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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

2,862 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2862
Reviews: 605
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.69%


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: 2,862 | Reviews: 605 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of beerandcycling88
beerandcycling88

Washington

4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From notes
Poured from a cool looking 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A Pours a nice black with a mocha head that has great retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S Lots of coffee and milk chocolate and not too much else.

T By far the best part of this one. Lots of milk and dark chocolate backed up by lots of coffee and some pine like hops in the background.

M A bit thin but still good.

Overall this is an excellent non barrel aged imperial stout by Sierra Nevada that is well worth seeking out. I just wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 21:10:08 | More by beerandcycling88
Photo of Act25
Act25

New Jersey

4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Massive. Up there with all the best. Right now my favorite, and you could not know which 2x stout is best until you taste test.

Appearance: Pours an energetic black, with a tan head they mounds and then lasts and leaves rills and contours as it falls, leaving also behind spidery rings of lace. Best looking.

Smell: Dark pit fruit soaked in coffee and liquore, skewered on top of charcoal fire.

Taste: Follows the smell, so that the roast and plum/cherry flavors emerge after a chocolate coating. Much complexity and ancient church like flavors, incense, old wool, old wood, wet wool. Lovely bitterness paints the tongue keeping it an unsugared coffee like experience, along with some licorice and alcohol - but like an ancient after dinner drink. Chartreuse like.

Mouthfeel: Warm, full, bitter, great bitter roasty finish, leaves you in a kissy place. Warming.

Overall: My current favorite 2x stout. A must try. Accessible. Sierra scores.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 23:15:47 | More by Act25
Photo of JayS2629
JayS2629

Alabama

4.54/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black with a nice two finger, creamy head. The aroma had a perfect balance of dark chocolate and coffee notes with hints of dark fruit and licorice. The flavor followed with a balanced earthy hops against a background of mocha and notes of vanilla and dates. The mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Rich, deep, and balanced. Nothing super complex, but perfect balance. Excellent standard example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 05:45:52 | More by JayS2629
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle, 2012 batch with a stamp of 2279210:52. Sampled on December 29, 2012.

The pour is very dark brown to black but under the light there is this kind of maroon tint. The moderate tan head is silky and soft and settles down after a few moments. There is a lot of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is of dark malts with coffee esters and a vague hop bitterness hanging around in the background.

The body is bold and smooth.

The taste begins with dark malts and yeast with a resounding bitterness balancing it off at the end. The bitterness lingers and burns slightly but the alcohol is well-integrated. This is a highly recommended stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 20:28:56 | More by puboflyons
Photo of BigCheese
BigCheese

Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. About 2.5 months old. Served a bit below room temp.

A: Pours straight black, a thin but thick light brown head forms and sticks around for a few minutes. No real laving.

S: MMM. Dark Coco, espresso, raisins, maybe some vanilla. Pretty aromatic out of the bottle, enticing.

T: Not as viscous as I would have thought. A mix of dark coco nibs and espesso, some vanilla oak and maybe even coconut. Some caramel maltiness linges on palate. There seems to be some substantial hops trying to fight through, cascade perhaps, something with a very slight hint of pine. Primarily chocolate, with some cherries and honey too. A little bit of heat, but not much.

M: Super thick mouthfeel. Real chewy, very heavy, very creamy. One of the richest bodied beers I've ever had. Low carbonation.

O: A really smooth velvety brew, definitely well executed, I'd love to see how this ages. A great sipper to have on a cold winter night. Probably the best value RIS I've had to date. I will have to buy this again to drink and cellar. Try it if you can, a real winner from SN.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 02:50:57 | More by BigCheese
Photo of djaeon
djaeon

California

4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 01:47:53 | More by djaeon
Photo of jjboesen
jjboesen

Maryland

4.51/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Named after the horned cetacean - that's a whale for you Bud drinkers - this is a well made Imperial Stout that combines great taste with a smooth body. It opens in a swift rush of thick beige foam that subsides into a foreboding body of tar colored liquid. There is a pleasant nose of coffee ground that wonderfully supplements the semi-sweet dollop of baker's chocolate and burnt toast. Include a moderately dry smoothness to tingle upon the palate and you've good one velvet elixir.

