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Plead The 5th Imperial Stout | Dark Horse Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
898 Reviews
THE BROS
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Plead The 5th Imperial StoutPlead The 5th Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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:
898
Ratings:
3,833
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
556
Gots:
1,040
For Trade:
121
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 898 | Ratings: 3,833
Photo of ibbjamin
3.34/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm reviewing a 12oz bottle which I purchased from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI and poured into a snifter.

Pours like motor oil yet even more black in color. Leaves a small tan head which dissipates very quickly leaving no retention. Some minimal lacing.

Very pleasing, somewhat complex nose. Sweet and lightly roasted malts with hints of smoke and earthy wood notes. Rounded out with mild coffee, creme and cocoa.

The taste is somewhat of a letdown after getting well acquainted with my nose. Has a slightly bitter, old coffee flavored finish. Seems to lose some of its complexity as well. Sweet malts with hints of smoked beef jerky and creme. The alcohol is pretty well contained for this 12% beer.

Full body, minimal carbonation. The thickness of the beer could have been better translated into a smoother, creamier mouthfeel.

I have yet to be really impressed by Dark Horse beers. They are good, but have not pushed themselves into the great category yet in my opinion.

 984 characters

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black in color with a brown head that is almost non existent but stays present the whole drink. Smells of dark chocolate, tobacco, cherries, and malt. Taste is slightly sweet and molasses like. Bitter coffee and chocolate are both present with some dark fruit. Feel is what I hope for in an 11% Imperial stout - thick and rich. Overall this is an awesome stout. Thick, flavorful and fulfilling.

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

12oz bottle into a Tulip glass

Big thanks to Kstrickler for sending me this

A- Pours a solid opaque black with no head other than a light brown rim around the edge of the glass. Nice legs coat the sides of the glass.

S- Dark roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, and coffee. Slight alcohol as it warms but not bad. Pretty simple and straight forward.

T- Just like the aroma. Roasted burnt malts up front with a really nice silky/creamy chocolate flavor that finishes with a strong bitter coffee. Alcohol is there but at the same time very well blended and hidden by the flavors.

M- Medium to full body with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter finish.

Overall it's a very simple and some what basic imperial stout but at the same time that's all this beer needs to dominate a style like this.

SkÅL!

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

Pours nice and black with a thin, mocha head.

The smell bombards you with equal parts chocolate and vanilla. I get some woodiness as well.

Tastes like equal parts blueberries and banana. Fruity and sweet while the chocolate is not completely forgotten. Nutty. There's some alcohol burn present, it's not as hot as other RIS but there's more than I like.

It has nice carbonation and a full, chewy mouthfeel. This is a solid stout... but it's still a full step down from the best in class. I'll age the remaining three in hopes the burn lessens.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a thin, motor oil head. Head retains okay, with no lacing left behind. Molasses, dark chocolate, and strong roasted malts give this one dark, but sweet aroma. Molasses, toffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts make up a dark, complex flavor profile. Mouth feel is bold, and filling. Overall, a fantastic rendition of the Russian Imperial Stout. Mighty and powerful, and yet easy to drink considering the complexity and alcohol percentage.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of Brez07
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 bottle poured into a snifter. Not sure of the bottle date, but I got it about 6 months ago

A: Dark pour with some brown highlights along the edge. Head is thin and brief. There's mostly just a ring around the glass

S: Lots of roasted malt, but not over the top. Some dark chocolate mixed in, which imparts a small amount of sweetness. There are also notes of smoke, toffee and possibly brown sugar. I detect a small trace of alcohol as well

T: Again, the roasted malt dominates the flavor. There more of a bakers/bittersweet chocolate in the taste though. The beer developed a very rich chocolate flavor as it warmed

M: Full bodied, smooth and creamy. Maybe a touch high on the carbonation but I didn't mind. Small amount of residual bitterness after each sip

D: Very easy to drink considering the style and ABV. Not nearly as roasty as some others I've had in the style. You really don't notice the 12%. This is a good beer that I'd drink again if available but won't go out of my way to get

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Photo of tut2528
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours jet black, in very minimal head formation. giving it a couple of swirls it elicits an very dark tan almost brown head. big alcohol legs are noticeable.

