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
93
outstanding

823 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 823
Hads: 3,499
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 552
Gots: 920 | 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: 823 | Hads: 3,499
Photo of divineaudio
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vs 2012 comparison, 12oz bottles. notes from april 2012 or so, right after the 2012 release. both bottles poured into snifters. ratings above reflect the current batch.

a - '12 pours a viscous, oily black. gave me a thin cap of dark brown head that is only about two shades lighter than the beer. spotty lacing in the glass. 4.5

'11 same color/look, though no head whatsoever and no lacing. 3.5


s - '12 chocolate, slightly nutty, raisin. 3.5

'11 wow! port, faint tobacco, faint licorice, lots of roasted malt and a slight booziness. 4.5

t - '12 chocolate, molasses, noticeable alcohol twang in the finish. bitterness like black coffee more so than hops. a little rough around the edges i think. 4.0

'11 espresso, rich dark chocolate, raisin, dark cherry, tobacco. very smooth with no alcohol taste at all. maybe showing some slight oxidation. 4.0

m - '12 full bodied and chewy. adequate carbonation, fin co2 profile. slight alcohol warming. 3.5

'11 full bodied with lighter carbonation and a fine co2 profile. very rich and smooth. 4.0

o - fresh is pretty damn good, but with a year or more on it this beer becomes something very different. very drinkable for the high abv %, though i think 2 in a night is all most people could handle. enjoyable fresh or aged and highly recommended. 4.0 (1,308 characters)

Photo of lnashsig
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to GordianKnot for the chance to taste this one. a 12% imp stout bottle, no bottle date. Poured from bottle into Brooklyn Tulip glass. Pours a pitch black syrupy appearance. Barely any head (what you would expect from a beer this big). Smell- rich roasty maple syrup. Maybe some vanilla bean, some subdued chocolate flavor. From appearance and smell, it appears this one might have some time on it (yay!). Taste- Different flavors from what I would have expected. A roasty sweetness up front, some liquorice, sweet chocolate, not much bitterness at all. There is a creaminess to the mouthfeel, very little carbonation. Overall for the style, I would have expected more of a roasty possibly dark chocolate presence. I got almost too much sweetness from this one, and it kind of bugged me. Overall good though. (820 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance:
Pours an opaque black with a hint of very dark brown. The lacing is a dark tan.

Smell:
I get hints of dark chocolate, toffee, and some coffee notes. The smell of the beer tends to be a little dull and not very distinct. Additionally, the smell does not mix well and feels as if they are there because the beer has to have a smell.

Taste:
I get hints of dark chocolate and coffee and slight hints of roasted malts.

Mouthfeel:
Very smooth for an imperial stout and heavy bodied.

Overall:
I think that this an okay imperial stout. My main beef with this beer is that it tends to fall up short in terms of flavor. Kinda of like that little engine that almost but didn't quite make it. (697 characters)

Photo of claminat420
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- poured the typical stout color with a dark chocolate head.

S- smell some weird fruity smell like bananas and a slight alcohol scent. weird but good.

T- roasted malts from hell. the alcohol being 12 is really hidden. the fruity scent kinda hangs as an aftertaste.

M- medium light bodied. nice carbonation.

D- could drink a couple 12's but i'm not to much of a stout fan to begin with.

Overall- this stout is defintitely one for the stout fans. the 12abv is subtle. not to much carbonation and wasn't to much of a head but still good. (540 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours medium heavy compared to other RIS. Head is a lighter off white color, a notch lighter then a solid tan color. Carbonation is what you would expect, thin but was present enough for you to acknowledge it.

Smell: The front is a subtle burnt chocolate which really opens up to a hearty barley malt aroma with a heavy dose of hops. The chocolate aroma has plenty of darkness to it but also has a very creamy texture as well. The booze plays its role by adding a little wicked edge.

Taste: Milk chocolate cream hits right away on the front of this brew. The high ABV takes over in the body but is certainly not offensive. Too spicy for an RIS for me but the taste is still pretty good. The hops linger around for a while.

Mouthfeel: A unique mixture of hops and molasses. Heavy feeling with interesting high points on the palette.

