Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,113 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,113
Reviews: 773
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 527
Gots: 722 | FT: 77
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: 3,113 | Reviews: 773 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nwu008
3.48/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A -- Rich dark brown with a very thin head, even after a vigorous pour.

S -- Loads of chocolate, roast nuts

T -- Sweet roasted malt, chocolate finish. Some sour notes on the finish

M -- thick and chewly

D -- a little hot even for a high abv imperial stout, richness limits drinkability.

Photo of AllFineThings
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of the bottle and into a tulip glass.

Not much head or lacing at all, jet black.

Smells of dark roasted malts, and chocolate/coffee.

Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and burnt fruit.

Very, Very smooth for 12% ABV, so=Very Easy To drink..

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

12oz bottle into a snifter - courtesy of Exiled

A: Pours pitch black with a tiny dark brown head that fades to a small ring and leaves some lacing on the glass when you tip it up and down.

S: The nose is full of dark fruit, chocolate, and bitter coffee.

T: The taste is dark chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, and bitter roasted/burnt malt.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty thick and creamy...very full bodied. Exactly how I like my imperial stouts!

D: Pretty tasty although the bitterness may turn off some. The high alcohol makes this tough to drink more than one.

Photo of alpinebryant
3.78/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an oil sticky thick syrup with a very dark tan head.

Smell of oaky, charred remains of a bourbon barrel. I had to stop and question if this had any barrel aging, which as far as I am aware, it does not. Easily comparable to Ten Fidy in aroma with the sweetness that comes out.

Taste of a slightly boozy , sweet imperial russian stout. There are tons of charred remains in here after the sweetness settles. You can rub your tongue against the top of your mouth and feel the chalky feeling you get from ashes if one were to taste ashes... There is a lot of sweetness, a definite hop presence that brings the ash flavor down a notch, but I can never get over that ashy burnt aftertaste. This is a very tasty beer, but I would remove some of that black patent. Chocolate does it for me, and while this is tasty, I would rather have a RIS that has less char broiled coal characteristics in it.

Very low carbonation with an ashy mouthfeel.

Photo of velosuds
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes on 12/26/10. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Thanks to my sister-in-law from Ohio for bringing out on her trip to CA for Christmas.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a scant one finger, creamy tan head with good retention and adequate lacing.

S-Deep, dark chocolate and toasted malts and dark dried fruits. Also some vanilla, and booze. The smell is very nice.

T-Close to matching the aroma. Quite as expected for style with dark chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, and alcohol. Better than I expected.

M-Robust, smooth, but a tad thin due to under carbonation.

D-Very good for a RIS, but not great. I like this and wish it were available in the PNW since offered as a single 12 oz. bottle.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip

A. Poured a very slick 1/2 finger of dark cola colored head. Not much retention and very litte lacing. Color is all black.

S. Smell is good. Smells like a big Imperial Stout. Cocolate, dark malt, molasses, alcohol, a little coffee. Nice big stout smell. Has a pleasant alcohol aroma.

T. Taste is surprisingly based on the smell very coffee focused. Big coffee taste, followed by some dark chocolate and roasted malt. Alcohol is not very present in the taste.

M. Medium bodied. Low carbonation. Finishes semi dry with some lingering sweetness.

D. Goes down easy for 12%. This beer hides it abv very well. Kind of a contradiction between the smell and the taste, smell is not big on the coffee but the taste was pretty coffee heavy. Al in all this is a pretty damn good Imperial Stout.

Photo of AgentZero
3.55/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Motor oil black, no head at all on the hard pour, but some bubbles rose to the top and formed a tight ring momentarily. No light coming through this one.

S - Chocolate, a lot of roast. The alcohol is buried in this one but comes out as it warms up. There's a little bit of wood on this.

T - First sip of this was great, with roasty malts dominating and some latent sweetness coming from chocolate malts. There alcohol burn grows and grows here as you keep drinking it, making it hard to do.

M - Thick, syrupy, with a moderate does of carbonation. It's very coating, covers the tongue.

D - You really start to get the 12% out of this about a quarter of the way through. It's a good beer, but a bit hot, and not outstanding. I'd drink it on occasion if available, but nothing particularly special.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Body is a dark opaque very dark brown. Pours with a one finger or so dark brown head that quickly fades to a thin collar.

