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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,108 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,108
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 528
Gots: 721 | FT: 79
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: 3,108 | Reviews: 770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kingcrowing
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

Pours like motor oil, more so than any other stout I've poured. No head, no foam, no bubbles, just thick black viscous liquid. Then as it settles a small dark brown head forms then dissipates into a small rim a dark brown bubbles. Nose is very roasty and grainy, surprisingly no alcohol at all given it's 12%. Slightly sweet and as it warms there's a tinge of booze but hardly noticeable.

Mmm, mouthfeel is smooth, silky and creamy with very light carbonation, perfect for a RIS. it clings to your mouth and sticks around just long enough. Taste is great, not much for hops but a tiny bite of hop bitterness on the finish, mostly covered by the roasted barley/coffee bitterness. There's some great burnt notes here that linger and give you a really nice smooth taste. Super easy drinking and very satisfying.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

yet another huge thanks to mizzouguy for the awesome noob bif box!

12oz bottle a little above fridge temp poured into a snifter. cant make out freshness info.

pours out super opaque black, like old motor oil, one of the darkest of the style. small, creamy dark mocha brown colored head. faded to a retenive ring. bits of lace at times.

initially lots of fruity aromas, mostly dark fruits, rasisons. definatly some roast and cocoa there, but seems unusually fruity considering how complex the taste is. a little alcohol as it warms.

great well rounded taste. all kinds of dark fruits from start to finish, heavily roasted, burnt malts, some very nice dark chocolate/ cocoa notes, a bit of burnt coffee and maybe some anise. lots of bitterness from the roast. almost a bourbon like alcohol in the finish with a dark fruity cocoa flavor that lingers.

big and chewy, love it... carbonation feels about right for the style, slightly warming.

a top notch imperial stout, really fits the RIS style so well. the aroma didnt really seem to fit the rest of the beer, but still top notch. now i really cant wait to try the BA version...

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. No date on bottle.

Appearance: Very dark black and oily with no color coming through. One small finger of dark tan head quickly fades away with some tan foam hanging around the edges of the glass. Not much lacing seen.

Smell: Strong aroma of dark and milk chocolate with hints of coffee. Lots of sweet dark roasted malts and caramel. Some strong hints of dark fruits and vanilla. Some of the fruit has a bread like banana aroma which is quite interesting in a stout.

Taste: A solid mix of chocolate, coffee notes, vanilla, fruit, and burnt toasty malts giving a sweet and fairly bitter taste. One of the fruitier imperial stouts I've had although the sweetness is nicely kept in check. Light hints of molasses, syrup, and earthy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Heavy bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with no sign of the 12% alcohol.

Overall: A very good take on a Russian Imperial Stout. Good balance of flavors and the 12% abv is hidden really well.

Photo of Beezee
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Founders snifter at 38 degrees and then warmed up for a bit.

Appearance- Pitch black with a quarter inch head, great lacing

Smell -Roasted barley, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, dark fruit, maple and some booze.

Taste/Mouthfeel -Intense heavy roasted barley flavor but in balance with booze, cocoa and a bit of coffee. Very rich flavors. Carbonation is on the medium/heavy side and makes it very easy to drink quickly. Very slick, creamy and balanced. Not too sweet. Alcohol doesn't overpower at 12% but also adds a nice touch.

Overall -My first review! This beer and the rest of the Dark Horse stouts deserve more hype so I feel compelled to review. Excellent value at under 10 bucks a four pack. The bottle art is great -looks like outsider folk art. This RIS can stand with the best of them!

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of prototypic
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppymeal for this one. Been looking forward to it for quite a while.

2008 release

Pours a jet black, onyx color. Not a hint of light cutting through. A dark, mocha brown head rises to about one finger and receded quickly to lie on top for quite a while. Perhaps a little too much alcohol? Sticky, stringy lace clung to the glass.

