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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

2,991 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,991
Reviews: 760
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 505
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: 2,991 | Reviews: 760 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akorsak
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part 5 of my Trilogy (apologies to D. Adams), the big boy of the lot. A 12 oz bottle from the Brass Rail.

A: This stout, the biggest of the lot, is an oily black color that absorbs all wavelengths on the spectrum. A reddish red, at least at first, measures up to 1/2 a finger. As it settles, the red colors slip aaway.

S: Roasted, more so than any other in the series, malts are thick and dark. A chocolatey sweetness runs alongside the malts, loosening the nose up.

T: The strength of the stout creates a big body, thick and chewy at time, that can't hide its strength. Coffee and anise, bold and sweet, mix with cocoa powder, toast and heavily-roasted grains. Very sweet, the stout is filling and rarely skimps on flavor. There are a few dead spots where the flavor trails off unexpectedly. The burnt grains linger long on the palate, a morass of anise, coffee and charred bread.

M: The stout is very imperial, robust from first sip to last. I let it sit out for about an hour, allowing it to breath and come to room temperatute (a very good idea).

D: A great way to finish my horizontal run through the Dark Horse seasonal stouts. A warming stout that packs a nice punch.

akorsak, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of ne0m00re
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured the 12 oz bottle into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.
A: Jet black with a chocolate head, which died to a good lace.
S: Chocolate mocha, burnt malts, and rum raisin.
T: It is a sweet stout, with raspberries and a brandy/bourbon alcohol. Nothing lingers, oddly. The chocolate and mocha flavors are not overpowering.
M: Creamy, yet clean and frothy. It is an awesome blend of really good textures.
D: Excellent.

ne0m00re, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of Wildman
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured almost black and created a huge dark chocolate foamy head that coated the glass with lace as it slowly subsided. An aroma of malt, coffee, chocolate and anise. The flavor was of malt, anise, chocolate and a hint of coffee. The body is medium light and the finish a bit sweet with the alcohol present in the background. Another nice beer from them and hopefully on tap sometime when I visit again.

Wildman, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of organicbrewer
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A-Jet black. one finger brown head. Nice.

S-ground coffee. Melted chocolate.

T-More chocolate. Nice toasty malt backbone behind the roast. Less coffee in the flavor than in the aroma. Bitter but not hoppy. Could use a bit more bitterness to cut through the sweetness (IMHO).

M-Thick. Medium carbonation. No alcohol burn. Nice for 12%

D-a great impy stout. thick and chewy with lots of dark chocolate and malt. Could use a bit more hop to cut the sweetness, or not.

organicbrewer, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
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 my Corsedonk snifter. Pours a thick black color, wow...a lot thicker than I expected. This is definitely a RIS! Small light brown head, dissipates pretty quick. Fizzy quick sliding lacing lines the glass after each sip.

Aroma is huge with booze, burnt coffee, and chocolate. A slight overripe fruit resemblance as well. Smells great! The warmer it gets, the stronger the fruit smell gets.

Wow! Great taste. Huge chewy/thick mouthfeel. Full bodied, warm booze, low carbonation, THICK chocolate taste! Lot's of chocolate, burnt coffee, dark fruit sweetness, and a heck of a lot of booze! This is indeed a very good RIS!

ShadesOfGray, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of westweasel
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a super thick, motor oil like liquid with a faint ring of tan bubbles on the edge of the surface and a small spiral like rorschach figure of bubbles in the middle of the surface.
The beer has great "legs" as you move it around in the glass.

The aroma is filled with thick, rich dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is a slight bit of coffee-like roastiness that becomes much more prominent as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel is full and thick with very little carbonation.

The flavors are a mixture of sweet dark roasted grains and coffee, dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is just enough bitterness and roastiness to keep the beer from being cloying. It's kinda of close though.

This is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. As it warms, it becomes sweeter and more coffee-like.

westweasel, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of homebrew311
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: pours like motor oil, viscous as can be, pitch black, very dark brown head that doesn't hang around for long, some lacing

S: huge molasses and chocolate notes on the front, heavy roasted character, some nice bittering hops on the finish, this smells great!

T: the sweet malty character makes a huge presence on the palate, it is quite sweet but not cloying with molasses and licorice character, beneath the sweetness is roasted barley and other dark specialty grains, some smokiness, the roast balance nicely against the sweetness, this all finishes with an earthy hop character. Everything about this stout is bold and robust, but at the same time it is nicely balanced. Very nice.

MF: thick, slightly syrupy, chewy, very low carbonation...the body and mouthfeel pairs perfectly with the in your face flavors

D: this rich and decadent treat is quite palatable, however its thickness and high gravity makes it a chore to finish, a chore that I would never pass up!

homebrew311, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of happilysurly
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: I love the look of this beer. So dark and no chance of seeing through it. No head, very few bubbles. Serious legs.

