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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,920 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,920
Reviews: 757
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 493
Gots: 706 | FT: 79
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:
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

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,920 | Reviews: 757 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours like motor oil, only a deep impenetrable black color leaving only a rumor of a head around the edges of the glass. The aroma is rich, roasty, and malty with a lot of coffee and some bourbon boozy notes with some deep chocolate of both the sweet and bitter variety. The flavor is again very rich with (again) both sweet and bitter chocolate notes. The beer is not nearly as sweet as most of this strength or viscosity. There are plenty of coffee and boozy tones in this one as well. The palate is profoundly full and sticky. Delicious.

BieresDesMoines, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of TrekkieChick
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was purchased as a special edition (limit 1 bottle per customer). It pours well, very small/no head and is a very dark brown color. It is a heavy coffee flavor, but smooth and goes down easy! I would recommend to anyone who likes coffee or coffee in their beer.

TrekkieChick, Apr 22, 2014
Photo of blakelive784
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to maximum12 for this extra!

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a thick motor oil black color with three fingers of thick, creamy brown head. Retention is damned impressive, especially at 11%, and the head leaves nice cream lacing as it recedes.

S - Sweet hot chocolates, cream, subdued roasted malts and toffee undertones. Favors sweet. A touch alcoholic. Dark fruit and fig notes. It's highly lactic, reminiscent of a milk stout. I'm missing any coffee or bitter roasted malts. Inviting.

T - Creamy semi-sweet chocolates perfectly counter the subdued roasted malt body. Vanilla and toffee undertones alongside dark fruit. It's sweet, without ever feeling unbalanced. The alcohol is makes a subtle presence on the way down. Nearly perfectly balanced. Masterful brewing.

M - Full bodied, creamy and silky smooth. Damn near perfect.

D - I'd never guess this is 11%. Wonderfully built and amazingly drinkable. A great success from Dark Horse.

blakelive784, Mar 18, 2013
Photo of jeff1973
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Schlafly tulip. Date code was rubbed off, think it is the latest bottling (2013??). Thanks Beerbyrd.

A - Pitch black. Mocha colored head with medium-low head that dissipates very fast.

S - Semi-sweet chocolate, dried cherries, a little raw grain.

T - Big-time chocolate covered cherries, then a nice roasty bitter finish that balances and dries the beer out.

M - Medium thick, would like it a bit thicker and chewier. medium low carbonation that is spot on for this beer.

O - Taste is excellent. On the sweeter side of RIS's. Wish the mouthfeel was a bit thicker, but a trivial flaw.

jeff1973, Aug 06, 2013
Photo of FanofHefe
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle version poured into a Duvel tulip. Deep black-colored body, no light penetration, with about a one finger dark tan head. The head dissipates fairly quickly with very little lace, as expected.

The aroma consists of dark fruit, roasted malt, and light licorice. I get a sense the taste will be sweet based on the aroma.

The flavor is typical of the RIS style - dark, roasted malt flavor, mixed with dark fruit, molasses, a bit of coffee and some sweet caramel-like notes. This does have some complexity and definitely improves as it warms.

Thick texture in the mouthfeel and only a little warming from the alcohol. A very solid Imperial Stout and I would definitely recommend it.

FanofHefe, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of beerhan
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I finally got around to trying this one on tap at Reverend's.

Served in a 10 oz snifter.

A-Jet black, one finger tan head that does not last long. Super turbid appearance.

S-Lots of burned espresso notes and some roastiness and dark chocolate.

T-Bitter dark chocolate dominates with a very mild coffee taste in the back with hints of molasses, cocoa and a bit of smoke character.

M-Very rich and chewy. Goes down smooth with relatively no burn for something of this caliber.

O-Decent beer but I would prefer a slightly milder one if I had the chance. It tastes good but it is a bit much more me. I would drink it again but it goes better with cold weather.

beerhan, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of Blanco
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the darkest stouts I've seen, the color is pitch black and the head is dark brown. A healthy pour produces a huge had that holds relatively well. smell is of roasted malt and chocolate. I can also get a little waft of the booze coming up. taste is bitter, with strong chocolate notes and big maltiness. big, thick mouthfeel this is probably one of the thickest stouts I've had. Alcohol is hidden well, especially given the ABV, although there is a slight warming effect to let you know it's there. Overall, I'm impressed with this one. The flavor is a bit more abrasive than I normally enjoy, but this is a huge stout so I can't really knock it for that.

