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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

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796 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 796
Hads: 4,534
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 23.24%
Wants: 263
Gots: 1,164 | FT: 44
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 796 | Hads: 4,534
Photo of SanFranJake
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On draft in a tulip at SNBC.
Pours a deep dark black with 1/8" golden head which fades slowly.
Aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate which get deeper as the stout warms and the glass level lowers.
Super smooth and easy, almost chewy mouthfeel and a chocolatey aftertaste which lingers nice and long.
A step outside of Sierra's norm but a damn good beer all around!
I loved it in the bottle and have been picking the four-packs up as I see them. Great now...only time will tell for later.

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Photo of Shandirra
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Just the way I like my Imperial Stouts; rich, smooth, full bodied, heady aroma, malty finish. Bought it as a 'pick a pack' selection from a borough distributor. Pleasant surprise. Definitely will purchase again!

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Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Midnight black pour, thick tan head that dissipates to form a lasting ring. Gigantic, deep nose of roast coffee, cacao, prunes, dates, figs, plums, and cedar shavings. Flavor is similar with great hops in the endless finish. Massive, syrupy body that coats the mouth with all of the above. I’ve never been a fan of black IPAs, and this is reminiscent of those, but with the needed addition of the fruitiness, which transforms it into something amazing.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing beer, bottle aged for two years it was sublime. Perfect score. Aging did wonders for the alcoholic perception of this beer, it was perfectly balanced and smooth.

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Photo of DaBrewski
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Malty roasted coffee flavor with perhaps a touch of bourbon hook coming through at the end. There are hops there too.

There is some heat coming through.

However, where Goose Island's BCS would be an "11" on the amp scale Narwhal would be an 8. This is not a bad attribute.

Excellent Imperial Stout. Absolutely surprised me. Great price point for this bold stout.

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Photo of greyghost86
4.94/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As close to a perfect imperial stout that I have had. Beautiful dark coffee appearance. Dark tastes of chocolate, coffee, and hints of smoke. This is a brew you can chew. Love it!

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.93/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with practically no head what-so-ever, except for an extremely thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Strong, rich, earthy aromas of roasted malt, freshly baked dark bread, dark chocolate, dark molasses, licorice, vanilla and some boozy alcohol.

Taste: Wow! Extremely strong flavors of roasted malt, dark chocolate, dark molasses, coffee, licorice, brown sugar and some nicely balanced hops.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and pretty smooth, as there is very little carbonation. With an ABV of 10.2%, there is quite a bit of alcohol on the palate, imparting a pleasant warmth in the mouth while being drunk.

Overall: This is another excellent stout! Massive flavors of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, dark molasses, coffee, licorice, brown sugar and some nicely balanced hops, awesomely blended together in a chewy, smooth quaff. Fantastic!

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout has a thick, creamy, tan head, lots of thick lacing left on the glass, and a very dark brown appearance. The aroma is of dark-roasted malt, and the taste is of black bread, chocolate, coffee, licorice, toffee, charcoal, bitterness, and black cherries. The mouthfeel is thick and velvety, and Narwhal Imperial Stout finishes semi-dry, heavy, warming, and smooth. Overall, this is an outstanding beer, and I recommend it in the strongest way!


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Photo of Professor_Yeesh
4.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

At first glance it looks black as the depths of the oceans. The smell reminds me of a solid espresso and of dark chocolate. The taste is phenomenal with strong notes from the roasted malts and a coffee-like feel. The hops are definitely present and give it a nice balance. Overall, this is a great imperial stout that I will buy more of.

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.92/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look - Poured from 12 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. Blacker than the blackest black. Totally opaque. Thin traces of carbonation, but hardly any head. Nice lacing.

Smell - Coffee, chocolate, malt, cherries, faint yeast/booze, Irish car bomb (mixed together), yogurt raisins? (but seriously). Pretty complex. I wish this was a cologne.

Taste - Great coffee, cherries, dark chocolate (think chocolate covered cherry), maduro cigar. Roasted malt up front, chocolate really comes on in the middle, you can barely feel the booze on the finish with contains more bitterness, coffee, and maduro. Finish only lingers pleasantly, doesn't annoy. Wow. Gets more malty and bitter as it warms up.

