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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,754 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,754
Reviews: 686
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 191
Gots: 698 | FT: 40
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: 3,754 | Reviews: 686 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spoony
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A-The brew is pretty much black in color and opaque. Maybe a bright light would get through, but you would have to work at it. The head is one (fat) finger of dark brown foam that fades slowly.

S-I smelled light whiffs of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, toasty malts, and a little bit of toffee. Not heavy or cloying. Lighter and more floral than most RIS beers.

T-Taste is similar to the smell, i.e., some chocolate (although the chocolate taste is not as bitter and cocoa forward as the smell), a little bit of roasted malts, toffee, and a surprising amount of floral flavors, too. Only mild, roasted bitterness at the end, and very little alcohol on the front or back end.

M-The feel is lighter than most RIS beers I have had. There is a little wave of carbonation that quickly fades on the palate. The carbonation may turn off some serious stout fans, but I thought it worked.

O-I would call this a highly drinkable RIS. This brew certainly isn't some barrel-aged, bourbon-wannabe monster, but it hit a sweet spot for me. The flavors are well integrated and reasonably complex and, when combined with the lighter mouthfeel, I could definitely see myself drinking this again on a chilly winter evening.

spoony, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of JazzIPA55
4/5  rDev -3.6%

JazzIPA55, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of kylemckinnis
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

kylemckinnis, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of zeledonia
2.95/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black in the glass, light coming through coffee brown at the edges. Two fingers of mocha brown head, good retention and nice lacing. Solid.

Smell is faint for an imperial stout. Light cocoa makes up the most of it. A little milky. Not bad, but I want more potency.

Taste starts out roasty, and quickly takes a downturn. I initially thought it was chili pepper spice, but now it's coming through as an off, bitter, cardboard-paper-glue sludge. This is truly foul. I'll drink enough to finish my review, but no more. So I drank a little more, and a strange thing happened. It warmed up, that nastiness faded, and it became, well, consumable. And then it warmed up a bit more, and it became passable. Still not something I'd call good, but no longer something I'd call bad.

Mouthfeel is fine. At least, what I can perceive through the nastiness is fine. Heavy body, medium carbonation, lasting finish.

This beer is weird. Based on comparisons to other reviews, I wonder if I got a bad bottle. Or maybe my sense of taste is just that different. As it warmed up, the bad flavors faded, and it became, well, okay.

zeledonia, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of TWStandley
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

TWStandley, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of mmapes
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found 4-pack bottles labeled 2012. Poured into pint glass. Big foamy head with lots of staying power. Smoke (toasty malt? No, smoke.) and "beer" on the nose. Color is deep dark brown as it pours, and black in the glass.

Nice oily coat on the tongue, heavier than some imperial stouts. I like stouts thick (like this one). Smoke is prominent but not overbalanced -- not as strong as the scent suggests. Kind of sweet, smoky finish. Very well balanced. Maybe not so bold-tasting as heavier Russian imperial stouts like Czar or Palo Santo Marron. The flavor is all grain. I don't get notes of spices or fruit, so I'm not sure it's as complex as I might have guessed from other reviews. But it does serve as a good, grainy, pure example of an imperials stout.

Would probably buy again.

mmapes, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

stereosforgeeks, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of CaliMark
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

CaliMark, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of agreenman19
4/5  rDev -3.6%

agreenman19, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of ShemRahBoo
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

ShemRahBoo, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of dav
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

dav, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of RangnaR
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

RangnaR, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of NumberNone
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

NumberNone, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

CaptDavyJones, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of Gatch
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep black with a dark brown head that's thick and creamy leaving decent lace and retention.

S: Great, sweet, roasted malt aromas with hints of molasses, dark fruit, currants, and some booze.

T: Big roasted malt paired with bittersweet chocolate and super dark coffee. A bit of earth, dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar, and warming, sweet booze.

M: Crazy smooth, massive flavor, and the right body and feel. Stellar at room temperature.

O: Everything is spot-on. A very well-crafted RIS. A fun and tasty sipper.

Gatch, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of kagent777
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was purchased begrudgingly from the Utah system on December 15th, even though this bottle has been bottled since Oct 12, 2012 according to the date code. I poured it into a CCB snifter after about thirty minutes of being out of the fridge

Appearance: Black with some legs as I swirl it around the snifter. Not much of a head, but that is not expected. Appears to be well carbonated.

Smell: Unsweet chocolate, coffee, roast and charcoal. A bit of boozyness also.

Taste: All of the flavors carry over from the smell, I also pick up on some dried dark fruit (figs, raisins, and dates) and licorice. I cannot tell if the bittering on the finish is from the hops or the roast. It all works really well together.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is a little strong for my taste, while the body is smooth and rich. The finish is very long and bittering from the level of roast.

Overall: I like this beer quite well, but I am not sure it is worth more than double the price of Old Rasputin. I need to taste them side by side to be able to do a better comparison. Utah really screwed the pooch on pricing on these (4/bottle retail). I am glad to have had one, but unless Utah lowers the price, I cannot purchase any more. I imagine this would age really nicely, too.

kagent777, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of ILiveOffHops
4/5  rDev -3.6%

ILiveOffHops, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of dfillius
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint. Enjoyed with polenta and bean salad
A: 1/3 finger of dark brown head with good retention. Nearly opaque dark brown/black liquid. A tad more head please - it faded to nothing.
S: Milk chocolate, toasted fennel seed, black pepper. Only a very slight amount of booze when warmer, thankfully. Not harsh.
T: Some breathy esters open, coffee and chocolate dominate. Very dark chocolate. Quite hoppy middle. Bright citrus and pine. Hops stand up well to the malt. I'd prefer the estery breath to not be there.
M: Smooth open, bitter hoppy middle, roasty bitter dry finish. Robust and not hot. Some chest warmth, but not on the palate.
O: Enjoyable, solid RIS. I wouldn't expect less from Sierra Nevada. I would buy again. 1 is enough for a night. I'm interested to try it aged to see if the slight booze calms down.

dfillius, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of benclimbs
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice, highly drinkable imperial from Sierra

Pours black and viscous with a slight brown head

Smell is dry and dark - coffee and burnt malts and hints of spice...nice but not outstanding

Taste is very nicely balanced, bitter espresso, cocoa and licorice and a spicy finish.

Overall a success, would definitely buy this again - a great deal too @$10 or per 4/pk for such a big beer - one to enjoy around the christmas tree!

benclimbs, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of Stumpy29er
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Stumpy29er, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of SenorHops
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

SenorHops, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Dbrag
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Dbrag, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Ri0
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Ri0, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Tawny
3/5  rDev -27.7%

Tawny, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of draheim
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz into a tulip. Pours a jet black w/ a 1-finger tan head.

Aroma is bitter, roasty: coffee, chocolate, dark fruit. All that's missing is the bourbon.

Taste follows nose. Rich bitter chocolate, deep roasted malt, coffee.

Mouthfeel is just right. Medium-bodied, balanced; crosses the palate effortlessly. Nice bitter finish.

Overall a rock-solid imperial stout. Well done Sierra Nevada. Once again a no-nonsense, straightforward, excellent beer.

draheim, Dec 16, 2012
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,754 ratings.