Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,474 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,474
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 554
Gots: 907 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,474 | Reviews: 839
Photo of neophilus
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wicked Dark Beer.

Smells like sweet toffee, caramel, fresh baked coffee rolls with a hint of espresso.

Roasty flavor up front, more of a roasty edge than the aroma suggests. Solid malt body with dark brown bread and raisin-pumpernickel notes. Sticky-sweetness sets in with strong tones of dark chocolate. Eventually settles into a luscious dark-chocolate brownie flavor. Thick creamy body, little to no alcohol heat.

It's like drinking a really indulgent dessert.

Photo of mtomlins
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a coffee mug (the only way to drink stout in the morning!).

Pours a deep a deep black with 1-2 fingers of dark mocha head, dissipating quickly to a creamy collar and leaving slight lacing. Massive roasted malts, dark chocolate, a bit of coffee in the nose. On the palate the dark roasted malts shine through with lots of dry coffee, fudge, dark chocolate and some nice bitterness. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Overall, this is just a delicious, well balanced stout, one of my new favorites!

Photo of natemort13
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A hard jet-black pour gives a minimal dark mocha head that dissipates quickly into a ring.

Deep roasted malts with a bunch of coffee right up front on the nose. Dark chocolate undertones with some smooth vanilla as well. This is an incredible, big, and balanced nose.

Taste is smooth espresso with a hint of milk chocolate. Roasted malts are still dominant but dont even approach astringent. Mid palate is big chocolate malt. Lingering coffee on the finish.

Mouthfeel is full full bodied with enough carbonation to back it up. Slightly oily but not too much.

Overall this beer is fucking big and incredible without overdoing it on anything. Big and balanced.

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 sweet finish.

Photo of aforbes10
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, they really did bottle this again. Huge thanks to Kkulacki for this one. A big surprize. Pours extremely still, with only a small, belated rising of tiny brown bubbles. ring of bubbles holds throughout and lacing makes the whole deal look tremendous. Body is oil slick black. Strong, sweet chocolate truffle odor. really, exactly like a choco truffle. some maple, burnt malts. hint of vanilla, cherry. Flavor is at first quite extreme on the burnt side of the spectrum. like licking a grill. It quickly becomes a decadent prism of flavors though...more of that truffle-like chocolate, burnt malts, vegetal hops, coffee grounds, bitterness. The finish and lingering flavor is of a toasted chocolate marshmallow. Creamy, viscous mouthfeel. Very thick. A tasty, tasty treat, all around. Please Konrad, may i have another?

Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Cappy's, arrived in a snifter.

Appearance: Arrived your typical imperial stout solid black, capped with a thick head of almost dark brown foam that lingered for an impressively long time. Lacing was insane.

Smell: Dark stone fruits and chocolate leap out of the glass to smack you across the nostrils and demand your full attention. Beneath them, there's blackened grains and lightly roasted coffee, but it's the fruit and chocolate that demand attention here.

Taste: Did I mention that the fruit and chocolate are attention hogs? Because they're front and center in the taste as well, from first sip all the way through the finish. Plums, dark berries, and a mix of sweetened and super-dark chocolate dominate the flavor profile. Beneath them, swirls of lightly roasted coffee, cream, and scorched malt can be found.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and full, yet with an oddly watery finish.

Overall: This is a tasty stout. I'm not sure quite how the chocolate and fruit notes dominate every other aspect, but I am not complaining.

Photo of thecheapies
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark Horse Plead the 5th -- snifter glass. Not entirely sure of the vintage (based on where I picked it up, and the lack of bottle dating info), but assumed to be from this past January.

Pitch black pour looked gluggy and thick coming out of the bottle. Rich, but humble, mocha brown-colored head and ring-and-spotty-bubble to follow. Darkest head on a beer that I've seen to-date. Even the shadows of the big bubbles on the top of the foam looked black. Tried to look up through the bottom of the empty bottle and couldn't see through thanks to a pancaked layer of sediment. As for the beer? Precisely the look of an RIS to make me smile and eagerly await nosing and sipping. 5.0

Mega roast notes with dark cocoa powder, malted milk powder, earthy coffee, peatiness, burnt sugars, tree bark, vanilla bean, and a light smokiness. Unreal potency in both aromatics and strength, but the alcohol gets overshadowed here. That's how f***ing remarkable this beer smells. 5.0

Black malt roastiness with chocolate specialty malts driving the train into a whole smokestack of peaty, leathery, and charred flavors. Espresso, bitter chocolate bar, campfire, booze bite, scorched earth, vanilla, light lactose, tart blackberry/cherry, kiss of spruce hop, and woodiness. Freakin' incredible. 4.5

Medium-thick body with light buzzing of bubbles. Mouth-filling and milky. The alcohol is right where it should be for 12%, if not a little hidden. 4.0

**Before I do the overall, I must say (and, since I've had this fresh before) that there is a strong possibility that this is an early '11 vintage sitting on the shelf for the duration. The dark fruits have fallen off and given way to rich malt smoke intensity and implied coffee and chocolate.

