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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: 3,853
Photo of herman77
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a dark tan head that dies down pretty quick. Barley any lacing.

S: Dark roasted malt, dark chocolate and dark coffee. A bit of alcohol and a touch of dark fruits and molasses.

T: Again, lots of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate and coffee. Some hops punch through a bit near the back end along with a lot of bitter intense malts. Surprisingly short finish that doesn't last too long. There is some booziness in the finish though.

M: Fuller body. Nice carbonation and feel.

O: Average drinkability for an imperial stout. Some booze, but overall its a really nicely done. Seems like it would get a lot better with a year or two on it.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a black color with a thin light brown head. Head has little retention and leaves almost no lacing behind.

S- Smells of chocolate, roated malts, bit of alcohol, coffee and some dark fruits.

T- A great combintion of sweet and bitter. All malt at first. Roasty espresso and chocolate flavors mingle with notes of dark fruit, molasses, and a bit of licorice. The hops are more balanced in the taste than the smell.

M- This is a full beer and low on the carbonation.

D- I like this brew wish it was little thicker in body. Easy to drink alcohol hidden well and tastes great.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mystery beer from schwaeh. From notes, sampled 6/25.

Noticed a lot of sediment in the unmarked bottle.

A: Poured into a snifter. An aggressive pour yields a less than exemplary head. The body is motor oil black and the head that forms a nice ring is dark brown. Beer appears well carbonated and has some alcohol feet.

S: Bitter dark chocolate and espresso coffee initially, but as the beer warms the coffee dominates. Nice roasted malt character, maybe a touch of smoke and booze.

T: Coffee and hop bitterness, black licorice and bittersweet bakers chocolate. The dark roasted malts are excellent. On the tongue, it's a simple yet robust coffee stout.

MF: Initially very creamy and robust, a little warmth and booze cuts it a little. Finishes bitter and dry.

O: Pretty darn good coffee stout or RIS with the hops...I would probably go 4.0/4.0/4.0/4.5/4.5.

Dark Horse Plead the 5th!

Thanks Steve!

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Inky black pour with almost nothing of a head. When I finish pouring, there are some mocha bubbles, but nothing else. A swirl produces decent legs, but it doesn't look that viscous.

Smell - Hops. Lots of hops for a stout. No real sweetness in the smell. Booze is the second most predominant smell. Chocolate malt in the back, but it's a lot of hops and alcohol.

Taste - Wow, it tastes amazing. Hops temper any sweetness that's there. Behind that is all chocolate and coffee. Maybe even some plum flavor. Delicious. Bitter finish, but it's appropriate and nearly perfect. Boozy finish.

Mouthfeel - Not as thick as I'd expect. I enjoy a chewy stout, but this isn't quite that. It makes it easier to drink in regards to the body. The booze is still apparent, but I suppose it's tough to ignore 12% ABV.

Overall - I love this stout. The flavors are nearly perfect. Looks awful and doesn't smell anywhere near as good as it tastes, but damn it's good.

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Photo of ravot
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a Plead the 5th, 2013 vintange, into a Bells Brewery snifter.

Pours of motor oil. Jet black. Minimal lacing on the glass. Head was minimal if any. The pour seems as if it were thick like oil.

This bottle immediately smelled of chocolate, dark roasts of coffee. More chocolate.
Some cocoa, coconut.

Dark roast malts, chocolate. Some slightly alcohol tasting, very good. Definitely sweet as you drink it. Some hops are hiding in there. Bitter chocolate notes in there. Being that it's ABV of 11%, hard to tell.

Creamy, refreshing like a milk stout. Dessert like feeling.

Man this is a great stout. Aged for a year. I feel this might better aged than fresh but now i need to take another test and get some fresh since coincidentally, distribution is right about now.
Get your hands on this, fresh or aged, you won't be disappointed in an overall solid Imperial Sout

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Photo of breakingbland
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle. Opaque brown with a scant brown ring of foam. The aroma is candy sweet and roasty. The taste is like the aroma with the roasty character coming to the forefront. This overall flavor is very rich and savory -- almost smoky. The hops are well-balanced with the sweet/roasty. Even though this is an RIS, the alcohol is hidden. The aftertaste is mainly roasty malt with some hops. This beer feels wonderful in the mouth: full body and smooth carbonation.

