1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

3,072 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,072
Reviews: 767
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 518
Gots: 716 | FT: 80
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: 3,072 | Reviews: 767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of antoines15
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

antoines15, May 01, 2012
Photo of Scotchboy
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Scotchboy, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Gehrig, May 24, 2009
Photo of kbuzz
3.75/5  rDev -13%

kbuzz, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of thampel09
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

thampel09, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of vrbulldog22
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

vrbulldog22, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

ObeMaltKinobee, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of stumac
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this delectable brew pours up pitch black with a brown head... the nose is composed of wonderful dark chocolate malts... the taste is some alcohol, slight chocolate malts.... delicious!!!If only I could have it my way like at Burger King and order up one of these beers at my local convienence store... that would be quite convienient...

stumac, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of woodchip
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

woodchip, May 31, 2013
Photo of mjtiernan
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

mjtiernan, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of bamadog
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

bamadog, May 13, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

rowingbrewer, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of HumanParaquat
4/5  rDev -7.2%

HumanParaquat, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of HollyHops
4/5  rDev -7.2%

HollyHops, May 21, 2014
Photo of roadhouse
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

roadhouse, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Zuidman
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Zuidman, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of cfrances33
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

cfrances33, Jul 15, 2012
Photo of GeorgeCarroll
4/5  rDev -7.2%

GeorgeCarroll, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of gpblackgt
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

gpblackgt, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of Dizzy242
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Dizzy242, Nov 09, 2014
Photo of PHBoiler
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

PHBoiler, Apr 04, 2013
Photo of jjayjaye
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!!

jjayjaye, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of pwoods
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

pwoods, May 29, 2008
Photo of RichH55
5/5  rDev +16%

RichH55, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of PDXHops
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

PDXHops, May 06, 2010
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,072 ratings.