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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

830 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 830
Hads: 3,526
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 7.86%
Wants: 549
Gots: 928 | FT: 109
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: 830 | Hads: 3,526
Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Since I have had about a dozen of these and sent out tons as extras I suppose I should finally review it.

Poured from a 12oz into a Darkness tulip.

Pours black as night with a beautiful brown 2 finger head.

Smells great as well. Lots of chocolate and a little coffee.

Taste is on par with the best IS that I have tasted. Hands down the best stout I have tasted out of a 12oz serving. I will buy a case of this next time it is released.

Mouthfeel is nice as well. Medium weight and the chocolate resin sticks to your mouth in a way to stay for a long time and not be offensive.

Drinkability is high as this is one of the best off the shelf easy to get IS I have had. (671 characters)

Photo of beenitty
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in recent trade with Davesway10, thanks Dave.

Poured in to Gulden Draak tulip, reviewing in real time.

A: Pours like chocolate milk. Pitch black with dark brown head. I cant wait to dive in, this is what imperial stouts should look like.

S: caught a whiff when i popped the bottle, I can tell this one is going to be nice. Roasted malts, chocolate, slight bit of booze.

T: Roasty, Dark chocolate, malts do their thing start to finish. Bit of dark fruits as I have more of it.

M: Very balanced for how it smells and looks. Smooth as hell. Looks huge, tastes smooth.

D: Not getting any booze....wait, ok there it is. You dont feel it at first but, and I probably shouldn't but I'm definitely having more of this one. Not feeling the booze until after you finish it but me likey.

I loved Double Crooked Tree, and love this one too. Tastes like a combo between Imperial Stout and milk stout. Seek it out, definitely one of the best imperial stouts IMO. (965 characters)

Photo of backfat
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this one continues to be one of my top 10 favorite imperial stouts. i love dark horse. they never cease to amaze me. like extascy in a glass. this brew will stain your glass. motor oil, just the way i love it. smoky molasses and clean as cream. thick and rich with a sort of silky, milky feel. and affordable! this is one of the few stouts i do enjoy a little colder. it's either because of the highly roasted smell or just because it works with the milky, creamy character. at 12% be careful. This beer is my happy place. if i ever get raped, this is where im going to go. cheers! (581 characters)

Photo of DavidEddie
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of "Plead the 5th".

Appearance - Black with a tan head, and a nice ring of lacing.

Smell - A nice mix of milk chocolate, coffee, hint of dark fruit, and burnt marshmallows.

Taste - A blast of chocolate, old black coffee, brown sugar, smoke, and burnt toast. Finishes with some mildly bitter piney hops and booze.

Mouth feel - Lightly carbonated and coating.

Drinkability - Incredible. My new favorite stout! IMO similar to Surly Darkness and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Definitely recommended! (517 characters)

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

A - Dark as night, with a small but super creamy head that leaves very nice lacing. Looks delicious.

S - Smells quite a bit like coffee, the malts are really powerful in this one. Fruits such as dates, rasins, and figs dominate the nose as well. Also a hint of brown sugar.

T - Rich dark malts, chalky coffee and chocolate. Some of those aforementioned dark fruits and a hit of something savory like soy or roasted nuts.

M - Smooth and creamy. Medium body and leaves a pleasant coating of sweetness in the mouth.

D - Way, way too easy to drink for 12%. The lack of any additional kinds of gimmicks (flavoring, barrel aging) make this one of my favorite strong stouts. (671 characters)

Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours like motor oil, only a deep impenetrable black color leaving only a rumor of a head around the edges of the glass. The aroma is rich, roasty, and malty with a lot of coffee and some bourbon boozy notes with some deep chocolate of both the sweet and bitter variety. The flavor is again very rich with (again) both sweet and bitter chocolate notes. The beer is not nearly as sweet as most of this strength or viscosity. There are plenty of coffee and boozy tones in this one as well. The palate is profoundly full and sticky. Delicious. (549 characters)

Photo of fitrock2112
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured Plead the 5th Imperial Stout into a snifter.

