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

823 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 823
Hads: 3,499
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 552
Gots: 920 | FT: 105
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: 823 | Hads: 3,499
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)

Photo of GilGarp
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up when I was in Ohio a few years ago. Likely a 2010 bottle.

Seved slightly chilled in a goblet. Plead the 5th is nearly black in color and only the slightest bit of light passes through the edges. Viscous appearance with basically no head.

Aroma is richand roasty with wonderful chocolate notes.

Flavor is rich and robust with dark roasted malts and bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and low in carbonation. Alcohol is present but subdued probably because of the age.

Overall an excellent imperial stout but hard to get in these parts. Maybe worth bringing home again in the future. (609 characters)

Photo of tastybeer
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A good looking beer....Totally opaque, deep brown color, modest light brown head, and nice lace. Aroma is an easy going mix of dark chocolate, cocoa, dark berries, plums, vanilla bean, and perhaps a hint of smoke. Deep and smooth aromas... Taste is very chocolatey with some caramel, creamy vanilla, and lactose sweetness. Slight piney bitterness works its way through. Very yummy; dessert in a glass. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth, coating, and almost silky. Overall an excellent Russian Imperial Stout. Chocolate chocolate chocolate. (535 characters)

Photo of JohnG190
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as pitch with a quickly dissipating dark brown head. Lots of lacing. Aromas of chocolate, burnt sugar, coffee, and dark roasted grain. Flavor follows the aroma with chocolate and roasted grain dominating. Finishes dry with a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. Full bodied with very little carbonation, this is a very smooth Imperial Stout. Overall, a very well crafted beer that goes down surprisingly easy in spite of the 11% ABV. (443 characters)

Photo of Neorebel
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Plead the 5th looks almost perfect... pitch black, with a thin, off white ring around the perimeter of the glass. Splash of tan in the center. Visible and minimal carbonation. Aroma is very heavy... dark chocolate cake, dark fruits, some sour cherry, and it is indeed very roasty. Flavor wise, that roasty, toasted malt aspect comes through in a big way. Secondary to that are the pleasing coffee and chocolate notes. It does start off very smooth, and appropriately fades out into a very dry finish. There is a very strong 'campfire' aspect to this as well, which could turn some people off. I rather like it, myself. The mouth feel is medium-heavy, and overall, this is an interesting blend of sweet and smoky. Recommended for any RIS head. (742 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 batch

Beautiful pitch black beer, surprisingly minimal and fizzy burnt mocha head. Decadent aroma of milk chocolate and vanilla sweetness, dark stone fruits, bakers chocolate, and faded espresso. Some decent amount of roast, a little ash. Taste is huge - bursting with rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, and dark roast coffee. The vanilla sweetness is prominent in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is full, oily, creamy with very soft carbonation.

My favorite of the Michigan winter imperial stouts (Expedition, FIS). Incredibly rich chocolate flavor enhanced with the most vibrant vanilla for a non-vanilla aged stout. Very balanced - exceptional. (656 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2009 bottle poured into a goblet.

The beer pours black as night with just a small ring of cocoa colored head around the edge of the pour. I'm getting a strong sweetness and fairly intense roast in the nose. I'm also getting some dark fruit and warm alcohol. More of the same follows in the taste. Lots of roast, but the age has made sure it isn't abrasive. Dark fruit and bitter dark chocolate along with some smoke. The finish is bitter and warm from the alcohol. I'm glad I didn't drink this fresh, I think it would have been too bitter for my tastes. The smoke/roast flavors stick with you well after your done with each sip. The body is really thick with smooth carbonation and the finish is dry.

Overall: I enjoyed this one but I don't think I'd like it as much fresh. I had it side by side with a fresher barrel aged version, and the barrel really does some magic. I'd definitely have more of this one, but I won't go out of my way to get it. (950 characters)

Photo of ohiobeer29
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've tried this beer many times and never been thrilled with it until now now I get why people really enjoy this beer a nice balance of dark malts,chocolate and heat behind it a well put together stout will def be buying more next year (235 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 4 pack of this in Charlton, and according to the notes it is a 2011 vintage. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice deep brown almost black hue with a good quarter inch dark chocolate hue that does not really fade, just settles down to a creamy blanket. Quite solid, light lacing. Good for the ABV.