The nose is strong and extremely enticing. A strong mix of roasted and chocolate malts jump out of the glass. Smells like bittersweet dark chocolate rather than sweet milk chocolate. Coffee is very much in the mix and smells delicious. I'm a coffee lover, so any coffee prominent stout is right up my alley. There's some light black licorice and molasses roaming about. Alcohol is noted, but isn't overly strong. It doesn't present itself as a big beer at all. Plead the 5th has a very deep, rich nose. It's extremely impressive.

The flavor profile is equally as impressive. Bittersweet dark chocolate is very prominent. There's a slight sweet fudge-like taste that mixes well. Roasted malts are flavorful and mix very well with the chocolate variety. Coffee/espresso are prominent. While it is a secondary feature, it's very assertive in its role and cranks up the flavor (and character) a great deal. Did I mention that I love coffee? To a lesser degree, molasses and black licorice add depth and more flavor. This is one big, badass malty imperial stout. Alcohol is easily noted, but I wouldn't have guessed it's 12% at all. There's absolutely no residual warmth. Finishes sweet and very malty.

A full, thick body and light carbonation give it a silky smooth, creamy feel. It's very lush. Dark Horse did a very nice job here. Drinkability is good (and deceptive). This goes down way too easy and doesn't feel as big as it is. My bottle doesn't list the abv, but I suspect the 12% listing is close to accurate. I respect the strength, but it really is a joy. It'd be every bit as enjoyable if it were 9% though.

Sorry, I'm not Pleading the 5th on this one. I'm very guilty of loving this beer and I'm not afraid to admit it. It's loaded with delicious flavor and is extremely impressive all around. To be fair, this bottle is roughly a year old. Perhaps more. It's drinking incredibly well right now. The abv could probably be shaved a little and it wouldn't skip a beat. That's about the only criticism I have. If you happen to land multiple bottles, by all means, put some back for a year or two. I promise it's more than worth it. Thanks a ton, Derek. This was excellent.

Photo of Bung
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Black pour with brown/ruby highlights in the head. Head is not large and recedes to a thin ring. A good amount of film sticks to the glass. Roast aromas, some dark chocolate and dark fruits, port like. Smooth full body. Taste is a silky blend of dark chocolate, molasses and chocolate covered fruits. Some vanilla and barrel like qualitites. Finishes with some more chocolate and light espresso. Drinks well, but is filling. Another excellent stout offering from Dark Horse. They produce a nice line of beers under the radar in West/Central Michigan.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Dark Horse. Listed ABV wsa 14%.

Served in an 8 oz snifter.

A - Pitch black with a small amoutn of light brown head.

S - A big chocolate aroma up front that compliemnt a robustr roasted malt profile. A big sweetness is present throughout and some molasses flavours in the background. Bittering is light. Extremely smooth for the ABV. The finish has a big roasty malt presence.

M - Med to full body. Silky and somewhat viscous.

O - A superb example of the style. Dangerously drinkable.

Photo of oliphantom
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 8-7-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass but let warm to room temp

A - Poured black with one finger foam, nice dark tan lacing ring at the top, can't see if there is any carbonation present

S - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate with hints of coffee and vanilla

T/M - Full bodied brew, dark roasted malts with a nice smooth finish, notes of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla very present

D - Very drinkable RIS got this as an extra from albgarza, big thanks! A great brew from Dark Horse, I have a couple of these so I will for sure enjoy this brew again. I highly recommend this brew

Photo of Gfunk720
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to John for this bottle. Consumed out of my Capt. Lawrence LE tulip.

A- Pitch black, and thick. Pours with a thick chocolate colored head, but only about 1 finger. It sticks around for a few minutes.

S- Smells of sweet malt, chocolate, and coffee. I also get a touch of the hoppy/imperial smell as well, but it is not prominent. Reminds me of Zuhkov's.

T- Wow. A beautiful beer. The malt profile is nice and complex, and plays well into the hoppy aftertaste. The flavors are mostly chocolate and coffee. It starts out smooth and creamy, but finishes with a nice hoppy bite.

