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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,948 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,948
Reviews: 757
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 501
Gots: 711 | FT: 81
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: 2,948 | Reviews: 757 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alovesupreme
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured intoa snifter this beer yielded a dark brown head which dissipated to a ring over a few minutes. This beer is black.
Black coffee with dark belgian chocolate. Bananas, walnut and alcolhol are also present.
Trader Joe's Belgian Dark chocolate with a chalky character. Walnuts are once again present and coffee finishes the beer with a roasted after taste.
A good body that holds up to the flavor of this beer.
A great imperial stout that I would love to enjoy again.

alovesupreme, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of kels
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bamadog for throwing this in a care package for me! Review is on the bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours the deepest, darkest black and looks very flat and watery. There is a very fast-fading foamy hot-chocolate brown head, which leaves a slight tan ring that floats atop the beer along the walls of the glass. A milky looking swirl sits in the center of the surface. Beer is completely opaque. Very little, thin, watery washes of lacing hang around momentarily before slipping back into the liquid while I drink.

Smell: Smell is a really nice blend of chewy, roasted malts and sweet, milky chocolate. The alcohol hints at itself in the nose, but overall the aroma is strong without being too strong, sweet without being too sweet and roasted without being too roasted.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste is full of slightly bitter, slightly sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and a maple syrup-like presence. A little bit of hops show though in the aftertaste kind of like green apples. The taste is moderate to mild for the style, which isn't a bad thing. It's balanced and flavorful. The feel is moderately full, with fairly low carbonation as indicated by the appearance on the pour. It leaves a pleasantly sticky and heavy feeling on the palate.

Drinkability: Pretty high for this style, as it's not too overpowering.

kels, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle that I can't remember where I got. It probably was moose3285 or Scoobydank. I've had this bottle for a year already, so I'm stoked to try it.

A: Definitely among the more impressive imperial stouts I've happened to gaze upon, this is about as black as my heart, and takes the light out of highlights. The high will be reserved for the KO, I guess. A dark brown head that hangs around surprisingly long caps this beer.

S: Super rich and thick. Soy sauce, teriyaki, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, licorice and cream are prominent. It's hysterical how *thick* this beer smells.

T: Pretty awesome. Opening up with a lot of roasted barley, this beer quickly segues into a melange of soy, teriyaki, licorice, treacle, and a slew of other good things that are bad for you. Like a sweetened dark chocolate, this is intense with the sweetness and the bitterness slugging it out on my palate. Hop character is non-existent, this is a exhibition of what dark grains can do for a beer. Oxidation is minimal, the one year that I've had this bottle hasn't imparted any raisin/port notes. The finish is great, it's long, bitter, mildly sweet with cocoa.

M: Spectacular. So freaking thick and creamy, this is what Dark Lord wants to be. The carbonation is a little higher than it needs to be, but hot damn, this awesome

D: Yeah, bye bye, sobriety. I'll see you on the morrow.

Notes: The nutter in me wonders how this beer would pair with black pudding.

DefenCorps, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of dancingcaddis, thanks man! Dark black with a short head of coffee colored bubbles. It smells odd, kind of sweet, unfamiliar. The flavor is fruity and sweet and quite interesting. The alcohol was well hidden and I am usually pretty finicky about beers with ABv over 10%.

ArrogantB, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of jdklks
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Tyson for this one.

pours thick and black with a DARK brown head, like a mix between milk and dark chocolate, that swiftly vanishes, bubbling lightly as it goes. very thick, looks good. The smell eminating from the bottle upon opening promised me a truly "aromatic" experience; and when poured, it doesn't disappoint. hints of both chocolate and vanilla, with an undertone of bourbon/alcohol complimented by a trace of wood (oak?).

the flavor borrows all those attributes of the smell, but descends upon the palate with an undesirable sweetness reminiscent of blueberries. That same sweetness gives way to a bitter burnt coffee aftertaste that, though not bad at all, could be more impressive. not as complex as it would have you hope from its smell, which could be attributed to the intensity of the sweetness up front and the burnt bitterness at the end. huge alcohol burn on the way down, and though it isn't all that unpleasant, it doesn't add anything to the beer. let this beer age and cool down a bit.

I might as well be eating this with a spoon; the thickness is ridiculously awesome, and if it wasn't for the fact that it is slightly over-carbonated, the mouthfeel would certainly warrant a 5. a slight burn going down warms up your whole body, which isn't so surprising considering the 12%

jdklks, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of beveritt
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Picked this little gem up in Indiana recently. Not sure if it will be available here in Ohio; it is right at the ABV number past where drinking becomes oh so bad. The label is black and white and depicts a stylistic horse head. If I remember correctly this is the top of a series of labels from stouts that makes a continuous picture. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with just 1/2 inch of dark brown head. This settles quickly to a ring around the glass and a very thin and incomplete layer of foam. The beer itself is black as ink. Lots of sludge remains in the bottle.

