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

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Reviews: 929 | Ratings: 3,951
Photo of Lahey
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark black with medium head. Coffee smell. Smell and taste is a dry bitter coffee taste with light chocolate. Nice full body. This is a very well rounded imperial stout. Not too much sweetness and no off flavors. I prefer barrel aged imperial stouts, but this is a very good offering.

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Photo of outdoor7or24
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass, purchased at total wine in Charleston, SC.
A: nothing spectacular, 1/4 inch thin brown foam head that quickly fades, used motor oil brown, thick looking
S: heavily smoked malt, chocolate, coffee, booziness, prune, dark fruit
M: thick and chewy, feels like thick coating on the tongue
T: raisins, prune, dark smoked malt, black molasses, hint of bittering hops, slight burbon taste, oak, little booziness in the finish
O: great RIS and will seek this out again, taste was very fresh in this bottle, nothing was overkill including the alcohol taste, great job brewery!

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
3.85/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pitch black color with minimal head that diminishes completely. Smells like chocolate and bourbon. Taste is of tobacco, chocolate, bourbon, mild coffee, and malt. Feel has no lingering and is not as thick as expected. Slow sipper nonetheless.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

BIF gift from @superspak. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into stout glass. It pours nearly jet black with mahogany hues when held to the light, with one finger of rich, mocha-colored head and lacing. It's an elegant pour. It smells of dark malt, caramel, cocoa, dark coffee, nuts, and faint bourbon. It is delicious! Chocolate and coffee-forward with vanilla, nuts, and lots of dark cherry. It has a hint of smoke and finishes with just a touch of bitterness. It is medium-bodied, creamy, fairly-lightly carbonated, and despite the 11% ABV it is not overtly boozy. In fact, it is quite easy to drink. I'm surprised by the variation in ratings; folks seem either to really like it or are ambivalent. To me, it's an outstanding RIS; it has all the attributes to make it a leader of the style. It deserves its Outstanding rating.

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Photo of Jaypeajus
4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Into snifter. 11-11-16 date. Deep black pour; brown ring, no head. Smells charred earth and chocolate wonderfulness. Taste is sweet at first, middle is big chewy boozed fruit, end is bitter and dry. I really like it it. Swallow is pretty thick, Mouthfeel leaves a heavy earthy dirt/wood feel. Overall, IMO, a great stout. Would love to try the BA version. Will drink again.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip...

Pours a classic fairly-opaque dark-brown to black. Very little head, perhaps half an inch of root beer float tan, and surprisingly little lacing.

The aroma is somewhat unique, albeit subdued. Amid the smoky coffee notes (expected) are some fairly pronounced herbal notes (anise?) with some solvent in the background.

The flavor is much more of an explosion than the aroma, but follows it. Dark fruit and herbs take more of a center stage than coffee and chocolate. The ABV is fairly well hidden, though there are solvent notes at the finish.

The mouthfeel is excellent. Thick and chewy like an RIS should be, but with a fine dry finish, helped along by ample carbonation and a bite of alcohol bite.

Overall, a fine take on the style, if a bit off-beat.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.34/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

No BOD. Pours black. Very little head - less than a finger with a 90 degree pour. Consequently, retention and lacing are also very poor.

Light, but otherwise typical, stout nose. A bit of roast, vey faint char and a touch of malt.

Medium body with a slightly slick texture. Quite outstanding carbonation / body balance. The middle is quite effervescent and the finish is a finely bubbled rollicking explosive ride.

The flavor profile is borderline very good. Complexity is a bit missing in this stout. Flavors are presented well and also are well balanced. Roast with a touch of char float above a very well balanced slightly sweet molasses / caramel base. From the middle on, sweetness peaks and is overcome with a bit of alcohol taste and astringency. The finish is a fade of molasses and alcohol. Dark fruits are missing, except for a brief touch of prune about three quarters through as the alcohol becomes uncovered.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark and black like the heart of a volunteer firefighter with a menial job in real life. Nice 3/4" tan/brown head on it, good retention. Aroma is big time roasty with dark fruit bitter notes.

Taste more roast, nice and chewy, dense without being excessively challenging. Hides alcohol nicely. Not overly acrid or bitter. Less dark fruit (plum/raisin/prune) notes than your average RIS, something I definitely appreciate. Usual malt descriptors without adjuncts of roasted coffee and chocolate. Not really much else to say about it, its definitely elite Russian Imperial Stout territory.

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Photo of MNAle
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very dark, black even, with a small brown-tan head that recedes into a thin ring quickly. Dark fruit, chocolate aroma with roasted malts as well. Thick mouth feel. Roasted taste, lots of coffee, with solid bittering in the middle and finish.

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Photo of T-34-85
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Solid russian imperial stout. Sturdy malt body with a complimentary thick mouthfeel and a dark roasty malt aroma that rounds out a nice beer. Good for sipping on a cold night on the sofa.

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Photo of martinpfal
4.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Darkness. One finger dark tan head. Malty nose. Taste is sweet and malty with the booze not overly present...which is good. This is one to pursue when it's available

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Photo of fern22
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2016 Bottle poured into typical glass snifter at room temp on 2/12/17.

