Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,473 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,473
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 554
Gots: 907 | FT: 105
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,473 | Reviews: 839
Photo of Nugganooch
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #700

2011 Vintage
12oz bottle received in trade from brooklynbrews
Notes taken on 09/20/14 - Stone IRS snifter

A: The pour is fairly thick and black as tar with no light seeping through whatsoever. A thin lip of turbinado sugar forms over top for a few shortened moments. Very mild with the stick and more so just a few alcohol legs running down the sides of the glass.

S: Rich dark chocolate with molasses, soy, leather, and a wet tobacco likeness. Real intense dark roast grains here. I get some dark berry fruit midway and a simple char sugar on the finish that evokes vanilla and marshmallow. Has a similarity to crème brulee which is quite nice.

T: Tastes super rich yet smooth and easy drinking. Sweet and dessert like but not cloying. Deep roasted grains with lightly scorched sugars bring notes of dark chocolate covered raisin, blackstrap, dark bread, and blackberries. There is a moderate to low amount of bitterness and some light alcohol warmth to this. I get a touch of vanilla crème and some earthy root stems mixed in as well. There is a slight oxidized metallic note but otherwise time has been great on this one. What a real treat.

M: Full bodied and thick with a silky smooth mouth feel. Frothy and lush it stays lighter on the palate with some light drying at the finish. Alcohol warmth upon exhalation.

D: With some age this is one silky rich delight and this has got to be one of the best Non Barreled stouts around. Have not had fresh to compare but I imagine the hop bitterness has faded off some and the alcohol has mellowed a bit. I don’t think I would let this one go much longer as some signs of oxidization are starting to show. Would love to get my hands on the BA version now.

Another huge thanks to brooklynbrews for nailing another top want of mine.

Photo of kscaldef
3.41/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Rediscovered notes from Sept 2012, on tap at Fermentoren in Copenhagen)

A: Very dark black. 1/4" mocha head, recedes leaving a ring

S: rich roast, soy sauce, molasses

T: Chocolate, red plum, coffee. Woody.

M: Low carb. Thick. Tannic.

O: Okay, but vastly inferior to the BB version.

Photo of keithmurray
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

Appearance - dark brown almost black body with dark tan head

Smell - dark chocolate, milk chocolate, fudge, roasted malt, black licorice

Taste - dark chocolate, fudge, roasted malts, roasted barley, milk chocolate, hint of black licorice

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, roassted flavors upfront, dark chocolate on the back end, long finish

Overall- fine Russian Imperial Stout that has some nice flavors, exhibits great balance would be a good beer to introduce a beer drinker to the style. Reccommended

Price Point - $11.99/4 pack 12 oz bottles

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Black opaque, slight tan head, which fades to a ring at the glass edge.

S - Booze is front, suggestive of a barrel even though this one has not been placed in one, with dark fruits, roasted malts, and hints of dark chocolate.

T - Roasted malts form up with strong dark chocolate flavors, a hint of tobacco and leather, toasted bread and plums and prunes. Close is slightly bitter.

M - Slick and full. Dries a touch in the end. Mild carbonation and strong alcohol, a solid warmth as it goes

O - A very fine imperial stout, with a nice balance of chocolate and other roasted malt flavors. A solid sipper.

Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of an off-tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of alcohol, roasted malt, sweet malt, hint of caramel malt, slight hop, and a hint of oatmeal. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is a noticeable dryness. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight caramel malt, alcohol, hint of hop, and a hint of oatmeal. Overall, decent appearance, good aroma, decent feel, good body, and decent overall.

Photo of doremite
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

The abv is well hidden and smooth mouthfeel for such a big beer. Yet nice big roasty chocolate imp flavor. Touch of toffee but not all that sweet. Can see why this gets great reviews. Happy to have tried it and would buy again.

Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/22/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a small dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible imperial stout! All around fantastic complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An absolutely amazing offering.

Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%

From notes on 2/27/14

Jet black. Minimal dark tan had. Very strong stout smell. Really sweet smelling. Taste like eating a dark chocolate candy. Mildly roasty. Minimal coffee flavor. Mostly chocolaty. Very good. Would love to try the bourbon barrel version.

Photo of Trooper92292
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful black color. Aromas range but are not overdone. Such a satisfying taste. The feel is just so well done. I'm popping a bottle open of this now and had this on tap weeks ago and it's one of my favorite beers out there. I first had this last year, a friend introduced me to it, and I could not believe how good this beer is. This is on my top 5 easily. If you have a chance to drink this beer, do it.

Photo of Bshaw22
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

This is one of my favorite imperial stouts. It's too bad it's so hard to get. I've had 3 bottles in my life. The one I am reviewing was a year and a 1/2 old.
Nose was intense with dark fruits and dark chocolate.
Taste was smooth across the board with nothing overpowering. One of the finest mouthfeel ever for this style.

