Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #248
Ranked #4,041
4.16 | pDev: 9.62%
Sunday at 11:01 PM
Oct 14, 2012
Notes: A malt-forward monster, highlighting the depths of malt flavor.

Narwhal Imperial Stout is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in the deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish, Narwhal will age in the bottle for years to come.
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Photo of defunksta
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by defunksta from North Dakota

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a thick body and large and rich somewhat dark tan head. SRM of 24. (4.25)

Aroma: Strong aromas of chocolate, espresso bean roast, and earthy molasses. Vanilla notes are there. Earthy and black malt notes follow before a chocolate finish. (4.25)

Flavor: Intense flavors of rich chocolate, coffee, toasted black malt, and some vanilla and rich chocolate on the end mixed with some mild earthy toasted malt and smooth espresso roast notes. (4.50)

Feel: A large body. Rich and smooth without being too cloying or thick. Appropriately and surprisingly clean and dry for 10.2%. (4.25)

Compared to North Coast Old Rasputin 1/16/22: Pours a similar color with a darker and larger head. Stronger aromas. More chocolate and espresso bean roast. Less black malt, earthy notes, and root beer.

Overall: This one surpassed my expectations. What a beer. Intense chocolate, espresso roast, but goes down smooth and clean enough to make you long for another sip. Definitely a sipper and hides the alcohol extremely well at 10.2% (Final Rating: 4.40)

Sunday at 11:01 PM
Photo of burnstar
4.66/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by burnstar from Pennsylvania

Pours black with a medium persistent rich tan head. Smell is roasted malt, some coffee notes, maybe even a little dark fruit. Taste has a big sweet backbone but it's overwhelmed by the bitter roasted malt. Great malt profile that's hard to place. Dark chocolate and coffee notes, but that's a bit of a cop out to describe what's a more complicated malt taste. Spicy warming boozy finish. The most noteworthy thing here is how surprisingly balanced and drinkable this is. Heavy for sure, but it goes down dangerously easy. Nicely carbonated. Really great imperial stout and a great beer for a cold January evening.

Friday at 07:27 PM
Photo of bobwm
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by bobwm from Delaware

A great Imperial Stout for the money. Delicious.

Dec 22, 2021
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by ZenAgnostic from Texas

12oz bottle poured into Teku glass. Picked up from liquor store for $2.79. 8/13/21 printed on the top of the back label, so this is about 4 months old.

Appearance - Opaque black body. Medium brown 2-finger head with good retention, lacing and stick. 4.75

Smell - Dark roasted character primarily. Then some caramel and chocolate and vanilla, and alcohol. It really doesn't hide the alcohol very well. 4.25

Taste - Dark roasted coffee. I just now read the description on the back label and it literally says word for word "dark roasted coffee". So yeah, it sure lives up to that. Baker's cocoa noticeable too, as it notes. It's not bad by any means. But this style has very stiff competition, and I rate within style. 4

Mouthfeel - A little harsh. Boozy. Full bodied. But a relatively clean finish for the style, which isn't saying too much. 4

Overall - Pretty solid beer. Pretty middle of the road for the style. No major flaws. Easy recommendation, especially for the price. Good value. 4

Dec 22, 2021
Photo of Edgewise
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Edgewise

I'm not (yet) much of a stout guy, having cut my teeth first of IPAs and, more recently, sours. But beer is an adventure, so here we are!

Sierra Nevada straddles the line between craft and macro pretty well. I've been disappointed by their limited edition IPAs, which lean heavily into the bitter without much balance. But I was pleasantly surprised by the Narwhal. A very sippable stout with a deeply roasted flavor that never crosses the line into burnt. Strong but not overpowering. Dark as sin with a light head.

Dec 16, 2021
4.35 by infuturity from Massachusetts on Nov 21, 2021
4.25 by altrio on Nov 15, 2021
Photo of gooddaydiablo
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by gooddaydiablo from Texas

look: 98% black, deep, thin foam,

smell: chocolaty! a lot!

taste: chocolate, coffee, heavy bread, a good mix

feel: smooth and abv hidden well, body is pretty thick, altho it's 10%, good balance also

overall: this is gold. at least 2021 version, I like this one better than the barrel aged one. cheers!

Nov 08, 2021
3.5 by cunning_stunt from Indiana on Nov 07, 2021
4.27 by Lelampp from Ohio on Nov 07, 2021
4.13 by guzzleacoldone from Ohio on Nov 06, 2021
4.38 by Gukkor from Texas on Nov 05, 2021
Photo of CaptainHate
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by CaptainHate from Ohio

12 ounce bottle packaged on 8/21/2020 poured into a DFH tulip. Thick tan head over an inky brown body. Smell was of malts, chocolate, molasses and char. Taste followed the nose. Mouthfeel was very creamy whether from cellaring for a year or maybe just natural. I can see why others hold this in such high regard. An excellent Russian Imperial Stout which will be present in my cellar going forward.

Oct 31, 2021
4.21 by LesDewitt4beer from Minnesota on Oct 28, 2021
Photo of LeRose
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by LeRose from Massachusetts

I can't say much that hasn't been said, so cutting to the chase this is a very good RIS deserving of the rating.

It pours a thick looking oily black, very clear.

The smell is of chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, char, molasses and I think just a hint of licorice.

What I find surprising in the taste is the chocolate, but this is fresh and I look forward to letting this age and seeing how it changes, but right now I am getting a significant chocolate flavor, that seems slightly sweet at first but as the coffee and roasted malt takes over, the sweet sensation fades to a hefty but short-lived combo bite of char, espresso, acridity, and some bitterness. Coffee acridity and char lingers a little, but pleasantly.

