Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout | Moylan's Brewery

very good
458 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 458 |  Reviews: 332
Photo of udubdawg
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber

This beer pours what can only be called black, with only the tiniest amount of light evident at the edges of the beer when held to the light. The head is light brown, big and creamy-looking. It recedes quickly in the center of the beer, but it is very sticky and there is soon a hollow in the middle as the beer stubbornly sticks to the side - lacing was more of a thin sheet across the side I wasn't drinking out of. Damn near perfect appearance.

Nose is heavily roasted with quite a bit of char. Coffee is evident at first but fruit and chocolate quickly overtake it as the beer warms and the aroma rounds out. Carmelized sugar makes a cameo but is pretty light in the overall richness of the aroma. The chocolate is especially intoxicating and begs repeatedly for another whiff The alcohol is light by comparison, a spicy hint in the background. Excellent.

Taste is about the equal of the aroma. Bitterness is right up front with a dark roasty/charred coffee flavor, but as the palate gets used to it the chocolate again comes to the forefront. The fruit present is dark and goes well with the balancing carmelized sugar sweetness. Creamy and mouth-coating, with a drying and bitter finish. Carbonation is on the low side and I'm left with pleasant hop bitterness and some alcohol on my tongue. Body is ample, but a bit lighter than some of the huge imperial stouts, which only increases the already high drinkability.

Exceptional beer!

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Photo of arizcards
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber from AJ's in early April for $4.99.

Beer poured black as night into the new Sam Adams glass with a nice head initially. Nose is wonderful, chocolate roasted malt sweetmess dominates with a bit of dark fruit in the background. Taste is a well balanced blend of roasted chocolate malts, dark fruit, and an ample amount of hops in the finish. Mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth but is a bit lighter bodied than most brews in this style. Drinkability is near perfect. The alcohol is totally hidden. This is one fine RIS and the price is nice enough that I will pursue this in the future!

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Photo of letsgopens
4.51/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After experiencing the Hopsickle, I must say I had very high hopes for this selection and I was not disappointed.

Pours black with no real highlights or visible light penetration, certainly a good start in my estimation. The creamy mocha head refuses to recede and leaves some very good lace.

The aroma has a little sweetness but is mostly of roasted malt, hints of coffee, and a bit of nuttiness. Some mild hops and luscious dark fruit accentuate the nose.

The flavor is heavy and creamy with plenty of complexity to spare. Not as sweet and dessert like as I expected, some milk chocolate and a lot of dark roasted malt. A hint of nuttiness and spent coffee grounds. Toasty and warm. Much of the sweetness is derived from notes of molasses and some toffee. Comparable to Stone RIS, not necessarily in similarity of flavor, but in depth and complexity.

Very creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Velvety on the palate. A hint of alcoholic warm is present in the finish. Superbly done. One of the best Russian Imperials I've had in a long time.

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Photo of drseamus
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It looks really good with a jet black body and a nice healthy off-white head. The aroma isn't as strong as it should be but it has a good roasty note to it. The flavor is very chocolaty and creamy. There is a bit of bitterness in the background that I'm not partial to, but it's not enough to detract from the taste. It has a good heavy body and high drinkability.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the "new" Sam Adams Boston Lager glass, the beer pours very dark brown with an inch and a half tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and some hops. It tastes like coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruit and roasted malt, with a good amount of citrusy hops (grapefruit) in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium/full, with creaminess and some slickness. However, the beer isn't quite as smooth as I expected it to be. With that being said, the drinkability is still good. The alcohol is well hidden in this brew. Overall, I think this is a pretty decent RIS. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of prototypic
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It's dark brown with a creamy, tan one and a half finger head. Good retention and a nice coat of lace.

Smell: It smells of coffee, dark chocolate malts, and alcohol. It has a faint toasty or slightly smoked aroma. Hops are noticeable. They're not very strong, but they are present. Picking up a bit of dark fruits, as well.

Taste: It's mostly dark chocolate and espresso flavors, but they are blended extremely well. It has a nice roasted or smoky flavor. Not very strong, but certainly there. Bit of molasses and a faint minty flavor wind it out.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied, creamy, and extremely smooth. Very drinkable for such a big beer. I could drink a couple of bombers and be content. Overall, very good RIS. Try it.

