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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,432 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,432
Reviews: 827
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 552
Gots: 887 | FT: 106
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

2010 and pre: white label
2011: white label OR black label with black no logo cap
2012: black label with logo cap
2013: black label with logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner and new government warning
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,432 | Reviews: 827
Reviews by jcnd9803:
Photo of jcnd9803
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A smooth black color. A brief tan head appeared, but quicly left, leaving steady lacing with each sip.

S- Smells wonderful. Actually smells of both chocolate and vanilla, but with an oaky undertone, which is odd (but welcomed) considering no barrels are used. Maybe it's the alcohol coming up and disguising itself.

T - A mix of chocolate, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar.

M- Thick and silky. I actually don't get too much of an alcohol burn, which is scary.

D- In one word: outstanding. I love these guys and the series of stouts they put out each year. This beer is complex fresh and I'm sure will only be exponentially more so with some years on it. Job well done!

More User Reviews:
Photo of ColdOneKev
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Jet black body. Hardly any head. The little bit of head is dark tan/brown.
S - Roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa, light coffee. No detectable booze.
T - Very powerful cocoa/chocolate, roasted malts. Some dark fruits.
M - My favorite attribute of this beer. Extremely thick. Swirling causes very thick coating on the side my snifter. The turbulence is wonderful. Coats the palate and lingers.
O - An excellent imperial stout. Reminds me of a lot of ten fidy, which is saying a lot.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good Russian Imperial Stout that somehow keeps me wanting more. Maybe it's because Plead has a balanced and mellow take on the style (Similar to Blackout) or becuase the gravities aren't quite insane as I expected. It's kinda like a big Oatmeal Stout with the creamy texture, slickness, and weight. Lightly carbonated, the beer falls still fairly quickly and doesn't lift off of the tongue the way I like. A balanced roastiness never prefers the char or the toffee malts. Milk flavors and sweetness round out the herbal hops, sharp roasted grains, and alcohols. Still, the coffee, chocolate, anise, blackberries, plubs, grapes and dates are bold and varying and have come together very well. Nice disguise of the abv. With all the compliments, I still want more...

Photo of russpowell
3.94/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from czoch75; cheers Clint!. This one comes in a 12oz bottle

Pours ebony with 1 pinky of brown/peach tinged head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate, vanilla, booze, & carob

T: Dark chcolate, dark fruit, oaky dryness up front. Oak & vanilla as this warms along with with a touch leafy hops, & bit of wet charred grain. Finishes with some chcolate & chicory

MF: Oily, medium bodied, with minimal carbonation, along with some slickness

Drinks easy for the style, but not enough flavor depth to push this to upper echelon RIS status

Photo of BrewUSA
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Plead the 5th

Look 9/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 38/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 91/100

Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received this lovely 12ounce bottle of Plead the 5th in a great trade for the Dark Horse stout series a couple months back. I have made my way through most of those, but last night I wanted to really give this one a try. Service at cellar temperature I poured it into a UK pint glass.

Appearance - I poured it very forcefully and was able to muster up about a half inch or so of tan and chocolate colored head off of this one, which quickly faded and left behind only a small crown of lace and some decent side glass presentation. The color was very nice, a rich dark brown, nearly black, save for a few glimpses on the corners. Overall though nice look and presentation to this one, albeit a little slim on the head.

Smell - The aroma was rich with dark chocolate, amazingly sweet smelling it really had a nice depth to it. Some hints of vanilla at first, and they really came up towards the end when it started to warm. Some slight touches of woody aromas coming off of it and a touch of caramel and coffee, but this was one sweet smelling stout for sure.

Taste - The flavor was very nice, and absolutely full of chocolate flavored malts. It was a deep, sweet chocolate flavor that was dominating this one. Rich and sweet, like Hershey's syrup, this was coming across very nice. Deep rich molasses like sugar flavors now coming into play, and this was turning out to be one of the sweetest stouts I have had in a good long while. Not sure what the percentage was here, but there was virtually no alcohol present in this one. Really just remarkably well done. Long lingering flavor of rich dark chocolate and the perfect sweet coffee flavor just made me want to rush back in for another sip.

Mouthfeel - Very rich and creamy with a nice amount of carbonation, which to be honest surprised me due to the lack of carbonation of the pour. Nice full bodied feel with a great texture going down, pretty much classic for a big stout.

