Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

822 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 822
Hads: 3,498
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 552
Gots: 919 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 822 | Hads: 3,498
Photo of OldIronLungs
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to omgshesaboy for this one! Excited!

Pours an oily black into a deep tulip with a finger of dark mocha head that quickly falls to a ring.

Nose is a blend of medium roasted malts and sweet dark chocolate, some liquorish. Very lightly boozy. Subtle but pleasant.

Holy Moses, this one is viscous! Great body with a persistent tingle that dances through the finish. Dark roasted coffee, molasses and liquorish, a bit of bitter chocolate and a light earthy hop bitterness that blend with the slowly building warmth in the back of the throat. But 12%? Never would have guessed.

For me, imperial stouts live or die by their body and this does not disappoint. It warms beautifully; One of the best stouts I've had in recent memory. I would LOVE to try the barrel-aged and sour versions! (790 characters)

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

Poured into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: Pours an oily thick black color with minimal carbonation. A very thin ring of milk chocolate head develops and dissipates to the edges of the glass. Little to no lacing.

S: Sweet molasses, dark cherries, and chocolate. Actually reminds me of Dark Lord in the smell. Notes of vanilla, leather, and tobacco.

T: After the smell, I expected an onslaught of sweetness. To the contrary a nice strong bitterness upfront cuts the sweet flavors. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, leather, and tobacco. Wonderful mix of sweet and bitter, smoky flavors here.

M: Chewy, although not creamy. Thick and low carbonation. Fairly spot on for a RIS.

D: Rich and flavorful. The residual sweetness and thickness of this beer limits its drinkability. Outstanding beer and would love to get some more of this. (829 characters)

Photo of docoman
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First time having non-BBA version of pt5 and it's very similar to BBA version, minus the bourbon influence. Almost has a tobacco smell/aftertaste and I'm not a smoker. Hard to love this beer, it's good, just not great compared to others. (239 characters)

Photo of Bshaw22
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

This is one of my favorite imperial stouts. It's too bad it's so hard to get. I've had 3 bottles in my life. The one I am reviewing was a year and a 1/2 old.
Nose was intense with dark fruits and dark chocolate.
Taste was smooth across the board with nothing overpowering. One of the finest mouthfeel ever for this style.

I'll be searching these out again! (363 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

D: Goes down easy for a big fella.

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

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

12oz bottle poured into a Jackie O's snifter, both courtesy of drgonzo3705.

A: Pours pitch black, letting absolutely no light penetrate.  A small, one-finger light brown head appears, but only briefly before disappearing.  Only a thin ring is left behind, with some sticky lacing.

S: This smells excellent ... roasted malt and bitter chocolate dominate, with hints of espresso, vanilla, dark fruit, and a touch of anise.  Really a lot going on here, creating an extremely pleasant aroma.  despite the higher alcohol content, there is no sign of it in the smell.  

T: Starts out with dark, bitter chocolate and roasted malts.  Transitions slowly to a sweeter milk chocolate with fig and plumb.  Finishes roasty with an absolutely delicious espresso flavor and a touch of hops that lingers and lingers.  There is a bit of a drying effect on the finish, however, there is almost no trace of alcohol.  Really nice!

M: Full-bodied, thick, and slightly chewy.  Fairly low carbonation that provides a smooth velvety creaminess across the tongue with each sip.  Nice transition from bitter to sweet to bitter/roasty.  Again, slightly drying at the end.  

O: This is an exceptional non-BA imperial stout.  There is a lot going on in the aroma and taste, and the mouthfeel is spot on.  I've had my eye on this for a while, largely due to some of the hype surrounding the BA-version, and this version is better than I had expected.  I'm really glad to have gotten a chance to try this and will try to get my hands on another bottle or two down the road.   (1,566 characters)

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

2011 bottle to tulip after 20 minutes out of fridge

A - black with the slightest tan head quickly settling to a thin ring around the glass.

S - initial smell is of licorice, molasses, and slight toffee.

T - jumping all over - first caramel, then chocolate, some licorice as i breathe out, then the caramel brings a huge toffee sensation. this is one of the better experiences I've had tasting an RIS.

M - viscous, yet not thick and syrupy. a slight dry/hot feeling after the swallow, perhaps (likely) from the alcohol.

