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Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
5,132 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:
#1,351
Reviews:
961
Ratings:
5,132
pDev:
9.62%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
1,483
Trade:
36
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,132 |  Reviews: 961
Photo of Bartm
2.76/5  rDev -33.7%

Photo of ao125
2.77/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type : 2012 bottle. Poured from a bottle into a Duvel snifter glass

Appearance: Pretty standard really for an imperial stout. Black.

Mouthfeel: Not too thin, not too thick. A little more thin than I'm used to for the style, but not undrinkably so.

Smell & Taste: I'm actually going to group these together. My main problem with this beer is the hopping. Whatever hops were used, are not good. At least not in this style of beer. I feel like Mikkeller uses the same hops in Black Hole... which I'm also not a fan of.

Overall: Overall, I'm not impressed by this beer and I think I'll leave it to the fanboys. All I know is that for me to want to drink this, I need for the hop character to be almost completely gone... and for the price point for the 4-pack, I can buy a lot of other things.

 802 characters

Photo of bobthebrewer1208
2.87/5  rDev -31%
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.

 459 characters

Photo of DRyan
2.92/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2012 Narwhal poured in a Guiness pint glass

A: Looks like you average Imperial Stout, or regular stout really. Has a nice dark head that receded slowly and left some lacing on the glass, but not really as much as I would expect from a IS
S: There's something about the scent I really don't get along with. It's got the roasty heavy malty smells I expect from an IS, but there's something else there I really can't put my finger on that is really not working for me.
T: It's a bit different, maybe more aggressively hopped than your average stout. According to SN, "Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke," but all I really got was the roasted grain and maybe a bit of a hint of coffee, as well as the hop bitterness
M: A bit thin for a stout really, but not bad
D: This is not a bad beer, but not a great one either. For the price, and with the other two entries in the "High Gravity" series from SN that I really like a lot, I expected a lot more from it.

 1,048 characters

Photo of scar
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

What I was looking forward to was a larger version of their stout that was made with Black Malt/ no Rbarley and was bottle conditioned. Unfortunately their stout and this imperial stout are no longer bottle conditioned and they have changed the recipes.

I was confused by this beer, I really didn't know what it was trying to accomplish other than strength and drink ability. Sadly, there are many big stouts far better than this one and I expected more from the great American institution.

Because of my disappointment pls refer to my numerical ratings rather than a written breakdown of this beer. I will leave you with this thought. Sierra Nevada has gotten larger and as a result only bottle conditions the pale ale and a few seasonals. However, this conditioning in the bottle is what made their products really pop and highlighted the craftsmanship and quality. Simply put, this company's beers cease to be interesting since they have stopped bottle conditioning.

 972 characters

Photo of ericat78
2.96/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of jbertsch
2.97/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

6 months old.

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance is jet black. Head was fizzy and off-white, almost tan. Head unfortunately fizzled away fast.

Aroma gives off a mixed sense of char, bonfire, salty brine, booze, and some general roastiness.

Its flavor is not big on chocolate or coffee as one might look for. It's a bit nondescript. Some earthiness and a little wood is noticeable. Salty brine again is noticeable. Some alcohol soaked bittersweet chocolate makes a quick appearance on the finish. The flavor is a little syrupy.

Mouthfeel is oily and slick... it's a little detracting from the overall enjoyment.

Overall, I wouldn't buy this again. It's exemplary of the mediocre rut SN's beers can sometimes fall into. They're capable of better in my eyes. In my needs for an imperial stout, there's no need for me to return to this one. However, it's not terrible and what will save it are the leagues of SN fans.

 922 characters

Photo of hophugger
2.98/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nice deep chocolate brown that just doesn't want any light to peek through, nice!! Relatively light aroma, with maybe a hint of sweet chocolate malt coming through. Taste is bold with hints of bitter chocolate and a touch of sweet malts. I know that the ABV is high, but the mouthfeel is predominately alcohol, taking away I think a little from what I would imagine to be quite a spectacular flavor. Burns ever so slightly as it inches its way across the tongue and down the gullet. Overall, a pretty balanced with what I think is just a touch too much alcohol feel that slightly numbs the mouth...

 598 characters

Photo of mdhobbs
2.99/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Just about everything I try from Sierra Nevada has the same ale taste and this Imperial Stout was no different. The stout pour nice and dark with a head that reminds me of chocolate but the pour seemed a little thin. The aroma is ale and the taste had the same bite to it. Maybe too much carbonation as well. I started the the beer being served cold and as it warmed, the taste seemed to improve a little but not to the extent that I try again.

 444 characters

Photo of beertunes
2.99/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

This bottle's been kicking around the back of the fridge since I got it, at the release time. About time to hit it. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a solid black color, as expected, with less than 1/4 inch of brown head that quickly dissipated to a thin ring, that left surprisingly good lacing.

The aroma was average for the style, perhaps even a bit too roast forward. The flavors were the same mostly bitter roast and alcohol, and the beer was sharp, in a harsh way, not a crisp way. The alcohol wasn't the least bit hidden, and the finish was very harsh.

That overall harshness hurt drinkability a great deal. I had a tough time finishing my 12oz. Overall, while a decent brew, this isn't the Old Rasputin killer SN has seemed to position it as. I won't be having it again, I'll just buy a 4pack of the smooth, even, nearly flawless Raspy.

 845 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of ohiobeer29
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of DarkLordPsycho
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of Tawny
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of smartymcfly310
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of Dave_Treat
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of HavasuDG
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of bastu
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of brywhite
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of probert
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of 57md
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance is a dark brown to black with a finger of head that quickly dissipated. The nose has distinctly cidery notes. The taste of straight-up alcohol overwhelms everything else in the flavor profile. The finish is astringent.

This is an offering that is way out of balance and a big disappointment considering I generally have a profound affection for SN beers.

 366 characters

Photo of johnmac
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of Scamboogery
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of jesus808
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of AnotherDisease
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,132 ratings
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