S: roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, slight fudge sweetness, big dark fruits (predominately plums and figs), slight tart cherries as well. just a slight touch of coffee grounds

T: pretty similar to the nose. chocolate fudge, plums, figs, and cherries. but in addition, I pick up on a big black licorice, a slight hint of hops, and a vanilla cream finish. i find no alcohol presence and this one is going down

M: full bodied that coats the mouth with a nice bitter chocolate and sweet dark fruit characters

O: extremely smooth beer. and i must say that at the alcohol is almost undetectable. just a freaking fantastic RIS. definitely need to get my hands on the BA version, bc I can't imagine how fantastic that one would be!

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Photo of jamescain
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic tumbler, initially I didn’t know what this was because I received it as an extra, thanks drewba, and there was no label on the bottle. I assumed it was a homebrew, so I threw it in the fridge and had it the night I received the package.

Appearance: Pours a very viscous black with a brown head about a finger thick that fades into a ring around the glass.

Aroma: Huge notes of coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Slightly on the boozy side, especially when it warms up, but it is not overwhelmingly alcoholic. There are flavors of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee is pretty prevalent and even some dark fruits such as raisins.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with low to medium carbonation with a warming finish that is slightly sweet and lingering.

Overall: I’m usually very happy with Dark Horse’s beers and this one is no exception. I just wish that I had known what it was so I could have shared it with friends. If you get the chance I recommend picking one up, but it’s a sipper for sure.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.59/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been hearing about this one, just stumbled across it.

Appearance- Black with a very thin mocha head even with with a vigorous pour. No lacing, just the thinnest of caps.

Smell- Big, rich chocolate. Bourbon and vanilla. It really has nice bourbon. Some toasted marshmallow. It's very nice.

Taste- It has some nice chocolate, and some booze. Ok, plenty of booze. It's got a ton of dark fruits, tons of raisin. Seriously, lots of raisin. It finishes with bitter chocolate, and a little ashy. Sweet, booze, raisin.

Mouthfeel- Just too thin, frankly. A little flat.

Overall- I was so excited about this one after the smell. But it does not deliver.

This is just disappointing. It should have lot going for it, but it's thin, a little hot, kind of ashy in the end, and basically a raisenette beer. So it goes.

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Photo of pburland23
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Teresa's Next Door. There was a funny write up on the beer menu about how when the keg came in the employees at Teresa's didn't know what it was. So, someone called Dark Horse and told them they had a keg of Plead the 5th in Wayne, Pa. The Dark Horse employee asked, "How did you get a keg of that?"

It seemed to be a fortuitous break for us local beer geeks that Teresa's had a keg.

Pours a dark black color with a slight cocoa colored head.

Smells of roasted malts as well as some burnt wood aroma which reminds me of a port barrel. The taste is also dominated by the roasted malts with hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

There is scant carbonation which is nice for the style. This beer doesn't drink like it's 12% abv. There was no discernible boozy presence in my opinion.

All in all, this is a wonderful RIS. I had never even heard of Dark Horse before and was glad I wandered into Teresa's on a night they had this on tap.

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Photo of readbaron
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out thick & black with a lovely deep mocha head with decent lacing and excellent retention.

Smells delightful - biscuty malts, sweet dark fruit, anise, and a bit of hops.

Tastes like it smells. A really well balanced beer. Lots of malt, a bit of dark chocolate sweetness, then finishes with some licorice and bitter hops. Alcohol is not noticeable at all. Smooth, yet complex.

Nothfeelnis great. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation.

An excellent, excellent beer.

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Photo of Auracom
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally. Been waiting for this one for close to two years. 6-7 oz. poured straight from cellar temp into a Hunahpu's snifter on April 17th, 2012.

A - A good cross between the visuals of Founders RIS and CC Marshal Zhukov's. Very deep, opaque black with a dark khaki head. Quick dissipation and very little retention. Good lacing and plentiful alcohol legs.

