Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
5,234 Ratings
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:
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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,715
Reviews:
992
Ratings:
5,234
pDev:
9.38%
 
 
Wants:
339
Gots:
1,513
Trade:
35
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,234 |  Reviews: 992
Photo of SaxmanRick
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

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

A- Color is opaque black with a beautifully thick, syrupy look and about a finger of foamy head that looks like coffee with a lot of cream. Lacing is abundant as well.

S-Some noticeable alcohol in the aroma, with dark-roasted coffee and bittersweet cocoa.

T- Flavors are tasty, and are primarily of bitter cocoa, and black coffee. Some sweetness lingers on the palate after each sip.

M-Fairly full body with a good amount of carbonation.

Narwhal is good, it's not particularly exciting or original, but affordable and worth a try.
Would be worth aging, in order to mellow out some of the bitterness.

 603 characters

Photo of Holland
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark and thick with a one finger, tan head that gives way to a very thin sheet of foam on top.

S: big roasted smells like coffee and slight smoke. Sweet malt, too.

T: good bitterness and roasted flavor mix, with little of the sweetness I thought would be there from the smell.

M: thick body with medium carbonation that isn't too aggressive makes for a smooth stout.

O: very nice beer for $9 per 4-pack. Delicious stuff, would buy again, and I'm excited to age some of these.

 486 characters

Photo of marine1975
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Steimie
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

Photo of abex44
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours jet black with absolutely no penetration where any decent amount of thickness is achieved; not when held to a light bulb or even directly into the sun. Thick, 2 finger mocha head shows good retention. A fair amount of silky, sticky lace.

Smell - Dark roasted malty aromas stick out the most, especially baker's chocolate, while notes of raisin sit beneath. There's also a touch of astringency; more so as the beer warms.

Taste - Deep, dark roast malt character: bitter chocolate and a touch of black coffee dominate up front. Notes of raisin and fig creep up in the back end, and a bit of heat comes along with it, then lingers well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Somewhat chewy, though there's also a silky smoothness when swallowing. A bit of heat might make this a sipper for some, but not for me!

Overall - Well executed RIS. Fantastic all-around balance for the style. A bit of heat does shine through, but at 10.2% it's nothing unexpected. Looking forward to drinking this again, and comparing to the likes of the Lagunitas Imperial Stout, as well as others.

 1,128 characters

Photo of pjs234
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$9.50 for the 4 pack, bought locally.

it pours black with a 2 finger head of tannish foam and leaves the usual excellence with the lacing.

The smell is of cocoa and roasted malt with some light notes of coffee. Err...maybe not so light notes of coffee. Good either way.

First sip in and it starts off, for me, as being very sweet soon overtaken by roasted malt and coffee that add a nice bitterness. There's plenty of the ample alcohol in the taste as well meaning a lot of warming. It finishes on the bitter side thanks to all that roasty goodness.

Full bodied, lightish carbonation, very smooth mouthfeel. On a day with the temps in the 60sF, not so drinkable but when the temps drop, the drinkability of this IS will rise. I'm bloody sure of that.

A big thumbs up to SN's bold new Imperial Stout!

Edit Nov 8, 2012:

I'm now on my 3rd bottle and my like for it grows and grows. There's really nothing I'd change with my review *other than* the scores. Onward and upward!

 978 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, almost black. Nice tan head that dissipates. I have some remnants of sticky lace in the pint glass, but not much.

Coffee and licorice in the nose. Some bitter charred notes.

Deep flavors with terrific balance of dark richness and bitter. Sweet malt of dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, charred burnt bits. Bitterness leans in with some alcohol, but it seems less boozy than it really is. Nice bitter finish with a coffee aftertaste.

This one even pours thick. Dense full body. A little acid.

Great RIS. Loved this and glad I tried it.

 556 characters

Photo of BeerBucks
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of strongaf
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of mmmaaattt
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of JigsawRecords
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Bilco
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of PJKSR02
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of shamrock071521
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of Auror
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle to CBS snifter on 11/03/12.

Appearance- Jet black with an iced coffee colored mocha head. Medium head on pour leads to persistent half inch ring. Excellent lacing..

Smell- Roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate. A bit smokier than I anticipated, not as much chocolate.

Taste- Flavor takes a back seat to mouthfeel. Sticky sweetness leads to a lingering piney bitterness. Individual flavors aren't very easy to pick out. It's mainly some sweetness, then roasted notes, followed by bitterness. Insert your favorite placeholder flavor (vanilla to smoke to hops).

Mouthfeel- Thick, viscous, coating, and slightly chewy. Carbonation levels prevent the beer from being as creamy as I like my stouts to be.

Overall- Considering this doesn't taste up my alley, I can at least appreciate the well-made aspects of it. The sweetness and bitterness balance well in the taste, although I think both are a little heavy. Alcohol is not very noticeable for a 10% plus beer. My score turned out very odd for this one.

 1,032 characters

Photo of mpedara429
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured out black in color with two fingers of light brown/caramel colored head. Pretty good retention and thick lacing.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, and a hint booze.

T: Similar to the nose with some chocolate flavor in there as well. It has a nice bitterness to it.

M: Thick and creamy with medium carbonation.

O: I was big fan of this one. Pricewise, it beats everything else in that range and can really compete with some of the higher end imperial stouts.

 462 characters

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Daniellobo
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of BeerNW
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of WoodburyMN
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of davey101
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage, bottled October 12, 2012. 12 oz bottle into a DFH signature glass.

A - Pours a dark black body with two finger mocha/red head. Settles into some thin edging. Solid amount of lacing and retention but nothing too impressive.

S - Roasted malt, coffee beans, cocoa powder and anise. Incredibly balanced. Just a great aroma.

T - Roasted malts lead into that signature SN grapefruit and pine hop profile. Finishes with bitter coffee beans and smooth milk chocolate. Just a touch of anise.

M - Smooth and creamy with nice carbonation. Alcohol is hardly noticeable and the beer really opens up as it warms.

O - This beer gets everything right, even as a fresh beer. Plus its SN so its at an amazing price and distribution. It seems less hoppy and intense than the the 30th Anny stout, but I really like this beer a lot.

 830 characters

Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a DFH signature glass. Bottled October 6 and put on the shelf two days ago at my local store.

A - Pours black with a dense finger of wood brown head. Sticky tiered lacing.

S - Toasted malts dominate along with almond, vanilla, cedar, and some mellow pine hops. Sweet and roasty with balancing earthiness.

T - Starts with an iced mocha coffee sweetness. Some burnt pine follows along with vanilla notes. The finish is more bitter than anticipated with earthy tree sap hops. Warming alcohol comes in late and becomes less noticeable with each sip. Sweetens as it warms and caramel, vanilla, and marshmallow step up to the char.

M - Definitely has enough body for the big flavors. Smooth carbonation. The alcohol isn't in your face, but isn't forgotten.

O - I have been waiting for this to land in my area for a few weeks. Balanced flavor that improves as it warms. The more drink it, the more I like it. A very good RIS that is right up there with Old Raspy in the RIS 12oz. 4pk under $10 category. Sierra Nevada rarely disappoints. Hopefully this becomes a shelf staple so I can grab it whenever I choose.

 1,138 characters

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,234 ratings