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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

821 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 821
Hads: 3,493
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.86%
Wants: 552
Gots: 918 | FT: 104
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 821 | Hads: 3,493
Photo of samie85
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours an inky black with a full finger of dark brown head that quickly dissipates.

S-Smells of banana bread, some dark fruit, and a bit of roasted and chocolate malts.

T-Very sweet and rich chocolate on the front end with dark and bitter chocolate one the finish with a slight, clean bitterness.

M-Medium bodied with low carbonation and a slight bit of warmth in the mouth and throat.

D-This one is almost too easy drinking considering the body and ABV; the alcohol is barely present in the warmth I described in the mouthfeel and I'm used to a heavier feel with bigger beers. I want to like it, but I yearn for a some more complexity in flavors and a richer mouthfeel. (675 characters)

Photo of haazer
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle picked up at capones about 2 months ago.

A- A very thick cocoa puff milk forms atop the brew. Very bubbly, effervescent. The brew is the darkest brown/partially black in color, and opaque. Evident carbonation.

S- First initial whiff yields dark fruits. Once taken in, this is quite a nose. Deep roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, rich toffee, a touch of syrup, and a little chocolate. You can detect some booze but not overwhelming. The dark fruits are still present in each sniff.

T- The dark fruits are the most present flavor. I wanna say plums and raisins, and some black cherry too. Midway into the flavor I got the slightest bit of vanilla chocolate blend. The aftertaste is a barrage of roasted malts, and the slightest bitterness. The booze is not detected in flavor at all.

M- I've read in other reviews that this is "buttery", and you can pick that up from the mouthfeel. This is very smooth and easy drinking. The carbonation is hardly felt, and the body is light to medium bodied, but right in the middle of that. This is probably the lightest bodied RIS I've had.

O- This is a good RIS. Everything fell short compaired to the nose on this though. The tastes were not as pronounced, and the mouth was too light as a stout for my liking. But the masking of the booze and easy drinking nature make this beer above average. (1,354 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for this one Dave!

Well I thought to myself- "Yeah, I'll just have one brew before going to bed" and picked this one out of the fridge. Man, I didn't know what I was getting myself into.

After a straight-down-the-pipe pour into my DFH snifter, a very late forming film of mocha is formed which dissipates to nothing quickly. Even upon swirling, the film upon this black-as-night brew struggles to reappear. I wondered why- then I came on BA and saw the ABV. Uh oh....

Aromas of roasted and chocolate malt, sweet molasses, some alcohol and dark fruits come through (maybe some caramelized brown sugar). Much better as it warms up...

Flavor is pretty good here. Smooth, coating the mouth with flavors of roasted and chocolate malts and dark fruits . Some malt complexity challenges the tongue with just enough of a hint of alcohol to keep you wary of the ABV.

Carbonation level is appropriate, lending to a very smooth, viscous sipper. I don't know how drinkable you could expect a brew like this to be, but it's about what you would expect considering its style and ABV. (1,084 characters)

Photo of youradhere
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-reviewed on 2/17/11. 2009 vintage received in a trade.

Pours black with no head, no lacing. Initially head started to form, but it quickly fell. Smells of oak, booze, char, coffee. Tastes of anise, alcohol, chocolate and toasty char. High carbonation, light-ish mouthfeel for the style. Not as good as I remember, maybe this stuff goes through an ackward stage in it's life.

5/19/2010
The unassuming little bottle pours out a thick black concoction with a brownish tan head that falls rather quickly, leaving moderate lace behind. Copious amounts of yeast sediment remain in the bottle, this could either be good or bad depending upon how the yeast reflects in the glass. Smell is dark coffee and not much else, possibly some slight caramel in the back. First taste has this malt forward brew brining the malt bitterness of black patent roasted malt, followed by a subdued sweetness and an even more subdued smokiness which is a nice surprise. Yeast is barely detectable in this cornucopia of flavors, all jockeying for my attention; this is so much that it takes me a quarter of a glass before I even find the alcohol (12%), and even then it is perfectly balanced. The mouthfeel of this beer is something somewhat of perfection- it keeps the malt char, sweetness and smokiness all in line and playing beautifully with eachother on my palate. The carbonation is perfect, and I can see now why there was so much yeast sediment- as to even reach this modicum of CO2 a damn near entire yeast starter slurry is needed to survive the flavor and alcohol. Very drinkable, I wish I had more of it here in the PNW. (1,610 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Liberty St for $5/pint. Appeared pitch black with a brown cascading head. Damn, this is rich stout. Still, it wasn't cloying or too thick to have more than a few ounces like DFH World Wide Stout. It has a big chocolate cake taste that reminds me of 3F Dark Lord - though smoother and not quite as complex. This beer might benefit from a little more cellaring, it's just not as flavorful as the great imperial stouts. Still, it's fairly drinkable for the style and makes for a good dessert beer. Vanilla ice cream anyone? (530 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tytoanderso for the "Plead the 5th imperial stout," 12 oz bottle.

