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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

869 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 869
Hads: 3,726
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 17.02%
Wants: 557
Gots: 1,015 | FT: 114
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

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
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 869 | Hads: 3,726
Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of grub! Day 2 of epic DrJay visit tasting.

Pours a deep, dark and opaque black, no light escapes, very thick brown head forms, drops a lot of lacing, settles down to a thick ring, looks like a RIS! Smell is great, tons of chocolate and fruit, toffee, coffee roast, very perfumy and floral hops, licorice, strawberries and cherries, dates, more roast and chocolate, awesome. Taste is great as well, chocolate, insane amount of roastiness, dry and chalky middle, toffee, some smoke, charred wood, burnt sugar, light bit of fruitiness, roasty bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down, but very smooth. Great imperial stout, very nice. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at EBI in Saratoga, NY.

Pours a dark black, with a half inch head that fades down to film and a little bit of foam quickly. Not much lacing.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of alcohol.

This stout uses its alcohol very well- it gives a spicy bite that plays nicely off the malty, chocolatey sweetness. There's a tiny bit of soy sauce flavor, with roasty bitterness and dark fruit flavors.

Medium to full bodied, creamy, smooth delectable mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Present but not threatening alcohol.

The bourbon barrel aged version of this is a classic, this base version is very nice as well, and holds itself up on its own.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter glass. No bottled date

(A)- Pours thick and black as night. No head ever appeared, but plenty of brown bubbles formed on the top.

(S)- Strong roasted component. Rather bready in aroma. Smells just like a slightly burnt cinnamon/ chocolate chip/ raisin bagel if there was such a combination (there should be!)

(T)- Lots of bready nuances combined with roasted coffee. Plenty of raisins mixed in with cocoa. Bits of molasses. Sweet yet almost neutral brown sugar.

(M)- Thick, thick stuff! Slightly grainy in the texture on the tongue, yet silky at the same time. Just a tad hot in the alcohol department, but I never would have guessed that it was 12%!!!!

(D)- This will stick to your ribs! What I really like about it is that the flavors dont all come out at once, but gradually one after another once you swallow. The complexities are delibrate, strong, and show themselves one after another; an adventure in the mouth so to speak. A definite sipper with no doubt though, that 12% really sneaks up on you! If you aged this for at least 2 years+, it would be absolutely incredible in my opinion.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Inky black body. Tight crown of dark brown foam. Lacing is spotty.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, anise oil, dark currant, black licorice and heavily roasted coffee bean.

Flavor: All the aromas translate nicely to the palate in this beer. The chocolate and coffee and licorice. Yeah, there's a nice combination of flavors here.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Greasy and oily to an extent, which is good. But where's the body? The girth? This beer needs more heft. Carbonation is appropriately low. Alcohol accents nicely and doesn't become toxic at all in this high octane beer. Nicely done beer overall.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage opened on 3.13.13

A - Pours a motro oil blakc with a small dark brown head that slowly fades to one side.

S - Teriyaki, chocolate, soy, and sweet.

T - Similar to the nose at this point, but more booze and heet.

D - Low carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Heavy stout with a sweet teriyaki essence. Still enjoyable.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Traded dtx00 for this one. Thank you so much Sam! Poured into a tulip glass for sniffin!

A - Deepest darkest black thick beer liquid is best to describe. Even though the ABV is high I get the minimal of dark mocha colored head that sticks with some great lacing.

S - Deep dark chocolates, bitter chocolates, bakers chocolates, heavy roast with splashes of espresso and coffee. Has a very slight cherry tone which is minimal but slightly tart.

T - Ow man I am so excited! mmm wow almost as good as ST Chocolat! Dark chocolates slightly bitter which is pretty awesome and roast is balanced with slightly bitter coffee. Creamy and thick but tasty. I love how the chocolate tones in this is like a Hershey suryp sweet and thick!

M - Alcohol is so masked the only feeling of the ABV is the burn as it hits the stomach. So warming no wonder is a winter brew!

Overall Wow just wow! So big! So smooth! Such a great brew! A real treat of a beer that hopefully I can find around town next year as craft beer continues to grow.

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

A-Pours pure midnight with a dense coffee milkshake head. Small dashes of lace stick to my pint glass. I love the color of the head. This beer is dark and beautiful. Very nice appearance.

S-Smells like Kahlua. Alcohol mixed with crispy burnt chocolate. A noticeably pungent scent. A bit of coffee as well, but the rich, deep chocolate tones are the big ticket here. Quite similar to a Mudslide.

