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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

826 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 826
Hads: 4,676
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 22.95%
Wants: 269
Gots: 1,244 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 826 | Hads: 4,676
Photo of zhewitt98
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%

This beer is very similar to Old Rasputin however the ABV gives it a slight edge that once you finish the beer, you're left feeling some warmth in your body.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: [4.00] Pours a jet black. Aggressive pour forms a 1/4 finger tan head. The head recedes quickly leaving only wisps of foam on the surface. The bottle lists the ABV (10.2%) and the born on date (8/13/14). The born on date is white print on the black label (+1 guys!)

S: [3.00] On the nose I get mostly dark fruits. There are hints of the 10% alcohol too.

T: [4.50] I am hit with nicely charred malts. The taste is mellow all the way across. There is no hint of any alcohol. The front is smooth and sweet and it finishes with the bitter chocolate taste. The dark fruits from the nose are also there.

M: [4.50] I was struck by how smooth the first sip was. Mice creamy body with light carbonation.

O: [4.25] This beer has a lot going on in the taste. Coffee, chocolate, malty sweetness - some bitterness. It is a great melding of flavors. The nose wasn't that pronounced - which surprised me. However, the taste and the smooth body made up for it.

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Photo of Redneckwine
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into tulip

Appearance - Pitch black and not a ray of light makes it through the abyss. One finger dark beige head sticks around as a wispy cap and leaves nice lazing.

Smell - Roasty, earthy malts, mild spicy licorice, touch of bittersweet cocoa, a whiff of alcohol is definitely pulling through

Taste - Dark roasted malts kick it off with ample vinous fruitiness and charred grain, an estery, spicy alcoholic note complements the malts and warms the throat, bittersweet cocoa, anise/licorice notes, and a bit of grassy/earthy hops round it all out. Starts fairly sweet but finishes fairly dry with a restrained bitterness and last flavor that coats the mouth. Flavor really pops as it warms and opens up.

Feel - This is pretty much a monster beer: full bodied and creamy smooth, yet doesn't feel too heavy (like you're drinking an entire meal), and I like that. Carbonation is gentle yet prevalent, carrying the big body along nicely.

Overall - Awesome stout. It has some very interesting fruity and notes that you don't see in a lot of other imperial stouts, and is really dangerously drinkable. It just doesn't feel all that heavy and "chewy", like drinking your dinner, which, while some may disapprove of, I enjoy.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Bottle at Beer Crazy.
After a terrible 6 weeks for my family I decided it was beer treat time.
The beer is so dark that Neil deGrasse Tyson might mistake it for a black hole. The very edges of my Celebrator stout glass show a hint of ruby.
The aroma is prominent with cocoa.
The taste is somewhat confusing. I can pick up on the density of it but not the individual components. There's the heavy malt base and everything else blends together, but in an awesome way.
The body is a good level of thickness with a tiny amount of carbonation. Smooth on the finish.
This beer is very likeable, but I was a bit disappointed by the flavors all blending into one compination that I just could not decipher. I would get this again but it's meant to be enjoyed in small gulps.

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Photo of Flashy
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Purchased 11/12/14 at local 7-11 for $9.99 a four pack.
Appearance: Pours darker then the Mines of Moria.
Body: Ok, prefer this type of beer to be a bit thicker.
Price: Spot on, thanks again Sierra Nevada for never ripping anyone off- ever for decades now.
Taste: Bit mild, don't taste anything specific flavors because I am not a super taster and taste nothing other then a great stout.
Overall: Great, great stout at a great, great price. A go to beer for the ages.

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Photo of OrangeMen
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

3 Months Age

Appearance- Pours a deep black color, completely opaque. One finger thick, medium tan head, mostly bubbly, slight frothiness. Slight alcohol legs on sides of glass.
Aroma- Almost lacks in aroma overall, big fusel notes, almost a grainy alcohol smell. Lots of bitterness, maybe some bitter cocoa and charred malts there.
Taste- Much more bitter cocoa in the taste, some charred malt as well, but still a ton of boozy alcohol notes. Slight sweeter chocolate, but mainly a bitter profile from charred malt, cocoa, and hops.
Feel- Medium mouthfeel, only slightly creamy. Slightly sticky and a modest amount of carbonation.
Overall- Tough one to wrap my arms around, almost hard to get around the fusel alcohol profile in the aroma and smell. An intensly bitter beer, from the malt profile, hops, down to the hot alcohol notes. There is a warmer and sweeter note as the beer warms up in the aftertaste, almost chocolatey vanilla, but the bitterness still remains. This beer begs to be aged.

