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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 901 | Ratings: 3,854
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours pure midnight with a dense coffee milkshake head. Small dashes of lace stick to my pint glass. I love the color of the head. This beer is dark and beautiful. Very nice appearance.

S-Smells like Kahlua. Alcohol mixed with crispy burnt chocolate. A noticeably pungent scent. A bit of coffee as well, but the rich, deep chocolate tones are the big ticket here. Quite similar to a Mudslide.

T-The first thing I think of is a boozy drink made with chocolate syrup. Very sweet but also has some nice dark chocolate bitterness to it as well. The alcohol is clearly detectable but it really mixes beautifully with the chocolate notes. I almost get a toasty nutty flavor as well. A bit of coffee comes out too. All in all, the chocolate rules here. I might be catching some hoppy bitterness in the back end too.

M-Very thick and syrupy. Gooey is a great way to describe it. Carbonation is soft in comparison to the bulk of the feel. Feels big, tastes big...no feels huge, tastes huge.

O/D-I would probably enjoy this one a bit more in the colder weather months. Nevertheless, this chocolate-prominent stout is an ass-kicker and a tasty feast. This is a beast. I cannot even fathom what the Barrel Aged Version of this tastes like; must be why its considered a rare gem. This brew is also relatively affordable for the style coming in at about $3.80. Dark Horse is a great company; this brew is hard-nosed evidence of that.

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

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed only the slightest layer of brown bubbles over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Lacing is more or less non-existent, but the viscosity of the brew does leave a nice film when the glass is swirled, which I think should be worth something. Aroma is heavy oatmeal and dark fruits. Taste strikes first with the soft oatmeal, then the fruit chimes in for a moment, eventually giving way softly to more dark malts, and some coffee bitterness at the close. Warmth is evident upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth for such a heavy beer, no doubt the oats' doing, and drinkability is quashed a bit by the heartiness of the malts, but overall for the style this brew is reasonably approachable. Check it out yourself and make sure I've made the right call.

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Photo of barczar
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black with a frothy one inch mocha head that very slowly dissipates, leaving thick sheets of lacing. Thick layer of yeast sediment left in the bottle, which I also noticed in the fore.

Chocolate, soy, roast malt, and malted milk balls form the initial aroma. Hints of dark fruit emerge as it warms, bruised raspberries, along with some nutty toffee notes and tar.

Roast malt leads the flavor, lingering throughout. Slightly sweet dark chocolate is evident initially, becoming nutty mid palate, then finishing with modestly charred breadcrust and coffee. Dark cherries and ripe raspberries underlie the flavor profile, almost becoming overwhelming in strength. Mocha surfaces in the aftertaste. Becomes boozy, which actually is a good complement.

Body is full...thick and syrupy, with minimal carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

Somewhat of a chameleon in flavor. One sip is roast dominant, another dark fruit. Fairly complex, with enough roast to balance the dark fruit overall, and enough chocolate to keep things from being overly bitter. Seems to just lack something that would make it exceptional. Maybe bourbon...

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, "Plead the 5th" Imperial Stout. Served in a chalice, the beer pours very dark brown/black with a very small brown head which goes away quickly. The aroma is roasted malt, dark fruit, milk chocolate, coffee and molasses. Taste is similar to the aroma, there's roasted malt, milk and bittersweet chocolate, molasses, vanilla, coffee, dark fruit and a bit of soy sauce. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full. Not as thick as I expected it to be (but there's still plenty of substance to this beer), but it's very slick and smooth with low carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's not hard to drink at all. Overall I think this is a pretty good RIS, I'd definitely buy it again given the chance.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Traded dtx00 for this one. Thank you so much Sam! Poured into a tulip glass for sniffin!

A - Deepest darkest black thick beer liquid is best to describe. Even though the ABV is high I get the minimal of dark mocha colored head that sticks with some great lacing.

S - Deep dark chocolates, bitter chocolates, bakers chocolates, heavy roast with splashes of espresso and coffee. Has a very slight cherry tone which is minimal but slightly tart.

T - Ow man I am so excited! mmm wow almost as good as ST Chocolat! Dark chocolates slightly bitter which is pretty awesome and roast is balanced with slightly bitter coffee. Creamy and thick but tasty. I love how the chocolate tones in this is like a Hershey suryp sweet and thick!

M - Alcohol is so masked the only feeling of the ABV is the burn as it hits the stomach. So warming no wonder is a winter brew!

