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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

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

2,910 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,910
Reviews: 756
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 492
Gots: 704 | FT: 79
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: 2,910 | Reviews: 756 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeff80
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%

A - Poured out a syrupy, black color with ruby highlights. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of molasses and sweet chocolate. There were mild notes of oatmeal and coffee.

T - It tasted very sweet with chocolate and molasses flavors. Some caramel, too. It had a bourbon kick as it warmed up.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied ale.

D - This is a really great tasting RIS. Another great stout from Dark Horse.

zeff80, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -7.2%

SocalKicks, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%

I think at this point, I've had so many different really superb beers of this style that my expectations, and the overall standards, are quite high. This ris comes across as fairly one dimensional. Lots of molasses. More of a punch in the mouth than an interesting ride.

RblWthACoz, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%

Pours pitch black absolutely sucks up all the visible light spectrum in my glass, big tan head after a vigorous pour. Aroma has dark licorice or pitsella (anise notes) with big ripened fruit notes,and an awesome roasted malt dark chocolate strong coffee combo. Big creamy toasted marshmallow experience this beer is extreme and awesome with a touch of soy sauce. Flavor is completely different than the draft sample I had much more rounded dark fruit sweetness in the flavor in the draft. This one is aggressive needing some age yet still a necessary drinking experience for any beer lover. I used to not be able to get any Dark Horse now that it's distributed in Ohio I've seen most of their beers come through, I really like their standards and their limited releases have been outstanding. Extremely sweet creamy sweet it could use a bit more hop balance than this, really it has anise (black licorice) a touch of soy sauce tones, and some dark fruit with soothing alcohol tones...strong espresso and dark chocolate this is one big ass stout. There's nothing here screaming hop bitterness I just wish it had more of that. Body wise this beer borders chewy full bodied stout with strong residual finishing characterisitcs and a strong soothing alcohol burn in the finish. Drinkability overall is a one and done type of affair, I liked it on draft much better. Challenging huge flavors going on but the balance could have been much better.

WVbeergeek, May 18, 2010
Photo of Kegatron
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep motor oil black in the glass, with a near finger of burnt mocha colored head. This retains with just some thin foamy trimming around the edges that mainly leaves back a cascade of spotty foam and thick gooey brown oils behind. The aroma sits thick in the nose, with heady notes of chocolate, smoky roast, dark sticky fruits, brown sugar, and some soy sauce. I'm getting some rather hefty waft of heat in the nostrils as well. It's not necessarily singeing my nose hairs or anything but it's defininitely got a presence to it.

The taste is a thick mix of chocolate and toffeed sweetness, which then gives way to the tang of those dark fruits. Burnt dark roast, hop bitterness, and coffee flood across the back of the palate where it lingers with a deeply blackened finish that hangs hard in the mouth along with a leftover sticky twang. The taste is full bodied with a thick and chewy carbonation to it that fills the mouth. Much like the aroma, there is some pretty considerable warmth present in the body but it is actually kept in check pretty well considering the overall size of this. Maybe not a maximum drinkibility on this but it's a pretty steady sipper.

Dark Horse brought power and complexity to the table with this Imperial Stout. The only thing really holding it back some is the rather large ABV but this is still one well worth seeking out.

Kegatron, Jun 29, 2010
Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%

Got this one from czoch75; cheers Clint!. This one comes in a 12oz bottle

Pours ebony with 1 pinky of brown/peach tinged head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate, vanilla, booze, & carob

T: Dark chcolate, dark fruit, oaky dryness up front. Oak & vanilla as this warms along with with a touch leafy hops, & bit of wet charred grain. Finishes with some chcolate & chicory

MF: Oily, medium bodied, with minimal carbonation, along with some slickness

Drinks easy for the style, but not enough flavor depth to push this to upper echelon RIS status

russpowell, Sep 13, 2008
Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%

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.

MasterSki, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%

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...

feloniousmonk, May 17, 2010
Photo of Slatetank
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Slatetank, Apr 30, 2013
Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%

Shared by yourefragile recently along side the bourbon barrel plead the fifth, these beers don't especially resemble each other.

Beer is black, with a thin lazy head of small tan bubbles, halos the snifter, no lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly sweet, mildly bitter, mildly ashy, a little roast.

