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 Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black with beige head.Roast in aroma. Coffee but not only that, creamy mouthfeel, richness. Vanilla, cocoa. Even after warmed, not supper complex, but still nutty, boozy.Dry sweetish finish.Sweetness for drinkability, would lie the perfect to be bitter. Nice RIS.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Thick foamy rings of lace stick to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt and chocolate chip cookie dough. Taste is of dark roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, and some cocoa bean flavors. There is also an off metallic taste on this one that I don't dig. There is a mild roasty bitterness that sticks around. Both the smell and taste of this beer are pretty subdued. This beer has a low level of carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average stout. Not too bad for what it is but I wouldn't get this one again.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin tan head that died down, leaving some delicate patterns of lacing on the surface along with a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of molasses and sweetness.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of burnt and roasted malts and some hints of sweetness. It has a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is a good sipper but seems to be lighter bodied compared to others in this style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a tar black color with a frothy mocha head that retains itself firmly while webbing the pint glass with lace

Smell: Very roasty, with dark chocolate, hops and some coffee undertones

Taste: Opens a little burnt, with the dark chocolate taking over quickly thereafter; by mid-palate, the hops add a bitter, citrusy dimension; after the swallow, the chocolate serves to mellow out the bitter flavors and there is also a sweet toasted marshmallow aspect; there is some residual bitterness at the end, along with some tobacco and coffee

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: While not in the top tier in terms of really big flavor, this beer has no pretensions and is just a solid, drinkable example of the style

Thanks, Jeager, for the opportunity

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with large dark brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of black chocolate and lightly dry coffee with some side notes of tar is quite a treat. Taste is also a great mix between some deep dry black chocolate with nice notes of espressos and some subtle notes of tar. Very well balance and not aggressively hopped. Full body with limited filtration and great carbonation with no signs of alcohol.

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Photo of zeff80
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a small, thin, tan head that quickly dissipated. There was little to no lace.

S - Very nice aroma, dominated by chocolate and coffee (expresso) notes.

T - Nice chocolate and coffee flavors are met by some fruity flavors.

M - It was soft and somewhat creamy. A medium bodied stout with a subtle warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good RIS. Nothing amazing, but it is worth a try.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottling date. Pours thick almost pitch black color with a small fairly dense tan head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of huge milk and dark chocolate fudge, caramel, toffee, molasses, coffee, roasted malt, toast, wood, and a bit of herbal hops. Fantastic aromas here with good strength and balance. Taste of big dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, roasted malt, coffee, toast, wood, slight dark fruit, and light herbal hops. Light bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, toffee, caramel, coffee, and roasted malts for a while. Great balance of big robust flavor. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a nice creamy and slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is surprisingly well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Way too drinkable to be a 10% beer; this goes down very smoothly. Overall this is a very excellent and balanced imperial stout offering. Extremely enjoyable and smooth.

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Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Just a bit more than one finger of orange-brown head on top of an opaque, black body that lets no light through. The foam settles fairly quickly but leaves nice, thick lace.

S - Earthy chicory and coffee with some sweet, fruity toffee malt character. Lots of bittersweet chocolate with notes of cinnamon, licorice, and just a hint of pine hops.

T - Powerful, earthy spiced coffee up front with lots of licorice, clove, and chicory. Coffee and bittersweet chocolate dominate in the middle with some caramel and more spicy notes. Finishes with smoky chocolate notes, balanced by moderate hop and malt bitterness. Some mild alcoholic warmth tickles the throat and leaves lingering char notes on the palate.

M - Moderately heavy body, moderate carbonation, and a reasonably dry finish.

D - This is a very earthy and sweet imperial stout. The malt is not as dark as I might have expected and there is something kind of muddy and one dimensional about it. There isn't much hop character, though it does manage to balance out some very heavy malt that could have easily made for a cloyingly sweet beer. The spicy notes do something to pick things up, but in the end it gets bogged down on the palate and isn't that much fun to drink. Maybe it has too much emphasis on caramel/molasses and not enough hop flavor and roast character; what ever it is, something about this beer just isn't doing it for me.

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have really liked the Moylan's brews I have had and this is near the top of my list for them.Poured a jet black with a creamy-like one finger mocha colored head that never leaves,intense roast and dark fruit in the nose,slight burnt notes come through as well.Flavors are highly roasted and earthy, dark fruit and molasses come through in the finish as well as alcohol sweetness,the big dry earthiness wins out though.Complex in its sweetish to dry flavors,a top notch Impy stout here.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.8/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Moylan's Ryan O'Sullivan's Imperial Stout pours a mainly black body beneath a creamy head of khaki colored foam that holds quite well and leaves solid sheets and rings of lace at the outset of the glass. Beneath the head, some mahogany highlights can be seen at the bottom of the glass; and tiny, natural (bottle conditioned) bubbles can be seen steadily rising.

The nose is bready; caramelish; nutty; roasty like dark and bittersweet chocolate; lightly fruity; and it has a delicate waft of alcohol as well.

