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

824 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 824
Hads: 3,501
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.86%
Wants: 551
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
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Reviews: 824 | Hads: 3,501
Photo of Etan
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz extra sent to me by Zaphog. Thanks!

A: Pours an imposing black with a nice dark tan head.

S: Coffee, roasted grain, dark chocolate, some nice cherry notes from the alcohol.

T: Bitter roast, mild coffee bean, subtle smokiness, heavy dark cocoa, ever-so-slight hint of booze. Alcohol is very well-hidden.

M: Silky smooth, fine carbonation, thick.

O: The beer excels in the mouthfeel department, and tastes good, but there's a bit too much roasted malt going on. (469 characters)

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had no idea Dark Horse distributed to Indiana until a couple of weeks ago, and Double Crooked Tree was rockin. Now on their famous Plead the 5th? Can’t wait.

A: I can’t even see through the beer as it’s flowing thick from the bottle; dark black motor oil body. It looks excessively viscous. The head is rich reddish-brown, oily and just a hair lighter than the body. Smooth and about a half-inch high, the retention stays around for a while. Little lacing, though.

S: Holy hell, that’s a boozy beer. Layers upon layers of pepper, pungent bourbon, roasted malt, and lots of char come up. Excessively fiery. There’s some black cherry, hazelnut, dark chocolate, toffee, and more than enough smoky peat, too – killer smokiness against some rich sweets. Ends piney, though the main body of this robust nose is alcohol and spice.

T: Vanilla, chocolate fondue, fondant, strawberry shortcake, and molasses; starts creamy. Lasting just a quick second, the sugar is overcome by a thorny bitterness: pine, booze, fig, licorice, and spicy alcohol with a moment or two of cough syrup tongue-smacking character. Some smoky flavors are there, as well, but without the big roast tastes of the nose; satisfying, nonetheless. Finishes with that thought, as well as a caramel stickiness, a chalky yeast flavor, and some light hop fruitiness.

M: Hot, though wonderfully creamy. Astringency is dark, lifting the sugary tastes off the tongue to avoid stickiness.

O: A great stout; it’s a showcase for the often-limited smoke tastes of imperial stouts. Glad I had this fresh – some age would just empower the big ol’ booze character. Like I need any more excuses to drink the rest of my four-pack… (1,701 characters)

Photo of JeffBrenner
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on draft in 10oz goblet. Pours a jet black with next to no carbonation. Minimal dark ring of head. Has a nice smell of chocolate and coffee. Surprisingly smooth for coming in at 11%. The coffee stout taste really hides the boozyness well. Has a nice smooth feel to it, not too creamy like a lot of stouts. Love the name. Would definitely be a repeat buyer and I'm not usually a fan of stouts. (396 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

921st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12oz

2011 Bottle

Thanks to Kzoobrew for this one!

Happy Stout Day! 11/3/11

App- A good dark chocolate pour with a one finger semi brown fast receding head. Maybe 4 dots of cling on the whole glass. A very liquid lush pour

Smell- Smells like a small abyss with a good bit of luscious chocolate, malt, cream and a little boozy. Okay I lied. ALOT boozy. I like it.

Taste- I have had this profile before but this one just tastes good. A good bit of heavy cream with roasty espresso and a bit of dark chocolate with some vanilla.

Mouth- This was a low medium body with a good bit of a low/medium creamy carbonation. A bit of a bubbly heavy cream.

Drink- I like this one alot. For 12% this was smooth rich and creamy. A bit boozy but I like that in my high ABV stouts. Has a nice balance between the roast, chocolate and creaminess. I would love to see the BBA version. I bet its amazing. Kevin, again thank you for this one! Super tasty. (977 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer was served slightly chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a very solid black. The head is a thin burnt tan coloration. The head resolves into a disk of burnt tan. No lacing remains behind on my glass.

Smell: The beers aroma is very boozey smelling. The boozeyness works well. The beers aroma leads with chocolate, this rides the expected toasted, roasted and chared aromas. The remaining aromas are raisins, tobacco, and charcoal.

Taste: The beers flavors are a booze soaked combination of chocolate, raisins, molasses, cigar ash, darkly roasted and chared espresso.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The body of this beer is huge. This is a low carbonated full bodied beer treat. Big and chewy just the way I like em. This is a sipper and a taste bud destroyer. Definately a one and done beer. (815 characters)

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Awesome extra from stxSS07! 12oz bottle into a Stone IRS glass.

A: Inky black beer with about a finger worth of frothy tan head that recedes to practically nothing. Completely opaque. No lacing to speak of. This is a damn dark beer. Some mung on the bottom of the glass.

S: Molasses, brown sugar, roasted barley, and a fair amount of booze. Roasted barley and a bit of coffee as well. Dark fruits, plums, and just a hint of earth in there as well.

