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
93
outstanding

822 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 822
Hads: 3,498
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 552
Gots: 919 | FT: 106
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
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Reviews: 822 | Hads: 3,498
Photo of pmccallum86
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a huge deep dark black color with a big and thick cocoa colored head that dissipates very slowly.

Smell is of big cocoa and licorice. Lots of roasted malts and a little coffee as well.

Big, big, flavor. Tons of roasted malts and bitter chocolates come up front. Followed by slight hop bitterness and some sugary caramel in the finish. Quite a nice beer, possibly my favorite offering from Dark Horse. The 12% ABV is hidden very nicely as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with medium carbonation, very full bodied beer.

Drinkable all things considered, but not this beer's best asset. (597 characters)

Photo of Murchmac
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had both an 08 and an '10 over the weekend.

Both poured a black as night dark with some lacing. The 08 was still really carbonated and the 10 was not at all.

Both had a mixture of smells chocolate, coffee, booze, with the 10 having some soy sauce smells.

the 10 had tastes of cherry, soy sauce, coffee, chocolate, the 08 was still carbonated with just a chocolate taste

the 10 had a bitter finish with the 08 being smoother with a bigger body. (449 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - black with a thin tan head that stuck around as a ring.
S - roasted, dark coffee with a hint of bittersweet chocolate.
T - taste is everything in the smell, roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate, the alcohol is well hidden behind these flavors.
F - full bodied with a slick sort of smoothness.
D - very drinkable for what it is. (381 characters)

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Bruery tulip, much thanks once again to my friend Jeff (AleWatcher) for more Midwestern goodness!

Pours pitch black, nary a hint of brown to be seen, with a dense one-finger dark brown head on top, that fairly quickly settles down to a thin brown ring on the outside edge of the glass. Nice lacing.

Nose has a clean, fruity quality to it. Somewhere between cherries and blackberries, with a spicy alcohol bite and a bit of burnt sugar underneath. Bit of molasses mixed in. As it warms, roasted malt comes through a bit cleaner, still wrapped in the spicy alcohol, still a big healthy dose of clean, dark fruit. At one point I even picked up pretzels.

Taste starts off with a healthy dose of alcohol bite. Molasses in there, again, with a big bitter burnt sugar bite towards the finish. Lots of dark fruits, again. Finish is long, burnt, bit boozey, bittersweet. Lacks the complexity that I generally look for; lots of flavor, which is to be expected for a beer this size, but this one seems to clash a bit - the burnt flavors, the alcohol, the sugary sweetness. Seems to be a big dose of crystal malts in there that could use just a bit of toning down in my opinion. Not a flaw per se, more a matter of preference.

Mouthfeel is slick, full bodied, light carbonation, long finish and a bit of an alcohol burn in the back of the throat on the swallow.

Drinkability is decent, though the flavor profile is a bit coarse and raw. Alcohol definitely bites back, as well. Again, a decent enough beer, but it doesn't have the beautiful cohesiveness that the best IS seem to have. Doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable, though. (1,633 characters)

Photo of TK5150
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle sent to me from TimmyP, thanks man.

A- Pours jet black with a small dark brown head into my snifter. The head recedes into a brown ring around the edge of the glass. Excellent lacing on the glass as I swirl. Excellent example of what an Imperial Stout should look like in the glass.

S- Molasses is the most prominent smell, but there is also a lot of chocolate, licorice and dark fruits(raisins, figs, grapes).

T- Dark fruit (raisins, figs, grapes) mixes flawlessly with molasses; also incorporated is sweet chocolate. Not very roasty at all. Very sweet. Dessert beer for sure.

M- Low carbonation, but not quite as full bodied as I would like. Finishes kind of thin, actually. One area holding this beer back.

D- Wow, I'm glad I only have one 12 oz. bottle, or I may end up opening another, but at 12%, that would not be a very good idea.

Overall, a very nice imperial stout that is somewhat different from many of the ones I've had recently. Thin body at times, lack of serious complexity, and overall sweetness hold it back just a bit. Still, the delicious factor, appearance, and smell give this beer a nice leg up. A highly recommended beer that if were available to me, I would definitely pick up often. (1,228 characters)

Photo of hayesez
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received in a recent trade with wedgie9. Got home late from work tonight and figured I'd have a few beers before crashing for the evening.

