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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

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

3,068 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,068
Reviews: 767
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 518
Gots: 716 | FT: 81
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
2010 and pre: white label
2011: white label OR black label with black no logo cap
2012: black label with logo cap
2013: black label with logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner and new government warning

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,068 | Reviews: 767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigAl723
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

BigAl723, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style Glass. Dark black thick in color. Sometimes people make the "motor oil" comment, this would be fitting. Only slight lighter brown on the edges. Dark brown colored head, but it goes away asap.

Smell is good, sweeter than I expected. Sweet chocolate malts, and some darker coffee. Not much of a hoppy presence, but a woody smell with a hint of vanilla.

Taste is really really good though. One of the sweeter Russian Imperial Stouts I've had in quite some time. Big hints of rich chocolate and sweetened coffee. Caramel and vanilla are heavy hitters in the flavor profile as well. Doesn't taste hoppy, but does have the slightest bitter aftertaste, really good.

Mouthfeel is really good. Really smooth, and even though the head goes away I think the carbonation level is ok, I think the 12% just mellows it out. Also has sort of a clean minty mouthfeel, not a minty flavor, but sort of after how you bite a York Peppermint Pattie, just not as strong. Not much of a bite from the 12%, well hidden. This is a really good beer, another grand slam from Dark Horse, a great brewery!

AndyAvalanche, Nov 01, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Stinkypuss, May 27, 2011
Photo of johnnnniee
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

johnnnniee, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of grub! Day 2 of epic DrJay visit tasting.

Pours a deep, dark and opaque black, no light escapes, very thick brown head forms, drops a lot of lacing, settles down to a thick ring, looks like a RIS! Smell is great, tons of chocolate and fruit, toffee, coffee roast, very perfumy and floral hops, licorice, strawberries and cherries, dates, more roast and chocolate, awesome. Taste is great as well, chocolate, insane amount of roastiness, dry and chalky middle, toffee, some smoke, charred wood, burnt sugar, light bit of fruitiness, roasty bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down, but very smooth. Great imperial stout, very nice. Thanks Russ!

Viggo, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of number1bum
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
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!

number1bum, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of chadmoe1
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at D's SixPax and Dogz in Regent Square, PA. Served in a Goblet at about 40-45 F.

Appearance -- Dark reddish-brown, opaque, with 1/4 inch dark tan head that dissipated rather quickly. Amused that it was darker than the Diet Pepsi sitting on the table.

Smell -- Notes of dark chocolate and deep roasted coffee; not much in terms of hop smell. No smell of alcohol.

Taste -- Impressive for the alcohol content. The initial chocolate/roasted coffee taste was a bit bitter but enjoyable. Flavor lasted well after a sip. Limited discernible hop flavor. Some boozy flavors (12% ABV!) but not overwhelming or overpowering. Rather smooth for such a big beer.

Mouthfeel -- This was the thickest beer I've had so far, and I think part of the long lasting flavor was due to the beer still sticking to my tongue and cheeks. Carbonation was medium to low and spot on for style.

Overall -- For such a big beer in the middle of a hot summer, I really enjoyed all aspects of it. I've had higher ABV beers you could gulp through, but this was a definite sipper -- and I enjoyed this. I would get it again, though I'd really like to try a version BA as vanilla notes would really open the taste up further.

chadmoe1, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of keithmurray
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

Appearance - dark brown almost black body with dark tan head

Smell - dark chocolate, milk chocolate, fudge, roasted malt, black licorice

Taste - dark chocolate, fudge, roasted malts, roasted barley, milk chocolate, hint of black licorice

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, roassted flavors upfront, dark chocolate on the back end, long finish

Overall- fine Russian Imperial Stout that has some nice flavors, exhibits great balance would be a good beer to introduce a beer drinker to the style. Reccommended

