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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
904 Reviews
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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:
904
Ratings:
3,863
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
17.02%
 
 
Wants:
561
Gots:
1,040
For Trade:
117
User Reviews
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Reviews: 904 | Ratings: 3,863
Photo of Sensaray
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aggressive pour produces 1/4 inch brown head with deep dark brown approaching black body. Head looks creamy.

Chocolate, dark fruit, alcohol vanilla, coffee hints of caramel in smell. Some hops in the bunch too.

Chocolate with a coffee that's more present than the smell suggests. Vanilla still dark fruits, almost cherry like. Good bitter presence here, especially in finish.

Warming alcohol in the mouthfeel. Smooth creamy carbonation.

Definitely good. Not top tier, but high up there.

 494 characters

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Black with light tan head
S: Dark fruit, and roasted malt
T: Follows the nose with dark fruit and roasted malt. Very juicy dark fruit, sweet, not bitter at all, and not trace of the 11% abv.
F: Creamy and smooth, but did not coat my mouth to well, and flavors faded fairly quick.
O: Good beer, glad I got to try it (can't get locally), but not going to seek it out.

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Photo of biga7346
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Brewed dark roast coffee in appearance, totally dense black with chocolate colored foam that dissipates quickly, very flat and syrupy.

N - Nice collection of dark malts, cocoa nibs, a little soy sauce like character, molasses, roasted coffee beans, brown sugar.

T/M - A milky, velvety texture, lots of toasty and choclatey malts up front, port-like maybe? More of the soy sauce follows along with a nice suggestion of sugary fruit or sweetness i can't quite place. A warming bourbon whisky burn in the finish. Reminds me a tiramasu.

D - Well balanced example of RIS, not cloying anywhere and I didn't find it chewy at all compared to some other big stouts. Alcohol is totally masked.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

400th BA Review, but probably closer to beer #800 overall. Poured into a tulip from the tap at Capone's. Reviewed from notes taken the night of the April 23rd.

Color? Black. Period. Nothing else. No light gets through even around the edges. This is literally black as coal. The head is creamy and slightly lighter than the foamy layer on top of a cup of espresso. Lacing is phenomenal. Absolutely knock-down gorgeous.

The aroma is deep and complex, but the 12% alcohol does come in to spoil the show just a bit. A strong a bitter roast sets the stage beautifully for what is to follow. Dark fruits (dates and prunes...not quite dark enough for raisins) come through with a medley of other aromas. I can make out some slightly sweet chocolate, bitter dark chocolate, and coffee as well.

The flavor picks up where the aroma left off, except that the alcohol is mysteriously absent aside from showing up in the finish, yielding a prickly and warm astringency (in the wine sense). Again, the coffee, chocolate medley, and the remarkable bitter roast that ties everything together come through in force, giving way to the fruits to lighten the palate just a bit.

Viscous but creamy, I found it slightly overcarbonated to be anything better than good in the mouthfeel department, but let's be honest. This is a phenomenal imperial stout, and in my opinion, the best base Dark Horse stout that I have enjoyed. Its complexity, balance, and ability to not completely crush the drinker with alcohol make this one a winner.

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Photo of gopens44
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking beer, but I can't really describe this in a way that separates it from countless other quality RIS offerings. Opaque black brown with cream colored head. Nothing odd here. Aroma of lightly hopped dark and toasty barley dominates the whiff of the chocolate that comes across far more potently in the taste (the chocolate, that is). The other taste presence is more of a sensation, bitter to be exact, without an overwhelming hop profile. My highest praise is attached to the silky ass mouthfeel. Just dandy as hell the way this ribbon of liquid seduces the tongue. How's that for women's romance novel descriptive? Anyway...to wrap this exercise in verbose babble up, I deem this ale well worthy of super happy time yum drinking. Ciao.

 747 characters

Photo of Arenbeer
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Tulip glass

Big thanks to Kstrickler for sending me this

A- Pours a solid opaque black with no head other than a light brown rim around the edge of the glass. Nice legs coat the sides of the glass.

S- Dark roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, and coffee. Slight alcohol as it warms but not bad. Pretty simple and straight forward.

T- Just like the aroma. Roasted burnt malts up front with a really nice silky/creamy chocolate flavor that finishes with a strong bitter coffee. Alcohol is there but at the same time very well blended and hidden by the flavors.

M- Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter finish.

Overall it's a very simple and some what basic imperial stout but at the same time that's all this beer needs to dominate a style like this.

SkÅL!

