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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,217 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,217
Reviews: 786
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 543
Gots: 789 | 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:
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
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,217 | Reviews: 786 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lolli1315
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- An absolutely opaque blacks as no highlights are seen when placed next to a light. A small thin layer of brown head appears composed of small bubbles. The head becomes slightly patchy with a thick ring around the glass.

S- Tons of what seems to be milk chocolate prominent. The smooth chocolate turns to a bitter chocolate and burnt roasted malt aroma. Figs and plums combine with burnt coffee before an appropriate alcohol aroma helps to finish.

T- Smooth chocolate taste to begin before the bitter chocolate and burnt coffee takes its place towards the middle of the beer. Plums and figs linger in the background as the coffee and chocolate tastes continue into the end. An alcohol taste reveals itself in the end of the beer as it warms the mouth and lingers into the finish with some light bitter character.

M- Full bodied and chewy as the alcohol warms the mouth.

O- Unlike some Russian Imperial Stouts, this one doesn't seem like it needs any time put away and is great now. Great drinking and would suggest this to anyone.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch dark khaki head that fades to a thin film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form randomly on the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark fruits (raisins/plums), dark roasted malt, slight chocolate, and slight soy sauce. Taste is of the dark fruits, dark roasted malt, and slight cocoa powder. Slight roasty bitterness on the palate quickly fades. This beer has low carbonation and is thick in both the pour and the mouth. Overall, this is a good RIS with a more fruit and malt forward flavor. I am glad I got to try this one.

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

12oz bottle poured into a Jackie O's snifter, both courtesy of drgonzo3705.

A: Pours pitch black, letting absolutely no light penetrate.  A small, one-finger light brown head appears, but only briefly before disappearing.  Only a thin ring is left behind, with some sticky lacing.

S: This smells excellent ... roasted malt and bitter chocolate dominate, with hints of espresso, vanilla, dark fruit, and a touch of anise.  Really a lot going on here, creating an extremely pleasant aroma.  despite the higher alcohol content, there is no sign of it in the smell.  

T: Starts out with dark, bitter chocolate and roasted malts.  Transitions slowly to a sweeter milk chocolate with fig and plumb.  Finishes roasty with an absolutely delicious espresso flavor and a touch of hops that lingers and lingers.  There is a bit of a drying effect on the finish, however, there is almost no trace of alcohol.  Really nice!

M: Full-bodied, thick, and slightly chewy.  Fairly low carbonation that provides a smooth velvety creaminess across the tongue with each sip.  Nice transition from bitter to sweet to bitter/roasty.  Again, slightly drying at the end.  

O: This is an exceptional non-BA imperial stout.  There is a lot going on in the aroma and taste, and the mouthfeel is spot on.  I've had my eye on this for a while, largely due to some of the hype surrounding the BA-version, and this version is better than I had expected.  I'm really glad to have gotten a chance to try this and will try to get my hands on another bottle or two down the road.  

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

Pours black with a medium brown head that lingers and creates nice lacing.

Smell is dark roasted malts, bitter baker's chocolate, sweet molasses, some dark dried fruits, little alcohol heat.

Taste upfront is roasted malts and semi-sweet chocolate. Finish is bitter roasted malts mixed with sweet molasses, a little chocolate and sweet dark dried fruits. Lingering bitter chocolate. Overall slightly sweet.

Full bodied and creamy. Light but present carbonation. Seems a little thin at times. Little alcohol heat.

Nice multidimensional flavor that stays interesting. Very enjoyable beer.

5/3/2011

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

Kuhnhenn tulip glass. Thanks to Scoot1969 for this as an extra.

Pours black with a thick motor oil consistency, reddish tan ring of head. You know when you make chocolate milk with Hershey's syrup, and when you're done drinking the glass there's still some syrup at the bottom? The bottle has this. I thought maybe this was a chocolate stout, but I don't see any indication of that. Smells like sweet malt, chocolate syrup, and a little cream and vanilla. Has a nice fresh smell to it. Really nice, based on the smell I can't wait to take a sip. Taste is sweet Hershey's syrup up front, roasted malt, a little bittersweet cocoa and smoke on the finish. Full bodied and mouth coating, nice medium-light carbonation, warming from the alcohol. Overall, a delicious, big, sweet stout, about as drinkable as you could hope for given the parameters of the beer.

Photo of HosP
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple bottle from kstrickler. Poured into snifter.

A- Pours thick black. Very little head to this, but still looks very nice!

S- Very nice nose. Bold aromas starting with chocolate and coffee. Some vanilla hints at the end with a nice roasted aroma. Just a bit of booze detected but pretty subtle.

T- Starts with a nice bit chocolate burst, a little bitterness to it as well. Mild coffee flavors supports the beer well. Some sweet vanilla flavors and a bit of dark fruit flavors round out the drink.

M- Full body and little carbonation.

O- Very solid and tasty beer. Nothing I can say bad about it, very much enjoyed it. Would LOVE to try the BA version of this. If not, would drink this anytime. Thanks Kyle!

Photo of cbutova
3.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black motor oil ale pours into my pint glass. Not much of a head forms but a creamy pillow tops the beer. Small spots of lace from a creamy ring.

