Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 2,729 | Reviews: 749 | Display Reviews Only:
3.68/5 rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
11% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with cool label and branded pry-off cap acquired in a trade and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given both its current high ratings and the recommendation of blakelive784, a trusted friend who shares my tastes for the most part.
Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
A: Pours a quarter finger wide head of gorgeous rich tan colour. Good creaminess and thickness. Not too frothy or fluffy; instead it's supple and luscious. Retention is quite good considering the ABV - about 3-4 minutes, though it does gradually reduce to a floater ring, losing presence in the middle at about the 1.5 minute mark. Nice even consistent lacing as the head recedes. Silky smooth complexion. Somewhat soft looking.
Body colour is an opaque solid dark black; not quite a jet black. Might even have dark ruby hues a la Guinness. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.
Overall, it's in league with good to great imperial stouts, but it doesn't stand out as unique. It's certainly within conventions, and excels therein. Really looking forward to trying it.
Sm: Sweet chocolate, fudge, cacao, toffee, cream, marshmallow, buried roast, chocolate, chocolate malt, dark malts, and - interestingly - buried dark fruit, including plum. Some fig as well. Surprisingly lactic for an imperial stout. Not getting any oats. I'd love more roast. Definitely on the sweeter end, but it doesn't seem like it'll taste cloying. No yeast or alcohol comes through. No hop character is evident. I imagine the dark fruit will develop as it warms. Hints of vanilla. Caramel. Sticky molasses. Lots of depth here, and it certainly seems complex. The only thing that has me a bit worried is the sweetness.
A pleasant aroma of moderate strength. Definitely amongst the better aromas for the style.
T: Ah yeah. Sweet chocolates mixed with a great creaminess and some light truffle. Toffee complements the aforementioned. Any chocolate malt, caramel, and dark malts are seamlessly integrated, never taking away from the chocolate in the limelight. Marshmallow lends it a nuanced cohesion. Sweet but nicely so; not at all cloying. The aftertaste is a kiss of plum with a hint of fig. Feels naturally constructed; it's well put together and no note stands out as inappropriate. No off flavours. Good depth and intensity of flavour. Pretty good duration of flavour. Nibbles of sweet vanilla. No real sticky molasses comes through; that was aromatic only - and that's a good thing. Cocoa. Some milky/lactic notes more in line with a milk stout.
I look for coffee and roast, but sadly they're missing here. Not getting any oats either. In any case, it's got interesting subtlety and notable complexity. There's a fair amount going on here, but the best examples of the style do provide more.
A case could be made that raisin and licorice are present, but it's hard for me to discern.
I'm not getting any yeast character, alcohol, or pronounced hop character. Any hopping was purely preservative.
Overall, it's tasty and I quite like it.
Mf: Silky smooth, creamy, and wet. Thick. Unrefreshing. Not hot, oily, hushing, harsh, or biting. Carbonation is well done, if a bit high. Complements the flavour profile quite well, but I wouldn't quite say that it feels custom-tailored to it. The texture facilitates delivery of the many notes from the flavour profile. Sticky. Rich. Extravagant, with a decadence I've noticed only in the finest beers of this style; call this characteristic an intangible if you fancy. Overall, it's got good presence on the palate, but it is just a biteen syrupy - and a fair bit sticky as well.
Dr: The sweetness does get more nagging as you get lower in the bottle, leaving me to conclude that I wouldn't want more than one bottle in a night. In any case, it's definitely meant to be savored. But damn if I wouldn't want another the next night! It's damn drinkable for the style, and very impressive overall, but it stops short of great. Hides its ABV well. I'm very excited to try the bourbon barrel aged variant; I've got one in me cellar in Colorado. This is a fine beer that lives up to its reputation and I can't see anyone being disappointed with it. A solid brew from Dark Horse - a brewery that after only two beers has seized my attention. I'll definitely seek this out again, as well as other Dark Horse brews. Wow.
Serve chilled and let warm.
Pair with chocolate covered cherries or dessert fondue. A simple neutral cheese would also be apt.
Drank just grand out of a stem-tulip; I'd recommend either that or a snifter.
I got more and more dark fruit as it warmed, including blueberry, date, and even grape. Bravo.
Serving type: bottle
07-11-2013 04:23:41 | More by kojevergas
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,729 ratings.