T: Chocolate and a fair amount of coffee and burnt malts, some caramel, decent amount of hops in here which pair nicely with the bitter burnt malts. Finish is bitter and resinous hops dominate the long finish. Brown sugar and molasses are mixed in with a lot of chocolate. Not bad at all.

M: Very heavy, viscous body, with light creamy carbonation. Sticky on the lips, and fairly warming on the finish. Warms the whole way down, without really being hot. Very nice here.

O: A nice stout that I would love to have on hand regularly in the winter time. Tons of great flavors and a nice amount of complexity without ever being overwhelming. Nicely done! (1,108 characters)

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Riedel whisky glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with caramel colored head. Head dissipates quickly, hardly any lacing.

Smell: The smell is quite nice. Notes of heavy roast, figs, ripe fruit, molasses. Alcohol comes through slightly.

Taste: Real nice roast at first followed by bitter chocolate. Dark malt and coffee are washed away by a very pleasant licorice finish.

Mouth: Chewy, good amount of carbonation, yet is silky smooth. Great amount of puckering hop at the end.

Drink and overall: Really enjoyed this beer. Very drinkable, quality impy. I had never had it before, so this was a treat. Would I buy it over Expedition Stout if it were same price, for a while yes. (708 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Absolutely motor oil black pour out of the bottle and in the glass. A deep brown head is noted briefly after a very vigorous pour. No retention, black as the night.

S: Big hints of molasses on the aroma, mixed with some dark fruits, chocolate, and only very slight roast. Much more sweet and fruity than I was expecting.

T: The taste really mirrors the aroma, with a lot more roastiness on the backend. Molasses and chocolate dominate, dark fruits rest underneath, and some booze and roast finish it off. The taste is pretty nicely balanced, but lends towards the sweet side.

MF: Thick, creamy body with basically no carbonation. The sweetness and roast mix to make this pretty drinkable.

O: This was a pretty good deal. Got it in a trade, but I believe it was less than $5 a bottle. For a 12% RIS this was great. You really can't tell the ABV is so high. Would definitely recommend this. (895 characters)

Photo of webmanspidey
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a large chalice. This is a dark black color with a silky, creamy head. Smell is sweet, dark cocoa powder.

Taste is a complex mix of dark chocolate, raisin, and molasses. Alcohol is present, but blends in well enough to not be overbearing. Finishes slightly bitter. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth. (324 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 4 pack of this in Charlton, and according to the notes it is a 2011 vintage. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice deep brown almost black hue with a good quarter inch dark chocolate hue that does not really fade, just settles down to a creamy blanket. Quite solid, light lacing. Good for the ABV.

S - Strong dark chocolate, almost acrid roast, slight almost leather notes, earthy bitter char. Alcohol is not really noticeable.

T - Taste is lots of almost chalky dark chocolate, charred bitterness, light campfire notes, dark fruits. Pretty straightforward.

M - Mouthfeel is creamy, very, very lightly carbonated. Alcohol is hidden very nicely.

O - Overall this is pretty solid. Nothing earth shattering but age is helping this along quite nicely. (772 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours pure midnight with a dense coffee milkshake head. Small dashes of lace stick to my pint glass. I love the color of the head. This beer is dark and beautiful. Very nice appearance.

S-Smells like Kahlua. Alcohol mixed with crispy burnt chocolate. A noticeably pungent scent. A bit of coffee as well, but the rich, deep chocolate tones are the big ticket here. Quite similar to a Mudslide.

T-The first thing I think of is a boozy drink made with chocolate syrup. Very sweet but also has some nice dark chocolate bitterness to it as well. The alcohol is clearly detectable but it really mixes beautifully with the chocolate notes. I almost get a toasty nutty flavor as well. A bit of coffee comes out too. All in all, the chocolate rules here. I might be catching some hoppy bitterness in the back end too.

M-Very thick and syrupy. Gooey is a great way to describe it. Carbonation is soft in comparison to the bulk of the feel. Feels big, tastes big...no feels huge, tastes huge.

O/D-I would probably enjoy this one a bit more in the colder weather months. Nevertheless, this chocolate-prominent stout is an ass-kicker and a tasty feast. This is a beast. I cannot even fathom what the Barrel Aged Version of this tastes like; must be why its considered a rare gem. This brew is also relatively affordable for the style coming in at about $3.80. Dark Horse is a great company; this brew is hard-nosed evidence of that. (1,426 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den in philly

Pours inky black and fairly thick with a crop of tanned head, leaving a cloud of film, with spots of lacing left on the glass.

Super heavy dark chocolate nose with bitterness and caramel, roasted malts and alcohol warmth with residual sweetness.

Similar taste with waves of chocolate and cocoa, very dark with some hop bitterness. Syrup and caramel with a beefy roasted dark malt backbone. Some hints of dark fruit with raisin. Finishes w some more hop bitterness and booze, residual chocolate sweetness.

