Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

766 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 766
Hads: 4,454
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 8.96%
Wants: 255
Gots: 1,125 | FT: 45
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:
Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 766 | Hads: 4,454
Photo of Andrewharemza
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, Black color with beige head. Aroma is roasted malty, chocolate and coffee, caramel, light dark fruits. Sweet and bitter taste like aroma. Medium oily body with soft carbonation. (185 characters)

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.68/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Exceptional imperial stout.jet black with thick cream on top and a great body. Ive recently tried the rasputin and the nitro and this blows them both away. A lot sweeter and smoother than both this could be the best non barrel aged imperial stout ive tried.can not wait to try the barrel aged Narwhal that i have aging. (319 characters)

Photo of drunkenmess
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark charcoal black.
Dark tan frothy head.
Spider web lacing, lasting as well.
Smell of sweetness and strong booze.
Taste is superb, hints of vanilla. Sugar. Burnt malts/toast.
Strong alcohol after taste.
Very nicely done.
Especially for a year old :)
Nailed it! (273 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle date 7/24/15 (exactly one year ago today) into a snifter at (warm) cellar temp.

Look: very dark chocolatey brown with a small persistent light brown head.

Smell: milk chocolate, very mild wet cardboard, vanilla.

Taste: chocolate, alcohol heat, something a bit vegetal, orange, hops.

Feel: thin to medium body, low carbonation, pretty dry finish.

Overall: I had higher hopes for this, to be honest. Will try again fresh soon, and also have a few more laid down to see if more age does anything interesting. (522 characters)

Photo of greyghost86
4.94/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As close to a perfect imperial stout that I have had. Beautiful dark coffee appearance. Dark tastes of chocolate, coffee, and hints of smoke. This is a brew you can chew. Love it! (179 characters)

Photo of StinkyFishBoys
4.56/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer deserves more credit than it gets, but that's not uncommon for this brewery. I had a 2012 bottle last night and it was a true delight. I'm not a violent man but I would fin fight my dad for another. (208 characters)

Photo of Spiff
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From Tap at Ale House KC - Nice taste - dark - but not deeply so. Suprising 2 finger head. Smell was full - taste was well rounded but lacking distinction. No dominant sweetness but no bitterness either. Would drink again - but lots of other beers to cover before I re-order. (277 characters)

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

Opened a 2013 this evening.
RIS perfection in the non-barreled category. deep, rich chocolate malts. Smoky hints, velvet mouth feel. Black as my leather pants.

Last week, after horseshoes, The Czar said to me: "F@ck all that happy horse crap, hops, flavors, chiles, etc.... Get me a Narwhal"

It was a beautiful moment with the Czar. I'm all tingly thinking about it. (371 characters)

Photo of magpieken
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 Fl. Oz. bottle. Pkgd 20/10/14. Jet black colour with a dense, creamy tan head which lasted well before settling to a ring and left some very nice lace lines. Roasted malt aroma of espresso, dark chocolate, molasses, prunes, tar and port. Light to medium sweetness and medium bitterness. Very roasty. Medium to full body. Slick texture, soft carbonation, noticeable alcohol (reminiscent of vodka but without the burn) and a long roasted, bittersweet finish. Very nice and also very drinkable. (494 characters)

Photo of TDotScott
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a wine glass. Cellared for 6 months.

L- Dark brown, with an off-white head that quickly dissipates.

S- Dark chocolate, plum, a note of espresso.

T- Dry chocolate up front, with a drawn out, lasting bitterness

F- prickly carbonation, a little heat. Medium-full body.

O- Very balanced, and quite typical of style (346 characters)

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a two finger fluffy mocha color head. Aroma is dark roasted malt and alcohol. Taste is dark roasted malts, booze, some smokiness throughout, and licorice, with a somewhat hoppy finish that compliments the other aspects. Mouthfeel is medium, a bit thin for an imperial stout. Overall a very good IS and one I'm happy I tried. Another feather in the cap of SN. (387 characters)

Photo of HamdenHector
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: very deep brown - virtually black; 1 finger relatively dark head that receded to a thin collar; OK lacing;

S: deeply roasted grain and bittersweet chocolate; a little boozy; a little smoky;

T: deeply roasted grain; a little nutty; a little smoky; finish has a little alcohol bite; a touch of bittersweet chocolate in the aftertaste;

M: full bodied - sticky; light to moderate carbonation; medium dry finish;

O: intense; a good way to an a session; (454 characters)

Photo of szarom1992
3.72/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Narwhal (2014), Poured form 12oz bottle into snifter glass

Appearance
Dark, brown-black beer. No head, or lacing on the beer. Very opaque.