Blanco, May 24, 2011
Photo of lurpy1
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Irony of ironies: After working in Michigan and unsuccessfully pursuing PT5, I find it back home in Minnesota. OK, so maybe I wasn't pursuing it that hard, still makes for a good lead-in.

Shared with the wife, poured from the bottle. My first impression: Oil spill. Plead the 5th gloops around in the glass, leaves a West Texas Crude sludge behind.

One whiff lets you know PT5 means business, the smell is strong on the alcohol, along with malt, coffee, yadda yadda.

The taste has a little bit too much alcoholic burn for me to give it a great score, but still a very tasty beer with a nice balance of carbonation and viscosity.

Very good beer, glad I finally made contact with it.

lurpy1, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of jpmclaug
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Founders snifter. Got this bottle in a trade with mothman.

A - Pours thick like motor oil. Not any motor oil but I don't feel like going to the mechanic so I'll push it another couple thousand miles motor oil. Menacing dark brown head rests on top for a bit before running off.

S - Nice roast flavor with a hint of sweetness. Some vanilla notes and a bit of booze.

T - Again some roast with a good bit of chocolate malt. Some boozy notes mixed in as well. More and more chocolate as this sucker warms.

M - Thick body with a light carbonation.

D - A sipper for sure. A nice dark chocolate flavor dominates this one on top of all the other normal flavors you will find in a RIS. I would pick this up if I saw it on the shelves just to see how it aged. Certainly a solid RIS as is though.

jpmclaug, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a syrupy, black color with ruby highlights. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of molasses and sweet chocolate. There were mild notes of oatmeal and coffee.

T - It tasted very sweet with chocolate and molasses flavors. Some caramel, too. It had a bourbon kick as it warmed up.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied ale.

D - This is a really great tasting RIS. Another great stout from Dark Horse.

zeff80, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of garymuchow
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. I'm guessing from 2012, but no way to know for sure I suppose. Trying to get it warm .enough.
Poured very heavy looking. The extra dark head has almost a purplish hue to it and it mixes with the black and again deep deep purple liquid. Oh and the bottle of the bottle looks like mud. Heavy lacing from a head that shows great persistence.
Deep dark malt appeal with some roast, but in no way over the top. More of a plum like quality. Rich but not necessarily all that complex.
Wow that just coats the teeth with an almost gooey stickiness. Rich and some warms shots to the gut. Hops in the bittering and some in the finish...the long rich finish. More roast in taste. Some takes have a clear shot of booziness, others don't. Fruit is less than in the aroma.
Really smooth and just enough carbonation to notice and appreciate.
This is a rather well done RIS. Even for it's ample size it avoids excess. It demands a slow enjoyment, but an enjoyment it is.

garymuchow, Nov 17, 2012
Photo of ypsifly
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The reviews describing this as looking like motor oil are dead on. Pours like oil, had to really raise the glass in order to get a 1" head that was dark and receded slowly. The lacing is more like a fine coating of foam that is consistant through most of the glass.

Smells of dark coffee, molasses with some malt underneath. As it warms up there's a hint of alcohol.

Wow! This is an extremely full bodied, dry finishing treat! I detected some some sweetness upfront, but the roasted malt takes over.

For this style, this is a very drinkable beer. Fans of Old Rasputin will really like this one.

ypsifly, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of dlello2
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Super dark and viscous. Dark dark brown with just a hint of red head.

S - Roasty. Definitely dark fruit.

T - Very nice. Chocolate, not as much fruit, almost no alcohol for 12%. Some signature dark horse smokiness shows up at the beginning and end.

M - Viscous and smooth. Good amount of carbonation.

dlello2, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of 7ways
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks to steelersxl, hand labeled '09, poured violently into a Duvel tulip. It shows with a very minimal and very dark chocolate head on top of a rich Seal brown body. Sticking to the glass is a thick gloopy lace that I've rarely seen. It's almost not even lace, just globs of viscous liquid suspended high in the glass.

The aroma is pretty intoxicating, though I can't smell much of the 12% alcohol, so +1 right there. Pretty intense sweet chocolate/cocoa, and something outdoorsy. Not much else, but very inviting nonetheless.

After drinking half the glass, I've changed my mind to thinking that it tastes a little better than it smells. The reedy/lake/woods chocolate thing is joined by mocha, crazy big roasted malts, a little licorice, and oh yes, there's the yummy booze I'd almost forgotten about. Bittersweet and clean finish.

