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

3,474 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,474
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 554
Gots: 907 | FT: 105
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: 3,474 | Reviews: 839
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!

Photo of champ103
3.67/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque black color. At first a two finger tan head forms, but recedes in a second. Not a lot of lace.
S: Big roasted malt up front. Chocolate, coffee, and sweet toffee. Lots of smoke as well. Very nice.
T: Follows the nose. All the roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and smoke you would expect. Just a bit metallic and astringent though.
M/D: A big full body that is low on the carbonation. Syrupy and sticky. A huge amount of alcohol, with plenty of heat. Though not hard to sip on.

This is very enjoyable, like everything from Dark Horse. Though a bit to astringent, and not as complex as other examples of a RIS. Basically the same thing as the Fore Smoke Stout, but with a ton more alcohol. Something that is still very much worth a try though.

Photo of jpmclaug
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Founders snifter. Got this bottle in a trade with mothman.

A - Pours thick like motor oil. Not any motor oil but I don't feel like going to the mechanic so I'll push it another couple thousand miles motor oil. Menacing dark brown head rests on top for a bit before running off.

S - Nice roast flavor with a hint of sweetness. Some vanilla notes and a bit of booze.

T - Again some roast with a good bit of chocolate malt. Some boozy notes mixed in as well. More and more chocolate as this sucker warms.

M - Thick body with a light carbonation.

D - A sipper for sure. A nice dark chocolate flavor dominates this one on top of all the other normal flavors you will find in a RIS. I would pick this up if I saw it on the shelves just to see how it aged. Certainly a solid RIS as is though.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with bitter note and very subtle coffee notes. Taste is also dominated by roasted bitter notes with light dry coffee notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed though it doesn't really stand apart from good imperial stout out there.

Photo of 7ways
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks to steelersxl, hand labeled '09, poured violently into a Duvel tulip. It shows with a very minimal and very dark chocolate head on top of a rich Seal brown body. Sticking to the glass is a thick gloopy lace that I've rarely seen. It's almost not even lace, just globs of viscous liquid suspended high in the glass.

The aroma is pretty intoxicating, though I can't smell much of the 12% alcohol, so +1 right there. Pretty intense sweet chocolate/cocoa, and something outdoorsy. Not much else, but very inviting nonetheless.

After drinking half the glass, I've changed my mind to thinking that it tastes a little better than it smells. The reedy/lake/woods chocolate thing is joined by mocha, crazy big roasted malts, a little licorice, and oh yes, there's the yummy booze I'd almost forgotten about. Bittersweet and clean finish.

This body is quite full but is slightly lacking on carbonation. Some creamy little bubbles would do wonders for it; however, it is still cohesive enough to not put a damper on the experience.

Overall, a very impressive RIS.

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of bwd110 thanx for this extra playa

A: poured a very dark brown with brown highlights that had a super thin head and alomost left no lacing sticking to the glass.

S: right away I got this nice aroma of coffee and roastiness with some booze notes, chocolate showing up too but I could spot a little oatmeal and faint dark fruits as well.

T: upfront on the palate the chocolate was more potent than in the nose along with coffee, roastiness, and oatmeal accents but the booze was not as strong on the taste like the nose; very tasty RIS.

M: the brew was full bodied with a very low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, boozy, and chewy finish.

D: it drank really good and was very tasty I hope I can get my hands on some more of this delectable beer.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black with a short-lived head that, at it's peak, was just small tan bubbles gathering around the edge with spotting in the middle.

Smell is deeply roasted malts, a little soy, and black licorice.

In the taste, the deep roasted malts are complimented by heavy hops, giving it a dark berry flavor. Hints of chocolate throughout.

Mouthfeel is creamy with low carbonation. Good for the style.

This weighs in at 12%, and is slightly hot. Aside from that, a very good stout.

Photo of andrewinski1
4.01/5  rDev -7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Almost no head comes from a very aggressive pour. This one looks very thick during the pour. Pitch black of course. This is a little bit underwhelming.

I immediately get a bit of a boozy smell from the pour. When I stick my nose in the tulip, chocolate is dominant. A hint of roasted malt is noticed as well. I enjoy a little bit of alcohol smell, myself. I think it adds a bit of complexity and is a nice contrast to the sweetness.

