Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company
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Ratings: 2,825 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
4.05/5 rDev -6%
Thanks to kstrickler for the extra!
A: Pours almost pitch black with hints of light on the edges, revealing trails of carbonation making their way up through the beer. Head is approximately one finger of fizzy, mocha colored foam that quickly settles down to a thin layer capping the beer.
S: Strong semisweet chocolate up front, followed by moderate roasted notes with some coffee lurking therein, vanilla, and some dark fruits - cherries mostly. The chocolate is dominant, but not quite overpowering.
T: Boozy notes up front, but dark chocolate overtakes fairly quickly. Dark fruits - cherries, raisins, and plums - come in on the mid-palate along with roasted malts and coffee, before giving way to a finish of vanilla and cocoa.
M: Thick and chewy with low carbonation, it coats the mouth on the way down and leaves a long finish.
D: The ABV and long finish keep it to sipping, but it's by no means a tough drinker.
08-25-2010 05:09:18 | More by Xul
3.13/5 rDev -27.4%
I've had this one a few times now, and waited to review it as I figured maybe something in my perception of this beer was off. After further consideration, I realize that maybe I just don't care for it all that much.
Pours a very dark brown, black color, with a small but firm dark brown head. Aromas of black licorice, molasses and a bit of vanilla. Somewhat bitter on the palate, with more licorice, chocolate and alcohol. I can't place my finger on it, but I just don't like it.
08-25-2010 04:43:38 | More by emmasdad
4.28/5 rDev -0.7%
A: Big and black, just as it should be! Brown head is a tad lacking, but not too shabby... a sparkling creaminess to the little that is there comes across as quite nice.
S + T: A softer chocolate scent, along with some hints of toffee and vanilla. A touch of brown sugar and a rich roasted malt that work quite nicely together.
M + D: Carbonation is a bit light, which isn't hugely surprising in such a big beer. Body is surprisingly smooth. A lot (most, really) of the high alcohol stouts tend to have big bitter, charcoal qualities to them that can be decent if in the mood, and they're almost just expected to be a part of the package. This one, however, remains pretty laid back as far as RIS go.
08-16-2010 02:10:11 | More by Proteus93
3.93/5 rDev -8.8%
A: Dark brown head which drops and leaves a lingering layer of spots, pours with some serious viscosity and moves in the glass with a slight sluggishness, obsidian black in color - 5.00, S: Intense aromas, tons of dark coffee and black licorice, profuse sweetness suggestive of candied prunes or dates, lots of roasted grains as well as some baker's chocolate and fudge - 4.50, T: Thick chocolate and coffee, double fudge brownie without all the excessive sweetness on the palate, alcohol burn is present but not disruptive, some dark raisins and molasses, hops play a lesser role in the profile than the malts but provide a significant citrus bite - 3.75, M: Thick and smooth mouth feel - 4.25, D: All around a very nice RIS, intensely thick and flavorful and made for a cold winter night - 4.00
08-14-2010 00:21:50 | More by deereless
4.4/5 rDev +2.1%
Reviewed on 8-7-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass but let warm to room temp
A - Poured black with one finger foam, nice dark tan lacing ring at the top, can't see if there is any carbonation present
S - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate with hints of coffee and vanilla
T/M - Full bodied brew, dark roasted malts with a nice smooth finish, notes of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla very present
D - Very drinkable RIS got this as an extra from albgarza, big thanks! A great brew from Dark Horse, I have a couple of these so I will for sure enjoy this brew again. I highly recommend this brew
08-10-2010 03:41:01 | More by FreshmanPour77
4.33/5 rDev +0.5%
Bottle poured into a snifter.
Pours solid black with a small, tight tan head. The head quickly dissipates to a solid ring with mediocre lacing.
The nose is made up of chocolate, coffee, and a just a touch of dark fruit.
Flavors of roasted malts, bitter chocolate and coffee burst up front. Toffee and nutty flavors linger toward the back end.
Full body with a smooth, silky texture. Lower carbonation.
Very good. I need to try the rest of the series.
