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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

829 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 829
Hads: 3,524
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 3.81%
Wants: 548
Gots: 931 | FT: 107
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: 829 | Hads: 3,524
Photo of hayesez
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received in a recent trade with wedgie9. Got home late from work tonight and figured I'd have a few beers before crashing for the evening.

Very deep, dark, nearly black beer that piles up in my Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass without much carbonation. This is being poured at a temperature that is a bit lower than normal (for my liking) for this style of beer. Normally I like to let these sit out for about a half hour - in this case, I'll let it sit in my glass. That being said, the pour portrayed the beer as fairly viscous...perhaps slightly inaccurately due to the temperature. Regardless, I like a good thick Russian Imperial Stout. A one finger cocoa colored head quickly scattered from the middle and huddled up around the edges. The resulting ring of foam is quite impressively thick and leaves a short-lived lacing on my glass every time a take a drink.

Lots of smells going on in here - there is an obvious soy sauce component that detracts from the wonderfully dark cherry aroma. A bit of chocolate and just a hint of coffee peak through as well. The alcohol is pretty well masked by these different elements resulting in a nose that would be top-notch if not for the annoying soy sauce.

The soy sauce gives way to the alcohol as the prominent detractor in the taste. The beer starts out a metallic sweet before yielding to the (again) obvious dark fruits - primarily cherry. As the beer warms I notice some dark chocolate at the beginning that I wasn't picking up 15 minutes ago. The very low carbonation makes these flavors even more obvious as there is nothing getting in the way. The 12% ABV is not nearly as masked as it was on the nose - this one is a bit hot. After completing a drink the sweet malty flavor remains for a bit before ceding to a slightly bitter roastiness. If not for the metallic sweetness and the heat, I would really enjoy this. As this beer continues to approach room temperature, it becomes a bit too thin for my liking, but still holds together well.

Not a bad beer. A bit on the green side, keeping the flavors well separated as opposed to nicely integrated. A little bit hot to drink too terribly much of, however, the 12 ounces I did have were not a problem. A solid brew that just falls a bit short in a couple of areas. As could be anticipated, I'm sure this one could stand to use a bit of time chilling out.

Consumed: 5/25/2010 (2,386 characters)

Photo of midnite2sixman
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black as the night, exquisite head. frothy, tons of action on the pour and staying power!

Big chocolate and coffee, roasted malts, marshmallows, and malted milk balls are all in the aroma.

Taste: Very smooth chocolatey taste with lots of coffee beans roasty tastes all around. Somewhat sweet, like fine dark chocolate. Bitter finish topped off with a cocoa butter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nice smooth stout aftertaste, lots of chocolate in this one.

Great beer! (480 characters)

Photo of rembrant
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a dire Big Stout Black..brown head settles to 1 finger and thick,leaves lace,foam,viscosity on the glass as you drink. it's hard for a proper Stout to get max points for pretty,a glass of Quaker State with 10,000 miles on it looks like good Stout.

Aroma...definitely not Quaker State...

All that dark goodness seems present with Espresso,Dark chocolate,raisins,licorace,smokey hints all entwined. It's hard to say which would win out in the end but I just can't wait.

Taste Hmmm...Yum. The Espresso/Chocolate seems a draw,big mega mocha. Raisins and dried cherries float by,currents lurk with some tart-sour cherry presence hiding amongst the crowd. A bit of smoky and the woodsy hops show up in the aftertaste,as if to reset your buds for the next adventure.
Next swig, holding it longer gets more coffee in the finish,what next? Turkey and Dressing?

If I had not been 'discovering Dark Horse over the past weeks,the surprise factor here might be stronger. As is, I was looking for the evolutions and the layers of detail,the unique tricks this brewer puts in the bottle. There's more than I can seem to describe

This joins the elite few Stouts that are pure inky black bliss. I want to do a showdown with 5th,Bell's Expedition and KBS.
Plead the 5th would start with a bonus point for price.

