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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

4,177 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,177
Reviews: 760
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 229
Gots: 949 | FT: 35
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,177 | Reviews: 760 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout has a thick, creamy, tan head, lots of thick lacing left on the glass, and a very dark brown appearance. The aroma is of dark-roasted malt, and the taste is of black bread, chocolate, coffee, licorice, toffee, charcoal, bitterness, and black cherries. The mouthfeel is thick and velvety, and Narwhal Imperial Stout finishes semi-dry, heavy, warming, and smooth. Overall, this is an outstanding beer, and I recommend it in the strongest way!

RJT

Photo of Adamostella
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of baybum
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of arizcards
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack from Total Wine in mid November for $8.99. Bottled on day 279 (Oct 6).

Beer poured black as night with a very nice head upon initial pour.

Nose is not as good as hoped, hints of roasted malts, coffee, and cocoa.

Taste is definitely there, cocoa and coffee with the malt backbone with an ample dry hop that keeps the sweetness at bay.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a nice tasty beer. It is impressive that SNBC can continue to brew these large brews on the scale they do yet keep a very high quality.

Photo of KTCamm
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours jet black with some tan foam. Eventually dissapates. Nose is dark chocolate, coffee. Pleasing. Taste is full boozy roasted malt with an opening bitter that fades out. Some lingers. Loads of chocolate with backing dark fruits. Dark puckering.

As with everything at SN, really good.

Photo of Fettpopps
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pure black body, topped by a fist worth of dark tan micro-bubble foam.

Big roast coffee aroma, chocolate undercurrent, hints of dark fruit.

Taste starts off with a wave of Hershey syrup. Follows with a big cup of black coffee. Nips of dark fruits.

Big thick slick oily chewy. It's a good one.

A superior Imperial Stout I hope to enjoy again for years to come.

Photo of Beaver13
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours inky black with a big creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet roasted grains, chocolate, and some black licorice.

The flavor is some sweet lactic chocolate quickly followed by a big roast bitterness, some black licorice and a little dark fruit and coffee. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a solid imperial stout.

Photo of Tucquan
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-11-17 in Columbia, PA

A - Opaque black with a brown 1-finger head and mild lacing.

S - Floral, brown bread, chocolate. Moderate level of aroma but very inviting.

T - Dark roasted malt, soy sauce/umami, significant char, smidge of dark chocolate, not too sweet, alcohol, pepper. Kind of brash. Finishes roasty and spicy. Good stuff.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Somewhat creamy yet dries pretty well.

O - Very enjoyable. Big flavors. Had this side-by-side with a 9-month old Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout and the Narwhal holds up quite well in comparison considering it doesn't have the bourbon influence. The KBS is smoother with more coffee, has a heavier mouthfeel and isn't as brash as the Narwhal - in other words, the KBS is better. I'm going to age some of the Narwhal to see if the brashness mellows out.

Note: Had an aged one from 2012 on 2013-10-19 and the brashness has mellowed significantly. I like it better with a year on it. Had a 2013 vintage on 2014-11-15 and am finding it's equally delicious this time after aging a year.

Photo of buschbeer
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter
2012

A - This beer is pitch black. It is topped with a couple inches of mocha head. The is some lacing down the sides of the glass.

S - The aroma consists of anise, dark chocolate, a little alcohol, and some dark fruit.

T - Anise seems to be the main driver in the taste. I pick up a little dark chocolate and black coffee. It has a slightly bitter finish with alcohol in the aftertaste.

M - This beer is about as thick as there is.

O - I love the mouthfeel of this beer. The anise flavor isn't my favorite, but it isn't overpowering. It seemed to have a pronounced hop presence on tap which is not present in this bottle.

Photo of Pegasus
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance; Utter black body, impenetrable to light, crowned by a small, dense tan head, which slowly fades to scattered patches of foam, like some archipelago on midnight seas. Thin, fine-beaded lacing coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Roasted malt, dark roasted coffee, and bitter cocoa dominate the aroma, the dark roasted malt being particularly notable. There is only a faint whiff of spicy alcohol in the aroma, remarkable considering the ABV of 10.2%

Taste: Opens with strong measures of cold coffee and bitter cocoa. Warming alcohol is soon evident, but is presented gracefully. The coffee and cocoa dominate, and are supported by a strong presence of roasted malt. Later in the taste, the is a strong hop presence, which compliments the coffee, cocoa, and roasted malt. The taste draws to a close with a late flourish of herbal hops against the roasted malt.

