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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.

836 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 836
Hads: 3,576
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 17.26%
Wants: 555
Gots: 938 | 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: 836 | Hads: 3,576
Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of bwd110 thanx for this extra playa

A: poured a very dark brown with brown highlights that had a super thin head and alomost left no lacing sticking to the glass.

S: right away I got this nice aroma of coffee and roastiness with some booze notes, chocolate showing up too but I could spot a little oatmeal and faint dark fruits as well.

T: upfront on the palate the chocolate was more potent than in the nose along with coffee, roastiness, and oatmeal accents but the booze was not as strong on the taste like the nose; very tasty RIS.

M: the brew was full bodied with a very low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, boozy, and chewy finish.

D: it drank really good and was very tasty I hope I can get my hands on some more of this delectable beer.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of the darkest achromatic visual value with a frothy, dark brown head and some sticy lacing coating the side. The smell is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, and raisins. The beer is well carbonated and fullbodied. The taste is of black coffee, tobacco, and wet cedar. The dark chocolate is pronounced and slightly smoky.

I'd love to drink this in the middle of a blizzard, inside a log cabin, nestled in some tall, cold mountains somewhere in Scandinavia.

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

On tap @ Dark Horse. Listed ABV wsa 14%.

Served in an 8 oz snifter.

A - Pitch black with a small amoutn of light brown head.

S - A big chocolate aroma up front that compliemnt a robustr roasted malt profile. A big sweetness is present throughout and some molasses flavours in the background. Bittering is light. Extremely smooth for the ABV. The finish has a big roasty malt presence.

M - Med to full body. Silky and somewhat viscous.

O - A superb example of the style. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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

Thanks goes out to RedHaze for this brew.

Pours a black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves some minimal sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some chocolate/toffee notes, vanilla. The taste is very nice, malty, sweet/vanilla note, lots of chocolate/toffee. Medium body, a nice smooth/slightly creamy brew, ABV hidden very well, but a sipper for sure. Very Drinkable, another very tasty brew from DH.

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Photo of Duff27
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

A- Thin but there *very* dark mocha head on a black beer. Leaves some lacing, not much head retention.

S- Big coffee and chocolate whiffs, mmm.

T- More chocolate, not as much coffee. Above average hop presence per style. Almost a minty aftertaste thing going on from the boozy sweetness. Doesn't drink its 12%abv.

M- Thick mouthfeel but good carbonation.

D/O- Woo! A sure-fire winner here. No wonder why the BA faithful regard this as one of the best (relatively) mass-produced Russian imperial stouts. First Dark Horse beer I've had that's been well above average. Thanks MammothBrew!

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.66/5  rDev -13.5%

A - Coffee body with thin cola highlights. Ok retention and low lace on a light tan head.

S - Roast nose with a light edge of booze. Cocoa, burnt toast, touch of caramel and dark fruits. Fairly light.

T - Caramel, barley, and molasses. Dusty center with just a hint of balsamic vinegar. Astringent burnt toast finish.

M - Smooth, but a little light for an RIS.

O - Not bad, but a little disappointing given the hype.

3.66 Plead the 5th
--- -Jay- -Jon- -Anth- -Vin- -Avg- Weight
A - 4.00 4.00 ------- 4.00 4.00 10%
S - 3.50 3.75 ------- 3.25 3.50 20%
T - 3.75 3.50 ------- 3.50 3.58 40%
M - 4.00 3.25 ------- 3.50 3.58 10%
O - 4.00 3.75 ------- 3.75 3.83 20%

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice jet black with a nice brown cap. Sexy!

S: Deep deep coffee nose, roasted malts, booze and some cocoa

T: Wow. Chocolate, coffee, minimal dark fruits with a sharp booze tinge and big roastiness

M: Big, thick and hearty

O: Outstanding!

