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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

829 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 829
Hads: 3,524
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 548
Gots: 930 | FT: 108
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 829 | Hads: 3,524
Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Moved from the "750mL" listing
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4
rDev: +4.1%

This is about the 3rd sample of this particular Dark Horse stout that i've had.

Pours jet black, very dark mocha foam. Body is definitely thick and rich. It's unique character of plum, fried plantain, dark chocolate, frozen chocolate covered banana, and roasty char make for a very interesting RIS. Long lingering aftertaste of earthy char and espresso. This is strong stuff, ballsy with a great deal of substance to it. Drinks like a champ, definitely a sipper. Probably my favorite beer from Dark Horse.

Reviewed on: 05-12-2008 01:23:12 (642 characters)

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

Got this in a trade from Younger35. Thanks bud.

A-Dark body, oily consistency. Not a bit of head to speak of. No lacing.

S-Too much alcohol overtones. Other than that, chocolaty.

T-Alcohol will kick your a**. Heavy in the right places. Stick to your ribs good.

M-Thick and sticky. Not much else to it.

D-Be careful with this one. I could probably stomach 3 or 4 then call it a night. (388 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 2. Big thanks to grub for cracking this one. 12 oz "Plead the 5th" bottle.
This stuff was your basic black with faint brown edges and a thin, dark brown cap of fine bubbles that settled to a long lasting collar. Sticky lacing. Rich aroma, lots of fruit and roast character, chocolate and cocoa, dried fruits and cherries, hint of vanilla. Reminded me of a fruit and nut chocolate bar. Chalky, dry roast flavour with medium to low hop bitterness. Very nutty with dark chocolate and cocoa notes, plus mild alcohol towards the end. Caramel and toffee sweetness. Faint licorice. Full bodied with low, very fine carbonation, alcohol warmth and a chalky dryness. Rich and delicious, just the way a big stout should be. (742 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Inky black body. Tight crown of dark brown foam. Lacing is spotty.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, anise oil, dark currant, black licorice and heavily roasted coffee bean.

Flavor: All the aromas translate nicely to the palate in this beer. The chocolate and coffee and licorice. Yeah, there's a nice combination of flavors here.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Greasy and oily to an extent, which is good. But where's the body? The girth? This beer needs more heft. Carbonation is appropriately low. Alcohol accents nicely and doesn't become toxic at all in this high octane beer. Nicely done beer overall. (606 characters)

Photo of grub
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting, Day 2: Stouts and Belgians. i contributed this bottle, a bonus in a trade with GrandCruDrew. thanks drew!

12oz "plead the 5th" bottle. sampled nov 28/08.

pours inky black and nearly opaque. a small dense brown head forms, quickly dropping to a ring around the glass. the ring seems to last forever and leaves spotty lace the whole way down the glass.

aroma is excellent. anise. dark chocolate and dark roast coffee. some dark fruit too. light alcohol. caramel. toffee. there's some hops in there, a bit of pine and grapefruit. vanilla. i'm in love with it and don't even need to taste it.

taste is great. anise. dark and bittersweet chocolate. coffee. caramel and toffee. big whole wheat bread and biscuit. dark fruit. light alcohol. medium bitterness level. light pine and grapefruit again. also has a nice earthy component.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. medium-low carbonation level. silky smooth.

drinkability is great. excellent balance. great depth. an excellent stout. (1,010 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bottle up somewhere in Ann Arbor this past summer. Pours super dark with thick mocha head that eventually disappears. Smells like sweet coffee and chocolate, a little bit like a milk stout too. Tastes like deep roasted coffee and chocolate, but balanced with some subtle dark fruit. Not too much hops. This is a really well balanced flavor. Nothing is out of whack. Mouthfeel is fairly thick with medium carbonation and fairly sticky. If this is 12% ABV, it's hidden well. I could drink this all night, or so I think right now.

For the first half of the bottle, I kept wondering, "where have I tasted this before? I know I've had something recently that tasted a lot like this." Then I remembered - it reminds me a little of the non-barrel aged version of Brooklyn Black Ops, which is awesome. I highly recommend this and can't wait for the chance to buy more. A very pleasant surprise. Everything I've had from Dark Horse so far has been excellent. Not surprising - another great Michigan brewer. I'll put Michigan up against any other state, including California. (1,078 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade with mynie, been on my wants list for awhile so I've been looking forward to it.