T-The first thing I think of is a boozy drink made with chocolate syrup. Very sweet but also has some nice dark chocolate bitterness to it as well. The alcohol is clearly detectable but it really mixes beautifully with the chocolate notes. I almost get a toasty nutty flavor as well. A bit of coffee comes out too. All in all, the chocolate rules here. I might be catching some hoppy bitterness in the back end too.

M-Very thick and syrupy. Gooey is a great way to describe it. Carbonation is soft in comparison to the bulk of the feel. Feels big, tastes big...no feels huge, tastes huge.

O/D-I would probably enjoy this one a bit more in the colder weather months. Nevertheless, this chocolate-prominent stout is an ass-kicker and a tasty feast. This is a beast. I cannot even fathom what the Barrel Aged Version of this tastes like; must be why its considered a rare gem. This brew is also relatively affordable for the style coming in at about $3.80. Dark Horse is a great company; this brew is hard-nosed evidence of that.

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Photo of barczar
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black with a frothy one inch mocha head that very slowly dissipates, leaving thick sheets of lacing. Thick layer of yeast sediment left in the bottle, which I also noticed in the fore.

Chocolate, soy, roast malt, and malted milk balls form the initial aroma. Hints of dark fruit emerge as it warms, bruised raspberries, along with some nutty toffee notes and tar.

Roast malt leads the flavor, lingering throughout. Slightly sweet dark chocolate is evident initially, becoming nutty mid palate, then finishing with modestly charred breadcrust and coffee. Dark cherries and ripe raspberries underlie the flavor profile, almost becoming overwhelming in strength. Mocha surfaces in the aftertaste. Becomes boozy, which actually is a good complement.

Body is full...thick and syrupy, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Somewhat of a chameleon in flavor. One sip is roast dominant, another dark fruit. Fairly complex, with enough roast to balance the dark fruit overall, and enough chocolate to keep things from being overly bitter. Seems to just lack something that would make it exceptional. Maybe bourbon...

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Photo of dar482
4.71/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

(With a year aged.

A year in, the aroma has a bright raspberry/blueberry boozy jam aroma. Tons of umami. Coffee, sweet chocolate.

The flavor follows with tons of complexity. Alcohol is present. There’s a vodkaed blueberries, roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate. A hop bitterness that hits towards the end with a bit of umami. Caramel and molasses linger throughout.

The mouthfeel is full, but lighter than a Founders Imperial I had next to it. Lighter side of extremely viscous.

Age this beer. It inched by Founders Imperial with a year on it.)

It is a dark black color with a coffee head.

The aroma is of roasted malts and big coffee.

The flavor is of bitter chocolate, but not offensive with roasted malt and coffee. There is a beautiful clean finish. The creaminess is throughout and it does not have an alcohol bite.

The sweetness and creamy qualities carry it through, but really push the strong flavors along. It has such tasty qualities, but without being overpowering and the clean finish is wonderful.

It reminds me a bit of Imperial Biscotti and Even More Jesus. This is dangerously drinkable at 12% ABV, unlike some beers this style or bourbon aged beers.

This beer hides its 12% better than a beer like KBS. However, the cloying finish at a point that doesn't have a clean creamy finish like Ten Fidy. Love it still, but not as complete as I remember having it for the first time.

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Photo of Bung
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Black pour with brown/ruby highlights in the head. Head is not large and recedes to a thin ring. A good amount of film sticks to the glass. Roast aromas, some dark chocolate and dark fruits, port like. Smooth full body. Taste is a silky blend of dark chocolate, molasses and chocolate covered fruits. Some vanilla and barrel like qualitites. Finishes with some more chocolate and light espresso. Drinks well, but is filling. Another excellent stout offering from Dark Horse. They produce a nice line of beers under the radar in West/Central Michigan.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Cloverleaf a few weeks ago, <$3. The beer is very black with a thin tan head, less foam than usual for a RIS. The smell is rich with chocolate and roasted malts, a noticeable black licorice aroma too. The beer tastes overpowering with malty sweetness, dark fruits like prunes and raisins and plums, and black licorice or anise (but thankfully not much). Lots of previous reviewers noted a lack of body but I thought this was thick and filling. Maybe I tried the latest batch and it's been improved in some way, it was thick and oily and good. This beer is up there in Dark Horse's line-up, along with Perkolator and Double Crooked Tree.

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Photo of avalon07
3.81/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a two inch, creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A pretty good aroma of malt, chocolate, and dark fruit.