This body is quite full but is slightly lacking on carbonation. Some creamy little bubbles would do wonders for it; however, it is still cohesive enough to not put a damper on the experience.

Overall, a very impressive RIS.

7ways, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of stercomm
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Got a growler of this brew at the local Whole Food, had a small sample when I got home so poured into a small sampler tulip glass from Left Hand.

A - Pours an inky and oily black with a small, tan head that quickly recedes leaving a slight ring around the glass.

S - Lots of roasted malt, some brown sugar and a real deep smokiness

T - Sweet and roasty maltiness, some prune, very smooth, definitely coats the mouth leaving a nice long finish

M - Creamy with mild carbonation

O- Not being a big Imperial Stout drinker have no real comparison. Will say this is a very tasty brew, alcohol is there but not in your face, great balance of flavors

stercomm, Apr 20, 2013
Photo of mikeyv35
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 03/28/2011
Type: 11.2oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2010
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

Poured a deep dark chocolate in color w/ a 1/2 finger tan head that left substantial lacing on the glass. Appears beautifully viscous. Aromas of chocolate malts, molasses, and underlying dark fruits. Taste was about the same, chocolate, molasses, a touch of dark fruits, and a finish of good hop bite and bitterness to keep this from cloying. Full bodied. At 13% ABV you can only drink so much of this despite Dark Horse doing a damn fine job at masking the booze.

Pleasure to sample and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but 11.2oz. really should be split w/ a good BA buddy IMO.

mikeyv35, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of clayrock81
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a black body with minor head and lace. First thing that hits me in the nose is dark fruits like raisin, figs, and then minor sweet malts like chocolate and something sugary (not going to say candi sugar or caramel...toffee? molasses?) and then balance from some roasted malts and to be honest no alcohol. The lack of alcohol in the nose and also the beer itself is quite a feat considering it's a double digit ABV beer. This beer, for as heavy as it could be and with so much going on, is actually light and easy to drink with a chewy, fuller body that goes down incredibly easy with notes of chocolate and other sweet flavors (again - toffee? molasses?) hints of figs, some roasted malts, good balance and the beer has a good, strong finish without alcohol burn. Just a solid stout.

clayrock81, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of Chaney
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I split this with my wife tonight during dessert.

A: Absolutely no head whatsoever! Very dark, but almost more of a dark, dark, dark brown color as apposed to a pitch black one.

S: A bit of teryaki sauce, but also a huge dark, bittersweet chocolate bill. As it warmed, it became even more intense, but even more enticing.

T: Dark chocolate milk and then some. Initially, when I tried this one too much on the cold side, I was conflicted about it. However, now this is dark chocolate magic. I've read some reviews on here where others have mentioned a burnt quality. To be honest, I didn't get that at all. Quite the contrary..

M: Heavy, but worth it. Low carbonation (as it should be), not too sweet in the slightest.

O: It's hard to make an impression in a market saturated with great Imperial Stouts, but this one delievered. I would love to try the bourbon-aged version of this one.

Chaney, May 28, 2011
Photo of mentor
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, black, and almost flat. A very tiny ring of brown head formed around the edge of the glass, even after a hard pour. Smells of coffee, molasses, fuggles (a type of English hop), and some alcohol. Tastes of coffee, chocolate syrup, and a faint alcohol. This beer is really sweet and the flavors I've described above are really strong. The roast flavors almost have a feeling about them...like tiny roast bits of grains sand-papering my tongue. Also a note about the chocolate, it's a delicate and sofisticated chocolate, not a dry (baker's chocolate) or waxy (Nestle's) chocolate. The sweet hangs around heavy and hot on the back of the tongue. This is definitely a thick-bodied beer, which is appropriate for the style. Not sure the ABV, but I'll bet it's high. I could still pick out the alcohol burn despite the 'in-your-face' potent sweet, roast, and chocolate flavors. I recommend this beer for those interested in the style.

mentor, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of Greencoat
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Bottle.

Motor-oil pour. 1/2 finger, dark tan head slowly fades into a sheet of foam. 100% opaque - none of that ruby highlight stuff!

This nose is getting me pretty excited. Ultra-sweet nose, like boozy chocolate - maybe even a little tobacco. I can tell there's a lot going on, I'm just not sure how to describe it. I know this, though - I like it.

This beer is simply sublime. A fantastic parade of chocolate, burned coffee and molasses. I really think some more time in the bottle will help this one out, but it's drinking very well right now.

Syrupy sweet feel to this one. Just enough carbonation and bitterness to keep it from being sludge. Extremely full bodied.

