Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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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:
926
Ratings:
3,940
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
554
Gots:
1,056
For Trade:
117
User Reviews
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Reviews: 926 | Ratings: 3,940
Photo of Neorebel
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Plead the 5th looks almost perfect... pitch black, with a thin, off white ring around the perimeter of the glass. Splash of tan in the center. Visible and minimal carbonation. Aroma is very heavy... dark chocolate cake, dark fruits, some sour cherry, and it is indeed very roasty. Flavor wise, that roasty, toasted malt aspect comes through in a big way. Secondary to that are the pleasing coffee and chocolate notes. It does start off very smooth, and appropriately fades out into a very dry finish. There is a very strong 'campfire' aspect to this as well, which could turn some people off. I rather like it, myself. The mouth feel is medium-heavy, and overall, this is an interesting blend of sweet and smoky. Recommended for any RIS head.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.49/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a motor-oil black with ruby highlights. No head to speak of, feared it was flat until the carbonation started to break the surface (points lost). Aroma is thick, caramelized sugars and molasses with a malt base.

Taste is bittersweet and malty. Deep roasted flavors of burnt grain and sugars with a slight tangy sweetness. Charcoal, unsweetened Vienna roast coffee, Dutch cocoa, maybe a slight berry element. Mild presence of alcohol in the flavor profile, finishes dry with a mld acidic bite.

Mouthfeel is as thick and chewy as it appears. Rests heavy on the palate, coats everything. Legs imply a double-digit alcohol content. Don't understand the name, as it comes in a 12-oz bottle. Thanks to trbeer for this sample.

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

Bottle into a Madtree snifter. Very dark brown pour, and absoloutely midnight black in the glass. A small, dark brown head sets up initially, but is gone within a minute or so. Bitter chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, and sugared candy on the nose - almost has a cola-like sweetness to the smell. Not strong in terms of the aroma. Bittersweet chocolate and malt on the taste with a refined, yet relatively aggresive roastiness. On the palate, it's fairly sweet but turns bitter on the taste buds once the aftertaste sets in. A little thin for the abv, but not too bad. Very drinkable. Little to no booziness.

Overall, this beer did not live up to the hype for me. It was good, but honestly, I'd rather have an Old Raspy over this anytime.

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Photo of cvfish
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a pitch black color that produced a fluffy brown head that had great retention and left beautiful lace along the side of the glass

S - This beer produced aromas of chocolate, coffee, and brown sugar

T - This beer produced flavors of bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, some brown sugar, and a little bit of dark fruits on the finish

M - This beer had a meduim to heavy body accompanied by a light amount of carbonation

D - This was a great RIS, a little different that normal RIS's, but not as in your face as the WWS, but somewhere in between, a very good beer

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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 oldn00b
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap into a snifter. Pitch black, foamy head forms but fades really quickly.

Nose is a bit light to me - nice, roasty malts, hint of chocolate but relatively typical for an Imperial Stout.

Flavor is pretty great, a very well made beer, but it doesn't exactly stand out for me.

Feel is nice, great weight but not syrupy. Overall very enjoyable - would definitely have again.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured the 12 oz bottle into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.
A: Jet black with a chocolate head, which died to a good lace.
S: Chocolate mocha, burnt malts, and rum raisin.
T: It is a sweet stout, with raspberries and a brandy/bourbon alcohol. Nothing lingers, oddly. The chocolate and mocha flavors are not overpowering.
M: Creamy, yet clean and frothy. It is an awesome blend of really good textures.
D: Excellent.

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

2011 vs 2012 comparison, 12oz bottles. notes from april 2012 or so, right after the 2012 release. both bottles poured into snifters. ratings above reflect the current batch.

a - '12 pours a viscous, oily black. gave me a thin cap of dark brown head that is only about two shades lighter than the beer. spotty lacing in the glass. 4.5

'11 same color/look, though no head whatsoever and no lacing. 3.5


s - '12 chocolate, slightly nutty, raisin. 3.5

'11 wow! port, faint tobacco, faint licorice, lots of roasted malt and a slight booziness. 4.5

t - '12 chocolate, molasses, noticeable alcohol twang in the finish. bitterness like black coffee more so than hops. a little rough around the edges i think. 4.0

'11 espresso, rich dark chocolate, raisin, dark cherry, tobacco. very smooth with no alcohol taste at all. maybe showing some slight oxidation. 4.0

m - '12 full bodied and chewy. adequate carbonation, fin co2 profile. slight alcohol warming. 3.5

'11 full bodied with lighter carbonation and a fine co2 profile. very rich and smooth. 4.0

o - fresh is pretty damn good, but with a year or more on it this beer becomes something very different. very drinkable for the high abv %, though i think 2 in a night is all most people could handle. enjoyable fresh or aged and highly recommended. 4.0

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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 Seanniek91
4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Smuttynose pint.

