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

822 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 822
Hads: 3,496
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 551
Gots: 919 | 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: 822 | Hads: 3,496
Photo of TooGood
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a jet black with minimal head and slight lacing. Smells slightly boozy with hints of dark fruit. Tastes like a boozy chocolate fruitcake (awesome). Best thing about this beer is the feel, absolutely thick and rich. It was a pleasure to savor every drop. (263 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle

a very thick looking pour, black like motor oil, with 1/4" of dark brown head which quickly dissipated. a sweet mellow campfire-like scent comes off at first.. roasted marshmallows, chocolate, subtle smokiness.. smells very sweet and pleasant.
MMMM! up front this tastes like sweet pecans, then the subtle choco-mallow smore reminiscent taste, a hint of coffee, maybe some macadamia nut.. this is just fantastic. something so sweet yet so perfectly balanced by the roasted grain profile of the stout.

full body with a very creamy silky mouthfeel, low carbonation.

this is an excellent stout. lucky enough to get this via trading, had no idea it was already aged properly in the guy's cellar beforehand. it is just fantastic, and i can't imagine what the bb version is like. to compare this to something else, think central waters peruvian morning. (863 characters)

Photo of CooperEllis
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Weisguy who tucked this into a box that was already chock full of excellent brews.

12 oz into chalice-ish glass

Aside from the total lack of a head this is a perfect pour, nice color, despite no head decent rim lacing that is a bit sticky.

Straight roast malt armoa. Clean, crisp and very refreshing for such a dark beer.

Full taste, gone a bit quickly, not much to stick around, which is the only reason this wasn't a 5. spot on.

A bit light on mouth, and as noted above, it doesn't stick around particularly long. This may be the most refreshing RIS I've ever had, and for that I'm greatly enjoying it.

(120ish) (629 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet, inky black. Thin tan head holds for a couple minutes then fades to a thin ring, leaving a few spots of lace.

Nice roasty aroma. A bit of dark fruit, and some vinous notes. Some dark chocolate near the end. A whiff of alcohol.

A bit of sweetness up front. Roasty, maybe some espresso and bittersweet chocolate. Darker fruit is restrained. Alcohol shows some warmth at the end.

Full body. Lower carbonation. Nice and chewy. A very solid beer. (458 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle; Plead the 5th Imperial Stout. No date or ABV on the label.

Appearance: Pitch black with no head, just a thing ring of foam around the glass.

Smell: Vanilla and milk chocolate, fresh bread, almost doughnut-like. Great aroma.

Taste & mouthfeel: Gentle and sweet with roasted/burnt flavors taking a back seat to notes of caramel, vanilla, molasses and bread pudding. Thick and rich, dessert-like, with very little carbonation. Licorice in the finish with a milky sweet aftertaste.

Notes: This one reminded me a lot of Dark Lord. (543 characters)

Photo of kirkpjr
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: Pours an oily thick black color with minimal carbonation. A very thin ring of milk chocolate head develops and dissipates to the edges of the glass. Little to no lacing.

S: Sweet molasses, dark cherries, and chocolate. Actually reminds me of Dark Lord in the smell. Notes of vanilla, leather, and tobacco.

T: After the smell, I expected an onslaught of sweetness. To the contrary a nice strong bitterness upfront cuts the sweet flavors. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, leather, and tobacco. Wonderful mix of sweet and bitter, smoky flavors here.

M: Chewy, although not creamy. Thick and low carbonation. Fairly spot on for a RIS.

D: Rich and flavorful. The residual sweetness and thickness of this beer limits its drinkability. Outstanding beer and would love to get some more of this. (829 characters)

Photo of EricCioe
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours impenetrable black with a dark tan head with decent retention and good lace. On the nose there is bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, and a good deal of alcoholic heat. In the mouth there is a big chocolate note up front, a little sweeter than it seems on the nose, molasses as the big body slides down, with roasted malt and some bitter coffee on the back of the tongue as part of a long finish. There is a good deal of heat here, plenty enjoyable, but limiting the drinkability a little bit. Still, this is a good sipper and something I really enjoyed. The other two Dark Horse beers I've reviewed I didn't really like, but this one has given them a new lease on life for me. This isn't quite to the level of Founders Imperial Stout, but it's pretty close and I enjoy it a good deal.

EDIT - A year later and I've had this several times. Fresh, this is the best RIS from MI that I've had. Expedition is better after a year, but fresh this beats that and Founders. (973 characters)

Photo of Bonis
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Wow this is as close to black as they come. Half finger of dark mocha head settles to a ring.

