Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 3,115 | Reviews: 620 | Display Reviews Only:
3.9/5 rDev -5.8%
A- Poured from bottle. Beer is jet black with slight opaqueness around the edges of the beer. A slight layer of brownish head rapidly dissipates.
S- Smell was subtle for me. Roasted malt, chocolate, and some coffee. Not terribly impressed with the smell.
T- Taste was of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt...a lot of roasted malt. This beer came across as very, very bitter. SN puts it at 60 IBU so it seems as though a lot of the bitterness is coming from the malt. I little bit to bitter for my taste when it comes to this style.
M- I did not feel the body to be as full as other reviews have stated. I felt it to be medium bodied, and on the dry side of this style.
O- A little disappointed with this beer. I was VERY VERY excited to give it a try as I am a big SN fan. I will be giving this another go in the near future, and then keeping a few bottle to try after its got some age on it.
I think UNDERWHELMING is how I would describe this beer.
EDIT - 11/20/2012
Just had Narwhal on tap at a local bar. They paid attention to glassware, and proper serving temp. I enjoyed this beer significantly more on tap. Still a tad on the bitter side of where I enjoy my Imperial Stouts.
11-16-2012 08:14:32 | More by Broden
4.2/5 rDev +1.4%
A- Pours pitch black with an enormous thick mocha colored head.
S- Roasted malt, chocolate malt, cocoa powder, bitter dark chocolate.
T- Very malty with roasty flavors coming through the most with chocolate malt. The middle to end has notes of bitter dark chocolate that lingers as an aftertaste. There is a noticeable hop bitterness in there as well, along with a slight coffee flavor.
M- Full bodied, heavy, but drinkable, medium carbonation, smooth and frothy.
O- I am actually surprised with how different this beer tastes than other RISs. Very complex combination of flavors that border on cluttered, but make it a unique offering.
11-16-2012 03:44:27 | More by stephenjmoore
4.25/5 rDev +2.7%
Bottle has a date of 285
A - Pours out thick deep dark brown, once in the glass it pitch black. Produces a nice finger worth of dark rich mocha head which dissipates rather fast leaving big bubbles along the glasses edge.
S - Right away I get a nice bold-sharp sweet bitter roast with dark chocolate, wood. No alcohol detected. A nice swirl of the beer in the glass really gets the aroma's going and is a must which helps release this beers nice bold nose. I could smell this all night!
T - Right away this one is creamy, with a rich dark roast, cocoa nibs, anise, slight raisins, bitterness in the finish that lingers. A rather nice sipper that delivers a massive flavor profile that keeps giving. Slight alcohol here but blends well with the rich flavors. Once I poured the yeast in it became more bold, and rather bitter. I suggest keep the last bit of yeast in the bottle.
M - This one is a full bodied smooth drinker, that does tingle the tongue from the bitterness. Carbonated well which keeps the flavors going over the palate. Some beers this full bodied leave a sticky residue but this one does not seem to.
O - I love SN and this one delivers. It is a sipper that is great in the cold weather season. It to bad it is hard to get a-hold of at this point in time. I believe this beer will become better with age because it has a pretty bitter aftertaste that kinda distracts from the dark flavors which I believe is from the hops. Also, this beer has some alcohol which will fade with age. It may get a higher rating when cellard for a while, but for now its just excellent. Cheers!
11-16-2012 00:05:23 | More by DrinkMoreBigBeers
4.18/5 rDev +1%
It's a really pretty stout. The head is a thick blanket of brown foam. Fine bubbles stick to the walls of the glass with each sip. The body is jet black. It's hard to see any color even at the edges of my glass. The aroma is full of chocolate and coffee. There's some caramel and roast beneath those initial notes. It smells rich and sweet. A touch of hops blends into the background. The taste is also quite good. Heavier on the roast and coffee than chocolate. Starts with lots of caramel and chocolate sweetness before the more bitter flavors take over. Mouthfeel is soft and full. Excellent. This is a great example of the style. I wish it was a bit more chocolatey and even less bitter, but I could see my score going up even higher upon subsequent tastings.