S- Dark roast malt comes off strong with a fairly harsh edge to it. Also get a dose of dark fruit, coffee, cocoa and caramel.

T- Definitely one of the harsher stouts I have had recently, but in a nice way for an RIS. The dark roast, burnt malt thrashes the palate with cocoa, coffee, dark fruit, licorice and caramel notes as well. A bit of alcohol, not surprising at 12%.

MF- Thick body supporting the huge flavor. An overall silky feel with some cream and alcohol warming to it. Acrid roast bitterness. Higher carbonation than I would prefer.

A very solid stout and a very strong one coming in at a heavy 12%, still big even in 2011. Dark Horse knows how to make a stout, I hope they do more with their numbered series because they were all pretty nice.

Photo of tewaris
3.8/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 2009 vintage, with just as bad artwork as other Dark Horse beers poured into a snifter.

Inky black with a tiny head that left even before it formed completely! A tiny dark dark brown ring persisted. Forgivable for a 12% ABV beer.

Aroma is sweet chocolate and vanilla; I would have thought this came out of barrels. Hint of alcohol. I like it.

Intense and delicious, bitter, sweet, roasty and chocolaty. Quite complex, but not over the top. Some acidity. Quite warming. I made the mistake of considering it ordinary once and I was wrong. Palate coating until it finishes with kiss of alcohol and kick of roast. Only downside is that it still feels rough and not-well-integrated.

The mouthfeel of this beer, however, is not up to the taste. Hell no! Thin and harsh instead of being silky, this beer could be in BCS territory with its taste it has but its body seems short of supporting it. Overall very good in spite of a few shortcomings here and there.

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

Aggressive pour produces 1/4 inch brown head with deep dark brown approaching black body. Head looks creamy.

Chocolate, dark fruit, alcohol vanilla, coffee hints of caramel in smell. Some hops in the bunch too.

Chocolate with a coffee that's more present than the smell suggests. Vanilla still dark fruits, almost cherry like. Good bitter presence here, especially in finish.

Warming alcohol in the mouthfeel. Smooth creamy carbonation.

Definitely good. Not top tier, but high up there.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Saw a four pack of this the other day and it jumped into my lap and rode home with me.
Pours a solid black with a minimal tan head that dissipates quickly a leaves no lace. Smells of licorice, molasses, bitter dark chocolate, dried dark cherries covered in vodka, a bit earthy herbal hops in there somewhere too. Taste is tart dark fruit drenched in dark chocolate and dipped in rum or vodka. Espresso and an earthy hop bit round this one out. Leaves a lingering roasted grain char mixed with some sweetness that linger long after every sip. I'm kind of amazed that the depth of flavors in this brew meld together so well. Sweet sticky almost syrupy mouthfeel. Light level of carbonation and a thick body. I really enjoyed this one. Really thick and sweet but incredibly tasty. Shit I'm thinking about pouring this over some vanilla ice cream in a few.

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

Mystery beer from schwaeh. From notes, sampled 6/25.

Noticed a lot of sediment in the unmarked bottle.

A: Poured into a snifter. An aggressive pour yields a less than exemplary head. The body is motor oil black and the head that forms a nice ring is dark brown. Beer appears well carbonated and has some alcohol feet.

S: Bitter dark chocolate and espresso coffee initially, but as the beer warms the coffee dominates. Nice roasted malt character, maybe a touch of smoke and booze.

T: Coffee and hop bitterness, black licorice and bittersweet bakers chocolate. The dark roasted malts are excellent. On the tongue, it's a simple yet robust coffee stout.

MF: Initially very creamy and robust, a little warmth and booze cuts it a little. Finishes bitter and dry.

O: Pretty darn good coffee stout or RIS with the hops...I would probably go 4.0/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.5.

Dark Horse Plead the 5th!

Thanks Steve!

Photo of Treebs
3.67/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into my Founders Snifter.

A: Pours a jet black, deep as night. Light fights to break through this darkness, but it's an impossible task. Slight brown swirls of film form with a vigorous pour, but absolutely no head.

S: Pretty boozy with some great malt profiles and some light chocolates peak their head in out and out.

T: The heat is back from the nose with a nice burnt and bitter roast from the malts. Slight semi-sweet chocolates with a little hop jump at the end.

M: Heavy bodied, like oil on the tongue. Leaves a creamy roasted dry chocolate on the palate. Little carbonation.

O: A very solid RIS overall. Seems a very true to style brew and I enjoyed it.

Photo of Gushue3
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thank you MaxSpang for this guy

A- Very dark brew. Almost no light is let through while pouring and is completely black sitting in my glass. A nice 2 finger mocha brown / coffee colored head forms that has moderate retention. after dissipating there's very little left on the sides and top and not really any lacing. Would love to see more lacing and head but looks good either way

S- All kinds of sweetness in this one. Big malt and brown sugar hot me in the first waft. Plums, raisins and candied fruits with a smokey and hop scent somewhere in there as well. All these making it a very nice and complex nose.

