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

3,479 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,479
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: 3,479 | Reviews: 839
Photo of dcmchew
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Pitch black, dark mocha head, small and brief, but there's nice lacing afterwards.
Big chocolate aroma, sweet and dark at the same time, plus vanilla and rich roasted malts. Lots of caramel, coffee too, but light and sweetened, faint woody notes. Not overly complex, but quite intense.
Tho i couldn't get any alcohol on the nose, the 11% shows up in the taste right from the start. This amplifies a nice dark fruity flavor, with sweet dry fig, raisin and some faint blueberry. Dark chocolate, with the sweetness mostly provided by caramel and molasses, some licorice, a bit of vanilla. Gets more bitter with some heavily roasted grains, some espresso and a leafy hop undertone, finishing quite nice, quite dry from the booze and the bitterness.
Medium to light body, oily, low carbonated, smooth. Rich aftertaste with roast, dark chocolate, alcohol, faint charred wood and some leafy American hop.
Easy to drink although the alcohol is a bit present, tasty, felt somewhere between the Russian and the American Imp Stout varieties for me. Doesn't really matter, really good stuff.

Photo of JohnnyMc
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I had heard a lot about this beer, but I'm so glad I finally got to try it.

It pours a pitch black with a half finger mocha/brown head.

The aroma is full of coffee, dark fruit, chocolate and toffee notes.

This tastes very much the same as the aroma. There is some coffee, a lot of bitter dark chocolate, some dark fruit and a hint of bourbon. Very tasty. Despite the full flavor this is light bodied and hides the alcohol almost too well. The moutfeel is rich, creamy and full.

I'm very impressed with this and hope to have it again.

Photo of KYGunner
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amongst the most gorgeous beers I've ever seen this stout poured black, thick and beautiful with an intense creamy head. The creamy foam laced in a sheet along the glass.

The scent is of soft chocolate, touches of espresso and a bit of bready malt. The aroma is nice but subtle.

The taste is of strong chocolate malts, espresso, vanilla, graham cracker and dry roasted coffee. So smooth, so creamy the taste and feel are a single unit. Very light on the stomach and exceptionally easy to drink for 11 percent ABV. My only complaint is the it dries the palate but other than that this is a phenomenal beer.

Photo of BrewUSA
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Plead the 5th

Look 9/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 38/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 91/100

Photo of Spider889
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this single at From the Vine. Live review.

I really want to ding this beer on appearance for the horrid label. The lack of other pertinent info such as bottle date, abv, or IBU also is a little annoying.

That said, the beer itself is wonderful. It's about as thick a beer as I have ever seen. Jet black and ropey coming out of the bottle. At first I feared there'd be no head on it, but with some effort I pulled out a two-finger tall head, the color of a dark double shot of espresso. The head was very thick and gooey, and I really think oats or some other body-aid is used in this beer. Finally there's a pretty awesome blanket of lace that started before I even took my first sip.

The nose begins with the sweet notes of strong alcohol. It's not overpowering at all though. Dark fruit aromas of raisin and date mingle with the malt. Roasted but not burnt like some stouts can be. Milk coffee also makes up a very enjoyable portion of the aroma.

This is surely an exceptional Imperial Stout. Thick layers of coffee, bitter chocolate, and toasted bread crust layer themselves quite nicely. The 12% abv isn't nearly as noticeable as you'd imagine. Plead the 5th finishes with a very mild sweetness and some fruity alcohol.

The mouthfeel has the illusion of dryness, but I have determined that this is mostly a trick on the mind, as the bitter hops and ashy roasted barley flavors create a dry, gritty flavor. The mouthfeel itself is rather smooth, creamy, and sticky. The beer is strong, but not overly boozy, though I imagine that I'll be feeling the effects of this bottle for the next hour or so. Carbonation is about medium for such a big stout, and the body is as full as you're going to get.

Overall a wonderful beer, definitely the best Dark Horse offering I have had to date. I can only imagine how amazing the barrel aged version of this is.

Photo of tbdkev
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decided to grab this brew in celebration of the Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory!

A: Pours a dark, motor oil brown with a tan head that fades quickly. Thick, as expected.

A: The nose is divided between sweet and dark chocolate malts and coffee.