While it may not be the greatest imperial stout out there, it is still a damn good one and one that must be tried.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 01:06:42 | More by jjboesen
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver

California

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured into a sifter black as night with a slightly frothy deep tan head with excellent retention. it pours like a whale of a beer
S: smells of dark roast malt, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and anise. smells incredible
T: flavors of charred wood, dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, burnt sugars, dark roasted malt, slight oily hop presence. swallow brings more huge flavors of roast malt, a bit of anise and an espresso finish
M: thick and nearly chewy with a soft carbonation that struggles against the viscosity of the beer
O: It's enornous, it's velvety smooth and it doesn't punch you in the mouth but it can probably put you down after a few. alcohol is very well hidden. This beer is absolutely phenomenal and a steal at the price point it sells for. Buy it and then buy some more to keep in the back of the fridge for a few years. I want this beer in a bourbon barrel!

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 04:52:53 | More by SHODriver
Photo of omniscientcause
omniscientcause

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, this is very dark, thick, leaving great lacing on my snifter.

The smell is potent, I poured it walked away to start cooking dinner and I could smell it from 15 feet away.

Roasted malt with bits of graham cracker, dark chocolate, alcohol, and piney hops (the best kind of hops). Starts off fairly sweet with some hints of dark chocolate and molasses and a rather smooth finish.

As others have said the alcohol is masked very well, and thus is very drinkable.

I will be picking up as much of this as I can at 9.99 a 4pk this is a great buy.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2012 03:18:16 | More by omniscientcause
Photo of sniper061
sniper061

New York

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured into a snifter. This beer is black, like a moonless night, kinda black
S: smells of dark roast malt, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, you can also smell leather. which paired nicely with a dark cigar
T: flavors of charred wood, dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, burnt sugars, dark roasted malt, slight oily hop presence. swallow brings more huge flavors of roast malt and an espresso finish
M: thick beer with a nice mouthfeel. It coats your tongue like a warm friendly blanket.
O: It's enornous, it's velvety smooth and it doesn't punch you in the mouth but it can probably put you down after a few. alcohol is very well hidden. This beer is absolutely phenomenal and a steal at the price point it sells for.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 11:46:56 | More by sniper061
Photo of GPHarris
GPHarris

Alabama

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a one finger thick creamy coffee-colored head into a snifter that left great lacing throughout. the body was dark black.
s - chocolate, coffee with a hint of piney hops.
t - roasted coffee, burnt chocolate, piney hops.
m - thick and viscous.
o - another terrific west coast take on the RIS. really loved this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2012 16:49:56 | More by GPHarris
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours an inky jet black body with a dark coco tan head of cream that last as a thick foam and sticks to the glass with each sip. There is a few random bubbles that can be spotted in that abyss.

S- The inky but mellow deep charcoal aroma blends with black roasted malt and some brewer’s licorice note blend in the finish. It is a full aroma even during the pour.

T- The green wood taste gives way to a much larger black roasted malt flavor that is full and creamy. There is a slightly dry finish with a nice balance of black malt bitterness and perhaps some minty woody hops bitterness as part of that. The rich mellow but deep dark malt flavors linger in the dry finish along with the softer bitterness. As the beer opens up there are some dark graham malt flavors and brewer’s licorice flavors that come through aswell.

M- The medium-full mouthfeel has a nice creamy texture and an alcohol warmth that compliments the big beer.

O- This beer has a big complex rich flavor but it is very well blended. The alcohol offers a nice support to the big flavors and texture. It taste great now and I can’t think of a reason it would need any age. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 21:15:07 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of dngilb
dngilb

Oklahoma

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is what I taste:
Coffee, chocolate, leather, vanilla, citrus, white pepper, golden kiwi skin, bergamot, zinc lozenge.

Mouthfeel: it's at the height of my viscosity tolerance level. It's not very carbonated, but it tingles the tongue nicely. It's more drinkable than many of the other Imperial Stouts. Some imp stouts I have a hard time drinking 12oz... I can finish this one, which is a plus in my book.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2013 02:33:12 | More by dngilb
Photo of deebo
deebo

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 version that has been sitting in my fridge since November. Poured into a snifter this brew comes out of the bottle looking like motor oil topped with a dark tan thick head 1 finger wide with good lacing. Aromas of chocolate and roasted malt. Fairly simple but delicious. Taste is also chocolately with some nice roasted slightly bitter malt. A rather thick yet smooth mouthfeel. Really clean for a 10%+ beer. This is a fantastic RIS. Favorite beer from Sierra Nevada

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2013 03:08:23 | More by deebo
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Jet black with a creamy, express colored head that has a good long retention period.

S: A solid roast with some licorice, moderate coffee and light citrus hop aroma. There is a low caramel malt sweetness and a light alcohol sweetness as well.