S - Well-blended mix of milk chocolate, dark cocoa, toasted marshmallow, graham cracker, and light coffee. Very small trace of heat.

T- It's more balanced than I expected. Front palate is chocolate cake sweetness. Mid shows a mix of espresso and mocha bitterness. Rear picks up roasted malts, touch of caramel, and then melds back into a dark chocolate finish and aftertaste. Very pleasant and with virtually no heat despite the freshness of this bottle. It's a bit bitter on the back-end, so that may impact taste preferences.

M- Heavy, thick body with some stickiness. Great carbonation, lightly sweet effervescent finish.

D - This is flat-out one of the better base RIS I've had, and it's set up fucking perfectly for the bourbon barrel. I'm that much more jazzed to get my hands on that version now.

Edit - 2 years later, and this is unequivocally my favorite non barrel-aged stout.

 1,250 characters

Photo of justinp444
4.62/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass this beer pours a rich foamy chocolate head with a dark black body. Smell is of chocolate and coffee with a large amount of malt and dried fruit. Taste is chocolate with tons of malt and dried fruit, not overly sweet but more earthy hops bitter & malt sweetness on the back end with a sharp tongue coating entrance.

 342 characters

Photo of PSUDREW
3.84/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a wonderful ink color. Light brown head, that dissipates real quick
S: sweet alcohol, maybe coco and brown sugar, hints of raisins
T: right off the bat, a boozey up front, with thick punch of dark coco, and maybe some plums. maybe. Some caramel to, and it finished thick, but there is a dry chocolate and a roasted flavor. Not hops to really speak of
M: Thick, syrups. this is a once in a while, not on a 96 degree day ( I am speaking from experience)
D: Not exceptionally. but a good brew, prob best in the fall, one or two at a time

 544 characters

Photo of pmccallum86
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a huge deep dark black color with a big and thick cocoa colored head that dissipates very slowly.

Smell is of big cocoa and licorice. Lots of roasted malts and a little coffee as well.

Big, big, flavor. Tons of roasted malts and bitter chocolates come up front. Followed by slight hop bitterness and some sugary caramel in the finish. Quite a nice beer, possibly my favorite offering from Dark Horse. The 12% ABV is hidden very nicely as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with medium carbonation, very full bodied beer.

Drinkable all things considered, but not this beer's best asset.

 597 characters

Photo of velosuds
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes on 12/26/10. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Thanks to my sister-in-law from Ohio for bringing out on her trip to CA for Christmas.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a scant one finger, creamy tan head with good retention and adequate lacing.

S-Deep, dark chocolate and toasted malts and dark dried fruits. Also some vanilla, and booze. The smell is very nice.

T-Close to matching the aroma. Quite as expected for style with dark chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, and alcohol. Better than I expected.

M-Robust, smooth, but a tad thin due to under carbonation.

D-Very good for a RIS, but not great. I like this and wish it were available in the PNW since offered as a single 12 oz. bottle.

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Photo of Augustiner719
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 a tulip glass.

Pours a very black, motor oil like color with a small 1 finger dark brown head that recedes quickly but leaves lacing down the glass. There is a big chocolate mousse aroma with some espresso like characters and a touch of vanilla. Big. The flavor has a big chocolate, malty and espresso body to it. Very well hidden 12 percent abv and a great undertone of vanilla coming on the finish. Smooth drinking with a Graham cracker breadiness to it. Mouthfeel is slick and viscous, perfect with a cheesecake. Overall this is a very drinkable high abv bottle of beer. Great beer!

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

12oz to snifter, pours a deep dark opaque black, deep brown head fades to lacing

smells of roasty malts, bitter chocolate, alcohol

tastes of bakers chocolate, bitter, roasty peaty earth, sweet lactose? maybe flaked grains?, heavy and sweet, hop resins linger, malts are blended well, reminds me more of an american double with the amount of hops, but could be a young bottle - mmm

mouthfeel is heavy roasty lingering bitterness, rich and thick, yum

 451 characters

Photo of drumrboy22
3.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into Great Divide Yeti chalice. Beer was thick and jet black, with no head. Very little carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma was chocolate, coffee, bitter hops, dark fruit, licorice, molasses and burnt grains.