08-07-2010 01:38:16 | More by nerdrocker101
3.33/5 rDev -22.7%
Won't wear my Sunday suit to walk that street
That would feel Byzantine
12 oz bottle...Ultra dark inky pour into my snifter with a nice thin mocha head that swells and then heads rapidly to lurk around the edges like some two-bit hoodlum.
Dark fruit, sherry, soy, and that scent that I have often described as grape bubblegum that I sometimes find in big stouts, along with some dark chocolate on the back end.
The taste and mouthfeel on this beer are slightly perplexing. For all the complexity, or at least diversity, in the nose, the taste does not quite follow. Upon warming, there is an onslaught of that grape flavor which I attribute to the heavy malt presence. The other scents promised from the smell seem minimally present, with only a slight coffee presence poking through, which I did not detect on the nose.
What is particularly odd is the slightly oily, but very light, almost watery mouthfeel. For the make and model of this diesel motored fiend, I expected a bigger, more rounded feel. Not particularly the experience I was hoping for.
08-03-2010 03:52:27 | More by BarrytheBear
3.53/5 rDev -18.1%
A - This beer is pitch black as soon as I started pouring...a dark brown, 1.5 finger head formed and settled into a ring around the glass...not much lacing
S - Dark fruits (figs, dates, raisin)...chocolate...roasted malts...smoke...and alcohol
T - The flavors from the nose all come together in the taste...sweet, dark fruits present a sweet caramel flavor with more sweetness...the roasted malts are deep and presnt themselves with chocolate, coffee, and caramel notes...there are underlying notes of roastiness and smoke lingering around...the alcohol is very present
M - Full bodied...this one is thick...good points - roasted flavors and smoke notes that last long...bad note (big kicker) - alcohol is big
D - This RIS started off good with the appearance and smell but it fell off with the big alcohol kicker...I enjoyed the other stouts (blueberry and smoked) from Dark Horse over this one
08-02-2010 16:37:33 | More by thain709
4.2/5 rDev -2.6%
An unseasonably pleasant mid 70s degree day here in rural IL lead me to finally crack this thing open. I am only having one beer tonight because of the absurdity of the beer tasting I attended last night! This beer just seemed to fit the bill.
Poured into my New Belgium Globe glass after letting it warm for about 20 minutes out of the fridge.
Pour is inky black-- like thick sweet soy sauce (the waiter at my Thai place always calls it "octopus ink" which is quite fitting here). Dark and brooding beer with a nice tan head of about 2 fingers. Good retention and chunky lacing.
The beer itself is thick. Like creamy thick. Very smooth feel though-- not gritty or chewy, smooth and creamy like JIF baby! Just amazing mouthfeel that allows the beer the room it needs to set up its flavor profile. The roasted dry barley (and perhaps oats?) and other malts give a nice dry sweetness that begins this journey into the heart of darkness. Some light coffee notes add to the bitterness brought on by huge amounts of unsweetened cocoa. This tastes like 90% cocoa gourmet chocolates-- bitter and excellent. The nose has the cocoa and malts but not picking up the coffee-- the appearance in the taste was a welcome surprise-- but don't expect a ton of awesome coffee bean flavor. The coffee seems to appear towards the finish in conjunction with the bitterness.
This is an excellent RIS. I'm proud of the Dark Horse boys on this one. This beer has great flavor, finish, and aftertaste with an amazing body and feel. I look forward to this one again!
08-02-2010 02:57:21 | More by AleWatcher
4.38/5 rDev +1.6%
Poured into a SA perfect pint glass.
A: Pours an oily thick black color with minimal carbonation. A very thin ring of milk chocolate head develops and dissipates to the edges of the glass. Little to no lacing.
S: Sweet molasses, dark cherries, and chocolate. Actually reminds me of Dark Lord in the smell. Notes of vanilla, leather, and tobacco.
T: After the smell, I expected an onslaught of sweetness. To the contrary a nice strong bitterness upfront cuts the sweet flavors. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, leather, and tobacco. Wonderful mix of sweet and bitter, smoky flavors here.
