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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
94
outstanding

869 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 869
Hads: 3,724
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 17.02%
Wants: 556
Gots: 1,013 | FT: 114
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 869 | Hads: 3,724
Photo of vic21234
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Refrigerated only briefly. This is the current year vintage.

A- Pours black with a small amount of light brown/ khaki head that quickly fades. Not much carbonation going on, and some lacing is apparent along the sides of the glass.

S- Great smelling beer. Nice aromas of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T- The smell carries on into the taste. I get coffee, chocolate, and an overall roastiness. There is also a nice hop presence towards the back of each sip. Very complex with a lot going on.

M- Thick, chewy, low carbonation, the alcohol is noted but not what one would think for 11% ABV. A nice sipper.

This is an enjoyable RIS, especially if you're into hopped stouts. I would love to get my hands on the barrel aged version. A few bottles of this one will be sat down in my cellar to see how it drinks after some hop fading.

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Photo of DomD1121
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Very thick, black, syrupy pour. Very little head that disappears fast.

Smell: Very rich, malty, lots of coffee, with a very slight chocolate sweetness tones.

Taste: This is a VERY tasty beer. Very smooth, rich malt flavor with coffee and a little sweetness at the beginning. Finishes off with a slightly boozy bite, but not at all overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant. Creamy, smooth, and full-bodied.

Overall: This beer is fantastic. If you can get your hands on it, DO IT. I am not a huge stout drinker, but this one has really made an impression on me. I will be picking up more very soon!

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Photo of HoppySeb
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

What an amazing beer - I wish I had access to it more often. Poured from a refrigerated 12oz bottle into a KBS snifter - poured vertically, producing a great looking two inch thick foam that is light brown in color. The head quickly dissipates and forms a ring around the glass which stays there as you drink it.

Its nose if mostly chocolate, vanilla, ripened plums, coffee and light spices - sweet. Taste is bittersweet. Definite hop presence with bold dark chocolate and vanilla bean flavors.

Mouthfeel is amazing - thick and chewy, allows you to extract every ounce of flavor from this beer. Carbonation is very light, as expected.

Overall - I'm very impressed with this beer as I was not expecting it to be this great. I will definitely seek it out more often! Highly recommended!

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Photo of Jparkanzky
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A) Pour into a pint glass from bottle, at near room-temp. Poured jet-black, didn't see really any red or brown within while pouring it. A few dancing bubbles on top, and no head.... the 1/16th inch head that was there for about 2 seconds was dark brown.... this beer is DARK!

S) Don't really pull a lot from the smell... it's actually quite neutral, perhaps vanilla hints to it, but I really don't know. It certainly wasn't unpleasant, but more "neutral"

T) GREAT. A little caramel perhaps, and hints of a bourbon flavor. The after-taste is pure smooth-velvety goodness.

M) A little alcohol bite at first, but overall it tastes like heavy black-creme, devoid of any carbonation whatsoever, so in a word "GREAT!"

Very enjoyable from start to finish... I took this out of the cellar at 50 deg. and waiting 15 minutes at room temp, and it still didn't really "peak" until halfway through the glass... Flavors and texture really opened up, and any negative alcohol characteristics that were clearly pronounced, disappeared when the temperature warmed up.

Highly recommend this one!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Traded dtx00 for this one. Thank you so much Sam! Poured into a tulip glass for sniffin!

A - Deepest darkest black thick beer liquid is best to describe. Even though the ABV is high I get the minimal of dark mocha colored head that sticks with some great lacing.

S - Deep dark chocolates, bitter chocolates, bakers chocolates, heavy roast with splashes of espresso and coffee. Has a very slight cherry tone which is minimal but slightly tart.

T - Ow man I am so excited! mmm wow almost as good as ST Chocolat! Dark chocolates slightly bitter which is pretty awesome and roast is balanced with slightly bitter coffee. Creamy and thick but tasty. I love how the chocolate tones in this is like a Hershey suryp sweet and thick!