S- Nose is fairly mild but consists of typical RIS characteristics. Dark chocolate, licorice, anise, and a hint of alcohol.

T-Flavor is good-and classic RIS. Dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, and anise. Finish is consistent with the initial flavor but appears to add a touch of pine and the roasted malt and dark chocolate characters intensify. A warm alcohol heat and a touch of dark chocolate and roasted malt linger.

M- Medium carbonation-and a very impressive thick, smooth, and velvety feel.

D- This is a very good, classic RIS. The alcohol is very well hidden here and the mouthfeel is fantastic. Very well done by dark-horse. Although I either traded for this bottle or received it in a LIF (so its been in the cellar for about a yr) Im excited they are finally shipping to Pittsburgh and can't wait to try some more of their brews.

Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as an extra from wunderbeer in a trade, big thanks Ron, I've been wanting to try this one!

a - Pours a jet black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident. No lacing and the head only lasts for a minute.

s - Smells of cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and roasted malts.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate and coffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, vanilla, and a little alcohol.

m - Full bodied stout with moderate carbonation, this beer is very smooth and creamy; goes down great.

d - A very good RIS. I really liked the smell and mouthfeel. Wish the taste was a little less bitter but still very good. Would definitely like to try it again and would love to try the barrel aged version.

Photo of pburland23
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Teresa's Next Door. There was a funny write up on the beer menu about how when the keg came in the employees at Teresa's didn't know what it was. So, someone called Dark Horse and told them they had a keg of Plead the 5th in Wayne, Pa. The Dark Horse employee asked, "How did you get a keg of that?"

It seemed to be a fortuitous break for us local beer geeks that Teresa's had a keg.

Pours a dark black color with a slight cocoa colored head.

Smells of roasted malts as well as some burnt wood aroma which reminds me of a port barrel. The taste is also dominated by the roasted malts with hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

There is scant carbonation which is nice for the style. This beer doesn't drink like it's 12% abv. There was no discernible boozy presence in my opinion.

All in all, this is a wonderful RIS. I had never even heard of Dark Horse before and was glad I wandered into Teresa's on a night they had this on tap.

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

Thanks to Alewatcher for the opportunity to try this one.

A: Dark as night. Slight mocha head that dissapates quickly leaving a tan ring.

S: Nice chocolate, dark fruit, sweetness.

T: Surprised that there's a little bit of a coffee here as I didn't pick it up in the nose. The chocolate and dark fruit are there of course as well as a spicey quality of some kind towards the end of the sip. Leaves a great chocolate taste. Hard to pick up the alcohol which is nice.

M: Smooth and creamy. Very good.

D: As I mentioned in the taste portion, the 12.00%ABV is hardly present making this an amazingly drinkable beer considering the alcohol level.

I looked forward all day to having a beer after work and I'm really glad I chose Plead The 5th. Thanks again Jeff.

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

Thanks to sweemzander for hooking me up with this one.

Poured out a jet black with a thin brown head that quickly dissipated.

Smelled of chocolate, coffee, alcohol and kind of earthy.

The alcohol is present and the sweetness and bitterness almost fight for taste space. A bit of a wooden character to it, almost like a roasted, smoky wood or malt. There's a lot that takes place in each sip of this beer.

This beer is thick and syrupy and fills your mouth. You're really drinking something here, its not just washing past your mouth to your throat.

This beer was tasty but one for the night was good enough. There's a lot of flavor and a decent amount of alcohol so its not one to take lightly.

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

Thank to a couple different folks for sending these my way.

A: The pour into my snifter is thick and black with a small tan head forming.

S: Lots of dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and roasted malts. A touch of alcohol along with molasses, brown sugar, and some dark fruits.

T: Bitter dark chocolate, molasses, and burnt sugar to open things up on this one. The alcohol is there, but it's well integrated (I think). The roasted malt character is quite powerful as well and leaves a bit of a bitter aftertaste to the beer.

M: The body medium to full and is silky and smooth on the tongue. The carbonation is low to moderate.

D: For a 12% beer, this one is pretty mellow and easy to drink. Definitely one of the better "regular" imperial stouts out there.