Overall: This beer is very good but did not live up to the hype for me. The usual place I buy from sold 4 cases of this in about 6 hours. I had to go out of my way to find some and I'm glad I at least got the opportunity to try it. Its not Founders or Oskar Blues RIS but I enjoyed this one. Would love to try the bourbon barrel version of this, but I'm sure all of you would. (1,225 characters)

Photo of EliteDigger
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle of "Plead the 5th"
A-Forceful pour yields almost no head at all. Small amount of tiny bubbled, dense light brown foam appears around the edge of the glass, but that's it. However, when taking a sip, there's enough carbonation to leave a bit of lacing on the sides and rebuild the bit of foam around the edges. Body is dark, basically black with virtually no light peeking through the edges.
S-Not a large amount of aroma here, but I pick up a bit of molasses, dark chocolate, and earthy roasted grains.
T-Subtle flavors in this one, growing stronger the more it warms...very subdued coffee shows through, with more dark chocolate. Tastes of molasses, dark fruit, more roasted grain, and a bit of hops shows up.
M-Nice thickness, creaminess, and although the head was non-exisitant, the carbonation is adequate to give this one a very pleasant mouthfeel.
D-Decent drinkability taking into account the ABV but I'm not sure I'd want more than a couple.
Overall a decent RIS, but not outstanding. I'm glad I got to try it and I threw a couple down in the cellar to see what some age does to this one. (1,112 characters)

Photo of mmva321
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

A: There's very litlle head and no retention. But this stuff looks like motor oil coming out of the bottle, which is very impressive. Needless to say this is a jet black body. A thin caramel colored lacing lines the bottle.

S: The smell hit my nose right out of the pour, so a beer with that amount of initiative deserves a little boost in the score, though I wish the final product was a little better. It's a bitter roasted smell. Nuts, chocolate and perhaps some dark fruit. Nothing really reveals itself as being special.

T: A bitter roasted taste. Dark bitter chocolate and dark fruits are the dominant flavors and make this a very dark beer. Roasted nuts and maybe some vanilla are there as well. Very well balanced but very, very blunt and not too subtle. The roasted malt and nuts really come through at the end.

M: Thick, thick, thick. A little carbonation. Serves the dark flavors well. But the fruit flavors perhaps demand a mouthfeel that is a little lighter.

D: Though everything is really good here, this beer ends up being a little less than the sum of its parts. I find the strong and sweet dark fruit flavor to be a little off putting. I'm not sure but the beer does everything well, but has a few things that keep from being great. Try it for yourself though, it's a unique a well done beer that maybe you have a taste for. (1,371 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Black color. Not quite one finger of light brown frothy/creamy head. Retention is poor, even for a beer this big. No lacing left.

4.0 S: Supple roastiness. Caramel and lots of molasses. A touch of black cherry. Light chocolate, a bit burnt, and booze that's well hidden.

4.0 T: Roasty with lots of molasses and caramel. Cherry, chocolate, and toastiness underneath. Actually, there's lots of cherry in this. Well hidden booze.

3.5 M: Heavier medium to heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Could be a bit creamier, but it's still good here.

4.0 D: Tasty with well integrated flavors. (619 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought last year at West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago.
355 ML poured into a tulip

A-- Poured ink black. Think the light ran away from this. Evil looking. Very short lived dark brown film that became a thin, dark brown collar. Obvious alcohol legs.

S-- Heavy roasted malts, candied soy sauce, deep, dark bitter chocolate and notes of coffee. Smells slightly oaked and even for a year old a good amount of alcohol is obvious.

T-- Hops have held up well as slightly spicy green pepper taste. Dark, bitter, sweet chocolate, coffee, candied char and candied soy sauce. Alcohol is really obvious.

M-- Slick, oily and sweet. Finishes with a dark bitter chocolate and coffee. Heavy feel and low carbonation are an understatement. A touch too sweet in the front and mid palate.

O-- Loved the BA treatment and this is good but probably a bit too young and slightly too sweet. or my palate is no longer American. Slow as heck sipper. (931 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: [4.00] Looks jet black in the glass. I get no light penetration. It has a brown head that looks creamy and delicious. The head is much more brown than most stouts. Unfortunately it dissipates quickly. The ABV is on the label (11%). There was a bottled date but it is smudged almost completely off.

S: [3.75] Dark fruits. Plums. Some alcohol. Maybe a hint of smoke and malts.

T: [3.75] Does not follow the nose. Smokey malts. Chocolate. Some booze.

M: [4.50] The body is medium+. It is chewy and nice. There is a bit of alcohol astringency on the finish that makes it feel a little dry and tight.

O: [4.00] I held on to this one for a while - waiting for a good opportunity to try it. I was not blown away (maybe my expectations got too high). It is a solid beer. The flavor is really good. The mouthfeel is great. At 11% the alcohol is only poking in just a bit. I would probably not actively seek this out again. There are lower ABV beers that I prefer. (984 characters)

Photo of Murchmac
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had both an 08 and an '10 over the weekend.

Both poured a black as night dark with some lacing. The 08 was still really carbonated and the 10 was not at all.

Both had a mixture of smells chocolate, coffee, booze, with the 10 having some soy sauce smells.

the 10 had tastes of cherry, soy sauce, coffee, chocolate, the 08 was still carbonated with just a chocolate taste

the 10 had a bitter finish with the 08 being smoother with a bigger body. (449 characters)

Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a new snifter. My parents got me this bottle for Christmas, thanks!

