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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
892 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
892
Ratings:
3,812
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
557
Gots:
1,036
For Trade:
114
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

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
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label

Added by HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 892 | Ratings: 3,812
Photo of jmdrpi
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, but no date on the label, or any indication of the 12% abv strength.

pours black as used motor oil, with very dark tan head. but the head fades fast to a thin collar. aroma expands and intensifies as it warms - roasted coffee, cocoa power, booze.

taste is rich and bold. bitter dark chocolate, caramel, a little alcohol. lingering charcoal smokiness. definitely a sipper. thick, full body. coats the mouth, but enough carbonation.

overall - I really like, very good RIS.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Nonic. No date or info. Thanks Sweemzander for the insane stout!

A - Poured like warmed-up syrup. Totally black as night and unrelenting in appearance, a teeny layer of brown bubbles formed with a fizz and went to a small ring.

S - Rich molasses and maple syrup with heavily roasted malts. A touch of oatmeal can be found with just a hint of coffee bean. Lightly boozy on the nose from the, I'm assuming, high ABV. [Didn't know at this point]

T - Black roasted malts create a strong bitterness that overpowers the minimal sweetness in the flavor. Maple syrup and molasses give it a breakfast-like feel minus the lack of coffee on the flavor. Boozy more so that on the aroma, it also has a teeny soy hint, almost not noticeable, but just showing it's age.

M - Moderately carbonated and smooth with a rich, syrup-like finish. Totally full-bodied and bitter from the roasted malts on the finish.

D - It could be just a touch old but it makes the wonder me wonder what the alcohol would taste like if it were young. Strong and full-bodied it's well suited to warm on a cold winter morning. I'd love to try this again.

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Photo of champ103
3.67/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque black color. At first a two finger tan head forms, but recedes in a second. Not a lot of lace.
S: Big roasted malt up front. Chocolate, coffee, and sweet toffee. Lots of smoke as well. Very nice.
T: Follows the nose. All the roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and smoke you would expect. Just a bit metallic and astringent though.
M/D: A big full body that is low on the carbonation. Syrupy and sticky. A huge amount of alcohol, with plenty of heat. Though not hard to sip on.

This is very enjoyable, like everything from Dark Horse. Though a bit to astringent, and not as complex as other examples of a RIS. Basically the same thing as the Fore Smoke Stout, but with a ton more alcohol. Something that is still very much worth a try though.

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Photo of cbutova
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black motor oil ale pours into my pint glass. Not much of a head forms but a creamy pillow tops the beer. Small spots of lace from a creamy ring.

S- Dark roast malt comes off strong with a fairly harsh edge to it. Also get a dose of dark fruit, coffee, cocoa and caramel.

T- Definitely one of the harsher stouts I have had recently, but in a nice way for an RIS. The dark roast, burnt malt thrashes the palate with cocoa, coffee, dark fruit, licorice and caramel notes as well. A bit of alcohol, not surprising at 12%.

MF- Thick body supporting the huge flavor. An overall silky feel with some cream and alcohol warming to it. Acrid roast bitterness. Higher carbonation than I would prefer.

A very solid stout and a very strong one coming in at a heavy 12%, still big even in 2011. Dark Horse knows how to make a stout, I hope they do more with their numbered series because they were all pretty nice.

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Photo of maximum12
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Missed Plead the 5th last year when it came around, so gladly grabbed a single when it appeared on local shelves. Fantastic name for a brew, by the way.

Slithers into the glass like a liquid little black dress, all silky & languid. The scents wafting out of bottle & glass are enough to make my mouth water.

Wow. Wow. This is a first-class stout. The roasted malts are deep enough to swim in, rich enough for Pamela Anderson, complex as a hundred-year old Swiss watch. Accompanying all this pleasure is a sweet choco tinge & a sliver of underlying coffee that's just enough to set off the deep darkness of the malts.

Damn. Creamy, mouth-coating goodness that doesn't let go. 12% ABV? Sign me up for a bender on this one, it'll be short one. There's certainly a bit of warming effect here, but the alcohol is absent for a stout this big.

