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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,132 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,132
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 528
Gots: 730 | FT: 76
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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,132 | Reviews: 774 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of schoolboy
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I couldn't remember when or where I bought this. I have had a bottle in my aging area for a while - a year? Time to open it. Usually I mark the bottles.

I may have gotten it too cold because there is no head. That will help since this is such a monster. The taste cuts right through the cold, though, and it's pretty good. Nice balance of the fullness one of these should have. So much flavor that the booziness is thoroughly covered.

I can never give this style high marks for drinkability since they are a meal in themselves, and it's the holidays and I've been overeating anyway.

It's 2013 now (the original was 12-28-2009) and I guess I agree with myself, but this beer is warmer and tastier. The rating system has changed a little too so I am bumping up the overall rating which I guess used to be drinkability.

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of bwd110 thanx for this extra playa

A: poured a very dark brown with brown highlights that had a super thin head and alomost left no lacing sticking to the glass.

S: right away I got this nice aroma of coffee and roastiness with some booze notes, chocolate showing up too but I could spot a little oatmeal and faint dark fruits as well.

T: upfront on the palate the chocolate was more potent than in the nose along with coffee, roastiness, and oatmeal accents but the booze was not as strong on the taste like the nose; very tasty RIS.

M: the brew was full bodied with a very low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, boozy, and chewy finish.

D: it drank really good and was very tasty I hope I can get my hands on some more of this delectable beer.

Photo of Vancer
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You know you have a monkey by the balls when the brew pours pure black motor oil, and absolutely no head arises. (I did pour straight from the fridge at 45 degrees).

MAJOR whiff of anise and raisons – gotta little sweet sugar aroma too. Thick as molasses, and has a burnt molasses taste to boot. I mean, there is no carbonation in here at all. Just a late night sipper.

I will need to retire to the outside deck and enjoy the other ½ of the bottle. Just an absolute winner.

No abv notes, gotta be double digits. MAN, you could rate this one as D-RIS !

It truly is a dark horse sneaking to the front of the race! A fine brew to behold.


NOTE: Finally did enough research to find the GREAT one, BRoss242, sent me this in BigsBIF.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another fine Dark Horse ale, courtesy of hoppymeal (thanks, Derek!). Here we have a 12 oz. bottle with an extremely unattractive black & white label: an awkwardly ugly 'horse' rendering, an awful twisting vortex of curves and pointy bits; below it, a different font used for every letter in 'Imperial Stout'. Horrid. Let's hope that what's in the bottle trumps what is on the outside... poured to a snifter, post-'Valentine's Day' dinner (of Dungeness crab and garlic bread).

A: Appropriately dark/'black' (opaque but for strands of amber at the edges). Not much head beyond a stubby (<1/4" inch) rusty cream that introduces the pour; it recedes to a slender ring and a few dabs of film in a fractured swirl. Almost no lace, just a few tiny dimples.

S: Loved the aroma at first, then it dissipated on me: warm chocolate and plenty of smoky char, sweet and savory all at once.The chocolate aroma is enticing, no doubt. Something spicy and plum-like in there, too, then some notable boozy fumes.

T: Loads of dark chocolate - we're talking the richest and dirtiest cacao here. Vanilla and creme brulee notes in all that fudginess, then some maple and blackened wood/charcoal. As deep as one could ever want in an RIS, tantalizing and complex.

M: Luscious mellowness, the finest of creamy textures. Not too heavy, just very smooth with a nip of alcohol and a long lasting burnt bitterness that gets sweeter as it trails off. Coating feel is magnificent.

D: Oh,
so good, but a tad too pronounced with its boozy warmth to earn a 'perfect' score. Whatever ~ it's damn awesome, a lovely example of all that I love in a Russian Imperial. I've sipped for a while now; my conclusion: I DEFINITELY want this again! My overall score doesn't entirely reflect how 'WOW-worthy' this is. Forgive the label critique: this is a pretty amazing beer.

Photo of Ihadbeer
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Spica66
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into glass.

A: Extremely dark pour. Very thin head, some retention.

S: Dark, roasty. Some caramel. No hops.

T: sweet on the tip of the tongue to start. Flavors of coffee and dark chocolate finish. Extremely good tasting.

M: Light body for an RIS, but that keeps the stickiness away. I actually like the combination.

D: No way in the world you would know this is 12%! It is, by far, the most drinkable RIS I have ever tasted.

Photo of mfavoino
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a a New Glarus taster glass and enjoyed side by side with the BB version.

Appearance: Black pour with a nice mocha rim to it that bubbles. Bits of lacing.

Smell: Burnt malts, rich brown sugar, and chocolate are all very distinguishable. Smells rich.

Taste: Lots of chocolate which makes for a sweet flavor on the palate. The sweetness is paired with dark roasted malts and some booze heat to not make it overly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, alcohol doesn't burn too much, and little carbonation.

