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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

2,861 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2861
Reviews: 605
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.69%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,861 | Reviews: 605 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mattcrill
mattcrill

Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

<< Review #700 >>

Aroma: Coffee, dry cocoa, and roasty malt characteristics up front. No fruity esters that tend to be more common in English versions. I get a bit of pleasant graininess that reminds me of oatmeal and maris otter malt.

Appearance: Inky black pour with a large tan batter-like head.

Flavor: Follows the aroma but there is more of a dark fruity flavor that reminds me of fig and raisins to match the coffee and cocoa character. Slight earthy bitterness that helps offset some of the malty character and just a touch of chocolate sweetness. Finish is pleasant and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slight dark grain roasted astringency which is pleasant and appropriate for the style. No alcohol heat which is surprising given the ABV.

Overall impression: Immensely drinkable given the style and size of this beer. A perfect 700th review. One of my favorite styles and one of my favorite breweries so this was appropriate. I hope they make more of this.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 20:56:26 | More by mattcrill
Photo of BilbosNuts
BilbosNuts

California

4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown that is very close to black. A creamy, mocha colored head sits on top. Sheets of lacing is left behind.

S: Dark, slightly bitter chocolate and roasted malt appear first in the aroma. A light and delicate hop profile provides a pine-like finish. Mild dark fruits (plums, raisins) come through as well.

T: Similar to the aroma with dark chocolate and roasted/burnt malt. The hop profile makes a similar appearance. More sweet chocolate comes through in the taste along with. A slight bittering effect finishes it off with some mild dark fruit.

M: It has a body that is on the heavier side and a creamy, yet slightly oily feel. A small amount of carbonation lets the flavors coat the palate.

O: This is one delicious RIS. A great example of the style and very easy to drink considering the high ABV. I'll be sure to pick up some more 4 packs while this is still around.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 19:18:33 | More by BilbosNuts
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.25/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Heard the hype so I picked this one up. I'm not a big Sierra Nevada fan but I'm hoping this will change my mind. 10.20% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle (2012 vintage) with standard pressure cap and an appealing sleek label acquired at Cap N Cork Junior Market earlier today and served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Cost for a four pack was $10.99; it seemed a bit steep seeing as Old Rasputin was on the shelf below it for $8.99 per four pack.

Served slightly chilled; I'm trying to be better about serving my imperial stouts at a warmer temperature. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Opened without issue; no upsurging or other problems.

A: Pours a one finger attractive tan-gold colour head of nice thickness and cream. Retention is fairly good (~one and half minutes) for the ABV and style. Body colour is a nontransparent solid dark black; yet it's weak. This is not the jet black of Speedway Stout, it's a bit grey actually. Hrm. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Carbonation appears fine based on the appearance. Pretty predictable for the style; there's nothing unique or special here that jumps out at me.

Sm: A bit of roast but not enough to suggest a strong roasty backbone. Hints of coffee and chocolate. Dark malts. Minimal hopping. Caramel, cream. It's a bit musty. Not at all assertive or bold like I'd expect from a beer in this style. Comes off quite tame, actually; I get more complex aromas from other imperial stouts even at much colder serving temperatures. No yeast or alcohol comes through. The coffee note is refined and milky; it reminds me of Founder's Breakfast Stout in that regard - which is always a good thing. An average to moderate strength aroma. I'm excited to try it.

T: Okay. Dark malts form the foundation, with emergent sleek coffee nearer the climax. Some roast in the late second act, but as predicted there's not enough. Minimal hopping if any. No yeast comes through. Alcohol is surprisingly well hidden - a highlight of this beer. Caramel, pleasant cream. The coffee is particularly well handled and blends in with the other flavours subtly. I do get some soy sauce character, but it's minimal. Some coffee grains lend it a pleasant near earthiness that pairs well with the sweeter malt characteristics. It lacks bold complexity or refined subtlety, but it's a nice little imperial stout in terms of flavour.

Mf: Unfortunately, the mouthfeel is strange. Entirely too slick and smooth and wet, which is nice for the smooth subtle coffee in the second act but is terrible for the style. Amping up the roast would lend it needed coarseness and dryness. It's also quite heavy on the palate without much reason to be. Too thick and even overbearing. Luckily, carbonation is adequate - which is to say it's bit less than you'd expect of most middle of the road more pedestrian styles. It's a bit chewy, but all around pleasant. Though it's a bit scratchy right on the finish (coffee grains, maybe?); I don't know what's going on there. Suits the flavours alright, but certainly doesn't feel custom tailored to them.

