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
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 824
Hads: 3,500
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.86%
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
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Reviews: 824 | Hads: 3,500
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer was tasted at the michigan brewers guild winter beer fest.
from my notes i was served a jet black sample with a fluffy brown head.
the aroma was rich with cohoclate and roasted malt.
the flavor was very roasty, chocolate, bit of smoke, hop spice.
the mouthfeel was very full coats your mouth and throut as it goes down. (333 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured opaque brown-black with a healthy mocha head that receded to a thin layer of bubbles. Dark chocolate, coffee, roasty malts in the nose. Big tastes of dark chocolate and coffee, also ash and licorice, and some alcohol bite. Full body, bitter, with a bitter aftertaste. Pretty easily drinkable for a high alcohol beer. (370 characters)

Photo of kels
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bamadog for throwing this in a care package for me! Review is on the bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours the deepest, darkest black and looks very flat and watery. There is a very fast-fading foamy hot-chocolate brown head, which leaves a slight tan ring that floats atop the beer along the walls of the glass. A milky looking swirl sits in the center of the surface. Beer is completely opaque. Very little, thin, watery washes of lacing hang around momentarily before slipping back into the liquid while I drink.

Smell: Smell is a really nice blend of chewy, roasted malts and sweet, milky chocolate. The alcohol hints at itself in the nose, but overall the aroma is strong without being too strong, sweet without being too sweet and roasted without being too roasted.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste is full of slightly bitter, slightly sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and a maple syrup-like presence. A little bit of hops show though in the aftertaste kind of like green apples. The taste is moderate to mild for the style, which isn't a bad thing. It's balanced and flavorful. The feel is moderately full, with fairly low carbonation as indicated by the appearance on the pour. It leaves a pleasantly sticky and heavy feeling on the palate.

Drinkability: Pretty high for this style, as it's not too overpowering. (1,335 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter glass. Pours opaque oily black leaving very little brown lacing throughout the session. Sweet, roasty malt aroma this bursting with lots of silky chocolate as well as some oatmeal, roasted coffee bean, toast and nut. There’s also a slight lactic cream presence but the nose of this beer is all about roasted malt and chocolate. Medium bodied but on the fuller end with a slightly chewy, viscous consistency. Deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, burnt toast and toffee. This is complimented by a sweet chocolate malt presence and subtle creaminess. There’s also some earthy hop bitterness and a prominent alcohol burn in the finish. The ABV isn’t well masked with a ton of heat and warmth in the finish. I expect that this will tone down with age but this fresh bottle is too hot for my liking. Dry boozy finish. A little disappointment for me. (919 characters)

Photo of Popkas
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is pitch black and started with no apparent head but towards the end of the pour, a very attractive tan head bubbled up. Nose is of roasted malts and bits of bitter chocolate and a touch of booze. Taste is of roasted malts and grain, chocolate and again some booze. Thick body that coats the mouth. Pretty nice brew overall that seems to be improving as it warms. (368 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed yesterday, from notes. Thanks to FourKicks for sending me this in a recent trade.

Pours as black as the darkest horse ever, tan head becomes a cap and thick ring, good-looking for the ABV.

Smells of intense dark chocolate and roasted malt. Some sweeter notes of dark fruit come through with warmth.

Like the nose, chocolate dominates the taste (mostly dark, some milk). Roasted malt and caramel there too.

Good viscous mouthfeel, carbonation feels a bit high for the style. A bit of alcohol heat but less than expected for 12%.

Reminds me of a slightly bigger Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Tasty but I prefer some more complexity. 12oz went down quickly considering the ABV. (690 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle received in trade from iceicebaby. Served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque black with a quarter-inch mocha-colored head with copious ringlets that eventually settled into an inconsistent slick before finally congealing around the perimeter of the bowl. Lots of tiny bubbles lined the walls of the glass below the surface. Some bands of watery lacing, but poor adherence. Scents of dark fruit and chocolate malt. Flavors of roasted coffee, chocolate malt and dark fruit (perhaps cherries). Mouthfeel was very lively with a light carbonation burn across the top of the tongue. Body was a little thin for the style. Good drinkability; somewhere between an RIS and a foreign export stout. I have to say that I continue to be impressed by this brewery. (763 characters)

