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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

3,728 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,728
Reviews: 681
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 190
Gots: 689 | 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: 3,728 | Reviews: 681 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnK17
4/5  rDev -3.6%

JohnK17, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Sparky44, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of 2dogbrew
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

2dogbrew, Oct 30, 2012
Photo of egrace84
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

egrace84, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of wedge
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012

Deep, dark black color with a lean tan head that drops to a luscious, creamy covering. Smells dark and malty...spicy fruit, licorice, molasses, and a slight oxidized/aged aroma in back. Somewhat rich, but definitely big and roasty malt flavor. Char, cocoa, espresso, and dark fruity esters. Again, a particular spiciness permeates the flavor along with a heavy bitterness in the finish. Booze is thankfully low, though there is an expected warming deep down in the throat. Big bodied and creamy, but dry. I liked this a bit more during the first half, but the bitterness is becoming a little distracting. A solid RIS that I think is worthy of aging a couple more bottles for longer to see what happens.

wedge, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of Jeffo
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

Jeffo, Apr 02, 2014
Photo of thewimperoo
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

thewimperoo, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of JamLand
4/5  rDev -3.6%

JamLand, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of jheezee
4/5  rDev -3.6%

jheezee, Oct 02, 2013
Photo of Morey
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Morey, May 08, 2013
Photo of dar482
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is a 2013 bottle with about 9 months on it.

The beer pours black with a light brown creamy head.

The aroma has dense roasted malt, sweet chocolate, mocha coffee, a touch of dark fruit of cherries and dried plums.

The beer has a medium plus luscious mouthfeel. However, there is still an aggressive kick of alcohol, as with the beer fresh. Lots of deeply roasted coffee and malt, bitter chocolate, with a spike of alcoholic dark fruit on the finish.

The beer is certainly helped with age, but it still very alcoholic, which detracts from the palate.

dar482, Jun 04, 2014
Photo of whatname
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

whatname, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of notchucknorris
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick black with a thin mocha head. Shows the thickness when swirled in the glass, leaving big trails of lace.

S: Roasted malt, burnt toast, anise, dark chocolate, molasses, mexican chocolate and some charred malt. Pretty complex.

T: A big charred malt hit right off the bat. Molasses, burnt coffee grounds, baking chocolate and charred grain. Maybe a hint of smoke and earthy hop resin on the finish. A really great RIS. Mouthfeel is big and chewy without giving away the ABV. Solid stuff.

notchucknorris, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black, some carbonation, one finger brown head.

S-Roasted malt, slight chocolate, some coffee as well.

T-Very malt heavy, dark chocolate, coffee, some burnt notes. Mild Bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium to heavy bodied, some carbonation, smooth.

O-Glad to see Sierra Nevada making an Imperial Stout. Now to try aging some.

rlee1390, Nov 10, 2012
Photo of hilgart1
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

hilgart1, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of jpd7374
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

jpd7374, Nov 11, 2012
Photo of fredmugs
4/5  rDev -3.6%

fredmugs, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of mrebeka
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

mrebeka, Dec 05, 2012
Photo of schopenhauerale
4/5  rDev -3.6%

schopenhauerale, Sep 26, 2013
Photo of dfhhead25
4/5  rDev -3.6%

dfhhead25, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think my friends at Narwhal Brewing have some sort of lawsuit against this beer so I'm not sure if that makes me a traitor. I'll live.

Thick, viscous, dark brown pour spews forth a thick, sticky head. Room temp despite being in the fridge for two days do lack of power and hurricane Sandy. Ok retention leaves a few foamy polka dots. Polka dots, polka dots, polka dots afro.

Dark roasted malt and bread crust jumps out of the bottle before I even pour Narwhal. Lots of chocolate too. Mocha would be an appropriate descriptor.

Bottle label says I should expect dark roast coffee and bakers cocoa. I'm not disappointed. Big beer mouthfeel but still kinda soft and supple. Again, mocha goodness.

Like most Sierra Nevada it's not surprising or different, it's just really good. I was drinking this and my wife was drinking Founder's Breakfast stout and I liked my beer better if that says anything.

donkeyrunner, Nov 01, 2012
Photo of brez8791
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

brez8791, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of jsh420
4/5  rDev -3.6%

jsh420, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of mklisz
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

mklisz, Jan 21, 2014
Photo of StoutHunter
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked up a four pack of Sierra Nevada's Narwhal Imperial Stout a couple weeks ago for $10.99 at The Lager Mill. Russian Imperial Stouts are one of my favorite styles and Sierra Nevada is one solid brewery so I couldn't pass up the chance to give this beer a try, so lets see how it goes. This is the first time this beer has been bottled, 2012 vintage. Poured from a shorter brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- I like the name and the artwork for this beer, it's nicely done and it's pretty unique much like the animal it's named after. It poured a nice and dark motor oil black color that didn't let any light come through and it had two and a half fingers worth of fluffy light mocha colored head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some nice and sticky patches of lacing. This is a very good looking beer with a nice dark color and more head then usual for this style, there's not a damn thing wrong with it.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of dark roasted malts that have a higher amount of sweetness to them and imparted some roasted, charred, chocolate, molasses, cocoa powder, coffee, black licorice, and a slight bit of tobacco towards the end. I don't pick up any hops in the aroma but I do get a sweet boozy aroma. The aroma is nice and it's very true to style, the booze shows up a little too much, but it doesn't hurt this beer that much.

T- The taste seems to be pretty damn similar to the aroma and it starts off the same with lots of roasted malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness and impart some highly roasted flavors along with some chocolate, coffee, and a slight tobacco and black licorice flavor. After that comes a sweet molasses flavor followed by a good amount of dark fruits that add some complexity to the flavor. On the finish I get some warming alcohol that makes the flavor a little boozy and the aftertaste is full of sweet roasted and charred malts. This beer tastes good and is very true to style, it has nice complexity, but the boozyness hurts it a little.

M- Not that smooth, somewhat creamy, a little sticky, very rich, full bodied, and it had a pretty good amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok, but it would be nice if this was a little smoother.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of the style, it had just about all the aspects that I look for in the style with some good complexity, but it didn't seem to be as balanced as some of the better RIS's. This beer had ok drinkability, it's a sipper and the flavors did a good job at holding my attention, but I think one would be enough for me, it might start to be to boozy after that. What I liked the most about this beer was it's complexity and it's appearance, they were both pretty good. What I liked the least about this beer was the mouthfeel and the drinkability, it was a little rough around the edges and it would be nice if this beer was smoothed out a little. I would buy this beer again, it's pretty solid and affordable for the style, I might keep a couple bottles for the cellar to see how they change overtime and I would get a four pack if it's released again. All in all I thought this was a pretty solid Russian Imperial Stout, but it lacked the balance and refinement that some of the better ones have, it's good but It can't hang with the world class RIS's like Founders RIS or Bell's Expedition Stout. Sierra Nevada makes some solid beers and this one's no exception, they seem to be one of the most constant breweries and I respect that. 2013 Edit, I had a year old bottle recently and it smoothed a little with some great chocolate flavors, ages well so far.

StoutHunter, Nov 29, 2012
Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,728 ratings.