M: Chewy, although not creamy. Thick and low carbonation. Fairly spot on for a RIS.
D: Rich and flavorful. The residual sweetness and thickness of this beer limits its drinkability. Outstanding beer and would love to get some more of this.
07-29-2010 03:03:13 | More by kirkpjr
4.3/5 rDev -0.2%
12oz bottle into glass.
A: Extremely dark pour. Very thin head, some retention.
S: Dark, roasty. Some caramel. No hops.
T: sweet on the tip of the tongue to start. Flavors of coffee and dark chocolate finish. Extremely good tasting.
M: Light body for an RIS, but that keeps the stickiness away. I actually like the combination.
D: No way in the world you would know this is 12%! It is, by far, the most drinkable RIS I have ever tasted.
07-22-2010 19:42:56 | More by Spica66
4.72/5 rDev +9.5%
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Split with airohead2001. I looked all over southern Michigan and could not find this beer, even though it's from Michigan. Then, when I head up to Milwaukee, there it was. Glad, to have finally found this one.
A: Opaque black with a half finger tan head. Not too much head retention, but it does have a nice crown. Some lacing, but not as much as I would have liked.
S: The first thing I thought of when I smelled this is smores by the campfire...superb. Upon further inspection I get coffee, vanilla, and some sweet fruits.
T: Not as rich as other RISs, but oh so wonderfully complex. It's sweet to start, sour in the middle, and has a wonderful coffee, toast, and chocolate finish. The sweet/sour notes I get in the beginning/middle are of cherries and raspberries. As good as it gets, taste wise.
M: The antithesis of darklord as far as mouthfeel goes. This one is thin and light. At first I thought this was a bad thing, but for some reason it works well with the taste. Also, the thinness adds to the drinkability and makes it feel even better in the summer heat.
D: Out of this world. Probably the most drinkable RIS I have ever had. Alcohol is 100% hidden the flavors are robust and delicious, and the feel is light and makes for easy drinking. If you haven't tried this one you defiantly should.
07-19-2010 01:54:22 | More by glazeman
4.33/5 rDev +0.5%
Special thanks to glazeman for finally getting a hold of this one in Milwaukee.
A - Dark brown with a 1/3 finger head that coats the rim of my Westvleteren snifter for the rest of the drink. No head retention, but nice thick legs that coat the walls of my glass. Nice.
S - Decent smell, but nothing special for a RIS. Coffee, figs, and a touch of chocolate.
T - I expected this to be a tasty beer, but it is FAR more enjoyable than I could have imagined. Nuttiness, vanilla, lactose, mild coffee, chocolate, mild roastiness. In my opinion, it is the harshness and bitterness of coffee roasts that often overpower RISs and diminish their complexity. In Plead the 5th, this is NOT the case. The lightness of the roasts really allow the malty vanilla and cocoa flavors to shine. Just to twist things up a bit, the finish is slightly sour. An excellent tasting stout.
M - Not nearly as viscous as the appearance would lead on. However, for a lighter, milder tasting RIS, the mouthfeel is appropriate.
D - Perfect drinkability. For a RIS, this is as drinkable as it gets. The soft roasts and lack of biting coffee bitterness make this one of the most drinkable beers I've ever experienced. The huge 12% ABV is completely unnoticeable. I could drink this one bottle after bottle until I hit the floor.
This beer is truly an unexpected gem. What an outstanding drink and a wonderfully pleasant surprise. This beer has it all.
07-19-2010 01:51:32 | More by airohead2001
4.18/5 rDev -3%
Pored from a 12oz. bottle into my Weyerbacher tulip. Pretty excited to finish my 5th in the series of 5 Dark Horse Holiday Stouts...
A - Pours a dark dark black. As black as they come. A gorgrous dark mocha 2 finger head forms and slowly recedes to a one finger head and then to a nice espresso colored film on the beer.
S - Dark roasted malts. And I mean dark. Some great chocolate notes as well; I want to say perhaps bittersweet chocolate. There is also a nice bitter coffee nose as well. Some dark fruits and tobacco seem to be present but ever so slight. I'm also picking up a nice vanilla component as well.
