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Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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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:
No notes at this time.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 888 | Ratings: 4,926
Photo of RocketRaccoon88
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

The first time I tried this was because my friend said you've got to try this! It's got a narwhal on he front! A freaking narwhal! So I got it and had it and I got a six pack lol. This is an awesome brew! Nice dark and tasty down to the last drop.

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Photo of skinny_mcginley
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours a midnight black with coffee colored head that lingers for awhile. This was very drinkable and not too boozy. Smelled of chocolate and roasted malts with a hint of coffee and vanilla. Tasted the same. A very nice beer!

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Photo of Hauckstadtjr00
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Taste test 2013 vs 2014
Both pour nicely black with a thick tan head that sticks around for a little bit. Eventually fades into nothing on top.
2014- Doesnt have too strong aroma compared to the 2013. Slightly piney with cacao and bakers chocolate notes. Deep malty aroma shines through a bit.
2013- WOW!!! Boozy and delicious! This shit kicks you in the face with super pleasant and deep complex alcohol notes with deep deep cacao and roasted malt flavour. This stuff smells incredible.
2014-Wow the piney flavour is very prominent especially in comparison. Very hoppy for an imperial stout but still has a lot of the nice cacao and roasted notes. Very balanced and pretty drinkable for something of this percentage.
2013- BAMM!! Same thing as the smell just flows across your tongue like the godly beverage beer is supposed to. Strong, boozy and roasted cacao and coffee flavours all blend together to make a damn good experience.
Overall I liked the year old one more. Though I had not realized the piney character being so strong last year also given the factor of how much my palate has changed which I know it has a lot. The fresh one is very good and a nice imperial stout to have and reasonably priced too. But if you have the means I strongly recommend giving that a try because its well worth it.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%

Kind of like shamu doing the backstroke, I'd put this just a tick below "outstanding," status, but just barely. It's sumo status, but it's more like a featherweight sumo. A bit too light, a bit too lackluster... It has all those nice chocolate, toffee, rich notes that any player would like in a stout, but it's a bit thin and insipid.

Close, but, well, half of the cigar, I guess.

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Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Bottled on 07/31/14:

Pours black with a creamy brown head that has nice retention for the style/abv. Spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of rich chocolate, toffee, espresso beans and molasses.

The taste follows the nose. The sweet chocolate and toffee/caramel is balanced by a light-to-medium coffee roast. Alcohol is very well-integrated. It has a robust finish.

It is rich and full-bodied, but not too thick.

This is a wonderful, dangerously drinkable Imperial Stout! Very well-made and enjoyable!

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Brown bottle with pry-off cap and bottled on "07/31/14". Poured into a snifter

Appearance: Pours black with 1/2 finger of tan head

Smell: Roasted malts, chocolate, and cocoa

Taste: Similar to the aroma with mostly roasted malts and licorice and cocoa, with slight alcohol warmth

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied

Overall: A great representation of the imperial stout style. All the roasted flavors are present and has great balance. Theres little bit of alcohol but not overpowering.

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Photo of EHopkinsi
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

Brewed 31 July 2014, according to the bottle.

Poured an unbelievably thick black. When held up in front of a light, the light did not shine through! One and a half finger caramel-colored head faded fairly quickly. Not a lot of aroma, surprisingly. Beer had pleasing amount of taste, caramel and malts, with a slight alcohol "burn" on the finish. Not massive, though. You know you have a stout, but it isn't slapping you upside the head. An attribute that makes the 10.2 ABV prone to sneak up on you. Alcohol taste faded as beer warmed. This beer has absolutely the best mouthfeel of any beer I have ever had; a wonderful thick blanket of creamy malty caramel that gets even creamier as you savor it. A fantastic imperial stout, and I am very much looking forward to the three that are left!

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Photo of Bernerdawg
4.9/5  rDev +18.4%

On draft at Red Light Red Light in Orlando.
Color is black, with 1/2 inch of tan head.
Aromas of espresso, roasted malt, baker's chocolate, dates, whiff of burnt caramel
Taste is sweeter than expected, but not pushy: malts and alcohol up front followed by strong cocoa and coffee, hoppy finish
Not much carbonation. Milky smooth. For me, texture and body are spot-on for the style
Very impressed by this beer. A sipper that can go down quickly if not careful. The sweetness obscures the alcohol a bit and adds a wonderful note to the malts without getting in the way of other flavors. Highly recommend.

