Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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:
877
Ratings:
4,883
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
22.71%
 
 
Wants:
310
Gots:
1,378
For Trade:
44
User Reviews
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Reviews: 877 | Ratings: 4,883
Photo of JamesMN
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: In a long list of the most opaque black beers out there. Two finger light brown head that leaves nice lacing.

Aroma: Coffee, molasses, cream, chocolate syrup.

Taste: Heavy on the bitter black coffee flavor. Dark chocolate as well but not as prominent. Not quite as roasty as I was expecting but still quite robust. Very bitter probably more due to the malt bill than the hops utilized because there is no discernible hop presence. Still, a nice change of pace from the usual RIS (although I probably wouldn't classify it as such). Dry finish and lingering black coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a good level of carbonation and pretty easy to drink but more of a sipper.

Final Thoughts: Not my favorite but a very good Imperial Stout, especially if you like coffee flavor in your stouts. Would I drink it again? Yep, got a few in the cellar to see how it does with some age on it.

 909 characters

Photo of BradC
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Pours opaque black with a head that quickly fades and leaves some nice Lacing. Smells of roasted grains, some dark raisin aroma. Tastes of roasted grain, slight chocolate notes, a little coffee. Not as thick as I expected, pretty easy drinking and the high ABV is well hidden. Overall, good Imperial stout, would buy again.

 333 characters

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

Pours a four finger tan head that slowly fades leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Roasted coffee nose and flavor is roasted coffee, higher ABV is hidden. $2.60 for a 12oz bottle from a Tully’s Beer & Wine Wells, ME.

 275 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super dark, perfect black pour with over an inch of head in the off white approaching tan color realm. Aroma was full of roasted chocolate malt and oats. Coffee comes off the malt aroma wise even though there is no coffee in here.

Taste is big ibu bitterness that quickly gets absorbed. Like no sweetness to this one. Substantial beer, at a great price. Can pretty much always see grabbing a 4 pack of this every year.

 425 characters

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

On tap at max's the other day, during Baltimore Beer Week.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is likewise attraactive, showcasing considerable coffee, licorice and vanilla. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but is clearly dominated by the licorice and vanilla (which I'm not entirely liking, but it's OK). There's also a hint of hoppy bitterness in the finish which further helps to buoy the modest sweetness in this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a finish that is dominated by licorice and has a hint of alcoholic bite. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, but there's just too much licorice in the flavor profile for me to fall in love with this beer.

A solid beer, and possibly one that will benefit from some age. For now however, not among my favorite impy stouts.

 872 characters

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

Poured into a pint. Enjoyed with polenta and bean salad
A: 1/3 finger of dark brown head with good retention. Nearly opaque dark brown/black liquid. A tad more head please - it faded to nothing.
S: Milk chocolate, toasted fennel seed, black pepper. Only a very slight amount of booze when warmer, thankfully. Not harsh.
T: Some breathy esters open, coffee and chocolate dominate. Very dark chocolate. Quite hoppy middle. Bright citrus and pine. Hops stand up well to the malt. I'd prefer the estery breath to not be there.
M: Smooth open, bitter hoppy middle, roasty bitter dry finish. Robust and not hot. Some chest warmth, but not on the palate.
O: Enjoyable, solid RIS. I wouldn't expect less from Sierra Nevada. I would buy again. 1 is enough for a night. I'm interested to try it aged to see if the slight booze calms down.

 828 characters

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

Beer is black with a small tan head. Head fades quickly, leaving a bit of lace.

Aroma contains vanilla. roasted malt and coffee. Nice although nothing out of the ordinary for the style.

Lots of coffee and roasted malt in the taste. Some vanilla as well. Nice and full but standard.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation. Thick.

Overall, good and enjoyable but nothing surprising.

 379 characters

Photo of uvachief
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Draft. Deep brown, almost black with about a 1/2 finger of head that dissipated quickly. Smells of chocolate, bread and roasted grains. Little coffee. Surprisingly light in the mouth. Not as creamy as you would expect. Tastes of dark chocolate, roasted malts and light coffee. Not espresso. Not thick. Not what I was expecting. It is light and good. Drinkable. Doesn't feel like a high ABV but it is. Good imperial stout but lighter than I wanted. I like mine thick and creamy.

