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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

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

2,998 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,998
Reviews: 762
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 506
Gots: 719 | FT: 80
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: 2,998 | Reviews: 762 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 1Adam12
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice color when pouring it from the bottle to my mug. Small carmel colored head. The nose wasn't as strong as I was epecting, but coffee was out front. Nice taste, can really taste chocolate and coffee, but was lighter than i expected, but may be due to drinking many bourbon barrel aged stouts the last few nights. This had a little more carbonation than the stouts that i am used to from a strong stout. I can really catch the hops on the finish and the aftertaste lingers nicely of coffee. This was my only bottle and i do look forward to getting more of it.

1Adam12, May 12, 2011
Photo of SAxDRC5
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Black with a brown/tan head. leaves decent lacing

S: Dark chocolate and dark fruits. a hint of caramel, and maybe a touch of alcohol.

T: burnt malts, dark fruits and dark chocalate are the first flavors I get. a bit of sweet brown sugar and molasses in the middle and finished with a touch of hops and some warm alcohol. very complex.

M: a bit fizzy for the style. alcohol is more present than I would expect, warm alcohol feeling throughout.

O: pretty good. better taste than most imperial stouts, mouthfeel is the only downfall of this beer. I would like to try the bourbon barrel aged Plead the 5th, it may be a bit less fizzy.

SAxDRC5, May 09, 2011
Photo of movingtrain
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle sampled from a 12 ounce snifter. Drinking at room temperature.

Pours jet black...looks like a shot of espresso. There is a small, caramel colored head floating on top, but not more than half a finger. Carbonation, however, seems to be going fairly strongly.

Aroma up front gives hints of plum, sour apple, chocolate, molasses, heavy cream, cinnamon, dried fruit, brown sugar, burnt wood, and coffee. It's a bit peppery in the nose, layered with good dark chocolate and caramelized sugar notes.

Yeah, this one packs a punch. Super rich in flavor, and the 12 percent alcohol seems to be masked here...until the swallow. Bitter dark chocolate notes start off the flavor here...followed by notes of a balanced, bittersweet shot of espresso. Burnt brown sugar, caramel, oatmeal, honey, and molasses all come to mind when sipping this. This Imperial stout is spot on...just what you want out of the style.

In terms of mouthfeel, the only setback with this beer is that the fizzy carbonation is very apparent on the tongue. It doesn't take away from the flavor at all, but just gives a bit too much fizz in the body.

Overall, this is a fine stout...should be up there with the best of them. I would love to try some of the other treatments they do with this beer. A top-notch ale...delicious and quite a treat.

movingtrain, May 08, 2011
Photo of JoshVandy
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours completely jet black with a 1 finger mocha brown head. Pretty decent retention. The color on this is impressive; easily the blackest stout I've seen in a while.

S- Big whiffs of chocolate and malts come through immediately, followed closely by very subtle coffee notes and a hint of fusel alcohol. Reminds me a lot of Founders Imperial Stout, which is a good thing.

T- Fantastic chocolate and malt immediately, followed by more malt and a hint of hops. Dark fruits also come into play as it warms. Alcohol heat is present after swallowing, leaving a nice burn in the throat that makes me want another sip. A little one dimensional, but it executes in that dimension flawlessly.

M- This is the part that impresses the most. Completely smooth, creamy and thick from start to finish, with the perfect amount of carbonation. Coats the mouth and throat and lingers there long after my last sip with faint alcohol. Incredible.

O- A fantastic Imperial Stout that is a little one dimensional in taste, but completely makes up for its shortcomings with a mouthfeel that is one of the best I've had in a long while.

JoshVandy, May 08, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse: Plead the Fifth

Pours a very thick and syrup like dark brown and settles black hole. A fingers worth of orange tinted mocha colored head sits and dissipates quickly. Some oily lacing grabs the glass.

The nose is a bit overpowering with alocohol up front. Underneath lies some sweet and roasty aromas. Chocolate vaguely lingers behind it all. Lots of booze.

