Plead The 5th Imperial Stout - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
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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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 otto251068
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. No freshness date on the bottle.

Appearance: Very dark. This one is as dark a beer as I can ever remember seeing. When held up to the light, there is only a faint dark brown around the edges. A very hard pour only produced a half fingers worth of head, which looked great by the way. Very dense with a milk chocolate color, made my mouth water. It does fade quickly to only a few wisps and a ring hugging the glass.

Smell: Dark chocolate out in front, between bitter and sweet, this is more on the bitter side of the spectrum. Roasted flavors also come out. A sweet cream aroma comes out more as it warms, along with some very faint and pleasant vanilla. After the pour some serious vodka comes out.

Taste: Smooth cocoa with some smoke is the main attraction. Intense dark chocolate comes out for a final kick at the end. extremely dark and very rich. A charcoal bitterness and heavy clear alcohol aftertaste on this one.

Mouthfeel: Big body with medium carbonation. This beer is thick and chewy, but with a nice carbonation level that perks this one up a little.

Overall: Lots of heavy lingering flavors, but this is easily drinkable and very enjoyable. The 12% ABV, while very evident in the aroma, is well hidden within all the heavy chocolate. While the chocolate is on the bitter side, there is a bit of sweetness for balance. (1,387 characters)

Photo of natemort13
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A hard jet-black pour gives a minimal dark mocha head that dissipates quickly into a ring.

Deep roasted malts with a bunch of coffee right up front on the nose. Dark chocolate undertones with some smooth vanilla as well. This is an incredible, big, and balanced nose.

Taste is smooth espresso with a hint of milk chocolate. Roasted malts are still dominant but dont even approach astringent. Mid palate is big chocolate malt. Lingering coffee on the finish.

Mouthfeel is full full bodied with enough carbonation to back it up. Slightly oily but not too much.

Overall this beer is fucking big and incredible without overdoing it on anything. Big and balanced. (662 characters)

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

A- Exactly how a RIS should look, dark almost black color with a thick but short dark brown-reddish head on it.

S- Dark roasted malts and grains with a bit of smokey and dark fruit scents.

T- Toasty and burnt malts are the first flavors to hit with a creamy chocolate sweetness. Hops are there but not overpowering.

M- Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Alcohol warming is there but not nearly as much as you would expect from a 12% abv beer.

O- Good beer from a good brewery. This is one of the first darker beers I have had from Dark Horse but after tasting it I think I will need to try a few more :) (616 characters)

Photo of brock146
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark black with nice chocolate hued head

S - Alcohol and dark chocolate

T - Black coffee, sweet and malty, a bit smoky, definite yet subtle kick of alcohol

M - Silky smooth, low carbonation creates a soft of "milk shake" consistency. Keeps your palate warm after it goes down

O = Very tasty and surprisingly [ and dangerously :) ] drinkable for being such a high gravity beer (385 characters)

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a SA pint glass

A- Pours midnight black with 1/2 inch thick brown head. Great color contrast between the head and body.

S- Smells of dark roasted malts with heavy amounts of cocoa. Some coffee is also present. Smells very similar to a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies.

T- Tastes of sweet roasted malts with plenty of chocolate and coffee to back it up. Not only does it smell like a cookie, but it tastes like one too! Has a nice subtle bitterness at the finish which brings it all together. This is tasty beyond words.

M- Creamy and chewy as it should be for the bold imperial stout that it is. Sits much like a desert on the palate.

D- Fantastic. One of the more tasty imperial stouts I've had the delight to drink. The alcohol is hardly noticeable. This could have a 20% abv and still be delicious. (852 characters)

Photo of MBrausen
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was poured from a 12oz bottle into a Town Hall sniffer.

A. This pours like used motor oil. A very thin head, with very minimal carbonation.

S. Smells of milk chocolate, light toffee, mild smoke and coffeee.

T. A extremely pleasing coffee taste. A little bit of bitterness with a sweet finish. Noticeable toffee in the initial taste, that fades to the smooth coffee.

M. A very smooth taste, that goes down easy. There is a very nice mixture that doesn't boarder on any extremes. There is a very nice dry finish to the taste.

O. This beer has a great balance between the thickness I expect in a Imperial Stout, and being easy to drink. It doesn't feel overly filling, but has lots of bold flavors that really tingle the palate. I really enjoyed this beer, and am adding it to my list of "to buy" next time I'm at the store. (831 characters)

Photo of ryanmextorf
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good offering here. Very reminiscent of a fresh Founders Imperial Stout for me. Gonna put a good year or two of age on this and see what it does. (150 characters)

Photo of nerdrocker101
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours solid black with a small, tight tan head. The head quickly dissipates to a solid ring with mediocre lacing.