T- First thing i noticed was how smooth it is. Smoke and malt take charge while the sweetness in the nose takes a back seat. Sweetness picks up toward the middle and follows to the end. Nothing over powering and well balanced

M- Smooth. Heavier mouthfeel with almost no carbonaation, really nice.

O- Great beer, everything works well together.

Photo of BBP
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- While I don't agree with other reviews saying that this is one of the darkest stouts, it's quite dark and the only color that isn't black is in the ruby highlights. When I have a stout I look for two things. The first being darkness, which Plead accomplished, and the next is a full persistent head, which it didn't. I barely even got a head, or a film for that matter. Good thing appearances aren't everything.

S- Alcohol sharpness is a very evident welcome in the aroma. The first initial thought I had was dark fruit, and then caramel sweetness. Some coffee and chocolate can be detected just before the dark fruit begins to take over.

T- Very elegant tasting for a 12% stout. It's not really pungent in any way, but it's the furthest thing from bland at the same time.

Caramel, chocolate, licorice, and roasted malt pop out from an initial taste. I found it intriguing how sweet this is initially only for the roasted malts to reassure you that it has balance. The coffee also slyly creeps in to add some bitterness as well.

The taste is a real treat. With an extra little bit of oomph, I could see myself giving the 5 for taste rating.

M- Creamy smooth and a body that's as full as you want it to be. The finish is dry and sticky, as the flavor clings long after the sip.

O- I see this as a stout that I need to stock up on when I see it.

I'm starting to notice a trend with Dark Horse in that many of their brews aren't over the top, but many are done in a classy way. I think they're going to fall into breweries that I trust enough to buy without looking into their beers beforehand. Wish I picked up more of this.

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

A-Pours pure midnight with a dense coffee milkshake head. Small dashes of lace stick to my pint glass. I love the color of the head. This beer is dark and beautiful. Very nice appearance.

S-Smells like Kahlua. Alcohol mixed with crispy burnt chocolate. A noticeably pungent scent. A bit of coffee as well, but the rich, deep chocolate tones are the big ticket here. Quite similar to a Mudslide.

T-The first thing I think of is a boozy drink made with chocolate syrup. Very sweet but also has some nice dark chocolate bitterness to it as well. The alcohol is clearly detectable but it really mixes beautifully with the chocolate notes. I almost get a toasty nutty flavor as well. A bit of coffee comes out too. All in all, the chocolate rules here. I might be catching some hoppy bitterness in the back end too.

M-Very thick and syrupy. Gooey is a great way to describe it. Carbonation is soft in comparison to the bulk of the feel. Feels big, tastes big...no feels huge, tastes huge.

O/D-I would probably enjoy this one a bit more in the colder weather months. Nevertheless, this chocolate-prominent stout is an ass-kicker and a tasty feast. This is a beast. I cannot even fathom what the Barrel Aged Version of this tastes like; must be why its considered a rare gem. This brew is also relatively affordable for the style coming in at about $3.80. Dark Horse is a great company; this brew is hard-nosed evidence of that.

Photo of MammothBrew
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass on 6/22/11.

A: Pours a burned oil color with tints of ruby(only while pouring). Holding it up, there's no light coming through this beauty. Very thin frothy layer. No head, no lacing.

S: Smokey chocolate malt with a strong coffee/espresso smell. Very faint boozy smell and no hop presence.

T: It's a chocolate attack to the face. Deep chocolate/cocoa flavor with some smooth smokey, roasted malt. Hints of coffee with a very light boozy finish.

M: Full body with little carbonation. Coats the mouth in a really, really chocolaty milk kind of way.

O: It's like a chocolate dessert drink for adults. This has become my favorite Imperial Stout, hands down. It's not very complex but it's straight to the point. Also, the high ABV is hidden pretty well. Nice job Dark Horse!

Photo of bonemuse07
4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First day of summer means I should celebrate all that is dark, right? Since we had tornado warnings tonight, the skies were certainly dark. However...

A: Poured into a large snifter. This beer was darker than the skies. Midnight black/oily--not sure light would be able to escape it. Only about 1/4 finger of head, cocoa, disappeared quickly.

S: Big dark chocolate smell, followed closely by alcohol. Some coffee, oak, and faint vanilla in there. I was expecting a little more sweetness to it, but the chocolate seems to be overpowering

T: Dark, almost burnt chocolate. The hops add an extra kick to the coffee flavors. Definitely some oak. This beer overwhelms the taste buds. Surprisingly, there's not as much of a boozy taste as I was expecting, but it definitely warms you up after a few sips. Finishes with a faint sweet aftertaste...

M: More carbonation that I was expecting, especially after so little head. Coats everything, but the coffee/bitter doesn't overwhelm. Very well balanced.

Overall: I was expecting a little more sweetness from it, but it surprised me with how full and thorough it was. This is an excellent stout. Dark Horse is rapidly becoming one of my trusted breweries, i.e. I'll try anything from them.

Cheers!

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

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

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

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

M- THICK. Monstrous. Luscious

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

Photo of silentjay
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

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

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

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

full, chewy mouthfeel coats the tongue; adequate carbonation.

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

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

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

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

Photo of DoctorDog
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,217 ratings.