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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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832 Reviews
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Reviews: 832
Hads: 3,553
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 17.26%
Wants: 550
Gots: 937 | FT: 108
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:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

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
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 832 | Hads: 3,553
Photo of joberlander
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome appearance, pitch black with rich mocha colored head. Get a lot of dark chocolate on the nose along with roasted malt. The taste follows the nose perfectly, lots of dark chocolate. Full mouth feel and great finish with a hint of alcohol (which I personally love in imperial stouts. Really great example of an imperial stout. Definitely just became a go to when I want a traditional IS. This and Ten Fidy are the benchmark IMO.

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Photo of jewski
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dark Horse in snifter.

Massive roasty malt flavor. More chocolate than coffee. Dark fruit. A bit of an alcohol bite to remind you of the ABV. A bit of sweetness and enough hops to let you know they are arround. A great thick mouth feel.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to my boy aasher for this one! Fifth in the series and fifth on the day! Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Poured pitch black with a minimal fizzy brown head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and subtle alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, subtle sweet alcohol, and subtle caramel. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The aroma and flavors on this one were quite nice for a RIS. While they were not overly complex, they made this one quite enjoyable. The key thing for a RIS for me is if they can cover up the alcohol while still keeping it around as a more subtle flavor. This one did this quite well. A definite must try for any beer drinker out there.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, "Plead the 5th" Imperial Stout. Served in a chalice, the beer pours very dark brown/black with a very small brown head which goes away quickly. The aroma is roasted malt, dark fruit, milk chocolate, coffee and molasses. Taste is similar to the aroma, there's roasted malt, milk and bittersweet chocolate, molasses, vanilla, coffee, dark fruit and a bit of soy sauce. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full. Not as thick as I expected it to be (but there's still plenty of substance to this beer), but it's very slick and smooth with low carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's not hard to drink at all. Overall I think this is a pretty good RIS, I'd definitely buy it again given the chance.

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Photo of yamar68
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, murky black sludge with an edge of copper clarity. A quickly dissipating finger of tan froth sits on top. Nice, subtle lacing. What I first notice on the nose are sweeter malts - caramel, toffee, brown and candied sugars, sweet booze, simple syrups, a bit of cocoa as it warms. The booze is very well placed on the tongue. Taste starts with burnt oak, then black cherries and caramel. Just a hint of black licorice if you really look for it. Really a unique flavor. The feel is nearly perfect and showcases the best of the beers base flavors. Overall, I would highly recommend this. This is one of the best ’non-specialty’ imperial stouts I’ve ever tried. Fantastic.

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Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one has been aging in my cellar for at least 2-3 years. I can't even remember who I got it from but if memory serves correct, I believe it was trbeer.
Appears a used motor oil, thick syrupy, viscuous, black. A thick, dark tan head slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty lacing and syrupy streaks are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee beans. I'm loving this stuff. I would put this up there with some of the best Imperial Stouts I've had.
Taste echoes the aromas with complexities bouncing off the tastebuds with highlights of dark fruit jam, caramel, molasses, cocoa, coffee, and roasted nuts.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, semi-sweet with chocolate bitterness.
Let this one age a little bit and it'll reward you handsomely.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to aqsprint for this trade - 12 oz. into perfect size and shape of Moosehead mug.

40, 50 or 60 weight? Thick jet-black spent motor oil topped with very thin banana nut bread-colored head. This one's gonna be trouble.

The gang's all here - coffee, cocoa, cinnamon sugar, beef BBQ char, oily hop pine and prodigious amounts of slow-roasted chocolate malt. This one's solid.

Extremely roast-forward and complex. Austere to an extent but viscous enough to jell everything going on here - the cocoa, cinnamon sweetness, overloaded burnt malt and a mild piney hop profile. Husky alcohol notes carve out thickness in a very faint bourbon sort of way to keep it clean.

This absolutely oozes down the palate with the ingredients working together in Beautiful Chemistry to git 'er done. Finish is long and strong. Strong and soothing.

