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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
892 Reviews
THE BROS
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Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
892
Ratings:
3,812
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
555
Gots:
1,037
For Trade:
113
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

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
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label

Added by HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 892 | Ratings: 3,812
Photo of jwhawkins81
3.14/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma - Roasted malts and a coffee bitterness

Appearance - Brown head that quickly fades. The beer itself poured a very dark color without much carbonation.

Taste - Coffee bitter with a sweet roasty backbone. Not as smooth as I would have liked. The bitterness was a little harsh in contrast to the other flavors in the beer.

Notes - Maybe it was because I wasn't in the mood for a big stout like this but I wasn't a fan of this beer. I put the other three in the cellar and expect better things from them in a years time.

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Photo of Franz4
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks like a stout should with a brown sugar colored head.

S- Roasty and chocolately here, closer to milk chocolate than dark, very nice, slightly hot.

T- Chocolaty goodness and lots of roasted flavors come through, very complex, a little nutty. Very nice

M- thick and slick, just what I want in a stout.

O- Usually I give an overall score based on the scores that I've given in the 4 categories, but this beer brings everything together exceptionally well. I'd like to do a side by side with Ten Fidy, I'm not sure I could tell the difference. Quite a good brew, this one will likely be harder to find next year.

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Photo of cjacobsen
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to sweemzander for hooking me up with this one.

Poured out a jet black with a thin brown head that quickly dissipated.

Smelled of chocolate, coffee, alcohol and kind of earthy.

The alcohol is present and the sweetness and bitterness almost fight for taste space. A bit of a wooden character to it, almost like a roasted, smoky wood or malt. There's a lot that takes place in each sip of this beer.

This beer is thick and syrupy and fills your mouth. You're really drinking something here, its not just washing past your mouth to your throat.

This beer was tasty but one for the night was good enough. There's a lot of flavor and a decent amount of alcohol so its not one to take lightly.

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Photo of eclipse54
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle I received for winning rowingbrewer's "Guess My Stats" LIF. He sent me this "want," for which I'm very grateful. Poured into a DFH signature glass...

Pours completely black with about an inch of brown head; the head consists of thousands (millions?) of miniscule bubbles that, for some particular reason, I'm finding rather fascinating to examine at the moment. Unfortunately, they don't hang around for long, quickly dissipating to a ring around the lateral edge of the liquid's surface. Minimal (at the time of writing, a lone patch) lacing is left behind.

Also of intrigue, the sediment from the base of the bottle left an intricate pattern on the bottom of the snifter during the pour. The aroma is of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, cane sugar, and some coffee. It is very inviting, and the taste is a great host that follows through with all the promised flavors: caramel, molasses, vanilla, coffee, sugar, and some warming alcohol on the finish. Excitedly, the alcohol is very well hidden. I was quite surprised to see that this was 12% ABV.

The mouth is rich, but not overly so, and finishes with a bit of a sugary, sticky resin. Overall, a delicious, highly drinkable RIS that I'm very happy to have tried.

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Photo of Spica66
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into glass.

A: Extremely dark pour. Very thin head, some retention.

S: Dark, roasty. Some caramel. No hops.

T: sweet on the tip of the tongue to start. Flavors of coffee and dark chocolate finish. Extremely good tasting.

M: Light body for an RIS, but that keeps the stickiness away. I actually like the combination.

D: No way in the world you would know this is 12%! It is, by far, the most drinkable RIS I have ever tasted.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured pitch black into a pint glass- espresso-esque crema like head. Very fine bubbles. A thick layer of sediment remains on the bottom of the bottle, and looking down the neck into the bottle indicates that it as well is impenetrable by light. Very rich, smooth chocolate boozey aroma. The flavor of this beast is astoundingly smooth despite the 12% label... rich toffee, caramel, and chocolate are prevalent as hops are muted. Mouthfeel is amazing and perfectly appropriate for a good RIS. Overall this beer is outstanding, and I will write a more detailed review next time since im already getting slurry.

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Photo of emyers
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a thin medium brown head dissipating quickly into a light lacing.

Smell: Roasted barley, strong molasses, dark chocolate. Strong dark fruit presence. Bold aroma, yet well balanced.

Taste: Similar to the smell. Very strong roasted barley/dark chocolate base complemented by dark fruit, molasses, and a smokey character. Tons of depth but maintains great balance. No alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel; Full-bodied, but not extremely thick as many imperial stouts tend to be. Medium carbonation.

Overall: One of the best non-barrel-aged imperial stouts on the market.