S - Roasted chocolate malt, bitter dark chocolate, hints of coffee and booze. Some dark fruit makes its way in that adds a subtle sweetness.

T - Dark chocolate and dark fruits up front, with a bittersweet bite to end. Alcohol lingers, but in a sweet form of fruit and chocolate. This one is really tasty.

M - Big bodied and thick/chewy. Alcohol coats the mouth with each drink and is apparent on the way down. Everything I'd expect in a 12% RIS.

D - Doesn't drink like a 12%, so I'd say drinkability is good. Wouldn't want to have more than a couple in a night. Make this one a sipper. (687 characters)

Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Is this mislabeled?

Pours black with no head at all. I spent a few minutes trying to look through the glass to no avail. Smells mostly of chocolate, some roasted coffee. Taste is of sweet chocolate, slight hints of espresso, and some roasted bitterness. Coffee is really present in the aftertaste. I'm not a huge stout fan but this could definitely help change my mind. Silky smooth and pleasent mouthfeel with little to no carbonation. This is the fastest I've ever finished a 750ml in one sitting. (502 characters)

Photo of Jho3325
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night. It gave a thin mocha colored head that dissipated relatively quickly. The beer sticks to the glas as you drink it.

Smell is of coffee and chocolate with definite roasted qualities.

Taste has a hint of coffee and chocolate. As it warms the dark berry flavor takes over. Very sweet with almost a bubblegum type taste to it. However the sweetness is cubed by the roasted elements.

It has a thick mouthfeel with a slight burn on the way down. Even still the 11% alcohol is not overpowering.

This is a great RIS. I look forward to trying this with some age on it. Well done and I would recommend. (617 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Monger poured into a tulip - 12oz bottle reads "Plead the 5th".

A: Pours pitch black with a dense, but thin, mocha head that dissipates fairly quickly to a collar and leaves decent lacing on the way down.

S: The aroma has a surprising sweetness to it which balances the roasted character very well. There is dark chocolate and vanilla up front on top a roasted malt backbone. As it warms, the alcohol heat comes out just a bit with a little bit of coffee mixed in.

T: The taste brought the chocolate malts to the party in a big way. There's a big sweet blast of milk chocolate up front with the toasted malts and a hint of wood in the middle with some dark fruits as well. The finish is a slightly bittersweet chocolate flavor.

M: Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with minimal carbonation. Sticky and sweet.

D: This is my favorite of the stout series so far by a mile (only Tres to go). Great beer from Dark Horse and highly recommended. (963 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 5th and final installment of what should be called an epic series of stouts. And what a beer to end on.

A- Super black, Ive seen thicker and darker but this is close to the darkest. You can pour this baby as rough as you like and still will only get a small tan head that doesnt last very long. Im getting no lacing.

S- Nice smell. Very sweet and chocolatey. Behind the chocolate and roasted malts is a rubbing alcohol smell. There is a lot of dark fruits, brown sugar and vanilla.

T- Very smooth and creamy. This beer seems like it is more than just a simple RIS. You would think it has chocolate or vanilla or milk sugars added. I was shocked to see that the ABV was 12%. There is lots of vanilla, chocolate and dark fruits along with brown sugar and a milky sweetness.

M- Full bodied but not insanely thick. The carbonation is very low, especially towards the end of the glass. This is one creamy smooth beer.

D- The ABV is insanely hidden. This makes for a dangerous stout. It drinks like a cream stout and packs a punch like the big RIS that it is. I have not yet had all of this series but this is my favorite so far. (1,132 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to stevef03 for this bottle. I'm finally getting around to doing the Dark Horse One - 5th tonight.

A: Pours a beautiful motor oil opaque black. There is little to no head on this beer. There is just the tiniest of bubbles along the top of the beer. Minimal lacing as it drinks.

S: Smells of sweet chocolate malt, raisin, vanilla, and booze. Super stone fruits and alcohol. It smells delicious.

T: Spot on plum, chocolate, vanilla, and toffee. There is a big boozy sweetness in the finish as well. I get hints of brownie and caramel too. Great flavor, but just a tad sweet. I'm nit picking at this point.

M: This is a full boded beer that starts off sweet and smooth. The silky chocolate notes are evident from start to finish. The flavors envelop the palate. There is some serious cloing that occurs (really sticky and chewy), but it's feels fantastic.

O: This beer is damn delicious. It's a bit boozy at times, ans a bit sweet times, but it's fantastic. What an incredible beer. It's just right for the style. I'd drink this all the time if I could. (1,066 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark cocoa, roasty nose up front. Bready yeast aromatics in the background. Dark fruit esters and some warming alcohol notes flood the nose. Milk chocolate aromatics as the beer warms up.

