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:
5,051
Reviews:
932
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
9.64%
 
 
Wants:
331
Gots:
1,445
For Trade:
37
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,051 |  Reviews: 932
Photo of Tucquan
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2012-11-17 several other times (see notes) in Columbia, PA from a 2014 bottle. .

A - Opaque black with a brown 1-finger head and mild lacing.

S - Floral, brown bread, chocolate. Moderate level of aroma but very inviting.

T - Dark roasted malt, soy sauce/umami, significant char, smidge of dark chocolate, not too sweet, alcohol, pepper. Kind of brash when fresh but mellows nicely with age.. Finishes roasty and spicy. Good stuff.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Somewhat creamy yet dries pretty well.

O - Very enjoyable. Big flavors. Had this side-by-side with a 9-month old Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout and the Narwhal holds up quite well in comparison considering it doesn't have the bourbon influence. The KBS is smoother with more coffee, has a heavier mouthfeel and isn't as brash as the Narwhal - in other words, the KBS is better. I'm going to age some of the Narwhal to see if the brashness mellows out (it does - see notes)

Note: Had an aged one from 2012 on 2013-10-19 and the brashness has mellowed significantly. I like it better with a year on it. Had a 2013 vintage on 2014-11-15 and am finding it's equally delicious this time after aging a year. Had a 2014 vintage on 2015-10-03 and really enjoyed it. Raised my ratings a bit.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A case of this actually made it to Amsterdam. Picked it up at De Bierkoning.

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2013

APPEARANCE: A dark brown, opaque pour yields a three finger, medium looking, creamy, tan head with excellent retention. Black body with no carbonation evident. Head fades to a full wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. A faint wisp and ring remain until the end leaving some nice lacing down the glass. Pretty good looking stout. Needs to be even blacker for top marks.

SMELL: Dark baker's chocolate, light coffee, cream, some caramel notes and roasted aromas on the nose. Tobacco in there, as well as some leather too. Could be bolder, but complex and interesting enough.

TASTE: Baker's chocolate again, caramel and leather up front, then a big, roasted coffee finish with some burnt and charred malts at the swallow. Bolder and lingering finish of roasted coffee bitterness, burnt and charred malts, leather, tobacco, and some light vanilla cream. Quite burnt and roasted, with lots of other complex flavors as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little light on the palate and too prickly for the style, but goes down okay and finishes somewhat mouth-coating. A bit of a burn at the swallow and a touch of heat lingers.

OVERALL: Pretty good stuff. Lots of burnt and charred notes with tobacco definitely give it a European tough. If you like this one, you'll probably like the stuff coming out of De Molen in Holland and various Danish breweries that deserve some praise. The feel is slightly lighter on this, which holds it back a bit. Fill that out and it would support the flavors that much more. Still, this is a solid effort worth checking out if you get the chance. If it were reasonably priced, I'd go back for seconds.

 1,790 characters

Photo of Hootie159
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Domvan
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Mantooth
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Rizzy17
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DrMindbender
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date 07/24/2014 printed on the back label. Finally getting around to trying the infamous Sierra Nevada Narwhal. Expectations are high based on this beer's good reputation.

Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter glass.

A - It pours a dark inky black; nearly opaque with some hues of brown showing around the edges. About a finger of creamy tan head. Leaves good scattered spotty lacing on the glass. Looks very nice. 4

S - The smell is kind of light, compared to what I was expecting. Very roasty and malty, with some unsweetened chocolate / cocoa notes, burnt coffee, char, notes of licorice / cola. I was expecting more roastiness, in all honesty. Somewhat lacking in aroma, in my opinion. 3.5

T - Taste is a step up from the nose - simple, yet refined. Notes of chocolate / cocoa, vanilla, fudge, roasted coffee beans. Bitter & roasty. 4

M - The feel is smooth and creamy, with good carbonation, but I could see some age doing this beer well, to perhaps tone the carb down just a tad. Again, bitter and roasty on the finish. Sticky, fudgey, & burnt, but in a pleasant way.

Overall, a nice, yet simple imperial stout from Sierra Nevada. I could definitely see bottles of this stuff aging well, and I would be interested to see what some serious time does to a bottle of this stuff.

Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout -----4/5.

 1,380 characters

Photo of AMCimpi
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Nunya
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Satchboogie
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of woosterbill
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2012 vintage (obviously), into a Duvel tulip.

A: A straight pour yields a solid, dense light-brown head above a black body that glints crimson when held up to light. The head settles slowly and leaves some nice lacing. Lovely.

S: Spicy, with dark chocolate, spruce, and light booziness. The hops are huge, overwhelming everything else - but I expected no less from SN. Really nice, albeit in an almost Black IPA kind of way.

T: Follows the nose, but with a bit more malt richness - lovely brownie batter sweetness leads in to the highly bitter, spicy finish. Really intense, quite tasty, but a trifle harsh on the back end.

M: Creamy, substantial but not sticky. Excellent.

O: Really nice stout - reminds me a bit of '09 Imperial Stout Trooper, the year it was super hoppy. Good stuff.

Cheers!

 812 characters

Photo of prototypic
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Casey3236
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of muskiesman
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of DmanGTR
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of JoeMans
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of notchucknorris
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a thick black with a thin mocha head. Shows the thickness when swirled in the glass, leaving big trails of lace.

S: Roasted malt, burnt toast, anise, dark chocolate, molasses, mexican chocolate and some charred malt. Pretty complex.

T: A big charred malt hit right off the bat. Molasses, burnt coffee grounds, baking chocolate and charred grain. Maybe a hint of smoke and earthy hop resin on the finish. A really great RIS. Mouthfeel is big and chewy without giving away the ABV. Solid stuff.

 505 characters

Photo of Can_has_beer
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of RochefortChris
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JamesStreet
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of CHickman
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

2013 Bottle: Pours pitch black color with a thick creamy 2 finger tan head that was full of bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving very good spotty lacing and a layer on top.

Smells of oats, vanilla, cocoa powder, molasses, burnt grains, coffee, floral hops, licorice and a lot of smoky charred notes, like the malt went on fire and was then added to the mash. Nose has some sweet fruity notes, but it’s all things burnt overall with the burnt coffee or espresso leading the fade with chocolate and caramel accents that is nice to take in.

Flavor comes out with burnt malt leading the way and then turns in a mix of roasted sweetness with the cocoa powder, molasses, vanilla, coffee grinds, caramel, dry leafy floral hops, grapefruit, burnt wood, oats, licorice, smoky charred grains and anything else that seems like it was over a campfire; the chocolate notes come on stronger as it warms, with dark chocolate, vanilla, espresso and a sweetness that resembles the taste of a marshmallow that fell into the campfire coals, which is a really nice surprise. The alcohol is masterfully hidden, and the hops add mild spices and a citrus hop twang that add bitterness and a tiny bit of balance. Any fan of rich, roasted grains will love this brew and it’s complexities, which approaches the line for too bitter and too acrid but does not cross over into the land of negative flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, this feels on the slick side even with the viscosity and has about average carbonation for such a bold beer. It’s bitter, it’s smoky, but it’s damn tasty and a really good RIS that went down easier than it should have. I really liked this beer when I bought this 4 pack last December and feel it got better with age. A high recommendation.

 1,764 characters

Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 5,051 ratings.
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