Dr: Hides its ABV pretty well, but it's still far from highly drinkable. More of a sipper that lacks enough flavour to justify its low drinkability. At this price point, I'm not disappointed with it. That said, I wouldn't buy it again. I'd much sooner reach for Old Rasputin or Ten Fidy if I'm looking for a budget imperial stout. This is one that fans of the style should try, and it's a good beer in the style for getting drunk. I'd try it on nitro, but otherwise it's rather forgettable. Sorry, Sierra Nevada, it'll take more than this to make me a fan.

High C+

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 06:25:37 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Siriusfisherman
Siriusfisherman

Montana

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitchblack with a thick, creamy brown head. Excellent lacing. The aroma contains noticable alcohol and some esters, but is predominantly roasted coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit. A spicy/herbal hop character is detectable as well. The taste starts with a big bitterness and then sweet, roasted malt, very similar profile to the aroma. There is also a noticable alcohol taste that cleans out your mouth and allows the roasted flavors to linger. Slightly smoky on the tail end. The mouthfeel is full, but somewhat drying, carbonation and alcohol really cut the sweetness. It is briefly there but then suddenly your mouth starts to pucker and then the clean roasted notes are left.

Overall, this is a tasty brew. This is one of my favorite styles and Sierra Nevada does it justice. I would get this again, no hesitation.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 22:18:42 | More by Siriusfisherman
Photo of mvanaskie13
mvanaskie13

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice, color is solid black, head is light tan - this is great looking stout.

Smell is big roast, chocolate, espresso, coffee grains, dry and sweet balanced in each sniff.

Taste is similar to that smell strong roast, espresso flavors, lots of chocolate undertones and coffee grain dryness. very solid bitterness to balance its strength, very hard to believe abv.

Mouthfeel is a little drying, probably the amount of bitterness to balance its strength, but not a hinderance to the flavors.

Overall, very great tasting brew - sierra nevada does a great job in the bigger beer categories, loved this one to follow holiday sweets.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 21:31:06 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of micromaniac129
micromaniac129

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my yeti sniffer (because I could) a deep standard brown black color. A handsome looking beer with it's dense mocha head and what looks to be desent carbonation.
Aroma I thought was the weak point in that I could barely detect any aroma. I could barely smell some roasted malts and espresso.
Taste was fine. Had a roasted malt flair with coffee espresso cocoa and some ash.
Drinks really smooth and hides that alcohol quite well.
A good well made beer but, it's a safe beer being that to me, it's not very aggressive.
Taking a que from Charlie Manuel, but then again on the other hand this would be my first case of Imp stout I would buy.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 12:47:38 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of Dools9
Dools9

Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle poured into a Founders Snifter.

A: Black, black, straight up black. Two fingers of light brown head recede to a modest half finger and leaves big legs and lacing. Looks like a beast.

S: Upfront getting a big, bittersweet bakers chocolate component, sweet brownie batter, heavy roasted barley malt, some light espresso and caramel nuttiness.

T: Huge surge of smoky, mocha, cocoa nib, black bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, slightest citrusy/earthy hop presence, finishes dry and leaves a nice roasty aftertase. Not getting any booze on the taste whatsoever. Maybe a bit in the belly.

M: Medium to full, silky smooth, probably the best attribute of this beer, soft, velvety, and lush.

O: Very impressed, this was very enjoyable. It's basically everything I look for in a rock solid RIS and its super affordable. Glad I bought a 4 pack and will age a few to see how they develop if I can sit on them that long, we'll see. Well done SN.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 04:16:33 | More by Dools9
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black and the head quickly dies down to leave a very thin lacing ring and a heavy cascade of bubbles when the snifter is swirled.

S - Roasted cocoa nibs, bittersweet chocolate, light charcoal & coffee beans, dark fruit is subdued and buried.

T - Dark roasted chocolate, dark fruit, coffee/expresso, charred oak, and chocolate bitterness that lingers on the palate.

M - Velvety smooth, soft carbonation, thick body and texture.

O - Sierra Nevada is coming on strong with some excellent big beers, this is yet another one worth seeking out for the stout lovers.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 03:41:25 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1632nd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12oz

2012 Release
Purchased a single 12 from Total Wine, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

App- Poured a very dark brown and then bordered onto a black color. A great amount of density in the center and a little bit of lighter browns on the edges. A nice 1/2 inch head was there and fairly compact and then moved into a nice bit of lace and cling.

Smell- It was a nice RIS. Had a good amount of malt behind it with some roasty notes and bit of the bottle conditioned hop bitterness. A bit of bakers chocolate came into play as well.

Taste- I enjoyed this RIS. It had a great balance behind it. A good hop bitter with a solid milk chocolate and roast offering. The beginning is a bit thin and takes a few sips to warm and release a bit more of the flavors. More grainy that I thought, but still very flavorful.

Mouth- A very solid medium body with a medium grainy carbonation. A good amount of chocolate and malts balanced by a nice amount of bitter.

Drink- I liked it. Couldve been just an off day for me to rate a little low. Might have to grab a 4 pk to sit on.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 15:24:25 | More by FosterJM
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Second time with this beast. First time it was good, but I was drunky.
Bottled day 227 of 2012

Pours a dark, deep black with a central dome and accompanying rim of tan foam confluenced by etching about the remainder of the surface. Smells of sweet malts, hints of graham, some bits of cocoa, a good nougat character and a bit of milky character. I like the nose,but it is lacking in the hops I usually associate with a fresh RIS. Taste is more bitter than I recall, and rightfully so, it has a good earthy, spicy authoritative hops charm and then some toasted malts, bits of bitter chocolate, coffee and a hint of graham still. Full bodied with small, sharp and fleeting carb. A thick, wet finish. Nice beer, should be a year round beer, rather than a seasonal - it's nothing special and I like my seasonals to taste and be special.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 07:50:37 | More by harrymel
Photo of BeerDocT
BeerDocT

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and judging by the subject matter and colors of this beer's label, they seem to be attempting to look like a famous and very popular beer from the Great Northwest named after a mad Russian holy man. What about the contents of the bottle? How do they measure up?

-Appearance 4.0: Poured out an inky black that almost looked thick. It looked like it was actually going to stain the sides of my glass! No head to speak of and a big glop of something dropped in at the end of the pour. Look out!

-Smell 4.0: In spite of its inky blackness, this brew has a subdued bouquet. I smell hops and toasted malt, but nothing really jumps out at me.

-Taste 4.5: Whoah! Front is mildly sweet and bitter. Middle is a huge, rushing wave of smoky grains, alkaline hops, dark chocolate and yummy malty goodness. Finish is huge too and is very hoppy and malty, but very well balanced. Aftertaste is long, smoky, chocolaty and delicious. Wonderful.

-Mouthfeel 4.5: So smooth and perfectly balanced with the taste of the beer. Really outstanding.

-Overall 4.5: I don't remember what I gave Ol' Rasputin, but this baby is a close second. Wonderful, huge beer that does not seem to be as big (in ABV and other areas!) as it really is. Deliciously smooth and robust, but at the same time very complex and nuanced. A chip off the old block. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 03:25:28 | More by BeerDocT
Photo of HarrySTruman
HarrySTruman

Michigan

3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle severed near room temprature.

Black like the depths of the ocean (just like the name implies). Brown bubbles create a finger high head.

Smells like coffee beer. A good smell, but not very bold or broad. Roasted or brewed coffee.

Tastes are slightly more bold, roasted malts, chocholate and coffee. I felt like I was tasting a small amount of licorice or licroice flavored gum. Breathing out, or the after taste was more like a bitter baking chocolate.

Mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Easy to drink, but still a nice warmer for a winters night. Cosy up next to the fire with one of these.

Great beer, good price for the ABV, easy to drink, easy to find. No complaints about this one. Not as big and bold as some other RIS, but still a high quality drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 00:16:48 | More by HarrySTruman
Photo of ESPNman
ESPNman

California

4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a The Glenrothes scotch snifter.

A - Pours a deep inky black, producing two fingers of thick mocha head. The head dissipates somewhat quickly, but leaves behind solid lacing. This looks like a thick and chewy Imperial Stout.

S - Lots of coffee and deeply roasted malt. Surprisingly little alcohol on the nose, although there is a hint of brandied fruit present. A bit of oak, leather, and chocolate round out the nose.

