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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

822 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 822
Hads: 3,498
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.86%
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 bound4er
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet black appearance with a thin, tan head. Smells rich, sweet and fruity for an impy stout - dark chocolate, vanilla and bubblegum come to mind. Taste follows the nose with more chocolate, vanilla and tutti frutti sweetness. Both alcohol and hops are well hidden though the former is good but the latter is not in my book. Rich and creamy mouthfeel with almost no carbonation. This beer is rich and tasty but its sweetness and lack of any detectable hops to clean up the finish makes it a bit tiring to finish a 12 oz. bottle in one sitting. (542 characters)

Photo of jdklks
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Tyson for this one.

pours thick and black with a DARK brown head, like a mix between milk and dark chocolate, that swiftly vanishes, bubbling lightly as it goes. very thick, looks good. The smell eminating from the bottle upon opening promised me a truly "aromatic" experience; and when poured, it doesn't disappoint. hints of both chocolate and vanilla, with an undertone of bourbon/alcohol complimented by a trace of wood (oak?).

the flavor borrows all those attributes of the smell, but descends upon the palate with an undesirable sweetness reminiscent of blueberries. That same sweetness gives way to a bitter burnt coffee aftertaste that, though not bad at all, could be more impressive. not as complex as it would have you hope from its smell, which could be attributed to the intensity of the sweetness up front and the burnt bitterness at the end. huge alcohol burn on the way down, and though it isn't all that unpleasant, it doesn't add anything to the beer. let this beer age and cool down a bit.

I might as well be eating this with a spoon; the thickness is ridiculously awesome, and if it wasn't for the fact that it is slightly over-carbonated, the mouthfeel would certainly warrant a 5. a slight burn going down warms up your whole body, which isn't so surprising considering the 12% (1,312 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Like many other reviewers, I did not feel this beer lives up to the hype. For the money, Founders RIS is better. Poured from a 12oz bottle chilled into a brandy snifter. Pours a deep black with barely a finger of tan head from an aggressive pour. Head dissipated quickly. No oily residue on top. Smells of dark bitter chocolate, hops, and dark fruits. Little to no coffee smell. Taste is much thinner in the mouth than I would have preferred with hardly any coffee or espresso finish. Dark roasted malts, toffee, bitter dark chocolate and hops. No vanilla. Dark fruits like raisins or plums/prunes. Hoppy and slightly bitter after taste. This is not my preferred RIS. It's very good but not great. (710 characters)

Photo of glazeman
4.69/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Split with airohead2001. I looked all over southern Michigan and could not find this beer, even though it's from Michigan. Then, when I head up to Milwaukee, there it was. Glad, to have finally found this one.

A: Opaque black with a half finger tan head. Not too much head retention, but it does have a nice crown. Some lacing, but not as much as I would have liked.

S: The first thing I thought of when I smelled this is smores by the campfire...superb. Upon further inspection I get coffee, vanilla, and some sweet fruits.

T: Not as rich as other RISs, but oh so wonderfully complex. It's sweet to start, sour in the middle, and has a wonderful coffee, toast, and chocolate finish. The sweet/sour notes I get in the beginning/middle are of cherries and raspberries. As good as it gets, taste wise.

M: The antithesis of darklord as far as mouthfeel goes. This one is thin and light. At first I thought this was a bad thing, but for some reason it works well with the taste. Also, the thinness adds to the drinkability and makes it feel even better in the summer heat.

D: Out of this world. Probably the most drinkable RIS I have ever had. Alcohol is 100% hidden the flavors are robust and delicious, and the feel is light and makes for easy drinking. If you haven't tried this one you defiantly should. (1,351 characters)

Photo of stxSS07
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A- Pours opaque black with a rich brown 2 finger head. Darkest head I've encountered on a stout

S- Ridiculous. Chocolate, cherries, roasted malt, figs, dark fruit.

T- Bitterness and roastiness up front from the malt, dark chocolate and dark fruits follow up and fill the mouth with flavor. Alcohol burn on the end cleans the palate and gets you ready for the next sip.

M- This is the blueprint for a perfect RIS. Coats the mouth with a smooth blanket of flavor, but the carbonation comes along to clean it up. Fantastic.