In the mouth it's superbly creamy and smooth with a full body and very fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation.

The bready, caramelish, and nutty maltiness appears upfront; followed by a quick note of berry-like fruitiness; and then dark chocolate and spent espresso grounds as it crosses the middle. It's got a wide flavor, and it's rich, but it's not decadent. And there's a complexity to it, but all of the flavors are easily recognizable; and it never becomes muddled on the palate. Another splash of seared dark-skinned fruit appears just before the swallow, and chocolate and coffee appear in the finish along with some dull, leafy and floral hops and a spritz of alcohol. It lingers with a dull roastiness, some mild fruit, and even some dull, spruce-like hops.

This is a really well done and superbly malty (as all of the Moylan and Marin beers are) beer that has a lot of charm. It's unique in that it's supple and welcoming, with less aggressive character than most examples. All of the characteristics of the style are there, but it's just so much more accessible! It's one of my favorites with a brilliant drinkability!

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Photo of chinchill
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, aged for about 1 year, served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours basically black in the glass, covered by a dark tan head that has decent retention. very good lacing.

Aroma: inviting if a bit tame
Flavor: rich and complex, with a very solid base of dark roasted grains. Hints of black coffee, unsweetened chocolate, and dark fruits. Lasting and pleasant aftertaste. Mildly bitter.

Feel: the full body is exceptionaly smooth, with perfect, soft carbonation.

O: has all the traits of a fine RIS without any detectable flaws. Well done.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. I’m pretty sure it’s at least 3 years old.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a thin brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains rich chocolate, roasted malts, some dark fruit and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of dark chocolate and black coffee. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is very mild yet surprisingly still noticeable given the age of the beer. There’s a little bit of smokiness in the background and a good balance as this beer seems to have aged quite nicely. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this beer has aged well and is well-worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Has both a perfumey and grainy flavor that are a little peculiar. Malty nose with some charcoal. Slightly harsh flavor with a lot of burnt barley flavors. Some pleasant sweet malt comes through, however, and it drinks better after a few sips.

Winey character and mouthfeel. Quite bitter aftertaste. Quite alcoholic along with that bitterness for an eye-opening experience. I would wish for a mellower and silkier RIS, since there are so many good ones. Still, for the money it's a powerful and flavorful ale.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black gold. Texas tea (well the first thing you know ol' Jed's a millionaire...). Sitting atop the oil...er... beer is a firmly creamy crown that is the spitting image of a mochachino-saturated sponge. It certainly isn't giving ground willingly. When it finally does relent, it leaves a thick blanket of lace as a calling card. This is one incredible looking stout.

The nose is easily the appearance's equal. Russian Imperial Stouts ought to be dark, rich and pungent. Bull's eye, bull's eye and bull's eye. Massively roasted malt steamrolls everything in its path, delivering delightful aromas of dark chocolate fudge, freshly roasted espresso beans and citric hops. I don't need a crystal ball to tell me this is going to be great beer...

... and it is. If anything, it's even more grapefruity hoppy on the palate than expected. While it still isn't Bear Republic Big Bear Black hoppy, it's more hoppilicious than most versions, even ones brewed on the west coast of this country. Have no fear, though, roasted malt is still king.

If forced to choose, I'd say bittersweet chocolate just does nose out coffee as the dominant member of the flavor profile. The best thing about the beer is how all the various flavors fit together so seamlessly. There's no need to age this one, it's good to go right out of the chute.

I almost forgot to mention alcohol. That's because it doesn't go rompin' and stompin' around on the tongue with every sip; I had to go looking for it. Great job of masking guys. The mouthfeel is a smidgen short of viscous, but I'll easily give it lightly chewy and fantastically silky smooth. Polished is another word that comes to mind; there are no rough edges here.

Ryan O'Sullivan's Imperial Stout just might be Moylan's best beer. Actually, with the exception of Celt's Golden Ale and White Christmas, this brewery brews nothing but good to great beer. At only $4.99 per bomber, I'd buy this stuff by the case if I was fortunate enough to have access. Recommended without reservation.

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Photo of russpowell
4.39/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours ebony/black with 3 fingers of fluffy mocha head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Vanilla, oaky notes, coffee, chocolate & iron all blend together

T: Roasty malt notes, coffee, dryness & bit of booze up front. Coffee, molasses some grainyness, iron, & bit of chocolate as this warms. Finishes with slight boozeyness, dryness, chocolate & a little grainyness

MF: Chewy wit moderate carbonation that brings out the coffee character

Drinks fairly easy, a pretty nice Imp Stout. The 10% ABV is pretty well hidden

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So I was very familiar with the Moylan’s Double IPA’s, however until I had received this bottle I had not had even heard of th e Ryan O’Sullivans Stout. Needless to say, after looking at the bottle, I was very excited to try it. I mean if it is half as good as the IPA’s we are defiantly in business over here! So last night I decided, that I had ben staring at this bottle in the fridge just too long and that it was time for me to go for it and pop it open….

