Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 3,133 | Reviews: 621 | Display Reviews Only:
4.05/5 rDev -2.2%
Very nice imperial from Sierra Nevada, well worth the wait. A quality effort that’s affordable and easily accessible to boot. Pours deep black with a smallish cream colored head; decent retention and a bit of patchy lace. Not the best looking example of the style but that’s nitpicking I suppose. Aroma of roasted, nearly charred malt, espresso, black licorice, baker’s chocolate. The flavor mirrors the nose closely; the roastiness is the prevalent note here, again black licorice or anise is present, but integrates well and isn’t overbearing; booze is well-hidden, sweetness is average for the style, some piney hops tidy things up in a fairly subtle way underneath. Far from cloying; in fact I would have enjoyed a bit more caramel, brown sugar and chocolate here. But it’s a well-meshed flavor, not too big, hits all the right notes while taking a bit of a middle of the road approach. Very drinkable and very appealing.
The body is moderately full and carbonation is medium; the feel has just a touch of creamy smoothness. Again, it’s not particularly massive, but it drinks like a charm. Overall a real winner. Not going to make anyone forget the heavy hitters but you could do a lot worse than grab a four pack of this for your stout fix.
01-14-2013 14:27:14 | More by tobelerone
3.93/5 rDev -5.1%
12 oz. bottle poured into a De Struise snifter. 2012 bottle (duh).
Appearance - Murky in the pour. I bought it today, so maybe it was agitated, but still, shouldn't be that icky looking. A temporary brown head. Settles to the slightest of rings and not much else.
Smell - Roasty. Alcohol all over. Gives it a fruity aroma. Coffee roast most persistent, though.
Taste - Quite a bitter stout. Bitterness from start to finish. Coffee and deep roasted malts. Sweet molasses. The finish gets almost ashy in its roast. Like a tobacco flavor, I guess. That's the hip word to use. Alcohol bite in the finish with a licorice, raisin fruitiness.
Mouthfeel - Thick and chewy. It's boozy, but I like the alcohol in it. Really adds to the profile. Well carbonated.
Overall - Well, it's Sierra Nevada, so it's always going to be well-made. I might have to stock up on this the way I do Bigfoot. I could see myself getting a hankering for this in June when it's not on the shelves anymore.
12-09-2012 00:14:05 | More by Alieniloquium
3.31/5 rDev -20%
Appearance is thick black with a small, dark tan/light brown head, quickly dissipating, no lace.
Smell is soft, sweet malt sugars. Robust alcoholic character.
Taste is robust and rich. Sugary, caramel, sweet alcohol. A little raisiny. Not a lot of depth here, the 10.2 is pretty bruising.
Mouthfeel is dry and thick.
Drinkability is ok, this is a big, brash, old school RIS. I like the fact that it's all malt and not hoppy, but it's too hot.
08-29-2013 00:59:19 | More by ccrida
4.25/5 rDev +2.7%
12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
10.2% ABV, number code on shoulder.
A - Almost midnight black, Narwhal quietly fills the snifter, even with a tall pour. The result is a low mocha head which briefly tops the black before sinking into it's depths leaving a ring of foam and a few splashes of lace.
S - Quite simple and closed off at first, Narwhal rises from the depths to a cold but soft nose of rich maltiness that expands from cocoa to dark chocolate developing with raisin and prune, subtle dusty earthiness, and a faint hint of warming alcohol on the finish.
T - Narwhal's flavor starts just like the aroma; simple and somewhat closed off. Rich roasted malt develops into subtle undertones of dark, bitter chocolate and espresso notes with a dry cocoa finish.
M - Like a good imperial stout, Narwhal is thick and rich with a milk chocolate smooth, velvety feel that slowly turns dry and bitter and rough around the edges from the heavily roasted malts. Warming alcohol emerges as this creamy beer coats the throat as it warms up for one pleasing winter stout!
O - Sierra Nevada Narwhal employs dark, roasted malts to create a deep depth of flavor throughout this imperial stout changing as it warms. A welcome addition to Sierra Nevada's seasonal line up, Narwhal is a wonderful sipping beer that encourages reflection on the malts' presence and use.
11-17-2012 20:42:30 | More by BeerFMAndy
4.23/5 rDev +2.2%
Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours pitch black with a thin medium brown head with good retention and slippery lacing. Mild aroma of toasted malt, chocolate and a hint of coffee and anise. Flavor is much more intense, very toasty and slightly charred malt, bitter chocolate, licorice and burnt coffee, especially in the finish. Nice medium to heavy, creamy body. Flavor tends more towards the charred spectrum, but the the other flavors support it. Not quite a smoked beer, but leaning in that direction. Wow, this one will be on my regular list, delicious
10-29-2012 05:04:04 | More by LiquidAmber
4.4/5 rDev +6.3%
$9.50 for the 4 pack, bought locally.
it pours black with a 2 finger head of tannish foam and leaves the usual excellence with the lacing.
