Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

822 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 822
Hads: 3,497
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 551
Gots: 919 | FT: 106
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: 822 | Hads: 3,497
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black. Straight black. Head is a deep tan with a reddish tint. Head is slightly bubbly and creamy. Dwindles to a small cap after a few minutes. A swirl produces a decent sized head, but retention is minimal. Pours thick and syrupy.

Smell: Booze, cherries, char, burnt malts, smoke, cocoa, you name it. it's in there. It's decadent. Sweet, dark fruits (plum and fig). Licorice. Very sweet and very burnt. Some toasted malts, but they're buried. Highly aggressive on the malts and booze.

Taste: Cherry and cocoa. Toasted malts are quickly covered over by burnt malts. Loads of chocolate flavor. Runs the gamut from baker's chocolate to milk chocolate. Harsh kick of booze on the back, but it works with the overt sweetness. Char lingers in the back as well. Nicely complex with serious depth. Fig and plum come out as the beer warms. Alcohol heat builds with each sip.

Mouthfeel: Slick, but not as full as I would have expected. It pushes for full, but falls short. The carbonation is a touch high for the style, but it works with the flavor profile. Booze dries the tongue out something fierce.

Overall: A little off-kilter this fresh. Loads of flavor and tons of complexity, but it fails to meld completely. With a year or two on this, it might just be that good. (1,280 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours an inky black. A thin brown head dissipates very quickly and leaves behind some wispy, frail rings of lacing.

S: Fudge, chocolate pudding, vanilla bean, faint creamed coffee, and an estery fruitiness that smells of currants.

T: Fudgy chocolate and just a touch of acrid smoke open. Roasted malt tastes flex and morph. Baker's chocolate and black cocoa powder. A touch woody. Estery currant flavors are locked deep within the roastiness. Another dab of smoke. Alcohol presence is felt- spicy and a tad boozy, though not at all off-putting. Light kiss of citric hops and some earthy, grassy notes. Finishes with cocoa powder, semi-sweet dark chocolate, and fudgy/brownie tastes.

M: Reasonably thick and velvety. Low carbonation. Not bad, but it lacks some dimension.

O: A very solid imperial stout, but nothing to gush over. I can't find any fault with it technically, it just stays a bit understated. The flavors shift and change, but never seem to build up to an apex. I realize this all sounds very vague and subjective, and it should. I don't even know why this beer fails to 'wow' me.

Notes: At 12% abv, this one has some serious aging potential. I have a few more bottles, and I'll revisit this vintage in a few years.

Update: I've since had the opportunity to go through a few more bottles of this, and it has really grown on me. Not sure why I was so ambivalent before. Rich, thick, brawny, pleasing, and decidedly old-school and true to style. (1,516 characters)

Photo of jethrodium
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a dark black with a small tan chocolate head that settles to a ring and leaves a decent lacing on the glass. The aroma has big roastiness, light coffee, dark bitter chocolate, and a bit of alcochol. The taste has some sweetness with dark roasty chocolate and some light coffee. The finish is bitter and roasty with a bit of alcohol. Very roasty overall. Medium body. Low carbonation. (440 characters)

Photo of ncvbc
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours basically black with little to no light coming through. A thin tan head slowly rises from the pour. Smell is much more sweet than the taste to come. Some dark fruits, milk chocolate, light caramel and of course hints of roast. Taste brings the roasted flavors full force. Char and smoked flavors come out. Very interesting and deep. Some sweetness again and a little bitter toward the finish. Not a bad mouthfeel, just not as big a body as I'd hoped. Overall a good drinker and brew. (489 characters)

Photo of westweasel
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a super thick, motor oil like liquid with a faint ring of tan bubbles on the edge of the surface and a small spiral like rorschach figure of bubbles in the middle of the surface.
The beer has great "legs" as you move it around in the glass.

The aroma is filled with thick, rich dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is a slight bit of coffee-like roastiness that becomes much more prominent as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel is full and thick with very little carbonation.

The flavors are a mixture of sweet dark roasted grains and coffee, dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is just enough bitterness and roastiness to keep the beer from being cloying. It's kinda of close though.