 490 characters

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger, light brown head of bubbly foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate and roasted malt. There was a touch of pine.

T - Great blend of dark chocolate, burnt molasses, toffee and roasted malt. A slight piney bitterness added balance.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a really nice Russian Imperial Stout.

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

Wow. This is an imperial, alright. This tastes like it must have hundreds and hundreds of calories.

It's a bottle of motor oil. - black and opaque. There is a light and persistent head. The aroma is of the cocoa and coffee tastes that are under the hood of this monster. The taste is not for the faint of heart. It is extremely roasty, chocolate and coffee with a nice aftertaste of mostly coffee.

Over all this is a great effort and yields a nice thick stout.

 462 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to trying this beer since I first heard about it. 12oz. bottle served in a tulip. Pours an inky black with a fizzy and effervescing two inch, mocha-colored head that sizzles and pops as it gradually collapses into a sudsy slick with a thin, bubbly band around the edges. Nose expresses dark, roasted malts, chocolate and brewers licorice - there's also a slight artificial sweetener character that reveals itself towards the back. Taste follows nose; however, there's also some smokiness in the flavor profile as well as molasses. Mouthfeel is medium-light (but closer to medium), with slightly oily texture, as well as a mild, even carbonation. Overall, a very solid RIS from a very solid brewery. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden, and balance is great. The only detracting qualities for me are the slight, artificial sweetener presence in the nose and in the flavor. Also, while the carbonation is not overly assertive, I would like to see it dissipate a little more. All and all, this beer is well worth your time if you enjoy the style.

 1,066 characters

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

A: Pours jet black and opaque, with minimal reddish-brown head and minimal lacing.
S: Malty with chocolate and coffee scents.
T: Chocolate and coffee dominate. Not boozy. Slightly bitter finish.
M: Good full body, low carbonation.
O: A solid RIS, but not great.

 263 characters

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a dfh snifter

A: pours black with two finger of tan chocolaty mocha head after a rather aggressive pour.... Nice head retention and lacing... Good lookin brew.

S: some roasty malts and chocolate with a light touch of smoke.
The coffee aromas really come out as this brew warms. A good smelling beer.

T: much like the smell, roasty malts, chocolate and coffee notes along with a touch of smoke, some light pine hop notes mingle with the smoke and roast to add a nice bitterness, well rounded and tasty.

M: nice heavy medium body, dry and slightly bitter on the finish low to moderate creamy carbonation.

O: a pretty good imperial stout, nothing earth shattering but a very solid representation of the style.... Good fresh, interested to see how this one ages, I could see it getting pretty good with a bit of time.

 849 characters

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.

 377 characters

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

Beer is black with a tan head, thin, small bubbles, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, a little boozy, a little roasty / malty. Smells nice.

Beer is medium in body, sweet, pretty nice for an off the shelf RIS. I'd have it again for sure. There is a mild sweetness, mild alcohol, nice bitterness, overall a nice beer. Yum.

 346 characters

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

Purchased a solo bottle from Sicialiano's market

A - Deep motor oil black, thick and syrupy, 1 finger thick of khacki head with not much lacing or retention to speak of.

S - Dark Chocolate, roasted coffee, charred wood, and a whisper of smoke.

T - Silky smooth bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla bean, booze, slightly bitter and drying finish, but not overpowering. Overall, velvety soft mouthfeel.

O - One of the smoothest and drinkable Russian Imperial Stout I have had. A definite must try.

 502 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.

 280 characters

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

A: Poured a jet black, some carbonation, one finger brown head, some lacing

S: Roasted malt, slight chocolate, coffee. Good but standard.

T: Big hearty backbone with dark chocolate, coffee, some burnt notes. Mild Bitterness in the finish.I laso deteced some black liquorice.

M: Heavy bodied, some carbonation, smooth.

O: Good. This should age very well as most SN offerings do.

 382 characters

Photo of CTbrew32
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- 2013 bottle cap. Pitch black with a slightly mocha head. One finger head poured with no angle.

Aroma- Big notes of sweet milk chocolate and some dark fruit and roasted aromas as well.

Taste- Not far off from the nose with big roast malts at the front followed by milk chocolate and slight bit of dark fruit. A little hoppy and dry as well.

Feel- As noted before this is a little dry, but pleasant and very drinkable. A slight warming is noticeable at the back end.