Elite class RIS. Among your commons (and considering I haven't reviewed anything too super-rare in the style), it's the best there is. Better than Founders Impy. Better than Yeti. Better than Ten FIDY. Better than Old Raspy. A perfect overall rating if I may say so myself. 5.0

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

Pours out thick & black with a lovely deep mocha head with decent lacing and excellent retention.

Smells delightful - biscuty malts, sweet dark fruit, anise, and a bit of hops.

Tastes like it smells. A really well balanced beer. Lots of malt, a bit of dark chocolate sweetness, then finishes with some licorice and bitter hops. Alcohol is not noticeable at all. Smooth, yet complex.

Nothfeelnis great. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation.

An excellent, excellent beer.

Photo of mjw1200
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= Very dark color pour, not much on top, caramel color.

S= Not overpowering, had to get real close to get a good smell. Smell vanilla/bourbon. Also smell some of the coffee.

T = Exceptional. Layers, of chocolate coffee some caramel and vanilla. Alcohol is very present, but I wouldnt have it any other way. It is going to be hard to let this beer age, but I think it will be worthwhile.

M= Thicker than most beers with this much alcohol. Some stronger stouts seem to be to thin, but this one holds up. It lingers in my mouth leaving the great taste to stay around.

Photo of chrismattlin
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer is delicious! So delicious it would satisfy someone unfamiliar with stouts or a seasoned veteran.

I've yet to have a beer from Dark Horse that wasn't exceptional, and this one keeps the streak going!

The 11% abv is masked well in this deep, dark beer. The epitome of what an American Imperial Stout aspires to be, this beer gets better as you drink it and it warms.

This is a brew to keep on hand.

Photo of HosP
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple bottle from kstrickler. Poured into snifter.

A- Pours thick black. Very little head to this, but still looks very nice!

S- Very nice nose. Bold aromas starting with chocolate and coffee. Some vanilla hints at the end with a nice roasted aroma. Just a bit of booze detected but pretty subtle.

T- Starts with a nice bit chocolate burst, a little bitterness to it as well. Mild coffee flavors supports the beer well. Some sweet vanilla flavors and a bit of dark fruit flavors round out the drink.

M- Full body and little carbonation.

O- Very solid and tasty beer. Nothing I can say bad about it, very much enjoyed it. Would LOVE to try the BA version of this. If not, would drink this anytime. Thanks Kyle!

Photo of zeledonia
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

Pours black, one of the darkest stouts I've seen. Half-finger of dark chocolate brown head, also among the darkest I've seen. Retention and lacing are fine.

Smell is lovely milk/dark chocolate, backed by some other deep roasty aromas. No char, very clean, with a lot of sweetness. I really like the sides of the dark malts that come out in this beer's smell.

This is delicious. It's like sweet chocolate zested with tingly, lightly bitter hops. Big up-front flavors, but also a lot of sublety behind that. Among the best non-bal imperial stouts I've had.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, and creamy, with just enough carbonation. Lasting, sludgy finish. Heavy stuff!

This is simply a fantastic imperial stout. I love the chocolate and sweetness, which comes close to stepping over the line, but backs off just a hair. Very happy I have several more of these, and I will most definitely be buying more.

Photo of drpimento
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this slightly warm, however it is still so good. Has a modest light brown head that settles after a bit down to a large island with a ring. Color is an opaque brown black. Aroma is very earthy, with roast, malt, a little hop, leather, cocoa. Flavor's like nose and very well balanced regardless of its commanding designation. And all of the components of the aroma are magnified in flavor - BAM!! In some sort of odd way severe yet warm and welcoming. Body and carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, longish, slightly alcoholic, and moderately long. A beer to be reckoned with. And slurped.

Photo of stephens101
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 version.

