Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

4,017 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,017
Reviews: 721
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 218
Gots: 826 | 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: 4,017 | Reviews: 721 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of leobageo
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Glass: Footed Pilsener

Appearance: Black, opaque with a solid tan head, rising to about 1cm, which takes about a 1min to dissipate. Followed by a fair lacing.

Smell: Definitely dark fruits, cocoa nibs, and light barely roasted coffee notes. Hops of the western US type.

Taste: Again the dark fruits, and cocoa nibs. However, the coffee and malts are more roasted on the taste. The bitterness comes from this, rather than the hops, as one would expect from a stout.

Mouthfeel: Similar to a slightly-watered syrup, but still creamy. Not as creamy as Stone's. No diacetyl. Slight carbonation.

Overall: Pretty decent value. Came in a four-pack, meaning you can share. Great for the season of stouts. If you like roasted malty notes, then this is good. I happen to be in that category.

Photo of Pahn
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into Captain Lawrence tulip.

Appearance: Long lasting frothy tan head. Several large lacing streaks. Black.

Smell: Cascade hops with an undercurrent of roasted malt. Straightforward, good. P.S. Apologies if the beer doesn't actually have Cascades in it. [edit: checking online shows me that Challenger hops were used, which--upon reading their characteristics--is a testament to Sierra Nevada's skill at using hops. They indeed do smell and taste like a citrusy version of Willamette / Northern Brewer. Great stuff]

Taste: Cocoa and roasted malt up front, underlying fruitiness in back, roasted malt bitterness in the finish (oily hop aftertaste). Flavor takes a long time to play itself out, which along with the almost-velvety mouthfeel makes every sip a delight. Solidly above average.

High ABV very well hidden--drinks so smooth that halfway through the glass you really feel a punch from the 10+% ABV. Great Winter beer, and while it doesn't wrench out as much flavor from all that alcohol as some other, superior beers (say, Hoppin Frog's BORIS), it does its job.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Creamy. Not as silken as Fritz and Ken's, but closer to that godly stout-feel than, say, Old Rasputin, which is humdrum in comparison. Moderate carbonation. Nice mild dryness at the end.

Overall: Great value. Well done feel, and a ton of flavor. For me, it comes off as a bit of a journeyman beer: straightforward cascade hops and roasted malt in the nose and most of the flavor, with some really exceptional mouthfeel and subtle estery flavor here and there.

Like Hoptimum and Bigfoot, a seasonal that should make value-minded beer drinkers very happy.

Photo of okcommuter
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of stakem
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a matching Sierra Nevada snifter. Big thanks go to Kegatron for gifting me with some of this. The brew pours black with a khaki colored head that froths up with more than a finger that is silky and paints the wall of the glass with a full webby pattern of lacing effect. When held to the light, the brew shows some ruby clarity faintly around the edges.

The aroma displays plenty of roast imparting faint notes of coffee, chocolate, earth, char and hints of citrus to fruity hops. The alcohol is present with a bit of fruity ester. When swirled, a bit of cheesiness and sulfur emerges with some mineral components. Overall though, this is a fine smelling brew for more than 10%.

The taste includes the previously mentioned dry roasted graininess that imparts flavors of coffee, and roasty earth. A bit leathery with the most mild touch of dark fruity alcohol notes. Some hop character is present giving this a touch of citrus and complimenting fruity to pine notes. The aftertaste has a bit of baker's chocolate included. As the brew warms up, that 10% alcohol starts to become readily noticeable with an almost neutral solvent burn across the tongue.

This is a medium bodied offering with a modest amount of carbonation. It is relatively smooth and easy drinking for something above 10%. I think Sierra Nevada was well overdue in putting a RIS into their regular lineup. This one fills the void in their catalog quite nicely. I would and will drink this one again when it is made available to me. Thank you for sharing Heath!

Photo of Buster
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of THECPJ
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of DRyan
2.93/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2012 Narwhal poured in a Guiness pint glass

A: Looks like you average Imperial Stout, or regular stout really. Has a nice dark head that receded slowly and left some lacing on the glass, but not really as much as I would expect from a IS
S: There's something about the scent I really don't get along with. It's got the roasty heavy malty smells I expect from an IS, but there's something else there I really can't put my finger on that is really not working for me.
T: It's a bit different, maybe more aggressively hopped than your average stout. According to SN, "Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke," but all I really got was the roasted grain and maybe a bit of a hint of coffee, as well as the hop bitterness
M: A bit thin for a stout really, but not bad
D: This is not a bad beer, but not a great one either. For the price, and with the other two entries in the "High Gravity" series from SN that I really like a lot, I expected a lot more from it.

Photo of randylangford
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of BeerManDan
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a thick black brew, with a little dark tan foam and no lace.

The smell of deep roasted malts and dark roasted sweet coffee, with a hint of alcoholic chocolate, filled the nose with a pleasant alcoholic aroma.

The flavor was of a slightly bitter coffee and roasted malts taste, with a hint of dark chocolate on the finish. This Russian Imperial Stout has a long pleasant aftertaste. Not overly bitter and the high alcohol and flavors have a very pleasant taste.

I'm back for a case next time out to BEVMO.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of BeerThursdays
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Brunite
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black as the night with a large, dark tan head.
Nose shows chocolate, heavy roast, soft coffee. Also some light booze and a hint of wood smoke.
Heavy roasted flavours too, some chocolate and a fair bit of booze.
Nice creamy carbonation.
Would be even better if the booze wasn't so full-on.

Photo of YogiBeer
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of CORKSCREWFISH
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of patm1986
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of djaeon
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Photo of natescape
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of SeaOfShells
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of jhb138
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of jhillwastaken
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of doppelmeup
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 4,017 ratings.