Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
95.9%
Liked This Beer
4.31 w/ 3,982 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:
#473
Reviews:
933
Ratings:
3,982
Liked:
3,820
Avg:
4.31/5
pDev:
7.89%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
556
Gots:
1,059
Trade:
112
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,982 |  Reviews: 933
Photo of Pineforest42
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Great pour, about an inch of head with nice lacing. Thick and black.
S- Heavy cocoa and coffee, strong and mouth watering.
T- Wonderful balance of flavors dancing together. creamy and filling. Smokey, chocolate, wholesome.
M- I could almost chew it. Perfect texture for a RIS. Taste improved as the temperature dropped.
O- Just what I want from a RIS. I highly recommend this. This beer behaves like a RIS and with a 11% ABV will leave you feeling good.

 458 characters

Photo of KlayWey
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of vic21234
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

 878 characters

Photo of Can_has_beer
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mkh895
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Slatetank
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of RobertColianni
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BcOneSeven
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DomD1121
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Very thick, black, syrupy pour. Very little head that disappears fast.

Smell: Very rich, malty, lots of coffee, with a very slight chocolate sweetness tones.

Taste: This is a VERY tasty beer. Very smooth, rich malt flavor with coffee and a little sweetness at the beginning. Finishes off with a slightly boozy bite, but not at all overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant. Creamy, smooth, and full-bodied.

Overall: This beer is fantastic. If you can get your hands on it, DO IT. I am not a huge stout drinker, but this one has really made an impression on me. I will be picking up more very soon!

 613 characters

Photo of Tim725
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of pulito001
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of stephenlee
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HoppySeb
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

What an amazing beer - I wish I had access to it more often. Poured from a refrigerated 12oz bottle into a KBS snifter - poured vertically, producing a great looking two inch thick foam that is light brown in color. The head quickly dissipates and forms a ring around the glass which stays there as you drink it.

Its nose if mostly chocolate, vanilla, ripened plums, coffee and light spices - sweet. Taste is bittersweet. Definite hop presence with bold dark chocolate and vanilla bean flavors.

Mouthfeel is amazing - thick and chewy, allows you to extract every ounce of flavor from this beer. Carbonation is very light, as expected.

Overall - I'm very impressed with this beer as I was not expecting it to be this great. I will definitely seek it out more often! Highly recommended!

 788 characters

Photo of Jparkanzky
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A) Pour into a pint glass from bottle, at near room-temp. Poured jet-black, didn't see really any red or brown within while pouring it. A few dancing bubbles on top, and no head.... the 1/16th inch head that was there for about 2 seconds was dark brown.... this beer is DARK!

S) Don't really pull a lot from the smell... it's actually quite neutral, perhaps vanilla hints to it, but I really don't know. It certainly wasn't unpleasant, but more "neutral"

T) GREAT. A little caramel perhaps, and hints of a bourbon flavor. The after-taste is pure smooth-velvety goodness.

M) A little alcohol bite at first, but overall it tastes like heavy black-creme, devoid of any carbonation whatsoever, so in a word "GREAT!"

Very enjoyable from start to finish... I took this out of the cellar at 50 deg. and waiting 15 minutes at room temp, and it still didn't really "peak" until halfway through the glass... Flavors and texture really opened up, and any negative alcohol characteristics that were clearly pronounced, disappeared when the temperature warmed up.

Highly recommend this one!

 1,084 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 1,022 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Re-review 4/7/17 :

Now that I've had dozens (maybe hundreds?) more stouts under my belt, many the imperial kind, I've come back to revisit this one to see how I feel about it.

