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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 stumac
stumac

Texas

3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours up black. Great lacing. Dark tan/light brown lacing. Whatevs. Smell booze, shattered dreams, my upper lip, toasted malts. Taste toffee, coffee, and bears. Oh my! Slightly boozy. Thick burnt malts. Big ol body. Smooth carbo. A tastey treat. I dig it

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2012 21:43:49 | More by stumac
Photo of SanFranJake
SanFranJake

California

5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On draft in a tulip at SNBC.
Pours a deep dark black with 1/8" golden head which fades slowly.
Aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate which get deeper as the stout warms and the glass level lowers.
Super smooth and easy, almost chewy mouthfeel and a chocolatey aftertaste which lingers nice and long.
A step outside of Sierra's norm but a damn good beer all around!
I loved it in the bottle and have been picking the four-packs up as I see them. Great now...only time will tell for later.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2012 01:16:21 | More by SanFranJake
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a dark black color with a decent tan colored head on top. The retention and lacing was moderate. The smell of the beer was roasted with some chocolate and burnt aromas. The taste of the beer was also a little on the burnt side with a dark chocolate bitterness in there with more roasted malts. The mouthfeel was on the heavier side but not the smoothest of stouts out there, it's carbonation was good and it finished dry. Overall this beer was decent in my opinion. I may need to revisit this beer one day to get a better grasp on it.

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2012 04:37:18 | More by Knapp85
Photo of oline73
oline73

Maryland

3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at Max's during Baltimore Beer Week. Served in a sample glass.

Appearance: The beer is black with a layer of tan head. The head fades to a ring around the glass.

Smell: I'm getting a dark fruit sweetness along with some mild roasted malt. There is some dark chocolate in there as well. There is a slightly off note that reminds me of sweaty socks, but not enough to ruin the whole smell.

Taste: Sweet up front along with the roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors. I'm getting some dark fruit sweetness behind the roasty flavor. The finish is quite smooth, but there is some roast to counter that. The off smell doesn't show up in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the syrupy side of medium with lots of carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: The finish had enough bitterness but the rest of the sip could have used more. The smell was a bit off but the rest of the beer was pretty good. Not sure I need more.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2012 03:24:22 | More by oline73
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at max's the other day, during Baltimore Beer Week.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is likewise attraactive, showcasing considerable coffee, licorice and vanilla. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but is clearly dominated by the licorice and vanilla (which I'm not entirely liking, but it's OK). There's also a hint of hoppy bitterness in the finish which further helps to buoy the modest sweetness in this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a finish that is dominated by licorice and has a hint of alcoholic bite. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, but there's just too much licorice in the flavor profile for me to fall in love with this beer.

A solid beer, and possibly one that will benefit from some age. For now however, not among my favorite impy stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2012 22:52:47 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of happy4hoppybeer
happy4hoppybeer

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black with beautiful tan head, leaving considerable lacing on the glass. This looks like an Imperial Stout all right.

Very strong aromas of coffee, alcohol, chocolate etc. Very big on the alcohol.

Roasted/toasted barley, cocoa and coffee beans hit the tongue. Very creamy, fairly big body, medium carbonation.

As far as imperial stouts go, this stands among the finest.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 23:11:21 | More by happy4hoppybeer
Photo of teromous
teromous

Virginia

3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black body with a tan head. It takes a bit of agitation to get the head up, but it stays up surprisingly well. Mild lacing on the glass.

S: Alcohol comes through immediately, followed by a spicy note...a bit woody. It has a slight scent of coffee but mostly the alcohol comes through.

T: Oh holy alcohol. This thing is strong. There's a bold, very robust roasted bitterness. It's followed by what I can only describe as a coffee sweetness. Most people would sweeten coffee with sugar, but this beer is so robust that coffee makes it sweet. That alcohol adds a bit of sweetness as well. It finishes with a bit of cocoa and coffee on the tongue. The finish is probably what really makes this beer.

M: I feel that the mouthfeel on this beer is perfect. It's full feeling without being syrupy, the roasted bitterness wakes up the mouth and the alcohol seems to coat it momentarily. It has just enough carbonation for a stout this size without making it too flat or too "poppy." It's very enjoyable to drink. It finishes quite nicely.

