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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,131 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,131
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 527
Gots: 729 | FT: 76
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:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,131 | Reviews: 774 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of armock
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
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

Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of waltersrj
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of 1Adam12
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of ChugginOil
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
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).

Photo of scottfrie
3.65/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into AVBC snifter. Received from a generous trader many many months ago.

A: Pours motor oil black with about a finger of short lived dark brown head that quickly faded into a thin collar leaving no lace.
S: Rich dark notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a touch of spicy alcohol. I'm also getting a subtle yet strange notes of some kind of mint and maybe a hint of metal.
T: Follows the nose with a rich roasted dark malt taste. Very smooth. I get notes of caramel, dark and milk chocolate, coffee with cream, a hint of molasses and sweet dark fruit. Roasted but fairly sweet all around. Finish is lightly bitter (chocolate bitterness) and the aftertaste has flavors of tobacco.
M: Low yet tingly carbonation with an airy mouthfeel and full body. For 12%, the alcohol is noticeable but not really warm or overpowering. Overall a little sharp around the edges.
O: A fairly solid stout all around. Full mouth, great flavor. Not the greatest though, and perhaps a little rough around the edges, but I would definitely have another one of these again.

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dense and dark brown thick head sits atop a black-as-night body. Its a great looking beer.

S - Chocolate, smoked meats, licorice. Dark things, not much sweetness.

T - Boozy, some metallic dark fruity sweetness, But really nice profiles of chocolate and coffee and roasted malts. A good tasting beer for sure.

M - Thick, viscous, hella smooth. A very nice mouthfeel.

O (D) - There are so many exceptional beers in this style (that I've tried), that it's hard for anything to stand out. This isnt the best RIS I've ever had, but its certainly comparable to many of the excellent ones I've had.

Photo of MrGaryFish
4.61/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #1. Brought back from a trade at DLD. 12 oz. bottle poured into Green Man snifter @ 50*

A: Pours opaque black with 1 finger of khaki head that quickly dissapates

S: fair amount of coffee followed by dark chocolate

T: massive amounts of chocolate and coffee, a little astringency from chocolate and other dark malts, excellent flavor that continues long after the finish, well hidden alcohol that is only noticed at the back of the throat

M: thick and viscous, excellent full body

O: Fantastic flavor, great nose and excellent body. Bitterness, astringency, chocolate and coffee flavors all coming through in proportion. 3 more to try with friends down the road, I would definitely trade for again. Wish the BA version was not so limited.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a dark brown head. In the aroma, roasted malt, coffee and a sweetness that reminds me of oatmeal. In the taste, sweet roasted malt and a dry coffee ending. A small hop bite and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee and a small alcohol presence in the aftertaste. Nice big flavor, big roast, nice coffee presence and hides the 12% very well.

Photo of stxSS07
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A- Pours opaque black with a rich brown 2 finger head. Darkest head I've encountered on a stout

S- Ridiculous. Chocolate, cherries, roasted malt, figs, dark fruit.

T- Bitterness and roastiness up front from the malt, dark chocolate and dark fruits follow up and fill the mouth with flavor. Alcohol burn on the end cleans the palate and gets you ready for the next sip.

M- This is the blueprint for a perfect RIS. Coats the mouth with a smooth blanket of flavor, but the carbonation comes along to clean it up. Fantastic.

O- Probably the best RIS I've had to date. Drinks amazing for a 12% beer. Will buy all I can get my hands on.

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

on tap at devils den in philly

Pours inky black and fairly thick with a crop of tanned head, leaving a cloud of film, with spots of lacing left on the glass.

Super heavy dark chocolate nose with bitterness and caramel, roasted malts and alcohol warmth with residual sweetness.

Similar taste with waves of chocolate and cocoa, very dark with some hop bitterness. Syrup and caramel with a beefy roasted dark malt backbone. Some hints of dark fruit with raisin. Finishes w some more hop bitterness and booze, residual chocolate sweetness.

Full bodied and carbed, thick creamy and sticky. Great flavor with chocolate in the forefront, a bit boozy but not out of control. I'd definitely drink this again.

Photo of MaxSpang
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

APPEARANCE

Obviously, VERY dark. This guy poured very slowly into the glass. It had a lovely brown head, probably one of the darker heads I've seen. The head was about 2 fingers. There was minimal bubbles.

SMELL

Very malty in the nose. There was a big amount of chocolate and roasty aromas. It had a little bit of alcohol, but not NEARLY as much as you would expect! There was also a slight graininess in the smell, as well as some tropical fruits and banana which was quite surprising.

TASTE

In my notes from this beer (which I had a few nights ago), the first thing I wrote for the taste was "Sooo good". And it definitely is! Very sweet with a big amount of yummy chocolate and bittersweet cocoa. It had a burnt-sweet-fruit taste, and I mean that in the best way possible. There was a fairly strong banana flavor which was extremely pleasant. There was NO alcohol taste to be found in this beer. I swear there was a good amount of oak flavors in it, yet I don't think it was aged in oak barrels (but I'm not 100% sure that it wasn't.) I have to say that this beer was very similar to Founders KBS, without the coffee flavors.

MOUTHFEEL

Very thick and very smooth. This is one of those beers I put into my "Big-Ol'-Stankin-Beer" category. It was very warming from the alcohol.

OVERALL

This is by far one of my favorite Imperial Stouts, and relatively inexpensive (compared to other IS). It's also a bit easier to get a hold of, although the store I bought my 4-pack from was limiting 1 per customer. This beer is pretty dangerous though, because it's very drinkable (considering the thickness), and you definitely cannot taste the 12-14% ABV - so be careful with this guy!