S - Strong dark chocolate, almost acrid roast, slight almost leather notes, earthy bitter char. Alcohol is not really noticeable.

T - Taste is lots of almost chalky dark chocolate, charred bitterness, light campfire notes, dark fruits. Pretty straightforward.

M - Mouthfeel is creamy, very, very lightly carbonated. Alcohol is hidden very nicely.

O - Overall this is pretty solid. Nothing earth shattering but age is helping this along quite nicely. (772 characters)

Photo of nataku00
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Was told it's a 2013 batch. Beer pours dark opaque black with some brown tints and no head. Some alcohol legs when you swirl it but not much head formation.

Nose is medium roasted coffee, sweet and nutty, with some bittersweet chocolate, prune, and a bit of dark roasted burnt malt.

Taste follows the nose, roasted coffee forward, darkly roasted but not burnt but some toasty and nutty flavors come through. Bitter sweet chocolate and dark fruit flavors mingle but the roasted coffee and malt is main flavor. Some lingering coffee flavors on the tongue.

Full body, silky on the tongue with some surprisingly active carbonation that pricks at the tongue lightly. For 11% abv, the beer has no hint of alcohol despite being released this year. A very good imperial stout. (807 characters)

Photo of MNishCT77
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle obtained on trade (thanks, Greg Radwich!), unknown bottling date (suspected 2012 vintage), poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 9/25/13 over an hour

A: 2/3 - black as a goth at a rave, no clarity, poured with little carbonation and not evident throughout the drinking, big alcohol legs as expected at 11% ABV

S: 10/12 - bitter dark chocolate, tobacco, leather and strong alcohol notes reminiscent of a rum

T: 17/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a moderate bitterness - dark chocolate and coffee flavors predominate; in the middle of the mouth, the malt complexity and alcohol really take over without residual/cloying sweetness; a mild bitter chocolate/coffee taste persists for 5-10 seconds and invites another-and-another sip

M: 3/5 - big chewy body, alcohol burn...but little-to-no carbonation

O: 8/10 - there was a lot of hype surrounding this beer, and, although it's a solid RIS, Pt5th unfortunately disappointed me; the major problem is the undercarbonation; I know that one cannot expect (nor should want) a highly carbonated RIS at 11% ABV, yet carbonation is critical for the flavor/aroma and mouthfeel; yet, there are some great flavor profiles here, and, as a result, would be very interested in trying the 14% ABV bourbon barrel-aged version

TOTAL = 40/50 (1,293 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

tap

Pours jet black, tan lacing for a head.

Smells of oak, cocoa and salted caramel. Maybe some coffee too.

Flavor is of caramel, oak, a bit of bourbon, toasted biscuit malts, a hint of vanilla, and non-acidic coffee. Rich but not cloying.

Full, creamy body with a light tingle of carbonation on the tongue.

Fantastic stout, one of the best I've had in a while and easily up there with Old Rasputin and Founder's Breakfast. I could have this again and again, and highly recommend it. (492 characters)

Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - dark oil pour, rich caramel head, and great lacing!

Smell - roasted chocolate caramel with a barrel aged smell that is great.

Taste - rich frothy chocolate boozy greatness.

Mouthfeel - frothy smooth delicious feel

Overall - wow I am glad I got this beer in a trade. Such a great beer. Imperial stout done right! (328 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A really outstanding RIS. Obtained in a trade with either TMoney2591 or Woodchopper. I let this one sit for a while....wouldn't keep another one this long....tastes too good.

Pours a dark brown, dense with absolutely no light getting through. Small brown head...dark as Ten Fidy with limited retention and little lacing. To be expected in this strong a beer.

Aroma is fabulous....Noticeable as soon as you manage to get the cap off underneath the grey waxy stuff that coats the bottle. Malts, dark chocolate, molasses type sweetness and vanilla. A potent concoction with all aromas just right.

Taste dos not disappoint either. Rich toasted malt background, molasses like sweetness, chocolate taste is restrained and just right and a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is luxuriously rich and very smooth except for a mild alcohol presence, warming effect...keeps you from quickly slurping up this goodness.