O- Probably the best RIS I've had to date. Drinks amazing for a 12% beer. Will buy all I can get my hands on. (661 characters)

Photo of lurpy1
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Irony of ironies: After working in Michigan and unsuccessfully pursuing PT5, I find it back home in Minnesota. OK, so maybe I wasn't pursuing it that hard, still makes for a good lead-in.

Shared with the wife, poured from the bottle. My first impression: Oil spill. Plead the 5th gloops around in the glass, leaves a West Texas Crude sludge behind.

One whiff lets you know PT5 means business, the smell is strong on the alcohol, along with malt, coffee, yadda yadda.

The taste has a little bit too much alcoholic burn for me to give it a great score, but still a very tasty beer with a nice balance of carbonation and viscosity.

Very good beer, glad I finally made contact with it. (685 characters)

Photo of thetomG
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sipping on this one as I type - its a LIVE review!

Very thick blackness with only a small amount of head even with a less than gentle pour. Strong aromas of a smokey coffee/chocolate... taste is a bit intense with a multitude of flavors very much like the smell but with an added bonus of some slight booziness as you drink. I'm nibbling on some dark chocolate as I sip and it is a very very nice combination!

IMO this is one to share as its high 12% ABV might be a bit much for one person, but overall I'd definitely recommend trying it if you can find it - particularly if you like BIG flavorful stouts.

Recommended!

:) (625 characters)

Photo of tjkinate
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to millerbuffoon for this one.

A: Very subtle head with only little retention settling to a thin ring. Just one shade below black dark brown bodied brew. No lacing to speak of.

S: Molasses, dark fruits, hint of caramel, milk chocolate, quite robust vanilla notes.

T: Like the smell, but drier than expected. Strong molasses and bitter flavors, dark fruits, nice vanilla backbone. Really mellows out and improves as the beer warms.

M: Medium bodied for the style, slightly under carbonated.

O: Great beer that I have been wanting to try for sometime now. Now I just the BA version! (592 characters)

Photo of bs870621345
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second time having this, better(?) on tap.

Pours jet black with a mocha colored head and minimal lacing. Looks like a stout should.

I get a lot of fruit, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, vanilla, and almost an oak like smell. It is not barrel aged but its got a few characteristics of such.

Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate dipped dark fruits with some vanilla and coffee mixed in. Seems like there are some spices as well. Alcohol is rather prevalent, but it is a really big beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, oily, and delicious. Lingers for a long time.

Overall, this is damn good. It brings to mind Lost Abbey Angel's share, but a hell of a lot better value. (673 characters)

Photo of BrewUSA
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Plead the 5th

Look 9/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 38/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 91/100 (186 characters)

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle with a slow pour gave little head. Near black in color. Somewhat of a char-coal smell, hints of chocolate. Silky smooth, not heavy mouth feel. Plenty of coco, roasted flavors to cover the high alcohol. I left over smokey flavor in the end. Overall a very tastey easy to drink brew. (311 characters)

Photo of mchegash
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

Overall - 4/5
Overall this was a decent beer. I liked the cocoa notes and the smooth feel. I would have liked more foam, for the aroma to be less boozy, and for the taste to be less metallic and earthy. (755 characters)

Photo of HosP
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple bottle from kstrickler. Poured into snifter.

A- Pours thick black. Very little head to this, but still looks very nice!

S- Very nice nose. Bold aromas starting with chocolate and coffee. Some vanilla hints at the end with a nice roasted aroma. Just a bit of booze detected but pretty subtle.

T- Starts with a nice bit chocolate burst, a little bitterness to it as well. Mild coffee flavors supports the beer well. Some sweet vanilla flavors and a bit of dark fruit flavors round out the drink.

M- Full body and little carbonation.

O- Very solid and tasty beer. Nothing I can say bad about it, very much enjoyed it. Would LOVE to try the BA version of this. If not, would drink this anytime. Thanks Kyle! (723 characters)

Photo of MarkIntihar
3.28/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Bell's snifter. Thanks to Dave for tossing me a couple of these in our most recent trade!

