Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout | Moylan's Brewery

very good
332 Reviews
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Ryan Sullivan's Imperial StoutRyan Sullivan's Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Moylan's Brewery
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 05-16-2002

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Reviews: 332 | Ratings: 457
Photo of Jeffo
1.5/5  rDev -61.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Got this one at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam. What a huge mistake that was.

From a bomber into a snifter
2013 batch

APPEARANCE: Pours out clear black and yields a two finger, medium looking, creamy, tan head with great retention. Clear black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a full cap and clings to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains until the end and leaves dots of lacing down the glass. Decent looking.

SMELL: Anise, lightly roasted notes and a touch of dark chocolate all trying desperately to compete with the dominating aroma of rotten vegetables and cabbage. Just nasty.

TASTE: Much the same here, though the competition has basically given up. Straight up rotten vegetables and cabbage. A hint of roasted flavors and anise try initially while a faint touch of stale coffee comes out after the swallow, but none of this can save this rotten cabbage bomb. Medium strength but lingering aftertaste is very off-putting. Chocked down about 3 oz of this before Drain was called into action.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes a touch dry. Decent feel.

OVERALL: Awful. There's no other word to describe it. They seem to have engineered the look and feel just fine, but really, how the hell did this beer win all these awards that are proudly displayed on the label? A real winner doesn't need to brag, so I guess the label is their own way of convincing themselves that it doesn't suck. Shameful. Either this was simply a bad batch or the people involved in these competitions need to give their heads a shake. I am inclined to think it's perhaps the former, so if someone gives me a different batch for free, I'll gladly take a second stab at this.

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Photo of brdc
1.61/5  rDev -58.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Large capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Nearly pitch black, cocoa colored head disappears very fast, no lacing.
Aroma is a bit unpleasant, chocolate, but the grains seem charred, generating an acrid aroma.
Medium bodied, it tastes like burnt grains, acid and acrid, with some chocolate sweetness.
IMHO, really bad. Drainpour.

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Photo of champ103
2.24/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color with a little bit of ruby/brown around the edges. A tightly packed tan head rises to over two fingers with good retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt, acidic coffee, sour, and bitter chocolate. Lots of fusel alcohol. Harsh and over the top.
T: Burnt and charred malt. Tastes like charcoal. Acidic coffee and a bitter chocolate finish. The bitterness and a fusel ethanol drenched alcohol flavor lingers on forever.
M/D: A medium body that is way to thin for an Imperial Stout. Very harsh alcohol makes this really hard to drink.

This is not enjoyable. I was looking forward to this, but a big let down. Poorly made in my opinion. Avoid.

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Photo of rapidsequence
2.29/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle.

Appearance: Black, opaque, light brown head and lots of lacing.

Smell: Roast, char, and the unpleasant, sour, vegetal graininess I get from all Moylans beers.

Taste: As with the smell, lots of char and bitter coffee grounds. More of that vegetal grain taste. Its bad.

Mouthfeel: Thinish, not impressive.

Overall: Gross, I'm dumping it out. I hate Moylans and will not buy their beer again. All their beer tastes like this.

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Photo of ibbjamin
2.69/5  rDev -30.5%
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.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$6.99 for a 22oz bottle @ Merchants. Brewed with American 2-row malt, Crystal 15L and 45L, Munich, Special B, Roasted malt, Brown Malt, Chocolate malt, Black malt, and acidulated malt. Hopped with Yakima Glacier and Yakima Chinook. Fermented with White Labs #001 (Chico). 10.0% ABV, 65 IBU's, OG=1.098.

Pours out to a very deep oily black, like used motor oil, forming a nice whipped dark tan head with good retention and solid lacing. The aroma is very nice, with big raisins, prunes and figs up front, chalk, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and even an interesting buttery oakey note. The mouthfeel is tart, with a low carbonation, oily slickness and dense body. What promised to be a good beer is ruined by acidic kiwi fruit...there is something growing in this beer that isn't supposed to be there. Taste of nickels soaked in kiwi fruit and grapefruit juice on top of what could have been a really nice Impy stout. Bitterness is moderate and herbal, with a lingering sweetness in the back of the tongue, like brewers licorice.

Unfortunately, it appears this bottle is funky. I would love to have the brewers right here to taste this and see what they think. Not recommended.