T: The sweeter milk chocolate notes (lactose) surface immediately and gradually fade to a wonderful dark chocolate/coffee finish. There is an underlying fruit character as well--perhaps raisins. The combination of flavors yields some char character, and oak qualities as well.

M: Milky and somewhat chewy, with mild, fine carbonation that fits the profile well.

O: IPt5 fulfills the criteria for a stout experience, but it provides a complex enough experience to separate from most of the pack. Definitely worth the purchase.

Photo of claytong
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

no clue on the age.

thanks doodler. all your extras ive opened have been amazing

appearance - black, viscous. dark mocha head dissipates slowling into thick lacing. i see a butt where my lips once were.

smell - is light...im surprised once i take a sip. alcohol warmth, brown sugar, dark malts and coffee. maple syrup comes as it warms up. nice

taste - beautiful rich coffee, lovely dark malts, caramel, bitter roasted malts, minor maple syrup as it warms. beautiful

mouthfeel/overall - smooth, medium to thick bodied (could use a bit of thickening) and good carbonation. i cannot ask for more out of an imperial stout (besides being thicker). a great body. i wish so bad i knew the age on this one, cause this is damn near perfect for an imp stout.

Photo of Stevedore
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Bell's tulip and consumed yesterday, 3/10/13 and going off of notes from previous consumption from approx. 1 month ago.

Aroma: Smells great, got a ton of chocolate malt and coffee notes. Roast character typical of big stouts also jump out here. Very pleasing and pungent nose. (4.25)

Colour: Pours thick jet black, really viscous. Not a ton of light gets through when I illuminate. Poured aggressively with a thick, 2cm brown head that dissipates in less than 30 seconds. Laces are thick but don't stick for long. I can recognize that its definitely a RIS for sure. (4)

Flavour: Really, really, really nice. Perfect winter sipper. Strong chocolate and roasted malt giving me cocoa, caramel, and a hint of espresso. Very much full of flavour. Gives off quite a bit of heat as it warms up which can be nice depending on when it's being quaffed. This time, it's perfect for a wet Wisconsin winter evening. (4.5)

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied, one of the thicker stouts I've had- it feels like pure motor oil. Well done Dark Horse. Also, carbonation is solid for the style and it leaves a smooth, resinous mouthfeel as I swish it around and swallow. I really like the feel of this beer a lot. (5)

Overall: Well done Dark Horse. I love the combination of the flavours and the mouthfeel. It really puts the malts out up front, and its still hoppy enough to balance it out while the entire combination goes down smoothly. The appearance and smell take second fiddle to the flavour and mouthfeel for sure. I'd like to try the BBPt5 just to see how much the mouthfeel improves! But in those departments I don't see much room for improvement- it's that good. I want to call this my RIS for the really dark, cold nights while Founders RIS is more of whenever I feel like a RIS. (4.25)

Photo of merlin48
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of Plead The 5th, pours a dark and opaque body with a small light brown head that leaves some spotty lacing. Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, coffee, and some dried dark fruits. Full bodied and creamy mouthfeel with a lower than medium carbonation. Taste is complex. Chocolate, strong roasted coffee beans, molasses, caramel, vanilla, leather, anise, and cherry skins. Alcohol is very well concealed but for some mild warmth. Excellent and very well put together. This one belongs in the top tier of American impy stouts.

Photo of drtth
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a nice black stout color with a ¼" dark brown head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring of foam and a very thin layer of patchy foam on the surface. Sipping leaves some sparse leggy lacing that turns into speckles of foam on the glass. Later in the beer the ring of foam and speckled patterns of lacing from sipping persist.

Smell: Even from a distance the rich dark chocolate aroma fills the air. The chocolate blends nicely with some lightly sweet vanilla, a trace of licorice and some hints of dark toffee. There isn't a hint of alcohol.

Taste: As expected from the nose the flavors begin with some sweet roasted malt flavors of things like dark chocolate, molasses, dark toffee and vanilla. But about midway through the roasted bitterness puts in an appearance without dominating everything else. There is no real hop bitterness in this so I suspect it has long ago faded away. Any alcohol is well concealed here or shows itself only in the early sweetness and in the effects it produces.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is full bodied and silky smooth with some soft persistent, but very light carbonation, especially at the end of the beer. The finish begins with vanilla and sweetness, changes into to dark chocolate and then roasted bitterness. The bitterness slowly fades leaving a light dryness and soft finish of dark roasted malt bitterness.

