Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,475 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,475
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 554
Gots: 908 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,475 | Reviews: 839
Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Saw a four pack of this the other day and it jumped into my lap and rode home with me.
Pours a solid black with a minimal tan head that dissipates quickly a leaves no lace. Smells of licorice, molasses, bitter dark chocolate, dried dark cherries covered in vodka, a bit earthy herbal hops in there somewhere too. Taste is tart dark fruit drenched in dark chocolate and dipped in rum or vodka. Espresso and an earthy hop bit round this one out. Leaves a lingering roasted grain char mixed with some sweetness that linger long after every sip. I'm kind of amazed that the depth of flavors in this brew meld together so well. Sweet sticky almost syrupy mouthfeel. Light level of carbonation and a thick body. I really enjoyed this one. Really thick and sweet but incredibly tasty. Shit I'm thinking about pouring this over some vanilla ice cream in a few.

Photo of number1bum
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to mymrnngjckt for a bottle of this.

Pours pitch black and quite thick looking. Completely opaque. Generates about one finger of dark tan head which settles to only a thin, patchy lace. No real stick on the sides.

Smell at first is big on the fruit, with some nice berry aromas in particular; black currants come to mind, plus maybe some strawberries and dark cherry. Lots of roasted malt as well, and some dark, fudgy chocolate. .Quite a lot going on in this nose; it's complex and really nice.

Taste is also complex and just bursting with flavor. I get the berry flavors that the nose revealed; tastes like some blackberry with a bit of blueberry and strawberry too. Big chocolaty and roasty flavors, with a good amount of fudgy sweetness that is cut by some roasty bitterness. Goes together nicely.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and viciously thick and chewy. Very creamy, with soft carbonation. Just a hint of alcohol heat creeps in at times.

I've not been a big fan of a lot of Dark Horse beers I've tried but this one is excellent. Tons of flavor and really smooth and drinkable for such a huge imperial stout. I think I will be looking out for this one again. thanks Kevin!

Photo of farrago
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light head, half finger of exceedingly dark brown foam, mostly larger bubbles which impairs retention, credible stickiness to the lacing. Jet black, zero color, only thing visible are a few floating particles within. The roast hits the right balance in the nose, more texturally stiffening than scented, you get sweet chocolate, coconut, light caramel as well as rich plum, golden raisin and cherry fruit scents, flaky pie crust, vanillin oak booziness, anise seed, orange citrus zest, overall soft and well harmonized. Full-bodied, yet smooth with nice fluidity, honestly, here the relatively weak carbonation helps to keep the pace going rather than fluff things up. Dark chocolate, cocoa, mocha and caramel, not so much coffee or real roast. Plum, cherry, raisin, fig, apricot fruit lends sweetness and concentration. The coconut, vanilla fudge, honey glazed dough and croissant flakes likewise. Hard to say both what the hops contribute and what they were meant to contribute. Still, awfully seductive as a pure "guilty pleasure" play.

Photo of siege06nd
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottles into Dogfish Head snifter...

A. Inky black with chocolate brown edges. A half finger of tan head with some mild bubbles sticking to the glass. Leaves a sheen of oily slick on the glass with each swirl.

S. Dark chocolate, fudge, traces of herbal and piney hops, blackstrap molasses, and suggestions of fruit.

T. Chocolate, caramel, some strawberry and cherry, roasted coffee grounds and even some char in a dry finish.

M. Coats the palate with a thick and chewy body. Good flavor integration and nice balance. Sweet, chocolatey, and fruity upfront and a slightly ashy, classic finish.

O. An excellent Imperial Stout. It's full bodied, filling, and flavorful with excellent booze-masking. Hits all of the right notes.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Cloverleaf a few weeks ago, <$3. The beer is very black with a thin tan head, less foam than usual for a RIS. The smell is rich with chocolate and roasted malts, a noticeable black licorice aroma too. The beer tastes overpowering with malty sweetness, dark fruits like prunes and raisins and plums, and black licorice or anise (but thankfully not much). Lots of previous reviewers noted a lack of body but I thought this was thick and filling. Maybe I tried the latest batch and it's been improved in some way, it was thick and oily and good. This beer is up there in Dark Horse's line-up, along with Perkolator and Double Crooked Tree.

Photo of lunarbrew
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful beer. Incredibly dark and opaque when held to light. Head is deep brown with about one finger and dies quick. Leaves a fine and appealing lacing surrounding the edge of the glass. Very inviting.