Full bodied and carbed, thick creamy and sticky. Great flavor with chocolate in the forefront, a bit boozy but not out of control. I'd definitely drink this again. (707 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Inky black body. Tight crown of dark brown foam. Lacing is spotty.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, anise oil, dark currant, black licorice and heavily roasted coffee bean.

Flavor: All the aromas translate nicely to the palate in this beer. The chocolate and coffee and licorice. Yeah, there's a nice combination of flavors here.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Greasy and oily to an extent, which is good. But where's the body? The girth? This beer needs more heft. Carbonation is appropriately low. Alcohol accents nicely and doesn't become toxic at all in this high octane beer. Nicely done beer overall. (606 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle courtesy of aasher, poured into a Darkness glass in a side-by-side tasting with BA Pt5 and, as a control, BCBS. This one has the ugliest label I've ever scene in my life - can't wait.

A: Pitch black body with a thin brown head. Spotty lace. Attractive.

S: Still lots of coffee, bakers chocolate, brownie batter, and licorice. A touch of oldness. Quite nice.

T: Brownie batter up front, followed by coffee, chocolate, spicy alcohol, and some serious coffee-tinged bitterness on the finish. Light mustiness on the aftertaste. Intense, roasty, and tasty. Very good indeed.

M: Full-bodied, moderate carbonation; not too sticky. Excellent.

O: Great RIS. Really intense without being harsh or overly boozy. While it pales in comparison to the amazing BA version, it's a formidable beer in its own right.

Cheers! (823 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to Jcb890 for providing this in a trade earlier this year. Good guy.

Pours with a minimal head that collapses almost immediately. No light shines through this motor oil.

Aroma is sweet, dark warm chocolate and slightly fruity.

Wow, this taste very fruity and of figs and prunes. Very sweet... to be honest made me think of Dark Lord for a moment. (that's a compliment) Certainly a lot of chocolate notes. This one grows on me as I enjoy it. As it slightly warms I get more of a caramel mix with the chocolate notes.

Very thick and almost syrup like. Almost no carbonation. Velvet like in your mouth.

I really like this. Glad it's a 12oz bottle as I can play in this one for quite some time. I'll pick this one up again. Nice beer. (751 characters)

Photo of Beejay
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First off, I would like to state that I believe some of the issues I had with this beer were due to the growler filler rather than brewery. I have had this beer before and really enjoyed it, my bottle review is on here as well for comparison.

A: Motor Oil Black, with no head at all, just a coffee brown ring of bubbles.

S: Sweet, dark chocolate, raspberries, dark fruit and brown sugar.

T: Dark and roasty. Coffee and burnt caramel throughout. Sweet, big and tasty.

M: Thick and syrupy, very low carbonation. The carbonation that is there is very fine.

D: Very nice overall, but it just doesn't match the awesomeness that this beer is from a bottle. I would love to try it on tap sometime, and see how it compares. Unfortunately, a bad growler fill done this one in a bit. For shame whole foods.. (802 characters)

Photo of jeff1973
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Schlafly tulip. Date code was rubbed off, think it is the latest bottling (2013??). Thanks Beerbyrd.

A - Pitch black. Mocha colored head with medium-low head that dissipates very fast.

S - Semi-sweet chocolate, dried cherries, a little raw grain.

T - Big-time chocolate covered cherries, then a nice roasty bitter finish that balances and dries the beer out.

M - Medium thick, would like it a bit thicker and chewier. medium low carbonation that is spot on for this beer.

O - Taste is excellent. On the sweeter side of RIS's. Wish the mouthfeel was a bit thicker, but a trivial flaw. (622 characters)

Photo of bonemuse07
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First day of summer means I should celebrate all that is dark, right? Since we had tornado warnings tonight, the skies were certainly dark. However...

A: Poured into a large snifter. This beer was darker than the skies. Midnight black/oily--not sure light would be able to escape it. Only about 1/4 finger of head, cocoa, disappeared quickly.

S: Big dark chocolate smell, followed closely by alcohol. Some coffee, oak, and faint vanilla in there. I was expecting a little more sweetness to it, but the chocolate seems to be overpowering

T: Dark, almost burnt chocolate. The hops add an extra kick to the coffee flavors. Definitely some oak. This beer overwhelms the taste buds. Surprisingly, there's not as much of a boozy taste as I was expecting, but it definitely warms you up after a few sips. Finishes with a faint sweet aftertaste...

M: More carbonation that I was expecting, especially after so little head. Coats everything, but the coffee/bitter doesn't overwhelm. Very well balanced.

Overall: I was expecting a little more sweetness from it, but it surprised me with how full and thorough it was. This is an excellent stout. Dark Horse is rapidly becoming one of my trusted breweries, i.e. I'll try anything from them.

