1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel AgedNarwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

424 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 424
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.84%
Wants: 132
Gots: 280 | FT: 41
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This deliciously dark treat is our bold Narwhal Imperial Stout aged in oak Kentucky bourbon barrels. Black as midnight, this intense stout is incredibly complex with notes of dark chocolate, rich roasted grains, and espresso seamlessly blended with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut with a slight touch of honey from aging in the oak spirit casks. Nearly as rare as its nautical namesake, try it out while you can because, like the creature itself, it will disappear into the blackness soon and leave nary a trace behind.

Additional Info:
Narwhal was aged for 8 months in fresh bourbon barrels (a combination of Willett single barrel, Heaven Hill and various Beam brands).

ABV: 12.9
IBU’s: 62
Bittering Hops: Challenger
Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramel, Chocolate, Honey, Carafa III, Roasted Barley

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-11-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 424 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Todd
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Todd, Nov 16, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of ThickNStout
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Corked and caged 750mL bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shop (Marietta, GA). 22.99. Bottled 10/14/14. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours midnight black with a two and a half finger cap of dense, pale tan head. The froth slowly settles to a thin ring that leaves some nice patches of lace.

Sweet, rich, inviting smells of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, burnt oak, coffee and caramel with a hint of the fairly formidable alcohol in the background. Quite nice.

Flavors are bold, rich and ocassionally bordering on hot. Dark chocolate fudge, bourbon, charred oak, vanilla, heavily roasted malts, burnt caramel, espresso, faint coconut, marshmallow, vague dark fruits and a nice blanket of booze over it all. Despite the name, this seems like a different stout than the base beer. Significantly sweeter with almost none of the anise that I recall being so prevalent. An outstanding blend of imperial stout and barrel character that goes down with an ease that belies it's near-13% abv.

Sludgy, heavy, creamy feel with an interesting, lethargic seeming carbonation. That may not read as a compliment but the mouthfeel is almost perfect for an imperial stout. Bittersweet dark fudge, bourbon and sweet barrel linger in the finish.

I remember thinking Narwhal had some real potential when I first tried it two years ago and that potential is fully realized in this barrel aged version. The barrel smooths out the flavors, adds a wonderfully sweet complexity and seems to have thickened it beautifully. This beer came out of left field and surpassed my expectations, which is a rare occurrence these days. Yes this is a tad pricey but Barrel Aged Narwhal is a benchmark example of what a barrel aged imperial stout can be and possibly the best beer I've had from the craft veterans at Sierra Nevada. Seriously- try this if you can!

ThickNStout, Nov 18, 2014
Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

enjoyed side by side with a 2014 narwhal from sierra nevada 30th anni globe snifter.

a - brew pours a rich shiny silky black. great shine nice frothy offwhite head. great lace, esp for a BA brew. looks like the base, but the BA has bigger lace.

s - nose is exactly ad advertised...a big woody bourbon glazing over the nice roasted chocolate notes of the base.

t/m/o - really well balanced BA stout. has all the robust chocolate roast and chewy body of the original with a really nice glaze of woody bourbon. the barrel takes some of the extremeness of the roast of the base and sits it in the back seat. an improvement to an already tasty beer. the barrel aging really takes it to another level. very good, easy drinking and worth checking out.

cosmicevan, Nov 08, 2014
Photo of SanFranJake
4.5/5  rDev +3%

SanFranJake, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of supa0525
5/5  rDev +14.4%

supa0525, Oct 15, 2013
Photo of bulldogg915
5/5  rDev +14.4%

bulldogg915, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.5/5  rDev +3%

One of the best stouts I've ever had.
Aroma of bourbon, chocolate, and dark fruit.
Taste improved on the aroma.
Outstanding!

lordofthewiens, Nov 16, 2014
Photo of DaftPatrick
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%

DaftPatrick, Sunday at 09:36 PM
Photo of JakerLou
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

JakerLou, Sunday at 01:55 AM
Photo of TKEbeerman
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

TKEbeerman, Sunday at 01:31 AM
Photo of Two40addict
4.24/5  rDev -3%

Two40addict, Nov 16, 2014
Photo of chinchill
3.86/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

(from bottle)
Probably would benefit from some aging: could be softer and less boozy. Still, a fine strong ale with a well balanced contribution from the BBL.

Rich and moderately complex. Mildly bitter.

Great aroma.

chinchill, Nov 07, 2014
Photo of timontheroad
4.61/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Pours a very dark brown, almost black, like dirty motor oil. One finger of thick mocha head. The aroma is phenomenal, with big chocolate, caramel, toffee, roasty malt and bourbon. Also caught some very slight coffee notes. The flavor is also outstanding, also with chocolate, bourbon, woody flavors and lots of dark roasty malt notes as well. The mouthfeel was thick and silky smooth, with just a slight bit of alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Overall, this ranks right up there with any of the best BBA Imperial Stouts. I'm impressed! I've hid one in the cellar to see what a little age does to this beer.

timontheroad, Nov 10, 2014
Photo of striker2160
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

striker2160, Nov 16, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.9/5  rDev -10.8%

acurtis, Oct 07, 2014
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4/5  rDev -8.5%

RBassSFHOPit2ME, Nov 11, 2014
Photo of MeadGuyfromMD
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

MeadGuyfromMD, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of tdm168
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

tdm168, Oct 29, 2014
Photo of Roguer
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black as midnight, topped by a nice dark tan head. OK retention, fading to a line circling the glass.

No mistaking the bourbon on the nose, which mingles with a full bodied stout aroma of chocolate, coconut, bananas, charred oak, coffee, dark fruit, and a hint of vanilla.

Much smoother flavor profile than regular Narwhal, and the bourbon is delicately integrated. Tons of dark chocolate, muted roasted barley, oak, vanilla, cream, a bit of char, coconut, and bourbon.

Medium-full feel, sticky with a long finish. No hint of the ABV until the heat hits your chest. Fairly noticeable foaming if you chew the brew or let it sit.

What a fantastic and smooth BBA stout. I can't imagine it would be any better with age; it's that smooth and delicious right now. For such a high ABV BA stout, the alcohol is well hidden, and the bourbon perfectly smooth.

Roguer, Nov 17, 2014
Photo of fthegiants
4.5/5  rDev +3%

fthegiants, Oct 30, 2014
Photo of tclipse
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%

tclipse, Monday at 11:08 PM
Photo of SonnyHenry
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%

SonnyHenry, Nov 10, 2014
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at River of Beers. Served in a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Medium khaki head.

Smell - Bourbon is strong. Dark chocolate. Sharp oak.

Taste - Dark chocolate is the strongest flavor. Oak secondary. Moderate sweetness amd chocolat flavor. Never quite dark and bitter. Always a little sweet.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Medium carbonation.

Overall - I expected greatness. I got a high quality beer. I think prefer regular Narwhal.

Alieniloquium, Nov 15, 2014
Photo of tiamat8086
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

tiamat8086, Nov 09, 2014
Photo of Kegatron
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Kegatron, Apr 05, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 424 ratings.