Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

822 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 822
Hads: 3,498
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 552
Gots: 919 | FT: 106
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:
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
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Reviews: 822 | Hads: 3,498
Photo of sculver91
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
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. (483 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (383 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (734 characters)

Photo of BradenMK
3.22/5  rDev -23.3%
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. (465 characters)

Photo of schris
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (325 characters)

Photo of Gryphon69
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
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 (800 characters)

Photo of DomD1121
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
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! (613 characters)

Photo of Beerlover
4.86/5  rDev +15.7%
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! (772 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (2,791 characters)

Photo of Qbdoo
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (553 characters)

Photo of zimm421
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
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! (1,069 characters)

Photo of tpaetow
4.45/5  rDev +6%
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! (408 characters)

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (788 characters)

Photo of andrewjraab
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (430 characters)

Photo of Copernicandream
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
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. (1,208 characters)

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.24/5  rDev +1%
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. (636 characters)

Photo of Jho3325
4.37/5  rDev +4%
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. (617 characters)

Photo of ravot
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
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 (924 characters)

Photo of N_Schleret
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (296 characters)

Photo of kdahnke123
3.74/5  rDev -11%
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. (415 characters)

Photo of truebluebums
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured in a tulip

App: Black, like an Imperial. Pours a small brown head that disappears quickly leaving almost no traces.

Smell: Cocoa, roasted malts, caramel, some espresso, dark berries, slight hops, and the alcohol is there but not readily apparent

Taste: Roasted malts with cocoa, leaning more towards sweet than bitter, good balance. Definite berry flavors in there which are a little odd but delicious none the less, adding a tart sweetness to the beer. Smooth vanilla. Warm, light espresso. Slight acidic finish but mostly covered by the roasty malt bitterness.

Not much as far as carbonation goes. A little lacking with mouth-feel but overall a great Imperial. Sets itself apart with a very interesting palate. The taste is pretty intricate. Love it. (772 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
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. (1,410 characters)

Photo of confer
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the 2013 version. I let it sit in the basement for a over six months before trying it.
It pours a dark brown with a caramel colored head that was around for only a short time.
The smell changed and got better as it warmed. At different temperatures you can smell coffee, chocolate and also prunes.
Surprisingly light for the style feels like a lot of carbonation. Taste is like a coffee with a touch of flavored cream, not very bitter only a little in the aftertaste.
This is a very nice beer which hides it's alcohol content unbelievably well. (550 characters)

Photo of Cresant
4.69/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured this 12 oz. bottle into a New Belgium globe glass. The body was dark brown and the very creamy head was dark tan. The head was smaller than expected even after a hard pour.

The smell was of sweet cocoa. Hints of vanilla and big fresh grain aroma.

The taste was sweet and creamy with significant roasty bitterness. Chocolate and vanilla. Very well hidden alcohol. So smooth and tasty, just a well constructed big stout.

The mouthfeel was medium to full and it was oh so creamy. This one exceeded my expectations. (523 characters)

Photo of chefhatt
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured some into a snifter from my brothers growler. It is black as night body with a tsmall tan head. The smell has a roasty malt aroma with chocolate notes. The taste is has roasted malt taste with chocolate coming on the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel is smooth and overall a pretty good stout. (300 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 822 ratings.