Overall, this is another great offering from Dark Horse. It definitely bumps stout up a notch or two. Will look for it again!

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Photo of JoshVandy
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours completely jet black with a 1 finger mocha brown head. Pretty decent retention. The color on this is impressive; easily the blackest stout I've seen in a while.

S- Big whiffs of chocolate and malts come through immediately, followed closely by very subtle coffee notes and a hint of fusel alcohol. Reminds me a lot of Founders Imperial Stout, which is a good thing.

T- Fantastic chocolate and malt immediately, followed by more malt and a hint of hops. Dark fruits also come into play as it warms. Alcohol heat is present after swallowing, leaving a nice burn in the throat that makes me want another sip. A little one dimensional, but it executes in that dimension flawlessly.

M- This is the part that impresses the most. Completely smooth, creamy and thick from start to finish, with the perfect amount of carbonation. Coats the mouth and throat and lingers there long after my last sip with faint alcohol. Incredible.

O- A fantastic Imperial Stout that is a little one dimensional in taste, but completely makes up for its shortcomings with a mouthfeel that is one of the best I've had in a long while.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a dark brown head. In the aroma, roasted malt, coffee and a sweetness that reminds me of oatmeal. In the taste, sweet roasted malt and a dry coffee ending. A small hop bite and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee and a small alcohol presence in the aftertaste. Nice big flavor, big roast, nice coffee presence and hides the 12% very well.

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Photo of midnite2sixman
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black as the night, exquisite head. frothy, tons of action on the pour and staying power!

Big chocolate and coffee, roasted malts, marshmallows, and malted milk balls are all in the aroma.

Taste: Very smooth chocolatey taste with lots of coffee beans roasty tastes all around. Somewhat sweet, like fine dark chocolate. Bitter finish topped off with a cocoa butter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nice smooth stout aftertaste, lots of chocolate in this one.

Great beer!

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Photo of TK5150
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle sent to me from TimmyP, thanks man.

A- Pours jet black with a small dark brown head into my snifter. The head recedes into a brown ring around the edge of the glass. Excellent lacing on the glass as I swirl. Excellent example of what an Imperial Stout should look like in the glass.

S- Molasses is the most prominent smell, but there is also a lot of chocolate, licorice and dark fruits(raisins, figs, grapes).

T- Dark fruit (raisins, figs, grapes) mixes flawlessly with molasses; also incorporated is sweet chocolate. Not very roasty at all. Very sweet. Dessert beer for sure.

M- Low carbonation, but not quite as full bodied as I would like. Finishes kind of thin, actually. One area holding this beer back.

D- Wow, I'm glad I only have one 12 oz. bottle, or I may end up opening another, but at 12%, that would not be a very good idea.

Overall, a very nice imperial stout that is somewhat different from many of the ones I've had recently. Thin body at times, lack of serious complexity, and overall sweetness hold it back just a bit. Still, the delicious factor, appearance, and smell give this beer a nice leg up. A highly recommended beer that if were available to me, I would definitely pick up often.

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Photo of TTAmod
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a four-pack at my special beer store for $13.99. The date stamped on the bottle is 043-13, or February 12th, 2013. I poured one of the 12 oz. bottles into a tulip.

A: This beer is BLACK with a two finger brown head. Retention is good considering ABV.

S: Strong whiffs of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol.

T: Strong notes of dark chocolate, dried cherries, charred malts, roasted coffee, a trace amount of bittering hops, and a bit of heat. It doesn't taste too sweet; in fact, it ends on a dry note. It's not overly bitter at any point, but there's enough bitterness to add depth. Ash and roasted coffee stick around after the finish.

