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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.

832 Reviews
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 832
Hads: 3,554
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 17.26%
Wants: 550
Gots: 936 | FT: 108
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
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Reviews: 832 | Hads: 3,554
Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.48/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to michibrew for this one. 12 oz. bottle poured into a Weyerbacher cuvee.

A - Pours a viscous black color with a one finger dark mocha head. The head lasts for a while and leaves a great lacing down the glass. Impressive retention for a 12% beer. Perfection for the style.

S - Rich aroma of dark fruits, licorice, roasted malts, coffee and vanilla.

T - Begins with toasted, charred malts up front accompanied by some toffee and dark fruit sweetness. This is followed by some bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. The aftertaste is primarily of charred oak and a little bit of booze.

M - A little bit chewy with light carbonation. Smooth and enjoyable.

O - I have heard good things about this beer and finally got a chance to try it tonight. The aroma is impressive and strong, the way an RIS should be. Great roasty aromas, which carry over into the flavor. Taste is bold and powerful, with just a touch of booze. I was impressed by the beer as a whole and look forward to trying the Barrel aged version I have in my cellar. I wish we got Plead the Fifth in my area and if we did, I would get it often.

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Photo of mntlover
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black no highlights when held to the light just a black hole sucking up all the light. Small pinky sized coco head falls to a ring, no real lace left behind.

Aroma is very nice lots of roasted malts, rich chocolate notes, sweet smelling with hints of earthy peat and coffee notes. If possible it smells thick bodied.

Taste is like the nose rich thick roasted malts, good chocolate with hints of coffee in the middle and lingering also in the finish with some bitterness added. Big chewy sweet stout but its not cloying, I suppose there enough hops to balance it out, but not enough to be noticed. Some spicy alcohol notes also in the finish but blend well and do not distract.

Mouthfeel is nice big chewy drew with good mellow carbonation . Makes for easy drinking which could be a problem on this big of a beer.

Overall this is a very nice stout, one I would love to have more of.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A thick dark black motor oil pour with a thin coco colored head,light carbonation with lots of sticky lacing. Aroma is heavy dark chocolate,bitter coffee,and roasty/burnt malt,and a hint of smoke. WOW Flavor is of bitter coffee,dark chocolate,malt,caramel,vanilla,hints of oak,and alcohol,medium to full body with a creamy mouthfeel, awesome bittersweet finish. This is outstanding in every way. Dark Horse Rocks !

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Photo of gsmit
4.49/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is one full bodied beer.

A little bite at first, but mellows out into a vanilla and malt and caramel?

A little bitterness at the end... Leaving you wanting more.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured pitch black into a pint glass- espresso-esque crema like head. Very fine bubbles. A thick layer of sediment remains on the bottom of the bottle, and looking down the neck into the bottle indicates that it as well is impenetrable by light. Very rich, smooth chocolate boozey aroma. The flavor of this beast is astoundingly smooth despite the 12% label... rich toffee, caramel, and chocolate are prevalent as hops are muted. Mouthfeel is amazing and perfectly appropriate for a good RIS. Overall this beer is outstanding, and I will write a more detailed review next time since im already getting slurry.

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Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark and thick. Not even brown around the edges. The beer was on tap, so the head was non-descript.

Smelled like dark chocolate cake. You can almost smell the sweetness. Faint coffee, but the chocolate is the star.

Tastes like it smells with lots of roasted malts, including chocolate. No real hop presence. Again, chocolate cake comes to mind.

Thick, creamy and smooth. An almost complete lack of bitterness makes this beer attractive with a chocolate dessert. The sweetness is very prevalent, but never crosses the line due to the high ABV.

An amazingly easy beer to get down. A perfect dessert or after dinner beer. Alcohol is fairly well hidden so it works any time of the year.

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Photo of philbe311
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the BA version first and loved it... Been looking forward to popping this open...

A - A fingers worth of the darkest brown colored head that I have ever seen that is densely packed and perfectly level... Fairly impressive retention especially given the slight head it started with... Audibly fizzy... An opaque medium black color... Quite still... Seems to be some sediment settled on the bottom of the glass...

