Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
darkhorsebrewery.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

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
2014 - white label with black logo cap, ABV of 11% in the top right corner, government warning on bottom right side of label

Added by HopHead84 on 09-27-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
920
Ratings:
3,920
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
555
Gots:
1,051
For Trade:
115
User Reviews
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Reviews: 920 | Ratings: 3,920
Photo of gregy55902
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of marvin213
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The darkly tanned, thin layer of fizz looked great, though it dissipated more quickly than I'd have liked. Other than that, it's a dark black, imperial-looking stout. Kudos for what appeared like oatmeal sediment as the last drops fell into my Carolina Brewery pint glass.

Smells good and imperial. I've noticed lately how some dubbed RIS fail to smell like the ones that got me so loving the style. This one has a nose for a king (or queen, as it were): dark fruits (without a sourness), nicely toasted malts (with maybe a hint of chocolate without a disgustingly candy aroma), and a poignant while modest alcohol vibe (alluring like a treat instead of an unabashed alcohol bomb).

It's a bit more plummy and figgy than a great one but, thankfully, not overly sweet. It's solidly an appropriate representation of a Russian Imperial Stout. There ia an oatmealish flavor in there, perhaps affirming my sediment observation. The taste of the chocolate, as in the nose, is basically perfect--hinted at without a sweetness smack. This beer really seems to nicely blend all the right components of an RIS. There's nothing really unique about it, on the plus side being plainly good. When the marketplace seems flooded with over-the-top obnoxiously done stouts, this is a simply good (yet imperial) russian stout.

Oatmeal input allows for a silky input. It conjures images of soothing oatmeal baths on sunburn-singed skin. It really, really sits well. It's silky like soy milk. I cringe at penalizing simplicity, but only a complexity could attain world-class status. With all due respect, it feels like a Russian Imperial Stout is supposed to feel.

The alcohol is perfectly intertwined with the taste of this beverage. The aforementioned plumminess makes it a wee bit tart for multiples, but 12% is subtlely placed. The sediment stain I see on the bottom further represents oatmeal presence, but there's a thickness there discouraging multiple sessions. Still, Dark Horse comes strong with a well-built stout. Thanks to NotCreative for the chance to enjoy.

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Photo of beertooth
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet. I am unsure of the vintage on this one.

This beer is an oily black liquid with a very thin mocha color. It coats the sides of my glass.

The nose is burnt sugars, dark malt, coffee, alcohol, dark dried stone fruits like prunes, some raisins as well. I'm also picking up on some black licorice and molasses.

The first sip follows the nose and is very rich with burnt malts, coffee, there's a lot of alcohol warmth as well. The licorice I picked up in the nose is coming through again along with a bit of smoke as it warms and follows through the finish.

The mouthfeel is full and somewhat slick with low carbonation.

An excellent RIS from a great brewery that doesn't get a lot of hype. This is just what I needed on this chilly fall night. I just wish I could find more around Chicago.

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Photo of dbossman
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
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

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Photo of BuckeyeOne
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep motor oil black in the glass, with a near finger of burnt mocha colored head. This retains with just some thin foamy trimming around the edges that mainly leaves back a cascade of spotty foam and thick gooey brown oils behind. The aroma sits thick in the nose, with heady notes of chocolate, smoky roast, dark sticky fruits, brown sugar, and some soy sauce. I'm getting some rather hefty waft of heat in the nostrils as well. It's not necessarily singeing my nose hairs or anything but it's defininitely got a presence to it.

The taste is a thick mix of chocolate and toffeed sweetness, which then gives way to the tang of those dark fruits. Burnt dark roast, hop bitterness, and coffee flood across the back of the palate where it lingers with a deeply blackened finish that hangs hard in the mouth along with a leftover sticky twang. The taste is full bodied with a thick and chewy carbonation to it that fills the mouth. Much like the aroma, there is some pretty considerable warmth present in the body but it is actually kept in check pretty well considering the overall size of this. Maybe not a maximum drinkibility on this but it's a pretty steady sipper.

