Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
5,201 Ratings
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierranevada.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,450
Reviews:
979
Ratings:
5,201
pDev:
9.38%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
341
Gots:
1,499
Trade:
35
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,201 |  Reviews: 979
Photo of waltmanis
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of xroachx
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of RexBanner
4.7/5  rDev +13%

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black. No light penetrated through this dark concoction. 1/2 finger head that dissipated fairly quick. Velvety smooth appearance.

Its aroma was of bready yeast, dark roast grains, alcoholic esters, bitter dark chocolate. Faint banana smell was also present.

The taste was of robust roasted grains and dark bitter 80% cacao. Very faint taste of hops was noticeable before everything was washed away by the alcoholic burn that permeated the mouth. Smooth mouth feel. Not as heavy as one might imagine for an imperial stout. As it reached room temperature it began to develop the flavor profile of a strong dark Belgian ale. Even the aftertaste was more akin to a SDB as oppose to a stout.

Overall, I would recommend this beer to others. It's definitely a sipper. I missed that characteristic smokey aftertaste common to stouts as well as the creamy, chewy mouth feel, but all in all, this is a superb beer worth trying.

 955 characters

Photo of huthuty
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pure black, small reddish head
Smells like coffee and burnt malt, sweet and chocolate like
Taste is extremely strong, sends tingles down my spine, had to have a few sips before actually comprehensively tasting it. Very chocolatey and very sweet, like a Hershey bar for the manliest of men.
I was afraid a SN wouldn't be a great stout, I was wrong

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Photo of BWood
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: dark with huge khaki head. Excellent look from a hard pour.

S: sweet roasted malt.

T: rich dark chocolate

F: thick tongue coating.

O: fantastic.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The elusive Narwhal, this is 2012 brewed according to the coding system they use it's bottled on 2285210:23 that's 2012 285th day on the 2nd bottling line at 10:23 am. I couldn't pass this up even though they had fresh Hoptimum I sided with the Narwhal since I hadn't yet tried this imperial stout. Pours with a black velvet smooth texture, pitch black body fills up my Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass nicely. Big smooth creamy texture mocha tan head follows the body with fine speckled lacing, this beer has some legs as I swirl it around in the chalice. Aromatics are killer dark ripened vinous fruit notes with dark chocolate and roasted coffee, it's an excellent combination brewed in this glass. Even some brown sugar/molasses like malt character kicking in with subdued earthy hops well hidden by the roasted qualities of black patent malts. The perceived sweetness comes off as dark partially fermented cherries or plump juicy raisins or a combination of those two fruits, but there is a fruity sharp sherry character going on here. Flavor rides a wave of those dark malts but has a surprisingly sharp sweet slightly salty breathe of ocean quality, maybe a bit of soy sauce that I get from some imperial stouts...it's not overkill but a nice dose of something to offset the dark malts acrid roasted malt character. Definitely sweet cherry hidden in there with well blended alcohol, caramelized brown sugar, earthy herbal hops in the backend with some added bitterness bitter dark chocolate and hints of espresso bean reach the palate as well. Like I said initially this is a killer complex ale, full bodied even smooth carbonation it's a joy to have on the palate with each sip cleansing any lingering harshness away it's drinkability is downright dangerous one of the biggest easiest drinking imperial stouts I've ever come across.

 1,842 characters

Photo of thedemise
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Dan_Meyers
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle served in a pint glass

Appearance
-Very dark, inky body, with a thin caramel colored head
-4.75 based on how an imperial stout should look like
-Not a perfect five because I like to see a little more head

Smell
-Mild smell. Hints of dark chocolate and roasted coffee are present
-4.75 based on other imperial stouts. This is what I imagine when I think of Imperial Stouts. No surprise scents
-Not a perfect five because I like a little more of a pungent aroma. Imperial stouts aren't supposed to be the most aromatic beer genre, but a little more roasted coffee and dark chocolate smell would have made this a perfect five

Taste
-The roasted malt is the predominant taste when first sipping this beer. A strong "alcoholic" aftertaste soon follows
-4.50 based on the genre of beer. Imperial stouts are known for their black coffee/chocolaty taste and typically have a higher alcohol content than most other types of beer.
-Not a perfect five because I prefer a more pronounced malty taste in my Imperial Stouts. Also, the higher alcohol content can be easily tasted. There is a slight "bite" when you sip this. A little more malt and a little less alcoholic taste would have made this is five.