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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 rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a jet black inky body with a thin broken film of bubbly tan.
S- There is a soft creamy roasted black chocolate malt aroma with some dark toffee notes coming through as it opens.
T- The chocolate malt blends with some full dark roasted black malt finish. Some tootsie roll flavors underneath turn more into dark chocolate milk and some dark roasted coffee bean taste come through in in the finish. There is no real bitterness in the finish just a mellow black malt flavor lingers after a slightly sweet finish.
M- The medium mouthfeel has no real alcohol heat noticed.
O- Nice full chocolate malt flavor with more dark roasted black malt character for support with no bitterness and very smooth and creamy.

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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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Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of an off-tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of alcohol, roasted malt, sweet malt, hint of caramel malt, slight hop, and a hint of oatmeal. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is a noticeable dryness. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight caramel malt, alcohol, hint of hop, and a hint of oatmeal. Overall, decent appearance, good aroma, decent feel, good body, and decent overall.

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

Part 5 of my Trilogy (apologies to D. Adams), the big boy of the lot. A 12 oz bottle from the Brass Rail.

A: This stout, the biggest of the lot, is an oily black color that absorbs all wavelengths on the spectrum. A reddish red, at least at first, measures up to 1/2 a finger. As it settles, the red colors slip aaway.

S: Roasted, more so than any other in the series, malts are thick and dark. A chocolatey sweetness runs alongside the malts, loosening the nose up.

T: The strength of the stout creates a big body, thick and chewy at time, that can't hide its strength. Coffee and anise, bold and sweet, mix with cocoa powder, toast and heavily-roasted grains. Very sweet, the stout is filling and rarely skimps on flavor. There are a few dead spots where the flavor trails off unexpectedly. The burnt grains linger long on the palate, a morass of anise, coffee and charred bread.

M: The stout is very imperial, robust from first sip to last. I let it sit out for about an hour, allowing it to breath and come to room temperatute (a very good idea).

D: A great way to finish my horizontal run through the Dark Horse seasonal stouts. A warming stout that packs a nice punch.

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Photo of aasher
3.91/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This pours into my snifter an oily midnight black with a dark, dark khaki head that quickly dissipates and laces the glass. The aromas are of oak, bitter chocolate, and a considerable amount of alcohol. The 12% is very present in the nose. The flavors are of conflicting chocolate (both sweet and bitter), oaky smoke, and alcohol. It's good but not as good as it could be. The strongest aspect of this beer has got to be the mouthfeel. It drinks exceptionally smooth and also lighter than it looks. It's velvety smooth. Overall this is a very fine beer but it misses on a few levels. The amount of alcohol present in the nose and flavor is a slight turnoff. It's 12% and you know it. It's good but powering through a four pack of this would be quite difficult but one or two is just fine.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. no bottling date.

Pours a pitch black color with a slight beige head that quickly dissipates.

Smell is very light... faint coffee maybe? not much to go by.

taste is strong. extremely drinkable here. good chocolate and coffee notes. bitter in a good way. this is what an easy to drink RIS is supposed to taste like.

heavy body and low carbonation, but it doesnt taste syrupy like a lot of other RIS'. alcohol is undetectable on the tongue. easy to down a pint...might be dangerous at 11%!

overall an exceptional RIS that i will return to again in the future.

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Photo of corby112
3.71/5  rDev -12.3%
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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A viscose motor oil pour fills the vessel with a creamy, nutmeg head that lingered around a bit. Skim lacing covering, well lasting leaving a film lace coating.

S: Dark chocolate, cocoa, milky chocolate, vanilla of strong indications. Small charred bitterness, earthy roasted chocolate. No alcohol awareness for 11.0%.

T: Earthy bitter roast, fresh, darkly bitter with vanilla and charred bitterness. Bakers chocolate, burnt toffee, campfire minerality, roasted barley. Dark fruit of prunes, whiskey breath and smoky charrdness.

M: Malty body, viscose with a honey-cream substance, and syrupy texture. Softly carbonated with a bite of roasted burnt bitterness and alcohol on the swallow.

