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 | website

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:
900
Ratings:
3,842
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
17.02%
 
 
Wants:
558
Gots:
1,035
For Trade:
119
User Reviews
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Reviews: 900 | Ratings: 3,842
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 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 Retsinis
3.59/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer in a trade (thanks mnbearsfan)

2010 bottle

A: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, the beer pours black, with a dark brown hue. Very low carbonation, just film on top, then quickly became just a ring of tan cream bubbles at the edges of the glass.

S: Espresso, medium roasted malt, mild vanilla, scents of oak, and a touch of honey.

T: Licorice, bitter dark chocolate, touch of brown sugar, and smoked roasted malt. Light dry bitterness on the back end, like 70% dark chocolate, & charred oak. Alcohol is detectable, but not distracting.

M: Light oily texture, sweet but not sticky. Light carbonation.

O: Decent sipper, but half the 12oz was just fine. I had split this with my wife, who enjoyed what she had as well. I was hoping for a bit more roasted chocolate malt notes, a bit less licorice, and a more creamy mouth, but it is above average, just not great to me, in my humble opinion. I am curious what the bourbon barrel aged version adds to this beer though.

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

A- thick, black, tan head, half a finger that dissipated quickly

S- dark chocolate, coffee, bit of caramel sweetness but not much

T- similar to smell but I also get some berry notes. Really nice.

M- medium to full bodied, lighter than I had expected for a stout this big. Hides its alcohol well.

O- this is a tasty RIS. I don't like it as much as the barrel aged version, but it's a really tasty stout!

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

Pours the color of motor oil with a modest head of mocha suds. Aroma smells of peat, molasses, caramel, and nuts, with perhaps a hint of earthy hops and alcohol.

The taste features a full, intriguing malt profile including molasses, char, ash, and brown sugar. Earthy hops lend a healthy dose of bitterness that stands up to the sticky malt, while warming alcohol affords a fervent underpinning that bolsters the other flavors. Warming reveals shades of dates and figs as well. The body is nearly leaden, though the moderate carbonation and hops lend ample texture.

Overall, this is a unique and full flavored imperial stout. The burnt, ashen flavor and heavy body set it apart for sure, though the sweetness can be a little coarse down the stretch. Dark Horse makes some nice stouts, but this is justifiably their best.

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Photo of BBP
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- While I don't agree with other reviews saying that this is one of the darkest stouts, it's quite dark and the only color that isn't black is in the ruby highlights. When I have a stout I look for two things. The first being darkness, which Plead accomplished, and the next is a full persistent head, which it didn't. I barely even got a head, or a film for that matter. Good thing appearances aren't everything.

S- Alcohol sharpness is a very evident welcome in the aroma. The first initial thought I had was dark fruit, and then caramel sweetness. Some coffee and chocolate can be detected just before the dark fruit begins to take over.

T- Very elegant tasting for a 12% stout. It's not really pungent in any way, but it's the furthest thing from bland at the same time.

Caramel, chocolate, licorice, and roasted malt pop out from an initial taste. I found it intriguing how sweet this is initially only for the roasted malts to reassure you that it has balance. The coffee also slyly creeps in to add some bitterness as well.

The taste is a real treat. With an extra little bit of oomph, I could see myself giving the 5 for taste rating.

M- Creamy smooth and a body that's as full as you want it to be. The finish is dry and sticky, as the flavor clings long after the sip.

O- I see this as a stout that I need to stock up on when I see it.

I'm starting to notice a trend with Dark Horse in that many of their brews aren't over the top, but many are done in a classy way. I think they're going to fall into breweries that I trust enough to buy without looking into their beers beforehand. Wish I picked up more of this.

