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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

837 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 837
Hads: 3,579
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 8.27%
Wants: 554
Gots: 939 | FT: 111
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:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

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
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 837 | Hads: 3,579
Photo of CoffeePorter
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very thin stout with notes of roasted malt flavors combined with some sweetness. Starts off sweet and then finishes with a burnt like dry aftertaste which complements the flavors nicely. Mild amount of carbonation with a mild amount of bitterness. Overall, this is a strong tasting stout with a nice warmth to it.

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Photo of Kendo
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip. Body is thick in appearance and black, with a small light-brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: Some roasted malt, chocolate malt and dried fruits - predominantly, raisins come to mind.

T: The taste more or less follows the nose, with roasted malt, chocolatey malt, raisins, prunes and black cherries all in the mix. Overall impression of sweetness. Seems vinuous at times too. Some char or charcoal on the aftertaste, along with a hint of burnt wood. Alcohol is also noted - not a surprise given the 11% ABV - both as a drying impression on the back of the mouth and as a warming in the belly.

M: Feels a bit thin in heft for the style. Carbonation is modest.

O: Was expecting a world-class RIS, but got a merely good one.

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Photo of BoardwalkBock
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: As black as the night sky. Beautiful tan, caramel-looking head that fades to a nice lacing that is strewn all over the glass.

S: Caramel, molasses, chocolate, roasted coffee and tons of smokey char.

T: Wow this beer is big! Tons of chocolate, roasted coffee, earthy and smokey malts and dark fruits. Some nice vanilla to compliment at the end. Slight alcohol. Not as much as I expected for 11%. Very nice.

M: Big bodied, decent carbonation. Slight bitterness.

O: This is a very solid RIS with no complaints. First time having this beer. Will be heading back to the store to pick up a few to age for years to come. I really hope I get to try the BBA version soon. I can only imagine how aging this beer in BB would increase an already stellar RIS.

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Photo of GarMerr
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice coffee, chocolate & licorice flavors on the nose and tongue. A little thin, but pleasant mouth feel. Probably a little too hyped, but still a quality stout.

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Photo of JPowell712
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Great beer! It was dark and thick on the pour with a brown creamy head. The first aromas I got were of roasted coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. The taste was very strong as an 11% alc/vol should be. The booziness is definitely detectable followed by a chocolate, coffee, and smoke. This is definitely a fine fine product. The minute you swallow this beer you start to get that warming feeling in your gut. The after taste is a slight bitter, but nothing to take away from the beer overall. This is a great imperial stout. I really enjoy this and Dark Horse Brewing Co.'s Too Cream Stout as well! Try them both!

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.87/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Speigelau glass

A: pitch black rich chocolate head

S: lots of roasted goodness with some very strong chocolate and licorice

T: very smooth sweet chocolate a little bit of lactate milk taste

M: a touch thin for a stout but it's not bad

O: this is a pretty good stout it's got a lot of nice chocolate and sweetness with a little bit of roast it's a tad thin though

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into stout glass. Very dark brown and nearly opaque with a few brown slivers at the edges. Half an inch of tan head rises and quickly falls to a thin cap that lingers. A few spots of lace remain. Aroma is of roasted malts, dried dark fruits, unsweetened chocolate, touch of soy sauce, and alcohol. Taste starts moderately sweet with chocolate, brown sugar, and date. Some bitterness follows from espresso and woody notes. Alcohol is masked well but not completely hidden. Medium-full body, creamy texture, low carbonation, warming sweet finish.

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Photo of mchegash
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.75/5
Pitch black, very little head however, just a very thin layer of medium brown head which almost immediately dissipates down to a thin ring around the edge of the glass

Smell - 3.75/5
Alcohol is the dominant scent, with some dark malts, chocolate/cocoa notes. Dark fruits, perhaps a bourbon-esque alcohol quality.

Taste - 3.75/5
Smoky, sweet, earthy malts. Strong cocoa notes in the aftertaste. Some dark fruit, a little metallic tinge and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium-full body. Medium-light carbonation. Smooth and crisp.

Overall - 4/5
Overall this was a decent beer. I liked the cocoa notes and the smooth feel. I would have liked more foam, for the aroma to be less boozy, and for the taste to be less metallic and earthy.

