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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,335 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2335
Reviews: 731
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.37%


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: 2,335 | Reviews: 731 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of N_Schleret
N_Schleret

Minnesota

4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a pitch black color with a one finger brown head and light lacing.
S: Roasted malts, light coffee, and chocolate.
T: Much like the smell with roasted malt, and Coffee on the back end.
M: Heavy on the palate. Really coats the whole mouth with a nice roasted after taste.
O: Very good RIS.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2014 00:54:28 | More by N_Schleret
Photo of mwill7287
mwill7287

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle to a similarly sized snifter.

Appearance: Pours motor oil black into my snifter. Pitch black even in the lamplight. Half finger's worth of a mocha-tan creamy head sits atop after a mild pour. Little carbonation bubbles abound in the brew. A little bit of lacing is left behind on the snifter after the liquid vacates. Looks noice. 4.5/5

Smell: Dark roasty notes balanced by a dose of hops Americano. A little creamy, definitely roasty coffee beans and a bit of chocolate. Very rich and enticing. 4.75/5

Taste: Strong presence of bold Russian Imperial stout hops ride alongside dark fruit, raisin and anise notes in the first sips. A little bit juicy and fruity on first bite. Sweet. A bit of bitterness of coffee notes and building hops creep along with repeated sips and a pleasantly present aftertaste. Alcohol doesn't interfere too much. Nice, not 100% my thing, but good. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Not too syrupy or thick. Medium body. Mild stickiness on tongue and lip. Bitterness is pretty light and doesn't hinder on the palate too much. Maybe a tad light for me for a RIS. 3.75/5

Overall: Very solid taste, tasty and complex but not overwhelming. Looks & smells wonderful. Mouthfeel provides for a nice drink. Obviously not sessionable but a relatively easy drink for a RIS. Nice. 4/5

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2012 00:02:52 | More by mwill7287
Photo of watsonmd
watsonmd

Georgia

4.69/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served 55F, poured into snifter.

A: Black, with thick brown head that stays... and brown lacing during the session.

S: Chocolate, malt, maybe a hint of licorice?

T: Wonderful. Coffee, chocolate, with full malty backbone, maybe some cherry, or other fruits hidden in there... Something roasty trying to break through...

M: Heaven, coating the mouth, slippery, silky and full. Stays with you long after the swallow. Thick feel, with dense carbonation.

O: Awesome trade. Would definitely buy if it was available in GA. Will have to settle for Bell's Expedition, and Founder's Imperial....

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2013 03:40:21 | More by watsonmd
Photo of JoshVandy
JoshVandy

Indiana

4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours completely jet black with a 1 finger mocha brown head. Pretty decent retention. The color on this is impressive; easily the blackest stout I've seen in a while.

S- Big whiffs of chocolate and malts come through immediately, followed closely by very subtle coffee notes and a hint of fusel alcohol. Reminds me a lot of Founders Imperial Stout, which is a good thing.

T- Fantastic chocolate and malt immediately, followed by more malt and a hint of hops. Dark fruits also come into play as it warms. Alcohol heat is present after swallowing, leaving a nice burn in the throat that makes me want another sip. A little one dimensional, but it executes in that dimension flawlessly.

M- This is the part that impresses the most. Completely smooth, creamy and thick from start to finish, with the perfect amount of carbonation. Coats the mouth and throat and lingers there long after my last sip with faint alcohol. Incredible.

O- A fantastic Imperial Stout that is a little one dimensional in taste, but completely makes up for its shortcomings with a mouthfeel that is one of the best I've had in a long while.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2011 05:00:06 | More by JoshVandy
Photo of CurtisLoew
CurtisLoew

Wisconsin

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

Pours a nice rich brown/black color. Small tan head. Nice looking beer.

Smells of dark malts, dark chocolate, dark fruits, slights hops.

Tastes like a really good stout, with some little dark fruit tones. Chocolate flavors, a little roast coffee. Everything blends together very nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium, pretty creamy. Not too thick or too thin.

Overall very good beer. Easy to drink, I wouldn't mind putting down multiple bottles in one sitting. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2011 03:48:03 | More by CurtisLoew
Photo of xpdrinker
xpdrinker

Florida

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

A - 12oz bottle picked up a few months ago via trade. No noticeable date stamp until after the pour - it's on the underside of the bottle and only visible if looking at it from inside and against the light. Also noticed some light-colored sludge peering through the bottom of the brown bottle. Poured into my Bruery snifter, pitch black with thin, burnt orange head that dissolves into a thinner ring. Zero lacing.

S - Slight burn at first, lots of vanilla, roastiness, chocolate and dark fruit. 

T - Varying styles of chocolate at first, lots of dark fruit and finishes really roasty and deliciously bitter. An overall cola sweetness hangs over the entire taste.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation. Sticky cola sweetness.

