Trip In The Woods: Cocoa Coconut Narwhal
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Trip In The Woods: Cocoa Coconut NarwhalTrip In The Woods: Cocoa Coconut Narwhal
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American Imperial Stout
4.19 | pDev: 5.01%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Trip In The Woods: Cocoa Coconut NarwhalTrip In The Woods: Cocoa Coconut Narwhal
Notes: Brewed with cocoa nibs and toasted coconut then aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for nearly a year.
Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 197 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black pour with a short-lived light brown head. Spotty lacing.

S: Bourbon ball candy: layers of caramel and chocolate with a chewy nougat impression. Coconut is there, but subtle. Blanket of soft roast and char. Whiffs of bourbon. A more tentative and understated nose than I expected.

T: Starts off with a blanket of soot and roast that stays present throughout. German chocolate cake. Caramel. Bourbon ball candy. Nougat. Chocolate truffles. Coconut is again present, but subtle. Barrel character of bourbon and char starts soft and builds gradually until it blooms gently into the finish. Bourbon warmth, cocoa, roast, and faint coconut linger.

M: Rich in body and thick in the mouth. Silky, round, and chewy. Soft carbonation. Warming alcohol.

O: All flavors meld well, and it's a very pleasant experience. This is a good thing, since coconut especially seems to be an additive that can get away from a brewer if they aren't careful, and overtake all else. A remarkably easy sipper for its size, and a perfect dessert beer. It is the kind of beer that will really grow on you by the end of the session.

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Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up at Belmont Station a couple years ago. Just never seemed to be able to find the right time to crack it open. So figured tonight would be just fine.

The beer pours the expected blackish brown color with very good head retention and impressive lacing. The nose in this beer is attractive, but it's also probably the least impressive feature in this beer. Even so, I get an impressive array of cocoa, light leather, vanilla, light bourbon and a hint of coconut. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but there's just more of everything, including some light molasses. The chocolate component in particular is very prominent. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, lingering finish. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell the abv is up there a bit.

Pretty impressive beer from SN. Whoever is in charge of the barrel program there, seems to know what they're doing.

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Photo of CHickman
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger foamy tan head that was packed with tiny bubbles and dissipated very slowly, leaving good foamy lacing that slid down the glass quicker than expected. A good looking stout even with the minimal lacing.

Smells of dark chocolate, vanilla, cocoa powder, toasted coconut, molasses, soy sauce, maple syrup, bourbon, oaky notes, peat moss, brown sugar, burnt coffee grinds, faint piney notes and milk chocolate. Super malty with a lot of barrel and chocolate notes adding a dynamic mix of booze, malty sweetness and nice coconut.

Flavor is very much like the nose with dark chocolate, vanilla, cocoa powder, molasses, soy sauce, maple syrup, bourbon, toasted coconut, bakers chocolate, oaky notes, light peat moss, charred wood, smoked malts, brown sugar, burnt coffee grinds, faint piney notes, espresso beans and milk chocolate. Lots of roasted malts and overall roasty notes blend with the sugary sweetness of the barrels, cocoa and toasted coconut. This is rich but not cloyingly sweet, and like most Sierra Nevada BBA stouts it is refined and quite well balanced.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but that's the only real knock as this masks the ABV perfectly and slides down like a porter. The barrel notes bring out a lot of flavor and I'm sure the age on this bottle helped smooth things out as it was near perfect in drink-ability for a barrel aged Narwhal variant.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Anthracite; sweet bourbon; treacle, licorice, smoke, dark chocolate, some woodiness, a lot of big bourbon + more truffle, then very gentle meaty oily coconut end; full, oily, slight heat.