T - Much like the nose, but with more malt and chocolate. Not a lot of coffee present in the mouthfeel. It starts out extremely roasty, hits some of the chocolate with a hint of hop in the middle, and then finishes very sweet with a hint of alcohol. This one should age very nicely.

M - Thick, syrupy, chewy, and everything I look for in the style. This one really coats the mouth, and lingers for a while once you've swallowed. It's one of the sweeter stouts I've had recently, and leaves a sticky sugar finish on the palate.

O - This is another solid entry into SN's line of higher-alcohol 4-pack brews. It's a big Imperial Stout that's pretty similar to the 30th Anniversary Stout (I believe it was Ken & Fritz's). Chewy, high-alcohol, sweet, big, sticky... all of those characteristics that make a good Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 06:34:34 | More by ESPNman
Photo of StoutHunter
StoutHunter

Michigan

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked up a four pack of Sierra Nevada's Narwhal Imperial Stout a couple weeks ago for $10.99 at The Lager Mill. Russian Imperial Stouts are one of my favorite styles and Sierra Nevada is one solid brewery so I couldn't pass up the chance to give this beer a try, so lets see how it goes. This is the first time this beer has been bottled, 2012 vintage. Poured from a shorter brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- I like the name and the artwork for this beer, it's nicely done and it's pretty unique much like the animal it's named after. It poured a nice and dark motor oil black color that didn't let any light come through and it had two and a half fingers worth of fluffy light mocha colored head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some nice and sticky patches of lacing. This is a very good looking beer with a nice dark color and more head then usual for this style, there's not a damn thing wrong with it.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of dark roasted malts that have a higher amount of sweetness to them and imparted some roasted, charred, chocolate, molasses, cocoa powder, coffee, black licorice, and a slight bit of tobacco towards the end. I don't pick up any hops in the aroma but I do get a sweet boozy aroma. The aroma is nice and it's very true to style, the booze shows up a little too much, but it doesn't hurt this beer that much.

T- The taste seems to be pretty damn similar to the aroma and it starts off the same with lots of roasted malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness and impart some highly roasted flavors along with some chocolate, coffee, and a slight tobacco and black licorice flavor. After that comes a sweet molasses flavor followed by a good amount of dark fruits that add some complexity to the flavor. On the finish I get some warming alcohol that makes the flavor a little boozy and the aftertaste is full of sweet roasted and charred malts. This beer tastes good and is very true to style, it has nice complexity, but the boozyness hurts it a little.

M- Not that smooth, somewhat creamy, a little sticky, very rich, full bodied, and it had a pretty good amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok, but it would be nice if this was a little smoother.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of the style, it had just about all the aspects that I look for in the style with some good complexity, but it didn't seem to be as balanced as some of the better RIS's. This beer had ok drinkability, it's a sipper and the flavors did a good job at holding my attention, but I think one would be enough for me, it might start to be to boozy after that. What I liked the most about this beer was it's complexity and it's appearance, they were both pretty good. What I liked the least about this beer was the mouthfeel and the drinkability, it was a little rough around the edges and it would be nice if this beer was smoothed out a little. I would buy this beer again, it's pretty solid and affordable for the style, I might keep a couple bottles for the cellar to see how they change overtime and I would get a four pack if it's released again. All in all I thought this was a pretty solid Russian Imperial Stout, but it lacked the balance and refinement that some of the better ones have, it's good but It can't hang with the world class RIS's like Founders RIS or Bell's Expedition Stout. Sierra Nevada makes some solid beers and this one's no exception, they seem to be one of the most constant breweries and I respect that. 2013 Edit, I had a year old bottle recently and it smoothed a little with some great chocolate flavors, ages well so far.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 03:59:40 | More by StoutHunter
Photo of notchucknorris
notchucknorris

California

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick black with a thin mocha head. Shows the thickness when swirled in the glass, leaving big trails of lace.

S: Roasted malt, burnt toast, anise, dark chocolate, molasses, mexican chocolate and some charred malt. Pretty complex.

T: A big charred malt hit right off the bat. Molasses, burnt coffee grounds, baking chocolate and charred grain. Maybe a hint of smoke and earthy hop resin on the finish. A really great RIS. Mouthfeel is big and chewy without giving away the ABV. Solid stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 03:30:04 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of Jimmys
Jimmys

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle into SAVOR tulip.