Drinkability: Although a one a night beer with its 12% ABV, its definitely a wonderful Imperial stout for sipping before the fire while listening to music and/or reading. One of the things I particularly like about this beer is that the flavors changed nicely so that it is not really the same set of flavors that dominate throughout. I'll definitely have this one again, and again now that its available in PA.

Photo of --Dom--
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I don't feel like following a format today so: This beer is awesome. Pours with a short dark brown head. Not quite as thick as a yeti or ten fidy. Mouthfeel is spot on, creamy with medium carbonation. Everything is balanced, none of the flavors are too much. Slight alcohol heat but not a predominate taste. Dark chocolates with just a hint of burnt coffee. Amazing stuff, get some if you can.

Photo of Docrock
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

served on-tap at Dark Horse in a snifter:

A - Almost a pitch black body with a half an inch head of dirty brown color. Head disappear very quickly, minimal lacing but nice legs

S - Chocolate and roasted malt, a bit of molasses.

T - Bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, some vanilla. Starts very sweet and finishes with a dry chocolate finish

M - Moderate to low carbonation. Very warming, creamy and silky. Medium to full body, chewy and heavy, but not too thick. Alcohol is hidden extremely well. You don't notice it until you near the bottom of the glass. minimal aftertaste.

O = Extremely pleasant beer, very drinkable, much smoother as it warmed in the glass.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, but no date on the label, or any indication of the 12% abv strength.

pours black as used motor oil, with very dark tan head. but the head fades fast to a thin collar. aroma expands and intensifies as it warms - roasted coffee, cocoa power, booze.

taste is rich and bold. bitter dark chocolate, caramel, a little alcohol. lingering charcoal smokiness. definitely a sipper. thick, full body. coats the mouth, but enough carbonation.

overall - I really like, very good RIS.

Photo of ms11781
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 06/13/2011. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a medium thick, solid black color. A one and half finger, dark brown head develops, turns tan rather quickly and settles as a soap-like foam ring around the glass. Slight wispy lacing is left on the glass.

Excellent nose. Huge dark fruit aromas from the beginning. Some nice roasted notes as well as some dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. There is a bit of alcohol as well. Straightforward aromas but they stand blend together well and make for a great nose overall.

Taste is similar to the nose. Some bitterness from the roasted malt plays a huge part, as do the dark fruit notes. Dark, bitter chocolate, some sweet chocolate and a touch of coffee are here too. No detection of the alcohol that was in the nose. As with the nose, the flavors play off each other really well.

Huge, thick mouthfeel. Carbonation, while not high in general, may be a bit high relative to style and the size of the beer. Creamy, thick and viscous. Very smooth.

This is an excellent beer. I find the carbonation a bit odd, it's seems higher than it should be, but that seems contradictory considering the beer is silky smooth. Either way, it doesn't detract from the beer too much. Can't wait to see what age does to this one.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good Russian Imperial Stout that somehow keeps me wanting more. Maybe it's because Plead has a balanced and mellow take on the style (Similar to Blackout) or becuase the gravities aren't quite insane as I expected. It's kinda like a big Oatmeal Stout with the creamy texture, slickness, and weight. Lightly carbonated, the beer falls still fairly quickly and doesn't lift off of the tongue the way I like. A balanced roastiness never prefers the char or the toffee malts. Milk flavors and sweetness round out the herbal hops, sharp roasted grains, and alcohols. Still, the coffee, chocolate, anise, blackberries, plubs, grapes and dates are bold and varying and have come together very well. Nice disguise of the abv. With all the compliments, I still want more...

Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/22/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a small dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible imperial stout! All around fantastic complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An absolutely amazing offering.

Photo of greshdoghophead
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Seemingly less sweet than previous versions. ABV masked well.

