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Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout - Moylan's Brewery

Not Rated.
Ryan Sullivan's Imperial StoutRyan Sullivan's Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

438 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 438
Reviews: 330
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 18
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Moylan's Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 05-16-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 438 | Reviews: 330 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours almost pitch black, with a very thin off-white head. The aroma consists of coffee and roast, with a slight chocolate backbone. The first thing I notice upon tasting is a strong coffee flavor with a very faint fruitiness. The finish is almost non-existent with a hint of chocolate and a mild hop bitterness. This imperial stout isn't as heavy as I had anticipated due to its 10% ABV. It's more medium-bodied and drinks more like a standard stout rather than an imperial. Overall, it was pretty decent. Being used to heavier beers of this style, I would reccommend this one for those who are just getting into imperial stouts.

WYVYRN527, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark...pretty damn black, beautiful, lush coffee-and-cream tanned, roasty head. Lovely.

Roast and cream in the nose. A little coffee and bit of cocoa, ...vanilla and cream.

Taste it and there it is again: vanilla and cocoa, a little charcoal, more bitterness rising over the malt. Interesting. A bit more burnt than I normally prefer. Body is fairly full, and flavor is abundant, but too charred, as I said. Could use sweeter malt or brighter hops.
Or something.
Creeps up into the back of the throat, sliding down chocolate and ash.
But then there's a trickle of cognac that kicks up, now and then. This delivers further surprises.
"This is the classic 'Cigar Stout'" says the label. I abstain from such things, but can see how well this would pair. Would go great with meals as well, and stand in for dessert.
Still, not as full and rich as I like my RIS's to be. There's room for differences, though, so I applaud new approaches.

feloniousmonk, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of jeffmonarch
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Pint 6 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep dark black color with a dark tan head that stays for a while.

S - Really sweet and malty. Some roasted grain.

T - Strong sweet flavor that finishes very bitter. Very rich flavor.

M - Full bodied with good carbonation.

D - Great beer. I love stout's and this is a great one.

jeffmonarch, Aug 27, 2008
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deathly black body slides out of the bottle quickly creating a three finger rocky rich carmel brown head. Nose is roasty rich with bready toffee tones and some smokey coco tones. Enters the mouth with some up front dark dry bitter and some burnt fruit, if that makes sense. Very rich and entirely mouthfilling and does show some chocolate creamyness as you continue to drink. Alchol is laced throughout the palate but only softly. I think this one would age well. Mouthfeel is dark bitter and rich. Nicely drinkable big stout.

SPLITGRIN, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The name seems to have changed to "Ryan Sullivan's", at least according to my bottle. Not sure why this is.

Pours a solid black with just a hint of amber at the edges. Nice fluffy tan head and good lacing.

Great nose with chocolate, roasted coffee and toffee combining with some good hops in the background.

Taste is nicely complex with a roasted coffee, milk chocolate and mild dark fruit flavor and just a hint of alcohol. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy; nice medium carbonation.

A very drinkable stout. Not in the upper echelon of RIS I have had but a darn good one.


sholland119, Aug 11, 2008
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am glad that I am finally getting some of these reviews done. This beer is a treat that I have been looking forward to, so let's see what it has to offer...

Appearance: Pours black as night with a 1/2" head of tan bubbles that stuck around for the better part of 30 seconds before taking a seat on the bubbles rising to maintain it...I am assuming as the head stayed at about 1/8" for a while and there was a god off-gas when I popped the top.

Aroma: Some dry roast malts, chocolate and some spiciness from the alcohol are the first thing that I notice. This doesn't seem to change much as the beer warms up.

Taste: Clean malty aroma that is pretty well attenuated for this style. It has plenty of chocolate and roast malts with some evident toasty notes. The roast malts give the mouthfeel a bit of a dry impression, and it seems to get a little more "ashy" as the beer warms up. The balance is held strong by the malt and is provided as much from roast grains as from any hops. I don't notice the hops in this beer except as a very faint grassy note on the palate somewhere between the malty initial taste and the malty/alcoholic finish.

Opinion: Overall this is a good beer, but I have always been partial to Imperial Stouts. The alcohol is a bit much in this one as it almost tastes like there is a bit of vodka in the beer after it warms up a bit. It is strong, and doesn't hide that fact. I like the balance of the beer, but I would probably take a few Imps over this one just because they have a lighter roast grain profile. Regardless this is a good beer and I wouldn't hesitate to drink it again if the opportunity presents itself.