The taste offers much more than the nose thankfully. Massive roast overload that is akin to toasted nuts. Some caramel and a bit of cocoa come through next. A lot of heat on the back end.

The mouthfeel is thick as oil. Super viscous and syrupy. Awesome.

Overall, i love the cards being played here but aging will improve this beer by lowering the highly noticeable heat. I cant wait to try it again next time this year ( if i dont finish the other 5 bottles).

ChugginOil, May 08, 2011
Photo of scottfrie
3.7/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into AVBC snifter. Received from a generous trader many many months ago.

A: Pours motor oil black with about a finger of short lived dark brown head that quickly faded into a thin collar leaving no lace.
S: Rich dark notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a touch of spicy alcohol. I'm also getting a subtle yet strange notes of some kind of mint and maybe a hint of metal.
T: Follows the nose with a rich roasted dark malt taste. Very smooth. I get notes of caramel, dark and milk chocolate, coffee with cream, a hint of molasses and sweet dark fruit. Roasted but fairly sweet all around. Finish is lightly bitter (chocolate bitterness) and the aftertaste has flavors of tobacco.
M: Low yet tingly carbonation with an airy mouthfeel and full body. For 12%, the alcohol is noticeable but not really warm or overpowering. Overall a little sharp around the edges.
O: A fairly solid stout all around. Full mouth, great flavor. Not the greatest though, and perhaps a little rough around the edges, but I would definitely have another one of these again.

scottfrie, May 08, 2011
Photo of ColdPoncho
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dense and dark brown thick head sits atop a black-as-night body. Its a great looking beer.

S - Chocolate, smoked meats, licorice. Dark things, not much sweetness.

T - Boozy, some metallic dark fruity sweetness, But really nice profiles of chocolate and coffee and roasted malts. A good tasting beer for sure.

M - Thick, viscous, hella smooth. A very nice mouthfeel.

O (D) - There are so many exceptional beers in this style (that I've tried), that it's hard for anything to stand out. This isnt the best RIS I've ever had, but its certainly comparable to many of the excellent ones I've had.

ColdPoncho, May 06, 2011
Photo of MrGaryFish
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #1. Brought back from a trade at DLD. 12 oz. bottle poured into Green Man snifter @ 50*

A: Pours opaque black with 1 finger of khaki head that quickly dissapates

S: fair amount of coffee followed by dark chocolate

T: massive amounts of chocolate and coffee, a little astringency from chocolate and other dark malts, excellent flavor that continues long after the finish, well hidden alcohol that is only noticed at the back of the throat

M: thick and viscous, excellent full body

O: Fantastic flavor, great nose and excellent body. Bitterness, astringency, chocolate and coffee flavors all coming through in proportion. 3 more to try with friends down the road, I would definitely trade for again. Wish the BA version was not so limited.

MrGaryFish, May 06, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a dark brown head. In the aroma, roasted malt, coffee and a sweetness that reminds me of oatmeal. In the taste, sweet roasted malt and a dry coffee ending. A small hop bite and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee and a small alcohol presence in the aftertaste. Nice big flavor, big roast, nice coffee presence and hides the 12% very well.

OWSLEY069, May 03, 2011
Photo of stxSS07
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A- Pours opaque black with a rich brown 2 finger head. Darkest head I've encountered on a stout

S- Ridiculous. Chocolate, cherries, roasted malt, figs, dark fruit.

T- Bitterness and roastiness up front from the malt, dark chocolate and dark fruits follow up and fill the mouth with flavor. Alcohol burn on the end cleans the palate and gets you ready for the next sip.

M- This is the blueprint for a perfect RIS. Coats the mouth with a smooth blanket of flavor, but the carbonation comes along to clean it up. Fantastic.

O- Probably the best RIS I've had to date. Drinks amazing for a 12% beer. Will buy all I can get my hands on.

stxSS07, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den in philly

Pours inky black and fairly thick with a crop of tanned head, leaving a cloud of film, with spots of lacing left on the glass.