T: A huge malty flavor with rich dark flavors of roast, coffee and caramel along with a moderate sweetness. There are some underling burnt sugar and slight charcoal in there as well. The citrus hops flavors and bitterness are at a medium level. The balance is about equal between the bitterness and sweetness and almost out to a medium finish. The hops bitterness lingers a bit an edges out the dark roast flavors.

M: A full bodied beer with a moderately-strong level of carbonation.

O: Rich and full with equally strong malt and hops character; simply an excellent beer. I'm hoping this will be easy to find than Night Stalker where I live because Narwhal is running neck and neck with it as my favorite Imperial Stout. There will have to be a side by side tasting to for me to call a winner though.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2013 00:58:29 | More by MadScientist
Photo of MadCat
MadCat

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black with a good dark brown head, leaves good lacing

Smell: Nice roasted malts, coffee, and a little dark chocolate

Taste: Starts off with that great stout taste of roasted malts. Next you get some coffee and dark chocolate. Then a little bit of hop bitterness

Mouthfeel: Full body, medium carbonation

Overall: Fantastic brew. Will have to pick up this every year and age some.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 01:19:21 | More by MadCat
Photo of Jerone
Jerone

Florida

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very dark, viscous used motor oil, milk chocolate colored finger and a half head that fades but still leaves a bit of foam, leaves some lacing behind.

S - Yum, dark chocolate, coffee, and dark roasted malt with a touch of alcohol in a good way.

T - Bam, lots of flavor and what I love about stouts. Dark chocolate and some coffee flavor with slight hints of dark fruits as it gets closer to room temp (65). Has some sweetness but not too much, very lovely stout.

M - Great mouthfeel, low carbonation, heavy body, slightly viscous.

O - Great beer overall and highly recommended. SN keeps on making high quality beers and this one actually has little to no hop flavor :D

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 18:25:36 | More by Jerone
Photo of ISmith87
ISmith87

Arizona

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle.

A - Beer is a dark dark brown/black with a half finger of dark tan head at first that disappears pretty quickly to leave a nice thin film of dark tan bubbles.

S - Smells like milk chocolate/caramel. Some creamy vanilla hints in there too. Coffee/Espresso.

T - Big chocolate and coffee at first. Nice roasted flavor to it throughout. Leaves a roasted/almost smoky after taste.

M - Medium-heavy beer. Alcohol pretty much completely hidden @ 10.2%. Roasted/smoky aftertaste.

O - Great beer. Definitely up there with Stone Imperial Russian Stout. Not as good as Stone Espresso Russian Imperial Stout or Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. For the price (8-9 dollars a four pack) this could be a great winter beer if I still lived back in Michigan, but I'll drink it in the Arizona heat too. I'll have to try Old Rasputin again to compare, but for the price from what I remember this could very well be a permanent replacement for it.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 06:28:22 | More by ISmith87
Photo of SHerninko
SHerninko

Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Rare here on the East Coast, but have one via a trade. Enjoyed while watching the new era of Eagles football. :-)
This is a world class brew. Sierra Nevada does not disappoint and are very consistent. This one is dark, smooth, creamy. Hints of chocolate and some coffee. This regular stout is one of the best non-flavored and non-barrel aged that I've had.
This one is legit. Malt and stout heads should seek it out. Nothing but praise.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2013 01:33:11 | More by SHerninko
Photo of jkshield
jkshield

California

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: what a deep black color. when held up to the light it makes it look almost like a black marble because of its depth. There was also a decent size head of about a cm, which I like for my stouts

S: A blend of a sweet Carmely taste followed by a strong scent of roast coffee or espresso. It is hard to smell the hops but they are just lightly present with a piney scent.

T: first i taste a well rounded flavor of deep roasted malts and coffee. The intensity of the nose is then followed by a softer carmel and toffee notes concluded by a slight piney hop aroma. I was quite impressed how good it tasted out of a bottle, since stouts usually have a distinct alcoholic after taste when not off tap. This beer only had a slight alcoholic afterwards, which is amazing for the fact that it is 10.2 %

M: I love the way this beer goes down the throat. I can see that some people might find it a little carbonated for a stout, but i like the carbonation becuase it helps move along the taste from the bitter beginnings to that of a soft tone, by which time the carbonation is gone and all that is left is the sweet carmel and toffee flavor

O: I love imperial Stouts and the narwhal is probably one of my favorite. might even be better than old rasputin, but as all intelligent beer drinkers know they only way to tell how good a stout really is, is by having it on tap. Until that time i'm surprised how well it tastes out of the bottle. Definitely will have to buy it again if i can find it

