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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,101 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,101
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 526
Gots: 720 | FT: 79
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:
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

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,101 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mntlover
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black no highlights when held to the light just a black hole sucking up all the light. Small pinky sized coco head falls to a ring, no real lace left behind.

Aroma is very nice lots of roasted malts, rich chocolate notes, sweet smelling with hints of earthy peat and coffee notes. If possible it smells thick bodied.

Taste is like the nose rich thick roasted malts, good chocolate with hints of coffee in the middle and lingering also in the finish with some bitterness added. Big chewy sweet stout but its not cloying, I suppose there enough hops to balance it out, but not enough to be noticed. Some spicy alcohol notes also in the finish but blend well and do not distract.

Mouthfeel is nice big chewy drew with good mellow carbonation . Makes for easy drinking which could be a problem on this big of a beer.

Overall this is a very nice stout, one I would love to have more of.

Photo of yamar68
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, murky black sludge with an edge of copper clarity. A quickly dissipating finger of tan froth sits on top. Nice, subtle lacing. What I first notice on the nose are sweeter malts - caramel, toffee, brown and candied sugars, sweet booze, simple syrups, a bit of cocoa as it warms. The booze is very well placed on the tongue. Taste starts with burnt oak, then black cherries and caramel. Just a hint of black licorice if you really look for it. Really a unique flavor. The feel is nearly perfect and showcases the best of the beers base flavors. Overall, I would highly recommend this. This is one of the best ’non-specialty’ imperial stouts I’ve ever tried. Fantastic.

Photo of 4balance
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle courtesy of top notch BA - Yamar68, thanks man.

Poured into St. Bernardus Chalice. Dark opaque black with tan colored 1/2" head that disappears into a little ring around the edge that disappears about halfway through. Minimal tight lacing that doesn't last.

Smells like deep rich roasted malts, cocoa nibs, dark roasted Colombian coffee, dark raisins, figs with a slight alcohol scent.

Tastes is similar to the smell, dark malt, rich roasted bitter coffee beans, high percentage of dark chocolate along with milk chocolate, vanilla bean, dark fruits, slight amount of hops, smokey aspects with a warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, full bodied with a little dry bitter finish, so balanced out.

Overall this is a meal in a glass. So rich yet easy to drink. Highly recommended if you like this style and even if you don't!

Photo of Dr_Fox
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of HopSavant
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Sesmu
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost a pitch black body with a half an inch head of dirty brown color. Head disappear very quickly.

S: Very chocolaty. Chocolate malts, sweet molasses, fruitiness and distant vinous notes.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, some vanilla. Starts very sweet and finishes with a prickly leather-like sensation, which lingers for a while. And then turns bittersweet and lasts even longer.

M: Moderate to low carbonation. Very warming, creamy and silky, very silky. Medium to full body, chewy and heavy, but not too thick. Alcohol is hidden extremely well. You don't notice it until you near the end of the bottle (12 oz) when it comes with the warm, enveloping feeling.

O: Extremely pleasant beer, very easy to drink, perhaps dangerously easy. Quite filling, almost like a meal. Not much more to ask of a Russian Imperial Stout.

Photo of korguy123
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old black and white label. No bottling date. Purchased at Horrock's in Lansing MI.

A- Dark, inky, oily black pour. Totally opaque with not even the slightest light around the edges. Finger width dark, chocolate milk head that quickly recedes. Lacing is spotty but alcohol clings like there is no tomorrow.

S- Bakers chocolate, molasses, licorice dates, figs and brandy soaked raisins. There is a little coffee and char.

T- Chocolate syrup, bitter sweet chocolate, espresso and black strap molasses. There is a little licorice but not as much as the nose leads on. The dark fruits are non-existent and the brandy is replaced with a touch of bourbon.

M- Full bodied, creamy, sliky with a touch of alcohol and carbonation. Sticky on the lips.

O- This is a monster dressed as a sheep. Big, bad and bold throw in the fact that it's 12% and you get one hell of a beer. Turn it into a beer that drink like none of that and you have danger in a bottle. I don't know if it's the age or the beer itself but it is remarkable.

Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to michibrew for this one. 12 oz. bottle poured into a Weyerbacher cuvee.

A - Pours a viscous black color with a one finger dark mocha head. The head lasts for a while and leaves a great lacing down the glass. Impressive retention for a 12% beer. Perfection for the style.

S - Rich aroma of dark fruits, licorice, roasted malts, coffee and vanilla.

T - Begins with toasted, charred malts up front accompanied by some toffee and dark fruit sweetness. This is followed by some bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. The aftertaste is primarily of charred oak and a little bit of booze.

M - A little bit chewy with light carbonation. Smooth and enjoyable.

O - I have heard good things about this beer and finally got a chance to try it tonight. The aroma is impressive and strong, the way an RIS should be. Great roasty aromas, which carry over into the flavor. Taste is bold and powerful, with just a touch of booze. I was impressed by the beer as a whole and look forward to trying the Barrel aged version I have in my cellar. I wish we got Plead the Fifth in my area and if we did, I would get it often.

Photo of travMI13
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

A: Pours thick and black as night. A finger of mocha head dissipates very slowly, leaving great lacing and nice retention. Outstanding.

S: Roasted malts, a lot of coffee, and hints of dark chocolate. Maybe a touch of toffee.

T: Toffee, chocolate, maybe some licorice on the finish. There is a nice dark chocolate bitterness on the finish, yet the beer stays creamy throughout. There might be a touch of coffee flavor, but it is largely absent for me. This is wonderfully balanced. By the way, where is the alcohol?

M: Thick, creamy, and a touch of dryness on the finish. Really tough to beat for an imperial stout.

O: This is a fantastic imperial stout. The Bourbon Barrel version is great because this is the base beer. A smooth, rich, and complex imperial stout. A truly great offering from Dark Horse.

Photo of thufflife
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to my boy aasher for this one! Fifth in the series and fifth on the day! Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Poured pitch black with a minimal fizzy brown head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and subtle alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, subtle sweet alcohol, and subtle caramel. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The aroma and flavors on this one were quite nice for a RIS. While they were not overly complex, they made this one quite enjoyable. The key thing for a RIS for me is if they can cover up the alcohol while still keeping it around as a more subtle flavor. This one did this quite well. A definite must try for any beer drinker out there.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, "Plead the 5th" Imperial Stout. Served in a chalice, the beer pours very dark brown/black with a very small brown head which goes away quickly. The aroma is roasted malt, dark fruit, milk chocolate, coffee and molasses. Taste is similar to the aroma, there's roasted malt, milk and bittersweet chocolate, molasses, vanilla, coffee, dark fruit and a bit of soy sauce. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full. Not as thick as I expected it to be (but there's still plenty of substance to this beer), but it's very slick and smooth with low carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's not hard to drink at all. Overall I think this is a pretty good RIS, I'd definitely buy it again given the chance.

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black in to a tulip glass. the mocha head to this one is very faint and appears shortly after all the beer has left the bottle .

smell - its not the most impressive thing about this beer. I have to literally put my nose in this one to get the smell of this. I get fig, dark chocolate, vanilla, and some oak.

taste - thick dark chocolate stands out the most to me here. Although the taste tends to change with each sip. The oak is present as well as a little fig, but man O man does the chocolate shine in this one. It laces the throats and leaves a thick chocolate coat in the after taste. I get a little coffee but not much.

Overall - I am thoroughly happy with this one and can't say enough about how much the chocolate throat coating stands out to me. I shall have this one again!

Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one has been aging in my cellar for at least 2-3 years. I can't even remember who I got it from but if memory serves correct, I believe it was trbeer.
Appears a used motor oil, thick syrupy, viscuous, black. A thick, dark tan head slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty lacing and syrupy streaks are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee beans. I'm loving this stuff. I would put this up there with some of the best Imperial Stouts I've had.
Taste echoes the aromas with complexities bouncing off the tastebuds with highlights of dark fruit jam, caramel, molasses, cocoa, coffee, and roasted nuts.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, semi-sweet with chocolate bitterness.
Let this one age a little bit and it'll reward you handsomely.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to aqsprint for this trade - 12 oz. into perfect size and shape of Moosehead mug.