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Photo of uvachief
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Like many other reviewers, I did not feel this beer lives up to the hype. For the money, Founders RIS is better. Poured from a 12oz bottle chilled into a brandy snifter. Pours a deep black with barely a finger of tan head from an aggressive pour. Head dissipated quickly. No oily residue on top. Smells of dark bitter chocolate, hops, and dark fruits. Little to no coffee smell. Taste is much thinner in the mouth than I would have preferred with hardly any coffee or espresso finish. Dark roasted malts, toffee, bitter dark chocolate and hops. No vanilla. Dark fruits like raisins or plums/prunes. Hoppy and slightly bitter after taste. This is not my preferred RIS. It's very good but not great.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.87/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass at the South Park Tavern in Dayton, OH.

A - No real head to speak of. Very thin lace across the surface. Tar black and solidly opaque.

S - Light, but consistently present, nose of roasted malts with a bit of dark chocolate.

T - Yummy dark chocolate flavors, well-roasted malts, some hints of dark, dried fruits. Almost reminds me of a Belgium dark ale, but with more dark roast and chocolate and far less fruit. A bit of a boozy backend does give it a hint of having a medicinal quality, like Jagermeister. Not at all smokey or burnt like some stouts.

M - Somewhat creamy, with just enough carbonation to let you know there's CO2 present. Medium body. Good structure and nicely integrated. Moderate finish, but soft. This beer really needs to be on nitro.

O - Take a standard English porter and then intentionally push it toward a stout via the malts. This is that beer. Delicious and very drinkable. I was very surprised to discover its 12% ABV, both because it came in a pint glass and because it's not at all that boozy or big-bodied. If I liked the stout end of porters, I could make this a regular.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a new snifter. My parents got me this bottle for Christmas, thanks!

A - very good looking beer. Forced pour produces little head, foam starts dark brown like an RIS, but lightens as it settles. Bubbles swirl on the surface, making it look alive.

S - phew, not good. I don't know if it's my glass, but it smells sour, almost like a Belgian dark. Not what I expected and totally unpleasant. I can't even stand taking my customary deep whiff.

T - good, creamier than I expected, though my initial expectations were kind of rocked by the odor. I like the milky flavor working with the malts to cover up the alcohol (which is undetectable even at 12%). Not a great big slap in the face like most specialty double stouts from Michigan breweries.

M - the consistency is really interesting because of the aforementioned milky flavor. It's a smooth drink to be sure, and the alcohol is clandestine in a very dangerous way. If this bottle's smell is a fluke, I could drink more than one of these in a sitting.

O - I'd love to try this on tap, but another bottle may be out of the question, assuming it's not my glass making it smell like this. Dark Horse is a great company regardless, I love the sheer variety of stouts they produce.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a dirty motor oil black, plenty viscous, a nice mocha colored head that fades quickly leaving behind very little lacing.

S - Very chocolatey, hints of dark fruit, licorice, coffee, and oak. Man this is a good smelling brew.

T - Oh man, hits you with a ton of bitter, dark roasted coffee. Nice, bittersweet chocolate, a hint of that fruity sweetness. Touches of vanilla, oak, and almost like smoked charcoal. Delicious.

M - Sticky, full, roasty. Perfect mouthfeel.

Overall - Blown away by this one, truly outstanding.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a duvel glass.

A: pours black with 3/4 of a finger of chocolate colored head.... Head hangs around for a min before dissapating into a film, not much lacing. Looks delicious!

S:chocolate and sweet dark malts a bit of roastyness... Notes of caramel, vanilla and alcohol.... The aroma here is delicious. And very well rounded.

T: wow... This is delicious, taste is like a
Beautifully amplified version of the nose, chocolate and roasty notes, toasty caramel and a touch of vanilla... The alcohol is here, but considering the 12% abv it is very well hidden... All the flavors work so well together here and are very Nicley rounded. As the beer warms I start to get notes of dark cherries.

M: heavy bodied a slick, on the thick side with tight medium carbonation.... Dry and nivley bitter on the finish very nice.

O: another one of my favorite IRS this one does a great job of hidding it's abv with loads of roasty and toasty delicious chocolatyness.... Awesome!

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.86/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer that looks like melted rubber, this one is thick. It pours and practically doesn't move. It produces a two finger brown head that has very fine bubbles. This thing was a bit overcarbonated because when I poured with a medium technique, it foamed like it was a straight down the middle. The head left in the end and all I was left with was this tar that barely resembled beer.

