Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
5,131 Ratings
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout

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

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,131 |  Reviews: 961
Photo of Mojopin88
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of daliandragon
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It's finally getting to be stout and porter season. Yay! Not much of a head on this one, although it does leave plenty of dark tan lace. Nose is coffee and booze and some salty, herbal hops along for the ride.

This is, as the nose hints, a balanced stout, with plenty of hop bitterness to match up against the coffee and roasted and dark chocolate tones. I found nibbling a small piece of dark chocolate with this really improved the experience, as it often does. A lot is going on here, and the octane (abv) is pretty high. You get a good bit of warming from the booze in the finish. Definitely a solid impy stout, but not a huge standout in the style.

 662 characters

Photo of GreenBayBA
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JamesLeung
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Mattybuchs
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BrentMcQuirk
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz short bottle into Spiegelau Stout Glass. Bottled on August 22nd, 2017.

L: Completely opaque black, two finger beige head has very very good retention.

S: Smells of chocolate and cocoa, coffee, sherry, and smoke.

T: Lots more roasty notes here, like dark roasted malts and coffee and sherry.

F: Light body (dangerous), good carbonation, lingering roasty flavors.

O: A wonderful stout that I will return to.

 438 characters

Photo of kitekid
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Ob512316
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into glass.
Look: black with a medium tan head.
Smell: chocolate, coffee, some smoke.
Taste: coffee, chocolate, smoke, then a hint of hops at the end.
Feel: like a normal stout, easy to drink considering the abv.
Overall: great stout, will have again.

 271 characters

Photo of bb-magic
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Everydayoff
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle poured into a snifter. This one is 2016 release, drank Sep 2017. Literally, one year aging in a bottle.

Black as night yet very deep brown in color with thick creamy tan head, it withstands with good retention before gradually subsiding to a lasting bubble layer atop and leaving some spotty and patchy lace on the glass-side.

Very rich and deep in the aroma, I get espresso, dark and creamy chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar, toasted bread, roasted barley, light smoke, dark biscuit, charred nut, and hint of fruity hop. All of these aromas are presented in very good complex shape.

The taste is still rich and delight with lots of roasted and burnt malt ranging from charred nut, light smoke, espresso, dark and creamy chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar, toasted bread, roasted barley, exactly just like the aroma. There is typical sourness of espresso and roasted grain plus with some bitterness that is also imparted a little bit from hop.

Rather full body but not that sticky with mild carbonation, the mouthfeel is well-rounded with a pleasantly dry finish. Great Stout in every aspect, it is so enjoyable sip and alcohol is perfectly concealed.

 1,195 characters

Photo of Luscious_Malfoy
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mdaniel723
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bucketofheads
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of sjrider
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Demi
2.48/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Benjolovesbeer
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night with a medium to heavy silky texture with flavors of dark fruit, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. I look forward to aging the other 5 as I feel it will get even better. No alcohol bite @ 10% abv either so very smooth and drinkable for an imperial stout.

 270 characters

Photo of MVanTryke
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Macro-micro Sierra Nevada delivers a dark-beer winner after a ho-hum porter. I am so glad that I chose this six-pack on this splendid, touch-of-fall, September evening. Nice notes aplenty. B sharp in A flat. Something like that.

 228 characters

Photo of Johnct
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lilalibby
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

as soon as i poured this into a glass i could smell how good it was. absolutely delicious beer, creamy, coconutty, coffee. favorite stout i've had

146 characters

Photo of Uniobrew31
2.64/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Grizzarky
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage, bottled 8/15. Poured into a snifter. Pours black with minimal beige head that settled into a barely noticeanle ring. Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, and hazelnut. Taste follows the nose, but with a bitter hop bite on the finish. Feel is creamy at first, them a bit of a hop bite, and leaves a lingering sticky silky mouthfeel. Overall a great classic RIS on the higher ibu spectrum.

 398 characters

Photo of andrewh995
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark black with a dark brown head. Smells of sweet chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Tastes of Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, trace alcohol, mint(?), and caramel. Medium - heavy body with medium carbonation. Overall this is an absolutely incredible RIS. Sierra Nevada has always been hit or miss with me. and in this case they not only hit, but they far exceeded my expectations. Easily one of the best affordable RIS's out there right now.

 455 characters

Photo of drmeto
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

-pours the darkest of brown with no light coming through and a small to medium,creamy,beige head
-coffee,dark chocolate,roasted barley,syrupy,nutty,herbal
-Follows the nose + caramel,burnt toast
-medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol noticeable
A Grade A Imperial Stout.

 296 characters

Photo of amesetz
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Date on the bottle says not even a week old. Lucky me! Let the beer warm up a tiny bit before pouring. Foam is brown and fades quickly. Really a beaut when poured into a snifter. Taste is chocolaty, roasty, toasty and burnt. like someone put a chocolate chip bagel in the toaster for 30 minutes. Really refreshing in 90 degree weather. LOL. Will be more refreshing in a few months. Good beer, even better memories (or lackthereof).

 438 characters

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,131 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.