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Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
905 Reviews
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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierra-nevada.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
Reviews:
905
Ratings:
4,974
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
22.46%
 
 
Wants:
320
Gots:
1,422
For Trade:
41
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 905 | Ratings: 4,974
Photo of Rcaros
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured brown out the bottle with a pinky finger of khaki creamy head. Black in the glass with a good amount of carbonation

Roasty malts up front with a bitter espresso coffee towards the end. Mild sweetness

Big coffee.bitterness up front, nice roastiness, finished pleasantly sweet.

Creamy feel with nice coating. Medium plus to full minus body

Very good overall

 370 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with pillow of mocha foam. Aromas of cocoa, vanilla, and roast. Flavor is similar with semisweet vanilla leading the sip and slightly bitter roast catching up to balance out before the finish. Very tasty and slightly sweet which I enjoy.

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Photo of MVotter
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - The Sierra Nevada Narwhal pours into a chalice a deep, dark coffee color, leaving an ample 2-inch thick tan head in its wake.

S - Cherry, maple sugar, sweet malts, burnt coffee.

T - Sweetish roasted malt notes in the front, black licorice, and a pretty robust coffee flavor to finish. In the final analysis, this imperial stout leans "malty-sweet" as opposed to "bitter coffee".

F - Thick texture, chewy, chewy, chewy...heavy.

O - Big beer. Big (albeit hidden) ABV, so be careful. This is a substantial, rich, thick imperial stout. You will find whatever i.s. flavor you're looking for in this brew. I repeat: it's a big brew with a big flavor profile range.

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Photo of MACrist
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown to black with a half finger of tan head that dissipates quickly. Good carbonation when I rock the glass, and leaves some alcohol legs going down the glass. Aroma is dark roasted malt, slight char, touch of alcohol, coffee, and dark chocolate. The flavor is a pretty good hit of alcohol immediately followed by Dark roasted malt, brown sugar or molasses, dark chocolate, and maybe some raisin. Very nice solid level of carbonation, medium full to full body, a little sticky, dry on the finish. I like Old Raspy better, and Founders Imp. Stout is fantastic, but this is pretty good. One to age a while and see how things end up.

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Photo of bobthebrewer1208
2.87/5  rDev -30.7%
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.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Finally got to try this. 6 oz sampler on tap at the Griffon Gastropub in Niagara Falls, NY. Review from notes taken back in October.

Appearance - virtually black with long lasting dark tan foam on top.

Smell - molasses. Pure and simple. Toffee and maybe some brown sugar. Malty as all hell. Fantastic for my sniffer.

Taste - similar flavor profile. Lots of dark fruits. Aspect of creme brûlée. Bourbon soaked. A little hot an boozy.

Mouthfeel - slick, oily and while chewy, it's lighter in body than you'd think.

Overall - a damn fine stout that stacks up with the best. An absolute malt bomb.

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Photo of Leif_Eriksson
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: SRM at 40+. Dark, dark crimson when held to the light. Not much head on top. 5.

Smell: Melted chocolate, vanilla, nutty. 4.5.

Taste: Chocolaty and smooth. Sweet. Caramel, malty. Bitter coffee. 4.5.

Feel: Heavy, syrupy, but smooth. 4.

Tastes less boozy than some 5% stouts. Top-notch.

 293 characters

Photo of bbtkd
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Narwhal, 10.2 % ABV, 60 IBU. Pours black with medium viscosity, and one finger brown head. Nose is chocolate and coffee. Flavor is chocolate, roasty malt, moderate bitter coffee close. Decent mouthfeel, a bit heavy on carbonation. Overall excellent.

 268 characters

Photo of J1moyer
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite a kick to the Sierra Nevada Narwhal Russian Imperial Stout at 10.2%. I had a draft pour at Owen's Ordinary in the Pike & Rose Shopping Center in Rockville, MD. Awesome beer and nice addition to the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.

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Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into tulip.

Pours nearly black with faintly glittering cola edges and half a finger of brown head that leaves cloudy blotches of lace as it recedes.

Smells of chocolate covered coffee beans and raisins, fireplace ash, toasted caramel malt and earthy herbal hops.

Tastes of more black chocolate and fresh coffee, sugared raisins, muddled dried dark fruit, more ashy smokiness and singed caramel, and more mild green hops. Alcohol is pleasantly detectable.

Feels big and amazingly smooth. Full bodied with buttery carbonation. Finishes off-dry.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. Legendary for a reason.

 623 characters

Photo of bob_roberts
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Too hoppy for my liking. Not bad, but aftertaste leaves me thinking of SN pale ale. Quality beer, just doesn't work with my palate. Would like to try this barrel-aged.

 167 characters

Photo of citizencane
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours solid black. Held my iPhone flashlight at point blank range and no translucence at all. Modest head. Smells ok, typical stout smell but with more booze. Taste is where this unloads-chocolate mousse, roasted malts, dark coffee, balanced bitterness. Not quite the nuance of Rasputin; this goes dark and roasted and stays there with only slight subtlety. Have had before and will have again.

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Photo of crisis1290
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Narwhal is about as good of an imperial stout as you can find. This is probably one the best Russian Imperial Stouts I have tasted in a very long time. Even better, you are getting an amazingly high quality product that doesn't break your bank. Super black color on the pour. Roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and other flavors stand out immediately. This bad boy is smooth. Not very boozy , like some Russian Imperials. A very nice thick and chewy mouth feel with an amazing taste to boot ! I can not find one thing wrong with this beer. I bought a case and put 1/2 of the case in the cellar for next year ! I highly recommend this gem . For those who have not crossed over to the dark side...take a chance ..give this one a shot and make your way to the dark side ! You wont regret it.

