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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

2,691 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,691
Reviews: 748
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.14%
Wants: 469
Gots: 667 | FT: 74
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: 2,691 | Reviews: 748 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

I haven't really looked very hard, but this may actually be the last bottle from the now-legendary post-DLD death march. Here's hoping. This one pours a bleak nothingness, like the background of a later Goya painting, topped by a light head of tan bubbles. The nose comprises chocolate syrupe, maple syrup, molasses, a hint of soy sauce (odd...), roasted dark malts, brown sugar, figs, and some light coffee. Now that's some impy stout goodness, mm-hmm. The taste dives a bit, though: The roasts are all a bit too roasted, the sweetness is a bit too sweet, the strange soy sauce element returns (though not all that much), and a strong bit of leather comes swooping in uninvited. It's just all too much in too many different directions, if that makes any sense. Still, it somehow stays away from going too far in those myriad directions. It's hard to explain, but I think I can sum it up thusly: It's not what it should be (by any measure), but it's still not entirely objectionable. Yeah. Something like that. The body is a light heavy, with a high-light carbonation (deal with that, if your puny mind can, bwa-ha-ha!) and a smooth, fluid feel. Overall, I was not all that happy with this stout. Dark Horse has done some great things, but this one misses pretty far. Add the relatively high ABV, and the drinkability suffers. Still worth a try, though, if you ask me.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2010 00:30:43 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with cool label and branded pry-off cap acquired in a trade and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given both its current high ratings and the recommendation of blakelive784, a trusted friend who shares my tastes for the most part.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a quarter finger wide head of gorgeous rich tan colour. Good creaminess and thickness. Not too frothy or fluffy; instead it's supple and luscious. Retention is quite good considering the ABV - about 3-4 minutes, though it does gradually reduce to a floater ring, losing presence in the middle at about the 1.5 minute mark. Nice even consistent lacing as the head recedes. Silky smooth complexion. Somewhat soft looking.

Body colour is an opaque solid dark black; not quite a jet black. Might even have dark ruby hues a la Guinness. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Overall, it's in league with good to great imperial stouts, but it doesn't stand out as unique. It's certainly within conventions, and excels therein. Really looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Sweet chocolate, fudge, cacao, toffee, cream, marshmallow, buried roast, chocolate, chocolate malt, dark malts, and - interestingly - buried dark fruit, including plum. Some fig as well. Surprisingly lactic for an imperial stout. Not getting any oats. I'd love more roast. Definitely on the sweeter end, but it doesn't seem like it'll taste cloying. No yeast or alcohol comes through. No hop character is evident. I imagine the dark fruit will develop as it warms. Hints of vanilla. Caramel. Sticky molasses. Lots of depth here, and it certainly seems complex. The only thing that has me a bit worried is the sweetness.

A pleasant aroma of moderate strength. Definitely amongst the better aromas for the style.

T: Ah yeah. Sweet chocolates mixed with a great creaminess and some light truffle. Toffee complements the aforementioned. Any chocolate malt, caramel, and dark malts are seamlessly integrated, never taking away from the chocolate in the limelight. Marshmallow lends it a nuanced cohesion. Sweet but nicely so; not at all cloying. The aftertaste is a kiss of plum with a hint of fig. Feels naturally constructed; it's well put together and no note stands out as inappropriate. No off flavours. Good depth and intensity of flavour. Pretty good duration of flavour. Nibbles of sweet vanilla. No real sticky molasses comes through; that was aromatic only - and that's a good thing. Cocoa. Some milky/lactic notes more in line with a milk stout.

I look for coffee and roast, but sadly they're missing here. Not getting any oats either. In any case, it's got interesting subtlety and notable complexity. There's a fair amount going on here, but the best examples of the style do provide more.

A case could be made that raisin and licorice are present, but it's hard for me to discern.

I'm not getting any yeast character, alcohol, or pronounced hop character. Any hopping was purely preservative.

Overall, it's tasty and I quite like it.