Mouth feel: Rich, quite smooth and full, with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A really excellent example of the Russian Imperial Stout style, I am thankful to have found this gem. Narwhal should be bought to cellar, as a gift to our future selves.

Presentation: Packaged in a stubby twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Narwhal pours black into the glass with a big, tan head on top. The foam disappears quickly leaving only a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma has notes of pine, roasted malt, chocolate and toffee. The aroma improves as the beer warms.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is creamy, slightly chewy with moderate carbonation. The rich flavor is nice and malty with a bitter finish. It begins with roast malt and chocolate. Some dark fruit and nuts come through in the middle. It finishes with some bitter pine flavors. Once gone the chocolate and piney bitterness lingers on the palate.

For 10% abv this is a quite drinkable beer. Well balanced with full flavors as the beer warms.

Photo of Zach136
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

32oz counter pressure filled growler from Barrel and Barley in Woodstock, GA.

A - Pitch black, light caramel head that disapates quickly. Ok lacing.

S - Caramel and toffee notes, bit of roast coffee and cocoa as well. No hop profile to speak of.

T - Deep roasted malts, earthy coffee, noticeable hop profile that gives the brew a hint of that motor oil profile fresh RISs tend to have.

M - Slightly over carbed for my tastes - giving it an almost chalky mouthfeel.

O - Great RIS. Excited to set up a verticle.

Photo of LehighAce06
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.11/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Really looking forward to this one.

A: Pours a very dark red color. It's so, so close to being pitch black, but not quite. The head is a two finger khaki shade. Retention is decent if not spectacular, and a nice layer of lacing is left behind.

S: This pops with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, some leafy hops...and a LOT of alcohol. This smells really boozy even for 10.2%, and it's not a particularly refined alcohol presence. Even worse, it seems to detract from the rest of the brew. But of course, given the chance to warm up, all its alcohol calms down - slightly.

T: There's no two ways around it - this mutha is harsh. Roasted malts open this one up, sandwiching a cream-laden coffee middle with its boozy, fruity finish. Some hoppiness appears in the aftertaste. I would have hoped that the alcohol would at least create some nuance and depth, alas no; it's not dead simple, but it should be more complex considering. Giving it the chance to warm/open up doesn't improve it much either. Maybe it makes it *slightly* less harsh.

M: It's creamy and lush feeling, like an imperial stout should be. I'm also kind of glad it isn't particularly dry finishing, because all it would really do is expose the alcohol even further. Carbonation isn't really a factor.

O: This could be my biggest letdown of 2013. It had many things going for it to be topnotch - SN's reputation, well received on BA, inexpensive - but in the end was nearly ruined by the generic harshness. My other bottles are going in the cellar; there's a very good RIS underneath this all, and aging it may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Photo of nrbw23
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of twenty5
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Herky21
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of JohnParadee
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into chilled pint glass. Deep, dark, black color, with very thick tan head which dissipated to thin veil. Excellent, consistent lacing. Smell is incredibly rich aura of burnt/roasted chocolate malt and coffee/vanilla hints. Unfortunately, the palate was not quite as impressive (to me). A little too much dank hoppiness, with the result that the balance was out of kilter. Carbonation and mouthfeel was good, but I could not get past the uneven bite and apparent conflict between the hops and the flavors trying to compete. Maybe I had a bad bottle, or just need to let it sit and warm up a bit more. Willing to try again, as I love so much of what SN does.

Photo of duff247
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Jame515
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of kaelingirl
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of peensteen
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on cask at Cask Days 2014 in Toronto

Jet black colour, ring of tan head with a bit of lace. Smell is roasty, lots of chocolate and coffee, well hopped with some earthy notes, light dark fruit in the periphery. Taste starts out with some dark fruit, light roast with some bitter hop mid palate, chocolate and coffee flavours linger into the finish. Light carbonation, medium-full body, good feel. A solid imperial stout, nothing groundbreaking but a nice and flavourful stout that is a pleasure to drink.

Photo of cliff1066
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 4,177 ratings.