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
93
outstanding

821 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 821
Hads: 3,493
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.86%
Wants: 552
Gots: 917 | FT: 104
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: 821 | Hads: 3,493
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)

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

Bottle reads "Plead the 5th"

Two fingers of one of the darkest heads Ive seen on a beer. Deep brown with even hints of ruby mixed in. Body is deep dark jet black and thick. Nose is rich with milk chocolate, toasty malt and a hint of candied cherries. Initially super creamy as you take first sip. Then you get waves of dark bitter chocolate, vanilla and lots of rich dark fruit. Very heavy on the mouth as it really paints the mouth. Thick throughout and really shows nice depth and complexity. Mouthfeel is big dry and nicely bitter. Alchol is well hidden. A big dark stout to sip slowly and enjoy. (600 characters)

Photo of SaucyA
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into the infamous snifter. Black black black. With a slight layer of tan foam. Wish there was more of a head/lacing... but it's definitely acceptable. Quite leggy, tho.

S - Usual RIS affects. Coffee, roasty, baker's chocolate, burnt. Some soy sauce undertones. Nothing off, nothing remarkable. Good.

T - Quite a big, bold RIS. Bittersweet chocolate, mocha, coffee, fresh roast. Nice flavors, nothing off. Definite hop profile on the back end. Alcohol is noted but hardly present.

M - Not quite as thick and syrupy as I prefer, but it's by no means light. Subtle carbonation, full body.

D - Easy drinking for the ABV and bold flavors. I drink these way too fast.

Notes: I've only got a couple of these left from this years batch, so I figured I'd hurry up and get one reviewed before it was "aged". I really enjoy this beer, and for the price, cannot be beat.

An all around good RIS that stands up relatively well to the big boys. (947 characters)

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

12oz to snifter, pours a deep dark opaque black, deep brown head fades to lacing

smells of roasty malts, bitter chocolate, alcohol

tastes of bakers chocolate, bitter, roasty peaty earth, sweet lactose? maybe flaked grains?, heavy and sweet, hop resins linger, malts are blended well, reminds me more of an american double with the amount of hops, but could be a young bottle - mmm

mouthfeel is heavy roasty lingering bitterness, rich and thick, yum (451 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GrandCruDrew for this one.
12 oz bottle - Plead the 5th on the label

A - Pours solid black with 2 fingers of cocoa brown head that leaves a thin layer of foam behind.

S - Roasted, almost burnt, malt. Bitter chocolate, burnt coffee with hints of smoke and licorice.

T - Intense roasted malt, bitter chocolate, burnt coffee and a touch of smoke.

M - Medium to full body, low carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.

D - A solid RIS but too much burnt flavor/aroma for me. (479 characters)

Photo of Atron67
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, plead the fifth on the side, thanks to asmokingoat for this, poured into my Ommegang chalice.

A- pour an absolute dead black right out of the glass, dark chocolate brown head on top that slowly built up a reasonable head, the head fell relatively quickly, but to be expected, and the lacing was a little sloppy and wet, impressive for a huge RIS.

S- the low carbonation makes it hard to get a strong whiff however the scents seem to be dominated by huge chocolate malts, with solid notes of roasted characters as well. the hops are pretty subdued, but keep it from being sweet.

T- very smooth overall for the RIS, the malts slowly flow heavily over the tongue, sticking to every part of it as it washes to the back of the tongue. the chocolate flavor grows really strong. a dark fruit character arises out of the malt, which is something that occurs with large amounts of chocolate malt. Kind of reminds me of Darkness.

M- very thick, low carbonation, sticky as hell to the tongue

D- an awesome sipper, wish i had more, the 12oz bottle is perfect 750 might want to share. (1,093 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from dkachur, who got it in a trade - thanks Dan! Poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Thick, black, like motor oil. No head, but very thin and runny bubbly, tan lacing.

Aroma: Lots of roasted malts - coffee and chocolate, of course - and some earthy, woody aromas. Fruity esters, too - not dark, either, but light, like tannins.

Taste: Very interesting. It's like a tart RIS, but it's not tart - it's just balanced. Lots of those light fruity esters balance a heavily roasted malt backbone - perhaps its citrus hops. Either way, it's unique, and surprisingly refreshing for an RIS.

Mouthfeel: Velvety and even, full bodied, with minimal carbonation. What is there is medium-sized, though.

Drinkability: The tartness/fruity esters keep it light and drinkable, which is good, because otherwise this one might knock you on your butt. It's very balanced, though - recommended. (887 characters)

Photo of cvstrickland
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The drink pours a shade of deep ebony with a mocha-colored head that retains great an leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell is smoky and roasty-toasty with notes of charcoal, coffee, and chocolate.

Taste is roasty, even a bit burnt, with dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes rising from the woody ashes.

Full-bodied with nice drinkability. (354 characters)

Photo of mynie
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sold to me as "Plead the Fifth" imperial stout. Also it came in a fourpack, not a bomber. And I should mention that I bought it at Eagle River Liquor in Fulton, Illinois. Because that store doesn't sell enough good beer.

Damn fine pour. Damn fine. I'd pit this bad mofo up against Dark Lord and the Abyss. Black as the total absence of colors and then there's a wonderful chocolate brown head sitting on top of it that is just mouthwatering. Seriously--I've been here for like 4 years and I don't think I've ever used the phrase "mouthwatering" before, since it's so cliche. But that's what this is.

Smells very rich and intense. This is a room temp pour but it's still pretty hard to pick out one flavor from another. There's a little bit of smokiness, but that's overridden by chocolate and roughraw porter malts. You also got some bread and nuts in there, too. Not much of the liquor or alcohol burny yeast that you normally expect from an RIS.

Tastes...wow the taste is solid but still a total letdown. Little dull and watery at first, but that falls into a meaty smoke flavor that runs quickly into a chocolate malt and gives way to some lightly burny yeast. Eh. The blend ain't all the great, the seltzery beginning is nothing short of offputting, and it's not nearly intense enough for the style.

Don't get me wrong: I am by no means the kind of guy who gets down on beers for not being Xtreme enough. But I expect a lot out of an RIS. And this one, while plenty enjoyable, doesn't fully deliver. (1,509 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 821 ratings.