Price Point - $11.99/4 pack 12 oz bottles

keithmurray, Oct 03, 2014
Photo of msubulldog25
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

msubulldog25, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of tmclain
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

tmclain, Jul 03, 2014
Photo of farrago
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light head, half finger of exceedingly dark brown foam, mostly larger bubbles which impairs retention, credible stickiness to the lacing. Jet black, zero color, only thing visible are a few floating particles within. The roast hits the right balance in the nose, more texturally stiffening than scented, you get sweet chocolate, coconut, light caramel as well as rich plum, golden raisin and cherry fruit scents, flaky pie crust, vanillin oak booziness, anise seed, orange citrus zest, overall soft and well harmonized. Full-bodied, yet smooth with nice fluidity, honestly, here the relatively weak carbonation helps to keep the pace going rather than fluff things up. Dark chocolate, cocoa, mocha and caramel, not so much coffee or real roast. Plum, cherry, raisin, fig, apricot fruit lends sweetness and concentration. The coconut, vanilla fudge, honey glazed dough and croissant flakes likewise. Hard to say both what the hops contribute and what they were meant to contribute. Still, awfully seductive as a pure "guilty pleasure" play.

farrago, Jun 24, 2010
Photo of costanzo_mike
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

costanzo_mike, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of Dan3279
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Dan3279, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of siege06nd
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottles into Dogfish Head snifter...

A. Inky black with chocolate brown edges. A half finger of tan head with some mild bubbles sticking to the glass. Leaves a sheen of oily slick on the glass with each swirl.

S. Dark chocolate, fudge, traces of herbal and piney hops, blackstrap molasses, and suggestions of fruit.

T. Chocolate, caramel, some strawberry and cherry, roasted coffee grounds and even some char in a dry finish.

M. Coats the palate with a thick and chewy body. Good flavor integration and nice balance. Sweet, chocolatey, and fruity upfront and a slightly ashy, classic finish.

O. An excellent Imperial Stout. It's full bodied, filling, and flavorful with excellent booze-masking. Hits all of the right notes.

siege06nd, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Cloverleaf a few weeks ago, <$3. The beer is very black with a thin tan head, less foam than usual for a RIS. The smell is rich with chocolate and roasted malts, a noticeable black licorice aroma too. The beer tastes overpowering with malty sweetness, dark fruits like prunes and raisins and plums, and black licorice or anise (but thankfully not much). Lots of previous reviewers noted a lack of body but I thought this was thick and filling. Maybe I tried the latest batch and it's been improved in some way, it was thick and oily and good. This beer is up there in Dark Horse's line-up, along with Perkolator and Double Crooked Tree.

TurdFurgison, May 17, 2009
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Corsedonk snifter. Pours a thick black color, wow...a lot thicker than I expected. This is definitely a RIS! Small light brown head, dissipates pretty quick. Fizzy quick sliding lacing lines the glass after each sip.

Aroma is huge with booze, burnt coffee, and chocolate. A slight overripe fruit resemblance as well. Smells great! The warmer it gets, the stronger the fruit smell gets.

Wow! Great taste. Huge chewy/thick mouthfeel. Full bodied, warm booze, low carbonation, THICK chocolate taste! Lot's of chocolate, burnt coffee, dark fruit sweetness, and a heck of a lot of booze! This is indeed a very good RIS!

ShadesOfGray, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of inlimbo77
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

inlimbo77, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of dukedevil0
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single 12oz bottle from Famous Wines in Lombard, IL. Thanks to the beer guy there for putting this in the system at my request because they weren't selling singles of it at the time!

A: Pours a super DARK BLACK, almost as black as can be, with a very nice chocolate shake colored finger and a half of head that reduces down to a nice layer of bubbles. Leaves a nice little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells very nice, the usual chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt notes...slight bit of dark cherries and dark berries when i search for them...

T: Tastes great, with lots of both milk and bitter chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee flavor to a lesser extent (more so in the finish and aftertaste), extremely subtle alcohol flavor in there

M: One of the more creamy RIS I've had. It just feels dense and heavy. Very smooth, small bubble carbonation.

D: It's a sipper, especially because it's so heavy, but the flavor is great, the alcohol tinge is minor enough that i don't think it really affects drinkability,

dukedevil0, May 21, 2009
Photo of northstar23
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

northstar23, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of Augustiner719
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a very black, motor oil like color with a small 1 finger dark brown head that recedes quickly but leaves lacing down the glass. There is a big chocolate mousse aroma with some espresso like characters and a touch of vanilla. Big. The flavor has a big chocolate, malty and espresso body to it. Very well hidden 12 percent abv and a great undertone of vanilla coming on the finish. Smooth drinking with a Graham cracker breadiness to it. Mouthfeel is slick and viscous, perfect with a cheesecake. Overall this is a very drinkable high abv bottle of beer. Great beer!