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Photo of timc100
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 batch

Beautiful pitch black beer, surprisingly minimal and fizzy burnt mocha head. Decadent aroma of milk chocolate and vanilla sweetness, dark stone fruits, bakers chocolate, and faded espresso. Some decent amount of roast, a little ash. Taste is huge - bursting with rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, and dark roast coffee. The vanilla sweetness is prominent in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is full, oily, creamy with very soft carbonation.

My favorite of the Michigan winter imperial stouts (Expedition, FIS). Incredibly rich chocolate flavor enhanced with the most vibrant vanilla for a non-vanilla aged stout. Very balanced - exceptional.

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle poured into a tulip. Pours rich dark brown, almost black with generous mocha head that lingers and forms a persistent froth on top of beer. Smell is dark roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, some dark fruit, touch of coffee. The taste really follows suit, with a slight cocoa bite that persists a bit in the finish with a smattering of alcohol, almost whiskeyesque. Mouth is full, rich, and mildly carbonated.

This is a solid stout that aged well for the last year.

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Photo of Dr_Bahmbay13
4.99/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Good Gawd DAmn BEER! BOOM!
POured from a beer bottle
looks gawd damn good! Darkness! No light ! Looks like coffee!
Smells gawd damn good! hard to describe god damn good, sorta like cookies made by you or someone you love, those are always god damn good , so there ya go.
Taste? you already know noodle....Gawd. Damn. Good!
overall , shit the bed this is good!

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Photo of Xul
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kstrickler for the extra!

A: Pours almost pitch black with hints of light on the edges, revealing trails of carbonation making their way up through the beer. Head is approximately one finger of fizzy, mocha colored foam that quickly settles down to a thin layer capping the beer.

S: Strong semisweet chocolate up front, followed by moderate roasted notes with some coffee lurking therein, vanilla, and some dark fruits - cherries mostly. The chocolate is dominant, but not quite overpowering.

T: Boozy notes up front, but dark chocolate overtakes fairly quickly. Dark fruits - cherries, raisins, and plums - come in on the mid-palate along with roasted malts and coffee, before giving way to a finish of vanilla and cocoa.

M: Thick and chewy with low carbonation, it coats the mouth on the way down and leaves a long finish.

D: The ABV and long finish keep it to sipping, but it's by no means a tough drinker.

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Photo of Gear54
4.84/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Ale Emporium in Indianapolis

Pitch black pour with 1/2 finger of kaki head and light lace left on the glass.

Aroma is coffee and chocolate predominantly with roasted malts and black licorice present in the back ground. Slight amount of booze as well.

Taste: wow! This beer is like drinking chocolate cake! Dark chocolate and roasted malt with coffee flavor and maybe a touch of carmel at the end. Just a touch of alcohol mixes well enough with the flavor to not cause any ill will toward the flavor.

Feel is good as well. Lasting flavors coat the mouth and the chocolate is rich and smooth. I could drink several of these and be happy!

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Black with light tan head
S: Dark fruit, and roasted malt
T: Follows the nose with dark fruit and roasted malt. Very juicy dark fruit, sweet, not bitter at all, and not trace of the 11% abv.
F: Creamy and smooth, but did not coat my mouth to well, and flavors faded fairly quick.
O: Good beer, glad I got to try it (can't get locally), but not going to seek it out.

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Photo of youradhere
3.77/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-reviewed on 2/17/11. 2009 vintage received in a trade.

Pours black with no head, no lacing. Initially head started to form, but it quickly fell. Smells of oak, booze, char, coffee. Tastes of anise, alcohol, chocolate and toasty char. High carbonation, light-ish mouthfeel for the style. Not as good as I remember, maybe this stuff goes through an ackward stage in it's life.

5/19/2010
The unassuming little bottle pours out a thick black concoction with a brownish tan head that falls rather quickly, leaving moderate lace behind. Copious amounts of yeast sediment remain in the bottle, this could either be good or bad depending upon how the yeast reflects in the glass. Smell is dark coffee and not much else, possibly some slight caramel in the back. First taste has this malt forward brew brining the malt bitterness of black patent roasted malt, followed by a subdued sweetness and an even more subdued smokiness which is a nice surprise. Yeast is barely detectable in this cornucopia of flavors, all jockeying for my attention; this is so much that it takes me a quarter of a glass before I even find the alcohol (12%), and even then it is perfectly balanced. The mouthfeel of this beer is something somewhat of perfection- it keeps the malt char, sweetness and smokiness all in line and playing beautifully with eachother on my palate. The carbonation is perfect, and I can see now why there was so much yeast sediment- as to even reach this modicum of CO2 a damn near entire yeast starter slurry is needed to survive the flavor and alcohol. Very drinkable, I wish I had more of it here in the PNW.

