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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

3,078 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,078
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 520
Gots: 717 | 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: 3,078 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stogirelli
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

stogirelli, Sep 13, 2014
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.

cpetrone84, Mar 28, 2010
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

ferrari29, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of booga73
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

booga73, Sep 21, 2014
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.

Overlord, Oct 22, 2009
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

eduardolinhalis, Jul 30, 2013
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).

ChugginOil, May 08, 2011
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.

Blakaeris, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of AMCimpi
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

AMCimpi, Nov 08, 2014
Photo of dcmchew
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Pitch black, dark mocha head, small and brief, but there's nice lacing afterwards.
Big chocolate aroma, sweet and dark at the same time, plus vanilla and rich roasted malts. Lots of caramel, coffee too, but light and sweetened, faint woody notes. Not overly complex, but quite intense.
Tho i couldn't get any alcohol on the nose, the 11% shows up in the taste right from the start. This amplifies a nice dark fruity flavor, with sweet dry fig, raisin and some faint blueberry. Dark chocolate, with the sweetness mostly provided by caramel and molasses, some licorice, a bit of vanilla. Gets more bitter with some heavily roasted grains, some espresso and a leafy hop undertone, finishing quite nice, quite dry from the booze and the bitterness.
Medium to light body, oily, low carbonated, smooth. Rich aftertaste with roast, dark chocolate, alcohol, faint charred wood and some leafy American hop.
Easy to drink although the alcohol is a bit present, tasty, felt somewhere between the Russian and the American Imp Stout varieties for me. Doesn't really matter, really good stuff.

dcmchew, Tuesday at 04:31 PM
Photo of JohnnyMc
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I had heard a lot about this beer, but I'm so glad I finally got to try it.

It pours a pitch black with a half finger mocha/brown head.

The aroma is full of coffee, dark fruit, chocolate and toffee notes.

This tastes very much the same as the aroma. There is some coffee, a lot of bitter dark chocolate, some dark fruit and a hint of bourbon. Very tasty. Despite the full flavor this is light bodied and hides the alcohol almost too well. The moutfeel is rich, creamy and full.

I'm very impressed with this and hope to have it again.

JohnnyMc, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of Hootie159
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Hootie159, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of KYGunner
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amongst the most gorgeous beers I've ever seen this stout poured black, thick and beautiful with an intense creamy head. The creamy foam laced in a sheet along the glass.

The scent is of soft chocolate, touches of espresso and a bit of bready malt. The aroma is nice but subtle.

The taste is of strong chocolate malts, espresso, vanilla, graham cracker and dry roasted coffee. So smooth, so creamy the taste and feel are a single unit. Very light on the stomach and exceptionally easy to drink for 11 percent ABV. My only complaint is the it dries the palate but other than that this is a phenomenal beer.

KYGunner, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of Alextricity
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*RE-REVIEW 3/27/14*

Appearance: Pitch black with no light getting through. A finger of dark brown head. Doesn't stick around at all like it did the first time I had it, but still a beautiful looking beer.

Smell: As I remember. Still unbelievable, and one of the best smelling beers ever. My last review nailed it as far as the aroma is concerned with coffee, chocolate, caramel, and the cinnamon/nutmeg sort of aroma. I don't so much get any dark fruits this time around, but it still smells absolutely insane.

Taste/feel: Ah, here we go -- was I out of my fucking mind before? This stuff is great! There's a nice mouthfeel that's quite heavy but extremely so (a bit of a surprise given the ABV, to be honest), and the carbonation is a bit higher than what I'd consider mild, which works very well with a beer as big as this one. The flavor of this one is overloaded with massive coffee, roast, and chocolate with dark fruit undertones. The aftertaste is warming with a slight alcohol flavor and lingering roastiness that gives a very slight ash flavor. It suits the style and ABV very well to say the least. Surprisingly, this is fairly balanced. Naturally you get a bold roasty bitterness, but that dark fruit sort of sweetness is definitely there to help out. I'm not sure where I got the hoppiness last time I had this beer or if I was just incredibly ignorant, but anyway, this is a super nice beer and worth the $3.50 a single.

The smell of this beer has to be the best of any stout I've ever had, most especially when the brew has a head on it. The taste is awesome, but strangely, for some reason I can't explain, I want a bit more out of it. There's a good amount of alcohol presence (warms the belly) and a lot of good dark chocolate, roastiness, and some dark fruits in there, but a bit more of a punch would be welcome. At the same time, as it stands now, it's an enjoyable as all hell ALMOST too drinkable 11% bomb of an Imperial Stout. Not the very best Imperial Stout I've ever had, but boy is it phenomenal.

