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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

2,827 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,827
Reviews: 751
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 483
Gots: 683 | FT: 74
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: 2,827 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - black with a thin tan head that stuck around as a ring.
S - roasted, dark coffee with a hint of bittersweet chocolate.
T - taste is everything in the smell, roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate, the alcohol is well hidden behind these flavors.
F - full bodied with a slick sort of smoothness.
D - very drinkable for what it is.

05-31-2010 03:40:30 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of TK5150
TK5150

Maine

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

12 oz. bottle sent to me from TimmyP, thanks man.

A- Pours jet black with a small dark brown head into my snifter. The head recedes into a brown ring around the edge of the glass. Excellent lacing on the glass as I swirl. Excellent example of what an Imperial Stout should look like in the glass.

S- Molasses is the most prominent smell, but there is also a lot of chocolate, licorice and dark fruits(raisins, figs, grapes).

T- Dark fruit (raisins, figs, grapes) mixes flawlessly with molasses; also incorporated is sweet chocolate. Not very roasty at all. Very sweet. Dessert beer for sure.

M- Low carbonation, but not quite as full bodied as I would like. Finishes kind of thin, actually. One area holding this beer back.

D- Wow, I'm glad I only have one 12 oz. bottle, or I may end up opening another, but at 12%, that would not be a very good idea.

Overall, a very nice imperial stout that is somewhat different from many of the ones I've had recently. Thin body at times, lack of serious complexity, and overall sweetness hold it back just a bit. Still, the delicious factor, appearance, and smell give this beer a nice leg up. A highly recommended beer that if were available to me, I would definitely pick up often.

05-27-2010 21:23:54 | More by TK5150
Photo of Brez07
Brez07

Maine

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

12 bottle poured into a snifter. Not sure of the bottle date, but I got it about 6 months ago

A: Dark pour with some brown highlights along the edge. Head is thin and brief. There's mostly just a ring around the glass

S: Lots of roasted malt, but not over the top. Some dark chocolate mixed in, which imparts a small amount of sweetness. There are also notes of smoke, toffee and possibly brown sugar. I detect a small trace of alcohol as well

T: Again, the roasted malt dominates the flavor. There more of a bakers/bittersweet chocolate in the taste though. The beer developed a very rich chocolate flavor as it warmed

M: Full bodied, smooth and creamy. Maybe a touch high on the carbonation but I didn't mind. Small amount of residual bitterness after each sip

D: Very easy to drink considering the style and ABV. Not nearly as roasty as some others I've had in the style. You really don't notice the 12%. This is a good beer that I'd drink again if available but won't go out of my way to get

02-01-2011 01:49:24 | More by Brez07
Photo of jamescain
jamescain

Texas

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Poured into a nonic tumbler, initially I didn’t know what this was because I received it as an extra, thanks drewba, and there was no label on the bottle. I assumed it was a homebrew, so I threw it in the fridge and had it the night I received the package.

Appearance: Pours a very viscous black with a brown head about a finger thick that fades into a ring around the glass.

Aroma: Huge notes of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Slightly on the boozy side, especially when it warms up, but it is not overwhelmingly alcoholic. There are flavors of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee is pretty prevalent and even some dark fruits such as raisins.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with low to medium carbonation with a warming finish that is slightly sweet and lingering.

Overall: I’m usually very happy with Dark Horse’s beers and this one is no exception. I just wish that I had known what it was so I could have shared it with friends. If you get the chance I recommend picking one up, but it’s a sipper for sure.

08-04-2011 15:10:32 | More by jamescain
Photo of jcartamdg
jcartamdg

Florida

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Pours a dark black, very thick pour with a paper thin mocha head. Aroma of roasted malts, dark chocolate and a vanilla oaky note. I had to check to make sure this wasn't the bourbon barrel version because it has hints of bourbon. Taste follows the nose, so delicious, heavy but delicious. The nose is intensified with the taste. Mouthfeel is very thick but in a great way. This is a wonderful stout, I will be seeking out this beer!

