Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.31/5
Outstanding
3,993 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#470
Reviews:
936
Ratings:
3,993
pDev:
7.89%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
558
Gots:
1,064
Trade:
111
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,993 |  Reviews: 936
Photo of Arbitrator
3.01/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled 12oz into a glass. Received in a trade from Hexxed. Thanks buddy!

A: Pours a viscous, opaque motor oil black with no light penetration, even at the edges. The head is a quarter-finger of dark mocha-colored foam that retains well, slowly collapsing into a film on the brew with a thick collar. Some lacing down the glass.

S: Burnt figs and dates, roasted coffee, and a bit of booze burn. Decent; it's pretty malty, but nothing too exceptional.

T: Tons of roasted coffee, burnt sugar, burnt chocolate, burnt figs, and burnt plum. Lots of burn. Ashes, smoke. The chocolate emerges occasionally, but it doesn't dominate the beer or define its taste. The burnt / ashy combination gets kind of strong after a while; I prefer something with more anise and dark fruits, and less burn / smoke.

M: Very thick, with low carbonation. It's a tad below velvety; it's not carbonated enough to cleanse the tongue, leaving a thick coat behind. Quite warm, even a tad hot (but for its ABV, impressively restrained).

D: It's enjoyable, but it doesn't distinguish itself from other imperial stouts.

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Photo of hardy008
3.06/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pitch black with a dark tan one finger head with good retention. Leaves spotty lacing. Smells like raisins, alcohol, anise, dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, and vanilla.

Tastes like dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, alcohol, anise, raisins, and vanilla. Very sweet, with a lot of bitterness provided by the dark roasted malt. I am not a big fan of anise or licorice, and wish I had not detected so much of it.

Full bodied with average carbonation. There is a lot of alcohol heat with this beer, which is the main problem I have with it. The second problem is that this beer is too sweet, and too bitter. The aftertaste mostly is alcohol, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. This isn't a bad beer, but is a bit too hot for me to enjoy properly. Also not as well made as the best Russian Imperial Stouts. I should have let this one age a while before drinking it.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.14/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma - Roasted malts and a coffee bitterness

Appearance - Brown head that quickly fades. The beer itself poured a very dark color without much carbonation.

Taste - Coffee bitter with a sweet roasty backbone. Not as smooth as I would have liked. The bitterness was a little harsh in contrast to the other flavors in the beer.

Notes - Maybe it was because I wasn't in the mood for a big stout like this but I wasn't a fan of this beer. I put the other three in the cellar and expect better things from them in a years time.

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Photo of SrMonkey
3.15/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an inky black, with minimal brown head despite pouring straight down the glass. Aroma of roasted malts and a hint of baker's chocolate. Flavor starts thin and acidic, like burnt coffee, progressing to herbal hop bitterness and finally a nice smoky malt finish that lingers. For 12% it was pretty watery, maybe had to do with it being undercarbonatef as well.

Expectations given the ABV were that this would be thick, sweet brew. Instead it was acidic, dry, flat and thin. The only aspect that distinguished it for me was the pleasant smoky finish.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.15/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had this one a few times now, and waited to review it as I figured maybe something in my perception of this beer was off. After further consideration, I realize that maybe I just don't care for it all that much.

Pours a very dark brown, black color, with a small but firm dark brown head. Aromas of black licorice, molasses and a bit of vanilla. Somewhat bitter on the palate, with more licorice, chocolate and alcohol. I can't place my finger on it, but I just don't like it.

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Photo of harrymel
3.2/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Recent batch, reviewed 07FEB12
Pours a dark, near black stout with opacity throughout. A finger of light mocha foam falls to nada except a ring of the same. (3)
Figs, licorice, roasted malts, nougat and a hint of mint. Some notes of coffee and a little cocoa. There's also a hint of diacytal on the nose. (3)
Roasted, sweet, some raisin, prune and smoke. There's a weird hot dog flavor on this beer I didn't previously note. I can only relate this to poor fermentation technique as I've only ever tasted this in poorly conducted homebrews otherwise. Luckliy, the overall flavor isn't too impacted by this. (3.5)
Medium on full bodied with a moderate carb and semi dry mouthfeel . Middle of the road. (3)
Man, this beer really was much better the time I had it before, and IIRC, that beer had a year on it. I believe this one is fresh. Too bad, if that is the beer they want to call "ready" then I will grade accordingly, not that great, pretty average. (3)