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Photo of Ehrnstrom
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pours very dark with virtually no head.

smell: definite chocolate and malt notes. toffee/sweet flavors come through as well as the relatively strong scent of alcohol

taste: deep, rich flavor of dark chocolate. creamy molasses taste comes through as well.

mouthfeel: aftertaste lingers a bit much, but really not too much of a flaw.

overall: an excellent accomplishment by Dark Horse. Definitely recommend trying this one.

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Photo of BigAl723
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

A: Pours dark as night, pitch black. Looks like syrupy motor oil. A real dark head about a quarter inch thick.

S: Hops, bitterness, dark chocolate, alcohol, and smokey like a campfire. There's no secret this is a heavy stout. All you have to do is smell it.

T: A thick syrupy feeling coated my mouth. Bitter, hoppy, smokey, and chocolaty. To be honest, it tastes a lot like it smells. Very complex and very flavorful.

M: Heavy mouthfeel. Heavy and bitter. Medium carbonation. Overall it feels solid.

D: The drink is actually pretty good for being as big of a beer as it is. I ended up drinking five pints it was so drinkable. And no, I definitely wasn't driving.

Overall, I love this Imperial Stout. It has good drinkability and tastes great. Be careful though, it can creep up on you.

 827 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse : Plead the 5th

Pours a dark oily black with a tan mocha head and some foam. Aroma full of roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa nibs and espresso. Well rounded roasted malt flavor, follows the nose with some cocoa and coffee flavors. Hop character is earthy and minimal. Alcohol well hidden. Overall, I really liked this stout, drank very easily for its size. Recommended.

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Photo of Dan3279
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been looking forward to this beer for a while now and I really shouldn't have waited as long as I have to drink this great beer. I poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter glass to find a body that was black as night with a light chocolate colored head that left no lacing. The aroma was exactly what I expected it to be, with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and hints of vanilla and alcohol.

The taste was outstanding, with the chocolate hitting you first and them some bitterness, there are also some great hints of malt and vanilla. From start to finish this is a great tasting beer and you don't even notice the alcohol even though you do notice it in the aroma.

This is a full bodied beer that is some what chewy but at the same time has a small bit of creaminess and a nice balance of carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic RIS, one thing that I love about this beer is that I can walk into the store anytime I want it, pick up a bottle and not have to worry about aging it first. I am defiantly going to be drinking this one on a regular basis.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into DFH signature glass. I think I purchased this at Pinocchio's a while back. No bottle date and or ABV listed.

A: Pours an absolutely black as night pour. It's pretty darn thick too. Barely any head, just a little dark tan ring around the edges and a few swirls. On the swirl, you get nice thin boozy sheets of that dark tan. Some sticky lacing on the glass.

S: You smelled this one as soon as you popped it. Ok, gotta be honest that I get booze first. But below that is deep dark chocolate notes. Really roasted malt character. Maybe a touch of coffee. And actually a hint of dark fruit sweetness maybe? It smells big.

T: This is really delicious. So right at the tip of the tongue you get some dark chocolate bitterness. It smooths in the middle of the mouth. You do get some dark roast coffee there. It's really nice to match the chocolate. And the a silky finish almost. The booze is well hidden in the sip for sure, but you do get some warming in the throat after a few moments. Pleasant actually.

M: Full bodied with chewiness. Coats the mouth.

O: The is for sure a solid A for me. Bordering on A+. Really nice balance. Not one note overpowers. A great blend.

 1,185 characters

Photo of Phigg1102
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black and opaque. About a half finger of mocha foam that settles into a thin cap. dark chocolate and light cherry hits the nose first, the roasted malt character isn't overpowering and marries nicely with the beer. moderate sweetness in the taste, with the roasted malt again not overpoweringly bitter. a touch of dark fruit with dark chocolate and roasted coffee. medium full mouthfeel and a sweet finish.

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

12 ounce bottle - 2014 version

Pours near black, lasting dark mocha head

Black coffee and chocolate all over the nose

More of the same as this crusher flows over the palate. Waves of dark chocolate and coffee. Dense and flavorful. I'd like to dry it with a chocolate dessert. World class night capper

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

Picked up when I was in Ohio a few years ago. Likely a 2010 bottle.

Seved slightly chilled in a goblet. Plead the 5th is nearly black in color and only the slightest bit of light passes through the edges. Viscous appearance with basically no head.

Aroma is richand roasty with wonderful chocolate notes.

Flavor is rich and robust with dark roasted malts and bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and low in carbonation. Alcohol is present but subdued probably because of the age.

Overall an excellent imperial stout but hard to get in these parts. Maybe worth bringing home again in the future.