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Photo of Professor_Yeesh
4.92/5  rDev +18.8%
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 BeerWizard
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

First of all, the bottle imagery is badass. I mean a narwhal is like my second favorite kind of whale, OMG! Seriously though, narwhals are badasses, and so is this beer. Pours completely opaque black - like a very deep, briny ocean, this beer does not let light through. Has a small, short lived, dark brown head. Clocks in at a 10.2, and the aroma doesn't hide it. Definitely detectable alcohol in the nose, with a deeper nuttiness and malt, choco-caramel, and other dark, sweet things. Taste reflects all that, and is almost bridging into a liquor-filled chocolate cordial. Really nice and I'd for sure get this again.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%

Considering this is relatively easy to get and the price is reasonable I will have to say this is one of the better RIS's I have had. I like to consider everything in my numbering. Sometimes it does not only include the taste of the beer. Everything is subjective.

Appearance: Dark as night, nice lacing once head settles, which is fairly quick. Caramel lacing and head in that regard.

Aroma: Chocolate, malts, some coffee and vanilla, nice balance of aroma's.

Taste: Very pleasant, pretty close to what they describe on the bottle. I got a lot of vanilla out of this one and caramel, but the chocolate dominates more than anything else. What I did like about this one is it is not overly licorice in flavor profile. That has killed a lot of well regarded stouts for me over the years. This one is damn good and I have a BA version of this waiting on me, I just have to wait until the right moment for that one.

Overall: Where I live its easy to find, I purchased this one from a local grocery store chain for $10. It is well worth that considering everything, and that is why I have become a SN fan. Anyway, the store also had Snow pack, Celebration, and all the other 12 packs on sale for $12.99, so I may be heading back there to stock up!

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Photo of richj1970
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 32 oz growler into snifter,

A: Pours dark black with one to two finger mocha colored head that settles quickly and little to no lacing.

S: Milk chocolate, baked bread, and light coffee notes.

T: Semi-sweet chocolate morsels, and roasted coffee beans.

M: Full bodied and creamy texture. Very easy drinking.

O: This is a wonderful stout. Nice creamy mouthfeel, and chocolate notes. I could crush this all day, and looking forward to trying the barrel aged version.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Pours a dark opaque black with a dark brown head that thins out but never quite disappears. Nice lacing some of which sticks to the glass and some of which glides back in.

Smell – Roasted malts, chocolate, licorice, and molasses, and cola.

Taste – Malts and chocolate. Fairly simple, but good.

Mouthfeel – Thick, creamy, medium carbonation, and very smooth.

Drinkability – An easy drinking stout, that goes down well for 10.2%abv. I prefer stouts with a touch more alcohol, but this is nice.

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Photo of peensteen
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on cask at Cask Days 2014 in Toronto

Jet black colour, ring of tan head with a bit of lace. Smell is roasty, lots of chocolate and coffee, well hopped with some earthy notes, light dark fruit in the periphery. Taste starts out with some dark fruit, light roast with some bitter hop mid palate, chocolate and coffee flavours linger into the finish. Light carbonation, medium-full body, good feel. A solid imperial stout, nothing groundbreaking but a nice and flavourful stout that is a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of anthony-martinez
4/5  rDev -3.4%

i accident bought this brew - narwhal imperial stout along with other brews IPA & Double IPA. i drank this brew first and i kinda like bitter-coffey kind. it hit my tongue smooth and strong kick on end note. i also ate Heresy chocolate nuts bar during tasting it. great beer for stout category

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Photo of Brackh
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours super black with little to no head. Smells dark and fruity. Raisins maybe? Tasted chocolate and roasted. Changed the longer I sipped. You can taste the alcohol for sure. Not a bad thing though. Not the same as some other Imperial Stouts that I have had. Delicious though.

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Photo of BradC
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Pours opaque black with a head that quickly fades and leaves some nice Lacing. Smells of roasted grains, some dark raisin aroma. Tastes of roasted grain, slight chocolate notes, a little coffee. Not as thick as I expected, pretty easy drinking and the high ABV is well hidden. Overall, good Imperial stout, would buy again.

