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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

2,928 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,928
Reviews: 757
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 496
Gots: 706 | FT: 80
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: 2,928 | Reviews: 757 | Display Reviews Only:
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 03, 2014
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage opened on 3.13.13

A - Pours a motro oil blakc with a small dark brown head that slowly fades to one side.

S - Teriyaki, chocolate, soy, and sweet.

T - Similar to the nose at this point, but more booze and heet.

D - Low carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Heavy stout with a sweet teriyaki essence. Still enjoyable.

HuskyinPDX, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of brock146
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark black with nice chocolate hued head

S - Alcohol and dark chocolate

T - Black coffee, sweet and malty, a bit smoky, definite yet subtle kick of alcohol

M - Silky smooth, low carbonation creates a soft of "milk shake" consistency. Keeps your palate warm after it goes down

O = Very tasty and surprisingly [ and dangerously :) ] drinkable for being such a high gravity beer

brock146, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of codysjb
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a brown-black with virtually no head. Smells like bourbon. Tastes like a strong stout mixed with bourbon, nothing too flavorful but respectful none the less. Certainly a good beer to sip a savor. Really shines on the mouthful as the flavor fully comes out and tastes really smooth for the whole time. Overall a better stout, certainly stronger and less chocolaty than I usually like but a great stout none the less.

codysjb, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of Stigs
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a DFH oversized snifter

A - pours with a thin layer of loose khaki colored film, quickly falls away to just a ring around the glass. the beer is pitch black in color, with just the faintest dark brown getting through in front of light.

S - very sweet...dark fruits, very dark and slightly bitter chocolate, oak, vanilla, some lightly roasted coffee beans and toasted nuts. some warming alcohol at the end along with brewers licorice.

T - bitterness comes through here much more predominantly than the nose...full of dark bakers chocolate, roasted espresso beans, smoke...sweetness comes into play the second half with dark fruits coming alive, licorice, alcohol, and dark roasted malt.

M - the body is just a *tad* thin, carbonation though is nice and controlled. a little syrupy going down, coats the mouth and leaves a lingering bitter chocolate flavor.

D - not bad at all...glad i have another bottle of this as i think time will do it well, calming the bitter flavors and bringing everything else up a notch. has a lot of potential.

Stigs, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of Mavajo
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Straight from the pour, you can tell this one's gonna be a heavy-hitter. Total black with a dark brown head. Mild head at first, but before long it recedes completely and gives the beer a thick, flat appearance. Heavy and intense looking.

Good profile on this one. Dark chocolate, licorice, molasses and roasted malts. Lingers on the aftertaste a bit, but not offensive. Thick and chewy mouthfeel.

This is a pretty solid stout. I enjoyed the pure "heaviness" of this beer, but it seemed to come up just short of epic in my opinion. Damn good beer, though.

Mavajo, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of nickd717
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade thanks to translucent on BA. Damn dude, this is a bruiser. Is this the fifth in the "one, too, tres, fore" series? If so, then neener neener, I ticked them all off, and victory is mine!

Pours black and thick with a one-finger dark tan head. Some legs on this one - you can tell it's viscous.

Aroma is intense with dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, and roast. Slight sweetness present.

Flavor is really interesting. It reminds me of Midnight Sun Berserker in a way, except without the -bal aging notes. Rich dark chocolate and roast dominate, with a hint of coffee as well as molasses, anise, and red wine/port. Very full and thick on the palate with low carbonation. Some tannins as well as hop bitterness. Smooth and slick. A great imperial stout overall. Not too drinkable in large quantities, but you have to give it a pass on this because it's damn good. One of the better beers I've had from Dark Horse. Good job rejecting Nickelback's offer too, guys. They suck!

nickd717, May 04, 2010
Photo of Rutager
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you Steasy66!! Been wanting this one for a while now, the BB version was fantastic.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a thin brown head.

Smell. Dark chocolate and molasses with some dark malts and brown sugar and a bit of vanilla.

Taste. Sweet bakers chocolate, some lightly smokey dark roasted malts, black licorice and molasses, with some black coffee in the finish. High abv is well hidden. Very nice.

Mouthfeel. Full body with low+ carbonation. Thick and viscous with just a little warmth.

Overall. A fantastic ris. Lots of chocolate which is never a bad thing for the style.

Rutager, Oct 30, 2012
Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cruisc for this one

Look: Black and totally opaque with a brown ring at the top of the beer. Beautiful looking 1/2 inch dark tan head with good retention

Smell: Dark chocolate and lots of alcohol and some molasses

Taste: Upfront I get a good amount of burnt malt and ash. The background has a crazy amount of dark chocolate and coffee. The flavors are big and bold and a bit over powering

Mouthfeel: Full body with medium to low carbonation

Overall: It is a beer that is a bit of a sipper. The flavors are bold and in your face so be ready for it. Definitely recommended

DarthKostrizer, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of fsvan
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe.

A- Incredibly deep copper, brown. Not black, but almost. Completely impenetrable to light. A finger of nice maroonish brown head. Some maroon brown gunked up sediment is clear against the dark background. The gunk is a bit off putting, keeping this a 4 and not 4.5.