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Photo of Roguer
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thin tan head quickly fading; nice dark brown, almost black brew.

Fantastic and strong aroma. Roasted barley, chocolate, oak, vanilla, cream, and booze. Smells barrel aged.

Flavor is all of the above, plus oats, bananas, and nuts. The roasted malt is delicate; a symphony of big stout flavors acting in delicious harmony.

Thick and creamy, almost chewy.

Delicious stout, right up there with Ten-FIDY and Founders Imperial Stout.

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

L: Pours black with a long standing brown head.

S: Dark fruit, currants, mild chocolate, black bread, burnt caramel, gingerbread, Some black coffee, Musty undercurrent.

T: Black coffee, dark chocolate followed by black currant. Musty, smokey, starts out sweet but slowly transforms into a nice dry, bitter finish. Warming alcohol.

F: Full bodied, velvety mouthfeel. Low carbonation. A little acidic, a little astringency, very little. Doesn't detract.

O: A very complex and flavorful brew. The flavor profile transforms many times as you taste and as it warms. A phenomenal Russian imp. stout. Definitely a sipping beer.

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

Drank on-tap at Saloon, Somerville, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured completely pitch black. Super oily, shimmery and viscous in the glass. No visible head. Spotty, mocha color bubbles dotted the liquid and eventually formed a lasting halo.

The aroma was fantastic. Rich, sweet and robust. Boatloads of roasted and caramel malts. Strong brown sugar notes. Some vanilla. Lots of dark fruit goodness. Raisins and prunes came through strongest. Hints of molasses. Touch of licorice. Even though this beer was not barrel aged, I swear I picked up some bourbon notes as well.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but perhaps darker and roastier. Caramel and roasted malts appeared up front. French press coffee and dark fruit notes came through strong in the center. Lots of brown sugar-like sweetness. The finish was roasty and slightly bitter with some alcohol heat. At 11% ABV, however, the alcohol seemed quite restrained.

Super rich, creamy and slick on the palate. The beer was thick and viscous and contained a finely beaded, moderate effervescence.

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout is an extremely well crafted beer that fires on all cylinders. I cannot wait to try the bourbon barrel aged version of this.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Saw a four pack of this the other day and it jumped into my lap and rode home with me.
Pours a solid black with a minimal tan head that dissipates quickly a leaves no lace. Smells of licorice, molasses, bitter dark chocolate, dried dark cherries covered in vodka, a bit earthy herbal hops in there somewhere too. Taste is tart dark fruit drenched in dark chocolate and dipped in rum or vodka. Espresso and an earthy hop bit round this one out. Leaves a lingering roasted grain char mixed with some sweetness that linger long after every sip. I'm kind of amazed that the depth of flavors in this brew meld together so well. Sweet sticky almost syrupy mouthfeel. Light level of carbonation and a thick body. I really enjoyed this one. Really thick and sweet but incredibly tasty. Shit I'm thinking about pouring this over some vanilla ice cream in a few.

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Photo of number1bum
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to mymrnngjckt for a bottle of this.

Pours pitch black and quite thick looking. Completely opaque. Generates about one finger of dark tan head which settles to only a thin, patchy lace. No real stick on the sides.

Smell at first is big on the fruit, with some nice berry aromas in particular; black currants come to mind, plus maybe some strawberries and dark cherry. Lots of roasted malt as well, and some dark, fudgy chocolate. .Quite a lot going on in this nose; it's complex and really nice.

Taste is also complex and just bursting with flavor. I get the berry flavors that the nose revealed; tastes like some blackberry with a bit of blueberry and strawberry too. Big chocolaty and roasty flavors, with a good amount of fudgy sweetness that is cut by some roasty bitterness. Goes together nicely.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and viciously thick and chewy. Very creamy, with soft carbonation. Just a hint of alcohol heat creeps in at times.

I've not been a big fan of a lot of Dark Horse beers I've tried but this one is excellent. Tons of flavor and really smooth and drinkable for such a huge imperial stout. I think I will be looking out for this one again. thanks Kevin!

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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 farrago
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light head, half finger of exceedingly dark brown foam, mostly larger bubbles which impairs retention, credible stickiness to the lacing. Jet black, zero color, only thing visible are a few floating particles within. The roast hits the right balance in the nose, more texturally stiffening than scented, you get sweet chocolate, coconut, light caramel as well as rich plum, golden raisin and cherry fruit scents, flaky pie crust, vanillin oak booziness, anise seed, orange citrus zest, overall soft and well harmonized. Full-bodied, yet smooth with nice fluidity, honestly, here the relatively weak carbonation helps to keep the pace going rather than fluff things up. Dark chocolate, cocoa, mocha and caramel, not so much coffee or real roast. Plum, cherry, raisin, fig, apricot fruit lends sweetness and concentration. The coconut, vanilla fudge, honey glazed dough and croissant flakes likewise. Hard to say both what the hops contribute and what they were meant to contribute. Still, awfully seductive as a pure "guilty pleasure" play.

