Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company
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Ratings: 2,824 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
3/5 rDev -30.4%
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.
01-10-2010 06:23:37 | More by Arbitrator
4.55/5 rDev +5.6%
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!
01-07-2010 06:18:07 | More by backfat
4.22/5 rDev -2.1%
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.
12-29-2009 01:54:53 | More by crossovert
4.33/5 rDev +0.5%
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.
12-28-2009 00:11:26 | More by schoolboy
3.9/5 rDev -9.5%
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.
12-16-2009 05:07:23 | More by mmva321
3.93/5 rDev -8.8%
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.
12-02-2009 03:56:38 | More by drumrboy22
4.1/5 rDev -4.9%
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.
11-25-2009 03:03:52 | More by Donerik
4.15/5 rDev -3.7%
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.
11-22-2009 20:26:37 | More by marvin213
4.03/5 rDev -6.5%
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.
11-20-2009 07:29:49 | More by Mistofminn
4.43/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
11-15-2009 03:13:13 | More by drtth
4.38/5 rDev +1.6%
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.
11-14-2009 02:47:55 | More by rhinos00
3.93/5 rDev -8.8%
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Bruery tulip glass.
A: A typical black and thick looking RIS that supported a mediocre mocha colored head at best. The beer was also lacking legs as well.
S: Cherry, dark chocolate, coffee, anise, and slight alcohol burn at the end.
T: All the flavors mentioned above with an additional almond and pepper quality. The black licorice comes out a bit more as well.
M: A full-body Imperial Stout with mild carbonation. Slightly drying though
D: I enjoyed the flavor profile and basically polished off my glass within 20 minutes.
Overall: Kind of reminded of a slightly watered down version of Founders Imperial Stout. A good Impy Stout...and one I would like to have again. Cheers
11-07-2009 06:42:21 | More by OlieIPA
4.4/5 rDev +2.1%
Thanks for the great extra!
Pours a viscous, slimy black with a big dark brown head. Mmmmm. The head is surprisingly long lasting, and leaves gobs all over the glass. *CHUCKLE*
Smells ... whoa, like plums/raisins/dates dark fruits with a tinge of malt and dark chocolate. This is one of the dark fruitiest smelling RIS's I can recall.
And the smell carries through to the flavor. Wow. Robust dark fruit base, mixed with an acrid, roasted malt that's very subtle, some espresso, and dark chocolate. The sweets you're getting here are from a fruit flavoring. Interesting.
I like. I like much. Mouthfeel is slick and oily, but not overly thick, and it's pretty drinkable for the ABV.
10-22-2009 07:20:23 | More by Overlord
4.35/5 rDev +0.9%
On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.
A: Pours dark as night, pitch black. Looks like syrupy motor oil. A real dark head about a quarter inch thick.
S: Hops, bitterness, dark chocolate, alcohol, and smokey like a campfire. There's no secret this is a heavy stout. All you have to do is smell it.
T: A thick syrupy feeling coated my mouth. Bitter, hoppy, smokey, and chocolaty. To be honest, it tastes a lot like it smells. Very complex and very flavorful.
M: Heavy mouthfeel. Heavy and bitter. Medium carbonation. Overall it feels solid.
D: The drink is actually pretty good for being as big of a beer as it is. I ended up drinking five pints it was so drinkable. And no, I definitely wasn't driving.
Overall, I love this Imperial Stout. It has good drinkability and tastes great. Be careful though, it can creep up on you.
10-09-2009 19:26:13 | More by BigAl723
4.2/5 rDev -2.6%
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. I am unsure of the vintage on this one.
This beer is an oily black liquid with a very thin mocha color. It coats the sides of my glass.
The nose is burnt sugars, dark malt, coffee, alcohol, dark dried stone fruits like prunes, some raisins as well. I'm also picking up on some black licorice and molasses.
The first sip follows the nose and is very rich with burnt malts, coffee, there's a lot of alcohol warmth as well. The licorice I picked up in the nose is coming through again along with a bit of smoke as it warms and follows through the finish.
The mouthfeel is full and somewhat slick with low carbonation.
An excellent RIS from a great brewery that doesn't get a lot of hype. This is just what I needed on this chilly fall night. I just wish I could find more around Chicago.
10-09-2009 03:33:43 | More by beertooth
4.08/5 rDev -5.3%
A - Poured out a syrupy, black color with ruby highlights. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left soapy trails of lace.
