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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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

2,379 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2379
Reviews: 736
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.37%


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: 2,379 | Reviews: 736 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Traded dtx00 for this one. Thank you so much Sam! Poured into a tulip glass for sniffin!

A - Deepest darkest black thick beer liquid is best to describe. Even though the ABV is high I get the minimal of dark mocha colored head that sticks with some great lacing.

S - Deep dark chocolates, bitter chocolates, bakers chocolates, heavy roast with splashes of espresso and coffee. Has a very slight cherry tone which is minimal but slightly tart.

T - Ow man I am so excited! mmm wow almost as good as ST Chocolat! Dark chocolates slightly bitter which is pretty awesome and roast is balanced with slightly bitter coffee. Creamy and thick but tasty. I love how the chocolate tones in this is like a Hershey suryp sweet and thick!

M - Alcohol is so masked the only feeling of the ABV is the burn as it hits the stomach. So warming no wonder is a winter brew!

Overall Wow just wow! So big! So smooth! Such a great brew! A real treat of a beer that hopefully I can find around town next year as craft beer continues to grow.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2011 02:10:09 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of nhindian
nhindian

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - This beer is easily one of the darkest, most formidable, and most slick imperial stouts I've ever had. The color is somewhere between tar, sludge, and crude oil. The head on this is also magnificent as well, with an insane 2-fingered head that is dark mocha in color. The retention is also up there, lasting several minutes, which for the ABV on this is is insane. To top it off, the lacing is generous to say the least and covers a good portion of the glass. It's really amazing how Dark Horse hit the color, head retention, and lacing on a beer of this scale.

S - The aroma on this beer is every bit as big as the appearance would lead me to believe. It's roasty to the point of bordering on charred and brings in smells of anise and dark fruits. There's a really bitter chocolate note in here as well that's just playing on the sweetness of the malts to accentuate it. There's a little bit of acrid coffee in here, too, and in the finish there's some astringent alcohol.

T - This big boy is a sipper to say the least. To borrow a descriptor from Goose Island, one sip of this beer has more flavor than an entire case of macro beer. The roasty char continues its rampage through my senses, and leads this beer off in a way that braces you for impact. But rather than crash and burn, this beer takes you to new heights on the imperial stout spectrum. The malts keep the sweetness coming, and the bitter chocolate shines to cut some of the roast before the fruits come in and alleviate the bitterness. I'm getting a good amount of figs and plums here, but they don't come off sugary or as alcohol-soaked as other beers that exhibit these flavors. As in the nose, there is some alcohol in the back-end, but not to the degree that a 12.00% beer should.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with moderately low carbonation. This beer looks like oil and has the mouthfeel to match. This thing will coat your palate and keep injecting its flavor into your mouth, but it doesn't come across as syrupy. A fairly smooth, great-feeling beer.

D/O - Drinkability is high for this one. I really enjoyed drinking this after finally coming across some bottles. Make no mistake, you won't be quaffing this one down, but each sip will be savored. There is some alcohol here, but is masked and washed away nicely by the other flavors. I would love to try the barrel-aged version of this but it's looking like a longshot!

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 05:57:20 | More by nhindian
Photo of dcloeren
dcloeren

Texas

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an ink black with a finger of frothy dark copper head. The head quickly receded but I like to think that it was swallowed by the dark hole that is at the center of this stout. No lacing, but this beer has some heavy heavy curtains for sure

This beer is aromatic as hell! The aroma of this beer billowed out of the glass as it filled up. RICH RICH dark chocolate, great hints of vanilla up front that only become more and more present as this beer warms. Subtle coffee and caramel along with roasted malt and some booze. Very robust smelling and inviting all at the same time

The taste of this beer follows the nose to the T. Rich and bitter dark chocolate is the major player in this beer with nice hints of cocoa, coffee and roasted/burnt malt. The vanilla is a extremely nice touch as it becomes more and more apparent as this beer warms up. Finishes off with a nice hint of booze after each sip. Fantastic.