S - Chocolate... Roasted malts... Raisins... Coffee... Touches of smoke and licorice...

T - Chocolate and marshmallow are the first to greet the palette... This is follwed by coffee and raisins... There is also a sweet caramel presence... The finish of all roasted malts... Nice depth and complexity...

M - On the lighter side of full bodied... Some slightly fizzy carbonation... Dense... Sleek... A bit sticky... A slightly chalky finish...

D - This is a top of the line Russian Imperial Stout... No criticisms and lots of really good things happening... Hides the 12% ABV rather well... I'm continually impressed by the offerings that Dark Horse puts forth... I look forward to drinking this again and highly recommend it to fellow BAs...

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Photo of Bills453
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance - poured from a bottle. dark black in color. dark brown head.

Smell - This beer smell likes something was roasted inside my class. I smell cocoa and a hint of anise or something like that as well.

Taste - very good. What you would expect from a RIS. Cannot tell at all that this bad boy is 11%.

Mouthfeel - smooth and silky

Overall - an amazing stout. Not my top ever, but very very good.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow, talk about having no idea what you're grabbing and being pleasantly surprised.

A - pitch black, motor oil with a dark angry brown head that starts slowly and lasts the full glass

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, roasted grains and a sweet dark malt vinous note.

T - lush rich malts convey dark chocoloate, coffee, roasted grains, dark ripe fruits...

M - full bodied, modestly carbonated, silky smooth, rich and full with a nice residual roasted feel.

D - a sipper but only so as to extract all that wonderfull flavor!

Yes sir, I'll have another.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter at Map Room 4/27/08.

A: Pure, black evil. Dark khaki/espresso crema colored head that didn't leave too much lace.

S: Huge aromas of blackened malt, raisins/plums, dark & milk chocolate, burnt toast, and a molassas reduction drizzled over cherry.

T: Slightly boozy rum-soaked raisin, dark chocolate covered cherry, espresso, cocoa, toasted oats, burnt white bread, plum bread pudding with a coconut glaze.

M: Silky smooth. A great mixture of sweet, boozy, and spicy.

D: What an awesome RIS. Hopefully this becomes easier to find in IL.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this about 14 months ago.

Poured into a shaker: Black, opaque body with a half-finger of mocha head that drops to a thin coating & collar. Comes out of the bottle thick, leaves a layer of viscous sediment in the bottle's bottom.

Getting a lot of dark fruits from the smell: fig, raisin, date. Some milk chocolate, a slight dried leafiness (tobacco?), coffee beans, molasses. Yeaaahhh.

Initially pretty sharp taste, with strong roast, a tart tang like dark fruit skins, & some pretty strong booze given the age. Midway some softer cocoa & nutty coffee comes in, then moves into a dry, rum-like alcohol character into the finish, again packing a bit of a punch. The aftertaste is dry, with some more creaminess & developing into a long, dark coffee roast. Mm-mmm, this is complex & goes through a lot, some challenging, some pleasing. Still warms long into the aftertaste.

Full, thick mouthfeel, chewy, some heat that keeps me from calling it 'smooth', but really got a lot of body.

Damn, this is a fine brew. I thought putting it away for a little bit would mellow it out some, & while I haven't it fresh for comparison, I would definitely not call this 'mellow'. This is a big, serious, complex brew, both tasty & provocative. Again: yeeeaaaahhh.

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Photo of waltonc
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bottle up somewhere in Ann Arbor this past summer. Pours super dark with thick mocha head that eventually disappears. Smells like sweet coffee and chocolate, a little bit like a milk stout too. Tastes like deep roasted coffee and chocolate, but balanced with some subtle dark fruit. Not too much hops. This is a really well balanced flavor. Nothing is out of whack. Mouthfeel is fairly thick with medium carbonation and fairly sticky. If this is 12% ABV, it's hidden well. I could drink this all night, or so I think right now.