A - very good looking beer. Forced pour produces little head, foam starts dark brown like an RIS, but lightens as it settles. Bubbles swirl on the surface, making it look alive.

S - phew, not good. I don't know if it's my glass, but it smells sour, almost like a Belgian dark. Not what I expected and totally unpleasant. I can't even stand taking my customary deep whiff.

T - good, creamier than I expected, though my initial expectations were kind of rocked by the odor. I like the milky flavor working with the malts to cover up the alcohol (which is undetectable even at 12%). Not a great big slap in the face like most specialty double stouts from Michigan breweries.

M - the consistency is really interesting because of the aforementioned milky flavor. It's a smooth drink to be sure, and the alcohol is clandestine in a very dangerous way. If this bottle's smell is a fluke, I could drink more than one of these in a sitting.

O - I'd love to try this on tap, but another bottle may be out of the question, assuming it's not my glass making it smell like this. Dark Horse is a great company regardless, I love the sheer variety of stouts they produce. (1,254 characters)

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a thick tan head that settles quickly. It retains a thin film on the edges, and lacing is minimal.

S: Malts lend a roasty character, with hints of dried dark fruits, such as prune and rasin. Chocolate and coffee aromas are also present. Still quite young, the hops lend somewhat of an off-putting vegetable-like smell in the backround.

T: All malt at first. Roasty espresso and chocolate flavors mingle with notes of dark fruit, molasses, and a bit of licorice. The hops are more balanced in the taste than the smell. They give the beer an earthy character, and dry out the finish.

M: Very full-bodied and chewy, and flavors are long lasting. Finish is silky, and alcohol gives a nice warming sensation.

D: Quite drinkable, despite it's ABV and youth. Although it will definitely benefit after a year or so in bottle, it is quite good young. It's worth picking up a four pack. (900 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
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. (1,142 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Speigelau glass

A: pitch black rich chocolate head

S: lots of roasted goodness with some very strong chocolate and licorice

T: very smooth sweet chocolate a little bit of lactate milk taste

M: a touch thin for a stout but it's not bad

O: this is a pretty good stout it's got a lot of nice chocolate and sweetness with a little bit of roast it's a tad thin though (397 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap into tulip at south park Dayton. Nice deep brown color with tan creamy lacing. Lots of roasted malt aroma...done. its very one dimensional but nice.
Taste is roasted bitter malts with a hint of chocolate and coffee but again its dominated by the roasted malt. Its a bit bitter...super dry but still pleasant. Its a big beer for sure but not my fav of the style. I had high hopes for this...maybe too high. Its kind of like a triple Guinness...if such a thing exists. (483 characters)

Photo of portia99
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours thick and syrupy with an oil-like opacity and a deep brown/approaching black color. An aggressive pour fails to yield any head...all this can muster is the thinnest of collars and no lacing to speak of.

S - Sweet and molasses driven aroma. Caramel and brown sugar behind that along with some creamy vanilla. Booze is evident and appears in conjunction with the vanilla and also caramel candy. A bit of burnt creme brulee sugar as well. This really smells sweet overall - like a dessert. Some black licorice creeps into the aroma too. Really not getting much roastiness at all, which surprises me. I wouldn't call this necessarily typical for the style, but the sugary candy aspects are pretty appealing.

T - Whoa, boozy up front with a big hit of alcohol slamming the back of my throat on first swallow. Flavor is much different than the aroma. Where the aroma lacked roastiness, this cannot be said for the flavor. Behind the hit of alcohol is burnt toast-like malt, heavy espresso roast coffee and a bit of char. This really takes away from the multi-layered sugary sweet aromas that don't carry into the flavor. Very noticeable alcoholic aspect to the flavor. Licorice is mild but noticeable.

M - Full bodied, lower carbonation just on the above ground side of life. Boozey, warm alcohol throughout hitting the back of the throat initially and eventually filling the entire mouth in sensation. Heavily roasted and burnt flavors overpower other aspects and simplify the flavor profile. Burnt roastiness continues to the aftertaste.

O - This is a good imperial stout, but have to say I don't really understand the hype surrounding this one. The aroma completely doesn't match the flavors - wish they met somewhere in the middle. Balance seems a bit off...alcohol is dominating and heavy handed. It is fairly enjoyable, but when it comes to world-class RIS's this really leaves a lot on the table. Perhaps a bit of aging will smooth this one out a bit...fresh, doesn't live up to the hype/expectations I had coming into this. (2,096 characters)

Photo of steve8robin
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade...

A: Pitch black with little to no head that leaves a slight mocha head on the top of the brew. Decent.

S: Roasty oak upfront with dark fruit boozy chocolate in the middle and creamy bourbon type scent on the backend. Good.

T: Watery boozy roastiness upfront with dark fruit and chocolate blended in the middle and bitter hops on the backend. Decent.

M: Very smooth carbonation feel. A bit watery, but good.

D: Goes down super easy. Very good here.

All in all, this is a decent brew. Ok to try at least once, but not great. Ok, for a stout. Many better brews in the style. (599 characters)

Photo of BierFan
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

An inch of light brown head settles to a thin layer. Almost completely disappears after a minute. Very dark black body. Smells like cocoa powder. Not a lot to the aroma. Roastiness in the flavor that I didn't get in the aroma, quite a bit of bitter cocoa. (306 characters)

Photo of sidetracked
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a medium brown head that lingers and creates nice lacing.

Smell is dark roasted malts, bitter baker's chocolate, sweet molasses, some dark dried fruits, little alcohol heat.

Taste upfront is roasted malts and semi-sweet chocolate. Finish is bitter roasted malts mixed with sweet molasses, a little chocolate and sweet dark dried fruits. Lingering bitter chocolate. Overall slightly sweet.

Full bodied and creamy. Light but present carbonation. Seems a little thin at times. Little alcohol heat.

Nice multidimensional flavor that stays interesting. Very enjoyable beer.

5/3/2011 (599 characters)

Photo of Jmoore50
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer that looks like melted rubber, this one is thick. It pours and practically doesn't move. It produces a two finger brown head that has very fine bubbles. This thing was a bit overcarbonated because when I poured with a medium technique, it foamed like it was a straight down the middle. The head left in the end and all I was left with was this tar that barely resembled beer.

The smell was of dark burnt earth and roasted espresso. Lots of bitterness with some chocolate and light fruit notes.

The taste was pretty dark, in terms of dark fruits and malts go. Some earthy bitter espresso with characters of cherry. Not a lot of coffee, but what there was tasted like espresso.

The mouthfeel was astringent, and the beer felt heavy on the tongue. It was bitter and earthy, and overall enjoyable. Some roast and some burnt flavors that produces an interesting mouthfeel.

This was a good beer to have, and I am glad I got the opportunity. It did not use the usual characteristics that I love in RIS, but went with a darker roasty spin. (1,052 characters)

Photo of jsh420
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours pitch black with a 1 finger tan head that left spotted lacing

smells of chocolate roasted malts

taste is biiter sweet chocolate, coffee - some dark fruit and hops that come through

mouthfeel has a little sting to it from the alcohol and carbonation

drinkability takes a hit from the mouthfeel - still a very good RIS (327 characters)

Photo of SouljaSaia17
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured very thick and looked like syrup.

A: Very dark beer with a thin caramel colored head that has some fine bubbles on top.

S: Initial smell is of dark fruit, like plum. I also get some dark chocolate, molasses and a hint of brown sugar.

T: Taste is similar to the aroma, creamy, dark chocolate up front. Middle of the flavor has some roasted malts, molasses, a bit of caramel and coffee. Finishes somewhat dry, with yeast type feel.

M: Very rich, smooth and creamy. No noticeable carbonation, but alcohol is not present.

O: Another very good stout, this is a big beer at 12% so its a slow sipper. I have been saving this for a few weeks now and thought this would be the perfect time to have it. Not too familiar with Dark Horse Brewing, but I like what I have had so far! (791 characters)

Photo of xpdrinker
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 12oz bottle picked up a few months ago via trade. No noticeable date stamp until after the pour - it's on the underside of the bottle and only visible if looking at it from inside and against the light. Also noticed some light-colored sludge peering through the bottom of the brown bottle. Poured into my Bruery snifter, pitch black with thin, burnt orange head that dissolves into a thinner ring. Zero lacing.

S - Slight burn at first, lots of vanilla, roastiness, chocolate and dark fruit. 

T - Varying styles of chocolate at first, lots of dark fruit and finishes really roasty and deliciously bitter. An overall cola sweetness hangs over the entire taste.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation. Sticky cola sweetness.

O - I've had this one cellared for a few months and it's quite enjoyable. There's a cola-like sweetness throughout that at times is tasty but at other times annoying. Would kill to get my hands on the barrel-aged version. (949 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, unknown date but at least a year old. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours thick black with a small brown head that quickly recedes to a wispy cap but does leave lots of spotty lacing in its wake.

Aroma is dark roasted malts, dark fruits, black currant, anise, some coffee and chocolate, quite a bit of alcohol. Some oxidation/cardboard is noticed. Very good strength overall.

Flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, black currant, dark fruits, a hint of smoke, some sweetness, moderately boozy and warming.

Mouthfeel is thick & sticky, creamy, soft carbonation.

A big, intense Imperial Stout. Very good stuff, had been looking to try this one for some time. Could have used some more time to mellow out the heat, but on the other hand oxidation was setting in so I’m glad I cracked it open when I did. (837 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 823 ratings.