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 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 Ozzylizard
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$ 14.34/bomber (including tax)($ 0.652/oz) at State Line Liquors, Elkton, MD
Undated bottle (2014 vintage) at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma – faint aroma of sherry
Head average (Maximum 3.8 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, fizzy/frothy, diminishing to an irregular three to four mm ring and a heaped partial layer
Lacing excellent – continuous ring of tiny bubbles with a laced edge
Body – dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor – slightly sweet, sherry and chocolate truffles; no coffee, no hops, no malt, no alcohol (although the stomach starts smoldering almost immediately
Palate – medium, creamy, soft carbonation

A decent RIS, found sitting on the shelf at room temperature. I would like to try this a little fresher to see if the expresso and roasted malt come through. Despite not really tasting like a RIS, and rising above whatever abuse this has had to endure at the store, this is still quite good.

Aroma 4, Appearance 4.25, Flavor 3.75, Palate 4, Overall 4.5

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted with zoso1967 on 2/16/11.

Ryan pours pretty dark brown, bordering on black. The head is a buoyant one and a half fingers, even though the bottle was split two ways. This head is a dark khaki color with large bubbles contained within. The lacing is very sticky on my snifter and full of curvy arches and dots.

The smell is very caramelly and chocolaty... much like a Rollo candy. A little roastiness is apparent in the bouquet, especially when I agitate the beer. I get just a small amount of coffee and a pretty decent amount of sherry in my olfactory. Overall, the smell is pretty sweet for an Imperial Stout.

The taste is pretty sweet and a little fruity, but in a good way. The caramel-chocolate vibe carries over from the smell and combines with a dark fruit taste at the outset of the sip. Starting at the swallow, the roast and coffee characteristics jump on my tongue and lend a nice dry, bittersweet flavor to the aftertaste.

This is a medium-bodied mouthfeel for the style, perhaps even a little on the light side. It is very smooth on my taste buds, though, with a roasty and drying finish.

R.S. is quite tasty and very drinkable for the style. It is smooth, sweet, roasty, and consistent. It is not as complex and multi-layered as other Imperial Stouts that I have had, but it is enjoyable and kind on my palate.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours pitch black with a beautiful, thick mocha head.

S-espresso, brown sugar, molasses, raisin/dark fruits, chocolate, and a touch of alcohol. It has a pretty complex nose.

T-Espresso, dark chocolate, some roasted malts, and hops.

M-Somewhat thin and carbonated.

D-Descent drinkability,but not a beer I would probably ever purchase again because the flavor was somewhat of a let down due to it being dominated by espresso.

Overall, this is a middle of the road imperial stout. Its not really worth seeking out, but if you come across it it would be worth a try.

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

Excellent. Black pour with a dense tan head. Coffee, cocoa, and thick roasted malts just pound you in the face. Velvety smooth mouthfeel and taste. The coffee, chocolate, and cherries are prevalent throughout the taste, but not to the extent that it drowns out the subtle currants and alcohol. Let this one warm a little before drinking it, its well worth it.

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

12oz pur at Fat Heads, mini=snifter

A - pitch black, thin layer of tan foam (as expected from the abv). laced a bit here and there. not much to report.

S - had to let it warm before i noticed anything. then, fresh brewed coffee, toasty malts, bitter chocolate, vanilla sweetness. good but had to really seek it out.

T - woah, out of nowhere. i'm a huge coffee stout fan and this was just spot on with the fresh (but strong) coffee flavors. notes of chocolate, nuttyness, touch of dark fruits and molasses. would be a 5 but a touch hot on the alcohol, and could use a bit more sweetness character (oak barrels would make it phenomenal).

M - thick bodied and quite creamy. flavors come through clear and strong, carbonation present but not distracting.

D - big fan of this overall. wish it had some more in the nose, but the flavors were just delightful. spending some time in either an oak barrel or even the cellar a couple years would push this into the top notch of RIS for me as the alcohol is a bit wearing and hot. pleasantly surprised, and a nice cap to a great night of beers for myself.