A: pretty dark body, just a shade under black. head is coffee hued and forthy. residual head is average as is the lacing.

S: chocolate, tobacco, and coffee. the sugary sweetness has a roundness to it.

T: some black licorice is in there. a little bit of vanilla. finish is a blend of coco and coffee. lingering sweetness is pretty close to a dry chocolate.

M: the carbonation is a bit lively. more-so than i expected. full bodied.

D: a good stout for sure, unfortunately for myself i expected a little more. maybe an additional dimension of flavor that i couldnt find. however i do appreciate the lack of alcohol heat on such a recent, high abv stout. good, definitely worth grabbing for a solid stout experience.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 02:35:17 | More by Jimmys
Photo of fank2788
fank2788

Connecticut

4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle served in a pint glass
Inky opaque black in the glass with a one finger dark khaki head of fine bubbles and good lacing. The smell is quite roasty with black patent and chocolate and brown malts coming through. A bit of smokey character, dark fruits and alcohol are all in the aroma as well. The taste is also dominated by roasted character it is actually quite overpowering at first as acrid bitter notes from the dark roasted malts bounce around. Also in there is dark chocolate, black coffee, molasses and a touch of alcohol. All of this is balanced by a dash of hops which are only in there as an attempt to balance the strong malts. Mouthfeel is pretty good as this beer is thick and chewy with low to moderate carbonation and excellent body. The finish is quite dry with puckering burnt malt bitterness and a touch of alcoholic spice. Overall this is a great beer and very surprising coming from sierra nevada a brewery that tends to specialize in hop bombs rather than malt focused beers like this. It appears as though I can now look forward to two great SN winter releases every year.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 00:31:11 | More by fank2788
Photo of tubeboy
tubeboy

Maryland

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle in a tulip pint.

A dark pour with 1.5 fingers of mocha head.

Smells of highly toasted grains, dark coffee and a hint of booze.

I taste a sweetness to the head that balances the super strong roasted grains. I like the start of this beer better than the end but the end aint bad. This is not for the faint of heart. Wow it seems that one of these should do the job or I have an empty stomach.

I like the contrast of a super creamy head being washed away by a velvet finish. This beer has great mouthfeel.

I must say this was quite a surprise and I'll be buying this again.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 00:06:31 | More by tubeboy
Photo of BradtheGreat7
BradtheGreat7

Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Review taken from notes - late October (2012)

12 oz brown SN style stubby bottle poured into an imperial stout pint glass(tulip pint). Label is great like usual from the folks at SN featuring a massive whale unicorn? Idk but
I like it. Mythic creature for a mythic brew? Awesome Look.

A - pours a jet black with the edges painted dark brown if held to the light. Pretty opaque color. Mocha brown head is pretty dark as well. I actually had a pretty massive head with this stout. Settles nicely to a thick ring of lace leaving some solid stick throughout the glass.

S - a mellow aroma at first, but massive Cocoa and dark chocolate with some roasted Malts rise up the depths of this black ocean of liquid. Hints of Dark fruit with some medium coffee expresso whiffs. A semi smokey character throughout the nose with the faintest alcohol whiff settle softly in the back.

T - rich and roasted dark malts with Bitter dark chocolate and expresso flavors. Hints of the darkest of fruit and thick molasses balance the bitterness. Pure cocoa In a dry finish. This is a class flavor for an RIS. Well done.

M - thick and luscious mouthfeel. Nice and sturdy in size. Smooth and creamy while doing an excellent job at coating the mouth. This is a stout man's mouthfeel. Smooth, thick and like velvet going down. Very drinkable considering the 10.2% it packs.

O - at last! We get a great imperial stout from SN. Sure they have the beer camp stuff, but with a brewery that does about everything right.. Including making a solid stout and porter that's easily to locate. this is massive and thick winter stout and lets hope it's a new tradition at SN. Like all good big stouts it's capable of Having the pop topped from day one or can sit in your cellar for as long as you'd like. This RIS has the quality, complexity, and depth to rival anything in it's category. An instant classic for me and one of the best I've had. It may not be better than some, but it's great enough to be in the conversation. Sierra Nevada is world class.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 19:50:16 | More by BradtheGreat7
Photo of raynmoon
raynmoon

California

4.46/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting to taste this one.

