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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,740 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,740
Reviews: 750
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 8.14%
Wants: 472
Gots: 670 | FT: 72
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: 2,740 | Reviews: 750 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of abedenbaugh
abedenbaugh

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I happened to get the chance to try this beer in the 12oz bottles.

A: The color is vry dark and there was a little bit of film that was on the top. Practically no head on top.
S: Roasty aroma. A little bit of sweetness. Overall the aroma is a little on the light and mild side.
T: Very neutral flavors in the front of the palate. Then in the mid-palate the flavor really pops out with a full amount of roast, which stays until the end. Also there is a hing of an oaky/woodsy flavor. Some hints of coffee.
MF:Medium mouth fell. medium carbonation.
D: I like how the flavor developes of the course of drinking the beer. It is nice and drinkable, but it isn't anything really great.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2008 18:58:29 | More by abedenbaugh
Photo of nlmartin
nlmartin

Ohio

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

The beer was served slightly chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a very solid black. The head is a thin burnt tan coloration. The head resolves into a disk of burnt tan. No lacing remains behind on my glass.

Smell: The beers aroma is very boozey smelling. The boozeyness works well. The beers aroma leads with chocolate, this rides the expected toasted, roasted and chared aromas. The remaining aromas are raisins, tobacco, and charcoal.

Taste: The beers flavors are a booze soaked combination of chocolate, raisins, molasses, cigar ash, darkly roasted and chared espresso.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The body of this beer is huge. This is a low carbonated full bodied beer treat. Big and chewy just the way I like em. This is a sipper and a taste bud destroyer. Definately a one and done beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 03:56:56 | More by nlmartin
Photo of jwinship83
jwinship83

Illinois

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

A- black thick looking body under a coffee colored modestly sized sticky head.

S- lots of coffee and dark chocolate. some raisins in there too along with roasted malts and a touch of alcohol.

T- very roasty with tons of coffee. chocolate and raisins/unburned cigarettes also. bitter hoppy finish. very dry

M- thick and chewy with ample CO2

D- picking up this basically unknown beer was a great idea. darkhorse hasnt failed me before and definitely didnt with this one. the taste and experience of this one is fantastic, its just way too strong to be sessionable. more people should check this one out. very good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 03:20:03 | More by jwinship83
Photo of khiasmus
khiasmus

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 00:43:01 | More by khiasmus
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of the darkest achromatic visual value with a frothy, dark brown head and some sticy lacing coating the side. The smell is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, and raisins. The beer is well carbonated and fullbodied. The taste is of black coffee, tobacco, and wet cedar. The dark chocolate is pronounced and slightly smoky.

I'd love to drink this in the middle of a blizzard, inside a log cabin, nestled in some tall, cold mountains somewhere in Scandinavia.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2008 23:26:41 | More by HopHead84
Photo of aqsprint
aqsprint

Michigan

4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Black hole dark. Nice tan foam quickly disapates into nothing.

S- srtong roast with a hint of hops chocolate and coffee.

T- Very little carbonation. Overall taste is dominated with a roasty flavor. Chocolate is in the back seat. Very solid.

M- Excellent, coats the tongue nicely.

D- I could drink four of these, but there would be a price to pay.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2008 10:55:32 | More by aqsprint
Photo of IBUnit63
IBUnit63

Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to aqsprint for this trade - 12 oz. into perfect size and shape of Moosehead mug.

40, 50 or 60 weight? Thick jet-black spent motor oil topped with very thin banana nut bread-colored head. This one's gonna be trouble.

The gang's all here - coffee, cocoa, cinnamon sugar, beef BBQ char, oily hop pine and prodigious amounts of slow-roasted chocolate malt. This one's solid.

Extremely roast-forward and complex. Austere to an extent but viscous enough to jell everything going on here - the cocoa, cinnamon sweetness, overloaded burnt malt and a mild piney hop profile. Husky alcohol notes carve out thickness in a very faint bourbon sort of way to keep it clean.

This absolutely oozes down the palate with the ingredients working together in Beautiful Chemistry to git 'er done. Finish is long and strong. Strong and soothing.

