Plead The 5th Imperial Stout
Dark Horse Brewing Company

Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #36
Ranked #712
4.32 | pDev: 7.87%
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
Notes: 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
Reviews: 957 | Ratings: 4,097 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Bluecrow
Bluecrow from New York

4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

—deep colored bottle pour with a thin foam cap and an aroma of licorice and vitamin K. The flavor is full and rich, toasted malt, molasses, licorice are prominent. The brew is a bit sweeter than I prefer. The mouthfeel is very smooth.

Mar 03, 2020
Photo of dfillius
dfillius from Iowa

4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage opened on 1/3/20. Aggressive pour yielded Low carbonation. I poured it back and forth between pint glasses to get it to breathe a bit and roused 0.5 fingers of marshmallowy-thick dark brown head with great retention. Liquid is pitch black. Very good looking. Aroma is molasses and bourbon and cocoa, some vanilla and coffee. Decent aroma. Flavor is remarkably sound after 8-9 years in the cellar and 2 house moves. Only off note is slight cardboard in the aftertaste which knocks the enjoyment down a bit. Strong beer that got a lot mellower in time and is quite enjoyable!

Jan 03, 2020
Photo of Newbeergeek1
Newbeergeek1 from Maine

4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Damned fine RIS! I did some homework on this brew, decided it looked really good and it was everything I hoped it would be. Can’t wait to buy it again and would highly recommend this as one of the better RIP’s I have had.

Oct 27, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 1/16/15; drank 3/10/17 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

A violent pour yielded a nice dark khaki head; decent lace.

Blackberry, bakers chocolate, raspberry & marshmallow notes in the nose; enticing!

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Blackberry & cream flavors up front; bakers chocolate notes on the finish. Faint booze heat emerged as this warmed.

The nose was incredible, but the flavor wasn't transcendent. Very good, and just shy of great...

Jul 22, 2019
Photo of soze47
soze47 from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two and a half year old 12 oz bottle in a jar glass. Hardly a lick of head. Jet black Body.

Nose has a Molasses-heavy scent. Deeper notes of cinnamon and some leather tones also present more as it warms. Almost black licorice.

Taste is awesome - lots going on. Really like that it is heavy but complex - evolves throughout the pour - sweeter malts pop early and black Malts dance later.

Slick mouthfeel and i think it could stand a bit more bubbles. Maybe a product of it being an aged beer in a bottle.

Really nice - like this beer and think the classic imperial Russian stout malt profile do this beer week.

Jun 27, 2019
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig from Scotland

4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle from (£4.90):
A jet black, opaque beer that's got a very fine, tan brown lacing on top but it quickly fades to a bubbly lacing around the circumference a few seconds later. The nose isn't quite as strong as you'd expect from an 11% beer but opens with dark malts, coffee & an earthy bitterness as well as some alcohol & touches of vanilla. The taste is stronger although the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden given the strength, there's plenty dark malts & a few smoked flavours with earthy hops & hints of caramel alongside some dark fruits sitting in the background. Its a full bodied beer with light carbonation & a fairly thick, smooth feel that goes down well with a pleasantly warming feel to round things off; great stuff. 

Apr 26, 2019
Photo of larryi86
larryi86 from Delaware

4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thank you FlintB for these!
2016 vs 2017 side by side, poured into tekus

A- Black with a two finger tan head 4.25

S- Dark fruits, dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel malts, hints of licorice. 4.25

T- Roasted malts, dark fruits, chocolate, some coffee, caramel malts, touch of licorice. 4.5

M- Smooth, medium body. 4

O- A nice stout for aging, nice balanced dark fruits to the base beer, very enjoyable. 4.25

A- Black with a two finger tan head. 4.25

S- Roasted malts, dark chocolate, caramel malts, some dark fruits, hints of licorice. 4.25

T- Roasted malts, chocolate, touch of dark fruit, caramel malts, hint of licorice. 4.5

M- Smooth, medium body. 4

O- A tasty stout, very nice balance. 4.25

Feb 17, 2019
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

No date or vintage on the bottle. Not a very big aroma as compared to other RIS that I have had in the past. On the taste I'm getting a fair amount of dark fruit notes but it's melded well together, some baker's chocolate, nice roast character on the finish. Yes, black licorice is a note that I can agree with on this beer. The 11% abv is well hidden, just a slight sting. I also agree that there is a good hop presence on the beer which I can care less for. It's a good RIS but it's not up there with the greats. Cheers! A-

Feb 17, 2019
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beersampler6 from Michigan

4.01/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice smooth rich stout with some nice deep flavors. Pours a very deep, dark brown with a little tan head and spotty lingering lacing. Smells of malt, stone fruit, molasses, coffee and chocolate. Tastes follows the nose, and there are definitely notes of raisin, plum and currant in there. Also some bread and toasted nuttiness. Smooth mild mouthfeel, decent carbonation. Just a hint of creaminess. Can’t taste the high ABV but I wish this stout were just a little more complex and more coffee/chocolate-forward.

