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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

830 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 830
Hads: 3,526
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.86%
Wants: 549
Gots: 928 | FT: 109
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 830 | Hads: 3,526
Photo of rdipper
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pleasant surprise! Got this as an extra in a trade. Jet black pour with a nice brown, reddish foamy head. Excellent example of a non BA stout. I'll be seeking this out in the future! (190 characters)

Photo of TheBear11D
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

Pours black and looks pretty thick despite its high ABV. Has a small dark chocolate brown head that leaves behind decent but not impressive lacing.

Great nose. The roasted malts are first to tickle the nostrils, but the amount of alcohol cannot be hidden. Also has a smokey smell with chocolate.

Wonderful flavor! Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the taste. The alcohol is well hidden at first but it lasts well into the aftertaste.

Thick and creamy with very mild carbonation. The body compliments the flavor.

Well worth having! I continue to be impressed with Dark Horse. (594 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Older bottle (old white and gray/black label). from trade with jrgratz. Thanks ya! Pours thick jet black with dark brown small head. Big roasty aroma balanced by some dark fruit and anise. Big furry mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. Big bittersweet chocolate taste, roasty malt, sweet molasses. Really awesome and like this better than the fresh BA version I had. Lingering cocoa on the palate. Big stout on the sweet side and very nice. (440 characters)

Photo of CO-Bloom
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great pitch black stout. Smells roasty, sweet chocolate and some burnt marshmallows. Taste followed nose with roasty coffee, some smokiness, bittersweet chocolate, toasted marshmallow and a little bit of warming alcohol. Great thick and slick moutfeel. Overall one of the better RIS I've had! Kudos Dark Horse! (310 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*RE-REVIEW 3/27/14*

Appearance: Pitch black with no light getting through. A finger of dark brown head. Doesn't stick around at all like it did the first time I had it, but still a beautiful looking beer.

Smell: As I remember. Still unbelievable, and one of the best smelling beers ever. My last review nailed it as far as the aroma is concerned with coffee, chocolate, caramel, and the cinnamon/nutmeg sort of aroma. I don't so much get any dark fruits this time around, but it still smells absolutely insane.

Taste/feel: Ah, here we go -- was I out of my fucking mind before? This stuff is great! There's a nice mouthfeel that's quite heavy but extremely so (a bit of a surprise given the ABV, to be honest), and the carbonation is a bit higher than what I'd consider mild, which works very well with a beer as big as this one. The flavor of this one is overloaded with massive coffee, roast, and chocolate with dark fruit undertones. The aftertaste is warming with a slight alcohol flavor and lingering roastiness that gives a very slight ash flavor. It suits the style and ABV very well to say the least. Surprisingly, this is fairly balanced. Naturally you get a bold roasty bitterness, but that dark fruit sort of sweetness is definitely there to help out. I'm not sure where I got the hoppiness last time I had this beer or if I was just incredibly ignorant, but anyway, this is a super nice beer and worth the $3.50 a single.

The smell of this beer has to be the best of any stout I've ever had, most especially when the brew has a head on it. The taste is awesome, but strangely, for some reason I can't explain, I want a bit more out of it. There's a good amount of alcohol presence (warms the belly) and a lot of good dark chocolate, roastiness, and some dark fruits in there, but a bit more of a punch would be welcome. At the same time, as it stands now, it's an enjoyable as all hell ALMOST too drinkable 11% bomb of an Imperial Stout. Not the very best Imperial Stout I've ever had, but boy is it phenomenal.

*ORIGINAL REVIEW*
Appearance: Midnight oil with a spectacular two finger head that stays around longer than I'd ever expect out of an 11% beer.The head is brown and super creamy... looks outstanding. (5/5)

Smell: Unbelievable. Coffee, chocolate, caramel, dark fruits, and even notes of ... cinnamon? There's an interesting note in there that I wasn't at all expecting. Smells fantastic. (5/5)

Taste/feel: Monstrous... what else would be expected. Wow. Major bitterness, dark fruits, a lot of roastiness, and quite a lot of alcohol warmth on the finish. The smell was sweet and inviting, but the taste is just about the polar opposite. A lot of roast flavors with plenty of dark fruits, with an odd bitter, and somewhat sour finish. Alcohol is pretty noticeable in the taste as well. The hops in this one aren't there in the aroma, but come out in the taste with the bitterness on the end of each sip. I'm not sure what to make of this beer. It smells very nice (smelled great when I first poured and there was a large, pillowy head), but the taste is barely average. A lot of bitterness, with tons of warmth, and tastes of alcohol and dark fruits. It's certainly not your average RIS. The feel of this beer is actually somewhat thin for an RIS, in my opinion. The beer doesn't coat the mouth very much, but it does have a nice "slickness" to it. (3.25/5, 3.5/5)