The nose is made up of chocolate, coffee, and a just a touch of dark fruit.

Flavors of roasted malts, bitter chocolate and coffee burst up front. Toffee and nutty flavors linger toward the back end.

Full body with a smooth, silky texture. Lower carbonation.

Very good. I need to try the rest of the series. (455 characters)

Photo of Bills453
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Appearance - poured from a bottle. dark black in color. dark brown head.

Smell - This beer smell likes something was roasted inside my class. I smell cocoa and a hint of anise or something like that as well.

Taste - very good. What you would expect from a RIS. Cannot tell at all that this bad boy is 11%.

Mouthfeel - smooth and silky

Overall - an amazing stout. Not my top ever, but very very good. (403 characters)

Photo of biga7346
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Brewed dark roast coffee in appearance, totally dense black with chocolate colored foam that dissipates quickly, very flat and syrupy.

N - Nice collection of dark malts, cocoa nibs, a little soy sauce like character, molasses, roasted coffee beans, brown sugar.

T/M - A milky, velvety texture, lots of toasty and choclatey malts up front, port-like maybe? More of the soy sauce follows along with a nice suggestion of sugary fruit or sweetness i can't quite place. A warming bourbon whisky burn in the finish. Reminds me a tiramasu.

D - Well balanced example of RIS, not cloying anywhere and I didn't find it chewy at all compared to some other big stouts. Alcohol is totally masked. (690 characters)

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

355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours completely jet black with a 1 finger mocha brown head. Pretty decent retention. The color on this is impressive; easily the blackest stout I've seen in a while.

S- Big whiffs of chocolate and malts come through immediately, followed closely by very subtle coffee notes and a hint of fusel alcohol. Reminds me a lot of Founders Imperial Stout, which is a good thing.

T- Fantastic chocolate and malt immediately, followed by more malt and a hint of hops. Dark fruits also come into play as it warms. Alcohol heat is present after swallowing, leaving a nice burn in the throat that makes me want another sip. A little one dimensional, but it executes in that dimension flawlessly.

M- This is the part that impresses the most. Completely smooth, creamy and thick from start to finish, with the perfect amount of carbonation. Coats the mouth and throat and lingers there long after my last sip with faint alcohol. Incredible.

O- A fantastic Imperial Stout that is a little one dimensional in taste, but completely makes up for its shortcomings with a mouthfeel that is one of the best I've had in a long while. (1,157 characters)

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

Bottle to Duvel tulip at 50 degrees.

A: Aggressive pour leads to two finger creamy mocha colored head that slowly dissipates to a small ring after a few minutes. Plead the 5th is super dark ....when held to light none passes through. 4.0

S: Notes of vanilla, coffee, caramel, chocolate, super roasty, molasses, brown sugar, slight hint of alcohol. This one smells really good. Best smelling non barrel aged stout I have had in a while 4.0

T: Super tasty. Again one of the best non barrel aged stouts I have ever had. I am really enjoying this one. Very balanced very nice roasty flavors as in the nose.... chocolate, coffee....vanilla... slightly bitter ...great aftertaste. This one damn fine stout. 4.5

M: Mouthfeel is light not too carbonated or oily. Goes down smooth keeps you wanting more. 4.0

O: Overall Plead the 5th is awesome. Not sure if this has much hype but if not it is deserving of some. One of the best non barrel stouts I have had in a while. I will definitely be seeking this out regularly.

Edit: WOW! Just realized this stout is 12%. I would have never though it was...drinks more like 8-10% if that. Only a slight hint of alcohol. Super smooth. 4.5 (1,176 characters)

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter...

APPEARANCE

Obviously, VERY dark. This guy poured very slowly into the glass. It had a lovely brown head, probably one of the darker heads I've seen. The head was about 2 fingers. There was minimal bubbles.

SMELL

Very malty in the nose. There was a big amount of chocolate and roasty aromas. It had a little bit of alcohol, but not NEARLY as much as you would expect! There was also a slight graininess in the smell, as well as some tropical fruits and banana which was quite surprising.