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Photo of warnerry
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased about two years ago

A - Pours black with one finger of brown head. Head has pretty good retention and leaves some spotty lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate and roasted malt in the aroma, with a bit of char. Smell has a bit of sweet chocolate and mostly bittersweet chocolate.

T - The taste is a pretty big letdown after the aroma. Huge amount of char and some sourness, though it doesn't taste like infection sourness. Some dark fruits, milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate, but covered up by the intense char and sour character. Ashy finish.

M - Even on a warm summer night, this seemed quite thin. Dry, bitter, ashy feel.

O - Started strong enough, but the taste was pretty unpleasant and the mouthfeel quite disappointing. Won't be having this again.

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Photo of drewba
2.77/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

A - pours opaque black with dark brown on the edges. One finger head quickly dissipates to clumps of huge khaki bubbles with moderate lacing.

S - chocolate, ash tray, dark fruits, musky old wood, a mocha afterthought. It's unique, I'll give it that.

T - Simply put, this is unusual. Up front, the expresso is intensely bitter and is not mixing well with the currant and dark fruits which are the next flavors in the progression. I feel like the two are a flavor clash and not doing anything for me. The middle and finish are quite bitter; the only reminder that hops were incorporated into this beer.

M - Creamy, silky but thin - medium body, low - medium carbonation. I'm left wanting a little bit more out of the mouthfeel, but overall I'm impressed.

D - The bittering hops maintain through the whole taste experience and long into the aftertaste. I want to eat or drink something else to break the taste up. To sum up in a word: unrefined.

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Photo of BMoney575
2.8/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 10-2-10

Pours very dark and 100% opaque, with a very nice brown head that leaves big chunks of lacing.

Smell is huge sweet malt, tons of booze, strong aromas of anise and molasses. Very strong, quite complex, and very intriguing.

Taste is hugely bitter and a little sour, very unexpected. The sourness is very odd, and it's all I can do the choke t down.

Mouthfeel is decent, but thinner and with more carbonation than I would expect.

Drinkability is poor, the flavor and mouthfeel are not a good combo.

Overall, maybe a bad bottle, but not good.

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Photo of mortarit
2.83/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First thing first, I like this style of beer. I thought I was going to get a real treat with all the awards it showcases on the label, but I guess the taste has moved on. The claim to fame has ran away with the taste. I am not saying that the beer is bad but I have had better. It does provide a different blend but not real appealing. Yes, it would go well with a cigar.

Taste is burnt, burnt, and burnt.

Smell may have been burnt out too.

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Photo of Jason
2.85/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I’ll be blunt; this beer did nothing for me. I’ve had other Imperial Stouts and this one did not meet what I expected it to be. The head retention was decent at best; the aroma was a bit acrid with soured roasted grain. It had a good sweetness but it was lost in a downward spiral of estery alcohol and acidic roasted grain. No balance and even the dark fruitiness got lost in the mix.

Don’t get me wrong I love Imperial Stouts but this one just did not make the cut.

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Photo of TCgoalie
2.87/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a quarter finger mocha head atop a black brew. As the head recedes, mild lacing is observed around the glass.

The smell is bland lacking depth. It is very malt heavy with some roasted flavors and an essence of plastic. I guess there are some tones of chocolate and maybe coffee, but they are muted.

Ok, after the smell, this beer had me worried. The taste is much more rewarding showing the depth which the smell was missing. The first tastes are heavy in chocolate malts which transition to milk chocolate with hints of coffee. It is hard to tell if coffee or hops are giving the bite in the end, but the effect is reminding me of dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel is nothing to brag about and reminds me of a single stout. Thin in the mouth for 10% with a forgettable aftertaste.

If this was a single stout, there would be some redeeming qualities. Compared to other 10% stouts, this is well below average.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Unfortunately, this is the best thing about this beer. The pour into a snifter is black with a thin mocha colored foam.

S: There is a strange sour aroma. The traditional aromas of an RIS peek out at times, but they're just very overshadowed by that sourness.

T: Unfortunately, the flavor is not much better than the nose. The sourness is not all that present, but the chocolate, coffee, and roasted flavors are rather muted.

M: The beer is a bit thin for an RIS, but not terribly so. The carbonation is also a bit more than I typically like for the style.