Well this one was finished way before I was ready to let it go. For such a powerful brew this drinks painfully easily. Savor this puppy.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2008 09:31:47 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from czoch75; cheers Clint!. This one comes in a 12oz bottle

Pours ebony with 1 pinky of brown/peach tinged head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Chocolate, vanilla, booze, & carob

T: Dark chcolate, dark fruit, oaky dryness up front. Oak & vanilla as this warms along with with a touch leafy hops, & bit of wet charred grain. Finishes with some chcolate & chicory

MF: Oily, medium bodied, with minimal carbonation, along with some slickness

Drinks easy for the style, but not enough flavor depth to push this to upper echelon RIS status

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2008 03:53:04 | More by russpowell
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

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

Bottle courtesy of Monger poured into a tulip - 12oz bottle reads "Plead the 5th".

A: Pours pitch black with a dense, but thin, mocha head that dissipates fairly quickly to a collar and leaves decent lacing on the way down.

S: The aroma has a surprising sweetness to it which balances the roasted character very well. There is dark chocolate and vanilla up front on top a roasted malt backbone. As it warms, the alcohol heat comes out just a bit with a little bit of coffee mixed in.

T: The taste brought the chocolate malts to the party in a big way. There's a big sweet blast of milk chocolate up front with the toasted malts and a hint of wood in the middle with some dark fruits as well. The finish is a slightly bittersweet chocolate flavor.

M: Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with minimal carbonation. Sticky and sweet.

D: This is my favorite of the stout series so far by a mile (only Tres to go). Great beer from Dark Horse and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2008 03:42:22 | More by gford217
Photo of stumac
stumac

Texas

4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this delectable brew pours up pitch black with a brown head... the nose is composed of wonderful dark chocolate malts... the taste is some alcohol, slight chocolate malts.... delicious!!!If only I could have it my way like at Burger King and order up one of these beers at my local convienence store... that would be quite convienient...

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2008 23:34:56 | More by stumac
Photo of seaoflament
seaoflament

California

3.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big props to my buddy Michael (SPLITGRIN) for this one as an extra on our most recent trade. This is one beer that wasn't in my wants but should have been; 100 wants is just not enough.

Incredibly dark beer, it pours the color of dark chocolate syrup with almost an inch of foam that quickly recedes.

Heavily roasted on the nose with dark roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, a bit of vanilla, roasted barley, chocolate malt, and an underlying earthy aroma. There are also hints of milk, roasted hazelnut, and some dark fruits and dark cherry in the background. Toasted and burnt bread is also in the mix but even with all the heavily roasted and burnt aromas there is a bit of sweetness that keeps this one from being one-dimensional in a way. Past the roasted aroma is a sweet milk or crème, and brown sugar that balance everything quite nicely.

Roasted barley, coffee, and baker's chocolate initially. After that I can taste the toasted and burnt bread followed by more roasted malts and a hoppy bitterness in the finish. Dark fruits like raisins and dried prunes hide near the finish and aftertaste, behind the huge roasted profile. Way in the back, during the long aftertaste, one can taste the black cherry and dark berries. Quite a bit of smoke and some charcoal in the taste too. The alcohol is pretty well hidden for the most part, I can however detect a bit of it in my breath. Near the end I taste some ash and cigarette smoke, not too pleasant.

The carbonation seems a bit aggressive but the beer is meaty and heavy on the palate...just how I like my stouts. A bit of ageing would benefit this one, hopefully cutting down on the bitterness in the finish and smoothing the carbonation.

Dry finish and aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2008 04:10:52 | More by seaoflament
Photo of SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN

Kentucky

4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle reads "Plead the 5th"

Two fingers of one of the darkest heads Ive seen on a beer. Deep brown with even hints of ruby mixed in. Body is deep dark jet black and thick. Nose is rich with milk chocolate, toasty malt and a hint of candied cherries. Initially super creamy as you take first sip. Then you get waves of dark bitter chocolate, vanilla and lots of rich dark fruit. Very heavy on the mouth as it really paints the mouth. Thick throughout and really shows nice depth and complexity. Mouthfeel is big dry and nicely bitter. Alchol is well hidden. A big dark stout to sip slowly and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2008 21:17:42 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of SaucyA
SaucyA

Michigan

4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into the infamous snifter. Black black black. With a slight layer of tan foam. Wish there was more of a head/lacing... but it's definitely acceptable. Quite leggy, tho.

S - Usual RIS affects. Coffee, roasty, baker's chocolate, burnt. Some soy sauce undertones. Nothing off, nothing remarkable. Good.

T - Quite a big, bold RIS. Bittersweet chocolate, mocha, coffee, fresh roast. Nice flavors, nothing off. Definite hop profile on the back end. Alcohol is noted but hardly present.