Fantastic flippin' brew. I'll be out to seek out a four-pack of fifteen of this - I'd love to see how it ages, although I can scarcely fathom is can improve much. Absolutely fantastic!

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Photo of xnicknj
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to stevef03 for this bottle. I'm finally getting around to doing the Dark Horse One - 5th tonight.

A: Pours a beautiful motor oil opaque black. There is little to no head on this beer. There is just the tiniest of bubbles along the top of the beer. Minimal lacing as it drinks.

S: Smells of sweet chocolate malt, raisin, vanilla, and booze. Super stone fruits and alcohol. It smells delicious.

T: Spot on plum, chocolate, vanilla, and toffee. There is a big boozy sweetness in the finish as well. I get hints of brownie and caramel too. Great flavor, but just a tad sweet. I'm nit picking at this point.

M: This is a full boded beer that starts off sweet and smooth. The silky chocolate notes are evident from start to finish. The flavors envelop the palate. There is some serious cloing that occurs (really sticky and chewy), but it's feels fantastic.

O: This beer is damn delicious. It's a bit boozy at times, ans a bit sweet times, but it's fantastic. What an incredible beer. It's just right for the style. I'd drink this all the time if I could.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a compeletely opaque black liquid that resembles a thick viscous motor oil. The head is a dark brown color, almost mocha like and very thick and creamy looking. The retention is ok and lingers for about a half a minute with a thick creamy lace covering the glass and falling a bit slower than the head itself

S-the nose is fair in strength and seems very sweet and slightly boozy. A hint of dark bitter chocolate and molasses tickles the nose lightly. Dark fruits of prunes and some lightly rum soaked raisins comes in at the back and is really the foundation for this aroma.

T-the taste is big and more balanced than the nose. The sweetness of prunes and raisin set in first. Lots of dark, slightly bitter chocolate has a good hold in the middle as the molasses adds a bit of complexity to the taste. The finish brings more of the same dark fruits with a hint of booze and a small hop balance with a light hop bitterness.

M-this has a nice full body and is extremely smooth and brings a nice creamy texture. Just enough carbonation to hold the body and give it a nice clean finish.

D-I love a big creamy stout and this lives up to that. It has hints of booze but nothing that really detracts from the overall great drink that this proves to be. The nose was a little sweet but the beer brought a great balance and complexity.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of dancingcaddis, thanks man! Dark black with a short head of coffee colored bubbles. It smells odd, kind of sweet, unfamiliar. The flavor is fruity and sweet and quite interesting. The alcohol was well hidden and I am usually pretty finicky about beers with ABv over 10%.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.36/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark as fuck and thick as shit - is that an accurate description of the appearance? It looks like molasses as it dribbles out of the bottle, pouring will nearly no sound as it collapses into the glass. No head forms at first, even with a direct pour down the middle, until moments after I'm finished pouring and a dark tan film rises from nowhere and puts a skin on the brew.

Aroma comes through full-force with insanely deep roasted coffee; charred espresso and dark, bitter cocoa beans. This is a heavy hitter, alright, and the nose doesn't hold anything back. There is a creaminess to it, carrying over a very light sweetness. But make no mistake - if the initial aroma is any indication, the sheer roasted bitterness of this brew will tower over all else. Some more dark fudge aromas open up as the beer warms, but it remains a deep, black, and bitter type of fudge, still laying low on the sweetness. Surprisingly low alcohol character for being 11-12% ABV, but there is a noticeable warmth to back everything up.

The taste, shockingly enough, opens up with a very light, licorice-like sweetness before converging into the roasted carnage. Bitter-ass roasted coffee beans, and huge charcoal notes take over like none other. This beefy stout plays off of a heavy hop character as well, something else I really enjoy; leafy, ashy, herbal, and spicy. The bitterness from the hops and the bitterness from the roast combine to form a super bitterness that may even be stronger than all of the sweetness from the malt.

