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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

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Reviews: 901 | Ratings: 3,854
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an inky black color with a brown head. The aroma has a lot of roasted malt, as well as some chocolate. The flavor is a little more complex. There is definitely a good dose of chocolate and roasted malt, but the dark fruit and alcohol also come through and add to the flavor. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice stout, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of aasher
3.91/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This pours into my snifter an oily midnight black with a dark, dark khaki head that quickly dissipates and laces the glass. The aromas are of oak, bitter chocolate, and a considerable amount of alcohol. The 12% is very present in the nose. The flavors are of conflicting chocolate (both sweet and bitter), oaky smoke, and alcohol. It's good but not as good as it could be. The strongest aspect of this beer has got to be the mouthfeel. It drinks exceptionally smooth and also lighter than it looks. It's velvety smooth. Overall this is a very fine beer but it misses on a few levels. The amount of alcohol present in the nose and flavor is a slight turnoff. It's 12% and you know it. It's good but powering through a four pack of this would be quite difficult but one or two is just fine.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to RedHaze for this brew.

Pours a black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves some minimal sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some chocolate/toffee notes, vanilla. The taste is very nice, malty, sweet/vanilla note, lots of chocolate/toffee. Medium body, a nice smooth/slightly creamy brew, ABV hidden very well, but a sipper for sure. Very Drinkable, another very tasty brew from DH.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.96/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle out of a four pack and into a snifter so help me god. Been impressed with this series so far, this is my fourth out of five.

Deep space black with more blackness and some black to go on top of that. Ok, there's some brown towards the edge. A dark brown pillow tight nitro like head up above, after a few minutes, nothing, no lace.

Im not digging the nose on this at all. I mean it's malty as hell with some roasted qualities and chocolate, but there is also this rotted dark fruit scent that turns me away. It reminds me of a certain stout from a Jamacian brewery way down south, but 5th is not that rotted. Some creamy french vanilla.

5th comes back into focus on taste. This Russian delivers without that huge dark fruit thing, it's there but tucked under all this dark chocolate which was not as big in the nose, weird. Chocolate clumped in with vanilla and alot of cream. Saying there is alot of roasted malt is a understatement, it's huge. no alcohol, and this is a 12%er.

This is smooth, perhaps the smoothest 'fresh' rizzz i've had probably to date. Im upset that I missed it on tap by a few hours, damn. This is great out the bottle though. Pretty much full bodied and malty smooth, rich and not that bitter. In fact this is not bitter at all, more sweet. The carb is light, it's real light, but it's keeps number five together.

Excellent drinkability and a straight forward RIS. The nose bother's me but other than that, this is great. I'll try another bottle to see if that odor is still there. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, very impressive. Dark Horse continues to put out good dark beer and others.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.82/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure why this is marked as retired, I have a 12 oz bottle of this brew.

Pours with hardly any carbonation at all and absolutely no head. This beer is pitch black in color and quite viscous looking as I pour it. The aroma smells quite fruity with notes of burnt figs and burnt prunes. These are joined by notes of burnt grain, and roasted coffee as well as some subtle notes of boozy alcohol. I would have to say that rich, concentrated malt notes and chocolate dominate the aroma, it is not nearly as roasty as I was expecting.

The beer is pretty darn thick and viscous as it hits my tongue. It is also lightly sweet, which is accentuated by the complete lack of carbonation. Notes of dark chocolate up front compete with a roasted grain note in the finish. The beer has a certain smooth bitterness in the finish that is also contributed by the roasted malt. The roast note certainly reminds me of black coffee. Notes of fruit are also here with notes of burnt raisins and burnt concentrated plum. There is a bit of a chalky, slightly bitter chocolate note in the middle of this beer.

This beer is pretty nice, but I can't help but think that at least a slight level of carbonation would have made this beer quite a bit better (in both its aromatic and flavor qualities). In fact this beer would be approaching stellar if it was a bit carbonated.

