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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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

2,359 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2359
Reviews: 734
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.37%


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: 2,359 | Reviews: 734 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of westweasel
westweasel

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a super thick, motor oil like liquid with a faint ring of tan bubbles on the edge of the surface and a small spiral like rorschach figure of bubbles in the middle of the surface.
The beer has great "legs" as you move it around in the glass.

The aroma is filled with thick, rich dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is a slight bit of coffee-like roastiness that becomes much more prominent as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel is full and thick with very little carbonation.

The flavors are a mixture of sweet dark roasted grains and coffee, dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is just enough bitterness and roastiness to keep the beer from being cloying. It's kinda of close though.

This is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. As it warms, it becomes sweeter and more coffee-like.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 02:49:47 | More by westweasel
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: pours like motor oil, viscous as can be, pitch black, very dark brown head that doesn't hang around for long, some lacing

S: huge molasses and chocolate notes on the front, heavy roasted character, some nice bittering hops on the finish, this smells great!

T: the sweet malty character makes a huge presence on the palate, it is quite sweet but not cloying with molasses and licorice character, beneath the sweetness is roasted barley and other dark specialty grains, some smokiness, the roast balance nicely against the sweetness, this all finishes with an earthy hop character. Everything about this stout is bold and robust, but at the same time it is nicely balanced. Very nice.

MF: thick, slightly syrupy, chewy, very low carbonation...the body and mouthfeel pairs perfectly with the in your face flavors

D: this rich and decadent treat is quite palatable, however its thickness and high gravity makes it a chore to finish, a chore that I would never pass up!

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 00:19:31 | More by homebrew311
Photo of happilysurly
happilysurly

Minnesota

3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: I love the look of this beer. So dark and no chance of seeing through it. No head, very few bubbles. Serious legs.

S: Sweet, chocolate, a bit of fresh roasted coffee.

T: Tons of flavor. I can taste some alcohol in this, but only towards the end. The alcohol is overall very well hidden considering that it is 12% ABV. Dark chocolate and molasses and dark cherries.

M: No part of my mouth can escape this beer. It hits all the areas of the tongue and lingers at the back of my mouth for quite a long time. The flavor that lingers is sweet and very pleasant.

D: Love this as a sipping beer, but more than one in a sitting would be a mistake for me. The high ABV and thick, dark flavor make this a one-a-week type beer for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2010 23:43:46 | More by happilysurly
Photo of claminat420
claminat420

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- poured the typical stout color with a dark chocolate head.

S- smell some weird fruity smell like bananas and a slight alcohol scent. weird but good.

T- roasted malts from hell. the alcohol being 12 is really hidden. the fruity scent kinda hangs as an aftertaste.

M- medium light bodied. nice carbonation.

D- could drink a couple 12's but i'm not to much of a stout fan to begin with.

Overall- this stout is defintitely one for the stout fans. the 12abv is subtle. not to much carbonation and wasn't to much of a head but still good.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2010 01:47:52 | More by claminat420
Photo of blackenmn
blackenmn

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to snifter:

A:Poured a thich pitch black with a minimal head with turned into a thing collar in no time most likely from the high ABV eating it up. This thing was viscous enough to make the glass noticeably heavy.

S:Smelled of burned bittersweet chocolate, heavily roasted sweet caramel malt, and a hint of ABV warmth. A little more balanced on the nose than expected.

Taste:Tasted of thick dark fruit and a subtle cream possibly vanilla like pressence. Definite raisin and dark chocolate came through as it warmed along with a noticeable citrus aspect. Tough to believe this is 12% but alcohol showed it head every now and then.

Mouthfeel:Very thick and creamy with a slight warmth throughout. Not alot of bitterness present on the tongue and it finished pretty wet.

Drinkability:This went down a bit too easy for the considerably high ABV. This was a very enjoyable brew none the less though and really transformed nicely as it warmed. mmm mmm

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2010 17:08:39 | More by blackenmn
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black with a fizzy, brown head that quickly dissipates, leaving some trace patches. And ring around the perimeter.
Smell is fairly smokey, with some dark chocolate. There is a dark berry presence as well--perhaps boysenberry or blueberry. Some faint, roasted malts on the end.
Nice, smokey malts, with some faint dark chocolate. Again, there's a faint berry presence, but I can't quite call it...a slightly creamy finish.
Mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Medium body. Faint bitterness.
This one is quite drinkable. The alcohol content is amazingly well-hidden, and the smell and taste is exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2010 02:55:51 | More by Parrotbeak
Photo of WYVYRN527
WYVYRN527

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a thick tan head that settles quickly. It retains a thin film on the edges, and lacing is minimal.