*ORIGINAL REVIEW*
Appearance: Midnight oil with a spectacular two finger head that stays around longer than I'd ever expect out of an 11% beer.The head is brown and super creamy... looks outstanding. (5/5)

Smell: Unbelievable. Coffee, chocolate, caramel, dark fruits, and even notes of ... cinnamon? There's an interesting note in there that I wasn't at all expecting. Smells fantastic. (5/5)

Taste/feel: Monstrous... what else would be expected. Wow. Major bitterness, dark fruits, a lot of roastiness, and quite a lot of alcohol warmth on the finish. The smell was sweet and inviting, but the taste is just about the polar opposite. A lot of roast flavors with plenty of dark fruits, with an odd bitter, and somewhat sour finish. Alcohol is pretty noticeable in the taste as well. The hops in this one aren't there in the aroma, but come out in the taste with the bitterness on the end of each sip. I'm not sure what to make of this beer. It smells very nice (smelled great when I first poured and there was a large, pillowy head), but the taste is barely average. A lot of bitterness, with tons of warmth, and tastes of alcohol and dark fruits. It's certainly not your average RIS. The feel of this beer is actually somewhat thin for an RIS, in my opinion. The beer doesn't coat the mouth very much, but it does have a nice "slickness" to it. (3.25/5, 3.5/5)

I'll have you know that I'm not the biggest RIS fan, but this one is just odd. I had extremely high hopes after seeing it and, especially, smelling it, but Plead the Fifth just doesn't please my taste buds all that much. If you love a big and (somewhat) unusual beer, Plead the Fifth is a must try... it's quite distinctive. Though, I think, not for the best of reasons. At $3.50 per bottle, I'm certainly glad to have tried it (since I like to appreciate a big stout time-to-time), but I'm not sure when I'd have it again... but if I did, I'd keep it in a cellar to mellow it out... this thing's pretty harsh.

3.5/5

Alextricity, Apr 02, 2013
Photo of merlin48
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of Plead The 5th, pours a dark and opaque body with a small light brown head that leaves some spotty lacing. Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, coffee, and some dried dark fruits. Full bodied and creamy mouthfeel with a lower than medium carbonation. Taste is complex. Chocolate, strong roasted coffee beans, molasses, caramel, vanilla, leather, anise, and cherry skins. Alcohol is very well concealed but for some mild warmth. Excellent and very well put together. This one belongs in the top tier of American impy stouts.

merlin48, May 08, 2008
Photo of tigg924
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, dark brown in color, sediment at bottom of bottle

Smell: deep dark chocolate, faint alcohol

Taste: nice mix of dark and sweet chocolate, burnt malt, sweet sugar, and alcohol that burns

Mouthfeel: medium body, sweet with big time alcohol burn--slight bitterness on the aftertaste, medium carbonation

Drinkability: My second favorite in the line behind the blueberry, but I think that is just because I find the blueberry to be unique. This is a superb beer. It has the most alcohol burn I have tasted. It almost tastes like it has peppers. One of the best RIS I have had in a good long time. It tends to be on the sweeter side, but is nowhere near the cloying stage and far less sweet than Southern Tier. A great beer. Now that I have finished the series, I would rank them.

1a) Tres
1b) Plead the Fifth
3) Too Milk Stout
4) One-Oat
5) Fore--Smoke

tigg924, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade with mynie, been on my wants list for awhile so I've been looking forward to it.

Pours a jet black, decent viscosity, not much head though and no lacing.

Smell is subtle but has a nice roasted malt aroma, hint of coffee and chocolate, and especially some dark fruit looming in my nostrils.

Taste is thick and chewy and coats the mouth nicely, strong roasted presence with a coffee/dark chocolate bitterness, slight dark fruit presence, the strength is very well hidden and has surprisingly little warming action.

deltatauhobbit, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of chrismattlin
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | 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.

chrismattlin, Jun 05, 2014
Photo of drtth
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a nice black stout color with a ¼" dark brown head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring of foam and a very thin layer of patchy foam on the surface. Sipping leaves some sparse leggy lacing that turns into speckles of foam on the glass. Later in the beer the ring of foam and speckled patterns of lacing from sipping persist.

Smell: Even from a distance the rich dark chocolate aroma fills the air. The chocolate blends nicely with some lightly sweet vanilla, a trace of licorice and some hints of dark toffee. There isn't a hint of alcohol.

Taste: As expected from the nose the flavors begin with some sweet roasted malt flavors of things like dark chocolate, molasses, dark toffee and vanilla. But about midway through the roasted bitterness puts in an appearance without dominating everything else. There is no real hop bitterness in this so I suspect it has long ago faded away. Any alcohol is well concealed here or shows itself only in the early sweetness and in the effects it produces.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is full bodied and silky smooth with some soft persistent, but very light carbonation, especially at the end of the beer. The finish begins with vanilla and sweetness, changes into to dark chocolate and then roasted bitterness. The bitterness slowly fades leaving a light dryness and soft finish of dark roasted malt bitterness.

Drinkability: Although a one a night beer with its 12% ABV, its definitely a wonderful Imperial stout for sipping before the fire while listening to music and/or reading. One of the things I particularly like about this beer is that the flavors changed nicely so that it is not really the same set of flavors that dominate throughout. I'll definitely have this one again, and again now that its available in PA.

drtth, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of --Dom--
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I don't feel like following a format today so: This beer is awesome. Pours with a short dark brown head. Not quite as thick as a yeti or ten fidy. Mouthfeel is spot on, creamy with medium carbonation. Everything is balanced, none of the flavors are too much. Slight alcohol heat but not a predominate taste. Dark chocolates with just a hint of burnt coffee. Amazing stuff, get some if you can.