I'll have you know that I'm not the biggest RIS fan, but this one is just odd. I had extremely high hopes after seeing it and, especially, smelling it, but Plead the Fifth just doesn't please my taste buds all that much. If you love a big and (somewhat) unusual beer, Plead the Fifth is a must try... it's quite distinctive. Though, I think, not for the best of reasons. At $3.50 per bottle, I'm certainly glad to have tried it (since I like to appreciate a big stout time-to-time), but I'm not sure when I'd have it again... but if I did, I'd keep it in a cellar to mellow it out... this thing's pretty harsh.

3.5/5 (4,011 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2.11.14 into a Teku at cellar temp.

Look: pours as thick and dark as hot fudge. Very minimal light brown head.

Smell: cider, pumpkin spice. As it warms, more chocolate, cherries, roast, then fig and raisin even later.

Taste: very smoky, chocolate-covered cherries, some cinnamon and licorice. Fig and raisin appear in the taste as well as it warms.

Feel: starts medium but gets thicker as it warms; never dry, which many stouts with this profile tend to be.

Overall: this is a 20% better beer at room temperature, where it really is great. (548 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. Poured black with a thin light brown head, even with an aggressive pour. Little lacing on the glass also. Aromas were of roasted malts and chocolate with hints of black licorice. I expected a plume of alcohol, but wasn't overly present. Mouth-feel is medium to thick and thickens as the stout warms. Tastes are roasted malts, chocolate, and espresso. It is boozy, but the alcohol isn't overly present given the 12% ABV. Fruity esters reminiscent of ripe dark fruits are also present as it warms. Overall, a well done RIS! Really enjoyed this one, and would recommend it. I only bought a single, but would have been satisfied with a 4-pack. (645 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

@ Ridgewood

Had to wait awhile for this one to warm up...

Opaque black with a small, creamy head on top that sticks to the surface for the duration. Dark, vinous fruit aromas upfront...super dark chocolate, creamy malts, and slight coffee. Super dark, heavy, black malty flavor. Lots of dark cocoa and not too much sweetness or booze. Heavy, textured, chewy, and dry. A big, deliciously dark RIS... (400 characters)

Photo of movingtrain
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle sampled from a 12 ounce snifter. Drinking at room temperature.

Pours jet black...looks like a shot of espresso. There is a small, caramel colored head floating on top, but not more than half a finger. Carbonation, however, seems to be going fairly strongly.

Aroma up front gives hints of plum, sour apple, chocolate, molasses, heavy cream, cinnamon, dried fruit, brown sugar, burnt wood, and coffee. It's a bit peppery in the nose, layered with good dark chocolate and caramelized sugar notes.

Yeah, this one packs a punch. Super rich in flavor, and the 12 percent alcohol seems to be masked here...until the swallow. Bitter dark chocolate notes start off the flavor here...followed by notes of a balanced, bittersweet shot of espresso. Burnt brown sugar, caramel, oatmeal, honey, and molasses all come to mind when sipping this. This Imperial stout is spot on...just what you want out of the style.

In terms of mouthfeel, the only setback with this beer is that the fizzy carbonation is very apparent on the tongue. It doesn't take away from the flavor at all, but just gives a bit too much fizz in the body.

Overall, this is a fine stout...should be up there with the best of them. I would love to try some of the other treatments they do with this beer. A top-notch ale...delicious and quite a treat. (1,324 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: pours like motor oil, viscous as can be, pitch black, very dark brown head that doesn't hang around for long, some lacing

S: huge molasses and chocolate notes on the front, heavy roasted character, some nice bittering hops on the finish, this smells great!

T: the sweet malty character makes a huge presence on the palate, it is quite sweet but not cloying with molasses and licorice character, beneath the sweetness is roasted barley and other dark specialty grains, some smokiness, the roast balance nicely against the sweetness, this all finishes with an earthy hop character. Everything about this stout is bold and robust, but at the same time it is nicely balanced. Very nice.

