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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
896 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
896
Ratings:
3,823
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
555
Gots:
1,040
For Trade:
116
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2010 and pre: white label
2011: white label OR black label with black no logo cap
2012: black label with logo cap
2013: black label with logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner and new government warning
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label

Added by HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 896 | Ratings: 3,823
Photo of d5001986
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Spiegelau tulip.

A: Pours a pure inky black with just a trace of tan head.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, molasses, and vanilla.

T: Roasted malt, burnt coffee, vanilla, and bitter dark chocolate up front; with some smokiness, spicy pepper, and light nuttiness. Also a moderate bitterness follows.

M: A good thick and oily body, just right to the style. Little carbonation comes through.

O: A very nice impression of the style, rich yet drinks easy as far as stouts go. Overall solid, and a good buy.

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Photo of roadhouse
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a snifter

Pours ink black with a one inch dark tan head forming on top that retains quite well for being in the snifter. The cap retains very well and some moderate lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is chocolaty, a hint of fruit kind of like mixed berries, a very far and away hint of vanilla, some charred wood, vague hops, and a whiff of alcohol fumes. It kind of seems like there is a struggle for them all to blend together and create something wonderful, but they have potential.

Taste has a ton of chocolate character up front with the dark fruit character of mixed berries coming in midway through. A bit of char and coffee burnt flavors come in after the swallow followed by a big burst of warming alcohol which stays on the breath.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, chewy but not exactly viscous. Creamy texture with the right amount of carbonation. Drinkable in the sense that I am gonna enjoy every sip of this beer, but not in the I'm gonna drink a bunch of this way.

A very enjoyable RIS. I can only see this one getting greater over time and I will happily let my other three bottles age a while before cracking another.

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Photo of jcartamdg
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, very thick pour with a paper thin mocha head. Aroma of roasted malts, dark chocolate and a vanilla oaky note. I had to check to make sure this wasn't the bourbon barrel version because it has hints of bourbon. Taste follows the nose, so delicious, heavy but delicious. The nose is intensified with the taste. Mouthfeel is very thick but in a great way. This is a wonderful stout, I will be seeking out this beer!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Capone's in Philadelphia.

The beer is black with a thick, beige head that plasters the glass in lacing. Can't ask for more than that. The aroma is of roast, oak, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor is extremely roasty, with a slightly burned malt character. The feel is full bodied, with alcohol presence there, but not overwhelming. Good stuff.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a CS snifter.

A- Charred brown black in color; coffee head that has good retention to minimal lacing with medium legs

S- this brew totally has a Belgian dark fruit/charred fig quality to it. Some like this, some don't. I usually don't, but the taste is not dominated by it.

T- Equal chocolate and molasses to Belgian dark fruit/charred fig to help my palate out. Nice malt backbone. Not as pronounced as some, but good nonetheless.

M- Very smooth here, with perfect amount of carb. Can't complain

O- A very very well done version of a non ba stout. Get some!

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up one of these in Ithaca, also spotted them in Binghamton. Nice to have Dark Horse coming to this area, although it'd be even nicer if we got any of the rarer variants, but that's not likely.

Poured into a nonic pint glass; jet black with a minimal half-finger dark brown head from a rough pour. Head quickly fades into a single-bubble-thick layer of foam.
Smells of semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, brown sugar and molasses, and even a hint of oak or something.
Taste follows nose...sweet chocolate and brown sugar are cut with hints of roasty coffee bitterness, but it's mostly sweet. Aftertaste of semisweet chocolate and stickiness. Not much booze noticeable in the taste.
Mouthfeel is full, slick and sticky.
Overall, a big tasty stout but it's a bit sweet for my taste. I'd still love to find [one of] the BBA version[s] sometime, but I'm not too hopeful.

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Photo of Mavajo
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Straight from the pour, you can tell this one's gonna be a heavy-hitter. Total black with a dark brown head. Mild head at first, but before long it recedes completely and gives the beer a thick, flat appearance. Heavy and intense looking.

Good profile on this one. Dark chocolate, licorice, molasses and roasted malts. Lingers on the aftertaste a bit, but not offensive. Thick and chewy mouthfeel.

This is a pretty solid stout. I enjoyed the pure "heaviness" of this beer, but it seemed to come up just short of epic in my opinion. Damn good beer, though.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black with a short-lived head that, at it's peak, was just small tan bubbles gathering around the edge with spotting in the middle.

Smell is deeply roasted malts, a little soy, and black licorice.

In the taste, the deep roasted malts are complimented by heavy hops, giving it a dark berry flavor. Hints of chocolate throughout.

Mouthfeel is creamy with low carbonation. Good for the style.

This weighs in at 12%, and is slightly hot. Aside from that, a very good stout.

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Photo of fsvan
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe.

A- Incredibly deep copper, brown. Not black, but almost. Completely impenetrable to light. A finger of nice maroonish brown head. Some maroon brown gunked up sediment is clear against the dark background. The gunk is a bit off putting, keeping this a 4 and not 4.5.

S- A unique smelling RIS. Some dark fruit. Some vanilla, almost as if this had been in oak for a very short time. Roasted malts. Some hop bitterness, but with so much going on this is a background aroma. The alcohol is present for sure, but at 12% that isn't shocking.

T- A dark fruitish beginning, followed by a wave of huge roasted malts. Hop bitterness is very present, as is the 12% alcohol. This is a great tasting stout, but as with the smell, the heat from the alcohol keeps the scores down a touch.

M- Not as huge and thick as might be expected, but still thick and very nice.

O- So, I gave this 4s across the board and a 4.5 overall. The reasoning is that for what it is, it is fantastic. And it is a big in your face, take no prisoners, RIS. The heat from the alcohol kept the scores down on smell and taste by a hair, but if you are in the market for a big, hairy stout, this is well worth the try.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Plead the Fifth pours black into the glass with a small, fizzy brown head on top. The foam disappears quickly to a ring around the surface leaving behind a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is full of rich roasted malt, cocoa, toffee and an earthy nuttiness. Pine and grassy hop notes are also present.

Each sip of this full bodied beer is smooth and chewy with moderate carbonation. The flavor is rich. Chocolate, roasted malt, toffee and dark fruit are balanced with some grassy and pine hops at the end. Finishes bitter with some medicinal alcohol. Once gone the chocolate and pine notes linger on the palate.

Lots of flavor in this beer! It's fairly easy to drink considering it's 12% abv. I have to put one in the cellar and see what happens in a year.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of Kendo
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of mwill7287
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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

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Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of Spcoly
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

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Photo of TrekkieChick
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of Spiekerbox
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
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 :)

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Photo of brock146
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
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

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Photo of LAp
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a table glass. Pours a thick brown/black. Taste is relatively uniform. Typical coffee, chocolate, and rich malt, but not the deep complexity I'd been expecting. Mouthfeel is extremely creamy. Overall, tasted more like a thick porter/stout (think Founder's Porter or Bell's Kalamazoo Stout) than an Imp Russian. Left me underwhelmed. A good beer for sure, but would be better as a $10-$12 six pack. Not a beer that justifies its price, or its 4-pack status.

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Photo of Chaney
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 896 ratings.