Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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5,041 Ratings
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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:
No notes at this time.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

BEER STATS
Ratings:
5,041
Reviews:
930
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
9.64%
 
 
Wants:
332
Gots:
1,446
For Trade:
38
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,041 |  Reviews: 930
Photo of beersnobraven
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Deep, black, beautiful. Awesome bottle art, too.
Smell: Smells a little like bittersweet coffee. Primary scents are malt and chocolate.
Taste: Holy crap! It's like drinking a liquid chocolate cake! Seriously, so much chocolate! If you did a blind taste test, I would have a thought that this was a stout brewed with chocolate. A great beer for a chocolate lover like me! Other flavors I'm picking up are malt, coffee, with a little-to-medium hops present.
Feel: Really thick and delicious. Very dense; definitely a sipper.
Overall: Probably my all-time favorite Imperial Stout, and I'd go far to say favorite beer of all time. It's great taste and mouthfeel are definitely its best attributes, while it's 10.2 % ABV is also a plus. Easily one of the best beers I've ever had.

 781 characters

Photo of maedhros09
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black with light, slowly forming, and barely lingering head. Smells sweet, roasty, chocolatey with minor licorice.

Taste: Medium sweet roasty maltiness, boozy, finishing with a somewhat mild tingling lingering paper-like hops bitterness. Smooth mouthfeel, medium body with little carbonation in the mouth. Flavors blend and balance superbly and the finish is lingering and memorable.

Update: After storing for a few weeks the bitter finish that I remember from the first sample seems to have mellowed and doesn't stand out as much. The finish remains somewhat bitter but nicely balances the initial sweetness.

Update #2: After 4 months cellared this beer is very creamy and mellow with a mild to moderate bitterness in the finish that blends really well.

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Photo of Khaack
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of couchsitta
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of chadhester23
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of A-dub123
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of reitzbrewing
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

on draft from tall pilsner glass. great imperial stout

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Photo of Walleybeer
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rob99er
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A great Imperial stout. Well balanced and the 10% is hidden well.

66 characters

Photo of Stezz420
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Joe_Palooka
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Narwahl is about as good of an imperial stout as you can find for the money. The one I just consumed has been aging in my cellar since last October. Pours a very black color with about half inch of head that disapates pretty rapidly. Definitely one of the best off the shelf, non barrel aged R.I.S. oyt there. Looking forward to the 2016 release.

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Photo of Briken
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of beercam
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Visually I find this beer very engaging. To me, the Narwhal Imperial Stout aesthetic is incredibly personal, pleasing, and successful, with its exciting cetacean depiction and stylish black and white font and design. The charcoal-black pallor of this beer, when poured, proudly champions its own incomprehensibly deep, immutable, inner nature of modified sugars and transported starches, borrowed flavors and inherited tannins, all warped in a working world of yeast, a classic look for the strongest stout-porters of yore. A 12 oz bottle, capped in Nov. 15, yields an oceanic inch of sluffy, even brown foam as it's swiftly poured into a weathered 16 oz Fremont can-glass. The aroma is incredible, and will be described out of order shortly. Moving to taste, there is a harmonious fruitiness in this imperial stout; something many in the imperial category contend for yet very few achieve. Yet in addition to this dark, syrupy, imperious figginess comes an extremely defined and refined hop topography; a loud statement of aromatic, piney bitterness, potentially a result of the bold addition of Challenger hops, reportedly added late in the boil. The flavor here is really far out there, and especially the smell. But it truly comes as no surprise nor small victory that Sierra Nevada can offer such a triumphant brew. I'd like to add as an aside that flavor wise, what comes to mind as a rival could very well be Old Rasputin from North Coast. I'd love to see these two compared neck and neck. These are some top beers here folks. But, anyway, to get back on track, the secret method to the Narwhal's supreme taste here, in my opinion, is its enlightened, sleepy windows into flavors of coffee and chocolate, which themselves play back into and throughout the beer remarkably and extensively, finishing with whispers of smoke. Super masterful flavors, definitely buoyed by the look and smell. If someone were to mistake this for a Russian, I would pardon them. The feel here is good. It's not absolutely amazing, It's pretty good, solid. More descriptively, the feel itself is kind of sour, in a way, and has more of a tartness than oatmeal. With that said, wow, it's sturdy from tip to tummy, it's feel only improves with time elapsed from the sip. In other words, it has an exceptional aftertaste.