Very deep, dark, nearly black beer that piles up in my Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass without much carbonation. This is being poured at a temperature that is a bit lower than normal (for my liking) for this style of beer. Normally I like to let these sit out for about a half hour - in this case, I'll let it sit in my glass. That being said, the pour portrayed the beer as fairly viscous...perhaps slightly inaccurately due to the temperature. Regardless, I like a good thick Russian Imperial Stout. A one finger cocoa colored head quickly scattered from the middle and huddled up around the edges. The resulting ring of foam is quite impressively thick and leaves a short-lived lacing on my glass every time a take a drink.

Lots of smells going on in here - there is an obvious soy sauce component that detracts from the wonderfully dark cherry aroma. A bit of chocolate and just a hint of coffee peak through as well. The alcohol is pretty well masked by these different elements resulting in a nose that would be top-notch if not for the annoying soy sauce.

The soy sauce gives way to the alcohol as the prominent detractor in the taste. The beer starts out a metallic sweet before yielding to the (again) obvious dark fruits - primarily cherry. As the beer warms I notice some dark chocolate at the beginning that I wasn't picking up 15 minutes ago. The very low carbonation makes these flavors even more obvious as there is nothing getting in the way. The 12% ABV is not nearly as masked as it was on the nose - this one is a bit hot. After completing a drink the sweet malty flavor remains for a bit before ceding to a slightly bitter roastiness. If not for the metallic sweetness and the heat, I would really enjoy this. As this beer continues to approach room temperature, it becomes a bit too thin for my liking, but still holds together well.

Not a bad beer. A bit on the green side, keeping the flavors well separated as opposed to nicely integrated. A little bit hot to drink too terribly much of, however, the 12 ounces I did have were not a problem. A solid brew that just falls a bit short in a couple of areas. As could be anticipated, I'm sure this one could stand to use a bit of time chilling out.

Consumed: 5/25/2010 (2,386 characters)

Photo of jwhawkins81
3.14/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma - Roasted malts and a coffee bitterness

Appearance - Brown head that quickly fades. The beer itself poured a very dark color without much carbonation.

Taste - Coffee bitter with a sweet roasty backbone. Not as smooth as I would have liked. The bitterness was a little harsh in contrast to the other flavors in the beer.

Notes - Maybe it was because I wasn't in the mood for a big stout like this but I wasn't a fan of this beer. I put the other three in the cellar and expect better things from them in a years time. (525 characters)

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Lukafer, czoch85, and flandersned for all hooking me up with this brew in different trades!

A: Nice and viscous with a dark, but decidely brown body. Very small mocha head fizzles out after around half a minute.

S: Coffee is the predominant scent I get; chocolate and a bit of spicy rye hang around in the background.

T: Starts off with a bit of sweetness, then goes to semi-sweet chocolate. Coffee is there in the middle as well, but less prominent than it was in the nose. Coffee moves forward for a more bitter end, and the aftertaste is a muted coffee flavor.

M: Somewhat silky, a little lighter than I was expecting.

D: Goes down easy for a big fella.

This was a good stout, but not a great stout. There was no delicious flavor or complexity or anything that stood out to me. I was hoping for a more stellar brew, but I enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing how it ages. (895 characters)

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle picked up at Abe's in Bethlehem. Uncapped and poured into a standard shaker glass. The 5th appears a nearly opaque brown color with about an inch of dark tan foam. Smells and tastes of molasses, dark and bittersweet chocolate, mocha, licorice, espresso, a hint of soy sauce, dried dark fruits. Approaching full bodied, syrupy and slick, with decent carbonation for the style. Alcohol heat is well hidden. Overall, a great stout at a good price. (462 characters)

Photo of steve8robin
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade...

A: Pitch black with little to no head that leaves a slight mocha head on the top of the brew. Decent.

S: Roasty oak upfront with dark fruit boozy chocolate in the middle and creamy bourbon type scent on the backend. Good.