Drinkability - Outstanding ability to put this one down. Just ridiculously smooth and a great amount of flavor in this one. No detectable amount of alcohol, just a super smooth delivery with a great flavor and good carbonation. Could have sipped it all night.

Overall I thought this one was really great. A solid imperial stout that hid the alcohol very well and leaned heavily toward the side of chocolate with the flavor. Quite solid in both appearance and profile, this is one I would love to go back to and try again. Definitely very good.

Photo of Pineforest42
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Great pour, about an inch of head with nice lacing. Thick and black.
S- Heavy cocoa and coffee, strong and mouth watering.
T- Wonderful balance of flavors dancing together. creamy and filling. Smokey, chocolate, wholesome.
M- I could almost chew it. Perfect texture for a RIS. Taste improved as the temperature dropped.
O- Just what I want from a RIS. I highly recommend this. This beer behaves like a RIS and with a 11% ABV will leave you feeling good.

Photo of mabermud
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle

After the disappearance of the fairly dark head into a barely noticeable collar around the glass, everything looks pretty still. The body is pitch brown. Fine, transparent legs. I like the distinct aromas of medium/heavy roasted malts, sweetness, and vanilla. I can also faintly smell some lactose, alcohol and coconut. In the taste, the sweetness comes out as the beer warms. The smell is misleading. I get distinct roast over vanilla. Nice, easy going soft roast, intertwined with delicate sweetness. No alcohol, not even through the exhaust. No complaints about the feel. Low carb, medium-heavy body. Nice soft finish.

Overall - This RIS is solid. No criticisms here. To put things into comparison, I think Ten Fidy is more robust, but this one is more balanced and friendly.

Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Sheffield's for the Dark Side of Oz event. Served in a half-pint glass.

A - A half finger of dark mocha foam with good retention and lacing. Tar black with no hints of color at the edges (although it was pretty dark in the bar, so I could be wrong).

S - Roasty bitterness, boozy. This brew had a surprisingly small bouquet, even after I let it warm up a bit. It just did not smell all that interesting.

T - The taste is huge - loads of roast malts, dark fruits, and chocolate. Nowhere near as bitter as it smelled, although there is a mounting bitterness in the aftertaste. The half-pint serving kept it from getting to be too much. Not boozy in the slightest.

M - Medium body, lighter than I expected. Low carbonation, with lots of residual stickiness. It needs a little more viscosity to support such an otherwise big beer.

D - Surprisingly drinkable for a 12% brew. I can see the bitterness getting a little overwhelming, but otherwise it's pretty easy going - low carbonation and well-hidden ABV.

Photo of bt931912
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good beer. Not in the top tier of the style IMO, but would certainly drink again.

Photo of oberon
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unbelievably this is the first time I have had this beer...crazy.Pours jet black like an oil slich with a thinner beige head atop,like thick crude.Chocolate and black licorice in the nose along roast and sweet alcohol.Heavy roast and earthiness intertwined with alcohol dipped dark druit and deep molasses sweetness with that black licorice coming into play as well,whoo this big and complex.Big and chewey this is a sipper that Iam drinking at 6:00,it could be an early bedtime tonigh because I have three more to drink.

Photo of tectactoe
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark as fuck and thick as shit - is that an accurate description of the appearance? It looks like molasses as it dribbles out of the bottle, pouring will nearly no sound as it collapses into the glass. No head forms at first, even with a direct pour down the middle, until moments after I'm finished pouring and a dark tan film rises from nowhere and puts a skin on the brew.

Aroma comes through full-force with insanely deep roasted coffee; charred espresso and dark, bitter cocoa beans. This is a heavy hitter, alright, and the nose doesn't hold anything back. There is a creaminess to it, carrying over a very light sweetness. But make no mistake - if the initial aroma is any indication, the sheer roasted bitterness of this brew will tower over all else. Some more dark fudge aromas open up as the beer warms, but it remains a deep, black, and bitter type of fudge, still laying low on the sweetness. Surprisingly low alcohol character for being 11-12% ABV, but there is a noticeable warmth to back everything up.

The taste, shockingly enough, opens up with a very light, licorice-like sweetness before converging into the roasted carnage. Bitter-ass roasted coffee beans, and huge charcoal notes take over like none other. This beefy stout plays off of a heavy hop character as well, something else I really enjoy; leafy, ashy, herbal, and spicy. The bitterness from the hops and the bitterness from the roast combine to form a super bitterness that may even be stronger than all of the sweetness from the malt.