Dec 18, 2018
Photo of RaulMondesi
RaulMondesi from California

3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Here here! Judge Raul has entered his chambers! But unlike Charles Laughton in “Witness for the Prosecution,” this one is not large and in charge. Looks all dark and Stout-like; ok, cool. Aroma is a bit light for me, while taste and feel are the same. It’s tasty like Maureen O’Hara when she’s being all kinds of naughty. Still, Plead The 5th ain’t naughty enough for the Raul man.

Jul 01, 2018
Photo of Milktoast75
Milktoast75 from Wisconsin

4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dark as night. Darker, thin head gone immediately. Watery appearance vs. syrupy. Dark fruit smell. Sweet smell of raisin, molasses.
Taste is smooth. Light for the style but not lacking in flavor. Stout with a refreshing taste. But a full stout. Light feel.
Excellent beer.
If you see it. Buy it.

Jun 23, 2018
Photo of Anselm
Anselm from New Hampshire

3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

More obvious hop presence than other imperial stouts but not as overdone as, say, Old Rasputin. Reallly good flavors accompany the usual stuff you get with imperial stouts, remniscient of caramel, riesen candy, tootsie rolls, and some black licorice.

Jun 15, 2018
Photo of BenHoppy
BenHoppy from Michigan

4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Was not a fan of this beer fresh or bourbon barrel aged, then again maybe I had a bad batch of the bourbon barrel aged version.

This beer aged 12-18 months as no bottle date is on bottle but I had had it aging for over a year. Poured room temp into snifter:

Dark as night but not as pretty as other imperial stouts such as Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
Aroma is chocolate, malt, barley, dark fruit

Feel is thin yet syrupy and enough boozy to slow sip yet easily drinkable

Taste is chocolate fudge, syrup, molasses, hops, and oats with a tobacco finish

Overall this is best aged and drunk room temp in a snifter.

May 23, 2018
Photo of Tshane
Tshane from Michigan

4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the top 10 delicious beers I have ever tasted. Strangely enough, the Bourbon Barrel aged version tastes raw by comparison, a little young.

Appearance: Pours a deep, rich, coffee brown with a short creamy dark tan head that dissipates after about five or six minutes. A strong cell phone flashlight does not penetrate or illuminate the brew in a tall glass!

Aroma: Molasses, complex coffee and of course, beer.

Taste: Roasty malty sweetness, balanced by coffee-like bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Thick and slippery.

Overall: Delicious! An amazing combination of sweetness, coffee bitterness and a touch of molasses.

One of my favorite beers ever. Reminds me of Sumatra Mountain Brown Coffee Ale by Founders, another top ten favorite.

Apr 02, 2018
Photo of Wolvmar
Wolvmar from Michigan

4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Jan 2017. Poured into a tulip glass.

Pour: dark brown/black with a one to two finger golden tan head. Dissipates fairly quickly onto some clouds and a ring on top. Attractive.

Nose: coffee upfront, cocoa, yeasty bread or Belgium waffle sweetness. Caramel. Really nice, not subtle but not over the top.

Taste: dark roast coffee with bitter chocolate. Burnt toast, molasses, hops bitterness on the sides of the tongue. Clean finish with no aftertaste despite the strong, well balanced flavors.

Mouthfeel: oily, milkshake, whipped cream. This is reallly nice to drink. Substantial without feeling “filling”. Or maybe I just didn’t overeat while drinking!

Overall: this is one of my favorite stouts. You do have to like coffee and bitter chocolate or it might be a bit to much. And it’s readily available.

Mar 30, 2018
Photo of dd53grif
dd53grif from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black with a minimal tan head that disappears quickly. Aroma is chocolate, vanilla and alcohol. Tastes of vanilla and alcohol up front and finishes with chocolate. Good mouth feel.

