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
96
world-class

3,477 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,477
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 553
Gots: 909 | 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: 3,477 | Reviews: 839
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice jet black with a nice brown cap. Sexy!

S: Deep deep coffee nose, roasted malts, booze and some cocoa

T: Wow. Chocolate, coffee, minimal dark fruits with a sharp booze tinge and big roastiness

M: Big, thick and hearty

O: Outstanding!

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Corsedonk snifter. Pours a thick black color, wow...a lot thicker than I expected. This is definitely a RIS! Small light brown head, dissipates pretty quick. Fizzy quick sliding lacing lines the glass after each sip.

Aroma is huge with booze, burnt coffee, and chocolate. A slight overripe fruit resemblance as well. Smells great! The warmer it gets, the stronger the fruit smell gets.

Wow! Great taste. Huge chewy/thick mouthfeel. Full bodied, warm booze, low carbonation, THICK chocolate taste! Lot's of chocolate, burnt coffee, dark fruit sweetness, and a heck of a lot of booze! This is indeed a very good RIS!

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

Thanks to ruizjoeseph for this as an extra!

Appearance:
Holy darkness, this is a thick, black imperial stout with a razor thin tan head. There is very little carbonation and the lacing came and went as fast as the head did.

Smell:
Intense, rich chocolate and a biting alcohol. What a big beer!

Taste:
This beer rivals a FBS with it's richness and chocolatiness. The alcohol blends perfectly with an incredibly potent stout. I can't believe how this would be barrel aged.

Mouthfeel:
Thick as it appears and tastes, the amount of carbonation is perfect and the alcohol is almost completely hidden. It's an absolutely phenomenal imperial stout and I have no complaints.

Overall:
What else can I say, this beer was outstanding and highly recommended.

Photo of dukedevil0
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single 12oz bottle from Famous Wines in Lombard, IL. Thanks to the beer guy there for putting this in the system at my request because they weren't selling singles of it at the time!

A: Pours a super DARK BLACK, almost as black as can be, with a very nice chocolate shake colored finger and a half of head that reduces down to a nice layer of bubbles. Leaves a nice little bit of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells very nice, the usual chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt notes...slight bit of dark cherries and dark berries when i search for them...

T: Tastes great, with lots of both milk and bitter chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee flavor to a lesser extent (more so in the finish and aftertaste), extremely subtle alcohol flavor in there

M: One of the more creamy RIS I've had. It just feels dense and heavy. Very smooth, small bubble carbonation.

D: It's a sipper, especially because it's so heavy, but the flavor is great, the alcohol tinge is minor enough that i don't think it really affects drinkability,

Photo of rhinos00
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a midnight black color. Zero visibility. Almost like oil in a glass. Virtually no head, a thin cocoa ring formed for a short while.

S- Wow, so different than most RIS I have smelled. Dark fruit offers a pleasant sweetness. This is masked by hefty malt aromas along with molasses and dark chocolate.

T- Just like the aroma, but way more vibrant and pronounced. The fruit aroma is amplified here, but not overdone. Also getting slightly roasted coffee beans, molasses, and dark chocolate. The lightly done sweetness is the wild card here. Well done.

M- Interesting as hell. Looked thick and gelatinous, yet was not overly viscous and cloying.

D- Very drinkable. I could easily have a couple pints of this.

Overall, didn't have high expectations, but this sort of blew me away. Probably one of the better, unique tasting RIS I have ever had. It had lot of added dimensions that most beers in this style don't have, yet managed to be restrained at the same time.

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

On tap a few nights ago at Green St Grill in Cambridge. Served in an 8oz snifter for $7.50. Dark brown color. Thin white head perched atop the glass. Dark chocolate and figs in the aroma. Taste was pretty amazing. Coffee, cocoa, and chocolate covered cherries were all up front on the palate, then the smooth malt coats your throat the end. Very surprised when bartender said it was 12%; very mild alcohol character. This beer was quite good, and it was a perfect dessert beer. Just wish I had a bigger glass.