M: Another strong point of this beer. Obscenely smooth and quite drinkable, even if it is a bit hot. There's some carbonation, but it feels like silk going through my mouth and down my throat. No fuss at all.

O: This is how to do a strong stout right. The alcohol is kept in check by the onslaught of roasted malts, which invoke flavors of cherries, chocolate and coffee. However, these malts are balanced by just enough hops which keep the stout flavors from completely dominating.

This one is right up there with some of the best strong stouts on the market; however, this one is a LOT harder to find than some of the more prevalent ones (Ten Fidy, Founders IS, etc) mostly because Dark Horse is a pretty small brewery and doesn't have quite as wide of a distribution area as other breweries. Add to the fact that this is a seasonal (late winter) brew and most stores only get one case, and you got yourself a tough beer to find.

So, if you can find it, definitely pick it up. If you cannot find it....don't fret! Pick up some Ten Fidy or Founders IS, both of which are much easier to locate and are just as good as this one.

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Photo of weonfire
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this brew at River City Drafthouse on tap in Louisville, KY in a HUGE 16oz tulip glass. Ya, this put me on my ace.

A - Jet Black, excellent mocha color head- finger width. Great Lacing- stays at the high water mark.

S - Roast and Chocolate malt.

T - Very pleasant. Chocolate, roast, small amounts of smoke. initially moderately sweet. goes down moderately bitter. Hop level is very low.

M - froth level is low. viscosity is high. coats mouth well.

O - Really nice stout. Looks amazing. Only thing i was disappointed with was the mouthfeel. Missing that super creamy, velvety feel. But that seems like thats a big deal in the stout game. any rate, not a deal breaker in this brew.

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Photo of Stigs
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a DFH oversized snifter

A - pours with a thin layer of loose khaki colored film, quickly falls away to just a ring around the glass. the beer is pitch black in color, with just the faintest dark brown getting through in front of light.

S - very sweet...dark fruits, very dark and slightly bitter chocolate, oak, vanilla, some lightly roasted coffee beans and toasted nuts. some warming alcohol at the end along with brewers licorice.

T - bitterness comes through here much more predominantly than the nose...full of dark bakers chocolate, roasted espresso beans, smoke...sweetness comes into play the second half with dark fruits coming alive, licorice, alcohol, and dark roasted malt.

M - the body is just a *tad* thin, carbonation though is nice and controlled. a little syrupy going down, coats the mouth and leaves a lingering bitter chocolate flavor.

D - not bad at all...glad i have another bottle of this as i think time will do it well, calming the bitter flavors and bringing everything else up a notch. has a lot of potential.

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Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade thanks to translucent on BA. Damn dude, this is a bruiser. Is this the fifth in the "one, too, tres, fore" series? If so, then neener neener, I ticked them all off, and victory is mine!

Pours black and thick with a one-finger dark tan head. Some legs on this one - you can tell it's viscous.

Aroma is intense with dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, and roast. Slight sweetness present.

Flavor is really interesting. It reminds me of Midnight Sun Berserker in a way, except without the -bal aging notes. Rich dark chocolate and roast dominate, with a hint of coffee as well as molasses, anise, and red wine/port. Very full and thick on the palate with low carbonation. Some tannins as well as hop bitterness. Smooth and slick. A great imperial stout overall. Not too drinkable in large quantities, but you have to give it a pass on this because it's damn good. One of the better beers I've had from Dark Horse. Good job rejecting Nickelback's offer too, guys. They suck!

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Photo of Rutager
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you Steasy66!! Been wanting this one for a while now, the BB version was fantastic.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with a thin brown head.

Smell. Dark chocolate and molasses with some dark malts and brown sugar and a bit of vanilla.

Taste. Sweet bakers chocolate, some lightly smokey dark roasted malts, black licorice and molasses, with some black coffee in the finish. High abv is well hidden. Very nice.

Mouthfeel. Full body with low+ carbonation. Thick and viscous with just a little warmth.

Overall. A fantastic ris. Lots of chocolate which is never a bad thing for the style.

