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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.

3,294 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,294
Reviews: 635
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.66%
Wants: 158
Gots: 524 | FT: 33
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: 3,294 | Reviews: 635 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of musicman7070
4/5  rDev -3.4%

musicman7070, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours black/very dark brown, topped with a couple fingers of rich mocha head. This retains with a smooth ½ finger, leaving back a robust and sudsy looking cascade of patchy lacing. The aroma smells of chocolate fudge, coffee, dark cherries, a touch of licorice and some spicy sweetness from the alcohol. This smells delicious.

The taste is pretty aggressive with flavor. Bitter citric hops spread out, mingling with sweet notes of cocoa and caramel, before things segue into ripe dark fruit across the back. Roasted coffee character is scattered throughout, leaving zippy espresso on the finish and then finally a deep lingering charred feel. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a firm prickliness that is overlaid on top of a slick chewiness underneath. You get just the right amount of beefy warmth from that 10% ABV here, which hangs just a touch of lingering fusel spice and sweetness on the tongue after each sip.

For an off-the-shelf and reasonably priced RIS from a major brewery, this was pretty damn solid! There is lots of flavor and complexity here and this just feels like it’s going to age marvelously over the years. I need to grab some more of this for the cellar before it’s gone.

Kegatron, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of inlimbo77
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8oz taster pour
Mini pint glass
Two Stones Pub, Newark, DE

A: This pours out a completely dark black color. No light getting through. Thin layer of tan head that hangs around for a while. Some lacing bits. Getting some alcohol feet, but harder to see on this little pint glass.

S: Sweet and Dark chocolate on the nose. Some nice roasted malts and coffee. Very pleasant stout character.

T: Big roast character. Dark chocolate. Creamy flavors.

M: Full bodied. Nice and creamy/oily mouthfeel. Easy to drink.

inlimbo77, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of 1234Jack
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Finally ponied up the $10 for the 4-pack for a Christmas party.

That ABV is pretty insane.

Label art is awesome.

Sweet malt smell out of bottle.

Poured into glass, head is brown, modest but present.

Colors are black with hint of reddish tinge at the bottom of the glass.

Smell out of glass is sweet malt.

First taste is chocolate coffee.

Smooth feel. Later bitterness near back of mouth. The alcohol could be overpowering, but I think the nuttiness reels it in, Feels thick with out being too thick. The bubbles feel micro. Seems to suggest a long time in the carbonation stage? The carbonation seems more infused with the beer. Maybe this is just an effect of the thickness of the drink.

I understand this is an Imperial Stout, and I know how well stouts are loved on this site, but it's not my favorite style. I can't give this a 5 until I try more stouts. I still like Hopworks Belgian Style Abbey and Optimator better...

1234Jack, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of RandyBoBandy
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

RandyBoBandy, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of PaulUH
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

PaulUH, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of Eriehle
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Eriehle, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of AlphaRanger
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

AlphaRanger, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of sourgrass
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

sourgrass, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of gmcsierra91
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

gmcsierra91, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of nick1179
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

nick1179, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of sethmeister
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as a pirate heart with a fathoms-deep creamy tan head. Soapy lace.

Scent is strong coffee, cocoa, black licorice, charcoal. A leafy hop note.

Taste is dark roast and bitter chocolate with a touch of mocha and milk chocolate. A hint of black licorice; very subtle. Bold roasted and charred flavors. Earthy and spicy hops and a solid hop bitterness on the finish. Just a touch of warming.

Mouth is massive, soft and voluptuous with an oily feel.

Superb drinkability especially considering the high ABV.

A behemoth RIS worthy of the Sierra Nevada name.

sethmeister, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico's in VA. Pours jet black with a nice and dense tan head. Nose of sweet charcoal, coffee and chocolate. Flavors of a mocha forward stout with a fair bit of roast, dark nuts, and chocolate. Nice finish of bitter roasted coffee and hop bitterness which helps give it some length. This is a nice and complex stout from Sierra Nevada. A six pack of this is very reasonably priced as well. Welcome, Narwhal.

CuriousMonk, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of FUwolfpacker
4/5  rDev -3.4%

FUwolfpacker, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of blp
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

blp, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of SDG1070
4/5  rDev -3.4%

SDG1070, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of BierStein711
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Narwhal stout was a very delightful brew! It has a high abv that is quite noticeable!

Appearance: jet black, four finger burnt tan head.

Smells: Oak, booze, roasted malt, hop, more booze at the finish with the bite

Taste: Wood, booze, roasted malt, coffee, baking chocolate and something else, but I would have to say this is a close cousin of Old Rasputin!

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth!

Overall, this is an outstanding beer, but I'm all for old raspy!

BierStein711, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of tastymug
4/5  rDev -3.4%

tastymug, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of JSkone09
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

JSkone09, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of CWhite
4/5  rDev -3.4%

CWhite, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of Fatehunter
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Off the tap, pitch black with minimal head.
Smell is a strong roasted and caramel malt. Rich and nice.
Taste is bold, chocolate and coffee. Balanced though.
Thick texture with low carbonation and heavy body.
Really hits the spot for an imperial stout.

Fatehunter, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of riversider76
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poura a dark brown with a nice tan head. Excellent retention, and laceing. Aroma is of dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Body is thick and creamy, with a bit of carbonation. Taste is of dark semi sweet chocolate, and roasted coffee. This is an excellent version of this style. A must try.

riversider76, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of brother_kenneth
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deeply black and fairly thick, with a nice amount of tan colored head. This dissipates rather quickly, although a minimal amount remains through the end.

S- Right up front are big notes of dark roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate. There is even a bit of caramel or toffee in the nose, along with the barely noticeable alcohol.

T- Wow, super roasty! This is not a sweet imperial stout by any means. Main thing here is bitter, dark chocolate (really, really dark) and plenty of roasted, burnt malt character. There is also a hint of booze on the back end. Medium body, creamy, and just barely carbonated -- excellent mouth feel.

O- This is an impressive effort from one of my favorite "go-to" breweries. It is a huge imperial stout that I suspect would even do well in the cellar. I won't be able to find out though, because I drank all of mine!

brother_kenneth, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of jspaner
4/5  rDev -3.4%

jspaner, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of rvajohn
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

rvajohn, Dec 24, 2012
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,294 ratings.