M - Alcohol is so masked the only feeling of the ABV is the burn as it hits the stomach. So warming no wonder is a winter brew!

Overall Wow just wow! So big! So smooth! Such a great brew! A real treat of a beer that hopefully I can find around town next year as craft beer continues to grow.

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Photo of JayQue
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A really outstanding RIS. Obtained in a trade with either TMoney2591 or Woodchopper. I let this one sit for a while....wouldn't keep another one this long....tastes too good.

Pours a dark brown, dense with absolutely no light getting through. Small brown head...dark as Ten Fidy with limited retention and little lacing. To be expected in this strong a beer.

Aroma is fabulous....Noticeable as soon as you manage to get the cap off underneath the grey waxy stuff that coats the bottle. Malts, dark chocolate, molasses type sweetness and vanilla. A potent concoction with all aromas just right.

Taste dos not disappoint either. Rich toasted malt background, molasses like sweetness, chocolate taste is restrained and just right and a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is luxuriously rich and very smooth except for a mild alcohol presence, warming effect...keeps you from quickly slurping up this goodness.

One of the better RIS I have ever had. Great experience!!!! Thanks to my Illinois connection!!!

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Photo of nhindian
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - This beer is easily one of the darkest, most formidable, and most slick imperial stouts I've ever had. The color is somewhere between tar, sludge, and crude oil. The head on this is also magnificent as well, with an insane 2-fingered head that is dark mocha in color. The retention is also up there, lasting several minutes, which for the ABV on this is is insane. To top it off, the lacing is generous to say the least and covers a good portion of the glass. It's really amazing how Dark Horse hit the color, head retention, and lacing on a beer of this scale.

S - The aroma on this beer is every bit as big as the appearance would lead me to believe. It's roasty to the point of bordering on charred and brings in smells of anise and dark fruits. There's a really bitter chocolate note in here as well that's just playing on the sweetness of the malts to accentuate it. There's a little bit of acrid coffee in here, too, and in the finish there's some astringent alcohol.

T - This big boy is a sipper to say the least. To borrow a descriptor from Goose Island, one sip of this beer has more flavor than an entire case of macro beer. The roasty char continues its rampage through my senses, and leads this beer off in a way that braces you for impact. But rather than crash and burn, this beer takes you to new heights on the imperial stout spectrum. The malts keep the sweetness coming, and the bitter chocolate shines to cut some of the roast before the fruits come in and alleviate the bitterness. I'm getting a good amount of figs and plums here, but they don't come off sugary or as alcohol-soaked as other beers that exhibit these flavors. As in the nose, there is some alcohol in the back-end, but not to the degree that a 12.00% beer should.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with moderately low carbonation. This beer looks like oil and has the mouthfeel to match. This thing will coat your palate and keep injecting its flavor into your mouth, but it doesn't come across as syrupy. A fairly smooth, great-feeling beer.

D/O - Drinkability is high for this one. I really enjoyed drinking this after finally coming across some bottles. Make no mistake, you won't be quaffing this one down, but each sip will be savored. There is some alcohol here, but is masked and washed away nicely by the other flavors. I would love to try the barrel-aged version of this but it's looking like a longshot!

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Photo of Jeffo
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received bottles of this one from smakawhat and thetomG. Thanks for this gem of a beer gents! Finally getting around to reviewing this one along side the bourbon barrel version with Doopie. Good times!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drank right before the BA version

APPEARANCE: A thick, black pour yields a small, thicker looking, tight, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a half wisp and a nice ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. A big, menacing look to this one. Evil.

SMELL: Roasted, smoky and charred malts on the nose, with some nice coffee, dark chocolate and licorice notes there as well. Heavy dose of booze, mostly red port, provide a base for it all. Big and enticing.

