Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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

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Reviews: 928 | Ratings: 3,950
Photo of bushbeer75
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle purchased 3/19/2014

Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout poured out a clean but opaque black that produced a thin reddish tan head that dissipated quickly to a collar of foam. The nose is dominated by roasted malts and a hint of chocolate. At first taste there is a strong flavor of dark roasted malts followed by a moderate flavor of chocolate, coffee, and dark toffee. The Ale has enough hops to keep it balanced with a pleasant warming alcohol finish. The mouth feel is smooth, creamy and high-medium bodied.

Plead the 5th is very drinkable for such a high abv. Well done Dark Horse.

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Photo of Invinciblejets
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Thick deep black with noticeable sediment in the bottle and in the glass when put up to light.

S: Burnt sugar roasty malts some dark fruit. Bit of dark chocolate.

T: Roasted malts up front smooth dark chocolate hints of wood...Some hop bitterness.

F: Oily thick sticky velvety. All that fun stuff.

O: Above average stout id say. Really good stuff. Odd to see so many floaties in a stout tho.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black hole pour with an awesome one finger tan head. Hoppy chocolate malt bomb smell and taste. The chocolate malt has a little smoke and the bitter hope is definitely there. Wonderful thick , warm mouthfeel. Very good, but I still give ten fidy the nod but in the same ballpark!

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a black hole of a beer; it is completely impervious to light and contains no highlights. The pour shows a slight appearance of viscosity and generates a thin, brief-lived creamy tan head that leaves sparse, fine-grained streaks of lacing. The nose is medium-big: a bitterish blend of coffee, milk chocolate and toffee with very prominent alcohol overtones. The palate is smoother and sweeter than the nose would lead you to expect: a rich range of chocolate notes backed by bitter toffee and booze. A strong roast character provides enough bitterness to largely balance the sweetness of the malt; the net result is just a bit on the sweet side. The finish is chocolate and booze, followed by the onset of a slight chocolate bitterness that lingers for a few minutes. The mouthfeel is biggish for the full body, and the texture is viscous, creamy, and just slightly peppery from the nicely restrained carbonation; all told, just about optimal for a big stout. While boozy, this beer drinks quite smoothly for the ABV. (12 oz bottle, 119 days after pkg)

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Photo of MikeWard
3.86/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a half pint glass.

looks superb, jet black body, off white head, looking forward to getting into this.

aroma is a little underwhelming. getting some faint chocolate, and a touch of roasted malt.

well, although its enjoyable, was really expecting a lot more. its a solid imperial stout, but doesn't smack me in the mouth the way the way i thought it would. not overly roasted, faint chocolate. not much else.

mouth is a tad over medium, overall an enjoyable beer, but my expectations were much higher.

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Photo of kalosjakar
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Inky black with no head.

Aroma: Molasses, Roasted, Burnt/Smoky
Taste: Thick mouthfeel, burnt level roasted, bittersweet chocolate. Oily. Chewy. slight smoky flavor

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - Sits black in the glass. Oily appearance
Smell - Wonderful chocolate on the nose of this beer. Some roasty coffee notes as well.
Taste - Follows the nose. Chocolate and coffee lead the way. Some nutty/caramel notes are thrown in there too.
Feel - Chewy, mouth coating, sticky.....what I've come to expect out of a good stout.

Overall - On the same playing field as FIS and Ten Fidy in the opinion. A damn good stout!! Enjoyed every sip.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark black, dark cocoa colored head with two spots of lacing. Smell is roasted malt sweetness, coffee, and chocolate. The taste is sweet and bitter with mainly bitter dark chocolate and sweet charred malts. The finish has a nice roasty bitterness that lingers. Nice chewy mouthfeel and the slight stinging from some carbonation makes this a pleasant drink. Really nice stout.

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Photo of chrishiker1409
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours pitch black with a tan head that dissipates quickly and just forms a ring around glass. Does not leave much lacing.

S: Chocolate, burnt notes, cocoa.

T: Follows the nose. A little hot. A bit of coffee too.

F: Full bodied and lightly carbonated. Not chewy. Fairly easy to put down.

O: A great beer that went down well with some Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.

