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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

2,993 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,993
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 506
Gots: 717 | FT: 82
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: 2,993 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BJRHOMEBREW
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pour a deep rich black with a thin tan head that fades by the last sip.

S: Roasted malt with hints of cocoa and dark fruits.

T: Sweet dark malt, again dark fruits with a nice chocolate finish.

M: Rich and smooth with just a hint of alcohol on the finish.

O: A GREAT example of a true RIS. In this day when so many breweries are adding adjuncts to their RIS its nice to drink a wonderful example of the true style.

BJRHOMEBREW, May 25, 2011
Photo of Franz4
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks like a stout should with a brown sugar colored head.

S- Roasty and chocolately here, closer to milk chocolate than dark, very nice, slightly hot.

T- Chocolaty goodness and lots of roasted flavors come through, very complex, a little nutty. Very nice

M- thick and slick, just what I want in a stout.

O- Usually I give an overall score based on the scores that I've given in the 4 categories, but this beer brings everything together exceptionally well. I'd like to do a side by side with Ten Fidy, I'm not sure I could tell the difference. Quite a good brew, this one will likely be harder to find next year.

Franz4, May 25, 2011
Photo of readbaron
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out thick & black with a lovely deep mocha head with decent lacing and excellent retention.

Smells delightful - biscuty malts, sweet dark fruit, anise, and a bit of hops.

Tastes like it smells. A really well balanced beer. Lots of malt, a bit of dark chocolate sweetness, then finishes with some licorice and bitter hops. Alcohol is not noticeable at all. Smooth, yet complex.

Nothfeelnis great. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation.

An excellent, excellent beer.

readbaron, May 25, 2011
Photo of Blanco
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the darkest stouts I've seen, the color is pitch black and the head is dark brown. A healthy pour produces a huge had that holds relatively well. smell is of roasted malt and chocolate. I can also get a little waft of the booze coming up. taste is bitter, with strong chocolate notes and big maltiness. big, thick mouthfeel this is probably one of the thickest stouts I've had. Alcohol is hidden well, especially given the ABV, although there is a slight warming effect to let you know it's there. Overall, I'm impressed with this one. The flavor is a bit more abrasive than I normally enjoy, but this is a huge stout so I can't really knock it for that.

Blanco, May 24, 2011
Photo of OldIronLungs
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to omgshesaboy for this one! Excited!

Pours an oily black into a deep tulip with a finger of dark mocha head that quickly falls to a ring.

Nose is a blend of medium roasted malts and sweet dark chocolate, some liquorish. Very lightly boozy. Subtle but pleasant.

Holy Moses, this one is viscous! Great body with a persistent tingle that dances through the finish. Dark roasted coffee, molasses and liquorish, a bit of bitter chocolate and a light earthy hop bitterness that blend with the slowly building warmth in the back of the throat. But 12%? Never would have guessed.

For me, imperial stouts live or die by their body and this does not disappoint. It warms beautifully; One of the best stouts I've had in recent memory. I would LOVE to try the barrel-aged and sour versions!

OldIronLungs, May 24, 2011
Photo of Arenbeer
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Tulip glass

Big thanks to Kstrickler for sending me this

A- Pours a solid opaque black with no head other than a light brown rim around the edge of the glass. Nice legs coat the sides of the glass.

S- Dark roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, and coffee. Slight alcohol as it warms but not bad. Pretty simple and straight forward.

T- Just like the aroma. Roasted burnt malts up front with a really nice silky/creamy chocolate flavor that finishes with a strong bitter coffee. Alcohol is there but at the same time very well blended and hidden by the flavors.

M- Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter finish.

Overall it's a very simple and some what basic imperial stout but at the same time that's all this beer needs to dominate a style like this.

SkÅL!

Arenbeer, May 23, 2011
Photo of ryantho00
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

This beer has one of the deepest dark black colors i've seen, it's purely opaque and leaves a nice tannish lacing around the glass as you drink. It has a brownish gold hue and sticks throughout. Very nice appearance.

I get deep coffee and chocolate aromas' from the beer and a small hint of caramel or some other sweet maltiness.

From the beginning I get a lot of smokiness and maltiness that gives way to a deep chocolate and coffee mocha taste that has a hint of alcohol; which is nicely masked well. I get a deep espresso aftertaste with chocolate and small alochol aftertasetes but nicely balanced into a beautiful stout. There is a hint of bitter hops throughout, but very slightly. This is simply awesome. Very good interpretation of the imperial stout, has a delicious taste entirely and fully with no overpowering aspect. Very well balanced, the 12% ABV is masked well, be careful, it's like a nice milkshake and ice cream blend with whipped cream on top!!!!

