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 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 bifrostguard
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Black with a one and a half finger tan head that deflated quickly to a thin film. Medium in consistency.

S-Chocolate was the first thing that came to mind followed by roasted grains and a little toffee.

T-The alcohol was surprisingly well hidden for being 10%, but nothing else remarkable past that. Mostly roasted grains, chocolate and a fair amount of hop bitterness.

M-Medium, but thin for what I like in an imperial stout.

D-Considering the alcohol is well masked and it goes down pretty smooth, if you didn't know any better, you could easily get into trouble with this stuff.

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Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark dark brown with a thin tan head.

Hints of chocolate and burnt grains. Not bad but not really noteworthy.

Good amounts of bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee as you would expect. Nice hoppy balance with flavors of grapefruit. However, lurking beneath were flavors of sour milk, burnt toast, and tobacco. They were by no means overwhelming, just simply off-putting.

Sufficiently creamy, though not as bold as expected.

Not a very inspired RIS, yet still a decent beer.

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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 woooch
3.24/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Unfortunately, in light of the many awards on the brew's lable, I was almost disappointed. My disclaimer though, is that I have never tried the stout before.

Hence, I will go easy on it, for this review. I also believe because of it's high abv, my judgment may have been a bit off the mark, condisering I had a couple of brews prior to drinking this one.

In any case, my hightest marks were for appearance & mouthfeel. For the purchasing cost, I expected more than an average smell, taste.& drinkabilty. Though, I'll probably drink this brew again in a few weeks to compare, if I don't trade my supply.

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Photo of cokes
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Darkest of browns- edging with maroon and purple to simulate blackness. The head is close-cropped and beige and lasts only as an border between the beer and the glass. Lacing is patchy.
The nose is assaulted with fudge and coffee grounds and blackberry jam. While huge upfront, it sags quickly and brings paper bag notes (oxidized, really?), as it clears the way for wintergreen, buzzing hops and a good measure of port for warmth.
It brings the fudge and dark roast beans into the mouth, but they fail to grab as solid a foothold here. It's not that they're not here, but they pass through so much more quickly, as compared to the aroma. The middles sees dying coffee flourishes, more papery oxidization, and a general purple grapeyness. Hops are big, but only semi-coherant with their pinecones, resin, and mint. The finish is once again, port-like, and residual.
Beefy up front, but fading over time. This is a beer that flexes hard up front, then falls over.
The oxidized note make me question this, but it's new to the area, and shouldn't be old....and those same notes seem to be just be an offshoot of the acrid roastedness. That fades a bit as it warms. And, actually, it is fairly drinkable for a 10% stout.
I don't put this very high on my list of Imperial Stouts, but as the name might imply, it like an obese Irish Stout...roasty, dry, bready, bitter, uncomplicated and drinkable, considering. But that's far from what I was looking for here.

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Photo of Ghenna
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark dark dark ruddy brown with a finger of pillowy milk chocolate head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Initial smell is of roast malts, subtle hints of caramel. Initially striking is the mouth feel- this is a beer you bite in to. Leaves a bit of mealyness on the palate as well. Big coffee bitterness on the top, follows through to roasty/dark chocolate on the finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

Granted it has been a bit since I've had an IS, but the bitterness of it just ruins the beer for me- there seems like very little to take joy from with this beer. I do believe, however, that this would make for an awesome beer float with some high quality vanilla ice cream.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours thick & black. Produced a decent foaming tan head & retention.

(S)- A great roastedness with molasses, coffee, vanilla, & brown sugar. Plenty of rich cocoa.

(T)- Plenty of roastedness with molasses & bittering coffee, that turn grassy from either a high hop addition or something.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Rather bitter & grassy. The alcohol is rather evident and noticeable; seemed much higher than what it is.

(D)- A decent stout that showed some promise. Maybe needs further time in the bottle? It has some great things that came out in the smell, but its rather unpleasant in bitterness, grass, and almost boozy at this stage.

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Photo of naterock
3.26/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a pint glass with minimal head and some small lacing, Deep black with a brownish hue when held to light.

Smells of a burning alcohol and a sweet and slightly chocolatey malt.