S: Malts lend a roasty character, with hints of dried dark fruits, such as prune and rasin. Chocolate and coffee aromas are also present. Still quite young, the hops lend somewhat of an off-putting vegetable-like smell in the backround.

T: All malt at first. Roasty espresso and chocolate flavors mingle with notes of dark fruit, molasses, and a bit of licorice. The hops are more balanced in the taste than the smell. They give the beer an earthy character, and dry out the finish.

M: Very full-bodied and chewy, and flavors are long lasting. Finish is silky, and alcohol gives a nice warming sensation.

D: Quite drinkable, despite it's ABV and youth. Although it will definitely benefit after a year or so in bottle, it is quite good young. It's worth picking up a four pack.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 06:13:27 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of jcnd9803
jcnd9803

Illinois

4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A smooth black color. A brief tan head appeared, but quicly left, leaving steady lacing with each sip.

S- Smells wonderful. Actually smells of both chocolate and vanilla, but with an oaky undertone, which is odd (but welcomed) considering no barrels are used. Maybe it's the alcohol coming up and disguising itself.

T - A mix of chocolate, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar.

M- Thick and silky. I actually don't get too much of an alcohol burn, which is scary.

D- In one word: outstanding. I love these guys and the series of stouts they put out each year. This beer is complex fresh and I'm sure will only be exponentially more so with some years on it. Job well done!

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2010 04:20:30 | More by jcnd9803
Photo of jjayjaye
jjayjaye

New York

4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as oil with a shallow tan head that fades slowly; negligible lacing but leaves behind a thin oily film tha's a big hintof goodness to come. The smell is a very rich roasted coffe over black licorice and a cherry vanilla coating. Lightly carbonated, medium bodied, the mouth feel is tangy from the alcohol, et smooth and oily. Full flavored, surprisingly boozier than anticipated, mokah-licorise is repeated well from the nose. A really nice sipper. The 12% ABV is all there and ALL GOOD in my book. Highly recommended. Many thanks guys!!

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 20:51:54 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of Jmoore50
Jmoore50

Nevada

3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer that looks like melted rubber, this one is thick. It pours and practically doesn't move. It produces a two finger brown head that has very fine bubbles. This thing was a bit overcarbonated because when I poured with a medium technique, it foamed like it was a straight down the middle. The head left in the end and all I was left with was this tar that barely resembled beer.

The smell was of dark burnt earth and roasted espresso. Lots of bitterness with some chocolate and light fruit notes.

The taste was pretty dark, in terms of dark fruits and malts go. Some earthy bitter espresso with characters of cherry. Not a lot of coffee, but what there was tasted like espresso.

The mouthfeel was astringent, and the beer felt heavy on the tongue. It was bitter and earthy, and overall enjoyable. Some roast and some burnt flavors that produces an interesting mouthfeel.

This was a good beer to have, and I am glad I got the opportunity. It did not use the usual characteristics that I love in RIS, but went with a darker roasty spin.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2010 06:09:36 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of angelmonster
angelmonster

Colorado

3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in the RIS BIF

Pours a solid pitch black body, dark chocolate 1 finger head, prolly the darkest head i've seen. Too bad it disappeared almost instantly :( . Head retention wasnt very good and lacing was above average. Appearance gets bump in score for such a nice looking head, enough though it didnt last long

Smell is of rich, roasted coffee beans covered in dark bitter chocolate. There is also some dark dried fruit similar to the ones found in a doppelbock. Ends with some sweet soy sauce and alcohol. Hops arent really in the mix

Taste is of strong, roasted, burnt malts. Very strong coffee is also present. Lots of sweet malts offset the alcohol which is definitely present at 12 percent. Hops are moderate.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is on aggressive side but livens up the thick consistency of the beer. Love a nice creamy head on a beer and sadly this one had none what so ever.