Smell: Roasted barley bitterness with the added edge of alcohol sweetness. Some soy sauce and chocolate notes.

Taste: Acrid roasted barley bitterness upfront. Alcohol sweetness is barley noticeable, significantly less present than in the smell. Medium hop bitterness begins to appear in the finish, but is still dominated by barley. Long, lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation level is average to average plus; a little too high for the style. Body is decent.

Drinkability: Definitely strong, but the many flavors do not seem to meld well together into a nice coherent presentation. Not one I will seek out again.

beveritt, Jul 19, 2009
Photo of Mdog
3.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, somewhat thin brown head.

Smell: Dark chocolate, booze.

Taste: Very nice, dark chocolate, creamy, moderate bitterness, some nice roasted notes.

Drinkability: Never would have thought this was 12%!

Picked up a single of this to try, other than some alcohol in the nose, I never would have thought this was 12%. Alcohol was very well hidden in the taste. I liked the creaminess and only mild bitterness. Definitely worth a try.

Mdog, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this as a gift from beerking721 on a trip to Minneapolis

A--Pours thick as motor oil...a hard pour in my Dogfish Head Signature Glass yields only a sliver of head that left an oily coating behind. Dealing with a monster beer here, that's for sure....

S--Chocolate, prunes, molasses, marshmallows. Extremely potent. I love big beers, but this is starting to intimidate me a little...after all, I just wanted a "nightcap." Should have pulled out something lighter.

T--Very oak-y taste. Dark fruits are there to back it up, along with a coffee-like bitterness (but not much coffee flavor). This is better than I thought it was going to be. HUGE flavor, surpassed only by the absolute top imperial stouts, but still deserving of a 5.

M--Enough body to justify the huge flavor. Full, creamy, and it leaves a nice wood aftertaste

D--This beer being rated an A- is a crime. Rich, complex, flavorful...what is holding people back?

alcstradamus, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of sweemzander
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter glass. No bottled date

(A)- Pours thick and black as night. No head ever appeared, but plenty of brown bubbles formed on the top.

(S)- Strong roasted component. Rather bready in aroma. Smells just like a slightly burnt cinnamon/ chocolate chip/ raisin bagel if there was such a combination (there should be!)

(T)- Lots of bready nuances combined with roasted coffee. Plenty of raisins mixed in with cocoa. Bits of molasses. Sweet yet almost neutral brown sugar.

(M)- Thick, thick stuff! Slightly grainy in the texture on the tongue, yet silky at the same time. Just a tad hot in the alcohol department, but I never would have guessed that it was 12%!!!!

(D)- This will stick to your ribs! What I really like about it is that the flavors dont all come out at once, but gradually one after another once you swallow. The complexities are delibrate, strong, and show themselves one after another; an adventure in the mouth so to speak. A definite sipper with no doubt though, that 12% really sneaks up on you! If you aged this for at least 2 years+, it would be absolutely incredible in my opinion.

sweemzander, Jul 02, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Beerlando. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma is quite chocolatey, with some roasted and cookie malts. Nougat and toffee notes too. Flavor is sweet with cookie malt and roasted malt. Not SUPER heavy, but the 12% is definitely noted. An interesting impy with some character.

LilBeerDoctor, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of jjanega08
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A= pours a complete blackout black color with a suprising one finger head that is dark brown with some sort of amber color to it. The head lasts suprisingly long and has great lacing.
S= deep chocolate malts and coffee notes as expected but I get a little hop bitterness to go with it. Dark prunes and a touch of alcohol.
T= great flavor with some vanilla notes and molasses and chocolate. There is a touch of alcohol but nothing overpowering. Really flavorful.
M= a little bit of a problem here because the rediculously nice flavor doesn't coat and stick as much as I wish it would.
D= very nice glad I got this four pack. Ill be looking for it again sometime too. Really flavorful and tasty RIS seek this one out.

jjanega08, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of GRPunk
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- Viscus looking, black body. A moderate pour left a 1/2 finger, reddish-brown head that quickly dropped a decent lace leaving some light sticky spots. Dark body was difficult to judge the carbonation, but there were a few bubbles that would burst upon reaching the surface.

S- Some cooked raisin or prune aromas off the bat. A touch of pleasant alcohol. Nice combination of chocolate and coffee behind initial rush of cooked fruit.

