Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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914 Reviews
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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
Reviews:
914
Ratings:
3,893
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
557
Gots:
1,044
For Trade:
115
User Reviews
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Reviews: 914 | Ratings: 3,893
Photo of Kendo
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip. Body is thick in appearance and black, with a small light-brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: Some roasted malt, chocolate malt and dried fruits - predominantly, raisins come to mind.

T: The taste more or less follows the nose, with roasted malt, chocolatey malt, raisins, prunes and black cherries all in the mix. Overall impression of sweetness. Seems vinuous at times too. Some char or charcoal on the aftertaste, along with a hint of burnt wood. Alcohol is also noted - not a surprise given the 11% ABV - both as a drying impression on the back of the mouth and as a warming in the belly.

M: Feels a bit thin in heft for the style. Carbonation is modest.

O: Was expecting a world-class RIS, but got a merely good one.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black with thin tan head. Decent retention, little lacing to speak of. Smell is interesting, definitely multi-dimensional. Some smoke, coffee, booze, rock candy, dark fruit, cinnamon, and wood. Taste is far smokier than others seem to think, espresso, some bittersweet chocolate, some dark fruit again, some alcohol. Definitely interesting, better than your run-of-the-mill RIS. MF is a bit light-bodied, but definitely smooth and velvety. Drinkability, like Double Crooked Tree, is way higher than I would expect for a 10+% ABV. Definitely a good RIS, interesting. I'll be grabbing another to put away for a while.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - black with a thin tan head that stuck around as a ring.
S - roasted, dark coffee with a hint of bittersweet chocolate.
T - taste is everything in the smell, roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate, the alcohol is well hidden behind these flavors.
F - full bodied with a slick sort of smoothness.
D - very drinkable for what it is.

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Photo of mwill7287
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle to a similarly sized snifter.

Appearance: Pours motor oil black into my snifter. Pitch black even in the lamplight. Half finger's worth of a mocha-tan creamy head sits atop after a mild pour. Little carbonation bubbles abound in the brew. A little bit of lacing is left behind on the snifter after the liquid vacates. Looks noice. 4.5/5

Smell: Dark roasty notes balanced by a dose of hops Americano. A little creamy, definitely roasty coffee beans and a bit of chocolate. Very rich and enticing. 4.75/5

Taste: Strong presence of bold Russian Imperial stout hops ride alongside dark fruit, raisin and anise notes in the first sips. A little bit juicy and fruity on first bite. Sweet. A bit of bitterness of coffee notes and building hops creep along with repeated sips and a pleasantly present aftertaste. Alcohol doesn't interfere too much. Nice, not 100% my thing, but good. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Not too syrupy or thick. Medium body. Mild stickiness on tongue and lip. Bitterness is pretty light and doesn't hinder on the palate too much. Maybe a tad light for me for a RIS. 3.75/5

Overall: Very solid taste, tasty and complex but not overwhelming. Looks & smells wonderful. Mouthfeel provides for a nice drink. Obviously not sessionable but a relatively easy drink for a RIS. Nice. 4/5

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Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viscous black with a head that nearly matches it in color and also fades very fast.

Chocolate, molasses, lots of roasted malt, nice hop presence. Also getting a real faint belgian yeast smell out of this.

Big toasted malt flavor with a fairly large coffee presence and light chocolate and banana taste. Nice hop snap too. Roasty and hoppy aftertaste is pleasant.

Big bodied and smooth. Maybe just a shy thin for the body, but by no means way off. Finishes very dry.

Awesome drinkability at this ABV. An absolute solid RIS. Really worth trying.

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Photo of Spcoly
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter...

A: Dark with almost zero head

S: Faint smell of chocoalte, roasted malts

T: Wonderful...bitter sweet chocolate. Not much of a burn considering the high ABV

M: Medium, low carbonation....excellent drinkibility...definitley a sipper considering the ABV

O: Hands down one of the best stouts Ive ever come across. Which I had more than one bottle....will definielty buy again!

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Photo of TrekkieChick
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was purchased as a special edition (limit 1 bottle per customer). It pours well, very small/no head and is a very dark brown color. It is a heavy coffee flavor, but smooth and goes down easy! I would recommend to anyone who likes coffee or coffee in their beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Looks like my review for this was lost, so luckily doing it side by side with the BBA verison, this one has some age on it, white label with no logo cap, must be 2011.

Pours a small darker fizzy head that fades quickly, super dark pitch black beer with looooong legs.

