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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,342 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2342
Reviews: 732
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: 2,342 | Reviews: 732 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ferrari29
ferrari29

Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
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

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2011 23:40:47 | More by ferrari29
Photo of paxtonthegreat
paxtonthegreat

Michigan

5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Weighing in at more like 14% abv, this incredible imperial stout packs in flavors such as tobacco, dark and milk chocolate, roast, smoke and more. With a nose that is reminiscent of dark chocolate smoke and tobacco this is sure to please any russian imperial stout enthusiast for sure. Some molasses in the finish.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2011 19:05:03 | More by paxtonthegreat
Photo of morebeergood
morebeergood

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap a few nights ago at Green St Grill in Cambridge. Served in an 8oz snifter for $7.50. Dark brown color. Thin white head perched atop the glass. Dark chocolate and figs in the aroma. Taste was pretty amazing. Coffee, cocoa, and chocolate covered cherries were all up front on the palate, then the smooth malt coats your throat the end. Very surprised when bartender said it was 12%; very mild alcohol character. This beer was quite good, and it was a perfect dessert beer. Just wish I had a bigger glass.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2011 23:39:50 | More by morebeergood
Photo of chadmoe1
chadmoe1

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at D's SixPax and Dogz in Regent Square, PA. Served in a Goblet at about 40-45 F.

Appearance -- Dark reddish-brown, opaque, with 1/4 inch dark tan head that dissipated rather quickly. Amused that it was darker than the Diet Pepsi sitting on the table.

Smell -- Notes of dark chocolate and deep roasted coffee; not much in terms of hop smell. No smell of alcohol.

Taste -- Impressive for the alcohol content. The initial chocolate/roasted coffee taste was a bit bitter but enjoyable. Flavor lasted well after a sip. Limited discernible hop flavor. Some boozy flavors (12% ABV!) but not overwhelming or overpowering. Rather smooth for such a big beer.

Mouthfeel -- This was the thickest beer I've had so far, and I think part of the long lasting flavor was due to the beer still sticking to my tongue and cheeks. Carbonation was medium to low and spot on for style.

Overall -- For such a big beer in the middle of a hot summer, I really enjoyed all aspects of it. I've had higher ABV beers you could gulp through, but this was a definite sipper -- and I enjoyed this. I would get it again, though I'd really like to try a version BA as vanilla notes would really open the taste up further.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2011 14:10:34 | More by chadmoe1
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out as a very dark black color with a really nice creamy brown head on top. The smell is highly roasted and has a slight herbal aroma with some dark chocolate. The taste has a really nice licorice flavor to it with the roasted malts and chocolate all mixed into one. The mouthfeel is extremely smooth and rich. Overall the beer is actually really really good. Really worth a try if you see it!

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2011 00:30:59 | More by Knapp85
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-11-2011 15:43:14 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2011 00:38:35 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured opaque brown-black with a healthy mocha head that receded to a thin layer of bubbles. Dark chocolate, coffee, roasty malts in the nose. Big tastes of dark chocolate and coffee, also ash and licorice, and some alcohol bite. Full body, bitter, with a bitter aftertaste. Pretty easily drinkable for a high alcohol beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2011 03:44:03 | More by Rifugium
Photo of xnicknj
xnicknj

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den in philly

Pours inky black and fairly thick with a crop of tanned head, leaving a cloud of film, with spots of lacing left on the glass.

Super heavy dark chocolate nose with bitterness and caramel, roasted malts and alcohol warmth with residual sweetness.

Similar taste with waves of chocolate and cocoa, very dark with some hop bitterness. Syrup and caramel with a beefy roasted dark malt backbone. Some hints of dark fruit with raisin. Finishes w some more hop bitterness and booze, residual chocolate sweetness.

Full bodied and carbed, thick creamy and sticky. Great flavor with chocolate in the forefront, a bit boozy but not out of control. I'd definitely drink this again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2011 03:15:12 | More by xnicknj
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Capone's in Philadelphia.

The beer is black with a thick, beige head that plasters the glass in lacing. Can't ask for more than that. The aroma is of roast, oak, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor is extremely roasty, with a slightly burned malt character. The feel is full bodied, with alcohol presence there, but not overwhelming. Good stuff.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2011 18:52:02 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of jale
jale

Michigan

4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a thick black with two quarters of head.

S: Roasted malts, burnt sugar, chocolate, coffee and some dark fruits.

T: Sweet roasted malt, raisin, cherry, slight bitter chocolate and coffee. Just a hint of alcohol. This beer is so complex.

M: Thick body and good carbonation.