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Photo of uvachief
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Draft. Deep brown, almost black with about a 1/2 finger of head that dissipated quickly. Smells of chocolate, bread and roasted grains. Little coffee. Surprisingly light in the mouth. Not as creamy as you would expect. Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malts and light coffee. Not espresso. Not thick. Not what I was expecting. It is light and good. Drinkable. Doesn't feel like a high ABV but it is. Good imperial stout but lighter than I wanted. I like mine thick and creamy.

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Photo of RocketRaccoon88
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

The first time I tried this was because my friend said you've got to try this! It's got a narwhal on he front! A freaking narwhal! So I got it and had it and I got a six pack lol. This is an awesome brew! Nice dark and tasty down to the last drop.

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Photo of skinny_mcginley
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours a midnight black with coffee colored head that lingers for awhile. This was very drinkable and not too boozy. Smelled of chocolate and roasted malts with a hint of coffee and vanilla. Tasted the same. A very nice beer!

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Photo of Hauckstadtjr00
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Taste test 2013 vs 2014
Both pour nicely black with a thick tan head that sticks around for a little bit. Eventually fades into nothing on top.
2014- Doesnt have too strong aroma compared to the 2013. Slightly piney with cacao and bakers chocolate notes. Deep malty aroma shines through a bit.
2013- WOW!!! Boozy and delicious! This shit kicks you in the face with super pleasant and deep complex alcohol notes with deep deep cacao and roasted malt flavour. This stuff smells incredible.
2014-Wow the piney flavour is very prominent especially in comparison. Very hoppy for an imperial stout but still has a lot of the nice cacao and roasted notes. Very balanced and pretty drinkable for something of this percentage.
2013- BAMM!! Same thing as the smell just flows across your tongue like the godly beverage beer is supposed to. Strong, boozy and roasted cacao and coffee flavours all blend together to make a damn good experience.
Overall I liked the year old one more. Though I had not realized the piney character being so strong last year also given the factor of how much my palate has changed which I know it has a lot. The fresh one is very good and a nice imperial stout to have and reasonably priced too. But if you have the means I strongly recommend giving that a try because its well worth it.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%

Kind of like shamu doing the backstroke, I'd put this just a tick below "outstanding," status, but just barely. It's sumo status, but it's more like a featherweight sumo. A bit too light, a bit too lackluster... It has all those nice chocolate, toffee, rich notes that any player would like in a stout, but it's a bit thin and insipid.

Close, but, well, half of the cigar, I guess.

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Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Bottled on 07/31/14:

Pours black with a creamy brown head that has nice retention for the style/abv. Spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of rich chocolate, toffee, espresso beans and molasses.

The taste follows the nose. The sweet chocolate and toffee/caramel is balanced by a light-to-medium coffee roast. Alcohol is very well-integrated. It has a robust finish.

It is rich and full-bodied, but not too thick.

This is a wonderful, dangerously drinkable Imperial Stout! Very well-made and enjoyable!

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Brown bottle with pry-off cap and bottled on "07/31/14". Poured into a snifter

Appearance: Pours black with 1/2 finger of tan head

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate, and cocoa

Taste: Similar to the aroma with mostly roasted malts and licorice and cocoa, with slight alcohol warmth

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied

Overall: A great representation of the imperial stout style. All the roasted flavors are present and has great balance. Theres little bit of alcohol but not overpowering.

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Photo of EHopkinsi
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

Brewed 31 July 2014, according to the bottle.

Poured an unbelievably thick black. When held up in front of a light, the light did not shine through! One and a half finger caramel-colored head faded fairly quickly. Not a lot of aroma, surprisingly. Beer had pleasing amount of taste, caramel and malts, with a slight alcohol "burn" on the finish. Not massive, though. You know you have a stout, but it isn't slapping you upside the head. An attribute that makes the 10.2 ABV prone to sneak up on you. Alcohol taste faded as beer warmed. This beer has absolutely the best mouthfeel of any beer I have ever had; a wonderful thick blanket of creamy malty caramel that gets even creamier as you savor it. A fantastic imperial stout, and I am very much looking forward to the three that are left!

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Photo of Bernerdawg
4.9/5  rDev +18.4%

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 PacNWDad
4/5  rDev -3.4%

On draft at Chuck's 85th St. Thin, meager head, with some lace as you drink. Very dark, inky, opaque. Aroma is coffee, smoked malt, raisins, fig, molasses, some herbal notes from the hops. Sips bitter, a bit green, then sweet malt into the finish. Some hot alcohol flash, drinks thick, finishes medium. Overall very good, could be exceptional with some more aging on it.

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 826 ratings.