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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

2,340 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2340
Reviews: 732
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: 2,340 | Reviews: 732 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unbelievably this is the first time I have had this beer...crazy.Pours jet black like an oil slich with a thinner beige head atop,like thick crude.Chocolate and black licorice in the nose along roast and sweet alcohol.Heavy roast and earthiness intertwined with alcohol dipped dark druit and deep molasses sweetness with that black licorice coming into play as well,whoo this big and complex.Big and chewey this is a sipper that Iam drinking at 6:00,it could be an early bedtime tonigh because I have three more to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 22:11:29 | More by oberon
Photo of Resuin
Resuin

Massachusetts

4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a teku glass. It looks like the bottle says 03.05.14 so this is pretty fresh.

Appearance: Pours jet black and leaves two fingers of tan/light-medium brown head which fades pretty quickly to a layer atop the beer.

Smell: Big roasted malts, coffee, fudge-like chocolate, some dark fruits, a hint of cherry. Fairly decadent. Very nice aroma.

Taste: Matches the smell until the finish which is a bit more bitter. Roasted malts, fudge, coffee, vanilla, marshmallow, a bit of char. Slightly bitter finish. ABV is masked really well.

Mouth-feel: Low carbonation with a thick, creamy body. Finishes smooth.

Overall: A very impressive stout. Rich, thick body with a decadent aroma and wonderful flavor. Really tasty.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 21:22:51 | More by Resuin
Photo of stdaniel
stdaniel

North Carolina

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

A: Dark coffee, minimal chestnut colored head that disapates quickly.

S: Roasted malts, coffee, hint of vanilla, overall typical of an imperial stout

T: Roasted/charred malt, but not overpowering. Again, coffee, vanilla, sweetness. Balanced out very nicely with the high ABV. Not boozy at all.

M: Creamy, luxurious. Even the last few sips had that hit of carbonation that cuts through the sweetness.

O: No aging necessary for this impressive example of a RIS.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 23:32:08 | More by stdaniel
Photo of barhoc11
barhoc11

Michigan

4.76/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Darkest of dark, looks like used motor oil but in a good way. little to no head on the beer.

S: Sweet roast smell, one of the best smelling RIS's I have had

T: Just as it smells, very sweet with the roasted malt finish. As with most RIS's, this gets better as it warms

M: Nicely carbonated and thick in your mouth, just as it should for this style

O: This is one of my favorite RIS's, it pushes the limits of the style but in a very good way. It is hard to tell this is 11% abv

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 23:26:40 | More by barhoc11
Photo of Immortale25
Immortale25

North Carolina

4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 02:34:28 | More by Immortale25
Photo of lochef81
lochef81

Michigan

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

Having tried the other four stouts in Dark Horse's vertical, I was very excited to sample the fifth and final offering. It did not dissappoint. This ale pours black with a very small and short lived tan head that leaves a slight film and lacing. The aroma has an over abundance of dark chocolate followed by a lesser amount of coffee, burnt caramel, and vanilla. The nose is the best thing about this beer. The flavor follows the nose but is more subdued. All the notes are there as in the nose but they just are not as dynamic. The coffee is more pronounced particularly in the bitter finish of the ale. Other than the finish it is a rather sweet stout. The mouthfeel is a little thinner than I expected but smooth and satisfying none the less. This is damn good but maybe not as rich and complex as some of the other offerings in this category. Can't wait to see how it ages.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 03:37:30 | More by lochef81
Photo of hplascencia1024
hplascencia1024

California

3.74/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle into a snifter

A: Pitch black with no head whatsoever

S: nice dark chocolate, roasty notes, caramel, nice sweetness

T: dark chocolate, slight coffee, heavy roast, slight alcohol burn

M: very light, nice carbonation, I would like it to be thicker(just my preference for the style)

O:A very good stout, but there are a ton of better stouts out there. not disappointing but not world class IMHO

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2014 04:40:55 | More by hplascencia1024
Photo of Apatschinn
Apatschinn

Iowa

4.76/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

App. - Pitch black pour. Nearly opaque in the glass. Virtually no head at all with little lacing.

Smell - All things chocolate. Light amount of coffee mixed as well. Very impressive.

Taste - Fails to keep up with the smell. Heavier coffee aftertaste that quickly dissipates. Great initial flavor though!

Mouth. - Light and smooth, very impressed.

Over. - Great beer I got from a friend in a trade, Would definitely love to see this on tap nearby!

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 03:18:06 | More by Apatschinn
Photo of sculver91
sculver91

Iowa

4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A - Didn't get much of a head, but appeared a dark oil black/brown.

S - Strong dark chocolate smell, but really sweet smelling.

T - caramel and coffee, deep rich molasses. For an 11% abv beer, it surely didn't taste like it

M - Not much carbonation during the pour, but lots in the mouth. Great texture

D - Ridiculously smooth. Great flavor, can't put it down.

O - Solid stout. Heavy chocolate and coffee flavors, and had a great appearance. Definitely very good beer.