O - I've had this one cellared for a few months and it's quite enjoyable. There's a cola-like sweetness throughout that at times is tasty but at other times annoying. Would kill to get my hands on the barrel-aged version.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 23:39:05 | More by xpdrinker
Photo of optimistictour
optimistictour

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love surprises.

Dark Horse has provided a few for me, with their unassuming no-nonsense packaging and prices often well below average for equivalent beers. This one is by far the best.

Picking up two singles, I figured "can't lose with an imperial stout!" and upon pouring, I was assured that this was the genuine article: impossibly dark, viscous, with a tight, solid head giving way to a hearty brown ring on top. Easily on par with Expedition Stout or Old Rasputin.

*Smell: what I can gather is impressive, hitting the bitter chocolate notes with just a hint of alcohol warmth. Unfortunately I'm a bit stuffed up so I'll return to amend this.

It tastes like I wish more RIS's did: hearty and full of the aforementioned chocolate, carmel finish, embedded with a sharp spike of hop bitterness and the slightest whiff that it's packing more than a welterweight abv.

By mouthfeel I'd guess this bad boy to be under 9% at first blanch, but nearing the end of a glass it's readily apparent there is more under the proverbial hood than what, as it turns out, is a conservative guestimate. The only comparison I could fairly make is with Bells Expedition Stout, in sheer viscosity, density of carbonation, and the warmth riding inside a smooth velvet dessert vessel. It brings the heat but only after I'm well into the bottle, drawn inescapably in.

Like I said, a truly pleasant surprise. The best beer I've had from Dark Horse.

Since they make no mention of abv on the packaging,

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 01:13:04 | More by optimistictour
Photo of dc55110
dc55110

Minnesota

3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, with very little head... but tons of lacing. This stout is pitch black, held up to a light, none makes it through.

The smell is of dark rich dried fruit, figs, prune, raisin. There is also hints of bitter sweet chocolate, molasses, roasted coffee. In the background there is the presence of alcohol.

Rather sweet; the bitter sweet chocolate and dried fruit follow through from the nose. Coffee and alcohol are on the finish.

For as dark as this stout is, it is on the thin side. It doesn't give you that velvety feel as it goes down. Leaves a slightly chalky after taste/feeling in my mouth after the finish.

A nice stout, I'd be very curious to compare to the barrel aged version. I'll continue to pick this up every year upon its release.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 01:42:19 | More by dc55110
Photo of SAxDRC5
SAxDRC5

Michigan

4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Black with a brown/tan head. leaves decent lacing

S: Dark chocolate and dark fruits. a hint of caramel, and maybe a touch of alcohol.

T: burnt malts, dark fruits and dark chocalate are the first flavors I get. a bit of sweet brown sugar and molasses in the middle and finished with a touch of hops and some warm alcohol. very complex.

M: a bit fizzy for the style. alcohol is more present than I would expect, warm alcohol feeling throughout.

O: pretty good. better taste than most imperial stouts, mouthfeel is the only downfall of this beer. I would like to try the bourbon barrel aged Plead the 5th, it may be a bit less fizzy.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2011 00:30:20 | More by SAxDRC5
Photo of SeaUrchin
SeaUrchin

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a bottle into an unbranded tulip

appearance - pours black with a thin mocha head, no noticeable carbonation but there are a few bubbles escaping the abyss that is plead the fifth

smell - dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee are in this nose, there is a hint of bitterness with a hit of alcohol at the end

taste - taste follows the nose, sweet roasted malts up front, chocolate, caramel and coffee are the main flavors in that order, there is some hop bitterness here, helps to balance out the sweetness, followed by a bit of an alcohol burn in the nose, this one seems like it needs some time to sit

mouthfeel - thick, not sticky, feels like im drinking whole milk

overall - delicious, glad i picked up 2 bottles, other one is going to be tucked away for at least a year probably more to see what it turns into, enjoy one fresh and tuck the rest away for a while

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2011 05:53:50 | More by SeaUrchin
Photo of Donerik
Donerik

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black like an RIS should be, 3/8 inch head on a aggressive pour, dissipates quickly, nice lacing, good ring of foam.

S: all roast, not too many other scents.

T: Roasted Malt, Roasted Malt, then it comes in with a subtle chocolate finish, but not like hershey's syrup definitely like bitter dark chocolate.

M: thick, lightly carbonated, heavy

D: I'd drink this back to back, then I'd be buzzed, So I'd drink as many as I could, it's a good brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 03:03:52 | More by Donerik
Photo of AllFineThings
AllFineThings

Indiana

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of the bottle and into a tulip glass.

Not much head or lacing at all, jet black.

Smells of dark roasted malts, and chocolate/coffee.

Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and burnt fruit.