Dark Horse brought power and complexity to the table with this Imperial Stout. The only thing really holding it back some is the rather large ABV but this is still one well worth seeking out.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours syrupy black and brown with no head or lace at all. Carbonation is there just well concealed.
Aroma of chocolates, roasted nuts, some raisins and some seriously resiny bitterings.
Flavors of dark chocolate, caramel with a hint of coffee was noted early. Upon further review some dark fruits and atouch of heavy, oily resins also comes through on the palate.
Mouthfeel is palate coating sweetness with some gritty coffee notes and a hot "spicy" finish. Unique finish on this one.
Drinkability is good. True to style, strong, thick, filling and syrupy. Broad, round complex flavors, nice transitions.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.
A: Pitch black. No light passes through. A couple fingers of a creamy head. This is the definition of the word viscous

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder. Some burnt sugar. Almost everything I'm looking for in a stout.

T: Sweet carmel malt flavors mixed with bitter dark chocolate and a little hop bite mixed into the finish. Wonderful blend of sweetness and bitterness. .

M: Big body with a creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is just right.

I would have thought this beer was under 9% ABV if the label didn't say otherwise. More please...

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a thin, motor oil head. Head retains okay, with no lacing left behind. Molasses, dark chocolate, and strong roasted malts give this one dark, but sweet aroma. Molasses, toffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts make up a dark, complex flavor profile. Mouth feel is bold, and filling. Overall, a fantastic rendition of the Russian Imperial Stout. Mighty and powerful, and yet easy to drink considering the complexity and alcohol percentage.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thank to a couple different folks for sending these my way.

A: The pour into my snifter is thick and black with a small tan head forming.

S: Lots of dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and roasted malts. A touch of alcohol along with molasses, brown sugar, and some dark fruits.

T: Bitter dark chocolate, molasses, and burnt sugar to open things up on this one. The alcohol is there, but it's well integrated (I think). The roasted malt character is quite powerful as well and leaves a bit of a bitter aftertaste to the beer.

M: The body medium to full and is silky and smooth on the tongue. The carbonation is low to moderate.

D: For a 12% beer, this one is pretty mellow and easy to drink. Definitely one of the better "regular" imperial stouts out there.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thick jet black color with a very thin head that does not leave much lace.

S- Huge dark roasted malt aroma with bitter cocoa and some smoke.

T- Plenty of dark roasted grains and dark chocolate flavors. A pretty heavy dose of alcohol but it doesn't detract from the full roast and oak flavors. Lots of complimentary "dark" flavors make this a nice sipper.

M- Chewy and full bodied with relatively low carbonation.

O- Overall this a very nice RIS with a great flavor profile.

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Photo of Derek
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle of "Plead the 5th".

A: Dark black with a dark, tan head, very little retention, slight leg.

S: Big aroma of bittersweet chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, warming alcohol and a hint of fruity esters.

T: Dark chocolate, black strap molasses, sherry, burnt/roasted acidity, salty licorice and a hint of soy sauce. Solid bitterness. Very nice.

M: Moderate to full body is very creamy; well-attenuated, alcohol leaves a dry finish.

D: Bold & Beautiful.

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Photo of MIMicrobrews
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured similar to all the rest (black, thick, choco head), yet seemed to have a bit more girth to it. Could it get any thicker? I beg to differ... A slightly sweet and creamy sensation hits my nose, with a subtle smoky undertone. There is a tinge of hop presence underneath the bold, dark aroma. The taste rolls and changes from sip to as it goes down. Smooth upon first taste, then a robust grittiness to a bitterness all in the same motion. It's well-balanced, but it's also very bold. It is an imperial stout, and you clearly get that from every sip. There's a strength to every sip that you can sense on your tongue and in your nose. With all the boldness, elements of roastiness and molasses come through nicely. The aftertaste is something I hadn't gotten from the previous 4 brews: heat. This is an imperial stout and it is strong. Once this brew goes down, there is a good amount of hot in the end to remind you to enjoy this brew slowly and responsibly :)

Overall, I like this brew very much. I love a big, bold, no frill, knock you on your ass stout. And this one is no exception. The ABV is not available, but I can tell you it's up there. On top of that, there is a good amount of smooth and boldness meshed together. All that said, I would be interested to see how this brew would age. I'd like to see if aging it would bring out more flavor. In addition, I would consider warming this brew slightly before enjoying. I do feel I enjoyed it a bit too cold, as a bit less chill would have enhanced the flavor. This is a bold brew, and a great way to top off this stout series.

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Photo of orangesol
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this one as an extra in a recent trade with spycow. Poured into a dogfish imperial pint.

