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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

3,101 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,101
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 526
Gots: 721 | FT: 78
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: 3,101 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of orangesol
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this one as an extra in a recent trade with spycow. Poured into a dogfish imperial pint.

A - Pours jet black with a big two finger tall tan head leaving small wisps of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, molasses, vanilla, oak, and some light hop bitterness. This is what you expect when you hear RIS.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roast quickly giving way to a mix of sweet dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, and the faintest hint of hop bitterness at the very end. The creamy feel really helps to bring it all together. The finish is a mix of chocolaty sweetness and dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Rich, creamy, feel with plenty of dark roast in the finish. The booze begins to creep in more and more as it warms to room temperature.

O - I really liked this one. It had all the typical flavors you would expect from a RIS but what really made it better was the creamy feel as it really helped to bring it all together. Good stuff.

Photo of yourefragile
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of woodychandler
3.81/5  rDev -11.6%
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 dbrauneis
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear but opaque jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle carbonation and some very faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy dark mocha head that quickly reduces to a small patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts with lighter notes of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of dark roasted malts with light to moderate flavors of dark chocolate and some hints of dark fruit (fig). There are light amounts of sweetness upfront. Slightly stronger than moderate amounts of bitterness which lingers of a moderate amount of time.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: Alcohol is well hidden and the beer is quite drinkable. Nice flavor and definitely one I was glad to find. Worth grabbing if you see it.

Photo of corby112
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a sludgy pitch black color that is completely opaque with a one finger frothy dark mocha head. Good retention, slowly fading into a thick lasting cap that leaves spots of lacing behind.

Sweet, roasty malt aroma this bursting with lots of silky chocolate as well as some oatmeal, roasted coffee bean, toast and nut. There's also a slight lactic cream presence but the nose of this beer is all about roasted malt and chocolate.

Medium bodied but on the fuller end with a slightly chewy, viscous consistency. Deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, burnt toast and toffee. This is complimented by a sweet chocolate malt presence and subtle creaminess. There's also some earthy hop bitterness and a prominent alcohol burn in the finish. The ABV isn't well masked with a ton of heat and warmth in the finish. I expect that this will tone down with age but this fresh bottle is too hot for my liking. Dry boozy finish.

Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of superspak
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
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 lacqueredmouse
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse during their Dark Horse AleStars evening in Sydney.

Pours an extremely dark, very close-to-black and very solid. The body, however, is surprisingly light and fluid. Head is a deep, dark chocolate colour. Some dots of lace form, but really patchily. Carbonation is fine, but rushes through the body quite quickly. Not bad all up.

Dark and roasty on the nose, not unexpectedly, but under that are some of the more interesting characters. It has a deep sweetness, mingled with a touch of salt—perhaps Vegemite—and some deep tannic red wine characters. As it warms, the booze becomes a bit more noticeable, along with some hazelnut characters, and even a dank smouldering campfire. Nice stuff.

Taste is slightly lighter than expected. It perhaps matches the hint of lightness seen in the body. Flavour-wise, there's some nice coconut characters, sweetness and a hint of cherry or something fruity and tropical. But then, whack!, the Impy stout comes back, with a big roasted, boozy sharpness on the finish. Again, pretty good.

Feel is clean and smooth.

It's very nice and smooth, and very drinkable. It's very tasty, while maintaining an edge of aggression. It ends up being a very nice, and very respectable package.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of the Black Booty BIF. Pours black with a thin head that settles to a ring. Smells of coffee and bitter chocolate, with a slightly roasty and milk chocolate finish. Impressive taste, a choclate explosion with wonderful bitter chocolate, some berry notes, both long and delicious. Later some cinammon and a big hit of coffee make an appearance. The mouthfeel is long and super smooth. Utterly delicious, this is a great beer.

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -12.3%
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?

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice jet black with a nice brown cap. Sexy!

S: Deep deep coffee nose, roasted malts, booze and some cocoa

T: Wow. Chocolate, coffee, minimal dark fruits with a sharp booze tinge and big roastiness

M: Big, thick and hearty

O: Outstanding!

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my new Cigar City snifter! Big thanks to Jparkanzky for this bottle.