A - The imperial stout poured aggressively into the snifter, it is black as midnight with a bubble or two coming to the surface, classic stout looking beer.

S - Lots of dark fruits, raisins, figs, dark cherries. Getting roasted malts with a touch of bourbon; however, this one is not the barrel aged version. Gonna love this one I can tell.

T - The taste is incredible, almost like the smell. Did I get the barrel aged one by their mistake. Wow, this is very smooth and tasty. This might be the best Imperial Stout I've had ever, its just that good.

M - Thick as hell, molasses comes to mind. Heavy mouthfeel, little carbonation, but very good for the style. Yummy

O - Blown away, very nice beer, Highly Recommended Cheers! (780 characters)

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

Look: black w/ a dense one finger, very tan head.

Smell: Carmel and grain, like smelling a bowl of cereal, its really quite pleasant but still had to work for it.

Taste: caramel first followed by more malt sweetness then finishes with a bittering hop taste.

Mouthfeel: This is thick bodied and coats the mouth. It warms from the alcohol which is very present. I leaves a roasty aftertaste which is not unpleasant

Overall: good looking, smelling and tasting, mouthfeel is on the strong side but it is an imp. stout so it's to be expected. Going to sit on my other bottle for awhile to see how it might change. This will be a regular in the winter rotation (658 characters)

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

A: Deep dep black with 2 finger brown head that fades to leave just a little lacing.

S: Chocolate milk and coffee with a hint of raspberry and malts. Smokiness there as well. Smells nicely milky sweet, like vanilla pudding.

T/M: A bit lighter in body than it appears. Creamy smooth. Had a nice milk chocolate taste up front which fades to malt and then spice. Alcohol comes through slightly on finish. Bitter espresso lingers.

D: Fine.

Ovr: Good stout. Nice vanilla/milky notes to it and really smooth. Dark Horse knows what their doing. Every one of thier brews I've had to date have been very solid. (605 characters)

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

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter/tulip hybrid. Sold in four packs for about 12 bucks.

Appearance- Black. Absolutely black. A hard pour produces a minimal head which is a light leather color and fades quickly to a dark tan ring. Nothing special but par for the style.

Smell- Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and woody tones make for an inviting aroma.

Taste- Wonderful. Super chocolaty- deep and sweet. Molasses, caramel, and some French roast coffee notes play a supportive role.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and rich. Mild carbonation leads to a silky texture.

Overall- One of my favorite imperial stouts. If this were a limited, brewery-only release, it would be rated on par with Darkness, Dark lord, and Hunahpu's. As it is, I'll gladly let this one glide relatively under the radar which allows me to drink this readily. Absolutely delicious and a total treat whenever it's cracked open. Highly recommended. (905 characters)

Photo of SouljaSaia17
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured very thick and looked like syrup.

A: Very dark beer with a thin caramel colored head that has some fine bubbles on top.

S: Initial smell is of dark fruit, like plum. I also get some dark chocolate, molasses and a hint of brown sugar.

T: Taste is similar to the aroma, creamy, dark chocolate up front. Middle of the flavor has some roasted malts, molasses, a bit of caramel and coffee. Finishes somewhat dry, with yeast type feel.

M: Very rich, smooth and creamy. No noticeable carbonation, but alcohol is not present.

O: Another very good stout, this is a big beer at 12% so its a slow sipper. I have been saving this for a few weeks now and thought this would be the perfect time to have it. Not too familiar with Dark Horse Brewing, but I like what I have had so far! (791 characters)

Photo of templar316
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A thick creamy mocha head bubbles up bringing cinnamon, dates, cherry tobacco along with it. It fades quickly but works heavily coating the outside of my tulip after a swirl. The color is black as pitch no highlight's to this one. A hint of clover, and gamey undertones in the dark fruit of the nose. The flavor rolls gently, powerfully capturing my full attention as it goes from cocoa roast malts, to frothy coffee, with undertones of leather and roast goose. It all finishes with a dominant mouthfeel and lingering biterness that reminds us not to say too much.