M - Not quite as thick and syrupy as I prefer, but it's by no means light. Subtle carbonation, full body.

D - Easy drinking for the ABV and bold flavors. I drink these way too fast.

Notes: I've only got a couple of these left from this years batch, so I figured I'd hurry up and get one reviewed before it was "aged". I really enjoy this beer, and for the price, cannot be beat.

An all around good RIS that stands up relatively well to the big boys.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2008 20:58:47 | More by SaucyA
Photo of drxandy
drxandy

Michigan

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

12oz to snifter, pours a deep dark opaque black, deep brown head fades to lacing

smells of roasty malts, bitter chocolate, alcohol

tastes of bakers chocolate, bitter, roasty peaty earth, sweet lactose? maybe flaked grains?, heavy and sweet, hop resins linger, malts are blended well, reminds me more of an american double with the amount of hops, but could be a young bottle - mmm

mouthfeel is heavy roasty lingering bitterness, rich and thick, yum

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 19:29:48 | More by drxandy
Photo of brewcrew76
brewcrew76

Wisconsin

3.58/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GrandCruDrew for this one.
12 oz bottle - Plead the 5th on the label

A - Pours solid black with 2 fingers of cocoa brown head that leaves a thin layer of foam behind.

S - Roasted, almost burnt, malt. Bitter chocolate, burnt coffee with hints of smoke and licorice.

T - Intense roasted malt, bitter chocolate, burnt coffee and a touch of smoke.

M - Medium to full body, low carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.

D - A solid RIS but too much burnt flavor/aroma for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2008 01:47:56 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of Atron67
Atron67

Wisconsin

4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, plead the fifth on the side, thanks to asmokingoat for this, poured into my Ommegang chalice.

A- pour an absolute dead black right out of the glass, dark chocolate brown head on top that slowly built up a reasonable head, the head fell relatively quickly, but to be expected, and the lacing was a little sloppy and wet, impressive for a huge RIS.

S- the low carbonation makes it hard to get a strong whiff however the scents seem to be dominated by huge chocolate malts, with solid notes of roasted characters as well. the hops are pretty subdued, but keep it from being sweet.

T- very smooth overall for the RIS, the malts slowly flow heavily over the tongue, sticking to every part of it as it washes to the back of the tongue. the chocolate flavor grows really strong. a dark fruit character arises out of the malt, which is something that occurs with large amounts of chocolate malt. Kind of reminds me of Darkness.

M- very thick, low carbonation, sticky as hell to the tongue

D- an awesome sipper, wish i had more, the 12oz bottle is perfect 750 might want to share.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2008 20:26:36 | More by Atron67
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from dkachur, who got it in a trade - thanks Dan! Poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Thick, black, like motor oil. No head, but very thin and runny bubbly, tan lacing.

Aroma: Lots of roasted malts - coffee and chocolate, of course - and some earthy, woody aromas. Fruity esters, too - not dark, either, but light, like tannins.

Taste: Very interesting. It's like a tart RIS, but it's not tart - it's just balanced. Lots of those light fruity esters balance a heavily roasted malt backbone - perhaps its citrus hops. Either way, it's unique, and surprisingly refreshing for an RIS.

Mouthfeel: Velvety and even, full bodied, with minimal carbonation. What is there is medium-sized, though.

Drinkability: The tartness/fruity esters keep it light and drinkable, which is good, because otherwise this one might knock you on your butt. It's very balanced, though - recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2008 03:41:24 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of cvstrickland
cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The drink pours a shade of deep ebony with a mocha-colored head that retains great an leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell is smoky and roasty-toasty with notes of charcoal, coffee, and chocolate.

Taste is roasty, even a bit burnt, with dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes rising from the woody ashes.

Full-bodied with nice drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 14:02:19 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sold to me as "Plead the Fifth" imperial stout. Also it came in a fourpack, not a bomber. And I should mention that I bought it at Eagle River Liquor in Fulton, Illinois. Because that store doesn't sell enough good beer.

Damn fine pour. Damn fine. I'd pit this bad mofo up against Dark Lord and the Abyss. Black as the total absence of colors and then there's a wonderful chocolate brown head sitting on top of it that is just mouthwatering. Seriously--I've been here for like 4 years and I don't think I've ever used the phrase "mouthwatering" before, since it's so cliche. But that's what this is.