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Photo of docoman
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First time having non-BBA version of pt5 and it's very similar to BBA version, minus the bourbon influence. Almost has a tobacco smell/aftertaste and I'm not a smoker. Hard to love this beer, it's good, just not great compared to others.

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle obtained on trade (thanks, Greg Radwich!), unknown bottling date (suspected 2012 vintage), poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 9/25/13 over an hour

A: 2/3 - black as a goth at a rave, no clarity, poured with little carbonation and not evident throughout the drinking, big alcohol legs as expected at 11% ABV

S: 10/12 - bitter dark chocolate, tobacco, leather and strong alcohol notes reminiscent of a rum

T: 17/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a moderate bitterness - dark chocolate and coffee flavors predominate; in the middle of the mouth, the malt complexity and alcohol really take over without residual/cloying sweetness; a mild bitter chocolate/coffee taste persists for 5-10 seconds and invites another-and-another sip

M: 3/5 - big chewy body, alcohol burn...but little-to-no carbonation

O: 8/10 - there was a lot of hype surrounding this beer, and, although it's a solid RIS, Pt5th unfortunately disappointed me; the major problem is the undercarbonation; I know that one cannot expect (nor should want) a highly carbonated RIS at 11% ABV, yet carbonation is critical for the flavor/aroma and mouthfeel; yet, there are some great flavor profiles here, and, as a result, would be very interested in trying the 14% ABV bourbon barrel-aged version

TOTAL = 40/50

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Photo of Stolenface1
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black w/ tan head on tap @ the Answer Brewpub. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla & some fruit, bisquit and nuttiness. Flavor is exactly like the aroma. Slighty high on the carbonation level for the style, but that could have been due to the keg/CO2 level. Nice and chewy, but not as much as expected for the ABV. Overall really enjoyed this brew. Recommended.

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Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been waiting a while to try this one. Picked up the four pack in 2010, review is from notes taken on 5/12/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is thick and viscous looking, and if I had to pick a visual comparison, I would go with FBS; body is black like fresh brewed coffee and it starts with a very dark brown head of 1/2 fingers that fades immediately to nothing other than a thin ring and small island in the center of the surface; body is entirely opaque; no lacing is left behind at all.

Smell: Lots of big chocolate malts, smells rich and thick, like Hershey's syrup; some dark cherry scents in there as well, and I'm reminded of the syrup inside a chocolate covered cherry too; just a touch of alcohol in the nose, and for being 12%, I would say it's blended quite well.

Taste: The taste is good, but not quite as good as the nose -- I feel like it loses a bit of the robust nature; like the smell, the big chocolate malts are up front, but they come across with a bit more of a bittersweetness to them, but they're still rich enough; the cherry flavors are there as well, and follow the chocolate nicely; there is a nice smokiness in it, with a touch of vanilla; alcohol is more present in the taste, but I would still say that it's pretty well blended and makes more of an appearance in the belly as it's quite warm.

Mouthfeel: Body is medium to heavy in terms of weight; carbonation is nearly non-existant but I'm OK with that in this style; body is also a little slick and oily, yet still manages to leaves a thick, semi-dry coating all over the roof of the mouth; gums are left a little tingly and the belly is left warm, as mentioned above, from the higher ABV.

Overall: A great offering from Dark Horse, great smell and good flavors and a body that matches the style quite well. Being a bit heavier and clocking in with that big ABV, consumption would be a little limited, but this would be a great dessert beer.

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Photo of Phelps
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received as part of a BIF box from the very generous callmemickey.

Appearance: like molasses. Pours a syrupy, inky black, thick, dark and manly. A tiny, filmy crown of deep orange appears atop, bubbling for a few seconds before becoming a persistent, bubbly ring.

Smell: lots of dark fruits: raisins, plums. Molasses, a light smokiness, marshmallows, maple and very subtle coffee in the back.

Taste: The sweetness has dropped off considerably in favor of the more roasty flavors. Campfire smoke, espresso, raisins, vodka. Solid flavor.