Mouthfeel... No surprise for me,Dark Horse found the sweet spot and all the mouth stuff is balanced,full rich opening then tapers off and the sour/smoky/roasty/bitter works with the illusion that the density thins. They brew at least 8 big dark brews,plus variants and are good at avoiding negatives like cloying,or abrassive. The carb is subtle yet enough for the right zing. Tastes and textures shift but never mess it up.

Drinkable? Well, I never tasted any "boozy" but already I know this ain't no bud light. Price is not "off the wall" nor is it cheap. I could see a stay at home session where I do several and at some point am immobile. I can make that sacrifice.

i have to go to Michigan and taste the barrell age version before I die...preferably much sooner than that. (2,086 characters)

Photo of Siggy125
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful used motor oil blackish brown in color with deep khaki brown head. Good carbonation with some lacing.

Deep roasted coffee malts on the note. Not much abv present on the aroma

Taste. Again dark roasted scorched black coffee with mild chocolate notes. Although this was not the BA version, still sensed some vanilla/oak sweet tones followed by a little bitterness. The high abv well blended in the flavors.

Good mouthfeel, smooth on the tongue and senses but very bold, especially after temp increases. Excellent sipper. Powerful brew. (546 characters)

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane for grabbing this for me.

A: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Cigar City snifter. No head whatsoever. No lacing. Just a pitch black RIS.

S: Up front you get aromas of dark fruits. Followed by some subtle hints of chocolate.

T: Raisins, molasses, a bit of chocolate and a just a little bit of alcohol heat. Very little for a 12% beer though.

M: Fairly lively carbonation for such a big stout. A bit on the thin side and a little slick.

D: Noticable or not twelve percent is twelve percent. So I really wouldn't want more than one. I had this beer before and I really liked it a lot. This one seems a little raw. Maybe I'll try it again in six months or so and see how it changes with some age on it. (720 characters)

Photo of mmva321
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

A: There's very litlle head and no retention. But this stuff looks like motor oil coming out of the bottle, which is very impressive. Needless to say this is a jet black body. A thin caramel colored lacing lines the bottle.

S: The smell hit my nose right out of the pour, so a beer with that amount of initiative deserves a little boost in the score, though I wish the final product was a little better. It's a bitter roasted smell. Nuts, chocolate and perhaps some dark fruit. Nothing really reveals itself as being special.

T: A bitter roasted taste. Dark bitter chocolate and dark fruits are the dominant flavors and make this a very dark beer. Roasted nuts and maybe some vanilla are there as well. Very well balanced but very, very blunt and not too subtle. The roasted malt and nuts really come through at the end.

M: Thick, thick, thick. A little carbonation. Serves the dark flavors well. But the fruit flavors perhaps demand a mouthfeel that is a little lighter.

D: Though everything is really good here, this beer ends up being a little less than the sum of its parts. I find the strong and sweet dark fruit flavor to be a little off putting. I'm not sure but the beer does everything well, but has a few things that keep from being great. Try it for yourself though, it's a unique a well done beer that maybe you have a taste for. (1,371 characters)

Photo of ratedz
3.62/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours pitch black with a very thin mocha brown head that receded to a small ring around the outside of the glass.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, and subtle coffee notes. Some dark fruits and a little smokiness are also noticeable.

T - Bittersweet chocolate, heavily roasted malts, burnt coffee. Some slightly bitter hops bite the tongue for a split second before it finishes with a little smokiness and alcohol heat.

M - Smooth and creamy, but a slight bite on the tongue seems a little off for an RIS.

O - A very good RIS, but there are others that I prefer over it. I'd be interested in trying the bourbon barrel aged version of this to see how it compares because I really enjoy bourbon barrel aged stouts. Thanks to Andy (pest) for sending a couple bottles of these in a recent trade! (795 characters)

Photo of rmalinowski4
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black with a two finger milk chocolate head. The head recedes slowly leaving a ton of milk chocolate colored lacing. Looks deep, dark, and divine.

Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and coffee. Smells simply scrumptious.

