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

2,727 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,727
Reviews: 748
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.14%
Wants: 471
Gots: 672 | FT: 73
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,727 | Reviews: 748 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cfrances33
cfrances33

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage bottle, poured into a snifter.

Pour: Pitch black and oily. A finger of mocha head slowly rises and recedes to a rim, leaving a slight amount of lacing along the way. Good lookin stout.

Smell: Lots of bitter roasted malt up front, with some coffee and dark chocolate, and a touch of booze. Some dark fruits crawl out as it warms.

Taste: Nice roasted coffee and dark chocolate. A touch of bitterness. Dark chewy raisins and a light burning alcohol. Finishes with a lingering roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Big, thick, and chewy. A definite sipper. A bit of alcohol heat, but not a ton.

Overall: A solid RIS, but no where near in the league of its big brother from bourbon barrels.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 16:38:08 | More by cfrances33
Photo of jaymo18
jaymo18

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

02-17-2014 21:56:29 | More by jaymo18
Photo of oso
oso

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

09-10-2013 06:13:03 | More by oso
Photo of sbricker
sbricker

Illinois

4/5  rDev -7%

11-14-2011 18:16:38 | More by sbricker
Photo of silentjay
silentjay

Massachusetts

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

Dark Horse has some of the thickest, darkest stouts I have ever encountered, and this may be the thickest, darkest of the bunch. It looks like used motor oil, if you went 10,000 miles past when you were supposed to change it. a tiny head settles to a thin film, but laces with each sip. a one or two-fingered head would make this pour perfect.

lots of dark, bitter, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and vanilla balance the considerable roast thats also typical of Dark Horse's brews. charcoal and dark fruits as well as some woody hops round out the aroma.

deep roast and dark chocolate hit first and are followed up by some booziness, molasses, caramel, raisins, brown sugar, vanilla extract, a bit of nuttiness.

very thick with just enough carbonation that completely fills the mouth and leaves a bittersweet flavor lingering on the palate, and a bit of a syrupy feel on the back of the throat with just a bit of alcohol heat that is perfect for the style.

another amazing stout from Dark Horse. though crooked tree and double crooked tree are both good beers, their stouts is what I know them for, and rightly so. They all have similar qualities which define Dark Horse's style.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2011 04:58:14 | More by silentjay
Photo of antoines15
antoines15

California

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

05-01-2012 00:41:17 | More by antoines15
Photo of kbrown
kbrown

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

11-01-2013 23:13:37 | More by kbrown
Photo of vande
vande

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a.) can't believe I hadn't reviewed this before
b.) year old bottle straight from the cellar

a - oily black...viscous, dark, thick and foreboding....

s - rich, roasted malts, chocolate - dark, sweetness...hints of coffee

t - delicious - what you smell is what you get, and more. I think this beer did quite nicely with a year on it. Happy to know I've one of each of the series, except Tres, still in the cellar!

m - a solid medium, to heavy bodied beer that is hard to put down...

o - quite enjoyable... a great stout at a great price!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2011 17:43:19 | More by vande
Photo of ldhughes3
ldhughes3

Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

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

Wisconsin

4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

03-23-2013 15:52:43 | More by Rand_ale_Thor
Photo of colts9016
colts9016

Idaho

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

Poured into a nonic at 53 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger head that has fair retention. The head is dark brown, like chocolate, and the head is foamy. The head did not leave any lacing on the glass. The clarity of the beer is opaque. The color of the beer is dark brown with slight reddish brown tint. The beer leaves some legs on the glass as it is drank.

Nose: A very deep rich malt complex that is roasted, a burnt character, and kettle caramelization. Other aromas in the beer is coffee, chocolate, wood, citrus, floral, alcohol, raisins, and dark cherries.

Taste: A complex rich dark roasted malt that has a burnt character, kettle cook caramel, and chocolate. Other flavors in the beer is espresso, wood citrus, floral, raisins, dark cherries, molasses, citrus, and floral esters.

Mouth feel of the beer is coating, warm, and chewy.

Overall: The body of the beer is full and the finish is full. Ah a RIS, however it is not what I think is the greatest representation of this beer. When I want a RIS, I want a full body, thick, chewy, aggressive beer that ages like fine wine. This beer nails most of it but lacks just a little for my taste. Solid beer nonetheless, I am very greatful that I got to try it.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 02:11:09 | More by colts9016
Photo of zoso1967
zoso1967

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

03-25-2012 21:45:48 | More by zoso1967
Photo of kell50
kell50

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

03-30-2014 19:28:44 | More by kell50
Photo of BlissJunkie
BlissJunkie

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

01-14-2013 17:59:24 | More by BlissJunkie
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is dark brown to black with a thin layer of beige head. The nose was troublesomely reminiscent of wet cardboard. There roasted malt blends well with the creamy consistency. This is certainly a full-bodied RIS. The finish has both sweet and roasted notes along with a very subtle alcohol presence.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2013 03:12:52 | More by 57md
Photo of BMoney575
BMoney575

Texas

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

Sampled on 6-27-08

Pours a thick black, with just a little red on the outside edge. No head, but short lived rings of lacing.

Smell is very malty, lots of coffee and smoke, with a little anise. Very RIS.

Taste is fantastic. Hugely roasty at first, followed by a fair amount of smoky chocolate. The finish is quite bitter but very smooth.

Mouthfeel is right on for a Russian Imperial.

Drinkability is pretty good, hard to say not knowing the abv.