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Photo of Invinciblejets
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Thick deep black with noticeable sediment in the bottle and in the glass when put up to light.

S: Burnt sugar roasty malts some dark fruit. Bit of dark chocolate.

T: Roasted malts up front smooth dark chocolate hints of wood...Some hop bitterness.

F: Oily thick sticky velvety. All that fun stuff.

O: Above average stout id say. Really good stuff. Odd to see so many floaties in a stout tho.

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Photo of TTAmod
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a four-pack at my special beer store for $13.99. The date stamped on the bottle is 043-13, or February 12th, 2013. I poured one of the 12 oz. bottles into a tulip.

A: This beer is BLACK with a two finger brown head. Retention is good considering ABV.

S: Strong whiffs of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol.

T: Strong notes of dark chocolate, dried cherries, charred malts, roasted coffee, a trace amount of bittering hops, and a bit of heat. It doesn't taste too sweet; in fact, it ends on a dry note. It's not overly bitter at any point, but there's enough bitterness to add depth. Ash and roasted coffee stick around after the finish.

M: Another strong point of this beer. Obscenely smooth and quite drinkable, even if it is a bit hot. There's some carbonation, but it feels like silk going through my mouth and down my throat. No fuss at all.

O: This is how to do a strong stout right. The alcohol is kept in check by the onslaught of roasted malts, which invoke flavors of cherries, chocolate and coffee. However, these malts are balanced by just enough hops which keep the stout flavors from completely dominating.

This one is right up there with some of the best strong stouts on the market; however, this one is a LOT harder to find than some of the more prevalent ones (Ten Fidy, Founders IS, etc) mostly because Dark Horse is a pretty small brewery and doesn't have quite as wide of a distribution area as other breweries. Add to the fact that this is a seasonal (late winter) brew and most stores only get one case, and you got yourself a tough beer to find.

So, if you can find it, definitely pick it up. If you cannot find it....don't fret! Pick up some Ten Fidy or Founders IS, both of which are much easier to locate and are just as good as this one.

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Photo of marvin213
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The darkly tanned, thin layer of fizz looked great, though it dissipated more quickly than I'd have liked. Other than that, it's a dark black, imperial-looking stout. Kudos for what appeared like oatmeal sediment as the last drops fell into my Carolina Brewery pint glass.

Smells good and imperial. I've noticed lately how some dubbed RIS fail to smell like the ones that got me so loving the style. This one has a nose for a king (or queen, as it were): dark fruits (without a sourness), nicely toasted malts (with maybe a hint of chocolate without a disgustingly candy aroma), and a poignant while modest alcohol vibe (alluring like a treat instead of an unabashed alcohol bomb).

It's a bit more plummy and figgy than a great one but, thankfully, not overly sweet. It's solidly an appropriate representation of a Russian Imperial Stout. There ia an oatmealish flavor in there, perhaps affirming my sediment observation. The taste of the chocolate, as in the nose, is basically perfect--hinted at without a sweetness smack. This beer really seems to nicely blend all the right components of an RIS. There's nothing really unique about it, on the plus side being plainly good. When the marketplace seems flooded with over-the-top obnoxiously done stouts, this is a simply good (yet imperial) russian stout.

Oatmeal input allows for a silky input. It conjures images of soothing oatmeal baths on sunburn-singed skin. It really, really sits well. It's silky like soy milk. I cringe at penalizing simplicity, but only a complexity could attain world-class status. With all due respect, it feels like a Russian Imperial Stout is supposed to feel.

The alcohol is perfectly intertwined with the taste of this beverage. The aforementioned plumminess makes it a wee bit tart for multiples, but 12% is subtlely placed. The sediment stain I see on the bottom further represents oatmeal presence, but there's a thickness there discouraging multiple sessions. Still, Dark Horse comes strong with a well-built stout. Thanks to NotCreative for the chance to enjoy.

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Photo of jmerloni
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Jet fuel black. Thick as shit. Dark brown head, beyond tan and beyond beige. Impressive. Thick. Would be stickier if I were drinking it slower, I assume.

S - Wild aroma. Deep deep mocha aroma, with mild dark fruit aroma like cherries or raisins or even red grapes.

T - Wow. Dense flavors. Chocolate, coffee, more raisins and black cherries than grapes. Molasses malt. Slight alcoholic aftertaste. Interesting.

