

O - Overall a very good barrel aged stout. It was a little bit out of balance but I had no problem finishing my glass. Glad I finally got to try it.

 977 characters

Photo of callmemickey
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's Black Friday 2011:

A: Black body. Moderate khaki cap. Spotty lacing.

S: Profound bourbon up front with all of the accompanying aromas of wood and vanilla. Dark chocolate and hints of burnt sugar.

T: Like the nose, this has a strong bourbon component. It isn't overbearing, however. Roasted malts, chocolate and brown sugar round out the profile.

M" Medium bodied, perhaps a little thin in the back end. Moderate carbonation.

O: A very good bourbon barrel stout, but not my favorite option.

 513 characters

Photo of Sean9689
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by TurdFurgison, thanks Eric! Poured into 3F wine glass.

A - Pours black, a fingers-worth of tan/mocha head, some good lacing and a thin cap on top which hangs around.

S - Peanut butter, tons of it. Like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Sweet milk chocolate, light on the bourbon, oak, caramels, expresso. All very rich and decadent on the nose.

T - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate, some dark fruit notes, oak, smooth bourbon character, coffee beans. I was really impressed how smooth and rich this was for 14%, very well-done. Bitter chocolate finish.

M - Full body, rich, thick, and creamy finish.

D - I never did get to try this on-tap, but I was very impressed with this out of the bottle. Def a top-notch -bal, no doubt about it. Still can't get over how easy this was to drink for 14%. Recommend.

 825 characters

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

 425 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz, silver wax dipped bottle to CBS snifter on 1/23/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to TurdFurgison & normyk for the hook-ups --

Vintage 2011

A: Pure, unadulterated motor oil. One of the thickest, glass coating beers on the planet. A hearty pour straight down the middle of the snifter yields a tightly packed and dense .5 finger head. Killer retention.

S: Hot bourbon and tannic, charry wood. Immensly rich. Good Jesus is this an angry beer.

T: Wow. It's like a sucker punch to the jowels. This is a massive, complex and jaw droppingly big beer. It's charry up front, which coats my mouth. Hints of crispy vanilla and hard, firm tannin on the mid. The finish is big league booze and gallons of over the top bourbon with a healthy kick of hops. As it warms, the alcohol becomes much more pronounced. In my opinion, this needs some serious time in the cellar.

M: In a category that contains BCBS, KtG, BT and more, this pony holds it's own and then some. Extremely silky - it's creamy and smooth with a luxurious vibe to it. This literally envelops my mouth.

O: Hand this over to your cellar. I'll bet that six to eighteen months will settle this bad boy down, and allow it's colossal amount of potential to shine through. With a bit of time, this could be one for the ages, and something so epic, words won't begin to describe it.

Dark Horse has created a near masterpiece with their BB Plead the 5th. Like John Wayne in "The Searchers", I highly recommend getting on your stallion and tracking this beast down.

 1,519 characters

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage, 12 oz bottle

A - Pitch black, no lights getting through this bad boy

S - light bourbon notes on top of a roasted toffee aroma

T - The bourbon is there, but it's mild, but pleasant. Compiiments the other flavors well

M - Quite sticky, near perfect for this style

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, but not quite the best barrel aged stout I've had. Definitely a worthy addition to the BA top 250, but not quite a top 25 beer in my opinion. But in the end, this beer is still excellent. Seek it out!

 514 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A-EBF sample pour. Pours pitch black with a bubbly, brown head.

S-The smell of bourbon is quite potent. Sweet chocolate and coffee with more woodiness and some vanilla. A high quality, textbook bourbon barreled stout. Really excited to try this one.

T-Rich, dark and milk chocolate. Smooth, potent coffee and a pronounced bourbon character. Vanilla, oak and straight up bourbon whiskey.

M-Full and creamy. Sneaky heat. Lower carbonation. Really agreeable feel. It sits and melts on your tongue.

O/D-A tasty, decadent barrel aged Imperial Stout. I understand why this has such a high rating and why it is so sought-after. It didn't blow my mind but I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

 682 characters

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Ben, thanks to BigSexy410. Big want of mine.

The beer pours a nice black hue with some decent sized tan head and some sticky lacing.

The beer has great smell but it seems muted out of the
glass somehow. Some round sweet barrel notes round out done roasty and chocolate stout flavors. Maybe a little licorice abd gum drop spice.

The taste is more animated and features the aspects of the smell nicely with some great highlights of cigar sweet tobacco, roasty malts, nice bourbon notes with slight vanilla malt, and a little molasses.

The feel is pretty good and a little hot; not that thick but also not offensive.

Overall a great beer and very tasty.

 675 characters

Photo of mattsander
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage

A: Dense black with chestnut edges. Tenacious ring of brown clings to the edge of the glass. Very syrupy.

S: Fudge, dark fruits, booze, sweet vanilla oakiness.The booze element is a little distracting, nonetheless this is delicious.

T: Big dark chocolately malt, tons of toasty nutty oak, drier than I expected from such a huge beer. Complex and delicious.

M: Lighter bodied than BCBS, a bit boozier, but highly drinkable for a beer of this girth.

 464 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to WesMantooth for this bottle.

S - Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, light char.

T - Nice bitter chocolate from start to finish and the chocolate ends somewhat sweeter on the back end along with vanilla, bourbon, lots of complimentary oak tannin with a lingering bourbon oak/chocolate lingering finish.

M - Thick medium body, smooth velvet body, no carbonation on the tongue. ABV well hidden.

O - Awesome beer, hands down.

 429 characters

Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.48 out of 5 based on 3,018 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!