T: Watery boozy roastiness upfront with dark fruit and chocolate blended in the middle and bitter hops on the backend. Decent.

M: Very smooth carbonation feel. A bit watery, but good.

D: Goes down super easy. Very good here.

All in all, this is a decent brew. Ok to try at least once, but not great. Ok, for a stout. Many better brews in the style. (599 characters)

Photo of LehighValleyEats
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Plead the 5th Imperial Stout is heavy, heavy, heavy. What else could be expected from an Imperial Stout. The guys over at Dark Horse Brewing Co. describe this one as..."big & full bodied with lots of roasted malts & balanced with heavy hops..."

The 5th pours out with the sight of midnight with a fading brown head with little retention. The aroma is extremely complex, with rich maltiness at first whiff, then the coffee, chocolate, & a hint of sweetness dominate the senses. The flavor is bold, big, complex. Hard to describe the symphonic array of tastes bouncing around my mouth. Maltiness & traces of maybe maple syrup come through, with the chocolate & coffee resonating in the front. The heat is apparent as well. The mouthfeel is very heavy, as i expected, & i must say that this beverage is a "1 & done."

Overall Impression: I loved it! Can't praise this wonderful concoction with anymore praise then has already been said. Go out & try it immediately. (963 characters)

Photo of Stacy53
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Horse- Plead the 5th- Bottled: Feb. 2010
Around 3 months old

A- Black as night with a fast fading brown, tan head. A bit of red in the head as well.

S- Dark chocolate maybe some dark coffee in there also. I definitely smell some sweet notes.

T- Tons of stuff in this one. I taste chocolate, caramel, a woody taste, sweet cherries. Nice mix of sweet and smoky.

M- This one is thick with low carbonation.

D- Very drinkable, you hardly notice the ABV at 12% in this. (474 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black absolutely sucks up all the visible light spectrum in my glass, big tan head after a vigorous pour. Aroma has dark licorice or pitsella (anise notes) with big ripened fruit notes,and an awesome roasted malt dark chocolate strong coffee combo. Big creamy toasted marshmallow experience this beer is extreme and awesome with a touch of soy sauce. Flavor is completely different than the draft sample I had much more rounded dark fruit sweetness in the flavor in the draft. This one is aggressive needing some age yet still a necessary drinking experience for any beer lover. I used to not be able to get any Dark Horse now that it's distributed in Ohio I've seen most of their beers come through, I really like their standards and their limited releases have been outstanding. Extremely sweet creamy sweet it could use a bit more hop balance than this, really it has anise (black licorice) a touch of soy sauce tones, and some dark fruit with soothing alcohol tones...strong espresso and dark chocolate this is one big ass stout. There's nothing here screaming hop bitterness I just wish it had more of that. Body wise this beer borders chewy full bodied stout with strong residual finishing characterisitcs and a strong soothing alcohol burn in the finish. Drinkability overall is a one and done type of affair, I liked it on draft much better. Challenging huge flavors going on but the balance could have been much better. (1,440 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh off the tap, in a St. Bernardus goblet. Cause that's how I roll, yo.

Dark as sin, black as all the wrongs in the world, huge tanned brown, cocoa head standing firm above. Beautiful. Amazing. Gorgeous. Outstanding.

Aroma: Oatmeal? Hmmm? Well, it's creamy, ...there's chocolate. Not too sweet. Roasty, but not too much. Creamy chocolate. Let's stick with that.

Drinking it: Big, fat, fantastic, delcicious. Rounds around the mouth, and sticks with it. Very well rounded, all together. What we seem to have is an RIS that is not outrageous in any degree, not overly out-there with any particular element.
Big, thick mouthfeel, long cocoa and coffee finish. Mmm, just right.

Very tasty, and not really easy to read the 12% abv, until, what, wait a minute, ...there it is...whoa-oh... (793 characters)

Photo of Gtreid
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to greatfulbeerhead for sending this one as part of a recent Dark Horse box. 12 oz. bottle poured into my Stone RIS tulip.

A: Pretty much black, with some ruby highlights. After the pour there was next to no head, but after swirling the glass an evil looking dark brown, reddish head appears. No lace whatsoever.

