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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
96
world-class

3,137 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,137
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 8.12%
Wants: 529
Gots: 730 | FT: 76
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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,137 | Reviews: 774 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jayhunter357
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of tdmccarthy
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of antoines15
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Scotchboy
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mystery beer from schwaeh. From notes, sampled 6/25.

Noticed a lot of sediment in the unmarked bottle.

A: Poured into a snifter. An aggressive pour yields a less than exemplary head. The body is motor oil black and the head that forms a nice ring is dark brown. Beer appears well carbonated and has some alcohol feet.

S: Bitter dark chocolate and espresso coffee initially, but as the beer warms the coffee dominates. Nice roasted malt character, maybe a touch of smoke and booze.

T: Coffee and hop bitterness, black licorice and bittersweet bakers chocolate. The dark roasted malts are excellent. On the tongue, it's a simple yet robust coffee stout.

MF: Initially very creamy and robust, a little warmth and booze cuts it a little. Finishes bitter and dry.

O: Pretty darn good coffee stout or RIS with the hops...I would probably go 4.0/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.5.

Dark Horse Plead the 5th!

Thanks Steve!

Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I heard great things about this from the terrific JD, manager of the sterling Neil St. Piccadilly. I passed on grabbing it last week because I had other things in hand. Today, I didn't make that mistake.

A thin patch of amaretto head tops a lush, black body, modest lacing and duration, but still a nice-looking beer. Rich, robust nose rife with chocolate, dried fruit, and coffee. I'm eagerly awaiting the taste after the smell, and it delivers with certainty. Creamy and flavorful with a hint of boldness, Plead the Fifth brings plenty of dried chocolate, date, raisin, coffee, and molasses. The flavor is excellent, nothing short. I'm equally impressed with the mouthfeel which, though lightly carbonated, is creamy and a bit effervescent. This sure doesn't drink like a 12% ABV, no way. It's far smoother and accessible than that.

Tremendous beer, this Plead the Fifth. There's no way I'd plead the fifth in defense of this. It's worthy of a full-throated apologia. Outstanding.

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Massbmx
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of gpblackgt
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of JakerLou
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of drtth
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a nice black stout color with a ¼" dark brown head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring of foam and a very thin layer of patchy foam on the surface. Sipping leaves some sparse leggy lacing that turns into speckles of foam on the glass. Later in the beer the ring of foam and speckled patterns of lacing from sipping persist.

Smell: Even from a distance the rich dark chocolate aroma fills the air. The chocolate blends nicely with some lightly sweet vanilla, a trace of licorice and some hints of dark toffee. There isn't a hint of alcohol.

Taste: As expected from the nose the flavors begin with some sweet roasted malt flavors of things like dark chocolate, molasses, dark toffee and vanilla. But about midway through the roasted bitterness puts in an appearance without dominating everything else. There is no real hop bitterness in this so I suspect it has long ago faded away. Any alcohol is well concealed here or shows itself only in the early sweetness and in the effects it produces.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is full bodied and silky smooth with some soft persistent, but very light carbonation, especially at the end of the beer. The finish begins with vanilla and sweetness, changes into to dark chocolate and then roasted bitterness. The bitterness slowly fades leaving a light dryness and soft finish of dark roasted malt bitterness.

Drinkability: Although a one a night beer with its 12% ABV, its definitely a wonderful Imperial stout for sipping before the fire while listening to music and/or reading. One of the things I particularly like about this beer is that the flavors changed nicely so that it is not really the same set of flavors that dominate throughout. I'll definitely have this one again, and again now that its available in PA.

Photo of Boston_Steve
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting a while to try this one. Picked up the four pack in 2010, review is from notes taken on 5/12/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is thick and viscous looking, and if I had to pick a visual comparison, I would go with FBS; body is black like fresh brewed coffee and it starts with a very dark brown head of 1/2 fingers that fades immediately to nothing other than a thin ring and small island in the center of the surface; body is entirely opaque; no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell: Lots of big chocolate malts, smells rich and thick, like Hershey's syrup; some dark cherry scents in there as well, and I'm reminded of the syrup inside a chocolate covered cherry too; just a touch of alcohol in the nose, and for being 12%, I would say it's blended quite well.

Taste: The taste is good, but not quite as good as the nose -- I feel like it loses a bit of the robust nature; like the smell, the big chocolate malts are up front, but they come across with a bit more of a bittersweetness to them, but they're still rich enough; the cherry flavors are there as well, and follow the chocolate nicely; there is a nice smokiness in it, with a touch of vanilla; alcohol is more present in the taste, but I would still say that it's pretty well blended and makes more of an appearance in the belly as it's quite warm.

Mouthfeel: Body is medium to heavy in terms of weight; carbonation is nearly non-existant but I'm OK with that in this style; body is also a little slick and oily, yet still manages to leaves a thick, semi-dry coating all over the roof of the mouth; gums are left a little tingly and the belly is left warm, as mentioned above, from the higher ABV.

Overall: A great offering from Dark Horse, great smell and good flavors and a body that matches the style quite well. Being a bit heavier and clocking in with that big ABV, consumption would be a little limited, but this would be a great dessert beer.