Light chocolates and sinister dark fruits play the counterbalancing sweetness role, although they don't stand a chance again the roasted bomb. There is a heavy fade of char, roast, burnt coffee, and nuttiness going into the aftertaste. Overall, the alcohol warms up a bit and gives this baby a fuckin' huge backbone - very robust; it demands that it be sipped slowly rather than slammed in a few seconds. This beer is big.... no, HUGE, on the palate, and creamy all the way through. Super low carbonation, but it almost works, here.

Seriously a badass stout; orgasmically powerful roast from nearly start to finish with a heavy and hard-hitting bitterness through and through. I love stouts like this. For the high ABV, it drinks pretty well. I'm biased towards bitter stouts, so this one was right in my wheelhouse. Simply delicious.

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

Thank you Steasy66!! Been wanting this one for a while now, the BB version was fantastic.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a thin brown head.

Smell. Dark chocolate and molasses with some dark malts and brown sugar and a bit of vanilla.

Taste. Sweet bakers chocolate, some lightly smokey dark roasted malts, black licorice and molasses, with some black coffee in the finish. High abv is well hidden. Very nice.

Mouthfeel. Full body with low+ carbonation. Thick and viscous with just a little warmth.

Overall. A fantastic ris. Lots of chocolate which is never a bad thing for the style.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of sgoro, thank you very much Sean! Pours a viscous black with a small brown head, even with an aggressive pour. Never did get much foam stickage...

Nose is a gorgeous blend of bruised dark fruit, chocolate covered licorice malt and a faint tropical alcohol aroma. Smells good, and rich.

Taste is decadent! Viscous chocolate malts mix with a burnt grain and robust raisin juice to mix all the delicious flavors of a deep, imperial stout with the smoothness of a silky oatmeal stout. Man, I was not expecting to be this impressed tonight, but this beer is de-lic-ious! I would absolutely love to be in the distribution range of this bad boy! 12%? No way! Sooo smooth. Im glad I drank it fresh(ish) rather than ageing it, as I think it cant possibly get any better than it tastes right now.

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Photo of Resuin
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a teku glass. It looks like the bottle says 03.05.14 so this is pretty fresh.

Appearance: Pours jet black and leaves two fingers of tan/light-medium brown head which fades pretty quickly to a layer atop the beer.

Smell: Big roasted malts, coffee, fudge-like chocolate, some dark fruits, a hint of cherry. Fairly decadent. Very nice aroma.

Taste: Matches the smell until the finish which is a bit more bitter. Roasted malts, fudge, coffee, vanilla, marshmallow, a bit of char. Slightly bitter finish. ABV is masked really well.

Mouth-feel: Low carbonation with a thick, creamy body. Finishes smooth.

Overall: A very impressive stout. Rich, thick body with a decadent aroma and wonderful flavor. Really tasty.

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Photo of mynie
3.68/5  rDev -13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Pencible
3.52/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a pitch black with thick tan head.
S: It smelled like roasted coffee and cream with some dark chocolate.
T: It tasted like cocoa powder and roasted coffee, with some cream and a little citrus zest. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a solid stout with a simple but enjoyable scent and taste. The body was good, but the finish was a little hot, so it was better to sip. Age may help, but it's still nice enough fresh. I just don't see anything special about this beer - not worth the hype.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to my boy aasher for this one! Fifth in the series and fifth on the day! Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Poured pitch black with a minimal fizzy brown head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and subtle alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, subtle sweet alcohol, and subtle caramel. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The aroma and flavors on this one were quite nice for a RIS. While they were not overly complex, they made this one quite enjoyable. The key thing for a RIS for me is if they can cover up the alcohol while still keeping it around as a more subtle flavor. This one did this quite well. A definite must try for any beer drinker out there.

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

Older bottle (old white and gray/black label). from trade with jrgratz. Thanks ya! Pours thick jet black with dark brown small head. Big roasty aroma balanced by some dark fruit and anise. Big furry mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. Big bittersweet chocolate taste, roasty malt, sweet molasses. Really awesome and like this better than the fresh BA version I had. Lingering cocoa on the palate. Big stout on the sweet side and very nice.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An extra from jrags8, finally opened this puppy up.

A-Black one finger creamy brown head

S-Coffee, roasted malt and some chocolate

T-Great blend of coffee and chocolate, roasted malt is in there as well. Some bitterness creeps in.