This is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. As it warms, it becomes sweeter and more coffee-like. (820 characters)

Photo of hu5om
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tremens tulip split with e11a627
a-viscous dark black. syrupy. ring of khaki foam
s-big, dark chocolate, sweet. caramel/toffee, oats
t-dark chocolate, bit of coffee. caramel. a bit of boozy heat and licorice. rum raisen vibe?
m-a bit hot still, but body is big with low carboonation
d-could cellar for a bit longer. stiff. but there's a good profile behind it. thanks to primetime3882 for the excellent extra (408 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from czoch75; cheers Clint!. This one comes in a 12oz bottle

Pours ebony with 1 pinky of brown/peach tinged head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate, vanilla, booze, & carob

T: Dark chcolate, dark fruit, oaky dryness up front. Oak & vanilla as this warms along with with a touch leafy hops, & bit of wet charred grain. Finishes with some chcolate & chicory

MF: Oily, medium bodied, with minimal carbonation, along with some slickness

Drinks easy for the style, but not enough flavor depth to push this to upper echelon RIS status (557 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of brown head that fades imto a thin ring with no lacing.

S: roasted malts with lots of sweet chocolate. Strong molasses aromas follow with notes of raisins and plums. There are some floral notes as well.

T: roasted malts with notes of chocolate and coffee at first. Sweet molasses and dark fruit notes follow with a lightly bitter, roasted, and smokey finish.

M: thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is thick and creamy.

O: a good imperial stout. A bit on the sweet side for me, but still good. (537 characters)

Photo of granger10
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Dark Horse stout pours an increadibly dark black color with purple hues and no head whatsoever. Looks like motor oil. Carbonation was lacking. Aroma is plums, charcoal, molasses, vanilla bean, and alcohol esters. Taste begins sweet with a chocolate syrup consistency. Fruity flavors, dark fruits, open this beer up esp when it gets warmer. Bitter chocolate comes then the finish is this really roasted grain astringency. I loved this beer but it finishes a little too harsh for my liking. I would also like some carbonation to liven up the mouthfeel. Nice and thick and rich, this could be really really good if they tweak a few things. (641 characters)

Photo of happilysurly
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: I love the look of this beer. So dark and no chance of seeing through it. No head, very few bubbles. Serious legs.

S: Sweet, chocolate, a bit of fresh roasted coffee.

T: Tons of flavor. I can taste some alcohol in this, but only towards the end. The alcohol is overall very well hidden considering that it is 12% ABV. Dark chocolate and molasses and dark cherries.

M: No part of my mouth can escape this beer. It hits all the areas of the tongue and lingers at the back of my mouth for quite a long time. The flavor that lingers is sweet and very pleasant.

D: Love this as a sipping beer, but more than one in a sitting would be a mistake for me. The high ABV and thick, dark flavor make this a one-a-week type beer for me. (730 characters)

Photo of Hophead717
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch black, with dark ruby/mocha head.

S: Super roasty, with strong chocolate as well.

T: Chocolate fudge, with strong roasty notes. The finish is of roasted malts, with hints of bitterness. Some alcohol is noticeable in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied, with low carbonation.

O: A good stout, but nothing special. Honestly, I expected a bit more given the reputation. (373 characters)

Photo of bound4er
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet black appearance with a thin, tan head. Smells rich, sweet and fruity for an impy stout - dark chocolate, vanilla and bubblegum come to mind. Taste follows the nose with more chocolate, vanilla and tutti frutti sweetness. Both alcohol and hops are well hidden though the former is good but the latter is not in my book. Rich and creamy mouthfeel with almost no carbonation. This beer is rich and tasty but its sweetness and lack of any detectable hops to clean up the finish makes it a bit tiring to finish a 12 oz. bottle in one sitting. (542 characters)

Photo of jjanega08
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A= pours a complete blackout black color with a suprising one finger head that is dark brown with some sort of amber color to it. The head lasts suprisingly long and has great lacing.
S= deep chocolate malts and coffee notes as expected but I get a little hop bitterness to go with it. Dark prunes and a touch of alcohol.
T= great flavor with some vanilla notes and molasses and chocolate. There is a touch of alcohol but nothing overpowering. Really flavorful.
M= a little bit of a problem here because the rediculously nice flavor doesn't coat and stick as much as I wish it would.
D= very nice glad I got this four pack. Ill be looking for it again sometime too. Really flavorful and tasty RIS seek this one out. (715 characters)

Photo of cbutova
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black motor oil ale pours into my pint glass. Not much of a head forms but a creamy pillow tops the beer. Small spots of lace from a creamy ring.

S- Dark roast malt comes off strong with a fairly harsh edge to it. Also get a dose of dark fruit, coffee, cocoa and caramel.