TASTE

In my notes from this beer (which I had a few nights ago), the first thing I wrote for the taste was "Sooo good". And it definitely is! Very sweet with a big amount of yummy chocolate and bittersweet cocoa. It had a burnt-sweet-fruit taste, and I mean that in the best way possible. There was a fairly strong banana flavor which was extremely pleasant. There was NO alcohol taste to be found in this beer. I swear there was a good amount of oak flavors in it, yet I don't think it was aged in oak barrels (but I'm not 100% sure that it wasn't.) I have to say that this beer was very similar to Founders KBS, without the coffee flavors.

MOUTHFEEL

Very thick and very smooth. This is one of those beers I put into my "Big-Ol'-Stankin-Beer" category. It was very warming from the alcohol.

OVERALL

This is by far one of my favorite Imperial Stouts, and relatively inexpensive (compared to other IS). It's also a bit easier to get a hold of, although the store I bought my 4-pack from was limiting 1 per customer. This beer is pretty dangerous though, because it's very drinkable (considering the thickness), and you definitely cannot taste the 12-14% ABV - so be careful with this guy! (1,731 characters)

Photo of ryantho00
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

This beer has one of the deepest dark black colors i've seen, it's purely opaque and leaves a nice tannish lacing around the glass as you drink. It has a brownish gold hue and sticks throughout. Very nice appearance.

I get deep coffee and chocolate aromas' from the beer and a small hint of caramel or some other sweet maltiness.

From the beginning I get a lot of smokiness and maltiness that gives way to a deep chocolate and coffee mocha taste that has a hint of alcohol; which is nicely masked well. I get a deep espresso aftertaste with chocolate and small alochol aftertasetes but nicely balanced into a beautiful stout. There is a hint of bitter hops throughout, but very slightly. This is simply awesome. Very good interpretation of the imperial stout, has a delicious taste entirely and fully with no overpowering aspect. Very well balanced, the 12% ABV is masked well, be careful, it's like a nice milkshake and ice cream blend with whipped cream on top!!!!

Great job, Cheers!! (1,014 characters)

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

.Pours an opaque black with little lacing of tan head. Aroma is bittersweet with roasted malts and somewhat unsweetened chocolate and some plum. Tastes sweet and chocolaty with a hint of fig. Palate is slick and bitter. Overall this beer is quite drinkable for a 12% RIS. (271 characters)

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

This beer pours very dark with a very impressive, darkened head; though I had to hard pour the beer. It smells of alcohol, chocolate, malt and raisin. It tastes as it smells and finishes with a sweet and thick lingering taste. The mouthfeel is thick and nearly chewy. A very good brew. (285 characters)

Photo of BuccoFan
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass. Pitch black and decently thick in the pour, with a head that sticks to the outer rim. Aroma is an intense sweet roasty malt, and it is the most prominent part of the brew. Taste is robust, with a tiny bit of carbonation detectable. Feel is medium-bodied, a little surprisingly so given other aspects.

Overall, it's a tasty, solid imperial stout. As I said, its body isn't a complete match to its aroma and taste, but after getting a bottle of this as a gift, I made an effort to get more. (533 characters)

Photo of BoardwalkBock
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: As black as the night sky. Beautiful tan, caramel-looking head that fades to a nice lacing that is strewn all over the glass.

S: Caramel, molasses, chocolate, roasted coffee and tons of smokey char.

T: Wow this beer is big! Tons of chocolate, roasted coffee, earthy and smokey malts and dark fruits. Some nice vanilla to compliment at the end. Slight alcohol. Not as much as I expected for 11%. Very nice.

M: Big bodied, decent carbonation. Slight bitterness.

O: This is a very solid RIS with no complaints. First time having this beer. Will be heading back to the store to pick up a few to age for years to come. I really hope I get to try the BBA version soon. I can only imagine how aging this beer in BB would increase an already stellar RIS. (789 characters)

Photo of adrock7309
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lucky to find a couple singles from last years batch sitting on a shelve at my local bottle shop.

Poured the bottle into my trusty Chimay goblet. After a vigorous pour almost no head to speak of. The top did experience a dark brown glaze but that quickly subsided.

Aroma is huge on the milk chocolate, dark chocolate, a bit of a blueberry hint, and a bit of leather.

Taste is heavy on the roasted malts, and lost of cocoa or chocolate. There is definitely some dark fruit or berry flavor i am picking up. The hops are pretty mellow but show up a bit on the sides of my tongue. There is no burn or hotness of the alcohol at all. I am pleased by the heavy mouthfeel and the low carbonation.