Beer is medium in body and quite bitter on the finish. Not as sweet as I thought it was going to be on the palate from the nose, the lead off is a little malt syrup, medium body, the beer thins at the back and finishes moderately bitter from the roast. Nice beer overall though.

drabmuh, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%

first of all, thanks yet again to thebrewo for hooking this up via the best trade of my life, I definitely owe this crew some beers! been aching for this beer, and finally here it is, sort of a hybrid between the west coast hugies and the Midwestern Russian imperials, a real treat. this pours an impossibly dense shade of black, brutal and old oil sludge looking, just not that thick. the head is though, cappuccino color, lasting, frothy. its got an understated nose for the style, come bitter espresso beans, and an oaty, boozy magnitude. the flavor is different than most, not sweet or roasty up front, but ashy, tobacco heavy, like the first puff of a cigarette before the tar gets on your lips and the chemicals really concentrate towards the filter. its got a roast bitterness that comes in for a second, but it doesn't manifest. earthy chocolate and coffee notes round it out, before a subtle residual sugar and alcohol warmth bring it home. also a backing touch of gingerbread, out of nowhere. its deep and rich and complex and close to perfect as far as taste goes, I could not imagine the barrel aged versions of this, just too much to process mentally for me! thick as hell on the body, but not teeth coating and filling and lasting and dental work necessitating. its cleaner than that, although not clean by any stretch. the alcohol is present, but its right in step, not too intrusive, not invisible, this is a very conscious beer, self aware, no identity crisis here. overall this is an exceptional piece of art, by a brewery I need to get more involved with. really truly a brilliant offering. thanks again to thebrewo for hooking it up!

StonedTrippin, Apr 25, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -7.2%

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.

Rifugium, May 17, 2011
Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%

2009 bottle poured into a goblet.

The beer pours black as night with just a small ring of cocoa colored head around the edge of the pour. I'm getting a strong sweetness and fairly intense roast in the nose. I'm also getting some dark fruit and warm alcohol. More of the same follows in the taste. Lots of roast, but the age has made sure it isn't abrasive. Dark fruit and bitter dark chocolate along with some smoke. The finish is bitter and warm from the alcohol. I'm glad I didn't drink this fresh, I think it would have been too bitter for my tastes. The smoke/roast flavors stick with you well after your done with each sip. The body is really thick with smooth carbonation and the finish is dry.

Overall: I enjoyed this one but I don't think I'd like it as much fresh. I had it side by side with a fresher barrel aged version, and the barrel really does some magic. I'd definitely have more of this one, but I won't go out of my way to get it.

oline73, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an inky black color with a brown head. The aroma has a lot of roasted malt, as well as some chocolate. The flavor is a little more complex. There is definitely a good dose of chocolate and roasted malt, but the dark fruit and alcohol also come through and add to the flavor. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice stout, glad I got to try it.

Mora2000, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as an extra from wunderbeer in a trade, big thanks Ron, I've been wanting to try this one!

a - Pours a jet black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident. No lacing and the head only lasts for a minute.

s - Smells of cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and roasted malts.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate and coffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, vanilla, and a little alcohol.

m - Full bodied stout with moderate carbonation, this beer is very smooth and creamy; goes down great.

d - A very good RIS. I really liked the smell and mouthfeel. Wish the taste was a little less bitter but still very good. Would definitely like to try it again and would love to try the barrel aged version.

mdfb79, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

mendvicdog, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

DrunkinYogi, Apr 12, 2014
Photo of smcolw
3.45/5  rDev -20%

Modest starting head--dark, dark tan color. Surprisingly little stability; this dies to only rim bubbles. No lace. Dark brown where no light shines through.

Overly mild aroma, most notable appearance is the alcohol.

Good burnt malt flavor, but it is compromised by the thinner body. This may be because of the very high alcohol. Elements of coffee and nearly no notable hop bitterness.

smcolw, Jul 11, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%

Not sure why this is marked as retired, I have a 12 oz bottle of this brew.

Pours with hardly any carbonation at all and absolutely no head. This beer is pitch black in color and quite viscous looking as I pour it. The aroma smells quite fruity with notes of burnt figs and burnt prunes. These are joined by notes of burnt grain, and roasted coffee as well as some subtle notes of boozy alcohol. I would have to say that rich, concentrated malt notes and chocolate dominate the aroma, it is not nearly as roasty as I was expecting.

The beer is pretty darn thick and viscous as it hits my tongue. It is also lightly sweet, which is accentuated by the complete lack of carbonation. Notes of dark chocolate up front compete with a roasted grain note in the finish. The beer has a certain smooth bitterness in the finish that is also contributed by the roasted malt. The roast note certainly reminds me of black coffee. Notes of fruit are also here with notes of burnt raisins and burnt concentrated plum. There is a bit of a chalky, slightly bitter chocolate note in the middle of this beer.