The taste is of huge sweet chocolate, thick chewy malt and rich creamy coffee. It is wonderful, well balanced and simply delicious. The alcohol is well covered and barley noticeable when cold. As the beer warms, the alcohol heat become more prevalent.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy and completely coats your palate. There is adequate carbonation making this simply wonderful to sip on.

Overall this is one of the best non barrel aged stouts that I have had, it is simply delicious. I am definitely going to seek out more of this one. (778 characters)

Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Is this mislabeled?

Pours black with no head at all. I spent a few minutes trying to look through the glass to no avail. Smells mostly of chocolate, some roasted coffee. Taste is of sweet chocolate, slight hints of espresso, and some roasted bitterness. Coffee is really present in the aftertaste. I'm not a huge stout fan but this could definitely help change my mind. Silky smooth and pleasent mouthfeel with little to no carbonation. This is the fastest I've ever finished a 750ml in one sitting. (502 characters)

Photo of organicbrewer
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A-Jet black. one finger brown head. Nice.

S-ground coffee. Melted chocolate.

T-More chocolate. Nice toasty malt backbone behind the roast. Less coffee in the flavor than in the aroma. Bitter but not hoppy. Could use a bit more bitterness to cut through the sweetness (IMHO).

M-Thick. Medium carbonation. No alcohol burn. Nice for 12%

D-a great impy stout. thick and chewy with lots of dark chocolate and malt. Could use a bit more hop to cut the sweetness, or not. (472 characters)

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in April 2015.

Appearance: Dark black with nice tan head.

Smell: Pleasant, and can definitely smell the roasted malt and coffee. There is some hops aroma, but it is dominated by the roasted aromas.

Taste: Interesting combination of flavors. There is a strong coffee and roasted malt flavor, but with a nice contrast of hops. But the flavor is definitely dominated by the roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, and very smooth.

I really like this. This is an interesting imperial stout. It have a variety of flavors with a kick from the alcohol, but the flavor is not overpowered by the alcohol. (638 characters)

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

Pour: Deep dark viscous black liquid with a dark tanned head that quickly dissipates into itself leaving what looks like "a black hole." This thing is seriously black.

Nose: Coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits (plum/figs), hops, roasted malt, alcohol and slight vanilla.

Taste: This was very chocolate forward to my palate (much like Ten Fidy) with a strong coffee presence moving in afterwards. Vanilla, dark fruit and bitter hops/coffee come in at the end and allow a mouth coating finish of chocolate. Slight alcohol burn throughout.

Mouthfeel: This was pretty thick but well carbonated which reminded me of Older Viscosity with more carbonation. Oily slick and coating, I really liked this.

Overall: I really enjoyed this one and will need to get more from my buddy in MI (thanks splax23). This must be fantastic with a bourbon barrel aging. Great base beer. (866 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeOne
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub & Herb's.

Poured into a 10 oz. snifter (kind of) a black liquor with a thin mocha head that left little to no lacing. No carbonation at all.

The nose was coffee, molasses, milk chocolate, and coffee.

The taste followed the nose and improved considerably as it warms, emphasizing the milk chocolate and coffee. Very good.

The lack of carbonation in the appearance was confirmed in the mouthfeel. With a lack of carbonation, I was expecting a chewiness. But it was actually a little thin for a RIS.

I would get this in a bottle if it were available to me where I lived. (587 characters)

Photo of TK5150
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle sent to me from TimmyP, thanks man.

A- Pours jet black with a small dark brown head into my snifter. The head recedes into a brown ring around the edge of the glass. Excellent lacing on the glass as I swirl. Excellent example of what an Imperial Stout should look like in the glass.

S- Molasses is the most prominent smell, but there is also a lot of chocolate, licorice and dark fruits(raisins, figs, grapes).

T- Dark fruit (raisins, figs, grapes) mixes flawlessly with molasses; also incorporated is sweet chocolate. Not very roasty at all. Very sweet. Dessert beer for sure.

M- Low carbonation, but not quite as full bodied as I would like. Finishes kind of thin, actually. One area holding this beer back.

D- Wow, I'm glad I only have one 12 oz. bottle, or I may end up opening another, but at 12%, that would not be a very good idea.

