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:
914
Ratings:
3,893
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
557
Gots:
1,044
For Trade:
115
User Reviews
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Reviews: 914 | Ratings: 3,893
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 5th and final installment of what should be called an epic series of stouts. And what a beer to end on.

A- Super black, Ive seen thicker and darker but this is close to the darkest. You can pour this baby as rough as you like and still will only get a small tan head that doesnt last very long. Im getting no lacing.

S- Nice smell. Very sweet and chocolatey. Behind the chocolate and roasted malts is a rubbing alcohol smell. There is a lot of dark fruits, brown sugar and vanilla.

T- Very smooth and creamy. This beer seems like it is more than just a simple RIS. You would think it has chocolate or vanilla or milk sugars added. I was shocked to see that the ABV was 12%. There is lots of vanilla, chocolate and dark fruits along with brown sugar and a milky sweetness.

M- Full bodied but not insanely thick. The carbonation is very low, especially towards the end of the glass. This is one creamy smooth beer.

D- The ABV is insanely hidden. This makes for a dangerous stout. It drinks like a cream stout and packs a punch like the big RIS that it is. I have not yet had all of this series but this is my favorite so far.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to stevef03 for this bottle. I'm finally getting around to doing the Dark Horse One - 5th tonight.

A: Pours a beautiful motor oil opaque black. There is little to no head on this beer. There is just the tiniest of bubbles along the top of the beer. Minimal lacing as it drinks.

S: Smells of sweet chocolate malt, raisin, vanilla, and booze. Super stone fruits and alcohol. It smells delicious.

T: Spot on plum, chocolate, vanilla, and toffee. There is a big boozy sweetness in the finish as well. I get hints of brownie and caramel too. Great flavor, but just a tad sweet. I'm nit picking at this point.

M: This is a full boded beer that starts off sweet and smooth. The silky chocolate notes are evident from start to finish. The flavors envelop the palate. There is some serious cloing that occurs (really sticky and chewy), but it's feels fantastic.

O: This beer is damn delicious. It's a bit boozy at times, ans a bit sweet times, but it's fantastic. What an incredible beer. It's just right for the style. I'd drink this all the time if I could.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark cocoa, roasty nose up front. Bready yeast aromatics in the background. Dark fruit esters and some warming alcohol notes flood the nose. Milk chocolate aromatics as the beer warms up.

Appearance: Deep brown pour with a tan sudsy head. Impressive lacing and a bit of legs as the beer is swirled.

Flavor: Dark chocolate and cocoa, espresso with cream, and roasted grain flavors all up front. Just a touch of dark carmel to provide the counterpoint to all the roasted goodness. Balance is firmly toward the bitter roasted flavors. Finish is bone dry.

Mouthfeel: Big, velvety, slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol but it's well knit with the flavor. Can definitely feel it coating the tongue.

Overall impression: Wow! Perfect sipper for this cloudy, cool spring day. I'll definitely be enjoying this again as long as we can get it in Ohio. Good stuff.

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Photo of popery
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 7/29/11. Wonderful stout. This beer is big and rich without any of the off-notes that can accompany that. The beer pours wall-to-wall black with a thin mocha head. The aroma is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, caramel, nutty roast, creamy coffee, vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. Mouthfeel is smooth and very full. Taste is sweet but not cloying. There’s a mildly bitter finish with roast and some earthy hops. A bit of a tannic quality, wine-like. This is a real treat and an excellent beer.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.37/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into tulip. no bottled on date, but I assume the most recent bottling.

A: super dark brown, just about as close to black without being black. head is dark brown and tight. reasonable retention, spotted lacing.

S: rich dark chocolate. decadent. smells like dessert in a glass. little wisps of alcohol. some heat with it. big time roast. smells inviting.

T: lots of roast, super meaty. tobacco. cedar. sweet without being too sweet. roasty without being too roasty. this thing is big, yet very balanced. well crafter.