Pours a jet black, decent viscosity, not much head though and no lacing.

Smell is subtle but has a nice roasted malt aroma, hint of coffee and chocolate, and especially some dark fruit looming in my nostrils.

Taste is thick and chewy and coats the mouth nicely, strong roasted presence with a coffee/dark chocolate bitterness, slight dark fruit presence, the strength is very well hidden and has surprisingly little warming action. (535 characters)

Photo of pmcadamis
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pure black evil in a bottle. Looks like the blackest vile viscous fluid that flows through the devil's veins. This pitch black brew is topped with a small and short lived dark brown head. Lacing is limited to an oily coating on the glass. This looks sinister.

S - Bitter, bitter black baker's chocolate... the kind that is unsweetened. Super-dark roast espresso, soy sauce, and oddly enough...dill pickles.

T - Double chocolate chip cookies washed down with an espresso sans milk or sugar. This is MUCH sweeter and milky than it smells...the taste is light years ahead of the somewhat limited aroma. There is an almost milk-stout creamy lactic flavor to this beer, and some really nice "brown leaf" hops back up all the sweetness and, along with the alcohol heat, help balance this beer like a teeter-totter stuck halfway.

M - Full bodied and dextrin-y, this isn't as obese as some double/Russian stouts but it's still a huge bodied beer. Initially sweet and malty, the midpalate provides an even bigger dose of sugar before some alcohol heat and hops come in before the finish. The finish is bitter and espresso-like after swallowing, and the sweet-bitter mix in the aftertaste lasts for several minutes. Although there is a good deal of alcohol warmth, I would have guessed that this beer was closer to maybe 8 or 9%, not the wine-like 12%!

D - A nice full bodied malty stout that would pair extremely well with dark or milk chocolate, this hide's it's booze content like a functioning alcoholic at his day job. This one helluva beer. Not the best in it's style, but it's good nonetheless. (1,600 characters)

Photo of imperialbigswig
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ok this is in my top 5 favorite RISs, probably my number 2, maybe even one if I could get my hands on more of them!!!
A- Jet black motor oil, head leaves in a hurry.
S- Dark chocolates and notes of coffee.
T- GTFOOH!!! Just so rich and bitterly chocolate.
M- thick, heavy dry and chewy, now that's what I want in an Imperial Stout!!
D- Hard drink more than one, just cuz they're so hard to find and such a heavy stout. But low drinkability is a hallmark of a great RIS!!
SIP on this one long and steady, if you can find it. (523 characters)

Photo of RedHaze
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black with a one finger thick brown head. The foam sticks around for the entire drink, leaving a nice webbing of lace behind.

Smell; rich chocolate malts, spent coffee grounds, dark fruits and a hint of molasses.

Taste; dark chocolate and coffee come through right away, but without being bitter, followed by some dark fruits. A little molasses and a hint of some sweet cream are present, with just a touch of some hops in the finish that keep it from being too sweet.

Mouthfeel is is full with a just a perfect amount of carbonation for me, and the drinkability is dangerously high. Wish I had been able to pick up more than the one bottle while in Michigan, but glad that I was able to try this amazing stout. (732 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow, talk about having no idea what you're grabbing and being pleasantly surprised.

A - pitch black, motor oil with a dark angry brown head that starts slowly and lasts the full glass

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, roasted grains and a sweet dark malt vinous note.

T - lush rich malts convey dark chocoloate, coffee, roasted grains, dark ripe fruits...

M - full bodied, modestly carbonated, silky smooth, rich and full with a nice residual roasted feel.

D - a sipper but only so as to extract all that wonderfull flavor!

Yes sir, I'll have another. (551 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dead black. Nice thick frothy dark brown head. Reduces to a ring, but lots of this sticky lacing.

S - COFFEE. Geez. In the mix, anise, chocolate, dark cooked fruits.

T - Taste emulates smell but not to the same degree. Like how the coffee comes through, but not the typical bitterness. Alcohol apparent but not reflective of the ABV.

M - Medium to heavy, good carb, GREAT coating.