D: There just isn't much to get excited about with this beer. Poor aromas and sub-par flavors make this one that I'll be passing on in the future.

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Photo of mdcrouser
2.9/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Stout-brown/black, with very little head.

Sweet, slightly hopppy, chalky coffee on the nose - by chalky, I mean that it smells earthy, but with a hint of stone. Sweet vanilla too, with some solvents.

Grainy with big alcohol right up front - the alcohol resembles the burn of an overly-aggressive bourbon barrel aged beer - just too much for the rest of the beer to be appealling. Sweetness in the malts are drying and sticky in the mouth, with a bit of hoppiness at the end. Seems askew and unable to decide between whether it wants to be a sweet malty beer, or one with a nice hoppiness.

Pretty lame in the mouth - it's a stout, but comes thorugh as a simple slap on the tongue, and little else.

There's nothing terrible, but I certainly didn't enjoy it like I thought I would, and don't understand the hype about this one.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Guinness 20oz. pub glass.

Appearance: Pours out thick and black. A short, creamy, brown head forms on top but recedes to just a crown after a minute or so. Appears to drag good lacing from the get-go (drags thick lacing all the way down). Shows shades of red around the edges when held to light.

Smell: Dark chocolate covered cherries and espresso. Reminds me of those See's chocolates that always grossed me out as a kid. Lots of roasted malt, too. Caramel, vanilla, and even coconut also make an appearance, but cherries those dark, bitter aromas steal the show.

Taste: Dark chocolate, cherries, vanilla, and caramel appear upfront, but are quickly wiped out by loads of smoke, ash, charred wood, and hop bitterness. As some would put it: forest fire. Forest fire indeed - an impenetrable one. Aftertaste is long-lasting and unforgiving. Eventually the taste buds are numbed and the sweeter flavors become more prevalent, but in my mind it's too little too late.

Mouthfeel: Milky, cool, and tad syrupy in the finish. Carbonation and over-the-top bitterness perform acupuncture on the palate. Very full and warm. Imagine milk mixed with soot - it's something like that.

Drinkability: I feel like this beer should come with a coupon for a free hug. (Lord knows I need one right now.) This was rough, and I mean that in the full sense of the word. Bottle says, "This is the classic 'Cigar Stout.'" I wonder how many cigars were used in this batch... Brow sweat of a West Virginia coal-miner keeps coming to mind. I'd recommend this only to those stout lovers that are running out of new beers to try. This one is more of a novelty than anything. Tastes like the Grinch's soul. (Does smooth out eventually, but only after the palate has been totally wrecked. Proceed with caution.)

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Photo of biglite351
2.96/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - very dark. Tall tight slow dropping medium dark head.

S - chocolate and malts with a bit of a bock-like scent in the mix.

T - again with chocolate and malts. Bitter though, like a chocolate covered coffee bean. Some hop kicks in at the end.

M - thick, but not coating. Tingle on back of tongue and a little on the front sides.

D - a bit too bitter for more than one bottle, and if I wanted hops I would not have picked an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.98/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

the appearance was decent ....I'm maybe a bit picky since I have stone imperial stout at my fingertips but without being a big hack fest I'd have to say this beer is average looking. Decent lacing and a rather dark head.

I just found the burnt taste to be dictated rather than crafted...almost like extracts were used (just tasted that way i'm don't in any way think its true)...there is even a citrus/cleansing taste in the middle of this BIG beer. Melted root beer popscicle in the backdrop. This leans on the burnt malts and leaves the hops behind, not much in the way of bitterness but somehow it avoids being too sweet.

Imperial stouts are really hard to mess up completely. Ranking it within the style its just OK. Its BIG its BOLD but comparitively its middle of the road. For the price? it gets better when compared price wise thats for sure as this is in the $4 dollar range. Nice.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- A deep, brown-black with a thin brown head. There is just a bit of light getting through at the edges. The head retention is not too shabby.

S- Roasted malt, raisins, alcohol, cocoa powder, and a bit of coffee. Smells young, fresh, and hot.

T- Very earthy and hot. The raisin, smoke, and alcohol flavors do not really blend together here. The more I got into this, the less enjoyable it became.

M- Hot, with a bitter-numbing aspect at the end- but not from a hop standpoint.