TASTE: Some roasted and smoky malts up front with sweet caramel and molasses. Flavor is a little lacking up front, but then comes in waves after the swallow. Lots of bitter coffee and dark chocolate, smoky charred malts and port wine linger on the palate. Notes of licorice and sweet molasses, but piles of bitter chocolate and charred malts linger on the palate after the swallow. Wave after wave of big flavors. Just needed a little more up front for top marks.

PALATE: Fuller body and higher levels of carbonation. Creamy, thick and full on the palate, goes down smooth with a bit of a bite at the swallow and finishes relatively sticky on the palate. A well measured amount of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This was absolutely phenomenal. I’ve had a few other Dark Horse brews, all of which were mediocre compared to this monster of a delicious treat. Evil looking with a huge nose and flavor profile filled with everything I love about this style. Thick creamy palate gives the show a solid foundation as well. Perhaps a little weak up front and the booze might be slightly too forward, but this was awesome and I enjoyed it more than the 2011 bourbon barrel version we drank right after it. One I’d take anytime it was offered to me, no question. Thanks again for sharing Doops. Kick ass beer!

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Center pour from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

What a lovely pour. A deep rich (nearly black) mahogany with a nice brownish-red foam that quickly dissipates to less than half a finger.

The smell is incredible! I get caramel, toffee, chocolate, perhaps prune, roasted coffee and a bit of booziness.

The first taste: A little bite of booze then a hit of sweetness and fruit followed by dark chocolate and raisin. The aftertaste is dark chocolate, slightly bitter and creamy. It lingers on the tongue, awaiting the next sip.

The mouthfeel is wonderful. Full and creamy with a late tingle on the tongue from the carbonation.

Overall, this is a great beer. Full of wonderful smells and flavors. I feel like the next time I have it, I'll be picking up different layers. I can't wait.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle, poured into a snifter

A- pours opaque jet black in color with a small foamy dark-tan head that has short retention, eventually leaving a small layer on top, leaving some short lasting lace behind

S- lots of smoky roasted malt aroma up front with notes of charcoal, burnt marshmallow, campfire, smoked & cured meat, bitter dark chocolate and some woodsy notes. Underlying piney hops

T- Big chocolate and dark fig notes up front that are quickly complimented by a roasty malt that gives flavors of charred marshmallow, along with earthy and woodsy notes. Graham cracker sweetness kicks in near the end with more dark chocolate and a herbal hop finish. Some smoky malt with a touch of alcohol on the linger

M- thick and viscous body with moderate carbonation leads to a chewy-yet-smooth mouthfeel and a velvety finish, alcohol hidden brilliantly. Perfect

O- finally got a chance to try this one and it didn't disappoint. Smoky, chocolaty and true to the style. A world class example of a RIS

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Photo of lastmango
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a sinister black with a one finger chocolate brown head. No legs. Wonderful caramel and chocolate malt nose. Sweet malt with hint of molasses. One of the best imperials
I 've had. Potent. Thick and a bit oily but great.

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Photo of dcloeren
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an ink black with a finger of frothy dark copper head. The head quickly receded but I like to think that it was swallowed by the dark hole that is at the center of this stout. No lacing, but this beer has some heavy heavy curtains for sure

This beer is aromatic as hell! The aroma of this beer billowed out of the glass as it filled up. RICH RICH dark chocolate, great hints of vanilla up front that only become more and more present as this beer warms. Subtle coffee and caramel along with roasted malt and some booze. Very robust smelling and inviting all at the same time

The taste of this beer follows the nose to the T. Rich and bitter dark chocolate is the major player in this beer with nice hints of cocoa, coffee and roasted/burnt malt. The vanilla is a extremely nice touch as it becomes more and more apparent as this beer warms up. Finishes off with a nice hint of booze after each sip. Fantastic.

This beer tastes mother f***ing phenomenal but the mouthfeel is where it really makes its money. Rich, thick and chewy with an abundant amount of carbonation that really gives this beer a nice touch. Very present chocolate/coffee aftertaste that straight up coats your entire mouth with every sip.

