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
Ratings:
3,973
Reviews:
930
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
8.27%
 
 
Wants:
556
Gots:
1,060
For Trade:
114
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,973 |  Reviews: 930
Photo of jshusc
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed yesterday, from notes. Thanks to FourKicks for sending me this in a recent trade.

Pours as black as the darkest horse ever, tan head becomes a cap and thick ring, good-looking for the ABV.

Smells of intense dark chocolate and roasted malt. Some sweeter notes of dark fruit come through with warmth.

Like the nose, chocolate dominates the taste (mostly dark, some milk). Roasted malt and caramel there too.

Good viscous mouthfeel, carbonation feels a bit high for the style. A bit of alcohol heat but less than expected for 12%.

Reminds me of a slightly bigger Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Tasty but I prefer some more complexity. 12oz went down quickly considering the ABV.

 690 characters

Photo of Agentveba
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle picked up at Abe's in Bethlehem. Uncapped and poured into a standard shaker glass. The 5th appears a nearly opaque brown color with about an inch of dark tan foam. Smells and tastes of molasses, dark and bittersweet chocolate, mocha, licorice, espresso, a hint of soy sauce, dried dark fruits. Approaching full bodied, syrupy and slick, with decent carbonation for the style. Alcohol heat is well hidden. Overall, a great stout at a good price.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.01/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled 12oz into a glass. Received in a trade from Hexxed. Thanks buddy!

A: Pours a viscous, opaque motor oil black with no light penetration, even at the edges. The head is a quarter-finger of dark mocha-colored foam that retains well, slowly collapsing into a film on the brew with a thick collar. Some lacing down the glass.

S: Burnt figs and dates, roasted coffee, and a bit of booze burn. Decent; it's pretty malty, but nothing too exceptional.

T: Tons of roasted coffee, burnt sugar, burnt chocolate, burnt figs, and burnt plum. Lots of burn. Ashes, smoke. The chocolate emerges occasionally, but it doesn't dominate the beer or define its taste. The burnt / ashy combination gets kind of strong after a while; I prefer something with more anise and dark fruits, and less burn / smoke.

M: Very thick, with low carbonation. It's a tad below velvety; it's not carbonated enough to cleanse the tongue, leaving a thick coat behind. Quite warm, even a tad hot (but for its ABV, impressively restrained).

D: It's enjoyable, but it doesn't distinguish itself from other imperial stouts.

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Photo of kbrown
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
3.86/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of portia99
3.87/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours thick and syrupy with an oil-like opacity and a deep brown/approaching black color. An aggressive pour fails to yield any head...all this can muster is the thinnest of collars and no lacing to speak of.

S - Sweet and molasses driven aroma. Caramel and brown sugar behind that along with some creamy vanilla. Booze is evident and appears in conjunction with the vanilla and also caramel candy. A bit of burnt creme brulee sugar as well. This really smells sweet overall - like a dessert. Some black licorice creeps into the aroma too. Really not getting much roastiness at all, which surprises me. I wouldn't call this necessarily typical for the style, but the sugary candy aspects are pretty appealing.

T - Whoa, boozy up front with a big hit of alcohol slamming the back of my throat on first swallow. Flavor is much different than the aroma. Where the aroma lacked roastiness, this cannot be said for the flavor. Behind the hit of alcohol is burnt toast-like malt, heavy espresso roast coffee and a bit of char. This really takes away from the multi-layered sugary sweet aromas that don't carry into the flavor. Very noticeable alcoholic aspect to the flavor. Licorice is mild but noticeable.

M - Full bodied, lower carbonation just on the above ground side of life. Boozey, warm alcohol throughout hitting the back of the throat initially and eventually filling the entire mouth in sensation. Heavily roasted and burnt flavors overpower other aspects and simplify the flavor profile. Burnt roastiness continues to the aftertaste.

O - This is a good imperial stout, but have to say I don't really understand the hype surrounding this one. The aroma completely doesn't match the flavors - wish they met somewhere in the middle. Balance seems a bit off...alcohol is dominating and heavy handed. It is fairly enjoyable, but when it comes to world-class RIS's this really leaves a lot on the table. Perhaps a bit of aging will smooth this one out a bit...fresh, doesn't live up to the hype/expectations I had coming into this.

 2,096 characters

Photo of ONUMello
4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a snifter
A: Pitch black with a tan one-finger head
S: Rich dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, molasses, brandied cherries. Deep nose
T: All of the aromas carry through to the palate, pretty much in the order described. Adds a bit of hoppy bitterness
M: Full-bodied, a touch sweet, just a touch of alcohol
O: Rich, complex and delicious. A really well made beer that will sneak up on you if you don't sip it slowly, which is hard given how tasty it is. I need to grab a couple bottles and lay them down to age

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Photo of Yellolab2010
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.38/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Won't wear my Sunday suit to walk that street
That would feel Byzantine

12 oz bottle...Ultra dark inky pour into my snifter with a nice thin mocha head that swells and then heads rapidly to lurk around the edges like some two-bit hoodlum.

