Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

3,474 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,474
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 554
Gots: 907 | FT: 105
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,474 | Reviews: 839
Photo of mdfb79
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as an extra from wunderbeer in a trade, big thanks Ron, I've been wanting to try this one!

a - Pours a jet black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident. No lacing and the head only lasts for a minute.

s - Smells of cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and roasted malts.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate and coffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, vanilla, and a little alcohol.

m - Full bodied stout with moderate carbonation, this beer is very smooth and creamy; goes down great.

d - A very good RIS. I really liked the smell and mouthfeel. Wish the taste was a little less bitter but still very good. Would definitely like to try it again and would love to try the barrel aged version.

Photo of smcolw
3.45/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Modest starting head--dark, dark tan color. Surprisingly little stability; this dies to only rim bubbles. No lace. Dark brown where no light shines through.

Overly mild aroma, most notable appearance is the alcohol.

Good burnt malt flavor, but it is compromised by the thinner body. This may be because of the very high alcohol. Elements of coffee and nearly no notable hop bitterness.

Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by yourefragile recently along side the bourbon barrel plead the fifth, these beers don't especially resemble each other.

Beer is black, with a thin lazy head of small tan bubbles, halos the snifter, no lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly sweet, mildly bitter, mildly ashy, a little roast.

Beer is medium in body and quite bitter on the finish. Not as sweet as I thought it was going to be on the palate from the nose, the lead off is a little malt syrup, medium body, the beer thins at the back and finishes moderately bitter from the roast. Nice beer overall though.

Photo of orangesol
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/22/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a small dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, nuttiness, light char, light dark fruits, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible imperial stout! All around fantastic complexity and balance of big dark, roasted, and bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. An absolutely amazing offering.

Photo of chinchill
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Horse Plead the 5th on tap at the Beer Trappe in Lexington

Near black and opaque in the glass, with dark brown showing at the edges.  Durable head but little lacing. 

Great aroma!  Rich and moderately complex, it suggests great flavor.  The flavor doesn't quite keep up but is outstanding. 
ABV well hidden in the nose, in the flavor, and in the feel.

Full body; smooth.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear but opaque jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle carbonation and some very faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy dark mocha head that quickly reduces to a small patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts with lighter notes of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of dark roasted malts with light to moderate flavors of dark chocolate and some hints of dark fruit (fig). There are light amounts of sweetness upfront. Slightly stronger than moderate amounts of bitterness which lingers of a moderate amount of time.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: Alcohol is well hidden and the beer is quite drinkable. Nice flavor and definitely one I was glad to find. Worth grabbing if you see it.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an inky black color with a brown head. The aroma has a lot of roasted malt, as well as some chocolate. The flavor is a little more complex. There is definitely a good dose of chocolate and roasted malt, but the dark fruit and alcohol also come through and add to the flavor. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice stout, glad I got to try it.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.82/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure why this is marked as retired, I have a 12 oz bottle of this brew.

Pours with hardly any carbonation at all and absolutely no head. This beer is pitch black in color and quite viscous looking as I pour it. The aroma smells quite fruity with notes of burnt figs and burnt prunes. These are joined by notes of burnt grain, and roasted coffee as well as some subtle notes of boozy alcohol. I would have to say that rich, concentrated malt notes and chocolate dominate the aroma, it is not nearly as roasty as I was expecting.

The beer is pretty darn thick and viscous as it hits my tongue. It is also lightly sweet, which is accentuated by the complete lack of carbonation. Notes of dark chocolate up front compete with a roasted grain note in the finish. The beer has a certain smooth bitterness in the finish that is also contributed by the roasted malt. The roast note certainly reminds me of black coffee. Notes of fruit are also here with notes of burnt raisins and burnt concentrated plum. There is a bit of a chalky, slightly bitter chocolate note in the middle of this beer.

This beer is pretty nice, but I can't help but think that at least a slight level of carbonation would have made this beer quite a bit better (in both its aromatic and flavor qualities). In fact this beer would be approaching stellar if it was a bit carbonated.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of woodychandler
3.82/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Based on the site's "Notes", this is a 2013 bottle, but I do not know whether it was purchased at The fridge or at The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop. Either way, it is part of the great Bottle Purge of 2014 here at Chez Woody and I raise a toast to "Dark Horse Nation", which will debut on History Channel next Tuesday, 29 July 2014. Skoal!