Overall, I think this beer is amazing. That said, I think we may be starting that awkward phase between fresh, and aged perfection. If what I've tasted is a sign of things to come, be prepared to have a masterpiece on your hands in a a while. I'll be (not so) patiently awaiting next year's release.

Greencoat, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of mwill7287
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle to a similarly sized snifter.

Appearance: Pours motor oil black into my snifter. Pitch black even in the lamplight. Half finger's worth of a mocha-tan creamy head sits atop after a mild pour. Little carbonation bubbles abound in the brew. A little bit of lacing is left behind on the snifter after the liquid vacates. Looks noice. 4.5/5

Smell: Dark roasty notes balanced by a dose of hops Americano. A little creamy, definitely roasty coffee beans and a bit of chocolate. Very rich and enticing. 4.75/5

Taste: Strong presence of bold Russian Imperial stout hops ride alongside dark fruit, raisin and anise notes in the first sips. A little bit juicy and fruity on first bite. Sweet. A bit of bitterness of coffee notes and building hops creep along with repeated sips and a pleasantly present aftertaste. Alcohol doesn't interfere too much. Nice, not 100% my thing, but good. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Not too syrupy or thick. Medium body. Mild stickiness on tongue and lip. Bitterness is pretty light and doesn't hinder on the palate too much. Maybe a tad light for me for a RIS. 3.75/5

Overall: Very solid taste, tasty and complex but not overwhelming. Looks & smells wonderful. Mouthfeel provides for a nice drink. Obviously not sessionable but a relatively easy drink for a RIS. Nice. 4/5

mwill7287, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of krisandajt
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another beer courtesy of mymrnngjckt. I raise my glass to you, Kevin!

Appearance: This beer pours like motor oil into my DFH ale glass. The color is midnight black, with a very small amount of coffee colored head. What little head there is quickly fades away, leaving only a thin ring of bubbles where the beer meets the glass. Lacing is good, leaving some soapy rings where the beer settles.

Smell: Mostly bitter chocolate in the nose, but mixed in is some booziness which hints at the high ABV of this brew. Right off the bat I can tell this is going to be a sipping beer.

Taste: An interesting mix of bitter chocolate, some booze, and what reminds me of dark fruit - raisins? It's got the robustness of a big stout, but has some hints of the dark fruitiness you find is a good quad. Very unique, and rather tasty.

Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth, and creamy - everything you could ask for in an imperial stout.

Drinkability: No doubt about it, this is a big beer. Big flavor, and big ABV. As tasty as this is, there's no way you can have more than one of these in a night. All night drinkability...definitely not. But I'm sure going to enjoy it while it lasts. Definitely recommend - if you see it, grab it!

krisandajt, Apr 09, 2010
Photo of pmccallum86
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a huge deep dark black color with a big and thick cocoa colored head that dissipates very slowly.

Smell is of big cocoa and licorice. Lots of roasted malts and a little coffee as well.

Big, big, flavor. Tons of roasted malts and bitter chocolates come up front. Followed by slight hop bitterness and some sugary caramel in the finish. Quite a nice beer, possibly my favorite offering from Dark Horse. The 12% ABV is hidden very nicely as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with medium carbonation, very full bodied beer.

Drinkable all things considered, but not this beer's best asset.

pmccallum86, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of RJay
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pitch black with no light able to penetrate through, during the pour I was reminded of the last time I changed the oil on my car. There was a half finger of head that faded to covering the edge of the glass, this stuck around until the end.

Aroma - Toasty roasty malts with some chocolate notes. There is a fruity aroma but I can't quite make out what it is. There is also a nice warm tingle to the nose from the alcohol.

Taste - Sweet roasted malts with chocolate and toffee with a coffee like bitterness.

Mouth Feel - Silky smooth with light carbonization and has some weight to it, pretty thick beer.

Drinkability - This is my favorite out of the series. Definitely a sipper but a great beer, as the beer warms up in the glass more of the aromas and flavors can be picked up.

RJay, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of chinchill
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Horse Plead the 5th on tap at the Beer Trappe in Lexington

Near black and opaque in the glass, with dark brown showing at the edges.  Durable head but little lacing. 

Great aroma!  Rich and moderately complex, it suggests great flavor.  The flavor doesn't quite keep up but is outstanding. 
ABV well hidden in the nose, in the flavor, and in the feel.

Full body; smooth.

chinchill, Apr 02, 2014
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,920 ratings.