Feel: an alcohol heat singes the throat like heartburn. Light, prickly carbonation amidst a soft, creamy medium body.

Drink: nice flavors, great mouthfeel, good balance. Alcohol's a little heavy, but would I have it again? I plead the fifth. And by plead the fifth, I mean yup.

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Photo of mavbrew
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an inky black color that looks kind of like used motor oil when poured into the glass. The head is limited, less than a finger thick with a strong pour and is dark tan in color.

S: The scent is strong, everything in the nose is smelled as you're pouring. There is chocolate, coffee beans, cocoa, some vanilla with roasted malts and a bit of booze, but hardly noticeable.

T: The taste is exactly as you would expect from the smell. The rich dark chocolate is present up front which leads into the sweet dark fruits. The finish is roasted and smokey with a little bit of booze.

M: Full bodied with little carbonation. The feel is that of dark chocolates and roasted malts.

D: Overall this is a solid beer. It had an aroma that can be picked up from across the room and the flavor is just as good. Now I just need to get my hands on the barrel aged version.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into tulip 20/10/14, thanks alfie for the bottle

A motor oil black right out of the bottle, I'm talking black, not much for an edge and a dark mocha foam falls rather quickly but manages to leave plenty of lace, one of the darker beers I've seen recently

S lots of coco, bakers chocolate, fudge, dark roast, a hint of booze, a little char and smoke

T more of the same but with a little more intensity, some dark fruit, more char and a little burnt coffee

M silky on the way in, thick and chewy as they come, bubbles cream it up, the booze is well hidden, just a little sticky on the lips, fruity char lingers, feels like a monster

O lots of dark roast and well concealed booze but could use a little more complexity but its big, rich, and drinkable for the strength

Not a bad beer but I'm looking forward to the BB version as I could see it doing wonders for this one

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Photo of Brez07
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 bottle poured into a snifter. Not sure of the bottle date, but I got it about 6 months ago

A: Dark pour with some brown highlights along the edge. Head is thin and brief. There's mostly just a ring around the glass

S: Lots of roasted malt, but not over the top. Some dark chocolate mixed in, which imparts a small amount of sweetness. There are also notes of smoke, toffee and possibly brown sugar. I detect a small trace of alcohol as well

T: Again, the roasted malt dominates the flavor. There more of a bakers/bittersweet chocolate in the taste though. The beer developed a very rich chocolate flavor as it warmed

M: Full bodied, smooth and creamy. Maybe a touch high on the carbonation but I didn't mind. Small amount of residual bitterness after each sip

D: Very easy to drink considering the style and ABV. Not nearly as roasty as some others I've had in the style. You really don't notice the 12%. This is a good beer that I'd drink again if available but won't go out of my way to get

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Photo of jamescain
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic tumbler, initially I didn’t know what this was because I received it as an extra, thanks drewba, and there was no label on the bottle. I assumed it was a homebrew, so I threw it in the fridge and had it the night I received the package.

Appearance: Pours a very viscous black with a brown head about a finger thick that fades into a ring around the glass.

Aroma: Huge notes of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Slightly on the boozy side, especially when it warms up, but it is not overwhelmingly alcoholic. There are flavors of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee is pretty prevalent and even some dark fruits such as raisins.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with low to medium carbonation with a warming finish that is slightly sweet and lingering.

Overall: I’m usually very happy with Dark Horse’s beers and this one is no exception. I just wish that I had known what it was so I could have shared it with friends. If you get the chance I recommend picking one up, but it’s a sipper for sure.

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Photo of ottovon
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ejyoung for this.

A: dark brown with a dark brown head.

S: dark brown sugar, toffee, dark chocolate, molasses, dark fruits like raisins. nice amounts of roasted malt.

T: there is a bit of alcohol. lots of chocolate, molasses, burnt sugar, toffee. there is a slight sweetness at first, and then it finishes with a roasted malt bitterness.

M: smooth, creamy, thick with low carb.

O: this is a very good beer. wish I had more of this.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,853 ratings.
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