One of the better RIS I have ever had. Great experience!!!! Thanks to my Illinois connection!!! (999 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A viscose motor oil pour fills the vessel with a creamy, nutmeg head that lingered around a bit. Skim lacing covering, well lasting leaving a film lace coating.

S: Dark chocolate, cocoa, milky chocolate, vanilla of strong indications. Small charred bitterness, earthy roasted chocolate. No alcohol awareness for 11.0%.

T: Earthy bitter roast, fresh, darkly bitter with vanilla and charred bitterness. Bakers chocolate, burnt toffee, campfire minerality, roasted barley. Dark fruit of prunes, whiskey breath and smoky charrdness.

M: Malty body, viscose with a honey-cream substance, and syrupy texture. Softly carbonated with a bite of roasted burnt bitterness and alcohol on the swallow.

O: Overall drinks amazingly well for 11.0, well concealed alcohol. Dark, beautifully roasted bitterness with a silky nature. The only pleading here is for another bottle. all around outstanding. (893 characters)

Photo of mhksuccess
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from bottle into founder snifter glass
dark no head just a little line
smell is malt and heavy chocolate
taste is so smooth nice slight chocolate not as much as the smell would indicate
nice mouthfeel not super thick or thin great consistency
little lacing on the glass
would definite get again this is a class stout very nice (334 characters)

Photo of neophilus
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wicked Dark Beer.

Smells like sweet toffee, caramel, fresh baked coffee rolls with a hint of espresso.

Roasty flavor up front, more of a roasty edge than the aroma suggests. Solid malt body with dark brown bread and raisin-pumpernickel notes. Sticky-sweetness sets in with strong tones of dark chocolate. Eventually settles into a luscious dark-chocolate brownie flavor. Thick creamy body, little to no alcohol heat.

It's like drinking a really indulgent dessert. (467 characters)

Photo of thegodfather2701
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

I received this beer in a trade a little over three years ago, so take that into consideration when reading my review.

A-Poured into a snifter rather hard and there was no head, which wasn't surprising given its age. It poured very dark, nearly pitch black and looked very thick, even for the style.

S-dark chocolate, hint of roasted malt, dark fruits, espresso, molasses, and alcohol. Fairly complex, but at times the alcohol really seemed strong.

T-The flavor profile consisted of dark chocolate, dark fruits, alcohol, and espresso. However, the flavor was not as strong as I expected, especially for the style it seemed somewhat mild.

M-Rather thick and creamy, one of the highlights of this beer.

D-Very drinkable given for the style due to its milder flavor, but still a sipper given its high alcohol content.

Overall, I wouldn't consider this one of the best versions of the style. However, I would like to try it fresher to see if the flavor is stronger. I did enjoy it and would drink it again. (1,008 characters)

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip. 2013 vintage.

Plead the Fifth pours a full onyx color with a rumbling mocha froth. The head recedes gradually, leaving the dark, viscous liquid with just a small island and a ring of tightly wound bubbles.

The aroma is deep and full, with an emphasis on dark chocolate and espresso notes. The dark chocolate is the strongest and deepest presence in my nose, with espresso, roasted malt, and a bit of oatmeal as well. Not much in the way of dark fruits.

Each sip has a huge burst of flavor. It starts off with a moderate sweetness that comes through with the dark chocolate, with full roasted notes unraveling in my mouth. There are some mostly hidden dark fruits in the middle, with a bitterness that grows along with a creamy espresso flavor. The bitterness seems to linger in the aftertaste and accumulate with each sip.

This beer is thick, although the body is not quite as big as I was expecting. There is a stickiness to it, but it is not overwhelming. I prefer a gentler body than an overly thick and syrupy body, for sure. With the alcohol well-hidden as well, this beer definitely drinks like a 8% imperial stout. The carbonation is creamy and adds a layer of smoothness to the beer.

Dark Horse makes some nice beers in the high ABV range. This is a strong imperial stout by any standard. (1,344 characters)

Photo of jeff1973
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Schlafly tulip. Date code was rubbed off, think it is the latest bottling (2013??). Thanks Beerbyrd.

A - Pitch black. Mocha colored head with medium-low head that dissipates very fast.

S - Semi-sweet chocolate, dried cherries, a little raw grain.

T - Big-time chocolate covered cherries, then a nice roasty bitter finish that balances and dries the beer out.