This beer pours a deep dark black with hints of purple and a dark tan collar.

Smells of dark fruits, baking cocoa, sour wheat, older coffee and dehydrated apricots.

Tastes of prunes, Wheaties, maple syrup, chocolate pudding and sour coffee for balance.

Felt big, thick and sticky with a light carbonation.

the sweet and sour dryness was an odd take on the style, but nice nonetheless. (468 characters)

Photo of tewaris
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 2009 vintage, with just as bad artwork as other Dark Horse beers poured into a snifter.

Inky black with a tiny head that left even before it formed completely! A tiny dark dark brown ring persisted. Forgivable for a 12% ABV beer.

Aroma is sweet chocolate and vanilla; I would have thought this came out of barrels. Hint of alcohol. I like it.

Intense and delicious, bitter, sweet, roasty and chocolaty. Quite complex, but not over the top. Some acidity. Quite warming. I made the mistake of considering it ordinary once and I was wrong. Palate coating until it finishes with kiss of alcohol and kick of roast. Only downside is that it still feels rough and not-well-integrated.

The mouthfeel of this beer, however, is not up to the taste. Hell no! Thin and harsh instead of being silky, this beer could be in BCS territory with its taste it has but its body seems short of supporting it. Overall very good in spite of a few shortcomings here and there. (975 characters)

Photo of Stacy53
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Horse- Plead the 5th- Bottled: Feb. 2010
Around 3 months old

A- Black as night with a fast fading brown, tan head. A bit of red in the head as well.

S- Dark chocolate maybe some dark coffee in there also. I definitely smell some sweet notes.

T- Tons of stuff in this one. I taste chocolate, caramel, a woody taste, sweet cherries. Nice mix of sweet and smoky.

M- This one is thick with low carbonation.

D- Very drinkable, you hardly notice the ABV at 12% in this. (474 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I think at this point, I've had so many different really superb beers of this style that my expectations, and the overall standards, are quite high. This ris comes across as fairly one dimensional. Lots of molasses. More of a punch in the mouth than an interesting ride. (270 characters)

Photo of ChadQuest
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great looking, very great looking. the pour is thick and viscous like oil, and the head rises to the top in a chocolate milk color that is dense and sucks you in. captivating.

nose has light coffee and vanilla, which is also present on the tongue, but adds alot of roasty malts that balance perfectly with a chocolate sweetness where neither one is taking the other hostage. There is a pleasent amount of noticable alcohol in it, just enough to really add another pleasing element to the flavor.

This one is thick with little carbination, and a slightly quick finish for how viscious it is.

I gotta go get me some more of this. (630 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Based on the site's "Notes", this is a 2013 bottle, but I do not know whether it was purchased at The fridge or at The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop. Either way, it is part of the great Bottle Purge of 2014 here at Chez Woody and I raise a toast to "Dark Horse Nation", which will debut on History Channel next Tuesday, 29 July 2014. Skoal!

I could see some lees at the bottom of the bottle, so I employed a very gentle pour to get things started. I still got a brief finger of deep-tan head with limited retention, quickly falling to wisps. Color was a deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose smelled of molasses or medicinal cough syrup from when I was a kid. It had a vegetal, root-like quality that also put me in mind of my grandparents' Geritol. I am not trying to be funny or anything of that nature, either. That is just what comes to mind. Mouthfeel was big, dense, thick, chewy. There was an initial, immediate fusel alcohol burn that slowly died down, allowing for flavors of burnt charcoal, dried dark fruits, anise, and molasses to come forth and be recognized. Whew! This was definitely a no-playing-around beer. Finish was dry, mainly due to the alcohol heat, with a lingering smoky chocolatiness that began to put me in mind of brownies. It was a good beer and I am sure that it is an excellent example of the style, but a) I do not really dig the style and b) it could have aged a while longer to reduce the heat. (1,455 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm able to try this thanks to the generous trader, enelson, for hooking me up with 3 bottles of this. Huge thanks!

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No freshness info. Pours a very thick, dirty motor oil-black. Glugs out very slowly. The pour yields the thinnest of lacy sheets. Dark mocha colored. No lace left behind after each sip. Nice robust nose here. Tones of chocolate, coffee, vinous grapes, a bit of alcohol that singes my sinuses just a smidge.

