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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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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: 549
Gots: 927 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 829 | Hads: 3,524
Photo of blazepowell
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I came across a few bottles of this that has been aged for 1 year which I have been told is the best time to have it. To me this is the best stout on the market it is a mid-night black color pour with a deep brown colored head it is dark chocolate and coffee blended heaven that I could in no way be happier with. (313 characters)

Photo of templar316
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A thick creamy mocha head bubbles up bringing cinnamon, dates, cherry tobacco along with it. It fades quickly but works heavily coating the outside of my tulip after a swirl. The color is black as pitch no highlight's to this one. A hint of clover, and gamey undertones in the dark fruit of the nose. The flavor rolls gently, powerfully capturing my full attention as it goes from cocoa roast malts, to frothy coffee, with undertones of leather and roast goose. It all finishes with a dominant mouthfeel and lingering biterness that reminds us not to say too much.

In my 2nd decade with stouts as my favorite style, I was not expecting to be impressed by this. Perhaps the bottle of 1 I had was bad... However, I can't say enough about the creamy roasty mouthfeel, the depth of flavor, or the character of this beer. I'll be buying more tomorrow. (848 characters)

Photo of Trooper92292
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful black color. Aromas range but are not overdone. Such a satisfying taste. The feel is just so well done. I'm popping a bottle open of this now and had this on tap weeks ago and it's one of my favorite beers out there. I first had this last year, a friend introduced me to it, and I could not believe how good this beer is. This is on my top 5 easily. If you have a chance to drink this beer, do it. (409 characters)

Photo of paxtonthegreat
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Weighing in at more like 14% abv, this incredible imperial stout packs in flavors such as tobacco, dark and milk chocolate, roast, smoke and more. With a nose that is reminiscent of dark chocolate smoke and tobacco this is sure to please any russian imperial stout enthusiast for sure. Some molasses in the finish. (314 characters)

Photo of clareo
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Thick, creamy tan head with a chocolatey, milkshake-like appearance. Body is deep, dark black-brown.

S - Alcoholic, bittersweet dark chocolate, moderate malt, a bit of vanilla.

T - More of the bittersweet dark chocolate with nice deep fruitl notes, acrid roast coffee character; heavy, tongue-coating malts.

M - Thick and viscous, coats the mouth, very smooth.

O - A delicious example of the style; well-balanced with complex flavors. Very satisfying. (459 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One hell of a dark beer. Even darker than Expedition. Forms a creamy DARK brown head with purple accents. Good retention and moderate lacing, with mild to moderate carbonation. The aroma is just amazing. Prunes and raisins, figs, sorghum molasses, soy sauce, intensely roasted grains, vanilla, black walnut, and an inkling of the alcohol that is in there. Wow. The mouthfeel is glamourous...silky smooth with an amazing lingering finish and a dense, oily body. Taste starts out with the prune juice, black walnuts, espresso and soy sauce, followed by a expertly balanced herbal/green oily hop bitterness. Cocoa, dark chocolate, and charcoal appear but never with any harshness, astringency or acidity (a tough feat to accomplish!). Chalk, tobacco, prunes, leather and a warming alcohol sensation teases me in the finish. Cleanly fermented. Even though the alcohol is felt, it's never tasted. Sweet throughout with a sweet roasted finish.

Wow. Amazing Imperial Stout here. Probably the best in Michigan, maybe even better than Founders. Completely trouces Expedition. The fact that this thing is so amazingly drinkable speaks volumes for this beer. Highly recommended!

Re-review 3/9/13-Maybe my tastes have changed, but I am not impressed with this years batch. The alcohol is near overpowering at 11%, adding a very astringent finish. The dark fruit is minimal in comparison to the roast and char. The very large percentage of chocolate malt and black patent adds to the astringency and creates an unpleasant tartness. It finishes very dry for the style with too much charcoal and burnt grain. (1,595 characters)

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance : . Like "10,000 miles on conventional oil coming out of the sump" dark. Completely obsidian, opaque, no light escaping this cosmic black hole of beerdom. The three fingered head is rocky, just plain thick, leaves an almost impenetrable looking crown from the top down, and is almond/beige/muddy colored. Just gorgeous. This is what it's about, friends.