Bottled.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 02:55:15 | More by sculver91
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Horse Plead the 5th on tap at the Beer Trappe in Lexington

Near black and opaque in the glass, with dark brown showing at the edges.  Durable head but little lacing. 

Great aroma!  Rich and moderately complex, it suggests great flavor.  The flavor doesn't quite keep up but is outstanding. 
ABV well hidden in the nose, in the flavor, and in the feel.

Full body; smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2014 23:59:54 | More by chinchill
Photo of siege06nd
siege06nd

Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottles into Dogfish Head snifter...

A. Inky black with chocolate brown edges. A half finger of tan head with some mild bubbles sticking to the glass. Leaves a sheen of oily slick on the glass with each swirl.

S. Dark chocolate, fudge, traces of herbal and piney hops, blackstrap molasses, and suggestions of fruit.

T. Chocolate, caramel, some strawberry and cherry, roasted coffee grounds and even some char in a dry finish.

M. Coats the palate with a thick and chewy body. Good flavor integration and nice balance. Sweet, chocolatey, and fruity upfront and a slightly ashy, classic finish.

O. An excellent Imperial Stout. It's full bodied, filling, and flavorful with excellent booze-masking. Hits all of the right notes.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 18:27:23 | More by siege06nd
Photo of BradenMK
BradenMK

Ohio

3.21/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a weird beer for me. I don't know if my palate is wrecked by something... it shouldn't be... but I was feeling under the weather today. EDIT: Hmm... my palate is indeed wrecked. I am currently drinking a Founders Imperial Stout and I taste nothing but chocolate covered raisins...

I will have to return to this one at a later date. Unfortunately for me, this is the first 5th I've ever seen and was the only one on the shelf. Hopefully I can find another.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 03:12:10 | More by BradenMK
Photo of schris
schris

Illinois

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

This is a great, complex beer. No oats in the recipe that I know of but there's a smoothness that is reminiscent of an oatmeal stout. Big and bold on the nose. Main body of the flavor is bitter chocolate with some coffee. Some sweetness lingers on the finish. Solid offering, I'd like to get the barrel aged version some day.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 01:20:28 | More by schris
Photo of Gryphon69
Gryphon69

Michigan

4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

snifter at the brewery, followed by a growler at home.

A- Black, no light seeping thru..anywhere, this even pours thick and syrupy. Dark head that fades after a few minutes. Laces up the sides and just...sticks to the glass.

S- Dark roasted malts, chocolate, hints of plums and other dark fruits, some noticeable alcohol.

T- My oh my, chocolates, dark roast, right up front and very balanced. Some dark fruits in the middle that linger, and not a sweet type fruit. Finish is kinda of dry with a slight alcohol burn.

M- The best, very thick, and syrupy, sticky, it gets stuck in the cracks of your teeth. chewy and lingering.

O- At the moment its one of the best RIS ive had the pleasure of drinking. Hope I can find it in bottles somewhere to add to my shelf. I highly recommend this to everyone

Serving type: growler

03-17-2014 00:12:40 | More by Gryphon69
Photo of DomD1121
DomD1121

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Very thick, black, syrupy pour. Very little head that disappears fast.

Smell: Very rich, malty, lots of coffee, with a very slight chocolate sweetness tones.

Taste: This is a VERY tasty beer. Very smooth, rich malt flavor with coffee and a little sweetness at the beginning. Finishes off with a slightly boozy bite, but not at all overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant. Creamy, smooth, and full-bodied.

Overall: This beer is fantastic. If you can get your hands on it, DO IT. I am not a huge stout drinker, but this one has really made an impression on me. I will be picking up more very soon!

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 03:42:50 | More by DomD1121
Photo of Beerlover
Beerlover

Minnesota

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: pours pretty thick out of bottle, like a black snake, thick dark khaki head.
S: very faint on the aromas, picking up dark roasted malt of course slight bittersweet chocolate and booziness.
T: whoa! this is awesome! a perfect example in flavor of a r.i.s;! really nothing lacking in the flavor department, has a good roasty-ness not too much some sweet chocolate flavors no coffee or licorice to speak of but a touch of caramel and vanilla, and the a.b.v in this guys is very well masked, I'd guess it to be right around 7 to 7.5. the malt profile is great and I'm not picking up any hoppiness.
M: great! medium low to low carbonation, leaves a silky slickness on the palate, yum!
O.A. this is a delicious example of an American r.i.s., find it, buy it, try it, like it!

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 00:19:50 | More by Beerlover
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 Qbdoo
Qbdoo

Illinois

4.79/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

From a bottle, pours black as night with hardly any head (despite three tries), though what you get is a dark tan.

Scent is not powerful: roasted malt, coffee.

Taste: roasted malt, coffee, a little chocolate, There's just a bit of booze, but not too much. There are Russian imperial stouts that have too much, but this - despite 11% abv, is just right.

Mouthfeel is unbelievable: thick, creamy with a light carbonation. Probably the best mouthfeel of any stout, maybe any beer.

This may be my new favorite beer. Wish it were more readily available.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 00:41:22 | More by Qbdoo
Photo of zimm421
zimm421

Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip. Appears a dark brown, nearly black, with one finger of tan head. The head dissipates fairly quickly, but leaves a ring around the glass, and has nice lacing.

