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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.

379 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 379
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 10.09%
Wants: 130
Gots: 258 | FT: 39
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
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Ratings: 379 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ThickNStout
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

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 -2.5%
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 mkirkland80
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

mkirkland80, Today at 07:09 PM
Photo of akang
3.75/5  rDev -14%

akang, Today at 06:31 AM
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours the darkest of dark blacks, really just impenetrable to light, with a dark mocha colored tan head, about 2 fluffy, creamy inches, and a lot of lacing.

Smells just decadent and heavenly- big, sweet and slightly spicy bourbon, tons of vanilla and marshmallow, and chocolate.

This tastes great, it almost feels like a Bourbon County light. It's so vanilla heavy, I'd almost think it was made with vanilla beans, but it's obviously not- it's all from the barrel, which is great. There's a bit of coconut too, and rich fudgy dark chocolate, along with some slight cookie dough flavors. The bourbon is definitely there, it's slightly nutty, a bit peppery and spicy, and sweet, all at the same time. As the beer warms up, some astringent wood flavors develop, and the alcohol makes a taste presence. At all temps, the alcohol is unbelievably warming, but never gets overwhelming. It's quite easy to take this whole bomber on my own.

This is really creamy, and has a full, rich, and high-class mouthfeel. There's a lower but present amount of carbonation, and a pretty thick body.

This is an exemplary barrel-aged stout, and I wouldn't expect anything less from Sierra Nevada at this point.

GreesyFizeek, Today at 06:18 AM
Photo of voider
5/5  rDev +14.7%

voider, Today at 04:45 AM
Photo of imhoudinibitch
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

imhoudinibitch, Today at 04:08 AM
Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%

Been looking forward to this one for a long time. Pours a jet black, thick but not too thick that it has no carbonation. A medium-hard pour will leave you with about a 1" head that dissipates quickly. The nose gives you almost exclusively bourbon with a small amount of coffee and cocoa mixed in. Now for the taste: Upfront is a strong bourbon taste that stays with you the whole time you're sipping, and lingers well after the brew is empty. The secondary taste has got to be dark chocolate, which blends nicely with the mild coffee flavors and provides the BA Narwhal with a hint of bitterness. I love sweet stouts and some of the more bitter ones, but this beer seems to be in almost perfect balance with it's tastes. As my glass gets lower I notice the beer just keeps getting smoother. This one is definitely a mellow, relaxing sipper. I put it right with BA Biscotti Break as one of my favorite stouts. My only regret is that I didn't buy more than one. I highly recommend giving this a try if you can get your hands on it.

Pourharddrinkslow, Today at 03:45 AM
Photo of deford
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Poured from a bomber into a FW snifter.

A- This beer is beautiful. A gorgeous black with tinges of brown and a caramel colored head.

S- Bourbon, chocolate, bit of vanilla, burnt wood, dark fruits....pretty inviting.

T- Cocoa, licorice, dark fudge, coconut, prunes (just a lil bit). It all blends together so well. The licorice faded as it warmed and the fudge came forward.

M- It completely coats your mouth as if you ate a soft chunk of fudge that grandma made. Its almost chewy. I didn't even notice any carbonation. This beer is thick and sticky.

O-Simply fantastic! There's some kind of roastiness on the finish, a welcome balance to grandma's fudge. The barrel has done wonders for an already fabulous beer!

deford, Today at 03:20 AM
Photo of FightinIrish88
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%

FightinIrish88, Today at 03:03 AM
Photo of LtownTrev
5/5  rDev +14.7%

I am early in my appreciation of such things but I believe this to my benchmark from which the rest will be measured. Big fan of the espresso impressions!

LtownTrev, Today at 02:55 AM
Photo of Nietzsches_Horse
4.51/5  rDev +3.4%

Nietzsches_Horse, Today at 02:42 AM
Photo of BikeChef
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Incredibly smooth for a beer this big. As you might expect from SN, this is a study in balance. A slight bit of bourbon in the nose and the palate follows with silky roasted vanilla character. The bourbon does seem to overwhelm the base just a little, but I've never found Narwhal to be an assertive beer. This doesn't reach the heights of KBS or BCBS, but is quite delicious on a cold evening.

BikeChef, Today at 01:56 AM
Photo of MNBeer1017
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

MNBeer1017, Today at 01:12 AM
Photo of tclipse
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%

tclipse, Yesterday at 11:08 PM
Photo of gshak
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

gshak, Yesterday at 03:10 PM
Photo of ncelauro
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

ncelauro, Yesterday at 02:25 PM
Photo of APBT91
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

APBT91, Yesterday at 01:41 PM
Photo of drewone
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%

drewone, Yesterday at 05:59 AM
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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.