This was a fantastic find. An excellent, easy drinking stout. They did an amazing job of blending the dark chocolate and vanilla together to where they both are easy to pick out but mix together OH SO WELL! Although the booze becomes more apparent once this stout warms up, it does no harm to this stout whatsoever. Will be going out of my way to find some more for sure. Extremely pumped that I got 2 bottles!

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Smuttynose pint.

Appearance- Pitch black. So black. Really black. 2 finger fluffy mocha head. Big intense lacing.

Smell- Big boozy, cocoa, caramel, licorice, cherry, plumb, mild burnt smell at the end.

Taste- Caramel chocolate coffe, peppermint, not much booze surprisingly. Nice balance or bitter and sweet.

Mouthfeel- Sper smooth and viscous. Clean with that cooling peppermint flavor. Not hot at all which is great for 11%.

Overall- Damn fine RIS. Really want to try the Bourbon barrel version of this.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- Viscus looking, black body. A moderate pour left a 1/2 finger, reddish-brown head that quickly dropped a decent lace leaving some light sticky spots. Dark body was difficult to judge the carbonation, but there were a few bubbles that would burst upon reaching the surface.

S- Some cooked raisin or prune aromas off the bat. A touch of pleasant alcohol. Nice combination of chocolate and coffee behind initial rush of cooked fruit.

T- More of the cooked raisin/prune as suggested by the initial aroma. More of a strongly brewed coffee flavor late. Nice and roasty with enough citrus hops to keep the sweetness in check.

M- Very rich. Nice light carbonation doesn't sully the flavor and allows the beer to coat your mouth. A touch of alcohol warms the belly, but doesn't overwhelm your tongue.

D- At 12% ABV, this is extremely drinkable. Definitely a night-cap sipper vs. a lawnmower chugger, but very approachable all the same. I would definitely drink this one again.

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Photo of AllFineThings
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of the bottle and into a tulip glass.

Not much head or lacing at all, jet black.

Smells of dark roasted malts, and chocolate/coffee.

Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and burnt fruit.

Very, Very smooth for 12% ABV, so=Very Easy To drink..

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Photo of timc100
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 batch

Beautiful pitch black beer, surprisingly minimal and fizzy burnt mocha head. Decadent aroma of milk chocolate and vanilla sweetness, dark stone fruits, bakers chocolate, and faded espresso. Some decent amount of roast, a little ash. Taste is huge - bursting with rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, and dark roast coffee. The vanilla sweetness is prominent in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is full, oily, creamy with very soft carbonation.

My favorite of the Michigan winter imperial stouts (Expedition, FIS). Incredibly rich chocolate flavor enhanced with the most vibrant vanilla for a non-vanilla aged stout. Very balanced - exceptional.

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Photo of Wolfpack2005
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013

A-Pours heavy and completely black into my snifter glass and leave a half finger head that fades quickly.

S-Dark chocolate with heavy doses bready and roasted malts. Also catching a good wiff of booze on the back end of the nose.

T-Follows the nose but the roasted malts are front and center with notes of dark chocolate and toffee. Then a slight booziness before the dark chocolate comes back and lingers on the palate.

M-Nice thick mouthfeel, which is preferable for the style, IMO. Lower levels of carbonation.

O-An excellent example of the style. Straight forward flavors, not overly complex, but perfectly executed

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a light brown head. Smells like boozy dark fruits, dark caramel, and bitter dark chocolate. Tastes like dark baker's chocolate, dark chocolate milk, roast and ash, some complex dark fruits, maybe cherry, light herbal hops, with a caramely, roasty, coffee dark cocoa finish. Feels medium-bodied with little carbonation. Overall a really great imperial stout.

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Photo of Resuin
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a teku glass. It looks like the bottle says 03.05.14 so this is pretty fresh.

