Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

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

823 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 823
Hads: 3,499
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 552
Gots: 920 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 823 | Hads: 3,499
Photo of JackieTH
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: For all intents and purposes this one pours and looks like very well-used motor oil. Angry dark mocha-brown froth leaves a minimal bit of lacing.

Smell: Roasted dark coffee, malt and very rich chocolate, and dried plums.

Taste: Opens smooth, creamy and slightly sweet and with dark roasted malt but then pours on the dark, rich chocolate and espresso. There is a note of anise and dried dates. Warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Rich and thick but lacks carbonation.

Drinkability: Danger Will Robinson. (510 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thank you MaxSpang for this guy

A- Very dark brew. Almost no light is let through while pouring and is completely black sitting in my glass. A nice 2 finger mocha brown / coffee colored head forms that has moderate retention. after dissipating there's very little left on the sides and top and not really any lacing. Would love to see more lacing and head but looks good either way

S- All kinds of sweetness in this one. Big malt and brown sugar hot me in the first waft. Plums, raisins and candied fruits with a smokey and hop scent somewhere in there as well. All these making it a very nice and complex nose.

T- First thing i noticed was how smooth it is. Smoke and malt take charge while the sweetness in the nose takes a back seat. Sweetness picks up toward the middle and follows to the end. Nothing over powering and well balanced

M- Smooth. Heavier mouthfeel with almost no carbonaation, really nice.

O- Great beer, everything works well together. (960 characters)

Photo of Kendo
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip. Body is thick in appearance and black, with a small light-brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: Some roasted malt, chocolate malt and dried fruits - predominantly, raisins come to mind.

T: The taste more or less follows the nose, with roasted malt, chocolatey malt, raisins, prunes and black cherries all in the mix. Overall impression of sweetness. Seems vinuous at times too. Some char or charcoal on the aftertaste, along with a hint of burnt wood. Alcohol is also noted - not a surprise given the 11% ABV - both as a drying impression on the back of the mouth and as a warming in the belly.

M: Feels a bit thin in heft for the style. Carbonation is modest.

O: Was expecting a world-class RIS, but got a merely good one. (776 characters)

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black with thin tan head. Decent retention, little lacing to speak of. Smell is interesting, definitely multi-dimensional. Some smoke, coffee, booze, rock candy, dark fruit, cinnamon, and wood. Taste is far smokier than others seem to think, espresso, some bittersweet chocolate, some dark fruit again, some alcohol. Definitely interesting, better than your run-of-the-mill RIS. MF is a bit light-bodied, but definitely smooth and velvety. Drinkability, like Double Crooked Tree, is way higher than I would expect for a 10+% ABV. Definitely a good RIS, interesting. I'll be grabbing another to put away for a while. (622 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - black with a thin tan head that stuck around as a ring.
S - roasted, dark coffee with a hint of bittersweet chocolate.
T - taste is everything in the smell, roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate, the alcohol is well hidden behind these flavors.
F - full bodied with a slick sort of smoothness.
D - very drinkable for what it is. (381 characters)

Photo of mwill7287
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle to a similarly sized snifter.

Appearance: Pours motor oil black into my snifter. Pitch black even in the lamplight. Half finger's worth of a mocha-tan creamy head sits atop after a mild pour. Little carbonation bubbles abound in the brew. A little bit of lacing is left behind on the snifter after the liquid vacates. Looks noice. 4.5/5

Smell: Dark roasty notes balanced by a dose of hops Americano. A little creamy, definitely roasty coffee beans and a bit of chocolate. Very rich and enticing. 4.75/5

Taste: Strong presence of bold Russian Imperial stout hops ride alongside dark fruit, raisin and anise notes in the first sips. A little bit juicy and fruity on first bite. Sweet. A bit of bitterness of coffee notes and building hops creep along with repeated sips and a pleasantly present aftertaste. Alcohol doesn't interfere too much. Nice, not 100% my thing, but good. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Not too syrupy or thick. Medium body. Mild stickiness on tongue and lip. Bitterness is pretty light and doesn't hinder on the palate too much. Maybe a tad light for me for a RIS. 3.75/5

Overall: Very solid taste, tasty and complex but not overwhelming. Looks & smells wonderful. Mouthfeel provides for a nice drink. Obviously not sessionable but a relatively easy drink for a RIS. Nice. 4/5 (1,305 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viscous black with a head that nearly matches it in color and also fades very fast.

Chocolate, molasses, lots of roasted malt, nice hop presence. Also getting a real faint belgian yeast smell out of this.

Big toasted malt flavor with a fairly large coffee presence and light chocolate and banana taste. Nice hop snap too. Roasty and hoppy aftertaste is pleasant.

Big bodied and smooth. Maybe just a shy thin for the body, but by no means way off. Finishes very dry.