11-15-2012 05:35:41 | More by popery
4.05/5 rDev -2.2%
Poured into a goblet, there was a brief crest of mocha tinged dark tan foam that receded after a few minutes down to a creamy collar at the edge of the glass.
Deep roastiness in the aroma, slight ashy char, mild dry bakers chocolate, coffee.
Flavors follow suit, huge roasted malt, blackened and ashy. Bitter dark chocolate and mild coffee notes dominate. Long lasting flavors of roast and chocolate that linger into the aftertaste. As it warms, some hop greenery comes into the picture. Reminds me of new green shoots extending skyward post-forest fire. For being 10% it's fairly approachable for the style, though still a slow sipper. Very tasty and palate coating.
As with most Imperial Stouts, allow to warm up as much as possible to get the full range out of it.
11-15-2012 03:54:02 | More by emerge077
3.6/5 rDev -13%
Pours an opaque, nearly black with a short, quickly fading head. The color of the head is caramel with shades of mocha. A very nice looking beer. A shame the head dissipates so quickly. Usual dark roast malt and coffee aromas. Nothing remarkable or unique. Mouthfeel is viscous and creamy, helping the whole experience of the beer venture a little north of mediocrity. Flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, caramelized sugar, and plastic.
Addendum: as the beer warms it improves. Boldness emerges and becomes much more like a Russian Imperial Stout. A bit of a sour character that seems to accentuate the experience, but I wouldn't miss it if it weren't there. I feel the alcohol, so it must be there. I certainly don't taste it.
11-15-2012 02:36:54 | More by DocJitsu
3.78/5 rDev -8.7%
2012 bottling. Poured from a bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. There's a ton of carbonation here. I get a massive head about 3-4 fingers thick without even pouring it very harshly. Nice lacing as the head dies down. It's hard to nose this beer with all that foam, but I do get some nice roasted notes, espresso, and a touch of dark fruit.
The beer has a full body, creamy feel, and a very traditional RIS flavor profile. Big bready malt notes up front that quickly get bitter as roasty, burnt toast and fruit flavors join in. Lots of bitter coffee and chocolate in this one and very little sweetness, save for the front of the palate. The finish is quite long and satisfying and leaves a lingering roasty flavor.
Overall, I expected this beer to be average and I was pleasantly surprised. It is a well-constructed RIS, though just a little bitter for my taste.
11-14-2012 10:48:58 | More by deadonhisfeet
3.75/5 rDev -9.4%
A - From bottle to glass, pours chunky, inked body with a stained brown head. Melted lace.
S - Nothing overbearing, subtle caramel and malt, lightly toasted on the nose.
T - Paradoxical for a RIS. I actually enjoyed this beer at a colder temperature, in the first few sips. The taste of dark chocolate and caramel was very well-formed and crisp initially. Once the temp hit to standard drinking temps for an RIS, the haughtiness in the booze was almost overbearing, and a chalkiness hit the palate.
MF - Why describe? With this style, you can't fuck this up.
O - I'm in a bit of bind with this brew. The ABV sits between two of my favorite RIS (Ten Fidy and GD Yeti). You would think it would take some of the better qualities of both of these beers, but it fails. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the beer (It's a heavy stout, after all), but I will be aging a couple bottles just to see if maturity is what this beer needs all along.
11-14-2012 05:33:54 | More by genitempo
4/5 rDev -3.4%
A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger, light brown head of bubbly foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.
S - It smelled of dark chocolate and roasted malt. There was a touch of pine.
T - Great blend of dark chocolate, burnt molasses, toffee and roasted malt. A slight piney bitterness added balance.
M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.
O - This is a really nice Russian Imperial Stout.
11-14-2012 03:59:25 | More by zeff80
4.35/5 rDev +5.1%
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.
11-14-2012 03:37:02 | More by n2185
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,115 ratings.