Smell
You can smell the booze on the nose immediately. This beer smells sweet, almost milky. You’ve got a lot of cocoa nibs present, and I think there’s some nice roasted malt. I don’t really get too many distinct flavours from the nose, which is surprising considering that this is a ‘big’ beer.

Taste
This beer has a little too much lactic sweetness up front, in my opinion. It’s not like it’s a sweet beer, but it just has a milky (almost yogurty) tinge on the tongue at the front of the sip. Afterwards, you start to see some of the other darker flavours come through. There’s a little bit of chocolate, but its mellow. Some dark, roasted flavours are on the end of the sip, and linger on the aftertaste. Its coffee, but it seems rather nutty. The alcohol content (10.2%) really shows on this beer, but certainly doesn’t take away from the flavour. Narwhal has minimal carbonation, has a medium body and is rather smooth.

Overall
I’m a little let down. I thought this beer was too sweet, and that its important flavours (ie, the coffee and baker’s cocoa) were too timid. I have another 3 of these beers that I put away, so I’ll see if age provides any benefit, but I’m not anxiously awaiting another.

Score
8.6 (1,385 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.81/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aroma absolutely screams "DRINK ME!" Smoky, oily, with strong notes of roast malt, quality coffee, chocolate and molasses, it demands that you take more than a mere taste. It pours an oily black sable that could hide in the folds of Darth Vader’s cape, with a firm and fine-bubbled tan head that hangs around for a while. Smoky flavor has firm tones of top-shelf malt and chocolate - you’d think they had tossed Hershey bars into the mash tun. Subtle notes and hints of quality coffee, molasses and caramel sneak through. Sweetness is not too strong - this ain’t no dessert beer. Firm, smooth, somewhat oily texture has a good amount of fizz and leaves a smoky, chocolaty, lip-smacking finish. Nar this whal when you can! :D (730 characters)

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, clear liquid with a beigebrown, fluffy, two finger high head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Nose: Red fruit, coffe, roasted malt, chocolate and spice.
Taste: A really great, hoppy, taste! Newly brewed coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, brown sugar and pine.
Medium body with just a little carbonation. Almoust no taste of alcohol, and it's 10.2 % ABV!

Great work Sierra Nevada! (405 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- 2014. pkgd. 11.06.14. consumed 04.01.15.

A: Pitch jet black exit from the bottle with a tan rawhide colored, creamy topping. Moderate retention.

S: Nose of scotchy licorice, burnt chocolate, earthy bitterness, moderate awareness. No alcohol with a touch of dry vanilla bean.

T: Flavor was deep roasted chocolate malt with an earthy bitterness. Dry vanilla bean, roasty espresso notes, flashes of burnt toffee sweetness with licorice. Smooth scotchy alcohol, hints of banana bread yeastiness underneath, creamer with smoky pine hops.

M: Full bodied, creamy, earthy bitterness, burnt warmth, dry alcohol fade.

O: Drinks like a B.A. stout, burnt roasted flavor, soothing scotchy pine alcohol. Nice flavor. (714 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How have I not reviewed this? I’ve drunk cases of it, a big stout that you don’t have to crawl over sweaty neckbeards to get, it just sits around, ignored, common. 12 oz. bottle.

The pour is Bic ink black. Minimal carbonation. I try to sniff & get a 19” girl hair up the nose, yeah, just try to use a vacuum around my house. It’s like vacuuming up after a pack of shedding St. Bernard’s. Nose is sweet malts, nice roast, light chocolate mania. It’s never really been an inhaling beer for me.

Narwhal tastes like Saturday night happiness. A plethora plentile of roast greets the tongue, backed by a deep, sweet, smiling triple handful of malts. Milky & smooth enough that I suspect that many oats were harmed in the making of this brew. Drinkable as fuck.