S: Sweet, chocolate, a bit of fresh roasted coffee.

T: Tons of flavor. I can taste some alcohol in this, but only towards the end. The alcohol is overall very well hidden considering that it is 12% ABV. Dark chocolate and molasses and dark cherries.

M: No part of my mouth can escape this beer. It hits all the areas of the tongue and lingers at the back of my mouth for quite a long time. The flavor that lingers is sweet and very pleasant.

D: Love this as a sipping beer, but more than one in a sitting would be a mistake for me. The high ABV and thick, dark flavor make this a one-a-week type beer for me.

happilysurly, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of claminat420
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- poured the typical stout color with a dark chocolate head.

S- smell some weird fruity smell like bananas and a slight alcohol scent. weird but good.

T- roasted malts from hell. the alcohol being 12 is really hidden. the fruity scent kinda hangs as an aftertaste.

M- medium light bodied. nice carbonation.

D- could drink a couple 12's but i'm not to much of a stout fan to begin with.

Overall- this stout is defintitely one for the stout fans. the 12abv is subtle. not to much carbonation and wasn't to much of a head but still good.

claminat420, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of blackenmn
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to snifter:

A:Poured a thich pitch black with a minimal head with turned into a thing collar in no time most likely from the high ABV eating it up. This thing was viscous enough to make the glass noticeably heavy.

S:Smelled of burned bittersweet chocolate, heavily roasted sweet caramel malt, and a hint of ABV warmth. A little more balanced on the nose than expected.

Taste:Tasted of thick dark fruit and a subtle cream possibly vanilla like pressence. Definite raisin and dark chocolate came through as it warmed along with a noticeable citrus aspect. Tough to believe this is 12% but alcohol showed it head every now and then.

Mouthfeel:Very thick and creamy with a slight warmth throughout. Not alot of bitterness present on the tongue and it finished pretty wet.

Drinkability:This went down a bit too easy for the considerably high ABV. This was a very enjoyable brew none the less though and really transformed nicely as it warmed. mmm mmm

blackenmn, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viscous black with a head that nearly matches it in color and also fades very fast.

Chocolate, molasses, lots of roasted malt, nice hop presence. Also getting a real faint belgian yeast smell out of this.

Big toasted malt flavor with a fairly large coffee presence and light chocolate and banana taste. Nice hop snap too. Roasty and hoppy aftertaste is pleasant.

Big bodied and smooth. Maybe just a shy thin for the body, but by no means way off. Finishes very dry.

Awesome drinkability at this ABV. An absolute solid RIS. Really worth trying.

jera1350, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of Deuane
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whoo-hoo! Plead the 5th ON TAP! Lucky for sholland119 and I to score an offering of this from the tap.

A-Black. A medium, dark tan head slowly reduced to a thin veil and would revive with moderate agitation. Deposits ringing lace as the volume reduces.

S-Dark cherry, alcohol fusel elements, and a waft of smokiness all lying on top of a HUGE, rich and roasty dark roasted malt base. Hints of raisin and sherry in the background. All in all quite complex.

T-A luscious combination of plum, raisin and sherry accenting a rich, roasted malt base. Bit of alcohol burn in the finish but it works for this beast of a brew. Finishes with a building dry woodiness.

M-Medium-heavy bodied, very smooth with a dry finish that slowly fades into a long lingering bitter, roasted malt bite.

D-Smooth and easy going, well rounded and VERY flavourful....in fact disturbingly so! For a brew packing a reported 14% ABV this beer could get you into serious trouble, fast! A VERY complex and intriguing brew. Well done Dark Horse!

Deuane, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black with a fizzy, brown head that quickly dissipates, leaving some trace patches. And ring around the perimeter.
Smell is fairly smokey, with some dark chocolate. There is a dark berry presence as well--perhaps boysenberry or blueberry. Some faint, roasted malts on the end.
Nice, smokey malts, with some faint dark chocolate. Again, there's a faint berry presence, but I can't quite call it...a slightly creamy finish.
Mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Medium body. Faint bitterness.
This one is quite drinkable. The alcohol content is amazingly well-hidden, and the smell and taste is exceptional.

Parrotbeak, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a thick tan head that settles quickly. It retains a thin film on the edges, and lacing is minimal.

S: Malts lend a roasty character, with hints of dried dark fruits, such as prune and rasin. Chocolate and coffee aromas are also present. Still quite young, the hops lend somewhat of an off-putting vegetable-like smell in the backround.

T: All malt at first. Roasty espresso and chocolate flavors mingle with notes of dark fruit, molasses, and a bit of licorice. The hops are more balanced in the taste than the smell. They give the beer an earthy character, and dry out the finish.

