Dark Horse Plead The 5th Imperial Stout

Dark Horse: Plead The 5th Imperial Stout (USA: Imperial Stout: 11% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Half inch of creamy coffee froth for a head.

Nose: Big. Milky coffee. Hazelnuts. Bitter cocoa. Dry roasted peanuts. Chocolate cake. Tobacco. Sour dough and fresh baguettes.

Body: Thick and bitter. Smoke. Bitter chocolate. Tobacco. Coffee cake. Roasted. Belgian chocolate. Toffee.

Finish: Dry. Bitter chocolate. Smoke. Tobacco. Light gin air. Doughnuts. Toffee.

Conclusion: I am, personally, of the mind that far too many imperial stouts are trying too hard to copy the pack leaders these days, ending up with a lot of beers than end up very similar. Often also with the copies not being quite as good as what they are trying to imitate.

This, therefore, makes me happy. While it has a lot of bitter cocoa and bitter coffee, that matches the current imperial stout trend, it is a very chewable beer, and isn’t afraid to be a bit rough and different.

As well as the thick, chewy, texture, this also manifests itself as having a light tobacco and smoke character throughout. You can feel a wish to masticate upon the imagined chewing tobacco within the beer, and that gives the beer a weight even more so than its respectable 11% abv.

Despite the strength, it feels very manageable – the aroma keep this bakery fresh filled baguette ploughman’s kind of character to it, which then tends in the finish towards a doughnut thickness. Not so much as flavours than as a solid base character that means that the heavy tobacco, coffee and chocolate have something to stand out against.

The tobacco actually makes me think of the imperial stout equivalent of Hair Of The Dog Adams – a lovely beer which had similar notes at various points in its ageing life. That is a hell of a beer to be compared to and this one holds up nicely.

So, high quality, different and big. Definitely earns its place as an Imperial Stout amongst the greats of this world.

Background: Not too much to say on this one, I have no idea what the image on the front of the bottle is supposed to be. Felt like a big imperial stout this night, looked in the cupboard, had several, drank this one. Drunk while listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Raise Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven. Lovely relaxing yet big tunes.