SkeeterHawk, Aug 10, 2008
Photo of ibbjamin
2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Paid $4.89 for a bomber from BevMo in Willow Glen, CA. Poured into a couple snifters to share with my girlfriend.

3/4 inch dark tan semi-frothy head after an aggressive pour. Head dissipates quickly with almost no retention. Black in color. Almost no lacing.

Smells of very roasted malts. Very strong aroma. Toasted malts and alcohol present.

Roasted/toasted malts. A bit over roasted flavor. Not the best balance. Some very dark chocolate present in the aftertaste.

Full body, little carbonation. A rather watery mouthfeel for a RIS.

The price is rather high for a RIS from CA when I live here considering the quality.

ibbjamin, Aug 07, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to AgentSteve.
Pours a very dark brown, near black in color. A nice mocha colored head forms on the pour. Lots of cocoa and coffee in this. There is a good amount of hops showing up underneath the abundance of cocoa and coffee flavors. Lots of cocoa in the taste. Pretty big, full mouthfeel. Very good stout at this price.

FtownThrowDown, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This viscous black liquid pours with a siky dark tan head. Excellent looking stout indeed. The nose is equally impressive. Big roasted malt structure with a good dose of hops. Chocolate, cofee, molasses,anise, currant, cherries and plums. the taste starts a little bitter but melds to a sweat bready malts by the finish. Delicious. Thick body begs to be chewed. A fantastic RIS.

rye726, Jul 28, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour an espresso black with a touch of molasses and a brown head that slowly recedes after the pour. To dark to see any bubbles here. The aroma is a sinfully sweet box of truffles chocolates made with both milk and dark chocolate and some coffee beans. The taste Develops the chocolate and coffee notes a bit more. But soe dark fruit notes develop right up in the front of the palate. Dark cherries, burnt currants, and thick rasberry syrup mix in the the dark roasted malts of chocolate and coffee with some heavy cream notes. The palate is a little oily, but baker's chocolatey sweet. The wramth i very well integrated, almsot makes you think of warm brownies.

scruffwhor, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: headless dark black oil w/ wisps of tan on top of the glass

s: light coffee w/ light chocolate; pretty light

t: dark chocolate; roasted coffee; molasses; sweet chocolate; bitter dark rum

m: smooth with light carb

d: a decent istout and definitely better on tap than from the bottle

hoegaardenhero, Jul 04, 2008
Photo of Brad007
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Color: Pours a motor-oil color with a thin, brown head.

Aroma: Hoppy with a whiff of chocolate on the nose. Smells like it could be creamy as well.

Taste: Creamy and roasty upfront with vinous fruit, chocolate and muted coffee flavors. Smooth.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and lightly roasty. Bitterness is just right. Not overwhelming.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable, especially due to the creaminess and the fact that it seems to have more character to it than I thought it might. I could see the flavors mellowing even more over time.

Brad007, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Beerzack. Thanks!
Pours dark black with a light tan head. Smell is roasty, hoppy and big. Taste is dark bitter roasy dry chocolate with a slightly rich body and mild carbonation. Nice hops in flavor too. Pretty good and nicely dark and flavorful.

JDV, Jun 30, 2008
Photo of atigerlife
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, very black, with a two-finger dark brown creamy head.

Aroma of dark chocolate. Wow!

Taste is of dark chocolate, light coffee, some nuttiness, dark malts and some hop bitterness at the end. More complex than I was expecting.

Mouthfeel was creamy, medium bodied and very dry.

Overall, a very nice brew. Rather impressive for the style. Definitely worth trying.

atigerlife, May 12, 2008
Photo of TheBierBand
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 22 oz bomber into a pint glass. The pour produced a perfect 1" head of dense, tan foam that lasted for quite a while and left medium lacing. The beer is ebony of ebonies and quite opaque. When I held this to a bright light source, only a hint (and I mean you have to look for it!) of ruby color showed though.

The nose was very subdued.... burnt, charred malt was all I could pick up....and very slightly!