Tastes a bit on the hot side with a overly strong alcohol taste. Some bittersweet chocolate makes for a smooth finish.

Mouth is a bit overcarbonated and not as thick and viscous as usually found in RIS's reputation. Drinks farirly easy but really an underwhelming beer. I would get one for the price but typical in essence.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured in my Piraat tulip glass and enjoyed again...in the presence of the very sexy Aimstatus.

A: Poured a blackish-brown that quickly supported a big and frothy head. There was also some evidence of lacing after a few vigorous swirls.

S: Hard to pluck out any robust aroma, but it seems to encompass subtle hints of cherries, chocolate, and espresso.

T: Most of what I picked out of the aroma comes out in the flavor, except that the chocolate quality is more rich and robust. The alcohol is a little hot at the tail end, but hidden very well.

M: Nothing too special...full-body and that's basically it.

D: The flavor profile is a little above average and the alcohol is decently hidden.

Overall: A worthy beer. Cheers!

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Photo of PDXHops
3.29/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. Plenty dark with 3 fingers of dense tan head. Great retention and loads of lacing.

Huge dark roast and burnt aromas, with smaller notes of chocolate and sherry. The dominant flavors are burnt and charred malt. Almost like an imperial Irish stout, exceedingly dry. Combine that with a fairly stinging pine bitterness and you're looking at a whooped palate. Just barely enough sherry and chocolate sweetness to keep things moving along. I love the roast in this, but a tiny bit of additional balancing sweeter qualities would take it to the next level.

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Photo of livingregret
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving Type: 1 pt 6 fl oz

Appearance: Pours a dark, almost black, liquid w/ a slight head. minimal lacing

Smell: Very great smelling brew here. As the bottle states there really is a smell of chocolate truffles, espresso coffee and some sweetness that all come to the nose. The coffee is not overpowering and the truffles smell just delicious. I get a touch of dark fruit mixed in...just a touch though

Taste: Hmmmm....a bit lackluster. From the smell I was expecting a stronger light chocolate taste w/ the coffee taking a back seat. Instead you have a slight chocolate taste that lingers toward the end of the drink and coffee espresso spread throughout. This is not a light brew, the alcohol has a nice warming characteristic that is spread throughout it.You really get a "burnt" taste w/ this beer that seems out of place. I REALLY want to enjoy the taste more but it seems out of balance. To burnt when they could have used a dash of more truffle.

Mouthfeel: A fairly light feeling drink that goes down somewhat smooth. Leaves a bit of bitterness and dryness behind. The warmth does linger which is nice

Drinkability: I think I will try some other Imperial Stouts before really giving this anything beyond average. It is a nice smelling drink that is a touch lackluster in the flavour department. Enjoyable on a nice hot night like tonight

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber without a freshness date, but it has been sitting in my cellar for about 9 months. Pours black, showing no highlights. Dense, light brown head has some staying power and leaves some nice lace on the glass. A good looking beer, for sure.

Nose is earthy and a little peaty, which I have come to expect from Moylan's. Some burnt chocolate and unground coffee beans also come to mind. Light on the fruit and has a certain graininess that is unique.

Wet grains meet dark chocolate meets hoppy coffee grounds. Unexpected, but not sure if I really like it all that much. Signature taste worked well in the porter, but not so sure here. Little astringent and alcohol pokes out a bit much while the body is not overly creamy or smooth. It's ok, but I dont think I will seek this out again anytime soon. Good price on it though, not a bad quaff for under 5 bucks.

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Photo of OldSock
3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – 22 oz bottle given to me as a bonus in a trade from Gueuzedude. Beautiful creamy, mocha, reverse-cascading head that lasts for a long time. The beer itself is completely black. This is what a stout should look like.

Smell – Rich chocolate and coffee smell with some toasted grain and mild alcohol. There is also some sweetness in the nose, maybe lactose…

Taste – Bitter dark chocolate is the first thing that comes to mind. There is a hint of dark fruit. This is actually pretty laid back for a big stout. Not much hop presence, a bit odd for a RIS.

Mouthfeel – Full mouthfeel with medium low carbonation, smooth.

