Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
5,175 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: 5,175 |  Reviews: 972
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.

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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.

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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

Photo of wisegreensoul
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Shortbox81
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of kcrumle18
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

12oz bottled 9/27/2017. This is my second bottle of this beer and taste is same as I remember from previously. Pour black with sizable head if poured down the center of the glass, but the head dissipates quickly. The aroma is weak with sweet chocolate and roasted coffee on the nose. Out of the fridge this beer is bitter hops, but this bitterness dissipates and beer becomes creamier as it is allowed to warm. I do not notice alcohol on this beer which is an impressive feat for 10.2% ABV and should get even better with age.

 528 characters

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Single 12oz bottle purchased from Syosset Beer. Fierce narwhal art on the front doing a swan dive off the crow's nest of what I assume is whale hunting ship circa 1800's.

L - Pours pitch black with a not an ounce of light to squeeze through. Little bit of light creamy brown head.

S - Molasses and toffee.

T - Dark raisins, figs and bitter cherry up front; as it disappears, cocoa and coffee.

F - Full bodied gorl, little chewy small bubble lazy like carbonation. Can't taste the booze but will likely feel it shortly.

 522 characters

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

'14 Vintage
look: Very dark brown, nearly opaque. Thick mocha head on the pour that recedes to a respectable tan top.
smell: Semi-sweet and dark chocolate. Some coffee like roastiness.
taste: Creamy espresso and dark fruit.

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Photo of nater919
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ItsBeer4Me
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jduprey007
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of walkinginplace
3.69/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JOldewurtel
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tillmac62
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

BOD 8/15/17. Pours black. Head volume is poor, but typical for an imperial stout without oats. Retention is outstanding while lacing is quite poor.

Not quite outstanding nose that is rather laid back. Nothing smacks you in the face over the subtly sweet background aroma. Light notes of chocolate emerge as does light roast (without char) and a hint of vanilla. As it warms, molasses creeps in subtly.

Full bodied with a nice rich smooth and creamy texture. Carbonation / body balance is world class with just the perfect amount of effervescence to open the flavors up and tickle the tongue, yet not disturb the creamy mouthfeel.

The flavor profile is outstanding. Intensity is moderate and complexity adequate. Where this one shines is balance and keeping the alcohol hidden. Like the nose, chocolate is quite evident and the roast subdued. Dark semi-sweet bakers chocolate is the primary chocolate influence while the sweetness is provided with a rich wave of molasses. Bitterness is mild and there is a hint of char to add complexity. From the middle on, vanilla takes center stage over the molasses base. The finish is a slow fade of vanilla and molasses with just a hint of astringency.

 1,209 characters

Photo of AnotherDisease
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of HopliteMpls612
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Missygurl3133
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,175 ratings
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