Very, Very smooth for 12% ABV, so=Very Easy To drink..

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 21:52:16 | More by AllFineThings
Photo of knight84
knight84

California

3.5/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to alexgash for this bottle. 12oz 2008 labeled as "Plead the 5th"

With a vigorous pour this motor-oil black beer produced very little head. What did show was a hazelnut brown with little lacing. Cold coffee dominates the smell though there is a hint of oak and molasses.

Chocolate sweetness shows up front but is quickly overwhelmed by coffee. I didn't get much else, just very sweet and roasty.

Light carbonation seems to explain the lack of head, it seems to lack some of the robustness I would have expected. It feels more like a coffee stout, similar in feel to the ABC Espresso Love. A bit less "imperial" than I was hoping.

Not a bad beer overall but, given my excellent past experiences with other brews from Dark Horse, I expected a little more than I got. Drinkable but not terribly memorable.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2008 03:04:45 | More by knight84
Photo of Gigantis
Gigantis

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought two of them and meant to age one but my wife really wanted to try it and... well... I wasn't going to let her drink alone and I didn't have anything else. Shoulda' aged it probably.

The appearance is not impressive. After pouring one for my wife into a snifter and getting no head whatsoever, I tried a really aggressive pour into my pint glass (my preferred RIS glass) and got only slightly better results. I'm not a sucker for head like some are, but this dense, blackest black brew gave me nothing but some dark tan bubbles. Yes, it is dark and thick but it doesn't look as alive as, say, Founders KBS or some other headless stouts.

Smells real nice though. Aromas of bitter dark chocolate, toasted malt, oak, vanilla and ... I think burnt cake, whatever that means. There was a slight trace of alcohol going up the nose. I liked that. Maybe an essence of elderberries, but I feel like the esters were weak in the smell here.

Once it hits your mouth this beer is really a top of the line RIS. Good, dark coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and grains, a little dark fruit and vanilla near the end and great lightly-hoppy bitterness to even it out. The body is heavy and boozy but it isn't overwhelmingly viscous or oily.

Sure drink a few of these. Don't let me stop you. One was enough for me though.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 20:11:22 | More by Gigantis
Photo of Spcoly
Spcoly

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter...

A: Dark with almost zero head

S: Faint smell of chocoalte, roasted malts

T: Wonderful...bitter sweet chocolate. Not much of a burn considering the high ABV

M: Medium, low carbonation....excellent drinkibility...definitley a sipper considering the ABV

O: Hands down one of the best stouts Ive ever come across. Which I had more than one bottle....will definielty buy again!

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2011 01:52:45 | More by Spcoly
Photo of Greencoat
Greencoat

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Bottle.

Motor-oil pour. 1/2 finger, dark tan head slowly fades into a sheet of foam. 100% opaque - none of that ruby highlight stuff!

This nose is getting me pretty excited. Ultra-sweet nose, like boozy chocolate - maybe even a little tobacco. I can tell there's a lot going on, I'm just not sure how to describe it. I know this, though - I like it.

This beer is simply sublime. A fantastic parade of chocolate, burned coffee and molasses. I really think some more time in the bottle will help this one out, but it's drinking very well right now.

Syrupy sweet feel to this one. Just enough carbonation and bitterness to keep it from being sludge. Extremely full bodied.

Overall, I think this beer is amazing. That said, I think we may be starting that awkward phase between fresh, and aged perfection. If what I've tasted is a sign of things to come, be prepared to have a masterpiece on your hands in a a while. I'll be (not so) patiently awaiting next year's release.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 03:42:01 | More by Greencoat
Photo of kdahnke123
kdahnke123

Indiana

3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage poured in snifter.
A - Very dark pour with a small amount of dark brown, quickly dissipating head.
S - Dark roast smell. Medium coffee smell with overtones of red wine.
T - Medium-heavy coffee. Rich, full flavor. A little on the heavy roasted side with a light amount of hops.
M - Medium viscosity with a good mouth coating quality.
O - Overall a good stout, especially if you like the coffee variety.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 22:03:28 | More by kdahnke123
Photo of YumYumGumGum
YumYumGumGum

Virginia

4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: ideal slim headed stout. Pretty low carbonation but an amazing opaque black color.

S: i got virtually no scent until it warmed up and i got chocolate and nice coffee but mostly roast and alc.

T: great taste, smooth high gravity, the coffee taste is great. If you like a full bodied stout with subtle coffee. This is your beer.

M: very nice, smooth, in fact, im appreciating the low carbonation strong body now.