Feel - Certainly doesn't feel dry or thin, and I'm glad (don't like really dry, thin, over-carbonated stouts). LIke swallowing creamy silk. Booze is not overpowering at all. You don't feel the 10.2% whatsoever.

Overall - It is sweeter (not too much) than other stouts but I actually like that. This is a big boy though and it is thick and rich. One of the best RIPs I have ever had. Fantastic beer that exceeded my expectations. And at 10.2%, worst case scenario is you feel great afterwards. In other words, try one.

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Photo of CWO
4.91/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

this was the first imperial stout I have sampled and so far no other surpasses in terms of taste, aroma, and feel. I'm sure there are plenty of challengers out there but hat's off to Sierra Nevada for introducing this excellent stout.

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Photo of Bernerdawg
4.9/5  rDev +18.6%

On draft at Red Light Red Light in Orlando.
Color is black, with 1/2 inch of tan head.
Aromas of espresso, roasted malt, baker's chocolate, dates, whiff of burnt caramel
Taste is sweeter than expected, but not pushy: malts and alcohol up front followed by strong cocoa and coffee, hoppy finish
Not much carbonation. Milky smooth. For me, texture and body are spot-on for the style
Very impressed by this beer. A sipper that can go down quickly if not careful. The sweetness obscures the alcohol a bit and adds a wonderful note to the malts without getting in the way of other flavors. Highly recommend.

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.88/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

OMG!!! My mouth waters just thinking about this beer. Hard to find and when I do I stock up. I am aging some and look forward to a few of those in time. So, if you see this beer and you like RIStouts drink it, But buy it first.

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Photo of SamJory
4.88/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black with a thick, dark tan head.

Aromas of sweet roasted malt and coffee.

Big roasted malt upfront with a hit of dark roasted coffee and dark cocoa. Restrained hop bitterness, letting the roasted malt give most of the bitterness.

Really full mouthfill and a long lasting finish. Incredible richness yet I could keep drinking this all evening (although probably not as it is 10.2%!)

Absolutely outstanding

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Photo of freystout17
4.87/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding ! This is up there with my other 3 favorites: Rasputin RIS,, Bell's Expedition, and Ten Fidy. You are not going to find any better imperial stout than this for the money. Very reasonably priced here in Ohio @ about 11 bucks/4. Very rich, thick mouthfeel, about a two finger head, and very pronounced burnt chocolate and coffee notes.

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Photo of CJRx
4.86/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

First word in my mind is Velvet.
Dark, smooth, chocolatey. To me, a hint of dark red fruit - maybe plum also.
Incredibly drinkable for pushing 13%.
Drank the first half very cold and let the other half warm. Strong on the malts in the smell. Lightly carbonated, but almost...refreshing.
Very, very good & highly recommend. A high standard for stouts.

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Photo of tvl89
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an amazing imperial stout from sierra nevada. It is a very complex brew. This is actually my first imperial stout , and I'm in love with it. The color is amazing: pitch black, very dark. The smell is awesome, chocolate and coffee are the most predominant ingredients I can smell. The taste is amazing with a delicious chocolate after taste. It is not as strong as I was expecting. I highly recommend it!

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Photo of JamesBondGA
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured pitch black in color, tan head. Zero lacing on glass. Smell is of malt, chocolate, espresso. Taste is very velvety, with the espresso coming thru.Overall this is excellent. One of my top 10 favorites.

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Photo of Ipaupaweallpa
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So I have been seeking this out for a while, did try the SN Porter and the SN coffee stout. Never had the regular stout, never see it around although I'm sure it is similar to coffee stout. saw this last night and got very excited . Much anticipation. Tried to not get my hopes too high as stouts always have that "filling" Maltiness to me and I drink iPas mostly. Wow. This beer is incredible. Very smooth. DEFINATLY not able to detect the 10.2% abv until it leaves your mouth with a chocolatey Bite. Not nearly as carbonated and "airy" as the Porter and stout. Perfection. Like a silky chocolate smoothness. Not sure if I could have more than one because of the sweetness. But, still, after the first sip I was already wondering how I'm gonna secure another 4 pack.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Narwhal pours a black color with a small tan lacing head. There is a boozy aroma with hints of licorice. The taste is very bold, lots of coffee, chocolate, and some black licorice flavors, with a big boozy end. Very bold flavors great body. Overall a fantastic big bold stout.

