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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
892 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
892
Ratings:
3,812
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
556
Gots:
1,037
For Trade:
114
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 892 | Ratings: 3,812
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse : Plead the 5th

Pours a dark oily black with a tan mocha head and some foam. Aroma full of roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa nibs and espresso. Well rounded roasted malt flavor, follows the nose with some cocoa and coffee flavors. Hop character is earthy and minimal. Alcohol well hidden. Overall, I really liked this stout, drank very easily for its size. Recommended.

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Photo of Dan3279
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been looking forward to this beer for a while now and I really shouldn't have waited as long as I have to drink this great beer. I poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter glass to find a body that was black as night with a light chocolate colored head that left no lacing. The aroma was exactly what I expected it to be, with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and hints of vanilla and alcohol.

The taste was outstanding, with the chocolate hitting you first and them some bitterness, there are also some great hints of malt and vanilla. From start to finish this is a great tasting beer and you don't even notice the alcohol even though you do notice it in the aroma.

This is a full bodied beer that is some what chewy but at the same time has a small bit of creaminess and a nice balance of carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic RIS, one thing that I love about this beer is that I can walk into the store anytime I want it, pick up a bottle and not have to worry about aging it first. I am defiantly going to be drinking this one on a regular basis.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into DFH signature glass. I think I purchased this at Pinocchio's a while back. No bottle date and or ABV listed.

A: Pours an absolutely black as night pour. It's pretty darn thick too. Barely any head, just a little dark tan ring around the edges and a few swirls. On the swirl, you get nice thin boozy sheets of that dark tan. Some sticky lacing on the glass.

S: You smelled this one as soon as you popped it. Ok, gotta be honest that I get booze first. But below that is deep dark chocolate notes. Really roasted malt character. Maybe a touch of coffee. And actually a hint of dark fruit sweetness maybe? It smells big.

T: This is really delicious. So right at the tip of the tongue you get some dark chocolate bitterness. It smooths in the middle of the mouth. You do get some dark roast coffee there. It's really nice to match the chocolate. And the a silky finish almost. The booze is well hidden in the sip for sure, but you do get some warming in the throat after a few moments. Pleasant actually.

M: Full bodied with chewiness. Coats the mouth.

O: The is for sure a solid A for me. Bordering on A+. Really nice balance. Not one note overpowers. A great blend.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black and opaque. About a half finger of mocha foam that settles into a thin cap. dark chocolate and light cherry hits the nose first, the roasted malt character isn't overpowering and marries nicely with the beer. moderate sweetness in the taste, with the roasted malt again not overpoweringly bitter. a touch of dark fruit with dark chocolate and roasted coffee. medium full mouthfeel and a sweet finish.

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Photo of Billolick
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle - 2014 version

Pours near black, lasting dark mocha head

Black coffee and chocolate all over the nose

More of the same as this crusher flows over the palate. Waves of dark chocolate and coffee. Dense and flavorful. I'd like to dry it with a chocolate dessert. World class night capper

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Photo of GilGarp
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up when I was in Ohio a few years ago. Likely a 2010 bottle.

Seved slightly chilled in a goblet. Plead the 5th is nearly black in color and only the slightest bit of light passes through the edges. Viscous appearance with basically no head.

Aroma is richand roasty with wonderful chocolate notes.

Flavor is rich and robust with dark roasted malts and bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and low in carbonation. Alcohol is present but subdued probably because of the age.

Overall an excellent imperial stout but hard to get in these parts. Maybe worth bringing home again in the future.

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Photo of Roguer
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thin tan head quickly fading; nice dark brown, almost black brew.

Fantastic and strong aroma. Roasted barley, chocolate, oak, vanilla, cream, and booze. Smells barrel aged.

Flavor is all of the above, plus oats, bananas, and nuts. The roasted malt is delicate; a symphony of big stout flavors acting in delicious harmony.

Thick and creamy, almost chewy.

Delicious stout, right up there with Ten-FIDY and Founders Imperial Stout.

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Photo of slusk
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours black with a long standing brown head.

S: Dark fruit, currants, mild chocolate, black bread, burnt caramel, gingerbread, Some black coffee, Musty undercurrent.

T: Black coffee, dark chocolate followed by black currant. Musty, smokey, starts out sweet but slowly transforms into a nice dry, bitter finish. Warming alcohol.

