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 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 SubpoenaDeuces
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep dark brown to black hues with a nice head, chocolate milk colored foam and inky chocolate hues. Not the darkest like the Abyss or Mephistopheles

S: smells of boozy warm notes, clear coffee and chocolate notes, some faint clove or black and mild smoke

T: there is a huge first taste of chocolate notes, and a bitter smoky middle to it reminiscient of clove notes and extinguished cigars, there's electric sweet notes at the end that are fleeting and mostly accompanied by the bitter dark chocolate middle

M: Very malty with intense coating that you would expect from any Imperial stout, the swirl of the glass isn't quite coffee robitussin, but well above most other stouts, imperials excepted. The taste lingers for a solid amount of time after each sip, making one hesitant to drink it too quickly or jump readily into the next drink. not exceptionally filling, but nothing you could quickly enjoy.

D: This is far from a session beer for me. It seems nearly a chore to power through the modest 22oz serving, and I certainly wouldn't be able to tackle another. However, perhaps it is merely the style that needs to grow upon me, but I cannot find much utility in this within my drinking catalogue. This bruiser in the lineup would take the place of sessions around the hearth, telling ghost stories, or after a cold day of coal mining.

Narrative: The bubbles danced menacingly in front of your face as you watched the others propel themselves effortlessly through the water. Your cephalopoda eyes glow red with rage at the sight of their white, thin streamlined bodies. you were born this way, to harbor the maddening palour of a quadruple sized ink pouch. It is your scarlet, jet black A in your inner bladder. The most irksome, blackest squid in the sea, reviled by your contemporaries you lazily chug through the molasses emitting from your pores. Your beak grits haughtily i ntheir wake, knowing their fortune, a grim death in indonesian nets. Your wring your tentacles, obsidian in pigment, thinking of their light flesh reflecting the rays of angled sunlight from above. You could follow them in their trivial, fleeting existence, but you weren't suited for that life. you were suited for the depths, the cold darkness, colder than your metabolic slowdown, colder than the oppressive atmospheric pressure. In a blast of thick enveloping ink you become one with the darkness and embrace your pure nature, a creature of the depths, all 8 legs propelling towards your destiny.

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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 OlRasputin989
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into New Belgium goblet...

A: pitch black all around with a chocolate milkshake colored rocky head that forms as slowly as it disappears. leaves thick sticky lacing.

S: sweet aromas of chocolate cake, dark roast coffee, minerally creek pebbles, a smokey roastedness, warm booziness, and just a touch of raisin.

T: rich and sweet orange-flavored milk chocolate that fades to a burnt roasty flavor and sharp, earthy, bitter hops with a long, dark-roasted coffee finish.

M: medium-full body that is velvety smooth upfront, then becomes slick with a fuzzy dry finish.

Overall, Ryan Sullivan's stout hits the spot. It's got a great chocolatey/charred character that i love about this style. cheers!

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

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet,

A: Pours black with a creamy light tan head, good retention, solid thick lace.

S: Roasted malt, dark chocolate, solid to style for sure.

T: Strong dark chocolate flavour with a creamy sweetness, almost oatmeal stout like which I found intriguing. Notes of espresso and a hint of dark fruit adds complexity.

M: Full-bodied with a smoothy creamy carbonation. Frothy, well structured.

O: An old fashioned (circa 2005 style) Imperial Stout. Well made and a beer that's easy to find, so a low priced introduction to the style.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle poured into my Delirum snifter.

Pours a very dark brown and sits balck as a moonless night with 2 fingers of a light tan head. Minimal spotty lacing is present.

The nose is made of a sweet chocolate tone that dominates with a bit of caramel malt at it's side.

The taste involves some dominating dark chocolate is present along with a wisp of coffee. There is a overlying sweetness but the roasted malt flavors outweigh it. Some bready malt lingers in the background as well.

The mouthfeel is pretty full and rich with an ample carbonation keeping the complex flavors in order.

Overall, this beer is highly underrated IMO. I find it really drinkable for 10% ABV and is also very tasty due to the roasty, dessert-like components.

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Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber into pint glass.

A: opaque black with a thick coffee-colored head. Head leaves rings and refuses to die.

S: truffle filling -- bittersweet chocolate, sweetness, and booze. Coffee/roasted note. Maybe some dark fruit.

T/M: thick, smooth mouthfeel, though the carbonation bites a little. Aggressive, roasted grain bitterness, with a coffee and chocolate finish. There's some sweetness and dark fruit up front, bitterness in the middle and a smooth, chocolaty finish.