I'll be searching these out again!

Photo of vfgccp
3.66/5  rDev -15.1%

A - Coffee body with thin cola highlights. Ok retention and low lace on a light tan head.

S - Roast nose with a light edge of booze. Cocoa, burnt toast, touch of caramel and dark fruits. Fairly light.

T - Caramel, barley, and molasses. Dusty center with just a hint of balsamic vinegar. Astringent burnt toast finish.

M - Smooth, but a little light for an RIS.

O - Not bad, but a little disappointing given the hype.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.66 Plead the 5th
--- -Jay- -Jon- -Anth- -Vin- -Avg- Weight
A - 4.00 4.00 ------- 4.00 4.00 10%
S - 3.50 3.75 ------- 3.25 3.50 20%
T - 3.75 3.50 ------- 3.50 3.58 40%
M - 4.00 3.25 ------- 3.50 3.58 10%
O - 4.00 3.75 ------- 3.75 3.83 20%

Photo of mlhyatt
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz into tulip glass

A- jet black with no head, even poured aggressively.

S- tons of chocolate followed by roasted notes. It all pinnacles up to some dark fruits such as dates and figs.

T - doesn't follow the nose as much as I expected. Much more dark fruit than anything else. There are subtle dark chcolate in behind the fruits and a very slight roastedness that finisbes the beer. It instantly dries the mouth after the swallow too.

M- thick and heavy, just like I like my stouts. Not overly bitter or harsh. Just right on the mouthfeel.

O- a good stout, was hoping for more of the chocolate and roast to be more prominent in the taste but I will definitely pick these up again.

Photo of MacQ32
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

A - Pours near black with a finger of rich chocolate colored head. Solid retention, fantastic lacing.

S - Roasty chocolate and big boozy nose predominantly. Light vanilla notes, some definite coffee type roast.

T - Monster booze with roasty chocolate notes, coffee, vanilla. Almost bourbony from the substantial alcohol heat. Finish is much more enjoyable as the sweetness starts to dominate through the aftertaste.

M - Fullish bodied, silky smooth with minimal carbonation, big boozyness. Definitely a bit of a sipper/warmer

Photo of woodychandler
3.82/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Based on the site's "Notes", this is a 2013 bottle, but I do not know whether it was purchased at The fridge or at The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop. Either way, it is part of the great Bottle Purge of 2014 here at Chez Woody and I raise a toast to "Dark Horse Nation", which will debut on History Channel next Tuesday, 29 July 2014. Skoal!

I could see some lees at the bottom of the bottle, so I employed a very gentle pour to get things started. I still got a brief finger of deep-tan head with limited retention, quickly falling to wisps. Color was a deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose smelled of molasses or medicinal cough syrup from when I was a kid. It had a vegetal, root-like quality that also put me in mind of my grandparents' Geritol. I am not trying to be funny or anything of that nature, either. That is just what comes to mind. Mouthfeel was big, dense, thick, chewy. There was an initial, immediate fusel alcohol burn that slowly died down, allowing for flavors of burnt charcoal, dried dark fruits, anise, and molasses to come forth and be recognized. Whew! This was definitely a no-playing-around beer. Finish was dry, mainly due to the alcohol heat, with a lingering smoky chocolatiness that began to put me in mind of brownies. It was a good beer and I am sure that it is an excellent example of the style, but a) I do not really dig the style and b) it could have aged a while longer to reduce the heat.

Photo of larryarms847
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours thick like black tar and looks like quite the beast! A very thin head, less than pencil thin, but dark chocolate brown in color.

My nostrils are treated with quaffs of chocolate, roasted coffee, and toasted nuts.

Wow, this is a mouthful! Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and a nutty finish are wonderously balanced with the slightest hint of booze, but I definitely feel it warming my stomach!

Thick, chocolate syrup like that is more like a meal than a beverage.

Overall, they definitely got something here! I will be on the prowl for this again!

Photo of Roguer
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thin tan head quickly fading; nice dark brown, almost black brew.

Fantastic and strong aroma. Roasted barley, chocolate, oak, vanilla, cream, and booze. Smells barrel aged.

Flavor is all of the above, plus oats, bananas, and nuts. The roasted malt is delicate; a symphony of big stout flavors acting in delicious harmony.

Thick and creamy, almost chewy.

Delicious stout, right up there with Ten-FIDY and Founders Imperial Stout.

Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into the center of an Imperial pint glass. Fairly aggressive pour develops only about an inch of reddish brown head, that recedes quickly. Ink black in color.

The nose picks up chocolate, coffee and vanilla along with dark fruits. Just a faint hint of soy sauce.

I take a sip and think wow. Just a fantastic beer.