It looks awesome. Pours very viscous-like. Very dark, darkest head you could probably get from a beer. Maybe just a touch more lacing and this one would be perfect.

Smells like a Russian Imperial Stout. It's hard to describe. It has that super burnt, roasted malt character along with the strong hop presence on the nose. Maybe a touch of dark chocolate.

Taste is more of the same. Bitterness coming straight from the roasted barley and chocolate malt. Upon the right breathe, the aftertaste is like a nice chocolate bar; very pleasant. Reminds me of old rasputin, but less intense with the carbonation and hops. No actually taste or detection of alcohol really. This beer is unbelievable in the aspect of silkiness and hiding the alcohol. They must have gone for a much much higher OG

Very smooth on the body. Low carbonation.

Overall, very good. There isn't a unique character about this one that makes it jump out like some of the classics in the country, but it has that perfect RIS taste, while masking a large amount of alcohol, and competing with others at a very affordable price. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 07:17:35 | More by raynmoon
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle opened on 11.6.12.

A - Pours a dark brown with a medium brown foamy head that lingers around for a bit.

S - Very roasty and bitter. Some chocolate and coffee.

T - Bitter coffee, but smooth chocolate. Better as it warms.

D - Heavier body and good carbonation.

O - Sold stout, but I was a bit let down till I let it warm a bit more. Very solid, especially for the price.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 05:55:39 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 10/5/2012. Pours dense pitch black color with a small fairly dense tan head with very good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty lacing clings to the glass with a good amount of alcohol legs. Aromas of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toffee, char, light smoke, floral, earth, and citrus rind. Damn nice aromas with nice complexity and balance. Taste of big dark chocolate, char, roasted malt, coffee, toffee, caramel, cocoa, light smoke, floral, tobacco, earth, light pine, and light citrus. Fair amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, char, toffee, tobacco, earth, and light citrus on the finish for a good bit. High amount of flavor complexity; with a nice balance of malt flavors with a fair amount of hops; zero cloying flavors present on the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Russian Imperial Stout. Very nice flavor complexity with good balance; very smooth to sip on for 10.2%. A very enjoyable offering as I had hoped. Will have to see how it does with some age on it next.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 05:02:36 | More by superspak
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russpowell

Oklahoma

3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet-black with 4 fingers of caramel colored head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Roastyness & cocoa, some boozeyness, faint figgyness

T: Follows the nose, dark fruit as well, some charred grain & some booze rake across your tongue up front. Some coffee as this warms, a bit of carob & booze, plus some faint raisin, then a smattering of charred grain & roastyness, plus woody & herbal hops. Finishes dry, fruitty, with carob, roasty grains & the specter of ainise

MF: Fairly chewy with light carbonation, fairly warming. Carbonation perks up as this warms

A nice take on the style, I need to do a side by side with old Raspy, I don't this quite beats that , but kudos to Sierra Nevada for spreading its wings. Would buy again to be sure, a little less boozeyness would help the cause. Will age great I'm sure

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 03:19:39 | More by russpowell
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TheMultiYeast

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nearly opaque black with half a finger of head

Big immediate roasted character in nose, bittersweet malted chocolate, dark coffee, smoke, some booze..woody, earthy.

Some malty sweetness then smoky roasted goodness, bitterness, coffee again, lighter chocolate notes than aroma, nice bitterness to balance malt complexities..very nice..smoky bitter aftertaste.

Feel is everything I want from an imperial stout..thick, chewy, delicious.

Dope release!

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 02:16:43 | More by TheMultiYeast
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FanofHefe

Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 12 oz. bottle that pours a deep, black body with a two-finger dark tan head. The head settles into a nice cap and leaves streaky lacing on the glass.

The aroma is typical of a RIS, but a bit on the light side. Some roasted malt, a bit of chocolate, some dark fruit. Nice, but not complex.

The flavor steps it up a notch. Very nice blend of flavors: roasted malt, dark fruit - especially raisin, chocoalte, light coffee, and licorice. Excellent flavor balance.

Very smooth mouthfeel, medium to thick in texture. Nearly no notice of the alcohol. This is a top-notch RIS. Highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 00:29:23 | More by FanofHefe
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,861 ratings.