Great job, Cheers!!

ryantho00, May 22, 2011
Photo of rmalinowski4
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black with a two finger milk chocolate head. The head recedes slowly leaving a ton of milk chocolate colored lacing. Looks deep, dark, and divine.

Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and coffee. Smells simply scrumptious.

The taste is of huge sweet chocolate, thick chewy malt and rich creamy coffee. It is wonderful, well balanced and simply delicious. The alcohol is well covered and barley noticeable when cold. As the beer warms, the alcohol heat become more prevalent.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy and completely coats your palate. There is adequate carbonation making this simply wonderful to sip on.

Overall this is one of the best non barrel aged stouts that I have had, it is simply delicious. I am definitely going to seek out more of this one.

rmalinowski4, May 22, 2011
Photo of corby112
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a sludgy pitch black color that is completely opaque with a one finger frothy dark mocha head. Good retention, slowly fading into a thick lasting cap that leaves spots of lacing behind.

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.

corby112, May 21, 2011
Photo of SeaUrchin
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a bottle into an unbranded tulip

appearance - pours black with a thin mocha head, no noticeable carbonation but there are a few bubbles escaping the abyss that is plead the fifth

smell - dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee are in this nose, there is a hint of bitterness with a hit of alcohol at the end

taste - taste follows the nose, sweet roasted malts up front, chocolate, caramel and coffee are the main flavors in that order, there is some hop bitterness here, helps to balance out the sweetness, followed by a bit of an alcohol burn in the nose, this one seems like it needs some time to sit

mouthfeel - thick, not sticky, feels like im drinking whole milk

overall - delicious, glad i picked up 2 bottles, other one is going to be tucked away for at least a year probably more to see what it turns into, enjoy one fresh and tuck the rest away for a while

SeaUrchin, May 20, 2011
Photo of recall1242
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thick black in color that you can barely see anything through. Aggressively poured to a very thin head with little to no lacing.

S- Nice dark roasty aroma, cocoa and a slight smokey character.

T- Plenty of dark roasted grains and some chocolate flavors. Warms up nicely to some caramel and vanilla flavors in the finish.

M- Low carbonation but a well hidden 12%.

O- One of the better Imperial Stouts out there that you can actually find on the shelves. Not really a budget beer but it wont break the bank either.

recall1242, May 18, 2011
Photo of shangwang
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

received this on a recommendation in a trade with stickman1220- thanks, Chris!

poured into a Guinness glass- no date on bottle.

I liked the looks of Plead the 5th from the start- this is one of my favorite styles of beer and the appearance was exactly what I had hoped- deep brown-black, virtually no head and what little there was in a deep reddish brown color, very little lacing, and tiny tiny bubbles that shimmered in the light. This brew gave off great smells- the sweetness of dark cherry and a boozy roasted malt scent. The taste was spot on as well- a pleasant sweet milk chocolate taste with hints of roasted malt, but not enough to give it any sort of coffee flavor. A good combination of sweet and bitter with nothing out of whack. The mouthfeel was a nice medium-heavy consistency with a smooth creaminess. It finished very smoothly with a sweetness that lingered a few seconds. Very drinkable for a heavy beer with a high ABV, although I was definitely feeling a little buzz after one, so I'm not sure how many of these I'd really want to mess with in one night.

Great job Dark Horse! Just about everything I love about this style could be found in this beer. Definitely worth seeking out.

shangwang, May 18, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured opaque brown-black with a healthy mocha head that receded to a thin layer of bubbles. Dark chocolate, coffee, roasty malts in the nose. Big tastes of dark chocolate and coffee, also ash and licorice, and some alcohol bite. Full body, bitter, with a bitter aftertaste. Pretty easily drinkable for a high alcohol beer.

Rifugium, May 17, 2011
Photo of CooperEllis
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Weisguy who tucked this into a box that was already chock full of excellent brews.

12 oz into chalice-ish glass

Aside from the total lack of a head this is a perfect pour, nice color, despite no head decent rim lacing that is a bit sticky.

Straight roast malt armoa. Clean, crisp and very refreshing for such a dark beer.

Full taste, gone a bit quickly, not much to stick around, which is the only reason this wasn't a 5. spot on.

A bit light on mouth, and as noted above, it doesn't stick around particularly long. This may be the most refreshing RIS I've ever had, and for that I'm greatly enjoying it.

