Bell’s Expedition Stout vs. Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout

It’s a showdown!


Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, MI
Expedition Stout
Imperial Stout
10.5% ABV
12 oz. bottle into snifter
Dark Horse Brewery, Marshall, MI
Plead the 5th
Imperial Stout
12% ABV
12 oz. bottle into snifter

Dark Horse is one of my favorite Michigan breweries, which is why it’s embarrassing that it has taken me this long to write a review of their beer. It’s also why I feel bad that this battle of the Imperial Stouts was not blind; I admit that I subconsciously wanted to like Dark Horse better.

Plead the 5th was impressive from the first pour–perhaps the most beautifully viscous brew that’s ever left a bottle*. The nose was big and roasty, the body huge and ashy. There is nothing hidden here, just deep, dark, roasted pleasure, with a strong mid-palate hop-kick.

The Expedition Stout was also clearly a high quality beer, but didn’t suit me like Plead the 5th. Those who prefer a kerfuffle of flavors– initially sweet and round, finishing harsh and strange– may prefer the more opulent Expedition Stout. I, however, found this interest-factor an unnecessary frill for an Imperial Stout.

I may have disobeyed the 6th amendment by not practicing due (tasting) process, but Plead the 5th stole my heart with its straightforward, mouth-filling quintessence of roasted malt. Yes, it stole my heart.  You don’t like that turn of phrase?

*Oskar Blues Ten Fidy comes in a can, so I’m making no comparative claims here.


~ by nininja on March 13, 2010.

8 Responses to “Bell’s Expedition Stout vs. Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout”

  1. That was a weird experience. Warming brought out neat changes. I was with you during on temperature zone, and not with you on another. Not sure which.
    And there’s also Guinness, which is fine, in an isinglass fining fashion. And there are those BC Stouts moldering/mellowing in my basement.

  2. first ‘on’ s/b ‘one’

  3. banal beer night. banal beer night. BANAL BEER NIGHT! Banal beer, you know who you are. It could be a party.

  4. Man those beers were banal. Yours (Brandon? Doubleback Boppelbock?) was excellent however. It would be fun to pit that with Ayinger’s Celebration of whatever it is.

    • For those of you who weren’t there, Kurgarra is referring to a trilogy of macrobrew horrors in large format that he insisted on purchasing during a recent family Burrito dinner. There should be a pair of our homebrews left in your fridge, Kurgarra. Look for the silver caps.

  5. […] already been acquainted with the baritone majesty of “Plead the 5th Imperial Stout”, we were excited to discover what some time on a bourbon barrel would do to this brew. In this […]

  6. Fifth is a two year old expedition. Why wait?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: