Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,111 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 3,111
Reviews: 773
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 528
Gots: 723 | FT: 77
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: 3,111 | Reviews: 773 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CurtisLoew
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich brown/black color. Small tan head. Nice looking beer.

Smells of dark malts, dark chocolate, dark fruits, slights hops.

Tastes like a really good stout, with some little dark fruit tones. Chocolate flavors, a little roast coffee. Everything blends together very nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium, pretty creamy. Not too thick or too thin.

Overall very good beer. Easy to drink, I wouldn't mind putting down multiple bottles in one sitting. Good stuff.

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. No date on bottle.

Appearance: Very dark black and oily with no color coming through. One small finger of dark tan head quickly fades away with some tan foam hanging around the edges of the glass. Not much lacing seen.

Smell: Strong aroma of dark and milk chocolate with hints of coffee. Lots of sweet dark roasted malts and caramel. Some strong hints of dark fruits and vanilla. Some of the fruit has a bread like banana aroma which is quite interesting in a stout.

Taste: A solid mix of chocolate, coffee notes, vanilla, fruit, and burnt toasty malts giving a sweet and fairly bitter taste. One of the fruitier imperial stouts I've had although the sweetness is nicely kept in check. Light hints of molasses, syrup, and earthy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Heavy bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with no sign of the 12% alcohol.

Overall: A very good take on a Russian Imperial Stout. Good balance of flavors and the 12% abv is hidden really well.

Photo of 2xHops
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As expected, the beer is super dark in color. Perhaps I poured the wrong way, but I did not see any "head" forming at all.

The taste is strong with some roasting characteristics. There seems to be some hint of chocolate and coffee flavors to go with the burnt malt notes.

The mouthfeel does feel like it's quite malty and slightly "syrupy." I don't quite feel the carbonation coming through.

Overall, it's a pretty nice example of this style, and I particularly liked the high ABV content. Who doesn't, right?

Photo of mdaschaf
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my new Cigar City snifter! Big thanks to Jparkanzky for this bottle.

A: Pours an oily black color, extremely dark. Despite a rather forceful pour, only a very little bit of tan foam formed and quickly dissipated, leaving behind a ring of foam around the outer edge. Some lace forms when I take a sip, but is gone just as fast.

S: Lots of rich dark chocolate upfront, very sweet and inviting. There are hints of vanilla, caramel, and some molasses.

T: Again, lots of dark chocolate, which dominates the flavor profile. It is not as sweet as the aroma, which I am actually happy about. Underneath the chocolate there is a good bit of molasses, a little vanilla, and slight roasted malt flavor.

M: Medium to full bodied, rich and creamy with a nice level of carbonation. No sign of 12% at all, very well hidden.

O: A really nice RIS, very drinkable for the abv. A very tasty beer, well done Dark Horse.

Photo of JoePoc17
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle from Capones in Norristown that was dated from 2010 (1 yr old).

It poured a deep brown/black color with minimal dark brown head.

The smell has sweet accents of chocolate and oatmeal with a boozy and roasty undertone.

Initial reaction to the taste was "eh... its decent," but as my first sip dwelled on my palate, the sweetness of chocolate and a ninja of hidden oatmeal comes shining through. Absolutely delicious!

Despite the lack of head, the carbonation my the tongue was very balanced, starting with moderate fizz and ending extremely smoothly.

I great enjoyed this brew and would definitely buy it again. I assume that the amazing balance of bitter and sweet was enhanced through age. So if you get a few, store at least one for another time.

Cheers!

Photo of bs870621345
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second time having this, better(?) on tap.

Pours jet black with a mocha colored head and minimal lacing. Looks like a stout should.

I get a lot of fruit, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, vanilla, and almost an oak like smell. It is not barrel aged but its got a few characteristics of such.

Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate dipped dark fruits with some vanilla and coffee mixed in. Seems like there are some spices as well. Alcohol is rather prevalent, but it is a really big beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, oily, and delicious. Lingers for a long time.

Overall, this is damn good. It brings to mind Lost Abbey Angel's share, but a hell of a lot better value.

Photo of Spcoly
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter...

A: Dark with almost zero head

S: Faint smell of chocoalte, roasted malts

T: Wonderful...bitter sweet chocolate. Not much of a burn considering the high ABV

M: Medium, low carbonation....excellent drinkibility...definitley a sipper considering the ABV

O: Hands down one of the best stouts Ive ever come across. Which I had more than one bottle....will definielty buy again!

Photo of popery
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 7/29/11. Wonderful stout. This beer is big and rich without any of the off-notes that can accompany that. The beer pours wall-to-wall black with a thin mocha head. The aroma is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, caramel, nutty roast, creamy coffee, vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is smooth and very full. Taste is sweet but not cloying. There’s a mildly bitter finish with roast and some earthy hops. A bit of a tannic quality, wine-like. This is a real treat and an excellent beer.

Photo of beergod1
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flat Black pour that has a thin dark brown head, no visible carbonation. Heavy chocolate aroma with accents of coffee, alcohol, and smoke. Flavor is a mix of heavily roasted malt, chocolate and alcohol. A lot of depth and complexity to the flavor. Finish is loads of coffee and burnt malt. Full bodied with an oily texture and minimal carbonation. Everything you could want from an Imperial Stout.

Photo of orangesol
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this one as an extra in a recent trade with spycow. Poured into a dogfish imperial pint.

A - Pours jet black with a big two finger tall tan head leaving small wisps of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, molasses, vanilla, oak, and some light hop bitterness. This is what you expect when you hear RIS.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roast quickly giving way to a mix of sweet dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, and the faintest hint of hop bitterness at the very end. The creamy feel really helps to bring it all together. The finish is a mix of chocolaty sweetness and dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Rich, creamy, feel with plenty of dark roast in the finish. The booze begins to creep in more and more as it warms to room temperature.

O - I really liked this one. It had all the typical flavors you would expect from a RIS but what really made it better was the creamy feel as it really helped to bring it all together. Good stuff.

Photo of mentaltraveller
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours very dark with a very impressive, darkened head; though I had to hard pour the beer. It smells of alcohol, chocolate, malt and raisin. It tastes as it smells and finishes with a sweet and thick lingering taste. The mouthfeel is thick and nearly chewy. A very good brew.

Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown with very little head and no lacing.

Smell: Milk chocolate, coffee, molasses, toffee and dark fruit - smells like a very standard RIS.

Taste: Great mix of more bitter espresso & dark chocolate and sweet molasses & licorice. Simply an everyday RIS done right.

Feel: Thick, rich and luxuriant. Fairly warming, but the finish is not as dry as desired.

Overall: Very well executed RIS. However, there are many similar ones on the market, and despite enjoying this greatly, I feel little need to have it again.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hope to try the barrel aged version soon...

A: Beautiful black oily pour, with a nice fluffy tan head and great lacing. Very nice start I'd say....

S: Amazing smell of burnt dark fruit and malt, vanilla, fudge, molasses, charred malt. Just an amazingly complex packed aroma without any alcohol burn, great RIS smell in the top 5% I've smell for the style so it gets a 5.

T: Also very good, but lacks the roundness and balance I got in the smell. Beautiful roasted malt and bakers chocolate with some bitters in there as well. Dark fruit and leather tinged or just 'old' tinged molasses. An earthiness prevails too which seems to break up the flavors instead of combining them in some ways, almost like a 'dirt' type flavor. Maybe a touch of tartness from the fruit tastes in it.

M: A little astringent and thin though it had a nice roast and was semi juicy for an RIS.

Overall a nice beer I'd buy again.

Photo of jcartamdg
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, very thick pour with a paper thin mocha head. Aroma of roasted malts, dark chocolate and a vanilla oaky note. I had to check to make sure this wasn't the bourbon barrel version because it has hints of bourbon. Taste follows the nose, so delicious, heavy but delicious. The nose is intensified with the taste. Mouthfeel is very thick but in a great way. This is a wonderful stout, I will be seeking out this beer!

Photo of YumYumGumGum
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: ideal slim headed stout. Pretty low carbonation but an amazing opaque black color.

S: i got virtually no scent until it warmed up and i got chocolate and nice coffee but mostly roast and alc.

T: great taste, smooth high gravity, the coffee taste is great. If you like a full bodied stout with subtle coffee. This is your beer.

M: very nice, smooth, in fact, im appreciating the low carbonation strong body now.

O: im thankful for my currently half full barglass of plead the fifth. The great part of this well made stout is it shockingly spectacular delivery of the warming 12%abv. I highly recommend this to coffee afficianados.

Photo of jamescain
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic tumbler, initially I didn’t know what this was because I received it as an extra, thanks drewba, and there was no label on the bottle. I assumed it was a homebrew, so I threw it in the fridge and had it the night I received the package.

Appearance: Pours a very viscous black with a brown head about a finger thick that fades into a ring around the glass.

Aroma: Huge notes of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Slightly on the boozy side, especially when it warms up, but it is not overwhelmingly alcoholic. There are flavors of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee is pretty prevalent and even some dark fruits such as raisins.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with low to medium carbonation with a warming finish that is slightly sweet and lingering.

Overall: I’m usually very happy with Dark Horse’s beers and this one is no exception. I just wish that I had known what it was so I could have shared it with friends. If you get the chance I recommend picking one up, but it’s a sipper for sure.

Photo of Jayli
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from GBVDave from our most recent trade so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Consumed 8/2, poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a motor oil, thick, opaque black, no head and minimal spotty lacing.

S: Nose is licorice, roast malts, and hints of chocolate.

T: Taste is - oh thank god, not much licorice! Dark chocolate at the forefront mingled with charred malts. Those sharp notes lend to a softer milk chocolate. Dark fruits come in - some raisin and date. Deep coffee notes complete the finish of this beer.

M: Medium to fuller bodied, medium carbonation, rich, thick and creamy.

O: Goes down easily, tasty, rather filling, well hidden kick, nice representation of style. This is a nice stout to enjoy a pint of.

Photo of fsvan
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally planned on reviewing The Abyss for review 200 but didn't know if I could handle the bomber, so it may have to wait for 300....or hell, 201. Anyway, I'm been sitting on this beer for a while and decided lets go for the Plead the Fifth.

Review 200, poured into snifter...2011 Vintage

Appearance-Holy motor oil. Dark as can be, viscous looking. About a one finger dark brown head, you can just tell this is gonna be boozy. No retention or lacing as expected.

Smell-Dark chocolate, lots of it. Along with some booze, almost rum like. Vanilla, light licorice, slightly floral and nutty. Each whiff is different and have no idea what to expect from this one.

Taste-BIG booze. Taste is really refects the aroma with a vodka like taste, and after 2 sips I can feel it. Dark chocolate upfront with some cherries and vanilla. I feel like more flavors are trying to creep through as well, just not fully working with the alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Full bodied, moderate carbonation...and booze.

Overall-If this beer mellows out it could immediately become an A beer. The flavors are amazing, just wasn't fully ready.

Photo of MBrausen
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was poured from a 12oz bottle into a Town Hall sniffer.

A. This pours like used motor oil. A very thin head, with very minimal carbonation.

S. Smells of milk chocolate, light toffee, mild smoke and coffeee.

T. A extremely pleasing coffee taste. A little bit of bitterness with a sweet finish. Noticeable toffee in the initial taste, that fades to the smooth coffee.

M. A very smooth taste, that goes down easy. There is a very nice mixture that doesn't boarder on any extremes. There is a very nice dry finish to the taste.

O. This beer has a great balance between the thickness I expect in a Imperial Stout, and being easy to drink. It doesn't feel overly filling, but has lots of bold flavors that really tingle the palate. I really enjoyed this beer, and am adding it to my list of "to buy" next time I'm at the store.

Photo of otto251068
3.58/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. No freshness date on the bottle.

Appearance: Very dark. This one is as dark a beer as I can ever remember seeing. When held up to the light, there is only a faint dark brown around the edges. A very hard pour only produced a half fingers worth of head, which looked great by the way. Very dense with a milk chocolate color, made my mouth water. It does fade quickly to only a few wisps and a ring hugging the glass.

Smell: Dark chocolate out in front, between bitter and sweet, this is more on the bitter side of the spectrum. Roasted flavors also come out. A sweet cream aroma comes out more as it warms, along with some very faint and pleasant vanilla. After the pour some serious vodka comes out.

Taste: Smooth cocoa with some smoke is the main attraction. Intense dark chocolate comes out for a final kick at the end. extremely dark and very rich. A charcoal bitterness and heavy clear alcohol aftertaste on this one.

Mouthfeel: Big body with medium carbonation. This beer is thick and chewy, but with a nice carbonation level that perks this one up a little.

Overall: Lots of heavy lingering flavors, but this is easily drinkable and very enjoyable. The 12% ABV, while very evident in the aroma, is well hidden within all the heavy chocolate. While the chocolate is on the bitter side, there is a bit of sweetness for balance.

Photo of beenitty
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in recent trade with Davesway10, thanks Dave.

Poured in to Gulden Draak tulip, reviewing in real time.

A: Pours like chocolate milk. Pitch black with dark brown head. I cant wait to dive in, this is what imperial stouts should look like.

S: caught a whiff when i popped the bottle, I can tell this one is going to be nice. Roasted malts, chocolate, slight bit of booze.