The smell was of dark burnt earth and roasted espresso. Lots of bitterness with some chocolate and light fruit notes.

The taste was pretty dark, in terms of dark fruits and malts go. Some earthy bitter espresso with characters of cherry. Not a lot of coffee, but what there was tasted like espresso.

The mouthfeel was astringent, and the beer felt heavy on the tongue. It was bitter and earthy, and overall enjoyable. Some roast and some burnt flavors that produces an interesting mouthfeel.

This was a good beer to have, and I am glad I got the opportunity. It did not use the usual characteristics that I love in RIS, but went with a darker roasty spin.

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Photo of kels
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bamadog for throwing this in a care package for me! Review is on the bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours the deepest, darkest black and looks very flat and watery. There is a very fast-fading foamy hot-chocolate brown head, which leaves a slight tan ring that floats atop the beer along the walls of the glass. A milky looking swirl sits in the center of the surface. Beer is completely opaque. Very little, thin, watery washes of lacing hang around momentarily before slipping back into the liquid while I drink.

Smell: Smell is a really nice blend of chewy, roasted malts and sweet, milky chocolate. The alcohol hints at itself in the nose, but overall the aroma is strong without being too strong, sweet without being too sweet and roasted without being too roasted.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Taste is full of slightly bitter, slightly sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and a maple syrup-like presence. A little bit of hops show though in the aftertaste kind of like green apples. The taste is moderate to mild for the style, which isn't a bad thing. It's balanced and flavorful. The feel is moderately full, with fairly low carbonation as indicated by the appearance on the pour. It leaves a pleasantly sticky and heavy feeling on the palate.

Drinkability: Pretty high for this style, as it's not too overpowering.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Founders snifter. Got this bottle in a trade with mothman.

A - Pours thick like motor oil. Not any motor oil but I don't feel like going to the mechanic so I'll push it another couple thousand miles motor oil. Menacing dark brown head rests on top for a bit before running off.

S - Nice roast flavor with a hint of sweetness. Some vanilla notes and a bit of booze.

T - Again some roast with a good bit of chocolate malt. Some boozy notes mixed in as well. More and more chocolate as this sucker warms.

M - Thick body with a light carbonation.

D - A sipper for sure. A nice dark chocolate flavor dominates this one on top of all the other normal flavors you will find in a RIS. I would pick this up if I saw it on the shelves just to see how it aged. Certainly a solid RIS as is though.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as pitch with a quickly dissipating dark brown head. Lots of lacing. Aromas of chocolate, burnt sugar, coffee, and dark roasted grain. Flavor follows the aroma with chocolate and roasted grain dominating. Finishes dry with a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. Full bodied with very little carbonation, this is a very smooth Imperial Stout. Overall, a very well crafted beer that goes down surprisingly easy in spite of the 11% ABV.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark black with a decent amount of caramal brown foam forming the duvel glass. The taste is of very subtle dark chocolate with a hint of espresso like coffee. Very damn smooth and no indication of the 12% at all. Very nice beer and easy to drink. Glad I have another bottle of these left. Dark Horse is impressing me a lot so far.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in the RIS BIF

Pours a solid pitch black body, dark chocolate 1 finger head, prolly the darkest head i've seen. Too bad it disappeared almost instantly :( . Head retention wasnt very good and lacing was above average. Appearance gets bump in score for such a nice looking head, enough though it didnt last long

Smell is of rich, roasted coffee beans covered in dark bitter chocolate. There is also some dark dried fruit similar to the ones found in a doppelbock. Ends with some sweet soy sauce and alcohol. Hops arent really in the mix

Taste is of strong, roasted, burnt malts. Very strong coffee is also present. Lots of sweet malts offset the alcohol which is definitely present at 12 percent. Hops are moderate.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is on aggressive side but livens up the thick consistency of the beer. Love a nice creamy head on a beer and sadly this one had none what so ever.

