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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,825 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,825
Reviews: 751
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 482
Gots: 682 | FT: 74
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: 2,825 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigfnjoe
bigfnjoe

Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A- pours as black as night with a two finger head that is nearly the same color. Head sticks around for awhile and laces beautifully

S- pungent aroma of coffee, with some chocolate in there, and a tad bit of booze. It smells excellent

T- very bitter chocolate. Some booze to it. The finish is pretty sweet. It's certainly overpowering, that's for sure

M- THICK. Monstrous. Luscious

O- the taste puts me off a little bit...it's "too much". But this is still a fantastic beer

06-21-2011 23:45:33 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of silentjay
silentjay

Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev -2.1%

Dark Horse has some of the thickest, darkest stouts I have ever encountered, and this may be the thickest, darkest of the bunch. It looks like used motor oil, if you went 10,000 miles past when you were supposed to change it. a tiny head settles to a thin film, but laces with each sip. a one or two-fingered head would make this pour perfect.

lots of dark, bitter, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, and vanilla balance the considerable roast thats also typical of Dark Horse's brews. charcoal and dark fruits as well as some woody hops round out the aroma.

deep roast and dark chocolate hit first and are followed up by some booziness, molasses, caramel, raisins, brown sugar, vanilla extract, a bit of nuttiness.

very thick with just enough carbonation that completely fills the mouth and leaves a bittersweet flavor lingering on the palate, and a bit of a syrupy feel on the back of the throat with just a bit of alcohol heat that is perfect for the style.

another amazing stout from Dark Horse. though crooked tree and double crooked tree are both good beers, their stouts is what I know them for, and rightly so. They all have similar qualities which define Dark Horse's style.

06-21-2011 04:58:14 | More by silentjay
Photo of Mavajo
Mavajo

Georgia

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Straight from the pour, you can tell this one's gonna be a heavy-hitter. Total black with a dark brown head. Mild head at first, but before long it recedes completely and gives the beer a thick, flat appearance. Heavy and intense looking.

Good profile on this one. Dark chocolate, licorice, molasses and roasted malts. Lingers on the aftertaste a bit, but not offensive. Thick and chewy mouthfeel.

This is a pretty solid stout. I enjoyed the pure "heaviness" of this beer, but it seemed to come up just short of epic in my opinion. Damn good beer, though.

06-20-2011 12:57:50 | More by Mavajo
Photo of perrymarcus
perrymarcus

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +1.6%

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a jet black tone while yielding a short-lived 1/4" mocha-colored head; some lacing evident.

big wallop of chocolate leads the way in the nose, followed by notes of roasted malt, coffee, and a touch of dark fruit. all the usual suspects.

flavor follows the nose closely, imparting heavy doses of the chocolate and roasted malt, with secondary notes of coffee and dark fruits. alcohol present, particularly in the finish. it's on the hot side - to be expected given the 12% ABV - but a delicious beer nonetheless.

full, chewy mouthfeel coats the tongue; adequate carbonation.

overall this is an outstanding imperial stout. not without flaws, but very, very good... the prototype of a sipper.

06-20-2011 02:26:21 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of TheSupremeAJ
TheSupremeAJ

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

12oz bottle poured pitch black into a pint glass- espresso-esque crema like head. Very fine bubbles. A thick layer of sediment remains on the bottom of the bottle, and looking down the neck into the bottle indicates that it as well is impenetrable by light. Very rich, smooth chocolate boozey aroma. The flavor of this beast is astoundingly smooth despite the 12% label... rich toffee, caramel, and chocolate are prevalent as hops are muted. Mouthfeel is amazing and perfectly appropriate for a good RIS. Overall this beer is outstanding, and I will write a more detailed review next time since im already getting slurry.

06-19-2011 23:18:22 | More by TheSupremeAJ
Photo of badboyrsl84
badboyrsl84

California

4.47/5  rDev +3.7%

Pours a pitch black in to a tulip glass. the mocha head to this one is very faint and appears shortly after all the beer has left the bottle .

smell - its not the most impressive thing about this beer. I have to literally put my nose in this one to get the smell of this. I get fig, dark chocolate, vanilla, and some oak.

taste - thick dark chocolate stands out the most to me here. Although the taste tends to change with each sip. The oak is present as well as a little fig, but man O man does the chocolate shine in this one. It laces the throats and leaves a thick chocolate coat in the after taste. I get a little coffee but not much.