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

a: pours a gorgeous 2-finger chocolate milk head, recession leaves a full coating on the surface of the deep black stout

s: the nose is absolutely packed with a full range of roast, a rich dark chocolate being the most forward and in balance with a deep roasted barley aroma, smooth espresso, light chocolate sweetness, quite hoppy with smells of earthy pine bark, light booze

m: carbonation medium and composed of small bubbles, light-full body, creamy

t: starts rich and chocolaty on the palate (though pretty dry), but almost immediately a huge astringent roast powers in and pretty much obliterates anything else - well, save for an earthy hop flavor that's pretty powerful itself - burnt barley, nutshell, and espresso linger behind the drying effect of a combination of roast astringency and hop bitterness

d: excellent roast structure, and an nice sipper on a cold night

bomber from whole foods, reston, va...enjoyed with some acc basketball (abc, go wake) after an afternoon at the hirshhorn and freer/sackler galleries in the district

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

Ryan Sullivan's, bomber bought at Wegman's Princeton for a very reasonable $5.99. Likely the cheapest Imperial Stout I've ever purchased.

Appearance: Served in a Sierra snifter, Mr. Sullivan comes out creamy and foamy. My hasty pour produces a huge coffee-colored head with bubbles as sizable as rain puddles. Head doesn't last long but the lacing left behind is quite fantastic. Out of the bottle, it smells like sweet chocolate. Very enticing!

Smell: Weird how the stunning sweet-chocolate aroma that comes out of the bottle is not present when poured on a glass. Still nice, though, with some sugar, smoke and even barbecue sauce. Very roasty and a tad of high-quality, cold-brewed coffee (no starbucks here!)

Taste: Nice roastiness, a tad of smokiness (that country-ham touch) and fire pit. Chocolate fondue, some coffee notes (very subtle) and a dry finish. A tad of wood at the end as well.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and thick like chocolate milk, and yet a little thin for what it is. Well balanced, though, with medium-to-full flavor, body and carbonation. Smooth and rich, with a tingly dry finish that lingers. Not a hint of alcohol.

Overall: In the old drinkability, Mr. Sullivan would get a "5", or more. This is outrageously chuggable and never boozy. Sure, it is not as full-bodied and exciting as many other Imperial Stouts, but it works. More so at this price! At affordability, drinkability and balance, Ryan Sullivan sure does excel.

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

The beer poured midnight black and thick with a slowly developing brown head that rose up and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was deep roastiness and coffee. There was a definite dark fruit presence and chocolate.

The flavor was chocolate and coffee with roastiness and that same dark fruitiness. Smooth and rich with a slight alcohol warming.

The finish was dry with coffee and dark fruit flavors lasting pleasantly long into the aftertaste. The body was full and creamy. A slight alcohol warming was present.

22 ounce bottle.

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

Solid black color with a swiftly setting capping of tanned foam. Some lacing in thinly placed patchy strings.

Aroma is sweet and creamy with a wholesome tone of milky chocolate and dark cherry fruityness. A slight twingyness to some burnt cream and roast takes some noting as does some soft bakers chocolate.

Taste is more sweet than roasty with a good load of creamy milken chocolate and soft puffy bakers chocolate. Engaging subltities to dark cherry surface form inside the middle areas as does a smidgeon of raisin and currants. Only wiffs of some roasty things appear in some of its taste in the middling and finishing areas that tends to give a small sense to some fresh creamed coffee. The dryness in the finish is nice and chocolatey witn a soothing texture thats fairly complex and soft.

Body is smooth, soothingly creamy, semi tangy, carrying a soft boldness of fluffy textures in steady chocolate tones as it goes. The creamy chocolate and dark cherryness mix very well together and create a bold sense of simple creamy tang and fluff. Not really all that heavy/hefty/or thick as some RIS's I tend to favor, but its character in tone melds well with what flavors it creates and its finish is fairly complex undertneath in its sweet tangy, creamy dryness of fluff.

Moylan's has a pretty solid effort here. More sweet and creamy then roasty and heavy. But it holds its own for what it delivers, which is very solid with its creamy sense of tangy soft chocolate and dark cherry.

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Photo of beer2day
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Inky black pour with 1-finger dark chocolate head. Decent sheen still left at the bottom of the glass. Nice lace on the backside of the glass, too.

Deep, rich chocolate malt aroma. Light roasted coffee underneath. Faint whiff of cream.

Nice creamy hit. Chocolate and coffee come on strong, with nice bitters from pine hops, chocolate and dark roast coffee in the finish. Just a hint of alcohol leaves a tolerable burn in the back of the throat.

Feel is very nice for the style. Not overly heavy with just the right amount of cream.

Very easy drinking RIS. I would definitely have this one again.

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Photo of gregy55902
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an XL snifter. Reviewed live.