Appearance- Pitch black. So black. Really black. 2 finger fluffy mocha head. Big intense lacing.

Smell- Big boozy, cocoa, caramel, licorice, cherry, plumb, mild burnt smell at the end.

Taste- Caramel chocolate coffe, peppermint, not much booze surprisingly. Nice balance or bitter and sweet.

Mouthfeel- Sper smooth and viscous. Clean with that cooling peppermint flavor. Not hot at all which is great for 11%.

Overall- Damn fine RIS. Really want to try the Bourbon barrel version of this.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - Sits black in the glass. Oily appearance
Smell - Wonderful chocolate on the nose of this beer. Some roasty coffee notes as well.
Taste - Follows the nose. Chocolate and coffee lead the way. Some nutty/caramel notes are thrown in there too.
Feel - Chewy, mouth coating, sticky.....what I've come to expect out of a good stout.

Overall - On the same playing field as FIS and Ten Fidy in the opinion. A damn good stout!! Enjoyed every sip.

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Photo of nortmand
4.72/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really, really dark brown, with some tan foam.
Roasted chocolatey smel. Whoa alot of roast. Also, a nice sweet smell.
Taste is strongly sweet, but complimented by a roast bitterness. Leaves an autumn fire taste behind.
A very nice, rich stout from dark horse. They don't do much bad.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

I received this beer in a trade a little over three years ago, so take that into consideration when reading my review.

A-Poured into a snifter rather hard and there was no head, which wasn't surprising given its age. It poured very dark, nearly pitch black and looked very thick, even for the style.

S-dark chocolate, hint of roasted malt, dark fruits, espresso, molasses, and alcohol. Fairly complex, but at times the alcohol really seemed strong.

T-The flavor profile consisted of dark chocolate, dark fruits, alcohol, and espresso. However, the flavor was not as strong as I expected, especially for the style it seemed somewhat mild.

M-Rather thick and creamy, one of the highlights of this beer.

D-Very drinkable given for the style due to its milder flavor, but still a sipper given its high alcohol content.

Overall, I wouldn't consider this one of the best versions of the style. However, I would like to try it fresher to see if the flavor is stronger. I did enjoy it and would drink it again.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle purchased 3/19/2014

Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout poured out a clean but opaque black that produced a thin reddish tan head that dissipated quickly to a collar of foam. The nose is dominated by roasted malts and a hint of chocolate. At first taste there is a strong flavor of dark roasted malts followed by a moderate flavor of chocolate, coffee, and dark toffee. The Ale has enough hops to keep it balanced with a pleasant warming alcohol finish. The mouth feel is smooth, creamy and high-medium bodied.

Plead the 5th is very drinkable for such a high abv. Well done Dark Horse.

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Photo of malty
2.65/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured pitch black (like motor oil) with no head whatsoever - just a faint beige halo surrounding the edge.

Scent is vinous with a somewhat pronounced alcohol (sharp) presence. Raw sourdough with distant bitter chocolate.

Flavors of dry, bitter baker's chocolate with burnt coffee and woody notes. Very liquer-like flavor, kind of like dark rum. Sharp alcohol flavor is very noticable.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with virtually no carbonation. Dry and chalky texture right through the finish.

Drinkability for me is a bit less than good. I wouldn't order another at a pub, would move onto something else.

Overall a nice full-bodied Imperial, though very unbalanced. Alcohol sharpness is very intrusive and mouthfeel is watery and uneventful. Nice bold dark roasted malt flavors, but get squelched by the alcohol presence. Bold, strong but unrefined.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Corsedonk snifter. Pours a thick black color, wow...a lot thicker than I expected. This is definitely a RIS! Small light brown head, dissipates pretty quick. Fizzy quick sliding lacing lines the glass after each sip.

Aroma is huge with booze, burnt coffee, and chocolate. A slight overripe fruit resemblance as well. Smells great! The warmer it gets, the stronger the fruit smell gets.

Wow! Great taste. Huge chewy/thick mouthfeel. Full bodied, warm booze, low carbonation, THICK chocolate taste! Lot's of chocolate, burnt coffee, dark fruit sweetness, and a heck of a lot of booze! This is indeed a very good RIS!