40, 50 or 60 weight? Thick jet-black spent motor oil topped with very thin banana nut bread-colored head. This one's gonna be trouble.

The gang's all here - coffee, cocoa, cinnamon sugar, beef BBQ char, oily hop pine and prodigious amounts of slow-roasted chocolate malt. This one's solid.

Extremely roast-forward and complex. Austere to an extent but viscous enough to jell everything going on here - the cocoa, cinnamon sweetness, overloaded burnt malt and a mild piney hop profile. Husky alcohol notes carve out thickness in a very faint bourbon sort of way to keep it clean.

This absolutely oozes down the palate with the ingredients working together in Beautiful Chemistry to git 'er done. Finish is long and strong. Strong and soothing.

Well this one was finished way before I was ready to let it go. For such a powerful brew this drinks painfully easily. Savor this puppy.

Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed only the slightest layer of brown bubbles over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Lacing is more or less non-existent, but the viscosity of the brew does leave a nice film when the glass is swirled, which I think should be worth something. Aroma is heavy oatmeal and dark fruits. Taste strikes first with the soft oatmeal, then the fruit chimes in for a moment, eventually giving way softly to more dark malts, and some coffee bitterness at the close. Warmth is evident upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth for such a heavy beer, no doubt the oats' doing, and drinkability is quashed a bit by the heartiness of the malts, but overall for the style this brew is reasonably approachable. Check it out yourself and make sure I've made the right call.

Photo of rmalinowski4
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black with a two finger milk chocolate head. The head recedes slowly leaving a ton of milk chocolate colored lacing. Looks deep, dark, and divine.

Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and coffee. Smells simply scrumptious.

The taste is of huge sweet chocolate, thick chewy malt and rich creamy coffee. It is wonderful, well balanced and simply delicious. The alcohol is well covered and barley noticeable when cold. As the beer warms, the alcohol heat become more prevalent.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy and completely coats your palate. There is adequate carbonation making this simply wonderful to sip on.

Overall this is one of the best non barrel aged stouts that I have had, it is simply delicious. I am definitely going to seek out more of this one.

Photo of WakeandBake
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A thick dark black motor oil pour with a thin coco colored head,light carbonation with lots of sticky lacing. Aroma is heavy dark chocolate,bitter coffee,and roasty/burnt malt,and a hint of smoke. WOW Flavor is of bitter coffee,dark chocolate,malt,caramel,vanilla,hints of oak,and alcohol,medium to full body with a creamy mouthfeel, awesome bittersweet finish. This is outstanding in every way. Dark Horse Rocks !

Photo of Deuane
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whoo-hoo! Plead the 5th ON TAP! Lucky for sholland119 and I to score an offering of this from the tap.

A-Black. A medium, dark tan head slowly reduced to a thin veil and would revive with moderate agitation. Deposits ringing lace as the volume reduces.

S-Dark cherry, alcohol fusel elements, and a waft of smokiness all lying on top of a HUGE, rich and roasty dark roasted malt base. Hints of raisin and sherry in the background. All in all quite complex.

T-A luscious combination of plum, raisin and sherry accenting a rich, roasted malt base. Bit of alcohol burn in the finish but it works for this beast of a brew. Finishes with a building dry woodiness.

M-Medium-heavy bodied, very smooth with a dry finish that slowly fades into a long lingering bitter, roasted malt bite.

D-Smooth and easy going, well rounded and VERY flavourful....in fact disturbingly so! For a brew packing a reported 14% ABV this beer could get you into serious trouble, fast! A VERY complex and intriguing brew. Well done Dark Horse!

Photo of david131
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Absolutely pitch black and thick looking. A nice, creamy mocha head forms and had excellent retention.

S- Lots of chocolate and coffee. Some anise and smokiness are in there as well. Smells wonderful and balanced, but it is pretty subdued.

T- The perfect balance of all the flavors. There is a ever so slight hop presence on the tail end, but I love how it is not in your face at all. Very clean and enjoyable.

M- Very creamy and ridiculously smooth. It doesn't get much better than this.

D- A tasty pick. I could really sip on this for awhile. Much better than I expected. Dark Horse really knows what they are doing with stouts.