Photo of Augustiner719
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a very black, motor oil like color with a small 1 finger dark brown head that recedes quickly but leaves lacing down the glass. There is a big chocolate mousse aroma with some espresso like characters and a touch of vanilla. Big. The flavor has a big chocolate, malty and espresso body to it. Very well hidden 12 percent abv and a great undertone of vanilla coming on the finish. Smooth drinking with a Graham cracker breadiness to it. Mouthfeel is slick and viscous, perfect with a cheesecake. Overall this is a very drinkable high abv bottle of beer. Great beer!

Photo of tectactoe
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark as fuck and thick as shit - is that an accurate description of the appearance? It looks like molasses as it dribbles out of the bottle, pouring will nearly no sound as it collapses into the glass. No head forms at first, even with a direct pour down the middle, until moments after I'm finished pouring and a dark tan film rises from nowhere and puts a skin on the brew.

Aroma comes through full-force with insanely deep roasted coffee; charred espresso and dark, bitter cocoa beans. This is a heavy hitter, alright, and the nose doesn't hold anything back. There is a creaminess to it, carrying over a very light sweetness. But make no mistake - if the initial aroma is any indication, the sheer roasted bitterness of this brew will tower over all else. Some more dark fudge aromas open up as the beer warms, but it remains a deep, black, and bitter type of fudge, still laying low on the sweetness. Surprisingly low alcohol character for being 11-12% ABV, but there is a noticeable warmth to back everything up.

The taste, shockingly enough, opens up with a very light, licorice-like sweetness before converging into the roasted carnage. Bitter-ass roasted coffee beans, and huge charcoal notes take over like none other. This beefy stout plays off of a heavy hop character as well, something else I really enjoy; leafy, ashy, herbal, and spicy. The bitterness from the hops and the bitterness from the roast combine to form a super bitterness that may even be stronger than all of the sweetness from the malt.

Light chocolates and sinister dark fruits play the counterbalancing sweetness role, although they don't stand a chance again the roasted bomb. There is a heavy fade of char, roast, burnt coffee, and nuttiness going into the aftertaste. Overall, the alcohol warms up a bit and gives this baby a fuckin' huge backbone - very robust; it demands that it be sipped slowly rather than slammed in a few seconds. This beer is big.... no, HUGE, on the palate, and creamy all the way through. Super low carbonation, but it almost works, here.

Seriously a badass stout; orgasmically powerful roast from nearly start to finish with a heavy and hard-hitting bitterness through and through. I love stouts like this. For the high ABV, it drinks pretty well. I'm biased towards bitter stouts, so this one was right in my wheelhouse. Simply delicious.

Photo of joeseppy
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Could only score one bottle on the latest release. Motor oil thick pour. Large brandy snifter resembles a rare black pearl held neatly in my hands. As I swirl the glass, the lacing clings in sticky fashion after the wake.

Smell of chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Some roastiness and burnt malt.

Tastes like it smells. Charred oak comes first followed by dark cocoa. Some bitterness. As it warms up, more dark fruit complexity.

Thick and oily feel. My glass was stained a sticky mahogany hue.

Was it worth to search out to just obtain one bottle--no. If you missed out on this release just relax. Measures well with Expedition, Founders RIS, Ten-fidy...etc.. Great company but doesn't stand apart. Even the price point was high, $5, which is also part of the store markup I'm sure. For the right price I will buy more, but I refuse to chase down!

Photo of tastybeer
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A good looking beer....Totally opaque, deep brown color, modest light brown head, and nice lace. Aroma is an easy going mix of dark chocolate, cocoa, dark berries, plums, vanilla bean, and perhaps a hint of smoke. Deep and smooth aromas... Taste is very chocolatey with some caramel, creamy vanilla, and lactose sweetness. Slight piney bitterness works its way through. Very yummy; dessert in a glass. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth, coating, and almost silky. Overall an excellent Russian Imperial Stout. Chocolate chocolate chocolate.

Photo of facundoCNB
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of CooperEllis
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of kirkpjr
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of EricCioe
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of Bonis
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of Jho3325
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of mattcrill
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of Jimmys
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,477 ratings.