This beer tastes mother f***ing phenomenal but the mouthfeel is where it really makes its money. Rich, thick and chewy with an abundant amount of carbonation that really gives this beer a nice touch. Very present chocolate/coffee aftertaste that straight up coats your entire mouth with every sip.

This was a fantastic find. An excellent, easy drinking stout. They did an amazing job of blending the dark chocolate and vanilla together to where they both are easy to pick out but mix together OH SO WELL! Although the booze becomes more apparent once this stout warms up, it does no harm to this stout whatsoever. Will be going out of my way to find some more for sure. Extremely pumped that I got 2 bottles!

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2011 00:39:40 | More by dcloeren
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received bottles of this one from smakawhat and thetomG. Thanks for this gem of a beer gents! Finally getting around to reviewing this one along side the bourbon barrel version with Doopie. Good times!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drank right before the BA version

APPEARANCE: A thick, black pour yields a small, thicker looking, tight, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a half wisp and a nice ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. A big, menacing look to this one. Evil.

SMELL: Roasted, smoky and charred malts on the nose, with some nice coffee, dark chocolate and licorice notes there as well. Heavy dose of booze, mostly red port, provide a base for it all. Big and enticing.

TASTE: Some roasted and smoky malts up front with sweet caramel and molasses. Flavor is a little lacking up front, but then comes in waves after the swallow. Lots of bitter coffee and dark chocolate, smoky charred malts and port wine linger on the palate. Notes of licorice and sweet molasses, but piles of bitter chocolate and charred malts linger on the palate after the swallow. Wave after wave of big flavors. Just needed a little more up front for top marks.

PALATE: Fuller body and higher levels of carbonation. Creamy, thick and full on the palate, goes down smooth with a bit of a bite at the swallow and finishes relatively sticky on the palate. A well measured amount of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This was absolutely phenomenal. I’ve had a few other Dark Horse brews, all of which were mediocre compared to this monster of a delicious treat. Evil looking with a huge nose and flavor profile filled with everything I love about this style. Thick creamy palate gives the show a solid foundation as well. Perhaps a little weak up front and the booze might be slightly too forward, but this was awesome and I enjoyed it more than the 2011 bourbon barrel version we drank right after it. One I’d take anytime it was offered to me, no question. Thanks again for sharing Doops. Kick ass beer!

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 16:05:41 | More by Jeffo
Photo of vic21234
vic21234

Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Refrigerated only briefly. This is the current year vintage.

A- Pours black with a small amount of light brown/ khaki head that quickly fades. Not much carbonation going on, and some lacing is apparent along the sides of the glass.

S- Great smelling beer. Nice aromas of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T- The smell carries on into the taste. I get coffee, chocolate, and an overall roastiness. There is also a nice hop presence towards the back of each sip. Very complex with a lot going on.

M- Thick, chewy, low carbonation, the alcohol is noted but not what one would think for 11% ABV. A nice sipper.

This is an enjoyable RIS, especially if you're into hopped stouts. I would love to get my hands on the barrel aged version. A few bottles of this one will be sat down in my cellar to see how it drinks after some hop fading.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2013 23:09:03 | More by vic21234
Photo of JayQue
JayQue

Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A really outstanding RIS. Obtained in a trade with either TMoney2591 or Woodchopper. I let this one sit for a while....wouldn't keep another one this long....tastes too good.

Pours a dark brown, dense with absolutely no light getting through. Small brown head...dark as Ten Fidy with limited retention and little lacing. To be expected in this strong a beer.

Aroma is fabulous....Noticeable as soon as you manage to get the cap off underneath the grey waxy stuff that coats the bottle. Malts, dark chocolate, molasses type sweetness and vanilla. A potent concoction with all aromas just right.

Taste dos not disappoint either. Rich toasted malt background, molasses like sweetness, chocolate taste is restrained and just right and a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is luxuriously rich and very smooth except for a mild alcohol presence, warming effect...keeps you from quickly slurping up this goodness.

One of the better RIS I have ever had. Great experience!!!! Thanks to my Illinois connection!!!

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2013 21:04:19 | More by JayQue
Photo of Wolfpack2005
Wolfpack2005

North Carolina

4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013

A-Pours heavy and completely black into my snifter glass and leave a half finger head that fades quickly.

