Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

BEER STATS
Reviews:
877
Ratings:
4,884
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
22.71%
 
 
Wants:
310
Gots:
1,378
For Trade:
44
User Reviews
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Reviews: 877 | Ratings: 4,884
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage poured in to tulip glass.

A - Black with half a finger of medium brown head.

S - A huge roast aroma up front with some coffee and a hint of smoke.

T - Very bold and flavorful right away. Starts with a big roast presence with some char. A big hop presence enters mid-palate along with a warming alcohol presence and hints of cocoa and licorice. The finish is dry and bitter with a lingering pine flavour from the hopping and becomes almost sticky a few seconds after the swallow.

M - Medium to full body. Creamy. Light carbonation. Somewhat sticky at times.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into one of my snifters, this beer pours a an extremely dark brown, almost black color that lets in no light whatsoever. has a dark tan head that is about 1/4 inch thick when first poured that, despite the fact that I gave this beer a very rough pour, settled very quickly to a medium sized ring lining the inside of the glass along with swirls of foam on the surface of the beer. Okay lacing, but not that good. Aromas of caramel malt, hints of chocolate and vanilla, coffee, some hints of dark fruit that are all rounded out with a bourbon smell. pretty sure this edition of this beer was not aged in bourbon barrels, but it sure smells like it. Weird. The flavors match the aromas almost verbatim, caramel malt, chocolate and vanilla sweetness upfront, followed by some roasted coffee bitterness notes, hints of plum and raisin, rounded out with a touch of bourbon. Oh yeah a hint of alcohol too. The flavors mesh very well together as the beer sits and warms up a bit too. Has a slightly crisp, but mainly smooth, creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This one really coats the palate. Easy to drink in the way an excellently crafted beer should be.

Eric

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Photo of Joshpu
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a duvel.

A: Black, used motor oil. About a finger of tan head, which dissipates quickly. Spotty lacing with alcohol legs.

S: Roasty smell. Coffee, dark chocolate, malt, some dark fruit.

T: Little bit of hop or chocolate/coffee bitterness, not overwhelming, it tastes great. Alot of coffee, malt, dark chocolate, sweet aftertaste.

M: Medium to full bodied, fairly creamy tasting. Fair amount of carbonation.

O: Outstanding beer, for a 10% beer it is very well executed. This beer is addictive, makes me wanting to come back for more.

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Photo of GetMeAnIPA
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle into my dogfish signature glass.

A - midnight black. 1/2 inch of brown small buubled head that fades quickly, but appears again with a few swirls of the glass. No bubbles that I could see, but the beer is so black if there where I couldn't even see them.

S - licorice, coffee, roasted malts with a some sweetness and alcohol that pierces the nose.

T - I get an array of flavors. Roasted malts, coffee, slight coco. A little sweetness comes through in the middle with some bitterness on the back end. The bitterness fades 1/4 through the beer as the coffee and roasted malts take over.

M - very little carbonation. A little syrupy and viscous. I get a slight tingling on the tongue.

O - very solid. I like how there isn't too coffee or coco flavor and its balanced nicely between not being too sweet or bitter. The abv is well hidden. I get a perfect amount of warming but no alcohol burn. Sierra Nevada says this will
Age for years and I plan on aging a few. Interested how it will change.

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Photo of DanJan
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I let this one warm up a bit out of the fridge and the characteristics really stand out. Looks like the definition of a Russian Imperial Stout; deep and dark without a hint of light and a tan head with a little bit of lacing. In other words, it looks delicious. Roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolate on the nose. But really the taste is what we're all here for. It is spot on. Exactly what you'd expect. Waves of chocolate and roasted dark malt. Not overly bitter but just enough. A really solid mouthfeel that lingers long enough to want more. Sugars last the longest leaving the finish slightly sweet. An excellent staple of the style.

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Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A - Pitch black with one finger of creamy dark mocha / chocolate head. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

S - A somewhat subdued aroma of roasted coffee and chocolate.

T - Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and a slight hint of vanilla. There is a also a bit of booziness, though not very pronounced for a 10.2%

M - Super smooth and creamy. Thick bodied and somewhat syrupy with low carbonation; this goes down easy.

