Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
892 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
892
Ratings:
3,812
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
556
Gots:
1,036
For Trade:
113
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 892 | Ratings: 3,812
Photo of drtth
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 1,906 characters

Photo of --Dom--
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 393 characters

Photo of Docrock
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 670 characters

Photo of c014572
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black. No light will ever make it through. Extremely dark 2 finger head that faded quickly. This was an extremely balanced and wonderful stout. It does not have that in-your-face burnt grain flavor (that I like) of some other imperial stouts (like Rasputin). This was just extremely enjoyable to drink. Hides the 11% like no other beer I've drank. Seek it out.

 381 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 490 characters

Photo of ms11781
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 1,279 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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...

 766 characters

Photo of Qbdoo
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle, pours black as night with hardly any head (despite three tries), though what you get is a dark tan.

Scent is not powerful: roasted malt, coffee.

Taste: roasted malt, coffee, a little chocolate, There's just a bit of booze, but not too much. There are Russian imperial stouts that have too much, but this - despite 11% abv, is just right.

Mouthfeel is unbelievable: thick, creamy with a light carbonation. Probably the best mouthfeel of any stout, maybe any beer.

This may be my new favorite beer. Wish it were more readily available.

 553 characters

Photo of AshleyMiller
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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!

 707 characters

Photo of JohnG190
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 443 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 782 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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

 318 characters

Photo of oberon
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 521 characters

Photo of Beerandboards
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 899 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
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!

 1,097 characters

Photo of tut2528
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours jet black, in very minimal head formation. giving it a couple of swirls it elicits an very dark tan almost brown head. big alcohol legs are noticeable.

S: roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, slight fudge sweetness, big dark fruits (predominately plums and figs), slight tart cherries as well. just a slight touch of coffee grounds

T: pretty similar to the nose. chocolate fudge, plums, figs, and cherries. but in addition, I pick up on a big black licorice, a slight hint of hops, and a vanilla cream finish. i find no alcohol presence and this one is going down

M: full bodied that coats the mouth with a nice bitter chocolate and sweet dark fruit characters

O: extremely smooth beer. and i must say that at the alcohol is almost undetectable. just a freaking fantastic RIS. definitely need to get my hands on the BA version, bc I can't imagine how fantastic that one would be!

 894 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

A-Beautiful. Dark and rich with a thick, dark mocha head. My favorite loon in an RIS. A beer that looks like this rarely disappoints.

S-Nicely complex. Lots of bourbon and alcohol, vanilla, dark chocolate and milk chocolate.

T-Caramel and dark chocolate in the front with lost of vanilla. Then a hint of maple, then some bourony notes in the finish. Quite hot in the finish, but it's fresh and 14% so no huge surprise there.

M-Medium bodied but rich and coating.

D-14% so proceed with caution (duh!). A little hot (again, duh!) but really delicious and enjoyable.

HV

 595 characters

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a beauty of a stout. Looks like pitch. No carbonation and no head.

Smell is a lot sweeter than I expected. Thick roasted malts, a bit of cream, Balanced and thick. somewhat spicy and a hint of leather. all odd combination i know. I cant really figure out why it smells like kind of spicy. Maybe vanilla.

Exceptionally roasty and robust, Burnt espresso, black bitter chocolate, and barrel pitch. I know its not BA, but I get that burnt wood kind of charcoal character. Thick creamy milk chocolate comes in somewhere in the middle. Finishes very bitter, with the heavily roasted malt dominating late. Theres this kind of spicy thing going on that I cant figure out. Its like a hint of cinnamon, or some kind of pepper spice. it goes very well with all the chocolate flavors. Hints of vanilla as well.

Feels so thick. Dark Horse had to use lactose somewhere in this. While it still feels overly bitter, th e underlying caramel sweetness is really good.

If it wasnt for Siberian Night, this would be my favorite RIS.

 1,022 characters

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

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: As black as the night sky. Beautiful tan, caramel-looking head that fades to a nice lacing that is strewn all over the glass.

S: Caramel, molasses, chocolate, roasted coffee and tons of smokey char.

T: Wow this beer is big! Tons of chocolate, roasted coffee, earthy and smokey malts and dark fruits. Some nice vanilla to compliment at the end. Slight alcohol. Not as much as I expected for 11%. Very nice.

M: Big bodied, decent carbonation. Slight bitterness.

O: This is a very solid RIS with no complaints. First time having this beer. Will be heading back to the store to pick up a few to age for years to come. I really hope I get to try the BBA version soon. I can only imagine how aging this beer in BB would increase an already stellar RIS.

 789 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a very dark, oil-like black coloring with a thin, low profile, dense, light tan colored head. Aromas of dark, bittersweet chocolate, black cherry, peat and earthy tones, and a touch of ginger. Pretty interesting nose. Flavors are heavily roasted, with a warm, cocoa and sweet chocolate backbone supporting a touch of bitter coffee and some subtle fruit sweet highlights. Rich and smooth in mouth...almost creamy. Bitter and creamy aftertaste, with hints of baker's chocolate and a hint of booze. Rich, smooth finish, with a slight bitter linger. Very solid, robust brew.

 619 characters

Photo of phishisphunk
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter after being chilled in the fridge for about an hour (an unseasonably warm April is leaving my basement warmer than hoped for this time of the year!). This beer pours a very inky black with the slightest formation of a tan head. My initial impression of the nose was that it smelled similar to a DFH World Wide Stout or Bell's Batch 9000. Initially very sweet, sugary, and syrupy smell. However, after a moment a robust and roasty smell dominates. The taste of this beer is superbly solid. Well balanced, beautiful roasted malt flavor dominates, without the slightest hint of alcohol. A perfect example of what a Russian Imperial Stout should taste like. Reminds me a bit of Old Rasputin. Carbonation in the beer is moderate. with a slight watery feel as the beer passes through to the end of the palate, but finished dry. Very enjoyable brew and by far my most favorite Dark Horse to date. Strongly recommended.

 933 characters

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

Pours dark with a nice head and slight lacing. Smells primarily of chocolate and tastes the same. Slight vanilla and bitter finish. Nice creamy mouthfeel. This is a tasty beer if you like chocolate. The 11% is well hidden.

 225 characters

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

tap

Pours jet black, tan lacing for a head.

Smells of oak, cocoa and salted caramel. Maybe some coffee too.

Flavor is of caramel, oak, a bit of bourbon, toasted biscuit malts, a hint of vanilla, and non-acidic coffee. Rich but not cloying.

Full, creamy body with a light tingle of carbonation on the tongue.

Fantastic stout, one of the best I've had in a while and easily up there with Old Rasputin and Founder's Breakfast. I could have this again and again, and highly recommend it.

 492 characters

Photo of q33jeff
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

**
03/22/2016
Oh my, this is tasty. Bottle to tulip glass. Picked ip a 4pack today, Southampton, PA. Plan on aging the other 3, but not sure how long I'll actually be able to keep my meat hooks off of this as it is delish.

Dark black pour, oily, solid tan head....fades.
Aroma is roasted malt and Chocolate. Taste: dark chocolate, licorice, plus something lingering, lerking, almost spicy, maybe cinnamon or nutmeg.

Feel; Medium carb, thick body.

Nothing terribly complex, but extremely delicious. Dark Horse has a new fan.
**

 545 characters

Photo of rdipper
4.44/5  rDev +5%
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

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