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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.

831 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 831
Hads: 3,548
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 17.26%
Wants: 548
Gots: 938 | FT: 108
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: 831 | Hads: 3,548
Photo of stercomm
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Got a growler of this brew at the local Whole Food, had a small sample when I got home so poured into a small sampler tulip glass from Left Hand.

A - Pours an inky and oily black with a small, tan head that quickly recedes leaving a slight ring around the glass.

S - Lots of roasted malt, some brown sugar and a real deep smokiness

T - Sweet and roasty maltiness, some prune, very smooth, definitely coats the mouth leaving a nice long finish

M - Creamy with mild carbonation

O- Not being a big Imperial Stout drinker have no real comparison. Will say this is a very tasty brew, alcohol is there but not in your face, great balance of flavors

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Photo of JArt
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black, minimal head. Smells of chocolate, vanilla, caramel and wood. Taste is similar to smell, but you can definitely taste the alcohol. There's a good deal of bitterness with a roasted chocolate aftertaste. Big, solid stout, hard to believe it's not BA.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

A: Gentle pour creates a .5 finger dark clay head the dissipates with the slightest movement. Beer is opaque and dark as night, though doesn't seem as viscous as most. Lacing sticks closely to the top of the brew. Spotty and stringy at parts but with little cling.

S: Sweet milk chocolate and cocoa nibs. Slight soy sauciness, prunes, and raisins. Boozy all the way but not overly so, just enough to glaze over the other aromas.

T: Toasted malts and cocoa beans. This one actually kinda tastes like sweet soy sauce too... which is a first. Prunes and raisins hide themselves in the background but peak out just a bit towards the middle. Heat becomes more apparent as this beer warms in my mouth. Licquorice and sweet milk chocolate at the end with an accented, spicy finish. Aftertaste is an oily prune juice and hot chocolate.

M: Medium to full bodied, lightly carbonated, and viscous and oily in the mouth, just the way its meant to be. Very smooth and not hot at all considering the 12% abv. Finish is quick but aftertaste leaves a nice, sticky residue on the palate that builds with each sip.

D: A very solid RIS to say the least. Complex flavor, great body, and a huge alcohol kick with an appropriate presence. Dangerously drinkable. Seek this one out. Its a little under the radar but definitely worth the effort!!

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Photo of mdvatab
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in local trade from Barfwin.
Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Rich, dark, molasses maltiness up front. This maltiness floods the nostrils with each whiff. Some fruity grape jam notes with some cocoa.

Appearance: Pitch black opaque body. Forms dark brown 1/2 finger head, which depletes to almost nothing very quickly.

Flavor: Rich, dark chocolate brownie, light sweetness balanced w/ cocoa bitterness. Dark fruity notes similar to aroma. Some grape soda. Slight earthiness noted on finish.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Thick, syrupy viscosity. Medium CO2 w/ more bite than normal for this style.

Overall: Definitely worthy of the praise this one receives. Chewy, malty, rich, imperial stout. Alcohol is well hidden. Thick, rich viscosity is one of my favorite aspects of this brew!

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Photo of Janderson91
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra twice in one week from SpdKilz and LusciousJackson so thanks to both of them! Can't find a bottle on date. Enjoyed on 07/16/11.

A - Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. This thing is seriously motor oil. Pitch black and thick with no head at all. Only a small ring of brown bubbles around the edge of the glass. Great legs with no lacing.

S - Alcohol, chocolate syrup, robust coffee, roasted malts. This thing is going to be quite rich.

T - Dark chocolate, alcohol, coffee, some dark fruits, roasted malts. Thick and rich. Finishes with a nice bitter coffee flavor balanced by some sweet chocolate syrup. This thing is quite hot at the moment though.

M - Mouthfeel is quite good. Very very thick with hardly any carbonation. This is a sipper for sure.

O - Overall, this is an excellent imperial stout. However, it's a little hot at the moment, but I'm sure after about a year or so, it will be sublime. Good job, Dark Horse.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Luckily stumbled upon these while grocery shopping!

Pours pitch black with a small dark brown head that fades into just a ring along the edge of the glass. Excellent lacing down the glass.

Big rich aroma of chocolate, coffee and roasted malt with a little bit of a booze presence.

More chocolate on the flavor along with a subtle undertone of bitter roasted malt. A tad too sweet at times.

Thick and viscous. Great mouthfeel with lowish carbonation.

Prefer the bourbon aged version, but that's apples to oranges. This one is a tad on the sweet side, but still damn tasty with an excellent thick mouthfeel.

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Photo of Xul
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kstrickler for the extra!

A: Pours almost pitch black with hints of light on the edges, revealing trails of carbonation making their way up through the beer. Head is approximately one finger of fizzy, mocha colored foam that quickly settles down to a thin layer capping the beer.

S: Strong semisweet chocolate up front, followed by moderate roasted notes with some coffee lurking therein, vanilla, and some dark fruits - cherries mostly. The chocolate is dominant, but not quite overpowering.

T: Boozy notes up front, but dark chocolate overtakes fairly quickly. Dark fruits - cherries, raisins, and plums - come in on the mid-palate along with roasted malts and coffee, before giving way to a finish of vanilla and cocoa.

M: Thick and chewy with low carbonation, it coats the mouth on the way down and leaves a long finish.

D: The ABV and long finish keep it to sipping, but it's by no means a tough drinker.

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Photo of Etan
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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…

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Photo of JeffBrenner
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

921st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

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.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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!

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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.


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Photo of Reagan1984
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of Beejay
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
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..

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Photo of jeff1973
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of bonemuse07
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
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.


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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 831 ratings.