D - For the style and abv, great drinkability! (443 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with a modest tan head that quickly becomes a ringlet and archipelago but leaves behind copious amounts of lace

Smell: A bit boozy, with dark chocolate, licorice and charcoal

Taste: Dark chocolate up front, with developing elements of raisin, prunes, citrus and coffee; after the swallow, the citrusy bitter flavors emerge to balance the big malt profile; fruity chocolate at the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, with low carbonation

Drinkbility: A well-constructed RIS that is balanced and flavorful (546 characters)

Photo of Blakaeris
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours absolute midnight black with a tan head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring.

Aroma is charred dark grain, licorice, molasses, and dark fruit.

Taste is sweeter than I had anticipated from the nose. Dark roasted malts hit first, but then it changes to a layered burnt character. Some nice chocolate, licorice, and coffee notes. The finish is dry and woody with leafy green hop flavors in the mix as well as black currant and subdued alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full, thick, and sticky.

A very nice, balanced stout. Alcohol is amazingly well hidden. Is this really 12%? Smooth, drinkable, and complex with an interesting play between the malt, hops and dark fruitiness. Recommended. (688 characters)

Photo of abedenbaugh
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I happened to get the chance to try this beer in the 12oz bottles.

A: The color is vry dark and there was a little bit of film that was on the top. Practically no head on top.
S: Roasty aroma. A little bit of sweetness. Overall the aroma is a little on the light and mild side.
T: Very neutral flavors in the front of the palate. Then in the mid-palate the flavor really pops out with a full amount of roast, which stays until the end. Also there is a hing of an oaky/woodsy flavor. Some hints of coffee.
MF:Medium mouth fell. medium carbonation.
D: I like how the flavor developes of the course of drinking the beer. It is nice and drinkable, but it isn't anything really great. (680 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer was served slightly chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a very solid black. The head is a thin burnt tan coloration. The head resolves into a disk of burnt tan. No lacing remains behind on my glass.

Smell: The beers aroma is very boozey smelling. The boozeyness works well. The beers aroma leads with chocolate, this rides the expected toasted, roasted and chared aromas. The remaining aromas are raisins, tobacco, and charcoal.

Taste: The beers flavors are a booze soaked combination of chocolate, raisins, molasses, cigar ash, darkly roasted and chared espresso.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The body of this beer is huge. This is a low carbonated full bodied beer treat. Big and chewy just the way I like em. This is a sipper and a taste bud destroyer. Definately a one and done beer. (815 characters)

Photo of jwinship83
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- black thick looking body under a coffee colored modestly sized sticky head.

S- lots of coffee and dark chocolate. some raisins in there too along with roasted malts and a touch of alcohol.

T- very roasty with tons of coffee. chocolate and raisins/unburned cigarettes also. bitter hoppy finish. very dry

M- thick and chewy with ample CO2

D- picking up this basically unknown beer was a great idea. darkhorse hasnt failed me before and definitely didnt with this one. the taste and experience of this one is fantastic, its just way too strong to be sessionable. more people should check this one out. very good example of the style. (637 characters)

Photo of khiasmus
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown with almost no head. Leaves no lacing or legs.
Smells of black patent, huge coffee, slight chocolate, alcohol, slight metal, a bit of oxidization.
Flavor begins with dark, sweet malt, continues with roasted grain, then some metal, and an almost hammy note in the finish, reminiscent of a rauchbier.
Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, but dry and very puckering in the finish.
Not super drinkable. The strength of the grain bitterness is too much to make this one to constantly enjoy. (501 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of the darkest achromatic visual value with a frothy, dark brown head and some sticy lacing coating the side. The smell is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, and raisins. The beer is well carbonated and fullbodied. The taste is of black coffee, tobacco, and wet cedar. The dark chocolate is pronounced and slightly smoky.

I'd love to drink this in the middle of a blizzard, inside a log cabin, nestled in some tall, cold mountains somewhere in Scandinavia. (470 characters)

Photo of aqsprint
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Black hole dark. Nice tan foam quickly disapates into nothing.

S- srtong roast with a hint of hops chocolate and coffee.

T- Very little carbonation. Overall taste is dominated with a roasty flavor. Chocolate is in the back seat. Very solid.

M- Excellent, coats the tongue nicely.