T- Definitely one of the harsher stouts I have had recently, but in a nice way for an RIS. The dark roast, burnt malt thrashes the palate with cocoa, coffee, dark fruit, licorice and caramel notes as well. A bit of alcohol, not surprising at 12%.

MF- Thick body supporting the huge flavor. An overall silky feel with some cream and alcohol warming to it. Acrid roast bitterness. Higher carbonation than I would prefer.

A very solid stout and a very strong one coming in at a heavy 12%, still big even in 2011. Dark Horse knows how to make a stout, I hope they do more with their numbered series because they were all pretty nice. (914 characters)

Photo of jdklks
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Tyson for this one.

pours thick and black with a DARK brown head, like a mix between milk and dark chocolate, that swiftly vanishes, bubbling lightly as it goes. very thick, looks good. The smell eminating from the bottle upon opening promised me a truly "aromatic" experience; and when poured, it doesn't disappoint. hints of both chocolate and vanilla, with an undertone of bourbon/alcohol complimented by a trace of wood (oak?).

the flavor borrows all those attributes of the smell, but descends upon the palate with an undesirable sweetness reminiscent of blueberries. That same sweetness gives way to a bitter burnt coffee aftertaste that, though not bad at all, could be more impressive. not as complex as it would have you hope from its smell, which could be attributed to the intensity of the sweetness up front and the burnt bitterness at the end. huge alcohol burn on the way down, and though it isn't all that unpleasant, it doesn't add anything to the beer. let this beer age and cool down a bit.

I might as well be eating this with a spoon; the thickness is ridiculously awesome, and if it wasn't for the fact that it is slightly over-carbonated, the mouthfeel would certainly warrant a 5. a slight burn going down warms up your whole body, which isn't so surprising considering the 12% (1,312 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch dark khaki head that fades to a thin film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form randomly on the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark fruits (raisins/plums), dark roasted malt, slight chocolate, and slight soy sauce. Taste is of the dark fruits, dark roasted malt, and slight cocoa powder. Slight roasty bitterness on the palate quickly fades. This beer has low carbonation and is thick in both the pour and the mouth. Overall, this is a good RIS with a more fruit and malt forward flavor. I am glad I got to try this one. (622 characters)

Photo of OlieIPA
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Bruery tulip glass.

A: A typical black and thick looking RIS that supported a mediocre mocha colored head at best. The beer was also lacking legs as well.

S: Cherry, dark chocolate, coffee, anise, and slight alcohol burn at the end.

T: All the flavors mentioned above with an additional almond and pepper quality. The black licorice comes out a bit more as well.

M: A full-body Imperial Stout with mild carbonation. Slightly drying though

D: I enjoyed the flavor profile and basically polished off my glass within 20 minutes.

Overall: Kind of reminded of a slightly watered down version of Founders Imperial Stout. A good Impy Stout...and one I would like to have again. Cheers (723 characters)

Photo of angelmonster
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in the RIS BIF

Pours a solid pitch black body, dark chocolate 1 finger head, prolly the darkest head i've seen. Too bad it disappeared almost instantly :( . Head retention wasnt very good and lacing was above average. Appearance gets bump in score for such a nice looking head, enough though it didnt last long

Smell is of rich, roasted coffee beans covered in dark bitter chocolate. There is also some dark dried fruit similar to the ones found in a doppelbock. Ends with some sweet soy sauce and alcohol. Hops arent really in the mix

Taste is of strong, roasted, burnt malts. Very strong coffee is also present. Lots of sweet malts offset the alcohol which is definitely present at 12 percent. Hops are moderate.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is on aggressive side but livens up the thick consistency of the beer. Love a nice creamy head on a beer and sadly this one had none what so ever.

This beer was overall a sipper but the drink ability was good. Could prolly finish more than one but it would take awhile. Kinda reminded me of Mephistopheles from Avery. Prolly wont have another opportunity to try this beer but glad I did (1,148 characters)

Photo of drumrboy22
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into Great Divide Yeti chalice. Beer was thick and jet black, with no head. Very little carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma was chocolate, coffee, bitter hops, dark fruit, licorice, molasses and burnt grains.

Taste was chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cherries and burnt grains. Very good, but just a tad thin.

