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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

3,101 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,101
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 526
Gots: 721 | 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
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Ratings: 3,101 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eclipse54
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle I received for winning rowingbrewer's "Guess My Stats" LIF. He sent me this "want," for which I'm very grateful. Poured into a DFH signature glass...

Pours completely black with about an inch of brown head; the head consists of thousands (millions?) of miniscule bubbles that, for some particular reason, I'm finding rather fascinating to examine at the moment. Unfortunately, they don't hang around for long, quickly dissipating to a ring around the lateral edge of the liquid's surface. Minimal (at the time of writing, a lone patch) lacing is left behind.

Also of intrigue, the sediment from the base of the bottle left an intricate pattern on the bottom of the snifter during the pour. The aroma is of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, cane sugar, and some coffee. It is very inviting, and the taste is a great host that follows through with all the promised flavors: caramel, molasses, vanilla, coffee, sugar, and some warming alcohol on the finish. Excitedly, the alcohol is very well hidden. I was quite surprised to see that this was 12% ABV.

The mouth is rich, but not overly so, and finishes with a bit of a sugary, sticky resin. Overall, a delicious, highly drinkable RIS that I'm very happy to have tried.

Photo of Labonix
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle. This one pours pitch black with a small tan head. The aroma is roasty with chocolate and carmel and molasses. It has a roasty and bitter chocolate taste with some hints of vanilla. This beer is nice, smooth, and hides the high alcohol really well.

Photo of codysjb
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a brown-black with virtually no head. Smells like bourbon. Tastes like a strong stout mixed with bourbon, nothing too flavorful but respectful none the less. Certainly a good beer to sip a savor. Really shines on the mouthful as the flavor fully comes out and tastes really smooth for the whole time. Overall a better stout, certainly stronger and less chocolaty than I usually like but a great stout none the less.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, near black. Head is a solid finger of dark brown foam that slowly fades to leave a thin brown cap behind. Minimal carbonation leaves the beer rather still looking.

S - Dark chocolate, dark bread and roasted malts. A bit of burnt sugar as well. Alcohol is certainly present but it lies well masked beneath the other aromas.

T - Roasted malts provide a touch of astringent bitterness up front. Some dark fruits come through quickly along with a bit of molasses and burnt sugar. Surprisingly sweet in the finish. The roasted malts are the dominant taste, but the other flavors all mix in nicely.

M - Medium to full bodied with a rather creamy feel. Just a touch of lively carobnation in each sip.

O - Another excellent stout from the folks at Dark Horse. I was a touch dissapointed by their IPA offerings that I have had, but the few stouts I have had have all been top notch.

Photo of JCaweinstein
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: black w/ a dense one finger, very tan head.

Smell: Carmel and grain, like smelling a bowl of cereal, its really quite pleasant but still had to work for it.

Taste: caramel first followed by more malt sweetness then finishes with a bittering hop taste.

Mouthfeel: This is thick bodied and coats the mouth. It warms from the alcohol which is very present. I leaves a roasty aftertaste which is not unpleasant

Overall: good looking, smelling and tasting, mouthfeel is on the strong side but it is an imp. stout so it's to be expected. Going to sit on my other bottle for awhile to see how it might change. This will be a regular in the winter rotation

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- Really attractive Imperial Stout one finger dark brown bubbly head, pitch black color, dissipates to a nice brown collar around the glass, splotchy lacing, nice retention.
S- Wood, oak, nice roasted coffee presence, vanilla, chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, slight dark fruit presence (plums), nice aroma.
T- Really surprised by the sweetness in this beer, really tasty, coffee, chocolate, slight vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, roasted notes, oak is present, dark malts.
M- Big mouth feel, silky smooth, dry finish, coats the palate.
O- This beer is really good, drinking it I had no Idea this was 12% abv, the alcohol is hidden well, easy drinkability, one of the best easy to find Imperial Stouts I’ve had.

Photo of Retsinis
3.58/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer in a trade (thanks mnbearsfan)

2010 bottle

A: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, the beer pours black, with a dark brown hue. Very low carbonation, just film on top, then quickly became just a ring of tan cream bubbles at the edges of the glass.

S: Espresso, medium roasted malt, mild vanilla, scents of oak, and a touch of honey.