Light chocolates and sinister dark fruits play the counterbalancing sweetness role, although they don't stand a chance again the roasted bomb. There is a heavy fade of char, roast, burnt coffee, and nuttiness going into the aftertaste. Overall, the alcohol warms up a bit and gives this baby a fuckin' huge backbone - very robust; it demands that it be sipped slowly rather than slammed in a few seconds. This beer is big.... no, HUGE, on the palate, and creamy all the way through. Super low carbonation, but it almost works, here.

Seriously a badass stout; orgasmically powerful roast from nearly start to finish with a heavy and hard-hitting bitterness through and through. I love stouts like this. For the high ABV, it drinks pretty well. I'm biased towards bitter stouts, so this one was right in my wheelhouse. Simply delicious.

Photo of newk340
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: inky black pour, line of lacing indicating level of first pour, no head otherwise.

S: caramel and bitter chocolate evident, hints of coffee and oats.

T: heavy chocolate forefront, smooth accenting hints of caramel and coffee as the liquid settles in the mouth.

MF/D: light tingling sensations with each sip, increasing boozyness as it warms. could've/should've cellared longer.

Photo of nickadams2
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_ Pours black with a small burgundy color head that dissipates quickly. Very little lacing.

S_ Lots of dark fruits and dark chocolate. You also pick up on the booze. Very fruity though more so than most other RIPs.

T_Tastes great. Dark fruits and chocolate mix together perfectly to give this a nice rich taste.I can also taste coffee in the after taste that gives it a nice bitter finish.A little alcohol burn too.

M_ Thick and full bodied. Goes down pretty smooth and coats the mouth nicely.

D_ The high ABV limits the drinkability but these go down very easy. Could enjoy a couple in sitting but I think these are best savored. Besides two of these and just about anything will taste good

MaCain likey

Photo of NWer
4.91/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

In spite of my aggressive pour into my San Francisco Strong Beers Month 2012 tulip, it pours rather lazily into the glass and just sits there. Very dark brown small quickly fading head just enough to let you know there was some carbonation. Brown line of bubbles cling around edge of glass.
Aroma overpowering burnt chocolate. Very nice. Could sit and take it in all day but it's time to taste it.
Tastes again strong burnt chocolate. Some lingering coffee notes. Alcohol burn. 12% ABV not at all well hidden.
Mouthfeel nice. Lingering taste extends the experience. Alcohol taste remains as well. No cloying effect whatsoever. Could sit here and sip it all day.
This is why beer is better than Cognac.

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Center pour from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

What a lovely pour. A deep rich (nearly black) mahogany with a nice brownish-red foam that quickly dissipates to less than half a finger.

The smell is incredible! I get caramel, toffee, chocolate, perhaps prune, roasted coffee and a bit of booziness.

The first taste: A little bite of booze then a hit of sweetness and fruit followed by dark chocolate and raisin. The aftertaste is dark chocolate, slightly bitter and creamy. It lingers on the tongue, awaiting the next sip.

The mouthfeel is wonderful. Full and creamy with a late tingle on the tongue from the carbonation.

Overall, this is a great beer. Full of wonderful smells and flavors. I feel like the next time I have it, I'll be picking up different layers. I can't wait.

Photo of jewski
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dark Horse in snifter.

Massive roasty malt flavor. More chocolate than coffee. Dark fruit. A bit of an alcohol bite to remind you of the ABV. A bit of sweetness and enough hops to let you know they are arround. A great thick mouth feel.

Photo of marvin213
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The darkly tanned, thin layer of fizz looked great, though it dissipated more quickly than I'd have liked. Other than that, it's a dark black, imperial-looking stout. Kudos for what appeared like oatmeal sediment as the last drops fell into my Carolina Brewery pint glass.

Smells good and imperial. I've noticed lately how some dubbed RIS fail to smell like the ones that got me so loving the style. This one has a nose for a king (or queen, as it were): dark fruits (without a sourness), nicely toasted malts (with maybe a hint of chocolate without a disgustingly candy aroma), and a poignant while modest alcohol vibe (alluring like a treat instead of an unabashed alcohol bomb).