Well this one was finished way before I was ready to let it go. For such a powerful brew this drinks painfully easily. Savor this puppy.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed only the slightest layer of brown bubbles over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Lacing is more or less non-existent, but the viscosity of the brew does leave a nice film when the glass is swirled, which I think should be worth something. Aroma is heavy oatmeal and dark fruits. Taste strikes first with the soft oatmeal, then the fruit chimes in for a moment, eventually giving way softly to more dark malts, and some coffee bitterness at the close. Warmth is evident upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth for such a heavy beer, no doubt the oats' doing, and drinkability is quashed a bit by the heartiness of the malts, but overall for the style this brew is reasonably approachable. Check it out yourself and make sure I've made the right call.

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Photo of 4balance
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle courtesy of top notch BA - Yamar68, thanks man.

Poured into St. Bernardus Chalice. Dark opaque black with tan colored 1/2" head that disappears into a little ring around the edge that disappears about halfway through. Minimal tight lacing that doesn't last.

Smells like deep rich roasted malts, cocoa nibs, dark roasted Colombian coffee, dark raisins, figs with a slight alcohol scent.

Tastes is similar to the smell, dark malt, rich roasted bitter coffee beans, high percentage of dark chocolate along with milk chocolate, vanilla bean, dark fruits, slight amount of hops, smokey aspects with a warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, full bodied with a little dry bitter finish, so balanced out.

Overall this is a meal in a glass. So rich yet easy to drink. Highly recommended if you like this style and even if you don't!

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Photo of Deuane
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whoo-hoo! Plead the 5th ON TAP! Lucky for sholland119 and I to score an offering of this from the tap.

A-Black. A medium, dark tan head slowly reduced to a thin veil and would revive with moderate agitation. Deposits ringing lace as the volume reduces.

S-Dark cherry, alcohol fusel elements, and a waft of smokiness all lying on top of a HUGE, rich and roasty dark roasted malt base. Hints of raisin and sherry in the background. All in all quite complex.

T-A luscious combination of plum, raisin and sherry accenting a rich, roasted malt base. Bit of alcohol burn in the finish but it works for this beast of a brew. Finishes with a building dry woodiness.

M-Medium-heavy bodied, very smooth with a dry finish that slowly fades into a long lingering bitter, roasted malt bite.

D-Smooth and easy going, well rounded and VERY flavourful....in fact disturbingly so! For a brew packing a reported 14% ABV this beer could get you into serious trouble, fast! A VERY complex and intriguing brew. Well done Dark Horse!

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Photo of Sesmu
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost a pitch black body with a half an inch head of dirty brown color. Head disappear very quickly.

S: Very chocolaty. Chocolate malts, sweet molasses, fruitiness and distant vinous notes.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, some vanilla. Starts very sweet and finishes with a prickly leather-like sensation, which lingers for a while. And then turns bittersweet and lasts even longer.

M: Moderate to low carbonation. Very warming, creamy and silky, very 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 end of the bottle (12 oz) when it comes with the warm, enveloping feeling.

O: Extremely pleasant beer, very easy to drink, perhaps dangerously easy. Quite filling, almost like a meal. Not much more to ask of a Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of korguy123
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old black and white label. No bottling date. Purchased at Horrock's in Lansing MI.

A- Dark, inky, oily black pour. Totally opaque with not even the slightest light around the edges. Finger width dark, chocolate milk head that quickly recedes. Lacing is spotty but alcohol clings like there is no tomorrow.

S- Bakers chocolate, molasses, licorice dates, figs and brandy soaked raisins. There is a little coffee and char.

T- Chocolate syrup, bitter sweet chocolate, espresso and black strap molasses. There is a little licorice but not as much as the nose leads on. The dark fruits are non-existent and the brandy is replaced with a touch of bourbon.

M- Full bodied, creamy, sliky with a touch of alcohol and carbonation. Sticky on the lips.

