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
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:
5,041
Reviews:
930
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
9.64%
 
 
Wants:
332
Gots:
1,446
For Trade:
38
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,041 |  Reviews: 930
Photo of BB1313
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with some brown hues, mocha head which fades quickly and leaves decent lacing and retention. There's lots of char and smoke up front. Lots of chocolate malts as well. There's also a touch of roasted coffee beans and vanilla beans. The flavors are aggressively bitter. The hop presence isn't shy. Very roasty. The coffee really comes through in the flavors. Blast of anise. No sweetness. There's subtle heat going on with this one, slightly boozy. Mouthfeel has active carbonation, slightly syrupy, but on the lighter side of full-bodied. The alcohol is noticeable. Rough around the edges, but it works with the cold weather.

I've enjoyed my time with Narwhal. I have one more I'm going to age. I think time will do this stout very well.

 784 characters

Photo of JFresh21
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Pours a nice dark color with 1 finger of tan head. The aroma of this beer is quite delicious. However, the flavors do not come together well and it is a bit boozy. Worth a try but don't expect much. I won't be buying this again.

 268 characters

Photo of brandonati
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good at all that it is supposed to be. Not as complex as many new stouts on the scene but very drinkable. Smooth. And I love the way it changes as it Warms.

 156 characters

Photo of founder26
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottle poured into snifter, pretty cold right off of fridge.

Apperance: black with a dark khaki 2 finger head. disapates fairly quickly. Nice lacing!

Aroma: didn't care so much for the smell, too much anise, couldn't get a chocolate/roast smell till it warmed up. once warm I could really smell the abv.

Taste: when cold it had a slight hoppy/bitterness to it. got some coffee/chocolate flavor as well which really stood out once warmed up. also notice alot more of the burn once warm.

Mouthfeel: pretty cream, nice carbonation. got a little thin once warmed but not too bad.

Overall: if you are a fan of overly bitter/hoppy stouts this will be for you. I think with some age this beer has potential.

 711 characters

Photo of _Christina_
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Ranbo67
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of harsley
3.62/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of haschauer
3.62/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Very dark, pitch black body. Light caramel head.

S - Chocolate, toffee, coffee. Good smelling beer.

T - Chocolate and coffee up front. Some prevalent alcohol flavor. This is my third bottle from the 2013 varietal and the alcohol is already dying down but still there.

M - Good mouthfeel. Not too heavy, good level of carbonation.

O - I wanted to let this age a little more but I suppose I got a little excited with the weather cooling down so much at night these days. I will definitely let the last bottle I have lay down for a some months. Good stout but not as great as I was expecting.

 601 characters

Photo of Corson
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Qbdoo
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black as night, no light gets through. Smell is a slight mix of coffee, chocolate, and toffee, slightly burnt. Taste is similar and the mouth feel is lighter than expected for an imperial stout and more carbonated. In this style, I prefer a flatter beer. I really like it though, a definite A-, but I don't think it quite lives up to the other world-class beers in this style. But hey, it's a cheaper and a great runner-up if you want to save a couple of bucks.

 461 characters

Photo of Bm1881
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Lefty_P_Hand
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of screamking
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter. 2012 edition.

Appearance-pours black with a small dark brown head. Lacing is surprisingly absent. 3.75

Aroma-lots of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, some hints of vanilla, plum and dark grapes. All of your typical RIS notes are present. 4

Taste-Bitter chocolate is right up front, then some of that bitter coffee sneaks in. Little bit of sweetness in the after taste but mainly just bitter. It's not bad, but for the style I think there are far greater options available. 3.5

Feel-nice feel, could be thicker. Carbonation is very noticeable as is the abv. 3.75

Overall-I must say this one disappoints me, run of the mill RIS. I don't think I would buy this again, unless there was a hell of a deal. I'm just looking for stronger notes and this isn't the beer for them. 3.5

 811 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. Stamped 2279209:05.

A: Dark brown mocha head fluffy and promising. The body utterly opaque and darkest brown.

S: Dry malts, faint chocolate, distant roast. Low intensity. Rather disappointing.

T: Defined by the same dry, lightly toasted malts initially smelt. On the aftertaste (which comes too early) there is noticeable cocoa. The general impression is very nice, but comes in such brief bursts that it is hard to appreciate any of it without gulping, which is not what I want to do with my imperial stouts.

M: The mouthfeel take a back seat -- it is pretty much immemorable...which puts it above average.

O: Despite my inclinations, this beer gives itself over to easy-drinking. This is neither a criticism nor a compliment...This is one of the most supremely drinkable RIS I've ever encountered.

 863 characters

Photo of PReust
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

FEEL THE POWER!! Imperial stouts usually tend to taste more like spirits than stout, this one = a happy medium. This was really far out, 10 and one half percent or so, it'll get you drunk.....and after having the four pack, you'll probably say to yourself, "two of those.....WAS QUITE ENOUGH", followed by a galaxy of stars. Amen.

 332 characters

Photo of RandyFlameThrower
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jfstilling
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jwswigs
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Jonada
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage served in a snifter

Appearance: Pours black with less than a finger of a dark tan head. Body is opaque.