Look : The thickness is definitely apparent, but not the thickest I've seen. It pours black with shades of brown from the bottle and forms a deep, rich pool of obsidian. A beige half-finger of head rests on top that recedes to a sliver in a couple minutes' time. 4.5

Aroma : Classy. Rich, dark malts accompany a base of molasses, smoke, and peat. Crispy brownies. Some dark chocolate lies somewhere in there as well. Slight metallic notes bounce here and there but that's the only flaw. 4.5

Flavor : Tasty as hell. Huge roast malt character with smoke and molasses cover up a background of plum, coffee, anise, and bitter dark chocolates. The metallic element comes out in the profile as well, but only mildly. As it warms that metallic element comes out more loudly so drink it cold. 4.5

Feel : Thick but not too thick; just right. Buzzing carbonation underneath with smoothness of oats. Dry coffee and dry alcohol finish. 4.25

Overall : It's still one of my top stouts and I'll continue to travel north to buy it in season (January-March). It's an outstanding example of a Russian Imperial Stout and doesn't overhop or overmalt either way. Ultimate bath tub beer. Definitely worthy of at least a 95 world-class rating. 4.5

Pro Tip : Aging either works one of two ways on this beer - drink it fresh or age it at least 2 years.

-----------------------------------------------------
Appearance : . Like "10,000 miles on conventional oil coming out of the sump" dark. Completely obsidian, opaque, no light escaping this cosmic black hole of beerdom. The three fingered head is rocky, just plain thick, leaves an almost impenetrable looking crown from the top down, and is almond/beige/muddy colored. Just gorgeous. This is what it's about, friends. 5

Aroma : Obviously the bouquet is loud as I can smell it from here on the side table. Bringing it closer, I curl a smile. Chocolate, fresh brownies, coffee bean, cocoa powder, dark roasted malts. I don't think Starbucks could craft a better roasted smell than this awesome aroma. Just fabulous. Even after the coffee aroma, melted chocolate comes in at the end as well. 4.75

Flavor : Oh dear Lord. This might be my favorite stout. Slapping the arm of the recliner, with a grin on my face, I taste waves of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted cocoa bean, chocolate syrup, milk, oatmeal, with just a faint bite of hop if only to create the feeling of sharpness. The alcohol burn comes at the end but you don't taste it - you feel it, and it leaves fire tingling on your tongue as the roasted chocolate just dries like primer.

Mouthfeel : Yes, another homerun here. Medium-to-full bodied, almost a wall there, it borders on chewy, but just fills the mouth with creamy, dark goodness. It ends semi-dry but not too dry - just the right amount of dry.

Overall : Hitting on all cylinders, this stout is now my favorite of ALL TIME. This stout is absolutely groundbreakingly amazing. For $12 a 4 pack, who wouldn't buy this stuff. Just fabulous. Get you some now.

 3,199 characters

Photo of JayQue
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A really outstanding RIS. Obtained in a trade with either TMoney2591 or Woodchopper. I let this one sit for a while....wouldn't keep another one this long....tastes too good.

Pours a dark brown, dense with absolutely no light getting through. Small brown head...dark as Ten Fidy with limited retention and little lacing. To be expected in this strong a beer.

Aroma is fabulous....Noticeable as soon as you manage to get the cap off underneath the grey waxy stuff that coats the bottle. Malts, dark chocolate, molasses type sweetness and vanilla. A potent concoction with all aromas just right.

Taste dos not disappoint either. Rich toasted malt background, molasses like sweetness, chocolate taste is restrained and just right and a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is luxuriously rich and very smooth except for a mild alcohol presence, warming effect...keeps you from quickly slurping up this goodness.

One of the better RIS I have ever had. Great experience!!!! Thanks to my Illinois connection!!!

 999 characters

Photo of nhindian
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - This beer is easily one of the darkest, most formidable, and most slick imperial stouts I've ever had. The color is somewhere between tar, sludge, and crude oil. The head on this is also magnificent as well, with an insane 2-fingered head that is dark mocha in color. The retention is also up there, lasting several minutes, which for the ABV on this is is insane. To top it off, the lacing is generous to say the least and covers a good portion of the glass. It's really amazing how Dark Horse hit the color, head retention, and lacing on a beer of this scale.

S - The aroma on this beer is every bit as big as the appearance would lead me to believe. It's roasty to the point of bordering on charred and brings in smells of anise and dark fruits. There's a really bitter chocolate note in here as well that's just playing on the sweetness of the malts to accentuate it. There's a little bit of acrid coffee in here, too, and in the finish there's some astringent alcohol.

