Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

822 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 822
Hads: 3,496
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 551
Gots: 919 | FT: 105
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 822 | Hads: 3,496
Photo of Jeffo
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received bottles of this one from smakawhat and thetomG. Thanks for this gem of a beer gents! Finally getting around to reviewing this one along side the bourbon barrel version with Doopie. Good times!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drank right before the BA version

APPEARANCE: A thick, black pour yields a small, thicker looking, tight, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a half wisp and a nice ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. A big, menacing look to this one. Evil.

SMELL: Roasted, smoky and charred malts on the nose, with some nice coffee, dark chocolate and licorice notes there as well. Heavy dose of booze, mostly red port, provide a base for it all. Big and enticing.

TASTE: Some roasted and smoky malts up front with sweet caramel and molasses. Flavor is a little lacking up front, but then comes in waves after the swallow. Lots of bitter coffee and dark chocolate, smoky charred malts and port wine linger on the palate. Notes of licorice and sweet molasses, but piles of bitter chocolate and charred malts linger on the palate after the swallow. Wave after wave of big flavors. Just needed a little more up front for top marks.

PALATE: Fuller body and higher levels of carbonation. Creamy, thick and full on the palate, goes down smooth with a bit of a bite at the swallow and finishes relatively sticky on the palate. A well measured amount of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This was absolutely phenomenal. I’ve had a few other Dark Horse brews, all of which were mediocre compared to this monster of a delicious treat. Evil looking with a huge nose and flavor profile filled with everything I love about this style. Thick creamy palate gives the show a solid foundation as well. Perhaps a little weak up front and the booze might be slightly too forward, but this was awesome and I enjoyed it more than the 2011 bourbon barrel version we drank right after it. One I’d take anytime it was offered to me, no question. Thanks again for sharing Doops. Kick ass beer! (2,156 characters)

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (788 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle, poured into a snifter

A- pours opaque jet black in color with a small foamy dark-tan head that has short retention, eventually leaving a small layer on top, leaving some short lasting lace behind

S- lots of smoky roasted malt aroma up front with notes of charcoal, burnt marshmallow, campfire, smoked & cured meat, bitter dark chocolate and some woodsy notes. Underlying piney hops

T- Big chocolate and dark fig notes up front that are quickly complimented by a roasty malt that gives flavors of charred marshmallow, along with earthy and woodsy notes. Graham cracker sweetness kicks in near the end with more dark chocolate and a herbal hop finish. Some smoky malt with a touch of alcohol on the linger

M- thick and viscous body with moderate carbonation leads to a chewy-yet-smooth mouthfeel and a velvety finish, alcohol hidden brilliantly. Perfect

O- finally got a chance to try this one and it didn't disappoint. Smoky, chocolaty and true to the style. A world class example of a RIS (1,006 characters)

Photo of dcloeren
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an ink black with a finger of frothy dark copper head. The head quickly receded but I like to think that it was swallowed by the dark hole that is at the center of this stout. No lacing, but this beer has some heavy heavy curtains for sure

This beer is aromatic as hell! The aroma of this beer billowed out of the glass as it filled up. RICH RICH dark chocolate, great hints of vanilla up front that only become more and more present as this beer warms. Subtle coffee and caramel along with roasted malt and some booze. Very robust smelling and inviting all at the same time

The taste of this beer follows the nose to the T. Rich and bitter dark chocolate is the major player in this beer with nice hints of cocoa, coffee and roasted/burnt malt. The vanilla is a extremely nice touch as it becomes more and more apparent as this beer warms up. Finishes off with a nice hint of booze after each sip. Fantastic.

This beer tastes mother f***ing phenomenal but the mouthfeel is where it really makes its money. Rich, thick and chewy with an abundant amount of carbonation that really gives this beer a nice touch. Very present chocolate/coffee aftertaste that straight up coats your entire mouth with every sip.

This was a fantastic find. An excellent, easy drinking stout. They did an amazing job of blending the dark chocolate and vanilla together to where they both are easy to pick out but mix together OH SO WELL! Although the booze becomes more apparent once this stout warms up, it does no harm to this stout whatsoever. Will be going out of my way to find some more for sure. Extremely pumped that I got 2 bottles! (1,630 characters)

Photo of Seanniek91
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Smuttynose pint.

Appearance- Pitch black. So black. Really black. 2 finger fluffy mocha head. Big intense lacing.

Smell- Big boozy, cocoa, caramel, licorice, cherry, plumb, mild burnt smell at the end.