Photo of AshleyMiller
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to stx00lax for this extra in an awesome trade. poured into my old guardian snifter.

a-jet black. like a black hole i guess. thin mocha head that dissipates quickly.

s-awesome. lots of chocolatey, coffee, mocha-y goodness

t-rich thick stout, lots of malt, boozy backbone that lingers, but it's a malty booziness that's quite enjoyable, but the initial taste hides the 12% alcohol pretty well. there's a very subtle hoppy bitterness in it too.

m-very full and delightful, not a lot of carbonation, but enough for a stout.

o-quite good. one of the better non-barrel-aged stouts that i have had. i am really enjoying drinking and am excited for the second bottle surlytwinsfan sent me. thanks guys!

Photo of JohnG190
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as pitch with a quickly dissipating dark brown head. Lots of lacing. Aromas of chocolate, burnt sugar, coffee, and dark roasted grain. Flavor follows the aroma with chocolate and roasted grain dominating. Finishes dry with a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. Full bodied with very little carbonation, this is a very smooth Imperial Stout. Overall, a very well crafted beer that goes down surprisingly easy in spite of the 11% ABV.

Photo of DoctorDog
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- Deep and dark...essentially black and opaque. Pours with just a thin cap of dark brown head, which recedes to a thin ring and a few bubbles almost instantly.

S- Dark, roasty, earthy, coffee is the driving force here. Chocolate infused malt sweetness tries to sneak past the coffee as it warms.

T- Roasty, earthy, acrid coffee bitterness. Dark fruit sweetness...smoky notes....burnt caramel...chocolate....a light booziness on the finish. Good stuff...

M- Moderately low carbonation, with a fairly full feel.

O- Good. All the complexity of a well put together 12% beer without being beaten over the head with booziness.

Future outlook: I am duly impressed. Some of these will be socked away in the cellar for future consumption.

Photo of THECPJ
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: oatmeal, roast, cinnamon / nutmeg,

taste: oatmeal, roast, alcohol,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body,

overall: this beer was really good. very nice blend of flavors. wish I had access to more of this beer.

Cheers,
The CPJ

Photo of oberon
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unbelievably this is the first time I have had this beer...crazy.Pours jet black like an oil slich with a thinner beige head atop,like thick crude.Chocolate and black licorice in the nose along roast and sweet alcohol.Heavy roast and earthiness intertwined with alcohol dipped dark druit and deep molasses sweetness with that black licorice coming into play as well,whoo this big and complex.Big and chewey this is a sipper that Iam drinking at 6:00,it could be an early bedtime tonigh because I have three more to drink.

Photo of Kassi
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Both the bourbon and rum flavors come through.

Photo of Beerandboards
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received in a trade with brees. Not sure on vintage but looks to be a couple years, judging by looks of the label.

A - pours inky thick black. Very little head, but expected.

S - lots of chocolate, dark and milk varieties, little bit of roasty/coffee type notes. Some darker ripe fruits.

T - leads with the dark fruit and almost a black licorice type note. Coffee and chocolate back this up. Mild sweetness. But loads of complex dark fruit/licorice is the main element.

M - thicker, low carb. Could have used a tad more carbonation to liven up the flavors a bit. But quite good.

O - my best comparison would be a better version of TenFidy. The flavor profiles are similar and I think Pt5 is a little more refined. Overall an outstanding stout. I prefer a little more coffee and chocolate in my stouts, so the only demerit from anything higher is based purely on personal preference.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark Horse Plead, bottle bought at Nejaime's in Lenox, Massachusetts, as part of a 4-pack. Who knew you can find Dark Horse in New England??

Appearance: Oily and thick like Gaddafi's reserves before the Allies' strike. Only Marshall Zhukov comes close to being this thick. Whatever head is there comes and goes like a quickie, and only a coffee-colored rim remains around the glass. This is one thicj, black muthafuckin' Imperial Stout!

Smell: Roasty-toasty, lotta coffee, a bit of soil and gasoline. Umami and war!

Taste: Country ham, smoky bacon (rauchbier), coal, raw coffee beans. Complex and beautiful. Molasses, brown sugar. Floral, hoppy finish. Chimney. Small town in the Midwest and/or New England.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, leathery, rich. Chewable! Great carbonation, full body, bitter dry finish that lingers.

Overall: This is probably my favorite Imperial Stout "in a bottle from the shelf" (not counting barrel-aged and specials). First time I had it on tap at Radio Maria in Champaign, I thought I would faint. Gorgeous all around, and drinkable too, despite the ABV and huge body!

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,479 ratings.