M- Very nice. While it looks really thick, it is not as viscous as some other beers of the style. The carbonation/body/and flavor all are very very nice.

O- I tried not to expect too much of this beer, and it really was a nice surprise. This is a great RIS, and I really don't have anything bad I can say about it. Can see why the Barrel aged version of this beer is so coveted.

-Gfunk

Photo of BB1313
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a shiny jet black, nice brown bubbly head. I love the color of the head, I just wish it was bigger; lacing is decent. Amazing aromas fill up the room, especially as it warms up. I could've given the smell a "5". This is definitely a chocolate bomb. Lots of milk chocolate and vanilla. The flavors definitely don't disappoint. There's a slight roastiness, but this one seems to be all chocolate. Coffee is also present in a minor way. Great bittersweet flavors, just what I look for in a RIS. The mouthfeel is nice, but not super-thick. Carbonation is there, not overdone. Alcohol is extremely well hidden, dangerously drinkable. Overall, this is what it's all about, amazing brew! This is the real deal. Extremely impressive!

This is definitely my favorite from Dark Horse. This is an easy A. Highly recommended.

Photo of Wayne17
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of phishisphunk
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter after being chilled in the fridge for about an hour (an unseasonably warm April is leaving my basement warmer than hoped for this time of the year!). This beer pours a very inky black with the slightest formation of a tan head. My initial impression of the nose was that it smelled similar to a DFH World Wide Stout or Bell's Batch 9000. Initially very sweet, sugary, and syrupy smell. However, after a moment a robust and roasty smell dominates. The taste of this beer is superbly solid. Well balanced, beautiful roasted malt flavor dominates, without the slightest hint of alcohol. A perfect example of what a Russian Imperial Stout should taste like. Reminds me a bit of Old Rasputin. Carbonation in the beer is moderate. with a slight watery feel as the beer passes through to the end of the palate, but finished dry. Very enjoyable brew and by far my most favorite Dark Horse to date. Strongly recommended.

Photo of leitmotif
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle that I can't remember where I got. It probably was moose3285 or Scoobydank. I've had this bottle for a year already, so I'm stoked to try it.

A: Definitely among the more impressive imperial stouts I've happened to gaze upon, this is about as black as my heart, and takes the light out of highlights. The high will be reserved for the KO, I guess. A dark brown head that hangs around surprisingly long caps this beer.

S: Super rich and thick. Soy sauce, teriyaki, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, licorice and cream are prominent. It's hysterical how *thick* this beer smells.

T: Pretty awesome. Opening up with a lot of roasted barley, this beer quickly segues into a melange of soy, teriyaki, licorice, treacle, and a slew of other good things that are bad for you. Like a sweetened dark chocolate, this is intense with the sweetness and the bitterness slugging it out on my palate. Hop character is non-existent, this is a exhibition of what dark grains can do for a beer. Oxidation is minimal, the one year that I've had this bottle hasn't imparted any raisin/port notes. The finish is great, it's long, bitter, mildly sweet with cocoa.

M: Spectacular. So freaking thick and creamy, this is what Dark Lord wants to be. The carbonation is a little higher than it needs to be, but hot damn, this awesome

D: Yeah, bye bye, sobriety. I'll see you on the morrow.

Notes: The nutter in me wonders how this beer would pair with black pudding.

Photo of stogirelli
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of cpetrone84
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a compeletely opaque black liquid that resembles a thick viscous motor oil. The head is a dark brown color, almost mocha like and very thick and creamy looking. The retention is ok and lingers for about a half a minute with a thick creamy lace covering the glass and falling a bit slower than the head itself

S-the nose is fair in strength and seems very sweet and slightly boozy. A hint of dark bitter chocolate and molasses tickles the nose lightly. Dark fruits of prunes and some lightly rum soaked raisins comes in at the back and is really the foundation for this aroma.