Drinkability and Notes – This is pretty drinkable for a big stout, but it has a pretty lackluster one-dimensional flavor. This is sort of a junior Imperial Stout, much higher in alcohol than a standard stout, but not in the league of the hugely alcoholic and complex American versions that are available. Still an enjoyable beer that you don’t have to fight with.

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Photo of YouSkeete
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown, but a pitch black appearance in a glass. Very short tan head with decent lacing.

S: Bittersweet chocolates, roasted coffee, malts, and wood. Hints of sugary fruits and molasses are present as well.

T/M: Big bittersweet chocolate and roasted malty coffee on the initial sip. Oakey/wet wood flavors emerge through the body along with some earthy notes. Milky, creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol bite is not very strong at all for a 10%. Higher carbonation than i would have expected from an imperial stout. Medium sized body.

D: Pretty good, nothing special.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a tulip.

A-- Poured black. Pretty inky looking really. Maybe 1/4 inch head that is dark mocha colored. Faded pretty fast to film and only a few bubbles in the head. Swirling got at best a 1 finger head that also died quick. A few bits of lacing but nothing special.

S-- Roasted malts and chocolate. A little bit of baking chocolate bitterness but in a way sort of thin and one dimensional smell. ABV is very well hidden in the nose.

T-- Death by chocolate. A whole lot of chocolate. Coco powder, baking chocolate, milk chocolate. Throw in some walnuts or pecans and bake it and you get a brownie.

M-- If you like chocolate this is for you. Big chocolate and coffee at first an in the middle it smooths out to milk chocolate. Does have some thin gaps though. Get a little bit of hop bite in the middle and in the back as well as some coffee acidity. Goldings hops maybe?? Very one dimensional but if you like chocolate and coffee it is up your alley.

O-- Not bad but as said one dimensional. More like some of the Scandi RIS I have had. A lot of coffee and chocolate and nothing to back it up. Just a little bit of the ABV halfway through but decent.

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Photo of thain709
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured with a pitch black body...the head was big, two fingers tall and dark brown in color...good retention in the form of a cap...nice lacing as well

S - Full on roast...charcoal, smoke, coffee, chocolate...the nose is dark and ominous

T - Just as the nose suggested, this one is all about the roast...the roasted malts present themselves big and dominating...there are points where they come across as a little burnt but there are brief notes of caramel, not many though...the smokey charcoal is a flavor that is present throughout the body...the coffee beans are dark and roasted as well as the chocolate...they provide a bitterness through the beer...not much of a hop presence at the end

M - Medium bodied...the carbonation was okay but took away from the fullness of the body...roasted flavors stick to the palate

O - I wasn't impressed with this beer...the 10% really stands out and makes this one a sipper...the charcoal and roast flavors really dominate throughout the entire beer

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I am not sure what is up with me lately, but somehow, this style just isnt cutting it for me. I generally love Impy stouts and double stouts but the one I have had lately have really let me down. This one wasnt bad but I have had better.

Aroma is fruity with a bit roasted grains and licorice. Flavor profile mimics the aroma. Sweet and fruity and alcoholic.

I will finish this one but I wont be happy about it, damnit!

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

appearance: Very dark ruby. Thick frothy tan head.
smell: "medium" rich. Some chocolate roastiness typical of an RIS. Mostly dry with a bit of sweetness.
taste: Much like the nose, typical RIS malty roastiness. A slightly bitter finish.
overall: Not bad, not great. Pleasant enough sipper but honestly won't be seeking this out again.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a jet-black body with almost no head to speak of just a thin layer of lacing around the glass.

The aromas are immediately charred and sweet which after reading the bottle I realized was from the burnt currants. There are also notes of sweet chocolate and more roasted malt.

The palate offers sweet chocolate malt flavors up front with the burnt currant flavors towards the finish. There are also hints of wood from the charred flavors as well as coffee.

A bit too thin in body for what I consider a traditional RIS with very little carbonation. I am wondering that between this and the lack of head perhaps this lost carbonation along the way.

I am grading on a curve here because I believe I lost the carbonation in this beer at some point. Many nice flavor and aroma characteristics exist but the body and appearance lack the carbonation I would expect to see.