Nose lots of dark malts, plenty of roasted malt barley, char, roasted coffee, some fudgey chocolate, dark roasted cocoa and a little fluffy nougat, some baking spices, that nougat and chocolate bring candy bar sweetness, a creamy note, coffee syrup, chocolate syrup.

Taste brings plenty more dark roasted malts, charred barley, a little burnt coffee, coffee beans, coffee syrup, super dark chocolate, into chocolate syrup and some fudgey chocolate cocoa, a little fluffy nougat and baking spices again and maybe faint anise, mild caramel and syrupy flavors in general, with some spicy bitter hops kicking in late. A little booze warmth, little creamy and fluffy, a little fusel alcohol flavor on the back end.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, a little creamy and fluffy, decent carb, some hot tingly booze.

Overall not bad, better than I remember, less anise and I think there was smoke before, or too much burnt char, but a pretty good beer, feels a touch thin for what it is.

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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 zeff80
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a syrupy, black color with ruby highlights. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of molasses and sweet chocolate. There were mild notes of oatmeal and coffee.

T - It tasted very sweet with chocolate and molasses flavors. Some caramel, too. It had a bourbon kick as it warmed up.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied ale.

D - This is a really great tasting RIS. Another great stout from Dark Horse.

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Photo of Spiekerbox
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Exactly how a RIS should look, dark almost black color with a thick but short dark brown-reddish head on it.

S- Dark roasted malts and grains with a bit of smokey and dark fruit scents.

T- Toasty and burnt malts are the first flavors to hit with a creamy chocolate sweetness. Hops are there but not overpowering.

M- Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Alcohol warming is there but not nearly as much as you would expect from a 12% abv beer.

O- Good beer from a good brewery. This is one of the first darker beers I have had from Dark Horse but after tasting it I think I will need to try a few more :)

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Photo of brock146
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark black with nice chocolate hued head

S - Alcohol and dark chocolate

T - Black coffee, sweet and malty, a bit smoky, definite yet subtle kick of alcohol

M - Silky smooth, low carbonation creates a soft of "milk shake" consistency. Keeps your palate warm after it goes down

O = Very tasty and surprisingly [ and dangerously :) ] drinkable for being such a high gravity beer

 385 characters

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

12oz bottle poured into a table glass. Pours a thick brown/black. Taste is relatively uniform. Typical coffee, chocolate, and rich malt, but not the deep complexity I'd been expecting. Mouthfeel is extremely creamy. Overall, tasted more like a thick porter/stout (think Founder's Porter or Bell's Kalamazoo Stout) than an Imp Russian. Left me underwhelmed. A good beer for sure, but would be better as a $10-$12 six pack. Not a beer that justifies its price, or its 4-pack status.

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Photo of Chaney
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I split this with my wife tonight during dessert.

A: Absolutely no head whatsoever! Very dark, but almost more of a dark, dark, dark brown color as apposed to a pitch black one.

S: A bit of teryaki sauce, but also a huge dark, bittersweet chocolate bill. As it warmed, it became even more intense, but even more enticing.

T: Dark chocolate milk and then some. Initially, when I tried this one too much on the cold side, I was conflicted about it. However, now this is dark chocolate magic. I've read some reviews on here where others have mentioned a burnt quality. To be honest, I didn't get that at all. Quite the contrary..

M: Heavy, but worth it. Low carbonation (as it should be), not too sweet in the slightest.

O: It's hard to make an impression in a market saturated with great Imperial Stouts, but this one delievered. I would love to try the bourbon-aged version of this one.

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Photo of Wadsey
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Plead the Fifth

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours black with minimal, light brown head. Typical looking imperial stout, in other words. 

S: Dried dark cherries and star anise or licorice. A floral note that borders on perfume keeps flaring up. Additional aromas include light roasted chocolate, peat, smoke/soy sauce and solvent. The last two notes are subtle enough not to hurt the beer. 

T: The tongue follows nose, and all notes are superbly integrated into a whole. Roast is stronger in taste and balances the dark fruitiness of the beer quite well. Medium-high bitterness. A little alcohol. 

M: Big body and medium-light carbonation. Mouthfeel is oily and coating. Somewhat warming. 

O:  Plead the Fifth rightfully belongs to the trilogy of Michigan Russian Imperial Stouts, which also includes Bell's Expedition Stout and Founder's Imperial Stout. It is more daring and complicated, though. Not as traditional. 