The nose is full of deep roastiness and wonderful dark and milk chocolates. Not overwhelmingly powerful, but the notes are there (just too weak for me). The taste is again full of chocolate, some dark fruits, smoke and a wonderfully roasted malt finish. This is just what I'm looking for in a stout: not something that is overwhelming in one direction or another, but is wonderfully balanced in all aspects. The alcohol is very well hidden, and everything works together very well.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied, with low carbonation, and a finish that isn't overly sticky. Overall, this is a very good imperial stout, with wonderfully complex and subtle flavors. This is also something that I can drink over and over again, not something that is so overwhelming that you're knocked out after one. Really hope I can try the barrel aged version at some point!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 00:58:32 | More by zimm421
Photo of tpaetow
tpaetow

Missouri

4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- thick, black, tan head, half a finger that dissipated quickly

S- dark chocolate, coffee, bit of caramel sweetness but not much

T- similar to smell but I also get some berry notes. Really nice.

M- medium to full bodied, lighter than I had expected for a stout this big. Hides its alcohol well.

O- this is a tasty RIS. I don't like it as much as the barrel aged version, but it's a really tasty stout!

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 03:00:04 | More by tpaetow
Photo of SD-Alefan
SD-Alefan

South Dakota

4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Center pour from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

What a lovely pour. A deep rich (nearly black) mahogany with a nice brownish-red foam that quickly dissipates to less than half a finger.

The smell is incredible! I get caramel, toffee, chocolate, perhaps prune, roasted coffee and a bit of booziness.

The first taste: A little bite of booze then a hit of sweetness and fruit followed by dark chocolate and raisin. The aftertaste is dark chocolate, slightly bitter and creamy. It lingers on the tongue, awaiting the next sip.

The mouthfeel is wonderful. Full and creamy with a late tingle on the tongue from the carbonation.

Overall, this is a great beer. Full of wonderful smells and flavors. I feel like the next time I have it, I'll be picking up different layers. I can't wait.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 02:27:24 | More by SD-Alefan
Photo of andrewjraab
andrewjraab

Michigan

4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a opaque oily black with a dark brown pancake batter (oily) head. Wonderful smell of campfire, malts, vanilla, roasted malts, coffee. The taste follows the nose with some added semi sweetness up front (raisins, figs) followed by a drying dark chocolate. Some smoke detected in the back end. Overall this is a must have kick ass RIS. I purchased two wight the idea of aging one, but I don't think I can wait. Phenomenal brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 00:57:47 | More by andrewjraab
Photo of Copernicandream
Copernicandream

Michigan

4.89/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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

A: Impenetrable dark black, very minimal frothy head on a moderately aggressive pour that faded to nothing almost immediately <30 sec.

S: Chocolate, espresso, roasted malt, difficult to place - dark berries, red wine???

T: The taste is much more subdued than the smell. Essentially just heavy rich roasted malt. A little alcohol in the aftertaste. I get some dark chocolate bitterness, im sure hops are also involved but they're mild. The same ?blackberry, black raspberry, and what chilhood memories tell me are elderberries? come out with warmth - this is very subtle and I clearly am having a hard time nailing it down. Lets just say "dark fruit ester."

M: Full bodied, rich and creamy. Big bad beer. This is perfect, what you expect when you hear Imperial Stout. Moderate warmth from the 11%. Carbonation is mild and extremely fine.

O: Perhaps the, if not one of the best imperial stouts I have ever tasted. This blows the socks of Founders booze bomb, which I very much respect. Very complex and full bodied providing a filling feeling along with a complex palate. I can see why people wait in line for the BA version, it would likely be amazing.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 01:32:22 | More by Copernicandream
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
Beer-A-Lot

Virginia

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

A - Kind of a small head that doesn't retain too long. Yet, still appealing in appearance.

S - Notes of chocolate and espresso.

T - This beer has a very unique taste and feel in that it has the "bigness" of a barrel-aged stout, without the burn. I keep waiting for it to come, because of the boldness of flavors and abv, but it never comes. which is ok. It gives you a slightly different experience. The taste is superb.

M - Full bodied, creamy, substantial.

O - A superb beer that doesn't disappoint. I liked my second one (days later) than my first. Maybe I pulled it from the fridge too soon on the first because I couldn't wait.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 00:39:44 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of Jho3325
Jho3325

Indiana

4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night. It gave a thin mocha colored head that dissipated relatively quickly. The beer sticks to the glas as you drink it.

Smell is of coffee and chocolate with definite roasted qualities.

Taste has a hint of coffee and chocolate. As it warms the dark berry flavor takes over. Very sweet with almost a bubblegum type taste to it. However the sweetness is cubed by the roasted elements.

It has a thick mouthfeel with a slight burn on the way down. Even still the 11% alcohol is not overpowering.

This is a great RIS. I look forward to trying this with some age on it. Well done and I would recommend.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 03:58:42 | More by Jho3325
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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,340 ratings.