Photo of putnam
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black oil. Very dark sheet of foam after raising the pour high enough to kick in some turbulence -- darker than Breakfast, Shakespeare at al. -- minimal though.
Aromas of bitter chocolate, black coffee and marshmallow. There are also some wild yeasty elements to the bouquet that remind me of certain Belgian Quadrupels -- doughy, with notes of reduced red berries, spices and nut butters. Think Bernardus12/Rochefort10 with piles of coffee and chocolate extract added.
Velvety and not particularly sweet, the flavors are very roasty and intense, yet lacking any sourness or astringency. A long cadence of milk sugar and espresso define the finish.
Herbal burps betray some lost hop component (that's quality to me.)
Quite well balanced. Maybe a little top-heavy. It will be interesting to see what happens to this bottling over time.
This is what I remember Expedition tasting like.
Spectacular.
I'm guessing 10% ABV or more.

Photo of bs870621345
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second time having this, better(?) on tap.

Pours jet black with a mocha colored head and minimal lacing. Looks like a stout should.

I get a lot of fruit, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, vanilla, and almost an oak like smell. It is not barrel aged but its got a few characteristics of such.

Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate dipped dark fruits with some vanilla and coffee mixed in. Seems like there are some spices as well. Alcohol is rather prevalent, but it is a really big beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, oily, and delicious. Lingers for a long time.

Overall, this is damn good. It brings to mind Lost Abbey Angel's share, but a hell of a lot better value.

Photo of GabrielM
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared as an extra from pittsburghkid66 - thanks again! Poured into a snifter.

A - pitch black body, dark brown head on top. A standard appearance, yet one that always excites me.

S - a ton of roasted malts and brown sugar. A little vanilla, alcohol and spice.

T - roasted malt more than anything, some sweet coffee-and-cream, chocolate and molasses on the back.

M - fantastic! Great carbonation, very smooth and balanced.

D - dangerously good. This one lacks the espresso/hop bitterness I've come to expect from big IRS, especially ones at 12% ABV. Very grateful I got the chance to try this beer.

Photo of ixodus
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick jet black with reddish brown hues and a mocha head. Leaves trace amount of lacing.

S: Rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, licorice, anise, plums, raisins, cork like woody smell.

T: Decadent dark chocolate almost like chocolate mousse, licorice, charred oak, french vanilla, molasses, and espresso,
finishing off with a roasty dark coffee like bitterness that lingers for awhile. Complex and definitely on the roasty side. This beer is still quite hot.

M: Thick and vicious, creamy, hot, with soft carbonation.

O: Overall this beer is a excellent. I would definitely seek this out. One of the most complex non barrel aged RIS' I have ever had

Photo of Mississipping
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Jackie O's snifter, both courtesy of drgonzo3705.

A: Pours pitch black, letting absolutely no light penetrate.  A small, one-finger light brown head appears, but only briefly before disappearing.  Only a thin ring is left behind, with some sticky lacing.

S: This smells excellent ... roasted malt and bitter chocolate dominate, with hints of espresso, vanilla, dark fruit, and a touch of anise.  Really a lot going on here, creating an extremely pleasant aroma.  despite the higher alcohol content, there is no sign of it in the smell.  

T: Starts out with dark, bitter chocolate and roasted malts.  Transitions slowly to a sweeter milk chocolate with fig and plumb.  Finishes roasty with an absolutely delicious espresso flavor and a touch of hops that lingers and lingers.  There is a bit of a drying effect on the finish, however, there is almost no trace of alcohol.  Really nice!

M: Full-bodied, thick, and slightly chewy.  Fairly low carbonation that provides a smooth velvety creaminess across the tongue with each sip.  Nice transition from bitter to sweet to bitter/roasty.  Again, slightly drying at the end.  

O: This is an exceptional non-BA imperial stout.  There is a lot going on in the aroma and taste, and the mouthfeel is spot on.  I've had my eye on this for a while, largely due to some of the hype surrounding the BA-version, and this version is better than I had expected.  I'm really glad to have gotten a chance to try this and will try to get my hands on another bottle or two down the road.  

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,101 ratings.