T: Licorice, bitter dark chocolate, touch of brown sugar, and smoked roasted malt. Light dry bitterness on the back end, like 70% dark chocolate, & charred oak. Alcohol is detectable, but not distracting.

M: Light oily texture, sweet but not sticky. Light carbonation.

O: Decent sipper, but half the 12oz was just fine. I had split this with my wife, who enjoyed what she had as well. I was hoping for a bit more roasted chocolate malt notes, a bit less licorice, and a more creamy mouth, but it is above average, just not great to me, in my humble opinion. I am curious what the bourbon barrel aged version adds to this beer though.

Photo of Retail1LO
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is what I'M talkin' about!

Poured into a pint glass from a room temperature bottle.

Thanks to Centennial for giving this to me when he was a guest at my house the other evening.

This pours a lovely jet black with about 2 fingers worth of gorgeous espresso foam that recedes quickly, leaving a thin layer atop the rest of the beer. One of the best smelling stouts I've ever had the pleasure of taking in. A rich, chocolaty, bourbon, vanilla nose that is just so intoxicating to inhale. The taste is just behind the nose, mirroring all of the luscious flavors represented in the nose. This is my kind of stout. A little boozy, thick, rich, and creamy. The mouthfeel is absolutely the BEST I've had in a stout. I can't stop taking mouthfuls and just...letting them rest in my mouth while I tongue all the incredible flavors and texture. Unreal. I have to get more of this. Fast.

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Riedel whisky glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with caramel colored head. Head dissipates quickly, hardly any lacing.

Smell: The smell is quite nice. Notes of heavy roast, figs, ripe fruit, molasses. Alcohol comes through slightly.

Taste: Real nice roast at first followed by bitter chocolate. Dark malt and coffee are washed away by a very pleasant licorice finish.

Mouth: Chewy, good amount of carbonation, yet is silky smooth. Great amount of puckering hop at the end.

Drink and overall: Really enjoyed this beer. Very drinkable, quality impy. I had never had it before, so this was a treat. Would I buy it over Expedition Stout if it were same price, for a while yes.

Photo of slentz
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to Duvel tulip at 50 degrees.

A: Aggressive pour leads to two finger creamy mocha colored head that slowly dissipates to a small ring after a few minutes. Plead the 5th is super dark ....when held to light none passes through. 4.0

S: Notes of vanilla, coffee, caramel, chocolate, super roasty, molasses, brown sugar, slight hint of alcohol. This one smells really good. Best smelling non barrel aged stout I have had in a while 4.0

T: Super tasty. Again one of the best non barrel aged stouts I have ever had. I am really enjoying this one. Very balanced very nice roasty flavors as in the nose.... chocolate, coffee....vanilla... slightly bitter ...great aftertaste. This one damn fine stout. 4.5

M: Mouthfeel is light not too carbonated or oily. Goes down smooth keeps you wanting more. 4.0

O: Overall Plead the 5th is awesome. Not sure if this has much hype but if not it is deserving of some. One of the best non barrel stouts I have had in a while. I will definitely be seeking this out regularly.

Edit: WOW! Just realized this stout is 12%. I would have never though it was...drinks more like 8-10% if that. Only a slight hint of alcohol. Super smooth. 4.5

Photo of samie85
3.73/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours an inky black with a full finger of dark brown head that quickly dissipates.

S-Smells of banana bread, some dark fruit, and a bit of roasted and chocolate malts.

T-Very sweet and rich chocolate on the front end with dark and bitter chocolate one the finish with a slight, clean bitterness.

M-Medium bodied with low carbonation and a slight bit of warmth in the mouth and throat.

D-This one is almost too easy drinking considering the body and ABV; the alcohol is barely present in the warmth I described in the mouthfeel and I'm used to a heavier feel with bigger beers. I want to like it, but I yearn for a some more complexity in flavors and a richer mouthfeel.

Photo of lnashsig
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to GordianKnot for the chance to taste this one. a 12% imp stout bottle, no bottle date. Poured from bottle into Brooklyn Tulip glass. Pours a pitch black syrupy appearance. Barely any head (what you would expect from a beer this big). Smell- rich roasty maple syrup. Maybe some vanilla bean, some subdued chocolate flavor. From appearance and smell, it appears this one might have some time on it (yay!). Taste- Different flavors from what I would have expected. A roasty sweetness up front, some liquorice, sweet chocolate, not much bitterness at all. There is a creaminess to the mouthfeel, very little carbonation. Overall for the style, I would have expected more of a roasty possibly dark chocolate presence. I got almost too much sweetness from this one, and it kind of bugged me. Overall good though.

Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle with a slow pour gave little head. Near black in color. Somewhat of a char-coal smell, hints of chocolate. Silky smooth, not heavy mouth feel. Plenty of coco, roasted flavors to cover the high alcohol. I left over smokey flavor in the end. Overall a very tastey easy to drink brew.

Photo of haazer
3.73/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle picked up at capones about 2 months ago.

A- A very thick cocoa puff milk forms atop the brew. Very bubbly, effervescent. The brew is the darkest brown/partially black in color, and opaque. Evident carbonation.

S- First initial whiff yields dark fruits. Once taken in, this is quite a nose. Deep roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, rich toffee, a touch of syrup, and a little chocolate. You can detect some booze but not overwhelming. The dark fruits are still present in each sniff.

T- The dark fruits are the most present flavor. I wanna say plums and raisins, and some black cherry too. Midway into the flavor I got the slightest bit of vanilla chocolate blend. The aftertaste is a barrage of roasted malts, and the slightest bitterness. The booze is not detected in flavor at all.

M- I've read in other reviews that this is "buttery", and you can pick that up from the mouthfeel. This is very smooth and easy drinking. The carbonation is hardly felt, and the body is light to medium bodied, but right in the middle of that. This is probably the lightest bodied RIS I've had.

O- This is a good RIS. Everything fell short compaired to the nose on this though. The tastes were not as pronounced, and the mouth was too light as a stout for my liking. But the masking of the booze and easy drinking nature make this beer above average.

Photo of augustgarage
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy ShogoKawada (thanks!) - poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Strikingly dark seal brown liquid, as opaque an ale as I've ever seen topped by a thin layer of creamy chamoisee foam. A bleak malestrom of surface slick swirls from side to side of the collar. Weak lacing, fat viscous legs, good retention.

Pure aromatics of coffee, black bread, dark malt, toasted cocoa, and licorice along with subtle complexity from grassy hops and fruity esters. Dates, figs, and raisins struggle forward as the beer warms.

Sweet, intensely malty palate entry with espresso, black-strap molasses, clove cigarettes, coconut husks, carmelized walnuts, bittersweet chocolate, maple, and dark fruit coming next. Low earthy bitterness with a dry, roasty, cutting finish. So flavorful.

Velvety, thick, full-bodied mouthfeel with sufficient carbonation. ABV is dangerously disguised.

Like a baltic porter on steroids - one of the richest and purest Russian Imperial Stouts I've sampled.

Photo of CurtisLoew
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich brown/black color. Small tan head. Nice looking beer.

Smells of dark malts, dark chocolate, dark fruits, slights hops.

Tastes like a really good stout, with some little dark fruit tones. Chocolate flavors, a little roast coffee. Everything blends together very nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium, pretty creamy. Not too thick or too thin.

Overall very good beer. Easy to drink, I wouldn't mind putting down multiple bottles in one sitting. Good stuff.

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. No date on bottle.

Appearance: Very dark black and oily with no color coming through. One small finger of dark tan head quickly fades away with some tan foam hanging around the edges of the glass. Not much lacing seen.

Smell: Strong aroma of dark and milk chocolate with hints of coffee. Lots of sweet dark roasted malts and caramel. Some strong hints of dark fruits and vanilla. Some of the fruit has a bread like banana aroma which is quite interesting in a stout.

Taste: A solid mix of chocolate, coffee notes, vanilla, fruit, and burnt toasty malts giving a sweet and fairly bitter taste. One of the fruitier imperial stouts I've had although the sweetness is nicely kept in check. Light hints of molasses, syrup, and earthy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Heavy bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with no sign of the 12% alcohol.

Overall: A very good take on a Russian Imperial Stout. Good balance of flavors and the 12% abv is hidden really well.

Photo of 2xHops
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As expected, the beer is super dark in color. Perhaps I poured the wrong way, but I did not see any "head" forming at all.

The taste is strong with some roasting characteristics. There seems to be some hint of chocolate and coffee flavors to go with the burnt malt notes.