4 4 4 4 4.25

Big bourbon, huge base stout, little coconut. Segues into liqueur. Not so hot, considering. A hefty one.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into glass. No bottling date.
Dark brown colored body, with medium brown back lit highlights. Half finger of head settles to a creamy tan colored topper. Leaves behind some droppings of lacing.
Aroma of bourbon barrel, with coconut, cocoa, and dark roasted malts.
Taste has the heavy barrel bourbon influence, but no perceived alcohol burn. Roasted malts, cocoa, and coconut blend into a tasty base. Has a touch of bourbon sourness but no bitterness from the beer.
Fuller mouth feel. Smooth texture. Good carbonation.
A barrel aged exercise that takes an established and respected base stout, and adds flavors that work well with the barrel aging. Not super wow but provides an excellent tasting experience.

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Photo of jlindros
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No date
Decent foamy bubbly but smaller head, good retention, a little lacing, mild legs, basically pitch black

Nose big barrel, tons of coconut, big vanilla and toasted oak barrel and some bourbon, some dark chocolate cocoa, mild marshmallow nougat, hint of roast and coffee, malted milk ball

Taste brings big barrel again, vanilla and toasted oak, some bourbon but not a ton, layers of chocolate, cocoa, dark choc, ganache, etc, with mild fluffy marshmallow nougat, mild roasted malt and coffee again but not burnt or acrid, a little coconut but not much, alcohol is there too, tingly heat but not fusel, drier but mild sticky finish, more coconut on the finish, as it warms more toasted oak barrel and bourbon juice

Mouth is fuller bod and a little rich creamy, good carb for the style, a little tingly alcohol

Overall pretty good, alcohol is decently present, but base stout is nice with no burnt or acrid flavors, and barrel brings nice characters, I wish the coconut was a bit more but still nice

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black pour with nice clingy legs on the sides of the glass, lacing is toffee colored and thin.

S - Light bourbon aroma with oak and some alcohol effervescence.

T - Cocoa from start to finish, toasted chocolate, and bourbon with a slight bit of spicy rye character to it. Finishes mellow on the malt side and more bourbon forward. A little bourbon forward on the back end

M - Full bodied, sticky on the lips, viscous and silky. Warming is low to moderate on the way down.

O - It took a good 5-6 ounces into the glass before I really started to appreciate this beer. Really enjoyed this.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from fridge temp. Pours jet black with very little head. Nose is dominated by cocoa, coconut, and roasted malts. Not a ton of barrel coming through on the nose. Taste is fantastic. A nice bitterness comes up first - like coffee grounds and tobacco. Getting nice notes of black licorice, maple, coconut, bourbon, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. This is really complex and wonderful. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy - no messing around here. Overall, I am a huge fan of this beer. Perfect balance of barrel and base beer, with tons of flavor mingling in the right way.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not sure of the bottling date, as I see nothing printed on the bottle itself, but what I just drank had an 11.9% abv...

Poured dark brown but black in the glass with a slim finger of dark tan foam on top that slipped quickly into a flimsy cap and then disappeared... A real nice take on Narwhal, bourbon and chocolate comes though really nicely, smooth and soft with some vanilla and a whiff of coconut along the way... I suspect this was a $20+ bottle but that's okay - this was a really fine beer - if it's from 2017, it clearly aged well, though perhaps the coconut faded some... Sweetness is moderate but not over done, little to no bitterness - mostly silky molasses, chocolate, and bourbon barrel... No complaints here...

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Photo of Beejay
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review 1500!!!!!

A: dark black in color with a nice medium tan head.

S: vanilla, oak, chocolate, and coconut.

T: dark chocolate, bourbon oak, and toasted coconut in the finish.

M; medium tock in feel, creamy.

O: fucking tasty.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Stout brewed with toasted coconut and aged in bourbon barrels with additional coconut and cocoa nibs. Poured from a corked and caged bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery tulip. Very dark pour with about a finger of fine tan head that quickly dissolves to a thin lace. The nose features roasted malt, bitter chocolate, some vanilla, and a hint of coconut.

Full body with a firm feel and a decadent flavor. Tons of caramel and semisweet chocolate up front, then a nice complement of roast. Barrel notes arrive near mid-palate in the form of toasted oak and vanilla, which adds richness and complements the roast and malt quite well. A little bit of alcohol warmth at the back of the palate provides even more richness, while the other flavors refuse to fade and persist to the finish.