S - It smelled of molasses and sweet chocolate. There were mild notes of oatmeal and coffee.
T - It tasted very sweet with chocolate and molasses flavors. Some caramel, too. It had a bourbon kick as it warmed up.
M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied ale.
D - This is a really great tasting RIS. Another great stout from Dark Horse.
10-06-2009 02:37:03 | More by zeff80
4/5 rDev -7.2%
12 oz bottle poured into a Nonic. No date or info. Thanks Sweemzander for the insane stout!
A - Poured like warmed-up syrup. Totally black as night and unrelenting in appearance, a teeny layer of brown bubbles formed with a fizz and went to a small ring.
S - Rich molasses and maple syrup with heavily roasted malts. A touch of oatmeal can be found with just a hint of coffee bean. Lightly boozy on the nose from the, I'm assuming, high ABV. [Didn't know at this point]
T - Black roasted malts create a strong bitterness that overpowers the minimal sweetness in the flavor. Maple syrup and molasses give it a breakfast-like feel minus the lack of coffee on the flavor. Boozy more so that on the aroma, it also has a teeny soy hint, almost not noticeable, but just showing it's age.
M - Moderately carbonated and smooth with a rich, syrup-like finish. Totally full-bodied and bitter from the roasted malts on the finish.
D - It could be just a touch old but it makes the wonder me wonder what the alcohol would taste like if it were young. Strong and full-bodied it's well suited to warm on a cold winter morning. I'd love to try this again.
09-19-2009 03:27:34 | More by BeerFMAndy
3.25/5 rDev -24.6%
I'm reviewing a 12oz bottle which I purchased from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI and poured into a snifter.
Pours like motor oil yet even more black in color. Leaves a small tan head which dissipates very quickly leaving no retention. Some minimal lacing.
Very pleasing, somewhat complex nose. Sweet and lightly roasted malts with hints of smoke and earthy wood notes. Rounded out with mild coffee, creme and cocoa.
The taste is somewhat of a letdown after getting well acquainted with my nose. Has a slightly bitter, old coffee flavored finish. Seems to lose some of its complexity as well. Sweet malts with hints of smoked beef jerky and creme. The alcohol is pretty well contained for this 12% beer.
Full body, minimal carbonation. The thickness of the beer could have been better translated into a smoother, creamier mouthfeel.
I have yet to be really impressed by Dark Horse beers. They are good, but have not pushed themselves into the great category yet in my opinion.
09-15-2009 05:48:56 | More by ibbjamin
4.05/5 rDev -6%
It pours like ink into the glass- this is as black as it gets- as a moderate brown froth emerges and then sticks around a while.
The nose brings gobs of vanilla, cedar, and milk chocolate. The booze quotient is here, but it's subdued. Same with the roastedness.
It's slinks through the mouth, coating it in a caramel-milk chocolate-vanilla nougat bath. Mild roasted coffee bean follow in its wake. Fruitiness is minimal, with just a trace of blueberry and chocolate covered bourbon cherries. As such woody traits are large, emphasizing the illusory oak and cedar. Tasted blind, I'd have sworn this spent time in a barrel. Hops are mostly there for balancing bitterness, but peppery bits of grass and wintergreen appear late. It has a good deal of bourbon suggestions, but not necessarily due to a forward alcohol presence. It here, no doubt, but it is far from uncouth.
Full, fatly sleek, glossy bodied, with a minor trickle of CO2.
It seems to push toward that epic, gigantic mouth paint type Imperial Stout, that a person can still taste 12 hours later. This lacks the over-pronounciation of flavor (specifically roast/char and dark fruit) in order to achieve it. Though, the forces the focus to shift towards the secondary, more nuanced flavors, that would normally be obscured, and probably wins because of it.
09-14-2009 08:05:38 | More by cokes
3.85/5 rDev -10.7%
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
09-08-2009 04:02:55 | More by jsh420
4.33/5 rDev +0.5%
Acquired via trade...thanks Ryan. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. No abv info or bottling info is given.
A-Pours black with a dark sandy head. It has a very minimal head. After a fairly aggressive pour, there is a foamy bubble cluster in the middle of the glass along with a few splotches of film that look like a dusty layer.
S-It has a great nose. There is lots of vanilla and dark chcoclate, along with some roasted notes, and some licorice.