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Photo of ADZA
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark kola hue with nice carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head that stays and clingy lacing everywhere,the smell is dark cocoa,milky coffee,blackcurrants and burnt toffee,the mouthfeel is only just above light bodied and way too light for the style and has tastes of black cherries,blackcurrants,cocoa,milky coffee,burnt toffee and finished with a bittersweet mix of dark chocolate and piney hops and overall it looks nice but the mouthfeel lacks the fullness it should have and was expecting more cheers.

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Photo of beerman21
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer at my local liquor store, pour from a 22oz bomber. Huh..There not very modest with all the award emblems lol. Its all good I am a fan of the brewery but come on just a little bit tacky.. Anyways on to more important things what’s inside this bottle...

A-Pours a classic opaque black with a light in color cinnamon brown head... Looks like a decent RIS.. The thing about this style of beer. If its called a RIS, it better be dark as night. I dont understand pouring this styling and seeing what looks like a American brown ale.. Anyways things check out with this one.

S-Hmmmm.. Roasted malt.. yes that comes through. but... kind of a fruity fig soaked in alcohol with roasted raisins and prunes come through. You do have the chocolate malts, roasted barley sent. For sure complex...

T-Butterscotch fired oak barrel flavor, raisins, prunes, Smokey upfront almost a hint of cigar smoke. Bittersweet concacsioun. Almost buttery, rich is the word im looking for. Three words that sums up the taste..Fruity,smokey and chocolaty. Flavor is a bit all over the place...maybe that’s why i like it..

Overall- It always surprising me to find a fruity undertone flavor RIS, but maybe this is becoming more common who know.? Anyway good RIS, not the best I've had. Better beer to me then a better style if that makes any sense... Maybe its my tendency to compare North Coast Old Rasputin.. I don’t know. Buy this beer try it for yourself its worth it.

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

We pour a brew of the darkest brown. It gives a little light towards the bottom of the snifter, but not much. It holds a one and a half finger head of massive, creamy medium brown bubbles. Retention is low, with flecks of lacing left down the glass. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears average. The aroma is of a chocolatey malted milk balls. The malts are way forward, with light roast of coffee and the sweetest milk chocolates. Other notes are quite blunted, but cooling vanilla, tootsie roll sweetness and chalkiness, yeasty metallics, boozy cherry sweetness, and raw cacao leak out through the cracks. Warmth brings the alcohol forward significantly, with fire and fumes. Our first impression is that there is interesting charred bitterness to the malts, with a curious vegetable metallic twang on the back. As we sip, malts hit in the form of roasted char bitterness mixing with faintly bittered grassy hops. The malts are more chocolate than anything else, giving a significant souring pucker. These push to the peak and enhance, with more notes of fusel booze, faint oaky musk, medicinal phenols, and dried, old milk chocolates. The finish comes with chili pepper spiciness, black peppery booze, raw vegetable metallics, toffee sweetness, chalky chocolates, and drying black tea tannins. The aftertaste breathes of bone dry, chalky grain, gritty chocolate malts, grassy hops, metallic yeast, faint vanilla coolness, muddy mineral, and dirty adjuncts. The body is full, and the carbonation is light. There is decent slurp and smack to the sip, with little froth or cream to the lip. The coating is thick, with stickiness to the lips, and eventual astringent dryness down the tongue. The abv is appropriate, and the beer is more of a sipper.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the ease of drinkability and coolness of the booze. For a ten percenter the booze was relatively well integrated, with smoothness of chocolatey malts, and a nicely bittering hop component. This blend of flavors helped keep things easily sippable. The nose lost points for us, as it was overwhelmed by the one-dimensionality of the chalkiness and malted milk ball sweetness. This is a decent representation of the style, and otherwise is a pretty nice beer for sippin’.

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

Bomber into pint glass. Pours very dark but not black, with a solid, long lasting cocoa head. Aroma is not especially robust, but there's some cocoa powder, coffee with cream, roasted malt, and a bit of raisin/prune fruitiness. Flavor is heavily roasted, with little sweetness. Mostly just charred and bitter. Pepper and herbal, earthy hops come through. Maybe a touch of licorice. Mouthfeel is thin for the style. I don't really like a lot of sweetness in most beers but this could use some more.

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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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