08-06-2011 04:10:44 | More by jcartamdg
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

On draft at Capone's in Philadelphia.

The beer is black with a thick, beige head that plasters the glass in lacing. Can't ask for more than that. The aroma is of roast, oak, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor is extremely roasty, with a slightly burned malt character. The feel is full bodied, with alcohol presence there, but not overwhelming. Good stuff.

04-23-2011 18:52:02 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Viscous black with a head that nearly matches it in color and also fades very fast.

Chocolate, molasses, lots of roasted malt, nice hop presence. Also getting a real faint belgian yeast smell out of this.

Big toasted malt flavor with a fairly large coffee presence and light chocolate and banana taste. Nice hop snap too. Roasty and hoppy aftertaste is pleasant.

Big bodied and smooth. Maybe just a shy thin for the body, but by no means way off. Finishes very dry.

Awesome drinkability at this ABV. An absolute solid RIS. Really worth trying.

03-11-2010 02:33:32 | More by jera1350
Photo of ottovon
ottovon

Arizona

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%

Thanks to ejyoung for this.

A: dark brown with a dark brown head.

S: dark brown sugar, toffee, dark chocolate, molasses, dark fruits like raisins. nice amounts of roasted malt.

T: there is a bit of alcohol. lots of chocolate, molasses, burnt sugar, toffee. there is a slight sweetness at first, and then it finishes with a roasted malt bitterness.

M: smooth, creamy, thick with low carb.

O: this is a very good beer. wish I had more of this.

10-09-2011 19:21:54 | More by ottovon
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
BurgeoningBrewhead

Pennsylvania

4.11/5  rDev -4.6%

Picked up one of these in Ithaca, also spotted them in Binghamton. Nice to have Dark Horse coming to this area, although it'd be even nicer if we got any of the rarer variants, but that's not likely.

Poured into a nonic pint glass; jet black with a minimal half-finger dark brown head from a rough pour. Head quickly fades into a single-bubble-thick layer of foam.
Smells of semi-sweet chocolate, coffee, brown sugar and molasses, and even a hint of oak or something.
Taste follows nose...sweet chocolate and brown sugar are cut with hints of roasty coffee bitterness, but it's mostly sweet. Aftertaste of semisweet chocolate and stickiness. Not much booze noticeable in the taste.
Mouthfeel is full, slick and sticky.
Overall, a big tasty stout but it's a bit sweet for my taste. I'd still love to find [one of] the BBA version[s] sometime, but I'm not too hopeful.

06-10-2014 02:53:43 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
Photo of weonfire
weonfire

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Enjoyed this brew at River City Drafthouse on tap in Louisville, KY in a HUGE 16oz tulip glass. Ya, this put me on my ace.

A - Jet Black, excellent mocha color head- finger width. Great Lacing- stays at the high water mark.

S - Roast and Chocolate malt.

T - Very pleasant. Chocolate, roast, small amounts of smoke. initially moderately sweet. goes down moderately bitter. Hop level is very low.

M - froth level is low. viscosity is high. coats mouth well.

O - Really nice stout. Looks amazing. Only thing i was disappointed with was the mouthfeel. Missing that super creamy, velvety feel. But that seems like thats a big deal in the stout game. any rate, not a deal breaker in this brew.

03-02-2013 21:43:25 | More by weonfire
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

A hard pour (to get as much head as possible while I can -- don't flex your dirty minds now) results in a half-inch deep mocha brown and glowing bronze head...beautiful, although, predictably, it vanishes to a skim in a matters of seconds. The color is pure ebony black, forbidding in its total darkness. Seems to have quite some thickness to it, too, which wouldn't be surprising.

Aroma is quintessential Russian Imperial Stout, ie. big everything. Generous alcohol meshes with big juicy dark fruits, gooey milk chocolate, smoke, cocoa nibs, black licorice, and graham cracker. That 12% alcohol is held in check, but just barely...