Reviewed 26FEB11
Thanks to UMNBeerhunter for this extra, cheers joe!
A: pours an exceptionally dark black stout. So nice. No head formation, and in fact difficult for me to even agitate a head here. When it does show, it's transient and dark brown. No laces. Looks sticky.
S: Graham, licorice, anise, cocoa, malts. Thick, appreciate this nose a ton. Dark, long roasted figs. Brown sugar.
T: Dark, roasted oats, raisins, charcoal laden cocoa. Molasses, plum, figs still in here. Outstanding.
M: thick, heavy with low-medium carbonation. Sticky and coats my mouth. Resonant.
D: Excellent beer here folks. I think the beer is superb.
3.5/4.5/4.5/4/4.5 - 4.4

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Photo of BradenMK
3.22/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of incubuscience
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of farnold
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of DrunkAl
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of KillaB
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of sixtyminute
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of dheldman
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of 4ElfJoe
3.26/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

INCONSISTENT BITTER TRASH

Until this brewer makes the effort to bottle it properly, I will not discuss Pt5th's attributes. Instead, I'll express my disappointment for what could very easily be a first-class brew.

This beer has so much potential. I've purchased six 4-packs at various liquor stores and only one lived up to its potential, just as it's on tap at the Dark Horse brewery. I know Dark Horse can do it right because I've enjoyed fifteen 2015 BARREL AGED Plead The 5th beers have been solid 4.75-5 ratings. But in the bottle, the non-aged Plead the 5th becomes various sour degrees of bitter garbage. I give up.

I will never waste my money on this beer again and instead opt for any other brewer that brews a consistent and solid Russian Imperial Stout. If this was a consistent beer as it is on tap and as I've tasted in only 1 out of six 4-packs I've had, it would easily get a 4.25-4.5+ rating from me. It can be delicious but Dark Horse must be cutting corners somewhere in the bottling process.

Others I've discussed this with concur: don't waste your money on the bottles but don't pass up this on tap at the brewery.

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Photo of MarkIntihar
3.28/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Bell's snifter. Thanks to Dave for tossing me a couple of these in our most recent trade!

A - Pours a completely opaque dark brown color with a finger's worth of mocha colored head. Very nice and rich looking.

S - Smells of milk chocolate, molasses, dark roasted malts, and perhaps a bit of soy sauce. Fairly sweet on the nose, reminding me of the '09 Dark Lord in the nose. Not much of a hop presence in this one, which is fine, seeing as it's a stout with a few months on it.

T - Taste follows pretty closely to the nose, though there is a hollowness to it that leaves me wanting more. Also, there is a very present alcohol bite in the taste, so much so that it almost overpowers the rest of the flavors. This seems like a good candidate to let sit in the cellar a few more years. Seriously though, almost a rubbing alcohol type of taste in this one. Not pleasant...

M - For as much alcohol as is present in the taste, there is not too much heat in the mouthfeel on this one. Coats the entire mouth nicely as well. Very pleasant going down.

O - Overall I'm disappointed. I have had this one before and do not remember it being nearly this alcoholic, but this one was a booze bomb. I generally don't mind high ABV beers, but this one did not hide the alcohol well at all. I will revisit it after it has sat in the cellar for a couple years.

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Photo of claaark13
3.31/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks jayblack for this one in our recent trade. I've been trying to slide another one of these into a trade for some time, so I'm glad to get a chance to finally review one. 2010 or earlier bottle. Poured at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - Pours an oil black with slight dark brown lacing. The lacing goes away and returns when sifted. Sticks to the glass...looks very thick.

S - Chocolate, sweet molasses, roast, dog food? There is a meaty smell to it that reminds me of dog food.

T - Roasted malt throughout, sweet molasses comes through, bitter dark chocolate toward the finish. A sweet dark fruit is present. There is a flavor that I associate with the smell of dog food that I'm getting as well. It goes away after the 2-3rd sip. There is almost a hint of anise coming through. It sticks to the palate.

M - Thicker body that is really nice on the palate and carries the flavor so well.

O - I find an unfavorable flavor amidst this one and I can't shake it. The look and mouthfeel are great though. Either this is better consumed fresh or it is a base beer that is made for barrel aging. Dark Lord is that way, so sometimes it just happens.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.34/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm reviewing a 12oz bottle which I purchased from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI and poured into a snifter.

Pours like motor oil yet even more black in color. Leaves a small tan head which dissipates very quickly leaving no retention. Some minimal lacing.

Very pleasing, somewhat complex nose. Sweet and lightly roasted malts with hints of smoke and earthy wood notes. Rounded out with mild coffee, creme and cocoa.

The taste is somewhat of a letdown after getting well acquainted with my nose. Has a slightly bitter, old coffee flavored finish. Seems to lose some of its complexity as well. Sweet malts with hints of smoked beef jerky and creme. The alcohol is pretty well contained for this 12% beer.

Full body, minimal carbonation. The thickness of the beer could have been better translated into a smoother, creamier mouthfeel.