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Photo of jaxon53
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at cellar temp in a pint glass. Poured a deep black with about two good fingers of thick bubbly coffee brown head. Great retention. Lasted almost to the end. Also plenty of sticky lace on the glass. Nice roasty-toasty tones in this one. Also espresso, chocolate, and roasted malts. Flavor is much better than the nose. Nice mellow coffee flavor up front. Some nice milk chocolate, short hints of vanilla, roasted malts, and more coffee. Tiny bits of alcohol shine through. A little bit too carbonated for my liking. Not too bad though. Drinkability is pretty good. A pretty decent brew that I would definitely get again.

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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 BlindPig
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a bit hard but got about 3" dark tan head on a black body. Head has great retention and stays around for a long time making craters in itself.
S- Really big coffee and alcohol aromas. Along with this there is a big chocolate malt aroma also with hints of roasted malts here and there too. A dry grassy hop aroma comes through the huge malt also.
T- Big coffee flavor along with a big chocolate flavor too. The bitterness is surprisingly big and I think it is a bit of a mixture between a malt bitterness and bitterness from the grass hops (that show themselves just slightly). You can taste a little alcohol but it is well hidden behind all those malts. I think it deserves a 4.25 but not a 4.5 (just kind of putting that in there).
M- Medium to full body with low to scratching on medium carbonation. I think it could of done a lot better with just a tiny bit bigger body and a smoother carbonation feel to it.
D- I think it is a really good stout (even with all this coffee, saying I hate coffee). I like how much bitterness comes through. I could see me buying another one of these when I go down to Cali again.


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Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 22 oz bomber purchased at Liquid Solutions.

A: The stout pours an oil black color and a thick fluffy coffee-colored head.

S: The aroma is very sweet, wine-like in its intensity.

T: Flavorwise, this stout packs a punch, strong malty depths betray roasted grains, chocolate, slight tartness and dark sweet fruits. The alcohol, while formidable, doesn't really get in the way of the dark malt flavors.

M: The mouthfeel is big, overwhelming the taste buds with a multitude of dark roasted flavors, and never lets the drinker down.

D: The stout is big and heavy but the alcohol never makes itself known. This is the kind of stout that make you want several.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now this is a serious stout. Poured like used motor oil from a 72 Super Beetle. Big brown head that you could eat with a spoon. Nose of burnt malt, chocolate, coffee, and plums. Mouthfeel was thick and very nice. Flavor was simply outstanding. Very complex yet well balanced flavors. This is very good.

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Photo of cbl2
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/23/2007 $4.99 22 oz. 10.00% No best by date.


Pours a sticky pitch black with half an inch of tight tan/brown head that is extremely slow to settle.


Chocolate, espresso and cream dominate along with a hint of cordial cherries.


Sticky mouthfeel leads off this burnt/roasted malt brew that kicks off with coffee & chocolate flavors. Notes of dark fruit (cherry, figs and dates) creep in towards the finsh. Alcohol notes rear their ugly head towards the end.

Warming finish to this hearty beverage. As the beer warms, and as it is aerated, cherry & coffee dominate even more so than when this beer is slightly chilled.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich mahogony/black with no light coming thru this. The head is large with a chocolate milk type of head that leaves good lacing. The smell is strong with dark fruit,chocolate,coffee,and alcohol. A very good smelling brew. The taste has alot of chocolate along with coffee,dark fruit, and alcohol. I like this because I prefer coffee/chocolate flavors to dominate over the dark fruit. The m/f is medium and just alittle thin compared to other Imperial Stouts,but the flavors mix very well. An easy drinking I/P that is very good and should not be overlooked.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle thanks to luchman

Pours a rich coal black with a creamy mocha head that thins. Thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very roasty with hints of cocoa and coffee. Slight hint of hops and booze as it warms.

Taste is very roasted upfront leading into warm cocoa and coffee flavors. A light hop flavor appears toward the finish as it finishes roasty with a lingerinig cocoa flavor. Alcohol flavor is well hidden.

Full body, creamy texture.

