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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: 9.66%
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 lastmango
3.6/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured pitch black with a 3 finger tan creamy head. Lots of lacing. Nose was very mild coffee and raisin. Taste was the same with a smokiness followed by the piney hops. Not as complex as I thought it was going to be. Perhaps I am having an off day. Medium carbonation and feel.

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Photo of glass_house
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque black like an imperial stout should. One finger of creamy off-white head. Aroma is heavy on roasted dark malts with a little burnt coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit.

Taste is heavy on the roasted malts with subtle fig and dark plum in the aftertaste. There are hints of coffee and chocolate, but much less so than many beers of this style. The roasted malt takes center stage. It's a bit of a one trick pony, but when that trick is really really good, that's not a bad thing. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and just slightly creamy. Coats the palate well. Virtually no noticeable alcohol. One of the smoothest 10%+ beers I've ever had.

There are more exciting and complex stouts out there, but this is super solid and never lets me down.

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Photo of puck1225
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a tall snifter. Dark brown, almost black . Th in brown head but nice curtain lacing. Dark chocolate taste with coffee and toasted almonds, with a noticeable hop taste. One of my favorite stouts! I look forward to it each year.

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Photo of mlockman
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am disappointed that neither my rating nor review for this brew were saved online. As such, I recall retrospectively that despite its high rating I was not impressed by this beer. While hop-flavor was present it was subdued given the hop-forward flavor profile of many of Sierra Nevada's other beers. Malt flavors were certainly present, but I found them to be one-note and and far from complex. This is a very good basic Russian Imperial Stout, but the flavor was not nuanced, and thus it was no more than that to me: basic. Perhaps with some barrel-aging or cellaring it takes on other characteristics?

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black with one finger of off white head. Smells sweet cola-like. Taste is very unusual for the style, a definite cola sweetness. Dark juicy fruit flavored, with a lot of carbonation. I like the juiciness, and no trace of alcohol.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look - Jet black, completely opaque, tan head
Smell - Chocolate, coffee, some toffee like sweetness, dark fruits
Taste - dark coffee/espresso, lots of chocolate, roasted malts
Feel - Thick, creamy, velvety....very nice!!

Overall - Impressed but Ten Fidy still reigns supreme.

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Photo of m0ntels
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark, bold, and strong. Really enjoyed this one and would go to a place specifically if they had this on tap again. Another winner from Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of Bone53
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Thick pour with a light brown colored head

Smell: Subtle chocolate and coffee, toffee, grains, smoky undertone

Taste: Balanced chocolate and coffee upfront, toffee midpalate, with a smoky finish along with piney hops

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium to light heavy body. Its sorta harsh and bitter and also pick up some of the alcohol

Overall: Im a bit disappointed with this one. It has some complexity to it, but overall the aromas and flavors are subtle and not in your face like the best in the style. It is also quite bitter for a RIS rather than smooth, and i definitely detect the 10.2% abv. Im going to cellar the other three to see if the flavors blend together and if the bitterness and alcohol presence mellows out

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Photo of Extol
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark as hell. Smell - very dark. Taste - dark chocolate and coffee. About all I get, but delicious and balanced. Overall - had on tap. Can't drink a lot but would get again.

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Photo of Bugcatcher
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Incredible. This has to be my new favorite stout. Great mouth feel just the right amount of alcohol comes through. Just a great brew thick creamy awesome flavor this one's a winner

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pkgd 11/25/14 into pint glass. Very dark; almost black. Chocolate-colored head that vanishes quickly. Taste is dark chocolate and coffee, with a little bite to finish. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium. Nice alcohol glow, but certainly not objectionable. Decent RIS, but not anything extraordinary.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, dated 8/17/15 (one month old). Pours a deep jet black, with a nice amount of nut-brown head that sustained itself for well over a minute. Aroma is clearly fresh, and yet different when cold vs warm: there were some strange smells going on when it began to warm, but I don't get them now, at room temperature. I also get the aroma of chocolate, backed by a definite booziness. The mouth-feel is very creamy and smooth. The taste is of dark malts, chocolate, and again, alcohol, and it seems well balanced.