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Photo of Dr_Bahmbay13
4.99/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Good Gawd DAmn BEER! BOOM!
POured from a beer bottle
looks gawd damn good! Darkness! No light ! Looks like coffee!
Smells gawd damn good! hard to describe god damn good, sorta like cookies made by you or someone you love, those are always god damn good , so there ya go.
Taste? you already know noodle....Gawd. Damn. Good!
overall , shit the bed this is good!

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Photo of CHickman
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours spent motor oil black color with a gorgeous cascading tan head that comes up like a Guinness to a dense creamy 2 finger khaki colored head that was full of tiny bubbles, dissipating very slowly, leaving really good foamy lacing coating the sides, rings as it went down and a creamy layer on top.

Smells of iron or rusted steel up front, followed by cocoa powder, dark chocolate, piney hops, espresso, oats, black licorice, faint vanilla, burnt grains and charcoal/smoldering campfire wood. It almost smells like a metallic s'mores that has fresh ground coffee mixed in and a covering of cocoa powder. Nose is a nice mix of chocolate sweetness, bitterness and earthy notes that stays complex the whole time as it kept me guessing as to what would come next. There are some fruits in the mix, but the charred notes take control and mask the 11% ABV extremely well.

Tastes very similar to the nose with heavy chocolate and metallic notes up front, followed by the char, dark chocolate, vanilla, toffee, caramel, burnt grains, charcoal/smoldering campfire wood, piney hops, espresso, fresh coffee grinds, white pepper, peat moss, oats, black licorice, biscotti and a whole bunch of earthy notes that give it some texture. Can't tell is the bitterness comes from the dark chocolate/cocoa, coffee or piney hops, but it's present and a nice addition to the brew. The bitterness adds balance to the sweetness and malt base, letting some muddled dark fruit peek through the burnt chocolate malts which almost seem smoked as they are very rich. Very tasty indeed, masking the ABV completely.

Mouthfeel is thin and smooth for a beer with such high alcohol, it's very easy drinking, very complex and flavorful as it allows the charred malts to blend with the hoppy or coffee bitterness to act like the ying and yang of the RIS experience. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, with mild carbonation and a semi-dry finish that trails off with a mild sweetness and fine charred, roasty notes. Glad I was finally able to get my hands on a 4 pack as this was a very tasty beer.

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Photo of wdberkley
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black, nice dark khaki head. Chocolate, hint of coffee, malt. Sweet on the tongue, but it burns off, as if is quickly followed by a hit of boozy warmth. Finishes thick and creamy. Nice Stout, gonna give a couple some time to develop and see how it is.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a snifter
A: Pitch black with a tan one-finger head
S: Rich dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, molasses, brandied cherries. Deep nose
T: All of the aromas carry through to the palate, pretty much in the order described. Adds a bit of hoppy bitterness
M: Full-bodied, a touch sweet, just a touch of alcohol
O: Rich, complex and delicious. A really well made beer that will sneak up on you if you don't sip it slowly, which is hard given how tasty it is. I need to grab a couple bottles and lay them down to age

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a beaut! Looks more devastating than it is - the menace of the deep dark coloring and the prominent tan head almost make you expect a rough go with taking this bad boy down. In real terms though this is an imperial stout with a kick but also a certain softness to it. Like Ozzy Osbourne singing 'Changes' you get the rough with the smooth. Hops seem nicely integrated here - not harsh enough to overwhelm the malty or sweet notes but just enough to balance it out. Body is full and chewy - coats the mouth like a cup of hot cocoa. Bakers chocolate notes are prevalent with a little berry in there with leather and tobacco. Many layers here which make this a fine sipper. Outstanding.

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Photo of KillerJigger
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark liquid with a brown head that laces my glass. Sweet with a touch of bitterness still present. Touch of burning alcohol as swallowed. Helps to balance the sweetness actually. Great beer. Great job brewers!

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle poured into a tulip. Pours rich dark brown, almost black with generous mocha head that lingers and forms a persistent froth on top of beer. Smell is dark roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, some dark fruit, touch of coffee. The taste really follows suit, with a slight cocoa bite that persists a bit in the finish with a smattering of alcohol, almost whiskeyesque. Mouth is full, rich, and mildly carbonated.