Flavor reminds of a brasher version of Expedition Stout (Bell's) but the differences are obvious. Plead The 5th is more bitter, as in burnt-chocolate bitter, and not quite as smooth/round/thick, texturally. A deep, comforting mesh of flavors that includes most everything from the smell (chocolate, cocoa, dark fruit, smoke, licorice and alcohol), with the alcohol underlining everything else and giving a slightly spicy edge.

I wouldn't call the feel "thin," but it's certainly less thick than expected, and probably more carbonated than expected, although still very much performs like a stout, texturally.Slick, yet also has a good bit of stickiness, which keeps the burnt and bitter chocolate/coffee flavor rolling through the tremendously long finish. Interesting, for sure.

This is my fourth Dark Horse beer, and so far my favorite (have also had Tres, Fore and Double Crooked Tree). It does just about everything you want a beer of this style to do, and it's all well-balanced, especially considering its immensity of flavor and alcohol-level. I wonder why it's called Plead The 5th? "Shut up and drink" maybe?

06-30-2010 21:27:55 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Vonerichs
Vonerichs

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Pitch black with a short-lived head that, at it's peak, was just small tan bubbles gathering around the edge with spotting in the middle.

Smell is deeply roasted malts, a little soy, and black licorice.

In the taste, the deep roasted malts are complimented by heavy hops, giving it a dark berry flavor. Hints of chocolate throughout.

Mouthfeel is creamy with low carbonation. Good for the style.

This weighs in at 12%, and is slightly hot. Aside from that, a very good stout.

09-12-2010 22:13:21 | More by Vonerichs
Photo of YumYumGumGum
YumYumGumGum

Virginia

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

A: ideal slim headed stout. Pretty low carbonation but an amazing opaque black color.

S: i got virtually no scent until it warmed up and i got chocolate and nice coffee but mostly roast and alc.

T: great taste, smooth high gravity, the coffee taste is great. If you like a full bodied stout with subtle coffee. This is your beer.

M: very nice, smooth, in fact, im appreciating the low carbonation strong body now.

O: im thankful for my currently half full barglass of plead the fifth. The great part of this well made stout is it shockingly spectacular delivery of the warming 12%abv. I highly recommend this to coffee afficianados.

08-06-2011 02:18:38 | More by YumYumGumGum
Photo of JoshVandy
JoshVandy

Indiana

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours completely jet black with a 1 finger mocha brown head. Pretty decent retention. The color on this is impressive; easily the blackest stout I've seen in a while.

S- Big whiffs of chocolate and malts come through immediately, followed closely by very subtle coffee notes and a hint of fusel alcohol. Reminds me a lot of Founders Imperial Stout, which is a good thing.

T- Fantastic chocolate and malt immediately, followed by more malt and a hint of hops. Dark fruits also come into play as it warms. Alcohol heat is present after swallowing, leaving a nice burn in the throat that makes me want another sip. A little one dimensional, but it executes in that dimension flawlessly.

M- This is the part that impresses the most. Completely smooth, creamy and thick from start to finish, with the perfect amount of carbonation. Coats the mouth and throat and lingers there long after my last sip with faint alcohol. Incredible.

O- A fantastic Imperial Stout that is a little one dimensional in taste, but completely makes up for its shortcomings with a mouthfeel that is one of the best I've had in a long while.

05-08-2011 05:00:06 | More by JoshVandy
Photo of recall1242
recall1242

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

A- Pours a thick black in color that you can barely see anything through. Aggressively poured to a very thin head with little to no lacing.

S- Nice dark roasty aroma, cocoa and a slight smokey character.

T- Plenty of dark roasted grains and some chocolate flavors. Warms up nicely to some caramel and vanilla flavors in the finish.

M- Low carbonation but a well hidden 12%.

O- One of the better Imperial Stouts out there that you can actually find on the shelves. Not really a budget beer but it wont break the bank either.