Overall: Maybe a tad on the sweet side for some palates. Lives up to the reputation and great to have alongside the BB version to see what that did to the base beer.

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout. Special thanks to Ncketchum for helping me acquire this beer.

Poured out of a 12 ounce bottle into a CBS snifter. This was served at cellar temperature.

A) Slid out from the bottle like motor oil . This brew is coal black. There was a nice finger of the tan head. This settled to a thin collar with some spotty lacing.

S) Not a powerful aroma by any means, but pleasant. Dark roasted malt. It really has a little lactose. It seems a bit milky to me.

T) Plenty of wonderful dark roasted malt notes on the flavor. It never comes across as burnt or charred, which is very nice. There is some mild hop bitterness. The fact that this is 11% ABV never even occurred to me during consumption, that is how well the alcohol is hidden in this Imperial Stout. Nice aftertaste too.

M) Absolutely world-class in my opinion. Full bodied and lightly carbonated. This is remarkably soft and smooth.

O) This is a fantastic Imperial Stout. The only thing I find myself upset about is the fact I only have three more bottles. If you are a lover of this style, you owe it to yourself to seek out this beer. Glad to recommend.

Photo of mjl21
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade...thanks Ryan. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. No abv info or bottling info is given.

A-Pours black with a dark sandy head. It has a very minimal head. After a fairly aggressive pour, there is a foamy bubble cluster in the middle of the glass along with a few splotches of film that look like a dusty layer.

S-It has a great nose. There is lots of vanilla and dark chcoclate, along with some roasted notes, and some licorice.

T-Lots of dark chcolate comes through at the start. In the middle there is some coffee flavor and roasted character. It finishes with some woody/oak flavors and more roasted character. There is some bitterness in the back. The licorice and vanilla come and go.

M-It is lighter for an RIS. It is creamy and smooth. It has a decent level of carbonation and is a little higher for the style. The lighter body makes it go down fairly quick.

D-This IS may have gone down the quickest out of all of the ones that I have tried due to its lighter body. The high abv is dangerously well hidden.

This was a great beer. Not nearly as filling as a lot of Imperial Stouts, but just as flavorful. Worth seeking out.

Photo of augustgarage
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy ShogoKawada (thanks!) - poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Strikingly dark seal brown liquid, as opaque an ale as I've ever seen topped by a thin layer of creamy chamoisee foam. A bleak malestrom of surface slick swirls from side to side of the collar. Weak lacing, fat viscous legs, good retention.

Pure aromatics of coffee, black bread, dark malt, toasted cocoa, and licorice along with subtle complexity from grassy hops and fruity esters. Dates, figs, and raisins struggle forward as the beer warms.

Sweet, intensely malty palate entry with espresso, black-strap molasses, clove cigarettes, coconut husks, carmelized walnuts, bittersweet chocolate, maple, and dark fruit coming next. Low earthy bitterness with a dry, roasty, cutting finish. So flavorful.

Velvety, thick, full-bodied mouthfeel with sufficient carbonation. ABV is dangerously disguised.

Like a baltic porter on steroids - one of the richest and purest Russian Imperial Stouts I've sampled.

Photo of Sensaray
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aggressive pour produces 1/4 inch brown head with deep dark brown approaching black body. Head looks creamy.

Chocolate, dark fruit, alcohol vanilla, coffee hints of caramel in smell. Some hops in the bunch too.

Chocolate with a coffee that's more present than the smell suggests. Vanilla still dark fruits, almost cherry like. Good bitter presence here, especially in finish.

Warming alcohol in the mouthfeel. Smooth creamy carbonation.

Definitely good. Not top tier, but high up there.

Photo of biga7346
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Brewed dark roast coffee in appearance, totally dense black with chocolate colored foam that dissipates quickly, very flat and syrupy.

N - Nice collection of dark malts, cocoa nibs, a little soy sauce like character, molasses, roasted coffee beans, brown sugar.

T/M - A milky, velvety texture, lots of toasty and choclatey malts up front, port-like maybe? More of the soy sauce follows along with a nice suggestion of sugary fruit or sweetness i can't quite place. A warming bourbon whisky burn in the finish. Reminds me a tiramasu.

D - Well balanced example of RIS, not cloying anywhere and I didn't find it chewy at all compared to some other big stouts. Alcohol is totally masked.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

400th BA Review, but probably closer to beer #800 overall. Poured into a tulip from the tap at Capone's. Reviewed from notes taken the night of the April 23rd.

Color? Black. Period. Nothing else. No light gets through even around the edges. This is literally black as coal. The head is creamy and slightly lighter than the foamy layer on top of a cup of espresso. Lacing is phenomenal. Absolutely knock-down gorgeous.