O: This is a sipper and not just due to the alcohol level.

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2011 14:38:39 | More by jale
Photo of pburland23
pburland23

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Teresa's Next Door. There was a funny write up on the beer menu about how when the keg came in the employees at Teresa's didn't know what it was. So, someone called Dark Horse and told them they had a keg of Plead the 5th in Wayne, Pa. The Dark Horse employee asked, "How did you get a keg of that?"

It seemed to be a fortuitous break for us local beer geeks that Teresa's had a keg.

Pours a dark black color with a slight cocoa colored head.

Smells of roasted malts as well as some burnt wood aroma which reminds me of a port barrel. The taste is also dominated by the roasted malts with hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

There is scant carbonation which is nice for the style. This beer doesn't drink like it's 12% abv. There was no discernible boozy presence in my opinion.

All in all, this is a wonderful RIS. I had never even heard of Dark Horse before and was glad I wandered into Teresa's on a night they had this on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2010 01:41:28 | More by pburland23
Photo of BuckeyeOne
BuckeyeOne

Washington

4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub & Herb's.

Poured into a 10 oz. snifter (kind of) a black liquor with a thin mocha head that left little to no lacing. No carbonation at all.

The nose was coffee, molasses, milk chocolate, and coffee.

The taste followed the nose and improved considerably as it warms, emphasizing the milk chocolate and coffee. Very good.

The lack of carbonation in the appearance was confirmed in the mouthfeel. With a lack of carbonation, I was expecting a chewiness. But it was actually a little thin for a RIS.

I would get this in a bottle if it were available to me where I lived.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 02:24:33 | More by BuckeyeOne
Photo of Bombers4Benedict
Bombers4Benedict

Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, dark, dark with a thick finger and a half light brown head. Very appetizing.

S - Sweet is the only thing that can encompass what my nose experienced. One moment is caramel, the next is creme brulee/brown sugar, the next is subtle spiciness.

T - At first this one comes on heavy. I was worried the sweet smell was an attempt to hide the large ABV (12%) but rest assured my friends, this one was smooth and very pleasing. I would describe it as a hard creme brulee. There was a little bit of noticable alcohol but that quickly vanished into a nice sweet, malty aftertaste. The warmer this beer gets the more the alcohol stands out, though so my suggestion is to sip quickly. Obviously, this left my tongue just wanting more and more. At a tasting a week ago this one stood out in a line up of 20 or so stouts as the desert like characters gave this one independence. I was happy to revisit, no doubt.

D - Although I loved it I had to keep it at 1 and would be suprised if others could do more. The sweetness sweetness is very desirable however can become overwhelming.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2010 02:15:13 | More by Bombers4Benedict
Photo of JackieTH
JackieTH

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: For all intents and purposes this one pours and looks like very well-used motor oil. Angry dark mocha-brown froth leaves a minimal bit of lacing.

Smell: Roasted dark coffee, malt and very rich chocolate, and dried plums.

Taste: Opens smooth, creamy and slightly sweet and with dark roasted malt but then pours on the dark, rich chocolate and espresso. There is a note of anise and dried dates. Warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Rich and thick but lacks carbonation.

Drinkability: Danger Will Robinson.

Serving type: on-tap

10-11-2010 16:21:13 | More by JackieTH
Photo of LehighValleyEats
LehighValleyEats

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Plead the 5th Imperial Stout is heavy, heavy, heavy. What else could be expected from an Imperial Stout. The guys over at Dark Horse Brewing Co. describe this one as..."big & full bodied with lots of roasted malts & balanced with heavy hops..."

The 5th pours out with the sight of midnight with a fading brown head with little retention. The aroma is extremely complex, with rich maltiness at first whiff, then the coffee, chocolate, & a hint of sweetness dominate the senses. The flavor is bold, big, complex. Hard to describe the symphonic array of tastes bouncing around my mouth. Maltiness & traces of maybe maple syrup come through, with the chocolate & coffee resonating in the front. The heat is apparent as well. The mouthfeel is very heavy, as i expected, & i must say that this beverage is a "1 & done."

Overall Impression: I loved it! Can't praise this wonderful concoction with anymore praise then has already been said. Go out & try it immediately.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2010 16:00:44 | More by LehighValleyEats
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh off the tap, in a St. Bernardus goblet. Cause that's how I roll, yo.

Dark as sin, black as all the wrongs in the world, huge tanned brown, cocoa head standing firm above. Beautiful. Amazing. Gorgeous. Outstanding.

Aroma: Oatmeal? Hmmm? Well, it's creamy, ...there's chocolate. Not too sweet. Roasty, but not too much. Creamy chocolate. Let's stick with that.