Appearance: Deep brown pour with a tan sudsy head. Impressive lacing and a bit of legs as the beer is swirled.

Flavor: Dark chocolate and cocoa, espresso with cream, and roasted grain flavors all up front. Just a touch of dark carmel to provide the counterpoint to all the roasted goodness. Balance is firmly toward the bitter roasted flavors. Finish is bone dry.

Mouthfeel: Big, velvety, slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol but it's well knit with the flavor. Can definitely feel it coating the tongue.

Overall impression: Wow! Perfect sipper for this cloudy, cool spring day. I'll definitely be enjoying this again as long as we can get it in Ohio. Good stuff. (880 characters)

Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 7/29/11. Wonderful stout. This beer is big and rich without any of the off-notes that can accompany that. The beer pours wall-to-wall black with a thin mocha head. The aroma is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, caramel, nutty roast, creamy coffee, vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is smooth and very full. Taste is sweet but not cloying. There’s a mildly bitter finish with roast and some earthy hops. A bit of a tannic quality, wine-like. This is a real treat and an excellent beer. (513 characters)

Photo of Jimmys
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into tulip. no bottled on date, but I assume the most recent bottling.

A: super dark brown, just about as close to black without being black. head is dark brown and tight. reasonable retention, spotted lacing.

S: rich dark chocolate. decadent. smells like dessert in a glass. little wisps of alcohol. some heat with it. big time roast. smells inviting.

T: lots of roast, super meaty. tobacco. cedar. sweet without being too sweet. roasty without being too roasty. this thing is big, yet very balanced. well crafter.

M: a lot of velvet. smooth. super smooth.

D: wow, this is what a stout should be. and similar to another offering of Dark Horse's, bottle conditioning is a plus. not sure how this holds up over time, but really satisfied with drinking it fresh. well done. (794 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

Pours like motor oil, more so than any other stout I've poured. No head, no foam, no bubbles, just thick black viscous liquid. Then as it settles a small dark brown head forms then dissipates into a small rim a dark brown bubbles. Nose is very roasty and grainy, surprisingly no alcohol at all given it's 12%. Slightly sweet and as it warms there's a tinge of booze but hardly noticeable.

Mmm, mouthfeel is smooth, silky and creamy with very light carbonation, perfect for a RIS. it clings to your mouth and sticks around just long enough. Taste is great, not much for hops but a tiny bite of hop bitterness on the finish, mostly covered by the roasted barley/coffee bitterness. There's some great burnt notes here that linger and give you a really nice smooth taste. Super easy drinking and very satisfying. (857 characters)

Photo of dogfishandi
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

yet another huge thanks to mizzouguy for the awesome noob bif box!

12oz bottle a little above fridge temp poured into a snifter. cant make out freshness info.

pours out super opaque black, like old motor oil, one of the darkest of the style. small, creamy dark mocha brown colored head. faded to a retenive ring. bits of lace at times.

initially lots of fruity aromas, mostly dark fruits, rasisons. definatly some roast and cocoa there, but seems unusually fruity considering how complex the taste is. a little alcohol as it warms.

great well rounded taste. all kinds of dark fruits from start to finish, heavily roasted, burnt malts, some very nice dark chocolate/ cocoa notes, a bit of burnt coffee and maybe some anise. lots of bitterness from the roast. almost a bourbon like alcohol in the finish with a dark fruity cocoa flavor that lingers.

big and chewy, love it... carbonation feels about right for the style, slightly warming.

a top notch imperial stout, really fits the RIS style so well. the aroma didnt really seem to fit the rest of the beer, but still top notch. now i really cant wait to try the BA version... (1,134 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. No date on bottle.

Appearance: Very dark black and oily with no color coming through. One small finger of dark tan head quickly fades away with some tan foam hanging around the edges of the glass. Not much lacing seen.

Smell: Strong aroma of dark and milk chocolate with hints of coffee. Lots of sweet dark roasted malts and caramel. Some strong hints of dark fruits and vanilla. Some of the fruit has a bread like banana aroma which is quite interesting in a stout.

Taste: A solid mix of chocolate, coffee notes, vanilla, fruit, and burnt toasty malts giving a sweet and fairly bitter taste. One of the fruitier imperial stouts I've had although the sweetness is nicely kept in check. Light hints of molasses, syrup, and earthy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Heavy bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with no sign of the 12% alcohol.

