Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

4,430 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,430
Reviews: 817
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.62%
Wants: 254
Gots: 1,118 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,430 | Reviews: 817
Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap at the Dive Bar in West Haven, Conn.

A: Pours jet black with a two-finger head of espresso-colored foam which retains nicely and leaves some chunky lacing around the glass.

S: Very nice, robust, dark and roasty malt aroma with hints of anisette, charred wood and bittersweet cocoa. Some subtle fruitiness and herbal hops rise from the brew as well.

T: Rich, sweet and well-rounded malt flavor, giving off the taste of dried tobacco leaves, roasted coffee and dark chocolate. There's a slight vanilla sweetness around mid-palate which cascades into a spicy, herbal hop resin that lasts until the bittersweet and smooth, roasty finish.

M: Full-bodied, very drinkable stout with a creamy malt mouthfeel and rounded bitterness to stave off cloying sweetness while offering a smooth, robust finish.

O: SN Narwahl RIS is a very complex and enjoyable, sweet, strong stout. It packs a ton of flavor into that 10.2% ABV while not slowing you down with too hot of a hop or alcohol burn. Perfect beer to serve as dessert or to accompany a raspberry chocolate torte. I'd love to try it again, or one of it's aged varietals.

Photo of Kenye
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 Ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a small persistent tan head that slowly fades down into quite a pretty collar around the edge of the glass. Nice but pretty average lacing. 4/5

Smell - Like a typical Imperial Stout, the smell is wonderful, especially as it warms. Lots of roasted malts and you can smell the 10.2 ABV. The more you let it warm up the sweeter it smells. 4/5

Taste - There are a lot of hops in this beer. They hit you first and hard. They quickly fade into the lovely roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolate middle. The swallow gives you that high ABV burn you expect, and makes me do that little "alcohol twitch" I have. Like you would expect from a fresh Imperial Stout. Curious to see what age will do to this. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel - Wonderful silky mouthfeel. It coats the tongue perfectly, and just the right carbonation to keep it from lingering for too long. 4.5/5

Overall - Very solid Imperial Stout at a very good price. It tastes like a Sierra Nevada beer. The hops are trademark. If you see it, pick it up. I'll be grabbing up more of these, and aging them a couple months. I imagine age will make this an even better beer. 4.5/5 (Taste and Mouthfeel a little more important than Appearance and Smell for me personally.)

Photo of Ego
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$20 for a growl fill on this ? mad props to Copper Mine Pub in N Arlington NJ

eyes...
devilishly black, totally opaque, lacing ? legs? yeah... got that, the head retreats pretty quickly but easily comes back with a quick swirl-o-rama, the head itself is a nice dark cocoa tone, this looks impy...

nose...
burnt wood left outside, the spicy note of licorice, bitter chocolate, hints of smoke and molasses,
hints of mint like toothpaste

taste etc...
initially pretty smooth but man this sucker is heavy, like drinking a cannon ball, woah this thing is thick and weighty, this is big boy territory right here... the first blast is sort of the sweet end of things with the malts parading the molasses across the mouth, then the after bomb drops... we're taking a trip to flavortown folks (can I say that without comping Guy Fierri ?).. anyhoo, the aftertaste slapped me so hard (insert one liner here but it probably involves my mom), you get some deep dark euro chocolate that teeters on barelywine-ish flavors but never loses the RIP style, the booze is there but really lends itself to the mix here.

verdict?
luckily I have my bro and his current girl to help me out with this growldog, cause otherwise I am taking a trip to passoutville. damn, this is one deep dark sucker, maybe not my fave RIS but it is bold, any RIS fan needs to check this out, it might be the spanish fly to your.. well..

Photo of daledeee
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Some more of this showed up. Got a 4 pack for a reasonable price.

Pours black with a medium brown head and great lacing.

Smell is charcoal, malt.

Wow, this one hits you in the face. This is the bitterest stout I have had. Loads of malt bitterness. Charcoal, oak, chocolate and sweetness as well.

The mouth feel is very creamy and I don't notice too much alcohol warmth. Overall this is a great example and unique as well.

Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - pitch black with a thick, persistent tan head. Head speckled with darker brown flecks.
S - smells a bit thin. Burnt coffee and chocolate. Licorice, dark fruit. Not overwhelmingly good.
T - wow. Rich, caramel, artisan dark chocolate and cacao nibs. Coffee flavors. Much better than the nose.
M - rich and luscious. Thick. Ominous.
O - SN knocks it out of the park on this one (as usual). The smell is a bit lackluster, but everything else top notch here.

Photo of barnzy78
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Narwhal 2012, served @ ~55F
12oz bottle, pours black with slight chestnut hues at the edges of the glass when held to a light. Light brown head is thin and leaves some lacing down the glass. Big roasty nose with dark bittersweet cocoa powder and coffee. Smells powdery if that makes any sense? Tastes are complex and bold with lingering dark rich cocoa, espresso, booze, roasted barley, slight anise and pine on the finish. Mouth-feel is smooth and nearly full bodied, nice carbonation allows for palate coverage and depth of flavors. Overall, a very nice RIS. I'd buy this again, and hope I see it again next year!

Photo of Thedusanmandic
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

'13 vintage. Spongy caramel head. Smells of red velvet cake and heavy molasses. A little hotter than expected with a year on it, but nice buttery feel. Very malty with slight roasted coffee tones. Excellent imperial stout.

Photo of n2185
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours black with three fingers of brown head that fades into a frothy ring with decent lacing.

S: Roasted malts dominate with semi-sweet chocolate and slight coffee notes. There are some faint licorice notes towards the finish with a sweet charred aroma.

T: Roasted malts dominate here as well. Bitter chocolate and coffee are also present with a robust, charred finish and light alcohol burn. Delicious.

M: Thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is a bit more carbonated than most imperial stouts, but it goes well with the robust flavors.

O: A surprisingly good imperial stout. Very robust and flavorful without being too sweet or too bitter. Quite enjoyable.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage poured in to tulip glass.

A - Black with half a finger of medium brown head.

S - A huge roast aroma up front with some coffee and a hint of smoke.

T - Very bold and flavorful right away. Starts with a big roast presence with some char. A big hop presence enters mid-palate along with a warming alcohol presence and hints of cocoa and licorice. The finish is dry and bitter with a lingering pine flavour from the hopping and becomes almost sticky a few seconds after the swallow.

M - Medium to full body. Creamy. Light carbonation. Somewhat sticky at times.

Photo of neenerzig
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into one of my snifters, this beer pours a an extremely dark brown, almost black color that lets in no light whatsoever. has a dark tan head that is about 1/4 inch thick when first poured that, despite the fact that I gave this beer a very rough pour, settled very quickly to a medium sized ring lining the inside of the glass along with swirls of foam on the surface of the beer. Okay lacing, but not that good. Aromas of caramel malt, hints of chocolate and vanilla, coffee, some hints of dark fruit that are all rounded out with a bourbon smell. pretty sure this edition of this beer was not aged in bourbon barrels, but it sure smells like it. Weird. The flavors match the aromas almost verbatim, caramel malt, chocolate and vanilla sweetness upfront, followed by some roasted coffee bitterness notes, hints of plum and raisin, rounded out with a touch of bourbon. Oh yeah a hint of alcohol too. The flavors mesh very well together as the beer sits and warms up a bit too. Has a slightly crisp, but mainly smooth, creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This one really coats the palate. Easy to drink in the way an excellently crafted beer should be.

Eric

Photo of Joshpu
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a duvel.

A: Black, used motor oil. About a finger of tan head, which dissipates quickly. Spotty lacing with alcohol legs.

S: Roasty smell. Coffee, dark chocolate, malt, some dark fruit.

T: Little bit of hop or chocolate/coffee bitterness, not overwhelming, it tastes great. Alot of coffee, malt, dark chocolate, sweet aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied, fairly creamy tasting. Fair amount of carbonation.

O: Outstanding beer, for a 10% beer it is very well executed. This beer is addictive, makes me wanting to come back for more.