S-Dark chocolate with heavy doses bready and roasted malts. Also catching a good wiff of booze on the back end of the nose.

T-Follows the nose but the roasted malts are front and center with notes of dark chocolate and toffee. Then a slight booziness before the dark chocolate comes back and lingers on the palate.

M-Nice thick mouthfeel, which is preferable for the style, IMO. Lower levels of carbonation.

O-An excellent example of the style. Straight forward flavors, not overly complex, but perfectly executed

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2013 22:53:28 | More by Wolfpack2005
Photo of deebo
deebo

Minnesota

4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the BB version on tap and loved it so had to pick up a 4 pack of the non barrel aged version. Looks like this was bottled in Feb. 2013 (052-13) and a bottle has been in my fridge ever since. Taking advantage of this unseasonably chilly July day to crack this warmer.

A-Poured into an oversized snifter this brew gives up a thin finger of mocha colored head. Doesn't stick to the glass much but a film sticks to the top of the brew while enjoying. Black and opaque as motor oil. This looks intimidating.

S-Smells delcious. This is a big time stout. Aroma is heavy malt-rich dark chocolate just jumps out. Sweet syrupy chocolate with the alcohol character reminds me a bit of Bailey's liquer.

T-Very much like the aroma. Chocolately malt with a nice warming finish. Pretty light on the bitterness for such a dark roasted beer. A slight burnt grain note. Alcohol is present but not hot given the high ABV. As it warms some fruity rum raisin notes come out.

M-Big bodied but not oily like some others in this class. Finishes quite quick. Moderate to high carbonation for a RIS.

O-A fantastic big stout. Perfect for a cold day or dessert. Best value in the category. Dark Horse-you guys are all right.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2013 01:24:49 | More by deebo
Photo of DavidEddie
DavidEddie

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of "Plead the 5th".

Appearance - Black with a tan head, and a nice ring of lacing.

Smell - A nice mix of milk chocolate, coffee, hint of dark fruit, and burnt marshmallows.

Taste - A blast of chocolate, old black coffee, brown sugar, smoke, and burnt toast. Finishes with some mildly bitter piney hops and booze.

Mouth feel - Lightly carbonated and coating.

Drinkability - Incredible. My new favorite stout! IMO similar to Surly Darkness and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Definitely recommended!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2008 23:40:11 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of RedHaze
RedHaze

Nebraska

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with a one finger thick brown head. The foam sticks around for the entire drink, leaving a nice webbing of lace behind.

Smell; rich chocolate malts, spent coffee grounds, dark fruits and a hint of molasses.

Taste; dark chocolate and coffee come through right away, but without being bitter, followed by some dark fruits. A little molasses and a hint of some sweet cream are present, with just a touch of some hops in the finish that keep it from being too sweet.

Mouthfeel is is full with a just a perfect amount of carbonation for me, and the drinkability is dangerously high. Wish I had been able to pick up more than the one bottle while in Michigan, but glad that I was able to try this amazing stout.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2008 01:13:34 | More by RedHaze
Photo of schellsbeer
schellsbeer

Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Lately I have been on a Dark Horse kick and for good reason....their stouts are fricking incredible. I also love their Strong Dark Bier. So, as soon as I saw that they had an Imperial Stout hit the shelves, I picked up a few 4 packs. This review is for the first bottle. I plan on aging the rest.

A - Black. Not as thick as their Blueberrry Tres Stout but very black. Poured with a thin layer of small dark brown bubbles on the top that quickly eroded away leaving a ring of lacing on the outer edge of my glass. Very nice.

S - Big! Bold! Some alcohol present on the nost but not overpowering. Burnt carmel, marshmallows, chocolate. Quality ingredients were put into this Stout.