Overall, a very nice imperial stout that is somewhat different from many of the ones I've had recently. Thin body at times, lack of serious complexity, and overall sweetness hold it back just a bit. Still, the delicious factor, appearance, and smell give this beer a nice leg up. A highly recommended beer that if were available to me, I would definitely pick up often. (1,228 characters)

Photo of CoffeePorter
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very thin stout with notes of roasted malt flavors combined with some sweetness. Starts off sweet and then finishes with a burnt like dry aftertaste which complements the flavors nicely. Mild amount of carbonation with a mild amount of bitterness. Overall, this is a strong tasting stout with a nice warmth to it. (316 characters)

Photo of cradke
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark dark and pours quite thin and viscous. Finger thick dark head. Reflective, see-your-face-in-the-beer, dark.

Smell: Delicious. Dark chocolate and malt. Perfect level of sweetness (dry). Touch of smoke to it. Wonderful.

Taste: First thing that hits me is biter chocolate and then some smokey notes and peat. GREAT roasted malts and dark chocolates spread across the palate. Great amounts of flavor. Nicely earthy with some bitter coffee. Fantastic level of dry-ness.

Mouthfell: Spot on. Thick and substancial. Good amount of carbonation.

Overall: Wow. This beer is fantastic. (595 characters)

Photo of SrMonkey
3.15/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an inky black, with minimal brown head despite pouring straight down the glass. Aroma of roasted malts and a hint of baker's chocolate. Flavor starts thin and acidic, like burnt coffee, progressing to herbal hop bitterness and finally a nice smoky malt finish that lingers. For 12% it was pretty watery, maybe had to do with it being undercarbonatef as well.

Expectations given the ABV were that this would be thick, sweet brew. Instead it was acidic, dry, flat and thin. The only aspect that distinguished it for me was the pleasant smoky finish. (555 characters)

Photo of Thurgoft
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter into two 6 oz portions. No freshness date to be found.

Pours a very, very dark, opaque brown with a loose mocha head that dissipates pretty quickly. Almost no light penetrates this brew. Nose is pretty hoppy for a stout with a prominent alcohol almost solventy smell up front. After a couple more deep whiffs I get a bit of semi sweet chocolate and a bit of roastiness. Taste is smooth with light roast and chocolate but also some subdued hop flavor in the mix. Loooong bitter finish with a bit of heat from the alcohol. Can taste a bit of the solventy-alcohol that I picked up so much on the nose but not too much. Smooth on the tongue with just a little carbonation but actually sort of light mouth feel for a stout let alone an 11% stout. That being said, it is very easy to drink. Second time having this beer, and I enjoyed the first more than this one. Just had a Founder's Imperial Stout last night and this particular bottle did not even come close (perhaps that's influencing my review?). Gonna try to cellar my other bottle for half a year to see if it mellows out a bit. Pretty good beer, but not in a hurry to pick it up again. (1,182 characters)

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

This is a great, complex beer. No oats in the recipe that I know of but there's a smoothness that is reminiscent of an oatmeal stout. Big and bold on the nose. Main body of the flavor is bitter chocolate with some coffee. Some sweetness lingers on the finish. Solid offering, I'd like to get the barrel aged version some day. (325 characters)

Photo of drunkenmess
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Damn good stout. Pours super super dark like a thick oil. Dark brown head with beautiful lacing thru out. Smells of coffee, malt, and burnt goodness. Taste is even better than anticipated! Smokey dark chocolate, burnt malts with hints of coffee. Superb beer. (258 characters)

Photo of airohead2001
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Special thanks to glazeman for finally getting a hold of this one in Milwaukee.

A - Dark brown with a 1/3 finger head that coats the rim of my Westvleteren snifter for the rest of the drink. No head retention, but nice thick legs that coat the walls of my glass. Nice.

S - Decent smell, but nothing special for a RIS. Coffee, figs, and a touch of chocolate.