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Photo of mashedpotatoes
4.83/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A supremely righteous Russian Imperial Stout. Chewy, STRONG, and delicious. Tons of coffee and chocolate right up front. Complex, multi-blend of 6 different malts. The only con would be the strength of the alcohol coming through but that is forgivable given the greatness of this brew. You will be hard-pressed to find a better example of this beer. Enjoy and cheers!

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Photo of RickS95
4.81/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beers don't look any better than this. The pour resembles used oil. Next time you're getting your oil changed, ask the guy for a look...that's what this looks like. Thick and coal black pour. The head is dark mocha and a thing of beauty. It starts off about a finger thick, then it starts to cascade and it's a stunner to watch. Eventually it's a couple fingers thick, frothy, with good retention. Squigly lines of lace throughout.

The smell means business. Cocoa up front before a splash of booze takes over. All the while, licorice is making an attempt at some attention.

As good as it comes. Chocolate and expresso dazzle the taste buds all the way down. The alcohol builds momentum but doesn't interfere til near the swallow. It tastes like there might be some lactose hiding in there somewhere. It's exceptional.

Sweet and creamy up front. Heat from the alcohol begins mid sip and lasts with a lingering warmth. Bitterness doesn't start til near the finale. Full bodied and rich. With a kick of carbonation just before the sip says adios.

The only reason I didn't give it 5s across the board is because the smell, while good, wasn't as aggressive as it should have been. This is as good a beer as I've had in a good, long time.

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Photo of Earpe
4.81/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tell you what...I saw this stout at my local Total Wine, which was out of my Bourbon Barrel Stout and Founders Breakfast Stout. I picked up a four pack, noticing it was much cheaper than the previous mentioned, i figured it would be a watered down version of the RIS style that i like.

Man, I was wrong, personally for me Sierra Nevada hit this sucker out of the park....loved the stuff so much, i went back and bought a couple cases. this stout is excellent as a cap for a chilly fall/winter night.

It pours black, smell is what to expect from the RIS (love that smell), I don't care for lacing and head in a beer (has very little), in fact that gets in my way. Very smooth body, easy drink-ability, with some dark charring and a hint of coffee flavor, You will get a hit of alcohol here.. Love it cold, love it at room temp.

at 10+ ABV whats not to love, this stout has it all for me.

Well done Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.81/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aroma absolutely screams "DRINK ME!" Smoky, oily, with strong notes of roast malt, quality coffee, chocolate and molasses, it demands that you take more than a mere taste. It pours an oily black sable that could hide in the folds of Darth Vader’s cape, with a firm and fine-bubbled tan head that hangs around for a while. Smoky flavor has firm tones of top-shelf malt and chocolate - you’d think they had tossed Hershey bars into the mash tun. Subtle notes and hints of quality coffee, molasses and caramel sneak through. Sweetness is not too strong - this ain’t no dessert beer. Firm, smooth, somewhat oily texture has a good amount of fizz and leaves a smoky, chocolaty, lip-smacking finish. Nar this whal when you can! :D

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Photo of paladinjoe
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First off, I'm not a huge fan of Stouts, with that said, I AM a huge fan of IMPERIAL Stouts, and this son of a gun fits that bill, without a huge bill (price) which again is something Sierra Nevada offers with this one! Most of the time, Imperial Stouts are expensive as hell, where as this one, is barely more expensive then their regular beers.

To the beer itself, very smooth, coffee, chocolate, some licorice, and a definite alcohol presence in this one, it literally warms your innards, no joke! This beer leaves you feeling very smooth, and very relaxed at the end of the evening, a perfect beer at the end of a cold/cool night in fall, winter, or early spring.. or whenever!! Very sellarable as well, this thing can last for many years if you want to sellar it.

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 796 ratings.