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Photo of mmmbeer89
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I think i like the aftertaste this beer leaves on your lips rather than the actual flavor while drinking it. Smooth as fook for a beer that has 10.2 ABV.

 153 characters

Photo of Joe_Palooka
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Narwahl is about as good of an imperial stout as you can find for the money. The one I just consumed has been aging in my cellar since last October. Pours a very black color with about half inch of head that disapates pretty rapidly. Definitely one of the best off the shelf, non barrel aged R.I.S. oyt there. Looking forward to the 2016 release.

 347 characters

Photo of colts9016
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer is almost a year old. A one finger head that is a creamy tan with good retention. The color of the beer is black as night. Some carbonation bubbles are visible on the side of the glass.

A nice coffee, roasted malt, biscuit, toffee, caramel, earthy, floral, and some dark chocolate.

A nice robust dark coffee note, with roasted malt, biscuit, caramel, earth, floral, milk chocolate.

A rich creamy mouthfeel, with some carbonation.

Overall this a very good beer I like my RIS with bit more punch. Yes it had really good flavors I just would have like them to be more pronounced.

 592 characters

Photo of stevoj
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Growler Station @ Albertson’s. Dark and heady, smooth despite the elevated ABV. Initial high, fluffy beige head. Sweet dark roast malts, hints of dark chocolate, a little alcohol on the nose, and definite warmth at the finish. Velvety and slick. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of FBarber
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black. Oily with a one finger khaki head that dissipates leaving a ring of foam around the outside.

Smell has aromas of roasted malts, prunes, raisins, slight boozy character. Slight undertones of milk chocolate.

Taste follows the nose with a savory array of prunes, raisins, roasted malts and chocolate. Slight spice to the beer with a bitter finish. The beer is sweet, but not overly so. There is a slight boozy aftertaste that is reminiscent of a barrel aged beer. Very nice.

Very smooth feel on this one, almost buttery. Bit of carbonation provides an initial tingle on the mouth. Slight boozy tingle at the end. Wee bit thin in the feel, but not distractingly so.

Overall a top notch imperial stout. Love the more savory flavor of this one.

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Photo of trygelski1
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into tulip glass:

Look: Pours an amazing dark black with about an inch of dark tan head and very minimal lacing. No retention on the lacing as well.

Smell: Chocolate, raisins, roasted malts.

Taste: Tons of roasted malts, some chocolate, and raisins. Wish I could get a hint of coffee but I am not with this brew.

Feel: Medium to heavy body.

Overall: Really enjoying this beer. Very solid Russian imperial stout. Its a step below the Great Lakes Blackout Stout in my opinion. I am very glad that I picked up a 4 pack of this to try. I will likely revisit this beer next year when it reappears.

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Photo of BeerBobber
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with a thick creamy/soapy brown head. Just a beautiful look for an imperial stout!

Chocolate, raisins, roasted sweet malts...... Oh my good Lord this is exploding with beautiful complex favorites!

Dark malts up front with the the sweet taste of raisins up front. Almost like a dark roasted malt bomb. There is a hop presence, however faint, it is in there.

Mouth feel is thick with a chewy finish.

OMG! Sorry to use that beer advocate bro's. I really find this to be a most wonderful and tasty brew that is so thick and chewy as to be so tasteful. If you like a dark beer go for it! For those not quite initiated into the dark side I would advise caution as this would scare you away from the dark side. For others, come to the DARK side and enjoy!!

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Photo of RozzieBoy
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - Poured black with a dark tan head. Nice lacing throughout.
S - Chocolate with a not overpowering stout smell.
F - Thick feel to it with a semi-dry finish.
T - Roast coffee and dark chocolate.
O - Really good beer. Just a nice balance between the smell and taste.

 269 characters

Photo of gcamparone
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Purchased in Providence, RI.

Pours a deep brown nearly black body with a small off white head that leaves no lacing and a little retention.

Chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, toffee, caramel come through on the aroma. Tongue matches the nose with an added roasty note, coffee and dark chocolate, finishes lightly bitter and charred. Medium body with medium low carbonation.

Solid for a stout thats always available. Love the roastyness on the aftertaste.

 499 characters

Photo of Bubshab
4.78/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours jet-black, very little head. Smells of cocoa, espresso, smoky-ness, dark fruits, very nice. Tastes just like the smell, booze is a little present, very full mouth-feel, covers the tongue and mouth thoroughly. Boozy in the finish, a little hoppy perhaps? A very, very nice beer overall.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black body, creamy light tan head, some sticky lines of lace. Nose is rich and complex; baker's chocolate, licorice, some coffee, bread crust, heavily roasted malt. Flavor is even more widespread and deep; dark chocolate, roasted malt, somewhat sweet smokey toffee, faint chocolate, undertones of bitter hops, star anise, dry biscuit, faint alcohol and milk sugar-likeness here and there. Supremely dark yet reasonably bitter, even with a mild sweetness. Full, heavy, chewy body with lip-smacking stickiness.
What a great beer. Perfectly enters RIS territory without clashing the hop flavor with the roasted malt, which *rarely* works for me. Huge range of dark flavors to mull over, nicely dry and bitter while still offering a faint oasis sweetness. Please, Narwhal, impale me again ;)

 788 characters

Photo of johnnyd10vt
3.39/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nice American high gravity stout. Lesser than the gold standard, in my opinion, Old Rasputin. Black in color with a nice tan head that hangs around. The smell is sweet dried fruits: prunes. The taste is strong ABV and again dried fruits, with the malt and hops playing lesser roles on the overall profile. Undoubtedly a very complex beer, buy not entirely my cup-of-tea

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Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 4,974 ratings.
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