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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
898 Reviews
THE BROS
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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:
898
Ratings:
3,833
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
556
Gots:
1,039
For Trade:
121
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 898 | Ratings: 3,833
Photo of Mavajo
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Straight from the pour, you can tell this one's gonna be a heavy-hitter. Total black with a dark brown head. Mild head at first, but before long it recedes completely and gives the beer a thick, flat appearance. Heavy and intense looking.

Good profile on this one. Dark chocolate, licorice, molasses and roasted malts. Lingers on the aftertaste a bit, but not offensive. Thick and chewy mouthfeel.

This is a pretty solid stout. I enjoyed the pure "heaviness" of this beer, but it seemed to come up just short of epic in my opinion. Damn good beer, though.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.72/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally planned on reviewing The Abyss for review 200 but didn't know if I could handle the bomber, so it may have to wait for 300....or hell, 201. Anyway, I'm been sitting on this beer for a while and decided lets go for the Plead the Fifth.

Review 200, poured into snifter...2011 Vintage

Appearance-Holy motor oil. Dark as can be, viscous looking. About a one finger dark brown head, you can just tell this is gonna be boozy. No retention or lacing as expected.

Smell-Dark chocolate, lots of it. Along with some booze, almost rum like. Vanilla, light licorice, slightly floral and nutty. Each whiff is different and have no idea what to expect from this one.

Taste-BIG booze. Taste is really refects the aroma with a vodka like taste, and after 2 sips I can feel it. Dark chocolate upfront with some cherries and vanilla. I feel like more flavors are trying to creep through as well, just not fully working with the alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Full bodied, moderate carbonation...and booze.

Overall-If this beer mellows out it could immediately become an A beer. The flavors are amazing, just wasn't fully ready.

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Photo of blakelive784
4.07/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to maximum12 for this extra!

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a thick motor oil black color with three fingers of thick, creamy brown head. Retention is damned impressive, especially at 11%, and the head leaves nice cream lacing as it recedes.

S - Sweet hot chocolates, cream, subdued roasted malts and toffee undertones. Favors sweet. A touch alcoholic. Dark fruit and fig notes. It's highly lactic, reminiscent of a milk stout. I'm missing any coffee or bitter roasted malts. Inviting.

T - Creamy semi-sweet chocolates perfectly counter the subdued roasted malt body. Vanilla and toffee undertones alongside dark fruit. It's sweet, without ever feeling unbalanced. The alcohol is makes a subtle presence on the way down. Nearly perfectly balanced. Masterful brewing.

M - Full bodied, creamy and silky smooth. Damn near perfect.

D - I'd never guess this is 11%. Wonderfully built and amazingly drinkable. A great success from Dark Horse.

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

Thanks to Alewatcher for the opportunity to try this one.

A: Dark as night. Slight mocha head that dissapates quickly leaving a tan ring.

S: Nice chocolate, dark fruit, sweetness.

T: Surprised that there's a little bit of a coffee here as I didn't pick it up in the nose. The chocolate and dark fruit are there of course as well as a spicey quality of some kind towards the end of the sip. Leaves a great chocolate taste. Hard to pick up the alcohol which is nice.

M: Smooth and creamy. Very good.

D: As I mentioned in the taste portion, the 12.00%ABV is hardly present making this an amazingly drinkable beer considering the alcohol level.

I looked forward all day to having a beer after work and I'm really glad I chose Plead The 5th. Thanks again Jeff.

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

Another beer courtesy of mymrnngjckt. I raise my glass to you, Kevin!

Appearance: This beer pours like motor oil into my DFH ale glass. The color is midnight black, with a very small amount of coffee colored head. What little head there is quickly fades away, leaving only a thin ring of bubbles where the beer meets the glass. Lacing is good, leaving some soapy rings where the beer settles.

Smell: Mostly bitter chocolate in the nose, but mixed in is some booziness which hints at the high ABV of this brew. Right off the bat I can tell this is going to be a sipping beer.

Taste: An interesting mix of bitter chocolate, some booze, and what reminds me of dark fruit - raisins? It's got the robustness of a big stout, but has some hints of the dark fruitiness you find is a good quad. Very unique, and rather tasty.

Mouthfeel: Thick, smooth, and creamy - everything you could ask for in an imperial stout.

Drinkability: No doubt about it, this is a big beer. Big flavor, and big ABV. As tasty as this is, there's no way you can have more than one of these in a night. All night drinkability...definitely not. But I'm sure going to enjoy it while it lasts. Definitely recommend - if you see it, grab it!