M-Heavy, creamy with some carbonation.

O-A great beer, thankful for the extra. The flavors blend together nicely.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours an opaque used motor oil black color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into a ring of lacing. The aroma is of milk and dark chocolate, graham cracker, toffee, vanilla, and is rather prominent. The taste is full of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, toffee, graham cracker, and hints of coffee. The mouthfeel is full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is one of the best RIS I have had. I really like the fact that it isn't overly hoppy the way a lot of American made RIS tend to be. If this were available to me locally it would be one of my go to stouts.

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Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.57/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Motor oil black, no head at all on the hard pour, but some bubbles rose to the top and formed a tight ring momentarily. No light coming through this one.

S - Chocolate, a lot of roast. The alcohol is buried in this one but comes out as it warms up. There's a little bit of wood on this.

T - First sip of this was great, with roasty malts dominating and some latent sweetness coming from chocolate malts. There alcohol burn grows and grows here as you keep drinking it, making it hard to do.

M - Thick, syrupy, with a moderate does of carbonation. It's very coating, covers the tongue.

D - You really start to get the 12% out of this about a quarter of the way through. It's a good beer, but a bit hot, and not outstanding. I'd drink it on occasion if available, but nothing particularly special.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark pitch black oil with a slight purpley fade. Rigorous pour revealed no head what so ever, only a few small, looser bubbles break the surface then break down to keep at the edge with a slim collar. No lace either. Very slight oily brown parched residue slips across the surface with very tiny dots of lace dripping down the glass as it is sipped.

Aroma is not complex nor big. Quite empty really, I get slight chocolate and plum with a slight tender sweet alcoholic warmth reminiscent of weak Port or Irish Creme. Tapering burntish molasses vapors underneath.

Taste is nearly as empty, yet perhaps a bit more intensity given off from what the aroma leads off being, but unfortunaly the same avenue is being driven down. Mediochre amounts of tender and brief chocolate take the front. Molasses tang and darker fruits make a favorable twist in the middle areas but don't last all that long as it takes a warmer turn of port-like plumyness and dark raisiny alcoholic warmth towards the finish. A slight chocolate return and small surge of coffeeish bite help encourage a finish worth finishing. Heat fades well. Bits of roasted coffee stay as does a tiny raisin skin tartness and feel.

Feel is smooth and quite quick with a moderate silky medium heftified body. As it finishes it gains a bit more heavier tone and character. Mild and sweetly dark with partial chocolate and dark fruit layers build a bit as it goes. Not quite what I was expecting given the other Dark Horse goodies I've had and liked, but good enough to try. Give me their Black Bier though and I'll be content enough.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

HUGE thanks to rschne13 for the trade on this one.

a- Popped open the 12oz bottle and poured it into my oversized snifter. Gorgeous thick sludgey stout goodness. pretty much no head at all. When I swirl the glass I can build up a little bit of a brown head. Snail trail-like lacing. Has a bit of a barrel aged look shine.

s - Dark chocolate alcohol sweetness. Extremely well balanced roasted malt. I swear I'm picking up some sort of bourbon (ev

t - HOLY CRAP. This is fantastic. Deep dark chocolatey roasted malts. The booze is really nice. This is an A double plus beer.

m/d - Tonight is/was an evening for big stouts and this beer...I had some high expectations for and it stepped to the plate and slammed it out of the park on the first pitch. Mouth is crisp and it is smooth, silky and easy to drink. Flavor is strong dark chocolate...a bit on the heavy side, but you'd expect that at 12%.

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Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viscous black with a head that nearly matches it in color and also fades very fast.

Chocolate, molasses, lots of roasted malt, nice hop presence. Also getting a real faint belgian yeast smell out of this.

Big toasted malt flavor with a fairly large coffee presence and light chocolate and banana taste. Nice hop snap too. Roasty and hoppy aftertaste is pleasant.

Big bodied and smooth. Maybe just a shy thin for the body, but by no means way off. Finishes very dry.

Awesome drinkability at this ABV. An absolute solid RIS. Really worth trying.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 892 ratings.