This is a solid stout that aged well for the last year.

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Photo of do_ob
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a Madtree snifter. Very dark brown pour, and absoloutely midnight black in the glass. A small, dark brown head sets up initially, but is gone within a minute or so. Bitter chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, and sugared candy on the nose - almost has a cola-like sweetness to the smell. Not strong in terms of the aroma. Bittersweet chocolate and malt on the taste with a refined, yet relatively aggresive roastiness. On the palate, it's fairly sweet but turns bitter on the taste buds once the aftertaste sets in. A little thin for the abv, but not too bad. Very drinkable. Little to no booziness.

Overall, this beer did not live up to the hype for me. It was good, but honestly, I'd rather have an Old Raspy over this anytime.

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

Pours very dark with a thick caramel head with a lot of lacing. Smells of burnt chocolate and coffee. Tastes of burnt chocolate and coffee in the background. Mild carbonation. Overall it was ok, but not worth the price. Needed more depth.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a light brown head. Smells like boozy dark fruits, dark caramel, and bitter dark chocolate. Tastes like dark baker's chocolate, dark chocolate milk, roast and ash, some complex dark fruits, maybe cherry, light herbal hops, with a caramely, roasty, coffee dark cocoa finish. Feels medium-bodied with little carbonation. Overall a really great imperial stout.

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Photo of Marius
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle, 2013 vintage, sipped at the beginning of 2016. Pitch black pour, with a very thin espresso head. Rich smell of roasted malts, dark chocolate, whiskey, dark cherries and almonds. The taste is less complex than the nose suggests, and more toward a traditional RIS, heavy on the roasted malts, dark cherries, cocoa and with a bit of whiskey in the end. It feels a bit boozy, but the mouthfeel is quite soft.

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Photo of LAp
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a table glass. Pours a thick brown/black. Taste is relatively uniform. Typical coffee, chocolate, and rich malt, but not the deep complexity I'd been expecting. Mouthfeel is extremely creamy. Overall, tasted more like a thick porter/stout (think Founder's Porter or Bell's Kalamazoo Stout) than an Imp Russian. Left me underwhelmed. A good beer for sure, but would be better as a $10-$12 six pack. Not a beer that justifies its price, or its 4-pack status.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed from the growler via Jungle Jim's in a snifter---THANKS Little Lady!

Pours a rich opaque with a firm head of brown foam that settles to a thick ring, subtle layer, and awesome clinging lacing. Nose of bakers chocolate, coffee, char, deeply roasted malts, and hints of raisins. Flavors exceed the nose with rich coffee and bakers chocolate melding together with dark sweet malts and subtle char on all sides. Light vanilla and dark DARK raisins and plums present themselves to the back with strong warming alcohol on the throat with a touch of cream. THIS is one to be mindful of. Rich roasted malts are cut by a light carbonation that is prickly and sip-able making this one dangerous. Bitter malt aftertaste with notes of char and cocoa.

Awesome. Period.
A great brew from a great brewery.


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Photo of Moose90
3.39/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Vintage, Tasted in 2015

A — Pours a dark dark brown hue into the glass, with a minimalist cocoa brown colored head, some oily lacing left behind.

S — Smell is boozy, warm, and bright. Notes of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, some caramel, leads to a bitter metallic and papery note, very odd.

T — Like the nose, it starts great with nice chocolate, coffee, vanilla, little hint of leather, leads way to a tobacco and papery astringent bitterness.

M — Medium-Full bodied, lingering and sweet finish.

O — Good overall, but it may be a bit long in the tooth, I have a fresher bottle I will open sooner rather than later.

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Photo of avalon07
3.81/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a two inch, creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A pretty good aroma of malt, chocolate, and dark fruit.

T: Tasted of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit (plums, maybe?), a smoky quality, and a bit of caramel in the finish. This is a solid flavor, but not quite as powerful and dynamic as I like to have in a stout. Still, not bad at at all.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this is a generally well done beer, it doesn't quite knock it out of the park. It certainly has its good points, though.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,950 ratings.
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