Overall Wow just wow! So big! So smooth! Such a great brew! A real treat of a beer that hopefully I can find around town next year as craft beer continues to grow.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottleneck says 3.20.14

A- Pours an intensely opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light brown head that retains well before diminishing to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves large clots behind on the glass.

S- Heavy dark roast brings notes of molasses, raisin, vanilla and...overripe banana? Wow, I've never smelled banana in a stout before but this isn't like banana notes you get from Belgians and Hefeweizens where it's fresh and sweet. This is banana that's been sitting a while and, since the malt also brings notes of chocolate it's like a chocolate-covered banana! Remarkable.

T- The dark roast sets in but is smooth at first bringing notes of dark chocolate, caramel and more molasses but then it progresses toward a heavy, bitter, charry finish. There's that banana again. I swear, this is uncanny. Booze is there and plays off the heavy flavors well resulting in a great drinkability for the ABV. Slightly sweet.

M- Creamy, thick and chewy. Medium-low carbonation and the fullest of bodies.

O- A powerhouse of a stout with intense flavors but a great delivery.

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Photo of avalon07
3.81/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a two inch, creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A pretty good aroma of malt, chocolate, and dark fruit.

T: Tasted of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit (plums, maybe?), a smoky quality, and a bit of caramel in the finish. This is a solid flavor, but not quite as powerful and dynamic as I like to have in a stout. Still, not bad at at all.

F: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this is a generally well done beer, it doesn't quite knock it out of the park. It certainly has its good points, though.

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

A - Pours a dark, engine oil black with a toffee colored head the quickly dies off to leave a a nice toffee colored lacing, sticky with legs as it clings to the glass.

A - Dark roasted chocolate/cocoa, black anise, light oak, and light smoke.

T - Dark roasted chocolate, coffee, some oak character, light smokey char, anise/licorice, and light sweetness that finishes with a char/dark chocolate roast bitterness.

M - Thick, full bodied, viscous, velvety on the tongue, sticky on the lips.

O - A very well brewed stout and every bit as worthy.

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Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 2. Big thanks to grub for cracking this one. 12 oz "Plead the 5th" bottle.
This stuff was your basic black with faint brown edges and a thin, dark brown cap of fine bubbles that settled to a long lasting collar. Sticky lacing. Rich aroma, lots of fruit and roast character, chocolate and cocoa, dried fruits and cherries, hint of vanilla. Reminded me of a fruit and nut chocolate bar. Chalky, dry roast flavour with medium to low hop bitterness. Very nutty with dark chocolate and cocoa notes, plus mild alcohol towards the end. Caramel and toffee sweetness. Faint licorice. Full bodied with low, very fine carbonation, alcohol warmth and a chalky dryness. Rich and delicious, just the way a big stout should be.

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

Pours a near black with minimal brown spotting in leiu of a head. Smell is of dark roasted malts, faint raisin and brown sugar notes, slightly alcoholic. Taste follows scent with the dark roasted grains, hints of chocolate and espresso, backed by rasin and prune notes, hints of molasses and a slightly boozy finish. Not quite full bodied, very smooth without being silky, could have been bulked up a bit. A nice RIS that doesnt overdo any particular aspect of its build. ABVs hidden suprisingly well.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.41/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Bell's tulip and consumed yesterday, 3/10/13 and going off of notes from previous consumption from approx. 1 month ago.

Aroma: Smells great, got a ton of chocolate malt and coffee notes. Roast character typical of big stouts also jump out here. Very pleasing and pungent nose. (4.25)

Colour: Pours thick jet black, really viscous. Not a ton of light gets through when I illuminate. Poured aggressively with a thick, 2cm brown head that dissipates in less than 30 seconds. Laces are thick but don't stick for long. I can recognize that its definitely a RIS for sure. (4)

Flavour: Really, really, really nice. Perfect winter sipper. Strong chocolate and roasted malt giving me cocoa, caramel, and a hint of espresso. Very much full of flavour. Gives off quite a bit of heat as it warms up which can be nice depending on when it's being quaffed. This time, it's perfect for a wet Wisconsin winter evening. (4.5)

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied, one of the thicker stouts I've had- it feels like pure motor oil. Well done Dark Horse. Also, carbonation is solid for the style and it leaves a smooth, resinous mouthfeel as I swish it around and swallow. I really like the feel of this beer a lot. (5)