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

Dark Horse : Plead the 5th

Pours a dark oily black with a tan mocha head and some foam. Aroma full of roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa nibs and espresso. Well rounded roasted malt flavor, follows the nose with some cocoa and coffee flavors. Hop character is earthy and minimal. Alcohol well hidden. Overall, I really liked this stout, drank very easily for its size. Recommended.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as part of the Black Booty BIF. Pours black with a thin head that settles to a ring. Smells of coffee and bitter chocolate, with a slightly roasty and milk chocolate finish. Impressive taste, a choclate explosion with wonderful bitter chocolate, some berry notes, both long and delicious. Later some cinammon and a big hit of coffee make an appearance. The mouthfeel is long and super smooth. Utterly delicious, this is a great beer.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at EBI in Saratoga, NY.

Pours a dark black, with a half inch head that fades down to film and a little bit of foam quickly. Not much lacing.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of alcohol.

This stout uses its alcohol very well- it gives a spicy bite that plays nicely off the malty, chocolatey sweetness. There's a tiny bit of soy sauce flavor, with roasty bitterness and dark fruit flavors.

Medium to full bodied, creamy, smooth delectable mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Present but not threatening alcohol.

The bourbon barrel aged version of this is a classic, this base version is very nice as well, and holds itself up on its own.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Of the darkest achromatic visual value with a frothy, dark brown head and some sticy lacing coating the side. The smell is of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, mollases, and raisins. The beer is well carbonated and fullbodied. The taste is of black coffee, tobacco, and wet cedar. The dark chocolate is pronounced and slightly smoky.

I'd love to drink this in the middle of a blizzard, inside a log cabin, nestled in some tall, cold mountains somewhere in Scandinavia.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 29, 2016.

This is a near jet black pour with little to no head. I would have given it a 5 but I like some head. Though at 12% ABV, the head is usually hard to come by.

The aroma is sweet, dark, and roasted with raisins and a low to no hop profile. No alcohol.

The body is around medium.

The taste tends to fall onto the sweet dark malt side with a mild bitterness but mostly sweet and dark. Alcohol is beautifully integrated. These kinds of Stouts are high on my drinking list.

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Photo of Derek
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle of "Plead the 5th".

A: Dark black with a dark, tan head, very little retention, slight leg.

S: Big aroma of bittersweet chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, warming alcohol and a hint of fruity esters.

T: Dark chocolate, black strap molasses, sherry, burnt/roasted acidity, salty licorice and a hint of soy sauce. Solid bitterness. Very nice.

M: Moderate to full body is very creamy; well-attenuated, alcohol leaves a dry finish.

D: Bold & Beautiful.

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Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one has been aging in my cellar for at least 2-3 years. I can't even remember who I got it from but if memory serves correct, I believe it was trbeer.
Appears a used motor oil, thick syrupy, viscuous, black. A thick, dark tan head slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty lacing and syrupy streaks are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee beans. I'm loving this stuff. I would put this up there with some of the best Imperial Stouts I've had.
Taste echoes the aromas with complexities bouncing off the tastebuds with highlights of dark fruit jam, caramel, molasses, cocoa, coffee, and roasted nuts.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, semi-sweet with chocolate bitterness.
Let this one age a little bit and it'll reward you handsomely.

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Photo of dar482
4.71/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

(With a year aged.

A year in, the aroma has a bright raspberry/blueberry boozy jam aroma. Tons of umami. Coffee, sweet chocolate.

The flavor follows with tons of complexity. Alcohol is present. There’s a vodkaed blueberries, roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate. A hop bitterness that hits towards the end with a bit of umami. Caramel and molasses linger throughout.

The mouthfeel is full, but lighter than a Founders Imperial I had next to it. Lighter side of extremely viscous.

Age this beer. It inched by Founders Imperial with a year on it.)

It is a dark black color with a coffee head.

The aroma is of roasted malts and big coffee.

The flavor is of bitter chocolate, but not offensive with roasted malt and coffee. There is a beautiful clean finish. The creaminess is throughout and it does not have an alcohol bite.