Empties the bottle black with a sheer, tan head. Aroma is spot on with milk chocolate, dark fruits, subtle vinegar and burnt oak floating freely. This is one of the smoothest beers I can recall trying. Just floats its way down (despite its medium to heavy body) with prominent notes of milk chocolate, bubblegum and black licorice, followed by hints of oak, cherry and vanilla. Fusel alcohol is barely noticed in the back. A beautiful, well-crafted stout that pairs well with this cool and rainy spring evening.

Photo of deebo
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the BB version on tap and loved it so had to pick up a 4 pack of the non barrel aged version. Looks like this was bottled in Feb. 2013 (052-13) and a bottle has been in my fridge ever since. Taking advantage of this unseasonably chilly July day to crack this warmer.

A-Poured into an oversized snifter this brew gives up a thin finger of mocha colored head. Doesn't stick to the glass much but a film sticks to the top of the brew while enjoying. Black and opaque as motor oil. This looks intimidating.

S-Smells delcious. This is a big time stout. Aroma is heavy malt-rich dark chocolate just jumps out. Sweet syrupy chocolate with the alcohol character reminds me a bit of Bailey's liquer.

T-Very much like the aroma. Chocolately malt with a nice warming finish. Pretty light on the bitterness for such a dark roasted beer. A slight burnt grain note. Alcohol is present but not hot given the high ABV. As it warms some fruity rum raisin notes come out.

M-Big bodied but not oily like some others in this class. Finishes quite quick. Moderate to high carbonation for a RIS.

O-A fantastic big stout. Perfect for a cold day or dessert. Best value in the category. Dark Horse-you guys are all right.

Photo of schellsbeer
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Lately I have been on a Dark Horse kick and for good reason....their stouts are fricking incredible. I also love their Strong Dark Bier. So, as soon as I saw that they had an Imperial Stout hit the shelves, I picked up a few 4 packs. This review is for the first bottle. I plan on aging the rest.

A - Black. Not as thick as their Blueberrry Tres Stout but very black. Poured with a thin layer of small dark brown bubbles on the top that quickly eroded away leaving a ring of lacing on the outer edge of my glass. Very nice.

S - Big! Bold! Some alcohol present on the nost but not overpowering. Burnt carmel, marshmallows, chocolate. Quality ingredients were put into this Stout.

T - The taste is amazing! Strong. Thick. Alcohol but just the right amount. The drinker wouldn't have a clue that this is 12% ABV if BA or their website didn't tell you this. This beer will be absolutely fantastic with a few years of aging on it. Therefore, I can only give it a 4.5. I will have to come back and edit my review in a few years after the second one is allowed to wake up. I just apologize to this beer for drinking it a little to early. Aging is my new hobby. WOW - An amazing Imperial Stout from one of the BEST breweries in the upper midwest. Everything I was hoping for plus more. Dare I say....this might give Bell's Expedition a run for it's money. I think I may have just broke one of the beer sins in saying this...Oh well.

M - Creamy texture. Coats the mouth. Thick. Excellent. I have to give this a perfect 5.

D - Yeah...at 12% ABV, I don't think so but I really want more of you. Man this is an exceptional stout. I am glad that it is so high on the alcohol side and that Dark Horse uses bottle opener bottles and caps instead of those stupid twist off tops. This means that this should age quite well. Thanks Dark Horse. I am a HUGE fan.

Photo of DaveHS
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to pjeagles for this one. Been wanting to try it for awhile.

A-Pours impenetrable oily black with a thin burnished copper head. Leaves almost no lacing.

S-Big roasty aromas of coffee and bitter chocolate. Roasted walnuts and chocolate cake.

T/M-Really smooth and well balanced. Plenty of roasty flavors up front, with lush hot chocolate and roasted walnut/almond. Dark roasted coffee beans on the back end. Mouthfeel is full and viscous, with an oily, lingering finish.

O-Totally lives up to the hype. Very happy I got to try this.

Photo of Auracom
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally. Been waiting for this one for close to two years. 6-7 oz. poured straight from cellar temp into a Hunahpu's snifter on April 17th, 2012.

A - A good cross between the visuals of Founders RIS and CC Marshal Zhukov's. Very deep, opaque black with a dark khaki head. Quick dissipation and very little retention. Good lacing and plentiful alcohol legs.

S - Well-blended mix of milk chocolate, dark cocoa, toasted marshmallow, graham cracker, and light coffee. Very small trace of heat.

T- It's more balanced than I expected. Front palate is chocolate cake sweetness. Mid shows a mix of espresso and mocha bitterness. Rear picks up roasted malts, touch of caramel, and then melds back into a dark chocolate finish and aftertaste. Very pleasant and with virtually no heat despite the freshness of this bottle. It's a bit bitter on the back-end, so that may impact taste preferences.