Overall: Well done Dark Horse. I love the combination of the flavours and the mouthfeel. It really puts the malts out up front, and its still hoppy enough to balance it out while the entire combination goes down smoothly. The appearance and smell take second fiddle to the flavour and mouthfeel for sure. I'd like to try the BBPt5 just to see how much the mouthfeel improves! But in those departments I don't see much room for improvement- it's that good. I want to call this my RIS for the really dark, cold nights while Founders RIS is more of whenever I feel like a RIS. (4.25)

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

poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: dark black oily bodied beer without any head. Maybe a really thin ring of white. Poured the beer really hard, it might have no head because its right out of the fridge with no time to warm up.

Smell: deep roast and chocolate malts. Earthy and mild smoke. It smells assertive, but not overdone.

Taste: Bitter sweet chocolate or maybe bakers cocoa with a mild bitterness / roastiness upfront. Smoke and coffee notes blend nicely together midpalate. Just a hint of black licorice, leather, oak/woodiness, and molassess in the finish. The leathery note remains into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This beer is at the high end of a moderate bodied beer with low carbonation levels. The beer has a wonderful mouthfeel thats really chewy and creamy. Its also silky and smooth. No booze to this beer at all, it seriously drinks like is 7 to 8% ABV stout, but its 12%! Alcohol is very well hidden and thats an understatement.

Overall: I see why BB Plead the Fifth is such a great beer. This base stout is a really wonderful and enjoyable beer! Dark Horse really brews a nice RIS here!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter glass. No bottled date

(A)- Pours thick and black as night. No head ever appeared, but plenty of brown bubbles formed on the top.

(S)- Strong roasted component. Rather bready in aroma. Smells just like a slightly burnt cinnamon/ chocolate chip/ raisin bagel if there was such a combination (there should be!)

(T)- Lots of bready nuances combined with roasted coffee. Plenty of raisins mixed in with cocoa. Bits of molasses. Sweet yet almost neutral brown sugar.

(M)- Thick, thick stuff! Slightly grainy in the texture on the tongue, yet silky at the same time. Just a tad hot in the alcohol department, but I never would have guessed that it was 12%!!!!

(D)- This will stick to your ribs! What I really like about it is that the flavors dont all come out at once, but gradually one after another once you swallow. The complexities are delibrate, strong, and show themselves one after another; an adventure in the mouth so to speak. A definite sipper with no doubt though, that 12% really sneaks up on you! If you aged this for at least 2 years+, it would be absolutely incredible in my opinion.

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

12oz bottle that I can't remember where I got. It probably was moose3285 or Scoobydank. I've had this bottle for a year already, so I'm stoked to try it.

A: Definitely among the more impressive imperial stouts I've happened to gaze upon, this is about as black as my heart, and takes the light out of highlights. The high will be reserved for the KO, I guess. A dark brown head that hangs around surprisingly long caps this beer.

S: Super rich and thick. Soy sauce, teriyaki, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, licorice and cream are prominent. It's hysterical how *thick* this beer smells.

T: Pretty awesome. Opening up with a lot of roasted barley, this beer quickly segues into a melange of soy, teriyaki, licorice, treacle, and a slew of other good things that are bad for you. Like a sweetened dark chocolate, this is intense with the sweetness and the bitterness slugging it out on my palate. Hop character is non-existent, this is a exhibition of what dark grains can do for a beer. Oxidation is minimal, the one year that I've had this bottle hasn't imparted any raisin/port notes. The finish is great, it's long, bitter, mildly sweet with cocoa.

M: Spectacular. So freaking thick and creamy, this is what Dark Lord wants to be. The carbonation is a little higher than it needs to be, but hot damn, this awesome

D: Yeah, bye bye, sobriety. I'll see you on the morrow.

Notes: The nutter in me wonders how this beer would pair with black pudding.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.
A: Pitch black. No light passes through. A couple fingers of a creamy head. This is the definition of the word viscous

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder. Some burnt sugar. Almost everything I'm looking for in a stout.

T: Sweet carmel malt flavors mixed with bitter dark chocolate and a little hop bite mixed into the finish. Wonderful blend of sweetness and bitterness. .

M: Big body with a creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is just right.

I would have thought this beer was under 9% ABV if the label didn't say otherwise. More please...

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

12 oz bottle courtesy of grub! Day 2 of epic DrJay visit tasting.