This is a successfully fruity Imperial Stout.With it's high abv and sweetness, one could fairly get away with calling it Russian. This beer is not hard to drink. Good people make this beer. Try it with an open heart, and see if it's for you. I am very impressed.

Overall: Pour this one stiff, folks, and enjoy.

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Photo of Wcalhoun
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of twonder23
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of dirtyharry2489
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Legaleagle1819
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jucifer1818
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: poured this one into a thin flute wine glass, and even in its thin glass, this beer will not let any light penetrate its darkness

like the dark and mysterious see of its namesake, this beer is a perfect example of clear total darkness, easily ranking a 40/40 on the beer color scale

apart from its color it has a medium, maybe one finger head, that lasts far longer than one would expect for a beer of this alcohol level
This is exactly what I'm looking for in a stout, and I was going to just give this one a 4.5 on first glance, but I cant see any reason to take off that last bit
I have to give its appearance a perfect score

Smell: The smell is quite subtle to say the last. I am surprised by this, and don't know how to really rate it
on one hand, a beer this extreme, would be VERY hard to make it have such a subtle smell, but on the other hand, I was expecting (and really wanted) something really intense that I could enjoy more
I get very light milk chocolate, light fruits, alcohol boozyness (but very slight boozyness), and a little bit of pear
Its not bad, quite good, but to me feels too reserved for what it is
4/5

Taste: mhhmmmm, this is really really good. This beer tastes like liquified black chocolate. This is almost nothing else to say, with some light fruity flavors to counter its intense roasted chocoaltyness, with an intense dark chocolate bitterness mixed in with strong hoppy bitterness in the after taste

a beer that is very strong and malty, but keeps it from being cloying wit ha perfect hopping that keeps the malt first, and works well with its dark chocolaty bitterness
I can think of noting Id want to change on this beer
5/5

Mouthfeel: Slick, sweet, and very syrupy. It pours like Hersey syrup, yet is much easier to drink
drinkabilty and a heavy imperial stout are not often paired up, but the beer manages to pull it off, and has a delightfully moouthfeel
4.5/

Overall: I'm giving this one a 4.5/5
Its a near perfect beer on all accounts, and a excellent offering from Siera nevada. I can easily see this beer turning into a PERFECT, 5/5 beer, after a good 8-12 months of ageing. Ill be drinking one more bottle for new years, and saving the last two for conditioning, quite possibly for next year to see how its changed over time
Highly, Highly recommend this beer

cheers

 2,331 characters

Photo of Such_a_b-tch
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of wotfofftw
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bugcatcher
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Incredible. This has to be my new favorite stout. Great mouth feel just the right amount of alcohol comes through. Just a great brew thick creamy awesome flavor this one's a winner

 180 characters

Photo of freneticamnesic
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of masleumas
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the best imperial stouts ive had. Sierra nevada knows how to please. very dark in color, can hardly make out any light through the other side of the glass. rich finish and texture as is expected but plenty of carbonation to balance it out. i really loved this one and am on the lookout to buy it again if i can find it. amazing, rad label too.

 350 characters

Photo of bman13
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Great stout. Great balance of flavors, PERSONALLY think it's a bit hoppy for a stout but every beer is different, and I respect that. Still is one of my favorite stouts nonetheless.

 181 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a thick black brew, with a little dark tan foam and no lace.

The smell of deep roasted malts and dark roasted sweet coffee, with a hint of alcoholic chocolate, filled the nose with a pleasant alcoholic aroma.

The flavor was of a slightly bitter coffee and roasted malts taste, with a hint of dark chocolate on the finish. This Russian Imperial Stout has a long pleasant aftertaste. Not overly bitter and the high alcohol and flavors have a very pleasant taste.

I'm back for a case next time out to BEVMO.

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 5,041 ratings.
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