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Photo of thecarster1
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- bottle poured into a tulip glass, pour is very thick, scant head which is normal for a brew of this strength, very dark black motor oil coloring.

s- dark and stormy nose, lots of bourbon here, dark roasty burnt coffee, and dark chocolate, very strong, some alcohol.

t- lots of bourbon off the bat here again, dark heavily roasted malts, dark back coffee and chocolate, the alcohol is here but it kept in check pretty well for a 12% brew.

m- thick and coating.

d- not a bad beer by any stretch, but a sipper for sure at this strength and because of the massive flavors it packs, i've got another one i'm popping in the cellar to see how well it fares with a bit of age on it.

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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 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 MaximalC
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours the color of motor oil with a modest head of mocha suds. Aroma smells of peat, molasses, caramel, and nuts, with perhaps a hint of earthy hops and alcohol.

The taste features a full, intriguing malt profile including molasses, char, ash, and brown sugar. Earthy hops lend a healthy dose of bitterness that stands up to the sticky malt, while warming alcohol affords a fervent underpinning that bolsters the other flavors. Warming reveals shades of dates and figs as well. The body is nearly leaden, though the moderate carbonation and hops lend ample texture.

Overall, this is a unique and full flavored imperial stout. The burnt, ashen flavor and heavy body set it apart for sure, though the sweetness can be a little coarse down the stretch. Dark Horse makes some nice stouts, but this is justifiably their best.

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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 Retsinis
3.59/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer in a trade (thanks mnbearsfan)

2010 bottle

A: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, the beer pours black, with a dark brown hue. Very low carbonation, just film on top, then quickly became just a ring of tan cream bubbles at the edges of the glass.

S: Espresso, medium roasted malt, mild vanilla, scents of oak, and a touch of honey.

T: Licorice, bitter dark chocolate, touch of brown sugar, and smoked roasted malt. Light dry bitterness on the back end, like 70% dark chocolate, & charred oak. Alcohol is detectable, but not distracting.

M: Light oily texture, sweet but not sticky. Light carbonation.

O: Decent sipper, but half the 12oz was just fine. I had split this with my wife, who enjoyed what she had as well. I was hoping for a bit more roasted chocolate malt notes, a bit less licorice, and a more creamy mouth, but it is above average, just not great to me, in my humble opinion. I am curious what the bourbon barrel aged version adds to this beer though.

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Photo of BBP
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- While I don't agree with other reviews saying that this is one of the darkest stouts, it's quite dark and the only color that isn't black is in the ruby highlights. When I have a stout I look for two things. The first being darkness, which Plead accomplished, and the next is a full persistent head, which it didn't. I barely even got a head, or a film for that matter. Good thing appearances aren't everything.

S- Alcohol sharpness is a very evident welcome in the aroma. The first initial thought I had was dark fruit, and then caramel sweetness. Some coffee and chocolate can be detected just before the dark fruit begins to take over.

T- Very elegant tasting for a 12% stout. It's not really pungent in any way, but it's the furthest thing from bland at the same time.

Caramel, chocolate, licorice, and roasted malt pop out from an initial taste. I found it intriguing how sweet this is initially only for the roasted malts to reassure you that it has balance. The coffee also slyly creeps in to add some bitterness as well.

The taste is a real treat. With an extra little bit of oomph, I could see myself giving the 5 for taste rating.

M- Creamy smooth and a body that's as full as you want it to be. The finish is dry and sticky, as the flavor clings long after the sip.

O- I see this as a stout that I need to stock up on when I see it.

I'm starting to notice a trend with Dark Horse in that many of their brews aren't over the top, but many are done in a classy way. I think they're going to fall into breweries that I trust enough to buy without looking into their beers beforehand. Wish I picked up more of this.

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Photo of tpaetow
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- thick, black, tan head, half a finger that dissipated quickly

S- dark chocolate, coffee, bit of caramel sweetness but not much

T- similar to smell but I also get some berry notes. Really nice.

M- medium to full bodied, lighter than I had expected for a stout this big. Hides its alcohol well.

O- this is a tasty RIS. I don't like it as much as the barrel aged version, but it's a really tasty stout!

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Photo of uvachief
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Like many other reviewers, I did not feel this beer lives up to the hype. For the money, Founders RIS is better. Poured from a 12oz bottle chilled into a brandy snifter. Pours a deep black with barely a finger of tan head from an aggressive pour. Head dissipated quickly. No oily residue on top. Smells of dark bitter chocolate, hops, and dark fruits. Little to no coffee smell. Taste is much thinner in the mouth than I would have preferred with hardly any coffee or espresso finish. Dark roasted malts, toffee, bitter dark chocolate and hops. No vanilla. Dark fruits like raisins or plums/prunes. Hoppy and slightly bitter after taste. This is not my preferred RIS. It's very good but not great.

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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,940 ratings.
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