Quite drinkable for the high ABV, a very nice RIS overall. Definitely recommended for fans of of the RIS.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/black color, nice carbonation, quick fizzy tan head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of roasted malts, hops, coffee/chocolate, and slight alcohol. The taste is sweet roasted malts, and plenty of coffee/chocolate. Medium body. Very drinkable, a nice RIS from Moylan's, highly recommended.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark black in color-nice off white head on top. Inky, roasted aroma to it-somewhat sweet-nice balance of cocoa and espresso. Big, bold roasted flavor. Coffee, dried cocoa, burnt caramel flavors. Quite a pronounced bitterness but it doesnt linger too long. Good full body-silky smooth. Very, very drinkable. Drop some of the sweetness for me. Still a great mix of flavors and damn enjoyable.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on May 4, 2006. 22 Oz Bottle. Pour of not quite black, with a fringe of orange juice. Topped with a soap of cream and coffed. Aroma comes forth as a standard, yet mildly sophisticated coffee, as though it’s not as bad as Church coffee, but not as suave as a Blue Mountain roast. This is backed with a surreptitious alder smoked Lake Trout. There’s definately some fresh sea foam from the Jersey shore, with noticable saltiness. Flavor is a uniquley salty flavor, at first reminding me of some dry stouts. There’s the fresh liquour of a Malpique oyster, simmering on a charcoal grill with a dash of soy and L&P. Blend this with the charred edges of a cedar plank used for Salmon fillet. Pour all of this over the grounds of a leftover brewing of some Cameron Co. roast. Am I detecting too much detail and intricacy? This beer starts off fanastic, but these nuances quickly slide away into oblivion. Later in the beer, I can detect nothing, but aged sea salt added to a Caribou Coffee Mocha Latte, without cream. Acidity from a nice craft chocolate bar. Needs more body. Finish of floral potpourri. Not much hops noticable. The best Moylans, in my opinion. Smoky malt. Not overly exciting, but definately enjoyable.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into an Imperial pint glass.
Acquired in a beer trade.
Served somewhat chilled.

Pours like slick, black motor oil, very dark black in color. A full one inch thick, dark mocha head forms. Decent head retention and a good amount of carbonation. Some clingy lacing is left behind.
Mainly smells like smoke, and burnt coffee, with hints of dark chocolate and a faint smell of dark fruits. The tastes mimics the smell, dark bitter chocolate, burnt coffee, smokey, exspresso. To me the smokey aroma stands out the most, which I don't care for too much. Mouthfeel is a bit thin and slick, smooth and slightly chewy. I thought this would be a little heavier, for the style. The 10% abv is hidden extremely well. Overall a decent brew, which is worth trying.

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Photo of flexabull
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a lot of carbonation suspended against the glass. Also has a large tan head with big bubbles.

Aromas remind me a lot of a barleywine, but deeper and darker. I smell the dark stewed fruit aromas I notice with many barleywines. There is also an alcohol smell, a bit of a wine like quality, and a some chocolate and coffee notes too.

Taste is pleasant, but more muted than I expected. The dark roasted malts are there up front, in the finish I notice carbonation, alcohol, and some hop notes.

Mouthfeel is weaker than I'd expect from an Imperial Stout. It just didn't quite last like I'd expect it to.

This is a pretty good example of the style.. It's drinkable, since this beer does manage to hide it's 10% alcohol fairly well. But I like others better...

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Photo of loving44
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick as motor oil... maybe thicker into my imperial pint glass. A thick mocha brown head rises slowly and leaves sticky thick lace. Lots andf lots of tiny bubbles stick to the insides of the glass... this could be to a poor cleaning job I suppose.

Nose is of deep roasted barley, smoke, dark chocolate sharpness with milk chocolate smoothness, caramel, black cherry, almonds... this is a very power smelling beer yet I detect very little alcohol ( alcohol increases as the beer warms adding a slight bite to the nose).

Rich melted dark chocolate hits the tongue right away with sweet ripened prunes, ash, and creamy coffee comes though more as it warms. light alcohol twinge in the finish with a tingly hop edge. This beer is instantly warming and this hints at the fairly massive alcohol content... I have a lot more of this to go too... lights out!

Mouthfeel is thick like milk with very little carbonation. I could close my eyes and imagine I'm drinking a melted coffee milkshake.

This beer is very drinkable from sip to sip, but by the time you're done with the bomber uoy tpye liek htis. One is enough for sure.

overall this is a tasty and well done Imperial Stout. If your in the mood for a huge, robust, hearty, meal in a glass then this is for you. This one has a lot of substance. Fantastic to slowly sip on a cold night.

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

A: Pours a thick jet black sludge like looking with a frothy one finger caramel colored head. Slight dissipation but retains nicely on the edges of the glass with a bit of film in the center. Good level of lacing.
S: Deep roasted coffee notes with a slight infusion of sweet chocolate. Hop profile gives this the smell of this brew a nice lift. Boozyness can be detected but only after a swirl of the glass.
T/M: Unsweetned chocolate dances with a bit of roasted coffee malt flavors. Milky in the beginning followed by some dark fruit that gets overwhelmed by a good level of hop bitterness. A bit sweeter than I expected it to be in the finish. Bold and heavy body with a silky smooth start and slightly dry finish with a smokeyness to it.
D: Pretty damn drinkable offering from Moylan's. Best to let this one warm up a bit as the flavors become more apparent. High abv isn't really noticeable whilst drinking, though the chest warms a bit once you're half way done with the bottle.