For the first half of the bottle, I kept wondering, "where have I tasted this before? I know I've had something recently that tasted a lot like this." Then I remembered - it reminds me a little of the non-barrel aged version of Brooklyn Black Ops, which is awesome. I highly recommend this and can't wait for the chance to buy more. A very pleasant surprise. Everything I've had from Dark Horse so far has been excellent. Not surprising - another great Michigan brewer. I'll put Michigan up against any other state, including California.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of the darkest achromatic visual value with a frothy, dark brown head and some sticy lacing coating the side. The smell is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, and raisins. The beer is well carbonated and fullbodied. The taste is of black coffee, tobacco, and wet cedar. The dark chocolate is pronounced and slightly smoky.

I'd love to drink this in the middle of a blizzard, inside a log cabin, nestled in some tall, cold mountains somewhere in Scandinavia.

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Photo of Marty30
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz Bottle dated 5-11. Poured into a Jackie O's' snifter at 55 degrees.Have been waiting to try for a long time.

A. Black as black get's. No head, just a dark brown cap appear's and then disappears. No head.

S. Dark fruits hit first and shortly after comes the chocolate and cocoa,along with a touch of coffee.

T. Nice! I get a good bit of roasted malts,then a hefty amount of chocolate. I get some sweet figs,grahm crackers,vanilla,with a little bit of booze in the end.

M. Great heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is perfect for the style. Coats the palate and leaves a chocolate roasty aftertaste.

Overall I did not expect this beer to this damn good. It definately exceded my expectations! Very complex. I will be getting a case of this no doubt. A must try. This could be one of my favorite beers.

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Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 2. Big thanks to grub for cracking this one. 12 oz "Plead the 5th" bottle.
This stuff was your basic black with faint brown edges and a thin, dark brown cap of fine bubbles that settled to a long lasting collar. Sticky lacing. Rich aroma, lots of fruit and roast character, chocolate and cocoa, dried fruits and cherries, hint of vanilla. Reminded me of a fruit and nut chocolate bar. Chalky, dry roast flavour with medium to low hop bitterness. Very nutty with dark chocolate and cocoa notes, plus mild alcohol towards the end. Caramel and toffee sweetness. Faint licorice. Full bodied with low, very fine carbonation, alcohol warmth and a chalky dryness. Rich and delicious, just the way a big stout should be.

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Photo of Bshaw22
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

This is one of my favorite imperial stouts. It's too bad it's so hard to get. I've had 3 bottles in my life. The one I am reviewing was a year and a 1/2 old.
Nose was intense with dark fruits and dark chocolate.
Taste was smooth across the board with nothing overpowering. One of the finest mouthfeel ever for this style.

I'll be searching these out again!

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Photo of Knapp85
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out as a very dark black color with a really nice creamy brown head on top. The smell is highly roasted and has a slight herbal aroma with some dark chocolate. The taste has a really nice licorice flavor to it with the roasted malts and chocolate all mixed into one. The mouthfeel is extremely smooth and rich. Overall the beer is actually really really good. Really worth a try if you see it!

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Photo of fitrock2112
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured Plead the 5th Imperial Stout into a snifter.

A - The imperial stout poured aggressively into the snifter, it is black as midnight with a bubble or two coming to the surface, classic stout looking beer.

S - Lots of dark fruits, raisins, figs, dark cherries. Getting roasted malts with a touch of bourbon; however, this one is not the barrel aged version. Gonna love this one I can tell.

T - The taste is incredible, almost like the smell. Did I get the barrel aged one by their mistake. Wow, this is very smooth and tasty. This might be the best Imperial Stout I've had ever, its just that good.

M - Thick as hell, molasses comes to mind. Heavy mouthfeel, little carbonation, but very good for the style. Yummy

O - Blown away, very nice beer, Highly Recommended Cheers!

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Photo of MIbeer27
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, dated 1.15.15.

Bottle into snifter with deepest black hue and a thin mocha head that quickly recedes to a thin collar.

Aroma is massive. Huge dark fruits like cherry, fig and raisin over top of dark, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, molasses and roasted barley . Hints of alcohol heat are there as well, but hides well.

Taste coats the entire mouth with all of the aforementioned flavors, joined by heavily charred, ashy malt notes. Slight warmth from the alcohol trails all the way down into the stomach. Taste lingers with slight herbal notes and the roasted barley standing out. Burps are rather fruity.

Mouthfeel is chewy thick with modest carbonation.