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

A - pours a black with a dark brown head

S - smells of roasted, semi-sweet chocolaty malts with a little bit of sourness to it

T - the taste follows the nose. Lots of dark chocolate with some vanilla and dark fruits (raisins) that segues into some sourness/fruity/tart flavors. Strong coffee flavors linger on the palate on the finish and a hint of grassy hops. Pretty solid.

M - slick mouthfeel that is medium bodied without much carbonation

D - pretty decent RIS. I would put this as above average but nothing that blew me away too much. Another solid stout in Dark Horse's lineup.

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

On tap at Stub & Herb's.

Poured into a 10 oz. snifter (kind of) a black liquor with a thin mocha head that left little to no lacing. No carbonation at all.

The nose was coffee, molasses, milk chocolate, and coffee.

The taste followed the nose and improved considerably as it warms, emphasizing the milk chocolate and coffee. Very good.

The lack of carbonation in the appearance was confirmed in the mouthfeel. With a lack of carbonation, I was expecting a chewiness. But it was actually a little thin for a RIS.

I would get this in a bottle if it were available to me where I lived.

Photo of adrock7309
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lucky to find a couple singles from last years batch sitting on a shelve at my local bottle shop.

Poured the bottle into my trusty Chimay goblet. After a vigorous pour almost no head to speak of. The top did experience a dark brown glaze but that quickly subsided.

Aroma is huge on the milk chocolate, dark chocolate, a bit of a blueberry hint, and a bit of leather.

Taste is heavy on the roasted malts, and lost of cocoa or chocolate. There is definitely some dark fruit or berry flavor i am picking up. The hops are pretty mellow but show up a bit on the sides of my tongue. There is no burn or hotness of the alcohol at all. I am pleased by the heavy mouthfeel and the low carbonation.

This is going down way to easily.

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

12oz bottle courtesy of vinyljunkie (thanks Tom!), into a snifter.

A - Midnight black, with a thin ring of head around the edge of the glass. No retention (obviously, nothing to retain) and no lacing. It's not flat, but looks like it.

S - Heavy oat aroma, like a bowl of Cheerios. Some anise and black licorice, along with brown sugar in the background.

T - More oats all up in your face. I feel like I'm drinking cereal. Caramel and a hint of dark fruit. Lots of roast. And I'll say this -- for a 12% RIS, this disguises the alcohol REALLY well. I'm drinking this and having no idea how high the abv is.

M - Thick and chewy. Low carbonation. Not bad but not great, either.

D - Nice beer, but the abv kicks you in the behind before you know it. I couldn't taste it but I got warm pretty quickly. I doubt I could go through more than two of these in a sitting.

O - I want to love this one, but like almost everything I have from Dark Horse, there's always something getting in the way. It just seems heavy-handed to me. Nothing subtle in this one at all. I had a KBS immediately before this one, and while that might be setting the bar a little high, it reminds me what a world class stout tastes like. This isn't it.

Photo of Bombers4Benedict
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, dark, dark with a thick finger and a half light brown head. Very appetizing.

S - Sweet is the only thing that can encompass what my nose experienced. One moment is caramel, the next is creme brulee/brown sugar, the next is subtle spiciness.

T - At first this one comes on heavy. I was worried the sweet smell was an attempt to hide the large ABV (12%) but rest assured my friends, this one was smooth and very pleasing. I would describe it as a hard creme brulee. There was a little bit of noticable alcohol but that quickly vanished into a nice sweet, malty aftertaste. The warmer this beer gets the more the alcohol stands out, though so my suggestion is to sip quickly. Obviously, this left my tongue just wanting more and more. At a tasting a week ago this one stood out in a line up of 20 or so stouts as the desert like characters gave this one independence. I was happy to revisit, no doubt.

D - Although I loved it I had to keep it at 1 and would be suprised if others could do more. The sweetness sweetness is very desirable however can become overwhelming.

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

Shared as an extra from pittsburghkid66 - thanks again! Poured into a snifter.

A - pitch black body, dark brown head on top. A standard appearance, yet one that always excites me.

S - a ton of roasted malts and brown sugar. A little vanilla, alcohol and spice.

T - roasted malt more than anything, some sweet coffee-and-cream, chocolate and molasses on the back.