I have yet to be really impressed by Dark Horse beers. They are good, but have not pushed themselves into the great category yet in my opinion.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.34/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

No BOD. Pours black. Very little head - less than a finger with a 90 degree pour. Consequently, retention and lacing are also very poor.

Light, but otherwise typical, stout nose. A bit of roast, vey faint char and a touch of malt.

Medium body with a slightly slick texture. Quite outstanding carbonation / body balance. The middle is quite effervescent and the finish is a finely bubbled rollicking explosive ride.

The flavor profile is borderline very good. Complexity is a bit missing in this stout. Flavors are presented well and also are well balanced. Roast with a touch of char float above a very well balanced slightly sweet molasses / caramel base. From the middle on, sweetness peaks and is overcome with a bit of alcohol taste and astringency. The finish is a fade of molasses and alcohol. Dark fruits are missing, except for a brief touch of prune about three quarters through as the alcohol becomes uncovered.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
3.35/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pitch black color with minimal head that diminishes completely. Smells like chocolate and bourbon. Taste is of tobacco, chocolate, bourbon, mild coffee, and malt. Feel has no lingering and is not as thick as expected. Slow sipper nonetheless.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.38/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Won't wear my Sunday suit to walk that street
That would feel Byzantine

12 oz bottle...Ultra dark inky pour into my snifter with a nice thin mocha head that swells and then heads rapidly to lurk around the edges like some two-bit hoodlum.

Dark fruit, sherry, soy, and that scent that I have often described as grape bubblegum that I sometimes find in big stouts, along with some dark chocolate on the back end.

The taste and mouthfeel on this beer are slightly perplexing. For all the complexity, or at least diversity, in the nose, the taste does not quite follow. Upon warming, there is an onslaught of that grape flavor which I attribute to the heavy malt presence. The other scents promised from the smell seem minimally present, with only a slight coffee presence poking through, which I did not detect on the nose.

What is particularly odd is the slightly oily, but very light, almost watery mouthfeel. For the make and model of this diesel motored fiend, I expected a bigger, more rounded feel. Not particularly the experience I was hoping for.

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Photo of emptyglassagain
3.38/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Moose90
3.39/5  rDev -21.3%
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 Homebrew
3.39/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle, It tasted awfully sweet to me

42 characters

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.4/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium tulip glass.

A: Thickness bottled. Inky black, couldn't stand a spoon in it like say one might be able to do with a glass of Dark Lord but really not that far off.

S: Smells sweet and boozy, boat loads of chocolaty malt. I'd say you can just about taste the booze on this one with just a sniff.

T/MF: Big, thick, chewy if slightly undercarbonated. Licorice, seems to be the driving force in this beer, sweet tobacco, slightly acrid smokiness and or hop bitterness, licorice comes back in the finish as well in a big way. Hot boozy licorice, very dry, very raw, I feel as though this beer is not done with whatever it needs to be done with to make it a finished beer. Some time in the cellar I think would be good for it. The amount, or more correctly stated, the noticeable presence of alcohol in this beer is too high for my taste at the moment. Perhaps given time the booziness might subside that might allow the malt bill on this beer come through in a bigger way.

D: This time I don't think that my ratings reflect how I actually perceived this beer, it's not what I am used to, I don't really like the licorice that I can taste, but the mouthfeel on this seems to improve but that may be an account of how my tongue is numbed out by the alcohol in this. It just doesn't taste like what I'm used to, it's not really smooth, it's thick but not smooth and that alone sort of makes the whole drinking experience suffer for me, where the beer might actually taste better than I am rating it, but the feel made me think that it tastes worse than it actually is. I'm not going to say I'm disappointed in this beer (though at 11 bucks for 4 I might be) I'll say that this was not exactly what I was expecting out of this beer.

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Photo of DearthVader
3.41/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra from Beerness. Cheers, Charlie.

Poured into my Coronado snifter.

Pours a sludge-like black with a burnt brown head that sits 2" off the top. Extremely thick lacing is left from this. You can't pick up the slightest glimpse of light through this. This should really become a world wide definition for what a dark/thick beer is. A promising start.

Smells of robust coffee, dark chocolate syrup, roasted malts, and a ton of booze. Tingles the nose a bit.

Taste is a little harsh. The booze is just too much for me. I love the burnt coffee notes and the mouth coating chocolate syrup, but the booze drowns them out. Very hot beer.

I took the hot booziness out of consideration for the mouthfeel. If I were to consider the hot burn from this brew, it'd probably be in the 1.5-2 range. I love a thick, creamy stout, and that's exactly what this is. Mouth coating and almost chewy.

Overall, this was good. Not something I'd seek out, but if one lands on my doorstep again, I wouldn't be disappointed. I'm very happy I got to try this. I am actually very curious how the BA version would be.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 3,993 ratings
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