Taste: Right on style for an RIS. Had all the requisite flavors: dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla. More bitter than sweet (but very little hops flavor.... the bitterness comes from the charred malt.

MF: Not as rich and robust as I like for the style. I want to be able to chew this beer.... too thin for that. Now I'm not saying that this is a THIN beer.... it's just thinner than my favorite RIS's.

Drinkability: This is a GOOD beer. I will have this again.... However, it's not among my favorite RIS's (Hoppin Frog B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Stone RIS).

TheBierBand, May 09, 2008
Photo of BeerZack
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with bubbly khaki head that sticks all around the glass.

Dark caramalts, cocoa, marshmallow, raisin and lightly spicy hops.

Bitter cocoa, caramel, roasted barley, dark fruit, raisins and a lingering hop bitterness throughout. Couldn't pick out much of the hop characteristics.

Full bodied and dry mouthfeel with medium-low carbonation. Pretty good.

BeerZack, May 06, 2008
Photo of Redrover
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a big brown bomber with a very busy label. Poured into an imperial pint, the beer is black with garnet highlights and large long lasting brown head. Decent lacing.

The aroma is an appetizing mix of molasses, charred malts and chocolate.

The taste leads with charred smoky malts & dark fruit. Coffee & bakers chocolate followed by charcoal. The coffee notes remind me of percolator coffee (you know those huge old machines you find at churches, VFWs, grade school cafeterias. etc.). The aftertaste is dry and it sweetens late. Lots going on here!

I like the low level of carbonation and the slight viscosity. At 10% it is not a session beer, but is a great sipper! Speaking of that 10%, the brewer did a great job of masking the alcohol flavor. My first beer from this brewery, looking forward to the IPA I bought.

Redrover, May 03, 2008
Photo of ByTor2112
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Snagged this at Binny's on Grand in Chicago.
Pours a motor oil black, not inky. A small head the color of cocoa powder hangs around for a bit.
Aromas of chocolate, a whiff of burnt malt and char, some dried fruit notes are buried in the nose as well.
Mouthfeel-Bold flavors of dark roasted malt, I taste licorice too. Bitter coffee flavors are present along with that charred flavor. This is only the second Imp Stout I have tasted with that char flavor, the other is Ten-Fidy, but I like it, very bold portion of the flavor profile.
The label speaks of this being the Cigar Stout and it would pair nicely with a robust smoke.
Not too sweet or boozy. A froth on the palate sweetens it just a touch and some alcohol warmth comes through. Finishes bitter with some tannin flavors. Moylan's has found its way to my cellar recently and I am pleased.

ByTor2112, Apr 29, 2008
Photo of cjgator3
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a thick pitch black color with a tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass. The aroma is dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and dark alcohol soaked fruits. The taste much like the aroma is dark and roasty up front with a bitter coffee-like finish that is accompanied by a warming sensation from the high ABV. the mouthfeel is on the thick side and is slightly chewy. Overall, this is a solid Russian Imperial Stout that is highly recommended.

cjgator3, Mar 23, 2008
Photo of mully
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a-- dark lack thick head fades slowly leaving a fine caramel colored foam floating

s-- almost milky chocolate dark malt back bone hops stand up to be counted as well

t-- coco patent malt solid hop bitterness - creamy, big full flavors some coffee flavors

m -- big filling mouth feel good balance between hops and sweetness

d-- i love this beer, my wife does not, I will drink hers, it is very good I would drink more if I had some, goes down easy for a big beer

mully, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of charlzm
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on 03/12/08.

Pours a very deep, very dark brown with slightly lighter brown highlights when held to light. Dense tan head isn't especially thick, but it is long-lived.

Aromas of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. Faint note of some kind of citrus as well.

Mouthfeel slightly thicker than water, a little oily. Gets chewy as well. Coats the mouth. A bit of parching on the tongue, but not excessive.

Flavor is bitter, more likely from over-roasted malts than hops. Finish is even bigger bitter chocolate. But there are hops... I suspect they are Pacific Northwest based on the intense bitterness. Alcohol warms a bit at the end. Palate is big and bold but not particularly sophisticated.

File this under "very good but not great".

charlzm, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of msubulldog25
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this one recently and was surprised I'd never tried this West Coast RIS before. Into a pint glass from a 22 oz. undated bottle. A plethora of awards noted on the label...