T - The taste is a big hold imperial stout for sure. Roasted malts and some dark chocolate flavors mix together in a great way. Dark fruits, like dates or prunes are also present adding another deep rich component. There is also a nice bitterness at the end which could be due to some coffee as I do not detect much of a heavy hop presence in this one. There is a slight alcohol sting at the very end of the taste. Nothing off putting, but just letting you know it's there.
M - The mouthfeel is smooth and very creamy. A very silky feel with just the slightest carbonation feel when it first hits the palate.
D - Surprsignly easy to get through the bottle since it was both 12% AND a very rich and heavy imperial stout. With that said however, I don't know if I would be reaching for another bottle after going through one.
07-11-2010 14:49:36 | More by KAP1356
3.65/5 rDev -15.3%
Big thanks to Raznug for this one. Poured into a tulip. Pours black with about a finger of cocoa colored head. Not much to stick around, but spotty lacing looks pretty good. This has a really big nose. Big earthy smells all around; tobacco and faint whiff of alcohol. Dates and prunes and other dark fruits are present alongside a faint aroma of bitter chocolate. This smells great, at 12 percent, I expect to smell a little alcohol, regardless, I'm having trouble getting my nose out of this one to taste it. To my disappointment, the smell was better than the taste. I love the dark fruits that I'm tasting and hint of rich chocolate. I generally prefer something to be a little more roasty, but the dark fruit flavor is really nice. A little too much alcohol heat for good drinkability, but the mouth feel is good. A little under-carbonated for my taste, but it's still nice. The body is also a little lighter than I expected due to the style.
07-09-2010 03:23:00 | More by Bendurgin
4.1/5 rDev -4.9%
12oz bottle, served in a DFH oversized snifter
A - pours with a thin layer of loose khaki colored film, quickly falls away to just a ring around the glass. the beer is pitch black in color, with just the faintest dark brown getting through in front of light.
S - very sweet...dark fruits, very dark and slightly bitter chocolate, oak, vanilla, some lightly roasted coffee beans and toasted nuts. some warming alcohol at the end along with brewers licorice.
T - bitterness comes through here much more predominantly than the nose...full of dark bakers chocolate, roasted espresso beans, smoke...sweetness comes into play the second half with dark fruits coming alive, licorice, alcohol, and dark roasted malt.
M - the body is just a *tad* thin, carbonation though is nice and controlled. a little syrupy going down, coats the mouth and leaves a lingering bitter chocolate flavor.
D - not bad at all...glad i have another bottle of this as i think time will do it well, calming the bitter flavors and bringing everything else up a notch. has a lot of potential.
07-03-2010 05:09:41 | More by Stigs
3.68/5 rDev -14.6%
Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.
I haven't really looked very hard, but this may actually be the last bottle from the now-legendary post-DLD death march. Here's hoping. This one pours a bleak nothingness, like the background of a later Goya painting, topped by a light head of tan bubbles. The nose comprises chocolate syrupe, maple syrup, molasses, a hint of soy sauce (odd...), roasted dark malts, brown sugar, figs, and some light coffee. Now that's some impy stout goodness, mm-hmm. The taste dives a bit, though: The roasts are all a bit too roasted, the sweetness is a bit too sweet, the strange soy sauce element returns (though not all that much), and a strong bit of leather comes swooping in uninvited. It's just all too much in too many different directions, if that makes any sense. Still, it somehow stays away from going too far in those myriad directions. It's hard to explain, but I think I can sum it up thusly: It's not what it should be (by any measure), but it's still not entirely objectionable. Yeah. Something like that. The body is a light heavy, with a high-light carbonation (deal with that, if your puny mind can, bwa-ha-ha!) and a smooth, fluid feel. Overall, I was not all that happy with this stout. Dark Horse has done some great things, but this one misses pretty far. Add the relatively high ABV, and the drinkability suffers. Still worth a try, though, if you ask me.
07-02-2010 00:30:43 | More by TMoney2591
4.05/5 rDev -6%
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.