It's a bit more plummy and figgy than a great one but, thankfully, not overly sweet. It's solidly an appropriate representation of a Russian Imperial Stout. There ia an oatmealish flavor in there, perhaps affirming my sediment observation. The taste of the chocolate, as in the nose, is basically perfect--hinted at without a sweetness smack. This beer really seems to nicely blend all the right components of an RIS. There's nothing really unique about it, on the plus side being plainly good. When the marketplace seems flooded with over-the-top obnoxiously done stouts, this is a simply good (yet imperial) russian stout.

Oatmeal input allows for a silky input. It conjures images of soothing oatmeal baths on sunburn-singed skin. It really, really sits well. It's silky like soy milk. I cringe at penalizing simplicity, but only a complexity could attain world-class status. With all due respect, it feels like a Russian Imperial Stout is supposed to feel.

The alcohol is perfectly intertwined with the taste of this beverage. The aforementioned plumminess makes it a wee bit tart for multiples, but 12% is subtlely placed. The sediment stain I see on the bottom further represents oatmeal presence, but there's a thickness there discouraging multiple sessions. Still, Dark Horse comes strong with a well-built stout. Thanks to NotCreative for the chance to enjoy.

Photo of barhoc11
4.77/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Darkest of dark, looks like used motor oil but in a good way. little to no head on the beer.

S: Sweet roast smell, one of the best smelling RIS's I have had

T: Just as it smells, very sweet with the roasted malt finish. As with most RIS's, this gets better as it warms

M: Nicely carbonated and thick in your mouth, just as it should for this style

O: This is one of my favorite RIS's, it pushes the limits of the style but in a very good way. It is hard to tell this is 11% abv

Photo of alarmclock314
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a delicious stout. Full flavored, great mouthfeel, and slightly sweet finish.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from a trade.

Pours black with a dark tan head forming. The head dissipated quickly leaving only a jet black colored beer.

The nose is is pleasent notes of cocoa, cherries, a slight tart roasted nose.

The taste is very nice. The start is sweet and chocolate but the taste of cherry comes in. The finish is roasted and drying. The mouth is smooth and pleasent. The only notice of alcohol is a slight numb on the tongue. very nice.

Photo of SAxDRC5
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Black with a brown/tan head. leaves decent lacing

S: Dark chocolate and dark fruits. a hint of caramel, and maybe a touch of alcohol.

T: burnt malts, dark fruits and dark chocalate are the first flavors I get. a bit of sweet brown sugar and molasses in the middle and finished with a touch of hops and some warm alcohol. very complex.

M: a bit fizzy for the style. alcohol is more present than I would expect, warm alcohol feeling throughout.

O: pretty good. better taste than most imperial stouts, mouthfeel is the only downfall of this beer. I would like to try the bourbon barrel aged Plead the 5th, it may be a bit less fizzy.

Photo of Kassi
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Both the bourbon and rum flavors come through.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.87/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass at the South Park Tavern in Dayton, OH.

A - No real head to speak of. Very thin lace across the surface. Tar black and solidly opaque.

S - Light, but consistently present, nose of roasted malts with a bit of dark chocolate.

T - Yummy dark chocolate flavors, well-roasted malts, some hints of dark, dried fruits. Almost reminds me of a Belgium dark ale, but with more dark roast and chocolate and far less fruit. A bit of a boozy backend does give it a hint of having a medicinal quality, like Jagermeister. Not at all smokey or burnt like some stouts.

M - Somewhat creamy, with just enough carbonation to let you know there's CO2 present. Medium body. Good structure and nicely integrated. Moderate finish, but soft. This beer really needs to be on nitro.

O - Take a standard English porter and then intentionally push it toward a stout via the malts. This is that beer. Delicious and very drinkable. I was very surprised to discover its 12% ABV, both because it came in a pint glass and because it's not at all that boozy or big-bodied. If I liked the stout end of porters, I could make this a regular.

Photo of merlin48
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of Plead The 5th, pours a dark and opaque body with a small light brown head that leaves some spotty lacing. Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, coffee, and some dried dark fruits. Full bodied and creamy mouthfeel with a lower than medium carbonation. Taste is complex. Chocolate, strong roasted coffee beans, molasses, caramel, vanilla, leather, anise, and cherry skins. Alcohol is very well concealed but for some mild warmth. Excellent and very well put together. This one belongs in the top tier of American impy stouts.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,432 ratings.