05-18-2011 03:28:16 | More by recall1242
Photo of MNishCT77
MNishCT77

District of Columbia

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

12 oz. bottle obtained on trade (thanks, Greg Radwich!), unknown bottling date (suspected 2012 vintage), poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 9/25/13 over an hour

A: 2/3 - black as a goth at a rave, no clarity, poured with little carbonation and not evident throughout the drinking, big alcohol legs as expected at 11% ABV

S: 10/12 - bitter dark chocolate, tobacco, leather and strong alcohol notes reminiscent of a rum

T: 17/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a moderate bitterness - dark chocolate and coffee flavors predominate; in the middle of the mouth, the malt complexity and alcohol really take over without residual/cloying sweetness; a mild bitter chocolate/coffee taste persists for 5-10 seconds and invites another-and-another sip

M: 3/5 - big chewy body, alcohol burn...but little-to-no carbonation

O: 8/10 - there was a lot of hype surrounding this beer, and, although it's a solid RIS, Pt5th unfortunately disappointed me; the major problem is the undercarbonation; I know that one cannot expect (nor should want) a highly carbonated RIS at 11% ABV, yet carbonation is critical for the flavor/aroma and mouthfeel; yet, there are some great flavor profiles here, and, as a result, would be very interested in trying the 14% ABV bourbon barrel-aged version

TOTAL = 40/50

09-26-2013 00:20:41 | More by MNishCT77
Photo of ravot
ravot

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Poured a Plead the 5th, 2013 vintange, into a Bells Brewery snifter.

Appearance:
Pours of motor oil. Jet black. Minimal lacing on the glass. Head was minimal if any. The pour seems as if it were thick like oil.

Smell:
This bottle immediately smelled of chocolate, dark roasts of coffee. More chocolate.
Some cocoa, coconut.

Taste:
Dark roast malts, chocolate. Some slightly alcohol tasting, very good. Definitely sweet as you drink it. Some hops are hiding in there. Bitter chocolate notes in there. Being that it's ABV of 11%, hard to tell.

Mouthfeel:
Creamy, refreshing like a milk stout. Dessert like feeling.

Overall:
Man this is a great stout. Aged for a year. I feel this might better aged than fresh but now i need to take another test and get some fresh since coincidentally, distribution is right about now.
Get your hands on this, fresh or aged, you won't be disappointed in an overall solid Imperial Sout

02-25-2014 01:43:02 | More by ravot
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

G: Poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours near-black with a very dark, slightly cherry-infused head. The head is a little less than a finger, and has a good amount of carbonation. Plenty of lacing.

S: Dark malt and some hop presence, but the overpowering smell here is that of dried red fruits. Also, some mild espresso. Also, some definite alcohol presence.

T: Much like the smell, but add in the tiniest bit of anise.

M: A little bit thin, though still has a good body. Good amount of carbonation. Not too much of an alcohol bite.

D: This one is definitely a sipper. Lighter than most RIS's, which might not be a bad thing considered that it's released just as the weather turns for the better.

04-23-2009 05:25:00 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Pours jet black with a dark brown head. In the aroma, roasted malt, coffee and a sweetness that reminds me of oatmeal. In the taste, sweet roasted malt and a dry coffee ending. A small hop bite and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee and a small alcohol presence in the aftertaste. Nice big flavor, big roast, nice coffee presence and hides the 12% very well.

05-03-2011 20:07:59 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of WilliamD
WilliamD

Minnesota

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Jet black in my snifter. Thin, tan head that dissolves quickly, leaving a curious image that looks like the fossil of a prehistoric armadillo captured in stone. Two minutes later it's a peacock.
Burnt malts, coffee and faint alcohol. Some chocolate as well.
Coffee and cocoa up front. Roasted malts and booze. Moderately bitter.
Smooth, yet slightly tingly. A bit warming from the booze.
Quite tasty, and quite drinkable on a weekend. Limit- three? Only one on a week night, however.

03-29-2009 01:10:36 | More by WilliamD
Photo of Morey
Morey

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

12oz bottle

Appearance: Pours black as night with one finger of brown colored head. Head settled pretty quick to almost nothing but a ring of foam around the outside edges of my glass. No light penetrates through this beer.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, Molasses, Campfire coals, but fairly clean for a 12% Imperial Stout.