This beer was overall a sipper but the drink ability was good. Could prolly finish more than one but it would take awhile. Kinda reminded me of Mephistopheles from Avery. Prolly wont have another opportunity to try this beer but glad I did

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2010 05:08:49 | More by angelmonster
Photo of danielharper
danielharper

Michigan

4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Completely opaque black color, very thin dark brown head that dissipates quickly. Considering how high the alcohol is on this one, that's not at all surprising.

S: Malty, hints of an alcohol astringency. Lots of chocolate, coffee, and even a hint of cherries. Lots of dry maltiness.

T: Lots of coffee, chocolate, and general roasted character. Alcohol is completely hidden in the flavor, but there's a pleasant burn in the chest as the beer goes down. Aftertaste is slightly dry but very pleasant.

M: Smooth, smooth, smooth. Thick, with low carbonation and mild hops.

D: This bottle was a gift from a co-worker, so I'm not sure if this is an old bottle or not. I'm guessing it's a year old or so, which would help explain the incredible smoothness and the degree to which the alcohol has faded into the background. Still, an amazing technical accomplishment. It's in the same realm as Founder's Impy Stout and Bell's Expedition, which is incredibly high praise from me.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 05:04:15 | More by danielharper
Photo of nickadams2
nickadams2

New York

4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_ Pours black with a small burgundy color head that dissipates quickly. Very little lacing.

S_ Lots of dark fruits and dark chocolate. You also pick up on the booze. Very fruity though more so than most other RIPs.

T_Tastes great. Dark fruits and chocolate mix together perfectly to give this a nice rich taste.I can also taste coffee in the after taste that gives it a nice bitter finish.A little alcohol burn too.

M_ Thick and full bodied. Goes down pretty smooth and coats the mouth nicely.

D_ The high ABV limits the drinkability but these go down very easy. Could enjoy a couple in sitting but I think these are best savored. Besides two of these and just about anything will taste good

MaCain likey

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 06:38:12 | More by nickadams2
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

3/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled 12oz into a glass. Received in a trade from Hexxed. Thanks buddy!

A: Pours a viscous, opaque motor oil black with no light penetration, even at the edges. The head is a quarter-finger of dark mocha-colored foam that retains well, slowly collapsing into a film on the brew with a thick collar. Some lacing down the glass.

S: Burnt figs and dates, roasted coffee, and a bit of booze burn. Decent; it's pretty malty, but nothing too exceptional.

T: Tons of roasted coffee, burnt sugar, burnt chocolate, burnt figs, and burnt plum. Lots of burn. Ashes, smoke. The chocolate emerges occasionally, but it doesn't dominate the beer or define its taste. The burnt / ashy combination gets kind of strong after a while; I prefer something with more anise and dark fruits, and less burn / smoke.

M: Very thick, with low carbonation. It's a tad below velvety; it's not carbonated enough to cleanse the tongue, leaving a thick coat behind. Quite warm, even a tad hot (but for its ABV, impressively restrained).

D: It's enjoyable, but it doesn't distinguish itself from other imperial stouts.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 06:23:37 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of backfat
backfat

Indiana

4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this one continues to be one of my top 10 favorite imperial stouts. i love dark horse. they never cease to amaze me. like extascy in a glass. this brew will stain your glass. motor oil, just the way i love it. smoky molasses and clean as cream. thick and rich with a sort of silky, milky feel. and affordable! this is one of the few stouts i do enjoy a little colder. it's either because of the highly roasted smell or just because it works with the milky, creamy character. at 12% be careful. This beer is my happy place. if i ever get raped, this is where im going to go. cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 06:18:07 | More by backfat
Photo of crossovert
crossovert

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't get the label art, I don't get the name, but this beer wins an award - the darkest beer I have ever seen. Pitch black, no ruby on the edges, nothing. The head is large and creamy caramel colored. It looks like motor oil while pouring, it looks like this is going to be some seriously thick stuff. There is a nice frothy head that stays on top as you drink. Unsurprisingly there is a decent amount of goop left in the bottle still after the pour.

There is a lot fo rasty malt and molasses on the nose with some alcoholic and sweet sugar hints. There are hints of figgy plumbs.

The mouthfeel is super thick, full bodied, and creamy, though there is a steady amount of carbonation, though low. Tons of roasty, dark, sweet malt flavors bathe the tongue, with heavy roasted malt, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, sweet/burning alcohol and sugar, bitter coffee, and hints of dark fruit. The alcohol doesn't burn and the sweetness isn't cloying but both are definitely noticeable.

