1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

2,828 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,828
Reviews: 751
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 483
Gots: 683 | FT: 74
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,828 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jkball01
jkball01

Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

03-30-2014 15:31:16 | More by jkball01
Photo of DaftPatrick
DaftPatrick

Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

02-28-2013 05:30:36 | More by DaftPatrick
Photo of Danielr26
Danielr26

Michigan

4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

03-04-2013 22:57:11 | More by Danielr26
Photo of jbertsch
jbertsch

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -7.2%

04-17-2014 01:54:10 | More by jbertsch
Photo of Scotchboy
Scotchboy

Idaho

4.15/5  rDev -3.7%

Mystery beer from schwaeh. From notes, sampled 6/25.

Noticed a lot of sediment in the unmarked bottle.

A: Poured into a snifter. An aggressive pour yields a less than exemplary head. The body is motor oil black and the head that forms a nice ring is dark brown. Beer appears well carbonated and has some alcohol feet.

S: Bitter dark chocolate and espresso coffee initially, but as the beer warms the coffee dominates. Nice roasted malt character, maybe a touch of smoke and booze.

T: Coffee and hop bitterness, black licorice and bittersweet bakers chocolate. The dark roasted malts are excellent. On the tongue, it's a simple yet robust coffee stout.

MF: Initially very creamy and robust, a little warmth and booze cuts it a little. Finishes bitter and dry.

O: Pretty darn good coffee stout or RIS with the hops...I would probably go 4.0/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.5.

Dark Horse Plead the 5th!

Thanks Steve!

06-27-2011 16:08:37 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of DelicateDelirium
DelicateDelirium

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -13%

03-21-2013 03:41:41 | More by DelicateDelirium
Photo of Gehrig
Gehrig

Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

05-24-2009 18:39:43 | More by Gehrig
Photo of stephens101
stephens101

Oklahoma

4.58/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

05-24-2014 00:18:53 | More by stephens101
Photo of BarrytheBear
BarrytheBear

Wisconsin

3.33/5  rDev -22.7%

Won't wear my Sunday suit to walk that street
That would feel Byzantine

12 oz bottle...Ultra dark inky pour into my snifter with a nice thin mocha head that swells and then heads rapidly to lurk around the edges like some two-bit hoodlum.

Dark fruit, sherry, soy, and that scent that I have often described as grape bubblegum that I sometimes find in big stouts, along with some dark chocolate on the back end.

The taste and mouthfeel on this beer are slightly perplexing. For all the complexity, or at least diversity, in the nose, the taste does not quite follow. Upon warming, there is an onslaught of that grape flavor which I attribute to the heavy malt presence. The other scents promised from the smell seem minimally present, with only a slight coffee presence poking through, which I did not detect on the nose.

What is particularly odd is the slightly oily, but very light, almost watery mouthfeel. For the make and model of this diesel motored fiend, I expected a bigger, more rounded feel. Not particularly the experience I was hoping for.

08-03-2010 03:52:27 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of bamadog
bamadog

Kentucky

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Been waiting a while to try this one. Picked up the four pack in 2010, review is from notes taken on 5/12/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is thick and viscous looking, and if I had to pick a visual comparison, I would go with FBS; body is black like fresh brewed coffee and it starts with a very dark brown head of 1/2 fingers that fades immediately to nothing other than a thin ring and small island in the center of the surface; body is entirely opaque; no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell: Lots of big chocolate malts, smells rich and thick, like Hershey's syrup; some dark cherry scents in there as well, and I'm reminded of the syrup inside a chocolate covered cherry too; just a touch of alcohol in the nose, and for being 12%, I would say it's blended quite well.

Taste: The taste is good, but not quite as good as the nose -- I feel like it loses a bit of the robust nature; like the smell, the big chocolate malts are up front, but they come across with a bit more of a bittersweetness to them, but they're still rich enough; the cherry flavors are there as well, and follow the chocolate nicely; there is a nice smokiness in it, with a touch of vanilla; alcohol is more present in the taste, but I would still say that it's pretty well blended and makes more of an appearance in the belly as it's quite warm.

Mouthfeel: Body is medium to heavy in terms of weight; carbonation is nearly non-existant but I'm OK with that in this style; body is also a little slick and oily, yet still manages to leaves a thick, semi-dry coating all over the roof of the mouth; gums are left a little tingly and the belly is left warm, as mentioned above, from the higher ABV.

Overall: A great offering from Dark Horse, great smell and good flavors and a body that matches the style quite well. Being a bit heavier and clocking in with that big ABV, consumption would be a little limited, but this would be a great dessert beer.