Overall, a great example of the style, and even better, I'm guessing, with a little time.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2008 22:52:05 | More by BMoney575
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally found a chance to open my sole bottle of this, sent to me by angrybabboon in April 2013. This is the '13 bottle, and I believe it's about a year old at this point. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass - split, as I always do with RISs.

Yeah, that pours like syrup - just black treacle all the way, with a surprisingly high amount of head (mocha colored... Yum!) that rises to the glass about 1-2 fingers high. No light shines through this, suffice to say. The head eventually dies down, and it loses its carbonation slowly over time, but it does leave a terrific amount of lace and foam at the sides and does coat the glass semi-dark with each swirl. While it brings nothing new to the table, it is indeed a benchmark for what I expect with these beers.

Smells really good, however - this isn't a sweet RIS at all, and rather, this contains all of the roasted and hedonistic qualities that I simply adore these beers for. Big roasted chocolate notes, coffee, as well as peanut butter, with molasses, plum, cherry pits, and a sharp earthy bitterness at the back. Caramel, nutmeg, and burnt toffee finish it off. This is one of the nuttiest imperial stouts I've whiffed on in a good long while, and the roasted character is very fresh and lively. Perhaps due to the age, it does lack a complex array of flavors, but the heat is magnificently toned down - invisible, in fact, and no extra sweetness other than the malt profile completely comes through, in the end. Very good stuff.

The flavor is an explosion of chocolate and roasted malt flavors that coat the palate in a ridiculously hedonistic way - it's really the equivalent of eating a coffee filled dark chocolate truffle. After the roasted notes come in, there's a sharp nutty, peanut brittle flavor that becomes overrun with molasses, dark fruit, light leather, and finishes with more caramel and cinnamon, with a baker's chocolate bittered finish. The chocolate becomes more predominant over time, and with the added effect of the beer coating the mouth with a melting sensation, the truffle effect is turned up to 11 on this - honestly, the only other equivalent flavor is from Marshall Zhukov, although not NEARLY as exaggerated. While it does get more syrupy and less lively as it gets flatter, it always tastes really full and thick as an RIS should.

Yeah, this is pretty great stuff, and while it's not as complex or insane as other domestic offerings, it still is notable for its stupidly easy drinkable character, especially with the alcohol being this well hidden, in this case. I definitely was happy with my half portion, but I could have easily had more if I wanted. Definitely worth a try, and a very interesting look on how the base beer changes substantially compared to the bourbon barrel version.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 20:05:31 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of alpinebryant
alpinebryant

Connecticut

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

Pours an oil sticky thick syrup with a very dark tan head.

Smell of oaky, charred remains of a bourbon barrel. I had to stop and question if this had any barrel aging, which as far as I am aware, it does not. Easily comparable to Ten Fidy in aroma with the sweetness that comes out.

Taste of a slightly boozy , sweet imperial russian stout. There are tons of charred remains in here after the sweetness settles. You can rub your tongue against the top of your mouth and feel the chalky feeling you get from ashes if one were to taste ashes... There is a lot of sweetness, a definite hop presence that brings the ash flavor down a notch, but I can never get over that ashy burnt aftertaste. This is a very tasty beer, but I would remove some of that black patent. Chocolate does it for me, and while this is tasty, I would rather have a RIS that has less char broiled coal characteristics in it.

Very low carbonation with an ashy mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 00:40:19 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of zrab11
zrab11

Indiana

4/5  rDev -7%

05-10-2013 02:28:03 | More by zrab11
Photo of BierFan
BierFan

Michigan

3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

An inch of light brown head settles to a thin layer. Almost completely disappears after a minute. Very dark black body. Smells like cocoa powder. Not a lot to the aroma. Roastiness in the flavor that I didn't get in the aroma, quite a bit of bitter cocoa.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 01:05:15 | More by BierFan
Photo of barleywinebrewer
barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

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

wow, talk about having no idea what you're grabbing and being pleasantly surprised.

A - pitch black, motor oil with a dark angry brown head that starts slowly and lasts the full glass

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, roasted grains and a sweet dark malt vinous note.

T - lush rich malts convey dark chocoloate, coffee, roasted grains, dark ripe fruits...

M - full bodied, modestly carbonated, silky smooth, rich and full with a nice residual roasted feel.

D - a sipper but only so as to extract all that wonderfull flavor!

Yes sir, I'll have another.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2008 19:47:09 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of facesnorth
facesnorth

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7%

10-24-2013 23:58:52 | More by facesnorth
Photo of elgiacomo
elgiacomo

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, unknown date but at least a year old. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours thick black with a small brown head that quickly recedes to a wispy cap but does leave lots of spotty lacing in its wake.

Aroma is dark roasted malts, dark fruits, black currant, anise, some coffee and chocolate, quite a bit of alcohol. Some oxidation/cardboard is noticed. Very good strength overall.

Flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, black currant, dark fruits, a hint of smoke, some sweetness, moderately boozy and warming.

Mouthfeel is thick & sticky, creamy, soft carbonation.

A big, intense Imperial Stout. Very good stuff, had been looking to try this one for some time. Could have used some more time to mellow out the heat, but on the other hand oxidation was setting in so I’m glad I cracked it open when I did.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2011 00:04:37 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of TheBishopco
TheBishopco

Tennessee

4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

12-22-2011 06:05:16 | More by TheBishopco
Photo of PHBoiler
PHBoiler

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

04-04-2013 15:14:08 | More by PHBoiler
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,727 ratings.