This is one of those deceptively drinkable big beers, the alcohol content might be 12 but this one drinks more like a 6 or 7, the alcohol warms the throat after the drink, but quaffs of this wouldn't be out of the question, though I recommend sipping and savoring this brew. My lips are covered in sticky goo after a few sips.

Overall this is one big ass, big bodied, big flavored, high octane brew that should be tracked down at all cost, rivals the best of the Russian imperial stouts.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 01:54:53 | More by crossovert
Photo of schoolboy
schoolboy

Ohio

4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I couldn't remember when or where I bought this. I have had a bottle in my aging area for a while - a year? Time to open it. Usually I mark the bottles.

I may have gotten it too cold because there is no head. That will help since this is such a monster. The taste cuts right through the cold, though, and it's pretty good. Nice balance of the fullness one of these should have. So much flavor that the booziness is thoroughly covered.

I can never give this style high marks for drinkability since they are a meal in themselves, and it's the holidays and I've been overeating anyway.

It's 2013 now (the original was 12-28-2009) and I guess I agree with myself, but this beer is warmer and tastier. The rating system has changed a little too so I am bumping up the overall rating which I guess used to be drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 00:11:26 | More by schoolboy
Photo of mmva321
mmva321

Missouri

3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

A: There's very litlle head and no retention. But this stuff looks like motor oil coming out of the bottle, which is very impressive. Needless to say this is a jet black body. A thin caramel colored lacing lines the bottle.

S: The smell hit my nose right out of the pour, so a beer with that amount of initiative deserves a little boost in the score, though I wish the final product was a little better. It's a bitter roasted smell. Nuts, chocolate and perhaps some dark fruit. Nothing really reveals itself as being special.

T: A bitter roasted taste. Dark bitter chocolate and dark fruits are the dominant flavors and make this a very dark beer. Roasted nuts and maybe some vanilla are there as well. Very well balanced but very, very blunt and not too subtle. The roasted malt and nuts really come through at the end.

M: Thick, thick, thick. A little carbonation. Serves the dark flavors well. But the fruit flavors perhaps demand a mouthfeel that is a little lighter.

D: Though everything is really good here, this beer ends up being a little less than the sum of its parts. I find the strong and sweet dark fruit flavor to be a little off putting. I'm not sure but the beer does everything well, but has a few things that keep from being great. Try it for yourself though, it's a unique a well done beer that maybe you have a taste for.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2009 05:07:23 | More by mmva321
Photo of drumrboy22
drumrboy22

Colorado

3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into Great Divide Yeti chalice. Beer was thick and jet black, with no head. Very little carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma was chocolate, coffee, bitter hops, dark fruit, licorice, molasses and burnt grains.

Taste was chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cherries and burnt grains. Very good, but just a tad thin.

Nice beer and great to get as an extra in trade.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2009 03:56:38 | More by drumrboy22
Photo of Donerik
Donerik

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 03:03:52 | More by Donerik
Photo of marvin213
marvin213

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The darkly tanned, thin layer of fizz looked great, though it dissipated more quickly than I'd have liked. Other than that, it's a dark black, imperial-looking stout. Kudos for what appeared like oatmeal sediment as the last drops fell into my Carolina Brewery pint glass.

Smells good and imperial. I've noticed lately how some dubbed RIS fail to smell like the ones that got me so loving the style. This one has a nose for a king (or queen, as it were): dark fruits (without a sourness), nicely toasted malts (with maybe a hint of chocolate without a disgustingly candy aroma), and a poignant while modest alcohol vibe (alluring like a treat instead of an unabashed alcohol bomb).

It's a bit more plummy and figgy than a great one but, thankfully, not overly sweet. It's solidly an appropriate representation of a Russian Imperial Stout. There ia an oatmealish flavor in there, perhaps affirming my sediment observation. The taste of the chocolate, as in the nose, is basically perfect--hinted at without a sweetness smack. This beer really seems to nicely blend all the right components of an RIS. There's nothing really unique about it, on the plus side being plainly good. When the marketplace seems flooded with over-the-top obnoxiously done stouts, this is a simply good (yet imperial) russian stout.