Drinking it: Big, fat, fantastic, delcicious. Rounds around the mouth, and sticks with it. Very well rounded, all together. What we seem to have is an RIS that is not outrageous in any degree, not overly out-there with any particular element.
Big, thick mouthfeel, long cocoa and coffee finish. Mmm, just right.

Very tasty, and not really easy to read the 12% abv, until, what, wait a minute, ...there it is...whoa-oh...

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2010 06:40:24 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black with minimal brown spotting in leiu of a head. Smell is of dark roasted malts, faint raisin and brown sugar notes, slightly alcoholic. Taste follows scent with the dark roasted grains, hints of chocolate and espresso, backed by rasin and prune notes, hints of molasses and a slightly boozy finish. Not quite full bodied, very smooth without being silky, could have been bulked up a bit. A nice RIS that doesnt overdo any particular aspect of its build. ABVs hidden suprisingly well.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2010 14:19:37 | More by rfgetz
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet, inky black. Thin tan head holds for a couple minutes then fades to a thin ring, leaving a few spots of lace.

Nice roasty aroma. A bit of dark fruit, and some vinous notes. Some dark chocolate near the end. A whiff of alcohol.

A bit of sweetness up front. Roasty, maybe some espresso and bittersweet chocolate. Darker fruit is restrained. Alcohol shows some warmth at the end.

Full body. Lower carbonation. Nice and chewy. A very solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2010 23:42:45 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Liberty St for $5/pint. Appeared pitch black with a brown cascading head. Damn, this is rich stout. Still, it wasn't cloying or too thick to have more than a few ounces like DFH World Wide Stout. It has a big chocolate cake taste that reminds me of 3F Dark Lord - though smoother and not quite as complex. This beer might benefit from a little more cellaring, it's just not as flavorful as the great imperial stouts. Still, it's fairly drinkable for the style and makes for a good dessert beer. Vanilla ice cream anyone?

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2010 20:49:55 | More by tempest
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +4%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2010 12:52:41 | More by Deuane
Photo of Cannabinaceae
Cannabinaceae

Michigan

4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on-tap at Darkhorse, served in a snifter.
The appearance was pitch black with a thick motor oil appearance that coated the sides of the glass. It poured with a nice 2 finger head which is pretty rare for imperial stouts in my experience.
This beer had a pretty nice, clean stout smell that is unlike most imperials. The taste was of dark fruit, dark roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate.
The mouthfeel was thick, but not too heavy for my taste.
The latest batch claims 14% abv and with that in mind, this beer is very drinkable. Almost dangerous(in a fun way).

I have to say that this is an excellent imperial stout, and it is right up my alley with its simplicity in a world of barrel aged "bells and whistles" type stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2010 02:56:35 | More by Cannabinaceae
Photo of BigAl723
BigAl723

Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2009 19:26:13 | More by BigAl723
Photo of sholland119
sholland119

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

A-Beautiful. Dark and rich with a thick, dark mocha head. My favorite loon in an RIS. A beer that looks like this rarely disappoints.

S-Nicely complex. Lots of bourbon and alcohol, vanilla, dark chocolate and milk chocolate.

T-Caramel and dark chocolate in the front with lost of vanilla. Then a hint of maple, then some bourony notes in the finish. Quite hot in the finish, but it's fresh and 14% so no huge surprise there.

M-Medium bodied but rich and coating.

D-14% so proceed with caution (duh!). A little hot (again, duh!) but really delicious and enjoyable.

HV

Serving type: on-tap

05-03-2009 23:31:50 | More by sholland119
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Sheffield's for the Dark Side of Oz event. Served in a half-pint glass.

A - A half finger of dark mocha foam with good retention and lacing. Tar black with no hints of color at the edges (although it was pretty dark in the bar, so I could be wrong).

S - Roasty bitterness, boozy. This brew had a surprisingly small bouquet, even after I let it warm up a bit. It just did not smell all that interesting.

T - The taste is huge - loads of roast malts, dark fruits, and chocolate. Nowhere near as bitter as it smelled, although there is a mounting bitterness in the aftertaste. The half-pint serving kept it from getting to be too much. Not boozy in the slightest.

M - Medium body, lighter than I expected. Low carbonation, with lots of residual stickiness. It needs a little more viscosity to support such an otherwise big beer.

D - Surprisingly drinkable for a 12% brew. I can see the bitterness getting a little overwhelming, but otherwise it's pretty easy going - low carbonation and well-hidden ABV.

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2009 04:34:01 | More by MasterSki
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,342 ratings.