M- Heavy, thick body with some stickiness. Great carbonation, lightly sweet effervescent finish.

D - This is flat-out one of the better base RIS I've had, and it's set up fucking perfectly for the bourbon barrel. I'm that much more jazzed to get my hands on that version now.

Edit - 2 years later, and this is unequivocally my favorite non barrel-aged stout.

Photo of RedHaze
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with a one finger thick brown head. The foam sticks around for the entire drink, leaving a nice webbing of lace behind.

Smell; rich chocolate malts, spent coffee grounds, dark fruits and a hint of molasses.

Taste; dark chocolate and coffee come through right away, but without being bitter, followed by some dark fruits. A little molasses and a hint of some sweet cream are present, with just a touch of some hops in the finish that keep it from being too sweet.

Mouthfeel is is full with a just a perfect amount of carbonation for me, and the drinkability is dangerously high. Wish I had been able to pick up more than the one bottle while in Michigan, but glad that I was able to try this amazing stout.

Photo of backfat
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this one continues to be one of my top 10 favorite imperial stouts. i love dark horse. they never cease to amaze me. like extascy in a glass. this brew will stain your glass. motor oil, just the way i love it. smoky molasses and clean as cream. thick and rich with a sort of silky, milky feel. and affordable! this is one of the few stouts i do enjoy a little colder. it's either because of the highly roasted smell or just because it works with the milky, creamy character. at 12% be careful. This beer is my happy place. if i ever get raped, this is where im going to go. cheers!

Photo of bonbright7
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While I was standing around with friends at The Black Sheep of Mineola, NY, I was handed a glass of this majestic blur of dark brown to black ale, which was overflowing with soft foam. The stunning aromas of chocolate and coffee were readily apparent, but there were so many other things to notice, I took my time with it.

The nose on it told me it was a very full bodied ale, but I don't think I was ready for the strength of it. The initial taste was light for .5 second and then it exploded with a full- on licorice, deep coffee, and a dark mess of an ale.

The mouth-feel was luxurious, though the abv really shined with its hotness there as I tasted it as if it was a fine selection from Pommerol.

This RIS went very well with a pulled bbq pork sandwich as it comfortable overtook the food elements.

Clearly, this was one of the better ales I have tasted in a long time and my only regret was that it is listed as a seasonal coming out in February.

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 vic21234
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Refrigerated only briefly. This is the current year vintage.

A- Pours black with a small amount of light brown/ khaki head that quickly fades. Not much carbonation going on, and some lacing is apparent along the sides of the glass.

S- Great smelling beer. Nice aromas of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T- The smell carries on into the taste. I get coffee, chocolate, and an overall roastiness. There is also a nice hop presence towards the back of each sip. Very complex with a lot going on.

M- Thick, chewy, low carbonation, the alcohol is noted but not what one would think for 11% ABV. A nice sipper.

This is an enjoyable RIS, especially if you're into hopped stouts. I would love to get my hands on the barrel aged version. A few bottles of this one will be sat down in my cellar to see how it drinks after some hop fading.

Photo of DomD1121
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Very thick, black, syrupy pour. Very little head that disappears fast.

Smell: Very rich, malty, lots of coffee, with a very slight chocolate sweetness tones.

Taste: This is a VERY tasty beer. Very smooth, rich malt flavor with coffee and a little sweetness at the beginning. Finishes off with a slightly boozy bite, but not at all overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant. Creamy, smooth, and full-bodied.

Overall: This beer is fantastic. If you can get your hands on it, DO IT. I am not a huge stout drinker, but this one has really made an impression on me. I will be picking up more very soon!

Photo of HoppySeb
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

What an amazing beer - I wish I had access to it more often. Poured from a refrigerated 12oz bottle into a KBS snifter - poured vertically, producing a great looking two inch thick foam that is light brown in color. The head quickly dissipates and forms a ring around the glass which stays there as you drink it.

Its nose if mostly chocolate, vanilla, ripened plums, coffee and light spices - sweet. Taste is bittersweet. Definite hop presence with bold dark chocolate and vanilla bean flavors.

Mouthfeel is amazing - thick and chewy, allows you to extract every ounce of flavor from this beer. Carbonation is very light, as expected.

Overall - I'm very impressed with this beer as I was not expecting it to be this great. I will definitely seek it out more often! Highly recommended!

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,474 ratings.