A: Enormous chocolate nose! Dark chocolate, roasted malt, dried dark fruits, and an earthy hop presence. I get notes of cherry wood and burnt caramel with dirty grass.

T: Again, huge chocolate! Baker's, dark, milk, I think they put every type of chocolate imaginable in this one. I also get notes of vanilla, char, and oddly enough smoke. Finishes somewhat dry and very sweet.

M: Viscous and thick. Pretty low levels of carbonation makes for a rather oily mouthfeel.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is just above average here. The big sweetness and high ABV will limit it some. Overall, I really like this brew. Chocolate and char play very nicely off one another. Probably should be classified as an American Double Stout, but who cares, really nice offering from the guys at Dark Horse. Skal. (1,130 characters)

Photo of AdamMY
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance leaves a lot to be desired, hardly any head, and that which came out was very brown.

The aroma though is like good hot chocolate, which is completely evident in the amazingly chocolate taste. This really tastes like high quality chocolate with hints of espresso.

The mouth feel is very smooth and creamy, almost silky smooth. Combined with its amazing chocolate taste, this is quite drinkable and I honestly do not think I am drinking anything alcoholic. (471 characters)

Photo of Beejay
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First off, I would like to state that I believe some of the issues I had with this beer were due to the growler filler rather than brewery. I have had this beer before and really enjoyed it, my bottle review is on here as well for comparison.

A: Motor Oil Black, with no head at all, just a coffee brown ring of bubbles.

S: Sweet, dark chocolate, raspberries, dark fruit and brown sugar.

T: Dark and roasty. Coffee and burnt caramel throughout. Sweet, big and tasty.

M: Thick and syrupy, very low carbonation. The carbonation that is there is very fine.

D: Very nice overall, but it just doesn't match the awesomeness that this beer is from a bottle. I would love to try it on tap sometime, and see how it compares. Unfortunately, a bad growler fill done this one in a bit. For shame whole foods.. (802 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color (holding it up to the light doesn't even reveal the slightest hint of color near the edge of the glass). There is a thin mocha-colored head.
S: Aromas of dark roasted malts dominate the smell.
T: The taste shares a lot of similarities with the aroma; there is also a significant amount of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate.
D: The beer has a good level of drinkability as the alcohol is very well masked. (474 characters)

Photo of MIMicrobrews
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured similar to all the rest (black, thick, choco head), yet seemed to have a bit more girth to it. Could it get any thicker? I beg to differ... A slightly sweet and creamy sensation hits my nose, with a subtle smoky undertone. There is a tinge of hop presence underneath the bold, dark aroma. The taste rolls and changes from sip to as it goes down. Smooth upon first taste, then a robust grittiness to a bitterness all in the same motion. It's well-balanced, but it's also very bold. It is an imperial stout, and you clearly get that from every sip. There's a strength to every sip that you can sense on your tongue and in your nose. With all the boldness, elements of roastiness and molasses come through nicely. The aftertaste is something I hadn't gotten from the previous 4 brews: heat. This is an imperial stout and it is strong. Once this brew goes down, there is a good amount of hot in the end to remind you to enjoy this brew slowly and responsibly :)

Overall, I like this brew very much. I love a big, bold, no frill, knock you on your ass stout. And this one is no exception. The ABV is not available, but I can tell you it's up there. On top of that, there is a good amount of smooth and boldness meshed together. All that said, I would be interested to see how this brew would age. I'd like to see if aging it would bring out more flavor. In addition, I would consider warming this brew slightly before enjoying. I do feel I enjoyed it a bit too cold, as a bit less chill would have enhanced the flavor. This is a bold brew, and a great way to top off this stout series. (1,598 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

Pours like motor oil, more so than any other stout I've poured. No head, no foam, no bubbles, just thick black viscous liquid. Then as it settles a small dark brown head forms then dissipates into a small rim a dark brown bubbles. Nose is very roasty and grainy, surprisingly no alcohol at all given it's 12%. Slightly sweet and as it warms there's a tinge of booze but hardly noticeable.