Smells very rich and intense. This is a room temp pour but it's still pretty hard to pick out one flavor from another. There's a little bit of smokiness, but that's overridden by chocolate and roughraw porter malts. You also got some bread and nuts in there, too. Not much of the liquor or alcohol burny yeast that you normally expect from an RIS.

Tastes...wow the taste is solid but still a total letdown. Little dull and watery at first, but that falls into a meaty smoke flavor that runs quickly into a chocolate malt and gives way to some lightly burny yeast. Eh. The blend ain't all the great, the seltzery beginning is nothing short of offputting, and it's not nearly intense enough for the style.

Don't get me wrong: I am by no means the kind of guy who gets down on beers for not being Xtreme enough. But I expect a lot out of an RIS. And this one, while plenty enjoyable, doesn't fully deliver.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2008 07:01:27 | More by mynie
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got a couple of these recently in trade the most recent being my boy BeerTruth!

A: Pours as black as black can be. A thunderous three finger mocha colored head rises and shows good retention. Spotty lace is noted all the way down the glass.

S: Holy roast batman. This one is roasted to the max. Tons of roasted, almost charred malt. Rich bitter chocolate and over cooked coffee. There is a bit of sweet caramel below all of that though.

T: Insane. What a tasty brew. Tons of perfectly roasted chocolate malt. This one tastes like brownies. There are hints of coffee, vanilla and smoke as well. Hops show up in the finish with a small bitter blast. Damn Drinkable, and oh so tasty.

M: Perfect mouth feel. Big and bold, Rich and Creamy. Gives a new meaning to smooth.

D: Not a hint of the ABV. The taste is off the Richter scale. I reallly like this beer and am glad to have a few more laying around to share with the Tuesday night tasting group.

Plead The 5th = YUM!!!

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 02:52:44 | More by tpd975
Photo of BMoney575
BMoney575

Texas

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

Sampled on 6-27-08

Pours a thick black, with just a little red on the outside edge. No head, but short lived rings of lacing.

Smell is very malty, lots of coffee and smoke, with a little anise. Very RIS.

Taste is fantastic. Hugely roasty at first, followed by a fair amount of smoky chocolate. The finish is quite bitter but very smooth.

Mouthfeel is right on for a Russian Imperial.

Drinkability is pretty good, hard to say not knowing the abv.

Overall, a great example of the style, and even better, I'm guessing, with a little time.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2008 22:52:05 | More by BMoney575
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Absolutely pitch black and thick looking. A nice, creamy mocha head forms and had excellent retention.

S- Lots of chocolate and coffee. Some anise and smokiness are in there as well. Smells wonderful and balanced, but it is pretty subdued.

T- The perfect balance of all the flavors. There is a ever so slight hop presence on the tail end, but I love how it is not in your face at all. Very clean and enjoyable.

M- Very creamy and ridiculously smooth. It doesn't get much better than this.

D- A tasty pick. I could really sip on this for awhile. Much better than I expected. Dark Horse really knows what they are doing with stouts.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 03:07:04 | More by david131
Photo of iconoklaztor
iconoklaztor

Indiana

4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice black color with virtually no head. I love the smell though. Coffee and chocolate make up the smell of this brew.

The taste is awesome. I really this this brew and for 10 a four pack I cant complain. Its rich and full of coffee and malts. MMM!

Overall, what a great find and very flavorful! I really enjoy this brew!

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 03:05:28 | More by iconoklaztor
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle received in trade from iceicebaby. Served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque black with a quarter-inch mocha-colored head with copious ringlets that eventually settled into an inconsistent slick before finally congealing around the perimeter of the bowl. Lots of tiny bubbles lined the walls of the glass below the surface. Some bands of watery lacing, but poor adherence. Scents of dark fruit and chocolate malt. Flavors of roasted coffee, chocolate malt and dark fruit (perhaps cherries). Mouthfeel was very lively with a light carbonation burn across the top of the tongue. Body was a little thin for the style. Good drinkability; somewhere between an RIS and a foreign export stout. I have to say that I continue to be impressed by this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 02:54:11 | More by Jwale73
Photo of tedpeer
tedpeer

Iowa

4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce received in trade with hophobo, thanks. Poured into a chalice.

A - Pours black. No head. No lacing.

S - Chocolate and roasted.

T - Roasted malt and chocolate, coffee.

M - Very smooth, creamy, full body.

D - two or three of these would be wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2008 20:46:38 | More by tedpeer
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,740 ratings.