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

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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged
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87 Ratings
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Ratings: 87
Reviews: 6
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.68%
Wants: 54
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.90% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-11-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 87 | Reviews: 6 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -8.7%

djrn2, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -8.7%

nmann08, Oct 15, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%

Incredibly powerful, yet full of grace- Sierra Nevada's Barrel-Aged Narwahl is woven into a seamless bourbon cocoon. And with wine-like tones, the Stout is so much more than just roast and booze.

As the beer is delivered to the table, a quick swirl seems to encourage the Stout to crawl around the glass on its own, trailing with inky legging as much as it does a scattering of lace. Its mocha-stained sheet of foam is creamy but loosely knitted together, eventually succumbing to its massive strength.

Its bold and fragrant aromatics lead with obvious roast overtones. Smooth like espresso, dark chocolate, roasted nuts and a hint of dark fruit. As the sweet bourbon notes release caramel, vanilla and weathered wood, it also highlights its floral, plumb, berries, grape and overall vinous, sherry-like tones. Warming a bit, its citrusy hop character pull from the roast and booze in a surprising turn before that first sip.

Its masculine sweetness wraps around the tongue with those espresso and bittersweet chocolate malts like fudge and chocolate-covered espresso beans. Hearty sweetness of burnt toffee and molasses supports the roast character to near perfection. Its bourbon infusion delivers a plethora of complexity at middle palate- vinous sherry, charred berries, dates, figs and plum that's pulled together by the natural caramel wood sweetness, vanilla, mature oak and cherry wood spice. Turning assertively bitter in finish, only the slightest grapefruit taste discerns its hop-derived bitterness from charred bitterness.

Its certain full and chewy body uses its embedded carbonation to give a marshmallow texture to the mouth. Its creamy sweetness dissolves in stride to give its finish remarkable semi-dryness without harsh astringency. Lingering with espresso roast, bourbon warmth and a wisp of campfire- the Stout is perfect as after dinner digestive.

Where the standard Narwahl is formidable in its own right, the bourbon aging really pulls out the fruit, floral and hop tones as much as it provides complexity of barrel, booze and controlled aging- savory inducing taste.

BEERchitect, Nov 06, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

westcoastbeerlvr, Oct 13, 2013
Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev -3%

largadeer, Dec 06, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

JAHMUR, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -3%

SocalKicks, Oct 11, 2013
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -8.7%

nickfl, Mar 30, 2013
Photo of Kegatron
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Kegatron, Apr 05, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%

From NOTB notes from last month; had a few samples of this one and liked it a lot.

a - Pours a pitch black color with two inches of thick tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks great, just like the normal Narwhal.

s - Smells of roasted malts, bourbon, vanilla, bitter chocolate, toasted malts, burnt malts, light coffee. Awesome nose; really nice mix of sweet bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate.

t - Tastes of sweet bourbon, roasted malts, oak, vanilla, bitter chocolate, dark fruits, toasted malts, and burnt malts. Very nice again, though I liked the nose a little better. Little more fruit and bitter chocolate here.

m - Medium body and high carbonation. Thick and smooth, definitely doesn't feel like 12.9% ABV. Nice mouthfeel.

o - Overall I liked this one a lot; I had high hopes for this after having the base beer and this did not disappoint. Looks great, great mouthfeel, and an awesome nose full of swete bourbon and vanilla. I know they are different beers, but liked this one a lot more than the BA bigfoot. Hoping to see this one again sometime.

mdfb79, Apr 01, 2013
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

mendvicdog, Mar 15, 2013
Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

GClarkage, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of smakawhat
4.41/5  rDev +0.7%

Poured on tap at Pizza Paradiso Dupont DC into a small snifter. From notes.

Super dark walnut black body, can't see even up to the collar head. Tan collar with thin bubbles and very opaque.

Classic bourbon barrel nose. Lost of soft vanilla, sweet caramel, and sense of oak depth. There is no heat coming off of this at all.

Palate hits with a wonderful thick caramel richness. Roast charring malts and oak complete the aftertaste. Vanilla washes all over the palate with good depth. Body is a little fizzy strangely, detracts from the flavor a bit, just a bit too much carbonation, but still allows everything to be enjoyable.

A solid RIS that took a barrel real well, this could be the start of something big. Possible future BCBS killer or just an easier one to drink?

smakawhat, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -3%

DrBier, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of PEIhop
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

PEIhop, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of EgadBananas
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

EgadBananas, May 12, 2014
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev -3%

CheapBeerBuzz, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of kscaldef
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

kscaldef, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of DonFrap
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

DonFrap, Feb 07, 2013
Photo of jaasen64
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%

On-tap at Meadhall for the pre-EBF Throwdown. ~10oz served in a Sierra Nevada snifter.

A- Jet black with about a quarter finger of creamy mocha head that has decent retention but recedes slowly leaving some spotty foamy lacing . Decent carbonation for a BA stout with nice consistency.

S- Milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, a bit of vanilla balanced nicely with sweet bourbon. Bourbon isn't too overpowering lending a nice sweet aroma and making it's BA presence known while still letting some of the base beer shine through.

T- Milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, toasted marshmellows, finishing with a smooth sweet bourbon taste and a light oak presence. The integration of the bourbon presence is what really makes this beer spectacular. It provides a nice complexity while still retaining the base beer characteristics. It also adds a nice sweetness without becoming too boozey, which is what I hate about a lot of high abv bourbon barrel-aged stouts.

M- Definitely a sipper, but very drinkable and incredibly smooth for being almost 13%- almost to the point where it's dangerous. Nice level carbonation and overall almost perfect feel for a BA stout.

O- I wasn't sure what to expect going into this beer having never had regular Narwhal and not being a huge fan of the few SN barrel-aged beers I've had. This beer was a pleasant surprise though, was definitely our favorite at the throwdown, and easily stands up against some of the best BA stouts I've had. I really hope they bottle this and I definitely would like to revisit it in the future. I might even go as far as saying I liked it slightly better then bourbon county.

jaasen64, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of CoolEthan
4.25/5  rDev -3%

CoolEthan, Oct 11, 2013
Photo of kvgomps
4.25/5  rDev -3%

kvgomps, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

EyePeeAyBryan, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of mportnoy
4.25/5  rDev -3%

mportnoy, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of mc4z
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

mc4z, Nov 09, 2013
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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.