Narwhal Imperial Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Narwhal Imperial StoutNarwhal Imperial Stout
BA SCORE
4.16/5
5,094 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:
#1,328
Reviews:
952
Ratings:
5,094
pDev:
9.62%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
1,465
Trade:
36
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,094 |  Reviews: 952
Photo of Trentt2
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zachthelaxer93
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of dandaugherty1221
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Thankin_Hank
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

Now that I’m back in BNE, QLD (Brisbane, Queensland for my non-Australian readers) I paid a visit to The Archive cellars and had a squiz at their finest American brews, and there are indeed ample new and delightful things that I have yet to try so here is one: Sierra Nevada’s Narwhal Imperial Stout. At 10.2% [DON’T FORGET THE .2!!!] ABV, I would consider anything over 10% to be a decent bold beer and SN are champs when it comes to slapping the tongue (with flavour!), so I will tread lightly here my friends, there is a label-conjured sea monster awaiting me.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: I’ve become bored of describing Imperial Stouts as they all look the same if done well (opaque black, caramel brown head, 9/10) so instead I decided to do it in Haiku:

Blackest beer boldness
Nothing can penetrate it
A happy man died here.

S: BIG vanilla scent pervades the entire cacao nib chocolate aroma of this brew - I dig it man! Aside from that we have a nice (cakey) biscuit base, coffee hints and brown sugar. The TL;DR here is: vanilla & chocolate, NOM-NOM-NOM. 9/10.

T: Flavour comes on all the more sinister than the aroma with some oily smoke notes, roasted espresso and a hard wooded character. Although the above vanilla and chocolate notes are there they do end up taking a backseat to the big-talking bold flavours. Granted at 10.don’tforgetthe2% ABV this is a brew not to be trifled with, unless you’re making a trifle with it, in which case: trifle away! Aftertaste has a weirdly (for a Stout at least) sneaky bitterness that creeps up and surprises you jump scare style. 9/10.

M: Not that I’ve drunk engine oil before (at least not intentionally) but this fine brew has the viscosity of a decent 10W-40, one of the most viscous multi-grade oils. Carbonation in this case is negligible as with a brew this heavy it’s hard to tell. 9/10.

D: So where does it land on the olde “stout-o-meter”? For better or worse it is right up there with Old Raspy, though Old Rasputin was had at a time when I was entranced by the bolder of Imperial Stouts, I wonder if I would rate it so highly today? A question for another time - all you need to know is if Narwhal is worth your time, a big “yes” and a hearty “cheers!” is my answer. 9/10.

Food match: Cubans... the people... nah, the cigars.

 2,347 characters

Photo of HopasaursRex08
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of bigred89
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of akk14
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Wisconsin_IPA_Lover
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Phishhead420
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage.

This one pours a pretty deep and dark black, with a small head, and a bit of lacing.

Smells like deep earthy roasted malt, a bit of booze, coffee grounds, and still a good amount of hops even for this age.

This is an imperial stout that packs a serious punch and doesn't let up. It's still a good level of piney hoppiness, even for a 2013 vintage, with lots of bitter dark chocolate, tons of roasted malt, a coffee flavor that kind of reminds me of used grounds. It's slightly abrasive, but in a good way.

This is pretty thick and chewy, with a normal level of carbonation.

One of the best easy to get Imperial stouts out there, and one that ages extremtly well taboot.

 688 characters

Photo of cambabeer
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of prototypic
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cherche
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: jet black, mocha head, decent retention and lacing
S: tobacco, leather, coffee, cocoa in that order
T: in line w nose, heavier on leather, then tobacco
M: sticky and thick, nice but less of the thick milkshake feel I like with imperial stouts and more of the thickness you get with syrup
O: decent beer but after having founders imperial stout, bells expedition stout, old raspy, and Fremont darkstar many many times an imperial stout like this is pretty much meh.

 467 characters

Photo of Mikeszab
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours nice and dark as oil black
Nice lacing as poured into a snifter
Taste is nice dark roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate
Surprisingly little burn with a 10.5 abv.
Overall a great imperial stout worth trying.

 218 characters

Photo of Justin82
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jp32
4.76/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Black as the darkest night. Thick, foamy, brown colored head sits atop of the beer. Very nice.

Smell: Rich, roasted, dark malts. Sweet. Some chocolate. Tobacco. Black licorice.

Taste: One of the better tasting russian imperial stouts I've had in recent memory (and most are usually quite tasty). A big roasted backbone is flanked with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, coffee, chocolate, cola, and black licorice.

For a stout this heavy bodied, it sure is as smooth as can be. It's an impressive beer. This will likely become my go-to stout, providing I'm able to get more of it while it's in season.

 624 characters

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

Photo of MHJeff06
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of NiceTaps
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 9/11/15, in a tulip.

Opaque jet black color with a 1F dark tan colored head that fades quickly to an oil sick. Minimal lacing.

Smell of coffee, dry chocolate, lots of roasted malt. Some alcohol as it warms.

Healthy dose of roasted malt flavors. Strong coffee and a touch of unsweetened chocolate. Black cherry.

Full creamy body with tingle. Smooth and balanced. Just a touch of alcohol on the end, but no burn. Underlying oiliness.

It packs flavor and big beer punch. A sipper, very good.

 511 characters

Photo of q33jeff
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

** 09/25/15
Bottle to pint glass. Nice looking pour. Dark black , Nice tan head. Aroma is toasted malt, dark chocolate. Taste is mostly burnt toast, coffee, tobacco, leather. Strong and bitter flavors, not bad, but not smooth at all.
**
11/xx/15
Lost head to head with Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin.
**
01/18/17

Bottle (08/10/15) to tulip glass.

Taste and aroma are very similar to fresh as far as I can remember. There is a sweetness that the aroma hints at, that the taste does not deliver. There are a lot of things to like about this beer, but taste is king and I find myself still considering it a below average stout (while still an above average beer).

There is nothing to indicate that this beer has deteriorated.
**

 733 characters

Photo of morebeergood
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Richard927
3.37/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of rarigney
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 11/3/15. Pours very dark with very little dark tan head. Aroma of roasted malt. Tastes of roasted malt and chocolate. A hint of the alcohol content is also present. A well balanced, very drinkable RIS.

 229 characters

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

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 5,094 ratings
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