A - Pours a completely opaque dark brown color with a finger's worth of mocha colored head. Very nice and rich looking.

S - Smells of milk chocolate, molasses, dark roasted malts, and perhaps a bit of soy sauce. Fairly sweet on the nose, reminding me of the '09 Dark Lord in the nose. Not much of a hop presence in this one, which is fine, seeing as it's a stout with a few months on it.

T - Taste follows pretty closely to the nose, though there is a hollowness to it that leaves me wanting more. Also, there is a very present alcohol bite in the taste, so much so that it almost overpowers the rest of the flavors. This seems like a good candidate to let sit in the cellar a few more years. Seriously though, almost a rubbing alcohol type of taste in this one. Not pleasant...

M - For as much alcohol as is present in the taste, there is not too much heat in the mouthfeel on this one. Coats the entire mouth nicely as well. Very pleasant going down.

O - Overall I'm disappointed. I have had this one before and do not remember it being nearly this alcoholic, but this one was a booze bomb. I generally don't mind high ABV beers, but this one did not hide the alcohol well at all. I will revisit it after it has sat in the cellar for a couple years. (1,377 characters)

Photo of jale
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a thick black with two quarters of head.

S: Roasted malts, burnt sugar, chocolate, coffee and some dark fruits.

T: Sweet roasted malt, raisin, cherry, slight bitter chocolate and coffee. Just a hint of alcohol. This beer is so complex.

M: Thick body and good carbonation.

O: This is a sipper and not just due to the alcohol level. (371 characters)

Photo of 4amepiphany
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Comes close to Expedition Stout for me, which I 'd prefer juuust a little more than Pt5, but I will drink this RIS anyday. Wonderful color. Good balance & mouthfeel, just the right viscosity. Though I felt Expedition offers the complexity that I like. (251 characters)

Photo of JPowell712
4.64/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Great beer! It was dark and thick on the pour with a brown creamy head. The first aromas I got were of roasted coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. The taste was very strong as an 11% alc/vol should be. The booziness is definitely detectable followed by a chocolate, coffee, and smoke. This is definitely a fine fine product. The minute you swallow this beer you start to get that warming feeling in your gut. The after taste is a slight bitter, but nothing to take away from the beer overall. This is a great imperial stout. I really enjoy this and Dark Horse Brewing Co.'s Too Cream Stout as well! Try them both! (619 characters)

Photo of Rizalini
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my tulip. The smell of chocolate fills the air as soon as I pop it open. It pours rather flat, but the smell is very inviting. The taste is exactly what I look for in a impy stout. Thick, rich, roasty, viscous, smooth to drink but lingers on the tongue. Hands down one of the best stouts I've had, period. (337 characters)

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

12 ounce bottle, acquired in a great trade with jw347. Thanks!

Appearance: Deep opaque black, with moderate to solid medium brown, moderately dense head that leaves significant lacing. Beautiful.

Aroma: roasty boozy deep stonefruit tangy.

Taste: cherries coffee roasty toasty grain, some nuttiness, with a distinct bitterness, almost a sourness, on the finish. Hints at cherries.

Mouth: Very smooth, almost slick, full, moderately warm.

Overall: Very tasty and very drinkable, and something I'd like to have again. (523 characters)

Photo of Bone53
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pretty much black with a light brown head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Dark fruits, roasted/chocolate malts, caramelized sugar, alcohol. Not as robust as i had hoped

Taste: Dark fruits upfront, roasted malts and slight chocolate mid palate, with a hoppy finish. My favorite RIS has a rich espresso-like finish, and this doesnt have that.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and very thin for a RIS. Although i get a touch of the alcohol, it goes down too easy. I expect a beer in this style to be viscous and chewy, and this doesnt give me that satisfaction. Also a bit of bitterness on the finish

Overall: I think this beer is overrated to be quite honest with you. It has a decent amount of the roasted malt, chocolate qualities you want in an imperial stout, but its not up there with Founders IS, Expedition, Ten Fidy, or even Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in my opinion. I found the mouthfeel to be lacking as well as its very thin and not as luscious as a beer in this style should be. Still a solid RIS and should cellar well (1,043 characters)