Overall - I am thoroughly happy with this one and can't say enough about how much the chocolate throat coating stands out to me. I shall have this one again!

06-19-2011 20:55:30 | More by badboyrsl84
Photo of DoctorDog
DoctorDog

Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%

Presentation: 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- Deep and dark...essentially black and opaque. Pours with just a thin cap of dark brown head, which recedes to a thin ring and a few bubbles almost instantly.

S- Dark, roasty, earthy, coffee is the driving force here. Chocolate infused malt sweetness tries to sneak past the coffee as it warms.

T- Roasty, earthy, acrid coffee bitterness. Dark fruit sweetness...smoky notes....burnt caramel...chocolate....a light booziness on the finish. Good stuff...

M- Moderately low carbonation, with a fairly full feel.

O- Good. All the complexity of a well put together 12% beer without being beaten over the head with booziness.

Future outlook: I am duly impressed. Some of these will be socked away in the cellar for future consumption.

06-19-2011 03:37:31 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of Chico1985
Chico1985

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -7.2%

Reviewed yesterday, from notes. Thanks to FourKicks for sending me this in a recent trade.

Pours as black as the darkest horse ever, tan head becomes a cap and thick ring, good-looking for the ABV.

Smells of intense dark chocolate and roasted malt. Some sweeter notes of dark fruit come through with warmth.

Like the nose, chocolate dominates the taste (mostly dark, some milk). Roasted malt and caramel there too.

Good viscous mouthfeel, carbonation feels a bit high for the style. A bit of alcohol heat but less than expected for 12%.

Reminds me of a slightly bigger Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Tasty but I prefer some more complexity. 12oz went down quickly considering the ABV.

06-18-2011 00:21:37 | More by Chico1985
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

This beer pours out as a very dark black color with a really nice creamy brown head on top. The smell is highly roasted and has a slight herbal aroma with some dark chocolate. The taste has a really nice licorice flavor to it with the roasted malts and chocolate all mixed into one. The mouthfeel is extremely smooth and rich. Overall the beer is actually really really good. Really worth a try if you see it!

06-16-2011 00:30:59 | More by Knapp85
Photo of OakedCanuck
OakedCanuck

Washington

3.65/5  rDev -15.3%

12oz bottle into cervoise. from notes

A - Pour an inky black with brown edging. Zero head whatsoever or lacing.

S - Roasty, chocolate, some leather and molasses

T - Very good roast coffee with helping bittersweet chocolate. I pick up some pepper and a hint of orange bitters. Some charcoal on the back end.

M - Medium to heavy, flat, could be a touch thicker

O - A good beer, not overwhelming but solid. It is a bit harsh/hot but some age might help that. No vintage dating I could find on the bottle. I'd have it again but won't be actively seeking it.

06-14-2011 13:46:45 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of WankelEngine
WankelEngine

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -6.5%

Poured from a 12 ounce glass into a pint glass

A: Completely opaque and black. No light coming though the sides at all. There is a dark tan head of about one finger with a reddish tint that disappears over the course of a minute or two.

S: Smells malty and sweet with a powerful bouquet of dark fruits. There is a bit of chocolate and coffee to the nose as well as the scent of alcohol.

T: Though the fruit from the smell is still present, it is less prominent. The focus has shifted to a dry chocolate flavor. The flavor of coffee adds a little bitterness to the brew and complements the chocolate well. I can taste next to no hops, but the malt flavors are intricate and balanced all on their own.

M: Fairly thick with very little carbonation. Slightly syrupy.

O: A malty yet balanced experience. A “big” beer, not an everyday thing.

06-12-2011 03:13:27 | More by WankelEngine
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

400th BA Review, but probably closer to beer #800 overall. Poured into a tulip from the tap at Capone's. Reviewed from notes taken the night of the April 23rd.

Color? Black. Period. Nothing else. No light gets through even around the edges. This is literally black as coal. The head is creamy and slightly lighter than the foamy layer on top of a cup of espresso. Lacing is phenomenal. Absolutely knock-down gorgeous.

The aroma is deep and complex, but the 12% alcohol does come in to spoil the show just a bit. A strong a bitter roast sets the stage beautifully for what is to follow. Dark fruits (dates and prunes...not quite dark enough for raisins) come through with a medley of other aromas. I can make out some slightly sweet chocolate, bitter dark chocolate, and coffee as well.

The flavor picks up where the aroma left off, except that the alcohol is mysteriously absent aside from showing up in the finish, yielding a prickly and warm astringency (in the wine sense). Again, the coffee, chocolate medley, and the remarkable bitter roast that ties everything together come through in force, giving way to the fruits to lighten the palate just a bit.

Viscous but creamy, I found it slightly overcarbonated to be anything better than good in the mouthfeel department, but let's be honest. This is a phenomenal imperial stout, and in my opinion, the best base Dark Horse stout that I have enjoyed. Its complexity, balance, and ability to not completely crush the drinker with alcohol make this one a winner.

06-11-2011 15:43:14 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of optimistictour
optimistictour

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev -3%

I love surprises.

Dark Horse has provided a few for me, with their unassuming no-nonsense packaging and prices often well below average for equivalent beers. This one is by far the best.

Picking up two singles, I figured "can't lose with an imperial stout!" and upon pouring, I was assured that this was the genuine article: impossibly dark, viscous, with a tight, solid head giving way to a hearty brown ring on top. Easily on par with Expedition Stout or Old Rasputin.

*Smell: what I can gather is impressive, hitting the bitter chocolate notes with just a hint of alcohol warmth. Unfortunately I'm a bit stuffed up so I'll return to amend this.

It tastes like I wish more RIS's did: hearty and full of the aforementioned chocolate, carmel finish, embedded with a sharp spike of hop bitterness and the slightest whiff that it's packing more than a welterweight abv.

By mouthfeel I'd guess this bad boy to be under 9% at first blanch, but nearing the end of a glass it's readily apparent there is more under the proverbial hood than what, as it turns out, is a conservative guestimate. The only comparison I could fairly make is with Bells Expedition Stout, in sheer viscosity, density of carbonation, and the warmth riding inside a smooth velvet dessert vessel. It brings the heat but only after I'm well into the bottle, drawn inescapably in.

Like I said, a truly pleasant surprise. The best beer I've had from Dark Horse.

Since they make no mention of abv on the packaging,

06-11-2011 01:13:04 | More by optimistictour
Photo of IdrinkGas
IdrinkGas

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.
A: Pitch black. No light passes through. A couple fingers of a creamy head. This is the definition of the word viscous

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder. Some burnt sugar. Almost everything I'm looking for in a stout.

T: Sweet carmel malt flavors mixed with bitter dark chocolate and a little hop bite mixed into the finish. Wonderful blend of sweetness and bitterness. .

M: Big body with a creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is just right.

I would have thought this beer was under 9% ABV if the label didn't say otherwise. More please...

06-10-2011 20:47:30 | More by IdrinkGas
Photo of office888
office888

Michigan

4.68/5  rDev +8.6%

A: Pours dark black, almost syrup, with a thick brown head. Carbonation dissipates down pretty fast to a light, frothy layer.

S: Coffee, maybe dark cherries, dark chocolate.

T: Impressive taste that fairly reflects the smell, almost no taste of alcohol whatsoever. Sweet, almost a cherry note to it.

M: A little bit of carbonation, and absolutely thick. I'd be hard pressed to find a food pairing for this beer, it's a meal on its own!

D: Solid imperial stout, if not the best imperial stout I've ever tasted. I would definitely buy it and drink one again. It's a perfect stout for someone who appreciates the darker beers.

06-08-2011 04:00:09 | More by office888
Photo of mavbrew
mavbrew

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

A: Pours an inky black color that looks kind of like used motor oil when poured into the glass. The head is limited, less than a finger thick with a strong pour and is dark tan in color.

S: The scent is strong, everything in the nose is smelled as you're pouring. There is chocolate, coffee beans, cocoa, some vanilla with roasted malts and a bit of booze, but hardly noticeable.

T: The taste is exactly as you would expect from the smell. The rich dark chocolate is present up front which leads into the sweet dark fruits. The finish is roasted and smokey with a little bit of booze.

M: Full bodied with little carbonation. The feel is that of dark chocolates and roasted malts.

D: Overall this is a solid beer. It had an aroma that can be picked up from across the room and the flavor is just as good. Now I just need to get my hands on the barrel aged version.

06-07-2011 23:55:44 | More by mavbrew
Photo of rregan
rregan

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev -10%

A- Pours an inky black. It had a thin brown glow near the edges.

S- There are notes of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and coffee, but there is a hot, booze smell that overpowers it all. It shakes your shoulders.

T- It is very very roasty overall, but finishes with a sugary vanilla taste. The taste is marked with some dark boozy flavor but not as much as the smell would imply

M - It has a lot of body, but it is soft and pillowy. It flows smoothly masking most of the alcohol burn and extenuating the roastiness.

This was a really great beer. One of the perfect sipping beers. It would work great on a cold day.

06-07-2011 02:13:51 | More by rregan
Photo of JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

4.2/5  rDev -2.6%

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours an oily pitch black liquid. Like melted velvet. There is a thin nice tan head that forms and rapidly dissipates to a thing ring.

S - Velvety metled chocolate with some nice coca powder. Nice nose. Dark fruit sweetness is present with some nice brown sugar and some good strong caramel backbone. Slight prune notes as well as some anise notes. The nose is delicious and sweet.

T & M - Flavor starts off with some nice heat as well as some dark fruits and some delicious chocolate notes. Sweet milk chocolate cake notes as well as some nice bitter but rich dark chocolate. Delicious chocolate goodness. Then there is some nice caramel and burnt caramel notes as well as some slight french coffee notes. There is some hazelnut as well as some very nice slightly woody dry notes. The mouthfeel is nice and full and complex. Great flavors and well crafted flavors overall.

O - This is a great RIS. Delicious, sweet, chocolate, roast and dark fruits are present all over. The booze is present but is not too intense and its well hidden. Delicious brew.

06-05-2011 21:13:48 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of biga7346
biga7346

Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

A - Brewed dark roast coffee in appearance, totally dense black with chocolate colored foam that dissipates quickly, very flat and syrupy.

N - Nice collection of dark malts, cocoa nibs, a little soy sauce like character, molasses, roasted coffee beans, brown sugar.

T/M - A milky, velvety texture, lots of toasty and choclatey malts up front, port-like maybe? More of the soy sauce follows along with a nice suggestion of sugary fruit or sweetness i can't quite place. A warming bourbon whisky burn in the finish. Reminds me a tiramasu.

D - Well balanced example of RIS, not cloying anywhere and I didn't find it chewy at all compared to some other big stouts. Alcohol is totally masked.

06-05-2011 01:07:51 | More by biga7346
Photo of Beezee
Beezee

Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Poured into a Founders snifter at 38 degrees and then warmed up for a bit.

Appearance- Pitch black with a quarter inch head, great lacing

Smell -Roasted barley, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, dark fruit, maple and some booze.

Taste/Mouthfeel -Intense heavy roasted barley flavor but in balance with booze, cocoa and a bit of coffee. Very rich flavors. Carbonation is on the medium/heavy side and makes it very easy to drink quickly. Very slick, creamy and balanced. Not too sweet. Alcohol doesn't overpower at 12% but also adds a nice touch.

Overall -My first review! This beer and the rest of the Dark Horse stouts deserve more hype so I feel compelled to review. Excellent value at under 10 bucks a four pack. The bottle art is great -looks like outsider folk art. This RIS can stand with the best of them!

06-05-2011 00:31:58 | More by Beezee
Photo of CuriousMonk
CuriousMonk

Virginia

4/5  rDev -7.2%

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter glass. Pours opaque oily black leaving very little brown lacing throughout the session. Sweet, roasty malt aroma this bursting with lots of silky chocolate as well as some oatmeal, roasted coffee bean, toast and nut. There’s also a slight lactic cream presence but the nose of this beer is all about roasted malt and chocolate. Medium bodied but on the fuller end with a slightly chewy, viscous consistency. Deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, burnt toast and toffee. This is complimented by a sweet chocolate malt presence and subtle creaminess. There’s also some earthy hop bitterness and a prominent alcohol burn in the finish. The ABV isn’t well masked with a ton of heat and warmth in the finish. I expect that this will tone down with age but this fresh bottle is too hot for my liking. Dry boozy finish. A little disappointment for me.

06-03-2011 04:08:18 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of dcloeren
dcloeren

Texas

4.53/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured an ink black with a finger of frothy dark copper head. The head quickly receded but I like to think that it was swallowed by the dark hole that is at the center of this stout. No lacing, but this beer has some heavy heavy curtains for sure

This beer is aromatic as hell! The aroma of this beer billowed out of the glass as it filled up. RICH RICH dark chocolate, great hints of vanilla up front that only become more and more present as this beer warms. Subtle coffee and caramel along with roasted malt and some booze. Very robust smelling and inviting all at the same time

The taste of this beer follows the nose to the T. Rich and bitter dark chocolate is the major player in this beer with nice hints of cocoa, coffee and roasted/burnt malt. The vanilla is a extremely nice touch as it becomes more and more apparent as this beer warms up. Finishes off with a nice hint of booze after each sip. Fantastic.