D- Most definitely a sipper. I don't know what the aging potential of this would be, but it would most likely be worth a shot to let things calm down.

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Photo of hopstradamus
3.07/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A. Pours a deep, dark, chocolate brown with a thick milk-chocolate head that dissipates quickly. The appearance is a little light for an Imperial Stout and the lack of head retention worries me.

S. Roasted malt along with wet cardboard, and a slight sour tone. Little to no hop aroma.

T. The taste is heavily roasted malt, burnt extract, and slight caramel and vanilla flavors along with an acidic aftertaste. No hop taste either.

M. Heavy mouthfeel but not chewy in the slightest. The carbonation is weak and the acidic aftertaste is distracting.

D. I will finish the bottle but will not seek this one out again.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.11/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Pours pitch black with a finger of light tan head. It retains for about a minute before receding slowly into a moderate collar and a light, but long-lasting, film on top of the brew. Leaves cascading sheets of non-sticky lace as I sip.

S: Bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and a light citrus note that hints at a hoppy presence. It's not a very pungent beer even when it warms, but the slightest agitation is enough to bring out substantial aromas.

T: This is chocolate-forward, but only just barely. Coffee is also very prominent, as the nose hints, with a roasty undercurrent that never vanishes (even coming up in the burps). What impresses me is that there's a slight grapefruit hop presence. I can't stand citrus + chocolate flavors most of the time, as I feel they clash, but this is one of the few beers I've tasted that makes the combination work. Very seamless flavors, very balanced. The finish is subtly dry with astringency.

M: Medium-bodied, with low carbonation. Not quite creamy. Well hidden ABV. (10%? No idea...)

D: I think this beer could use some more love, though there are better examples of the style.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.12/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Opaque black with a mocha colored head. Poured a dark, viscous brown like the oil from Fern Gully. Not much in the way of lace or retention.

Aroma is chocolate truffle, currant and molasses cookie. Tastes thin, messy and hot. Roasty, dark gooey licorice and chocolate syrup. Some ash in back.

The flavors are there, just too thin and too hot. Even my stout chugging girlfriend thought so.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.12/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ryan O'Sully's poured black as night with a small foam head and no retention. The aroma was of roasted malts and espresso.

The flavor was heady dry coffee taste. In the mouth there was not much going on and was fairly thin. I thought this was fairly one dimensional.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Very dark with small brown foam, dissipated quickly. Extremely opaque -- not even the fringes are colored.

S: dark syrupy malts and espresso

T: coffee & alcohol flavors make this very acidic - great with the spicy food I had, but of limited utility overall. The chocolates, currants, etc supposedly present were overshadowed. Has a little sweetness but finishes decidedly bitter and stays that way. Tasty but one-sided.

M: fairly thin for a big beer. A little carbonation makes the feel start interesting, but it doesn't linger; no coating to speak of.

D: strong and enjoyable with the right environment and food pairing. But wouldn't seek out another unless for a specific purpose.

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Photo of fullthrottle77
3.16/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into tulip glass. Poured very dark with a finger and a half of a mocha colored head. Smelled faint chocolate and coffee notes, nothing too overwhelming. Tasted chocolate, coffee, and tobacco. The tobacco was most prevalent in my opinion. Overall a decent imperial stout, not bad, not great just pretty average.

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Photo of joepais
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to duffmanrob for sending this along to me in the black booty BIF.

Poured into two tulip glasses the bottle produced a good finger of tan head that faded slow to a thin lace . The body was a typical stout black in color . The only other thing I'll mention is I noticed the bottle said live ale. looking into the bottle itself I found no sediment at all, in the bottom of the bottle . It was a bit strange.

The aroma was towards the sweet dark fruits, raisins and such, with a light roasted note in the end. The flavor on the other had was very bitter tons of hops and bitter roasted malts. It was funny to me I kept wanting it to be sweet, when I brought the tulip glass to my mouth from the aroma. when it hit the mouth all I got was bitter.
I will have to ding this one a bit saying it needed a bit more thickness in the mouth as well.

The bottle was easy enough to drink but it did not leave you wanting for more.
Not a bad RIS but not my favorite by far. One and done for me it was extremely average beer to me

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Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout from Moylan's Brewery
3.87 out of 5 based on 457 ratings.
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