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Photo of mabermud
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle

After the disappearance of the fairly dark head into a barely noticeable collar around the glass, everything looks pretty still. The body is pitch brown. Fine, transparent legs. I like the distinct aromas of medium/heavy roasted malts, sweetness, and vanilla. I can also faintly smell some lactose, alcohol and coconut. In the taste, the sweetness comes out as the beer warms. The smell is misleading. I get distinct roast over vanilla. Nice, easy going soft roast, intertwined with delicate sweetness. No alcohol, not even through the exhaust. No complaints about the feel. Low carb, medium-heavy body. Nice soft finish.

Overall - This RIS is solid. No criticisms here. To put things into comparison, I think Ten Fidy is more robust, but this one is more balanced and friendly.

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Photo of snoopy5023
4.91/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The look was very clean, dark and pleasing on the eye. The smell was tasting as the taste, which was full on the tongue in a very good way and gave it a feel that have you wanting more.

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Photo of BuccoFan
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass. Pitch black and decently thick in the pour, with a head that sticks to the outer rim. Aroma is an intense sweet roasty malt, and it is the most prominent part of the brew. Taste is robust, with a tiny bit of carbonation detectable. Feel is medium-bodied, a little surprisingly so given other aspects.

Overall, it's a tasty, solid imperial stout. As I said, its body isn't a complete match to its aroma and taste, but after getting a bottle of this as a gift, I made an effort to get more.

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Photo of Pineforest42
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Great pour, about an inch of head with nice lacing. Thick and black.
S- Heavy cocoa and coffee, strong and mouth watering.
T- Wonderful balance of flavors dancing together. creamy and filling. Smokey, chocolate, wholesome.
M- I could almost chew it. Perfect texture for a RIS. Taste improved as the temperature dropped.
O- Just what I want from a RIS. I highly recommend this. This beer behaves like a RIS and with a 11% ABV will leave you feeling good.

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Photo of HoneyLamb
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Finally found Plead the 5th at a beer store in Stevensville, Michigan at John Beers and Hollywood for $14. Wow! Absolutely loved this beer. So smooth and full of flavor. This will be one of my all time favorites. RAFH 2/9/15

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Photo of docoman
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First time having non-BBA version of pt5 and it's very similar to BBA version, minus the bourbon influence. Almost has a tobacco smell/aftertaste and I'm not a smoker. Hard to love this beer, it's good, just not great compared to others.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Jet black body. Hardly any head. The little bit of head is dark tan/brown.
S - Roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa, light coffee. No detectable booze.
T - Very powerful cocoa/chocolate, roasted malts. Some dark fruits.
M - My favorite attribute of this beer. Extremely thick. Swirling causes very thick coating on the side my snifter. The turbulence is wonderful. Coats the palate and lingers.
O - An excellent imperial stout. Reminds me of a lot of ten fidy, which is saying a lot.

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Photo of His_Royal_Hoppiness
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly found this in Amsterdam. Phenomenal chocolate and coffee smell - taste is almost as good - it would be near-perfect imperial stout if not for the slightly excessive sweetness.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.4/5  rDev +4%

Pitch black, dark mocha head, small and brief, but there's nice lacing afterwards.
Big chocolate aroma, sweet and dark at the same time, plus vanilla and rich roasted malts. Lots of caramel, coffee too, but light and sweetened, faint woody notes. Not overly complex, but quite intense.
Tho i couldn't get any alcohol on the nose, the 11% shows up in the taste right from the start. This amplifies a nice dark fruity flavor, with sweet dry fig, raisin and some faint blueberry. Dark chocolate, with the sweetness mostly provided by caramel and molasses, some licorice, a bit of vanilla. Gets more bitter with some heavily roasted grains, some espresso and a leafy hop undertone, finishing quite nice, quite dry from the booze and the bitterness.
Medium to light body, oily, low carbonated, smooth. Rich aftertaste with roast, dark chocolate, alcohol, faint charred wood and some leafy American hop.
Easy to drink although the alcohol is a bit present, tasty, felt somewhere between the Russian and the American Imp Stout varieties for me. Doesn't really matter, really good stuff.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

12 oz. bottle poured into a mini-tulip (Yorktoberfest sampler)

A: Pitch black with a dark mocha head.
S: Roasted malt with a milky sweetness.
T: Good, decent stout that I don't think stood up the year of aging.
M: Smooth with virtually no carbonation.
O: I wonder what the BA version tastes like. It seems like mediocre base stouts make for great BA stouts.