O - wonderful RIS - did not have this fresh to compare, but I am grateful for my local store, their cellar, and their random impulsivity when it comes to pulling things from the cellar.

it's a great feeling when a style that once confused and alluded my taste buds is now discernible. this ranks among my favorite RISs, although I will have to now revisit my other memorable RISs to better appreciate them again (or so i hope!). (953 characters)

Photo of Shumista
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all I just want to start by saying that I really like the way Dark Horse packages their beers. The 4 pack cardboard holder is just plain brown with nothing on it, the bottle has a label that looks like something I could print off of my printer at home, and the bottle cap is just plain black. Everything about it screams microbrewed, and if you didn't know what you were looking for you'd walk right past it in the beer aisle without noticing it.

A- Pours like a RIS. Jet black, dark brown head (darker than most actually). No highlights...I'm shocked.
S- Kind of disappointing nose. Dark roasted malts, chocolate and coffee. It's not bad just not particularly enticing.
T- Big improvement over the smell. Nothing really sets it apart from other RIS's I've had except for the bitterness maybe. Other than that coffee, chocolate, dark fruits etc, etc.
M- Not quite as thick as I usually like RISs to be. I do appreciate the huge amount of warmth that comes after each sip though.
D- I always feel silly talking about drinkability for a beer like this. One is great, two might get to be a little much.

my bottom line: Plead the fifth is an especially bitter, strong, warming RIS. Very tasty but other than the bitterness and strength it fails to really set itself apart from the rest of the RIS pack in my book. (1,323 characters)

Photo of ahq514
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

Pours jet black with a half finger mocha colored head. Appears to have low carbonation. Light lacing.

Aroma reminds me of a coffee milkshake. Lots of chocolate with some coffee and roast. Some oats too. Not much in the way of hops is detected. Full of complexity.

Right up front are the creamy oats. Next comes in chocolate roast. A slight bit of sweetness in there. There is a lingering coffee-esque flavor to it. A little bit of a dry finish.

Nice full motor oil like body. Low carbonation. A sipper for sure, but very drinkable for an RIS.

One of the better RISs I've had. Really love how full the body is and the perfect balance of dry roast and sweetness. Would love to try the BA version of this. (746 characters)

Photo of iconoklaztor
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice black color with virtually no head. I love the smell though. Coffee and chocolate make up the smell of this brew.

The taste is awesome. I really this this brew and for 10 a four pack I cant complain. Its rich and full of coffee and malts. MMM!

Overall, what a great find and very flavorful! I really enjoy this brew! (332 characters)

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

received this on a recommendation in a trade with stickman1220- thanks, Chris!

poured into a Guinness glass- no date on bottle.

I liked the looks of Plead the 5th from the start- this is one of my favorite styles of beer and the appearance was exactly what I had hoped- deep brown-black, virtually no head and what little there was in a deep reddish brown color, very little lacing, and tiny tiny bubbles that shimmered in the light. This brew gave off great smells- the sweetness of dark cherry and a boozy roasted malt scent. The taste was spot on as well- a pleasant sweet milk chocolate taste with hints of roasted malt, but not enough to give it any sort of coffee flavor. A good combination of sweet and bitter with nothing out of whack. The mouthfeel was a nice medium-heavy consistency with a smooth creaminess. It finished very smoothly with a sweetness that lingered a few seconds. Very drinkable for a heavy beer with a high ABV, although I was definitely feeling a little buzz after one, so I'm not sure how many of these I'd really want to mess with in one night.

Great job Dark Horse! Just about everything I love about this style could be found in this beer. Definitely worth seeking out. (1,206 characters)

Photo of Marty30
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz Bottle dated 5-11. Poured into a Jackie O's' snifter at 55 degrees.Have been waiting to try for a long time.

A. Black as black get's. No head, just a dark brown cap appear's and then disappears. No head.

S. Dark fruits hit first and shortly after comes the chocolate and cocoa,along with a touch of coffee.

T. Nice! I get a good bit of roasted malts,then a hefty amount of chocolate. I get some sweet figs,grahm crackers,vanilla,with a little bit of booze in the end.

M. Great heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is perfect for the style. Coats the palate and leaves a chocolate roasty aftertaste.

Overall I did not expect this beer to this damn good. It definately exceded my expectations! Very complex. I will be getting a case of this no doubt. A must try. This could be one of my favorite beers. (805 characters)

Photo of ncketchum
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at Stubbys, 2nd to last glass I'm told...