Overall, Plead the Fifth is one of the most complex beers that I've ever had. Maybe its the age (almost 7 months at time of tasting), but this one was easily the dark-fruitiest RIS that I've ever had. Not quite at the level of Founder's Imperial Stout, but damn close and an instant favorite.

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Photo of DavidEddie
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of "Plead the 5th".

Appearance - Black with a tan head, and a nice ring of lacing.

Smell - A nice mix of milk chocolate, coffee, hint of dark fruit, and burnt marshmallows.

Taste - A blast of chocolate, old black coffee, brown sugar, smoke, and burnt toast. Finishes with some mildly bitter piney hops and booze.

Mouth feel - Lightly carbonated and coating.

Drinkability - Incredible. My new favorite stout! IMO similar to Surly Darkness and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Definitely recommended!

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle split with onix1agr and the old lady. Thanks for the chance bud.

A- super thick murky black liquid with dark brown edges. Small coffee colored skin of foam that vanishes to a ring around the top.

S- deep dark roasted malts giving off tons of chocolate and coffee. Lots of brown sugar and molasses sweetness. Some bright hits of hops but very mild. A underlying rose like floral quality with warming.

T- chocolate cover rasberries and a cup of espresso. Brown sugar over grapefruit and a bit of toasted wood.

M- chewy and thick with a good amount of carb that lift the syrup and keeps thing lively.

D- its a huge beer with a lot of complexity for sure but easy on ya. Great for enjoying with some friends.

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Photo of timc100
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 batch

Beautiful pitch black beer, surprisingly minimal and fizzy burnt mocha head. Decadent aroma of milk chocolate and vanilla sweetness, dark stone fruits, bakers chocolate, and faded espresso. Some decent amount of roast, a little ash. Taste is huge - bursting with rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, and dark roast coffee. The vanilla sweetness is prominent in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is full, oily, creamy with very soft carbonation.

My favorite of the Michigan winter imperial stouts (Expedition, FIS). Incredibly rich chocolate flavor enhanced with the most vibrant vanilla for a non-vanilla aged stout. Very balanced - exceptional.

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Photo of Wolfpack2005
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013

A-Pours heavy and completely black into my snifter glass and leave a half finger head that fades quickly.

S-Dark chocolate with heavy doses bready and roasted malts. Also catching a good wiff of booze on the back end of the nose.

T-Follows the nose but the roasted malts are front and center with notes of dark chocolate and toffee. Then a slight booziness before the dark chocolate comes back and lingers on the palate.

M-Nice thick mouthfeel, which is preferable for the style, IMO. Lower levels of carbonation.

O-An excellent example of the style. Straight forward flavors, not overly complex, but perfectly executed

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Photo of Resuin
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a teku glass. It looks like the bottle says 03.05.14 so this is pretty fresh.

Appearance: Pours jet black and leaves two fingers of tan/light-medium brown head which fades pretty quickly to a layer atop the beer.

Smell: Big roasted malts, coffee, fudge-like chocolate, some dark fruits, a hint of cherry. Fairly decadent. Very nice aroma.

Taste: Matches the smell until the finish which is a bit more bitter. Roasted malts, fudge, coffee, vanilla, marshmallow, a bit of char. Slightly bitter finish. ABV is masked really well.

Mouth-feel: Low carbonation with a thick, creamy body. Finishes smooth.

Overall: A very impressive stout. Rich, thick body with a decadent aroma and wonderful flavor. Really tasty.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Center pour from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

What a lovely pour. A deep rich (nearly black) mahogany with a nice brownish-red foam that quickly dissipates to less than half a finger.

The smell is incredible! I get caramel, toffee, chocolate, perhaps prune, roasted coffee and a bit of booziness.

The first taste: A little bite of booze then a hit of sweetness and fruit followed by dark chocolate and raisin. The aftertaste is dark chocolate, slightly bitter and creamy. It lingers on the tongue, awaiting the next sip.

The mouthfeel is wonderful. Full and creamy with a late tingle on the tongue from the carbonation.

Overall, this is a great beer. Full of wonderful smells and flavors. I feel like the next time I have it, I'll be picking up different layers. I can't wait.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 832 ratings.