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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:
1,039
For Trade:
121
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 898 | Ratings: 3,833
Photo of jethrodium
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a dark black with a small tan chocolate head that settles to a ring and leaves a decent lacing on the glass. The aroma has big roastiness, light coffee, dark bitter chocolate, and a bit of alcochol. The taste has some sweetness with dark roasty chocolate and some light coffee. The finish is bitter and roasty with a bit of alcohol. Very roasty overall. Medium body. Low carbonation.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got this off tap at Crunchy's in East Lansing. Was served in a snifter.

A: is a deep brooding, opaque black color with burgundy tinges with a short milk chocolate colored head with good amounts of lacing.

S: Voluptuous aroma, rich milk chocolate, barley, malts, coffee, brown sugars, dark fruits

T: Incredible taste, very sweet, a bit heavy, rich chocolate, toffee, coffee, malts, yeast, had a sort of tang to it, oh but it was smooth and rich, ABV is well masked

M: heavy full body along with medium amounts of carbonation, very rich and robust, viscous flavor

O: Overall, I bought this on a limb, it just sounded good and it was damn good. I recommend it for sure.

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Photo of Gear54
4.84/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Ale Emporium in Indianapolis

Pitch black pour with 1/2 finger of kaki head and light lace left on the glass.

Aroma is coffee and chocolate predominantly with roasted malts and black licorice present in the back ground. Slight amount of booze as well.

Taste: wow! This beer is like drinking chocolate cake! Dark chocolate and roasted malt with coffee flavor and maybe a touch of carmel at the end. Just a touch of alcohol mixes well enough with the flavor to not cause any ill will toward the flavor.

Feel is good as well. Lasting flavors coat the mouth and the chocolate is rich and smooth. I could drink several of these and be happy!

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle poured into a tulip. Pours rich dark brown, almost black with generous mocha head that lingers and forms a persistent froth on top of beer. Smell is dark roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, some dark fruit, touch of coffee. The taste really follows suit, with a slight cocoa bite that persists a bit in the finish with a smattering of alcohol, almost whiskeyesque. Mouth is full, rich, and mildly carbonated.

This is a solid stout that aged well for the last year.

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Photo of drunkenmess
4.73/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Damn good stout. Pours super super dark like a thick oil. Dark brown head with beautiful lacing thru out. Smells of coffee, malt, and burnt goodness. Taste is even better than anticipated! Smokey dark chocolate, burnt malts with hints of coffee. Superb beer.

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Photo of SaucyA
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into the infamous snifter. Black black black. With a slight layer of tan foam. Wish there was more of a head/lacing... but it's definitely acceptable. Quite leggy, tho.

S - Usual RIS affects. Coffee, roasty, baker's chocolate, burnt. Some soy sauce undertones. Nothing off, nothing remarkable. Good.

T - Quite a big, bold RIS. Bittersweet chocolate, mocha, coffee, fresh roast. Nice flavors, nothing off. Definite hop profile on the back end. Alcohol is noted but hardly present.

M - Not quite as thick and syrupy as I prefer, but it's by no means light. Subtle carbonation, full body.

D - Easy drinking for the ABV and bold flavors. I drink these way too fast.

Notes: I've only got a couple of these left from this years batch, so I figured I'd hurry up and get one reviewed before it was "aged". I really enjoy this beer, and for the price, cannot be beat.

An all around good RIS that stands up relatively well to the big boys.

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

Poured from bottle into Riedel whisky glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with caramel colored head. Head dissipates quickly, hardly any lacing.

Smell: The smell is quite nice. Notes of heavy roast, figs, ripe fruit, molasses. Alcohol comes through slightly.

Taste: Real nice roast at first followed by bitter chocolate. Dark malt and coffee are washed away by a very pleasant licorice finish.

Mouth: Chewy, good amount of carbonation, yet is silky smooth. Great amount of puckering hop at the end.