T - The taste is amazing! Strong. Thick. Alcohol but just the right amount. The drinker wouldn't have a clue that this is 12% ABV if BA or their website didn't tell you this. This beer will be absolutely fantastic with a few years of aging on it. Therefore, I can only give it a 4.5. I will have to come back and edit my review in a few years after the second one is allowed to wake up. I just apologize to this beer for drinking it a little to early. Aging is my new hobby. WOW - An amazing Imperial Stout from one of the BEST breweries in the upper midwest. Everything I was hoping for plus more. Dare I say....this might give Bell's Expedition a run for it's money. I think I may have just broke one of the beer sins in saying this...Oh well.

M - Creamy texture. Coats the mouth. Thick. Excellent. I have to give this a perfect 5.

D - Yeah...at 12% ABV, I don't think so but I really want more of you. Man this is an exceptional stout. I am glad that it is so high on the alcohol side and that Dark Horse uses bottle opener bottles and caps instead of those stupid twist off tops. This means that this should age quite well. Thanks Dark Horse. I am a HUGE fan.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2009 03:55:56 | More by schellsbeer
Photo of backfat
backfat

Indiana

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this one continues to be one of my top 10 favorite imperial stouts. i love dark horse. they never cease to amaze me. like extascy in a glass. this brew will stain your glass. motor oil, just the way i love it. smoky molasses and clean as cream. thick and rich with a sort of silky, milky feel. and affordable! this is one of the few stouts i do enjoy a little colder. it's either because of the highly roasted smell or just because it works with the milky, creamy character. at 12% be careful. This beer is my happy place. if i ever get raped, this is where im going to go. cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 06:18:07 | More by backfat
Photo of DaveHS
DaveHS

California

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to pjeagles for this one. Been wanting to try it for awhile.

A-Pours impenetrable oily black with a thin burnished copper head. Leaves almost no lacing.

S-Big roasty aromas of coffee and bitter chocolate. Roasted walnuts and chocolate cake.

T/M-Really smooth and well balanced. Plenty of roasty flavors up front, with lush hot chocolate and roasted walnut/almond. Dark roasted coffee beans on the back end. Mouthfeel is full and viscous, with an oily, lingering finish.

O-Totally lives up to the hype. Very happy I got to try this.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 01:46:15 | More by DaveHS
Photo of HosP
HosP

Indiana

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple bottle from kstrickler. Poured into snifter.

A- Pours thick black. Very little head to this, but still looks very nice!

S- Very nice nose. Bold aromas starting with chocolate and coffee. Some vanilla hints at the end with a nice roasted aroma. Just a bit of booze detected but pretty subtle.

T- Starts with a nice bit chocolate burst, a little bitterness to it as well. Mild coffee flavors supports the beer well. Some sweet vanilla flavors and a bit of dark fruit flavors round out the drink.

M- Full body and little carbonation.

O- Very solid and tasty beer. Nothing I can say bad about it, very much enjoyed it. Would LOVE to try the BA version of this. If not, would drink this anytime. Thanks Kyle!

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2011 04:05:38 | More by HosP
Photo of DomD1121
DomD1121

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Very thick, black, syrupy pour. Very little head that disappears fast.

Smell: Very rich, malty, lots of coffee, with a very slight chocolate sweetness tones.

Taste: This is a VERY tasty beer. Very smooth, rich malt flavor with coffee and a little sweetness at the beginning. Finishes off with a slightly boozy bite, but not at all overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant. Creamy, smooth, and full-bodied.

Overall: This beer is fantastic. If you can get your hands on it, DO IT. I am not a huge stout drinker, but this one has really made an impression on me. I will be picking up more very soon!

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 03:42:50 | More by DomD1121
Photo of bonbright7
bonbright7

Florida

4.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While I was standing around with friends at The Black Sheep of Mineola, NY, I was handed a glass of this majestic blur of dark brown to black ale, which was overflowing with soft foam. The stunning aromas of chocolate and coffee were readily apparent, but there were so many other things to notice, I took my time with it.

The nose on it told me it was a very full bodied ale, but I don't think I was ready for the strength of it. The initial taste was light for .5 second and then it exploded with a full- on licorice, deep coffee, and a dark mess of an ale.

The mouth-feel was luxurious, though the abv really shined with its hotness there as I tasted it as if it was a fine selection from Pommerol.

This RIS went very well with a pulled bbq pork sandwich as it comfortable overtook the food elements.

