1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,913 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,913
Reviews: 756
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 492
Gots: 705 | FT: 79
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,913 | Reviews: 756 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheDudeRules
1.5/5  rDev -65.2%

TheDudeRules, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of whartontallboy
4/5  rDev -7.2%

whartontallboy, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of swooshjtb
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

swooshjtb, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev -7.2%

MrHirschybar, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of Marti403
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Marti403, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of portia99
3.88/5  rDev -10%

12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours thick and syrupy with an oil-like opacity and a deep brown/approaching black color. An aggressive pour fails to yield any head...all this can muster is the thinnest of collars and no lacing to speak of.

S - Sweet and molasses driven aroma. Caramel and brown sugar behind that along with some creamy vanilla. Booze is evident and appears in conjunction with the vanilla and also caramel candy. A bit of burnt creme brulee sugar as well. This really smells sweet overall - like a dessert. Some black licorice creeps into the aroma too. Really not getting much roastiness at all, which surprises me. I wouldn't call this necessarily typical for the style, but the sugary candy aspects are pretty appealing.

T - Whoa, boozy up front with a big hit of alcohol slamming the back of my throat on first swallow. Flavor is much different than the aroma. Where the aroma lacked roastiness, this cannot be said for the flavor. Behind the hit of alcohol is burnt toast-like malt, heavy espresso roast coffee and a bit of char. This really takes away from the multi-layered sugary sweet aromas that don't carry into the flavor. Very noticeable alcoholic aspect to the flavor. Licorice is mild but noticeable.

M - Full bodied, lower carbonation just on the above ground side of life. Boozey, warm alcohol throughout hitting the back of the throat initially and eventually filling the entire mouth in sensation. Heavily roasted and burnt flavors overpower other aspects and simplify the flavor profile. Burnt roastiness continues to the aftertaste.

O - This is a good imperial stout, but have to say I don't really understand the hype surrounding this one. The aroma completely doesn't match the flavors - wish they met somewhere in the middle. Balance seems a bit off...alcohol is dominating and heavy handed. It is fairly enjoyable, but when it comes to world-class RIS's this really leaves a lot on the table. Perhaps a bit of aging will smooth this one out a bit...fresh, doesn't live up to the hype/expectations I had coming into this.

portia99, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of xpimptastikx
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Dark and viscous with a thick sheet of chocolate head. Cocoa, tobacco, and light alcohol make up the nose.Taste is more of the nose with a long charred tobacco finish and noticeable alcohol. A near perfect thick and creamy body still make this beer enjoyable.

xpimptastikx, Dec 30, 2011
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of ahq514
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

Pours jet black with a half finger mocha colored head. Appears to have low carbonation. Light lacing.

Aroma reminds me of a coffee milkshake. Lots of chocolate with some coffee and roast. Some oats too. Not much in the way of hops is detected. Full of complexity.

Right up front are the creamy oats. Next comes in chocolate roast. A slight bit of sweetness in there. There is a lingering coffee-esque flavor to it. A little bit of a dry finish.

Nice full motor oil like body. Low carbonation. A sipper for sure, but very drinkable for an RIS.

One of the better RISs I've had. Really love how full the body is and the perfect balance of dry roast and sweetness. Would love to try the BA version of this.

ahq514, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of buddyvelt
4/5  rDev -7.2%

buddyvelt, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of pavpav12
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

pavpav12, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of CelticAleMan
4/5  rDev -7.2%

CelticAleMan, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of headyhopzhead
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

headyhopzhead, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of blazepowell
5/5  rDev +16%

I came across a few bottles of this that has been aged for 1 year which I have been told is the best time to have it. To me this is the best stout on the market it is a mid-night black color pour with a deep brown colored head it is dark chocolate and coffee blended heaven that I could in no way be happier with.

blazepowell, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of Hoopman
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Hoopman, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of TheBishopco
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

TheBishopco, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of mhenson42
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

mhenson42, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of vande
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%

a.) can't believe I hadn't reviewed this before
b.) year old bottle straight from the cellar

a - oily black...viscous, dark, thick and foreboding....

s - rich, roasted malts, chocolate - dark, sweetness...hints of coffee

t - delicious - what you smell is what you get, and more. I think this beer did quite nicely with a year on it. Happy to know I've one of each of the series, except Tres, still in the cellar!

m - a solid medium, to heavy bodied beer that is hard to put down...

o - quite enjoyable... a great stout at a great price!

vande, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of IPAFrankieH
4/5  rDev -7.2%

IPAFrankieH, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Texasfan549, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of NvMyBeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

NvMyBeer, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of jrohrbacher
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

jrohrbacher, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of clareo
5/5  rDev +16%

A - Thick, creamy tan head with a chocolatey, milkshake-like appearance. Body is deep, dark black-brown.

S - Alcoholic, bittersweet dark chocolate, moderate malt, a bit of vanilla.

T - More of the bittersweet dark chocolate with nice deep fruitl notes, acrid roast coffee character; heavy, tongue-coating malts.

M - Thick and viscous, coats the mouth, very smooth.

O - A delicious example of the style; well-balanced with complex flavors. Very satisfying.

clareo, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of kenm2118
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

kenm2118, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of elgiacomo
3.88/5  rDev -10%

12oz bottle, unknown date but at least a year old. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours thick black with a small brown head that quickly recedes to a wispy cap but does leave lots of spotty lacing in its wake.

Aroma is dark roasted malts, dark fruits, black currant, anise, some coffee and chocolate, quite a bit of alcohol. Some oxidation/cardboard is noticed. Very good strength overall.

Flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, black currant, dark fruits, a hint of smoke, some sweetness, moderately boozy and warming.

Mouthfeel is thick & sticky, creamy, soft carbonation.

A big, intense Imperial Stout. Very good stuff, had been looking to try this one for some time. Could have used some more time to mellow out the heat, but on the other hand oxidation was setting in so I’m glad I cracked it open when I did.

elgiacomo, Dec 19, 2011
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,913 ratings.