Pours a deep, dark and opaque black, no light escapes, very thick brown head forms, drops a lot of lacing, settles down to a thick ring, looks like a RIS! Smell is great, tons of chocolate and fruit, toffee, coffee roast, very perfumy and floral hops, licorice, strawberries and cherries, dates, more roast and chocolate, awesome. Taste is great as well, chocolate, insane amount of roastiness, dry and chalky middle, toffee, some smoke, charred wood, burnt sugar, light bit of fruitiness, roasty bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down, but very smooth. Great imperial stout, very nice. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Inky black body. Tight crown of dark brown foam. Lacing is spotty.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, anise oil, dark currant, black licorice and heavily roasted coffee bean.

Flavor: All the aromas translate nicely to the palate in this beer. The chocolate and coffee and licorice. Yeah, there's a nice combination of flavors here.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Greasy and oily to an extent, which is good. But where's the body? The girth? This beer needs more heft. Carbonation is appropriately low. Alcohol accents nicely and doesn't become toxic at all in this high octane beer. Nicely done beer overall.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage opened on 3.13.13

A - Pours a motro oil blakc with a small dark brown head that slowly fades to one side.

S - Teriyaki, chocolate, soy, and sweet.

T - Similar to the nose at this point, but more booze and heet.

D - Low carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Heavy stout with a sweet teriyaki essence. Still enjoyable.

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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 drpimento
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this slightly warm, however it is still so good. Has a modest light brown head that settles after a bit down to a large island with a ring. Color is an opaque brown black. Aroma is very earthy, with roast, malt, a little hop, leather, cocoa. Flavor's like nose and very well balanced regardless of its commanding designation. And all of the components of the aroma are magnified in flavor - BAM!! In some sort of odd way severe yet warm and welcoming. Body and carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, longish, slightly alcoholic, and moderately long. A beer to be reckoned with. And slurped.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, but no date on the label, or any indication of the 12% abv strength.

pours black as used motor oil, with very dark tan head. but the head fades fast to a thin collar. aroma expands and intensifies as it warms - roasted coffee, cocoa power, booze.

taste is rich and bold. bitter dark chocolate, caramel, a little alcohol. lingering charcoal smokiness. definitely a sipper. thick, full body. coats the mouth, but enough carbonation.

overall - I really like, very good RIS.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle received in trade from iceicebaby. Served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque black with a quarter-inch mocha-colored head with copious ringlets that eventually settled into an inconsistent slick before finally congealing around the perimeter of the bowl. Lots of tiny bubbles lined the walls of the glass below the surface. Some bands of watery lacing, but poor adherence. Scents of dark fruit and chocolate malt. Flavors of roasted coffee, chocolate malt and dark fruit (perhaps cherries). Mouthfeel was very lively with a light carbonation burn across the top of the tongue. Body was a little thin for the style. Good drinkability; somewhere between an RIS and a foreign export stout. I have to say that I continue to be impressed by this brewery.

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

A- Pitch black motor oil ale pours into my pint glass. Not much of a head forms but a creamy pillow tops the beer. Small spots of lace from a creamy ring.

S- Dark roast malt comes off strong with a fairly harsh edge to it. Also get a dose of dark fruit, coffee, cocoa and caramel.

T- Definitely one of the harsher stouts I have had recently, but in a nice way for an RIS. The dark roast, burnt malt thrashes the palate with cocoa, coffee, dark fruit, licorice and caramel notes as well. A bit of alcohol, not surprising at 12%.

MF- Thick body supporting the huge flavor. An overall silky feel with some cream and alcohol warming to it. Acrid roast bitterness. Higher carbonation than I would prefer.

A very solid stout and a very strong one coming in at a heavy 12%, still big even in 2011. Dark Horse knows how to make a stout, I hope they do more with their numbered series because they were all pretty nice.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. Poured black with a thin light brown head, even with an aggressive pour. Little lacing on the glass also. Aromas were of roasted malts and chocolate with hints of black licorice. I expected a plume of alcohol, but wasn't overly present. Mouth-feel is medium to thick and thickens as the stout warms. Tastes are roasted malts, chocolate, and espresso. It is boozy, but the alcohol isn't overly present given the 12% ABV. Fruity esters reminiscent of ripe dark fruits are also present as it warms. Overall, a well done RIS! Really enjoyed this one, and would recommend it. I only bought a single, but would have been satisfied with a 4-pack.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,854 ratings.
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