Appearance is black, opaque, viscous, very little dark brown head. Looks like someone melted licorice and carbonated it a little. The whiff hints of what might be expected by the appearance: malt, molasses, peaty to some extent. Malt bomb with the elements of dark chocolate that carries through the same taste from beginning to end with a strong aftertaste. There's almost a burnt maple syrup taste as well. Not exactly the smoothest beer considering how strong its taste is, but you will not get any alcohol. This beer sets the bar for the imperial stout standards of excellence.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, dated 12/13/16. Pours jet black with a small sized dark khaki head. Smells of roasted malt, caramel, cocoa with some earthy hops, coffee, and char. The taste follows exactly with roasted malt, caramel, cocoa, hops, coffee, and char. Surprisingly low bitterness for the style and light sweetness. The alcohol is well hidden. Thick, rich body and low carbonation. Overall, this felt like a mix of a RIS and a Milk Stout. It's viscous, lightly bitter, and hits on all the relevant stout flavors. A well crafted brew.

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Photo of Philsadvns
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love this stout. Pours a dark chocolate with hint of deep deep red and brown. Smells incredible. Like a cup of coffee with a chocolate bar melted in it. Plus maybe cocoa nibs and toasted nuts maybe? Flavor is outstanding, coffee, chocolate, toasty sweet goodness followed by smooth malty toasted...something. Overall it's a top quality stout. I can barely detect any alcohol at all which is incredible for a big beer at 11% abv.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smell: big Umami smoked meat bakers chocolate raisin tobacco

Taste: upfront there's an initial sweetness raisin bakers chocolate transitions in the middle of the mouth to a big Smokey presence pipe tobacco smoked meat Umami. Im the finish you get a vanilla type sweetness and some expresso bitterness.

Feel: medium to full body creamy soft dry in the finish the expresso biterness lingers in the aftertaste.

Overall: bottled 11/11/15 more smokiness a very complex smokey flavor less sweet big expresso note in the finish just enough sweetness there to keep the smoke and biterness in line I think this beer is better with some age on it. But fresh it's really good too.

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Photo of Leif_Eriksson
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: pours pitch black, with a cherry red head and light carbonation.

Nose: milk chocolate, cherries, old wood smoke.

Taste: creamy, chewy, woodsmoke, chocolate milkshake, dark cherry character. Huge beer!

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black, small dark brown head leaves an oil slick on the side of the glass. Awesome appearance!
Aroma is heavy on roasted malt, coffee and ash. Ya just gotta love the aroma, almost like burnt stale gas station coffee at 4am.
Tastes are quite similar, hints of dark fruit in the finish.
Thick and oily on the tongue, goes down smoothly.
This is one terrific beer, incredible flavors and aromas make this another super RIS outa Michigan.

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Photo of WindUpBird
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Dark dark brown...almost black, with just a wisp of a head.The smell is of cocoa, coffee and smoke. The taste is somewhat sweet but not cloying, cocoa and fruit with just a hint of booze. The overall impression is of a beer that demands attention, but savoring its complexity is worth the effort. It packs a strong punch at 11%, which for me makes it a "one-and-done," but also one I'd like to come back to.

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours completely dark with light brown head. Aroma is full of chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits. Flavor is raisins, chocolate, a little bit of roasted coffee, and some alcohol. The feel is a little thicker than medium, more carbonation than expected, and goes perfectly with the beer. This is a great stout! I've heard so much about it and I'm glad to finally be trying it.

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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 jzlyo
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is chocolate/dark chocolate, dark malts, coffee and a hint of dry earthiness. The flavor is chocolate/dark chocolate, coffee, dark malts, mild dark fruit/fruit and a mix of big acidity and slight spiciness/alcohol in the finish.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.88/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle no date, but bought from the worst craft beer store in Ann Arbor so it might be a year or more old (other bottles were). Michigan craft pint glass.

A: pours a completely opaque black with a quarter finger tan head. Not really any visible carb at the glass rim. No lacing, modest retention.

S: raisins, molasses, dark chocolate, prunes, caramel, honey, needless to say - sweet, with loads of dark, dried fruit.

T: arrives sweet, and develops into cascading layers of the aforementioned prunes, molasses, dark chocolate. Syrupy molasses sweetness lingers. A little alcohol as it warms.

M: full bodied and slick, very slick. Relatively high carbonation keeps it just on this side of cloying.

O: wow is that a big, sweet beer. This is my first RIS in a long time, and it's a bit too sweet. A real sipper. Not my fave RIS.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours black off white head great lacing

Aroma - Dark chocolate, caramel, tobacco, cocoa and roasted malts.

Flavor - Flavors are well balanced, bitter chocolate, vanilla , cocoa and roasted malts.

Feel- Pretty full mouthfeel coats the mouth very smooth and velvet feeling.

Overall - Very solid beer, great flavors and very smooth feel.

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Photo of basaywhat
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours black with low brown head. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits. Nice creamy rich and full bodied stout with loads of coffee, chocolate and vanilla.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very dark beer with no head on top. Can smell dark fruits along with something sweet. Tastes like how a dark beer should taste, roasted malts and coffee.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,951 ratings.
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