Overall- Great imperial stout with nice roasted malts and sweet chocolate balancing each other out. Only downfall to me is the roast/coffee malts linger at the end which I could do without. Definitely worth picking up again. (90/100)

 714 characters

Photo of jjanega08
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Edition
Bottle Stamped
2279207 : 47

A= Pours a deep black color with a nice half finger of dep brown head on it that holds great retention and lacing on the side of the glass.

S= Smells of liqorice and dark roasted malt. Tons of liqorice. A little hoppy aroma comes through as well.

T= The taste is a nice mix of imperial stout styles. It starts as a nice liqorice taste before being swallowed by a nice bitterness. Dark chocolate and a bit of a hop bittereness. Nice roast and coffee character.

M= Nice mouthfeel

O= This is a solid imperial stout. Not the most amazing thing in the world but worth trying and

 621 characters

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

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a pitch black, with a medium light tan head, some solid spotty lace.

S: Roasted malt, hint of dark fruit, charcoal, licorice, dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate and a lot of licorice. Light residual sugar, with a hint of hops in the finish.

M: Medium to full-bodied, soft carbonation, creamy, long aftertaste for the style.

O: A solid RIS, it reminds me a lot of Old Rasputin with a bit more licorice in there. The price is great, well made, well worth a try.

 487 characters

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid black bodied with just a ring of brown foam coating the edge of the tulip glass. Got some thick sediment out of the last 1/5th of the pour.

Heavy roast, fresh cream, light coffee bean, hint of dark chocolate.

Big boozy and toasted grain taste. Plenty of warmth felt also. Notes of deep dark chocolate, heavy cream and coffee bean. The roastiness lasts throughout and well into the aftertaste. Bitter chocolate and coffee bean. Finishes with a hoppiness on the tongue.

Feels much lighter than a 10% beer. Not thin, but just not as thick as many for the style. Smooth for sure and lacks the slick feel associated with imperial stouts.

A very well done imperial stout all around. Very well rounded, but nothing stands out a ton to me to make it elite. Doesn't matter, this is a satisfying imperial stout that will fit the bill for the upcoming winter months.

 865 characters

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

Another release in the High Altitude Series that houses big names like Hoptimum and Bigfoot!!

Pours out pitch black with a thick, mocha/tan head that lingers for a long time given the ABV.

The aroma has huge notes of semi-sweet chocolate, coffee and dark roasted malt.

The taste is also primarily chocolate and coffee, but there are the dark roasted notes and a surprising amount of hops that makes the beer somewhat bitter and dry. This is very balanced between the sweetness from the coffee and chocolate and the bitterness of the hops and coffee. The ABV is well masked with only a slight warming effect.

The mouthfeel is big, rich, creamy, silky and smooth.

A very nice effort from Sierra Nevada! Not the greatest Imperial Stout and I would have liked a little more complexity, but an extremely solid example of the style.

 834 characters

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

Bottle pkg 11/06/14:
Pours black as night, if seemingly a little thin. I didn't do a vigorous pour, so head was light, receding to edges in a thin tan rim. Smell is deep roasted malts, coffee, woody, dark chocolate, maybe a light smoke.

Taste (initial, still a tad cold) was a bit bitter, with less black coffee taste than I expected, it was almost a woody flat cola or root beer. Even though it wasn't sweet, the malts came through after the initial bitterness, almost in reverse of malt sweetness backed by bitterness. Carbonation that was not obvious in the pour played on the tongue more than expected going into the end taste. Body is pretty full, feel mildly oily. The end tastes were a bit more chocolatey (also the beer was warming).

After warming (which was key), the flavors unsurprisingly mellowed, carbonation bite faded, chocolate came out a bit more, and my overall impression improved.

Expectations might have caught me slightly. I thought this was a solid beer, but not as exceptional as I've heard people state (hopefully not confusing with BA plaudits). Definitely will grab this again when available but a four pack is enough for me.

 1,163 characters

Photo of zimm421
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black with a light brown head. The nose is sweet, slightly fruity and has good roast character. The taste starts out with chocolate and fruitiness, and is quickly followed by hoppiness. The finish is roasted malts and hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Personally, I think this is better with a bit of time on it to help round out the hops and bring the maltiness to the forefront.

 410 characters

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 877 ratings.
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