O: im thankful for my currently half full barglass of plead the fifth. The great part of this well made stout is it shockingly spectacular delivery of the warming 12%abv. I highly recommend this to coffee afficianados.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2011 02:18:38 | More by YumYumGumGum
Photo of AshleyMiller
AshleyMiller

Vermont

4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to stx00lax for this extra in an awesome trade. poured into my old guardian snifter.

a-jet black. like a black hole i guess. thin mocha head that dissipates quickly.

s-awesome. lots of chocolatey, coffee, mocha-y goodness

t-rich thick stout, lots of malt, boozy backbone that lingers, but it's a malty booziness that's quite enjoyable, but the initial taste hides the 12% alcohol pretty well. there's a very subtle hoppy bitterness in it too.

m-very full and delightful, not a lot of carbonation, but enough for a stout.

o-quite good. one of the better non-barrel-aged stouts that i have had. i am really enjoying drinking and am excited for the second bottle surlytwinsfan sent me. thanks guys!

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 00:53:03 | More by AshleyMiller
Photo of mjw1200
mjw1200

Ohio

4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= Very dark color pour, not much on top, caramel color.

S= Not overpowering, had to get real close to get a good smell. Smell vanilla/bourbon. Also smell some of the coffee.

T = Exceptional. Layers, of chocolate coffee some caramel and vanilla. Alcohol is very present, but I wouldnt have it any other way. It is going to be hard to let this beer age, but I think it will be worthwhile.

M= Thicker than most beers with this much alcohol. Some stronger stouts seem to be to thin, but this one holds up. It lingers in my mouth leaving the great taste to stay around.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2011 13:12:17 | More by mjw1200
Photo of brock146
brock146

Minnesota

4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark black with nice chocolate hued head

S - Alcohol and dark chocolate

T - Black coffee, sweet and malty, a bit smoky, definite yet subtle kick of alcohol

M - Silky smooth, low carbonation creates a soft of "milk shake" consistency. Keeps your palate warm after it goes down

O = Very tasty and surprisingly [ and dangerously :) ] drinkable for being such a high gravity beer

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2013 00:10:28 | More by brock146
Photo of --Dom--
--Dom--

Missouri

4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I don't feel like following a format today so: This beer is awesome. Pours with a short dark brown head. Not quite as thick as a yeti or ten fidy. Mouthfeel is spot on, creamy with medium carbonation. Everything is balanced, none of the flavors are too much. Slight alcohol heat but not a predominate taste. Dark chocolates with just a hint of burnt coffee. Amazing stuff, get some if you can.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 21:07:07 | More by --Dom--
Photo of Jparkanzky
Jparkanzky

Ohio

4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A) Pour into a pint glass from bottle, at near room-temp. Poured jet-black, didn't see really any red or brown within while pouring it. A few dancing bubbles on top, and no head.... the 1/16th inch head that was there for about 2 seconds was dark brown.... this beer is DARK!

S) Don't really pull a lot from the smell... it's actually quite neutral, perhaps vanilla hints to it, but I really don't know. It certainly wasn't unpleasant, but more "neutral"

T) GREAT. A little caramel perhaps, and hints of a bourbon flavor. The after-taste is pure smooth-velvety goodness.

M) A little alcohol bite at first, but overall it tastes like heavy black-creme, devoid of any carbonation whatsoever, so in a word "GREAT!"

Very enjoyable from start to finish... I took this out of the cellar at 50 deg. and waiting 15 minutes at room temp, and it still didn't really "peak" until halfway through the glass... Flavors and texture really opened up, and any negative alcohol characteristics that were clearly pronounced, disappeared when the temperature warmed up.

Highly recommend this one!

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 22:39:18 | More by Jparkanzky
Photo of MammothBrew
MammothBrew

Illinois

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass on 6/22/11.

A: Pours a burned oil color with tints of ruby(only while pouring). Holding it up, there's no light coming through this beauty. Very thin frothy layer. No head, no lacing.

S: Smokey chocolate malt with a strong coffee/espresso smell. Very faint boozy smell and no hop presence.

T: It's a chocolate attack to the face. Deep chocolate/cocoa flavor with some smooth smokey, roasted malt. Hints of coffee with a very light boozy finish.

M: Full body with little carbonation. Coats the mouth in a really, really chocolaty milk kind of way.

O: It's like a chocolate dessert drink for adults. This has become my favorite Imperial Stout, hands down. It's not very complex but it's straight to the point. Also, the high ABV is hidden pretty well. Nice job Dark Horse!

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2011 05:45:37 | More by MammothBrew
Photo of JeffBrenner
JeffBrenner

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on draft in 10oz goblet. Pours a jet black with next to no carbonation. Minimal dark ring of head. Has a nice smell of chocolate and coffee. Surprisingly smooth for coming in at 11%. The coffee stout taste really hides the boozyness well. Has a nice smooth feel to it, not too creamy like a lot of stouts. Love the name. Would definitely be a repeat buyer and I'm not usually a fan of stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2013 17:46:37 | More by JeffBrenner
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,335 ratings.