A: Gentle pour creates a .5 finger dark clay head the dissipates with the slightest movement. Beer is opaque and dark as night, though doesn't seem as viscous as most. Lacing sticks closely to the top of the brew. Spotty and stringy at parts but with little cling.
S: Sweet milk chocolate and cocoa nibs. Slight soy sauciness, prunes, and raisins. Boozy all the way but not overly so, just enough to glaze over the other aromas.
T: Toasted malts and cocoa beans. This one actually kinda tastes like sweet soy sauce too... which is a first. Prunes and raisins hide themselves in the background but peak out just a bit towards the middle. Heat becomes more apparent as this beer warms in my mouth. Licquorice and sweet milk chocolate at the end with an accented, spicy finish. Aftertaste is an oily prune juice and hot chocolate.
M: Medium to full bodied, lightly carbonated, and viscous and oily in the mouth, just the way its meant to be. Very smooth and not hot at all considering the 12% abv. Finish is quick but aftertaste leaves a nice, sticky residue on the palate that builds with each sip.
D: A very solid RIS to say the least. Complex flavor, great body, and a huge alcohol kick with an appropriate presence. Dangerously drinkable. Seek this one out. Its a little under the radar but definitely worth the effort!!
07-01-2010 01:52:43 | More by SpeedwayJim
4.13/5 rDev -4.2%
A hard pour (to get as much head as possible while I can -- don't flex your dirty minds now) results in a half-inch deep mocha brown and glowing bronze head...beautiful, although, predictably, it vanishes to a skim in a matters of seconds. The color is pure ebony black, forbidding in its total darkness. Seems to have quite some thickness to it, too, which wouldn't be surprising.
Aroma is quintessential Russian Imperial Stout, ie. big everything. Generous alcohol meshes with big juicy dark fruits, gooey milk chocolate, smoke, cocoa nibs, black licorice, and graham cracker. That 12% alcohol is held in check, but just barely...
Flavor reminds of a brasher version of Expedition Stout (Bell's) but the differences are obvious. Plead The 5th is more bitter, as in burnt-chocolate bitter, and not quite as smooth/round/thick, texturally. A deep, comforting mesh of flavors that includes most everything from the smell (chocolate, cocoa, dark fruit, smoke, licorice and alcohol), with the alcohol underlining everything else and giving a slightly spicy edge.
I wouldn't call the feel "thin," but it's certainly less thick than expected, and probably more carbonated than expected, although still very much performs like a stout, texturally.Slick, yet also has a good bit of stickiness, which keeps the burnt and bitter chocolate/coffee flavor rolling through the tremendously long finish. Interesting, for sure.
This is my fourth Dark Horse beer, and so far my favorite (have also had Tres, Fore and Double Crooked Tree). It does just about everything you want a beer of this style to do, and it's all well-balanced, especially considering its immensity of flavor and alcohol-level. I wonder why it's called Plead The 5th? "Shut up and drink" maybe?
06-30-2010 21:27:55 | More by Metalmonk
4.2/5 rDev -2.6%
12 oz bottle into a snifter.
Pours a deep motor oil black in the glass, with a near finger of burnt mocha colored head. This retains with just some thin foamy trimming around the edges that mainly leaves back a cascade of spotty foam and thick gooey brown oils behind. The aroma sits thick in the nose, with heady notes of chocolate, smoky roast, dark sticky fruits, brown sugar, and some soy sauce. I'm getting some rather hefty waft of heat in the nostrils as well. It's not necessarily singeing my nose hairs or anything but it's defininitely got a presence to it.
The taste is a thick mix of chocolate and toffeed sweetness, which then gives way to the tang of those dark fruits. Burnt dark roast, hop bitterness, and coffee flood across the back of the palate where it lingers with a deeply blackened finish that hangs hard in the mouth along with a leftover sticky twang. The taste is full bodied with a thick and chewy carbonation to it that fills the mouth. Much like the aroma, there is some pretty considerable warmth present in the body but it is actually kept in check pretty well considering the overall size of this. Maybe not a maximum drinkibility on this but it's a pretty steady sipper.
