Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.31/5
Outstanding
4,033 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#505
Reviews:
943
Ratings:
4,033
pDev:
7.89%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
566
Gots:
1,077
Trade:
111
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,033 |  Reviews: 943
Photo of TimG_0913
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I am glad that I was able to get this in a trade. It was really enjoyable and refreshing to my palate

101 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12FL.OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer was purchased in the winter of 2011-12. There is not date that I can find on the bottle.

A - This beer pours like motor oil. It is black as night with absolutely no light getting through. An inch of cocoa head settles on top and surprisingly, is fed by some thin lines of bubbles. The head is so thick and creamy that it looks like mud on top of the beer.

S - On the nose I get dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt.

T - This is where it gets a little strange. At first I tasted a delicious RIS with dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and even a little dark fruit. Then I poured in the last inch of the bottle and it changed. It became more bitter and the alcohol became noticeable.

M - Thick and chewy. Very smooth

O - I'm not sure what to think. Everything started great, as expected, then the sediment made it bitter and boozy. I will leave an inch in the bottom of my last bottle of this vintage.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle into a tulip.

Appearance is dark, with a small light tan head that doesn't last very long. The aroma and taste are cocoa, a charred character, a very slight bitterness, and a bit of vanilla. It's very smooth, almost mellow, which is unexpected in a big imperial stout.

I'm impressed, but not blown away. Not in the same league as Ten Fidy, or some other Impy Stouts, but it's very good.

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Photo of elkinbrown
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of CHickman
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours spent motor oil black color with a gorgeous cascading tan head that comes up like a Guinness to a dense creamy 2 finger khaki colored head that was full of tiny bubbles, dissipating very slowly, leaving really good foamy lacing coating the sides, rings as it went down and a creamy layer on top.

Smells of iron or rusted steel up front, followed by cocoa powder, dark chocolate, piney hops, espresso, oats, black licorice, faint vanilla, burnt grains and charcoal/smoldering campfire wood. It almost smells like a metallic s'mores that has fresh ground coffee mixed in and a covering of cocoa powder. Nose is a nice mix of chocolate sweetness, bitterness and earthy notes that stays complex the whole time as it kept me guessing as to what would come next. There are some fruits in the mix, but the charred notes take control and mask the 11% ABV extremely well.

Tastes very similar to the nose with heavy chocolate and metallic notes up front, followed by the char, dark chocolate, vanilla, toffee, caramel, burnt grains, charcoal/smoldering campfire wood, piney hops, espresso, fresh coffee grinds, white pepper, peat moss, oats, black licorice, biscotti and a whole bunch of earthy notes that give it some texture. Can't tell is the bitterness comes from the dark chocolate/cocoa, coffee or piney hops, but it's present and a nice addition to the brew. The bitterness adds balance to the sweetness and malt base, letting some muddled dark fruit peek through the burnt chocolate malts which almost seem smoked as they are very rich. Very tasty indeed, masking the ABV completely.

Mouthfeel is thin and smooth for a beer with such high alcohol, it's very easy drinking, very complex and flavorful as it allows the charred malts to blend with the hoppy or coffee bitterness to act like the ying and yang of the RIS experience. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, with mild carbonation and a semi-dry finish that trails off with a mild sweetness and fine charred, roasty notes. Glad I was finally able to get my hands on a 4 pack as this was a very tasty beer.

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Photo of crossovert
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't get the label art, I don't get the name, but this beer wins an award - the darkest beer I have ever seen. Pitch black, no ruby on the edges, nothing. The head is large and creamy caramel colored. It looks like motor oil while pouring, it looks like this is going to be some seriously thick stuff. There is a nice frothy head that stays on top as you drink. Unsurprisingly there is a decent amount of goop left in the bottle still after the pour.

There is a lot fo rasty malt and molasses on the nose with some alcoholic and sweet sugar hints. There are hints of figgy plumbs.

The mouthfeel is super thick, full bodied, and creamy, though there is a steady amount of carbonation, though low. Tons of roasty, dark, sweet malt flavors bathe the tongue, with heavy roasted malt, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, sweet/burning alcohol and sugar, bitter coffee, and hints of dark fruit. The alcohol doesn't burn and the sweetness isn't cloying but both are definitely noticeable.

This is one of those deceptively drinkable big beers, the alcohol content might be 12 but this one drinks more like a 6 or 7, the alcohol warms the throat after the drink, but quaffs of this wouldn't be out of the question, though I recommend sipping and savoring this brew. My lips are covered in sticky goo after a few sips.