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Photo of Bills453
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance - poured from a bottle. dark black in color. dark brown head.

Smell - This beer smell likes something was roasted inside my class. I smell cocoa and a hint of anise or something like that as well.

Taste - very good. What you would expect from a RIS. Cannot tell at all that this bad boy is 11%.

Mouthfeel - smooth and silky

Overall - an amazing stout. Not my top ever, but very very good.

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Photo of Rizalini
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my tulip. The smell of chocolate fills the air as soon as I pop it open. It pours rather flat, but the smell is very inviting. The taste is exactly what I look for in a impy stout. Thick, rich, roasty, viscous, smooth to drink but lingers on the tongue. Hands down one of the best stouts I've had, period.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%

Pours a one finger brown head that fades slowly leaving traces of lace. Black color, no highlights, ton of yeast left in bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Chocolate nose and flavor is roasted chocolate, some sugar decent IS. High (label 11%) ABV is hidden. $4.49 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of NHbeerguy
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle

Pours pitch black with a slight skim coat of head. Does leave a nice ring around the glass. This beer is nice and thick.

The smell is some roasted malts, dark chocolate and fruits. Not overpowering very mellow.

Taste is so smooth. Sometimes the RIS taste can be very overpowering to me. This is very smooth and almost creamy. I get some chocolate and roast flavor. At 11% ABV the alcohol is hidden very well in this one.

Mouthfeel is thick, smooth and just what you would expect from a RIS.

Overall a very solid beer. A go to for the non barrel aged RIS.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into tulip 20/10/14, thanks alfie for the bottle

A motor oil black right out of the bottle, I'm talking black, not much for an edge and a dark mocha foam falls rather quickly but manages to leave plenty of lace, one of the darker beers I've seen recently

S lots of coco, bakers chocolate, fudge, dark roast, a hint of booze, a little char and smoke

T more of the same but with a little more intensity, some dark fruit, more char and a little burnt coffee

M silky on the way in, thick and chewy as they come, bubbles cream it up, the booze is well hidden, just a little sticky on the lips, fruity char lingers, feels like a monster

O lots of dark roast and well concealed booze but could use a little more complexity but its big, rich, and drinkable for the strength

Not a bad beer but I'm looking forward to the BB version as I could see it doing wonders for this one

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #700

2011 Vintage
12oz bottle received in trade from brooklynbrews
Notes taken on 09/20/14 - Stone IRS snifter

A: The pour is fairly thick and black as tar with no light seeping through whatsoever. A thin lip of turbinado sugar forms over top for a few shortened moments. Very mild with the stick and more so just a few alcohol legs running down the sides of the glass.

S: Rich dark chocolate with molasses, soy, leather, and a wet tobacco likeness. Real intense dark roast grains here. I get some dark berry fruit midway and a simple char sugar on the finish that evokes vanilla and marshmallow. Has a similarity to crème brulee which is quite nice.

T: Tastes super rich yet smooth and easy drinking. Sweet and dessert like but not cloying. Deep roasted grains with lightly scorched sugars bring notes of dark chocolate covered raisin, blackstrap, dark bread, and blackberries. There is a moderate to low amount of bitterness and some light alcohol warmth to this. I get a touch of vanilla crème and some earthy root stems mixed in as well. There is a slight oxidized metallic note but otherwise time has been great on this one. What a real treat.

M: Full bodied and thick with a silky smooth mouth feel. Frothy and lush it stays lighter on the palate with some light drying at the finish. Alcohol warmth upon exhalation.

D: With some age this is one silky rich delight and this has got to be one of the best Non Barreled stouts around. Have not had fresh to compare but I imagine the hop bitterness has faded off some and the alcohol has mellowed a bit. I don’t think I would let this one go much longer as some signs of oxidization are starting to show. Would love to get my hands on the BA version now.

Another huge thanks to brooklynbrews for nailing another top want of mine.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.41/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Rediscovered notes from Sept 2012, on tap at Fermentoren in Copenhagen)

A: Very dark black. 1/4" mocha head, recedes leaving a ring

S: rich roast, soy sauce, molasses

T: Chocolate, red plum, coffee. Woody.

M: Low carb. Thick. Tannic.

O: Okay, but vastly inferior to the BB version.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 837 ratings.