--Dom--, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of Docrock
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

served on-tap at Dark Horse in a snifter:

A - Almost a pitch black body with a half an inch head of dirty brown color. Head disappear very quickly, minimal lacing but nice legs

S - Chocolate and roasted malt, a bit of molasses.

T - Bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, some vanilla. Starts very sweet and finishes with a dry chocolate finish

M - Moderate to low carbonation. Very warming, creamy and silky. Medium to full body, chewy and heavy, but not too thick. Alcohol is hidden extremely well. You don't notice it until you near the bottom of the glass. minimal aftertaste.

O = Extremely pleasant beer, very drinkable, much smoother as it warmed in the glass.

Docrock, Feb 13, 2013
Photo of Spider889
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this single at From the Vine. Live review.

I really want to ding this beer on appearance for the horrid label. The lack of other pertinent info such as bottle date, abv, or IBU also is a little annoying.

That said, the beer itself is wonderful. It's about as thick a beer as I have ever seen. Jet black and ropey coming out of the bottle. At first I feared there'd be no head on it, but with some effort I pulled out a two-finger tall head, the color of a dark double shot of espresso. The head was very thick and gooey, and I really think oats or some other body-aid is used in this beer. Finally there's a pretty awesome blanket of lace that started before I even took my first sip.

The nose begins with the sweet notes of strong alcohol. It's not overpowering at all though. Dark fruit aromas of raisin and date mingle with the malt. Roasted but not burnt like some stouts can be. Milk coffee also makes up a very enjoyable portion of the aroma.

This is surely an exceptional Imperial Stout. Thick layers of coffee, bitter chocolate, and toasted bread crust layer themselves quite nicely. The 12% abv isn't nearly as noticeable as you'd imagine. Plead the 5th finishes with a very mild sweetness and some fruity alcohol.

The mouthfeel has the illusion of dryness, but I have determined that this is mostly a trick on the mind, as the bitter hops and ashy roasted barley flavors create a dry, gritty flavor. The mouthfeel itself is rather smooth, creamy, and sticky. The beer is strong, but not overly boozy, though I imagine that I'll be feeling the effects of this bottle for the next hour or so. Carbonation is about medium for such a big stout, and the body is as full as you're going to get.

Overall a wonderful beer, definitely the best Dark Horse offering I have had to date. I can only imagine how amazing the barrel aged version of this is.

Spider889, May 26, 2011
Photo of jmdrpi
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, but no date on the label, or any indication of the 12% abv strength.

pours black as used motor oil, with very dark tan head. but the head fades fast to a thin collar. aroma expands and intensifies as it warms - roasted coffee, cocoa power, booze.

taste is rich and bold. bitter dark chocolate, caramel, a little alcohol. lingering charcoal smokiness. definitely a sipper. thick, full body. coats the mouth, but enough carbonation.

overall - I really like, very good RIS.

jmdrpi, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of tbdkev
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decided to grab this brew in celebration of the Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory!

A: Pours a dark, motor oil brown with a tan head that fades quickly. Thick, as expected.

A: The nose is divided between sweet and dark chocolate malts and coffee.

T: The sweeter milk chocolate notes (lactose) surface immediately and gradually fade to a wonderful dark chocolate/coffee finish. There is an underlying fruit character as well--perhaps raisins. The combination of flavors yields some char character, and oak qualities as well.

M: Milky and somewhat chewy, with mild, fine carbonation that fits the profile well.

O: IPt5 fulfills the criteria for a stout experience, but it provides a complex enough experience to separate from most of the pack. Definitely worth the purchase.

tbdkev, Jun 25, 2013
Photo of ms11781
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 06/13/2011. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a medium thick, solid black color. A one and half finger, dark brown head develops, turns tan rather quickly and settles as a soap-like foam ring around the glass. Slight wispy lacing is left on the glass.

Excellent nose. Huge dark fruit aromas from the beginning. Some nice roasted notes as well as some dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. There is a bit of alcohol as well. Straightforward aromas but they stand blend together well and make for a great nose overall.

Taste is similar to the nose. Some bitterness from the roasted malt plays a huge part, as do the dark fruit notes. Dark, bitter chocolate, some sweet chocolate and a touch of coffee are here too. No detection of the alcohol that was in the nose. As with the nose, the flavors play off each other really well.

Huge, thick mouthfeel. Carbonation, while not high in general, may be a bit high relative to style and the size of the beer. Creamy, thick and viscous. Very smooth.

This is an excellent beer. I find the carbonation a bit odd, it's seems higher than it should be, but that seems contradictory considering the beer is silky smooth. Either way, it doesn't detract from the beer too much. Can't wait to see what age does to this one.

ms11781, Dec 03, 2011
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,078 ratings.