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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

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

3,298 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,298
Reviews: 636
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.66%
Wants: 160
Gots: 527 | FT: 34
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: 3,298 | Reviews: 636 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass form a 12oz bottle.

Pours a pitch black slightly oily liquid. Some dark mahogany and caramel edges are present. There is a nice light tan 0.5 inch head that is formed. It recedes fairly quickly down to a thin film.

Aroma starts with roast and dark malts. Slightly smokey with some coffee notes. There is also some nice bitter chocolate in the nose. There are some slight grassy aroma in the nose as well that mix in with the roasted, dark and coffee notes. Pretty nice aroma.

Flavor starts off with dark chocolate notes. Some sweetness with nice dark cocoa bitterness. Then there is the roast that comes in. Coffee and espresso notes with some slight sweet milk chocolate notes present. There is definitely some nice grassy hop notes in the middle and the back end of this brew. Very well blended with the roast and stout notes. Quite the roasty brew with nice dark cocoa notes to finish it off. Mouthfeel is nice and slick. Creamy with good lively carbonation as well.

Pretty impressive brew by Sierra Nevada. Rich and creamy with some nice roasty coffee notes. Good RIS.

JoEBoBpr, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of far333
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a low beige head that settles out quickly. Inviting aroma of cocoa and espresso, some raisin. Rich flavors upfront, dark chocolate, espresso, root beer, molasses, smoke and leather, some rough-edged roasty malt, sharp bitterness, interesting mix of flavors. Full mouthfeel, but slightly tannic and warming. Good beer.

far333, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of brotherloco
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

brotherloco, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

AndrewMichael, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of Onenote81
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Grabbed a 4-pack of this when it first came out. Saved the final bottle for a review. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a jet black. No light penetrates this one. Small tan head. Nose is rich with booze, chocolate, roasted coffee, grape, vanilla. Hints of woodsy aromas on the finish.

Body is decadent and full. Rich velvety feel with a touch of carbonation on the back end. A nice malty backbone, with vanilla, chocolate syrup, a little booze, black licorice, dark fruits.

This one was rich and tasty. The alcohol snuck up on me at the tail end, but this one was one I enjoyed through and through. I hope to see this around often, as I would like to have stock of this one at all times.

Onenote81, Jan 15, 2013
Photo of justintcoons
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance
Pitch black, motor oil pour. No light penetration. Less than 1 finger of deep brown head that dissipates quickly.

Nose
Dark chocolate, roasted barley, espresso, fudge, vanilla and dark fruit.

Taste
Dark chocolate, roasted barley, fudge and vanilla bean. Espresso, toffee and dates. Some citrus and pine hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel
Full bodied, silky, oily, bitter and warming.

Overall
Sierra Nevada hit this one out of the park. It's got everything that an Imperial Stout needs.

justintcoons, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of n2185
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

n2185, Nov 14, 2012
Photo of Hopmodium
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Hopmodium, Oct 24, 2012
Photo of RoryOMoore
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%

RoryOMoore, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of bmwats
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Black. Pours about a finger and a half, foamy, brown head. Disintegrates slowly. Eventually settles to a thick blanket with a foamy buildup around the sides of the glass. Sporadic lacing.

S: Earthy malt tone, dark chocolate, with a little black licorice.

T: Unsweetened dark chocolate, lots of licorice, pecan shells.

M: Thick, hearty, and syrupy. Slight bitterness lingers throughout.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is solid. Dark, intimidating appearance, nice head, and fair lacing. Nose is basic and characteristic dark chocolate and licorice. Tastes like is smells.... bitter chocolate and licorice. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

bmwats, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of budgood1
3.49/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

pours out an opaque onyx black colour. large, thick and frothy light brown coloured head that has a great deal of creamy staying power. about perfect. the nose on this big stout is a bit non-descript...some cocoa and nougat with some NW hopping. taste profile is a straight up combination of creamy sweetened dark chocolate and yeast infused dark roasted malts. none too complex in the malt/yeast interaction, so no real layers of flavours... just char, java and a hint of sour. this imperial stout has a beefy hop attribute to it, enough that the pine and pith flavours are able to fight their way through the dark cauldron and murky depths of black malt madness. a nice, healthy back end bitterness is also obviously detectable...and it all lingers for a blistering finish. the body on this stout is beefy and sturdy, no detractions there. mouthfeel is silky smooth, almost too smooth for an imperial stout of this magnitude. and that leads into the drinkability factor, which is way to easy for an imperial stout, making it dangerously delectable.

overall, i was a bit underwhelmed in the grand scheme of things when sampling this. perhaps a bit of age would benefit this? or maybe i'm just let down with the overall nose and flavour profile. the interaction between malt and yeast leaves me wanting despite the bitter hop blast, which i was expecting. an egnigma...nonetheless, it's a tasty treat that has potential in the cellar.

budgood1, Mar 18, 2013
Photo of GilGarp
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served at cellar temp into a pint glass.

Narwhal is basically black in color and starts with a good inch of off white head. It settles somewhat quickly but leaves a little lacing behind.

Aroma is roasty and robust with some hop character.

Flavor is surprisingly strong with big bitterness from both hops and malts. There's a little sweetness but it's really dominated by dark roasted malts and big hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and a little bit overly carbonated.

Overall a good imperial stout but it doesn't have the silky mouthfeel of my other favorites like Yeti and TenFidy.

GilGarp, Nov 25, 2012
Photo of djaeon
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black. Expected coffee & dark chocolate flavors are every evident. Velvety smooth mouthfeel, some stickyness in the finish. A hint of bitter aftertaste, not unlike what you would get from black coffee (with booze in it).

All in all, a great imperial stout.

djaeon, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of AleWatcher
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

AleWatcher, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of bigbeers84
4/5  rDev -3.4%

bigbeers84, Nov 14, 2012
Photo of PatGreer
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%

PatGreer, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of ajzy
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

ajzy, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of bobv
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

bobv, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of mpayne5
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

mpayne5, Sep 08, 2013
Photo of PorterLambic
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Arrives as black as molasses with a creamy, slowly fading, dark tan head. Phenomenal lace, great retention. Zero light penetration.
Smell is toasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, cardboard, smoke. Well balanced.
Taste is heavily roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, whiskey, light smoke, a wee whiff of hops, a note of grapes? . Great balance, very complex. The various flavors swirl around one another is a delicious dance.
Full bodied, chewy, and barely carbonated. Drying finish, smooth, but with a cloying aspect that is annoying. No warming to speak of strangely.

PorterLambic, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage. 12oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 2 finger light coffee colored head with poor retention. Beer is pitch black but slightly thin. Lacing is stringy and spotty with good stick. Sticky thin legs. Solid.

Nose is cocoa powder, espresso beans, liquorice and dark and milk chocolate. Some creamy hop flavors too. Nice.

Opens cocoa, espresso, and mocha. Dark chocolate, roast, and liquorice in the middle with vanilla and a slight hop bitterness at the end. Finishes sticky and sweet molasses, brown sugar, and cocoa with a roasty, smoky aftertaste. Decent if a bit thin at times.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick and smooth in the mouth and goes down warm. Messy finish with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Pretty good. Impressive given the ABV.

A decent beer overall, I could see this being a go-to Imperial Stout. Worth aging just a touch to see what happens.

SpeedwayJim, Nov 06, 2013
Photo of Zachtheporter
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Zachtheporter, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of Stevedore
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Note: my personal scoring system goes in whole numbers only)

2012 vintage 12oz bottle with bottling date 279 Julian, drank in snifter today 2/5/13

Aroma- A crisp roasty sweetness remniscent of burnt sugar, with some chocolate and coffee in the nose which I have to work a bit for. Pretty average for an imperial stout. (3)

Colour- Black cola-colour pouring with a 2-3cm brown head that sticks around for a good five minutes. Lacing is persistent but spotty. (4)

Flavour- Bold chocolate and roasted black coffee. A little bit of vanilla as well as hints of smokiness. (4)

Mouthfeel- A nice thick body with ok carbonation. Nothing special. It runs a bit dry with a good amount of heat. Aftertaste is of burnt malt and black coffee but doesn't linger all that long. (4)

Overall- Above-average, good-tasting double stout that comes with fairly complex flavors. But it's running rather hot and I think some age will do it some good. I'll stash a few away for next winter. (4)

Stevedore, Feb 06, 2013
Photo of JohnnieNepal
4/5  rDev -3.4%

JohnnieNepal, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of bum732
3.05/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

S: Dry, roasty cocoa and coffee. Slight vanilla.

L: Thick, viscous and black. Tan head that dissipates quickly.

T: Very dry, roasty stout. Coffee and dry cocoa like flavors dominate. Slight coffee sweetness with slight dark fruits. Finishes quite dry with residual cocoa sweetness.

M: Medium full mouthfeel, medium low carbonation. Alcohol fairly well hidden.

A very dry, roasty RIS. Reminds me a lot of Old Rasputin. A nice change to a lot of sweet RIS's, but i feel like its a little one noted. Should be interesting what a little age does to this beer.

bum732, Nov 13, 2012
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,298 ratings.