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2013 02:44:12 | More by jkshield
Photo of Arithmeticus
Arithmeticus

Maryland

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in ribbed ale glass

A: solid black; thin head; good lacing;
S: good classic stout aroma: dark malt, anise
T: amazingly more sophisticated than the straightforward aroma; very boozy, complex; cocoa; smooth and sweet; licorice; dark chocolate

Really amazing imperial stout; quite different from other stouts I've had

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 04:53:52 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of MoorBeerPlz
MoorBeerPlz

California

4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter glass…

On the pour, viscous black liquid that built a 2 finger head of creamy tan foam, dissipating into nice sticky foam and lacing on the sides of the glass and a little foam cap on the top.

Putting my nose to the glass, the aromatics were fairly light; a little coffee and roasted grains. After a good swirl, the chocolate, some fruity notes and a little hop presence is detected. I didn’t detect the alcohol right away but as this beer warms up, it’s one more thing to add to the list. So far so good.

On the taste, my first thoughts are “rich and thick” as I start tasting the roasted grains, coffee and chocolate coming through. As you work it around, the fruitiness, malt and the booze join in followed by a bitterness that does not detract from the overall character or balance. Damn good.

Seemed medium to medium +in body with a smooth as velvet feel. Well balanced group of flavors and a nice, bitter and boozy finish with a little alcohol warmth. Nicely carbonated as well. Sticky feeling that is not dry in any way.

Overall a pretty fine example of the style and a great effort by Sierra Nevada. While not a session beer, I would guess it pairs well with some foods and certainly is a great way to wind down a busy or stressful day. I will definitely be buying more of this and look forward to putting some aside to see how the tastes develop over time.
Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2013 02:10:17 | More by MoorBeerPlz
Photo of boilermakerbrew
boilermakerbrew

Missouri

4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours black as night with a rather large, chocolately brown head. Head retention and lacing is pretty awesome. Head is amazingly frothy and persistent. Lots of rising carbonation.

S- Lots of deep, dark chocolately roasts. Next come the coffee flavors. Coffee is pretty dominant right after the chocolate hits. Bitterness at the end suggests some hop profile, but most bitterness is from the dark chocolate.

T- Big chocolates right off the bat, just like the scent. Chocolate is very dark and pretty bitter. Coffee is not as strong in the taste as in the scent, but still present. Slightly warming alcohol heat is also present with a dull bitterness in the flavor. Slightest bit of hop bitterness intermingles with the chocolate and coffee bitterness at the end. Flavor finishes very clean with only a little lingering bite.

M- Thick and creamy and a little slick on the palate. Only slight alcohol heat as previously mentioned. Lower levels of carbonation add to the thick and creamy effect. Easily sessionable because of the thickness and its tendency to lend itself to sipping.

Overall, another stellar beer from SN. I haven't had the regular stout, but I imagine they built off of it for this one, and it makes me excited to try some.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 22:37:20 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of mpedara429
mpedara429

Massachusetts

4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured out black in color with two fingers of light brown/caramel colored head. Pretty good retention and thick lacing.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, and a hint booze.

T: Similar to the nose with some chocolate flavor in there as well. It has a nice bitterness to it.

M: Thick and creamy with medium carbonation.

O: I was big fan of this one. Pricewise, it beats everything else in that range and can really compete with some of the higher end imperial stouts.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 23:02:48 | More by mpedara429
Photo of StaveHooks
StaveHooks

Oklahoma

4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz poured into a snifter.

A - Black as the deep sea with a healthy cappuccino head that has plenty of staying power. The head forms a micro bubbled ceiling with a creamy uniform collar.

S - Deeply roasted malts, dark chocolate, underlying mint leaf, cold espresso, hard root beer candy. Smoke and perfumy alcohol come out as it warms.

T - Creamy and dense chocolate malts, espresso, toasted cocoa, cooked pine sap, bitterness seems to come from the coaco and the pine hops. Smokiness comes out as it warms. The finish is bitter, roasty, and very satisfying.

M - Creamy, silky, full bodied, low carbonation.

Sierra Nevada brings it Like a Boss. This is fresh and bursting with raw but perfect flavors for a fresh Impy. I would drink this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! For the price point, It's a no-brainer. I will be buying ALOT of this. Thanks again Ken!

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 02:29:57 | More by StaveHooks
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,862 ratings.