Overall this is one big ass, big bodied, big flavored, high octane brew that should be tracked down at all cost, rivals the best of the Russian imperial stouts.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

We crack the top and pour a brew of dark black into our Founders snifters It holds a two finger head of espresso colored bubbles, which show tight uniformity and nice retention. This is easily reproducible, leaving islands of lacing around the glasses, and a crescent moon of bubbles crowing the top of the liquid. No haze or sediment is appreciated, and carbonation appears to be moderate. The aroma is amazingly deep, with richly roasted and char-burned black, coffee, and chocolate malts. Milky vanillas, red cherries, plum, and the alcohol all add sweetness. Otherwise the nose is taken up in a whirlwind of complexity, with campfire ash, buttery diacetyls, faint pseudo-woodiness, cornmeal, vegetal metallics, chocolate wafers, light grassy hops, heavy vinyl plastics, and light apricot fruitiness. With warmth comes anise and black pepper spiciness. Our first impression is that the flavoring is wildly roasty and just as smoky as the nose would suggest, with big chalky dryness and surprising sweetness on the back. As we sip, the taste opens with deeply charred and roasted malts, smooth vanillas, sweet toffees, marmalade sugars, gingerbread cookie breadiness, dark chocolates, fruity cherry booziness, and green bark. The peak hits with continued dark pit fruitiness and booze, with that bitter char base, grass and bark, mineral, bittered muskiness, and chalky yeast. The ending wash comes with ash, tobacco leafiness, chalkboard, insanely roasted cereal grain, macerated strawberry fruitiness, brandy syrups, unsweetened dark chocolate nibs, banana esters, fiery booze, and fusel chemical medicinals. The aftertaste breathes of graphite and pencil eraser, burnt wood ash, roasted coconuts, chalk, bitterly roasted coffee and chocolate malts, lightly fusel booziness, mustiness, pear fruitiness, crumbling tree bark, and plastics. The body is full and syrupy, and the carbonation is medium, but with stark initial prickle. Each sip gives thick slurp, smack, cream, and froth, with pleasant finishing pop. The mouth is left heavily coated, but with quickly drying chalky astringency across the tongue and hard palate, with sugary stickiness to the corners of the mouth. The abv was appropriate, and the beer is a slow sipper.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its aroma. This aspect was just so over the top robust, with woodiness from out of nowhere, char and ash, fruity sweets to match, and general complexity. The blend really comes through and each individual component finds its mate, striking harmony. The flavoring follows nicely, with just as much punch through the taste. Here, however, things did not strike as beautiful a balance, but rather just swam together in the same pool. The booze was way forward, even for the style, but it did offer some nice sweetness towards the front of the sip, contributing to the flavoring itself in a way that many beers lack. The sip was slurpy, creamy, and coating, helping to offset some of that brutal chalky astringency. This is a huge, impressive offering from Dark Horse, and we can’t wait to try the barrel aged version.

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Photo of jheimbigner
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheWiredDJ
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fine beer from Dark Horse right m'here. Thanks to gklover1 for this baby.

Looks fantastic. Just about black, rich pour. Off-brown, dark milkshake, coffee head. Looks a bit like BA Yeti.

Pleasant rounded aroma of black leather, some nice soy, coffee beans, toasted caramel, baked chocolate. Some dark fruits and toffee.

Flavor follows the aroma . Well balanced between the coffee, chocolate, toffee and black fruits. Some grassy hops and soy underneath. ABV is well hidden here. This a rich, but not overwhelming, beer. Slight bite on the end that lets the fruits snap away and the malt to linger a bit. Somewhat smoky.

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Photo of Bombers4Benedict
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, dark, dark with a thick finger and a half light brown head. Very appetizing.

S - Sweet is the only thing that can encompass what my nose experienced. One moment is caramel, the next is creme brulee/brown sugar, the next is subtle spiciness.

T - At first this one comes on heavy. I was worried the sweet smell was an attempt to hide the large ABV (12%) but rest assured my friends, this one was smooth and very pleasing. I would describe it as a hard creme brulee. There was a little bit of noticable alcohol but that quickly vanished into a nice sweet, malty aftertaste. The warmer this beer gets the more the alcohol stands out, though so my suggestion is to sip quickly. Obviously, this left my tongue just wanting more and more. At a tasting a week ago this one stood out in a line up of 20 or so stouts as the desert like characters gave this one independence. I was happy to revisit, no doubt.

D - Although I loved it I had to keep it at 1 and would be suprised if others could do more. The sweetness sweetness is very desirable however can become overwhelming.

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Photo of GradyS1
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was part of a great box sent by EROCK75, great selection.
This pour is very thick, looks like oil being poured from a 12 oz bottle, very small head with a nice lacing that hangs around for a few minutes. I was really impressed by the density of this beer.
I pick up hints of chocolate, molasses, licorice and small amounts of roast and alcohol.
Same on the taste, good amount of chocolate and licorice, the alcohol comes through a bit more
Extremely silky and smooth on the mouth feel, roasty in the finish, medium to full bodied

This was a great stout and I am grateful for getting a bottle of it. The appearance and mouth feel were world class. Would love to try the BA version of this

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Photo of Extrajoker00
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of smittybrew83
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of LloydDobler
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into tulip.

Black. Dark brown head subsides into a thin film, but keeps some nice lacing. Lots of chocolate and smokiness. Alcohol is present but not alarmingly so.