A - Pours jet black with a big two finger tall tan head leaving small wisps of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, molasses, vanilla, oak, and some light hop bitterness. This is what you expect when you hear RIS.

T - Starts off with a big dose of dark roast quickly giving way to a mix of sweet dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, and the faintest hint of hop bitterness at the very end. The creamy feel really helps to bring it all together. The finish is a mix of chocolaty sweetness and dark roast, lingering for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Rich, creamy, feel with plenty of dark roast in the finish. The booze begins to creep in more and more as it warms to room temperature.

O - I really liked this one. It had all the typical flavors you would expect from a RIS but what really made it better was the creamy feel as it really helped to bring it all together. Good stuff.

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Photo of beergod1
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flat Black pour that has a thin dark brown head, no visible carbonation. Heavy chocolate aroma with accents of coffee, alcohol, and smoke. Flavor is a mix of heavily roasted malt, chocolate and alcohol. A lot of depth and complexity to the flavor. Finish is loads of coffee and burnt malt. Full bodied with an oily texture and minimal carbonation. Everything you could want from an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Dope
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Review from the same batch as the below, now a 3 year old bottle (2011 batch)

A: Pitch black pour with the a very small dark brown head. Head fades almost instantly. Minimal bits of lacing here and there and very little head retention.

S: Loaded with dark fruits. Almost wine-like or sherry-like (oxidation?). Mild chocolate but mostly raisins, cherries, generic stone fruit. Even berries.

T: Sweet dark fruits up front. Again with the stonefruit and raisins. Chocolatey, more so than I remember. Starts out like milk chocolate (chocolate-covered raisins and cherries?) and then turns quite bitter. Very baker's chocolate-esque or cocoa-like. Lingering chocolate and dark fruit forever.

M: Heavy, thick, viscous.

O: Well, as mentioned in my older review, this is one of the fruitiest RISes I've ever had. Aged though, it is MUCH less harsh and much better balanced. There's tons of sweet milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate (in the finish) to back up all that fruit. Flavors are still bold but not harsh and over the top. No real sign of alcohol now except for the belly warmth. Three years has greatly improved this one.

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Review from 07-12-2011 (fresh bottle)

A: Super thick black pour. Minimal but very dark brown head. Almost no retention or lacing to speak of. (4)

S: Roasted malt followed by some dark fruit (raisins, cherries and grapes maybe?). Some coffee too. A little alcohol. (4)

T: Roasted malt from the nose takes a back seat. Tons of dark fruit as mentioned. There is some roast, coffee and alcohol in the aftertaste but up front it is surprisingly super fruity. (4)

M: Very thick mouthfeel, feels like it coats your mouth with a viscous oil. Low bitterness except from the coffee flavor. (4.5)

O: I gave it pretty good ratings but have to take away a bit on the Overall ratings for my subjective reasons. I love big stouts but this one is super fruity and a little bit hot. I prefer more roast, more coffee and more chocolate in my stouts than fruit. I'm not saying this is bad, just that it wasn't my style. I'm going to age the rest of my bottles and see how this beer turns out. (3.5)

Overall 3.95

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Photo of marburg
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm going skiing up north this weekend, and I thought it'd be a good idea to change some of the fluids in my car. So I added some power steering fluid (now specially formulated with StopLeak...!!! and !) and some anti-freeze. No big deal.

But then I was surprised and angered to see that my wife had taken some serious automtoive initiative performed an oil change on my car and left the remnants in my Detroit Brewing Co pint glass. Now, what the hell would anyone do that for?

This is serious, viscous, flat, sludge-like beer. Not even a jacuzzi jet stream could churn up a head on this. Chocolate brownie nose with a side of oatmeal and a splash of nail polish remover in the nose. Fairly potent after it opens up a bit.

Starts with a fleeting sweetness that's driven by chocolate. Before getting accustomed to it, there seems to be a bit of a rubbing alcohol astringency in the finish. Hops or alcohol gone awry? Eventually, all I really get is a roasty coffee bitterness with a heaping tablespoon of sugar and a pump of some sort of trendy mocha syrup.