(120ish)

CooperEllis, May 17, 2011
Photo of BB1313
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a shiny jet black, nice brown bubbly head. I love the color of the head, I just wish it was bigger; lacing is decent. Amazing aromas fill up the room, especially as it warms up. I could've given the smell a "5". This is definitely a chocolate bomb. Lots of milk chocolate and vanilla. The flavors definitely don't disappoint. There's a slight roastiness, but this one seems to be all chocolate. Coffee is also present in a minor way. Great bittersweet flavors, just what I look for in a RIS. The mouthfeel is nice, but not super-thick. Carbonation is there, not overdone. Alcohol is extremely well hidden, dangerously drinkable. Overall, this is what it's all about, amazing brew! This is the real deal. Extremely impressive!

This is definitely my favorite from Dark Horse. This is an easy A. Highly recommended.

BB1313, May 16, 2011
Photo of projectflam86
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thick jet black color with a very thin head that does not leave much lace.

S- Huge dark roasted malt aroma with bitter cocoa and some smoke.

T- Plenty of dark roasted grains and dark chocolate flavors. A pretty heavy dose of alcohol but it doesn't detract from the full roast and oak flavors. Lots of complimentary "dark" flavors make this a nice sipper.

M- Chewy and full bodied with relatively low carbonation.

O- Overall this a very nice RIS with a great flavor profile.

projectflam86, May 15, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Traded dtx00 for this one. Thank you so much Sam! Poured into a tulip glass for sniffin!

A - Deepest darkest black thick beer liquid is best to describe. Even though the ABV is high I get the minimal of dark mocha colored head that sticks with some great lacing.

S - Deep dark chocolates, bitter chocolates, bakers chocolates, heavy roast with splashes of espresso and coffee. Has a very slight cherry tone which is minimal but slightly tart.

T - Ow man I am so excited! mmm wow almost as good as ST Chocolat! Dark chocolates slightly bitter which is pretty awesome and roast is balanced with slightly bitter coffee. Creamy and thick but tasty. I love how the chocolate tones in this is like a Hershey suryp sweet and thick!

M - Alcohol is so masked the only feeling of the ABV is the burn as it hits the stomach. So warming no wonder is a winter brew!

Overall Wow just wow! So big! So smooth! Such a great brew! A real treat of a beer that hopefully I can find around town next year as craft beer continues to grow.

DrDemento456, May 15, 2011
Photo of armock
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to champ103 for hooking this bottle up in a trade.

A - Poured a black color with a brown head that leaves some lacing behind

S - Is of roasted malts that give off chocolate scents and a hint of alcohol

T - Follows the nose with the roasted malt giving chocolate flavors and a touch of alcohol

M - This beer has a smooth full body with lighter carbonation to it

O - I'm enjoying this beer quite a bit right now the taste is making it a little too easy to drink this is a beer to look out for to try

armock, May 13, 2011
Photo of bamadog
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting a while to try this one. Picked up the four pack in 2010, review is from notes taken on 5/12/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is thick and viscous looking, and if I had to pick a visual comparison, I would go with FBS; body is black like fresh brewed coffee and it starts with a very dark brown head of 1/2 fingers that fades immediately to nothing other than a thin ring and small island in the center of the surface; body is entirely opaque; no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell: Lots of big chocolate malts, smells rich and thick, like Hershey's syrup; some dark cherry scents in there as well, and I'm reminded of the syrup inside a chocolate covered cherry too; just a touch of alcohol in the nose, and for being 12%, I would say it's blended quite well.

Taste: The taste is good, but not quite as good as the nose -- I feel like it loses a bit of the robust nature; like the smell, the big chocolate malts are up front, but they come across with a bit more of a bittersweetness to them, but they're still rich enough; the cherry flavors are there as well, and follow the chocolate nicely; there is a nice smokiness in it, with a touch of vanilla; alcohol is more present in the taste, but I would still say that it's pretty well blended and makes more of an appearance in the belly as it's quite warm.

Mouthfeel: Body is medium to heavy in terms of weight; carbonation is nearly non-existant but I'm OK with that in this style; body is also a little slick and oily, yet still manages to leaves a thick, semi-dry coating all over the roof of the mouth; gums are left a little tingly and the belly is left warm, as mentioned above, from the higher ABV.

Overall: A great offering from Dark Horse, great smell and good flavors and a body that matches the style quite well. Being a bit heavier and clocking in with that big ABV, consumption would be a little limited, but this would be a great dessert beer.

bamadog, May 13, 2011
Photo of waltersrj
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: Deep dark viscous black liquid with a dark tanned head that quickly dissipates into itself leaving what looks like "a black hole." This thing is seriously black.

Nose: Coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits (plum/figs), hops, roasted malt, alcohol and slight vanilla.

Taste: This was very chocolate forward to my palate (much like Ten Fidy) with a strong coffee presence moving in afterwards. Vanilla, dark fruit and bitter hops/coffee come in at the end and allow a mouth coating finish of chocolate. Slight alcohol burn throughout.