The aroma is deep and complex, but the 12% alcohol does come in to spoil the show just a bit. A strong a bitter roast sets the stage beautifully for what is to follow. Dark fruits (dates and prunes...not quite dark enough for raisins) come through with a medley of other aromas. I can make out some slightly sweet chocolate, bitter dark chocolate, and coffee as well.

The flavor picks up where the aroma left off, except that the alcohol is mysteriously absent aside from showing up in the finish, yielding a prickly and warm astringency (in the wine sense). Again, the coffee, chocolate medley, and the remarkable bitter roast that ties everything together come through in force, giving way to the fruits to lighten the palate just a bit.

Viscous but creamy, I found it slightly overcarbonated to be anything better than good in the mouthfeel department, but let's be honest. This is a phenomenal imperial stout, and in my opinion, the best base Dark Horse stout that I have enjoyed. Its complexity, balance, and ability to not completely crush the drinker with alcohol make this one a winner.

Photo of gopens44
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking beer, but I can't really describe this in a way that separates it from countless other quality RIS offerings. Opaque black brown with cream colored head. Nothing odd here. Aroma of lightly hopped dark and toasty barley dominates the whiff of the chocolate that comes across far more potently in the taste (the chocolate, that is). The other taste presence is more of a sensation, bitter to be exact, without an overwhelming hop profile. My highest praise is attached to the silky ass mouthfeel. Just dandy as hell the way this ribbon of liquid seduces the tongue. How's that for women's romance novel descriptive? Anyway...to wrap this exercise in verbose babble up, I deem this ale well worthy of super happy time yum drinking. Ciao.

Photo of Arenbeer
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Tulip glass

Big thanks to Kstrickler for sending me this

A- Pours a solid opaque black with no head other than a light brown rim around the edge of the glass. Nice legs coat the sides of the glass.

S- Dark roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, and coffee. Slight alcohol as it warms but not bad. Pretty simple and straight forward.

T- Just like the aroma. Roasted burnt malts up front with a really nice silky/creamy chocolate flavor that finishes with a strong bitter coffee. Alcohol is there but at the same time very well blended and hidden by the flavors.

M- Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter finish.

Overall it's a very simple and some what basic imperial stout but at the same time that's all this beer needs to dominate a style like this.

SkÅL!

Photo of Ehrnstrom
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pours very dark with virtually no head.

smell: definite chocolate and malt notes. toffee/sweet flavors come through as well as the relatively strong scent of alcohol

taste: deep, rich flavor of dark chocolate. creamy molasses taste comes through as well.

mouthfeel: aftertaste lingers a bit much, but really not too much of a flaw.

overall: an excellent accomplishment by Dark Horse. Definitely recommend trying this one.

Photo of BigAl723
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

A: Pours dark as night, pitch black. Looks like syrupy motor oil. A real dark head about a quarter inch thick.

S: Hops, bitterness, dark chocolate, alcohol, and smokey like a campfire. There's no secret this is a heavy stout. All you have to do is smell it.

T: A thick syrupy feeling coated my mouth. Bitter, hoppy, smokey, and chocolaty. To be honest, it tastes a lot like it smells. Very complex and very flavorful.

M: Heavy mouthfeel. Heavy and bitter. Medium carbonation. Overall it feels solid.

D: The drink is actually pretty good for being as big of a beer as it is. I ended up drinking five pints it was so drinkable. And no, I definitely wasn't driving.

Overall, I love this Imperial Stout. It has good drinkability and tastes great. Be careful though, it can creep up on you.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse : Plead the 5th

Pours a dark oily black with a tan mocha head and some foam. Aroma full of roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa nibs and espresso. Well rounded roasted malt flavor, follows the nose with some cocoa and coffee flavors. Hop character is earthy and minimal. Alcohol well hidden. Overall, I really liked this stout, drank very easily for its size. Recommended.

Photo of Dan3279
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been looking forward to this beer for a while now and I really shouldn't have waited as long as I have to drink this great beer. I poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter glass to find a body that was black as night with a light chocolate colored head that left no lacing. The aroma was exactly what I expected it to be, with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and hints of vanilla and alcohol.

The taste was outstanding, with the chocolate hitting you first and them some bitterness, there are also some great hints of malt and vanilla. From start to finish this is a great tasting beer and you don't even notice the alcohol even though you do notice it in the aroma.

This is a full bodied beer that is some what chewy but at the same time has a small bit of creaminess and a nice balance of carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic RIS, one thing that I love about this beer is that I can walk into the store anytime I want it, pick up a bottle and not have to worry about aging it first. I am defiantly going to be drinking this one on a regular basis.

Photo of inlimbo77
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into DFH signature glass. I think I purchased this at Pinocchio's a while back. No bottle date and or ABV listed.