Some imperial stouts are strong with roasted malts, this one has only a tough of bitter roasted flavor up front, but is dominated by mostly sweet chocolatey flavor. This is a very appealing flavor profile, as the hotness that was indicated by the aroma, is very well hidden.

The soft carbonation is perfect for the style. This is a huge beer, and thus not very drinkable, but I will enjoy the hour or so it will take to drink this one for what it is. I will definitely try this one again.

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

A - Wow this is as close to black as they come. Half finger of dark mocha head settles to a ring.

S - Roasted chocolate malt, bitter dark chocolate, hints of coffee and booze. Some dark fruit makes its way in that adds a subtle sweetness.

T - Dark chocolate and dark fruits up front, with a bittersweet bite to end. Alcohol lingers, but in a sweet form of fruit and chocolate. This one is really tasty.

M - Big bodied and thick/chewy. Alcohol coats the mouth with each drink and is apparent on the way down. Everything I'd expect in a 12% RIS.

D - Doesn't drink like a 12%, so I'd say drinkability is good. Wouldn't want to have more than a couple in a night. Make this one a sipper.

Photo of rembrant
4.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a dire Big Stout Black..brown head settles to 1 finger and thick,leaves lace,foam,viscosity on the glass as you drink. it's hard for a proper Stout to get max points for pretty,a glass of Quaker State with 10,000 miles on it looks like good Stout.

Aroma...definitely not Quaker State...

All that dark goodness seems present with Espresso,Dark chocolate,raisins,licorace,smokey hints all entwined. It's hard to say which would win out in the end but I just can't wait.

Taste Hmmm...Yum. The Espresso/Chocolate seems a draw,big mega mocha. Raisins and dried cherries float by,currents lurk with some tart-sour cherry presence hiding amongst the crowd. A bit of smoky and the woodsy hops show up in the aftertaste,as if to reset your buds for the next adventure.
Next swig, holding it longer gets more coffee in the finish,what next? Turkey and Dressing?

If I had not been 'discovering Dark Horse over the past weeks,the surprise factor here might be stronger. As is, I was looking for the evolutions and the layers of detail,the unique tricks this brewer puts in the bottle. There's more than I can seem to describe

This joins the elite few Stouts that are pure inky black bliss. I want to do a showdown with 5th,Bell's Expedition and KBS.
Plead the 5th would start with a bonus point for price.

Mouthfeel... No surprise for me,Dark Horse found the sweet spot and all the mouth stuff is balanced,full rich opening then tapers off and the sour/smoky/roasty/bitter works with the illusion that the density thins. They brew at least 8 big dark brews,plus variants and are good at avoiding negatives like cloying,or abrassive. The carb is subtle yet enough for the right zing. Tastes and textures shift but never mess it up.

Drinkable? Well, I never tasted any "boozy" but already I know this ain't no bud light. Price is not "off the wall" nor is it cheap. I could see a stay at home session where I do several and at some point am immobile. I can make that sacrifice.

i have to go to Michigan and taste the barrell age version before I die...preferably much sooner than that.

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

A - Dark as night, with a small but super creamy head that leaves very nice lacing. Looks delicious.

S - Smells quite a bit like coffee, the malts are really powerful in this one. Fruits such as dates, rasins, and figs dominate the nose as well. Also a hint of brown sugar.

T - Rich dark malts, chalky coffee and chocolate. Some of those aforementioned dark fruits and a hit of something savory like soy or roasted nuts.

M - Smooth and creamy. Medium body and leaves a pleasant coating of sweetness in the mouth.

D - Way, way too easy to drink for 12%. The lack of any additional kinds of gimmicks (flavoring, barrel aging) make this one of my favorite strong stouts.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to Jcb890 for providing this in a trade earlier this year. Good guy.

Pours with a minimal head that collapses almost immediately. No light shines through this motor oil.

Aroma is sweet, dark warm chocolate and slightly fruity.

Wow, this taste very fruity and of figs and prunes. Very sweet... to be honest made me think of Dark Lord for a moment. (that's a compliment) Certainly a lot of chocolate notes. This one grows on me as I enjoy it. As it slightly warms I get more of a caramel mix with the chocolate notes.

Very thick and almost syrup like. Almost no carbonation. Velvet like in your mouth.

I really like this. Glad it's a 12oz bottle as I can play in this one for quite some time. I'll pick this one up again. Nice beer.

Photo of newk340
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: inky black pour, line of lacing indicating level of first pour, no head otherwise.