O: I think that the alcohol comes through strongly, so if you either don't like the flavor of alcohol or can't get past it, you'll have a hard time enjoying the beer. It has a lot to offer and what I really appreciate is how it has a roasted flavor without being overly bitter. It has a nice balance of flavors without pushing anything over the top. Unfortunately this balance could be considered a downfall if looking for something outside of the box. While it is a great example of a RIS, it doesn't feel as unique as its namesake suggests.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 18:01:12 | More by teromous
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A case of this actually made it to Amsterdam. Picked it up at De Bierkoning.

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2013

APPEARANCE: A dark brown, opaque pour yields a three finger, medium looking, creamy, tan head with excellent retention. Black body with no carbonation evident. Head fades to a full wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. A faint wisp and ring remain until the end leaving some nice lacing down the glass. Pretty good looking stout. Needs to be even blacker for top marks.

SMELL: Dark baker's chocolate, light coffee, cream, some caramel notes and roasted aromas on the nose. Tobacco in there, as well as some leather too. Could be bolder, but complex and interesting enough.

TASTE: Baker's chocolate again, caramel and leather up front, then a big, roasted coffee finish with some burnt and charred malts at the swallow. Bolder and lingering finish of roasted coffee bitterness, burnt and charred malts, leather, tobacco, and some light vanilla cream. Quite burnt and roasted, with lots of other complex flavors as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little light on the palate and too prickly for the style, but goes down okay and finishes somewhat mouth-coating. A bit of a burn at the swallow and a touch of heat lingers.

OVERALL: Pretty good stuff. Lots of burnt and charred notes with tobacco definitely give it a European tough. If you like this one, you'll probably like the stuff coming out of De Molen in Holland and various Danish breweries that deserve some praise. The feel is slightly lighter on this, which holds it back a bit. Fill that out and it would support the flavors that much more. Still, this is a solid effort worth checking out if you get the chance. If it were reasonably priced, I'd go back for seconds.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 19:21:18 | More by Jeffo
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, a nice snag from doktorzee on his recent jaunt through Vegas. Cheers, man!

This beer pours a solid black, with noticeable cola-tinted basal highlights, and three fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and fairly creamy light brown head, which leaves some awesome craggy sea cliff lace around the glass as it slowly and evenly recedes.

It smells of well-toasted, almost meaty caramel malt, wet rye bread, powdered cocoa, stale ashes, dark-roast coffee beans, a hint of black licorice, earthy, leafy hops, and a subtly burbling alcohol astringency. The taste is semi-sweet chocolate, a consequentially reduced caramel malt, some persistent dark bready notes, edgy and earthy anise, gritty wet ash, well-roasted day-old coffee, the kind with too much nut adjuncts added to it, and surprisingly (really?) bitter leafy, earthy, and dry citrus hops. A wee twinge of metallic alcohol sort of turtles as things barely warm, but it is still of the wee variety.

The carbonation is pretty low-key, but hardly absent, a subtle bubbly edginess wafting about, the body a solid medium weight, dead smooth, and agreeably creamy, in a sort of milk-chocolate sense. It finishes well off-dry, the cocoa, caramel, roast, and hops forming one swell collection of lingering party goers.

A pleasurable and enjoyable RIS, the initially apparent unchecked sweetness duly run off at the pass in the typical Sierra Nevada way - mo' hops! It all seems to work, full-bodied, tasty and with the north of 10 points of booze doing its best shark impression by keeping its head under the water (fin-free!*), I can just sit back and appreciate this hefty, well-made brew.

* This is a pun that only (especially new) dads will appreciate, so Imma just gonna keep it to myself for now.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 04:37:42 | More by biboergosum
Photo of Swettenham_Shire
Swettenham_Shire

Ohio

3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass...

Appearance: pours a dark brown/black color with 1 finger tan head; lacing doesn't stick around
Smell: amazing malt, chocolate, and coffee scent mixed with alcohol
Taste: follows the nose; getting a sweet and bitter aftertaste
Mouthfeel: heavy; can feel the booze
Overall: I was happy to try this stout from Sierra Nevada, but probably won't seek it out anymore. I prefer other beer styles

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2014 23:36:22 | More by Swettenham_Shire
Photo of NathanJoyce
NathanJoyce

Australia

2.03/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

This was my first Imperial Stout and I feel like I have diabetes.

Are they all this sweet and sickly?

Sure, coffee, chocolate, etc, etc. Thick and no sense of humour.