O - A fantastic stout from SN with the standard roasted coffee and chocolate flavors, with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Nice bit of alcohol warmth as well despite it being quite drinkable.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, almost black with a nice dark tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, dark roasted grain

T: coffee, bitter coco, espresso, tobacco, dark roasted malty grains

M: heavy, oily, low carbonation, alcohol noticeable

O: great imperial stout, rich flavors

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Photo of zinklesmesh
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Delicious. Thick and strong. Sort of tastes like tootsie rolls with coffee mixed in. Big flavors in good balance. I don't normally like stouts, but this is an excellent brew.

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Photo of kemoarps
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Well finally something good comes up today.
The beer pours a sexy onyx black with a satiny brown head. Decent retention and lacing. I'm quite excited.

This excitement is mildly tempered as the nose is not as rich as I was hoping. There is some creamy dark chocolate, a touch of char and some candi sweetness lurking in the background.

Luckily once it hits my lips, all concerns aroused by the aroma are put to rest. Beyond the silky smoothe mouthfeel contrasted by tiny pinpricks of carbonation, there is a an inital sweet dark cocoa note that fades into more of the char and roasty malts before finishing bitter as bakers chocolate. Excellently blended, and immenently smoothe on the palate. This is another extremely well done beer from a reliable brewery, and one that I am excited to see how it transforms as it ages. Go and buy it if it's available in your area, it is WELL worth seeking out.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black with a full two finger fluffy mocha head.

S: Aroma of sweet malt, a light hint of smoke

T: Sweet with licorice up front and a nice bit of smoke in the back. Extremely smooth with a very dry finish. Very well attenuated and rounded out with minimal hop presence. The licorice flavors is very strong in here, more so than most imperial stouts.

M: Medium body with a mild carbonation level.

O: This is a well rounded stout, one that doesn't disappoint and lives up to the standards that Sierra Nevada have for great beer. Without wowing typically, this beer has stepped it up a notch from some of the other recent releases that SN has. I am sure I will have this again in the future, well done.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours jet black with 2 fingers of brown head. There is not much retention or lacing, but that may be affected by the fact it's been aged for a year. The smell is roasted malt and sweet rasins. Taste is very similar to the nose. The hoppyness in the fresh version of this beer has all but disappeared with age as expected, making it seem even more smooth. Feel is oily, slick and there is not even a hint of alcohol. Overall this is a great stout fresh and also aged.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Tasted Blind against Old Rasputin. This was my preferred beer.

A - Light-swallowing black, accented by a bracelet of mocha coloured foam. Very thin head but what a gorgeous colour!

S - Not quite as forceful as implied by the colour but tantalising due to its subtlety nonetheless. Dundee cake (it's like Christmas cake) and treacle were the main characteristics I picked up. A murmur of coca cola once it warms up a little followed by a sweet, rich rum booziness.

T - Surprisingly sweet. Leads with treacle and follows with a booziness reminscent of a good single malt. By this I mean that it had that sort of smokiness or peatiness in its bite. To me it tastes like dark dried fruits soaked in whisky.

M - Creamy, thick like treacle or molasses. Chewy and pliable.

O - What a cracking beer for the price. Took Old Rasputin to the cleaners. Did a good job of civilising its 10% Abv which always wins brownie points with me. I was concerned I might be overpowered by this beer a I was recently by Rochefort 10 but this was not the case. Underrated.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a "stubby" 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Pitch-black, almost purple hue, with a moderate head of cafe mocha.
Aroma-Dark roast coffee, dark chocolate
Taste-Baker's chocolate, dark roasted coffee. A big, rich, flavorfull stout, full of character and complexity. Good stuff!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pure black body, topped by a fist worth of dark tan micro-bubble foam.

Big roast coffee aroma, chocolate undercurrent, hints of dark fruit.

Taste starts off with a wave of Hershey syrup. Follows with a big cup of black coffee. Nips of dark fruits.

Big thick slick oily chewy. It's a good one.

A superior Imperial Stout I hope to enjoy again for years to come.