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

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

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Photo of jdklks
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Tyson for this one.

pours thick and black with a DARK brown head, like a mix between milk and dark chocolate, that swiftly vanishes, bubbling lightly as it goes. very thick, looks good. The smell eminating from the bottle upon opening promised me a truly "aromatic" experience; and when poured, it doesn't disappoint. hints of both chocolate and vanilla, with an undertone of bourbon/alcohol complimented by a trace of wood (oak?).

the flavor borrows all those attributes of the smell, but descends upon the palate with an undesirable sweetness reminiscent of blueberries. That same sweetness gives way to a bitter burnt coffee aftertaste that, though not bad at all, could be more impressive. not as complex as it would have you hope from its smell, which could be attributed to the intensity of the sweetness up front and the burnt bitterness at the end. huge alcohol burn on the way down, and though it isn't all that unpleasant, it doesn't add anything to the beer. let this beer age and cool down a bit.

I might as well be eating this with a spoon; the thickness is ridiculously awesome, and if it wasn't for the fact that it is slightly over-carbonated, the mouthfeel would certainly warrant a 5. a slight burn going down warms up your whole body, which isn't so surprising considering the 12%

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

Inky black with no head.

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

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Photo of glazeman
4.69/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Split with airohead2001. I looked all over southern Michigan and could not find this beer, even though it's from Michigan. Then, when I head up to Milwaukee, there it was. Glad, to have finally found this one.

A: Opaque black with a half finger tan head. Not too much head retention, but it does have a nice crown. Some lacing, but not as much as I would have liked.

S: The first thing I thought of when I smelled this is smores by the campfire...superb. Upon further inspection I get coffee, vanilla, and some sweet fruits.

T: Not as rich as other RISs, but oh so wonderfully complex. It's sweet to start, sour in the middle, and has a wonderful coffee, toast, and chocolate finish. The sweet/sour notes I get in the beginning/middle are of cherries and raspberries. As good as it gets, taste wise.

M: The antithesis of darklord as far as mouthfeel goes. This one is thin and light. At first I thought this was a bad thing, but for some reason it works well with the taste. Also, the thinness adds to the drinkability and makes it feel even better in the summer heat.

D: Out of this world. Probably the most drinkable RIS I have ever had. Alcohol is 100% hidden the flavors are robust and delicious, and the feel is light and makes for easy drinking. If you haven't tried this one you defiantly should.

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Photo of stxSS07
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A- Pours opaque black with a rich brown 2 finger head. Darkest head I've encountered on a stout

S- Ridiculous. Chocolate, cherries, roasted malt, figs, dark fruit.

T- Bitterness and roastiness up front from the malt, dark chocolate and dark fruits follow up and fill the mouth with flavor. Alcohol burn on the end cleans the palate and gets you ready for the next sip.

M- This is the blueprint for a perfect RIS. Coats the mouth with a smooth blanket of flavor, but the carbonation comes along to clean it up. Fantastic.

O- Probably the best RIS I've had to date. Drinks amazing for a 12% beer. Will buy all I can get my hands on.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Irony of ironies: After working in Michigan and unsuccessfully pursuing PT5, I find it back home in Minnesota. OK, so maybe I wasn't pursuing it that hard, still makes for a good lead-in.

Shared with the wife, poured from the bottle. My first impression: Oil spill. Plead the 5th gloops around in the glass, leaves a West Texas Crude sludge behind.

One whiff lets you know PT5 means business, the smell is strong on the alcohol, along with malt, coffee, yadda yadda.

The taste has a little bit too much alcoholic burn for me to give it a great score, but still a very tasty beer with a nice balance of carbonation and viscosity.

Very good beer, glad I finally made contact with it.

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Photo of thetomG
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sipping on this one as I type - its a LIVE review!

Very thick blackness with only a small amount of head even with a less than gentle pour. Strong aromas of a smokey coffee/chocolate... taste is a bit intense with a multitude of flavors very much like the smell but with an added bonus of some slight booziness as you drink. I'm nibbling on some dark chocolate as I sip and it is a very very nice combination!

IMO this is one to share as its high 12% ABV might be a bit much for one person, but overall I'd definitely recommend trying it if you can find it - particularly if you like BIG flavorful stouts.

Recommended!

:)

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Photo of tjkinate
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to millerbuffoon for this one.

A: Very subtle head with only little retention settling to a thin ring. Just one shade below black dark brown bodied brew. No lacing to speak of.

S: Molasses, dark fruits, hint of caramel, milk chocolate, quite robust vanilla notes.

T: Like the smell, but drier than expected. Strong molasses and bitter flavors, dark fruits, nice vanilla backbone. Really mellows out and improves as the beer warms.

M: Medium bodied for the style, slightly under carbonated.

O: Great beer that I have been wanting to try for sometime now. Now I just the BA version!

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Photo of bs870621345
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second time having this, better(?) on tap.