Photo of Moondoggy68
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I find this beer to be better tasting than Old Rasputin. Continuing my quest to try more Imperial Stouts.

Photo of GetMeAnIPA
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle into my dogfish signature glass.

A - midnight black. 1/2 inch of brown small buubled head that fades quickly, but appears again with a few swirls of the glass. No bubbles that I could see, but the beer is so black if there where I couldn't even see them.

S - licorice, coffee, roasted malts with a some sweetness and alcohol that pierces the nose.

T - I get an array of flavors. Roasted malts, coffee, slight coco. A little sweetness comes through in the middle with some bitterness on the back end. The bitterness fades 1/4 through the beer as the coffee and roasted malts take over.

M - very little carbonation. A little syrupy and viscous. I get a slight tingling on the tongue.

O - very solid. I like how there isn't too coffee or coco flavor and its balanced nicely between not being too sweet or bitter. The abv is well hidden. I get a perfect amount of warming but no alcohol burn. Sierra Nevada says this will
Age for years and I plan on aging a few. Interested how it will change.

Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A - Pitch black with one finger of creamy dark mocha / chocolate head. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

S - A somewhat subdued aroma of roasted coffee and chocolate.

T - Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and a slight hint of vanilla. There is a also a bit of booziness, though not very pronounced for a 10.2%

M - Super smooth and creamy. Thick bodied and somewhat syrupy with low carbonation; this goes down easy.

O - A fantastic stout from SN with the standard roasted coffee and chocolate flavors, with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Nice bit of alcohol warmth as well despite it being quite drinkable.

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, almost black with a nice dark tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, dark roasted grain

T: coffee, bitter coco, espresso, tobacco, dark roasted malty grains

M: heavy, oily, low carbonation, alcohol noticeable

O: great imperial stout, rich flavors

Photo of kemoarps
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Well finally something good comes up today.
The beer pours a sexy onyx black with a satiny brown head. Decent retention and lacing. I'm quite excited.

This excitement is mildly tempered as the nose is not as rich as I was hoping. There is some creamy dark chocolate, a touch of char and some candi sweetness lurking in the background.

Luckily once it hits my lips, all concerns aroused by the aroma are put to rest. Beyond the silky smoothe mouthfeel contrasted by tiny pinpricks of carbonation, there is a an inital sweet dark cocoa note that fades into more of the char and roasty malts before finishing bitter as bakers chocolate. Excellently blended, and immenently smoothe on the palate. This is another extremely well done beer from a reliable brewery, and one that I am excited to see how it transforms as it ages. Go and buy it if it's available in your area, it is WELL worth seeking out.

Photo of alpinebryant
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black with a full two finger fluffy mocha head.

S: Aroma of sweet malt, a light hint of smoke

T: Sweet with licorice up front and a nice bit of smoke in the back. Extremely smooth with a very dry finish. Very well attenuated and rounded out with minimal hop presence. The licorice flavors is very strong in here, more so than most imperial stouts.

M: Medium body with a mild carbonation level.

O: This is a well rounded stout, one that doesn't disappoint and lives up to the standards that Sierra Nevada have for great beer. Without wowing typically, this beer has stepped it up a notch from some of the other recent releases that SN has. I am sure I will have this again in the future, well done.

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Tasted Blind against Old Rasputin. This was my preferred beer.

A - Light-swallowing black, accented by a bracelet of mocha coloured foam. Very thin head but what a gorgeous colour!

S - Not quite as forceful as implied by the colour but tantalising due to its subtlety nonetheless. Dundee cake (it's like Christmas cake) and treacle were the main characteristics I picked up. A murmur of coca cola once it warms up a little followed by a sweet, rich rum booziness.

T - Surprisingly sweet. Leads with treacle and follows with a booziness reminscent of a good single malt. By this I mean that it had that sort of smokiness or peatiness in its bite. To me it tastes like dark dried fruits soaked in whisky.

M - Creamy, thick like treacle or molasses. Chewy and pliable.