M: Very full-bodied and chewy, and flavors are long lasting. Finish is silky, and alcohol gives a nice warming sensation.

D: Quite drinkable, despite it's ABV and youth. Although it will definitely benefit after a year or so in bottle, it is quite good young. It's worth picking up a four pack.

WYVYRN527, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of jcnd9803
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A smooth black color. A brief tan head appeared, but quicly left, leaving steady lacing with each sip.

S- Smells wonderful. Actually smells of both chocolate and vanilla, but with an oaky undertone, which is odd (but welcomed) considering no barrels are used. Maybe it's the alcohol coming up and disguising itself.

T - A mix of chocolate, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar.

M- Thick and silky. I actually don't get too much of an alcohol burn, which is scary.

D- In one word: outstanding. I love these guys and the series of stouts they put out each year. This beer is complex fresh and I'm sure will only be exponentially more so with some years on it. Job well done!

jcnd9803, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of Cannabinaceae
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on-tap at Darkhorse, served in a snifter.
The appearance was pitch black with a thick motor oil appearance that coated the sides of the glass. It poured with a nice 2 finger head which is pretty rare for imperial stouts in my experience.
This beer had a pretty nice, clean stout smell that is unlike most imperials. The taste was of dark fruit, dark roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate.
The mouthfeel was thick, but not too heavy for my taste.
The latest batch claims 14% abv and with that in mind, this beer is very drinkable. Almost dangerous(in a fun way).

I have to say that this is an excellent imperial stout, and it is right up my alley with its simplicity in a world of barrel aged "bells and whistles" type stouts.

Cannabinaceae, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of jjayjaye
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as oil with a shallow tan head that fades slowly; negligible lacing but leaves behind a thin oily film tha's a big hintof goodness to come. The smell is a very rich roasted coffe over black licorice and a cherry vanilla coating. Lightly carbonated, medium bodied, the mouth feel is tangy from the alcohol, et smooth and oily. Full flavored, surprisingly boozier than anticipated, mokah-licorise is repeated well from the nose. A really nice sipper. The 12% ABV is all there and ALL GOOD in my book. Highly recommended. Many thanks guys!!

jjayjaye, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of Jmoore50
3.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer that looks like melted rubber, this one is thick. It pours and practically doesn't move. It produces a two finger brown head that has very fine bubbles. This thing was a bit overcarbonated because when I poured with a medium technique, it foamed like it was a straight down the middle. The head left in the end and all I was left with was this tar that barely resembled beer.

The smell was of dark burnt earth and roasted espresso. Lots of bitterness with some chocolate and light fruit notes.

The taste was pretty dark, in terms of dark fruits and malts go. Some earthy bitter espresso with characters of cherry. Not a lot of coffee, but what there was tasted like espresso.

The mouthfeel was astringent, and the beer felt heavy on the tongue. It was bitter and earthy, and overall enjoyable. Some roast and some burnt flavors that produces an interesting mouthfeel.

This was a good beer to have, and I am glad I got the opportunity. It did not use the usual characteristics that I love in RIS, but went with a darker roasty spin.

Jmoore50, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of angelmonster
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in the RIS BIF

Pours a solid pitch black body, dark chocolate 1 finger head, prolly the darkest head i've seen. Too bad it disappeared almost instantly :( . Head retention wasnt very good and lacing was above average. Appearance gets bump in score for such a nice looking head, enough though it didnt last long

Smell is of rich, roasted coffee beans covered in dark bitter chocolate. There is also some dark dried fruit similar to the ones found in a doppelbock. Ends with some sweet soy sauce and alcohol. Hops arent really in the mix

Taste is of strong, roasted, burnt malts. Very strong coffee is also present. Lots of sweet malts offset the alcohol which is definitely present at 12 percent. Hops are moderate.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is on aggressive side but livens up the thick consistency of the beer. Love a nice creamy head on a beer and sadly this one had none what so ever.

This beer was overall a sipper but the drink ability was good. Could prolly finish more than one but it would take awhile. Kinda reminded me of Mephistopheles from Avery. Prolly wont have another opportunity to try this beer but glad I did

angelmonster, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of danielharper
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Completely opaque black color, very thin dark brown head that dissipates quickly. Considering how high the alcohol is on this one, that's not at all surprising.

S: Malty, hints of an alcohol astringency. Lots of chocolate, coffee, and even a hint of cherries. Lots of dry maltiness.

T: Lots of coffee, chocolate, and general roasted character. Alcohol is completely hidden in the flavor, but there's a pleasant burn in the chest as the beer goes down. Aftertaste is slightly dry but very pleasant.

M: Smooth, smooth, smooth. Thick, with low carbonation and mild hops.