Awesome drinkability at this ABV. An absolute solid RIS. Really worth trying. (547 characters)

Photo of Spcoly
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

A: Dark with almost zero head

S: Faint smell of chocoalte, roasted malts

T: Wonderful...bitter sweet chocolate. Not much of a burn considering the high ABV

M: Medium, low carbonation....excellent drinkibility...definitley a sipper considering the ABV

O: Hands down one of the best stouts Ive ever come across. Which I had more than one bottle....will definielty buy again! (421 characters)

Photo of TrekkieChick
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was purchased as a special edition (limit 1 bottle per customer). It pours well, very small/no head and is a very dark brown color. It is a heavy coffee flavor, but smooth and goes down easy! I would recommend to anyone who likes coffee or coffee in their beer. (271 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage opened on 3.13.13

A - Pours a motro oil blakc with a small dark brown head that slowly fades to one side.

S - Teriyaki, chocolate, soy, and sweet.

T - Similar to the nose at this point, but more booze and heet.

D - Low carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Heavy stout with a sweet teriyaki essence. Still enjoyable. (334 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a syrupy, black color with ruby highlights. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of molasses and sweet chocolate. There were mild notes of oatmeal and coffee.

T - It tasted very sweet with chocolate and molasses flavors. Some caramel, too. It had a bourbon kick as it warmed up.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied ale.

D - This is a really great tasting RIS. Another great stout from Dark Horse. (479 characters)

Photo of Spiekerbox
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Exactly how a RIS should look, dark almost black color with a thick but short dark brown-reddish head on it.

S- Dark roasted malts and grains with a bit of smokey and dark fruit scents.

T- Toasty and burnt malts are the first flavors to hit with a creamy chocolate sweetness. Hops are there but not overpowering.

M- Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Alcohol warming is there but not nearly as much as you would expect from a 12% abv beer.

O- Good beer from a good brewery. This is one of the first darker beers I have had from Dark Horse but after tasting it I think I will need to try a few more :) (616 characters)

Photo of brock146
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark black with nice chocolate hued head

S - Alcohol and dark chocolate

T - Black coffee, sweet and malty, a bit smoky, definite yet subtle kick of alcohol

M - Silky smooth, low carbonation creates a soft of "milk shake" consistency. Keeps your palate warm after it goes down

O = Very tasty and surprisingly [ and dangerously :) ] drinkable for being such a high gravity beer (385 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I split this with my wife tonight during dessert.

A: Absolutely no head whatsoever! Very dark, but almost more of a dark, dark, dark brown color as apposed to a pitch black one.

S: A bit of teryaki sauce, but also a huge dark, bittersweet chocolate bill. As it warmed, it became even more intense, but even more enticing.

T: Dark chocolate milk and then some. Initially, when I tried this one too much on the cold side, I was conflicted about it. However, now this is dark chocolate magic. I've read some reviews on here where others have mentioned a burnt quality. To be honest, I didn't get that at all. Quite the contrary..

M: Heavy, but worth it. Low carbonation (as it should be), not too sweet in the slightest.

O: It's hard to make an impression in a market saturated with great Imperial Stouts, but this one delievered. I would love to try the bourbon-aged version of this one. (890 characters)

Photo of Wadsey
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Plead the Fifth

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with minimal, light brown head. Typical looking imperial stout, in other words. 

S: Dried dark cherries and star anise or licorice. A floral note that borders on perfume keeps flaring up. Additional aromas include light roasted chocolate, peat, smoke/soy sauce and solvent. The last two notes are subtle enough not to hurt the beer. 

T: The tongue follows nose, and all notes are superbly integrated into a whole. Roast is stronger in taste and balances the dark fruitiness of the beer quite well. Medium-high bitterness. A little alcohol. 

M: Big body and medium-light carbonation. Mouthfeel is oily and coating. Somewhat warming. 

O:  Plead the Fifth rightfully belongs to the trilogy of Michigan Russian Imperial Stouts, which also includes Bell's Expedition Stout and Founder's Imperial Stout. It is more daring and complicated, though. Not as traditional.  (934 characters)

Photo of beerhan
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I finally got around to trying this one on tap at Reverend's.

Served in a 10 oz snifter.

A-Jet black, one finger tan head that does not last long. Super turbid appearance.

S-Lots of burned espresso notes and some roastiness and dark chocolate.

T-Bitter dark chocolate dominates with a very mild coffee taste in the back with hints of molasses, cocoa and a bit of smoke character.

M-Very rich and chewy. Goes down smooth with relatively no burn for something of this caliber.

O-Decent beer but I would prefer a slightly milder one if I had the chance. It tastes good but it is a bit much more me. I would drink it again but it goes better with cold weather. (666 characters)

Photo of Blanco
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the darkest stouts I've seen, the color is pitch black and the head is dark brown. A healthy pour produces a huge had that holds relatively well. smell is of roasted malt and chocolate. I can also get a little waft of the booze coming up. taste is bitter, with strong chocolate notes and big maltiness. big, thick mouthfeel this is probably one of the thickest stouts I've had. Alcohol is hidden well, especially given the ABV, although there is a slight warming effect to let you know it's there. Overall, I'm impressed with this one. The flavor is a bit more abrasive than I normally enjoy, but this is a huge stout so I can't really knock it for that. (661 characters)

Photo of lurpy1
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Irony of ironies: After working in Michigan and unsuccessfully pursuing PT5, I find it back home in Minnesota. OK, so maybe I wasn't pursuing it that hard, still makes for a good lead-in.