A – Poured a thick, black as night opaque liguid, pretty much oil like in thickness. A large, two inch plus head of tan quickly rose over the top of the glass. Lots of retention left this one hanging around for more then 5 minutes, before finally settling down to a nice quarter inch pillow atop the liquid. Lots of side glass lace, sticky and brown, almost obscured the glass. If there was carbonation, I could not see it. Very very thick appearing, no light visible through this what so ever.

S – Smell was strong, lots of dark chocolate hints were very noticeable from the very beginning. The raosted malts were huge, and the unmistakable aroma of coffee grinds were all to prevelant throughout. Had a very rich sugar aroma to it, almost a lacto sugar smell as it was very rich and creamy. A touch of hops on the back end, and the ever present ABV smell came through after it started to warm. It was becoming increasingly more evident that this was not a small brew by any means, and I was going to find out that it was something to be reconnended with. Final notes started to pull through of caramel sugar, really yummy aroma.

T – Wow, very full flavored and robust would be the best way to describe it. The first thing that hit was the overwhelming dark chocolate flavor, very pronounced and noticeable. As it mellowed lots of roasted coffee and some notes of cookie dough and even a touch of vanilla were becoming noticeable. Very sweet and sugary on the palate, with a very present abv warming thoughout. It was not a light brew by any means. A very full flavor and feeling coming off of this one. Reminded me of some of thee other breakfast stouts I have had in the past. Very full bodied and the more you sip the more flavors you start to notice. Damn fine crafting on this one.

M – Very very thick and creamy. At first, right after the pour it had the consistency and feel of a milk shake. The carbonation was fantastic, and it really gave it that silky feel. As it warmed up and the carbonation fizzled out, it took on more of a thick oil, syrup like consistency and became really thick. Either way to say full bodied feel would be an understatement, this was a big one for sure.

D – This was defiantly a sipper. There was just no chugging this one down. Perfect for its role as a late night sipper or night cap. I did manage to finish off the bottle, but it took a couple hours to get it all down. Pretty strong and you know it is, this is not a sitting outside in the sun situation at all, and I would have probably enjoyed this a lot more in the dead of winter.

Overall this was a really good double stout. Great feel and presentation, good strong robust aroma and full of flavor and feel. You could tell a lot was put into this. It had a lot of chocolate in it which is always a plus. So I would have to say very enjoyable and I will defiantly try to get ahold of another for this winter!

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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 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 johnnnniee
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from 2005 leftover from the Tasters Choice meetup.
Pours a solid dark brown with a huge bubbly tan head that persists forever. The aroma is heavy on the milk chocolate with bits of roast, dark fruit and a hint of sherry. The flavor is rich dark and milk chocolate with a little bit of caramel. Light fruity tartness with hints of earth. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sweet light syrupy mouthfeel. This bottle held up surprisingly well for its age! I may have to revisit a fresh bottle, because this was a pretty good beer.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with barely any tan head. Nose is great. So silky smooth with the chocolate tones. Like powdered cocoa and I like it. Flavor is slightly roasted with purely dark chocolates mixed in. A bit molasses like as well. Feel is slick on liquid. Low carbonation. Pretty easy to drink. No massive complexities, but it's a nice enough one.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter, no visible dates on bottle.

A good solid example in appearance of a stout. Dark chestnut pour out of the bottle hits the glass making a dark walnut brown almost black body. Head is a solid simple chocolate light brown, disappears a little. Some minimal lacing faint and spotty.

Bouquet is alright. Small roast character, giving to sweet dark malty tones. Hints of light chocolate. Something is kind of fruity mushy on the end hard to pinpoint, makes me want to say banana. Some sense of yeast and powdery-ness. Still ok

Taste is weird and unexpectedly very bitter. A strange what seems like hop forward palate, but doesn't get over roast malt character and just comes off as just plain old bitter in taste. Wet bodied. Mild roast and coffee but lacking boldness even for this high abv. A minor licorice sense mixes in with the bitterness also which is kind of off putting. Texture is wet, weak, extremely light as well. Finish is not lasting except for already perceived bitters.

Overall this is not doing it for me. I'll pass on this one, so much better out there.

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Photo of jwc215
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with a nice brown head that descends to a thin cover, leaving lacing.

The smell is of roasted, slightly burnt, espresso and charred raisins/currants.

The taste is of roasted coffee/espresso with an ashy/charred character with a dose of anisette. Char and earthy bitterness balance the dark sweeetness. There's a hint of chocolate, but goes more towards coffee, even chickory. Alcohol shows a bit in the taste, but even more in the warmth.

It reaches full-bodied, but not much more than expected for the style. Carbonation cuts through to keep it from being to syrupy. If body doesn't quite win the day here, the carbonation on this one does.

A very nice sipper. Char and coffee stand out - though not in a burnt coffee way. It does have some subtle complexities.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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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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