Mar 26, 2018
Photo of WunderLlama
WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into teku

Motor oil black syrup in color, thin layer of brown foam quickly settles to a ring

Aroma of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, whiff of licorice

Taste of roasted malts, bit of chocolate, bit of coffee

Roasted coffee lingers on the tip of the tongue

Good beer

Mar 05, 2018
Photo of josanguapo
josanguapo from Spain

4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From Labirratorium. In Teku glass. Playing Cally's Trials. Balanced, with everything very well integrated, smooth on the sip and with the abv extremely well hidden

Mar 04, 2018
Photo of dbl_delta
dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a very dark brown - looks totally black in the glass. Thin, milk-chocolate colored head. Initial impression is blackstrap molasses, dark chocolate, with maybe a taste of black coffee. Mouthfeel is medium - thinner than I like/expect of an Imperial Stout. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. Finish is smooth and semi-sweet - again, the molasses is front and center.
Pt5 isn't something you'd imbibe by the dozen, but if you're sitting by the fire on a chilly February evening it sure makes winter seem a lot more bearable!

Feb 18, 2018
Photo of mudROCK
mudROCK from Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A very complex, flavorful Imperial Stout that is easy to drink- maybe a bit too easy for the 11.0% abv!!! But hey, I'm not complaining at all about that! This will be on my dark beer rotation from now on.

Feb 07, 2018
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, bottled on 12/05/17, served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black letting no light through at all. Thin dark tan ring of foam, some fine island and strands of lacing that slowly slid down the glass.

Smell: At first, a little coppery, and then a nice hit of roasted malt, maybe just a hint of almond, and some toffee-like sweetness. Cocoa powder chocolate notes as well.

Taste: Chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, a little licorice, a little marzipan, and a lingering bitterness that is part black coffee, part metallic, part bittersweet chocolate

Mouthfeel: Creamy, just right carbonation. A bit sticky on the teeth and a little warming at the finish.

Overall / Drinkability: A really good imperial stout, quite rich flavors and a nice combination of flavors as well with some interesting notes I haven't typically had in a stout, at least not in awhile. Would definitely pair this with a meal, but quite good by itself as a slow sipping beer. I will definitely have to pick this up again.

Jan 13, 2018
Photo of jkblr
jkblr from Indiana

3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottled 11/25/16 poured into a tulip glass at fridge temp 11% ABV. The beer pours dense black with a little tight reddish brown head. The head recedes quickly leaving just a faint ring and a bit of lacing. The aroma is dark chocolate and just a little tobacco. The taste is dark chocolate up front with a very roasty bitterness coming in to finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, adequately carbonated with a wet, but not overly sweet finish. Overall, very good, but not in the same class as some of the titans of the style.

Dec 05, 2017
Photo of Lingenbrau
Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm gonna go ahead and exercise this amendment. No...nevermind. That wouldn't be right, as this was a gift. Thanks Joe!

Please The 5th pours pitch, burnt, motor oil black with a thin tan head that completely throws in the towel.

Molasses, burnt toast, olive, brown sugar. All the makings of a fine imperial stout.

The flavor again is abundant in molasses and brown sugar. The other aromas seem to have opted out if this segment. As it warms, flat cola comes through. The alcohol is well hidden. And I mean well hidden.

Despite its sticky coating of the mouth and tongue, this beer seems surprisingly thin. Most likely due to the lack of carbonation, but in general, it makes this very easy to rinse and repeat. Roasty bitterness really aids this beer from being too sweet, and really brings it all together nicely.

I don't have the right words to sum it up. It's a delicious stout. I think it lacks a little in look and feel, but it smells great and tastes even better, and those are the most important things. Cheers!

Oct 13, 2017
Photo of Radcpa
Radcpa from Washington

4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark appearance with tan head that dissipates quickly. Nice caramel aroma. Taste is a very smooth caramel without any alcohol aftertaste. Definitely glad I tried it.

Oct 01, 2017
Photo of Holderness
Holderness from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this one with two years of age on it

L -- Pours a fairly dark black color that doesn't let much light through but does have visible carbonation on the side of the glass. Small tan head produced with well-aerated pour retains minimally and laces alright
S -- Molasses, booze, caramel, toffee, dark chocolate, peanut, hazelnut, and nougat
T -- Big molasses, booze, well-roasted malts, and dark chocolate. Semi-sweet
F -- Huge mouthfeel that isn't totally booze-centric. Minimal carbonation. Somewhat velvety when the carb is still perceivable. Smooth, dark finish
O -- Nice, big, smooth stout. Nothing too extreme in either the aromas or the flavors. Remarkably little booziness for the ABV (although it's still definitely there!)


Sep 12, 2017
Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 4097 ratings