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Photo of PacNWDad
4/5  rDev -3.4%

On draft at Chuck's 85th St. Thin, meager head, with some lace as you drink. Very dark, inky, opaque. Aroma is coffee, smoked malt, raisins, fig, molasses, some herbal notes from the hops. Sips bitter, a bit green, then sweet malt into the finish. Some hot alcohol flash, drinks thick, finishes medium. Overall very good, could be exceptional with some more aging on it.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

a: a deep, dark, thick black. kinda viscous. solid 2 finger tan head. looks like you could rest a coin on there

s: a nice rich blend of caramel malts, toffee, smooth roasted malts, sweet chocolate, hint of black licorice, brown sugar, molasses, some sticky syrup

t: heavy tasting. alcohol right off the bat. brown sugar & molasses. more alcohol. toasted malts, milk chocolate, some hops in here. hint of root beer, more alcohol

m: its definitely on the fuller side. sticky. this is a sipper for sure. not much carbonation - but its the perfect level

o: this needs to sit for a few years or months me thinks. i can taste a real nice base beer in here, theres just a lot of alcohol in the flavor right now. as it sits in the glass for a bit, those flavors do shine through. its a nice beer, that will be made better as the alcohol flavor dies off

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Photo of corywalston
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A. Very aggressive poor into a 36oz mug, 4 inches of tan/brown head that dissipates to 2 ½ inches. The dance of the bubbles in the black sludge looks delicious. No carbonation. Color is black with hints of brown.
S. Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and alcohol.
T. Sweet, metallic, coffee, chocolate, alcohol. After taste of grilled chocolate and nutty.
M. Slightly carbonated, milky, syrup, watery.
O. Slightly below average for an RIS. Alcohol is very evident and slightly over powering. But still good, give it a try.

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Photo of H0PHead108
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Delicious aroma of chocolate with a hint of coffee. A med/full head on the pour supported by the dark chocolate brown body. Smooth and sweet with the bitterness of dark roasted coffee to finish. This doesn't hide it's 10.2%ABV Imperial kick for very long. I left this to chill on the porch for a bit [58 degrees] for about 30 min before I opened and poured. it. Delightful !

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

Pours a dark black, only a little foam that faded to a light film, left no lacing. The aroma was of dark chocolate, slight coffee, sweet malt, and just a hint of dark fruit. Taste was of sweet chocolate and coffee, with some bitter hoppiness and alcohol burn. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, with some alcohol, but not too much. Just right. Overall, this beer is super tasty, can't wait to see what a year of cellaring has done to it.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date 07/24/2014 printed on the back label. Finally getting around to trying the infamous Sierra Nevada Narwhal. Expectations are high based on this beer's good reputation.

Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter glass.

A - It pours a dark inky black; nearly opaque with some hues of brown showing around the edges. About a finger of creamy tan head. Leaves good scattered spotty lacing on the glass. Looks very nice. 4

S - The smell is kind of light, compared to what I was expecting. Very roasty and malty, with some unsweetened chocolate / cocoa notes, burnt coffee, char, notes of licorice / cola. I was expecting more roastiness, in all honesty. Somewhat lacking in aroma, in my opinion. 3.5

T - Taste is a step up from the nose - simple, yet refined. Notes of chocolate / cocoa, vanilla, fudge, roasted coffee beans. Bitter & roasty. 4

M - The feel is smooth and creamy, with good carbonation, but I could see some age doing this beer well, to perhaps tone the carb down just a tad. Again, bitter and roasty on the finish. Sticky, fudgey, & burnt, but in a pleasant way.

Overall, a nice, yet simple imperial stout from Sierra Nevada. I could definitely see bottles of this stuff aging well, and I would be interested to see what some serious time does to a bottle of this stuff.

Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout -----4/5.

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Photo of yarnbomb
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Yum! A great version of one of my very favorite beer styles. The last one I had on draft was SO GOOD that I didn't actually share it as intended, oops.

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Photo of Shandirra
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Just the way I like my Imperial Stouts; rich, smooth, full bodied, heady aroma, malty finish. Bought it as a 'pick a pack' selection from a borough distributor. Pleasant surprise. Definitely will purchase again!

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Photo of xboxhueg
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Roasty, chocalately, coffee notes all to be expected. Strong dark fruit sweetish taste. Alcohol warmth. Suberb lacing. Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Rather on the sweet side. AWESOME!

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Photo of RexBanner
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black. No light penetrated through this dark concoction. 1/2 finger head that dissipated fairly quick. Velvety smooth appearance.