Taste: I'm getting molasses and dark fruits up front followed by some subtle roasted flavors. There's also a really nice chocolate flavor towards the middle. Just a touch of coffee on the finish....surprisingly clean.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a low-lying carbonation.

Morey's Bottom Line: What this beer lacks in aroma, it more than makes up for in taste. A really nice Imperial Stout. I can't taste the 12% at all! I would love to have the barrel-aged version of this beer. An outstanding representation of the style.

09-14-2012 22:49:03 | More by Morey
Photo of Wadsey
Wadsey

Indiana

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

Plead the Fifth

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with minimal, light brown head. Typical looking imperial stout, in other words. 

S: Dried dark cherries and star anise or licorice. A floral note that borders on perfume keeps flaring up. Additional aromas include light roasted chocolate, peat, smoke/soy sauce and solvent. The last two notes are subtle enough not to hurt the beer. 

T: The tongue follows nose, and all notes are superbly integrated into a whole. Roast is stronger in taste and balances the dark fruitiness of the beer quite well. Medium-high bitterness. A little alcohol. 

M: Big body and medium-light carbonation. Mouthfeel is oily and coating. Somewhat warming. 

O:  Plead the Fifth rightfully belongs to the trilogy of Michigan Russian Imperial Stouts, which also includes Bell's Expedition Stout and Founder's Imperial Stout. It is more daring and complicated, though. Not as traditional. 

07-10-2011 12:14:47 | More by Wadsey
Photo of gueuzedreg
gueuzedreg

Colorado

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

12oz bottle into a CS snifter.

A- Charred brown black in color; coffee head that has good retention to minimal lacing with medium legs

S- this brew totally has a Belgian dark fruit/charred fig quality to it. Some like this, some don't. I usually don't, but the taste is not dominated by it.

T- Equal chocolate and molasses to Belgian dark fruit/charred fig to help my palate out. Nice malt backbone. Not as pronounced as some, but good nonetheless.

M- Very smooth here, with perfect amount of carb. Can't complain

O- A very very well done version of a non ba stout. Get some!

04-18-2014 05:07:43 | More by gueuzedreg
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: None, 2012-2013 edition
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

Pours a 1cm head of brown foam atop the body, it being comprised of mostly small bubbles, mixed with an occasional medium and large sized-one for varied effect. Retention is average, lasting about one minute before the foam sinks to a thick ring around the glass and a small island of lacing atop the body. Lacing left along the sides of the glass is minimal, a line or dot occurring haphazardly. Body is very dark brown to black, totally opaque, light showing only the thinnest sliver of garnet-brown hue to slip through. Carbonation is visible only near the top of the beer's surface.

Aroma is of roasted malt, heavy semi-sweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and ethanol. While good, this isn't as upfront about its ingredients as I would expect such a malt-packed beer to be.

Front of palate picks up semi-sweet chocolate with heavy roasted malt and coffee beans. Mid-palate of roasted malt, very dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, vanilla, and mild ethanol. Lingering aftertaste of acrid roasted malt, very dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee beans, and mild ethanol.

Beer is medium-heavy to heavy bodied with medium-light levels of carbonation. The result is a smooth, slightly foamy mouthfeel that is thick and well-geared towards sipping. Ethanol is only slightly felt on the tongue and in the nostrils, very good for an 11% beer. Closes dry and slightly astringent, with moderate stickiness clinging to the palate.

04-09-2013 04:20:28 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of d5001986
d5001986

Wisconsin

4.14/5  rDev -3.9%

12oz bottle poured into Spiegelau tulip.

A: Pours a pure inky black with just a trace of tan head.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, molasses, and vanilla.

T: Roasted malt, burnt coffee, vanilla, and bitter dark chocolate up front; with some smokiness, spicy pepper, and light nuttiness. Also a moderate bitterness follows.

M: A good thick and oily body, just right to the style. Little carbonation comes through.

O: A very nice impression of the style, rich yet drinks easy as far as stouts go. Overall solid, and a good buy.

04-28-2014 00:24:50 | More by d5001986
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,827 ratings.