Taste- Caramel chocolate coffe, peppermint, not much booze surprisingly. Nice balance or bitter and sweet.

Mouthfeel- Sper smooth and viscous. Clean with that cooling peppermint flavor. Not hot at all which is great for 11%.

Overall- Damn fine RIS. Really want to try the Bourbon barrel version of this. (543 characters)

Photo of GRPunk
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- Viscus looking, black body. A moderate pour left a 1/2 finger, reddish-brown head that quickly dropped a decent lace leaving some light sticky spots. Dark body was difficult to judge the carbonation, but there were a few bubbles that would burst upon reaching the surface.

S- Some cooked raisin or prune aromas off the bat. A touch of pleasant alcohol. Nice combination of chocolate and coffee behind initial rush of cooked fruit.

T- More of the cooked raisin/prune as suggested by the initial aroma. More of a strongly brewed coffee flavor late. Nice and roasty with enough citrus hops to keep the sweetness in check.

M- Very rich. Nice light carbonation doesn't sully the flavor and allows the beer to coat your mouth. A touch of alcohol warms the belly, but doesn't overwhelm your tongue.

D- At 12% ABV, this is extremely drinkable. Definitely a night-cap sipper vs. a lawnmower chugger, but very approachable all the same. I would definitely drink this one again. (1,009 characters)

Photo of AllFineThings
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of the bottle and into a tulip glass.

Not much head or lacing at all, jet black.

Smells of dark roasted malts, and chocolate/coffee.

Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and burnt fruit.

Very, Very smooth for 12% ABV, so=Very Easy To drink.. (259 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 batch

Beautiful pitch black beer, surprisingly minimal and fizzy burnt mocha head. Decadent aroma of milk chocolate and vanilla sweetness, dark stone fruits, bakers chocolate, and faded espresso. Some decent amount of roast, a little ash. Taste is huge - bursting with rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, and dark roast coffee. The vanilla sweetness is prominent in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is full, oily, creamy with very soft carbonation.

My favorite of the Michigan winter imperial stouts (Expedition, FIS). Incredibly rich chocolate flavor enhanced with the most vibrant vanilla for a non-vanilla aged stout. Very balanced - exceptional. (656 characters)

Photo of Wolfpack2005
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013

A-Pours heavy and completely black into my snifter glass and leave a half finger head that fades quickly.

S-Dark chocolate with heavy doses bready and roasted malts. Also catching a good wiff of booze on the back end of the nose.

T-Follows the nose but the roasted malts are front and center with notes of dark chocolate and toffee. Then a slight booziness before the dark chocolate comes back and lingers on the palate.

M-Nice thick mouthfeel, which is preferable for the style, IMO. Lower levels of carbonation.

O-An excellent example of the style. Straight forward flavors, not overly complex, but perfectly executed (640 characters)

Photo of Resuin
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a teku glass. It looks like the bottle says 03.05.14 so this is pretty fresh.

Appearance: Pours jet black and leaves two fingers of tan/light-medium brown head which fades pretty quickly to a layer atop the beer.

Smell: Big roasted malts, coffee, fudge-like chocolate, some dark fruits, a hint of cherry. Fairly decadent. Very nice aroma.

Taste: Matches the smell until the finish which is a bit more bitter. Roasted malts, fudge, coffee, vanilla, marshmallow, a bit of char. Slightly bitter finish. ABV is masked really well.

Mouth-feel: Low carbonation with a thick, creamy body. Finishes smooth.

Overall: A very impressive stout. Rich, thick body with a decadent aroma and wonderful flavor. Really tasty. (747 characters)

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured pitch black into a pint glass- espresso-esque crema like head. Very fine bubbles. A thick layer of sediment remains on the bottom of the bottle, and looking down the neck into the bottle indicates that it as well is impenetrable by light. Very rich, smooth chocolate boozey aroma. The flavor of this beast is astoundingly smooth despite the 12% label... rich toffee, caramel, and chocolate are prevalent as hops are muted. Mouthfeel is amazing and perfectly appropriate for a good RIS. Overall this beer is outstanding, and I will write a more detailed review next time since im already getting slurry. (621 characters)

Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark and thick. Not even brown around the edges. The beer was on tap, so the head was non-descript.

Smelled like dark chocolate cake. You can almost smell the sweetness. Faint coffee, but the chocolate is the star.

Tastes like it smells with lots of roasted malts, including chocolate. No real hop presence. Again, chocolate cake comes to mind.