The nose is very robust. I can smell heaping amounts of roast from dark malt, coffee, and medium-dark chocolate. A bit of acidity (red berry) on the front end, but mostly malted notes.

Flavor is rich and delicious. Tons of brown sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and some alcohol at the finish. Very sweet with a wonderful dry aftertaste from black patent or the like. Want to keep going back for another sip.

Lots of weight, but still not too syrupy. The beer foams up quickly due to a decent amount of carbonation and gives a very creamy texture. It's a very pleasant and oh so drinkable brew.

I was very excited to try this. Amazingly drinkable and addictive for 11%. The texture was superb and there was a great amount of depth. I am anxious to see if the boozy flavor settles out after some time.

Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle

Acquired via trade
Thanks, Kgristoff!

Black, thick, shiny, and oily with very little, almost zero, visible carbonation. The eventual head is small and dark brown in color and doesn't leave much in the way of stick to the glass.

Rich aroma of roasted coffee and dark malts, decadent chocolate, and just a bit of an alcoholic, burning bite.

Roasted malts and chocolate flavors dominate and the alcohol plays a very minor role in this beer's flavor. With no bottled on information, I can't know for sure how old this one is, but it did sit at the back of my refrigerator for quite a long time. This is rich, complex, and quite divine.

Thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. A pleasure.

This is a wonderful big stout. It doesn't get much better.

Photo of OldIronLungs
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to omgshesaboy for this one! Excited!

Pours an oily black into a deep tulip with a finger of dark mocha head that quickly falls to a ring.

Nose is a blend of medium roasted malts and sweet dark chocolate, some liquorish. Very lightly boozy. Subtle but pleasant.

Holy Moses, this one is viscous! Great body with a persistent tingle that dances through the finish. Dark roasted coffee, molasses and liquorish, a bit of bitter chocolate and a light earthy hop bitterness that blend with the slowly building warmth in the back of the throat. But 12%? Never would have guessed.

For me, imperial stouts live or die by their body and this does not disappoint. It warms beautifully; One of the best stouts I've had in recent memory. I would LOVE to try the barrel-aged and sour versions!

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at EBI in Saratoga, NY.

Pours a dark black, with a half inch head that fades down to film and a little bit of foam quickly. Not much lacing.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of alcohol.

This stout uses its alcohol very well- it gives a spicy bite that plays nicely off the malty, chocolatey sweetness. There's a tiny bit of soy sauce flavor, with roasty bitterness and dark fruit flavors.

Medium to full bodied, creamy, smooth delectable mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Present but not threatening alcohol.

The bourbon barrel aged version of this is a classic, this base version is very nice as well, and holds itself up on its own.

Photo of bwiechmann
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter/tulip hybrid. Sold in four packs for about 12 bucks.

Appearance- Black. Absolutely black. A hard pour produces a minimal head which is a light leather color and fades quickly to a dark tan ring. Nothing special but par for the style.

Smell- Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and woody tones make for an inviting aroma.

Taste- Wonderful. Super chocolaty- deep and sweet. Molasses, caramel, and some French roast coffee notes play a supportive role.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and rich. Mild carbonation leads to a silky texture.

Overall- One of my favorite imperial stouts. If this were a limited, brewery-only release, it would be rated on par with Darkness, Dark lord, and Hunahpu's. As it is, I'll gladly let this one glide relatively under the radar which allows me to drink this readily. Absolutely delicious and a total treat whenever it's cracked open. Highly recommended.

Photo of levifunk
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to badnewsbeers for this!

appearance - black like oil. almost no carbonation and very thick looking. no head.

smell - soy sauce, caramel, and hints of a fruity smell. surprisingly very little alcohol smell.

taste - malty, creamy, sweet coffee flavor. some subtle hops/bitterness that i didn't pick up in the smell. not very hot at all, although when i open my mouth and breath, the booze hits my lungs.

mouthfeel - pretty thick largely due to very little carbonation. I enjoy low carbonation, so its great for me.

overall - great beer. wish i had more. I think a couple of these is all you'd need on a cold night. the huge ABV is masked very well.