This is one delicious beer. It is smooth, extremely well-balanced, complex, and yummy. I wish I could detect more coconut in it. Aside from just a faint whiff of toasted coconut on the nose, I can't really pick it out from all the other rich, intense flavors. As it is, I don't think I could easily distinguish this from regular barrel-aged Narwhal. But that beer is extremely yummy so this is hardly a complaint.

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Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Narwhal! Love the base beer, so hopes are high for this 750ML corked & caged bottle. Split with my wife.

Black, with a head that never shrinks. The nose is mostly cocoa, with a touch of sweet malt, barrel, & coconut. Truth in advertising. Some breweries could learn from that.

Cocoa Coconut Narwhal – Barrel Aged builds on an excellent base, rather than drowning it in an inch of sorrows & adjuncts. The sweetness of the malts & light roast is there, but the chocolate is much stronger, bordering on bitter malted milk balls. Coconut is light enough to need a search party, mingled with faint vanilla, & a touch of alcohol on the finish. Slick & silky enough that one barely (barrely, hahaha!) notices it sliding down one’s throat.

The barrel is faint, the coconut a ghost, though the chocolate is strong. It’s like watching a stripper take off her heels - really, the whole experience was lovely before. Excellent beer.

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Photo of IKR
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2018 Vintage

Appearance: Dark brown bordering on Black The beer has has a medium-sized dark brown head which faded to a ring.

Smell: Moderate Bourbon notes followed by brown sugar notes and some mild coffee notes.

Taste: The Bourbon and brown sugar notes from the nose come through in the taste profile. I also get some fairly noticeable oak notes, and roasted malts. The finish is fairly dry. It may be the power of suggestion but i pick up the faintest coconut and dark chocolate notes.

Mouth-feel: Medium to full bodied with a modest level of carbonation appropriate tor the style.

Overall: A good bal-aged Imperial Stout. As it warmed I was able to pick up the cacao addition but never really got a distinct coconut presence. Nice bal-aging notes though.

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Photo of Prager62
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 750ml with a date that appears to read 09/14/17. Pouring in a 14oz. porter/stout glass.

Look- Pours a thin dark brown leaving a few centimeters of tan foam behind. It quickly settles to a thin ring with a little lacing present.

Smell- Cocoa powder, coconut, char and bourbon.

Taste- Dark chocolate, coconut, dark fruit, mild tobacco, char and bourbon.

Feel- Thin but slightly oily with a dry finish.

Overall- A very nice variant of Narwhal that comes together well. I wish the feel was thicker, but the smell and more importantly the taste makes for a memorable beer. I'd definitely drink this again.

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Photo of stortore
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled 9/13/17, had 12/15/17.

Pours near black and opaque, with a half inch foamy head and some filmy lacing. Aromas of bourbon, malt, cocoa, some coconut, caramel, some oak, light chocolate. The taste starts with lots of bourbon, then lighter malt- and less noticeable as it warms, cocoa, oak, light caramel, some raisins. Maybe light coconut- maybe. Smooth for all the bourbon, a good medium body, well carbonated.

This is more bourbon forward than any I remember from Sierra Nevada. Great aroma, but the bourbon totally dominates the flavor. Have no problem with strong bourbon, but for this, it was a bit of a negative. Still enjoyable, but a high price point for what you get.

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Photo of Jlabs
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark brown/Dark Reddish hue, with minimal oily residue..smell is bourbon, with some faint coconut..taste is almost the same but coconut is a little more pronounced. which is good..also get some nice chocolate notes. body is a bit thin, which doesn't hurt the beer, but makes it drink more like a porter than a stout..while this is a solid beer, its not as good as the regular BA Narwhal