M: a lot of velvet. smooth. super smooth.

D: wow, this is what a stout should be. and similar to another offering of Dark Horse's, bottle conditioning is a plus. not sure how this holds up over time, but really satisfied with drinking it fresh. well done.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Tulip. 2014 vintage.

A- Pitch black. It pours thick and oily with almost no head. Just one layer of tan effervescence.

S-Tons of roasty chocolate goodness. Some sweet dried dark fruit too.

T- Excellent balance of dark roasted malt smokiness and dark chocolate. SUPER smooth. I seriously can't believe this is 11%.

M- Thick and coating with a low-medium carbonation.

D- A prime example of a great RIS. I wish this was I my distro.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

Pours like motor oil, more so than any other stout I've poured. No head, no foam, no bubbles, just thick black viscous liquid. Then as it settles a small dark brown head forms then dissipates into a small rim a dark brown bubbles. Nose is very roasty and grainy, surprisingly no alcohol at all given it's 12%. Slightly sweet and as it warms there's a tinge of booze but hardly noticeable.

Mmm, mouthfeel is smooth, silky and creamy with very light carbonation, perfect for a RIS. it clings to your mouth and sticks around just long enough. Taste is great, not much for hops but a tiny bite of hop bitterness on the finish, mostly covered by the roasted barley/coffee bitterness. There's some great burnt notes here that linger and give you a really nice smooth taste. Super easy drinking and very satisfying.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

yet another huge thanks to mizzouguy for the awesome noob bif box!

12oz bottle a little above fridge temp poured into a snifter. cant make out freshness info.

pours out super opaque black, like old motor oil, one of the darkest of the style. small, creamy dark mocha brown colored head. faded to a retenive ring. bits of lace at times.

initially lots of fruity aromas, mostly dark fruits, rasisons. definatly some roast and cocoa there, but seems unusually fruity considering how complex the taste is. a little alcohol as it warms.

great well rounded taste. all kinds of dark fruits from start to finish, heavily roasted, burnt malts, some very nice dark chocolate/ cocoa notes, a bit of burnt coffee and maybe some anise. lots of bitterness from the roast. almost a bourbon like alcohol in the finish with a dark fruity cocoa flavor that lingers.

big and chewy, love it... carbonation feels about right for the style, slightly warming.

a top notch imperial stout, really fits the RIS style so well. the aroma didnt really seem to fit the rest of the beer, but still top notch. now i really cant wait to try the BA version...

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Photo of MattyG85
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. No date on bottle.

Appearance: Very dark black and oily with no color coming through. One small finger of dark tan head quickly fades away with some tan foam hanging around the edges of the glass. Not much lacing seen.

Smell: Strong aroma of dark and milk chocolate with hints of coffee. Lots of sweet dark roasted malts and caramel. Some strong hints of dark fruits and vanilla. Some of the fruit has a bread like banana aroma which is quite interesting in a stout.

Taste: A solid mix of chocolate, coffee notes, vanilla, fruit, and burnt toasty malts giving a sweet and fairly bitter taste. One of the fruitier imperial stouts I've had although the sweetness is nicely kept in check. Light hints of molasses, syrup, and earthy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Heavy bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth with no sign of the 12% alcohol.

Overall: A very good take on a Russian Imperial Stout. Good balance of flavors and the 12% abv is hidden really well.

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Photo of Beezee
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Founders snifter at 38 degrees and then warmed up for a bit.

Appearance- Pitch black with a quarter inch head, great lacing

Smell -Roasted barley, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, dark fruit, maple and some booze.

Taste/Mouthfeel -Intense heavy roasted barley flavor but in balance with booze, cocoa and a bit of coffee. Very rich flavors. Carbonation is on the medium/heavy side and makes it very easy to drink quickly. Very slick, creamy and balanced. Not too sweet. Alcohol doesn't overpower at 12% but also adds a nice touch.