Super heavy dark chocolate nose with bitterness and caramel, roasted malts and alcohol warmth with residual sweetness.

Similar taste with waves of chocolate and cocoa, very dark with some hop bitterness. Syrup and caramel with a beefy roasted dark malt backbone. Some hints of dark fruit with raisin. Finishes w some more hop bitterness and booze, residual chocolate sweetness.

Full bodied and carbed, thick creamy and sticky. Great flavor with chocolate in the forefront, a bit boozy but not out of control. I'd definitely drink this again.

xnicknj, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of MaxSpang
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

APPEARANCE

Obviously, VERY dark. This guy poured very slowly into the glass. It had a lovely brown head, probably one of the darker heads I've seen. The head was about 2 fingers. There was minimal bubbles.

SMELL

Very malty in the nose. There was a big amount of chocolate and roasty aromas. It had a little bit of alcohol, but not NEARLY as much as you would expect! There was also a slight graininess in the smell, as well as some tropical fruits and banana which was quite surprising.

TASTE

In my notes from this beer (which I had a few nights ago), the first thing I wrote for the taste was "Sooo good". And it definitely is! Very sweet with a big amount of yummy chocolate and bittersweet cocoa. It had a burnt-sweet-fruit taste, and I mean that in the best way possible. There was a fairly strong banana flavor which was extremely pleasant. There was NO alcohol taste to be found in this beer. I swear there was a good amount of oak flavors in it, yet I don't think it was aged in oak barrels (but I'm not 100% sure that it wasn't.) I have to say that this beer was very similar to Founders KBS, without the coffee flavors.

MOUTHFEEL

Very thick and very smooth. This is one of those beers I put into my "Big-Ol'-Stankin-Beer" category. It was very warming from the alcohol.

OVERALL

This is by far one of my favorite Imperial Stouts, and relatively inexpensive (compared to other IS). It's also a bit easier to get a hold of, although the store I bought my 4-pack from was limiting 1 per customer. This beer is pretty dangerous though, because it's very drinkable (considering the thickness), and you definitely cannot taste the 12-14% ABV - so be careful with this guy!

MaxSpang, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of BierFan
3.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

An inch of light brown head settles to a thin layer. Almost completely disappears after a minute. Very dark black body. Smells like cocoa powder. Not a lot to the aroma. Roastiness in the flavor that I didn't get in the aroma, quite a bit of bitter cocoa.

BierFan, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance -- Pours a rich dark brown with a slim creamy brown head. Coats the glass like crazy. Very photogenic.

Smell -- Very dark fruit forward, culling up notes of figs, dried cherries and cranberries. Additional notes of coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste -- On the whole Plead the 5th is First impression is of flourless chocolate cake and dried black cherries. Anise, figs, charred malt, and faint woodsmoke are also present. Slightly sweet, like a dark spice cake. Charred roast flavor does well in helping to balance the malt sweetness. The finish is rich with cocoa, black cherry, and charred malt.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body, velvety. Carbonation is pitch-perfect: soft, but not quite creamy. Slightly thicker and this would have been perfect for me. I'm probably nitpicking to be honest.

Overall -- Great imperial stout. Stellar rich malt notes, and great depth. The finish had a bit more burnt char acridity than I would like. Otherwise the beer was amazing. This would be worth buying by the case. Quality for certain.

yeahnatenelson, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Capone's in Philadelphia.

The beer is black with a thick, beige head that plasters the glass in lacing. Can't ask for more than that. The aroma is of roast, oak, chocolate, and alcohol. The flavor is extremely roasty, with a slightly burned malt character. The feel is full bodied, with alcohol presence there, but not overwhelming. Good stuff.

Huhzubendah, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of mjw1200
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= Very dark color pour, not much on top, caramel color.

S= Not overpowering, had to get real close to get a good smell. Smell vanilla/bourbon. Also smell some of the coffee.