Shared with the wife, poured from the bottle. My first impression: Oil spill. Plead the 5th gloops around in the glass, leaves a West Texas Crude sludge behind.

One whiff lets you know PT5 means business, the smell is strong on the alcohol, along with malt, coffee, yadda yadda.

The taste has a little bit too much alcoholic burn for me to give it a great score, but still a very tasty beer with a nice balance of carbonation and viscosity.

Very good beer, glad I finally made contact with it. (685 characters)

Photo of jpmclaug
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Founders snifter. Got this bottle in a trade with mothman.

A - Pours thick like motor oil. Not any motor oil but I don't feel like going to the mechanic so I'll push it another couple thousand miles motor oil. Menacing dark brown head rests on top for a bit before running off.

S - Nice roast flavor with a hint of sweetness. Some vanilla notes and a bit of booze.

T - Again some roast with a good bit of chocolate malt. Some boozy notes mixed in as well. More and more chocolate as this sucker warms.

M - Thick body with a light carbonation.

D - A sipper for sure. A nice dark chocolate flavor dominates this one on top of all the other normal flavors you will find in a RIS. I would pick this up if I saw it on the shelves just to see how it aged. Certainly a solid RIS as is though. (821 characters)

Photo of GarMerr
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice coffee, chocolate & licorice flavors on the nose and tongue. A little thin, but pleasant mouth feel. Probably a little too hyped, but still a quality stout. (161 characters)

Photo of WilliamD
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black in my snifter. Thin, tan head that dissolves quickly, leaving a curious image that looks like the fossil of a prehistoric armadillo captured in stone. Two minutes later it's a peacock.
Burnt malts, coffee and faint alcohol. Some chocolate as well.
Coffee and cocoa up front. Roasted malts and booze. Moderately bitter.
Smooth, yet slightly tingly. A bit warming from the booze.
Quite tasty, and quite drinkable on a weekend. Limit- three? Only one on a week night, however. (483 characters)

Photo of Morey
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Appearance: Pours black as night with one finger of brown colored head. Head settled pretty quick to almost nothing but a ring of foam around the outside edges of my glass. No light penetrates through this beer.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, Molasses, Campfire coals, but fairly clean for a 12% Imperial Stout.

Taste: I'm getting molasses and dark fruits up front followed by some subtle roasted flavors. There's also a really nice chocolate flavor towards the middle. Just a touch of coffee on the finish....surprisingly clean.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a low-lying carbonation.

Morey's Bottom Line: What this beer lacks in aroma, it more than makes up for in taste. A really nice Imperial Stout. I can't taste the 12% at all! I would love to have the barrel-aged version of this beer. An outstanding representation of the style. (845 characters)

Photo of Donerik
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black like an RIS should be, 3/8 inch head on a aggressive pour, dissipates quickly, nice lacing, good ring of foam.

S: all roast, not too many other scents.

T: Roasted Malt, Roasted Malt, then it comes in with a subtle chocolate finish, but not like hershey's syrup definitely like bitter dark chocolate.

M: thick, lightly carbonated, heavy

D: I'd drink this back to back, then I'd be buzzed, So I'd drink as many as I could, it's a good brew. (451 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. I'm guessing from 2012, but no way to know for sure I suppose. Trying to get it warm .enough.
Poured very heavy looking. The extra dark head has almost a purplish hue to it and it mixes with the black and again deep deep purple liquid. Oh and the bottle of the bottle looks like mud. Heavy lacing from a head that shows great persistence.
Deep dark malt appeal with some roast, but in no way over the top. More of a plum like quality. Rich but not necessarily all that complex.
Wow that just coats the teeth with an almost gooey stickiness. Rich and some warms shots to the gut. Hops in the bittering and some in the finish...the long rich finish. More roast in taste. Some takes have a clear shot of booziness, others don't. Fruit is less than in the aroma.
Really smooth and just enough carbonation to notice and appreciate.
This is a rather well done RIS. Even for it's ample size it avoids excess. It demands a slow enjoyment, but an enjoyment it is. (967 characters)

Photo of ypsifly
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The reviews describing this as looking like motor oil are dead on. Pours like oil, had to really raise the glass in order to get a 1" head that was dark and receded slowly. The lacing is more like a fine coating of foam that is consistant through most of the glass.

Smells of dark coffee, molasses with some malt underneath. As it warms up there's a hint of alcohol.

Wow! This is an extremely full bodied, dry finishing treat! I detected some some sweetness upfront, but the roasted malt takes over.

For this style, this is a very drinkable beer. Fans of Old Rasputin will really like this one. (603 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 823 ratings.