T- More of the cooked raisin/prune as suggested by the initial aroma. More of a strongly brewed coffee flavor late. Nice and roasty with enough citrus hops to keep the sweetness in check.

M- Very rich. Nice light carbonation doesn't sully the flavor and allows the beer to coat your mouth. A touch of alcohol warms the belly, but doesn't overwhelm your tongue.

D- At 12% ABV, this is extremely drinkable. Definitely a night-cap sipper vs. a lawnmower chugger, but very approachable all the same. I would definitely drink this one again.

GRPunk, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I heard great things about this from the terrific JD, manager of the sterling Neil St. Piccadilly. I passed on grabbing it last week because I had other things in hand. Today, I didn't make that mistake.

A thin patch of amaretto head tops a lush, black body, modest lacing and duration, but still a nice-looking beer. Rich, robust nose rife with chocolate, dried fruit, and coffee. I'm eagerly awaiting the taste after the smell, and it delivers with certainty. Creamy and flavorful with a hint of boldness, Plead the Fifth brings plenty of dried chocolate, date, raisin, coffee, and molasses. The flavor is excellent, nothing short. I'm equally impressed with the mouthfeel which, though lightly carbonated, is creamy and a bit effervescent. This sure doesn't drink like a 12% ABV, no way. It's far smoother and accessible than that.

Tremendous beer, this Plead the Fifth. There's no way I'd plead the fifth in defense of this. It's worthy of a full-throated apologia. Outstanding.

Gehrig, May 24, 2009
Photo of maximum12
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Missed Plead the 5th last year when it came around, so gladly grabbed a single when it appeared on local shelves. Fantastic name for a brew, by the way.

Slithers into the glass like a liquid little black dress, all silky & languid. The scents wafting out of bottle & glass are enough to make my mouth water.

Wow. Wow. This is a first-class stout. The roasted malts are deep enough to swim in, rich enough for Pamela Anderson, complex as a hundred-year old Swiss watch. Accompanying all this pleasure is a sweet choco tinge & a sliver of underlying coffee that's just enough to set off the deep darkness of the malts.

Damn. Creamy, mouth-coating goodness that doesn't let go. 12% ABV? Sign me up for a bender on this one, it'll be short one. There's certainly a bit of warming effect here, but the alcohol is absent for a stout this big.

Fantastic flippin' brew. I'll be out to seek out a four-pack of fifteen of this - I'd love to see how it ages, although I can scarcely fathom is can improve much. Absolutely fantastic!

maximum12, May 22, 2009
Photo of coldmeat23
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours a dense, dark, black color. A head of a little more than a finger of dark brown foam. Dissipates quickly. Lacing is spotty, but somewhat sticky.

Big, rich malt notes of sweetness. Milk chocolate. Coffee with extra heavy cream. Light hints of dark fruits.

Milk chocolate shake. Yummy. More of the coffee with heavy cream. Dark roasted malt notes. Light hint of smoke and a slightly heavier hint of graininess. Light touches of sweet molasses, dark fruits and carmalized brown sugars.
Nicely balanced and very well done.

High end of medium, almost full bodied. Very smooth with a light touch of creaminess. Carbonation is very low. A touch more would give this one a nice, creamy edge, I believe.

G-D! If that's 12%ABV, I'm a jackass! I guess that answers that lifelong question.
The alcohol is so well-hidden inside this one, I'd probably guess it to be no more than 7 or 8 percent, at most.
Fantastic balance and extremely drinkable. I want more....alot more!
Here's to Dark Horse Brewing!

coldmeat23, May 21, 2009
Photo of dukedevil0
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single 12oz bottle from Famous Wines in Lombard, IL. Thanks to the beer guy there for putting this in the system at my request because they weren't selling singles of it at the time!

A: Pours a super DARK BLACK, almost as black as can be, with a very nice chocolate shake colored finger and a half of head that reduces down to a nice layer of bubbles. Leaves a nice little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells very nice, the usual chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt notes...slight bit of dark cherries and dark berries when i search for them...

T: Tastes great, with lots of both milk and bitter chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee flavor to a lesser extent (more so in the finish and aftertaste), extremely subtle alcohol flavor in there

M: One of the more creamy RIS I've had. It just feels dense and heavy. Very smooth, small bubble carbonation.

D: It's a sipper, especially because it's so heavy, but the flavor is great, the alcohol tinge is minor enough that i don't think it really affects drinkability,

dukedevil0, May 21, 2009
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Cloverleaf a few weeks ago, <$3. The beer is very black with a thin tan head, less foam than usual for a RIS. The smell is rich with chocolate and roasted malts, a noticeable black licorice aroma too. The beer tastes overpowering with malty sweetness, dark fruits like prunes and raisins and plums, and black licorice or anise (but thankfully not much). Lots of previous reviewers noted a lack of body but I thought this was thick and filling. Maybe I tried the latest batch and it's been improved in some way, it was thick and oily and good. This beer is up there in Dark Horse's line-up, along with Perkolator and Double Crooked Tree.