The smell is of cocoa and roasted malt with some light notes of coffee. Err...maybe not so light notes of coffee. Good either way.
First sip in and it starts off, for me, as being very sweet soon overtaken by roasted malt and coffee that add a nice bitterness. There's plenty of the ample alcohol in the taste as well meaning a lot of warming. It finishes on the bitter side thanks to all that roasty goodness.
Full bodied, lightish carbonation, very smooth mouthfeel. On a day with the temps in the 60sF, not so drinkable but when the temps drop, the drinkability of this IS will rise. I'm bloody sure of that.
A big thumbs up to SN's bold new Imperial Stout!
Edit Nov 8, 2012:
I'm now on my 3rd bottle and my like for it grows and grows. There's really nothing I'd change with my review *other than* the scores. Onward and upward!
11-04-2012 19:55:04 | More by Bitterbill
3.58/5 rDev -13.5%
A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick texture. There was a half inch of tan-colored, foamy, long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.
S: Definitely an underplayed aroma of coffee, chocolate and malt. Decent.
T: Tasted of light coffee notes, some dark chocolate, roasted malt, and maybe some dark fruit. There's also a very pronounced burnt quality as well. Not a bad flavor, but it could have used a bit more punch.
M: A very well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.
O: This isn't too bad of a beer, but it doesn't necessarily reside among the top tier Russian Imperial Stouts. Still, worth a look.
10-20-2012 22:54:31 | More by avalon07
4.36/5 rDev +5.3%
2012 Vintage poured in to tulip glass.
A - Black with half a finger of medium brown head.
S - A huge roast aroma up front with some coffee and a hint of smoke.
T - Very bold and flavorful right away. Starts with a big roast presence with some char. A big hop presence enters mid-palate along with a warming alcohol presence and hints of cocoa and licorice. The finish is dry and bitter with a lingering pine flavour from the hopping and becomes almost sticky a few seconds after the swallow.
M - Medium to full body. Creamy. Light carbonation. Somewhat sticky at times.
01-11-2013 03:07:12 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5 rDev -2.7%
Finally found a bottle at Carnivores in Verona. Mixed and matched it for $2.50
A - I love the full inch of deep mocha head it almost always guarantee's a thick viscous pour. Color is as black as night and the head has both excellent lacing and stays around for a while.
S - A nice blend of citrus hops, charcoal, coffee roasts, bakers chocolate, and some alcohol. Seems very balanced and ABV smells well hidden.
T - Quite bitter and ashy as expected for such a high ABV stout. Those who do not like a sweet stout this is the beer for you the bitterness really clings to the palate. Under this I do get some espresso and coffee grounds and just a mild twang of bakers chocolate. I find it amazing I couldn't smell how much hops/roast is packed into this. Not bad.
M - Medium to thick in body, somewhat creamy and chewy. Man this is an imperial stout.
Overall its not as bad as say fresh Old Rasputin but it's still very strong with the ashy roast and hop aspect. If I was able to find older bottles of this or age them myself for a year this beer would be quite exceptional. Glad I don't love it since I passed on a second bottle.
01-19-2013 01:32:16 | More by DrDemento456
4.48/5 rDev +8.2%
12 ounce bottle, bottled on October 12, 2012. Served in a snifter, the beer pours black with a half inch tan head that sticked around for a bit. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like roasted malt, anise, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and a little bit of piney hops. I think the taste is just like the aroma. There's a bit of sweetness, but also a lot of bitter roasty goodness. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and slick with a good amount of carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden, you wouldn't think it's 10.2% ABV when drinking it. I think this is a pretty good imperial stout, at $9.99 a 4-pack I know I'll be buying this again.
11-10-2012 23:26:08 | More by bluejacket74
3.91/5 rDev -5.6%
Pours jet black with a dark brown head. In the aroma, dry coffee and notes of chocolate. In the taste, dry coffee and a chocolate malt that rides all the way through. A small bite and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a dry and roasty coffee in the aftertaste. Big coffee, nice chocolate notes, and hides the alcohol.
01-24-2013 21:02:26 | More by OWSLEY069
3.94/5 rDev -4.8%
Inky, light absorbing black with a creamy, tan head. Nice head retention and good lacing.
An interesting aroma. Not intensely roasty. Rather there is plenty of anise and sweet malt. Some earthiness. Very much herbal.
More big, sweet malt there. The anise comes through in spades along with a touch of cocoa. A little chalky. It lacks a bit of brightness with it sitting back on the palate and the anise dominates.
Medium-full body with moderately-high carbonation. Quite dry.
A really interesting beer. I do like the cocoa flavour there and the earthiness is interesting. The anise is overbearing but the whole is good and it isn't an alcohol bomb.
01-13-2013 09:05:58 | More by dgilks
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,133 ratings.