In my 2nd decade with stouts as my favorite style, I was not expecting to be impressed by this. Perhaps the bottle of 1 I had was bad... However, I can't say enough about the creamy roasty mouthfeel, the depth of flavor, or the character of this beer. I'll be buying more tomorrow. (848 characters)

Photo of schellsbeer
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Lately I have been on a Dark Horse kick and for good reason....their stouts are fricking incredible. I also love their Strong Dark Bier. So, as soon as I saw that they had an Imperial Stout hit the shelves, I picked up a few 4 packs. This review is for the first bottle. I plan on aging the rest.

A - Black. Not as thick as their Blueberrry Tres Stout but very black. Poured with a thin layer of small dark brown bubbles on the top that quickly eroded away leaving a ring of lacing on the outer edge of my glass. Very nice.

S - Big! Bold! Some alcohol present on the nost but not overpowering. Burnt carmel, marshmallows, chocolate. Quality ingredients were put into this Stout.

T - The taste is amazing! Strong. Thick. Alcohol but just the right amount. The drinker wouldn't have a clue that this is 12% ABV if BA or their website didn't tell you this. This beer will be absolutely fantastic with a few years of aging on it. Therefore, I can only give it a 4.5. I will have to come back and edit my review in a few years after the second one is allowed to wake up. I just apologize to this beer for drinking it a little to early. Aging is my new hobby. WOW - An amazing Imperial Stout from one of the BEST breweries in the upper midwest. Everything I was hoping for plus more. Dare I say....this might give Bell's Expedition a run for it's money. I think I may have just broke one of the beer sins in saying this...Oh well.

M - Creamy texture. Coats the mouth. Thick. Excellent. I have to give this a perfect 5.

D - Yeah...at 12% ABV, I don't think so but I really want more of you. Man this is an exceptional stout. I am glad that it is so high on the alcohol side and that Dark Horse uses bottle opener bottles and caps instead of those stupid twist off tops. This means that this should age quite well. Thanks Dark Horse. I am a HUGE fan. (1,847 characters)

Photo of fsvan
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe.

A- Incredibly deep copper, brown. Not black, but almost. Completely impenetrable to light. A finger of nice maroonish brown head. Some maroon brown gunked up sediment is clear against the dark background. The gunk is a bit off putting, keeping this a 4 and not 4.5.

S- A unique smelling RIS. Some dark fruit. Some vanilla, almost as if this had been in oak for a very short time. Roasted malts. Some hop bitterness, but with so much going on this is a background aroma. The alcohol is present for sure, but at 12% that isn't shocking.

T- A dark fruitish beginning, followed by a wave of huge roasted malts. Hop bitterness is very present, as is the 12% alcohol. This is a great tasting stout, but as with the smell, the heat from the alcohol keeps the scores down a touch.

M- Not as huge and thick as might be expected, but still thick and very nice.

O- So, I gave this 4s across the board and a 4.5 overall. The reasoning is that for what it is, it is fantastic. And it is a big in your face, take no prisoners, RIS. The heat from the alcohol kept the scores down on smell and taste by a hair, but if you are in the market for a big, hairy stout, this is well worth the try. (1,218 characters)

Photo of Wolfpack2005
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013

A-Pours heavy and completely black into my snifter glass and leave a half finger head that fades quickly.

S-Dark chocolate with heavy doses bready and roasted malts. Also catching a good wiff of booze on the back end of the nose.

T-Follows the nose but the roasted malts are front and center with notes of dark chocolate and toffee. Then a slight booziness before the dark chocolate comes back and lingers on the palate.