Overall -My first review! This beer and the rest of the Dark Horse stouts deserve more hype so I feel compelled to review. Excellent value at under 10 bucks a four pack. The bottle art is great -looks like outsider folk art. This RIS can stand with the best of them!

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Dark Horse. Listed ABV wsa 14%.

Served in an 8 oz snifter.

A - Pitch black with a small amoutn of light brown head.

S - A big chocolate aroma up front that compliemnt a robustr roasted malt profile. A big sweetness is present throughout and some molasses flavours in the background. Bittering is light. Extremely smooth for the ABV. The finish has a big roasty malt presence.

M - Med to full body. Silky and somewhat viscous.

O - A superb example of the style. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 8-7-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass but let warm to room temp

A - Poured black with one finger foam, nice dark tan lacing ring at the top, can't see if there is any carbonation present

S - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate with hints of coffee and vanilla

T/M - Full bodied brew, dark roasted malts with a nice smooth finish, notes of dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla very present

D - Very drinkable RIS got this as an extra from albgarza, big thanks! A great brew from Dark Horse, I have a couple of these so I will for sure enjoy this brew again. I highly recommend this brew

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to John for this bottle. Consumed out of my Capt. Lawrence LE tulip.

A- Pitch black, and thick. Pours with a thick chocolate colored head, but only about 1 finger. It sticks around for a few minutes.

S- Smells of sweet malt, chocolate, and coffee. I also get a touch of the hoppy/imperial smell as well, but it is not prominent. Reminds me of Zuhkov's.

T- Wow. A beautiful beer. The malt profile is nice and complex, and plays well into the hoppy aftertaste. The flavors are mostly chocolate and coffee. It starts out smooth and creamy, but finishes with a nice hoppy bite.

M- Very nice. While it looks really thick, it is not as viscous as some other beers of the style. The carbonation/body/and flavor all are very very nice.

O- I tried not to expect too much of this beer, and it really was a nice surprise. This is a great RIS, and I really don't have anything bad I can say about it. Can see why the Barrel aged version of this beer is so coveted.

-Gfunk

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a compeletely opaque black liquid that resembles a thick viscous motor oil. The head is a dark brown color, almost mocha like and very thick and creamy looking. The retention is ok and lingers for about a half a minute with a thick creamy lace covering the glass and falling a bit slower than the head itself

S-the nose is fair in strength and seems very sweet and slightly boozy. A hint of dark bitter chocolate and molasses tickles the nose lightly. Dark fruits of prunes and some lightly rum soaked raisins comes in at the back and is really the foundation for this aroma.

T-the taste is big and more balanced than the nose. The sweetness of prunes and raisin set in first. Lots of dark, slightly bitter chocolate has a good hold in the middle as the molasses adds a bit of complexity to the taste. The finish brings more of the same dark fruits with a hint of booze and a small hop balance with a light hop bitterness.

M-this has a nice full body and is extremely smooth and brings a nice creamy texture. Just enough carbonation to hold the body and give it a nice clean finish.

D-I love a big creamy stout and this lives up to that. It has hints of booze but nothing that really detracts from the overall great drink that this proves to be. The nose was a little sweet but the beer brought a great balance and complexity.

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Photo of ferrari29
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a snifter at Jerry's

A - Beer pours with a black "lights out" colored body and chocolate shake head; one finger head; good lacing; held very well

S - Beer has a strong dark chocolate scent; espresso coffee beans; dark fruit, figs and dates; touch of vanilla; cocoa

T - Cigar, oak, chocolate, dark roasted coffee, vanilla; very nice dark fruit, figs; maple syrupy; some toffee notes; dark cocoa powder

M - Full body beer with a chewy consistency; dry finish; espresso and dark chocolate aftertaste - 4.0