Thick, creamy and smooth. An almost complete lack of bitterness makes this beer attractive with a chocolate dessert. The sweetness is very prevalent, but never crosses the line due to the high ABV.

An amazingly easy beer to get down. A perfect dessert or after dinner beer. Alcohol is fairly well hidden so it works any time of the year. (706 characters)

Photo of philbe311
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the BA version first and loved it... Been looking forward to popping this open...

A - A fingers worth of the darkest brown colored head that I have ever seen that is densely packed and perfectly level... Fairly impressive retention especially given the slight head it started with... Audibly fizzy... An opaque medium black color... Quite still... Seems to be some sediment settled on the bottom of the glass...

S - Chocolate... Roasted malts... Raisins... Coffee... Touches of smoke and licorice...

T - Chocolate and marshmallow are the first to greet the palette... This is follwed by coffee and raisins... There is also a sweet caramel presence... The finish of all roasted malts... Nice depth and complexity...

M - On the lighter side of full bodied... Some slightly fizzy carbonation... Dense... Sleek... A bit sticky... A slightly chalky finish...

D - This is a top of the line Russian Imperial Stout... No criticisms and lots of really good things happening... Hides the 12% ABV rather well... I'm continually impressed by the offerings that Dark Horse puts forth... I look forward to drinking this again and highly recommend it to fellow BAs... (1,164 characters)

Photo of Bills453
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Appearance - poured from a bottle. dark black in color. dark brown head.

Smell - This beer smell likes something was roasted inside my class. I smell cocoa and a hint of anise or something like that as well.

Taste - very good. What you would expect from a RIS. Cannot tell at all that this bad boy is 11%.

Mouthfeel - smooth and silky

Overall - an amazing stout. Not my top ever, but very very good. (403 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow, talk about having no idea what you're grabbing and being pleasantly surprised.

A - pitch black, motor oil with a dark angry brown head that starts slowly and lasts the full glass

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, roasted grains and a sweet dark malt vinous note.

T - lush rich malts convey dark chocoloate, coffee, roasted grains, dark ripe fruits...

M - full bodied, modestly carbonated, silky smooth, rich and full with a nice residual roasted feel.

D - a sipper but only so as to extract all that wonderfull flavor!

Yes sir, I'll have another. (551 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter at Map Room 4/27/08.

A: Pure, black evil. Dark khaki/espresso crema colored head that didn't leave too much lace.

S: Huge aromas of blackened malt, raisins/plums, dark & milk chocolate, burnt toast, and a molassas reduction drizzled over cherry.

T: Slightly boozy rum-soaked raisin, dark chocolate covered cherry, espresso, cocoa, toasted oats, burnt white bread, plum bread pudding with a coconut glaze.

M: Silky smooth. A great mixture of sweet, boozy, and spicy.

D: What an awesome RIS. Hopefully this becomes easier to find in IL. (580 characters)

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this about 14 months ago.

Poured into a shaker: Black, opaque body with a half-finger of mocha head that drops to a thin coating & collar. Comes out of the bottle thick, leaves a layer of viscous sediment in the bottle's bottom.

Getting a lot of dark fruits from the smell: fig, raisin, date. Some milk chocolate, a slight dried leafiness (tobacco?), coffee beans, molasses. Yeaaahhh.

Initially pretty sharp taste, with strong roast, a tart tang like dark fruit skins, & some pretty strong booze given the age. Midway some softer cocoa & nutty coffee comes in, then moves into a dry, rum-like alcohol character into the finish, again packing a bit of a punch. The aftertaste is dry, with some more creaminess & developing into a long, dark coffee roast. Mm-mmm, this is complex & goes through a lot, some challenging, some pleasing. Still warms long into the aftertaste.

Full, thick mouthfeel, chewy, some heat that keeps me from calling it 'smooth', but really got a lot of body.

Damn, this is a fine brew. I thought putting it away for a little bit would mellow it out some, & while I haven't it fresh for comparison, I would definitely not call this 'mellow'. This is a big, serious, complex brew, both tasty & provocative. Again: yeeeaaaahhh. (1,258 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bottle up somewhere in Ann Arbor this past summer. Pours super dark with thick mocha head that eventually disappears. Smells like sweet coffee and chocolate, a little bit like a milk stout too. Tastes like deep roasted coffee and chocolate, but balanced with some subtle dark fruit. Not too much hops. This is a really well balanced flavor. Nothing is out of whack. Mouthfeel is fairly thick with medium carbonation and fairly sticky. If this is 12% ABV, it's hidden well. I could drink this all night, or so I think right now.