Drink and overall: Really enjoyed this beer. Very drinkable, quality impy. I had never had it before, so this was a treat. Would I buy it over Expedition Stout if it were same price, for a while yes.

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Pours pitch-black in a nearly-molasses fashion. Head is a super-dark tan color, and recedes to about a 2mm coating on the surface of the beer. Leaves what looks like exception lacing (except I filled the beer to the top of the glass...haha, we'll have to wait and see).

Smell: Lots of toasted caramel and toffee malt flavor going on here. Then, a medium-dark chocolate tone which rings loudly. Espresso beans dot the scented canvas, and perhaps just a touch of spice is thrown in at the end for good measure. Almost no detectable alcohol. This is shaping up to be a winner!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer goes in thickly, and quickly begins to carbonate on the tongue. Flavors flash repeatedly, interwoven with each other and yet set apart from all other flavors. A light sourness from what I assume are the hops is perfectly balanced with the chewy malt character and upper-crust espresso. Calming everything down is a strong (but not cloying) milk chocolate vibe. Beer finishes strongly, and leaves a strong aftertaste of chocolate and coffee. Another sip? Don't mind if I do.

Overall: At 12% ABV, this drinks like a pilsner (in terms of quaffability). Simply outstanding brew. I am a fan of RIS's, and this one fits into the category splendidly. GOOD job, Dark Horse.

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

A: Super dark brown. Nearly black.
S: Roasty and coffee smells.
T: Pretty smooth a little sharpness but it blends in quite well. A really strong coffee flavor in this one.
M: Certainly an imperial stout that can sit around. The alcohol didn't seem to present itself and it sat very nicely.

Overall a good showing on the style. It didn't have the same appearance as say Founders Imperial but I think this brew controlled the high alcohol significantly better.

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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 jwhawkins81
3.14/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma - Roasted malts and a coffee bitterness

Appearance - Brown head that quickly fades. The beer itself poured a very dark color without much carbonation.

Taste - Coffee bitter with a sweet roasty backbone. Not as smooth as I would have liked. The bitterness was a little harsh in contrast to the other flavors in the beer.

Notes - Maybe it was because I wasn't in the mood for a big stout like this but I wasn't a fan of this beer. I put the other three in the cellar and expect better things from them in a years time.

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Photo of Franz4
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks like a stout should with a brown sugar colored head.

S- Roasty and chocolately here, closer to milk chocolate than dark, very nice, slightly hot.

T- Chocolaty goodness and lots of roasted flavors come through, very complex, a little nutty. Very nice

M- thick and slick, just what I want in a stout.

O- Usually I give an overall score based on the scores that I've given in the 4 categories, but this beer brings everything together exceptionally well. I'd like to do a side by side with Ten Fidy, I'm not sure I could tell the difference. Quite a good brew, this one will likely be harder to find next year.

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Photo of cjacobsen
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to sweemzander for hooking me up with this one.

Poured out a jet black with a thin brown head that quickly dissipated.

Smelled of chocolate, coffee, alcohol and kind of earthy.

The alcohol is present and the sweetness and bitterness almost fight for taste space. A bit of a wooden character to it, almost like a roasted, smoky wood or malt. There's a lot that takes place in each sip of this beer.

This beer is thick and syrupy and fills your mouth. You're really drinking something here, its not just washing past your mouth to your throat.

This beer was tasty but one for the night was good enough. There's a lot of flavor and a decent amount of alcohol so its not one to take lightly.

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Photo of emyers
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a thin medium brown head dissipating quickly into a light lacing.

Smell: Roasted barley, strong molasses, dark chocolate. Strong dark fruit presence. Bold aroma, yet well balanced.

Taste: Similar to the smell. Very strong roasted barley/dark chocolate base complemented by dark fruit, molasses, and a smokey character. Tons of depth but maintains great balance. No alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel; Full-bodied, but not extremely thick as many imperial stouts tend to be. Medium carbonation.