O- This is a monster dressed as a sheep. Big, bad and bold throw in the fact that it's 12% and you get one hell of a beer. Turn it into a beer that drink like none of that and you have danger in a bottle. I don't know if it's the age or the beer itself but it is remarkable.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second time having this, better(?) on tap.

Pours jet black with a mocha colored head and minimal lacing. Looks like a stout should.

I get a lot of fruit, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, vanilla, and almost an oak like smell. It is not barrel aged but its got a few characteristics of such.

Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate dipped dark fruits with some vanilla and coffee mixed in. Seems like there are some spices as well. Alcohol is rather prevalent, but it is a really big beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, oily, and delicious. Lingers for a long time.

Overall, this is damn good. It brings to mind Lost Abbey Angel's share, but a hell of a lot better value.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared as an extra from pittsburghkid66 - thanks again! Poured into a snifter.

A - pitch black body, dark brown head on top. A standard appearance, yet one that always excites me.

S - a ton of roasted malts and brown sugar. A little vanilla, alcohol and spice.

T - roasted malt more than anything, some sweet coffee-and-cream, chocolate and molasses on the back.

M - fantastic! Great carbonation, very smooth and balanced.

D - dangerously good. This one lacks the espresso/hop bitterness I've come to expect from big IRS, especially ones at 12% ABV. Very grateful I got the chance to try this beer.

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Photo of ixodus
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick jet black with reddish brown hues and a mocha head. Leaves trace amount of lacing.

S: Rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, licorice, anise, plums, raisins, cork like woody smell.

T: Decadent dark chocolate almost like chocolate mousse, licorice, charred oak, french vanilla, molasses, and espresso,
finishing off with a roasty dark coffee like bitterness that lingers for awhile. Complex and definitely on the roasty side. This beer is still quite hot.

M: Thick and vicious, creamy, hot, with soft carbonation.

O: Overall this beer is a excellent. I would definitely seek this out. One of the most complex non barrel aged RIS' I have ever had

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Photo of Mississipping
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Jackie O's snifter, both courtesy of drgonzo3705.

A: Pours pitch black, letting absolutely no light penetrate.  A small, one-finger light brown head appears, but only briefly before disappearing.  Only a thin ring is left behind, with some sticky lacing.

S: This smells excellent ... roasted malt and bitter chocolate dominate, with hints of espresso, vanilla, dark fruit, and a touch of anise.  Really a lot going on here, creating an extremely pleasant aroma.  despite the higher alcohol content, there is no sign of it in the smell.  

T: Starts out with dark, bitter chocolate and roasted malts.  Transitions slowly to a sweeter milk chocolate with fig and plumb.  Finishes roasty with an absolutely delicious espresso flavor and a touch of hops that lingers and lingers.  There is a bit of a drying effect on the finish, however, there is almost no trace of alcohol.  Really nice!

M: Full-bodied, thick, and slightly chewy.  Fairly low carbonation that provides a smooth velvety creaminess across the tongue with each sip.  Nice transition from bitter to sweet to bitter/roasty.  Again, slightly drying at the end.  

O: This is an exceptional non-BA imperial stout.  There is a lot going on in the aroma and taste, and the mouthfeel is spot on.  I've had my eye on this for a while, largely due to some of the hype surrounding the BA-version, and this version is better than I had expected.  I'm really glad to have gotten a chance to try this and will try to get my hands on another bottle or two down the road.  

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Photo of mattboyer182
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with almost no head to speak of.

S - a bit of bourbon with dark rich malts.

T - very well balanced. Slightly smoked flavor. Roasted malts.

M - heavy bodied and light carbonation.

O - very good and balanced enjoyed this very much

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Photo of drpdaddy
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, warbird07 for this one. Poured into snifter. Pours pitch black with very little head and no residual lacing. Smell is spectacular dark malts, chocolate, molasses, raisins very faint ethanol. Taste chocolate, coffee, raisins, sweet malt, tobacco, the ethanol is very well hidden considering the abv. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, almost creamy, faint carbonation. Overall a very solid RIS, underrated if you ask me. This beer is way to easy to drink which is dangerous at this abv. I definitely recommend this one.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I heard great things about this from the terrific JD, manager of the sterling Neil St. Piccadilly. I passed on grabbing it last week because I had other things in hand. Today, I didn't make that mistake.