T: Tasted of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit (plums, maybe?), a smoky quality, and a bit of caramel in the finish. This is a solid flavor, but not quite as powerful and dynamic as I like to have in a stout. Still, not bad at at all.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this is a generally well done beer, it doesn't quite knock it out of the park. It certainly has its good points, though.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle that I can't remember where I got. It probably was moose3285 or Scoobydank. I've had this bottle for a year already, so I'm stoked to try it.

A: Definitely among the more impressive imperial stouts I've happened to gaze upon, this is about as black as my heart, and takes the light out of highlights. The high will be reserved for the KO, I guess. A dark brown head that hangs around surprisingly long caps this beer.

S: Super rich and thick. Soy sauce, teriyaki, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, licorice and cream are prominent. It's hysterical how *thick* this beer smells.

T: Pretty awesome. Opening up with a lot of roasted barley, this beer quickly segues into a melange of soy, teriyaki, licorice, treacle, and a slew of other good things that are bad for you. Like a sweetened dark chocolate, this is intense with the sweetness and the bitterness slugging it out on my palate. Hop character is non-existent, this is a exhibition of what dark grains can do for a beer. Oxidation is minimal, the one year that I've had this bottle hasn't imparted any raisin/port notes. The finish is great, it's long, bitter, mildly sweet with cocoa.

M: Spectacular. So freaking thick and creamy, this is what Dark Lord wants to be. The carbonation is a little higher than it needs to be, but hot damn, this awesome

D: Yeah, bye bye, sobriety. I'll see you on the morrow.

Notes: The nutter in me wonders how this beer would pair with black pudding.

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Photo of rfgetz
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black with minimal brown spotting in leiu of a head. Smell is of dark roasted malts, faint raisin and brown sugar notes, slightly alcoholic. Taste follows scent with the dark roasted grains, hints of chocolate and espresso, backed by rasin and prune notes, hints of molasses and a slightly boozy finish. Not quite full bodied, very smooth without being silky, could have been bulked up a bit. A nice RIS that doesnt overdo any particular aspect of its build. ABVs hidden suprisingly well.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle received in trade from iceicebaby. Served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque black with a quarter-inch mocha-colored head with copious ringlets that eventually settled into an inconsistent slick before finally congealing around the perimeter of the bowl. Lots of tiny bubbles lined the walls of the glass below the surface. Some bands of watery lacing, but poor adherence. Scents of dark fruit and chocolate malt. Flavors of roasted coffee, chocolate malt and dark fruit (perhaps cherries). Mouthfeel was very lively with a light carbonation burn across the top of the tongue. Body was a little thin for the style. Good drinkability; somewhere between an RIS and a foreign export stout. I have to say that I continue to be impressed by this brewery.

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Photo of THECPJ
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: oatmeal, roast, cinnamon / nutmeg,

taste: oatmeal, roast, alcohol,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body,

overall: this beer was really good. very nice blend of flavors. wish I had access to more of this beer.

Cheers,
The CPJ

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Photo of barnzy78
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. Poured black with a thin light brown head, even with an aggressive pour. Little lacing on the glass also. Aromas were of roasted malts and chocolate with hints of black licorice. I expected a plume of alcohol, but wasn't overly present. Mouth-feel is medium to thick and thickens as the stout warms. Tastes are roasted malts, chocolate, and espresso. It is boozy, but the alcohol isn't overly present given the 12% ABV. Fruity esters reminiscent of ripe dark fruits are also present as it warms. Overall, a well done RIS! Really enjoyed this one, and would recommend it. I only bought a single, but would have been satisfied with a 4-pack.

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

12oz single, no bs IV. sticker on neck notes 04/08

appearance: snifter treatment. jet black body with a thin chocolate neck, very little in the way of lacing/retention

smell: rich and chocolatey, heavily roasted, earthy peat, dark fruit

taste: nice - dark and extremely roasty, char and peat, licorice and bitter dark chocolate, cola, espresso

moutfeel: creamy and rich, seems a touch thin

drinkability: good

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Photo of drpimento
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this slightly warm, however it is still so good. Has a modest light brown head that settles after a bit down to a large island with a ring. Color is an opaque brown black. Aroma is very earthy, with roast, malt, a little hop, leather, cocoa. Flavor's like nose and very well balanced regardless of its commanding designation. And all of the components of the aroma are magnified in flavor - BAM!! In some sort of odd way severe yet warm and welcoming. Body and carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, longish, slightly alcoholic, and moderately long. A beer to be reckoned with. And slurped.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Nonic. No date or info. Thanks Sweemzander for the insane stout!

A - Poured like warmed-up syrup. Totally black as night and unrelenting in appearance, a teeny layer of brown bubbles formed with a fizz and went to a small ring.