I have enjoyed every Russian imperial stout I have ever tried and consider them to be my favorite style of beer; and as I like a number of beers from Sierra Nevada I have been really looking forward to trying this dark beauty. Yet, fresh, this beer is a bit of a disappointment to me, as I can't find much about it that separates it from the pack. Perhaps I was expecting too much. Still, it is clearly a solid RIS, and not bad for the price point ($10/4-pack). I look forward to seeing how this ages.

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Photo of Sound_Explorer
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I based these on 2015 version while having a 3yr vertical of 13, 14, & 15. It warms up to be rather smooth and a classic RIS. Happy to see a non-bba RIS for once. Based on the 13, could benefit from aging but still tasty this early. Definitely let it warm up of course.

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black as night, except nearly copper where it can be "thinned". Very thick, but fine dark tan head of decent retention. Dissipates quickly at first, but leaves an impervious film and a little lace. Roast aroma the strongest. Alcohol smell present, but surprisingly weak by comparison. Develops more into coffee or cocoa as head slowly dissipates. Coffee-like up front, increasing in acidity, followed by lasting sweetness (booze, molasses quality) soon blended with a smokey tartness as it settles in mouth. Black pepper in the finish and retro-olfaction, first noticed only after halfway gone, due to alcohol saturation of the palate, although it could still be from whatever hops were used. Only gets stronger from there, almost becoming floral or soapy. A winning combination of flavor sensations. Full-bodied, viscous, mildly astringent, teeth-sticking, medium level of fine sudsy carbonation. Faint warming throughout mouth and throat.

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Photo of CWO
4.91/5  rDev +18.6%
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 EdwardAbbey
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite Sierra Nevada beer, and easily better, to my mind, than the barrel-aged version (which mutes so much of what I love about it). The baker's cocoa is definitely the predominant note, followed by the dark roasted coffee. Some palates may find this harsh, but I think the flavor and feel of this one is unique and delicious. Just as important, it's a great value.

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Photo of dandandan79
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this was a great surprise, a excellent stout, great taste, strong and great aftertaste, chocolate taste.
picked it up last minute and and glad i did. will get again.

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Photo of zinklesmesh
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Delicious. Thick and strong. Sort of tastes like tootsie rolls with coffee mixed in. Big flavors in good balance. I don't normally like stouts, but this is an excellent brew.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with black chocolate notes is quite interesting. Taste is a nice mix of roasted malt with some black chocolate notes. Body is pretty full with nice creamy touch with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed overall with good mix of complexity and good drinkability.

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Photo of LaneMeyer
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Super thick and chewy, just how I like it. Bitter, roasted notes of coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, dark malt, and a touch of caramel. Sierra Nevada hit the nail on the head with this one. Best SN offering I've had to date. Will be going back for more.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12/2014 bottle into a tulip.

Dark, dark, dark. Not much of a head, nor much lacing. Aroma is milder than the flavor, which is big and bold. The flavor is classic RIS generally, with a little bit of hoppiness, and a fair bit of sweetness on the back end. The 10% ABV is pretty apparent, not in a bad way.

This is a huge beer, just what an RIS should be.

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
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 pat61
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl. L: Pours brilliant deep brown under a 1/2” very soft tan foam collar that grips the side of the glass. S: Coffee, dark dried fruit, roast, alcohol. T: Espresso, alcohol, dark dried fruit, suggestion of chocolate with a light caramel sweetness in the middle. The finish is long and dry with espresso overtones. F: Very creamy O: Beer stands out for creaminess and texture.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a nonic pint glass.
The appearance was a jet black color with a one finger off white to tan head that dissipated within less than about a minute. Light lacing glosses around the glass.
The smell starts off with a nice gentle roast subjugating light chocolate malts, delicate bitter piney hops and a light coffee to blend.
The taste was off the hook, as it blended the roast with the bitter hops and coffee to allow a gentle sweetness through the chocolate malts. Light bitter hops and chocolate in the aftertaste and lead into a dry finish.
The mouthfeel sat about a medium on the body. I'd say good carbonation, nothing overly pounding, but its there.
Overall, this was a well down RIS, but I have to admit, I'd go for Old Raspy over this just b/c there's less hops in that one.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, Black color with beige head. Aroma is roasted malty, chocolate and coffee, caramel, light dark fruits. Sweet and bitter taste like aroma. Medium oily body with soft carbonation.

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