I expected this to be full bodied because of the pour, but it actually thins out some. The mouth has low carbonation, which I appreciate for the style, but it's not heavy or thick. Could stand a tweaking here. With a big beer like this, the body needs to match the heavy color and ABV. The flavors meld together well and make up for what's lacking in the body. Lots of bitter dark chocolate, cold coffee, almond, and the finish is hintingly tart. I like this. It's an easy sipper, dare I say gulper, since the body is more on the thin side. But, beware, the ABV is on the high side. Not bad at all. (1,062 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an oil sticky thick syrup with a very dark tan head.

Smell of oaky, charred remains of a bourbon barrel. I had to stop and question if this had any barrel aging, which as far as I am aware, it does not. Easily comparable to Ten Fidy in aroma with the sweetness that comes out.

Taste of a slightly boozy , sweet imperial russian stout. There are tons of charred remains in here after the sweetness settles. You can rub your tongue against the top of your mouth and feel the chalky feeling you get from ashes if one were to taste ashes... There is a lot of sweetness, a definite hop presence that brings the ash flavor down a notch, but I can never get over that ashy burnt aftertaste. This is a very tasty beer, but I would remove some of that black patent. Chocolate does it for me, and while this is tasty, I would rather have a RIS that has less char broiled coal characteristics in it.

Very low carbonation with an ashy mouthfeel. (945 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure why this is marked as retired, I have a 12 oz bottle of this brew.

Pours with hardly any carbonation at all and absolutely no head. This beer is pitch black in color and quite viscous looking as I pour it. The aroma smells quite fruity with notes of burnt figs and burnt prunes. These are joined by notes of burnt grain, and roasted coffee as well as some subtle notes of boozy alcohol. I would have to say that rich, concentrated malt notes and chocolate dominate the aroma, it is not nearly as roasty as I was expecting.

The beer is pretty darn thick and viscous as it hits my tongue. It is also lightly sweet, which is accentuated by the complete lack of carbonation. Notes of dark chocolate up front compete with a roasted grain note in the finish. The beer has a certain smooth bitterness in the finish that is also contributed by the roasted malt. The roast note certainly reminds me of black coffee. Notes of fruit are also here with notes of burnt raisins and burnt concentrated plum. There is a bit of a chalky, slightly bitter chocolate note in the middle of this beer.

This beer is pretty nice, but I can't help but think that at least a slight level of carbonation would have made this beer quite a bit better (in both its aromatic and flavor qualities). In fact this beer would be approaching stellar if it was a bit carbonated. (1,359 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with bitter note and very subtle coffee notes. Taste is also dominated by roasted bitter notes with light dry coffee notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed though it doesn't really stand apart from good imperial stout out there. (396 characters)

Photo of brystmar
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: motor oil black and viscous as hell. A mild layer of dark brown head sits atop the brew and leaves behind sticky lace.

S: strong roasted malts, baker's chocolate, booze. Dark fruits too?

T: very dark and roasty. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and malts do their thing start to finish. Plenty of boozy warmth arrives midway through and carries you across the finish line.

M: so big & thick, I feel bad about not using this space for innuendo. Think of the children!

D: this beast doesn't hide its strength particularly well. Not a chore to drink, but you certainly know what's coming.

A great RIS overall. Combined with Tres, I'm now 2/2 in really liking the beers from this series. (689 characters)

Photo of mchegash
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.75/5
Pitch black, very little head however, just a very thin layer of medium brown head which almost immediately dissipates down to a thin ring around the edge of the glass

Smell - 3.75/5
Alcohol is the dominant scent, with some dark malts, chocolate/cocoa notes. Dark fruits, perhaps a bourbon-esque alcohol quality.

Taste - 3.75/5
Smoky, sweet, earthy malts. Strong cocoa notes in the aftertaste. Some dark fruit, a little metallic tinge and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium-full body. Medium-light carbonation. Smooth and crisp.

Overall - 4/5
Overall this was a decent beer. I liked the cocoa notes and the smooth feel. I would have liked more foam, for the aroma to be less boozy, and for the taste to be less metallic and earthy. (755 characters)

Photo of rregan
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours an inky black. It had a thin brown glow near the edges.

S- There are notes of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and coffee, but there is a hot, booze smell that overpowers it all. It shakes your shoulders.

T- It is very very roasty overall, but finishes with a sugary vanilla taste. The taste is marked with some dark boozy flavor but not as much as the smell would imply

M - It has a lot of body, but it is soft and pillowy. It flows smoothly masking most of the alcohol burn and extenuating the roastiness.