TurdFurgison, May 17, 2009
Photo of littlekidlover
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured this into my beer tasting wine glass. Not much to be said for the head, a little caramel color that disappeared quickly. This monster poured like 10W-30! The aroma is caramel chocolate, and raisin. Taste is the same, nice hop balance bitter coffee with a little bit of lactose and vanilla. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, like the oily pour would suggest. Highly drinkable, though you better not be a lightweight. Once again a SOLID effort from a brewery that has puts out a lot of winners. I applaud Dark Horse for putting out some great and fairly priced four packs of specialty beers.

littlekidlover, May 13, 2009
Photo of Bung
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Black pour with brown/ruby highlights in the head. Head is not large and recedes to a thin ring. A good amount of film sticks to the glass. Roast aromas, some dark chocolate and dark fruits, port like. Smooth full body. Taste is a silky blend of dark chocolate, molasses and chocolate covered fruits. Some vanilla and barrel like qualitites. Finishes with some more chocolate and light espresso. Drinks well, but is filling. Another excellent stout offering from Dark Horse. They produce a nice line of beers under the radar in West/Central Michigan.

Bung, May 12, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A thick dark black motor oil pour with a thin coco colored head,light carbonation with lots of sticky lacing. Aroma is heavy dark chocolate,bitter coffee,and roasty/burnt malt,and a hint of smoke. WOW Flavor is of bitter coffee,dark chocolate,malt,caramel,vanilla,hints of oak,and alcohol,medium to full body with a creamy mouthfeel, awesome bittersweet finish. This is outstanding in every way. Dark Horse Rocks !

WakeandBake, May 12, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick oily black with a silky espresso head. Nose has big roasty malts, chocolate, subtle piney hops, molasses, licorice, dried plums and cherries, coffee and vanilla. Taste is a well balanced blend of bitter hops, molasses, dark malts, fugde, and ripe pitted fruits. Thick body is very well carbonated. Great stuff from Dark Horse.

rye726, May 11, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a short foamy dark tan head.

Scent of roasted malt, chocolate, a hint of alcohol, sugars, and lots of fruit. This one smells much more sweet than typical beers of its style, but it is balanced well and hides the alcohol nicely.

Taste of roasted malts, molasses, dark fruit, sugars, and some earth. Finishes with dark fruit and roasted malts. Alcohol is masked very well, there is some heat to it, but it is far from harsh.

Mouthfeel is heavy and smooth with a small bite of carbonation.

paco1029384756, May 10, 2009
Photo of gatornation
3.65/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this imperial stout pours black and thick with very little head and 1/4 inch black cherry ring til the end ....it does have good lacing thru-out the smell is chocolate and molasses followed by coffee and some vanilla notes.the taste is bitter sweet chocolate first followed by a coffee bourbon taste throw in some berry/fruit tastes then finish with molasses ,burnt malt and slight vanilla bean..i do taste the alcohol presence this stout is a little to bitter for my liking and and a tad high on abv for my liking..not as smooth as some of dark horse earlier numbered stouts and not my favorite style of the 5..having said that it is still a good stout and i recommend trying this well made russian imperial and any other beer from this outstanding brewery

gatornation, May 10, 2009
Photo of sholland119
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

A-Beautiful. Dark and rich with a thick, dark mocha head. My favorite loon in an RIS. A beer that looks like this rarely disappoints.

S-Nicely complex. Lots of bourbon and alcohol, vanilla, dark chocolate and milk chocolate.

T-Caramel and dark chocolate in the front with lost of vanilla. Then a hint of maple, then some bourony notes in the finish. Quite hot in the finish, but it's fresh and 14% so no huge surprise there.

M-Medium bodied but rich and coating.

D-14% so proceed with caution (duh!). A little hot (again, duh!) but really delicious and enjoyable.

HV

sholland119, May 04, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of the Black Booty BIF. Pours black with a thin head that settles to a ring. Smells of coffee and bitter chocolate, with a slightly roasty and milk chocolate finish. Impressive taste, a choclate explosion with wonderful bitter chocolate, some berry notes, both long and delicious. Later some cinammon and a big hit of coffee make an appearance. The mouthfeel is long and super smooth. Utterly delicious, this is a great beer.

Georgiabeer, May 03, 2009
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,948 ratings.