T = Exceptional. Layers, of chocolate coffee some caramel and vanilla. Alcohol is very present, but I wouldnt have it any other way. It is going to be hard to let this beer age, but I think it will be worthwhile.

M= Thicker than most beers with this much alcohol. Some stronger stouts seem to be to thin, but this one holds up. It lingers in my mouth leaving the great taste to stay around.

mjw1200, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of TheBear11D
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

Pours black and looks pretty thick despite its high ABV. Has a small dark chocolate brown head that leaves behind decent but not impressive lacing.

Great nose. The roasted malts are first to tickle the nostrils, but the amount of alcohol cannot be hidden. Also has a smokey smell with chocolate.

Wonderful flavor! Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the taste. The alcohol is well hidden at first but it lasts well into the aftertaste.

Thick and creamy with very mild carbonation. The body compliments the flavor.

Well worth having! I continue to be impressed with Dark Horse.

TheBear11D, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of Lauthaha
4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Pours pitch-black in a nearly-molasses fashion. Head is a super-dark tan color, and recedes to about a 2mm coating on the surface of the beer. Leaves what looks like exception lacing (except I filled the beer to the top of the glass...haha, we'll have to wait and see).

Smell: Lots of toasted caramel and toffee malt flavor going on here. Then, a medium-dark chocolate tone which rings loudly. Espresso beans dot the scented canvas, and perhaps just a touch of spice is thrown in at the end for good measure. Almost no detectable alcohol. This is shaping up to be a winner!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer goes in thickly, and quickly begins to carbonate on the tongue. Flavors flash repeatedly, interwoven with each other and yet set apart from all other flavors. A light sourness from what I assume are the hops is perfectly balanced with the chewy malt character and upper-crust espresso. Calming everything down is a strong (but not cloying) milk chocolate vibe. Beer finishes strongly, and leaves a strong aftertaste of chocolate and coffee. Another sip? Don't mind if I do.

Overall: At 12% ABV, this drinks like a pilsner (in terms of quaffability). Simply outstanding brew. I am a fan of RIS's, and this one fits into the category splendidly. GOOD job, Dark Horse.

Lauthaha, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of dgugliuzza
4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

A- Pours midnight black with 1/2 inch thick brown head. Great color contrast between the head and body.

S- Smells of dark roasted malts with heavy amounts of cocoa. Some coffee is also present. Smells very similar to a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies.

T- Tastes of sweet roasted malts with plenty of chocolate and coffee to back it up. Not only does it smell like a cookie, but it tastes like one too! Has a nice subtle bitterness at the finish which brings it all together. This is tasty beyond words.

M- Creamy and chewy as it should be for the bold imperial stout that it is. Sits much like a desert on the palate.

D- Fantastic. One of the more tasty imperial stouts I've had the delight to drink. The alcohol is hardly noticeable. This could have a 20% abv and still be delicious.

dgugliuzza, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of jale
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a thick black with two quarters of head.

S: Roasted malts, burnt sugar, chocolate, coffee and some dark fruits.

T: Sweet roasted malt, raisin, cherry, slight bitter chocolate and coffee. Just a hint of alcohol. This beer is so complex.

M: Thick body and good carbonation.

O: This is a sipper and not just due to the alcohol level.

jale, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of EricCioe
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours impenetrable black with a dark tan head with decent retention and good lace. On the nose there is bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, and a good deal of alcoholic heat. In the mouth there is a big chocolate note up front, a little sweeter than it seems on the nose, molasses as the big body slides down, with roasted malt and some bitter coffee on the back of the tongue as part of a long finish. There is a good deal of heat here, plenty enjoyable, but limiting the drinkability a little bit. Still, this is a good sipper and something I really enjoyed. The other two Dark Horse beers I've reviewed I didn't really like, but this one has given them a new lease on life for me. This isn't quite to the level of Founders Imperial Stout, but it's pretty close and I enjoy it a good deal.