S- A unique smelling RIS. Some dark fruit. Some vanilla, almost as if this had been in oak for a very short time. Roasted malts. Some hop bitterness, but with so much going on this is a background aroma. The alcohol is present for sure, but at 12% that isn't shocking.

T- A dark fruitish beginning, followed by a wave of huge roasted malts. Hop bitterness is very present, as is the 12% alcohol. This is a great tasting stout, but as with the smell, the heat from the alcohol keeps the scores down a touch.

M- Not as huge and thick as might be expected, but still thick and very nice.

O- So, I gave this 4s across the board and a 4.5 overall. The reasoning is that for what it is, it is fantastic. And it is a big in your face, take no prisoners, RIS. The heat from the alcohol kept the scores down on smell and taste by a hair, but if you are in the market for a big, hairy stout, this is well worth the try.

fsvan, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of bonemuse07
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First day of summer means I should celebrate all that is dark, right? Since we had tornado warnings tonight, the skies were certainly dark. However...

A: Poured into a large snifter. This beer was darker than the skies. Midnight black/oily--not sure light would be able to escape it. Only about 1/4 finger of head, cocoa, disappeared quickly.

S: Big dark chocolate smell, followed closely by alcohol. Some coffee, oak, and faint vanilla in there. I was expecting a little more sweetness to it, but the chocolate seems to be overpowering

T: Dark, almost burnt chocolate. The hops add an extra kick to the coffee flavors. Definitely some oak. This beer overwhelms the taste buds. Surprisingly, there's not as much of a boozy taste as I was expecting, but it definitely warms you up after a few sips. Finishes with a faint sweet aftertaste...

M: More carbonation that I was expecting, especially after so little head. Coats everything, but the coffee/bitter doesn't overwhelm. Very well balanced.

Overall: I was expecting a little more sweetness from it, but it surprised me with how full and thorough it was. This is an excellent stout. Dark Horse is rapidly becoming one of my trusted breweries, i.e. I'll try anything from them.

Cheers!

bonemuse07, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of Donerik
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black like an RIS should be, 3/8 inch head on a aggressive pour, dissipates quickly, nice lacing, good ring of foam.

S: all roast, not too many other scents.

T: Roasted Malt, Roasted Malt, then it comes in with a subtle chocolate finish, but not like hershey's syrup definitely like bitter dark chocolate.

M: thick, lightly carbonated, heavy

D: I'd drink this back to back, then I'd be buzzed, So I'd drink as many as I could, it's a good brew.

Donerik, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of JackieTH
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: For all intents and purposes this one pours and looks like very well-used motor oil. Angry dark mocha-brown froth leaves a minimal bit of lacing.

Smell: Roasted dark coffee, malt and very rich chocolate, and dried plums.

Taste: Opens smooth, creamy and slightly sweet and with dark roasted malt but then pours on the dark, rich chocolate and espresso. There is a note of anise and dried dates. Warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Rich and thick but lacks carbonation.

Drinkability: Danger Will Robinson.

JackieTH, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of bamadog
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting a while to try this one. Picked up the four pack in 2010, review is from notes taken on 5/12/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is thick and viscous looking, and if I had to pick a visual comparison, I would go with FBS; body is black like fresh brewed coffee and it starts with a very dark brown head of 1/2 fingers that fades immediately to nothing other than a thin ring and small island in the center of the surface; body is entirely opaque; no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell: Lots of big chocolate malts, smells rich and thick, like Hershey's syrup; some dark cherry scents in there as well, and I'm reminded of the syrup inside a chocolate covered cherry too; just a touch of alcohol in the nose, and for being 12%, I would say it's blended quite well.

Taste: The taste is good, but not quite as good as the nose -- I feel like it loses a bit of the robust nature; like the smell, the big chocolate malts are up front, but they come across with a bit more of a bittersweetness to them, but they're still rich enough; the cherry flavors are there as well, and follow the chocolate nicely; there is a nice smokiness in it, with a touch of vanilla; alcohol is more present in the taste, but I would still say that it's pretty well blended and makes more of an appearance in the belly as it's quite warm.

Mouthfeel: Body is medium to heavy in terms of weight; carbonation is nearly non-existant but I'm OK with that in this style; body is also a little slick and oily, yet still manages to leaves a thick, semi-dry coating all over the roof of the mouth; gums are left a little tingly and the belly is left warm, as mentioned above, from the higher ABV.

Overall: A great offering from Dark Horse, great smell and good flavors and a body that matches the style quite well. Being a bit heavier and clocking in with that big ABV, consumption would be a little limited, but this would be a great dessert beer.

bamadog, May 13, 2011
Photo of Spiekerbox
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Exactly how a RIS should look, dark almost black color with a thick but short dark brown-reddish head on it.

S- Dark roasted malts and grains with a bit of smokey and dark fruit scents.

T- Toasty and burnt malts are the first flavors to hit with a creamy chocolate sweetness. Hops are there but not overpowering.

M- Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Alcohol warming is there but not nearly as much as you would expect from a 12% abv beer.

