Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
5,152 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:
#1,351
Reviews:
969
Ratings:
5,152
pDev:
9.62%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
340
Gots:
1,485
Trade:
35
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,152 |  Reviews: 969
Photo of Reis
2.34/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

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 Steimie
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

Photo of spry
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

Photo of Hoptoudrop
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

Photo of davet100
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

Photo of mwar
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

Photo of jaswilson2
2.56/5  rDev -38.5%

Photo of JayNat
2.6/5  rDev -37.5%

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 Thickfreakness
2.72/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- An onyx black pour with a fluffy and thick deep tan head that floats near three fingers. An absolute ton of sticky lacing grabs the sides of my Bruery tulip and NEVER lets go. Decently oily legs drip and ooze down the rim.

S- Nicely charred malt, bitter German chocolate, grapefruit peel, mango, slight touches of vanilla and pine. More Black IPA than RIS in the traditional sense.

T- WOW! Lots of char and citrus bite down on the tongue. RIS/Cascadian IPA? Reminds me of Storm King or Wookey Jack. Not my favorite type of RIS. Too much citrus, no dark fruit, cocoa, coffee, vanilla or other flavors/aromas that I normally associate in a RIS. The char and citrus just kind of strip your palate.

M- Dry, burnt malt, and too much citrus for what they call a Russian Imperial Stout! RIS' should envelope you in dark fruit, cocoa and coffee IMHO, not this! I'm getting tired of breweries labeling Cascadian/Black IPA's as RIS' just to sell beer!

O- This isn't bad mind you... it's just not what I consider the style to be, and I am a stickler for rating on style. If they said this was a black ipa, it'd be at least a 4! I'd put this up against Wookey Jack, Black Watch IPA, Hop Noir or some other really good Black IPA's. A world class, or even good RIS it isn't. Sorry SN, you usually wow me. Redefine it, and I'll re-review it!

 1,335 characters

Photo of grissom51
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of Danegerous123
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of MonkeyBread
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of Wlsr14
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of thedifferencemaker
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of Dirty25
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of mquartuccio87
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of heytomcat
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of od_sf
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of MonkeyStain
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of Bartm
2.76/5  rDev -33.7%

Photo of ao125
2.77/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type : 2012 bottle. Poured from a bottle into a Duvel snifter glass

Appearance: Pretty standard really for an imperial stout. Black.

Mouthfeel: Not too thin, not too thick. A little more thin than I'm used to for the style, but not undrinkably so.

Smell & Taste: I'm actually going to group these together. My main problem with this beer is the hopping. Whatever hops were used, are not good. At least not in this style of beer. I feel like Mikkeller uses the same hops in Black Hole... which I'm also not a fan of.

Overall: Overall, I'm not impressed by this beer and I think I'll leave it to the fanboys. All I know is that for me to want to drink this, I need for the hop character to be almost completely gone... and for the price point for the 4-pack, I can buy a lot of other things.

 802 characters

Photo of bobthebrewer1208
2.87/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I guess I just don't like Imperial Stouts. This is the third I've tried and the worst of the three. Poured into a tulip glass where it was a cloudy black with a nice 2 inch head. Smell, taste and feel reminded be of cough syrup; I got a slight roastiness in the taste and an unpleasant bitterness on the aftertaste. I waited about 20 minutes to see if the original opinion was based on tasting too cold; nope....better than have the glass went down the drain.

 459 characters

Photo of DRyan
2.92/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2012 Narwhal poured in a Guiness pint glass

A: Looks like you average Imperial Stout, or regular stout really. Has a nice dark head that receded slowly and left some lacing on the glass, but not really as much as I would expect from a IS
S: There's something about the scent I really don't get along with. It's got the roasty heavy malty smells I expect from an IS, but there's something else there I really can't put my finger on that is really not working for me.
T: It's a bit different, maybe more aggressively hopped than your average stout. According to SN, "Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke," but all I really got was the roasted grain and maybe a bit of a hint of coffee, as well as the hop bitterness
M: A bit thin for a stout really, but not bad
D: This is not a bad beer, but not a great one either. For the price, and with the other two entries in the "High Gravity" series from SN that I really like a lot, I expected a lot more from it.

 1,048 characters

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,152 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.