S: caramel and bitter chocolate evident, hints of coffee and oats.

T: heavy chocolate forefront, smooth accenting hints of caramel and coffee as the liquid settles in the mouth.

MF/D: light tingling sensations with each sip, increasing boozyness as it warms. could've/should've cellared longer.

Photo of hu5om
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tremens tulip split with e11a627
a-viscous dark black. syrupy. ring of khaki foam
s-big, dark chocolate, sweet. caramel/toffee, oats
t-dark chocolate, bit of coffee. caramel. a bit of boozy heat and licorice. rum raisen vibe?
m-a bit hot still, but body is big with low carboonation
d-could cellar for a bit longer. stiff. but there's a good profile behind it. thanks to primetime3882 for the excellent extra

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

Thanks to kstrickler for the extra!

A: Pours almost pitch black with hints of light on the edges, revealing trails of carbonation making their way up through the beer. Head is approximately one finger of fizzy, mocha colored foam that quickly settles down to a thin layer capping the beer.

S: Strong semisweet chocolate up front, followed by moderate roasted notes with some coffee lurking therein, vanilla, and some dark fruits - cherries mostly. The chocolate is dominant, but not quite overpowering.

T: Boozy notes up front, but dark chocolate overtakes fairly quickly. Dark fruits - cherries, raisins, and plums - come in on the mid-palate along with roasted malts and coffee, before giving way to a finish of vanilla and cocoa.

M: Thick and chewy with low carbonation, it coats the mouth on the way down and leaves a long finish.

D: The ABV and long finish keep it to sipping, but it's by no means a tough drinker.

Photo of emmasdad
3.15/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had this one a few times now, and waited to review it as I figured maybe something in my perception of this beer was off. After further consideration, I realize that maybe I just don't care for it all that much.

Pours a very dark brown, black color, with a small but firm dark brown head. Aromas of black licorice, molasses and a bit of vanilla. Somewhat bitter on the palate, with more licorice, chocolate and alcohol. I can't place my finger on it, but I just don't like it.

Photo of Proteus93
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Big and black, just as it should be! Brown head is a tad lacking, but not too shabby... a sparkling creaminess to the little that is there comes across as quite nice.

S + T: A softer chocolate scent, along with some hints of toffee and vanilla. A touch of brown sugar and a rich roasted malt that work quite nicely together.

M + D: Carbonation is a bit light, which isn't hugely surprising in such a big beer. Body is surprisingly smooth. A lot (most, really) of the high alcohol stouts tend to have big bitter, charcoal qualities to them that can be decent if in the mood, and they're almost just expected to be a part of the package. This one, however, remains pretty laid back as far as RIS go.

Photo of deereless
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown head which drops and leaves a lingering layer of spots, pours with some serious viscosity and moves in the glass with a slight sluggishness, obsidian black in color - 5.00, S: Intense aromas, tons of dark coffee and black licorice, profuse sweetness suggestive of candied prunes or dates, lots of roasted grains as well as some baker's chocolate and fudge - 4.50, T: Thick chocolate and coffee, double fudge brownie without all the excessive sweetness on the palate, alcohol burn is present but not disruptive, some dark raisins and molasses, hops play a lesser role in the profile than the malts but provide a significant citrus bite - 3.75, M: Thick and smooth mouth feel - 4.25, D: All around a very nice RIS, intensely thick and flavorful and made for a cold winter night - 4.00

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 8-7-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass but let warm to room temp

A - Poured black with one finger foam, nice dark tan lacing ring at the top, can't see if there is any carbonation present

S - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate with hints of coffee and vanilla

T/M - Full bodied brew, dark roasted malts with a nice smooth finish, notes of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla very present

D - Very drinkable RIS got this as an extra from albgarza, big thanks! A great brew from Dark Horse, I have a couple of these so I will for sure enjoy this brew again. I highly recommend this brew

Photo of nerdrocker101
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours solid black with a small, tight tan head. The head quickly dissipates to a solid ring with mediocre lacing.

The nose is made up of chocolate, coffee, and a just a touch of dark fruit.

Flavors of roasted malts, bitter chocolate and coffee burst up front. Toffee and nutty flavors linger toward the back end.

Full body with a smooth, silky texture. Lower carbonation.