Cheers! (1,243 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I gave this beer an aggressive pour and i was rewarded with a tall mocha head. I also watched as the Guiness effect unfolded, quite pleasing.
Appearance other then that was rather standard.
Aroma was rich with nice depth. Really lots of roasted goodness. Hints of vinnilla and coffee some chocolate too perhaps.
Taste was good lots of roastedness, chocolate and coffee. There was an earth taste too.
This beer also has a lighty sweeten taste which i think nulls the alcohol profile because at 12 percent it is almost absent from the tasting, which could be dangerous.
The feel on the palette is flat, velvetty flat which I did not like. Restrained alcohol warms and coats the tongue.
I'd say all in all a pretty damn good beer, but be fore warned alcohol wise it drinks small. (776 characters)

Photo of blackenmn
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to snifter:

A:Poured a thich pitch black with a minimal head with turned into a thing collar in no time most likely from the high ABV eating it up. This thing was viscous enough to make the glass noticeably heavy.

S:Smelled of burned bittersweet chocolate, heavily roasted sweet caramel malt, and a hint of ABV warmth. A little more balanced on the nose than expected.

Taste:Tasted of thick dark fruit and a subtle cream possibly vanilla like pressence. Definite raisin and dark chocolate came through as it warmed along with a noticeable citrus aspect. Tough to believe this is 12% but alcohol showed it head every now and then.

Mouthfeel:Very thick and creamy with a slight warmth throughout. Not alot of bitterness present on the tongue and it finished pretty wet.

Drinkability:This went down a bit too easy for the considerably high ABV. This was a very enjoyable brew none the less though and really transformed nicely as it warmed. mmm mmm (969 characters)

Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours like motor oil, only a deep impenetrable black color leaving only a rumor of a head around the edges of the glass. The aroma is rich, roasty, and malty with a lot of coffee and some bourbon boozy notes with some deep chocolate of both the sweet and bitter variety. The flavor is again very rich with (again) both sweet and bitter chocolate notes. The beer is not nearly as sweet as most of this strength or viscosity. There are plenty of coffee and boozy tones in this one as well. The palate is profoundly full and sticky. Delicious. (549 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle version poured into a Duvel tulip. Deep black-colored body, no light penetration, with about a one finger dark tan head. The head dissipates fairly quickly with very little lace, as expected.

The aroma consists of dark fruit, roasted malt, and light licorice. I get a sense the taste will be sweet based on the aroma.

The flavor is typical of the RIS style - dark, roasted malt flavor, mixed with dark fruit, molasses, a bit of coffee and some sweet caramel-like notes. This does have some complexity and definitely improves as it warms.

Thick texture in the mouthfeel and only a little warming from the alcohol. A very solid Imperial Stout and I would definitely recommend it. (687 characters)

Photo of newk340
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: inky black pour, line of lacing indicating level of first pour, no head otherwise.

S: caramel and bitter chocolate evident, hints of coffee and oats.

T: heavy chocolate forefront, smooth accenting hints of caramel and coffee as the liquid settles in the mouth.

MF/D: light tingling sensations with each sip, increasing boozyness as it warms. could've/should've cellared longer. (383 characters)

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

Pours pitch black absolutely sucks up all the visible light spectrum in my glass, big tan head after a vigorous pour. Aroma has dark licorice or pitsella (anise notes) with big ripened fruit notes,and an awesome roasted malt dark chocolate strong coffee combo. Big creamy toasted marshmallow experience this beer is extreme and awesome with a touch of soy sauce. Flavor is completely different than the draft sample I had much more rounded dark fruit sweetness in the flavor in the draft. This one is aggressive needing some age yet still a necessary drinking experience for any beer lover. I used to not be able to get any Dark Horse now that it's distributed in Ohio I've seen most of their beers come through, I really like their standards and their limited releases have been outstanding. Extremely sweet creamy sweet it could use a bit more hop balance than this, really it has anise (black licorice) a touch of soy sauce tones, and some dark fruit with soothing alcohol tones...strong espresso and dark chocolate this is one big ass stout. There's nothing here screaming hop bitterness I just wish it had more of that. Body wise this beer borders chewy full bodied stout with strong residual finishing characterisitcs and a strong soothing alcohol burn in the finish. Drinkability overall is a one and done type of affair, I liked it on draft much better. Challenging huge flavors going on but the balance could have been much better. (1,440 characters)

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

Pours nice and black with a thin, mocha head.

The smell bombards you with equal parts chocolate and vanilla. I get some woodiness as well.

Tastes like equal parts blueberries and banana. Fruity and sweet while the chocolate is not completely forgotten. Nutty. There's some alcohol burn present, it's not as hot as other RIS but there's more than I like.

It has nice carbonation and a full, chewy mouthfeel. This is a solid stout... but it's still a full step down from the best in class. I'll age the remaining three in hopes the burn lessens. (548 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 824 ratings.