Pours jet black with a mocha colored head and minimal lacing. Looks like a stout should.

I get a lot of fruit, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, vanilla, and almost an oak like smell. It is not barrel aged but its got a few characteristics of such.

Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate dipped dark fruits with some vanilla and coffee mixed in. Seems like there are some spices as well. Alcohol is rather prevalent, but it is a really big beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, oily, and delicious. Lingers for a long time.

Overall, this is damn good. It brings to mind Lost Abbey Angel's share, but a hell of a lot better value.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle with a slow pour gave little head. Near black in color. Somewhat of a char-coal smell, hints of chocolate. Silky smooth, not heavy mouth feel. Plenty of coco, roasted flavors to cover the high alcohol. I left over smokey flavor in the end. Overall a very tastey easy to drink brew.

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Photo of HosP
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple bottle from kstrickler. Poured into snifter.

A- Pours thick black. Very little head to this, but still looks very nice!

S- Very nice nose. Bold aromas starting with chocolate and coffee. Some vanilla hints at the end with a nice roasted aroma. Just a bit of booze detected but pretty subtle.

T- Starts with a nice bit chocolate burst, a little bitterness to it as well. Mild coffee flavors supports the beer well. Some sweet vanilla flavors and a bit of dark fruit flavors round out the drink.

M- Full body and little carbonation.

O- Very solid and tasty beer. Nothing I can say bad about it, very much enjoyed it. Would LOVE to try the BA version of this. If not, would drink this anytime. Thanks Kyle!

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Photo of MarkIntihar
3.28/5  rDev -22.5%
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 Rizalini
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my tulip. The smell of chocolate fills the air as soon as I pop it open. It pours rather flat, but the smell is very inviting. The taste is exactly what I look for in a impy stout. Thick, rich, roasty, viscous, smooth to drink but lingers on the tongue. Hands down one of the best stouts I've had, period.

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Photo of 4amepiphany
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Comes close to Expedition Stout for me, which I 'd prefer juuust a little more than Pt5, but I will drink this RIS anyday. Wonderful color. Good balance & mouthfeel, just the right viscosity. Though I felt Expedition offers the complexity that I like.

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

Had on tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a thick black with two quarters of head.

S: Roasted malts, burnt sugar, chocolate, coffee and some dark fruits.

T: Sweet roasted malt, raisin, cherry, slight bitter chocolate and coffee. Just a hint of alcohol. This beer is so complex.

M: Thick body and good carbonation.

O: This is a sipper and not just due to the alcohol level.

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Photo of vic21234
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Refrigerated only briefly. This is the current year vintage.

A- Pours black with a small amount of light brown/ khaki head that quickly fades. Not much carbonation going on, and some lacing is apparent along the sides of the glass.

S- Great smelling beer. Nice aromas of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T- The smell carries on into the taste. I get coffee, chocolate, and an overall roastiness. There is also a nice hop presence towards the back of each sip. Very complex with a lot going on.

M- Thick, chewy, low carbonation, the alcohol is noted but not what one would think for 11% ABV. A nice sipper.

This is an enjoyable RIS, especially if you're into hopped stouts. I would love to get my hands on the barrel aged version. A few bottles of this one will be sat down in my cellar to see how it drinks after some hop fading.

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Photo of warmstorage
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, acquired in a great trade with jw347. Thanks!

Appearance: Deep opaque black, with moderate to solid medium brown, moderately dense head that leaves significant lacing. Beautiful.

Aroma: roasty boozy deep stonefruit tangy.

Taste: cherries coffee roasty toasty grain, some nuttiness, with a distinct bitterness, almost a sourness, on the finish. Hints at cherries.

Mouth: Very smooth, almost slick, full, moderately warm.

Overall: Very tasty and very drinkable, and something I'd like to have again.

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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 1Adam12
4.06/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice color when pouring it from the bottle to my mug. Small carmel colored head. The nose wasn't as strong as I was epecting, but coffee was out front. Nice taste, can really taste chocolate and coffee, but was lighter than i expected, but may be due to drinking many bourbon barrel aged stouts the last few nights. This had a little more carbonation than the stouts that i am used to from a strong stout. I can really catch the hops on the finish and the aftertaste lingers nicely of coffee. This was my only bottle and i do look forward to getting more of it.

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Photo of joberlander
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome appearance, pitch black with rich mocha colored head. Get a lot of dark chocolate on the nose along with roasted malt. The taste follows the nose perfectly, lots of dark chocolate. Full mouth feel and great finish with a hint of alcohol (which I personally love in imperial stouts. Really great example of an imperial stout. Definitely just became a go to when I want a traditional IS. This and Ten Fidy are the benchmark IMO.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 898 ratings.
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