Overall: Not as sweet as some other Imperial stouts but still brewed to style and, actually, pretty tasty. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, unknown date, probably around 9 months old. Served at cellar temp.

Pours black with a large foamy brown head that leaves rings of drippy lacing and holds a small cap.

Aroma is strongest on bakers chocolate and cocoa along with coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits such as raisins, figs, currants, prunes, plums, dates, some toasted bread and smoke. Excellent strength.

Flavor is dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits, anise, some caramel, toffee, molasses. Bittersweet. Minimal alcohol. Very smooth and tasty.

Mouthfeel is high-medium to full for an Imperial Stout, soft, creamy, light carbonation.

Such a fantastic, if not overlooked Imperial Stout, particularly for the price. One of the best values in a large-format bottle IS on the market.

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

Poured into a large tulip glass. Pitch black. No light through this one AT ALL!! No highlights just black. Creamy, frothy 1+ finger head, light brown in color. Lacing kind of falls but not too bad.

Just a fantastic smell. Can they make room deodorizers that smell like this? Dark chocolate, coffee, maple syrup or molasses, cherries?? Hint of booze.

Taste is of the smell but the coffee is a bit dark or roasty, burnt flavor. The chocolate isn't as prevalent. Tart, sweet (but not overly done). Not much alcohol present for it being 10%. I'm gonna let this warm a bit and return to the taste.

Mouthfeel is what it should be for this style. Not overly carbonated, rich, soft, smooth feel to the end.

10%?? I am not over powered with alcohol in the slightest bit. So for drinkability I could drink this all night but I wouldn't recommend trying to go to work in the morning if you do.

Very well done IRS. Not expensive, readily available, easy to drink. I would highly recommend buying some if you get the chance. This one's overall BA score is sooo underrated. Trust me.

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Photo of Rizalini
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Writing this review from notes taken on a bar napkin at Aces & Ales in Las Vegas for Moylan's Tap blowout.

A - Pours blacks with a very minimal chocolate brown head, leaving average lacing.

S - Smells of dark chocolate and burnt caramel.

T - This one has some nice roasty malt flavor, slightly smokey with some milk chocolate notes.

M - Has a smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel.

D - As far as Russian Imperial Stouts go, this one is very average.

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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 LittleDon
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black, tan head that starts coarse and becomes much finer after the second and subsequent swirl. If you look close you can notice light barely passing though when held to a lamp. Lots of lace. Cocoa is the word, both aroma and taste. Some plum and a touch of alcohol are also present in the aroma. Mouthfeel begins on the soft side, light on the carbonation. Some alcohol in the middle with a finish that is dark chocolate and dried fruit. Not as sweet as many imperials but well balanced. Not too sweet, not too dry. Big and chewy body. This would make a great dessert beer.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark pretty much black with a nice light brown head of a good finger. Lacing is quite

lots of roasted malts on the nose, chocolate and nice pleasant coffee.

Roasted taste with some nice chocolate and coffee. The finish is nice with coffee and some bitterness. Quite enjoyable!

Feel is creamy and smooth, low on the carbonation.

Drink ability is good overall.not too much and not to o thin

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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 BBP
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours fairly dark. Not a ton of carbonation and barely a film for a head.

S- Dark and roasted malts. A mild molasses aroma seems to be the foundation. The dominant aroma for me was mocha. It's very enticing in a way that isn't too common for an RIS. It was very smooth and blended. Although, it didn't speak volumes for the richness of the flavor.

T- Like most of Moylans drinks, there's a hop foundation to this. It's pretty rich and is noticable immediately in the aftertaste. The malt bill has a good amount of mocha and chocolate, and hints of coffee. It's got a decent amount of roastiness to it. Altogether, it has a great flavor, but there's not much new to it or anything that blew me away. That being said, I'd never refuse it, and I'm enjoying it right now.

M- Creamy and pretty smooth. Carbonation is just right. Gives it a good amount of body and makes it feel nice.

D- Incredibly drinkable. The hops hide the ABV, and the malts blend pretty nicely. I'd have no idea that this is 10%. It drinks very nicely. It's not all too filling either. All in all a good all around drink with incredible drinkability. I'd just opt to go for the more aggressive imperial stouts I know before this. It would be a great introduction to the style though.

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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 zoso1967
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to TCHopCraver for sharing this with me.