Excellent beer that’s nothing special by the numbers, just beautifully executed. (856 characters)

Photo of PReust
3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

FEEL THE POWER!! Imperial stouts usually tend to taste more like spirits than stout, this one = a happy medium. This was really far out, 10 and one half percent or so, it'll get you drunk.....and after having the four pack, you'll probably say to yourself, "two of those.....WAS QUITE ENOUGH", followed by a galaxy of stars. Amen. (332 characters)

Photo of PolarBear3
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a dark black colour with frothy two-fingered tanned head that laces really well

S - Cocoa, roasted coffee and some sweet malts are present on the nose, with some slight dark fruit but a little boozy and slightly metallic

T - Similiar in taste with sweet malts, roasted coffee and smooth dark chocolate but the booziness well hidden, some molasses and slight smoky but very sweet finish

M - Incredibly smooth with low to medium carbonation but medium to full bodied

O - A very good imperial stout that is smooth and full of flavour. More like a dessert though with its very sweet finish. Definitely one to try and enjoy after dinner on a cold winters night (670 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked this up a few weeks back at Joe Canal's in Parsippany having never had this before. I love Sierra Nevada's offerings and was hoping that this would measure up to them. Thankfully, this did not taste like a dark version of their more notable Pale Ales and IPA's and considering the strength that this had, this was surprisingly easy to enjoy while being full and potent like a Russian Stout should be!

The pour to this was a dark raisin with just a hint of light seeping in around the edges, with a moderate tan head that was punctuated with bubbles coming up from the liquid. It gave this a lively appearance and the head settled into a few rings of lacing that went around the top third or so of my pint glass. The baker's chocolate was in the nose big time, along with some currant, dark fruit, and booze and all of these were present in the taste as well. Quite sweet, this had a cloying taste to it and the coffee same out more in the aftertaste once the Belgian-like notes and chocolate went down. Not a lot of hops here, the bubbles could be felt but not seen as the mouthfeel was pretty smooth with just a hint of lactose that softly came through as this warmed up.

This was strong but didn't really feel it but I noticed the warming coming over me once I made my way through this beer. Not overly spicy or boozy, this was a welcome departure from Sierra Nevada's other offerings while keeping up their level of quality that they've come to be known for. Those looking for a thinner Coffee Stout with hints of vanilla or a Russian Imperial Stout along the lines of the Old Rasputin will find that this straddled the line between the two, but quite nicely as I am looking forward to giving this another go! Certainly worthy of the Sierra Nevada moniker. (1,769 characters)

Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
3.26/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

It's really malty with a hint of coffee, for some reason I think it has a rubbing alcohol taste to it as well which really bums me out, otherwise it's good. (156 characters)

Photo of Gear54
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a bottle into a snifter.

Inkey black with 1/2 inch of kaki head and no lace on the glass.

Smell is malty and had some coco and milk chocolate aromas mixed in.

Taste followed smell well. Roasted malts and coffee flavor with dark chocolate and a surprising amount of sweetness. The sweetness is really over powering on the finish.

Drinkability suffers a bit in my eyes because of the sweet finish. If the sweetness was muted just a bit this could bey favorite ever. (476 characters)

Photo of HowardTheDuck
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into a snifyer an cellar temo. The hops have faded significantly but not enough for my taste. Nice body with a one-finger head that dissipated quickly. (170 characters)

Photo of mchegash
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.25/5
Pours almost pitch-black (I can see a tiny bit of brown), with about a finger and a half of dark tan head. The head stays around for a while

Smell - 3.75/5
Smells slightly chocolatey, slightly roasty, slightly alcoholic

Taste - 4/5
A strong roasty-slightly chocolate flavor is mixed with stong hops flavor. The taste is slightly sweet

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium body, in between crisp and smooth, a medium amount of medium-high intensity carbonation.

Overall - 4/5
A good beer. (498 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/5/2012. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with great retention, that reduces to a small thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toast, dark bread, licorice, leather, tobacco, light pine, light smoke/char, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of huge dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toast, dark bread, licorice, leather, char, tobacco, herbal, light pine, light smoke, and roasted earthiness. Good amount of roast/char and herbal hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toast, dark bread, char, leather, tobacco, light smoke, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome Russian imperial stout. All around great balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,527 characters)

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 766 ratings.