Aroma : Obviously the bouquet is loud as I can smell it from here on the side table. Bringing it closer, I curl a smile. Chocolate, fresh brownies, coffee bean, cocoa powder, dark roasted malts. I don't think Starbucks could craft a better roasted smell than this awesome aroma. Just fabulous. Even after the coffee aroma, melted chocolate comes in at the end as well.

Flavor : Oh dear Lord. This might be my favorite stout. Slapping the arm of the recliner, with a grin on my face, I taste waves of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted cocoa bean, chocolate syrup, milk, oatmeal, with just a faint bite of hop if only to create the feeling of sharpness. The alcohol burn comes at the end but you don't taste it - you feel it, and it leaves fire tingling on your tongue as the roasted chocolate just dries like primer.

Mouthfeel : Yes, another homerun here. Medium-to-full bodied, almost a wall there, it borders on chewy, but just fills the mouth with creamy, dark goodness. It ends semi-dry but not too dry - just the right amount of dry.

Overall : Hitting on all cylinders, this stout is now my favorite of ALL TIME. This stout is absolutely groundbreakingly amazing. For $12 a 4 pack, who wouldn't buy this stuff. Just fabulous. Get you some now. (1,624 characters)

Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Since I have had about a dozen of these and sent out tons as extras I suppose I should finally review it.

Poured from a 12oz into a Darkness tulip.

Pours black as night with a beautiful brown 2 finger head.

Smells great as well. Lots of chocolate and a little coffee.

Taste is on par with the best IS that I have tasted. Hands down the best stout I have tasted out of a 12oz serving. I will buy a case of this next time it is released.

Mouthfeel is nice as well. Medium weight and the chocolate resin sticks to your mouth in a way to stay for a long time and not be offensive.

Drinkability is high as this is one of the best off the shelf easy to get IS I have had. (671 characters)

Photo of NWer
4.91/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

In spite of my aggressive pour into my San Francisco Strong Beers Month 2012 tulip, it pours rather lazily into the glass and just sits there. Very dark brown small quickly fading head just enough to let you know there was some carbonation. Brown line of bubbles cling around edge of glass.
Aroma overpowering burnt chocolate. Very nice. Could sit and take it in all day but it's time to taste it.
Tastes again strong burnt chocolate. Some lingering coffee notes. Alcohol burn. 12% ABV not at all well hidden.
Mouthfeel nice. Lingering taste extends the experience. Alcohol taste remains as well. No cloying effect whatsoever. Could sit here and sip it all day.
This is why beer is better than Cognac. (701 characters)

Photo of snoopy5023
4.91/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The look was very clean, dark and pleasing on the eye. The smell was tasting as the taste, which was full on the tongue in a very good way and gave it a feel that have you wanting more. (185 characters)

Photo of Frosty80
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours a VERY dark brown. sits black with only the slightest brown rim

Smell: perfect balance of chocolate, coffee and alcholol

Taste: aroma translates perfectly to pallet. sauperb balance of chocolate and roasted malts with a perfect amount of alcohol

Mouthfeel: full body. creamy. low carbonation

Notes: excellent stout. one of the best ive had (356 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours an opaque used motor oil black color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into a ring of lacing. The aroma is of milk and dark chocolate, graham cracker, toffee, vanilla, and is rather prominent. The taste is full of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, toffee, graham cracker, and hints of coffee. The mouthfeel is full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is one of the best RIS I have had. I really like the fact that it isn't overly hoppy the way a lot of American made RIS tend to be. If this were available to me locally it would be one of my go to stouts. (638 characters)

Photo of Copernicandream
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a 12oz snifter. Fresh.

A: Impenetrable dark black, very minimal frothy head on a moderately aggressive pour that faded to nothing almost immediately <30 sec.

S: Chocolate, espresso, roasted malt, difficult to place - dark berries, red wine???