M - Medium thick, would like it a bit thicker and chewier. medium low carbonation that is spot on for this beer.

O - Taste is excellent. On the sweeter side of RIS's. Wish the mouthfeel was a bit thicker, but a trivial flaw. (622 characters)

Photo of JeffBrenner
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on draft in 10oz goblet. Pours a jet black with next to no carbonation. Minimal dark ring of head. Has a nice smell of chocolate and coffee. Surprisingly smooth for coming in at 11%. The coffee stout taste really hides the boozyness well. Has a nice smooth feel to it, not too creamy like a lot of stouts. Love the name. Would definitely be a repeat buyer and I'm not usually a fan of stouts. (396 characters)

Photo of becktone
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Eye: Pours jet black with a two finger brown head which is creamy in texture. Head retention is decent, it slowly falls to a still creamy head one finger high. As I drink it there are fat rings of lace on the glass.

Nose: Aroma fills the room once it is poured into a glass. Roasted malts and chocolate aromas are evident. Dark fruit aromas as well-prunes. Slight burnt aroma. Spot on for the style. The aroma doesn't wow me, but it is good and right on for the style.

Tongue: Roast, chocolate, slight burnt tones, bitterness from the roast and alcohol make up the flavors of this beer. It warms a bit as it goes down. Carbonation is low and the body is full. Body is full and sticks around a bit on the palate after swallowing. Sweetness upfront-chocolate flavors are balanced by roasty tones and bitterness from the roasted barley as well as alcohol. There are some hops in there, not that you can taste them, but just there in the back there is some bitterness from the hops.

Drinkability: This is a great beer. One I'll be looking for again. Definitely worth the try. However, I think my go to may still be Old Rasputin. I only bought a single bottle of this so I'm not sure what the going price is on a 4/6er of this is but that would really determine it for me. (1,271 characters)

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured in a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep black color forming a medium creamy thin bubbled and very dark beige head. Few spotty and lingering lacings left in the glass

S: Roasted malts and strong notes of dark chocolate and roasted malts. Flowery hops and booze in the very end

T: Slightly sweet upfront followed by roasted and caramel tastes. Biscuity. Dark chocolate, dark fruits. Oak. Complex. end is bitter which is a mix of roasted malts and hops

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium carbonation. Sweet roasted aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. Great Imperial Stout (599 characters)

Photo of deebo
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the BB version on tap and loved it so had to pick up a 4 pack of the non barrel aged version. Looks like this was bottled in Feb. 2013 (052-13) and a bottle has been in my fridge ever since. Taking advantage of this unseasonably chilly July day to crack this warmer.

A-Poured into an oversized snifter this brew gives up a thin finger of mocha colored head. Doesn't stick to the glass much but a film sticks to the top of the brew while enjoying. Black and opaque as motor oil. This looks intimidating.

S-Smells delcious. This is a big time stout. Aroma is heavy malt-rich dark chocolate just jumps out. Sweet syrupy chocolate with the alcohol character reminds me a bit of Bailey's liquer.

T-Very much like the aroma. Chocolately malt with a nice warming finish. Pretty light on the bitterness for such a dark roasted beer. A slight burnt grain note. Alcohol is present but not hot given the high ABV. As it warms some fruity rum raisin notes come out.

M-Big bodied but not oily like some others in this class. Finishes quite quick. Moderate to high carbonation for a RIS.

O-A fantastic big stout. Perfect for a cold day or dessert. Best value in the category. Dark Horse-you guys are all right. (1,206 characters)

Photo of Mavigo
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got this off tap at Crunchy's in East Lansing. Was served in a snifter.

A: is a deep brooding, opaque black color with burgundy tinges with a short milk chocolate colored head with good amounts of lacing.

S: Voluptuous aroma, rich milk chocolate, barley, malts, coffee, brown sugars, dark fruits

T: Incredible taste, very sweet, a bit heavy, rich chocolate, toffee, coffee, malts, yeast, had a sort of tang to it, oh but it was smooth and rich, ABV is well masked

M: heavy full body along with medium amounts of carbonation, very rich and robust, viscous flavor

O: Overall, I bought this on a limb, it just sounded good and it was damn good. I recommend it for sure. (673 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 823 ratings.