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Photo of whoahwhat
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap, 10 ounces. One word: delicious. Have since had it from the bottle and it's just not the same. On tap, it was syrupy, complex, wonderful. beautiful espresso head. I'm really sad that I didn't get another glass of it, but, ya know, driving... Strong coffee flavors, plum, chocolate, just rich and tasty.

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Photo of IronLover
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Velvety black in color. Poured with a short dark tan foam that quickly reduced to a soapy cap. Dark roasted malt and powdery dark chocolate aromas with ripe dark fruit and delicate hop notes. Thick, rich, viscous feel with subdued carbonation through the middle. Dark roasted malt flavors first followed by dark chocolate. Sweetness malt and chocolate is quickly overcome by bitter dark roasted coffee and pine hop bitterness. Finishes with a tangy, bitter, pine hip aftertaste with u.derlying dark roasted malt. Beautiful color, delicate aromas, and a rollercoaster of sweet and bitter flavors. 

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A rather small head which dissipates quickly. Large dark body with minimal activity. Looks like the depths of the ocean.

As far as the smell goes, it's mostly chocolate, with some coffee on the side. A subtle booze scent is also emanating from this. Otherwise a rather subtle smell.

Quite complex flavor. With coffee beans, chocolate,cola and a smokey sort of taste towards the end. Also noted some licorice. The taste is phenomenal, with a rather hefty body as well.

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Photo of REGreenBTRB
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%

Bottled on 07/31/14. Poured into a snifter.

A: 5 - Pitch black with a very thin head, tan/cinnamon head. It seriously looks like this glass just got colored with sharpie.

S: 3.8 - I get some of the roasted malt, dark chocolate, really not a whole lot of coffee. Mainly just the malt and coffee. It doesn't smell quite as strong as I was expecting.

T: 4.25 - It tastes wonderful! You definitely get a lot of the malt up front, and the dark chocolate is very present. There's just a hint of coffee. This is mostly roasted malts and dark chocolate, though I can definitely pick up on a little bit of the alcohol.

M: 4.25 - There is a slight alcohol burn, medium carbonation. Creamy finish.

O: 4.32 - Overall a very good beer. It's hard to go wrong with a dark chocolate/malty imperial stout. Definitely something worth trying! Woo Pig.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black as night, only the thinnest of ruby edges. Holds a tan thin cover, not much lace.

Smell: Roasted malt, burnt sugar vapor is alcoholic and inviting. A rich tone with some supportive but mild hop notes.

Taste: Heavy malt has a toffee sweetness to it that is smooth and silky. Slight lactic twang of a mild stout, slippery feel of an oatmeal stout, full volume of an Imperial Stout. Somewhere down the British spectrum, definitely not an AMERICAN HOP STOUT, this is much more refined, restrained, civilized.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy milk shake. Great combination of heavy body and lively carbonation that helps keep the whole package together. Full chew, slick oil takes a while to soak in.

Overall: Wow. Serious yum. I'll be seeking more. It's a monster with a friendly face. You note alcohol, but it doesn't taste like the 10% it's swinging. A nice long evening sipper.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown-black color with a finger of frothy chocolate-khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts, coffee, vanilla, black licorice, a bit of earthy, and a touch of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts, vanilla, and a bit of black licorice. Through the middle, some coffee comes through with some earthy hops and touch of molasses. The finish is a mix of dark chocolate, coffee, earthy hops, a touch of dark fruit, and bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate-minus carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Incredibly smooth for how big it is with great overall balance.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Review taken from notes - late October (2012)

12 oz brown SN style stubby bottle poured into an imperial stout pint glass(tulip pint). Label is great like usual from the folks at SN featuring a massive whale unicorn? Idk but
I like it. Mythic creature for a mythic brew? Awesome Look.

A - pours a jet black with the edges painted dark brown if held to the light. Pretty opaque color. Mocha brown head is pretty dark as well. I actually had a pretty massive head with this stout. Settles nicely to a thick ring of lace leaving some solid stick throughout the glass.

S - a mellow aroma at first, but massive Cocoa and dark chocolate with some roasted Malts rise up the depths of this black ocean of liquid. Hints of Dark fruit with some medium coffee expresso whiffs. A semi smokey character throughout the nose with the faintest alcohol whiff settle softly in the back.