Mouthfeel
-The mouthfeel of this beer is very nice. It has the thicker characteristic that you expect from this kind of beer, but not too thick. The "alcoholic" taste that was mentioned in the taste category isn't a factor with the mouthfeel of this beer. When first tasting this, I expected a lingering alcoholic taste, like with most liquors and some higher ABV beers, but the "bite" only lasted a second. The lingering taste that seemed to stick around was the malty, roasted taste that I expected


Overall
-To me an Imperial Stout should have a strong roasted malt/black coffee/dark chocolate taste with a slight to no alcohol taste. The best of this genre have found a way to maximize the roasted taste and minimized the “bite” that comes with a higher ABV. Narwhal Imperial Stout has all the proper characteristics of the best Imperial Stout that I have ever tasted. The only downside is that the malty taste that I desire is slightly understated while the alcoholic taste is slightly overstated with this beer
-I gave this beer a 4.75 because, on the whole, it is a truly great beer. From the amazing dark color to the smell of roasted coffee to the malty taste to the very pleasant mouthfeel. This beer is one of my favorites
-I didn’t give this beer a perfect five because, as stated in the first section of my overall comments, the only thing keeping this beer back from perfection is the need for a slightly more pronounced malty taste and a little less of the alcoholic “bite.” Everything else was delightful.

 2,751 characters

Photo of BIA_BrewMasta
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A dark roasted masterpiece with incredible drinkability

55 characters

Photo of pkkosmatka
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of Lsmith316
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of MartyMaltose
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

An Imperial without the feeling of ABV for ABV's sake. Oh my. Supremely drinkable and luscious. Someday I hope this is what humanity envisions when they hear the word "beer". Except then the world will be half-drunk all the time.

 229 characters

Photo of Ursie
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jufu07
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of mjwellman
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BobMessina
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smooth with a sweet coffee candy flavor.

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Photo of danasofia
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - opaque brown/black, slight amber brown around the edges when held up to light.

Aroma - Bitter cocoa, coffee, sweet caramel, faint nutty aromas

Taste - Deep bitter cocoa, coffee in the background, less caramel than the aroma, slight dark fruit and berries, little bit of vanilla.

Feel - Viscous and syrupy, very smooth and appealing.

Overall - Very sweet, but not offensively so as it is also pleasurably bitter at the same time. Smooth for the alcohol content. Absolutely delicious, one of my favorite stouts hands down.

 587 characters

Photo of Budinetz
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ivegot3Dvision
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Lovely beige head, good retention, on a black body, soapy and sticky lacing. Aroma includes roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, toffee, licorice, some alcohol and chocolate. Mouthfeel is lush with high viscosity. Taste includes notes from all of the aforementioned aromas. A ton of flavor packed in the liquid, slightly warming but also quite fresh. Purely delicious...what else could you expect from the crew in Chico?

 465 characters

Photo of losdizzel
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great brew from Sierra Nevada brewing company .
Poured into Sam Adams glass .
Very very black and thickish head disapates quickly then lacing left behind .
smells of sharp alcohol bight and molasses .
Taste thin ,and sweet ,to pour soo thick .
stays on the back of the throat ,53 degrees
Tart tangy and well rounded plesantly warming
very nice beer .
top notched Imperial Stout one of my favorite styles .

 417 characters

Photo of HugoSnyder
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bum4ever
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of gobuccos
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of WynnO
4.66/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,201 ratings