Oatmeal input allows for a silky input. It conjures images of soothing oatmeal baths on sunburn-singed skin. It really, really sits well. It's silky like soy milk. I cringe at penalizing simplicity, but only a complexity could attain world-class status. With all due respect, it feels like a Russian Imperial Stout is supposed to feel.

The alcohol is perfectly intertwined with the taste of this beverage. The aforementioned plumminess makes it a wee bit tart for multiples, but 12% is subtlely placed. The sediment stain I see on the bottom further represents oatmeal presence, but there's a thickness there discouraging multiple sessions. Still, Dark Horse comes strong with a well-built stout. Thanks to NotCreative for the chance to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 20:26:37 | More by marvin213
Photo of Mistofminn
Mistofminn

Minnesota

4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another bottle made possible by iconoklaztor. Don I cannot thank you enough.

Poured into a tulip glass, this is deep opaque black color with about a one finger dark brown head that has decent retention. Eventually, all that is left is a small ring, which surprisingly leaves nice lacing here and there.

The nose on this is dark dried fruits and licorice. Strange, I was expecting more of a maltier character, but the dominant smell here is definitely dried dark fruit and licorice. I also get a lightly toasted malt and sweet malt character, along with hints of bitter chocolate and coffee.

Much like the nose, the taste is also dominated by dark dried fruits and licorice. Not exactly what I was expecting, but tasty none the less. In the background, there is a subtle toasted malt and earthy hop character. All the typical imperial stout characteristics are there, but they are subtle and hidden by other flavours. Very complex and tasty if I do say so myself.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich, full bodied with a low carbonation. Slides down my throat, and coats my mouth. Drinkability is good, I can see myself finishing multiple of these in a night.

Overall, not my favorite Dark Horse brew, but it's definitely a good one. I'm not 100% sure, but I think Minnesota get's this brew, so next time I see it I'm going to buy a whole bunch, as I bet time only makes this brew better.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 07:29:49 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of drtth
drtth

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a nice black stout color with a ¼" dark brown head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring of foam and a very thin layer of patchy foam on the surface. Sipping leaves some sparse leggy lacing that turns into speckles of foam on the glass. Later in the beer the ring of foam and speckled patterns of lacing from sipping persist.

Smell: Even from a distance the rich dark chocolate aroma fills the air. The chocolate blends nicely with some lightly sweet vanilla, a trace of licorice and some hints of dark toffee. There isn't a hint of alcohol.

Taste: As expected from the nose the flavors begin with some sweet roasted malt flavors of things like dark chocolate, molasses, dark toffee and vanilla. But about midway through the roasted bitterness puts in an appearance without dominating everything else. There is no real hop bitterness in this so I suspect it has long ago faded away. Any alcohol is well concealed here or shows itself only in the early sweetness and in the effects it produces.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is full bodied and silky smooth with some soft persistent, but very light carbonation, especially at the end of the beer. The finish begins with vanilla and sweetness, changes into to dark chocolate and then roasted bitterness. The bitterness slowly fades leaving a light dryness and soft finish of dark roasted malt bitterness.

Drinkability: Although a one a night beer with its 12% ABV, its definitely a wonderful Imperial stout for sipping before the fire while listening to music and/or reading. One of the things I particularly like about this beer is that the flavors changed nicely so that it is not really the same set of flavors that dominate throughout. I'll definitely have this one again, and again now that its available in PA.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 03:13:13 | More by drtth
Photo of rhinos00
rhinos00

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a midnight black color. Zero visibility. Almost like oil in a glass. Virtually no head, a thin cocoa ring formed for a short while.

S- Wow, so different than most RIS I have smelled. Dark fruit offers a pleasant sweetness. This is masked by hefty malt aromas along with molasses and dark chocolate.

T- Just like the aroma, but way more vibrant and pronounced. The fruit aroma is amplified here, but not overdone. Also getting slightly roasted coffee beans, molasses, and dark chocolate. The lightly done sweetness is the wild card here. Well done.

M- Interesting as hell. Looked thick and gelatinous, yet was not overly viscous and cloying.

D- Very drinkable. I could easily have a couple pints of this.

Overall, didn't have high expectations, but this sort of blew me away. Probably one of the better, unique tasting RIS I have ever had. It had lot of added dimensions that most beers in this style don't have, yet managed to be restrained at the same time.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2009 02:47:55 | More by rhinos00
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,359 ratings.