Mf: Silky smooth, creamy, and wet. Thick. Unrefreshing. Not hot, oily, hushing, harsh, or biting. Carbonation is well done, if a bit high. Complements the flavour profile quite well, but I wouldn't quite say that it feels custom-tailored to it. The texture facilitates delivery of the many notes from the flavour profile. Sticky. Rich. Extravagant, with a decadence I've noticed only in the finest beers of this style; call this characteristic an intangible if you fancy. Overall, it's got good presence on the palate, but it is just a biteen syrupy - and a fair bit sticky as well.

Dr: The sweetness does get more nagging as you get lower in the bottle, leaving me to conclude that I wouldn't want more than one bottle in a night. In any case, it's definitely meant to be savored. But damn if I wouldn't want another the next night! It's damn drinkable for the style, and very impressive overall, but it stops short of great. Hides its ABV well. I'm very excited to try the bourbon barrel aged variant; I've got one in me cellar in Colorado. This is a fine beer that lives up to its reputation and I can't see anyone being disappointed with it. A solid brew from Dark Horse - a brewery that after only two beers has seized my attention. I'll definitely seek this out again, as well as other Dark Horse brews. Wow.

Serve chilled and let warm.

Pair with chocolate covered cherries or dessert fondue. A simple neutral cheese would also be apt.

Drank just grand out of a stem-tulip; I'd recommend either that or a snifter.

Highish B

I got more and more dark fruit as it warmed, including blueberry, date, and even grape. Bravo.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2013 04:23:41 | More by kojevergas
Photo of SWMeyer4141
SWMeyer4141

Texas

3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally planned on reviewing The Abyss for review 200 but didn't know if I could handle the bomber, so it may have to wait for 300....or hell, 201. Anyway, I'm been sitting on this beer for a while and decided lets go for the Plead the Fifth.

Review 200, poured into snifter...2011 Vintage

Appearance-Holy motor oil. Dark as can be, viscous looking. About a one finger dark brown head, you can just tell this is gonna be boozy. No retention or lacing as expected.

Smell-Dark chocolate, lots of it. Along with some booze, almost rum like. Vanilla, light licorice, slightly floral and nutty. Each whiff is different and have no idea what to expect from this one.

Taste-BIG booze. Taste is really refects the aroma with a vodka like taste, and after 2 sips I can feel it. Dark chocolate upfront with some cherries and vanilla. I feel like more flavors are trying to creep through as well, just not fully working with the alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Full bodied, moderate carbonation...and booze.

Overall-If this beer mellows out it could immediately become an A beer. The flavors are amazing, just wasn't fully ready.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 02:40:24 | More by SWMeyer4141
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from GBVDave from our most recent trade so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Consumed 8/2, poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a motor oil, thick, opaque black, no head and minimal spotty lacing.

S: Nose is licorice, roast malts, and hints of chocolate.

T: Taste is - oh thank god, not much licorice! Dark chocolate at the forefront mingled with charred malts. Those sharp notes lend to a softer milk chocolate. Dark fruits come in - some raisin and date. Deep coffee notes complete the finish of this beer.

M: Medium to fuller bodied, medium carbonation, rich, thick and creamy.

O: Goes down easily, tasty, rather filling, well hidden kick, nice representation of style. This is a nice stout to enjoy a pint of.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 23:42:08 | More by Jayli
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a sludgy pitch black color that is completely opaque with a one finger frothy dark mocha head. Good retention, slowly fading into a thick lasting cap that leaves spots of lacing behind.

Sweet, roasty malt aroma this bursting with lots of silky chocolate as well as some oatmeal, roasted coffee bean, toast and nut. There's also a slight lactic cream presence but the nose of this beer is all about roasted malt and chocolate.

Medium bodied but on the fuller end with a slightly chewy, viscous consistency. Deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, burnt toast and toffee. This is complimented by a sweet chocolate malt presence and subtle creaminess. There's also some earthy hop bitterness and a prominent alcohol burn in the finish. The ABV isn't well masked with a ton of heat and warmth in the finish. I expect that this will tone down with age but this fresh bottle is too hot for my liking. Dry boozy finish.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2011 09:18:01 | More by corby112
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from the 2008 release. "Plead the 5th."