Interesting beer and hard to rate for some reason. Dark Horse has something of a penchant for stouts, and this doesn't really disappoint. A bit intense through the first sip or two, but give it a few minutes -- it really gets quite good.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as an extra from wunderbeer in a trade, big thanks Ron, I've been wanting to try this one!

a - Pours a jet black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident. No lacing and the head only lasts for a minute.

s - Smells of cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and roasted malts.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate and coffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, vanilla, and a little alcohol.

m - Full bodied stout with moderate carbonation, this beer is very smooth and creamy; goes down great.

d - A very good RIS. I really liked the smell and mouthfeel. Wish the taste was a little less bitter but still very good. Would definitely like to try it again and would love to try the barrel aged version.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by yourefragile recently along side the bourbon barrel plead the fifth, these beers don't especially resemble each other.

Beer is black, with a thin lazy head of small tan bubbles, halos the snifter, no lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is mildly sweet, mildly bitter, mildly ashy, a little roast.

Beer is medium in body and quite bitter on the finish. Not as sweet as I thought it was going to be on the palate from the nose, the lead off is a little malt syrup, medium body, the beer thins at the back and finishes moderately bitter from the roast. Nice beer overall though.

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Photo of meatyard
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque clack/brown with a 1-finger, milk chocolate colored head that falls quickly to a cover and then ring without lacing.
The smell is cocoa, roasted malt and a kind of heavy, moist sweetness.
The taste is cocoa, licorice and woody with just a bit of dark chocolate and coffee. As it warms more flavors seem to escape including only a hint of alcohol.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy and powdery dry. I didn't really taste the alcohol, to it's credit, but I felt it every sip.
Drinkability: It's a sipper that I'd rather wait a week or so for another though it does get tasty. I do like what happens with the taste as it sits & warms.

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Photo of SaucyA
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into the infamous snifter. Black black black. With a slight layer of tan foam. Wish there was more of a head/lacing... but it's definitely acceptable. Quite leggy, tho.

S - Usual RIS affects. Coffee, roasty, baker's chocolate, burnt. Some soy sauce undertones. Nothing off, nothing remarkable. Good.

T - Quite a big, bold RIS. Bittersweet chocolate, mocha, coffee, fresh roast. Nice flavors, nothing off. Definite hop profile on the back end. Alcohol is noted but hardly present.

M - Not quite as thick and syrupy as I prefer, but it's by no means light. Subtle carbonation, full body.

D - Easy drinking for the ABV and bold flavors. I drink these way too fast.

Notes: I've only got a couple of these left from this years batch, so I figured I'd hurry up and get one reviewed before it was "aged". I really enjoy this beer, and for the price, cannot be beat.

An all around good RIS that stands up relatively well to the big boys.

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Photo of billab914
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip glass. It poured pitch black with one of the darkest chocolate heads I've ever seen on a beer. The head retreated to the edges of the glass where it left just a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a big dark chocolate and brown sugar presence to it. Roasted malts with a touch of burntness come through in it as well. Very flavorful and appealing beer overall.

The taste shows more bitterness with bitter chocolate coming through at first. It turns to more of a roasted, burnt bitterness towards the finish. It leaves a nice bitter-sweet, dark chocolate lingering after the finish. Very nice flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is thick and heavy with low carbonation. Pretty much exactly the way I like my big stouts. Drinkability is good, it had some great flavors to it and was a pleasure to sip on this evening. A very enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Super dark brown. Nearly black.
S: Roasty and coffee smells.
T: Pretty smooth a little sharpness but it blends in quite well. A really strong coffee flavor in this one.
M: Certainly an imperial stout that can sit around. The alcohol didn't seem to present itself and it sat very nicely.

Overall a good showing on the style. It didn't have the same appearance as say Founders Imperial but I think this brew controlled the high alcohol significantly better.

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Photo of organicbrewer
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of SHDoyle
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Description: Dark black appearance with a slight tan/khaki head. The aromas I got were tobacco, smoke, leather and coffee. The taste was similar and I didn't pick up any sweetness or chocolate...maybe some dark, baker's chocolate if anything. Alcohol is apparent which doesn't come as a surprise with the ABV. Mouthfeel was a little thinner than I expected but it was smooth and only lightly carbonated.

Suggested food pairing: BBQ

If you like this beer then you should also try: Ten FIDY

Overall: 4 (This beer is good and I may or may not drink it again) I feel like the brewer went down a checklist of all the things required to make a good stout and did that. But it was only "good" to me and not "great". Drinking this felt like buying a used car: it works, you're glad to have it and it meets your basic requirements but doesn't necessarily light your world on fire. I'd like to try the BB version to see if that would improve things a bit.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,920 ratings.
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