Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
92.7%
Liked This Beer
4.16 w/ 5,074 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 10-14-2012

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,320
Reviews:
942
Ratings:
5,074
Liked:
4,704
Avg:
4.16/5
pDev:
9.62%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
335
Gots:
1,452
Trade:
36
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,074 |  Reviews: 942
Photo of mmellow12
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gaddabble
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BlunderfulGuy
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of woodychandler
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had thought that I was finished with my recent Sierra Nevada horizontal, mainly centering around the Beer Camp Around the World 12-pack when several more bottles surfaced from within the depths of The Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody. I have a couple of these to drink & review & then I will e moving on yet again.

From the bottle: "Inspired by the mysterious creature that dwells in the deepest Arctic seas, Narwhal Imperial Stout is midnight black and bold with notes of baker's cocoa and dark roasted coffee. This massive imperial stout is incredibly complex and explores the darkest depths of malt flavor."

Today is T, 20 June 2017.

2016 bottle, PKGD 08/23/16: I Pop!ped the cap & commenced a very gentle pour into the awaiting glass. I then performed an in-glass swirl, but it did not raise much more than a brief finger of soapy, foamy, deep-brown head with low retention. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose had a rich dark chocolatiness along with a light charcoal smokiness. Mmm. Mouthfeel was medium, but thin for the style. The taste had the same bugaboo that I noticed in Bigfoot - too many hops, causing an unnecessary bitterness that marred the chocolaty, smoky flavors. Sure, I could taste the baker's chocolate & the dark roasted coffee, but I felt like I was fighting my way upstream in order to do so. Finish was dry, but was it due to the ABV, the use of hops in quantity, some other source or a combination of them? It was kind of tough for me to really enjoy this one, even with nearly a year in the bottle.

2014 bottle, PKGD 07/31/14: Having Pop!ped the cap, I restrained myself & went with another light, gentle pour. This time, however, the in-glass swirl raised a finger of deep-tan/light-brown head with decent retention. The color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), but its depth & inkiness seemed to have increased. They call it "midnight", but I think that it is "stygian". I had a girlfriend in La Maddalena, Sardinia back in 1985 whose eyes were equally dark, just pools of inky blackness. Aha! On the nose, the hops have faded and the roasted coffee is like the smell of the Mess Decks first thing after revile. Mmmm. Mouthfeel has been buttressed by time and is now at least creamy, approaching pudding thickness. The chocolate & coffee flavors are revealed as though by a magician! This is what I expected & wanted! Howzabout a Narwhal pudding pop? The alcohol burn was also gone, making it a rich, smooth, decadent delight. Jeeezuss! This is getting dangerous in terms of how easily it is going down. Time to hit the brakes & run an errand or two. Finish was semi-dry, more chocolaty than what it would take to be outright dry.

 2,701 characters

Photo of Jhfinn
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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

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

It poured a dark black and gave the same color body. Some nice speckled, block-like lacing formed boxes around the sides of the pint glass, interesting. The smell had dry, roasty cocoa and coffee up front with a slight touch of hops in the background, and some vanilla as the beer warmed. The taste was dry and roasty between the coffee and cocoa and brought back some of that bitter hops. The finish was very dry. The palate was about a medium with nothing harsh on the tongue and fairly drinkable. Overall, this is a hopped up RIS that is very good and I would come back to.

 576 characters

Photo of Chipotle
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Rivarol
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Marklaker
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of djfrenchy
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of animal69
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jkblr
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 8/23/16 poured into a 20 ounce tulip glass at fridge temp 10.2% ABV. The beer is essentially black with no highlights. The head from an aggressive pour is light brown with red tint and settles into a cap with substantial lacing. The aroma is chocolate and roast malt. The taste is dark cocoa, a bit of sweetness, a hint of booze and then big bitterness, even at 8 months old. I personally find the bitterness overwhelming on these fresh. Mouthfeel is soft, thick, adequately carbonated and just very well done. Overall, excellent. The best thing about this beer is availability and price compared to quality. The other thing I like is it's great fresh, if you prefer your RIS super bitter, or aged for a smoother, malty taste. Recommended

 761 characters

Photo of Rizzy17
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

Photo of Beerasaurus
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of RProwse
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

It tastes like someone cremated a chocolate cake, then used the resulting ashes to make a mean glass of chocolate milk, imperial-style. With notes of dark coffee and a subtle (somewhat salty?) hazelnut-like finish, the creamy texture on this one makes for an all round enjoyable (though strong) sipper.

Bonus fact: Narwhals are awesome.

 338 characters

Photo of rsuarez1982
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Riff
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep black color with a thin tan head. Prominent malty aroma with hints of dark fruits, molasses, and hops. Tastes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a hop bite at the finish. The bite isn't sharp, more pleasant than anything else. Feel is medium-heavy, about right for a stout. Finish lingers for a while after consumption, but fairly pleasant flavor. Overall a very nice stout, well worthy of it's reputation.

 422 characters

Photo of clarknova
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of nick_perry
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black color, thin light-brown head. Malty aroma accentuated by fruity esters. Very creamy, smooth mouthfeel. A flavor of burnt malt and burnt fruit permeates. Noticeable alcohol taste (10.2%ABV). Warming feeling. Extraordinarily brewed stout, very dark and complex, one of my favorites.

 286 characters

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

Photo of Chackman151
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92.7% out of 100 with 5,074 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.