Augustiner719, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of lunarbrew
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful beer. Incredibly dark and opaque when held to light. Head is deep brown with about one finger and dies quick. Leaves a fine and appealing lacing surrounding the edge of the glass. Very inviting.

The nose is very robust. I can smell heaping amounts of roast from dark malt, coffee, and medium-dark chocolate. A bit of acidity (red berry) on the front end, but mostly malted notes.

Flavor is rich and delicious. Tons of brown sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and some alcohol at the finish. Very sweet with a wonderful dry aftertaste from black patent or the like. Want to keep going back for another sip.

Lots of weight, but still not too syrupy. The beer foams up quickly due to a decent amount of carbonation and gives a very creamy texture. It's a very pleasant and oh so drinkable brew.

I was very excited to try this. Amazingly drinkable and addictive for 11%. The texture was superb and there was a great amount of depth. I am anxious to see if the boozy flavor settles out after some time.

lunarbrew, Mar 18, 2013
Photo of Kinger86
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%

Kinger86, Sep 13, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark as fuck and thick as shit - is that an accurate description of the appearance? It looks like molasses as it dribbles out of the bottle, pouring will nearly no sound as it collapses into the glass. No head forms at first, even with a direct pour down the middle, until moments after I'm finished pouring and a dark tan film rises from nowhere and puts a skin on the brew.

Aroma comes through full-force with insanely deep roasted coffee; charred espresso and dark, bitter cocoa beans. This is a heavy hitter, alright, and the nose doesn't hold anything back. There is a creaminess to it, carrying over a very light sweetness. But make no mistake - if the initial aroma is any indication, the sheer roasted bitterness of this brew will tower over all else. Some more dark fudge aromas open up as the beer warms, but it remains a deep, black, and bitter type of fudge, still laying low on the sweetness. Surprisingly low alcohol character for being 11-12% ABV, but there is a noticeable warmth to back everything up.

The taste, shockingly enough, opens up with a very light, licorice-like sweetness before converging into the roasted carnage. Bitter-ass roasted coffee beans, and huge charcoal notes take over like none other. This beefy stout plays off of a heavy hop character as well, something else I really enjoy; leafy, ashy, herbal, and spicy. The bitterness from the hops and the bitterness from the roast combine to form a super bitterness that may even be stronger than all of the sweetness from the malt.

Light chocolates and sinister dark fruits play the counterbalancing sweetness role, although they don't stand a chance again the roasted bomb. There is a heavy fade of char, roast, burnt coffee, and nuttiness going into the aftertaste. Overall, the alcohol warms up a bit and gives this baby a fuckin' huge backbone - very robust; it demands that it be sipped slowly rather than slammed in a few seconds. This beer is big.... no, HUGE, on the palate, and creamy all the way through. Super low carbonation, but it almost works, here.

Seriously a badass stout; orgasmically powerful roast from nearly start to finish with a heavy and hard-hitting bitterness through and through. I love stouts like this. For the high ABV, it drinks pretty well. I'm biased towards bitter stouts, so this one was right in my wheelhouse. Simply delicious.

tectactoe, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle

Acquired via trade
Thanks, Kgristoff!

Black, thick, shiny, and oily with very little, almost zero, visible carbonation. The eventual head is small and dark brown in color and doesn't leave much in the way of stick to the glass.

Rich aroma of roasted coffee and dark malts, decadent chocolate, and just a bit of an alcoholic, burning bite.

Roasted malts and chocolate flavors dominate and the alcohol plays a very minor role in this beer's flavor. With no bottled on information, I can't know for sure how old this one is, but it did sit at the back of my refrigerator for quite a long time. This is rich, complex, and quite divine.

Thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. A pleasure.

This is a wonderful big stout. It doesn't get much better.

ehammond1, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of tastybeer
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A good looking beer....Totally opaque, deep brown color, modest light brown head, and nice lace. Aroma is an easy going mix of dark chocolate, cocoa, dark berries, plums, vanilla bean, and perhaps a hint of smoke. Deep and smooth aromas... Taste is very chocolatey with some caramel, creamy vanilla, and lactose sweetness. Slight piney bitterness works its way through. Very yummy; dessert in a glass. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth, coating, and almost silky. Overall an excellent Russian Imperial Stout. Chocolate chocolate chocolate.

tastybeer, Dec 08, 2013
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,068 ratings.