A: Pours an oily black color, extremely dark. Despite a rather forceful pour, only a very little bit of tan foam formed and quickly dissipated, leaving behind a ring of foam around the outer edge. Some lace forms when I take a sip, but is gone just as fast.

S: Lots of rich dark chocolate upfront, very sweet and inviting. There are hints of vanilla, caramel, and some molasses.

T: Again, lots of dark chocolate, which dominates the flavor profile. It is not as sweet as the aroma, which I am actually happy about. Underneath the chocolate there is a good bit of molasses, a little vanilla, and slight roasted malt flavor.

M: Medium to full bodied, rich and creamy with a nice level of carbonation. No sign of 12% at all, very well hidden.

O: A really nice RIS, very drinkable for the abv. A very tasty beer, well done Dark Horse.

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle out of a four pack and into a snifter so help me god. Been impressed with this series so far, this is my fourth out of five.

Deep space black with more blackness and some black to go on top of that. Ok, there's some brown towards the edge. A dark brown pillow tight nitro like head up above, after a few minutes, nothing, no lace.

Im not digging the nose on this at all. I mean it's malty as hell with some roasted qualities and chocolate, but there is also this rotted dark fruit scent that turns me away. It reminds me of a certain stout from a Jamacian brewery way down south, but 5th is not that rotted. Some creamy french vanilla.

5th comes back into focus on taste. This Russian delivers without that huge dark fruit thing, it's there but tucked under all this dark chocolate which was not as big in the nose, weird. Chocolate clumped in with vanilla and alot of cream. Saying there is alot of roasted malt is a understatement, it's huge. no alcohol, and this is a 12%er.

This is smooth, perhaps the smoothest 'fresh' rizzz i've had probably to date. Im upset that I missed it on tap by a few hours, damn. This is great out the bottle though. Pretty much full bodied and malty smooth, rich and not that bitter. In fact this is not bitter at all, more sweet. The carb is light, it's real light, but it's keeps number five together.

Excellent drinkability and a straight forward RIS. The nose bother's me but other than that, this is great. I'll try another bottle to see if that odor is still there. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, very impressive. Dark Horse continues to put out good dark beer and others.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of akorsak
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part 5 of my Trilogy (apologies to D. Adams), the big boy of the lot. A 12 oz bottle from the Brass Rail.

A: This stout, the biggest of the lot, is an oily black color that absorbs all wavelengths on the spectrum. A reddish red, at least at first, measures up to 1/2 a finger. As it settles, the red colors slip aaway.

S: Roasted, more so than any other in the series, malts are thick and dark. A chocolatey sweetness runs alongside the malts, loosening the nose up.

T: The strength of the stout creates a big body, thick and chewy at time, that can't hide its strength. Coffee and anise, bold and sweet, mix with cocoa powder, toast and heavily-roasted grains. Very sweet, the stout is filling and rarely skimps on flavor. There are a few dead spots where the flavor trails off unexpectedly. The burnt grains linger long on the palate, a morass of anise, coffee and charred bread.

M: The stout is very imperial, robust from first sip to last. I let it sit out for about an hour, allowing it to breath and come to room temperatute (a very good idea).

D: A great way to finish my horizontal run through the Dark Horse seasonal stouts. A warming stout that packs a nice punch.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a jet black inky body with a thin broken film of bubbly tan.
S- There is a soft creamy roasted black chocolate malt aroma with some dark toffee notes coming through as it opens.
T- The chocolate malt blends with some full dark roasted black malt finish. Some tootsie roll flavors underneath turn more into dark chocolate milk and some dark roasted coffee bean taste come through in in the finish. There is no real bitterness in the finish just a mellow black malt flavor lingers after a slightly sweet finish.
M- The medium mouthfeel has no real alcohol heat noticed.
O- Nice full chocolate malt flavor with more dark roasted black malt character for support with no bitterness and very smooth and creamy.

Photo of jdhilt
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours a one finger brown head that fades slowly leaving traces of lace. Black color, no highlights, ton of yeast left in bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Chocolate nose and flavor is roasted chocolate, some sugar decent IS. High (label 11%) ABV is hidden. $4.49 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,101 ratings.