EDIT - A year later and I've had this several times. Fresh, this is the best RIS from MI that I've had. Expedition is better after a year, but fresh this beats that and Founders.

EricCioe, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of Jparkanzky
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A) Pour into a pint glass from bottle, at near room-temp. Poured jet-black, didn't see really any red or brown within while pouring it. A few dancing bubbles on top, and no head.... the 1/16th inch head that was there for about 2 seconds was dark brown.... this beer is DARK!

S) Don't really pull a lot from the smell... it's actually quite neutral, perhaps vanilla hints to it, but I really don't know. It certainly wasn't unpleasant, but more "neutral"

T) GREAT. A little caramel perhaps, and hints of a bourbon flavor. The after-taste is pure smooth-velvety goodness.

M) A little alcohol bite at first, but overall it tastes like heavy black-creme, devoid of any carbonation whatsoever, so in a word "GREAT!"

Very enjoyable from start to finish... I took this out of the cellar at 50 deg. and waiting 15 minutes at room temp, and it still didn't really "peak" until halfway through the glass... Flavors and texture really opened up, and any negative alcohol characteristics that were clearly pronounced, disappeared when the temperature warmed up.

Highly recommend this one!

Jparkanzky, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of kzoobrew
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black body capped by a one finger cappuccino colored head. The head slowly works its way back leaving a thick sheet of lacing blanketing the walls of the glass.

Heavy chocolate and booze upfront in the nose. Molasses and slight roast fall in just behind. Subtle hints of java are buried beneath. Pleasant aroma but not overly complex.

The flavor follows along the same path in which the nose started down. Heavy chocolate dominates the front of the palate. Molasses and a bit of roast develop underneath. A slight brewers licorice flavor appears on the back of the palate. There is a definite overall sweetness with this beer, the sweetness does lean towards the darker side.

Full bodied stout but lacks viscosity. The creamy nearly frothy texture does help and make up for this. The flavor lays heavy on the tongue making for a long finish.

In a state which does not take their Imperial Stouts lightly Dark Horse holds it own. I do not find it quite as enjoyable as Bell's and Founders offerings but Plead the Fifth is far better than the majority of the RIS's out there. Very drinkable for such a big beer. The booze does make its presence known but does not become obstructive. Definitely one worth seeking out.

kzoobrew, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of callmescraps
3.55/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been hearing about this one, just stumbled across it.

Appearance- Black with a very thin mocha head even with with a vigorous pour. No lacing, just the thinnest of caps.

Smell- Big, rich chocolate. Bourbon and vanilla. It really has nice bourbon. Some toasted marshmallow. It's very nice.

Taste- It has some nice chocolate, and some booze. Ok, plenty of booze. It's got a ton of dark fruits, tons of raisin. Seriously, lots of raisin. It finishes with bitter chocolate, and a little ashy. Sweet, booze, raisin.

Mouthfeel- Just too thin, frankly. A little flat.

Overall- I was so excited about this one after the smell. But it does not deliver.

This is just disappointing. It should have lot going for it, but it's thin, a little hot, kind of ashy in the end, and basically a raisenette beer. So it goes.

callmescraps, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Comes out just jet black. Sits on a very dark black body. Leaves some dark cocoa powder like bubbles of a small head but doesn't stick around. Manages to leave a collar and lots of leg action on the glass.

Bouquet is a very barleywine like with sweet raspberry fruit. Small hints of dark chocolate in the back, and some powdery dry arid sensations.

Taste is a real soft berry and chocolate. It feels like berry chocolate. This is very light bodied too and feels incredibly balanced. Slight tinges of tobacco on the swallow also with a good deal of masked abv quality. Kind of a dry finish also sort of hinting that at first from what the nose felt like. A little thin but surprising. Hints of smoke and chocolate too.

Overall it's quite enjoyable actually, interesting take for such a big abv.

smakawhat, Mar 30, 2011
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,998 ratings.