The mouthfeel does feel like it's quite malty and slightly "syrupy." I don't quite feel the carbonation coming through.

Overall, it's a pretty nice example of this style, and I particularly liked the high ABV content. Who doesn't, right?

Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my new Cigar City snifter! Big thanks to Jparkanzky for this bottle.

A: Pours an oily black color, extremely dark. Despite a rather forceful pour, only a very little bit of tan foam formed and quickly dissipated, leaving behind a ring of foam around the outer edge. Some lace forms when I take a sip, but is gone just as fast.

S: Lots of rich dark chocolate upfront, very sweet and inviting. There are hints of vanilla, caramel, and some molasses.

T: Again, lots of dark chocolate, which dominates the flavor profile. It is not as sweet as the aroma, which I am actually happy about. Underneath the chocolate there is a good bit of molasses, a little vanilla, and slight roasted malt flavor.

M: Medium to full bodied, rich and creamy with a nice level of carbonation. No sign of 12% at all, very well hidden.

O: A really nice RIS, very drinkable for the abv. A very tasty beer, well done Dark Horse.

Photo of JoePoc17
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle from Capones in Norristown that was dated from 2010 (1 yr old).

It poured a deep brown/black color with minimal dark brown head.

The smell has sweet accents of chocolate and oatmeal with a boozy and roasty undertone.

Initial reaction to the taste was "eh... its decent," but as my first sip dwelled on my palate, the sweetness of chocolate and a ninja of hidden oatmeal comes shining through. Absolutely delicious!

Despite the lack of head, the carbonation my the tongue was very balanced, starting with moderate fizz and ending extremely smoothly.

I great enjoyed this brew and would definitely buy it again. I assume that the amazing balance of bitter and sweet was enhanced through age. So if you get a few, store at least one for another time.

Cheers!

Photo of bs870621345
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second time having this, better(?) on tap.

Pours jet black with a mocha colored head and minimal lacing. Looks like a stout should.

I get a lot of fruit, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, vanilla, and almost an oak like smell. It is not barrel aged but its got a few characteristics of such.

Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate dipped dark fruits with some vanilla and coffee mixed in. Seems like there are some spices as well. Alcohol is rather prevalent, but it is a really big beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, oily, and delicious. Lingers for a long time.

Overall, this is damn good. It brings to mind Lost Abbey Angel's share, but a hell of a lot better value.

Photo of Spcoly
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter...

A: Dark with almost zero head

S: Faint smell of chocoalte, roasted malts

T: Wonderful...bitter sweet chocolate. Not much of a burn considering the high ABV

M: Medium, low carbonation....excellent drinkibility...definitley a sipper considering the ABV

O: Hands down one of the best stouts Ive ever come across. Which I had more than one bottle....will definielty buy again!

Photo of popery
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 7/29/11. Wonderful stout. This beer is big and rich without any of the off-notes that can accompany that. The beer pours wall-to-wall black with a thin mocha head. The aroma is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, caramel, nutty roast, creamy coffee, vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is smooth and very full. Taste is sweet but not cloying. There’s a mildly bitter finish with roast and some earthy hops. A bit of a tannic quality, wine-like. This is a real treat and an excellent beer.

Photo of beergod1
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flat Black pour that has a thin dark brown head, no visible carbonation. Heavy chocolate aroma with accents of coffee, alcohol, and smoke. Flavor is a mix of heavily roasted malt, chocolate and alcohol. A lot of depth and complexity to the flavor. Finish is loads of coffee and burnt malt. Full bodied with an oily texture and minimal carbonation. Everything you could want from an Imperial Stout.

Photo of orangesol
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this one as an extra in a recent trade with spycow. Poured into a dogfish imperial pint.

A - Pours jet black with a big two finger tall tan head leaving small wisps of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, molasses, vanilla, oak, and some light hop bitterness. This is what you expect when you hear RIS.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roast quickly giving way to a mix of sweet dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, and the faintest hint of hop bitterness at the very end. The creamy feel really helps to bring it all together. The finish is a mix of chocolaty sweetness and dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Rich, creamy, feel with plenty of dark roast in the finish. The booze begins to creep in more and more as it warms to room temperature.

O - I really liked this one. It had all the typical flavors you would expect from a RIS but what really made it better was the creamy feel as it really helped to bring it all together. Good stuff.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,101 ratings.