Appearance: Pours jet black and leaves two fingers of tan/light-medium brown head which fades pretty quickly to a layer atop the beer.

Smell: Big roasted malts, coffee, fudge-like chocolate, some dark fruits, a hint of cherry. Fairly decadent. Very nice aroma.

Taste: Matches the smell until the finish which is a bit more bitter. Roasted malts, fudge, coffee, vanilla, marshmallow, a bit of char. Slightly bitter finish. ABV is masked really well.

Mouth-feel: Low carbonation with a thick, creamy body. Finishes smooth.

Overall: A very impressive stout. Rich, thick body with a decadent aroma and wonderful flavor. Really tasty.

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

12oz bottle poured pitch black into a pint glass- espresso-esque crema like head. Very fine bubbles. A thick layer of sediment remains on the bottom of the bottle, and looking down the neck into the bottle indicates that it as well is impenetrable by light. Very rich, smooth chocolate boozey aroma. The flavor of this beast is astoundingly smooth despite the 12% label... rich toffee, caramel, and chocolate are prevalent as hops are muted. Mouthfeel is amazing and perfectly appropriate for a good RIS. Overall this beer is outstanding, and I will write a more detailed review next time since im already getting slurry.

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Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark and thick. Not even brown around the edges. The beer was on tap, so the head was non-descript.

Smelled like dark chocolate cake. You can almost smell the sweetness. Faint coffee, but the chocolate is the star.

Tastes like it smells with lots of roasted malts, including chocolate. No real hop presence. Again, chocolate cake comes to mind.

Thick, creamy and smooth. An almost complete lack of bitterness makes this beer attractive with a chocolate dessert. The sweetness is very prevalent, but never crosses the line due to the high ABV.

An amazingly easy beer to get down. A perfect dessert or after dinner beer. Alcohol is fairly well hidden so it works any time of the year.

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Photo of philbe311
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the BA version first and loved it... Been looking forward to popping this open...

A - A fingers worth of the darkest brown colored head that I have ever seen that is densely packed and perfectly level... Fairly impressive retention especially given the slight head it started with... Audibly fizzy... An opaque medium black color... Quite still... Seems to be some sediment settled on the bottom of the glass...

S - Chocolate... Roasted malts... Raisins... Coffee... Touches of smoke and licorice...

T - Chocolate and marshmallow are the first to greet the palette... This is follwed by coffee and raisins... There is also a sweet caramel presence... The finish of all roasted malts... Nice depth and complexity...

M - On the lighter side of full bodied... Some slightly fizzy carbonation... Dense... Sleek... A bit sticky... A slightly chalky finish...

D - This is a top of the line Russian Imperial Stout... No criticisms and lots of really good things happening... Hides the 12% ABV rather well... I'm continually impressed by the offerings that Dark Horse puts forth... I look forward to drinking this again and highly recommend it to fellow BAs...

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Photo of Bills453
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance - poured from a bottle. dark black in color. dark brown head.

Smell - This beer smell likes something was roasted inside my class. I smell cocoa and a hint of anise or something like that as well.

Taste - very good. What you would expect from a RIS. Cannot tell at all that this bad boy is 11%.

Mouthfeel - smooth and silky

Overall - an amazing stout. Not my top ever, but very very good.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter at Map Room 4/27/08.

A: Pure, black evil. Dark khaki/espresso crema colored head that didn't leave too much lace.

S: Huge aromas of blackened malt, raisins/plums, dark & milk chocolate, burnt toast, and a molassas reduction drizzled over cherry.

T: Slightly boozy rum-soaked raisin, dark chocolate covered cherry, espresso, cocoa, toasted oats, burnt white bread, plum bread pudding with a coconut glaze.

M: Silky smooth. A great mixture of sweet, boozy, and spicy.

D: What an awesome RIS. Hopefully this becomes easier to find in IL.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 869 ratings.