Its aroma was of bready yeast, dark roast grains, alcoholic esters, bitter dark chocolate. Faint banana smell was also present.

The taste was of robust roasted grains and dark bitter 80% cacao. Very faint taste of hops was noticeable before everything was washed away by the alcoholic burn that permeated the mouth. Smooth mouth feel. Not as heavy as one might imagine for an imperial stout. As it reached room temperature it began to develop the flavor profile of a strong dark Belgian ale. Even the aftertaste was more akin to a SDB as oppose to a stout.

Overall, I would recommend this beer to others. It's definitely a sipper. I missed that characteristic smokey aftertaste common to stouts as well as the creamy, chewy mouth feel, but all in all, this is a superb beer worth trying.

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Photo of nodder
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Black with a one finger light tan head. Fades quickly leaving slight lacing and alcohol legs on glass.

S- Dark roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, slight dark fruity notes. Slightly boozy smell also.

T- Standard RIS flavors. Coffee, dark chocolate, an earthy/fruitiness there also. A bit more alcohol taste than expected but this is still very good.

M- Medium mouth with slightly more carbonation than expected. Finish is bitter but nice. There is a definite alcohol burn on this one but not overpowering.

O- A bit boozy but still good. Gonna throw a bottle in the cellar for a year and see if it mellows.

12 oz. bottle

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Medium bodied that looks thin but still thick in a sense , tan head which rose to maybe a notch or two below a finger's length.

Smell: Wow, a beautiful mocha scent. You feel a chocolate aroma hitting you immediately. Strong but still subtle.

Taste: A nice complexity of cocoa and coffee, very deep and smooth.

Mouth: Stick as it gets and honestly putting the glass down is the worst part about this brew.

Overall: Awesome beer, would recommend to anyone who appreciates what quality truly is. Snifter glass preferred, salud!

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Photo of hophugger
2.98/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nice deep chocolate brown that just doesn't want any light to peek through, nice!! Relatively light aroma, with maybe a hint of sweet chocolate malt coming through. Taste is bold with hints of bitter chocolate and a touch of sweet malts. I know that the ABV is high, but the mouthfeel is predominately alcohol, taking away I think a little from what I would imagine to be quite a spectacular flavor. Burns ever so slightly as it inches its way across the tongue and down the gullet. Overall, a pretty balanced with what I think is just a touch too much alcohol feel that slightly numbs the mouth...

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Photo of Samp01
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from mike67. Pours a deep slightly viscous black with a small brown head. Aroma and Taste of dark roasted caramel malt, some mild liquorice notes, dark fruit with some notes of dark cacao and mild espresso flavors with a dark toasted malt bitterness on the end for balance. A full bodied, creamy body on the palate with moderate carbonation and sticky mouth feel. A good full flavored brew, rich and creamy. Overall this is very good, delicious and flavorful brew.

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Photo of REGreenBTRB
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%

Bottled on 07/31/14. Poured into a snifter.

A: 5 - Pitch black with a very thin head, tan/cinnamon head. It seriously looks like this glass just got colored with sharpie.

S: 3.8 - I get some of the roasted malt, dark chocolate, really not a whole lot of coffee. Mainly just the malt and coffee. It doesn't smell quite as strong as I was expecting.

T: 4.25 - It tastes wonderful! You definitely get a lot of the malt up front, and the dark chocolate is very present. There's just a hint of coffee. This is mostly roasted malts and dark chocolate, though I can definitely pick up on a little bit of the alcohol.

M: 4.25 - There is a slight alcohol burn, medium carbonation. Creamy finish.

O: 4.32 - Overall a very good beer. It's hard to go wrong with a dark chocolate/malty imperial stout. Definitely something worth trying! Woo Pig.

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Photo of DaBrewski
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Malty roasted coffee flavor with perhaps a touch of bourbon hook coming through at the end. There are hops there too.

There is some heat coming through.

However, where Goose Island's BCS would be an "11" on the amp scale Narwhal would be an 8. This is not a bad attribute.

Excellent Imperial Stout. Absolutely surprised me. Great price point for this bold stout.

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
2/5  rDev -51.7%

Poured into a tumbler in late 2013.

A: Opaque black.

S: Roasty malt, brown sugar.

T: Lots of bitterness overwhelmed anything else for me on the first sip.

O: I tried to make it through this with small sips, but the bitterness was too much. The alcohol was very well hidden. This was a drain pour.

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 4,926 ratings.
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