Overall: A very good take on a Russian Imperial Stout. Good balance of flavors and the 12% abv is hidden really well. (1,036 characters)

Photo of Beezee
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Founders snifter at 38 degrees and then warmed up for a bit.

Appearance- Pitch black with a quarter inch head, great lacing

Smell -Roasted barley, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, dark fruit, maple and some booze.

Taste/Mouthfeel -Intense heavy roasted barley flavor but in balance with booze, cocoa and a bit of coffee. Very rich flavors. Carbonation is on the medium/heavy side and makes it very easy to drink quickly. Very slick, creamy and balanced. Not too sweet. Alcohol doesn't overpower at 12% but also adds a nice touch.

Overall -My first review! This beer and the rest of the Dark Horse stouts deserve more hype so I feel compelled to review. Excellent value at under 10 bucks a four pack. The bottle art is great -looks like outsider folk art. This RIS can stand with the best of them! (806 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Dark Horse. Listed ABV wsa 14%.

Served in an 8 oz snifter.

A - Pitch black with a small amoutn of light brown head.

S - A big chocolate aroma up front that compliemnt a robustr roasted malt profile. A big sweetness is present throughout and some molasses flavours in the background. Bittering is light. Extremely smooth for the ABV. The finish has a big roasty malt presence.

M - Med to full body. Silky and somewhat viscous.

O - A superb example of the style. Dangerously drinkable. (497 characters)

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 8-7-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass but let warm to room temp

A - Poured black with one finger foam, nice dark tan lacing ring at the top, can't see if there is any carbonation present

S - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate with hints of coffee and vanilla

T/M - Full bodied brew, dark roasted malts with a nice smooth finish, notes of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla very present

D - Very drinkable RIS got this as an extra from albgarza, big thanks! A great brew from Dark Horse, I have a couple of these so I will for sure enjoy this brew again. I highly recommend this brew (606 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to John for this bottle. Consumed out of my Capt. Lawrence LE tulip.

A- Pitch black, and thick. Pours with a thick chocolate colored head, but only about 1 finger. It sticks around for a few minutes.

S- Smells of sweet malt, chocolate, and coffee. I also get a touch of the hoppy/imperial smell as well, but it is not prominent. Reminds me of Zuhkov's.

T- Wow. A beautiful beer. The malt profile is nice and complex, and plays well into the hoppy aftertaste. The flavors are mostly chocolate and coffee. It starts out smooth and creamy, but finishes with a nice hoppy bite.

M- Very nice. While it looks really thick, it is not as viscous as some other beers of the style. The carbonation/body/and flavor all are very very nice.

O- I tried not to expect too much of this beer, and it really was a nice surprise. This is a great RIS, and I really don't have anything bad I can say about it. Can see why the Barrel aged version of this beer is so coveted.

-Gfunk (973 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a compeletely opaque black liquid that resembles a thick viscous motor oil. The head is a dark brown color, almost mocha like and very thick and creamy looking. The retention is ok and lingers for about a half a minute with a thick creamy lace covering the glass and falling a bit slower than the head itself

S-the nose is fair in strength and seems very sweet and slightly boozy. A hint of dark bitter chocolate and molasses tickles the nose lightly. Dark fruits of prunes and some lightly rum soaked raisins comes in at the back and is really the foundation for this aroma.

T-the taste is big and more balanced than the nose. The sweetness of prunes and raisin set in first. Lots of dark, slightly bitter chocolate has a good hold in the middle as the molasses adds a bit of complexity to the taste. The finish brings more of the same dark fruits with a hint of booze and a small hop balance with a light hop bitterness.

M-this has a nice full body and is extremely smooth and brings a nice creamy texture. Just enough carbonation to hold the body and give it a nice clean finish.

D-I love a big creamy stout and this lives up to that. It has hints of booze but nothing that really detracts from the overall great drink that this proves to be. The nose was a little sweet but the beer brought a great balance and complexity. (1,338 characters)

Photo of ferrari29
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a snifter at Jerry's

A - Beer pours with a black "lights out" colored body and chocolate shake head; one finger head; good lacing; held very well

S - Beer has a strong dark chocolate scent; espresso coffee beans; dark fruit, figs and dates; touch of vanilla; cocoa

T - Cigar, oak, chocolate, dark roasted coffee, vanilla; very nice dark fruit, figs; maple syrupy; some toffee notes; dark cocoa powder

M - Full body beer with a chewy consistency; dry finish; espresso and dark chocolate aftertaste - 4.0

D - Awesome; great dessert beer; good balance of roasted malt and dark fruit (594 characters)

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