MF: thick, slightly syrupy, chewy, very low carbonation...the body and mouthfeel pairs perfectly with the in your face flavors

D: this rich and decadent treat is quite palatable, however its thickness and high gravity makes it a chore to finish, a chore that I would never pass up! (971 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of the Black Booty BIF. Pours black with a thin head that settles to a ring. Smells of coffee and bitter chocolate, with a slightly roasty and milk chocolate finish. Impressive taste, a choclate explosion with wonderful bitter chocolate, some berry notes, both long and delicious. Later some cinammon and a big hit of coffee make an appearance. The mouthfeel is long and super smooth. Utterly delicious, this is a great beer. (442 characters)

Photo of jwinship83
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- black thick looking body under a coffee colored modestly sized sticky head.

S- lots of coffee and dark chocolate. some raisins in there too along with roasted malts and a touch of alcohol.

T- very roasty with tons of coffee. chocolate and raisins/unburned cigarettes also. bitter hoppy finish. very dry

M- thick and chewy with ample CO2

D- picking up this basically unknown beer was a great idea. darkhorse hasnt failed me before and definitely didnt with this one. the taste and experience of this one is fantastic, its just way too strong to be sessionable. more people should check this one out. very good example of the style. (637 characters)

Photo of tpaetow
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- thick, black, tan head, half a finger that dissipated quickly

S- dark chocolate, coffee, bit of caramel sweetness but not much

T- similar to smell but I also get some berry notes. Really nice.

M- medium to full bodied, lighter than I had expected for a stout this big. Hides its alcohol well.

O- this is a tasty RIS. I don't like it as much as the barrel aged version, but it's a really tasty stout! (408 characters)

Photo of Brabander
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle from my beer buddy Jeffo (Jeff) some weeks ago, just before we went the the CBC festival in Kopenhagen. Tonight is good night to open this one.

Poured in my Struise glass this beer has some problems to develop a head...but with a strong pour the head get two fingers big. After a few minutes the head is a few millimeter. The fluid is deep deep dark.

Smell is very nice with some boozeyness. I like 'm this way. Soft and smooth with the alcohol well hidden! Thanks Jeff for this beer! (504 characters)

Photo of vande
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a.) can't believe I hadn't reviewed this before
b.) year old bottle straight from the cellar

a - oily black...viscous, dark, thick and foreboding....

s - rich, roasted malts, chocolate - dark, sweetness...hints of coffee

t - delicious - what you smell is what you get, and more. I think this beer did quite nicely with a year on it. Happy to know I've one of each of the series, except Tres, still in the cellar!

m - a solid medium, to heavy bodied beer that is hard to put down...

o - quite enjoyable... a great stout at a great price! (541 characters)

Photo of BJRHOMEBREW
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pour a deep rich black with a thin tan head that fades by the last sip.

S: Roasted malt with hints of cocoa and dark fruits.

T: Sweet dark malt, again dark fruits with a nice chocolate finish.

M: Rich and smooth with just a hint of alcohol on the finish.

O: A GREAT example of a true RIS. In this day when so many breweries are adding adjuncts to their RIS its nice to drink a wonderful example of the true style. (424 characters)

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black in to a tulip glass. the mocha head to this one is very faint and appears shortly after all the beer has left the bottle .

smell - its not the most impressive thing about this beer. I have to literally put my nose in this one to get the smell of this. I get fig, dark chocolate, vanilla, and some oak.

taste - thick dark chocolate stands out the most to me here. Although the taste tends to change with each sip. The oak is present as well as a little fig, but man O man does the chocolate shine in this one. It laces the throats and leaves a thick chocolate coat in the after taste. I get a little coffee but not much.

Overall - I am thoroughly happy with this one and can't say enough about how much the chocolate throat coating stands out to me. I shall have this one again! (800 characters)

Photo of AdamMY
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance leaves a lot to be desired, hardly any head, and that which came out was very brown.

The aroma though is like good hot chocolate, which is completely evident in the amazingly chocolate taste. This really tastes like high quality chocolate with hints of espresso.

The mouth feel is very smooth and creamy, almost silky smooth. Combined with its amazing chocolate taste, this is quite drinkable and I honestly do not think I am drinking anything alcoholic. (471 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Acquired in a trade with spambum, thanks man!

A- Pours a jet black, motor oil colored body with a beautiful 2 finger mocha colored head that reduces fairly quickly to a brown ring. Little lacing.