T: The taste is much more subdued than the smell. Essentially just heavy rich roasted malt. A little alcohol in the aftertaste. I get some dark chocolate bitterness, im sure hops are also involved but they're mild. The same ?blackberry, black raspberry, and what chilhood memories tell me are elderberries? come out with warmth - this is very subtle and I clearly am having a hard time nailing it down. Lets just say "dark fruit ester."

M: Full bodied, rich and creamy. Big bad beer. This is perfect, what you expect when you hear Imperial Stout. Moderate warmth from the 11%. Carbonation is mild and extremely fine.

O: Perhaps the, if not one of the best imperial stouts I have ever tasted. This blows the socks of Founders booze bomb, which I very much respect. Very complex and full bodied providing a filling feeling along with a complex palate. I can see why people wait in line for the BA version, it would likely be amazing. (1,208 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 Beerlover
4.86/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A: pours pretty thick out of bottle, like a black snake, thick dark khaki head.
S: very faint on the aromas, picking up dark roasted malt of course slight bittersweet chocolate and booziness.
T: whoa! this is awesome! a perfect example in flavor of a r.i.s;! really nothing lacking in the flavor department, has a good roasty-ness not too much some sweet chocolate flavors no coffee or licorice to speak of but a touch of caramel and vanilla, and the a.b.v in this guys is very well masked, I'd guess it to be right around 7 to 7.5. the malt profile is great and I'm not picking up any hoppiness.
M: great! medium low to low carbonation, leaves a silky slickness on the palate, yum!
O.A. this is a delicious example of an American r.i.s., find it, buy it, try it, like it! (772 characters)

Photo of CarbonIS
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As with most beers from Dark Horse, this imperial stout is a step above the others. Pouring a dark, creamy black, almost to the consistancy or oil, the Plead the 5th bottles that I have had recently have had the perfect amount of carbonation (or lack there of). Creamy and malty in feel, the aromas of this imperial stout smell of intense coffee and chocolate, but thankfully lack the intense bitterness of other imperial stouts that smell so strongly of coffee. Drinkability is fantastic, rich, almost chewy, and smooth. My basis for comparison, while it may be a high standard, for all other imperial stouts. (610 characters)

Photo of MammothBrew
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass on 6/22/11.

A: Pours a burned oil color with tints of ruby(only while pouring). Holding it up, there's no light coming through this beauty. Very thin frothy layer. No head, no lacing.

S: Smokey chocolate malt with a strong coffee/espresso smell. Very faint boozy smell and no hop presence.

T: It's a chocolate attack to the face. Deep chocolate/cocoa flavor with some smooth smokey, roasted malt. Hints of coffee with a very light boozy finish.

M: Full body with little carbonation. Coats the mouth in a really, really chocolaty milk kind of way.

O: It's like a chocolate dessert drink for adults. This has become my favorite Imperial Stout, hands down. It's not very complex but it's straight to the point. Also, the high ABV is hidden pretty well. Nice job Dark Horse! (801 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got a couple of these recently in trade the most recent being my boy BeerTruth!

A: Pours as black as black can be. A thunderous three finger mocha colored head rises and shows good retention. Spotty lace is noted all the way down the glass.

S: Holy roast batman. This one is roasted to the max. Tons of roasted, almost charred malt. Rich bitter chocolate and over cooked coffee. There is a bit of sweet caramel below all of that though.

T: Insane. What a tasty brew. Tons of perfectly roasted chocolate malt. This one tastes like brownies. There are hints of coffee, vanilla and smoke as well. Hops show up in the finish with a small bitter blast. Damn Drinkable, and oh so tasty.

M: Perfect mouth feel. Big and bold, Rich and Creamy. Gives a new meaning to smooth.

D: Not a hint of the ABV. The taste is off the Richter scale. I reallly like this beer and am glad to have a few more laying around to share with the Tuesday night tasting group.

Plead The 5th = YUM!!! (973 characters)

Photo of Gear54
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Ale Emporium in Indianapolis

Pitch black pour with 1/2 finger of kaki head and light lace left on the glass.

Aroma is coffee and chocolate predominantly with roasted malts and black licorice present in the back ground. Slight amount of booze as well.

Taste: wow! This beer is like drinking chocolate cake! Dark chocolate and roasted malt with coffee flavor and maybe a touch of carmel at the end. Just a touch of alcohol mixes well enough with the flavor to not cause any ill will toward the flavor.

Feel is good as well. Lasting flavors coat the mouth and the chocolate is rich and smooth. I could drink several of these and be happy! (653 characters)

Photo of jcnd9803
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
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! (678 characters)

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.81/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: Date unknown. Big thanks to Marti403.

Appearance: Black as death with a creamy, tan 1/2 finger head that has some staying power.

Smell: Delicious, deep, rich chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, brown sugar. WOW!

Taste: Matches the nose so well and tastes just as I hoped it would! Pretty much has everything from the nose with a little booze in the back, which is expected of a 12% beer, but it's not harsh. This is one of the best stouts I've ever had.

Mouthfeel: So creamy, so smooth. Not quite in BCBS territory of viscosity, but it's thick, yet so drinkable. Velvety, for sure.

Overall: What can I say, got this as an extra and it's blown me away. Can't find much wrong with this aside from the booziness at the end, but I'll bet that can be fixed with a year in the cellar. So damn good, and my first Dark Horse brew. Look forward to many more after this! (872 characters)

Photo of Lauthaha
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Pours pitch-black in a nearly-molasses fashion. Head is a super-dark tan color, and recedes to about a 2mm coating on the surface of the beer. Leaves what looks like exception lacing (except I filled the beer to the top of the glass...haha, we'll have to wait and see).

Smell: Lots of toasted caramel and toffee malt flavor going on here. Then, a medium-dark chocolate tone which rings loudly. Espresso beans dot the scented canvas, and perhaps just a touch of spice is thrown in at the end for good measure. Almost no detectable alcohol. This is shaping up to be a winner!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer goes in thickly, and quickly begins to carbonate on the tongue. Flavors flash repeatedly, interwoven with each other and yet set apart from all other flavors. A light sourness from what I assume are the hops is perfectly balanced with the chewy malt character and upper-crust espresso. Calming everything down is a strong (but not cloying) milk chocolate vibe. Beer finishes strongly, and leaves a strong aftertaste of chocolate and coffee. Another sip? Don't mind if I do.

Overall: At 12% ABV, this drinks like a pilsner (in terms of quaffability). Simply outstanding brew. I am a fan of RIS's, and this one fits into the category splendidly. GOOD job, Dark Horse. (1,324 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
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! (1,029 characters)

Photo of barhoc11
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Darkest of dark, looks like used motor oil but in a good way. little to no head on the beer.

S: Sweet roast smell, one of the best smelling RIS's I have had

T: Just as it smells, very sweet with the roasted malt finish. As with most RIS's, this gets better as it warms

M: Nicely carbonated and thick in your mouth, just as it should for this style

O: This is one of my favorite RIS's, it pushes the limits of the style but in a very good way. It is hard to tell this is 11% abv (484 characters)

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to MrHirshybar for this fine piece along with aging it a year for me.

Oilslick black along with it's oily glass coating viscosity. Mild foamy 1/2cm brown head with low retention and light spotty lacing.

Deep, dark and bold nose. Notes of rich bitter chocolate, rich liquored dark fruit, bourbony oak and deep rich soy sauce. They soy sauce stands out at first, you really gotta swirl to open up the other characteristics.

Flavor is huge and bold! Big robust notes of bitter chocolate (cacao), dark fruits, vanilla, bourbon, oak and faint black licorice. The Flavor is amazing.

Full bodied mouthfeel. Silky and viscous. Wonderful palate coating creaminess with low carbonation.

Overall this beer is pretty fucking awesome. I'm really interested to try it fresh, cuz the age is apparent and great. I can't imagine it getting any better with any more age, so I think a year is about right on for this piece. (921 characters)

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