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A- pours as black as night with a two finger head that is nearly the same color. Head sticks around for awhile and laces beautifully

S- pungent aroma of coffee, with some chocolate in there, and a tad bit of booze. It smells excellent

T- very bitter chocolate. Some booze to it. The finish is pretty sweet. It's certainly overpowering, that's for sure

M- THICK. Monstrous. Luscious

O- the taste puts me off a little bit...it's "too much". But this is still a fantastic beer

Photo of EmperorBevis
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

like Spanish liquorice, dark & tasty

Photo of BostonHops
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a jet black tone while yielding a short-lived 1/4" mocha-colored head; some lacing evident. big wallop of chocolate leads the way in the nose, followed by notes of roasted malt, coffee, and a little dark fruit charcter. all the usual suspects.

flavor follows the nose closely, imparting heavy doses of the chocolate and roasted malt, with secondary notes of coffee, molasses, dark fruits, and a touch of vanilla. alcohol present, particularly in the finish. it's on the hot side - to be expected given the 12% ABV - but a delicious beer nonetheless. full, chewy mouthfeel coats the tongue; adequate carbonation.

overall this is an outstanding imperial stout. not without flaws, but very, very good... the prototype of a sipper.

(originally reviewed: 06-20-2011)

Photo of oregonskibum
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Poured a dark black with a thin tan head that quickly died down to a ring around the edge of the glass. The ring around the end stayed around for a while.

S: Deep rich chocolate flavors, molasses, toasted malts. Also a hint of dark cherry or maybe raisin. Lots going on. Perhaps a little spiciness in the background as well.

T: More rich sweet, chocolate dominates the taste with just a touch of roasted coffee in the background. Healthy malt backbone with only a touch of bitterness on the finish. Nice, although maybe a touch on the sweet side.

M: Big, smooth, rich, chewy. But not in a bad way. Very creamy with low carbonation. Perfect for style.

D: Wow, this was good. Could easily enjoy this one again. Very low alcohol presence for a 12% brew. Nice.

Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark as night, with a small but super creamy head that leaves very nice lacing. Looks delicious.

S - Smells quite a bit like coffee, the malts are really powerful in this one. Fruits such as dates, rasins, and figs dominate the nose as well. Also a hint of brown sugar.

T - Rich dark malts, chalky coffee and chocolate. Some of those aforementioned dark fruits and a hit of something savory like soy or roasted nuts.

M - Smooth and creamy. Medium body and leaves a pleasant coating of sweetness in the mouth.

D - Way, way too easy to drink for 12%. The lack of any additional kinds of gimmicks (flavoring, barrel aging) make this one of my favorite strong stouts.

Photo of stxSS07
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A- Pours opaque black with a rich brown 2 finger head. Darkest head I've encountered on a stout

S- Ridiculous. Chocolate, cherries, roasted malt, figs, dark fruit.

T- Bitterness and roastiness up front from the malt, dark chocolate and dark fruits follow up and fill the mouth with flavor. Alcohol burn on the end cleans the palate and gets you ready for the next sip.

M- This is the blueprint for a perfect RIS. Coats the mouth with a smooth blanket of flavor, but the carbonation comes along to clean it up. Fantastic.

O- Probably the best RIS I've had to date. Drinks amazing for a 12% beer. Will buy all I can get my hands on.

Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of grub! Day 2 of epic DrJay visit tasting.

Pours a deep, dark and opaque black, no light escapes, very thick brown head forms, drops a lot of lacing, settles down to a thick ring, looks like a RIS! Smell is great, tons of chocolate and fruit, toffee, coffee roast, very perfumy and floral hops, licorice, strawberries and cherries, dates, more roast and chocolate, awesome. Taste is great as well, chocolate, insane amount of roastiness, dry and chalky middle, toffee, some smoke, charred wood, burnt sugar, light bit of fruitiness, roasty bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down, but very smooth. Great imperial stout, very nice. Thanks Russ!

Photo of Duff27
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

A- Thin but there *very* dark mocha head on a black beer. Leaves some lacing, not much head retention.

S- Big coffee and chocolate whiffs, mmm.

T- More chocolate, not as much coffee. Above average hop presence per style. Almost a minty aftertaste thing going on from the boozy sweetness. Doesn't drink its 12%abv.

M- Thick mouthfeel but good carbonation.

D/O- Woo! A sure-fire winner here. No wonder why the BA faithful regard this as one of the best (relatively) mass-produced Russian imperial stouts. First Dark Horse beer I've had that's been well above average. Thanks MammothBrew!

Photo of brdc
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to hoppymeal for this one. Small capped bottle poured into a pint.

One shade below pitch black, it has a very thin dark cocoa head that does not hold, but leaves some lacing.
Aroma is very nice and well balanced, if not powerful. Roasted grains, coffee, chocolate, licorice, anise.
Body is this beer's major fault, although not a prominent one. This is just medium bodied, lacking that extra punch that qualifies the top RIS. Flavor is actually very pleasant, showing an impressive balance between the bitter roasted grains, unsweetened coffee and the sweet cocoa.
Balance like this is unusual; a bit more body would make this a spectacular beer.