D: This bottle was a gift from a co-worker, so I'm not sure if this is an old bottle or not. I'm guessing it's a year old or so, which would help explain the incredible smoothness and the degree to which the alcohol has faded into the background. Still, an amazing technical accomplishment. It's in the same realm as Founder's Impy Stout and Bell's Expedition, which is incredibly high praise from me.

danielharper, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of nickadams2
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_ Pours black with a small burgundy color head that dissipates quickly. Very little lacing.

S_ Lots of dark fruits and dark chocolate. You also pick up on the booze. Very fruity though more so than most other RIPs.

T_Tastes great. Dark fruits and chocolate mix together perfectly to give this a nice rich taste.I can also taste coffee in the after taste that gives it a nice bitter finish.A little alcohol burn too.

M_ Thick and full bodied. Goes down pretty smooth and coats the mouth nicely.

D_ The high ABV limits the drinkability but these go down very easy. Could enjoy a couple in sitting but I think these are best savored. Besides two of these and just about anything will taste good

MaCain likey

nickadams2, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
3/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled 12oz into a glass. Received in a trade from Hexxed. Thanks buddy!

A: Pours a viscous, opaque motor oil black with no light penetration, even at the edges. The head is a quarter-finger of dark mocha-colored foam that retains well, slowly collapsing into a film on the brew with a thick collar. Some lacing down the glass.

S: Burnt figs and dates, roasted coffee, and a bit of booze burn. Decent; it's pretty malty, but nothing too exceptional.

T: Tons of roasted coffee, burnt sugar, burnt chocolate, burnt figs, and burnt plum. Lots of burn. Ashes, smoke. The chocolate emerges occasionally, but it doesn't dominate the beer or define its taste. The burnt / ashy combination gets kind of strong after a while; I prefer something with more anise and dark fruits, and less burn / smoke.

M: Very thick, with low carbonation. It's a tad below velvety; it's not carbonated enough to cleanse the tongue, leaving a thick coat behind. Quite warm, even a tad hot (but for its ABV, impressively restrained).

D: It's enjoyable, but it doesn't distinguish itself from other imperial stouts.

Arbitrator, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of backfat
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this one continues to be one of my top 10 favorite imperial stouts. i love dark horse. they never cease to amaze me. like extascy in a glass. this brew will stain your glass. motor oil, just the way i love it. smoky molasses and clean as cream. thick and rich with a sort of silky, milky feel. and affordable! this is one of the few stouts i do enjoy a little colder. it's either because of the highly roasted smell or just because it works with the milky, creamy character. at 12% be careful. This beer is my happy place. if i ever get raped, this is where im going to go. cheers!

backfat, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of crossovert
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't get the label art, I don't get the name, but this beer wins an award - the darkest beer I have ever seen. Pitch black, no ruby on the edges, nothing. The head is large and creamy caramel colored. It looks like motor oil while pouring, it looks like this is going to be some seriously thick stuff. There is a nice frothy head that stays on top as you drink. Unsurprisingly there is a decent amount of goop left in the bottle still after the pour.

There is a lot fo rasty malt and molasses on the nose with some alcoholic and sweet sugar hints. There are hints of figgy plumbs.

The mouthfeel is super thick, full bodied, and creamy, though there is a steady amount of carbonation, though low. Tons of roasty, dark, sweet malt flavors bathe the tongue, with heavy roasted malt, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, sweet/burning alcohol and sugar, bitter coffee, and hints of dark fruit. The alcohol doesn't burn and the sweetness isn't cloying but both are definitely noticeable.

This is one of those deceptively drinkable big beers, the alcohol content might be 12 but this one drinks more like a 6 or 7, the alcohol warms the throat after the drink, but quaffs of this wouldn't be out of the question, though I recommend sipping and savoring this brew. My lips are covered in sticky goo after a few sips.

Overall this is one big ass, big bodied, big flavored, high octane brew that should be tracked down at all cost, rivals the best of the Russian imperial stouts.

crossovert, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of schoolboy
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I couldn't remember when or where I bought this. I have had a bottle in my aging area for a while - a year? Time to open it. Usually I mark the bottles.

I may have gotten it too cold because there is no head. That will help since this is such a monster. The taste cuts right through the cold, though, and it's pretty good. Nice balance of the fullness one of these should have. So much flavor that the booziness is thoroughly covered.

I can never give this style high marks for drinkability since they are a meal in themselves, and it's the holidays and I've been overeating anyway.

It's 2013 now (the original was 12-28-2009) and I guess I agree with myself, but this beer is warmer and tastier. The rating system has changed a little too so I am bumping up the overall rating which I guess used to be drinkability.

schoolboy, Dec 28, 2009
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,991 ratings.