A – pours a deep, solid black with a nice tan head that recedes fairly slowly leaving a ton of bubbles and lacing. I am in for quite a treat!

S – Huge chocolate malt nose with notes of anise and dark fruits (figs and currants)

T – Follows the nose, with the additions of rye malt, sourdough bread, espresso and hops.

M – Carbonation is perfect, and this hides the 10% abv almost too well.

O – A great choice for imperial stout fanatics. Not the best stout ever but it's very good and reasonably priced.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Pitch black with a half finger of tan head.

Rich smelling. Roasted and burnt malt, chocolate and licorice.

Starts like a milk stout, a little sweet, then quickly turns to burnt, super burnt malt overpowering everything in sight, slight bittering at the end.

Smooth texture, a fair level of carbonation, kind of crisp.

The taste is really bold and in your face burnt malt. That may not be enjoyable to some, but I liked it. This is not a shy beer.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Davis Graduate. Pours a very dark brown to black with pretty much no head, just a ring of brown bubbles. Looks like its barely carbonated, even maybe a bit flat. Smells of dark fruits, chocolate, brandy...quite the attractive nose. Dark chocolate and dark roasted malt with port and prune flavors. Slight hop bitterness mixes well with charred malt flavor. Some alcohol on the finish. Full bodied, not syrupy. Drinks fine. Just above middle of the road for me...I'm impressed that its got a bit of the dark fruit that i like in an imperial stout, but its also still touting a lot of coffee and burnt malt nots that overwhelm the beer somewhat.

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Photo of beckje01
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black look can't see through it at all. With a thin tan head.

S- Nice maltyness really inviting.

T- Light malt taste which is surprising considering the nose, with some hopy bitterness to cut the malt sweet very nice.

M- Good thickness and nice activity.

D- Very drinkable and nice, overall a good beer but not perfect.

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Photo of ChillMike
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a really dark reddish brown that doesn't let much light through at all. A small tanish head accompanies the darkness that leaves a small amount of lacing around the glass.

S: Full of scents, I barely cracked the cap off and was greated with a wonderful smell. Chocolaty malts, with notes of coffee, some floral tones and even a bit of licorice. Smells wonderful.

T: A nice roasted malt flavor with a very nutty, coffee like flavor that ends in chocolaty goodness. Leaves a nice warming feeling in ya!

MF: Sort of an oily beer, with a bit of a bite. Doesn't live up to the smell and taste but it's still solid.

D: Good drinkable beer, heavy on the abv so you've gotta be careful but a nice bottle towards the end of an evening after a dinner and this beer is spot on.

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

Appearance- Wow. This stuff is opaque black. No burgundy highlights around the edges, no ruby glimpses, just black. Glorious. The head is fairly big, creamy and brown head. Pretty good head retention. Some lacing. Just about right for a RIP.

Smell- Lots of roasted barley and dark malt. Just enough bittering hops. Again....smells very inviting.

Taste- Good blend of malty sweetness with chocolate malt and coffee flavors. A very nice blend between the malt sweetness and the roasted grains. The high alcohol content is very well hidden. Don't think just because you can't taste any alcohol means it's safe to drive home!!!! Doesn't quite punch you in the face as much as an RIP should though.

Mouthfeel- Body is just about perfect. Heavy, but not so heavy you feel the need to take a sip of water between every swig. The CO2 level is spot on to.

Drinkability- Overall the maltiness and bitterness are underdone, Not a great RIP, but a great generic stout.

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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 beerguy101
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark black color. Medium head. Aroma is chocolaty and fruity. Full-bodied Imperial Stout. Chocolaty and fruity. Very smooth taste. Complex flavors. Chocolate predominates but there are hints of cherries, plums and coffee. Hop bitterness is there in the background. A nice,very drinkable Imperial Stout. At 10% this beer hides the alcohol well. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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

This poured pitch black with dark tan head. It smelled like milk chocolate and fresh coffee, with some roasted barley and copper hops. It tasted like milk chocolate and very bitter coffee, with rusted copper hops and a bit of alcohol. It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a very bitter aftertaste. Overall this beer smelled fantastic, but didn't taste quite as good. It was still very clean and enjoyable, but the body was a bit light also. It hid the alcohol moderately, but could have been better there, as well. This beer had a lot of potential, but just quite didn't get there. If aging it helped bring out more malt sweetness and hid the alcohol better, that could elevate this from good to great.

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