For the first half of the bottle, I kept wondering, "where have I tasted this before? I know I've had something recently that tasted a lot like this." Then I remembered - it reminds me a little of the non-barrel aged version of Brooklyn Black Ops, which is awesome. I highly recommend this and can't wait for the chance to buy more. A very pleasant surprise. Everything I've had from Dark Horse so far has been excellent. Not surprising - another great Michigan brewer. I'll put Michigan up against any other state, including California. (1,078 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of the darkest achromatic visual value with a frothy, dark brown head and some sticy lacing coating the side. The smell is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, and raisins. The beer is well carbonated and fullbodied. The taste is of black coffee, tobacco, and wet cedar. The dark chocolate is pronounced and slightly smoky.

I'd love to drink this in the middle of a blizzard, inside a log cabin, nestled in some tall, cold mountains somewhere in Scandinavia. (470 characters)

Photo of Marty30
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz Bottle dated 5-11. Poured into a Jackie O's' snifter at 55 degrees.Have been waiting to try for a long time.

A. Black as black get's. No head, just a dark brown cap appear's and then disappears. No head.

S. Dark fruits hit first and shortly after comes the chocolate and cocoa,along with a touch of coffee.

T. Nice! I get a good bit of roasted malts,then a hefty amount of chocolate. I get some sweet figs,grahm crackers,vanilla,with a little bit of booze in the end.

M. Great heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is perfect for the style. Coats the palate and leaves a chocolate roasty aftertaste.

Overall I did not expect this beer to this damn good. It definately exceded my expectations! Very complex. I will be getting a case of this no doubt. A must try. This could be one of my favorite beers. (805 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 2. Big thanks to grub for cracking this one. 12 oz "Plead the 5th" bottle.
This stuff was your basic black with faint brown edges and a thin, dark brown cap of fine bubbles that settled to a long lasting collar. Sticky lacing. Rich aroma, lots of fruit and roast character, chocolate and cocoa, dried fruits and cherries, hint of vanilla. Reminded me of a fruit and nut chocolate bar. Chalky, dry roast flavour with medium to low hop bitterness. Very nutty with dark chocolate and cocoa notes, plus mild alcohol towards the end. Caramel and toffee sweetness. Faint licorice. Full bodied with low, very fine carbonation, alcohol warmth and a chalky dryness. Rich and delicious, just the way a big stout should be. (742 characters)

Photo of Bshaw22
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

This is one of my favorite imperial stouts. It's too bad it's so hard to get. I've had 3 bottles in my life. The one I am reviewing was a year and a 1/2 old.
Nose was intense with dark fruits and dark chocolate.
Taste was smooth across the board with nothing overpowering. One of the finest mouthfeel ever for this style.

I'll be searching these out again! (363 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out as a very dark black color with a really nice creamy brown head on top. The smell is highly roasted and has a slight herbal aroma with some dark chocolate. The taste has a really nice licorice flavor to it with the roasted malts and chocolate all mixed into one. The mouthfeel is extremely smooth and rich. Overall the beer is actually really really good. Really worth a try if you see it! (409 characters)

Photo of fitrock2112
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured Plead the 5th Imperial Stout into a snifter.

A - The imperial stout poured aggressively into the snifter, it is black as midnight with a bubble or two coming to the surface, classic stout looking beer.

S - Lots of dark fruits, raisins, figs, dark cherries. Getting roasted malts with a touch of bourbon; however, this one is not the barrel aged version. Gonna love this one I can tell.

T - The taste is incredible, almost like the smell. Did I get the barrel aged one by their mistake. Wow, this is very smooth and tasty. This might be the best Imperial Stout I've had ever, its just that good.

M - Thick as hell, molasses comes to mind. Heavy mouthfeel, little carbonation, but very good for the style. Yummy

O - Blown away, very nice beer, Highly Recommended Cheers! (780 characters)

Photo of DavidEddie
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of "Plead the 5th".

Appearance - Black with a tan head, and a nice ring of lacing.

Smell - A nice mix of milk chocolate, coffee, hint of dark fruit, and burnt marshmallows.

Taste - A blast of chocolate, old black coffee, brown sugar, smoke, and burnt toast. Finishes with some mildly bitter piney hops and booze.

Mouth feel - Lightly carbonated and coating.

Drinkability - Incredible. My new favorite stout! IMO similar to Surly Darkness and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Definitely recommended! (517 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 822 ratings.