Photo of keithmurray
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

Appearance - dark brown almost black body with dark tan head

Smell - dark chocolate, milk chocolate, fudge, roasted malt, black licorice

Taste - dark chocolate, fudge, roasted malts, roasted barley, milk chocolate, hint of black licorice

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, roassted flavors upfront, dark chocolate on the back end, long finish

Overall- fine Russian Imperial Stout that has some nice flavors, exhibits great balance would be a good beer to introduce a beer drinker to the style. Reccommended

Price Point - $11.99/4 pack 12 oz bottles

Photo of perrymarcus
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a jet black tone while yielding a short-lived 1/4" mocha-colored head; some lacing evident.

big wallop of chocolate leads the way in the nose, followed by notes of roasted malt, coffee, and a touch of dark fruit. all the usual suspects.

flavor follows the nose closely, imparting heavy doses of the chocolate and roasted malt, with secondary notes of coffee and dark fruits. alcohol present, particularly in the finish. it's on the hot side - to be expected given the 12% ABV - but a delicious beer nonetheless.

full, chewy mouthfeel coats the tongue; adequate carbonation.

overall this is an outstanding imperial stout. not without flaws, but very, very good... the prototype of a sipper.

Photo of shangwang
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

received this on a recommendation in a trade with stickman1220- thanks, Chris!

poured into a Guinness glass- no date on bottle.

I liked the looks of Plead the 5th from the start- this is one of my favorite styles of beer and the appearance was exactly what I had hoped- deep brown-black, virtually no head and what little there was in a deep reddish brown color, very little lacing, and tiny tiny bubbles that shimmered in the light. This brew gave off great smells- the sweetness of dark cherry and a boozy roasted malt scent. The taste was spot on as well- a pleasant sweet milk chocolate taste with hints of roasted malt, but not enough to give it any sort of coffee flavor. A good combination of sweet and bitter with nothing out of whack. The mouthfeel was a nice medium-heavy consistency with a smooth creaminess. It finished very smoothly with a sweetness that lingered a few seconds. Very drinkable for a heavy beer with a high ABV, although I was definitely feeling a little buzz after one, so I'm not sure how many of these I'd really want to mess with in one night.

Great job Dark Horse! Just about everything I love about this style could be found in this beer. Definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of ryantho00
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

This beer has one of the deepest dark black colors i've seen, it's purely opaque and leaves a nice tannish lacing around the glass as you drink. It has a brownish gold hue and sticks throughout. Very nice appearance.

I get deep coffee and chocolate aromas' from the beer and a small hint of caramel or some other sweet maltiness.

From the beginning I get a lot of smokiness and maltiness that gives way to a deep chocolate and coffee mocha taste that has a hint of alcohol; which is nicely masked well. I get a deep espresso aftertaste with chocolate and small alochol aftertasetes but nicely balanced into a beautiful stout. There is a hint of bitter hops throughout, but very slightly. This is simply awesome. Very good interpretation of the imperial stout, has a delicious taste entirely and fully with no overpowering aspect. Very well balanced, the 12% ABV is masked well, be careful, it's like a nice milkshake and ice cream blend with whipped cream on top!!!!

Great job, Cheers!!

Photo of Gatch
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pitch black with a short, medium brown head that fizzes up quickly and fades just as quickly. No lace or retention but huge legs.

S: Booze, raisins, molasses, dark chocolate, booze, roasted malt, coffee, booze, olive juice?

T: Big roasted malt, big booze, big chocolate & molasses. Smooth, sweet, and delicious. Although the booze can overwhelm the tongue at times.

M: Can be a bit cloying at the back with all that roasted malt and coffee. But the booze isn't too much and the flavors are great.

O: Everything a huge RIS should be. Finely crafted beer. A nice treat.

EDIT/Re-Review: enjoyed on-tap at Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale on 2/20/13. $8 for a 13oz. tulip. Not bad. This beer was better than I remember. Nothing that will blow your mind but it's a well-crafted, balanced, highly enjoyable RIS. The 12% ABV is barely noticeable and the rich flavors kept me craving a sip every few minutes. A very delicious sipper with all the great qualities of the style such as rich chocolate, dark fruits, woody/earthy flavors, and a hint of bitterness.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,475 ratings.