A thin patch of amaretto head tops a lush, black body, modest lacing and duration, but still a nice-looking beer. Rich, robust nose rife with chocolate, dried fruit, and coffee. I'm eagerly awaiting the taste after the smell, and it delivers with certainty. Creamy and flavorful with a hint of boldness, Plead the Fifth brings plenty of dried chocolate, date, raisin, coffee, and molasses. The flavor is excellent, nothing short. I'm equally impressed with the mouthfeel which, though lightly carbonated, is creamy and a bit effervescent. This sure doesn't drink like a 12% ABV, no way. It's far smoother and accessible than that.

Tremendous beer, this Plead the Fifth. There's no way I'd plead the fifth in defense of this. It's worthy of a full-throated apologia. Outstanding.

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Photo of ahq514
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

Pours jet black with a half finger mocha colored head. Appears to have low carbonation. Light lacing.

Aroma reminds me of a coffee milkshake. Lots of chocolate with some coffee and roast. Some oats too. Not much in the way of hops is detected. Full of complexity.

Right up front are the creamy oats. Next comes in chocolate roast. A slight bit of sweetness in there. There is a lingering coffee-esque flavor to it. A little bit of a dry finish.

Nice full motor oil like body. Low carbonation. A sipper for sure, but very drinkable for an RIS.

One of the better RISs I've had. Really love how full the body is and the perfect balance of dry roast and sweetness. Would love to try the BA version of this.

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Photo of stumac
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this delectable brew pours up pitch black with a brown head... the nose is composed of wonderful dark chocolate malts... the taste is some alcohol, slight chocolate malts.... delicious!!!If only I could have it my way like at Burger King and order up one of these beers at my local convienence store... that would be quite convienient...

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Photo of rmalinowski4
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black with a two finger milk chocolate head. The head recedes slowly leaving a ton of milk chocolate colored lacing. Looks deep, dark, and divine.

Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and coffee. Smells simply scrumptious.

The taste is of huge sweet chocolate, thick chewy malt and rich creamy coffee. It is wonderful, well balanced and simply delicious. The alcohol is well covered and barley noticeable when cold. As the beer warms, the alcohol heat become more prevalent.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy and completely coats your palate. There is adequate carbonation making this simply wonderful to sip on.

Overall this is one of the best non barrel aged stouts that I have had, it is simply delicious. I am definitely going to seek out more of this one.

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Photo of adrock7309
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lucky to find a couple singles from last years batch sitting on a shelve at my local bottle shop.

Poured the bottle into my trusty Chimay goblet. After a vigorous pour almost no head to speak of. The top did experience a dark brown glaze but that quickly subsided.

Aroma is huge on the milk chocolate, dark chocolate, a bit of a blueberry hint, and a bit of leather.

Taste is heavy on the roasted malts, and lost of cocoa or chocolate. There is definitely some dark fruit or berry flavor i am picking up. The hops are pretty mellow but show up a bit on the sides of my tongue. There is no burn or hotness of the alcohol at all. I am pleased by the heavy mouthfeel and the low carbonation.

This is going down way to easily.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At a tasting in the fall with One Too Tres and Fore. This is the only one I have notes for.

Pours pitch black. Incredibly dark with a bit of light brown head. Looks stunning! Smells fruity and chocolatey. There is a hint of roastiness on the nose but most of what I get is dark fruits. Tastes similar. Dark Fruits, molasses, chocolate, roast, a TON going on. Very well balanced for something so complex. Thick on the tongue and pretty boozy. Drinkability suffers a bit but overall a nice sipper

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Jet black with minimal head. Smells of dark chocolate which is the dominate flavor along with some hints of vanilla and smoke. Just sweet enough with a dry finish. Smooth mouthfeel and the abv is well hidden. This is an exceptional stout.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 832 ratings.