Photo of confer
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the 2013 version. I let it sit in the basement for a over six months before trying it.
It pours a dark brown with a caramel colored head that was around for only a short time.
The smell changed and got better as it warmed. At different temperatures you can smell coffee, chocolate and also prunes.
Surprisingly light for the style feels like a lot of carbonation. Taste is like a coffee with a touch of flavored cream, not very bitter only a little in the aftertaste.
This is a very nice beer which hides it's alcohol content unbelievably well. (550 characters)

Photo of Labonix
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle. This one pours pitch black with a small tan head. The aroma is roasty with chocolate and carmel and molasses. It has a roasty and bitter chocolate taste with some hints of vanilla. This beer is nice, smooth, and hides the high alcohol really well. (260 characters)

Photo of BeerFink
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick opaque black, nearly entirely devoid of head - even after quite the vigorous pour. My nostrils are assailed by oily pungency - coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roasted grain, and even a hint of dark fruit. Taste is what you would expect based on the aroma, just a little weaker. Starts out with coffee and chocolate, subtle raison is noted. Some roasted grain comes in, and is most noticeable in the aftertaste. Hops are barely discernable, but are there in meek form. Mouthfeel is not as thick/chewy as I would have expected, but it is still pleasantly oily. Decent imperial stout. As cheap as these are, I wouldn't mind grabbing another and putting some age on it. (676 characters)

Photo of colts9016
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic at 53 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger head that has fair retention. The head is dark brown, like chocolate, and the head is foamy. The head did not leave any lacing on the glass. The clarity of the beer is opaque. The color of the beer is dark brown with slight reddish brown tint. The beer leaves some legs on the glass as it is drank.

Nose: A very deep rich malt complex that is roasted, a burnt character, and kettle caramelization. Other aromas in the beer is coffee, chocolate, wood, citrus, floral, alcohol, raisins, and dark cherries.

Taste: A complex rich dark roasted malt that has a burnt character, kettle cook caramel, and chocolate. Other flavors in the beer is espresso, wood citrus, floral, raisins, dark cherries, molasses, citrus, and floral esters.

Mouth feel of the beer is coating, warm, and chewy.

Overall: The body of the beer is full and the finish is full. Ah a RIS, however it is not what I think is the greatest representation of this beer. When I want a RIS, I want a full body, thick, chewy, aggressive beer that ages like fine wine. This beer nails most of it but lacks just a little for my taste. Solid beer nonetheless, I am very greatful that I got to try it. (1,223 characters)

Photo of johnson27
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stumbled upon this stout at the 'healthy' food store and thought I'd give it a try. I have always been a 'stout' fan, and just now branching out from the normal ones I can find on tap at the local pub.

A: Wonderful full black color, pours thick with just a bit of froth

S: Not overpowering, but had a healthy aroma....nutty, and had a tinge of 'smoke' to it.

T: Tasted smooth and clean, not as I would expect from a 12% ABV

M: Smooth and clean. No bitter aftertaste

O: I will have to stock up on these, but hide the car keys...it sneaks up on you quick. (559 characters)

Photo of semibaked
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours super thick and black with just a bit of dark brown foam on top, looks like it is flat.

S - Big smell of coffee, roasted malts, molasses, dark fruits, and booze. Good stuff.

T - A lot of dark roasted malts, coffee, and molasses, but the booze being there but not as strong as the smell was.

M - Great full body, rich and thick mouthfeel, a lot of chewiness and just slight carbonation.

D - This is a good stout for sure, good balance of flavors and probably my favorite beer from Dark Horse so far. (539 characters)

Photo of ne0m00re
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured the 12 oz bottle into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.
A: Jet black with a chocolate head, which died to a good lace.
S: Chocolate mocha, burnt malts, and rum raisin.
T: It is a sweet stout, with raspberries and a brandy/bourbon alcohol. Nothing lingers, oddly. The chocolate and mocha flavors are not overpowering.
M: Creamy, yet clean and frothy. It is an awesome blend of really good textures.
D: Excellent. (434 characters)

Photo of GallowsThief
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from my man ChugginOil (huge thanks as always!).

Poured out of a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

A – Pours black with a half inch of dark chocolate head that quickly dissipates and settles. Spotty lacing.

S – Dark chocolate, mocha, coffee. Nice.

T – Dark fruits and dark chocolate start it off. Deep roasty rich flavors. Get some coffee bitterness as well with the slight taste of smoke. Burnt wood. Just a twinge of sweet to it. Finishes with a nice alcohol burn right down to your stomach.