T - rich and roasted dark malts with Bitter dark chocolate and expresso flavors. Hints of the darkest of fruit and thick molasses balance the bitterness. Pure cocoa In a dry finish. This is a class flavor for an RIS. Well done.

M - thick and luscious mouthfeel. Nice and sturdy in size. Smooth and creamy while doing an excellent job at coating the mouth. This is a stout man's mouthfeel. Smooth, thick and like velvet going down. Very drinkable considering the 10.2% it packs.

O - at last! We get a great imperial stout from SN. Sure they have the beer camp stuff, but with a brewery that does about everything right.. Including making a solid stout and porter that's easily to locate. this is massive and thick winter stout and lets hope it's a new tradition at SN. Like all good big stouts it's capable of Having the pop topped from day one or can sit in your cellar for as long as you'd like. This RIS has the quality, complexity, and depth to rival anything in it's category. An instant classic for me and one of the best I've had. It may not be better than some, but it's great enough to be in the conversation. Sierra Nevada is world class.

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Photo of WSGosset
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Deep black. The head is very modest and the lacing is fairly light. It is possible that I served it just a little bit too cold.

S: The smell is fantastic. A little bit subtle, but overall a nice balance between roasted malt and coffee, along with a pleasant hint of alcohol (just enough to know you are drinking an RIS without being overwhelming).

T: It tastes very much like it smells: delicious! In addition to a roasty coffee taste, I'm also getting a touch of caramel, especially as the beer begins to warm a bit. There is a noticeably bitter aftertaste.

M: Very creamy.

O: I've always loved SNPA so I may be a bit biased towards SN products in general, but this is an excellent beer. While I have yet to taste some of the harder-to-find stouts talked about on BA, I imagine that this beer measures up quite well, especially given its availability.

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Photo of ncketchum
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited to see this finally hit WI!
Served in a Duvel tulip, cellar temp

A - pours midnight black, large amount of dark chocolate head, which soon dissipates to leave a ring of lacing

S - impressive nose, roasted chocolate malt followed by a good amount of nuttiness, a hint of coffee, and the slightest bit of booze

T - Very complex taste - first, there is a big sweet cafe mocha presence, followed by the roasted malt, then a big bitter, piny hop note to end off the palate

M - minimal carbonation, nice and viscous, great imperial stout with a fairly big hop presence that I have come to expect from SN.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a tulip

A. A very dark brown almost black pour it a two finger khaki foamy/frothy head. Head disappears in 1 minute. Not much lacing.

S. Aromas of roasted malts and vanilla first fill the nose. Some milk chocolate.

T. Much more coffee comes through on the palate. Milk chocolate and vanilla there also. Some bitterness and grassy aftertaste which would signal to me some hoppyness. A very nice RIS. As it warms a little I get a nice upfront smokeyness.

M. A nice medium to heavy body. 7 on a 1-10 scale. Light carbonation. Finishes slightly dry. Not very boozy but you can tell it's there. Again a highlight of the beer.

O. At first glance after the pour I thought to myself " this looks nice ". Then the nose didn't present as much as it doors on the palate IMO. I'm usually not a huge fan of Sierra Nevada but this is my first stout and they got it right. I'm looking the mouthfeel and the taste alot. A good beer. Will be looking for the BA.

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Photo of ponbon63
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: It pours jet black with a minimal head and basically no lacing. Excactly what you'd expect.

S: When RIS is done correctly it will always have an amazing smell. I was only slightly disappointed in the smell, but not because it was bad, because I am more of a fan of intense smelling RIS. as the smell of this beer is not as abrasive as some RIS's can be this may be a good beer for first-time drinkers of RIS. You can smell the coffee and dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol if you take a good whiff.

T: It's not nearly as intense as some I've tasted, however it has the signatures of a RIS. Coffee, bitter chocolate. The alcohol smell does not translate to tasting alcohol in the beer, which is good. Not overpowering by any means if you know what to expect.

M: Fairly carbonated for a RIS. Of course thicker than your average beer.

O: This is one of those beers that I love because of the style and the classic flavors that it brings. However, it's not as memorable as certain other versions of this variety. It's imperfect, but it is definitely a great addition.

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 877 ratings.
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