S - Rich molasses and maple syrup with heavily roasted malts. A touch of oatmeal can be found with just a hint of coffee bean. Lightly boozy on the nose from the, I'm assuming, high ABV. [Didn't know at this point]

T - Black roasted malts create a strong bitterness that overpowers the minimal sweetness in the flavor. Maple syrup and molasses give it a breakfast-like feel minus the lack of coffee on the flavor. Boozy more so that on the aroma, it also has a teeny soy hint, almost not noticeable, but just showing it's age.

M - Moderately carbonated and smooth with a rich, syrup-like finish. Totally full-bodied and bitter from the roasted malts on the finish.

D - It could be just a touch old but it makes the wonder me wonder what the alcohol would taste like if it were young. Strong and full-bodied it's well suited to warm on a cold winter morning. I'd love to try this again.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottleneck says 3.20.14

A- Pours an intensely opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light brown head that retains well before diminishing to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves large clots behind on the glass.

S- Heavy dark roast brings notes of molasses, raisin, vanilla and...overripe banana? Wow, I've never smelled banana in a stout before but this isn't like banana notes you get from Belgians and Hefeweizens where it's fresh and sweet. This is banana that's been sitting a while and, since the malt also brings notes of chocolate it's like a chocolate-covered banana! Remarkable.

T- The dark roast sets in but is smooth at first bringing notes of dark chocolate, caramel and more molasses but then it progresses toward a heavy, bitter, charry finish. There's that banana again. I swear, this is uncanny. Booze is there and plays off the heavy flavors well resulting in a great drinkability for the ABV. Slightly sweet.

M- Creamy, thick and chewy. Medium-low carbonation and the fullest of bodies.

O- A powerhouse of a stout with intense flavors but a great delivery.

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

on tap at devils den in philly

Pours inky black and fairly thick with a crop of tanned head, leaving a cloud of film, with spots of lacing left on the glass.

Super heavy dark chocolate nose with bitterness and caramel, roasted malts and alcohol warmth with residual sweetness.

Similar taste with waves of chocolate and cocoa, very dark with some hop bitterness. Syrup and caramel with a beefy roasted dark malt backbone. Some hints of dark fruit with raisin. Finishes w some more hop bitterness and booze, residual chocolate sweetness.

Full bodied and carbed, thick creamy and sticky. Great flavor with chocolate in the forefront, a bit boozy but not out of control. I'd definitely drink this again.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.
A: Pitch black. No light passes through. A couple fingers of a creamy head. This is the definition of the word viscous

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder. Some burnt sugar. Almost everything I'm looking for in a stout.

T: Sweet carmel malt flavors mixed with bitter dark chocolate and a little hop bite mixed into the finish. Wonderful blend of sweetness and bitterness. .

M: Big body with a creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is just right.

I would have thought this beer was under 9% ABV if the label didn't say otherwise. More please...

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: dark black oily bodied beer without any head. Maybe a really thin ring of white. Poured the beer really hard, it might have no head because its right out of the fridge with no time to warm up.

Smell: deep roast and chocolate malts. Earthy and mild smoke. It smells assertive, but not overdone.

Taste: Bitter sweet chocolate or maybe bakers cocoa with a mild bitterness / roastiness upfront. Smoke and coffee notes blend nicely together midpalate. Just a hint of black licorice, leather, oak/woodiness, and molassess in the finish. The leathery note remains into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This beer is at the high end of a moderate bodied beer with low carbonation levels. The beer has a wonderful mouthfeel thats really chewy and creamy. Its also silky and smooth. No booze to this beer at all, it seriously drinks like is 7 to 8% ABV stout, but its 12%! Alcohol is very well hidden and thats an understatement.

Overall: I see why BB Plead the Fifth is such a great beer. This base stout is a really wonderful and enjoyable beer! Dark Horse really brews a nice RIS here!

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Photo of champ103
3.67/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque black color. At first a two finger tan head forms, but recedes in a second. Not a lot of lace.
S: Big roasted malt up front. Chocolate, coffee, and sweet toffee. Lots of smoke as well. Very nice.
T: Follows the nose. All the roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and smoke you would expect. Just a bit metallic and astringent though.
M/D: A big full body that is low on the carbonation. Syrupy and sticky. A huge amount of alcohol, with plenty of heat. Though not hard to sip on.

This is very enjoyable, like everything from Dark Horse. Though a bit to astringent, and not as complex as other examples of a RIS. Basically the same thing as the Fore Smoke Stout, but with a ton more alcohol. Something that is still very much worth a try though.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 869 ratings.