This beer tastes mother f***ing phenomenal but the mouthfeel is where it really makes its money. Rich, thick and chewy with an abundant amount of carbonation that really gives this beer a nice touch. Very present chocolate/coffee aftertaste that straight up coats your entire mouth with every sip.

This was a fantastic find. An excellent, easy drinking stout. They did an amazing job of blending the dark chocolate and vanilla together to where they both are easy to pick out but mix together OH SO WELL! Although the booze becomes more apparent once this stout warms up, it does no harm to this stout whatsoever. Will be going out of my way to find some more for sure. Extremely pumped that I got 2 bottles!

06-03-2011 00:39:40 | More by dcloeren
Photo of nhindian
nhindian

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +5.1%

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - This beer is easily one of the darkest, most formidable, and most slick imperial stouts I've ever had. The color is somewhere between tar, sludge, and crude oil. The head on this is also magnificent as well, with an insane 2-fingered head that is dark mocha in color. The retention is also up there, lasting several minutes, which for the ABV on this is is insane. To top it off, the lacing is generous to say the least and covers a good portion of the glass. It's really amazing how Dark Horse hit the color, head retention, and lacing on a beer of this scale.

S - The aroma on this beer is every bit as big as the appearance would lead me to believe. It's roasty to the point of bordering on charred and brings in smells of anise and dark fruits. There's a really bitter chocolate note in here as well that's just playing on the sweetness of the malts to accentuate it. There's a little bit of acrid coffee in here, too, and in the finish there's some astringent alcohol.

T - This big boy is a sipper to say the least. To borrow a descriptor from Goose Island, one sip of this beer has more flavor than an entire case of macro beer. The roasty char continues its rampage through my senses, and leads this beer off in a way that braces you for impact. But rather than crash and burn, this beer takes you to new heights on the imperial stout spectrum. The malts keep the sweetness coming, and the bitter chocolate shines to cut some of the roast before the fruits come in and alleviate the bitterness. I'm getting a good amount of figs and plums here, but they don't come off sugary or as alcohol-soaked as other beers that exhibit these flavors. As in the nose, there is some alcohol in the back-end, but not to the degree that a 12.00% beer should.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with moderately low carbonation. This beer looks like oil and has the mouthfeel to match. This thing will coat your palate and keep injecting its flavor into your mouth, but it doesn't come across as syrupy. A fairly smooth, great-feeling beer.

D/O - Drinkability is high for this one. I really enjoyed drinking this after finally coming across some bottles. Make no mistake, you won't be quaffing this one down, but each sip will be savored. There is some alcohol here, but is masked and washed away nicely by the other flavors. I would love to try the barrel-aged version of this but it's looking like a longshot!

06-02-2011 05:57:20 | More by nhindian
Photo of DaveHS
DaveHS

California

4.55/5  rDev +5.6%

thanks to pjeagles for this one. Been wanting to try it for awhile.

A-Pours impenetrable oily black with a thin burnished copper head. Leaves almost no lacing.

S-Big roasty aromas of coffee and bitter chocolate. Roasted walnuts and chocolate cake.

T/M-Really smooth and well balanced. Plenty of roasty flavors up front, with lush hot chocolate and roasted walnut/almond. Dark roasted coffee beans on the back end. Mouthfeel is full and viscous, with an oily, lingering finish.

O-Totally lives up to the hype. Very happy I got to try this.

06-02-2011 01:46:15 | More by DaveHS
Photo of Chaney
Chaney

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -5.3%

I split this with my wife tonight during dessert.

A: Absolutely no head whatsoever! Very dark, but almost more of a dark, dark, dark brown color as apposed to a pitch black one.

S: A bit of teryaki sauce, but also a huge dark, bittersweet chocolate bill. As it warmed, it became even more intense, but even more enticing.

T: Dark chocolate milk and then some. Initially, when I tried this one too much on the cold side, I was conflicted about it. However, now this is dark chocolate magic. I've read some reviews on here where others have mentioned a burnt quality. To be honest, I didn't get that at all. Quite the contrary..

M: Heavy, but worth it. Low carbonation (as it should be), not too sweet in the slightest.

O: It's hard to make an impression in a market saturated with great Imperial Stouts, but this one delievered. I would love to try the bourbon-aged version of this one.

05-28-2011 23:40:55 | More by Chaney
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,825 ratings.