I could see some lees at the bottom of the bottle, so I employed a very gentle pour to get things started. I still got a brief finger of deep-tan head with limited retention, quickly falling to wisps. Color was a deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose smelled of molasses or medicinal cough syrup from when I was a kid. It had a vegetal, root-like quality that also put me in mind of my grandparents' Geritol. I am not trying to be funny or anything of that nature, either. That is just what comes to mind. Mouthfeel was big, dense, thick, chewy. There was an initial, immediate fusel alcohol burn that slowly died down, allowing for flavors of burnt charcoal, dried dark fruits, anise, and molasses to come forth and be recognized. Whew! This was definitely a no-playing-around beer. Finish was dry, mainly due to the alcohol heat, with a lingering smoky chocolatiness that began to put me in mind of brownies. It was a good beer and I am sure that it is an excellent example of the style, but a) I do not really dig the style and b) it could have aged a while longer to reduce the heat.

Photo of tdm168
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing this one with me

A - pitch black with a short, brown head that has good retention

S - licorice, anise, chocolate, roasted malts

T - roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, licorice, dark fruit, mildly bitter, warming alcohol

M - full bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a fantastic beer that has an immensely deep, complex flavor. I am really impressed with this one. Each sip offered just a little something more from the great malt character. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, and I look forward to trying it again.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle out of a four pack and into a snifter so help me god. Been impressed with this series so far, this is my fourth out of five.

Deep space black with more blackness and some black to go on top of that. Ok, there's some brown towards the edge. A dark brown pillow tight nitro like head up above, after a few minutes, nothing, no lace.

Im not digging the nose on this at all. I mean it's malty as hell with some roasted qualities and chocolate, but there is also this rotted dark fruit scent that turns me away. It reminds me of a certain stout from a Jamacian brewery way down south, but 5th is not that rotted. Some creamy french vanilla.

5th comes back into focus on taste. This Russian delivers without that huge dark fruit thing, it's there but tucked under all this dark chocolate which was not as big in the nose, weird. Chocolate clumped in with vanilla and alot of cream. Saying there is alot of roasted malt is a understatement, it's huge. no alcohol, and this is a 12%er.

This is smooth, perhaps the smoothest 'fresh' rizzz i've had probably to date. Im upset that I missed it on tap by a few hours, damn. This is great out the bottle though. Pretty much full bodied and malty smooth, rich and not that bitter. In fact this is not bitter at all, more sweet. The carb is light, it's real light, but it's keeps number five together.

Excellent drinkability and a straight forward RIS. The nose bother's me but other than that, this is great. I'll try another bottle to see if that odor is still there. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, very impressive. Dark Horse continues to put out good dark beer and others.

Photo of Billolick
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle - 2014 version

Pours near black, lasting dark mocha head

Black coffee and chocolate all over the nose

More of the same as this crusher flows over the palate. Waves of dark chocolate and coffee. Dense and flavorful. I'd like to dry it with a chocolate dessert. World class night capper

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse : Plead the 5th

Pours a dark oily black with a tan mocha head and some foam. Aroma full of roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa nibs and espresso. Well rounded roasted malt flavor, follows the nose with some cocoa and coffee flavors. Hop character is earthy and minimal. Alcohol well hidden. Overall, I really liked this stout, drank very easily for its size. Recommended.

Photo of billab914
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip glass. It poured pitch black with one of the darkest chocolate heads I've ever seen on a beer. The head retreated to the edges of the glass where it left just a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a big dark chocolate and brown sugar presence to it. Roasted malts with a touch of burntness come through in it as well. Very flavorful and appealing beer overall.

The taste shows more bitterness with bitter chocolate coming through at first. It turns to more of a roasted, burnt bitterness towards the finish. It leaves a nice bitter-sweet, dark chocolate lingering after the finish. Very nice flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is thick and heavy with low carbonation. Pretty much exactly the way I like my big stouts. Drinkability is good, it had some great flavors to it and was a pleasure to sip on this evening. A very enjoyable beer overall.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fine beer from Dark Horse right m'here. Thanks to gklover1 for this baby.

Looks fantastic. Just about black, rich pour. Off-brown, dark milkshake, coffee head. Looks a bit like BA Yeti.

Pleasant rounded aroma of black leather, some nice soy, coffee beans, toasted caramel, baked chocolate. Some dark fruits and toffee.

Flavor follows the aroma . Well balanced between the coffee, chocolate, toffee and black fruits. Some grassy hops and soy underneath. ABV is well hidden here. This a rich, but not overwhelming, beer. Slight bite on the end that lets the fruits snap away and the malt to linger a bit. Somewhat smoky.

Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Liberty St for $5/pint. Appeared pitch black with a brown cascading head. Damn, this is rich stout. Still, it wasn't cloying or too thick to have more than a few ounces like DFH World Wide Stout. It has a big chocolate cake taste that reminds me of 3F Dark Lord - though smoother and not quite as complex. This beer might benefit from a little more cellaring, it's just not as flavorful as the great imperial stouts. Still, it's fairly drinkable for the style and makes for a good dessert beer. Vanilla ice cream anyone?

Photo of smakawhat
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of the Black Booty BIF. Pours black with a thin head that settles to a ring. Smells of coffee and bitter chocolate, with a slightly roasty and milk chocolate finish. Impressive taste, a choclate explosion with wonderful bitter chocolate, some berry notes, both long and delicious. Later some cinammon and a big hit of coffee make an appearance. The mouthfeel is long and super smooth. Utterly delicious, this is a great beer.

Photo of corby112
3.71/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a sludgy pitch black color that is completely opaque with a one finger frothy dark mocha head. Good retention, slowly fading into a thick lasting cap that leaves spots of lacing behind.

Sweet, roasty malt aroma this bursting with lots of silky chocolate as well as some oatmeal, roasted coffee bean, toast and nut. There's also a slight lactic cream presence but the nose of this beer is all about roasted malt and chocolate.

Medium bodied but on the fuller end with a slightly chewy, viscous consistency. Deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, burnt toast and toffee. This is complimented by a sweet chocolate malt presence and subtle creaminess. There's also some earthy hop bitterness and a prominent alcohol burn in the finish. The ABV isn't well masked with a ton of heat and warmth in the finish. I expect that this will tone down with age but this fresh bottle is too hot for my liking. Dry boozy finish.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black pour with almost nothing of a head. When I finish pouring, there are some mocha bubbles, but nothing else. A swirl produces decent legs, but it doesn't look that viscous.

Smell - Hops. Lots of hops for a stout. No real sweetness in the smell. Booze is the second most predominant smell. Chocolate malt in the back, but it's a lot of hops and alcohol.

Taste - Wow, it tastes amazing. Hops temper any sweetness that's there. Behind that is all chocolate and coffee. Maybe even some plum flavor. Delicious. Bitter finish, but it's appropriate and nearly perfect. Boozy finish.

Mouthfeel - Not as thick as I'd expect. I enjoy a chewy stout, but this isn't quite that. It makes it easier to drink in regards to the body. The booze is still apparent, but I suppose it's tough to ignore 12% ABV.

Overall - I love this stout. The flavors are nearly perfect. Looks awful and doesn't smell anywhere near as good as it tastes, but damn it's good.

Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one has been aging in my cellar for at least 2-3 years. I can't even remember who I got it from but if memory serves correct, I believe it was trbeer.
Appears a used motor oil, thick syrupy, viscuous, black. A thick, dark tan head slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty lacing and syrupy streaks are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee beans. I'm loving this stuff. I would put this up there with some of the best Imperial Stouts I've had.
Taste echoes the aromas with complexities bouncing off the tastebuds with highlights of dark fruit jam, caramel, molasses, cocoa, coffee, and roasted nuts.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, semi-sweet with chocolate bitterness.
Let this one age a little bit and it'll reward you handsomely.

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

Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse during their Dark Horse AleStars evening in Sydney.

Pours an extremely dark, very close-to-black and very solid. The body, however, is surprisingly light and fluid. Head is a deep, dark chocolate colour. Some dots of lace form, but really patchily. Carbonation is fine, but rushes through the body quite quickly. Not bad all up.

Dark and roasty on the nose, not unexpectedly, but under that are some of the more interesting characters. It has a deep sweetness, mingled with a touch of salt—perhaps Vegemite—and some deep tannic red wine characters. As it warms, the booze becomes a bit more noticeable, along with some hazelnut characters, and even a dank smouldering campfire. Nice stuff.

Taste is slightly lighter than expected. It perhaps matches the hint of lightness seen in the body. Flavour-wise, there's some nice coconut characters, sweetness and a hint of cherry or something fruity and tropical. But then, whack!, the Impy stout comes back, with a big roasted, boozy sharpness on the finish. Again, pretty good.

Feel is clean and smooth.

It's very nice and smooth, and very drinkable. It's very tasty, while maintaining an edge of aggression. It ends up being a very nice, and very respectable package.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,474 ratings.