T-Lots of dark chcolate comes through at the start. In the middle there is some coffee flavor and roasted character. It finishes with some woody/oak flavors and more roasted character. There is some bitterness in the back. The licorice and vanilla come and go.
M-It is lighter for an RIS. It is creamy and smooth. It has a decent level of carbonation and is a little higher for the style. The lighter body makes it go down fairly quick.
D-This IS may have gone down the quickest out of all of the ones that I have tried due to its lighter body. The high abv is dangerously well hidden.
This was a great beer. Not nearly as filling as a lot of Imperial Stouts, but just as flavorful. Worth seeking out.
09-03-2009 16:49:55 | More by mjl21
4.03/5 rDev -6.5%
Pours nice and black with a thin, mocha head.
The smell bombards you with equal parts chocolate and vanilla. I get some woodiness as well.
Tastes like equal parts blueberries and banana. Fruity and sweet while the chocolate is not completely forgotten. Nutty. There's some alcohol burn present, it's not as hot as other RIS but there's more than I like.
It has nice carbonation and a full, chewy mouthfeel. This is a solid stout... but it's still a full step down from the best in class. I'll age the remaining three in hopes the burn lessens.
08-30-2009 01:05:22 | More by rudylaw
4.33/5 rDev +0.5%
Poured intoa snifter this beer yielded a dark brown head which dissipated to a ring over a few minutes. This beer is black.
Black coffee with dark belgian chocolate. Bananas, walnut and alcolhol are also present.
Trader Joe's Belgian Dark chocolate with a chalky character. Walnuts are once again present and coffee finishes the beer with a roasted after taste.
A good body that holds up to the flavor of this beer.
A great imperial stout that I would love to enjoy again.
08-29-2009 04:43:15 | More by alovesupreme
4/5 rDev -7.2%
Thanks to bamadog for throwing this in a care package for me! Review is on the bottle poured into a snifter.
Appearance: Pours the deepest, darkest black and looks very flat and watery. There is a very fast-fading foamy hot-chocolate brown head, which leaves a slight tan ring that floats atop the beer along the walls of the glass. A milky looking swirl sits in the center of the surface. Beer is completely opaque. Very little, thin, watery washes of lacing hang around momentarily before slipping back into the liquid while I drink.
Smell: Smell is a really nice blend of chewy, roasted malts and sweet, milky chocolate. The alcohol hints at itself in the nose, but overall the aroma is strong without being too strong, sweet without being too sweet and roasted without being too roasted.
Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste is full of slightly bitter, slightly sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and a maple syrup-like presence. A little bit of hops show though in the aftertaste kind of like green apples. The taste is moderate to mild for the style, which isn't a bad thing. It's balanced and flavorful. The feel is moderately full, with fairly low carbonation as indicated by the appearance on the pour. It leaves a pleasantly sticky and heavy feeling on the palate.
Drinkability: Pretty high for this style, as it's not too overpowering.
08-21-2009 02:08:34 | More by kels
4.4/5 rDev +2.1%
12oz bottle that I can't remember where I got. It probably was moose3285 or Scoobydank. I've had this bottle for a year already, so I'm stoked to try it.
A: Definitely among the more impressive imperial stouts I've happened to gaze upon, this is about as black as my heart, and takes the light out of highlights. The high will be reserved for the KO, I guess. A dark brown head that hangs around surprisingly long caps this beer.
S: Super rich and thick. Soy sauce, teriyaki, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, licorice and cream are prominent. It's hysterical how *thick* this beer smells.
T: Pretty awesome. Opening up with a lot of roasted barley, this beer quickly segues into a melange of soy, teriyaki, licorice, treacle, and a slew of other good things that are bad for you. Like a sweetened dark chocolate, this is intense with the sweetness and the bitterness slugging it out on my palate. Hop character is non-existent, this is a exhibition of what dark grains can do for a beer. Oxidation is minimal, the one year that I've had this bottle hasn't imparted any raisin/port notes. The finish is great, it's long, bitter, mildly sweet with cocoa.
M: Spectacular. So freaking thick and creamy, this is what Dark Lord wants to be. The carbonation is a little higher than it needs to be, but hot damn, this awesome
D: Yeah, bye bye, sobriety. I'll see you on the morrow.
Notes: The nutter in me wonders how this beer would pair with black pudding.
08-10-2009 03:06:42 | More by DefenCorps
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,824 ratings.