This is going down way to easily. (727 characters)

Photo of WilliamD
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black in my snifter. Thin, tan head that dissolves quickly, leaving a curious image that looks like the fossil of a prehistoric armadillo captured in stone. Two minutes later it's a peacock.
Burnt malts, coffee and faint alcohol. Some chocolate as well.
Coffee and cocoa up front. Roasted malts and booze. Moderately bitter.
Smooth, yet slightly tingly. A bit warming from the booze.
Quite tasty, and quite drinkable on a weekend. Limit- three? Only one on a week night, however. (483 characters)

Photo of littlekidlover
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured this into my beer tasting wine glass. Not much to be said for the head, a little caramel color that disappeared quickly. This monster poured like 10W-30! The aroma is caramel chocolate, and raisin. Taste is the same, nice hop balance bitter coffee with a little bit of lactose and vanilla. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, like the oily pour would suggest. Highly drinkable, though you better not be a lightweight. Once again a SOLID effort from a brewery that has puts out a lot of winners. I applaud Dark Horse for putting out some great and fairly priced four packs of specialty beers. (593 characters)

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

Poured from bottle to snifter:

A:Poured a thich pitch black with a minimal head with turned into a thing collar in no time most likely from the high ABV eating it up. This thing was viscous enough to make the glass noticeably heavy.

S:Smelled of burned bittersweet chocolate, heavily roasted sweet caramel malt, and a hint of ABV warmth. A little more balanced on the nose than expected.

Taste:Tasted of thick dark fruit and a subtle cream possibly vanilla like pressence. Definite raisin and dark chocolate came through as it warmed along with a noticeable citrus aspect. Tough to believe this is 12% but alcohol showed it head every now and then.

Mouthfeel:Very thick and creamy with a slight warmth throughout. Not alot of bitterness present on the tongue and it finished pretty wet.

Drinkability:This went down a bit too easy for the considerably high ABV. This was a very enjoyable brew none the less though and really transformed nicely as it warmed. mmm mmm (969 characters)

Photo of gregy55902
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a thick jet black with a finger's worth of nearly black head. The head quickly recedes, and we are left with a pitch black brew. Completely opaque. Looks impressive.

S - Various roasted malts, a hint of dark fruits and caramel. Bit of coffee and soy.

T - Very impressive for what it is. Huge roasty malt characteristics and a mild warming sensation from the alcohol. Some dark fruit essences are present as well, with a tiny hint of anise (less so than other RIS's) and hops.

M - Alcohol is well-hidden for being a massive brew. Very creamy and smooth. Strong lasting power.

O - Great imperial stout that would benefit from some age. As it is, it is already robust, thick, and very smooth. I was a fan of Dark Horse's other stouts, but this is much more of a home run in every sense. I will try to find some of the barrel aged bottles as those are probably even better. (887 characters)

Photo of jcnd9803
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A smooth black color. A brief tan head appeared, but quicly left, leaving steady lacing with each sip.

S- Smells wonderful. Actually smells of both chocolate and vanilla, but with an oaky undertone, which is odd (but welcomed) considering no barrels are used. Maybe it's the alcohol coming up and disguising itself.

T - A mix of chocolate, vanilla, molasses and brown sugar.

M- Thick and silky. I actually don't get too much of an alcohol burn, which is scary.

D- In one word: outstanding. I love these guys and the series of stouts they put out each year. This beer is complex fresh and I'm sure will only be exponentially more so with some years on it. Job well done! (678 characters)

Photo of EliteDigger
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle of "Plead the 5th"
A-Forceful pour yields almost no head at all. Small amount of tiny bubbled, dense light brown foam appears around the edge of the glass, but that's it. However, when taking a sip, there's enough carbonation to leave a bit of lacing on the sides and rebuild the bit of foam around the edges. Body is dark, basically black with virtually no light peeking through the edges.
S-Not a large amount of aroma here, but I pick up a bit of molasses, dark chocolate, and earthy roasted grains.
T-Subtle flavors in this one, growing stronger the more it warms...very subdued coffee shows through, with more dark chocolate. Tastes of molasses, dark fruit, more roasted grain, and a bit of hops shows up.
M-Nice thickness, creaminess, and although the head was non-exisitant, the carbonation is adequate to give this one a very pleasant mouthfeel.
D-Decent drinkability taking into account the ABV but I'm not sure I'd want more than a couple.
Overall a decent RIS, but not outstanding. I'm glad I got to try it and I threw a couple down in the cellar to see what some age does to this one. (1,112 characters)

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