Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
889 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
889
Ratings:
3,803
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
17.02%
 
 
Wants:
551
Gots:
1,031
For Trade:
113
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

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
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label

Added by HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 889 | Ratings: 3,803
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of sgoro, thank you very much Sean! Pours a viscous black with a small brown head, even with an aggressive pour. Never did get much foam stickage...

Nose is a gorgeous blend of bruised dark fruit, chocolate covered licorice malt and a faint tropical alcohol aroma. Smells good, and rich.

Taste is decadent! Viscous chocolate malts mix with a burnt grain and robust raisin juice to mix all the delicious flavors of a deep, imperial stout with the smoothness of a silky oatmeal stout. Man, I was not expecting to be this impressed tonight, but this beer is de-lic-ious! I would absolutely love to be in the distribution range of this bad boy! 12%? No way! Sooo smooth. Im glad I drank it fresh(ish) rather than ageing it, as I think it cant possibly get any better than it tastes right now.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a midnight black with a one-finger tan head.

S - Smell of sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee.

T - Sweet upfront with a nice amount of dark chocolate. Roasted malts, espresso, and some smokiness throughout. Finish has a nice coffee bitterness. ABV is well hidden.

M - Heavy bodied with medium carbonation. Nice smooth creamy mouthfeel.

O - This is a fantastic RIS. Very drinkable with lots of big bold flavors. Highly recommended.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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!

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Photo of amcmaho1
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to always-generous Injuredreserve. Thanks so much Shane, this is an excellent beer to have in celebration of my birthday.

Bottled 4/10
poured into Cigar City snifter (Thanks again Shane!)

Appearance: Incredibly dark...There is no translucency here to speak of. Only on the absolute edges of the glass is there a slight color change from obsidian black to tobacco brown. There is a very shortly lived khaki colored head which dies down immediately, though there are some alcohol legs and some slight carbonation blotches. For the darkness of this beer alone, it deserves accolades.

Smell: There's lovely notes of raisins, smoke, char, coffee, and sweet chocolate. Everything has really come together nicely over time, and some of the more prominent aromas are somewhat subdued. It seems a bit tame cool, but once it begins warming up, it really comes alive. I don't necessarily remember such a noticeable smokiness in fresher bottles, but it's adding a nice complexity and counterbalance to the sweeter aromas.

Taste: Lots of dark fruits again, alongside some chocolate and coffee notes, but there's some big smoke and char definitely making itself known. There's some really nice extremes of sweetness, roasty bitterness, decadent chocolate, and some nice subtle alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel: Very light carbonation, but still lively enough to fight it from being too syrupy. This is a viscous beer, it's chewy, and it's intense...I love it.

Overall: This has always been I beer that I've really enjoyed. This vintage bottle was great, fresher vintages are great, and I can't even imagine how the BA version is. I highly recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys bigger and more formidable stouts.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dead black. Nice thick frothy dark brown head. Reduces to a ring, but lots of this sticky lacing.

S - COFFEE. Geez. In the mix, anise, chocolate, dark cooked fruits.

T - Taste emulates smell but not to the same degree. Like how the coffee comes through, but not the typical bitterness. Alcohol apparent but not reflective of the ABV.

M - Medium to heavy, good carb, GREAT coating.

D - For the style and abv, great drinkability!

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Photo of waltersrj
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: Deep dark viscous black liquid with a dark tanned head that quickly dissipates into itself leaving what looks like "a black hole." This thing is seriously black.

Nose: Coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits (plum/figs), hops, roasted malt, alcohol and slight vanilla.

Taste: This was very chocolate forward to my palate (much like Ten Fidy) with a strong coffee presence moving in afterwards. Vanilla, dark fruit and bitter hops/coffee come in at the end and allow a mouth coating finish of chocolate. Slight alcohol burn throughout.

Mouthfeel: This was pretty thick but well carbonated which reminded me of Older Viscosity with more carbonation. Oily slick and coating, I really liked this.

Overall: I really enjoyed this one and will need to get more from my buddy in MI (thanks splax23). This must be fantastic with a bourbon barrel aging. Great base beer.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of Vancer
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of Spica66
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of mfavoino
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of mjl21
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Sensaray
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Black with light tan head
S: Dark fruit, and roasted malt
T: Follows the nose with dark fruit and roasted malt. Very juicy dark fruit, sweet, not bitter at all, and not trace of the 11% abv.
F: Creamy and smooth, but did not coat my mouth to well, and flavors faded fairly quick.
O: Good beer, glad I got to try it (can't get locally), but not going to seek it out.

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Photo of biga7346
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of gopens44
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

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Photo of Ehrnstrom
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of BigAl723
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Dan3279
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 889 ratings.