M – Slick and clean feel though it does coat your palate. Medium bodied and low carbonation.

O – This is a beast of flavors. Has all the great qualities of a good RIS. The ABV is certainly present but it is not overpowering. Still it’s a sipper and a fine one at that. (804 characters)

Photo of SierraFlight
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into stout glass. Very dark brown and nearly opaque with a few brown slivers at the edges. Half an inch of tan head rises and quickly falls to a thin cap that lingers. A few spots of lace remain. Aroma is of roasted malts, dried dark fruits, unsweetened chocolate, touch of soy sauce, and alcohol. Taste starts moderately sweet with chocolate, brown sugar, and date. Some bitterness follows from espresso and woody notes. Alcohol is masked well but not completely hidden. Medium-full body, creamy texture, low carbonation, warming sweet finish. (563 characters)

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Lukafer, czoch85, and flandersned for all hooking me up with this brew in different trades!

A: Nice and viscous with a dark, but decidely brown body. Very small mocha head fizzles out after around half a minute.

S: Coffee is the predominant scent I get; chocolate and a bit of spicy rye hang around in the background.

T: Starts off with a bit of sweetness, then goes to semi-sweet chocolate. Coffee is there in the middle as well, but less prominent than it was in the nose. Coffee moves forward for a more bitter end, and the aftertaste is a muted coffee flavor.

M: Somewhat silky, a little lighter than I was expecting.

D: Goes down easy for a big fella.

This was a good stout, but not a great stout. There was no delicious flavor or complexity or anything that stood out to me. I was hoping for a more stellar brew, but I enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing how it ages. (895 characters)

Photo of deereless
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown head which drops and leaves a lingering layer of spots, pours with some serious viscosity and moves in the glass with a slight sluggishness, obsidian black in color - 5.00, S: Intense aromas, tons of dark coffee and black licorice, profuse sweetness suggestive of candied prunes or dates, lots of roasted grains as well as some baker's chocolate and fudge - 4.50, T: Thick chocolate and coffee, double fudge brownie without all the excessive sweetness on the palate, alcohol burn is present but not disruptive, some dark raisins and molasses, hops play a lesser role in the profile than the malts but provide a significant citrus bite - 3.75, M: Thick and smooth mouth feel - 4.25, D: All around a very nice RIS, intensely thick and flavorful and made for a cold winter night - 4.00 (796 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh off the tap, in a St. Bernardus goblet. Cause that's how I roll, yo.

Dark as sin, black as all the wrongs in the world, huge tanned brown, cocoa head standing firm above. Beautiful. Amazing. Gorgeous. Outstanding.

Aroma: Oatmeal? Hmmm? Well, it's creamy, ...there's chocolate. Not too sweet. Roasty, but not too much. Creamy chocolate. Let's stick with that.

Drinking it: Big, fat, fantastic, delcicious. Rounds around the mouth, and sticks with it. Very well rounded, all together. What we seem to have is an RIS that is not outrageous in any degree, not overly out-there with any particular element.
Big, thick mouthfeel, long cocoa and coffee finish. Mmm, just right.

Very tasty, and not really easy to read the 12% abv, until, what, wait a minute, ...there it is...whoa-oh... (793 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, no bs IV. sticker on neck notes 04/08

appearance: snifter treatment. jet black body with a thin chocolate neck, very little in the way of lacing/retention

smell: rich and chocolatey, heavily roasted, earthy peat, dark fruit

taste: nice - dark and extremely roasty, char and peat, licorice and bitter dark chocolate, cola, espresso

moutfeel: creamy and rich, seems a touch thin

drinkability: good (413 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Type: 12 oz bottle
Glass: Snifter
From: mL in Birmingham, MI
Price: 4.50 a single

Appearance: dark brown almost black, opaque, and a fingers worth of tan head that leaves a lacing. looks solid for a RIS but nothing overly special

Smell: roasted malts and chocolate. not the most fragrant beer

Taste: opens up with some roasted malts that are followed by a stronger chocolate taste and somewhat weaker dark fruits. some hoppy bitterness in the backend

Mouthfeel: pretty heavy, creamy, and ends with a strong and lasting bitterness. warming feeling too

Overall: solid but nothing to go crazy for. my first good/great beer from dark horse. probably not something I would buy again at the price (695 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of Ryan011235, poured into an oversized snifter.