Mmm, mouthfeel is smooth, silky and creamy with very light carbonation, perfect for a RIS. it clings to your mouth and sticks around just long enough. Taste is great, not much for hops but a tiny bite of hop bitterness on the finish, mostly covered by the roasted barley/coffee bitterness. There's some great burnt notes here that linger and give you a really nice smooth taste. Super easy drinking and very satisfying. (857 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of Ryan011235, poured into an oversized snifter.

Looks pretty much like a big stout should, black and intimidating with a dense 1-finger cap of dark tan head. Retention is pretty good. The lacing is a bit spotty, but it stains the glass impressively.

At 12%, the alcohol is shockingly well hidden in the nose. Smells quite good. Nice combo of chocolate, dark roasted and burnt malts. A touch of molasses, a bit of dark fruit and a gentle coffee presence. Definitely looking forward to this.

The booze is more noticeable in the mouth, but provides a modest warming presence that's not at all out of place. A bitter undercurrent previously undetected helps keep the sweetness under control, although there's a substantial tanginess that's a bit sticky at the finish. Nice robust roasted character. Carbonation is appropriately low, accentuating the slippery character of the medium-thick body. Finishes perhaps a bit too cleanly, but that's nitpicking.

Overall impression: A nice RIS that seems to have excellent aging potential. I think I will throw my other one in the cellar and revisit in a year or so. (1,131 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade thanks to translucent on BA. Damn dude, this is a bruiser. Is this the fifth in the "one, too, tres, fore" series? If so, then neener neener, I ticked them all off, and victory is mine!

Pours black and thick with a one-finger dark tan head. Some legs on this one - you can tell it's viscous.

Aroma is intense with dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, and roast. Slight sweetness present.

Flavor is really interesting. It reminds me of Midnight Sun Berserker in a way, except without the -bal aging notes. Rich dark chocolate and roast dominate, with a hint of coffee as well as molasses, anise, and red wine/port. Very full and thick on the palate with low carbonation. Some tannins as well as hop bitterness. Smooth and slick. A great imperial stout overall. Not too drinkable in large quantities, but you have to give it a pass on this because it's damn good. One of the better beers I've had from Dark Horse. Good job rejecting Nickelback's offer too, guys. They suck! (993 characters)

Photo of Adamdc
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into nonic pint glass.

A: Jet black body topped by 1/4 inch head of dark brown foam. Beer seems to 'glug' out of bottle--very thick.

S: Molasses, dark fruit, caramel, malt and some alcohol.

T: Bitter chocolate, coffee, malt, some bitterness and it's pretty hot, possibly a little too hot.

M: Mouthfeel is very full-bodied and heavy just how an RIS should be.

D: Not too high only because of the 'heat'.

This is a pretty solid RIS. It's my first brew by Dark Horse and I'm looking forward to trying some others. (536 characters)

Photo of kylehayworth
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into my new Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: This beer pours a deep black, with subtle dark brown hues, a head slowly forms into a nice dark deep, and robust tan.

S: I get some vanilla, and coffee, with good chocolate presence.

T: Taste is pretty good: It starts off with a nice chocolaty and robust coffee taste, the finish is spot on, nice and bitter, with dark fruits.

M/D: Nice creamy and thick. The carbonation seems pretty low on this one, but in a nice way. Overall, this is a great stout, I've hit a brick wall with DIPA's, so I switched to stouts, this is a good way to start off. I would definitely check this one out again, almost wish I would have got a 4 pack... (687 characters)

Photo of levifunk
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to badnewsbeers for this!

appearance - black like oil. almost no carbonation and very thick looking. no head.

smell - soy sauce, caramel, and hints of a fruity smell. surprisingly very little alcohol smell.

taste - malty, creamy, sweet coffee flavor. some subtle hops/bitterness that i didn't pick up in the smell. not very hot at all, although when i open my mouth and breath, the booze hits my lungs.

mouthfeel - pretty thick largely due to very little carbonation. I enjoy low carbonation, so its great for me.

overall - great beer. wish i had more. I think a couple of these is all you'd need on a cold night. the huge ABV is masked very well. (659 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 822 ratings.