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Photo of Beginner2
4.09/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I get why Plead The 5th is ranked in the 60s out of the top 100 with the highest rankings.
I like it primarily because it hides its alcohol. That shows craft.
It has many of the other flavors associated with a good RIS, but it works because it doesn't hit you over the head unless you drink it all at once... which I did not.
I Had 3/4 of it to relax after some lousy Chicago spring weather, then waited 30 minutes before I ate dinner and saved some Plead the 5th for dessert. It went well with chocolate cookies.

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

I finally got around to trying this one on tap at Reverend's.

Served in a 10 oz snifter.

A-Jet black, one finger tan head that does not last long. Super turbid appearance.

S-Lots of burned espresso notes and some roastiness and dark chocolate.

T-Bitter dark chocolate dominates with a very mild coffee taste in the back with hints of molasses, cocoa and a bit of smoke character.

M-Very rich and chewy. Goes down smooth with relatively no burn for something of this caliber.

O-Decent beer but I would prefer a slightly milder one if I had the chance. It tastes good but it is a bit much more me. I would drink it again but it goes better with cold weather.

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

One of the darkest stouts I've seen, the color is pitch black and the head is dark brown. A healthy pour produces a huge had that holds relatively well. smell is of roasted malt and chocolate. I can also get a little waft of the booze coming up. taste is bitter, with strong chocolate notes and big maltiness. big, thick mouthfeel this is probably one of the thickest stouts I've had. Alcohol is hidden well, especially given the ABV, although there is a slight warming effect to let you know it's there. Overall, I'm impressed with this one. The flavor is a bit more abrasive than I normally enjoy, but this is a huge stout so I can't really knock it for that.

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

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

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

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

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

M - Thick body with a light carbonation.

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

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Photo of GarMerr
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice coffee, chocolate & licorice flavors on the nose and tongue. A little thin, but pleasant mouth feel. Probably a little too hyped, but still a quality stout.

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

Jet black in my snifter. Thin, tan head that dissolves quickly, leaving a curious image that looks like the fossil of a prehistoric armadillo captured in stone. Two minutes later it's a peacock.
Burnt malts, coffee and faint alcohol. Some chocolate as well.
Coffee and cocoa up front. Roasted malts and booze. Moderately bitter.
Smooth, yet slightly tingly. A bit warming from the booze.
Quite tasty, and quite drinkable on a weekend. Limit- three? Only one on a week night, however.

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

12oz bottle

Appearance: Pours black as night with one finger of brown colored head. Head settled pretty quick to almost nothing but a ring of foam around the outside edges of my glass. No light penetrates through this beer.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, Molasses, Campfire coals, but fairly clean for a 12% Imperial Stout.

Taste: I'm getting molasses and dark fruits up front followed by some subtle roasted flavors. There's also a really nice chocolate flavor towards the middle. Just a touch of coffee on the finish....surprisingly clean.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a low-lying carbonation.

Morey's Bottom Line: What this beer lacks in aroma, it more than makes up for in taste. A really nice Imperial Stout. I can't taste the 12% at all! I would love to have the barrel-aged version of this beer. An outstanding representation of the style.

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

A: Black like an RIS should be, 3/8 inch head on a aggressive pour, dissipates quickly, nice lacing, good ring of foam.

S: all roast, not too many other scents.

T: Roasted Malt, Roasted Malt, then it comes in with a subtle chocolate finish, but not like hershey's syrup definitely like bitter dark chocolate.

M: thick, lightly carbonated, heavy

D: I'd drink this back to back, then I'd be buzzed, So I'd drink as many as I could, it's a good brew.

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

12oz bottle. I'm guessing from 2012, but no way to know for sure I suppose. Trying to get it warm .enough.
Poured very heavy looking. The extra dark head has almost a purplish hue to it and it mixes with the black and again deep deep purple liquid. Oh and the bottle of the bottle looks like mud. Heavy lacing from a head that shows great persistence.
Deep dark malt appeal with some roast, but in no way over the top. More of a plum like quality. Rich but not necessarily all that complex.
Wow that just coats the teeth with an almost gooey stickiness. Rich and some warms shots to the gut. Hops in the bittering and some in the finish...the long rich finish. More roast in taste. Some takes have a clear shot of booziness, others don't. Fruit is less than in the aroma.
Really smooth and just enough carbonation to notice and appreciate.
This is a rather well done RIS. Even for it's ample size it avoids excess. It demands a slow enjoyment, but an enjoyment it is.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,893 ratings.
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