M - Thick as shit. Not very dry. The viscosity of this beer is impressive. Definitely chewy. Carbonation is perfectly appropriate and non-interruptive.

D - I'll get this again in a heartbeat. This is a beer everyone should try at least once. This is impressive. It tastes like it should be 500 calories.

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Photo of CO-Bloom
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great pitch black stout. Smells roasty, sweet chocolate and some burnt marshmallows. Taste followed nose with roasty coffee, some smokiness, bittersweet chocolate, toasted marshmallow and a little bit of warming alcohol. Great thick and slick moutfeel. Overall one of the better RIS I've had! Kudos Dark Horse!

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Photo of alovesupreme
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured intoa snifter this beer yielded a dark brown head which dissipated to a ring over a few minutes. This beer is black.
Black coffee with dark belgian chocolate. Bananas, walnut and alcolhol are also present.
Trader Joe's Belgian Dark chocolate with a chalky character. Walnuts are once again present and coffee finishes the beer with a roasted after taste.
A good body that holds up to the flavor of this beer.
A great imperial stout that I would love to enjoy again.

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Photo of CooperEllis
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Weisguy who tucked this into a box that was already chock full of excellent brews.

12 oz into chalice-ish glass

Aside from the total lack of a head this is a perfect pour, nice color, despite no head decent rim lacing that is a bit sticky.

Straight roast malt armoa. Clean, crisp and very refreshing for such a dark beer.

Full taste, gone a bit quickly, not much to stick around, which is the only reason this wasn't a 5. spot on.

A bit light on mouth, and as noted above, it doesn't stick around particularly long. This may be the most refreshing RIS I've ever had, and for that I'm greatly enjoying it.

(120ish)

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 03/28/2011
Type: 11.2oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2010
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

Poured a deep dark chocolate in color w/ a 1/2 finger tan head that left substantial lacing on the glass. Appears beautifully viscous. Aromas of chocolate malts, molasses, and underlying dark fruits. Taste was about the same, chocolate, molasses, a touch of dark fruits, and a finish of good hop bite and bitterness to keep this from cloying. Full bodied. At 13% ABV you can only drink so much of this despite Dark Horse doing a damn fine job at masking the booze.

Pleasure to sample and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but 11.2oz. really should be split w/ a good BA buddy IMO.

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Photo of Bshaw22
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

This is one of my favorite imperial stouts. It's too bad it's so hard to get. I've had 3 bottles in my life. The one I am reviewing was a year and a 1/2 old.
Nose was intense with dark fruits and dark chocolate.
Taste was smooth across the board with nothing overpowering. One of the finest mouthfeel ever for this style.

I'll be searching these out again!

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single 12oz bottle from Famous Wines in Lombard, IL. Thanks to the beer guy there for putting this in the system at my request because they weren't selling singles of it at the time!

A: Pours a super DARK BLACK, almost as black as can be, with a very nice chocolate shake colored finger and a half of head that reduces down to a nice layer of bubbles. Leaves a nice little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells very nice, the usual chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt notes...slight bit of dark cherries and dark berries when i search for them...

T: Tastes great, with lots of both milk and bitter chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee flavor to a lesser extent (more so in the finish and aftertaste), extremely subtle alcohol flavor in there

M: One of the more creamy RIS I've had. It just feels dense and heavy. Very smooth, small bubble carbonation.

D: It's a sipper, especially because it's so heavy, but the flavor is great, the alcohol tinge is minor enough that i don't think it really affects drinkability,

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Photo of ravot
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a Plead the 5th, 2013 vintange, into a Bells Brewery snifter.

Appearance:
Pours of motor oil. Jet black. Minimal lacing on the glass. Head was minimal if any. The pour seems as if it were thick like oil.

Smell:
This bottle immediately smelled of chocolate, dark roasts of coffee. More chocolate.
Some cocoa, coconut.

Taste:
Dark roast malts, chocolate. Some slightly alcohol tasting, very good. Definitely sweet as you drink it. Some hops are hiding in there. Bitter chocolate notes in there. Being that it's ABV of 11%, hard to tell.

Mouthfeel:
Creamy, refreshing like a milk stout. Dessert like feeling.

Overall:
Man this is a great stout. Aged for a year. I feel this might better aged than fresh but now i need to take another test and get some fresh since coincidentally, distribution is right about now.
Get your hands on this, fresh or aged, you won't be disappointed in an overall solid Imperial Sout

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 892 ratings.