M-Nice thick mouthfeel, which is preferable for the style, IMO. Lower levels of carbonation.

O-An excellent example of the style. Straight forward flavors, not overly complex, but perfectly executed (640 characters)

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

12oz. bottle courtesy of top notch BA - Yamar68, thanks man.

Poured into St. Bernardus Chalice. Dark opaque black with tan colored 1/2" head that disappears into a little ring around the edge that disappears about halfway through. Minimal tight lacing that doesn't last.

Smells like deep rich roasted malts, cocoa nibs, dark roasted Colombian coffee, dark raisins, figs with a slight alcohol scent.

Tastes is similar to the smell, dark malt, rich roasted bitter coffee beans, high percentage of dark chocolate along with milk chocolate, vanilla bean, dark fruits, slight amount of hops, smokey aspects with a warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, full bodied with a little dry bitter finish, so balanced out.

Overall this is a meal in a glass. So rich yet easy to drink. Highly recommended if you like this style and even if you don't! (849 characters)

Photo of Jparkanzky
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A) Pour into a pint glass from bottle, at near room-temp. Poured jet-black, didn't see really any red or brown within while pouring it. A few dancing bubbles on top, and no head.... the 1/16th inch head that was there for about 2 seconds was dark brown.... this beer is DARK!

S) Don't really pull a lot from the smell... it's actually quite neutral, perhaps vanilla hints to it, but I really don't know. It certainly wasn't unpleasant, but more "neutral"

T) GREAT. A little caramel perhaps, and hints of a bourbon flavor. The after-taste is pure smooth-velvety goodness.

M) A little alcohol bite at first, but overall it tastes like heavy black-creme, devoid of any carbonation whatsoever, so in a word "GREAT!"

Very enjoyable from start to finish... I took this out of the cellar at 50 deg. and waiting 15 minutes at room temp, and it still didn't really "peak" until halfway through the glass... Flavors and texture really opened up, and any negative alcohol characteristics that were clearly pronounced, disappeared when the temperature warmed up.

Highly recommend this one! (1,084 characters)

Photo of joberlander
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome appearance, pitch black with rich mocha colored head. Get a lot of dark chocolate on the nose along with roasted malt. The taste follows the nose perfectly, lots of dark chocolate. Full mouth feel and great finish with a hint of alcohol (which I personally love in imperial stouts. Really great example of an imperial stout. Definitely just became a go to when I want a traditional IS. This and Ten Fidy are the benchmark IMO. (440 characters)

Photo of GradyS1
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was part of a great box sent by EROCK75, great selection.
This pour is very thick, looks like oil being poured from a 12 oz bottle, very small head with a nice lacing that hangs around for a few minutes. I was really impressed by the density of this beer.
I pick up hints of chocolate, molasses, licorice and small amounts of roast and alcohol.
Same on the taste, good amount of chocolate and licorice, the alcohol comes through a bit more
Extremely silky and smooth on the mouth feel, roasty in the finish, medium to full bodied

This was a great stout and I am grateful for getting a bottle of it. The appearance and mouth feel were world class. Would love to try the BA version of this (696 characters)

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

Shared as an extra from pittsburghkid66 - thanks again! Poured into a snifter.

A - pitch black body, dark brown head on top. A standard appearance, yet one that always excites me.

S - a ton of roasted malts and brown sugar. A little vanilla, alcohol and spice.

T - roasted malt more than anything, some sweet coffee-and-cream, chocolate and molasses on the back.

M - fantastic! Great carbonation, very smooth and balanced.

D - dangerously good. This one lacks the espresso/hop bitterness I've come to expect from big IRS, especially ones at 12% ABV. Very grateful I got the chance to try this beer. (606 characters)

Photo of TheBear11D
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

Pours black and looks pretty thick despite its high ABV. Has a small dark chocolate brown head that leaves behind decent but not impressive lacing.