Photo of 1Adam12
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice color when pouring it from the bottle to my mug. Small carmel colored head. The nose wasn't as strong as I was epecting, but coffee was out front. Nice taste, can really taste chocolate and coffee, but was lighter than i expected, but may be due to drinking many bourbon barrel aged stouts the last few nights. This had a little more carbonation than the stouts that i am used to from a strong stout. I can really catch the hops on the finish and the aftertaste lingers nicely of coffee. This was my only bottle and i do look forward to getting more of it. (566 characters)

Photo of breakingbland
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle. Opaque brown with a scant brown ring of foam. The aroma is candy sweet and roasty. The taste is like the aroma with the roasty character coming to the forefront. This overall flavor is very rich and savory -- almost smoky. The hops are well-balanced with the sweet/roasty. Even though this is an RIS, the alcohol is hidden. The aftertaste is mainly roasty malt with some hops. This beer feels wonderful in the mouth: full body and smooth carbonation.

Overall, this is another great offering from Dark Horse. It definitely bumps stout up a notch or two. Will look for it again! (599 characters)

Photo of Dan3279
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been looking forward to this beer for a while now and I really shouldn't have waited as long as I have to drink this great beer. I poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter glass to find a body that was black as night with a light chocolate colored head that left no lacing. The aroma was exactly what I expected it to be, with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and hints of vanilla and alcohol.

The taste was outstanding, with the chocolate hitting you first and them some bitterness, there are also some great hints of malt and vanilla. From start to finish this is a great tasting beer and you don't even notice the alcohol even though you do notice it in the aroma.

This is a full bodied beer that is some what chewy but at the same time has a small bit of creaminess and a nice balance of carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic RIS, one thing that I love about this beer is that I can walk into the store anytime I want it, pick up a bottle and not have to worry about aging it first. I am defiantly going to be drinking this one on a regular basis. (1,069 characters)

Photo of movingtrain
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle sampled from a 12 ounce snifter. Drinking at room temperature.

Pours jet black...looks like a shot of espresso. There is a small, caramel colored head floating on top, but not more than half a finger. Carbonation, however, seems to be going fairly strongly.

Aroma up front gives hints of plum, sour apple, chocolate, molasses, heavy cream, cinnamon, dried fruit, brown sugar, burnt wood, and coffee. It's a bit peppery in the nose, layered with good dark chocolate and caramelized sugar notes.

Yeah, this one packs a punch. Super rich in flavor, and the 12 percent alcohol seems to be masked here...until the swallow. Bitter dark chocolate notes start off the flavor here...followed by notes of a balanced, bittersweet shot of espresso. Burnt brown sugar, caramel, oatmeal, honey, and molasses all come to mind when sipping this. This Imperial stout is spot on...just what you want out of the style.

In terms of mouthfeel, the only setback with this beer is that the fizzy carbonation is very apparent on the tongue. It doesn't take away from the flavor at all, but just gives a bit too much fizz in the body.

Overall, this is a fine stout...should be up there with the best of them. I would love to try some of the other treatments they do with this beer. A top-notch ale...delicious and quite a treat. (1,324 characters)

Photo of JLeege
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

Appearance- Pours out black, with a finger of dark mocha head. A nice layer stays atop the beer, with decent lacing.

Smell- Roasted nuts, chocolate, subtle coffee. Dark fruits (cherry), licorice, a little piney sided hops, and slight alcohol. Sort of fruity, for the style, which I really like!

Taste- More pronounced coffee flavors than the aroma would suggest, the roasted malts don’t completely dominate the brew, but more than the aroma would lead on. Some milk chocolate and licorice again, slight molasses. The dark fruits pop up again towards the finish, chocolate covered cherry, light plum, and actually somewhat vinous. A little pine, and fairly boozy on the finish as well.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and smooth, slightly sticky, not as thick as some imperial stouts, but fairly full bodied. ABV heat is noticed on the linger.

Overall- A very solid imperial stout, with great fruit elements poking through. Going to age the rest of the 4 pack and I am expecting great things, and much less heat (taste and feel scores should go up). A may be kicking myself for not buying more of this when it was around. (1,126 characters)

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