Photo of BierFan
3.86/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

An inch of light brown head settles to a thin layer. Almost completely disappears after a minute. Very dark black body. Smells like cocoa powder. Not a lot to the aroma. Roastiness in the flavor that I didn't get in the aroma, quite a bit of bitter cocoa.

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

Appearance -- Pours a rich dark brown with a slim creamy brown head. Coats the glass like crazy. Very photogenic.

Smell -- Very dark fruit forward, culling up notes of figs, dried cherries and cranberries. Additional notes of coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste -- On the whole Plead the 5th is First impression is of flourless chocolate cake and dried black cherries. Anise, figs, charred malt, and faint woodsmoke are also present. Slightly sweet, like a dark spice cake. Charred roast flavor does well in helping to balance the malt sweetness. The finish is rich with cocoa, black cherry, and charred malt.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body, velvety. Carbonation is pitch-perfect: soft, but not quite creamy. Slightly thicker and this would have been perfect for me. I'm probably nitpicking to be honest.

Overall -- Great imperial stout. Stellar rich malt notes, and great depth. The finish had a bit more burnt char acridity than I would like. Otherwise the beer was amazing. This would be worth buying by the case. Quality for certain.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Capone's in Philadelphia.

The beer is black with a thick, beige head that plasters the glass in lacing. Can't ask for more than that. The aroma is of roast, oak, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor is extremely roasty, with a slightly burned malt character. The feel is full bodied, with alcohol presence there, but not overwhelming. Good stuff.

Photo of mjw1200
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= Very dark color pour, not much on top, caramel color.

S= Not overpowering, had to get real close to get a good smell. Smell vanilla/bourbon. Also smell some of the coffee.

T = Exceptional. Layers, of chocolate coffee some caramel and vanilla. Alcohol is very present, but I wouldnt have it any other way. It is going to be hard to let this beer age, but I think it will be worthwhile.

M= Thicker than most beers with this much alcohol. Some stronger stouts seem to be to thin, but this one holds up. It lingers in my mouth leaving the great taste to stay around.

Photo of TheBear11D
4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

Pours black and looks pretty thick despite its high ABV. Has a small dark chocolate brown head that leaves behind decent but not impressive lacing.

Great nose. The roasted malts are first to tickle the nostrils, but the amount of alcohol cannot be hidden. Also has a smokey smell with chocolate.

Wonderful flavor! Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the taste. The alcohol is well hidden at first but it lasts well into the aftertaste.

Thick and creamy with very mild carbonation. The body compliments the flavor.

Well worth having! I continue to be impressed with Dark Horse.

Photo of Lauthaha
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Pours pitch-black in a nearly-molasses fashion. Head is a super-dark tan color, and recedes to about a 2mm coating on the surface of the beer. Leaves what looks like exception lacing (except I filled the beer to the top of the glass...haha, we'll have to wait and see).

Smell: Lots of toasted caramel and toffee malt flavor going on here. Then, a medium-dark chocolate tone which rings loudly. Espresso beans dot the scented canvas, and perhaps just a touch of spice is thrown in at the end for good measure. Almost no detectable alcohol. This is shaping up to be a winner!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer goes in thickly, and quickly begins to carbonate on the tongue. Flavors flash repeatedly, interwoven with each other and yet set apart from all other flavors. A light sourness from what I assume are the hops is perfectly balanced with the chewy malt character and upper-crust espresso. Calming everything down is a strong (but not cloying) milk chocolate vibe. Beer finishes strongly, and leaves a strong aftertaste of chocolate and coffee. Another sip? Don't mind if I do.

Overall: At 12% ABV, this drinks like a pilsner (in terms of quaffability). Simply outstanding brew. I am a fan of RIS's, and this one fits into the category splendidly. GOOD job, Dark Horse.

Photo of dgugliuzza
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a SA pint glass

A- Pours midnight black with 1/2 inch thick brown head. Great color contrast between the head and body.

S- Smells of dark roasted malts with heavy amounts of cocoa. Some coffee is also present. Smells very similar to a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies.

T- Tastes of sweet roasted malts with plenty of chocolate and coffee to back it up. Not only does it smell like a cookie, but it tastes like one too! Has a nice subtle bitterness at the finish which brings it all together. This is tasty beyond words.

M- Creamy and chewy as it should be for the bold imperial stout that it is. Sits much like a desert on the palate.

D- Fantastic. One of the more tasty imperial stouts I've had the delight to drink. The alcohol is hardly noticeable. This could have a 20% abv and still be delicious.

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

Had on tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a thick black with two quarters of head.

S: Roasted malts, burnt sugar, chocolate, coffee and some dark fruits.

T: Sweet roasted malt, raisin, cherry, slight bitter chocolate and coffee. Just a hint of alcohol. This beer is so complex.

M: Thick body and good carbonation.

O: This is a sipper and not just due to the alcohol level.

Photo of EricCioe
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours impenetrable black with a dark tan head with decent retention and good lace. On the nose there is bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, and a good deal of alcoholic heat. In the mouth there is a big chocolate note up front, a little sweeter than it seems on the nose, molasses as the big body slides down, with roasted malt and some bitter coffee on the back of the tongue as part of a long finish. There is a good deal of heat here, plenty enjoyable, but limiting the drinkability a little bit. Still, this is a good sipper and something I really enjoyed. The other two Dark Horse beers I've reviewed I didn't really like, but this one has given them a new lease on life for me. This isn't quite to the level of Founders Imperial Stout, but it's pretty close and I enjoy it a good deal.

EDIT - A year later and I've had this several times. Fresh, this is the best RIS from MI that I've had. Expedition is better after a year, but fresh this beats that and Founders.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,131 ratings.