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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,107 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,107
Reviews: 158
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 8.99%
Wants: 191
Gots: 601 | FT: 89
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-11-2013

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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,107 | Reviews: 158 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jarrett123
1/5  rDev -77%

Photo of Desp59
1/5  rDev -77%

Photo of jallen5076
1.28/5  rDev -70.5%

Photo of Ltfuzz
1.64/5  rDev -62.2%

Photo of JLaw55
2/5  rDev -53.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The alcohol issue with the regular Narwhal was even worse here. It was amplified to the next level.

Will not seek out or purchase again. Would not drink again either, even if offered.

Photo of eddysnake
2.56/5  rDev -41%

Photo of ThePaleRider
2.9/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Not good at all. Tried this twice now and just can't get past the flavor of pepper. Very dry and just tastes like pepper. gross.
PS. I still love Sierra Nevada

Photo of Robyn
3/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of RochefortChris
3/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -30.9%

We had an employee preview bottle in July 2013 which was great (4.5), but the commercial release was really underwhelming to me.

Photo of turbotype
3/5  rDev -30.9%

Photo of RAlmeida77
3.03/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

VERY underwhelmed by this one. Bourbon aroma and flavor was lacking for me. I like more of a bourbon presence. Also found it to be very thin for an imperial stout with an ABV like this. I really like thick drinking stouts. Disappointed.

Photo of thegerm87
3.2/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Meh. Don't feel like writing a full review.

Photo of smartymcfly310
3.25/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of Rlena107
3.25/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of Trifecta1
3.28/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had high hopes, but this turned out to be a hype-bomb.

Hardly any bourbon, no Narwhal trademarks (cocoa and licorice). Woody, roasty, thin body with some alcohol heat. A decent stout, but horrible execution of a BBA stout. I'd even take Anderson Valley BBA Stout over this. Pass.

Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

(Reviewed from notes)

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Bomber format. Branded cork. Generally appealing label art.

Reviewed as an imperial stout per the label. Served cold into an Odell stem-tulip at high altitude in Fort Collins, CO. Expectations are above average; I'm not big in the original Narwhal and I'm not the Sierra Nevada fanatic everyone else seems to be.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Khaki colour head. Creamy, thick, and full. Soft-looking. Retention is average – about 2 minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque solid black – pretty much what you'd predict, but not an ink black or anything. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it looks apt for an imperial stout, but is far from unique or special looking. I've definitely seen far better in the style.

AROMA: Dark malts, chocolate malts, cream, and caramel. Barrel-wise, I pick up on some faint coconut, but no rich toasty evocative oak. There's a mild vanilla presence. It isn't as woody as I'd anticipate given the barrel aging.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, obvious off-notes, or hop profile is detectable.

Evokes a fairly balanced brew without much barrel character. Definitely seems more interesting than regular Narwhal. Seems a bit too sweet.

Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE: Boasts interesting notes of faint toasted coconut, mild vanilla, and a kiss of bourbon. It's missing toasted oak barrel and barrel sugar notes. Dark malts and chocolate malts comprise the simple foundation. Comes off a bit too sweet, but it's not quite boozy. Some caramel.

No yeast character, overt off-notes, caramel, or hop profile comes through.

It's decently balanced, but leaves much to be desired in terms of complexity/intricacy, subtlety, and nuance – especially considering the style – which demands that a lot be happening, at least to set it apart.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Decent flavour amplitude. It's nicely built, with some loose cohesion, but never comes off tasting like a gestalt whole.

I do like it, and it's certainly more interesting than regular Narwhal, but I still expect more from a barrel aged imperial stout – especially in today's oversaturated market.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, unrefreshing, lightly boozy, somewhat soft, fairly moderately thick and overcarbonated. Overall presence on the palate is nice but wanting. This texture doesn't elevate the beer and doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to the taste, but it suits the taste decently and doesn't hold the beer back.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, rough, scratchy, or dragging on the palate. It does have a noticeable alcohol warmth, however.

OVERALL: Definitely an improvement on the base beer, but still ultimately underwhelming considering the style. There are far better beers available in the style for less money, but this is decent and I do enjoy it. Sierra Nevada continues to fail to impress me, but I'm glad I tried this once. Unfortunately, the barrel character just never melts into the base like it should. A nice stab at the style, with a good premise. The toasted coconut stands out, but is too subtle in my opinion. More drinkable than a sipper, but by no means easy to drink.

Low B-

Photo of BillDon
3.32/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a hot mess the non BA is much better

Photo of Nobcefus
3.45/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I would have enjoyed stronger bourbon notes. I also don't like using the word "notes".

Photo of rdilauro
3.46/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I have been waiting for this one.
I've enjoyed so many of the newer style bourbon barrel aged stouts. So, I was expecting nothing but the best from this one. It started out with everything I liked, the bourbon burn, the full flavor, but it came up short on one end. It was over carbonated as far as I was concerned. I like my stouts with a lot less carbonation and more body and thickness.
This lacked in both areas.
Hopefully, since I do have another one, I will let it cellar age, the carbonation die down a bit and the body pick up a notch

Photo of BradMatton13
3.46/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Deggar
3.47/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

this was way too hot; needs time to settle in. good color and feel just did not do what other top end BA stouts have done for me

Photo of dogfishandi
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of earlholman
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of resistdefy
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 1,107 ratings.