05-13-2011 01:41:03 | More by bamadog
Photo of rowingbrewer
rowingbrewer

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

01-08-2013 16:29:34 | More by rowingbrewer
Photo of mjtiernan
mjtiernan

New York

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

11-15-2011 05:30:42 | More by mjtiernan
Photo of roadhouse
roadhouse

Florida

4.15/5  rDev -3.7%

12 oz. bottle into a snifter

Pours ink black with a one inch dark tan head forming on top that retains quite well for being in the snifter. The cap retains very well and some moderate lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is chocolaty, a hint of fruit kind of like mixed berries, a very far and away hint of vanilla, some charred wood, vague hops, and a whiff of alcohol fumes. It kind of seems like there is a struggle for them all to blend together and create something wonderful, but they have potential.

Taste has a ton of chocolate character up front with the dark fruit character of mixed berries coming in midway through. A bit of char and coffee burnt flavors come in after the swallow followed by a big burst of warming alcohol which stays on the breath.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, chewy but not exactly viscous. Creamy texture with the right amount of carbonation. Drinkable in the sense that I am gonna enjoy every sip of this beer, but not in the I'm gonna drink a bunch of this way.

A very enjoyable RIS. I can only see this one getting greater over time and I will happily let my other three bottles age a while before cracking another.

04-18-2009 05:22:48 | More by roadhouse
Photo of plumcrazyfx
plumcrazyfx

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -7.2%

11-23-2011 02:32:13 | More by plumcrazyfx
Photo of derkfromwi
derkfromwi

Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

03-25-2013 02:25:39 | More by derkfromwi
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

4.33/5  rDev +0.5%

Pours dark as oil with a shallow tan head that fades slowly; negligible lacing but leaves behind a thin oily film tha's a big hintof goodness to come. The smell is a very rich roasted coffe over black licorice and a cherry vanilla coating. Lightly carbonated, medium bodied, the mouth feel is tangy from the alcohol, et smooth and oily. Full flavored, surprisingly boozier than anticipated, mokah-licorise is repeated well from the nose. A really nice sipper. The 12% ABV is all there and ALL GOOD in my book. Highly recommended. Many thanks guys!!

02-27-2010 20:51:54 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of pwoods
pwoods

Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +7.9%

12oz. brown bottle of Plead the 5th thanks to SPLITGRIN at DLD.
Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black, no visibility. A very short head after a vigorous pour dies to a thin skim. A couple spots of lacing here and there.

S: Alcohol is very present. Lush dark fruits and light meaty and smoky aromas remind me of good Old Ales.. and make me want one, lol. This dominates most of the smell. There's a good sweetness as well as some charred, sooty malts.

T/M: More of a coffee and chocolate flavor comes out that I couldn't really pick up in the nose. There's still a great alcohol line throughout the entire drink. Whatever the ABV is, I'm sure it's very high but masterfully controlled. It really adds a huge depth. More of the sweetness, leaning towards vanilla but with strong oak and woody notes, as well as a very tasty smoky, sooty character. Body is medium full but very smooth and silky, not heavy, rough, overly dry.

D: Way too easy to drink. I'm sure the ABV is up there but I really want to continue drinking this. I'll actually have to watch myself from wasting this.

05-29-2008 02:10:45 | More by pwoods
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -7.7%

12 oz bottle courtesy of Ryan011235, poured into an oversized snifter.

Looks pretty much like a big stout should, black and intimidating with a dense 1-finger cap of dark tan head. Retention is pretty good. The lacing is a bit spotty, but it stains the glass impressively.

At 12%, the alcohol is shockingly well hidden in the nose. Smells quite good. Nice combo of chocolate, dark roasted and burnt malts. A touch of molasses, a bit of dark fruit and a gentle coffee presence. Definitely looking forward to this.

The booze is more noticeable in the mouth, but provides a modest warming presence that's not at all out of place. A bitter undercurrent previously undetected helps keep the sweetness under control, although there's a substantial tanginess that's a bit sticky at the finish. Nice robust roasted character. Carbonation is appropriately low, accentuating the slippery character of the medium-thick body. Finishes perhaps a bit too cleanly, but that's nitpicking.

Overall impression: A nice RIS that seems to have excellent aging potential. I think I will throw my other one in the cellar and revisit in a year or so.

05-06-2010 00:58:18 | More by PDXHops
Photo of malfunxion
malfunxion

New York

4/5  rDev -7.2%

07-25-2014 04:35:39 | More by malfunxion
Photo of smutty33
smutty33

Connecticut

4/5  rDev -7.2%

01-28-2012 02:57:10 | More by smutty33
Photo of Jason1337
Jason1337

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

06-14-2013 22:46:54 | More by Jason1337
Photo of ldhughes3
ldhughes3

Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

02-18-2013 03:30:53 | More by ldhughes3
Photo of skaboom420
skaboom420

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.2%

03-09-2013 17:39:36 | More by skaboom420
Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
SoCalBeerIdiot

California

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

08-08-2014 04:38:02 | More by SoCalBeerIdiot
Photo of RichH55
RichH55

Illinois

5/5  rDev +16%

06-21-2013 15:24:17 | More by RichH55
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,828 ratings.