This beer was overall a sipper but the drink ability was good. Could prolly finish more than one but it would take awhile. Kinda reminded me of Mephistopheles from Avery. Prolly wont have another opportunity to try this beer but glad I did

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Photo of bound4er
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Jet black appearance with a thin, tan head. Smells rich, sweet and fruity for an impy stout - dark chocolate, vanilla and bubblegum come to mind. Taste follows the nose with more chocolate, vanilla and tutti frutti sweetness. Both alcohol and hops are well hidden though the former is good but the latter is not in my book. Rich and creamy mouthfeel with almost no carbonation. This beer is rich and tasty but its sweetness and lack of any detectable hops to clean up the finish makes it a bit tiring to finish a 12 oz. bottle in one sitting.

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Photo of mchegash
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.75/5
Pitch black, very little head however, just a very thin layer of medium brown head which almost immediately dissipates down to a thin ring around the edge of the glass

Smell - 3.75/5
Alcohol is the dominant scent, with some dark malts, chocolate/cocoa notes. Dark fruits, perhaps a bourbon-esque alcohol quality.

Taste - 3.75/5
Smoky, sweet, earthy malts. Strong cocoa notes in the aftertaste. Some dark fruit, a little metallic tinge and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium-full body. Medium-light carbonation. Smooth and crisp.

Overall - 4/5
Overall this was a decent beer. I liked the cocoa notes and the smooth feel. I would have liked more foam, for the aroma to be less boozy, and for the taste to be less metallic and earthy.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.62/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into cervoise. from notes

A - Pour an inky black with brown edging. Zero head whatsoever or lacing.

S - Roasty, chocolate, some leather and molasses

T - Very good roast coffee with helping bittersweet chocolate. I pick up some pepper and a hint of orange bitters. Some charcoal on the back end.

M - Medium to heavy, flat, could be a touch thicker

O - A good beer, not overwhelming but solid. It is a bit harsh/hot but some age might help that. No vintage dating I could find on the bottle. I'd have it again but won't be actively seeking it.

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Photo of biglite351
3.71/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - black as tar, tall dark thick head.

S - heavy dark roasted malts, raisins, chocolate, not bitter but very inviting.

T - heavy deep roasted malts, raisins and a bit of sweet chocolate.

M - thick but not much tingle in the mouth. Burn in the throat from the alcohol.

D - the heaviness of the flavor and feel, plus the brim from the alcohol make this a short drinker.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage from bottle to Kuhnhenn glass

Pour: Oh so black with minimal half finger dark milk chocolate colored head. Falls to a fairly large collar along the edges.

Smell: Dark roasted and bittersweet cocoa. Some black licorice and dark fruit/fig notes. A touch of caramel sweetness and a fairly big hit of booze.

Taste: Intriguing in that there is a push and pull between big roasty notes and sweetness that compete with each other at the front end. I've actually never had a stout that had this initial complexity at the very front. The roasted bitterness wins out taking hold and continuing through the swallow. There are some of the dark fruits mixed in but this is a very big well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: Super creamy and smooth. Not as viscous as the dark appearance would suggest but yet still somewhat palate coating. A little sticky.

Overall: I have not had anything like this. It is quite complex and a well crafted big complex RIS. The BA version of this is simply outstanding while this is highly enjoyable.

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Photo of dlello2
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Super dark and viscous. Dark dark brown with just a hint of red head.

S - Roasty. Definitely dark fruit.

T - Very nice. Chocolate, not as much fruit, almost no alcohol for 12%. Some signature dark horse smokiness shows up at the beginning and end.

M - Viscous and smooth. Good amount of carbonation.

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Photo of mhksuccess
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from bottle into founder snifter glass
dark no head just a little line
smell is malt and heavy chocolate
taste is so smooth nice slight chocolate not as much as the smell would indicate
nice mouthfeel not super thick or thin great consistency
little lacing on the glass
would definite get again this is a class stout very nice

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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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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 900 ratings.
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