The sweetness and creamy qualities carry it through, but really push the strong flavors along. It has such tasty qualities, but without being overpowering and the clean finish is wonderful.

It reminds me a bit of Imperial Biscotti and Even More Jesus. This is dangerously drinkable at 12% ABV, unlike some beers this style or bourbon aged beers.

This beer hides its 12% better than a beer like KBS. However, the cloying finish at a point that doesn't have a clean creamy finish like Ten Fidy. Love it still, but not as complete as I remember having it for the first time.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%

Pours a one finger brown head that fades slowly leaving traces of lace. Black color, no highlights, ton of yeast left in bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Chocolate nose and flavor is roasted chocolate, some sugar decent IS. High (label 11%) ABV is hidden. $4.49 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse during their Dark Horse AleStars evening in Sydney.

Pours an extremely dark, very close-to-black and very solid. The body, however, is surprisingly light and fluid. Head is a deep, dark chocolate colour. Some dots of lace form, but really patchily. Carbonation is fine, but rushes through the body quite quickly. Not bad all up.

Dark and roasty on the nose, not unexpectedly, but under that are some of the more interesting characters. It has a deep sweetness, mingled with a touch of salt—perhaps Vegemite—and some deep tannic red wine characters. As it warms, the booze becomes a bit more noticeable, along with some hazelnut characters, and even a dank smouldering campfire. Nice stuff.

Taste is slightly lighter than expected. It perhaps matches the hint of lightness seen in the body. Flavour-wise, there's some nice coconut characters, sweetness and a hint of cherry or something fruity and tropical. But then, whack!, the Impy stout comes back, with a big roasted, boozy sharpness on the finish. Again, pretty good.

Feel is clean and smooth.

It's very nice and smooth, and very drinkable. It's very tasty, while maintaining an edge of aggression. It ends up being a very nice, and very respectable package.

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Photo of corby112
3.71/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a sludgy pitch black color that is completely opaque with a one finger frothy dark mocha head. Good retention, slowly fading into a thick lasting cap that leaves spots of lacing behind.

Sweet, roasty malt aroma this bursting with lots of silky chocolate as well as some oatmeal, roasted coffee bean, toast and nut. There's also a slight lactic cream presence but the nose of this beer is all about roasted malt and chocolate.

Medium bodied but on the fuller end with a slightly chewy, viscous consistency. Deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, burnt toast and toffee. This is complimented by a sweet chocolate malt presence and subtle creaminess. There's also some earthy hop bitterness and a prominent alcohol burn in the finish. The ABV isn't well masked with a ton of heat and warmth in the finish. I expect that this will tone down with age but this fresh bottle is too hot for my liking. Dry boozy finish.

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Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 4 pack of this in Charlton, and according to the notes it is a 2011 vintage. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice deep brown almost black hue with a good quarter inch dark chocolate hue that does not really fade, just settles down to a creamy blanket. Quite solid, light lacing. Good for the ABV.

S - Strong dark chocolate, almost acrid roast, slight almost leather notes, earthy bitter char. Alcohol is not really noticeable.

T - Taste is lots of almost chalky dark chocolate, charred bitterness, light campfire notes, dark fruits. Pretty straightforward.

M - Mouthfeel is creamy, very, very lightly carbonated. Alcohol is hidden very nicely.

O - Overall this is pretty solid. Nothing earth shattering but age is helping this along quite nicely.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice jet black with a nice brown cap. Sexy!

S: Deep deep coffee nose, roasted malts, booze and some cocoa

T: Wow. Chocolate, coffee, minimal dark fruits with a sharp booze tinge and big roastiness

M: Big, thick and hearty

O: Outstanding!

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A viscose motor oil pour fills the vessel with a creamy, nutmeg head that lingered around a bit. Skim lacing covering, well lasting leaving a film lace coating.