D- I could drink four of these, but there would be a price to pay. (353 characters)

Photo of IBUnit63
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to aqsprint for this trade - 12 oz. into perfect size and shape of Moosehead mug.

40, 50 or 60 weight? Thick jet-black spent motor oil topped with very thin banana nut bread-colored head. This one's gonna be trouble.

The gang's all here - coffee, cocoa, cinnamon sugar, beef BBQ char, oily hop pine and prodigious amounts of slow-roasted chocolate malt. This one's solid.

Extremely roast-forward and complex. Austere to an extent but viscous enough to jell everything going on here - the cocoa, cinnamon sweetness, overloaded burnt malt and a mild piney hop profile. Husky alcohol notes carve out thickness in a very faint bourbon sort of way to keep it clean.

This absolutely oozes down the palate with the ingredients working together in Beautiful Chemistry to git 'er done. Finish is long and strong. Strong and soothing.

Well this one was finished way before I was ready to let it go. For such a powerful brew this drinks painfully easily. Savor this puppy. (973 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from czoch75; cheers Clint!. This one comes in a 12oz bottle

Pours ebony with 1 pinky of brown/peach tinged head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate, vanilla, booze, & carob

T: Dark chcolate, dark fruit, oaky dryness up front. Oak & vanilla as this warms along with with a touch leafy hops, & bit of wet charred grain. Finishes with some chcolate & chicory

MF: Oily, medium bodied, with minimal carbonation, along with some slickness

Drinks easy for the style, but not enough flavor depth to push this to upper echelon RIS status (557 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Monger poured into a tulip - 12oz bottle reads "Plead the 5th".

A: Pours pitch black with a dense, but thin, mocha head that dissipates fairly quickly to a collar and leaves decent lacing on the way down.

S: The aroma has a surprising sweetness to it which balances the roasted character very well. There is dark chocolate and vanilla up front on top a roasted malt backbone. As it warms, the alcohol heat comes out just a bit with a little bit of coffee mixed in.

T: The taste brought the chocolate malts to the party in a big way. There's a big sweet blast of milk chocolate up front with the toasted malts and a hint of wood in the middle with some dark fruits as well. The finish is a slightly bittersweet chocolate flavor.

M: Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with minimal carbonation. Sticky and sweet.

D: This is my favorite of the stout series so far by a mile (only Tres to go). Great beer from Dark Horse and highly recommended. (963 characters)

Photo of stumac
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this delectable brew pours up pitch black with a brown head... the nose is composed of wonderful dark chocolate malts... the taste is some alcohol, slight chocolate malts.... delicious!!!If only I could have it my way like at Burger King and order up one of these beers at my local convienence store... that would be quite convienient... (337 characters)

Photo of seaoflament
3.66/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big props to my buddy Michael (SPLITGRIN) for this one as an extra on our most recent trade. This is one beer that wasn't in my wants but should have been; 100 wants is just not enough.

Incredibly dark beer, it pours the color of dark chocolate syrup with almost an inch of foam that quickly recedes.

Heavily roasted on the nose with dark roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, a bit of vanilla, roasted barley, chocolate malt, and an underlying earthy aroma. There are also hints of milk, roasted hazelnut, and some dark fruits and dark cherry in the background. Toasted and burnt bread is also in the mix but even with all the heavily roasted and burnt aromas there is a bit of sweetness that keeps this one from being one-dimensional in a way. Past the roasted aroma is a sweet milk or crème, and brown sugar that balance everything quite nicely.

Roasted barley, coffee, and baker's chocolate initially. After that I can taste the toasted and burnt bread followed by more roasted malts and a hoppy bitterness in the finish. Dark fruits like raisins and dried prunes hide near the finish and aftertaste, behind the huge roasted profile. Way in the back, during the long aftertaste, one can taste the black cherry and dark berries. Quite a bit of smoke and some charcoal in the taste too. The alcohol is pretty well hidden for the most part, I can however detect a bit of it in my breath. Near the end I taste some ash and cigarette smoke, not too pleasant.

The carbonation seems a bit aggressive but the beer is meaty and heavy on the palate...just how I like my stouts. A bit of ageing would benefit this one, hopefully cutting down on the bitterness in the finish and smoothing the carbonation.

Dry finish and aftertaste. (1,728 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 829 ratings.