Ryan Sullivan pours a very dark brown with a medium tan head that has nice retention. This is not the blackest stout ever, but it is pretty impressive. The head is quite frothy and leaves pretty nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is a nice mix of sweetness and roasty character. I get notes of sweet toffee, caramel and chocolate fudge. As my fellow BA Matt said while enjoying this with me: "It smells sort of like Rolos." Mixed in with the Rolos are some roasty coffee notes and perhaps even a touch of smoke.

The flavor is a bit more roasty with some nice Burnt notes. The enjoyable caramel and chocolate sweetness from the aroma still linger and give this beer a very nice character. This is not a super fruity RIS, but it does have some black sweet cherry notes.

The mouthfeel is medium and super smooth up front with a nice lingering roasty astringency. It seems a tad thin for a beer like this, but I am so in love with the smoothness that I don't take too much issue with it. Carbonation is subtle and the finish is both roasty and sweet.

Overall I thought this was a pretty darn good RIS. It was not as ballsy as some, but the caramel and chocolate flavors were very rich and enjoyable. I know this has been in Matt's cellar for awhile so maybe a fresh one would be more intense. Whatever the case is, I enjoyed this one just as it was.

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Photo of TheRealEss
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was really expecting to love this beer. I asked for Southern Tier Creme Broulee Imp. Stout. I was told they were out but this beer was recommended to me instead. Well, I'm not knocking this beer because it's not flavored with anything sweet. It's a straight up imperial stout. So I rated it as such. It's the kind of beer that you open on a cold night to warm up. It smells like mocha. It pours into a nice, frothy head. You can taste a lot of strong coffee (and alcohol) in it. The longer I drank it, the better I liked it. It finishes well, but that may be because it's 10% ABV. And it made me crave something very salty afterward due to the alcohol content.

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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 Docer
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed one of these at Belmont Station in Portland, OR.. to try..

- Heavy pour in a tulip.. dark cola as it poured... pitch black in the glass.. half a finger of rich mocha colored head.. seems to stick around w/ a lot of lace making capabilities.

- Roasty sweet mocha, malts, bitter hop, oats, sweet grains.. candy-like chocolate malts...

- Tasty chocolate notes, blanket of oats and sweet grains.. nice earthy bitterness... grassy... quite good. About what I expected.

- Medium bodied, creamy, and well carbonated with lots of tiny little bubbles... really aids to the flavors..

- Overall a very good imperial stout, and one that I would have often if the brewery was close to me. But there are others like it near me, and I tend to stick with those. Great bottle, and a great price (price doesn't affect my score).

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Photo of dbossman
3.64/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a touch of ruddiness; dark tan head with good retention; lacing is great for the style

S: Fairly muted with a bit of chocolate roasted malts; a touch of mustiness...bourbon too perhaps?

T: Grainy, earthy, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee--a touch woody--actually a bit funky and something that tastes a bit musty

F: Creamy; great mouth feel

D: A decent beer that unfortunately looks better than it is--but it isn't too bad all in all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of ccrida
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber cellered 2 years, poured into my Delirium snifter, Ryan O'Sullivan's is black with a very large, dark tan head, with nice last, leaving lots of chunks of foam.

Smell is toffee, some caramel, roast. A faint hint of fruitiness flirts with Belgian yeast notes.

Taste is very nice, loads of chocolate, very smooth, just enough bitterness, some acrid character, to provide balance with the moderate sweetness. Nice milky taste as well, yummy beer. Towards the second half of the bottle, I started to get a metallic note that was a turn-off, iron/blood, and I dropped it from 4.5->4.0.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, a nice viscosity but not too heavy.

Drinkability is very good, really hitting the spot on this dreary night. Can't believe I've never reviewed before, I've had it fresh several times, and this is probably the best I've had. I'm sure it can continue to age beyond 2 years, but I can't see it getting any better.

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Photo of StarshipPoopers
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

A - Rich, deep and opaque black body with a creamy and smooth brown head. The head is so creamy that it looks like chocolate milk on top of the stout. Lacing was decent, with good retention.
S - Sweeter milk chocolate with slight traces of roasted coffee, all with a definite hop bitterness.
T - Milk chocolate, pine hops, bitter and roasted coffee. The beer leans toward a more bitter stout with the hops being quite strong, as I would expect from Moylan's. There isn't a lot of sweetness to the stout, but it's not overpoweringly bitter either. Just strikes a nice balance that leans more toward the hops than most other stouts.
M/D - Smooth and creamy with a medium body. The drinkability is good but it's something that I enjoyed slow, and one was probably enough.

Good beer. Giving it 4's across the board.

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