Clearly, this was one of the better ales I have tasted in a long time and my only regret was that it is listed as a seasonal coming out in February.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2013 03:18:59 | More by bonbright7
Photo of aforbes10
aforbes10

Iowa

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, they really did bottle this again. Huge thanks to Kkulacki for this one. A big surprize. Pours extremely still, with only a small, belated rising of tiny brown bubbles. ring of bubbles holds throughout and lacing makes the whole deal look tremendous. Body is oil slick black. Strong, sweet chocolate truffle odor. really, exactly like a choco truffle. some maple, burnt malts. hint of vanilla, cherry. Flavor is at first quite extreme on the burnt side of the spectrum. like licking a grill. It quickly becomes a decadent prism of flavors though...more of that truffle-like chocolate, burnt malts, vegetal hops, coffee grounds, bitterness. The finish and lingering flavor is of a toasted chocolate marshmallow. Creamy, viscous mouthfeel. Very thick. A tasty, tasty treat, all around. Please Konrad, may i have another?

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2008 23:16:34 | More by aforbes10
Photo of Jparkanzky
Jparkanzky

Ohio

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A) Pour into a pint glass from bottle, at near room-temp. Poured jet-black, didn't see really any red or brown within while pouring it. A few dancing bubbles on top, and no head.... the 1/16th inch head that was there for about 2 seconds was dark brown.... this beer is DARK!

S) Don't really pull a lot from the smell... it's actually quite neutral, perhaps vanilla hints to it, but I really don't know. It certainly wasn't unpleasant, but more "neutral"

T) GREAT. A little caramel perhaps, and hints of a bourbon flavor. The after-taste is pure smooth-velvety goodness.

M) A little alcohol bite at first, but overall it tastes like heavy black-creme, devoid of any carbonation whatsoever, so in a word "GREAT!"

Very enjoyable from start to finish... I took this out of the cellar at 50 deg. and waiting 15 minutes at room temp, and it still didn't really "peak" until halfway through the glass... Flavors and texture really opened up, and any negative alcohol characteristics that were clearly pronounced, disappeared when the temperature warmed up.

Highly recommend this one!

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 22:39:18 | More by Jparkanzky
Photo of readbaron
readbaron

Illinois

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out thick & black with a lovely deep mocha head with decent lacing and excellent retention.

Smells delightful - biscuty malts, sweet dark fruit, anise, and a bit of hops.

Tastes like it smells. A really well balanced beer. Lots of malt, a bit of dark chocolate sweetness, then finishes with some licorice and bitter hops. Alcohol is not noticeable at all. Smooth, yet complex.

Nothfeelnis great. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation.

An excellent, excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2011 01:32:55 | More by readbaron
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review 300! 12 ounce bottle into snifter 2011 bottle. Pours opaque black color with an extremely dense 2 finger dark tan head with incredible retention that reduces to a thick lacing cap that lasts. Some nice thick lacing is on the glass as well. Aromas of big espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, with a small amount of vanilla and booze. Huge aromas, very nice balance as well. Taste of big dark chocolate, caramel, espresso, and a bit of vanilla; with some decent bitterness in the back accompanied with a bit of booziness. Lingering notes of light espresso-like bitterness, roasted flavor, and chocolate that linger for a decent amount of time. Insanely creamy and slick body that goes down surprisingly smooth despite being 12%. Alcohol is nicely hidden, not much on the taste and a decent warming on the finish; I was expecting it. Light-medium carbonation and huge full body. Overall, this is just a beautiful Russian Imperial Stout. Extremely well crafted, and I need to go pick up a 4 pack of this to age, I hope there is still some around.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 20:02:05 | More by superspak
Photo of thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark Horse Plead the 5th -- snifter glass. Not entirely sure of the vintage (based on where I picked it up, and the lack of bottle dating info), but assumed to be from this past January.