Photo of HollyHops
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of roadhouse
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a snifter

Pours ink black with a one inch dark tan head forming on top that retains quite well for being in the snifter. The cap retains very well and some moderate lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is chocolaty, a hint of fruit kind of like mixed berries, a very far and away hint of vanilla, some charred wood, vague hops, and a whiff of alcohol fumes. It kind of seems like there is a struggle for them all to blend together and create something wonderful, but they have potential.

Taste has a ton of chocolate character up front with the dark fruit character of mixed berries coming in midway through. A bit of char and coffee burnt flavors come in after the swallow followed by a big burst of warming alcohol which stays on the breath.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, chewy but not exactly viscous. Creamy texture with the right amount of carbonation. Drinkable in the sense that I am gonna enjoy every sip of this beer, but not in the I'm gonna drink a bunch of this way.

A very enjoyable RIS. I can only see this one getting greater over time and I will happily let my other three bottles age a while before cracking another.

Photo of mjtiernan
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of cfrances33
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage bottle, poured into a snifter.

Pour: Pitch black and oily. A finger of mocha head slowly rises and recedes to a rim, leaving a slight amount of lacing along the way. Good lookin stout.

Smell: Lots of bitter roasted malt up front, with some coffee and dark chocolate, and a touch of booze. Some dark fruits crawl out as it warms.

Taste: Nice roasted coffee and dark chocolate. A touch of bitterness. Dark chewy raisins and a light burning alcohol. Finishes with a lingering roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Big, thick, and chewy. A definite sipper. A bit of alcohol heat, but not a ton.

Overall: A solid RIS, but no where near in the league of its big brother from bourbon barrels.

Photo of NateMac13
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of GeorgeCarroll
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of jjayjaye
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as oil with a shallow tan head that fades slowly; negligible lacing but leaves behind a thin oily film tha's a big hintof goodness to come. The smell is a very rich roasted coffe over black licorice and a cherry vanilla coating. Lightly carbonated, medium bodied, the mouth feel is tangy from the alcohol, et smooth and oily. Full flavored, surprisingly boozier than anticipated, mokah-licorise is repeated well from the nose. A really nice sipper. The 12% ABV is all there and ALL GOOD in my book. Highly recommended. Many thanks guys!!

Photo of pwoods
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz. brown bottle of Plead the 5th thanks to SPLITGRIN at DLD.
Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black, no visibility. A very short head after a vigorous pour dies to a thin skim. A couple spots of lacing here and there.

S: Alcohol is very present. Lush dark fruits and light meaty and smoky aromas remind me of good Old Ales.. and make me want one, lol. This dominates most of the smell. There's a good sweetness as well as some charred, sooty malts.

T/M: More of a coffee and chocolate flavor comes out that I couldn't really pick up in the nose. There's still a great alcohol line throughout the entire drink. Whatever the ABV is, I'm sure it's very high but masterfully controlled. It really adds a huge depth. More of the sweetness, leaning towards vanilla but with strong oak and woody notes, as well as a very tasty smoky, sooty character. Body is medium full but very smooth and silky, not heavy, rough, overly dry.

D: Way too easy to drink. I'm sure the ABV is up there but I really want to continue drinking this. I'll actually have to watch myself from wasting this.

Photo of RichH55
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of PDXHops
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of Ryan011235, poured into an oversized snifter.

Looks pretty much like a big stout should, black and intimidating with a dense 1-finger cap of dark tan head. Retention is pretty good. The lacing is a bit spotty, but it stains the glass impressively.

At 12%, the alcohol is shockingly well hidden in the nose. Smells quite good. Nice combo of chocolate, dark roasted and burnt malts. A touch of molasses, a bit of dark fruit and a gentle coffee presence. Definitely looking forward to this.

The booze is more noticeable in the mouth, but provides a modest warming presence that's not at all out of place. A bitter undercurrent previously undetected helps keep the sweetness under control, although there's a substantial tanginess that's a bit sticky at the finish. Nice robust roasted character. Carbonation is appropriately low, accentuating the slippery character of the medium-thick body. Finishes perhaps a bit too cleanly, but that's nitpicking.

Overall impression: A nice RIS that seems to have excellent aging potential. I think I will throw my other one in the cellar and revisit in a year or so.

Photo of brycevolk
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of BB1313
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a shiny jet black, nice brown bubbly head. I love the color of the head, I just wish it was bigger; lacing is decent. Amazing aromas fill up the room, especially as it warms up. I could've given the smell a "5". This is definitely a chocolate bomb. Lots of milk chocolate and vanilla. The flavors definitely don't disappoint. There's a slight roastiness, but this one seems to be all chocolate. Coffee is also present in a minor way. Great bittersweet flavors, just what I look for in a RIS. The mouthfeel is nice, but not super-thick. Carbonation is there, not overdone. Alcohol is extremely well hidden, dangerously drinkable. Overall, this is what it's all about, amazing brew! This is the real deal. Extremely impressive!

This is definitely my favorite from Dark Horse. This is an easy A. Highly recommended.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 3,137 ratings.