D - Awesome; great dessert beer; good balance of roasted malt and dark fruit

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

A- Really attractive Imperial Stout one finger dark brown bubbly head, pitch black color, dissipates to a nice brown collar around the glass, splotchy lacing, nice retention.
S- Wood, oak, nice roasted coffee presence, vanilla, chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, slight dark fruit presence (plums), nice aroma.
T- Really surprised by the sweetness in this beer, really tasty, coffee, chocolate, slight vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, roasted notes, oak is present, dark malts.
M- Big mouth feel, silky smooth, dry finish, coats the palate.
O- This beer is really good, drinking it I had no Idea this was 12% abv, the alcohol is hidden well, easy drinkability, one of the best easy to find Imperial Stouts I’ve had.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured in a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep black color forming a medium creamy thin bubbled and very dark beige head. Few spotty and lingering lacings left in the glass

S: Roasted malts and strong notes of dark chocolate and roasted malts. Flowery hops and booze in the very end

T: Slightly sweet upfront followed by roasted and caramel tastes. Biscuity. Dark chocolate, dark fruits. Oak. Complex. end is bitter which is a mix of roasted malts and hops

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium carbonation. Sweet roasted aftertaste

O: Great drinkability. Great Imperial Stout

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse: Plead the Fifth

Pours a very thick and syrup like dark brown and settles black hole. A fingers worth of orange tinted mocha colored head sits and dissipates quickly. Some oily lacing grabs the glass.

The nose is a bit overpowering with alocohol up front. Underneath lies some sweet and roasty aromas. Chocolate vaguely lingers behind it all. Lots of booze.

The taste offers much more than the nose thankfully. Massive roast overload that is akin to toasted nuts. Some caramel and a bit of cocoa come through next. A lot of heat on the back end.

The mouthfeel is thick as oil. Super viscous and syrupy. Awesome.

Overall, i love the cards being played here but aging will improve this beer by lowering the highly noticeable heat. I cant wait to try it again next time this year ( if i dont finish the other 5 bottles).

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours absolute midnight black with a tan head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring.

Aroma is charred dark grain, licorice, molasses, and dark fruit.

Taste is sweeter than I had anticipated from the nose. Dark roasted malts hit first, but then it changes to a layered burnt character. Some nice chocolate, licorice, and coffee notes. The finish is dry and woody with leafy green hop flavors in the mix as well as black currant and subdued alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full, thick, and sticky.

A very nice, balanced stout. Alcohol is amazingly well hidden. Is this really 12%? Smooth, drinkable, and complex with an interesting play between the malt, hops and dark fruitiness. Recommended.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got this off tap at Crunchy's in East Lansing. Was served in a snifter.

A: is a deep brooding, opaque black color with burgundy tinges with a short milk chocolate colored head with good amounts of lacing.

S: Voluptuous aroma, rich milk chocolate, barley, malts, coffee, brown sugars, dark fruits

T: Incredible taste, very sweet, a bit heavy, rich chocolate, toffee, coffee, malts, yeast, had a sort of tang to it, oh but it was smooth and rich, ABV is well masked

M: heavy full body along with medium amounts of carbonation, very rich and robust, viscous flavor

O: Overall, I bought this on a limb, it just sounded good and it was damn good. I recommend it for sure.

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Photo of SAxDRC5
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Black with a brown/tan head. leaves decent lacing

S: Dark chocolate and dark fruits. a hint of caramel, and maybe a touch of alcohol.

T: burnt malts, dark fruits and dark chocalate are the first flavors I get. a bit of sweet brown sugar and molasses in the middle and finished with a touch of hops and some warm alcohol. very complex.

M: a bit fizzy for the style. alcohol is more present than I would expect, warm alcohol feeling throughout.

O: pretty good. better taste than most imperial stouts, mouthfeel is the only downfall of this beer. I would like to try the bourbon barrel aged Plead the 5th, it may be a bit less fizzy.