A: Pours an absolutely black as night pour. It's pretty darn thick too. Barely any head, just a little dark tan ring around the edges and a few swirls. On the swirl, you get nice thin boozy sheets of that dark tan. Some sticky lacing on the glass.

S: You smelled this one as soon as you popped it. Ok, gotta be honest that I get booze first. But below that is deep dark chocolate notes. Really roasted malt character. Maybe a touch of coffee. And actually a hint of dark fruit sweetness maybe? It smells big.

T: This is really delicious. So right at the tip of the tongue you get some dark chocolate bitterness. It smooths in the middle of the mouth. You do get some dark roast coffee there. It's really nice to match the chocolate. And the a silky finish almost. The booze is well hidden in the sip for sure, but you do get some warming in the throat after a few moments. Pleasant actually.

M: Full bodied with chewiness. Coats the mouth.

O: The is for sure a solid A for me. Bordering on A+. Really nice balance. Not one note overpowers. A great blend.

Photo of GilGarp
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up when I was in Ohio a few years ago. Likely a 2010 bottle.

Seved slightly chilled in a goblet. Plead the 5th is nearly black in color and only the slightest bit of light passes through the edges. Viscous appearance with basically no head.

Aroma is richand roasty with wonderful chocolate notes.

Flavor is rich and robust with dark roasted malts and bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and low in carbonation. Alcohol is present but subdued probably because of the age.

Overall an excellent imperial stout but hard to get in these parts. Maybe worth bringing home again in the future.

Photo of Roguer
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thin tan head quickly fading; nice dark brown, almost black brew.

Fantastic and strong aroma. Roasted barley, chocolate, oak, vanilla, cream, and booze. Smells barrel aged.

Flavor is all of the above, plus oats, bananas, and nuts. The roasted malt is delicate; a symphony of big stout flavors acting in delicious harmony.

Thick and creamy, almost chewy.

Delicious stout, right up there with Ten-FIDY and Founders Imperial Stout.

Photo of Damian
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank on-tap at Saloon, Somerville, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured completely pitch black. Super oily, shimmery and viscous in the glass. No visible head. Spotty, mocha color bubbles dotted the liquid and eventually formed a lasting halo.

The aroma was fantastic. Rich, sweet and robust. Boatloads of roasted and caramel malts. Strong brown sugar notes. Some vanilla. Lots of dark fruit goodness. Raisins and prunes came through strongest. Hints of molasses. Touch of licorice. Even though this beer was not barrel aged, I swear I picked up some bourbon notes as well.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but perhaps darker and roastier. Caramel and roasted malts appeared up front. French press coffee and dark fruit notes came through strong in the center. Lots of brown sugar-like sweetness. The finish was roasty and slightly bitter with some alcohol heat. At 11% ABV, however, the alcohol seemed quite restrained.

Super rich, creamy and slick on the palate. The beer was thick and viscous and contained a finely beaded, moderate effervescence.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout is an extremely well crafted beer that fires on all cylinders. I cannot wait to try the bourbon barrel aged version of this.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Saw a four pack of this the other day and it jumped into my lap and rode home with me.
Pours a solid black with a minimal tan head that dissipates quickly a leaves no lace. Smells of licorice, molasses, bitter dark chocolate, dried dark cherries covered in vodka, a bit earthy herbal hops in there somewhere too. Taste is tart dark fruit drenched in dark chocolate and dipped in rum or vodka. Espresso and an earthy hop bit round this one out. Leaves a lingering roasted grain char mixed with some sweetness that linger long after every sip. I'm kind of amazed that the depth of flavors in this brew meld together so well. Sweet sticky almost syrupy mouthfeel. Light level of carbonation and a thick body. I really enjoyed this one. Really thick and sweet but incredibly tasty. Shit I'm thinking about pouring this over some vanilla ice cream in a few.

Photo of number1bum
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to mymrnngjckt for a bottle of this.

Pours pitch black and quite thick looking. Completely opaque. Generates about one finger of dark tan head which settles to only a thin, patchy lace. No real stick on the sides.

Smell at first is big on the fruit, with some nice berry aromas in particular; black currants come to mind, plus maybe some strawberries and dark cherry. Lots of roasted malt as well, and some dark, fudgy chocolate. .Quite a lot going on in this nose; it's complex and really nice.

Taste is also complex and just bursting with flavor. I get the berry flavors that the nose revealed; tastes like some blackberry with a bit of blueberry and strawberry too. Big chocolaty and roasty flavors, with a good amount of fudgy sweetness that is cut by some roasty bitterness. Goes together nicely.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and viciously thick and chewy. Very creamy, with soft carbonation. Just a hint of alcohol heat creeps in at times.

I've not been a big fan of a lot of Dark Horse beers I've tried but this one is excellent. Tons of flavor and really smooth and drinkable for such a huge imperial stout. I think I will be looking out for this one again. thanks Kevin!

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,132 ratings.