Pitch black pour looked gluggy and thick coming out of the bottle. Rich, but humble, mocha brown-colored head and ring-and-spotty-bubble to follow. Darkest head on a beer that I've seen to-date. Even the shadows of the big bubbles on the top of the foam looked black. Tried to look up through the bottom of the empty bottle and couldn't see through thanks to a pancaked layer of sediment. As for the beer? Precisely the look of an RIS to make me smile and eagerly await nosing and sipping. 5.0

Mega roast notes with dark cocoa powder, malted milk powder, earthy coffee, peatiness, burnt sugars, tree bark, vanilla bean, and a light smokiness. Unreal potency in both aromatics and strength, but the alcohol gets overshadowed here. That's how f***ing remarkable this beer smells. 5.0

Black malt roastiness with chocolate specialty malts driving the train into a whole smokestack of peaty, leathery, and charred flavors. Espresso, bitter chocolate bar, campfire, booze bite, scorched earth, vanilla, light lactose, tart blackberry/cherry, kiss of spruce hop, and woodiness. Freakin' incredible. 4.5

Medium-thick body with light buzzing of bubbles. Mouth-filling and milky. The alcohol is right where it should be for 12%, if not a little hidden. 4.0

**Before I do the overall, I must say (and, since I've had this fresh before) that there is a strong possibility that this is an early '11 vintage sitting on the shelf for the duration. The dark fruits have fallen off and given way to rich malt smoke intensity and implied coffee and chocolate.

Elite class RIS. Among your commons (and considering I haven't reviewed anything too super-rare in the style), it's the best there is. Better than Founders Impy. Better than Yeti. Better than Ten FIDY. Better than Old Raspy. A perfect overall rating if I may say so myself. 5.0

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 04:03:39 | More by thecheapies
Photo of natemort13
natemort13

California

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A hard jet-black pour gives a minimal dark mocha head that dissipates quickly into a ring.

Deep roasted malts with a bunch of coffee right up front on the nose. Dark chocolate undertones with some smooth vanilla as well. This is an incredible, big, and balanced nose.

Taste is smooth espresso with a hint of milk chocolate. Roasted malts are still dominant but dont even approach astringent. Mid palate is big chocolate malt. Lingering coffee on the finish.

Mouthfeel is full full bodied with enough carbonation to back it up. Slightly oily but not too much.

Overall this beer is fucking big and incredible without overdoing it on anything. Big and balanced.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2012 06:32:53 | More by natemort13
Photo of zeledonia
zeledonia

Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

Pours black, one of the darkest stouts I've seen. Half-finger of dark chocolate brown head, also among the darkest I've seen. Retention and lacing are fine.

Smell is lovely milk/dark chocolate, backed by some other deep roasty aromas. No char, very clean, with a lot of sweetness. I really like the sides of the dark malts that come out in this beer's smell.

This is delicious. It's like sweet chocolate zested with tingly, lightly bitter hops. Big up-front flavors, but also a lot of sublety behind that. Among the best non-bal imperial stouts I've had.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, and creamy, with just enough carbonation. Lasting, sludgy finish. Heavy stuff!

This is simply a fantastic imperial stout. I love the chocolate and sweetness, which comes close to stepping over the line, but backs off just a hair. Very happy I have several more of these, and I will most definitely be buying more.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2012 14:51:13 | More by zeledonia
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drpimento

Wisconsin

4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this slightly warm, however it is still so good. Has a modest light brown head that settles after a bit down to a large island with a ring. Color is an opaque brown black. Aroma is very earthy, with roast, malt, a little hop, leather, cocoa. Flavor's like nose and very well balanced regardless of its commanding designation. And all of the components of the aroma are magnified in flavor - BAM!! In some sort of odd way severe yet warm and welcoming. Body and carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, longish, slightly alcoholic, and moderately long. A beer to be reckoned with. And slurped.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2013 10:08:07 | More by drpimento
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iconoklaztor

Indiana

4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice black color with virtually no head. I love the smell though. Coffee and chocolate make up the smell of this brew.

The taste is awesome. I really this this brew and for 10 a four pack I cant complain. Its rich and full of coffee and malts. MMM!

Overall, what a great find and very flavorful! I really enjoy this brew!

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 03:05:28 | More by iconoklaztor
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,379 ratings.