F: Full bodied, velvety mouthfeel. Low carbonation. A little acidic, a little astringency, very little. Doesn't detract.

O: A very complex and flavorful brew. The flavor profile transforms many times as you taste and as it warms. A phenomenal Russian imp. stout. Definitely a sipping beer.

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Photo of Damian
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank on-tap at Saloon, Somerville, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured completely pitch black. Super oily, shimmery and viscous in the glass. No visible head. Spotty, mocha color bubbles dotted the liquid and eventually formed a lasting halo.

The aroma was fantastic. Rich, sweet and robust. Boatloads of roasted and caramel malts. Strong brown sugar notes. Some vanilla. Lots of dark fruit goodness. Raisins and prunes came through strongest. Hints of molasses. Touch of licorice. Even though this beer was not barrel aged, I swear I picked up some bourbon notes as well.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but perhaps darker and roastier. Caramel and roasted malts appeared up front. French press coffee and dark fruit notes came through strong in the center. Lots of brown sugar-like sweetness. The finish was roasty and slightly bitter with some alcohol heat. At 11% ABV, however, the alcohol seemed quite restrained.

Super rich, creamy and slick on the palate. The beer was thick and viscous and contained a finely beaded, moderate effervescence.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout is an extremely well crafted beer that fires on all cylinders. I cannot wait to try the bourbon barrel aged version of this.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of number1bum
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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!

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Photo of Masonz223
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: pours a pitch black with a nice one finger tan brown head
Smell: dark fruits sweet milk chocolate dark chocolate some booze.
Taste: milk chocolate upfront middle of the mouth black berries dark chocolate finishes with some roasted bitterness dark chocolate and some alchool warmth to balance it all out.
Feel: nice full body a little carbonation slick dry mouth feel.
Overall: this bottle has 6 months of age on it and it's a lot more balanced then when I had it fresh. This short amount of aging is what this beer needed. More balanced booziness is just right evens the beer out. Really really good.

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Photo of KillerJigger
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark liquid with a brown head that laces my glass. Sweet with a touch of bitterness still present. Touch of burning alcohol as swallowed. Helps to balance the sweetness actually. Great beer. Great job brewers!

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Photo of farrago
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of joe1510
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle
$11.99
Four Seasons Liquors

Plead the 5th glugs from the bottle pouring like 10w30. It's black. No light passes through whatsoever and as a matter of fact, I think it actually swallows light. The foam is easy to conjure and grows to a couple fingers in height. the head is dark beige, so dark in fact that it seems to sport a nearly purple hue. The foam eventually settles to a thin cap while leaving respectable velvety lacing down the sides of the glass.

The nose is packed full of rich stoutiness. Big and bold. The roast is on the heavy side of the spectrum with a touch of char. Walnut pith and black coffee are bold through the middle. Macadamia nuttiness adds both character and brightness. There's a noticeable alcohol presence but it's clean and appetizing in the form of a blackberry brandy. Dark berries play a nice role along with cocoa powder that verges on slightly bitter. This beer is a monster.

As in your face as the nose happened to be, the flavor profile comes along with even more precise, hit you in the mouth, interpretations of each aspect I mentioned above. The roast, again is on the heavier side with the slight char but that whole aspect sort of cradles the rest. Dark berries soaked in a neutral spirit kick it off. It's spicy and rich. Straight cocoa powder adds a touch of bitterness and molten brownies bring along a huge dark chocolate character. Black dark roast adds character and there's a touch of earthiness as well. Whew! This guy is slam packed!

The body is amazingly easy to handle for the immense size. Weighing in at 11% the body somehow manages to sit between moderate and heavy. It doesn't reach that viscous quality like you'd expect which helps and hurts. The drinkability is higher but the luxuriousness falls. The roast leaves behind a dry finish with a good amount of bitterness, and I can get behind that with such a hefty libation. The whole thing works.

This beer has been a favorite of mine for years now. With that said, I haven't drank a bottle in a long time. Revisiting opens my eyes up to its greatness again. This beer is not to be trifled with. It's big, bold, and mean. Old school in nature and it won't take no shit.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of lunarbrew
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of bwiechmann
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of levifunk
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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

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Photo of BostonHops
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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)

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 892 ratings.