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Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
5,155 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
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Ratings: 5,155 |  Reviews: 970
Photo of SiepJones
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of NolaHopHead
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Snowcrash000
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black coloration with a large, creamy head. Smells wonderfully of rich milk chocolate, with notes of caramel, coffee and a hint of dark fruits. Taste follows the nose, with an outstanding, smooth and rich milk chocolate taste and notes of roasted malt, coffee, dark fruits and just a hint of licorice. Light bitterness and and a very rich, creamy and smooth mouthfeel. I think this ages incredibly well. I had a 2016 bottle and the chocolate was so rich and smooth, while the bitterness seemed pretty light. I'd take this over Old Rasputin any day, which is more coffee-forward, sweeter and has a much worse mouthfeel, in my opinion.

 647 characters

Photo of jvgoor3786
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a one finger head and minimal lacing.

The smell is dark malts and milk chocolate.

The taste is dark malt, burnt coffee, and bitter chocolate.

The mouthfeel is medium thick, minimal carbonation, and very smooth.

Overall this is a very nice imperial stout. It's more of a burnt malt taste than I expected.

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

Photo of kevintaraross
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of heddar33
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of TheCrowsEye
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dovers
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tjmiller718
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of KurtKilgore
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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

Bottled 8/22/2017 - poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip.

Opaque, bistre body with a khaki cap - average retention, delicate lacing, shimmering legs.

Dense malty aromatics with coffee, chocolate, and faint anise notes.

Intensely malty palate entry, extremely rich, initially sweet, but drying in the finish - like liquid black bread. All the aromas are intensified as flavors, but the specialty malts don't overwhelm the base. Low, clean, faintly grassy bitterness offsets the sugars and complements the bitterness from the dark malts. The water profile does not seem neutral, given the forwardness of the malt, but there are no real traces of minerality or excess salts. No esters from the house yeast of course.

Medium-full bodied, well carbonated, and not boozy.

An outstanding version of the style - expertly crafted - malt-heads take note!

 861 characters

Photo of JWhat
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Stofko1992
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jason_nwx
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a single-serve into a stout glass

Pours an outstanding dark brown (almost black) and opaque color. Excellent foamy head with fabulous staying power and lacing.

The aromas are malt-forward with plenty of char, dark fruit, and herbal notes. The flavor follows, with dark fruits forward and plenty of smoky goodness. The mouthfeel is excellent, with good carbonation and plenty of late-palate bite from the bootze. Overall, a very nice RIS.

 457 characters

Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks pitch black with small tan head. The retention is medium-poor, but a thin ring always remains on the outer edges. Only spotty lacing is left behind.

The aroma is deep soy sauce/smoked meats, dark chocolate, gingerbread and spice cake, espresso beans, licorice, dried black cherry, prune, and raisin.

The palate follows with some dark chocolate and cacao nib upfront, brownie, espresso roast and bitterness, licorice, and dark fruits like black cherry, fig, prune, and raisin. Plenty of the aforementioned soy sauce, more chocolate, brown sugar, gingerbread, and spice cake in the middle, leading to a pleasantly bitter finish of earth, tobacco, burnt malts, coffee, and baking cocoa. Some mild alcohol warmth going down, with a nice lingering roasted bitter finish.

The mouthfeel is medium-plus; not watery by any means, but less creamy or thick than many imperial stouts. Feels filling, but flows very smoothly with medium carbonation. Slightly sticky on the palate, with some lingering sugars and well as hop and roast bitterness.

A really good imperial stout. I'm glad I was able to buy this.

 1,114 characters

Photo of MidloRapid
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Aerocraft67
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Perfect entry level imperial stout—this is what you imagine an imperial stout to be. Lace is impressively sticky. Very smooth and easy on the palate for something this big. Flavorful with no standout note like other entries in the category. Flavor has a hint of effervescence rather than a punch of spice. Not larded up with milk or chocolate or spiked with coffee. Nice. High alcohol is amazingly well balanced.

 414 characters

Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, roasted malt, slight syrup, chocolate, and a hint of licorice. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, roasted malt, slight syrup, chocolate, and a hint of licorice. Overall, good appearance, aroma, feel, body, but the blend is too boozy.

 427 characters

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

Aroma is heavy roast and a faint nuttiness. In its flavor, though, it’s quite interesting and a bit unbalanced. The bitterness is fairly intense, out of proportion with sweeter flavors, A surprisingly dry and roasty imperial stout for something over the 10% ABV mark. Warmth is pleasant though.

 296 characters

Photo of claire363
2.03/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 1.5

Photo of wanderingwheelz
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

‘15 vintage.
I’m sitting here regretting drinking the other three before now. Wow. Not sure how this beer could possibly improve from here. I’d go so far as to say that this is as good as “easy to find” imperial stout gets. Yes, that means you Mr. Rasputin. Go buy some.

 280 characters

Photo of TerryMills
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice example of a stout.. Medium body body,some roasted flavor but heavy malt sweetness to back it up.. Smooth easy drinker .

125 characters

Photo of AlexVonBier
3.66/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled - 8/31/17

Typical imperial stout with a deep black body and tan head. The head fizzled quickly. The mouthfeel at first is quite nice but almost immediately turns into a watery finish. No alcohol detected, which is impressive at 10.2% abv. Finish is very bitter, with a lasting aftertaste. Not very drinkable. I'm struggling to finish my glass, it feels like a Budweiser trying to become an imperial stout.

 414 characters

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,155 ratings
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