708: Ryan O’Sullivan’s Imperial Stout

708 - Ryan Sullivans Imperial StoutName: Ryan O’Sullivan’s Imperial Stout
Brewery: Moylan’s Brewing Co.

Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Novato, CA
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Alcohol Content (ABV): 10%
First Brewed: 1996
Price: $11.99

Tasting Notes

This brew is as black as a moonless night. It has a rich mocha head that stays thick and an inviting malty aroma. Roasted sweet malt base, with a touch of vanilla and a hint of cocoa.

This beer is apparently pretty hard to get. We have been looking for this for a while, too, as it is the only beer from Moylan’s on the list. Now… Time for me to rant. The book says this beer is from Moylan’s Brewing Co. BeerAdvocate says Moylan’s Brewery. Their website says Moylan’s Brewery and Restaurant. Their website also says Moylan’s Brewery and Restaurant. Not Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant. They actually spell out the and. So. Which one is it? I am going to trust their website.

Anyway, moving on. I purchased this beer at Cellars Fine Wine & Spirits, and not a week later Mickey sent me a message on Facebook asking me to return the bottle. What? Why? Apparently there is an issue with this batch, and people were complaining about the flavor. I hope our bottle somehow wasn’t contaminated and we will be safe. I told Mickey I wanted to keep the bottle for the purposes of this review. If there is something wrong with our bottle, I will reach out to Moylan’s hoping they make it right. But fingers crossed, the beer is delicious as most Russian Imperial Stouts are.

Let’s see what this beer is made of. Cheers!

In the Glass: First off, the bottle was waxed. I like looking at bottles with waxed caps, but they are a pain to open! But we made it without much trouble.

In the glass, the beer is dark, and produced an incredible thick tan head. It almost looks like whipped cream on top of the beer. It just looks insane. I want to get a spoon and eat it! Also, I can already smell this beer. The beer was aged in bourbon barrels for 6 months before being bottled, and you can really smell the bourbon on this.

Nose: Like I said, I can already smell it and I haven’t even stuck my nose in the glass. Let’s see what it smells like when I do. Hope I don’t get any beer on my nose! Picture that…

I am getting a ton of dark roasted malt notes on this. It smells really good, though. I am still going to be worried about the flavor, but will message Mickey the second I try it with my full report on the overall experience. Thus far, I am impressed.

The beer is way too cold, but I need to see what this tastes like. I’m going in!

Flavor: I don’t think there is an issue with the beer, but I don’t like it. It’s just not good. The aroma on this is so much better than the flavor. I am not getting any bourbon flavor whatsoever, and I am considering putting a few drops of actual bourbon in the beer to enhance the flavor. The finish is the best part. The guys on BeerAdvocate didn’t like this beer, either, and I tend to agree with their ratings most of the time. This is a major letdown. Hope the sounds coming from that bagpipe are better than the flavors coming out of this beer.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is a bit thin, for an imperial stout, but a ton of flavor hangs on at the end. The flavor becomes almost slightly bitter and reminds me of the finish from a nice piece of dark chocolate. Even in the last 10 minutes this beer is getting better. I am going to let the rest of the glass warm up, but that doesn’t change my overall experience, and my first impression, of this brew.

Aftertaste: That is the best part. The finish lingers, that’s for sure, and the flavor hangs on for a long time. It gets better with every swallow. I am getting more and more of that dark chocolate flavor, and while the bottle mentions espresso, I am getting zero coffee notes on this one.

So, before finishing my glass, I emailed the team at Moylan’s to see if there really was an issue with this bottle. If we hear from them, which we should within 48 hours, I would think, I will let you know what they said. Maybe they will make it right. Because I am worried this beer isn’t what they intended. Now I am going to go to the kitchen and drop a shot of whiskey in it. See if that helps. Cheers!

Ryan O’Sullivan’s Imperial Stout – The bottle says: “Originally brewed to withstand the long voyage from London to Czarist Russia, Imperial Stouts are rich, this and intense. Named in honor of our St. Patrick’s Day Piper, Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout brings chocolate truffles, espresso coffee, burnt currants and the sweetness of sherry to mind. This is the classic “Cigar Stout.”

Rating: 2.5/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

We are doing another list beer. This is the second one this weekend. We are on a roll, as long as I keep up with the edits for them.

Ricky said that the distributor requested this beer back after it had already hit the stores. That seems weird… I hope it doesn’t make me sick! Maybe it just won’t taste as good as it should; I don’t know. I guess we’ll see. This is another one with a lot of calories. It’s got a good rating on ratebeer.com, though, and I do like imperial stouts, so I’m prepared to give it a chance at least.

It definitely looks like an imperial stout in the glass. It’s very dark, basically black, and also looks pretty thick. Mine didn’t have too much head when I poured it out, really, but I think Ricky poured his differently, as his did. It has a really strong nose, as I can smell it without even sticking my nose in the glass. When I do, it has a very boozy smell to it. That’s like full-on alcohol right there. I can’t even decide if the smell is good or bad… just booze. It is 10%, after all. Now I’m really curious what it tastes like.

First sip, and the first thing I taste is licorice. It kind of tastes like black licorice to me. It’s definitely got a heavy booze taste to it, and it is lasting. It sticks to your tongue, for sure. I’m not sure I like it. It’s just not a really good flavor. Speaking of the licorice flavor, I used to have an uncle who loved black jelly beans. That’s what this reminds me of, only not as sweet. It’s got a very bitter taste to it. You know how if you get dark chocolate that is a high percentage of cacao, it tastes not sweet but really bitter? That’s kind of what this is like. It also tastes kind of burnt, almost like burnt coffee. Really bitter, dark, strong burnt coffee.

I’m not sure how much I like this one. It’s a very different taste. I’m glad I tried it, but it’s not really one that I would pick up again.

Rating: 3/5

707 bottles of beer on the wall…

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