O - What a cracking beer for the price. Took Old Rasputin to the cleaners. Did a good job of civilising its 10% Abv which always wins brownie points with me. I was concerned I might be overpowered by this beer a I was recently by Rochefort 10 but this was not the case. Underrated.

Photo of hosehead83
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a "stubby" 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Pitch-black, almost purple hue, with a moderate head of cafe mocha.
Aroma-Dark roast coffee, dark chocolate
Taste-Baker's chocolate, dark roasted coffee. A big, rich, flavorfull stout, full of character and complexity. Good stuff!

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pure black body, topped by a fist worth of dark tan micro-bubble foam.

Big roast coffee aroma, chocolate undercurrent, hints of dark fruit.

Taste starts off with a wave of Hershey syrup. Follows with a big cup of black coffee. Nips of dark fruits.

Big thick slick oily chewy. It's a good one.

A superior Imperial Stout I hope to enjoy again for years to come.

Photo of whoahwhat
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap, 10 ounces. One word: delicious. Have since had it from the bottle and it's just not the same. On tap, it was syrupy, complex, wonderful. beautiful espresso head. I'm really sad that I didn't get another glass of it, but, ya know, driving... Strong coffee flavors, plum, chocolate, just rich and tasty.

Photo of IronLover
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Velvety black in color. Poured with a short dark tan foam that quickly reduced to a soapy cap. Dark roasted malt and powdery dark chocolate aromas with ripe dark fruit and delicate hop notes. Thick, rich, viscous feel with subdued carbonation through the middle. Dark roasted malt flavors first followed by dark chocolate. Sweetness malt and chocolate is quickly overcome by bitter dark roasted coffee and pine hop bitterness. Finishes with a tangy, bitter, pine hip aftertaste with u.derlying dark roasted malt. Beautiful color, delicate aromas, and a rollercoaster of sweet and bitter flavors. 

Photo of REGreenBTRB
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%

Bottled on 07/31/14. Poured into a snifter.

A: 5 - Pitch black with a very thin head, tan/cinnamon head. It seriously looks like this glass just got colored with sharpie.

S: 3.8 - I get some of the roasted malt, dark chocolate, really not a whole lot of coffee. Mainly just the malt and coffee. It doesn't smell quite as strong as I was expecting.

T: 4.25 - It tastes wonderful! You definitely get a lot of the malt up front, and the dark chocolate is very present. There's just a hint of coffee. This is mostly roasted malts and dark chocolate, though I can definitely pick up on a little bit of the alcohol.

M: 4.25 - There is a slight alcohol burn, medium carbonation. Creamy finish.

O: 4.32 - Overall a very good beer. It's hard to go wrong with a dark chocolate/malty imperial stout. Definitely something worth trying! Woo Pig.

Photo of HardTarget
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black as night, only the thinnest of ruby edges. Holds a tan thin cover, not much lace.

Smell: Roasted malt, burnt sugar vapor is alcoholic and inviting. A rich tone with some supportive but mild hop notes.

Taste: Heavy malt has a toffee sweetness to it that is smooth and silky. Slight lactic twang of a mild stout, slippery feel of an oatmeal stout, full volume of an Imperial Stout. Somewhere down the British spectrum, definitely not an AMERICAN HOP STOUT, this is much more refined, restrained, civilized.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy milk shake. Great combination of heavy body and lively carbonation that helps keep the whole package together. Full chew, slick oil takes a while to soak in.

Overall: Wow. Serious yum. I'll be seeking more. It's a monster with a friendly face. You note alcohol, but it doesn't taste like the 10% it's swinging. A nice long evening sipper.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown-black color with a finger of frothy chocolate-khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts, coffee, vanilla, black licorice, a bit of earthy, and a touch of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts, vanilla, and a bit of black licorice. Through the middle, some coffee comes through with some earthy hops and touch of molasses. The finish is a mix of dark chocolate, coffee, earthy hops, a touch of dark fruit, and bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate-minus carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Incredibly smooth for how big it is with great overall balance.

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 4,430 ratings.