 1,039 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle
$11.99
Four Seasons Liquors

Plead the 5th glugs from the bottle pouring like 10w30. It's black. No light passes through whatsoever and as a matter of fact, I think it actually swallows light. The foam is easy to conjure and grows to a couple fingers in height. the head is dark beige, so dark in fact that it seems to sport a nearly purple hue. The foam eventually settles to a thin cap while leaving respectable velvety lacing down the sides of the glass.

The nose is packed full of rich stoutiness. Big and bold. The roast is on the heavy side of the spectrum with a touch of char. Walnut pith and black coffee are bold through the middle. Macadamia nuttiness adds both character and brightness. There's a noticeable alcohol presence but it's clean and appetizing in the form of a blackberry brandy. Dark berries play a nice role along with cocoa powder that verges on slightly bitter. This beer is a monster.

As in your face as the nose happened to be, the flavor profile comes along with even more precise, hit you in the mouth, interpretations of each aspect I mentioned above. The roast, again is on the heavier side with the slight char but that whole aspect sort of cradles the rest. Dark berries soaked in a neutral spirit kick it off. It's spicy and rich. Straight cocoa powder adds a touch of bitterness and molten brownies bring along a huge dark chocolate character. Black dark roast adds character and there's a touch of earthiness as well. Whew! This guy is slam packed!

The body is amazingly easy to handle for the immense size. Weighing in at 11% the body somehow manages to sit between moderate and heavy. It doesn't reach that viscous quality like you'd expect which helps and hurts. The drinkability is higher but the luxuriousness falls. The roast leaves behind a dry finish with a good amount of bitterness, and I can get behind that with such a hefty libation. The whole thing works.

This beer has been a favorite of mine for years now. With that said, I haven't drank a bottle in a long time. Revisiting opens my eyes up to its greatness again. This beer is not to be trifled with. It's big, bold, and mean. Old school in nature and it won't take no shit.

 2,197 characters

Photo of siege06nd
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottles into Dogfish Head snifter...

A. Inky black with chocolate brown edges. A half finger of tan head with some mild bubbles sticking to the glass. Leaves a sheen of oily slick on the glass with each swirl.

S. Dark chocolate, fudge, traces of herbal and piney hops, blackstrap molasses, and suggestions of fruit.

T. Chocolate, caramel, some strawberry and cherry, roasted coffee grounds and even some char in a dry finish.

M. Coats the palate with a thick and chewy body. Good flavor integration and nice balance. Sweet, chocolatey, and fruity upfront and a slightly ashy, classic finish.

O. An excellent Imperial Stout. It's full bodied, filling, and flavorful with excellent booze-masking. Hits all of the right notes.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Cloverleaf a few weeks ago, <$3. The beer is very black with a thin tan head, less foam than usual for a RIS. The smell is rich with chocolate and roasted malts, a noticeable black licorice aroma too. The beer tastes overpowering with malty sweetness, dark fruits like prunes and raisins and plums, and black licorice or anise (but thankfully not much). Lots of previous reviewers noted a lack of body but I thought this was thick and filling. Maybe I tried the latest batch and it's been improved in some way, it was thick and oily and good. This beer is up there in Dark Horse's line-up, along with Perkolator and Double Crooked Tree.

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

A beautiful beer. Incredibly dark and opaque when held to light. Head is deep brown with about one finger and dies quick. Leaves a fine and appealing lacing surrounding the edge of the glass. Very inviting.

The nose is very robust. I can smell heaping amounts of roast from dark malt, coffee, and medium-dark chocolate. A bit of acidity (red berry) on the front end, but mostly malted notes.

Flavor is rich and delicious. Tons of brown sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and some alcohol at the finish. Very sweet with a wonderful dry aftertaste from black patent or the like. Want to keep going back for another sip.

Lots of weight, but still not too syrupy. The beer foams up quickly due to a decent amount of carbonation and gives a very creamy texture. It's a very pleasant and oh so drinkable brew.

I was very excited to try this. Amazingly drinkable and addictive for 11%. The texture was superb and there was a great amount of depth. I am anxious to see if the boozy flavor settles out after some time.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,863 ratings.
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