M - fantastic! Great carbonation, very smooth and balanced.

D - dangerously good. This one lacks the espresso/hop bitterness I've come to expect from big IRS, especially ones at 12% ABV. Very grateful I got the chance to try this beer.

Photo of billab914
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip glass. It poured pitch black with one of the darkest chocolate heads I've ever seen on a beer. The head retreated to the edges of the glass where it left just a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a big dark chocolate and brown sugar presence to it. Roasted malts with a touch of burntness come through in it as well. Very flavorful and appealing beer overall.

The taste shows more bitterness with bitter chocolate coming through at first. It turns to more of a roasted, burnt bitterness towards the finish. It leaves a nice bitter-sweet, dark chocolate lingering after the finish. Very nice flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is thick and heavy with low carbonation. Pretty much exactly the way I like my big stouts. Drinkability is good, it had some great flavors to it and was a pleasure to sip on this evening. A very enjoyable beer overall.

Photo of biglite351
3.7/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - black as tar, tall dark thick head.

S - heavy dark roasted malts, raisins, chocolate, not bitter but very inviting.

T - heavy deep roasted malts, raisins and a bit of sweet chocolate.

M - thick but not much tingle in the mouth. Burn in the throat from the alcohol.

D - the heaviness of the flavor and feel, plus the brim from the alcohol make this a short drinker.

Photo of Onenote81
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm able to try this thanks to the generous trader, enelson, for hooking me up with 3 bottles of this. Huge thanks!

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No freshness info. Pours a very thick, dirty motor oil-black. Glugs out very slowly. The pour yields the thinnest of lacy sheets. Dark mocha colored. No lace left behind after each sip. Nice robust nose here. Tones of chocolate, coffee, vinous grapes, a bit of alcohol that singes my sinuses just a smidge.

I expected this to be full bodied because of the pour, but it actually thins out some. The mouth has low carbonation, which I appreciate for the style, but it's not heavy or thick. Could stand a tweaking here. With a big beer like this, the body needs to match the heavy color and ABV. The flavors meld together well and make up for what's lacking in the body. Lots of bitter dark chocolate, cold coffee, almond, and the finish is hintingly tart. I like this. It's an easy sipper, dare I say gulper, since the body is more on the thin side. But, beware, the ABV is on the high side. Not bad at all.

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

Bottle received as part of a BIF box from the very generous callmemickey.

Appearance: like molasses. Pours a syrupy, inky black, thick, dark and manly. A tiny, filmy crown of deep orange appears atop, bubbling for a few seconds before becoming a persistent, bubbly ring.

Smell: lots of dark fruits: raisins, plums. Molasses, a light smokiness, marshmallows, maple and very subtle coffee in the back.

Taste: The sweetness has dropped off considerably in favor of the more roasty flavors. Campfire smoke, espresso, raisins, vodka. Solid flavor.

Feel: an alcohol heat singes the throat like heartburn. Light, prickly carbonation amidst a soft, creamy medium body.

Drink: nice flavors, great mouthfeel, good balance. Alcohol's a little heavy, but would I have it again? I plead the fifth. And by plead the fifth, I mean yup.

Photo of JackieTH
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: For all intents and purposes this one pours and looks like very well-used motor oil. Angry dark mocha-brown froth leaves a minimal bit of lacing.

Smell: Roasted dark coffee, malt and very rich chocolate, and dried plums.

Taste: Opens smooth, creamy and slightly sweet and with dark roasted malt but then pours on the dark, rich chocolate and espresso. There is a note of anise and dried dates. Warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Rich and thick but lacks carbonation.

Drinkability: Danger Will Robinson.

Photo of Augustiner719
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a very black, motor oil like color with a small 1 finger dark brown head that recedes quickly but leaves lacing down the glass. There is a big chocolate mousse aroma with some espresso like characters and a touch of vanilla. Big. The flavor has a big chocolate, malty and espresso body to it. Very well hidden 12 percent abv and a great undertone of vanilla coming on the finish. Smooth drinking with a Graham cracker breadiness to it. Mouthfeel is slick and viscous, perfect with a cheesecake. Overall this is a very drinkable high abv bottle of beer. Great beer!

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,113 ratings.