A: I'd be hard pressed to find a better-looking Imperial Stout; sizable smoky tan/yellow (about 1.5-fingers) head that's fluffy, bubbly and creamy all at once. Color of the blackest midnight, absolutely impenetrable. Very pretty bands of sticky lacing, thick and foamy.

S: Aroma is strong, no doubt - smelling of toffee, dark chocolate and espresso beans. Vanilla sneaking in as well. Then a pungent, slightly sickly-sweet fruitiness comes in that smells like caramel malt and pine/citrus hops...it's a perfectly 'West Coast' twist on a Russian Imperial Stout, but isn't quite what i want from the style...

T: Burnt, nearly charred, malts upfront with bittersweet cocoa that has a lasting acridin the finish. In between are acrid coffee notes and plenty of juicy orange slice-citrus and evergreen. Bittering gets to be almost 'bitter pill' medicinal in the end, pulling back just enough with a bit of sugar and some fresher grassy/herbal hops. It's one to ruminate over, but do I savor it?

M: For a big 10% RIS, this is astonishingly smooth & creamy; carbonation is mellow and alcohol content well-concealed. Tongue and cheek coating bitterness build with each sip. Despite the heavy alcohol and the huge levels of both grain and hops, this isn't cloying and finishes reasonably clean - maybe a bit chalky and dry, even.

D: For all the good grades I've given, this is really NOT a beer that I'm drawn back to. I prefer the big roasted malts, the sweet/bitter interplay and the fruit and vanilla found in my favorite Russian Imperials. This, while being tasty, has far too much citrus hopping for my palate; it comes off as being almost an RIS/IPA hybrid. Certainly worth grabbing, but for me personally I'm not terribly inclined to go back to it.

msubulldog25, Mar 06, 2008
Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours black with a big 2 fingered poof of tan head that retains into a still fairly good size layer (that reforms everytime I swirl the glass)that leaves just fantastic lacing. Mmmmm. The aroma smells pretty thick with heavy notes of chocolate, coffe, dark fruits, and alcohol.

The taste matches the aroma profile pretty well. Rich chocolate character, coffee, dark roasted malts, and a slight dark fruit tartness. Finishes with a slight hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is interesting. Initially, it starts out a little thin on the palette but then the carbonation seems to open up and it achieves a smooth and creamy feel on the back of the throat. A fairly beefy heat is present but doesn't cause any excessive stinging.

This is a decent RIS from Moylan's. It's definitley packed with a lot of powerful flavors but that out front 10% ABV definitley helps keep this guy a sipper.

Kegatron, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of Kendo
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the 22 oz bottle into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is dark black. A 2-finger chocolate-colored head settles over top and sits for awhile, leaving a bit of lace when it finally falls.

S: First impresssion is of dark fruit -- cherries and berries. Then there's coffee. Slight waft of alcohol too.

T: Dominant flavor profile is of coffee/espresso, but the dark fruits from the nose are evident too. Chocolate -- milk chocolate -- arrives mid-sip. As it warms I get a hint of charcoal. Alcohol doesn't seem to be evident except as heat on the way down the gulley. Finishes with a good hop bitterness -- slightly piney, actually -- that lingers nicely, especially as it warms, providing a counterpoint to the malt flavors evident earlier. Nice complexity of flavors, but nicely balanced.

M: Medium-to-heavy in heft, feels pretty smooth and creamy but with just a bit of "bite".

D: A fairly slow sipper (and for good reason at 10% ABV), this one took awhile -- 2 hours, actually -- for me to finish. I did enjoy it though.

Notes: Nice buzz from the bottle, thanks to that 10% ABV.

Kendo, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a small, beige head.

Smell: The aroma is a mixture of dark malts, licorice, baker's chocolate, confectioner's sugar, and a dash of alcohol.

Taste: Dark maltiness with flavors of bitter dark chocolate and a heavy-handed dose of licorice. A few cigar ashes flicked in. Mild sweetness. Hops, with just a faint touch of citrus, and a burst of medium bitterness follow. Finishes with a touch of alcohol and a lingering roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Just a bit above medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: For me, it's not quite on par with some of the more illustrious members of the style, but it's still a decent imperial stout.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 25, 2008
Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout from Moylan's Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 438 ratings.