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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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

2,359 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2359
Reviews: 734
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.37%


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: 2,359 | Reviews: 734 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of paxtonthegreat
paxtonthegreat

Michigan

5/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2011 19:05:03 | More by paxtonthegreat
Photo of clareo
clareo

Ohio

5/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 01:49:12 | More by clareo
Photo of blazepowell
blazepowell

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 13:16:08 | More by blazepowell
Photo of templar316
templar316

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2013 05:17:22 | More by templar316
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

4.98/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2013 02:18:01 | More by Mitchster
Photo of UMNbeerhunter
UMNbeerhunter

Minnesota

4.93/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 05:52:35 | More by UMNbeerhunter
Photo of NWer
NWer

Washington

4.91/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2013 23:11:45 | More by NWer
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

4.9/5  rDev +14%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2008 02:16:39 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of Frosty80
Frosty80

Michigan

4.9/5  rDev +14%
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

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2009 04:22:07 | More by Frosty80
Photo of Copernicandream
Copernicandream

Michigan

4.89/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 01:32:22 | More by Copernicandream
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
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!!!

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 02:52:44 | More by tpd975
Photo of imperialbigswig
imperialbigswig

Wisconsin

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2008 21:05:21 | More by imperialbigswig
Photo of CarbonIS
CarbonIS

Pennsylvania

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2010 02:17:33 | More by CarbonIS
Photo of MammothBrew
MammothBrew

Illinois

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2011 05:45:37 | More by MammothBrew
Photo of Beerlover
Beerlover

Minnesota

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 00:19:50 | More by Beerlover
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 02:12:42 | More by maximum12
Photo of jcnd9803
jcnd9803

Illinois

4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2010 04:20:30 | More by jcnd9803
Photo of Lauthaha
Lauthaha

Michigan

4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2011 00:23:59 | More by Lauthaha
Photo of MrVonzipper
MrVonzipper

California

4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 06:31:53 | More by MrVonzipper
Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
PsilohsaiBiN

New York

4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 00:27:39 | More by PsilohsaiBiN
Photo of Qbdoo
Qbdoo

Illinois

4.79/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

From a bottle, pours black as night with hardly any head (despite three tries), though what you get is a dark tan.

Scent is not powerful: roasted malt, coffee.

Taste: roasted malt, coffee, a little chocolate, There's just a bit of booze, but not too much. There are Russian imperial stouts that have too much, but this - despite 11% abv, is just right.

Mouthfeel is unbelievable: thick, creamy with a light carbonation. Probably the best mouthfeel of any stout, maybe any beer.

This may be my new favorite beer. Wish it were more readily available.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 00:41:22 | More by Qbdoo
Photo of BrentJ
BrentJ

Indiana

4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was excited to see this new entry to Dark Horse's stout series. I picked up a 4-pack at the Liquor Stop in Highland, IN.

Poured thick and black. The smell had my mouth watering for the first taste; which was outstanding. I'm looking forward to picking up a few more 4-packs...

One of the best stouts I've ever had! Well done, Dark Horse!

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 02:44:01 | More by BrentJ
Photo of Retail1LO
Retail1LO

Pennsylvania

4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is what I'M talkin' about!

Poured into a pint glass from a room temperature bottle.

Thanks to Centennial for giving this to me when he was a guest at my house the other evening.

This pours a lovely jet black with about 2 fingers worth of gorgeous espresso foam that recedes quickly, leaving a thin layer atop the rest of the beer. One of the best smelling stouts I've ever had the pleasure of taking in. A rich, chocolaty, bourbon, vanilla nose that is just so intoxicating to inhale. The taste is just behind the nose, mirroring all of the luscious flavors represented in the nose. This is my kind of stout. A little boozy, thick, rich, and creamy. The mouthfeel is absolutely the BEST I've had in a stout. I can't stop taking mouthfuls and just...letting them rest in my mouth while I tongue all the incredible flavors and texture. Unreal. I have to get more of this. Fast.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 03:14:02 | More by Retail1LO
Photo of ncketchum
ncketchum

Wisconsin

4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at Stubbys, 2nd to last glass I'm told...

A - pours jet black, no head

S - chocolate malt, maybe a bit of hops

T - black licorice up front, then chocolate milk, followed by a bit of bitter hops

M - thinner than expected, little alcohol burn, well hidden for this ABV

O - extremely solid Impy Stout. I could drink this all night, if there were more glasses available and I had a ride home. Very glad I was able to sample this one.

Serving type: on-tap

08-29-2012 02:13:25 | More by ncketchum
Photo of Apatschinn
Apatschinn

Iowa

4.76/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

App. - Pitch black pour. Nearly opaque in the glass. Virtually no head at all with little lacing.

Smell - All things chocolate. Light amount of coffee mixed as well. Very impressive.

Taste - Fails to keep up with the smell. Heavier coffee aftertaste that quickly dissipates. Great initial flavor though!

Mouth. - Light and smooth, very impressed.

Over. - Great beer I got from a friend in a trade, Would definitely love to see this on tap nearby!

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 03:18:06 | More by Apatschinn
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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,359 ratings.