T-the taste is big and more balanced than the nose. The sweetness of prunes and raisin set in first. Lots of dark, slightly bitter chocolate has a good hold in the middle as the molasses adds a bit of complexity to the taste. The finish brings more of the same dark fruits with a hint of booze and a small hop balance with a light hop bitterness.

M-this has a nice full body and is extremely smooth and brings a nice creamy texture. Just enough carbonation to hold the body and give it a nice clean finish.

D-I love a big creamy stout and this lives up to that. It has hints of booze but nothing that really detracts from the overall great drink that this proves to be. The nose was a little sweet but the beer brought a great balance and complexity.

Photo of ferrari29
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a snifter at Jerry's

A - Beer pours with a black "lights out" colored body and chocolate shake head; one finger head; good lacing; held very well

S - Beer has a strong dark chocolate scent; espresso coffee beans; dark fruit, figs and dates; touch of vanilla; cocoa

T - Cigar, oak, chocolate, dark roasted coffee, vanilla; very nice dark fruit, figs; maple syrupy; some toffee notes; dark cocoa powder

M - Full body beer with a chewy consistency; dry finish; espresso and dark chocolate aftertaste - 4.0

D - Awesome; great dessert beer; good balance of roasted malt and dark fruit

Photo of booga73
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of Overlord
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the great extra!

Pours a viscous, slimy black with a big dark brown head. Mmmmm. The head is surprisingly long lasting, and leaves gobs all over the glass. *CHUCKLE*

Smells ... whoa, like plums/raisins/dates dark fruits with a tinge of malt and dark chocolate. This is one of the dark fruitiest smelling RIS's I can recall.

And the smell carries through to the flavor. Wow. Robust dark fruit base, mixed with an acrid, roasted malt that's very subtle, some espresso, and dark chocolate. The sweets you're getting here are from a fruit flavoring. Interesting.

I like. I like much. Mouthfeel is slick and oily, but not overly thick, and it's pretty drinkable for the ABV.

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured in a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep black color forming a medium creamy thin bubbled and very dark beige head. Few spotty and lingering lacings left in the glass

S: Roasted malts and strong notes of dark chocolate and roasted malts. Flowery hops and booze in the very end

T: Slightly sweet upfront followed by roasted and caramel tastes. Biscuity. Dark chocolate, dark fruits. Oak. Complex. end is bitter which is a mix of roasted malts and hops

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium carbonation. Sweet roasted aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. Great Imperial Stout

Photo of ChugginOil
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse: Plead the Fifth

Pours a very thick and syrup like dark brown and settles black hole. A fingers worth of orange tinted mocha colored head sits and dissipates quickly. Some oily lacing grabs the glass.

The nose is a bit overpowering with alocohol up front. Underneath lies some sweet and roasty aromas. Chocolate vaguely lingers behind it all. Lots of booze.

The taste offers much more than the nose thankfully. Massive roast overload that is akin to toasted nuts. Some caramel and a bit of cocoa come through next. A lot of heat on the back end.

The mouthfeel is thick as oil. Super viscous and syrupy. Awesome.

Overall, i love the cards being played here but aging will improve this beer by lowering the highly noticeable heat. I cant wait to try it again next time this year ( if i dont finish the other 5 bottles).

Photo of Blakaeris
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours absolute midnight black with a tan head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring.

Aroma is charred dark grain, licorice, molasses, and dark fruit.

Taste is sweeter than I had anticipated from the nose. Dark roasted malts hit first, but then it changes to a layered burnt character. Some nice chocolate, licorice, and coffee notes. The finish is dry and woody with leafy green hop flavors in the mix as well as black currant and subdued alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full, thick, and sticky.

A very nice, balanced stout. Alcohol is amazingly well hidden. Is this really 12%? Smooth, drinkable, and complex with an interesting play between the malt, hops and dark fruitiness. Recommended.

Photo of AMCimpi
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,108 ratings.