O: Overall drinks amazingly well for 11.0, well concealed alcohol. Dark, beautifully roasted bitterness with a silky nature. The only pleading here is for another bottle. all around outstanding.

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

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed only the slightest layer of brown bubbles over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Lacing is more or less non-existent, but the viscosity of the brew does leave a nice film when the glass is swirled, which I think should be worth something. Aroma is heavy oatmeal and dark fruits. Taste strikes first with the soft oatmeal, then the fruit chimes in for a moment, eventually giving way softly to more dark malts, and some coffee bitterness at the close. Warmth is evident upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth for such a heavy beer, no doubt the oats' doing, and drinkability is quashed a bit by the heartiness of the malts, but overall for the style this brew is reasonably approachable. Check it out yourself and make sure I've made the right call.

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Photo of Derek
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle of "Plead the 5th".

A: Dark black with a dark, tan head, very little retention, slight leg.

S: Big aroma of bittersweet chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, warming alcohol and a hint of fruity esters.

T: Dark chocolate, black strap molasses, sherry, burnt/roasted acidity, salty licorice and a hint of soy sauce. Solid bitterness. Very nice.

M: Moderate to full body is very creamy; well-attenuated, alcohol leaves a dry finish.

D: Bold & Beautiful.

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Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 2. Big thanks to grub for cracking this one. 12 oz "Plead the 5th" bottle.
This stuff was your basic black with faint brown edges and a thin, dark brown cap of fine bubbles that settled to a long lasting collar. Sticky lacing. Rich aroma, lots of fruit and roast character, chocolate and cocoa, dried fruits and cherries, hint of vanilla. Reminded me of a fruit and nut chocolate bar. Chalky, dry roast flavour with medium to low hop bitterness. Very nutty with dark chocolate and cocoa notes, plus mild alcohol towards the end. Caramel and toffee sweetness. Faint licorice. Full bodied with low, very fine carbonation, alcohol warmth and a chalky dryness. Rich and delicious, just the way a big stout should be.

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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 rudzud
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 4 pack of this in Charlton, and according to the notes it is a 2011 vintage. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice deep brown almost black hue with a good quarter inch dark chocolate hue that does not really fade, just settles down to a creamy blanket. Quite solid, light lacing. Good for the ABV.

S - Strong dark chocolate, almost acrid roast, slight almost leather notes, earthy bitter char. Alcohol is not really noticeable.

T - Taste is lots of almost chalky dark chocolate, charred bitterness, light campfire notes, dark fruits. Pretty straightforward.

M - Mouthfeel is creamy, very, very lightly carbonated. Alcohol is hidden very nicely.

O - Overall this is pretty solid. Nothing earth shattering but age is helping this along quite nicely.

 772 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of grub! Day 2 of epic DrJay visit tasting.

Pours a deep, dark and opaque black, no light escapes, very thick brown head forms, drops a lot of lacing, settles down to a thick ring, looks like a RIS! Smell is great, tons of chocolate and fruit, toffee, coffee roast, very perfumy and floral hops, licorice, strawberries and cherries, dates, more roast and chocolate, awesome. Taste is great as well, chocolate, insane amount of roastiness, dry and chalky middle, toffee, some smoke, charred wood, burnt sugar, light bit of fruitiness, roasty bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down, but very smooth. Great imperial stout, very nice. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Inky black body. Tight crown of dark brown foam. Lacing is spotty.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, anise oil, dark currant, black licorice and heavily roasted coffee bean.

Flavor: All the aromas translate nicely to the palate in this beer. The chocolate and coffee and licorice. Yeah, there's a nice combination of flavors here.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Greasy and oily to an extent, which is good. But where's the body? The girth? This beer needs more heft. Carbonation is appropriately low. Alcohol accents nicely and doesn't become toxic at all in this high octane beer. Nicely done beer overall.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 836 ratings.