This beer couldn't feel any better.

Overall I love this beer. Can only imagine what the barrel aged version would be like.

Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 poured into a snifter. Dark as night with minimal dark brown head which quickly disappears. I think I can taste bitter, semi-sweet chocolate paired with a roasty coffee-filled linger. The bitterness, to me, is from the chocolate, I don't necessarily pick that up from the coffee influence. Dark brown sugar, too, and does sweeten up a tad as it warms. Drinks very smoothly for 11.0% but even after it warmed I couldn't help but notice the lingering bitterness. Tends to be a bit of a downgrade for me.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up one of these in Ithaca, also spotted them in Binghamton. Nice to have Dark Horse coming to this area, although it'd be even nicer if we got any of the rarer variants, but that's not likely.

Poured into a nonic pint glass; jet black with a minimal half-finger dark brown head from a rough pour. Head quickly fades into a single-bubble-thick layer of foam.
Smells of semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, brown sugar and molasses, and even a hint of oak or something.
Taste follows nose...sweet chocolate and brown sugar are cut with hints of roasty coffee bitterness, but it's mostly sweet. Aftertaste of semisweet chocolate and stickiness. Not much booze noticeable in the taste.
Mouthfeel is full, slick and sticky.
Overall, a big tasty stout but it's a bit sweet for my taste. I'd still love to find [one of] the BBA version[s] sometime, but I'm not too hopeful.

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

- 2013 vintage
- 12 oz. bottle poured into stemless wine glass on 8-Jun-14

This tastes like an imperial milk stout. Body's very smooth, almost velvety. Nice toasty and roasty flavors. Bitter dark chocolate with slight hints of vanilla. Very easy drinking for an 11% brew.

Comparing to other fresh IRS's... I like this slightly better than Stone's and Bell's Expedition, but not better than Siberian Night and maybe BORIS. In other words, this is among the top tier RIS's out there and I'm glad to have finally enjoyed a glass.

Gotta say, the BBA version is pretty nuts.

Photo of chrismattlin
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer is delicious! So delicious it would satisfy someone unfamiliar with stouts or a seasoned veteran.

I've yet to have a beer from Dark Horse that wasn't exceptional, and this one keeps the streak going!

The 11% abv is masked well in this deep, dark beer. The epitome of what an American Imperial Stout aspires to be, this beer gets better as you drink it and it warms.

This is a brew to keep on hand.

Photo of stephens101
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 version.

Empties the bottle black with a sheer, tan head. Aroma is spot on with milk chocolate, dark fruits, subtle vinegar and burnt oak floating freely. This is one of the smoothest beers I can recall trying. Just floats its way down (despite its medium to heavy body) with prominent notes of milk chocolate, bubblegum and black licorice, followed by hints of oak, cherry and vanilla. Fusel alcohol is barely noticed in the back. A beautiful, well-crafted stout that pairs well with this cool and rainy spring evening.

Photo of HoppySeb
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

What an amazing beer - I wish I had access to it more often. Poured from a refrigerated 12oz bottle into a KBS snifter - poured vertically, producing a great looking two inch thick foam that is light brown in color. The head quickly dissipates and forms a ring around the glass which stays there as you drink it.

Its nose if mostly chocolate, vanilla, ripened plums, coffee and light spices - sweet. Taste is bittersweet. Definite hop presence with bold dark chocolate and vanilla bean flavors.

Mouthfeel is amazing - thick and chewy, allows you to extract every ounce of flavor from this beer. Carbonation is very light, as expected.

Overall - I'm very impressed with this beer as I was not expecting it to be this great. I will definitely seek it out more often! Highly recommended!

Photo of Treyliff
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle, poured into a snifter

A- pours opaque jet black in color with a small foamy dark-tan head that has short retention, eventually leaving a small layer on top, leaving some short lasting lace behind

S- lots of smoky roasted malt aroma up front with notes of charcoal, burnt marshmallow, campfire, smoked & cured meat, bitter dark chocolate and some woodsy notes. Underlying piney hops

T- Big chocolate and dark fig notes up front that are quickly complimented by a roasty malt that gives flavors of charred marshmallow, along with earthy and woodsy notes. Graham cracker sweetness kicks in near the end with more dark chocolate and a herbal hop finish. Some smoky malt with a touch of alcohol on the linger

M- thick and viscous body with moderate carbonation leads to a chewy-yet-smooth mouthfeel and a velvety finish, alcohol hidden brilliantly. Perfect

O- finally got a chance to try this one and it didn't disappoint. Smoky, chocolaty and true to the style. A world class example of a RIS

Photo of GOBLIN
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Probably my favorite Dark Horse beer . . . hope to get a BAPT5 soon. This is very tasty and will do for now.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,473 ratings.