I'm willing to consider my lack of inexperience as a huge mark against my review, but honestly—this is strong and heavy and SWEET. I love strong, I love heavy, I just can't understand the attraction to the sweet...

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 10:40:25 | More by NathanJoyce
Photo of MartzMimic
MartzMimic

Oklahoma

4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, dark black with a bubbly dark brown head that leaves quickly. Aroma of coffee, malt and plum. Big dark chocolate and coffee taste, along with touches of malt and alcohol. Mouth is thick, but incredibly smooth. This is a very nice stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 02:56:33 | More by MartzMimic
Photo of ronniebruner
ronniebruner

Arizona

4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Easily one of the darkest stouts I have seen in a while. Beer pours a DARK black molasses color, making light impossible to penetrate this brew. The beer has a beautiful, smooth aroma, topped off with a nice amount of lace and head when poured into a glass. A slight hint of chocolate is abundant and the beer is extraordinarily smooth. Sierra Nevada never let me down and in my opinion it is a toss up between them and Widmer as the best American brewers. An absolute must have, so far the best new beer I've tried in the last 6 months or so.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 19:50:36 | More by ronniebruner
Photo of rjp217
rjp217

Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2013 edition bottle poured...

A - Solid black with a 1 finger brown head that dissipates rather quickly. Nice sticky lace retention

S - Milk chocolate, nuts, campfire

T - All kinds of chocolate, some smoke, oak, hops, caramel, boozy

M - Exceptionally soft and pillowy, medium body, low carbonation

O - An excellent, fairly easy to find RIS. It's big and boozy with a lot of complexity. I really like this one though it's just a step below that next level.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 23:52:26 | More by rjp217
Photo of ranger7
ranger7

Texas

3.74/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bomber into a pint glass.
Review from notes: January 28th, 2014.

A: Nice. Black and cloudy, can't see through. Tan head which sticks to the glass.

S: Chocolate and malt. More malt than chocolate, almost bitter.

T: Bitter front and end with smooth middle, can't pinpoint the bitterness.

M: Some carbonation, but smooth overall.

O: Good. This is a nice example of a Russian Imperial Stout with plenty of ABV bite. A bit too roasty for my tastes, but still good.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 03:09:31 | More by ranger7
Photo of Beric
Beric

Indiana

4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into snifter
Served: 27 February 2014

Appearance: Pitch black, with literally no light penetrating this brew. The dark brown head quickly disappears and leaves just a ring of bubbles around the edges. Looks impressive and daunting.

Smell: Roasted malts, black, dark-roast coffee, and unsweetened cocoa.

Taste: Wow, is this one complex. An initial burst of hop bitterness is followed by a strong assertion of roasted malts, dark roast coffee, espresso, and cocoa flavors. Finishes very dry.

Mouthfeel: Think and smooth, just as one would expect.

Overall: A great beer, and I was surprised to taste as much bittering hop as I did. When I burped, you could definitely re-taste the hoppiness (gross, I know). While hops aren't the dominant profile here, they are certainly assertive in their bittering qualities. But we wouldn't expect anything less from Sierra Nevada, would we? A great brew, and one I recommend. Definitely a sipper, and definitely a once-in-a-while beer, not something I could stomach any time any day.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 00:48:43 | More by Beric
Photo of heygeebee
heygeebee

Australia

4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Briefly, looks on the money for an RIS, and rich and smooth on nose and taste. Velvety, mellow, luscious. Roasts, coffee, and dark choc to the fore, and less hoppy than we might expect from SN. Dry finish and less alcohol burn than you would think.

Overall, really solid and to style.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 10:54:26 | More by heygeebee
Photo of kdahnke123
kdahnke123

Indiana

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter at room temperature. 2013 Vintage.
A - Poured a nice dark color with a medium brown, quickly dissipating 1/4" head.
S - Chocolate and coffee upfront with a balanced hop and malt finish.
T - A little bite from the hops at first, followed by medium roast coffee/chocolate with a bite of the alcohol at the end. The malt is somewhat subdued with the rest of the flavors going on.
M - Very smooth, medium viscosity mouthfeel. Very little carbonation.
O - A very good example of an imperial stout. The incorporation of 10% alcohol and 60 IBU into a beer with this kind of balance is well done. Everything is in good proportion to one another.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 22:43:35 | More by kdahnke123
Photo of Nostrajonus
Nostrajonus

Oklahoma

3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-This pours pitch black with a two finger brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves faint lacing.