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Photo of Greasy
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of andrewjraab
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a opaque oily black with a dark brown pancake batter (oily) head. Wonderful smell of campfire, malts, vanilla, roasted malts, coffee. The taste follows the nose with some added semi sweetness up front (raisins, figs) followed by a drying dark chocolate. Some smoke detected in the back end. Overall this is a must have kick ass RIS. I purchased two wight the idea of aging one, but I don't think I can wait. Phenomenal brew.

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Photo of barczar
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
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 SerialTicker
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Update ... I had this a couple months ago and enjoyed it, but wasn't blown away. Adjusted some ratings.

*RE-REVIEW 3/27/14*

Appearance: Pitch black with no light getting through. A finger of dark brown head. Doesn't stick around at all like it did the first time I had it, but still a beautiful looking beer.

Smell: As I remember. Still unbelievable, and one of the best smelling beers ever. My last review nailed it as far as the aroma is concerned with coffee, chocolate, caramel, and the cinnamon/nutmeg sort of aroma. I don't so much get any dark fruits this time around, but it still smells absolutely insane.

Taste/feel: Ah, here we go -- was I out of my fucking mind before? This stuff is great! There's a nice mouthfeel that's quite heavy but extremely so (a bit of a surprise given the ABV, to be honest), and the carbonation is a bit higher than what I'd consider mild, which works very well with a beer as big as this one. The flavor of this one is overloaded with massive coffee, roast, and chocolate with dark fruit undertones. The aftertaste is warming with a slight alcohol flavor and lingering roastiness that gives a very slight ash flavor. It suits the style and ABV very well to say the least. Surprisingly, this is fairly balanced. Naturally you get a bold roasty bitterness, but that dark fruit sort of sweetness is definitely there to help out. I'm not sure where I got the hoppiness last time I had this beer or if I was just incredibly ignorant, but anyway, this is a super nice beer and worth the $3.50 a single.

The smell of this beer has to be the best of any stout I've ever had, most especially when the brew has a head on it. The taste is awesome, but strangely, for some reason I can't explain, I want a bit more out of it. There's a good amount of alcohol presence (warms the belly) and a lot of good dark chocolate, roastiness, and some dark fruits in there, but a bit more of a punch would be welcome. At the same time, as it stands now, it's an enjoyable as all hell ALMOST too drinkable 11% bomb of an Imperial Stout. Not the very best Imperial Stout I've ever had, but boy is it phenomenal.

*ORIGINAL REVIEW*
Appearance: Midnight oil with a spectacular two finger head that stays around longer than I'd ever expect out of an 11% beer.The head is brown and super creamy... looks outstanding. (5/5)

Smell: Unbelievable. Coffee, chocolate, caramel, dark fruits, and even notes of ... cinnamon? There's an interesting note in there that I wasn't at all expecting. Smells fantastic. (5/5)

Taste/feel: Monstrous... what else would be expected. Wow. Major bitterness, dark fruits, a lot of roastiness, and quite a lot of alcohol warmth on the finish. The smell was sweet and inviting, but the taste is just about the polar opposite. A lot of roast flavors with plenty of dark fruits, with an odd bitter, and somewhat sour finish. Alcohol is pretty noticeable in the taste as well. The hops in this one aren't there in the aroma, but come out in the taste with the bitterness on the end of each sip. I'm not sure what to make of this beer. It smells very nice (smelled great when I first poured and there was a large, pillowy head), but the taste is barely average. A lot of bitterness, with tons of warmth, and tastes of alcohol and dark fruits. It's certainly not your average RIS. The feel of this beer is actually somewhat thin for an RIS, in my opinion. The beer doesn't coat the mouth very much, but it does have a nice "slickness" to it. (3.25/5, 3.5/5)

I'll have you know that I'm not the biggest RIS fan, but this one is just odd. I had extremely high hopes after seeing it and, especially, smelling it, but Plead the Fifth just doesn't please my taste buds all that much. If you love a big and (somewhat) unusual beer, Plead the Fifth is a must try... it's quite distinctive. Though, I think, not for the best of reasons. At $3.50 per bottle, I'm certainly glad to have tried it (since I like to appreciate a big stout time-to-time), but I'm not sure when I'd have it again... but if I did, I'd keep it in a cellar to mellow it out... this thing's pretty harsh.

3.5/5

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Photo of paresis
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bentnorton
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of doughanson78
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to thabigmp for this one.

A: Very dark pour. Pitch black in the glass. About a half finger darker mocha colored head that fades quick to a little ring around the edge of the glass. Leaves a decent amount of sticky lacing.

S: Big dark fruits, cherries, figs, and raisins. Light chocolate and roasted coffee. A bit of alcohol.

T: A bit of dark roasted caramel upfront. Roastiness and dark fruits throughout the middle, cherries and figs, with a hint of raisins and dates. Finishing in sweet chocolate and a light bitter coffee and a touch of alcohol. A very slight metallic taste.

M: Full bodied, but on the lighter side. Medium light carbonation. Very creamy. Very light warming.

O: A very good Imperial Stout. The alcohol is present but not overbearing at all. Gonna be great with a little age. Would love to try the Bourbon Aged version.

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Photo of BAsbill
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of alucard
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of EmptyPockets
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 4,033 ratings