Mouthfeel: This was pretty thick but well carbonated which reminded me of Older Viscosity with more carbonation. Oily slick and coating, I really liked this.

Overall: I really enjoyed this one and will need to get more from my buddy in MI (thanks splax23). This must be fantastic with a bourbon barrel aging. Great base beer.

waltersrj, May 12, 2011
Photo of 1Adam12
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice color when pouring it from the bottle to my mug. Small carmel colored head. The nose wasn't as strong as I was epecting, but coffee was out front. Nice taste, can really taste chocolate and coffee, but was lighter than i expected, but may be due to drinking many bourbon barrel aged stouts the last few nights. This had a little more carbonation than the stouts that i am used to from a strong stout. I can really catch the hops on the finish and the aftertaste lingers nicely of coffee. This was my only bottle and i do look forward to getting more of it.

1Adam12, May 12, 2011
Photo of SAxDRC5
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Black with a brown/tan head. leaves decent lacing

S: Dark chocolate and dark fruits. a hint of caramel, and maybe a touch of alcohol.

T: burnt malts, dark fruits and dark chocalate are the first flavors I get. a bit of sweet brown sugar and molasses in the middle and finished with a touch of hops and some warm alcohol. very complex.

M: a bit fizzy for the style. alcohol is more present than I would expect, warm alcohol feeling throughout.

O: pretty good. better taste than most imperial stouts, mouthfeel is the only downfall of this beer. I would like to try the bourbon barrel aged Plead the 5th, it may be a bit less fizzy.

SAxDRC5, May 09, 2011
Photo of movingtrain
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle sampled from a 12 ounce snifter. Drinking at room temperature.

Pours jet black...looks like a shot of espresso. There is a small, caramel colored head floating on top, but not more than half a finger. Carbonation, however, seems to be going fairly strongly.

Aroma up front gives hints of plum, sour apple, chocolate, molasses, heavy cream, cinnamon, dried fruit, brown sugar, burnt wood, and coffee. It's a bit peppery in the nose, layered with good dark chocolate and caramelized sugar notes.

Yeah, this one packs a punch. Super rich in flavor, and the 12 percent alcohol seems to be masked here...until the swallow. Bitter dark chocolate notes start off the flavor here...followed by notes of a balanced, bittersweet shot of espresso. Burnt brown sugar, caramel, oatmeal, honey, and molasses all come to mind when sipping this. This Imperial stout is spot on...just what you want out of the style.

In terms of mouthfeel, the only setback with this beer is that the fizzy carbonation is very apparent on the tongue. It doesn't take away from the flavor at all, but just gives a bit too much fizz in the body.

Overall, this is a fine stout...should be up there with the best of them. I would love to try some of the other treatments they do with this beer. A top-notch ale...delicious and quite a treat.

movingtrain, May 08, 2011
Photo of JoshVandy
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours completely jet black with a 1 finger mocha brown head. Pretty decent retention. The color on this is impressive; easily the blackest stout I've seen in a while.

S- Big whiffs of chocolate and malts come through immediately, followed closely by very subtle coffee notes and a hint of fusel alcohol. Reminds me a lot of Founders Imperial Stout, which is a good thing.

T- Fantastic chocolate and malt immediately, followed by more malt and a hint of hops. Dark fruits also come into play as it warms. Alcohol heat is present after swallowing, leaving a nice burn in the throat that makes me want another sip. A little one dimensional, but it executes in that dimension flawlessly.

M- This is the part that impresses the most. Completely smooth, creamy and thick from start to finish, with the perfect amount of carbonation. Coats the mouth and throat and lingers there long after my last sip with faint alcohol. Incredible.

O- A fantastic Imperial Stout that is a little one dimensional in taste, but completely makes up for its shortcomings with a mouthfeel that is one of the best I've had in a long while.

JoshVandy, May 08, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse: Plead the Fifth

Pours a very thick and syrup like dark brown and settles black hole. A fingers worth of orange tinted mocha colored head sits and dissipates quickly. Some oily lacing grabs the glass.

The nose is a bit overpowering with alocohol up front. Underneath lies some sweet and roasty aromas. Chocolate vaguely lingers behind it all. Lots of booze.

The taste offers much more than the nose thankfully. Massive roast overload that is akin to toasted nuts. Some caramel and a bit of cocoa come through next. A lot of heat on the back end.

The mouthfeel is thick as oil. Super viscous and syrupy. Awesome.

Overall, i love the cards being played here but aging will improve this beer by lowering the highly noticeable heat. I cant wait to try it again next time this year ( if i dont finish the other 5 bottles).

ChugginOil, May 08, 2011
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,993 ratings.