T - This big boy is a sipper to say the least. To borrow a descriptor from Goose Island, one sip of this beer has more flavor than an entire case of macro beer. The roasty char continues its rampage through my senses, and leads this beer off in a way that braces you for impact. But rather than crash and burn, this beer takes you to new heights on the imperial stout spectrum. The malts keep the sweetness coming, and the bitter chocolate shines to cut some of the roast before the fruits come in and alleviate the bitterness. I'm getting a good amount of figs and plums here, but they don't come off sugary or as alcohol-soaked as other beers that exhibit these flavors. As in the nose, there is some alcohol in the back-end, but not to the degree that a 12.00% beer should.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy-bodied with moderately low carbonation. This beer looks like oil and has the mouthfeel to match. This thing will coat your palate and keep injecting its flavor into your mouth, but it doesn't come across as syrupy. A fairly smooth, great-feeling beer.

D/O - Drinkability is high for this one. I really enjoyed drinking this after finally coming across some bottles. Make no mistake, you won't be quaffing this one down, but each sip will be savored. There is some alcohol here, but is masked and washed away nicely by the other flavors. I would love to try the barrel-aged version of this but it's looking like a longshot!

 2,440 characters

Photo of Sails_Ambassador
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jeffo
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received bottles of this one from smakawhat and thetomG. Thanks for this gem of a beer gents! Finally getting around to reviewing this one along side the bourbon barrel version with Doopie. Good times!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drank right before the BA version

APPEARANCE: A thick, black pour yields a small, thicker looking, tight, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a half wisp and a nice ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. A big, menacing look to this one. Evil.

SMELL: Roasted, smoky and charred malts on the nose, with some nice coffee, dark chocolate and licorice notes there as well. Heavy dose of booze, mostly red port, provide a base for it all. Big and enticing.

TASTE: Some roasted and smoky malts up front with sweet caramel and molasses. Flavor is a little lacking up front, but then comes in waves after the swallow. Lots of bitter coffee and dark chocolate, smoky charred malts and port wine linger on the palate. Notes of licorice and sweet molasses, but piles of bitter chocolate and charred malts linger on the palate after the swallow. Wave after wave of big flavors. Just needed a little more up front for top marks.

PALATE: Fuller body and higher levels of carbonation. Creamy, thick and full on the palate, goes down smooth with a bit of a bite at the swallow and finishes relatively sticky on the palate. A well measured amount of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This was absolutely phenomenal. I’ve had a few other Dark Horse brews, all of which were mediocre compared to this monster of a delicious treat. Evil looking with a huge nose and flavor profile filled with everything I love about this style. Thick creamy palate gives the show a solid foundation as well. Perhaps a little weak up front and the booze might be slightly too forward, but this was awesome and I enjoyed it more than the 2011 bourbon barrel version we drank right after it. One I’d take anytime it was offered to me, no question. Thanks again for sharing Doops. Kick ass beer!

 2,156 characters

Photo of iwanatalk2sampson
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of foundersasap
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one smooth imperial stout, taste is chocolate, coffee, oak. Very thick sticky mouthfeel. One of the best!

113 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Center pour from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

What a lovely pour. A deep rich (nearly black) mahogany with a nice brownish-red foam that quickly dissipates to less than half a finger.

The smell is incredible! I get caramel, toffee, chocolate, perhaps prune, roasted coffee and a bit of booziness.

The first taste: A little bite of booze then a hit of sweetness and fruit followed by dark chocolate and raisin. The aftertaste is dark chocolate, slightly bitter and creamy. It lingers on the tongue, awaiting the next sip.

The mouthfeel is wonderful. Full and creamy with a late tingle on the tongue from the carbonation.

Overall, this is a great beer. Full of wonderful smells and flavors. I feel like the next time I have it, I'll be picking up different layers. I can't wait.

 788 characters

Photo of Raisingfable
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of KarmicSkrambl8
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95.9% out of 100 with 3,982 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.