Very good. I need to try the rest of the series.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.38/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Won't wear my Sunday suit to walk that street
That would feel Byzantine

12 oz bottle...Ultra dark inky pour into my snifter with a nice thin mocha head that swells and then heads rapidly to lurk around the edges like some two-bit hoodlum.

Dark fruit, sherry, soy, and that scent that I have often described as grape bubblegum that I sometimes find in big stouts, along with some dark chocolate on the back end.

The taste and mouthfeel on this beer are slightly perplexing. For all the complexity, or at least diversity, in the nose, the taste does not quite follow. Upon warming, there is an onslaught of that grape flavor which I attribute to the heavy malt presence. The other scents promised from the smell seem minimally present, with only a slight coffee presence poking through, which I did not detect on the nose.

What is particularly odd is the slightly oily, but very light, almost watery mouthfeel. For the make and model of this diesel motored fiend, I expected a bigger, more rounded feel. Not particularly the experience I was hoping for.

Photo of thain709
3.55/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - This beer is pitch black as soon as I started pouring...a dark brown, 1.5 finger head formed and settled into a ring around the glass...not much lacing

S - Dark fruits (figs, dates, raisin)...chocolate...roasted malts...smoke...and alcohol

T - The flavors from the nose all come together in the taste...sweet, dark fruits present a sweet caramel flavor with more sweetness...the roasted malts are deep and presnt themselves with chocolate, coffee, and caramel notes...there are underlying notes of roastiness and smoke lingering around...the alcohol is very present

M - Full bodied...this one is thick...good points - roasted flavors and smoke notes that last long...bad note (big kicker) - alcohol is big

D - This RIS started off good with the appearance and smell but it fell off with the big alcohol kicker...I enjoyed the other stouts (blueberry and smoked) from Dark Horse over this one

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

An unseasonably pleasant mid 70s degree day here in rural IL lead me to finally crack this thing open. I am only having one beer tonight because of the absurdity of the beer tasting I attended last night! This beer just seemed to fit the bill.

Poured into my New Belgium Globe glass after letting it warm for about 20 minutes out of the fridge.

Pour is inky black-- like thick sweet soy sauce (the waiter at my Thai place always calls it "octopus ink" which is quite fitting here). Dark and brooding beer with a nice tan head of about 2 fingers. Good retention and chunky lacing.

The beer itself is thick. Like creamy thick. Very smooth feel though-- not gritty or chewy, smooth and creamy like JIF baby! Just amazing mouthfeel that allows the beer the room it needs to set up its flavor profile. The roasted dry barley (and perhaps oats?) and other malts give a nice dry sweetness that begins this journey into the heart of darkness. Some light coffee notes add to the bitterness brought on by huge amounts of unsweetened cocoa. This tastes like 90% cocoa gourmet chocolates-- bitter and excellent. The nose has the cocoa and malts but not picking up the coffee-- the appearance in the taste was a welcome surprise-- but don't expect a ton of awesome coffee bean flavor. The coffee seems to appear towards the finish in conjunction with the bitterness.

This is an excellent RIS. I'm proud of the Dark Horse boys on this one. This beer has great flavor, finish, and aftertaste with an amazing body and feel. I look forward to this one again!

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

Poured into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: Pours an oily thick black color with minimal carbonation. A very thin ring of milk chocolate head develops and dissipates to the edges of the glass. Little to no lacing.

S: Sweet molasses, dark cherries, and chocolate. Actually reminds me of Dark Lord in the smell. Notes of vanilla, leather, and tobacco.

T: After the smell, I expected an onslaught of sweetness. To the contrary a nice strong bitterness upfront cuts the sweet flavors. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, leather, and tobacco. Wonderful mix of sweet and bitter, smoky flavors here.

M: Chewy, although not creamy. Thick and low carbonation. Fairly spot on for a RIS.

D: Rich and flavorful. The residual sweetness and thickness of this beer limits its drinkability. Outstanding beer and would love to get some more of this.

Photo of Spica66
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into glass.

A: Extremely dark pour. Very thin head, some retention.

S: Dark, roasty. Some caramel. No hops.

T: sweet on the tip of the tongue to start. Flavors of coffee and dark chocolate finish. Extremely good tasting.

M: Light body for an RIS, but that keeps the stickiness away. I actually like the combination.

D: No way in the world you would know this is 12%! It is, by far, the most drinkable RIS I have ever tasted.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,474 ratings.