Overall: One of the best non-barrel-aged imperial stouts on the market.

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Photo of eclipse54
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle I received for winning rowingbrewer's "Guess My Stats" LIF. He sent me this "want," for which I'm very grateful. Poured into a DFH signature glass...

Pours completely black with about an inch of brown head; the head consists of thousands (millions?) of miniscule bubbles that, for some particular reason, I'm finding rather fascinating to examine at the moment. Unfortunately, they don't hang around for long, quickly dissipating to a ring around the lateral edge of the liquid's surface. Minimal (at the time of writing, a lone patch) lacing is left behind.

Also of intrigue, the sediment from the base of the bottle left an intricate pattern on the bottom of the snifter during the pour. The aroma is of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, cane sugar, and some coffee. It is very inviting, and the taste is a great host that follows through with all the promised flavors: caramel, molasses, vanilla, coffee, sugar, and some warming alcohol on the finish. Excitedly, the alcohol is very well hidden. I was quite surprised to see that this was 12% ABV.

The mouth is rich, but not overly so, and finishes with a bit of a sugary, sticky resin. Overall, a delicious, highly drinkable RIS that I'm very happy to have tried.

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Photo of Spica66
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into glass.

A: Extremely dark pour. Very thin head, some retention.

S: Dark, roasty. Some caramel. No hops.

T: sweet on the tip of the tongue to start. Flavors of coffee and dark chocolate finish. Extremely good tasting.

M: Light body for an RIS, but that keeps the stickiness away. I actually like the combination.

D: No way in the world you would know this is 12%! It is, by far, the most drinkable RIS I have ever tasted.

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

12oz bottle poured pitch black into a pint glass- espresso-esque crema like head. Very fine bubbles. A thick layer of sediment remains on the bottom of the bottle, and looking down the neck into the bottle indicates that it as well is impenetrable by light. Very rich, smooth chocolate boozey aroma. The flavor of this beast is astoundingly smooth despite the 12% label... rich toffee, caramel, and chocolate are prevalent as hops are muted. Mouthfeel is amazing and perfectly appropriate for a good RIS. Overall this beer is outstanding, and I will write a more detailed review next time since im already getting slurry.

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Photo of timc100
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 batch

Beautiful pitch black beer, surprisingly minimal and fizzy burnt mocha head. Decadent aroma of milk chocolate and vanilla sweetness, dark stone fruits, bakers chocolate, and faded espresso. Some decent amount of roast, a little ash. Taste is huge - bursting with rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, and dark roast coffee. The vanilla sweetness is prominent in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is full, oily, creamy with very soft carbonation.

My favorite of the Michigan winter imperial stouts (Expedition, FIS). Incredibly rich chocolate flavor enhanced with the most vibrant vanilla for a non-vanilla aged stout. Very balanced - exceptional.

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Photo of Dr_Bahmbay13
4.99/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Good Gawd DAmn BEER! BOOM!
POured from a beer bottle
looks gawd damn good! Darkness! No light ! Looks like coffee!
Smells gawd damn good! hard to describe god damn good, sorta like cookies made by you or someone you love, those are always god damn good , so there ya go.
Taste? you already know noodle....Gawd. Damn. Good!
overall , shit the bed this is good!

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

Thanks to kstrickler for the extra!

A: Pours almost pitch black with hints of light on the edges, revealing trails of carbonation making their way up through the beer. Head is approximately one finger of fizzy, mocha colored foam that quickly settles down to a thin layer capping the beer.

S: Strong semisweet chocolate up front, followed by moderate roasted notes with some coffee lurking therein, vanilla, and some dark fruits - cherries mostly. The chocolate is dominant, but not quite overpowering.

T: Boozy notes up front, but dark chocolate overtakes fairly quickly. Dark fruits - cherries, raisins, and plums - come in on the mid-palate along with roasted malts and coffee, before giving way to a finish of vanilla and cocoa.

M: Thick and chewy with low carbonation, it coats the mouth on the way down and leaves a long finish.