This beer is pretty nice, but I can't help but think that at least a slight level of carbonation would have made this beer quite a bit better (in both its aromatic and flavor qualities). In fact this beer would be approaching stellar if it was a bit carbonated.

Gueuzedude, Feb 24, 2006
Photo of MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

MarkyMOD, Feb 25, 2014
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -7.2%

XmnwildX12, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

beernads, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%

11% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with cool label and branded pry-off cap acquired in a trade and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given both its current high ratings and the recommendation of blakelive784, a trusted friend who shares my tastes for the most part.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a quarter finger wide head of gorgeous rich tan colour. Good creaminess and thickness. Not too frothy or fluffy; instead it's supple and luscious. Retention is quite good considering the ABV - about 3-4 minutes, though it does gradually reduce to a floater ring, losing presence in the middle at about the 1.5 minute mark. Nice even consistent lacing as the head recedes. Silky smooth complexion. Somewhat soft looking.

Body colour is an opaque solid dark black; not quite a jet black. Might even have dark ruby hues a la Guinness. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Overall, it's in league with good to great imperial stouts, but it doesn't stand out as unique. It's certainly within conventions, and excels therein. Really looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Sweet chocolate, fudge, cacao, toffee, cream, marshmallow, buried roast, chocolate, chocolate malt, dark malts, and - interestingly - buried dark fruit, including plum. Some fig as well. Surprisingly lactic for an imperial stout. Not getting any oats. I'd love more roast. Definitely on the sweeter end, but it doesn't seem like it'll taste cloying. No yeast or alcohol comes through. No hop character is evident. I imagine the dark fruit will develop as it warms. Hints of vanilla. Caramel. Sticky molasses. Lots of depth here, and it certainly seems complex. The only thing that has me a bit worried is the sweetness.

A pleasant aroma of moderate strength. Definitely amongst the better aromas for the style.

T: Ah yeah. Sweet chocolates mixed with a great creaminess and some light truffle. Toffee complements the aforementioned. Any chocolate malt, caramel, and dark malts are seamlessly integrated, never taking away from the chocolate in the limelight. Marshmallow lends it a nuanced cohesion. Sweet but nicely so; not at all cloying. The aftertaste is a kiss of plum with a hint of fig. Feels naturally constructed; it's well put together and no note stands out as inappropriate. No off flavours. Good depth and intensity of flavour. Pretty good duration of flavour. Nibbles of sweet vanilla. No real sticky molasses comes through; that was aromatic only - and that's a good thing. Cocoa. Some milky/lactic notes more in line with a milk stout.

I look for coffee and roast, but sadly they're missing here. Not getting any oats either. In any case, it's got interesting subtlety and notable complexity. There's a fair amount going on here, but the best examples of the style do provide more.

A case could be made that raisin and licorice are present, but it's hard for me to discern.

I'm not getting any yeast character, alcohol, or pronounced hop character. Any hopping was purely preservative.

Overall, it's tasty and I quite like it.

Mf: Silky smooth, creamy, and wet. Thick. Unrefreshing. Not hot, oily, hushing, harsh, or biting. Carbonation is well done, if a bit high. Complements the flavour profile quite well, but I wouldn't quite say that it feels custom-tailored to it. The texture facilitates delivery of the many notes from the flavour profile. Sticky. Rich. Extravagant, with a decadence I've noticed only in the finest beers of this style; call this characteristic an intangible if you fancy. Overall, it's got good presence on the palate, but it is just a biteen syrupy - and a fair bit sticky as well.

Dr: The sweetness does get more nagging as you get lower in the bottle, leaving me to conclude that I wouldn't want more than one bottle in a night. In any case, it's definitely meant to be savored. But damn if I wouldn't want another the next night! It's damn drinkable for the style, and very impressive overall, but it stops short of great. Hides its ABV well. I'm very excited to try the bourbon barrel aged variant; I've got one in me cellar in Colorado. This is a fine beer that lives up to its reputation and I can't see anyone being disappointed with it. A solid brew from Dark Horse - a brewery that after only two beers has seized my attention. I'll definitely seek this out again, as well as other Dark Horse brews. Wow.

Serve chilled and let warm.

Pair with chocolate covered cherries or dessert fondue. A simple neutral cheese would also be apt.

Drank just grand out of a stem-tulip; I'd recommend either that or a snifter.

Highish B

I got more and more dark fruit as it warmed, including blueberry, date, and even grape. Bravo.

kojevergas, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev -13%

oriolesfan4, Nov 29, 2012
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,910 ratings.