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Photo of froggyfrog
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh yeah, baby! Having finished all the O-fest and Pumpkin beers in my house I am officially declaring the beginning of Stout Season. And here to kick it off with us this evening is Moylan's Ryan O'Sullivan's Imperial Stout.

The beer arrives smartly dressed in a brown 22 ounce glass bottle wearing a tight dark colored label adorned with a prominent Moylan's monogram. The label proves both attractive and practical as it advertises, with no less than 10 pieces of flair, awards won by this particular beer during the course of it's career. There is more to be said about this bottle and its packaging but let's move in for what you really came here to see.

The "California-brewed" cap gives up its stranglehold on the bottle's neck with a chilling devil's hiss.

In the glass an inky blackness gives cover to a small group of sinister looking oversized carbonation bubbles as they lurk about, lethargically making their way toward the low-profile and short-lived caramel candy head.

The smell is highly roasted grains with a pronounced chocolate presence. There is a definite sweetness to the nose and a concentrated note of espresso.

The alcohol bowls right down the middle wrapped in a very thick blanket of caramel chew candy and strong bitter coffee beans. The hops in this one come across as spicy. The roasted flavors from the malts turn abruptly toasted in the finish and linger that way. Though the beer appears almost flat in the glass, the combination of CO2 and hop bitterness cause a strong bitter prickle to dance across the tongue while the lips smack, coated top and bottom in a brown sugar syrupy sweetness.

In the combined arena of aroma and flavor, this beer brings a fluid mixture of leather and aged tobacco, caramel, dark raisins, figs and fuggle-like hops.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy. Drinkability is high if you can handle the 10% abv.

Overall a very nice beer. My first from this brewery. Looking forward to Hopsicle.

Thanks to RedwoodGeorge for providing this bottle.

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Photo of rayjay
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One serious looking stout. This one practically stains the glass; deep oily mucky black beer with a brown head. Small head throughout the beer, but it was easy to stir back up. Deep booze nose, with lots of roasted malts, alcohol, dirty bong water, a bit of isopropyl alcohol. Deep roasted flavors bite at your tongue, like black coffee, dark chocolate, sweet and bitter roasted malts, high alpha hops, toffee, and dark toast. Mouthfeel is a bit on the dull side; it has the right amount of carbonation but not enough personality. Reminds me of a really good stab at a homebrewed RIS. That brought the drinkability down a bit; that and the fact that this is a 10% beer in a 22 oz serving...really got to me towards the end! My vote would have been for a 12 oz or even a 6 oz bottle. Note to all brewers: I would drink beers like this more often if I didn't have to commit to 22 oz of it at a time. This beer is a close contemporary to Storm King in many respects.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into my Guinness glass, pours a dark dark black, opaque with huge sandy color head, holds on for quite a while, strings of lacing. Good start. Bold nose, bitter chocolate, roasted malts and a little nutty, a little ripe fruit, some faint alcohol peeking through, hoping for more. Pretty good.

Mouth started off a little thin, but as it warmed it thickened out nicely, good body, coating the mouth in happiness, and the tiniest bit of carbonation giving some action on the tongue. Pretty nice, but ultimately a little too thin still.

Taste is a step up, rich and heavily malty. Chocolate malts abound, sweet, also bitter, kind of a coffee grounds thing going on. It doesn't feel complex, but I'm realizing more and more that there are layers here if you look for them. There is something earthy in here, probably partially some ripe fruits, like raisins or berries, red grapes or something. Some nuttiness to boot.

Overall, I'm a fan, and its pretty good. But pretty good is as far as it gets. There are other RISs that I'm all about, and this is a goodie but not top tier.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a very dark black with a tan head that laces nicely.

S- Chocolate and caramel, toffee, coffee, dark roasted malts and not much in the hop department.

T- Chocolate dominates with slight fruity notes. Cherries, raisins. Slight metallic notes. Very smooth and creamy with warming alcohol.

M- Mildly carbonated, slick and oily.

D- Very nice stout, chocolate dominates so if you are looking for a balance and sweetness, look to other stouts.

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Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout from Moylan's Brewery
3.87 out of 5 based on 458 ratings.
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