Dark fruit, sherry, soy, and that scent that I have often described as grape bubblegum that I sometimes find in big stouts, along with some dark chocolate on the back end.

The taste and mouthfeel on this beer are slightly perplexing. For all the complexity, or at least diversity, in the nose, the taste does not quite follow. Upon warming, there is an onslaught of that grape flavor which I attribute to the heavy malt presence. The other scents promised from the smell seem minimally present, with only a slight coffee presence poking through, which I did not detect on the nose.

What is particularly odd is the slightly oily, but very light, almost watery mouthfeel. For the make and model of this diesel motored fiend, I expected a bigger, more rounded feel. Not particularly the experience I was hoping for.

 1,056 characters

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

Photo of stephens101
4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 version.

Empties the bottle black with a sheer, tan head. Aroma is spot on with milk chocolate, dark fruits, subtle vinegar and burnt oak floating freely. This is one of the smoothest beers I can recall trying. Just floats its way down (despite its medium to heavy body) with prominent notes of milk chocolate, bubblegum and black licorice, followed by hints of oak, cherry and vanilla. Fusel alcohol is barely noticed in the back. A beautiful, well-crafted stout that pairs well with this cool and rainy spring evening.

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Photo of BenBreeg
4.56/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Evan
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

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

a.) can't believe I hadn't reviewed this before
b.) year old bottle straight from the cellar

a - oily black...viscous, dark, thick and foreboding....

s - rich, roasted malts, chocolate - dark, sweetness...hints of coffee

t - delicious - what you smell is what you get, and more. I think this beer did quite nicely with a year on it. Happy to know I've one of each of the series, except Tres, still in the cellar!

m - a solid medium, to heavy bodied beer that is hard to put down...

o - quite enjoyable... a great stout at a great price!

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Photo of Amalak
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of fossage78
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of zeledonia
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

Pours black, one of the darkest stouts I've seen. Half-finger of dark chocolate brown head, also among the darkest I've seen. Retention and lacing are fine.

Smell is lovely milk/dark chocolate, backed by some other deep roasty aromas. No char, very clean, with a lot of sweetness. I really like the sides of the dark malts that come out in this beer's smell.

This is delicious. It's like sweet chocolate zested with tingly, lightly bitter hops. Big up-front flavors, but also a lot of sublety behind that. Among the best non-bal imperial stouts I've had.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, and creamy, with just enough carbonation. Lasting, sludgy finish. Heavy stuff!

This is simply a fantastic imperial stout. I love the chocolate and sweetness, which comes close to stepping over the line, but backs off just a hair. Very happy I have several more of these, and I will most definitely be buying more.

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

Dark black, dark cocoa colored head with two spots of lacing. Smell is roasted malt sweetness, coffee, and chocolate. The taste is sweet and bitter with mainly bitter dark chocolate and sweet charred malts. The finish has a nice roasty bitterness that lingers. Nice chewy mouthfeel and the slight stinging from some carbonation makes this a pleasant drink. Really nice stout.

 375 characters

Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick oily black with a silky espresso head. Nose has big roasty malts, chocolate, subtle piney hops, molasses, licorice, dried plums and cherries, coffee and vanilla. Taste is a well balanced blend of bitter hops, molasses, dark malts, fugde, and ripe pitted fruits. Thick body is very well carbonated. Great stuff from Dark Horse.

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Photo of JeffTheJuice
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of DavidHume
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SpdKilz
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of TomMorris
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours extremely dark brown; almost black. Very surprising and pleasing amount of milk-chocolate brown head for such a heavy beer. Plenty of alcohol legs on the glass but little lacing.

The smell brings to mind burnt, roasted malts and coffee. There's definitely some bitter baker's chocolate in there as well and perhaps just a twinge of a sweet darker fruit such as a plum.

The taste is predominantly roasted black coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, and tobacco. As the beer sits on my tongue, there's just a twinge of dark fruit sweetness as with the nose, but it's mostly the aforementioned tastes. Finishes with quite a bit of bitterness.

Pretty standard mouthfeel for the style; medium-thick and plenty warming. The aftertaste lasts forever on this one, though.

Plead the 5th certainly doesn't blow me away, but it's a perfectly exemplary Russian Imperial Stout in my eyes. Nothing about it particularly stands out, but it hits everything that's to be expected in an RIS and squares it up the middle. Not a beer that I would label as can't-miss for those familiar with bigger stouts, but definitely a great one that I would suggest to newcomers.

 1,155 characters

Plead The 5th Imperial Stout from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.23 out of 5 based on 3,973 ratings.
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