Even young, no alcohol beyond a pleasant warmth. I'd call it medium body, somewhat creamy, just enough carbonation to hold it up. Glad I have five more to play with later, anticipating this to be even better with some time.

Oct 18, 2021
4.23 by o29 from Texas on Oct 03, 2021
Photo of Kiiz
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Kiiz

Cheapest quality craft beer drunk that isn’t an ipa. I imagine this would taste amazing aged a few years. Unfortunately it tastes a little bland for the style fresh and the alcohol taste is definitely stronger. Overall great for what it is.

Sep 24, 2021
4.24 by joran from Kansas on Sep 18, 2021
4.02 by KT3418 from Colorado on Aug 28, 2021
Photo of trevormajor
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by trevormajor from Ohio

12 oz bottle, born on 8/21/20, poured into a snifter at 53 degrees F:
L - dark and oily with a hazelnut head that faded
S - roasted malt, biscuit
T - malt, licorice, molasses, bakers chocolate
F - thick with light carbonation
O - very good stout, nice range of flavors

Jun 24, 2021
4.19 by samEBC from Belgium on Jun 21, 2021
3.77 by Dentist666 from Russian Federation on Jun 20, 2021
4.13 by Hopweiser from Korea (South) on Jun 18, 2021
Photo of klarcbarr3
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by klarcbarr3 from Michigan

I popped the top, inhaled a whiff.. WOW! A boozy wake up of bourbon and vanilla/rum notes charged up my nostrils! A pour into a pint glass left a gorgeous 1-1/4 inch foamy head, which held never fully depleted, and left a perfect, relentless trail of lacing. This brew is black as midnight! The taste? This is my kind of beer.. Solid bourbon over coffee and chocolate, subtle vanilla/ rum/ molasses sweetness.. robust decadence. More than a bit of booziness, Sierra Nevada is not for the fainthearted, uninitiated, or nouveau drinker. The mouthfeel is a bit heavy , too sticky.. and the aftertaste is all bourbon. But if you like a good stiff beer, this one's for you!

Jun 14, 2021
Photo of Sigmund
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Sigmund from Norway

355 ml bottle, shared by gunnar. Pitch black colour, moderate to low brown head. Nice aroma of chocolate / cocoa, molasses and coffee. Same elements in the flavour, add a little liquorice and decent hops, and you’re there. Good stuff.

May 09, 2021
4.25 by Burg from New Hampshire on May 05, 2021
Photo of Viaduck
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by Viaduck from California

Black with a tan head that is rather impressive for an imperial stout. Aroma is mostly chocolate & coffee, maybe some caramel too. Slightly sweet with a hint of bitter. Lots of chocolate & coffee flavor followed by some complex malt & hop flavors. The coffee type bitterness seems to increase the more it is consumed. No alcohol flavor but mild stomach heat. Velvety smooth with good carbonation. Delicious!

Mar 13, 2021
Photo of backblast
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by backblast from Alaska

Tastes of rich dark malts, unsweetened chocolate and coffee with a hint of molasses & brown sugar. A bit of malt bitterness gives it a good balance and a very nice lingering aftertaste.

Mar 13, 2021
3.01 by stephenlee93 from England on Mar 12, 2021
4.33 by DBosco from Massachusetts on Mar 09, 2021
Photo of davisdahlberg6
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by davisdahlberg6 from Tennessee

Canned on 09/18/20 and enjoyed in a snifter on 02/28/21
A: Pours black, about as dark as strong coffee, not necessarily jet black. About an inch of dark khaki foam with good retention time and nice lacing as the foam dissipates.
S: Initially there is strong earthy notes with oak and burnt wood character. Strong notes of bourbon combined with vanilla all supported well by the underlying coffee and chocolate. Coconut aroma is present throughout but is not overwhelming.
T: Taste follows the nose, but the coffee and chocolate are more pronounced in the taste. Same earthy notes and vanilla present in the nose. Coconut adds a sweetness to balance out the sharp Bourbon is more pronounced especially as the beer warms. Abv is fairly well hidden but the warmth and bourbon finish is more pronounced as the beer warms.
F: Smooth, velvety feel and very creamy. Complex, but well balanced and no specific aspect is overwhelming, they compliment each other well and make for a fantastic beer!
O: This beer is fantastic! I would definitely buy it again considering the $16 price tag for a 4-pack of 16oz cans. Throughout this review I feel I have understated the coconut. I love coconut stouts, they have great flavor and subtle sweetness and this beer does it best.

Feb 28, 2021
4.5 by Metalgod666 from Michigan on Jan 25, 2021
4.46 by Jerjo from North Dakota on Jan 25, 2021
3.53 by zknight from Korea (South) on Jan 23, 2021
Photo of JohnniEMc
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

Hooked a pint can and sank the contents into a clear Imperial pint glass. A brown so dark it's just about black and a tan head makes a nice color combination. The aroma is aptly described on the label, as there are "notes of oak, vanilla and coconut. The head transitions into some nice glass lacing. This is a poignant tasting affair. The delicious roasted malt forward is rich and velvety smooth. It really does bring notes of oak, vanilla, coconut and even a little dark chocolate along the way to an expresso and slightly alcoholic finish. The slight alcohol taste there only augments the overall. A whale of a great brew.

Jan 23, 2021
4.02 by arzt from Russian Federation on Jan 20, 2021
4.14 by paulytasker from New York on Jan 20, 2021
Photo of Antg8989
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
by Antg8989 from New Jersey

Aroma is a mix of roasted malts, elderberry, dark berry, cherry cough medicine and of course chocolate and coffee. Taste is more chocolate dominant. Dark berry. Not getting much Bourbon. Feel is lightly carbonated. Overall, not bad. Maybe this wasn't stored correctly.

Jan 17, 2021
Narwhal from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 5466 ratings