1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,928 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,928
Reviews: 757
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 496
Gots: 706 | FT: 80
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:
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

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 09-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,928 | Reviews: 757 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of steve8robin
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade...

A: Pitch black with little to no head that leaves a slight mocha head on the top of the brew. Decent.

S: Roasty oak upfront with dark fruit boozy chocolate in the middle and creamy bourbon type scent on the backend. Good.

T: Watery boozy roastiness upfront with dark fruit and chocolate blended in the middle and bitter hops on the backend. Decent.

M: Very smooth carbonation feel. A bit watery, but good.

D: Goes down super easy. Very good here.

All in all, this is a decent brew. Ok to try at least once, but not great. Ok, for a stout. Many better brews in the style.

steve8robin, May 22, 2010
Photo of ChrisMon02
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

ChrisMon02, Sep 17, 2012
Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

DanGeo, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of Sweffin
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Sweffin, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of Gatch
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pitch black with a short, medium brown head that fizzes up quickly and fades just as quickly. No lace or retention but huge legs.

S: Booze, raisins, molasses, dark chocolate, booze, roasted malt, coffee, booze, olive juice?

T: Big roasted malt, big booze, big chocolate & molasses. Smooth, sweet, and delicious. Although the booze can overwhelm the tongue at times.

M: Can be a bit cloying at the back with all that roasted malt and coffee. But the booze isn't too much and the flavors are great.

O: Everything a huge RIS should be. Finely crafted beer. A nice treat.

EDIT/Re-Review: enjoyed on-tap at Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale on 2/20/13. $8 for a 13oz. tulip. Not bad. This beer was better than I remember. Nothing that will blow your mind but it's a well-crafted, balanced, highly enjoyable RIS. The 12% ABV is barely noticeable and the rich flavors kept me craving a sip every few minutes. A very delicious sipper with all the great qualities of the style such as rich chocolate, dark fruits, woody/earthy flavors, and a hint of bitterness.

Gatch, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of Jordy777
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Jordy777, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of laxer8811
4/5  rDev -7.2%

laxer8811, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of tdmccarthy
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

tdmccarthy, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of Greywulfken
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: into a flute, black motor oil with a dark brown mousse head that slipped away pretty quickly; sparse lace motes

S: typical roasted dark and chocolate malts, with suggestions of espresso

T: big bitter bite right up front, sweeter and warmer chocolate notes soon to follow; rich maltiness and bitterness throughout, with high points of oak/wood; semisweet chocolate and roasted espresso

M: full-bodied, slightly coating, slightly sticky, some shapness from the bitter hops and alcohol

O: rich, rough, and deeply chocolate, with a bit of the abv peeking through - lots of flavors, does justice to the tradition of the Russian Imperial stout. Dark Horse makes very good beers at a decent price, and this is just par for the course.

Greywulfken, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of aaronh
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer definitely looks thick as it pours, and I was convinced it was flat as I completed the pour. However, after a few moments a thin layer of dark brown bubbles formed atop the beer, only to disappear before I made it to a comfortable place to sit. The aroma has a slight hint of musty fruit, intermingled with coffee, alcohol, and brown sugar notes. The flavor is powerful, with highly evident tobacco flavors that are accented by coffee, cocoa, and pure alcohol. A bit of an earthy note is in there as well, with a moderate sweetness wrapping things up. Mouthfeel is very silky and seems nearly devoid of carbonation, even though visibly carbonation is evident. Drinkabilty is surprisingly good for such an assertive beer. Not sure how old this one is, but a few years of age would have rounded it out nicely. Yet another fine beer from this "Dark Horse"...

aaronh, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of gueuzegossage
4/5  rDev -7.2%

gueuzegossage, May 05, 2012
Photo of NooseJustice
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

NooseJustice, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of LotsofLupulin
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

LotsofLupulin, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of dbossman
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black and thick--looks like motor oil coming out of the bottle; dark brown head that loses its retention quickly until it becomes very still and black; lacing is okay for the style

S: Some alcohol and lots of dark roasted malts with some coffee and hints of chocolate, vanilla, and dark fruits; a hint of bourbon and tobacco even

T: Slightly burnt roasted malts: coffee, tobacco leaves, vanilla, and a touch of dried, dark fruits and chocolate; also some subtle but pleasant booziness peaking through

F: Nice creamy and yet sticky beer; this is viscous and chewy and the beer sticks pleasantly to the inside (especially roof) of the mouth

D: This is a strong and slightly boozy beer but it is complex with lots of subtle nuances making this one hell of a sipper

dbossman, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of _morandi_
4/5  rDev -7.2%

_morandi_, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of dkw0063
4/5  rDev -7.2%

dkw0063, Oct 29, 2013
Photo of Stigs
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a DFH oversized snifter

A - pours with a thin layer of loose khaki colored film, quickly falls away to just a ring around the glass. the beer is pitch black in color, with just the faintest dark brown getting through in front of light.

S - very sweet...dark fruits, very dark and slightly bitter chocolate, oak, vanilla, some lightly roasted coffee beans and toasted nuts. some warming alcohol at the end along with brewers licorice.

T - bitterness comes through here much more predominantly than the nose...full of dark bakers chocolate, roasted espresso beans, smoke...sweetness comes into play the second half with dark fruits coming alive, licorice, alcohol, and dark roasted malt.

M - the body is just a *tad* thin, carbonation though is nice and controlled. a little syrupy going down, coats the mouth and leaves a lingering bitter chocolate flavor.

D - not bad at all...glad i have another bottle of this as i think time will do it well, calming the bitter flavors and bringing everything else up a notch. has a lot of potential.

Stigs, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of browniewithnuts
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

browniewithnuts, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of rbrefbeerman
4/5  rDev -7.2%

rbrefbeerman, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of ChugginOil
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse: Plead the Fifth

Pours a very thick and syrup like dark brown and settles black hole. A fingers worth of orange tinted mocha colored head sits and dissipates quickly. Some oily lacing grabs the glass.

The nose is a bit overpowering with alocohol up front. Underneath lies some sweet and roasty aromas. Chocolate vaguely lingers behind it all. Lots of booze.

The taste offers much more than the nose thankfully. Massive roast overload that is akin to toasted nuts. Some caramel and a bit of cocoa come through next. A lot of heat on the back end.

The mouthfeel is thick as oil. Super viscous and syrupy. Awesome.

Overall, i love the cards being played here but aging will improve this beer by lowering the highly noticeable heat. I cant wait to try it again next time this year ( if i dont finish the other 5 bottles).

ChugginOil, May 08, 2011
Photo of ChrisPro
3.75/5  rDev -13%

ChrisPro, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4/5  rDev -7.2%

ArchEnemyBrew, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of DaveMiller
3.75/5  rDev -13%

DaveMiller, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of HoppyBastard2
4/5  rDev -7.2%

HoppyBastard2, May 04, 2014
Photo of Nichols33
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Nichols33, Jun 12, 2014
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,928 ratings.