Dark Horse brought power and complexity to the table with this Imperial Stout. The only thing really holding it back some is the rather large ABV but this is still one well worth seeking out.
06-29-2010 17:12:33 | More by Kegatron
3.85/5 rDev -10.7%
A: Pours a wonderful ink color. Light brown head, that dissipates real quick
S: sweet alcohol, maybe coco and brown sugar, hints of raisins
T: right off the bat, a boozey up front, with thick punch of dark coco, and maybe some plums. maybe. Some caramel to, and it finished thick, but there is a dry chocolate and a roasted flavor. Not hops to really speak of
M: Thick, syrups. this is a once in a while, not on a 96 degree day ( I am speaking from experience)
D: Not exceptionally. but a good brew, prob best in the fall, one or two at a time
06-28-2010 01:56:59 | More by PSUDREW
4.35/5 rDev +0.9%
Light head, half finger of exceedingly dark brown foam, mostly larger bubbles which impairs retention, credible stickiness to the lacing. Jet black, zero color, only thing visible are a few floating particles within. The roast hits the right balance in the nose, more texturally stiffening than scented, you get sweet chocolate, coconut, light caramel as well as rich plum, golden raisin and cherry fruit scents, flaky pie crust, vanillin oak booziness, anise seed, orange citrus zest, overall soft and well harmonized. Full-bodied, yet smooth with nice fluidity, honestly, here the relatively weak carbonation helps to keep the pace going rather than fluff things up. Dark chocolate, cocoa, mocha and caramel, not so much coffee or real roast. Plum, cherry, raisin, fig, apricot fruit lends sweetness and concentration. The coconut, vanilla fudge, honey glazed dough and croissant flakes likewise. Hard to say both what the hops contribute and what they were meant to contribute. Still, awfully seductive as a pure "guilty pleasure" play.
06-24-2010 03:51:06 | More by farrago
4.3/5 rDev -0.2%
Reviewing at cellar temp poured into a snifter. The beer pours pitch black with almost no head, only a thin tan edge layer.
Aroma is rich malt and brown sugar, with a bit of dry cocoa and booze kicking in the background.
First sip reveals an average body but silky smooth texture and mild rolling carbonation.
Flavor is fairly robust dark chocolate, plums, and no hops anywhere to be found. The booze drops in on the finish. This is a nice hearty beer and I wish I had more than this one bottle. Definitely a bit of a sipper, but a very enjoyable one.
06-20-2010 02:54:44 | More by sulldaddy
4.28/5 rDev -0.7%
a: Its a stout. Black body with a medium sized, fizzy, dark tan colored head.
s: Heavily roasted aromas, lots of dark chocolate. Also, a little char and some dark fruits.
t: Nothing subtle here. This is ridiculously rich and roasty. Big dark chocolate flavors last throughout. At the finish things dry out a bit. There is some bitter roast with some faint raisin or cherry flavors.
m: Not as full bodied as I expected. I appreciated that the carbonation was unobtrusive, but a little more have helped beef this up a bit. Could have helped with the aroma as well.
d: As big and flavorful as this was, 12 ounces wasn't enough. I was sad to see my glass empty. I didn't taste anything to suggest an abv of anywhere near 12%. An excellent over the top imperial stout.
06-18-2010 09:53:53 | More by DIM
3.5/5 rDev -18.8%
Thanks to Deuane for grabbing this for me.
A: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Cigar City snifter. No head whatsoever. No lacing. Just a pitch black RIS.
S: Up front you get aromas of dark fruits. Followed by some subtle hints of chocolate.
T: Raisins, molasses, a bit of chocolate and a just a little bit of alcohol heat. Very little for a 12% beer though.
M: Fairly lively carbonation for such a big stout. A bit on the thin side and a little slick.
D: Noticable or not twelve percent is twelve percent. So I really wouldn't want more than one. I had this beer before and I really liked it a lot. This one seems a little raw. Maybe I'll try it again in six months or so and see how it changes with some age on it.
06-16-2010 13:26:21 | More by CaptinRedBeard
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,825 ratings.