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Photo of strohme2
3.84/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle dated 9/13/17, poured into tulip.
Been a while since I've had regular Narwal, looking forward to this with all the adjuncts. Pour is deep and dark brown with latte colored head. The head leaves a thick ring of head around the glass's inner ring. The nose is dark and bitter chocolate, dark fruits, mild coconut. Just a touch of heat. First taste is dark fruit, that's a little disappointing. Next is chocolate, very mild coconut, cinnamon, bakers chocolate. Little to no barrel or wood. The beer is smooth and the (light) carbonation level is where I like it but this beer needs to have a bigger body. This beer is fine and all, just expecting more on all levels.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Black, foamy barm that settles into a nice lacing. Aroma has a good amount of toasted coconut and some classic roasted malt, but leaves you wanting just a little more of those bourbon notes (and I couldn't find any cocoa).

The taste certainly has more barrel characteristics upfront as that first wave is almost a shot of Kentucky straight. On the back you definitely get some coconut and (finally) that cocoa chocolate in pretty good balance. I would like to see this beer be a little more woven together, as it goes from bourbon to adjunct without really marrying the two together. Still, really good beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque black in the glass with a half finger dark khaki head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of slightly sweet dark toasted malt, cocoa, coconut and a little vanilla. Flavor is dark toasted malt with light char, dark chocolate, coconut, oaky vanilla with more char developing into a roasty, charry dark malt finish with lingering oak and light smoke. Medium bodied with light creaminess and sharp carbonation. A full flavored barreled imperial stout with nice chocolate notes, deeper than expected for cocoa, and light, but appropriate amount of coconut. Nice development of the malt char and a good finish with well balanced flavors and great malt support. Alcohol well covered. Very enjoyable. I was late picking one of these up, but glad I did.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours black with a one finger tan head. The head dissapates quickly leaving some nice sticky lacing.

S - Aroma is coconut and dark chocolate.

T - The taste is dark chocolate, coconut, vanilla caramel and bourbon.

M - Full body with low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with an oily finish.

O - This is a nice Narwhal variant. The coconut adds a nice layer of sweetness.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.72/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Apperance is slick, shiny used motor oil with a surprisingly minimal tan head for a Sierra Nevada brew.

Smell is certainly showcasing some cocoa and toasted coconut, but this is not the aroma of a pureed chocolate cake like the current class of pastry stouts tends to aim for. Some woody bourbon heat pops in as well.

A light uniform body still fills the mouth with a soft carbonation, while some bourbon heat runs through a chocolatey malt, turning woody, with wafer, cocoa and coconut. Light and balanced, this finishes semi-wet.

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Photo of emyers
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter

Black, thick creamy light brown head

Cocoa powder, vanilla, and coconut (somewhat muted) in the nose.

Flavor opens up quite a bit more vs the aroma. Chocolate and bourbon up front with coconut creeping in on the finish.

Very smooth, velvety, appropriately low carbonation.

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Photo of Riff
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black color with a thick, about a finger wide, light brown head. Smells of a mild dark chocolate, bourbon, a little coconut, vanilla, and a hint of malts. Taste is complex and quite complimentary. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, roast malts. The alcohol is muted and the bourbon is mostly complimentary of all the flavors. Smooth, medium-heavy body, mild carbonation. Very smooth drinker and a delicious blend of flavors.

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Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an almost black dark brown with plenty of brown head that leaves beautiful lacing on the glass. The aroma is chocolate with caramel, bourbon, oak and coconut. The flavor follows the nose wonderfully. Thick creamy mouthfeel, and overall a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Ri0
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured 750ml bottle into snifter. Dark coffee brown with a 1.5 finger tan head. Excellent retention that leaves a fat collar and good amounts of lacing on my glass. Aroma is heavy on dark chocolate with some bourbon soaked chocolate covered coconut blending with roasted malt. It starts off semi sweet with a coconut and chocolate cake. The bourbon is faint and more of an accent which does wonders for the flavor. Some vanilla and marshmallow along with hints of caramel. Great carbonation for the style, smooth and very silky mouthfeel that is medium in body. An overall delicious beer from SN.

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Trip In The Woods: Cocoa Coconut Narwhal from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 197 ratings