Looks pretty much like a big stout should, black and intimidating with a dense 1-finger cap of dark tan head. Retention is pretty good. The lacing is a bit spotty, but it stains the glass impressively.

At 12%, the alcohol is shockingly well hidden in the nose. Smells quite good. Nice combo of chocolate, dark roasted and burnt malts. A touch of molasses, a bit of dark fruit and a gentle coffee presence. Definitely looking forward to this.

The booze is more noticeable in the mouth, but provides a modest warming presence that's not at all out of place. A bitter undercurrent previously undetected helps keep the sweetness under control, although there's a substantial tanginess that's a bit sticky at the finish. Nice robust roasted character. Carbonation is appropriately low, accentuating the slippery character of the medium-thick body. Finishes perhaps a bit too cleanly, but that's nitpicking.

Overall impression: A nice RIS that seems to have excellent aging potential. I think I will throw my other one in the cellar and revisit in a year or so. (1,131 characters)

Photo of eclipse54
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle I received for winning rowingbrewer's "Guess My Stats" LIF. He sent me this "want," for which I'm very grateful. Poured into a DFH signature glass...

Pours completely black with about an inch of brown head; the head consists of thousands (millions?) of miniscule bubbles that, for some particular reason, I'm finding rather fascinating to examine at the moment. Unfortunately, they don't hang around for long, quickly dissipating to a ring around the lateral edge of the liquid's surface. Minimal (at the time of writing, a lone patch) lacing is left behind.

Also of intrigue, the sediment from the base of the bottle left an intricate pattern on the bottom of the snifter during the pour. The aroma is of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, cane sugar, and some coffee. It is very inviting, and the taste is a great host that follows through with all the promised flavors: caramel, molasses, vanilla, coffee, sugar, and some warming alcohol on the finish. Excitedly, the alcohol is very well hidden. I was quite surprised to see that this was 12% ABV.

The mouth is rich, but not overly so, and finishes with a bit of a sugary, sticky resin. Overall, a delicious, highly drinkable RIS that I'm very happy to have tried. (1,249 characters)

Photo of cetherid
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip

A.

beer pours a dark brown/black. Looks a little like used motor oil. Head was minimal...thin brown bubbly head, like a cola but dissipated quickly.

S.

Dark malts obviously. Notes of chocolate, burnt coffee and a nice little hop aroma. Perhaps a hint of soy in there but nothing terrible.

T.

Big roast up front moving to some slightly sweet, slightly bitter dark chocolate with a pretty boozy finish. I get some subtle licorice and burnt/smokey flavors in there as well. Perhaps a little too boozy, but I suppose acceptable given the ABV.

M.

Full bodied with decent carbonation. Fairly oily/slick mouthfeel to it.

O.

Overall a solid RIS. I'd opt for an Expedition stout over this but I would imagine the BA version of this is stellar. A little hard to come by so I probably wouldn't seek this out again as I can pick up a sixer of Expedition about 5 minutes away whenever I want. I'm curiously how an aged bottle of this be as it's currently drinking a little hot. (997 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle out of a four pack and into a snifter so help me god. Been impressed with this series so far, this is my fourth out of five.

Deep space black with more blackness and some black to go on top of that. Ok, there's some brown towards the edge. A dark brown pillow tight nitro like head up above, after a few minutes, nothing, no lace.

Im not digging the nose on this at all. I mean it's malty as hell with some roasted qualities and chocolate, but there is also this rotted dark fruit scent that turns me away. It reminds me of a certain stout from a Jamacian brewery way down south, but 5th is not that rotted. Some creamy french vanilla.

5th comes back into focus on taste. This Russian delivers without that huge dark fruit thing, it's there but tucked under all this dark chocolate which was not as big in the nose, weird. Chocolate clumped in with vanilla and alot of cream. Saying there is alot of roasted malt is a understatement, it's huge. no alcohol, and this is a 12%er.

This is smooth, perhaps the smoothest 'fresh' rizzz i've had probably to date. Im upset that I missed it on tap by a few hours, damn. This is great out the bottle though. Pretty much full bodied and malty smooth, rich and not that bitter. In fact this is not bitter at all, more sweet. The carb is light, it's real light, but it's keeps number five together.

Excellent drinkability and a straight forward RIS. The nose bother's me but other than that, this is great. I'll try another bottle to see if that odor is still there. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, very impressive. Dark Horse continues to put out good dark beer and others. (1,633 characters)

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