S- Lots of dark roast coffee, milk chocolate, french vanilla, booze, some subtle dark fruit, heavily roasted malt.

T- The taste of this beer changes drastically with temperature change. It's the best at warmer temperatures, the last few sips were the best. Fresh out the fridge it has a lot of coffee and semisweet chocolate characters. As it warms it turns into a chocolate milkshake - milk chocolate, vanilla, coffee, heavily roasted malt. Virtually no booze which is good for the high abv.

M- Thick and creamy. Low carbonation.

Quite an impressive beer. Drink it at cellar temp - my rating for taste went up .5 points at cellar temperature than right out of the fridge. Very drinkable for the high abv. Overall excellent. Recommendable. (985 characters)

Photo of david131
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Absolutely pitch black and thick looking. A nice, creamy mocha head forms and had excellent retention.

S- Lots of chocolate and coffee. Some anise and smokiness are in there as well. Smells wonderful and balanced, but it is pretty subdued.

T- The perfect balance of all the flavors. There is a ever so slight hop presence on the tail end, but I love how it is not in your face at all. Very clean and enjoyable.

M- Very creamy and ridiculously smooth. It doesn't get much better than this.

D- A tasty pick. I could really sip on this for awhile. Much better than I expected. Dark Horse really knows what they are doing with stouts. (637 characters)

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Pours incredibly black. As dark as they come. Almost not head. More of a brown film. Impressive alcohol legs.

S- A lighter roast. A big coffee presence, A subtle caramel. A dark brew.

T- A light roastyness up front. Really goes well with the caramel. A smooth creamyness, almost a desert style stout.. Sugary but not too sweet. Some roasted toffee an burnt sugar.A decent hop presence but still very subtle. A touch of chocolate on the back end. A well balanced and rounded RIS.

M- A solid Feel to the beer. A sticky, roasty sweetness. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. Drinks like a champ.

O- This is a great RIS. Up there with Stone's IRS and ten fidy. I would love the BA version. (726 characters)

Photo of putnam
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black oil. Very dark sheet of foam after raising the pour high enough to kick in some turbulence -- darker than Breakfast, Shakespeare at al. -- minimal though.
Aromas of bitter chocolate, black coffee and marshmallow. There are also some wild yeasty elements to the bouquet that remind me of certain Belgian Quadrupels -- doughy, with notes of reduced red berries, spices and nut butters. Think Bernardus12/Rochefort10 with piles of coffee and chocolate extract added.
Velvety and not particularly sweet, the flavors are very roasty and intense, yet lacking any sourness or astringency. A long cadence of milk sugar and espresso define the finish.
Herbal burps betray some lost hop component (that's quality to me.)
Quite well balanced. Maybe a little top-heavy. It will be interesting to see what happens to this bottling over time.
This is what I remember Expedition tasting like.
Spectacular.
I'm guessing 10% ABV or more. (934 characters)

Photo of travMI13
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

A: Pours thick and black as night. A finger of mocha head dissipates very slowly, leaving great lacing and nice retention. Outstanding.

S: Roasted malts, a lot of coffee, and hints of dark chocolate. Maybe a touch of toffee.

T: Toffee, chocolate, maybe some licorice on the finish. There is a nice dark chocolate bitterness on the finish, yet the beer stays creamy throughout. There might be a touch of coffee flavor, but it is largely absent for me. This is wonderfully balanced. By the way, where is the alcohol?

M: Thick, creamy, and a touch of dryness on the finish. Really tough to beat for an imperial stout.

O: This is a fantastic imperial stout. The Bourbon Barrel version is great because this is the base beer. A smooth, rich, and complex imperial stout. A truly great offering from Dark Horse. (869 characters)

Photo of joberlander
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome appearance, pitch black with rich mocha colored head. Get a lot of dark chocolate on the nose along with roasted malt. The taste follows the nose perfectly, lots of dark chocolate. Full mouth feel and great finish with a hint of alcohol (which I personally love in imperial stouts. Really great example of an imperial stout. Definitely just became a go to when I want a traditional IS. This and Ten Fidy are the benchmark IMO. (440 characters)

Photo of jewski
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Dark Horse in snifter.

Massive roasty malt flavor. More chocolate than coffee. Dark fruit. A bit of an alcohol bite to remind you of the ABV. A bit of sweetness and enough hops to let you know they are arround. A great thick mouth feel. (252 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 830 ratings.