Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,058 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

BEER STATS
Ratings:
5,058
Reviews:
936
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
9.64%
 
 
Wants:
333
Gots:
1,442
For Trade:
36
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,058 |  Reviews: 936
Photo of GrumpyGas
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass boasts a dark cherry brown body floating a mocha colored head.
There is a sweet chocolatey aroma, which I think is the baker's cocoa, and a hint of booze. Coffee joins in the flavor to add a subtle bitterness. Booze is nicely hidden in the taste, with some caramel, vanilla, and roasted malt. Deeply complex as it warms.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with just a touch of lingering grit. I blame the baker's chocolate, again.
A well done brew by a well run brewery.

 503 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I have seen this beer on-line and I have read other's reviews on it. I believe the hype...

The name of the beer itself is a bit of a turn-off for me - "Narwhal - a disgustingly weird looking sea creature out of a Jules Verne nightmare (if you ask me.) Anyway, this is anything but a dream of a beer, worthy of all the praise laid at its feet (or flippers). Though it has little head or lacing, it does have that gorgeous dark coloring indicative to stouts and with a scent hinting to its booziness and chocolaty taste. The mouthfeel is a perfect balance of carbonation, silky smoothness and a sweet aftertaste that surprised me and even held firm as the beer got warmer. The taste was all boozy, roasty, chocolaty and sweet (but in a good kinda way.) Though the name of this beer frightens me, I am one who will continue to see out this ocean beast for the delicious flavor it can provide from top to bottom. Great job Sierra Nevada.

 941 characters

Photo of AustinWadkins
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark chocolate brown/black with a mocha head

Smells include chocolate, roasted coffee, roasted malts, hint of booze

Taste includes chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits, sweet caramel, with a hint of vanilla

Overall I love this beer! Great balance with this one! Fantastic mouthfeel, and that abv is a sure win. I will deffinetly get another!

 359 characters

Photo of mmorris15
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of EMH73
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a half inch tan head that left little lacing, Smells of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and a hint of vanilla, Tastes of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts with some nuttiness, dark fruits, some caramel sweetness and vanilla. Medium to heavy bodied, creamy mouth feel, lightly carbonated, and a bit on the dry side.

 339 characters

Photo of tongbliss
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JonSchwartz
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Growler Grlz in Durham.

33 characters

Photo of leaddog
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2016 edition at 10.2%.

Appearance - Pours a chocolate brown/black with two fingers of bubbly mocha head.

Smell - Roasted malts, cocoa, coffee bean, earthy and leafy hops, hint of vanilla bean.

Taste - Flavourful roasted notes from the malts, coffee bean and cocoa flavours, along with a touch of the hops. Slightest bit of alcohol, but quite low.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-full bodied with low-to-moderate carbonation. Warmth from the alcohol. Very smooth.

Overall - Sierra Nevada delivers a very flavourful imperial stout with easy drinkability (so dangerous!). The roasted malt profile is well executed, along with the coffee bean and cocoa flavours. Could easily make it into my winter rotation.

 699 characters

Photo of JohnTurano
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ChipChaight
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Noble Grains NYC on the UES
Pours almost fully opaque black with no head, smells like boozy molasses with hints of roasted coffee, chocolate syrup, and cocoa, taste like sweet creamy dark roasted malts, hints of caffe latte, mild booze, finishes with mellow bitter chocolate that lingers, feel is creamy medium bodied. A solid imperial stout!

 359 characters

Photo of Dinglehacker
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. Thin head ring, a faint swirl of lace. Dark cola, almost opaque.

Roasty nose.

Dark chocolate bitterness, a little boozy, roasted nuts, coffee, dark fruit notes.

Mouth is dry and a tad warm, though not too warm on the finish.

A good, standard RIS. Imperial strength and darkness, and subtle depth of character. Nicely done, Sierra Nevada.

 362 characters

Photo of mrosenfeld32
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jrsqc7
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful deep deep brown with a medium brown (not khaki!!!) head.

Smell is boozy and overripe fruit. The malt bomb blooms upon sipping; rye and winter wheat? There is a quiet hop undertone providing pine and citrus flavors.

excellent!

 241 characters

Photo of jmaskell33
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Kuges
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of danasofia
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - opaque brown/black, slight amber brown around the edges when held up to light.

Aroma - Bitter cocoa, coffee, sweet caramel, faint nutty aromas

Taste - Deep bitter cocoa, coffee in the background, less caramel than the aroma, slight dark fruit and berries, little bit of vanilla.

Feel - Viscous and syrupy, very smooth and appealing.

Overall - Very sweet, but not offensively so as it is also pleasurably bitter at the same time. Smooth for the alcohol content. Absolutely delicious, one of my favorite stouts hands down.

 587 characters

Photo of beebs22
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HipCzech
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 12 oz bottle (08/05/16) poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter.

Appearance: Opaque, inky dark brown with a cap of lush, tan foam; spotty lace.

Smell: Rich aroma of roasted, smoky malt, coffee, molasses and tobacco.

Taste: Smooth roasted malt, sweet dark fruit (dates), chocolate and coffee. Closes with a brisk, earth herbal bitterness

Mouthfeel: Full, velvety smooth body with light carbonation.

Overall: Solid, full bodied imperial stout with great roasty aroma.

 481 characters

Photo of BPCam
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HardyA
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BIGPOPPAS
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JonCorbett
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this baby on the heels of EvilTwin’s Soft Dookie… surprisingly they were almost the same. But I did find this one edged out the former by a hair.

Appearance: Pitch black, kinda thick looking, and poured with a bit of aggression to get a finger of medium dark brown sugar coloured foam - very chunky and but disappeared with a leisurely waddle. Little to no lacing left-overs but the carbonation was pretty good looking.

Aromatics: Very rich dark charred oak mixed with dark cacao and over-roasted plums. The coffee bitterness smell is in there as well.

Taste: A more coffee forward flavour, bold powdery rich cacao but hints of biscuit-like and caramel malt keep the burnt flavours from standing up to proudly. It also has the mildly fruit molasses flavour with charred wood and licorice linger that is tempered with a delightful bitter-sweet balance.

Palate: In relation to its flavour, it is actually quite a bit more creamy than it leads you to believe. Mild carbonation and a decent hoppy bitterness that presents it self but excuses itself just as readily when the finish comes through fairly clean and dry - just a touch of sweet left behind.

Overall: A bit more complex that some other Imperials I’ve had recently (as in today), and oh my delicious. I never noticed the 10% and the flavour was much more enjoyable that ET’s (not this was a comparison, but it did help me with where to rank it).

 1,426 characters

Photo of Muss42
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JamFuel
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SadMachine
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 5,058 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.