Smell: Dark chocolate, roasted malt, black licorice, booze, fudge.

Taste: More of the same. Roasted malt, coffee, bitter dark chocolate, hint of dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Lighter end of full bodied with medium prickly carbonation. Not super boozy, but the alcohol isn't exactly hidden well either.

Overall: A bit boozy, which holds this back from being great. I've had higher ABV beers that have hidden their ABV much better. Still decent, but with all of the other great imperial stouts out there, I probably won't get this again.

 651 characters

Photo of jmerloni
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Solid black. There's no light getting through this one. Pours thick and oily with a big chewy looking brown head that keeps a nice film and laces pretty evenly down the glass.

S - Boozy chocolate, roasted java, with a heady vanilla overtone. Nice.

T - Booze really comes through first, followed by flurry of dark cocoa and heavily roasted/bold java. Booziness is a little overpowering on the palate and lingers after each sip.

M - A thicker beer than you might originally realize. The carbonation is pretty heavy here, and it makes the beer seem lighter than it is. This is a full, heavy, chewy beer - and it would be good that way. But the carbonation clouds it.

D - A decent beer with room for improvement. Sierra Nevada should dum down the carbonation and let this beer speak for itself. This would be better between 8.0-9.0% abv and would benefit from a dark chocolate flavor profile rather than the dark/unsweetened cocoa profile that is pronounced here.

 968 characters

Photo of sia478
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of teromous
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black body with a tan head. It takes a bit of agitation to get the head up, but it stays up surprisingly well. Mild lacing on the glass.

S: Alcohol comes through immediately, followed by a spicy note...a bit woody. It has a slight scent of coffee but mostly the alcohol comes through.

T: Oh holy alcohol. This thing is strong. There's a bold, very robust roasted bitterness. It's followed by what I can only describe as a coffee sweetness. Most people would sweeten coffee with sugar, but this beer is so robust that coffee makes it sweet. That alcohol adds a bit of sweetness as well. It finishes with a bit of cocoa and coffee on the tongue. The finish is probably what really makes this beer.

M: I feel that the mouthfeel on this beer is perfect. It's full feeling without being syrupy, the roasted bitterness wakes up the mouth and the alcohol seems to coat it momentarily. It has just enough carbonation for a stout this size without making it too flat or too "poppy." It's very enjoyable to drink. It finishes quite nicely.

O: I think that the alcohol comes through strongly, so if you either don't like the flavor of alcohol or can't get past it, you'll have a hard time enjoying the beer. It has a lot to offer and what I really appreciate is how it has a roasted flavor without being overly bitter. It has a nice balance of flavors without pushing anything over the top. Unfortunately this balance could be considered a downfall if looking for something outside of the box. While it is a great example of a RIS, it doesn't feel as unique as its namesake suggests.

 1,579 characters

Photo of thegodfather2701
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pitch black, with one of the thickest and creamiest looking heads I have ever laid eyes on. The head looks like a mocha milkshake. The head dissipates slowly and leaves on minimal lacing.

S-Smells of dark chocolate, strong black coffee, booze, and roasted malt.

T-Dark chocolate, espresso, booze, roasted malts, slightly smoky. It is somewhat hot and the alcohol is much more pronounced than I expected it to be. It has a lingering burnt aftertaste.

M-Slick and creamy, not as thick as I expected. Not a lot of carbonation, which is nice.

D-I really believe the alcohol negatively impacts the drinkability of this beer. It also is a little more on the espresso side of imperial stouts, where as I prefer a more dark fruit forward imperial stout. However, one could easily drink a couple in a sitting.

Overall, this is a nice imperial stout but I think it needs to sit a while. Its somewhat boozy and abrasive. With some time I think it will mellow out and become much smoother and easier to drink. I will say this, I thought it would be a more hop forward imperial stout given Sierra Nevada's history of producing excellent IPAs, but it is very malty which is nice. I don't want my review to sound to negative, this is a good beer and I would recommend it, I just think it needs to age a little.

 1,302 characters

Photo of MikeWard
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. 2013 batch.

Poured a thick oily black. No light comes through the body. Head was about a finger, tan colored. The head dissipated quickly to a full covering, before completely disappearing about halfway through the drink. No lacing to speak of.

Wasn't getting too much from the nose, pretty subtle, some alcohol, coffee, a little toasted malt.

Taste was also very subtle, with the above flavors coming through, but no strength to any of them. None of them lingered on the tongue very long.

Mouth was around medium, a little dry at the end.

I've only had this beer once before, last fall. Remember enjoying it a lot more then than now. This seemed a bit uninspired. Nothing offensive about it, just a bit bland really. A bit disappointing. Does go down easy for a 10.2abv.

 825 characters

Photo of seand
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an opaque black with a fair amount of tan head. Most of it dissipates except for a little surface film and a ring around the edge of the glass, which is enough to leave a few bubbles of lacing.

S: Bitter sweet coffee and malt.

T: Bitter sweet malt, and a bit boozy. Aftertaste is coffee-like and a little astringent.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, a pretty good beer, but definitely on the less sweet side of imperial stouts. It's still quite drinkable if that's what you like.

 502 characters

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 5,041 ratings.
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