T - I expected this to be a tasty beer, but it is FAR more enjoyable than I could have imagined. Nuttiness, vanilla, lactose, mild coffee, chocolate, mild roastiness. In my opinion, it is the harshness and bitterness of coffee roasts that often overpower RISs and diminish their complexity. In Plead the 5th, this is NOT the case. The lightness of the roasts really allow the malty vanilla and cocoa flavors to shine. Just to twist things up a bit, the finish is slightly sour. An excellent tasting stout.

M - Not nearly as viscous as the appearance would lead on. However, for a lighter, milder tasting RIS, the mouthfeel is appropriate.

D - Perfect drinkability. For a RIS, this is as drinkable as it gets. The soft roasts and lack of biting coffee bitterness make this one of the most drinkable beers I've ever experienced. The huge 12% ABV is completely unnoticeable. I could drink this one bottle after bottle until I hit the floor.

This beer is truly an unexpected gem. What an outstanding drink and a wonderfully pleasant surprise. This beer has it all. (1,427 characters)

Photo of MammothBrew
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass on 6/22/11.

A: Pours a burned oil color with tints of ruby(only while pouring). Holding it up, there's no light coming through this beauty. Very thin frothy layer. No head, no lacing.

S: Smokey chocolate malt with a strong coffee/espresso smell. Very faint boozy smell and no hop presence.

T: It's a chocolate attack to the face. Deep chocolate/cocoa flavor with some smooth smokey, roasted malt. Hints of coffee with a very light boozy finish.

M: Full body with little carbonation. Coats the mouth in a really, really chocolaty milk kind of way.

O: It's like a chocolate dessert drink for adults. This has become my favorite Imperial Stout, hands down. It's not very complex but it's straight to the point. Also, the high ABV is hidden pretty well. Nice job Dark Horse! (801 characters)

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

I poured this into my new Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: This beer pours a deep black, with subtle dark brown hues, a head slowly forms into a nice dark deep, and robust tan.

S: I get some vanilla, and coffee, with good chocolate presence.

T: Taste is pretty good: It starts off with a nice chocolaty and robust coffee taste, the finish is spot on, nice and bitter, with dark fruits.

M/D: Nice creamy and thick. The carbonation seems pretty low on this one, but in a nice way. Overall, this is a great stout, I've hit a brick wall with DIPA's, so I switched to stouts, this is a good way to start off. I would definitely check this one out again, almost wish I would have got a 4 pack... (687 characters)

Photo of travMI13
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

A: Pours thick and black as night. A finger of mocha head dissipates very slowly, leaving great lacing and nice retention. Outstanding.

S: Roasted malts, a lot of coffee, and hints of dark chocolate. Maybe a touch of toffee.

T: Toffee, chocolate, maybe some licorice on the finish. There is a nice dark chocolate bitterness on the finish, yet the beer stays creamy throughout. There might be a touch of coffee flavor, but it is largely absent for me. This is wonderfully balanced. By the way, where is the alcohol?

M: Thick, creamy, and a touch of dryness on the finish. Really tough to beat for an imperial stout.

O: This is a fantastic imperial stout. The Bourbon Barrel version is great because this is the base beer. A smooth, rich, and complex imperial stout. A truly great offering from Dark Horse. (869 characters)

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

A - 12oz bottle picked up a few months ago via trade. No noticeable date stamp until after the pour - it's on the underside of the bottle and only visible if looking at it from inside and against the light. Also noticed some light-colored sludge peering through the bottom of the brown bottle. Poured into my Bruery snifter, pitch black with thin, burnt orange head that dissolves into a thinner ring. Zero lacing.

S - Slight burn at first, lots of vanilla, roastiness, chocolate and dark fruit. 

T - Varying styles of chocolate at first, lots of dark fruit and finishes really roasty and deliciously bitter. An overall cola sweetness hangs over the entire taste.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation. Sticky cola sweetness.

O - I've had this one cellared for a few months and it's quite enjoyable. There's a cola-like sweetness throughout that at times is tasty but at other times annoying. Would kill to get my hands on the barrel-aged version. (949 characters)

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 829 ratings.