O- Good beer from a good brewery. This is one of the first darker beers I have had from Dark Horse but after tasting it I think I will need to try a few more :)

Spiekerbox, Mar 31, 2012
Photo of Phelps
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received as part of a BIF box from the very generous callmemickey.

Appearance: like molasses. Pours a syrupy, inky black, thick, dark and manly. A tiny, filmy crown of deep orange appears atop, bubbling for a few seconds before becoming a persistent, bubbly ring.

Smell: lots of dark fruits: raisins, plums. Molasses, a light smokiness, marshmallows, maple and very subtle coffee in the back.

Taste: The sweetness has dropped off considerably in favor of the more roasty flavors. Campfire smoke, espresso, raisins, vodka. Solid flavor.

Feel: an alcohol heat singes the throat like heartburn. Light, prickly carbonation amidst a soft, creamy medium body.

Drink: nice flavors, great mouthfeel, good balance. Alcohol's a little heavy, but would I have it again? I plead the fifth. And by plead the fifth, I mean yup.

Phelps, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of mavbrew
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an inky black color that looks kind of like used motor oil when poured into the glass. The head is limited, less than a finger thick with a strong pour and is dark tan in color.

S: The scent is strong, everything in the nose is smelled as you're pouring. There is chocolate, coffee beans, cocoa, some vanilla with roasted malts and a bit of booze, but hardly noticeable.

T: The taste is exactly as you would expect from the smell. The rich dark chocolate is present up front which leads into the sweet dark fruits. The finish is roasted and smokey with a little bit of booze.

M: Full bodied with little carbonation. The feel is that of dark chocolates and roasted malts.

D: Overall this is a solid beer. It had an aroma that can be picked up from across the room and the flavor is just as good. Now I just need to get my hands on the barrel aged version.

mavbrew, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of Gushue3
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thank you MaxSpang for this guy

A- Very dark brew. Almost no light is let through while pouring and is completely black sitting in my glass. A nice 2 finger mocha brown / coffee colored head forms that has moderate retention. after dissipating there's very little left on the sides and top and not really any lacing. Would love to see more lacing and head but looks good either way

S- All kinds of sweetness in this one. Big malt and brown sugar hot me in the first waft. Plums, raisins and candied fruits with a smokey and hop scent somewhere in there as well. All these making it a very nice and complex nose.

T- First thing i noticed was how smooth it is. Smoke and malt take charge while the sweetness in the nose takes a back seat. Sweetness picks up toward the middle and follows to the end. Nothing over powering and well balanced

M- Smooth. Heavier mouthfeel with almost no carbonaation, really nice.

O- Great beer, everything works well together.

Gushue3, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of midnite2sixman
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black as the night, exquisite head. frothy, tons of action on the pour and staying power!

Big chocolate and coffee, roasted malts, marshmallows, and malted milk balls are all in the aroma.

Taste: Very smooth chocolatey taste with lots of coffee beans roasty tastes all around. Somewhat sweet, like fine dark chocolate. Bitter finish topped off with a cocoa butter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nice smooth stout aftertaste, lots of chocolate in this one.

Great beer!

midnite2sixman, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of Gigantis
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought two of them and meant to age one but my wife really wanted to try it and... well... I wasn't going to let her drink alone and I didn't have anything else. Shoulda' aged it probably.

The appearance is not impressive. After pouring one for my wife into a snifter and getting no head whatsoever, I tried a really aggressive pour into my pint glass (my preferred RIS glass) and got only slightly better results. I'm not a sucker for head like some are, but this dense, blackest black brew gave me nothing but some dark tan bubbles. Yes, it is dark and thick but it doesn't look as alive as, say, Founders KBS or some other headless stouts.

Smells real nice though. Aromas of bitter dark chocolate, toasted malt, oak, vanilla and ... I think burnt cake, whatever that means. There was a slight trace of alcohol going up the nose. I liked that. Maybe an essence of elderberries, but I feel like the esters were weak in the smell here.

Once it hits your mouth this beer is really a top of the line RIS. Good, dark coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and grains, a little dark fruit and vanilla near the end and great lightly-hoppy bitterness to even it out. The body is heavy and boozy but it isn't overwhelmingly viscous or oily.

Sure drink a few of these. Don't let me stop you. One was enough for me though.

Gigantis, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black with thin tan head. Decent retention, little lacing to speak of. Smell is interesting, definitely multi-dimensional. Some smoke, coffee, booze, rock candy, dark fruit, cinnamon, and wood. Taste is far smokier than others seem to think, espresso, some bittersweet chocolate, some dark fruit again, some alcohol. Definitely interesting, better than your run-of-the-mill RIS. MF is a bit light-bodied, but definitely smooth and velvety. Drinkability, like Double Crooked Tree, is way higher than I would expect for a 10+% ABV. Definitely a good RIS, interesting. I'll be grabbing another to put away for a while.

LordAdmNelson, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

JoeyBeerBelly, May 31, 2010
Photo of TK5150
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

TK5150, May 27, 2010
Photo of Brez07
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Brez07, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of jamescain
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

jamescain, Aug 04, 2011
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,928 ratings.