Very dark used motor oil brown to black with a small, tight, dark cocoa brown head. Nose is intensely roasty with strong bitter dark chocolate, cocoa powder, dark fruits, and an herbal bitterness. Hints of alcohol.

Intense dark chocolate and roasted barley flavors up front. Very baking chocolatey with strong espresso bitterness. Some sweetish dark fruits underneath and lurking alcohol warmth. Finish is herbal hop bitterness and more intense coffee/baking chocolate bitterness. Not bad, although it seems to be lacking some complexity. A little too baking chocolate-y and coffee bitter. Medium body seems a little light for the style and intense flavors. Maybe a bit undercarbonated too. Still a decent beer, just not as great as I was hoping for!

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2008 01:57:03 | More by alexgash
Photo of timahood32
timahood32

North Carolina

3.69/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Smell on this beer as it warms up is some dark chocolate malt beer is dark as night taste follows smell dark roasted chocolate malt the thing that really stands out about this beer is the fact you really don't taste the 11% or at least in my opinion anyway I know a lot of other people say different.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2013 00:07:27 | More by timahood32
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into AVBC snifter. Received from a generous trader many many months ago.

A: Pours motor oil black with about a finger of short lived dark brown head that quickly faded into a thin collar leaving no lace.
S: Rich dark notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a touch of spicy alcohol. I'm also getting a subtle yet strange notes of some kind of mint and maybe a hint of metal.
T: Follows the nose with a rich roasted dark malt taste. Very smooth. I get notes of caramel, dark and milk chocolate, coffee with cream, a hint of molasses and sweet dark fruit. Roasted but fairly sweet all around. Finish is lightly bitter (chocolate bitterness) and the aftertaste has flavors of tobacco.
M: Low yet tingly carbonation with an airy mouthfeel and full body. For 12%, the alcohol is noticeable but not really warm or overpowering. Overall a little sharp around the edges.
O: A fairly solid stout all around. Full mouth, great flavor. Not the greatest though, and perhaps a little rough around the edges, but I would definitely have another one of these again.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2011 02:37:47 | More by scottfrie
Photo of Adamdc
Adamdc

Massachusetts

3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into nonic pint glass.

A: Jet black body topped by 1/4 inch head of dark brown foam. Beer seems to 'glug' out of bottle--very thick.

S: Molasses, dark fruit, caramel, malt and some alcohol.

T: Bitter chocolate, coffee, malt, some bitterness and it's pretty hot, possibly a little too hot.

M: Mouthfeel is very full-bodied and heavy just how an RIS should be.

D: Not too high only because of the 'heat'.

This is a pretty solid RIS. It's my first brew by Dark Horse and I'm looking forward to trying some others.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2010 02:11:25 | More by Adamdc
Photo of match1112
match1112

Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours thick and black like ink. half finger of mocha colored head doesnt stick around long.

s: alochol, dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malt.

t: alochol, dark fruit, alochol, chocolate, alochol.

m: thick and creamy. decent carbonation. alochol burn.

o: not very well blended, alochol dominates everything about this beer. have had better ris that were better blended and more enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 01:56:34 | More by match1112
Photo of biglite351
biglite351

Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - black as tar, tall dark thick head.

S - heavy dark roasted malts, raisins, chocolate, not bitter but very inviting.

T - heavy deep roasted malts, raisins and a bit of sweet chocolate.

M - thick but not much tingle in the mouth. Burn in the throat from the alcohol.

D - the heaviness of the flavor and feel, plus the brim from the alcohol make this a short drinker.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 23:01:40 | More by biglite351
Photo of kdahnke123
kdahnke123

Indiana

3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage poured in snifter.
A - Very dark pour with a small amount of dark brown, quickly dissipating head.
S - Dark roast smell. Medium coffee smell with overtones of red wine.
T - Medium-heavy coffee. Rich, full flavor. A little on the heavy roasted side with a light amount of hops.
M - Medium viscosity with a good mouth coating quality.
O - Overall a good stout, especially if you like the coffee variety.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 22:03:28 | More by kdahnke123
Photo of dc55110
dc55110

Minnesota

3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, with very little head... but tons of lacing. This stout is pitch black, held up to a light, none makes it through.