Taste was chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cherries and burnt grains. Very good, but just a tad thin.

Nice beer and great to get as an extra in trade.

 381 characters

Photo of Parrotbeak
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black with a fizzy, brown head that quickly dissipates, leaving some trace patches. And ring around the perimeter.
Smell is fairly smokey, with some dark chocolate. There is a dark berry presence as well--perhaps boysenberry or blueberry. Some faint, roasted malts on the end.
Nice, smokey malts, with some faint dark chocolate. Again, there's a faint berry presence, but I can't quite call it...a slightly creamy finish.
Mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Medium body. Faint bitterness.
This one is quite drinkable. The alcohol content is amazingly well-hidden, and the smell and taste is exceptional.

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

A: Pours a pitch black color with a one finger brown head and light lacing.
S: Roasted malts, light coffee, and chocolate.
T: Much like the smell with roasted malt, and Coffee on the back end.
M: Heavy on the palate. Really coats the whole mouth with a nice roasted after taste.
O: Very good RIS.

 296 characters

Photo of breakingbland
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle. Opaque brown with a scant brown ring of foam. The aroma is candy sweet and roasty. The taste is like the aroma with the roasty character coming to the forefront. This overall flavor is very rich and savory -- almost smoky. The hops are well-balanced with the sweet/roasty. Even though this is an RIS, the alcohol is hidden. The aftertaste is mainly roasty malt with some hops. This beer feels wonderful in the mouth: full body and smooth carbonation.

Overall, this is another great offering from Dark Horse. It definitely bumps stout up a notch or two. Will look for it again!

 599 characters

Photo of Qbdoo
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle, pours black as night with hardly any head (despite three tries), though what you get is a dark tan.

Scent is not powerful: roasted malt, coffee.

Taste: roasted malt, coffee, a little chocolate, There's just a bit of booze, but not too much. There are Russian imperial stouts that have too much, but this - despite 11% abv, is just right.

Mouthfeel is unbelievable: thick, creamy with a light carbonation. Probably the best mouthfeel of any stout, maybe any beer.

This may be my new favorite beer. Wish it were more readily available.

 553 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pretty much black with a light brown head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Dark fruits, roasted/chocolate malts, caramelized sugar, alcohol. Not as robust as i had hoped

Taste: Dark fruits upfront, roasted malts and slight chocolate mid palate, with a hoppy finish. My favorite RIS has a rich espresso-like finish, and this doesnt have that.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and very thin for a RIS. Although i get a touch of the alcohol, it goes down too easy. I expect a beer in this style to be viscous and chewy, and this doesnt give me that satisfaction. Also a bit of bitterness on the finish

Overall: I think this beer is overrated to be quite honest with you. It has a decent amount of the roasted malt, chocolate qualities you want in an imperial stout, but its not up there with Founders IS, Expedition, Ten Fidy, or even Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in my opinion. I found the mouthfeel to be lacking as well as its very thin and not as luscious as a beer in this style should be. Still a solid RIS and should cellar well

 1,043 characters

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

Received in local trade from Barfwin.
Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Rich, dark, molasses maltiness up front. This maltiness floods the nostrils with each whiff. Some fruity grape jam notes with some cocoa.

Appearance: Pitch black opaque body. Forms dark brown 1/2 finger head, which depletes to almost nothing very quickly.

Flavor: Rich, dark chocolate brownie, light sweetness balanced w/ cocoa bitterness. Dark fruity notes similar to aroma. Some grape soda. Slight earthiness noted on finish.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Thick, syrupy viscosity. Medium CO2 w/ more bite than normal for this style.

Overall: Definitely worthy of the praise this one receives. Chewy, malty, rich, imperial stout. Alcohol is well hidden. Thick, rich viscosity is one of my favorite aspects of this brew!

 800 characters

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 898 ratings.
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