This was a really great beer. One of the perfect sipping beers. It would work great on a cold day. (616 characters)

Photo of khiasmus
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown with almost no head. Leaves no lacing or legs.
Smells of black patent, huge coffee, slight chocolate, alcohol, slight metal, a bit of oxidization.
Flavor begins with dark, sweet malt, continues with roasted grain, then some metal, and an almost hammy note in the finish, reminiscent of a rauchbier.
Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, but dry and very puckering in the finish.
Not super drinkable. The strength of the grain bitterness is too much to make this one to constantly enjoy. (501 characters)

Photo of PSUDREW
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a wonderful ink color. Light brown head, that dissipates real quick
S: sweet alcohol, maybe coco and brown sugar, hints of raisins
T: right off the bat, a boozey up front, with thick punch of dark coco, and maybe some plums. maybe. Some caramel to, and it finished thick, but there is a dry chocolate and a roasted flavor. Not hops to really speak of
M: Thick, syrups. this is a once in a while, not on a 96 degree day ( I am speaking from experience)
D: Not exceptionally. but a good brew, prob best in the fall, one or two at a time (544 characters)

Photo of jsh420
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours pitch black with a 1 finger tan head that left spotted lacing

smells of chocolate roasted malts

taste is biiter sweet chocolate, coffee - some dark fruit and hops that come through

mouthfeel has a little sting to it from the alcohol and carbonation

drinkability takes a hit from the mouthfeel - still a very good RIS (327 characters)

Photo of SouljaSaia17
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured very thick and looked like syrup.

A: Very dark beer with a thin caramel colored head that has some fine bubbles on top.

S: Initial smell is of dark fruit, like plum. I also get some dark chocolate, molasses and a hint of brown sugar.

T: Taste is similar to the aroma, creamy, dark chocolate up front. Middle of the flavor has some roasted malts, molasses, a bit of caramel and coffee. Finishes somewhat dry, with yeast type feel.

M: Very rich, smooth and creamy. No noticeable carbonation, but alcohol is not present.

O: Another very good stout, this is a big beer at 12% so its a slow sipper. I have been saving this for a few weeks now and thought this would be the perfect time to have it. Not too familiar with Dark Horse Brewing, but I like what I have had so far! (791 characters)

Photo of xpdrinker
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 12oz bottle picked up a few months ago via trade. No noticeable date stamp until after the pour - it's on the underside of the bottle and only visible if looking at it from inside and against the light. Also noticed some light-colored sludge peering through the bottom of the brown bottle. Poured into my Bruery snifter, pitch black with thin, burnt orange head that dissolves into a thinner ring. Zero lacing.

S - Slight burn at first, lots of vanilla, roastiness, chocolate and dark fruit. 

T - Varying styles of chocolate at first, lots of dark fruit and finishes really roasty and deliciously bitter. An overall cola sweetness hangs over the entire taste.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation. Sticky cola sweetness.

O - I've had this one cellared for a few months and it's quite enjoyable. There's a cola-like sweetness throughout that at times is tasty but at other times annoying. Would kill to get my hands on the barrel-aged version. (949 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, unknown date but at least a year old. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours thick black with a small brown head that quickly recedes to a wispy cap but does leave lots of spotty lacing in its wake.

Aroma is dark roasted malts, dark fruits, black currant, anise, some coffee and chocolate, quite a bit of alcohol. Some oxidation/cardboard is noticed. Very good strength overall.

Flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, black currant, dark fruits, a hint of smoke, some sweetness, moderately boozy and warming.

Mouthfeel is thick & sticky, creamy, soft carbonation.

A big, intense Imperial Stout. Very good stuff, had been looking to try this one for some time. Could have used some more time to mellow out the heat, but on the other hand oxidation was setting in so I’m glad I cracked it open when I did. (837 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark pitch black oil with a slight purpley fade. Rigorous pour revealed no head what so ever, only a few small, looser bubbles break the surface then break down to keep at the edge with a slim collar. No lace either. Very slight oily brown parched residue slips across the surface with very tiny dots of lace dripping down the glass as it is sipped.

Aroma is not complex nor big. Quite empty really, I get slight chocolate and plum with a slight tender sweet alcoholic warmth reminiscent of weak Port or Irish Creme. Tapering burntish molasses vapors underneath.

Taste is nearly as empty, yet perhaps a bit more intensity given off from what the aroma leads off being, but unfortunaly the same avenue is being driven down. Mediochre amounts of tender and brief chocolate take the front. Molasses tang and darker fruits make a favorable twist in the middle areas but don't last all that long as it takes a warmer turn of port-like plumyness and dark raisiny alcoholic warmth towards the finish. A slight chocolate return and small surge of coffeeish bite help encourage a finish worth finishing. Heat fades well. Bits of roasted coffee stay as does a tiny raisin skin tartness and feel.

Feel is smooth and quite quick with a moderate silky medium heftified body. As it finishes it gains a bit more heavier tone and character. Mild and sweetly dark with partial chocolate and dark fruit layers build a bit as it goes. Not quite what I was expecting given the other Dark Horse goodies I've had and liked, but good enough to try. Give me their Black Bier though and I'll be content enough. (1,594 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 821 ratings.