S: Dark chocolate, cocoa, milky chocolate, vanilla of strong indications. Small charred bitterness, earthy roasted chocolate. No alcohol awareness for 11.0%.

T: Earthy bitter roast, fresh, darkly bitter with vanilla and charred bitterness. Bakers chocolate, burnt toffee, campfire minerality, roasted barley. Dark fruit of prunes, whiskey breath and smoky charrdness.

M: Malty body, viscose with a honey-cream substance, and syrupy texture. Softly carbonated with a bite of roasted burnt bitterness and alcohol on the swallow.

O: Overall drinks amazingly well for 11.0, well concealed alcohol. Dark, beautifully roasted bitterness with a silky nature. The only pleading here is for another bottle. all around outstanding.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a black body with minor head and lace. First thing that hits me in the nose is dark fruits like raisin, figs, and then minor sweet malts like chocolate and something sugary (not going to say candi sugar or caramel...toffee? molasses?) and then balance from some roasted malts and to be honest no alcohol. The lack of alcohol in the nose and also the beer itself is quite a feat considering it's a double digit ABV beer. This beer, for as heavy as it could be and with so much going on, is actually light and easy to drink with a chewy, fuller body that goes down incredibly easy with notes of chocolate and other sweet flavors (again - toffee? molasses?) hints of figs, some roasted malts, good balance and the beer has a good, strong finish without alcohol burn. Just a solid stout.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a jet black inky body with a thin broken film of bubbly tan.
S- There is a soft creamy roasted black chocolate malt aroma with some dark toffee notes coming through as it opens.
T- The chocolate malt blends with some full dark roasted black malt finish. Some tootsie roll flavors underneath turn more into dark chocolate milk and some dark roasted coffee bean taste come through in in the finish. There is no real bitterness in the finish just a mellow black malt flavor lingers after a slightly sweet finish.
M- The medium mouthfeel has no real alcohol heat noticed.
O- Nice full chocolate malt flavor with more dark roasted black malt character for support with no bitterness and very smooth and creamy.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.41/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Rediscovered notes from Sept 2012, on tap at Fermentoren in Copenhagen)

A: Very dark black. 1/4" mocha head, recedes leaving a ring

S: rich roast, soy sauce, molasses

T: Chocolate, red plum, coffee. Woody.

M: Low carb. Thick. Tannic.

O: Okay, but vastly inferior to the BB version.

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Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part 5 of my Trilogy (apologies to D. Adams), the big boy of the lot. A 12 oz bottle from the Brass Rail.

A: This stout, the biggest of the lot, is an oily black color that absorbs all wavelengths on the spectrum. A reddish red, at least at first, measures up to 1/2 a finger. As it settles, the red colors slip aaway.

S: Roasted, more so than any other in the series, malts are thick and dark. A chocolatey sweetness runs alongside the malts, loosening the nose up.

T: The strength of the stout creates a big body, thick and chewy at time, that can't hide its strength. Coffee and anise, bold and sweet, mix with cocoa powder, toast and heavily-roasted grains. Very sweet, the stout is filling and rarely skimps on flavor. There are a few dead spots where the flavor trails off unexpectedly. The burnt grains linger long on the palate, a morass of anise, coffee and charred bread.

M: The stout is very imperial, robust from first sip to last. I let it sit out for about an hour, allowing it to breath and come to room temperatute (a very good idea).

D: A great way to finish my horizontal run through the Dark Horse seasonal stouts. A warming stout that packs a nice punch.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.16/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. no bottling date.

Pours a pitch black color with a slight beige head that quickly dissipates.

Smell is very light... faint coffee maybe? not much to go by.

taste is strong. extremely drinkable here. good chocolate and coffee notes. bitter in a good way. this is what an easy to drink RIS is supposed to taste like.

heavy body and low carbonation, but it doesnt taste syrupy like a lot of other RIS'. alcohol is undetectable on the tongue. easy to down a pint...might be dangerous at 11%!

overall an exceptional RIS that i will return to again in the future.

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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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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,854 ratings.
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