T: Roasty, Dark chocolate, malts do their thing start to finish. Bit of dark fruits as I have more of it.

M: Very balanced for how it smells and looks. Smooth as hell. Looks huge, tastes smooth.

D: Not getting any booze....wait, ok there it is. You dont feel it at first but, and I probably shouldn't but I'm definitely having more of this one. Not feeling the booze until after you finish it but me likey.

I loved Double Crooked Tree, and love this one too. Tastes like a combo between Imperial Stout and milk stout. Seek it out, definitely one of the best imperial stouts IMO.

Photo of mdvatab
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in local trade from Barfwin.
Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Rich, dark, molasses maltiness up front. This maltiness floods the nostrils with each whiff. Some fruity grape jam notes with some cocoa.

Appearance: Pitch black opaque body. Forms dark brown 1/2 finger head, which depletes to almost nothing very quickly.

Flavor: Rich, dark chocolate brownie, light sweetness balanced w/ cocoa bitterness. Dark fruity notes similar to aroma. Some grape soda. Slight earthiness noted on finish.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Thick, syrupy viscosity. Medium CO2 w/ more bite than normal for this style.

Overall: Definitely worthy of the praise this one receives. Chewy, malty, rich, imperial stout. Alcohol is well hidden. Thick, rich viscosity is one of my favorite aspects of this brew!

Photo of StoutHunter
3.76/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I bought a bottle of Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse last month for $3.49 at The Lager Mill. I have been wanting to try this beer for a while since I have tried one through fore of their stout series. But Plead the 5th always seemed to elude me and I was pretty sure I missed out on it this year, till I heard that The Lager Mill got a late shipment in a month ago and had a one bottle limit, I quickly drove over there and got my one bottle, so let's see what this beer is all about. No visible bottling date, but I know it's a 2011 vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- I really like the label on this beer, it doesn't stick out that much and it isn't the best looking, but it combines all the labels from the other four stouts and I think that's pretty cool. It poured a thick and dark motor oil black color as I would expect from an RIS of this size. It had a finger and a half of nice looking dark brown head that died down to a very thin ring.

S- The malts dominate the aroma of this beer. The weird thing about the aroma is that I really don't get much roast from the malts, in fact I hardly get any, just a faint mix of coffee and chocolate. The main player here is the dark fruits, and there sure is a lot of them, there is so much of them that it has an aroma similar to a Wee Heavy or an unhoppy Barley Wine. Plums and figs seem to stick out the most but there is also some raisins and prunes. The sweetness smelled like it was on the high side of medium and there was a pretty evident aroma of booze. Very odd aroma for an RIS, I expect the roast to shine, not the dark fruits.

T- Wow this is one sweet RIS, I don't think I have had one this sweet before. It starts off with with a quick glimpse into some dark chocolate and bitter black coffee, but it isn't that bold and it quickly fades. After that I get a real intense blast of sweet dark fruits that seems to be the most dominating flavor and is just too sweet for me. All the dark fruits that I picked up in the aroma are present in the taste with prunes and plums sticking out the most. The finish is a mix of medium bitterness along with a big dose of sweetness and an equally large amount of alcohol that makes for a pretty harsh finish and a slight roasty aftertaste.

M- Creamy, cloying and on the medium side of being full bodied, pretty much how it should be except for it being cloying. It had a light amount of carbonation, as this style should, it was nice.

That was my original review, people have told me since that I must have got a bad bottle since that isn't how this beer normally is, so I made sure to grab a bottle of the 2013 release to give it a second a chance. The appearance is pretty damn nice, it's a little better than the 4 I gave it, the head and lacing were nice. The aroma was much more roasted then the first bottle I had, it had more RIS aromas and light amount of dark fruits, its like the opposite of the first bottle I had, but the biggest problem is the harsh alcohol aromas that remind of of cheap vodka, the aroma is better than the 2.5 i first gave it, but it's not much better. The taste is better and more RIS like it, it had a nice roast to it, the alcohol was hidden ok, it wasn't harsh but it was pretty warming, better than the 3 I first gave it, it taste like a good RIS. The mouthfeel was better than the 3 I first gave it, it was pretty true to style. I must have had a bad bottle because this one is much different and much more RIS like. The drinkability isn't the best I don't think I would want another one. This was a solid RIS, but not a favorite Founders Imperial Stout is still my number one. A good RIS, that I recommend try, but I don't think it worth the trouble of seeking out.

Photo of brystmar
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,111 ratings.