A - pours jet black, no head

S - chocolate malt, maybe a bit of hops

T - black licorice up front, then chocolate milk, followed by a bit of bitter hops

M - thinner than expected, little alcohol burn, well hidden for this ABV

O - extremely solid Impy Stout. I could drink this all night, if there were more glasses available and I had a ride home. Very glad I was able to sample this one. (449 characters)

Photo of BeerFink
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick opaque black, nearly entirely devoid of head - even after quite the vigorous pour. My nostrils are assailed by oily pungency - coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roasted grain, and even a hint of dark fruit. Taste is what you would expect based on the aroma, just a little weaker. Starts out with coffee and chocolate, subtle raison is noted. Some roasted grain comes in, and is most noticeable in the aftertaste. Hops are barely discernable, but are there in meek form. Mouthfeel is not as thick/chewy as I would have expected, but it is still pleasantly oily. Decent imperial stout. As cheap as these are, I wouldn't mind grabbing another and putting some age on it. (676 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to John for this bottle. Consumed out of my Capt. Lawrence LE tulip.

A- Pitch black, and thick. Pours with a thick chocolate colored head, but only about 1 finger. It sticks around for a few minutes.

S- Smells of sweet malt, chocolate, and coffee. I also get a touch of the hoppy/imperial smell as well, but it is not prominent. Reminds me of Zuhkov's.

T- Wow. A beautiful beer. The malt profile is nice and complex, and plays well into the hoppy aftertaste. The flavors are mostly chocolate and coffee. It starts out smooth and creamy, but finishes with a nice hoppy bite.

M- Very nice. While it looks really thick, it is not as viscous as some other beers of the style. The carbonation/body/and flavor all are very very nice.

O- I tried not to expect too much of this beer, and it really was a nice surprise. This is a great RIS, and I really don't have anything bad I can say about it. Can see why the Barrel aged version of this beer is so coveted.

-Gfunk (973 characters)

Photo of techfed87
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a heavy, thick black into a sniffer glass. Very little head. Smells of woody, almost sugary cocoa. Very oatsy, kind of reminds you how ovaltine powder smells.

First sip is very nice, with balance between sweet and bitter. Bitterness is very fine and overall, the beer is quite smooth.

Mouthfeel is quite pleasant as well, with enough bold flavors to keep you interested.

A very tasty, drinkable Imperial Stout. Dark Horse really nailed this one down. (459 characters)

Photo of stercomm
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Got a growler of this brew at the local Whole Food, had a small sample when I got home so poured into a small sampler tulip glass from Left Hand.

A - Pours an inky and oily black with a small, tan head that quickly recedes leaving a slight ring around the glass.

S - Lots of roasted malt, some brown sugar and a real deep smokiness

T - Sweet and roasty maltiness, some prune, very smooth, definitely coats the mouth leaving a nice long finish

M - Creamy with mild carbonation

O- Not being a big Imperial Stout drinker have no real comparison. Will say this is a very tasty brew, alcohol is there but not in your face, great balance of flavors (647 characters)

Photo of westweasel
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a super thick, motor oil like liquid with a faint ring of tan bubbles on the edge of the surface and a small spiral like rorschach figure of bubbles in the middle of the surface.
The beer has great "legs" as you move it around in the glass.

The aroma is filled with thick, rich dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is a slight bit of coffee-like roastiness that becomes much more prominent as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel is full and thick with very little carbonation.

The flavors are a mixture of sweet dark roasted grains and coffee, dark chocolate, and dark bing cherries. There is just enough bitterness and roastiness to keep the beer from being cloying. It's kinda of close though.

This is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. As it warms, it becomes sweeter and more coffee-like. (820 characters)

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

Thanks to ejyoung for this.

A: dark brown with a dark brown head.

S: dark brown sugar, toffee, dark chocolate, molasses, dark fruits like raisins. nice amounts of roasted malt.

T: there is a bit of alcohol. lots of chocolate, molasses, burnt sugar, toffee. there is a slight sweetness at first, and then it finishes with a roasted malt bitterness.

M: smooth, creamy, thick with low carb.

O: this is a very good beer. wish I had more of this. (451 characters)

Photo of claminat420
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- poured the typical stout color with a dark chocolate head.

S- smell some weird fruity smell like bananas and a slight alcohol scent. weird but good.

T- roasted malts from hell. the alcohol being 12 is really hidden. the fruity scent kinda hangs as an aftertaste.

M- medium light bodied. nice carbonation.

D- could drink a couple 12's but i'm not to much of a stout fan to begin with.

Overall- this stout is defintitely one for the stout fans. the 12abv is subtle. not to much carbonation and wasn't to much of a head but still good. (540 characters)

Photo of Janderson91
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra twice in one week from SpdKilz and LusciousJackson so thanks to both of them! Can't find a bottle on date. Enjoyed on 07/16/11.

A - Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. This thing is seriously motor oil. Pitch black and thick with no head at all. Only a small ring of brown bubbles around the edge of the glass. Great legs with no lacing.

S - Alcohol, chocolate syrup, robust coffee, roasted malts. This thing is going to be quite rich.

T - Dark chocolate, alcohol, coffee, some dark fruits, roasted malts. Thick and rich. Finishes with a nice bitter coffee flavor balanced by some sweet chocolate syrup. This thing is quite hot at the moment though.

M - Mouthfeel is quite good. Very very thick with hardly any carbonation. This is a sipper for sure.

O - Overall, this is an excellent imperial stout. However, it's a little hot at the moment, but I'm sure after about a year or so, it will be sublime. Good job, Dark Horse. (959 characters)

Photo of Wadsey
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Plead the Fifth

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with minimal, light brown head. Typical looking imperial stout, in other words. 

S: Dried dark cherries and star anise or licorice. A floral note that borders on perfume keeps flaring up. Additional aromas include light roasted chocolate, peat, smoke/soy sauce and solvent. The last two notes are subtle enough not to hurt the beer. 

T: The tongue follows nose, and all notes are superbly integrated into a whole. Roast is stronger in taste and balances the dark fruitiness of the beer quite well. Medium-high bitterness. A little alcohol. 

M: Big body and medium-light carbonation. Mouthfeel is oily and coating. Somewhat warming. 

O:  Plead the Fifth rightfully belongs to the trilogy of Michigan Russian Imperial Stouts, which also includes Bell's Expedition Stout and Founder's Imperial Stout. It is more daring and complicated, though. Not as traditional.  (934 characters)

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

Aggressive pour produces 1/4 inch brown head with deep dark brown approaching black body. Head looks creamy.

Chocolate, dark fruit, alcohol vanilla, coffee hints of caramel in smell. Some hops in the bunch too.

Chocolate with a coffee that's more present than the smell suggests. Vanilla still dark fruits, almost cherry like. Good bitter presence here, especially in finish.

Warming alcohol in the mouthfeel. Smooth creamy carbonation.

Definitely good. Not top tier, but high up there. (494 characters)

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

Poured a Plead the 5th, 2013 vintange, into a Bells Brewery snifter.

Appearance:
Pours of motor oil. Jet black. Minimal lacing on the glass. Head was minimal if any. The pour seems as if it were thick like oil.

Smell:
This bottle immediately smelled of chocolate, dark roasts of coffee. More chocolate.
Some cocoa, coconut.

Taste:
Dark roast malts, chocolate. Some slightly alcohol tasting, very good. Definitely sweet as you drink it. Some hops are hiding in there. Bitter chocolate notes in there. Being that it's ABV of 11%, hard to tell.

Mouthfeel:
Creamy, refreshing like a milk stout. Dessert like feeling.

Overall:
Man this is a great stout. Aged for a year. I feel this might better aged than fresh but now i need to take another test and get some fresh since coincidentally, distribution is right about now.
Get your hands on this, fresh or aged, you won't be disappointed in an overall solid Imperial Sout (924 characters)

Photo of jdhowe
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into Lost Abbey teku. No evident date on the bottle.

Thanks to Greywulfken for providing me with two bottles of this... like he knew what I was about to experience and wanted me to be able to revisit it.

A: Pours a still black allowing just hints of light through the edges before a light, mocha-colored head of 1 1/2 fingers emerges and dissipates to a ring. Sediment is left in the bottle, reminiscent of a mug of hot cocoa.

S: Sweet, chocolatey, slightly roasty. Creamy. A little bit of astringency from coffee. No alcohol evident. Smells delicious... like a good chocolate.

T/M: A nice, thick, slightly oily feel dominated at first by chocolatey sweetness. Nicely carbonated and a little chewy. A little bit of overly astringent coffee character shows, but not too much. Finish is smooth with very little alcohol showing. Aftertaste swells with roasty coffee bitterness and it's almost as if I have little bits of coffee left behind, but in the best way.

O: Really impressed by this one. It summons up alternately smooth, creamy milk chocolate and coarsely ground roasted coffee. For 11abv it is amazingly easy drinking and doesn't show any of its alcohol. A definite contender for my favorite non-BA stout. The coffee does add just a little astringency to the nose and taste, but otherwise I have very little negative that I can say about this beer. (1,386 characters)

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