S-The smell is wonderful. Rich roasted barley, faint coffee notes with background sweetness..no hops.

T-The taste was not as full bodied as the nose, I am missing the malt and getting too much sweetness....no hops.

M-The texture is not what I am accustomed to with this style. The carbonation was good, but I needed it to be a bit more heavy.

O-Overall this is a good beer. I have not been big on Sierra Nevada in the past, I will sample their newer offerings.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 20:04:54 | More by Nostrajonus
Photo of drdiesel9483
drdiesel9483

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look - very dark brown color. Great brownish head that last for a good amount of time.
Smell - I can smell the alcohol, chocolate, and lots of coffee.
Taste - coffee taste with some alcohol. Sweet chocolate taste as well.
Feel - smooth, with great medium carbonation.
Overall - I let this beer sit for about 6-9 months and it was fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 21:08:15 | More by drdiesel9483
Photo of titty_mcbitty
titty_mcbitty

Texas

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black as midnight.

S: I get those familiar Sierra Nevada hops, chocolate, spice, rum.

T: Sweet chocolate, bitter hops, rum soaked raisins, pretzel, salt, burnt toast, roasty malt, nutmeg, gingerbread, and some caramel.

M: Thick but not super viscous. Nice though, no doubt.

O: I have had this beer before and forgot about it. Good thing I decided to pick another one up again, because the flavor is complex and it's an overall pleasant beer. I love the RIS's and this beer does the style good.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 07:36:53 | More by titty_mcbitty
Photo of StoutItOutLoud
StoutItOutLoud

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. 12-oz poured to tulip. Consumed 2-20-2014.

Thick and viscous. Opaque black; large, frothy, 3-finger mocha head. Decent alcohol legs coating the glass. There's a cap holding out.

dark roast coffee; grassy hops; baker's chocolate. wish there was more dark fruit here

one dimensional - dark chocolate-hops roastiness. alcohol less noticeable than ten fidy

well-carbonated. medium mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 02:31:56 | More by StoutItOutLoud
Photo of Beejay
Beejay

Virginia

3.23/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Dark black with a massive full dark tan head.

S: Sweet dark chocolate, with toffee and notes of dried fruit. A little bit of earthiness in the finish.

T: The first taste is caramel sweet, with a touch of dried fruit. The sweet flavor is followed by dark chocolate and espresso, and the brew finishes out with a hit of bitter earthiness.

M: Fairly thick body, the carbonation is medium, the finish slightly drying and there is a lingering hop bitterness.

O: Overall I like this beer, but the finish is a little harsh for me.. The lingering bitterness doesn't quite round out the finish like I would like it to.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 01:41:46 | More by Beejay
Photo of Hop-Droppen-Roll
Hop-Droppen-Roll

Minnesota

4.44/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Imperial stouts are hard to come by in my neck of the woods, so when I saw this late in its season sitting on a shelf, I had to grab 2 four packs.

Pours a gorgeous deep coffee and molasses brown into a black body with a delicious looking 1.5 finger mocha colored head that quickly thins out to a fine film with great looking lacing. My wife is cooking nearby and the smell is still cutting through at the occasional moment, smells great, but not too powerful.

Rich, full bodied malt flavor with a bitter coffee finish. Nuts and coffee? Maybe a little - but this one's pretty much a massive malt monster - I'm loving this!

Thick, creamy mouthfeel, very nice. This is a top notch brew.

I will definitely be picking up a few of these every year and hanging on to a few from each batch!

Edit: Wow. 10.20%? VERY well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 00:58:53 | More by Hop-Droppen-Roll
Photo of Ieatlambfries
Ieatlambfries

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a viscous black. Thick head of dense brown bubbles. Moderately sticky lace.

Smells of milk chocolate, baking coco, cherry cordials, and roasted malt.

Big flavors of dark chocolate, dark fruits, raisins, figs, brandied cherries, and dark roasted coffee. Lactic sweetness, and smokey roasted malts. Bitter hop twang on the back end, with a slightly boozy finish.

Thick chewy mouthfeel. Leaves an oily feel on my tongue.

Overall and excellent Impy stout. Some nice complex flavors, especially as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 03:43:17 | More by Ieatlambfries
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,862 ratings.