Nice beer and great to get as an extra in trade. (381 characters)

Photo of aaronh
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer definitely looks thick as it pours, and I was convinced it was flat as I completed the pour. However, after a few moments a thin layer of dark brown bubbles formed atop the beer, only to disappear before I made it to a comfortable place to sit. The aroma has a slight hint of musty fruit, intermingled with coffee, alcohol, and brown sugar notes. The flavor is powerful, with highly evident tobacco flavors that are accented by coffee, cocoa, and pure alcohol. A bit of an earthy note is in there as well, with a moderate sweetness wrapping things up. Mouthfeel is very silky and seems nearly devoid of carbonation, even though visibly carbonation is evident. Drinkabilty is surprisingly good for such an assertive beer. Not sure how old this one is, but a few years of age would have rounded it out nicely. Yet another fine beer from this "Dark Horse"... (865 characters)

Photo of Shumista
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all I just want to start by saying that I really like the way Dark Horse packages their beers. The 4 pack cardboard holder is just plain brown with nothing on it, the bottle has a label that looks like something I could print off of my printer at home, and the bottle cap is just plain black. Everything about it screams microbrewed, and if you didn't know what you were looking for you'd walk right past it in the beer aisle without noticing it.

A- Pours like a RIS. Jet black, dark brown head (darker than most actually). No highlights...I'm shocked.
S- Kind of disappointing nose. Dark roasted malts, chocolate and coffee. It's not bad just not particularly enticing.
T- Big improvement over the smell. Nothing really sets it apart from other RIS's I've had except for the bitterness maybe. Other than that coffee, chocolate, dark fruits etc, etc.
M- Not quite as thick as I usually like RISs to be. I do appreciate the huge amount of warmth that comes after each sip though.
D- I always feel silly talking about drinkability for a beer like this. One is great, two might get to be a little much.

my bottom line: Plead the fifth is an especially bitter, strong, warming RIS. Very tasty but other than the bitterness and strength it fails to really set itself apart from the rest of the RIS pack in my book. (1,323 characters)

Photo of ohiobeer29
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've tried this beer many times and never been thrilled with it until now now I get why people really enjoy this beer a nice balance of dark malts,chocolate and heat behind it a well put together stout will def be buying more next year (235 characters)

Photo of aasher
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This pours into my snifter an oily midnight black with a dark, dark khaki head that quickly dissipates and laces the glass. The aromas are of oak, bitter chocolate, and a considerable amount of alcohol. The 12% is very present in the nose. The flavors are of conflicting chocolate (both sweet and bitter), oaky smoke, and alcohol. It's good but not as good as it could be. The strongest aspect of this beer has got to be the mouthfeel. It drinks exceptionally smooth and also lighter than it looks. It's velvety smooth. Overall this is a very fine beer but it misses on a few levels. The amount of alcohol present in the nose and flavor is a slight turnoff. It's 12% and you know it. It's good but powering through a four pack of this would be quite difficult but one or two is just fine. (788 characters)

Photo of Steasy66
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Dark with dark head, no head retention
S Roasted malt
T Sweet, roasted malt, caramel, a bit boozy, but masks the 12% well
M Fairly thick, low carbonation
Overall, a very nice imperial stout, masks its high ABV well even without aging. Wouldn't mind some more roasted flavor and a bit of carbonation. (301 characters)

Photo of divineaudio
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vs 2012 comparison, 12oz bottles. notes from april 2012 or so, right after the 2012 release. both bottles poured into snifters. ratings above reflect the current batch.

a - '12 pours a viscous, oily black. gave me a thin cap of dark brown head that is only about two shades lighter than the beer. spotty lacing in the glass. 4.5

'11 same color/look, though no head whatsoever and no lacing. 3.5


s - '12 chocolate, slightly nutty, raisin. 3.5

'11 wow! port, faint tobacco, faint licorice, lots of roasted malt and a slight booziness. 4.5

t - '12 chocolate, molasses, noticeable alcohol twang in the finish. bitterness like black coffee more so than hops. a little rough around the edges i think. 4.0

'11 espresso, rich dark chocolate, raisin, dark cherry, tobacco. very smooth with no alcohol taste at all. maybe showing some slight oxidation. 4.0

m - '12 full bodied and chewy. adequate carbonation, fin co2 profile. slight alcohol warming. 3.5

'11 full bodied with lighter carbonation and a fine co2 profile. very rich and smooth. 4.0

o - fresh is pretty damn good, but with a year or more on it this beer becomes something very different. very drinkable for the high abv %, though i think 2 in a night is all most people could handle. enjoyable fresh or aged and highly recommended. 4.0 (1,308 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 822 ratings.