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Photo of tigg924
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, dark brown in color, sediment at bottom of bottle

Smell: deep dark chocolate, faint alcohol

Taste: nice mix of dark and sweet chocolate, burnt malt, sweet sugar, and alcohol that burns

Mouthfeel: medium body, sweet with big time alcohol burn--slight bitterness on the aftertaste, medium carbonation

Drinkability: My second favorite in the line behind the blueberry, but I think that is just because I find the blueberry to be unique. This is a superb beer. It has the most alcohol burn I have tasted. It almost tastes like it has peppers. One of the best RIS I have had in a good long time. It tends to be on the sweeter side, but is nowhere near the cloying stage and far less sweet than Southern Tier. A great beer. Now that I have finished the series, I would rank them.

1a) Tres
1b) Plead the Fifth
3) Too Milk Stout
4) One-Oat
5) Fore--Smoke

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Photo of prototypic
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppymeal for this one. Been looking forward to it for quite a while.

2008 release

Pours a jet black, onyx color. Not a hint of light cutting through. A dark, mocha brown head rises to about one finger and receded quickly to lie on top for quite a while. Perhaps a little too much alcohol? Sticky, stringy lace clung to the glass.

The nose is strong and extremely enticing. A strong mix of roasted and chocolate malts jump out of the glass. Smells like bittersweet dark chocolate rather than sweet milk chocolate. Coffee is very much in the mix and smells delicious. I'm a coffee lover, so any coffee prominent stout is right up my alley. There's some light black licorice and molasses roaming about. Alcohol is noted, but isn't overly strong. It doesn't present itself as a big beer at all. Plead the 5th has a very deep, rich nose. It's extremely impressive.

The flavor profile is equally as impressive. Bittersweet dark chocolate is very prominent. There's a slight sweet fudge-like taste that mixes well. Roasted malts are flavorful and mix very well with the chocolate variety. Coffee/espresso are prominent. While it is a secondary feature, it's very assertive in its role and cranks up the flavor (and character) a great deal. Did I mention that I love coffee? To a lesser degree, molasses and black licorice add depth and more flavor. This is one big, badass malty imperial stout. Alcohol is easily noted, but I wouldn't have guessed it's 12% at all. There's absolutely no residual warmth. Finishes sweet and very malty.

A full, thick body and light carbonation give it a silky smooth, creamy feel. It's very lush. Dark Horse did a very nice job here. Drinkability is good (and deceptive). This goes down way too easy and doesn't feel as big as it is. My bottle doesn't list the abv, but I suspect the 12% listing is close to accurate. I respect the strength, but it really is a joy. It'd be every bit as enjoyable if it were 9% though.

Sorry, I'm not Pleading the 5th on this one. I'm very guilty of loving this beer and I'm not afraid to admit it. It's loaded with delicious flavor and is extremely impressive all around. To be fair, this bottle is roughly a year old. Perhaps more. It's drinking incredibly well right now. The abv could probably be shaved a little and it wouldn't skip a beat. That's about the only criticism I have. If you happen to land multiple bottles, by all means, put some back for a year or two. I promise it's more than worth it. Thanks a ton, Derek. This was excellent.

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Photo of Bung
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Black pour with brown/ruby highlights in the head. Head is not large and recedes to a thin ring. A good amount of film sticks to the glass. Roast aromas, some dark chocolate and dark fruits, port like. Smooth full body. Taste is a silky blend of dark chocolate, molasses and chocolate covered fruits. Some vanilla and barrel like qualitites. Finishes with some more chocolate and light espresso. Drinks well, but is filling. Another excellent stout offering from Dark Horse. They produce a nice line of beers under the radar in West/Central Michigan.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade with mynie, been on my wants list for awhile so I've been looking forward to it.

Pours a jet black, decent viscosity, not much head though and no lacing.

Smell is subtle but has a nice roasted malt aroma, hint of coffee and chocolate, and especially some dark fruit looming in my nostrils.

Taste is thick and chewy and coats the mouth nicely, strong roasted presence with a coffee/dark chocolate bitterness, slight dark fruit presence, the strength is very well hidden and has surprisingly little warming action.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,893 ratings.
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