Great nose. The roasted malts are first to tickle the nostrils, but the amount of alcohol cannot be hidden. Also has a smokey smell with chocolate.

Wonderful flavor! Chocolate and roasted malts dominate the taste. The alcohol is well hidden at first but it lasts well into the aftertaste.

Thick and creamy with very mild carbonation. The body compliments the flavor.

Well worth having! I continue to be impressed with Dark Horse. (594 characters)

Photo of 7ways
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks to steelersxl, hand labeled '09, poured violently into a Duvel tulip. It shows with a very minimal and very dark chocolate head on top of a rich Seal brown body. Sticking to the glass is a thick gloopy lace that I've rarely seen. It's almost not even lace, just globs of viscous liquid suspended high in the glass.

The aroma is pretty intoxicating, though I can't smell much of the 12% alcohol, so +1 right there. Pretty intense sweet chocolate/cocoa, and something outdoorsy. Not much else, but very inviting nonetheless.

After drinking half the glass, I've changed my mind to thinking that it tastes a little better than it smells. The reedy/lake/woods chocolate thing is joined by mocha, crazy big roasted malts, a little licorice, and oh yes, there's the yummy booze I'd almost forgotten about. Bittersweet and clean finish.

This body is quite full but is slightly lacking on carbonation. Some creamy little bubbles would do wonders for it; however, it is still cohesive enough to not put a damper on the experience.

Overall, a very impressive RIS. (1,070 characters)

Photo of 2xHops
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As expected, the beer is super dark in color. Perhaps I poured the wrong way, but I did not see any "head" forming at all.

The taste is strong with some roasting characteristics. There seems to be some hint of chocolate and coffee flavors to go with the burnt malt notes.

The mouthfeel does feel like it's quite malty and slightly "syrupy." I don't quite feel the carbonation coming through.

Overall, it's a pretty nice example of this style, and I particularly liked the high ABV content. Who doesn't, right? (515 characters)

Photo of amcmaho1
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to always-generous Injuredreserve. Thanks so much Shane, this is an excellent beer to have in celebration of my birthday.

Bottled 4/10
poured into Cigar City snifter (Thanks again Shane!)

Appearance: Incredibly dark...There is no translucency here to speak of. Only on the absolute edges of the glass is there a slight color change from obsidian black to tobacco brown. There is a very shortly lived khaki colored head which dies down immediately, though there are some alcohol legs and some slight carbonation blotches. For the darkness of this beer alone, it deserves accolades.

Smell: There's lovely notes of raisins, smoke, char, coffee, and sweet chocolate. Everything has really come together nicely over time, and some of the more prominent aromas are somewhat subdued. It seems a bit tame cool, but once it begins warming up, it really comes alive. I don't necessarily remember such a noticeable smokiness in fresher bottles, but it's adding a nice complexity and counterbalance to the sweeter aromas.

Taste: Lots of dark fruits again, alongside some chocolate and coffee notes, but there's some big smoke and char definitely making itself known. There's some really nice extremes of sweetness, roasty bitterness, decadent chocolate, and some nice subtle alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel: Very light carbonation, but still lively enough to fight it from being too syrupy. This is a viscous beer, it's chewy, and it's intense...I love it.

Overall: This has always been I beer that I've really enjoyed. This vintage bottle was great, fresher vintages are great, and I can't even imagine how the BA version is. I highly recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys bigger and more formidable stouts. (1,713 characters)

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

Wicked Dark Beer.

Smells like sweet toffee, caramel, fresh baked coffee rolls with a hint of espresso.

Roasty flavor up front, more of a roasty edge than the aroma suggests. Solid malt body with dark brown bread and raisin-pumpernickel notes. Sticky-sweetness sets in with strong tones of dark chocolate. Eventually settles into a luscious dark-chocolate brownie flavor. Thick creamy body, little to no alcohol heat.

It's like drinking a really indulgent dessert. (467 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 830 ratings.