D: The ABV and long finish keep it to sipping, but it's by no means a tough drinker.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - nice dark brown/black beer that's opaque and had a mocha head that dissipates quick
S- dark chocolate, roasted malts, milk chocolate, cookies, burnt marshmallow, slight smoke
T- same as nose, dark chocolate, roasted malts, umami, cookies, burnt marshmallow, slight smoke
M- heavy mouthfeel, alcohol covered, aftertaste is a roasty smore, dark chocolate, kind of smokey
O- real solid Michigan impy stout.

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Photo of youradhere
3.77/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-reviewed on 2/17/11. 2009 vintage received in a trade.

Pours black with no head, no lacing. Initially head started to form, but it quickly fell. Smells of oak, booze, char, coffee. Tastes of anise, alcohol, chocolate and toasty char. High carbonation, light-ish mouthfeel for the style. Not as good as I remember, maybe this stuff goes through an ackward stage in it's life.

5/19/2010
The unassuming little bottle pours out a thick black concoction with a brownish tan head that falls rather quickly, leaving moderate lace behind. Copious amounts of yeast sediment remain in the bottle, this could either be good or bad depending upon how the yeast reflects in the glass. Smell is dark coffee and not much else, possibly some slight caramel in the back. First taste has this malt forward brew brining the malt bitterness of black patent roasted malt, followed by a subdued sweetness and an even more subdued smokiness which is a nice surprise. Yeast is barely detectable in this cornucopia of flavors, all jockeying for my attention; this is so much that it takes me a quarter of a glass before I even find the alcohol (12%), and even then it is perfectly balanced. The mouthfeel of this beer is something somewhat of perfection- it keeps the malt char, sweetness and smokiness all in line and playing beautifully with eachother on my palate. The carbonation is perfect, and I can see now why there was so much yeast sediment- as to even reach this modicum of CO2 a damn near entire yeast starter slurry is needed to survive the flavor and alcohol. Very drinkable, I wish I had more of it here in the PNW.

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

Great pitch black stout. Smells roasty, sweet chocolate and some burnt marshmallows. Taste followed nose with roasty coffee, some smokiness, bittersweet chocolate, toasted marshmallow and a little bit of warming alcohol. Great thick and slick moutfeel. Overall one of the better RIS I've had! Kudos Dark Horse!

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Photo of TTAmod
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a four-pack at my special beer store for $13.99. The date stamped on the bottle is 043-13, or February 12th, 2013. I poured one of the 12 oz. bottles into a tulip.

A: This beer is BLACK with a two finger brown head. Retention is good considering ABV.

S: Strong whiffs of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol.

T: Strong notes of dark chocolate, dried cherries, charred malts, roasted coffee, a trace amount of bittering hops, and a bit of heat. It doesn't taste too sweet; in fact, it ends on a dry note. It's not overly bitter at any point, but there's enough bitterness to add depth. Ash and roasted coffee stick around after the finish.

M: Another strong point of this beer. Obscenely smooth and quite drinkable, even if it is a bit hot. There's some carbonation, but it feels like silk going through my mouth and down my throat. No fuss at all.

O: This is how to do a strong stout right. The alcohol is kept in check by the onslaught of roasted malts, which invoke flavors of cherries, chocolate and coffee. However, these malts are balanced by just enough hops which keep the stout flavors from completely dominating.

This one is right up there with some of the best strong stouts on the market; however, this one is a LOT harder to find than some of the more prevalent ones (Ten Fidy, Founders IS, etc) mostly because Dark Horse is a pretty small brewery and doesn't have quite as wide of a distribution area as other breweries. Add to the fact that this is a seasonal (late winter) brew and most stores only get one case, and you got yourself a tough beer to find.

So, if you can find it, definitely pick it up. If you cannot find it....don't fret! Pick up some Ten Fidy or Founders IS, both of which are much easier to locate and are just as good as this one.

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