The smell is of dark rich dried fruit, figs, prune, raisin. There is also hints of bitter sweet chocolate, molasses, roasted coffee. In the background there is the presence of alcohol.

Rather sweet; the bitter sweet chocolate and dried fruit follow through from the nose. Coffee and alcohol are on the finish.

For as dark as this stout is, it is on the thin side. It doesn't give you that velvety feel as it goes down. Leaves a slightly chalky after taste/feeling in my mouth after the finish.

A nice stout, I'd be very curious to compare to the barrel aged version. I'll continue to pick this up every year upon its release.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 01:42:19 | More by dc55110
Photo of samie85
samie85

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours an inky black with a full finger of dark brown head that quickly dissipates.

S-Smells of banana bread, some dark fruit, and a bit of roasted and chocolate malts.

T-Very sweet and rich chocolate on the front end with dark and bitter chocolate one the finish with a slight, clean bitterness.

M-Medium bodied with low carbonation and a slight bit of warmth in the mouth and throat.

D-This one is almost too easy drinking considering the body and ABV; the alcohol is barely present in the warmth I described in the mouthfeel and I'm used to a heavier feel with bigger beers. I want to like it, but I yearn for a some more complexity in flavors and a richer mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2011 02:58:45 | More by samie85
Photo of haazer
haazer

Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle picked up at capones about 2 months ago.

A- A very thick cocoa puff milk forms atop the brew. Very bubbly, effervescent. The brew is the darkest brown/partially black in color, and opaque. Evident carbonation.

S- First initial whiff yields dark fruits. Once taken in, this is quite a nose. Deep roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, rich toffee, a touch of syrup, and a little chocolate. You can detect some booze but not overwhelming. The dark fruits are still present in each sniff.

T- The dark fruits are the most present flavor. I wanna say plums and raisins, and some black cherry too. Midway into the flavor I got the slightest bit of vanilla chocolate blend. The aftertaste is a barrage of roasted malts, and the slightest bitterness. The booze is not detected in flavor at all.

M- I've read in other reviews that this is "buttery", and you can pick that up from the mouthfeel. This is very smooth and easy drinking. The carbonation is hardly felt, and the body is light to medium bodied, but right in the middle of that. This is probably the lightest bodied RIS I've had.

O- This is a good RIS. Everything fell short compaired to the nose on this though. The tastes were not as pronounced, and the mouth was too light as a stout for my liking. But the masking of the booze and easy drinking nature make this beer above average.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2011 03:09:31 | More by haazer
Photo of hplascencia1024
hplascencia1024

California

3.74/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle into a snifter

A: Pitch black with no head whatsoever

S: nice dark chocolate, roasty notes, caramel, nice sweetness

T: dark chocolate, slight coffee, heavy roast, slight alcohol burn

M: very light, nice carbonation, I would like it to be thicker(just my preference for the style)

O:A very good stout, but there are a ton of better stouts out there. not disappointing but not world class IMHO

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2014 04:40:55 | More by hplascencia1024
Photo of Schlais
Schlais

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

08-10-2012 06:09:23 | More by Schlais
Photo of fenlop54
fenlop54

Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

05-06-2014 17:26:56 | More by fenlop54
Photo of DerekQXQX
DerekQXQX

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

03-15-2014 16:17:32 | More by DerekQXQX
Photo of MWolverines66
MWolverines66

New York

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

11-06-2013 04:40:57 | More by MWolverines66
Photo of Denzo
Denzo

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

04-21-2014 20:12:20 | More by Denzo
Photo of Riggsenater
Riggsenater

Indiana

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

06-22-2014 02:55:13 | More by Riggsenater
Photo of Bnjmnlws
Bnjmnlws

New York

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

07-12-2014 23:30:21 | More by Bnjmnlws
Photo of kbuzz
kbuzz

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

06-24-2012 04:21:59 | More by kbuzz
Photo of skunk242
skunk242

California

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%

08-05-2012 10:53:22 | More by skunk242
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,691 ratings.