Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel AgedNarwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierranevada.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This deliciously dark treat is our bold Narwhal Imperial Stout aged in oak Kentucky bourbon barrels. Black as midnight, this intense stout is incredibly complex with notes of dark chocolate, rich roasted grains, and espresso seamlessly blended with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut with a slight touch of honey from aging in the oak spirit casks. Nearly as rare as its nautical namesake, try it out while you can because, like the creature itself, it will disappear into the blackness soon and leave nary a trace behind.

Additional Info:
Narwhal was aged for 8 months in fresh bourbon barrels (a combination of Willett single barrel, Heaven Hill and various Beam brands).

ABV: 12.9
IBU’s: 62
Bittering Hops: Challenger
Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramel, Chocolate, Honey, Carafa III, Roasted Barley

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-11-2013

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,838
Reviews:
279
Avg:
4.31
pDev:
8.58%
 
 
Wants:
282
Gots:
921
For Trade:
118
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,838 |  Reviews: 279
Photo of jarrett123
1/5  rDev -76.8%

Photo of Desp59
1/5  rDev -76.8%

Photo of jallen5076
1.28/5  rDev -70.3%

Photo of JLaw55
1.5/5  rDev -65.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

The alcohol issue with the regular Narwhal was even worse here. It was amplified to the next level. Super over the top booze overpowers everything else. This is not for me.

Would Drink Again: No
Would Purchase Again: No

 220 characters

Photo of Ltfuzz
1.64/5  rDev -61.9%

Photo of erikkk
2/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

pending pending pending pending pending

39 characters

Photo of vrbulldog22
2.39/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of eddysnake
2.56/5  rDev -40.6%

Photo of Xenoreactive
2.65/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Hype brew. Even after a 6 month sit, this is far too boozey, oakey, roasty and overheated to be palatable. Maybe 18 months would do the trick, but the alcohol comes through all too much with this brew. Don't pay 20$ for this.

 225 characters

Photo of ThePaleRider
2.9/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Not good at all. Tried this twice now and just can't get past the flavor of pepper. Very dry and just tastes like pepper. gross.
PS. I still love Sierra Nevada

 160 characters

Photo of Robyn
3/5  rDev -30.4%

Photo of RochefortChris
3/5  rDev -30.4%

Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -30.4%

We had an employee preview bottle in July 2013 which was great (4.5), but the commercial release was really underwhelming to me.

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Photo of retry4z
3/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of RAlmeida77
3.03/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

VERY underwhelmed by this one. Bourbon aroma and flavor was lacking for me. I like more of a bourbon presence. Also found it to be very thin for an imperial stout with an ABV like this. I really like thick drinking stouts. Disappointed.

 236 characters

Photo of cletusdog
3.2/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of FalconCount
3.21/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of codytwo
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From Untappd

12 characters

Photo of smartymcfly310
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of Rlena107
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of Trifecta1
3.28/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had high hopes, but this turned out to be a hype-bomb.

Hardly any bourbon, no Narwhal trademarks (cocoa and licorice). Woody, roasty, thin body with some alcohol heat. A decent stout, but horrible execution of a BBA stout. I'd even take Anderson Valley BBA Stout over this. Pass.

 280 characters

Photo of rderedin
3.3/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

(Reviewed from notes)

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Bomber format. Branded cork. Generally appealing label art.

Reviewed as an imperial stout per the label. Served cold into an Odell stem-tulip at high altitude in Fort Collins, CO. Expectations are above average; I'm not big in the original Narwhal and I'm not the Sierra Nevada fanatic everyone else seems to be.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Khaki colour head. Creamy, thick, and full. Soft-looking. Retention is average – about 2 minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque solid black – pretty much what you'd predict, but not an ink black or anything. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it looks apt for an imperial stout, but is far from unique or special looking. I've definitely seen far better in the style.

AROMA: Dark malts, chocolate malts, cream, and caramel. Barrel-wise, I pick up on some faint coconut, but no rich toasty evocative oak. There's a mild vanilla presence. It isn't as woody as I'd anticipate given the barrel aging.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, obvious off-notes, or hop profile is detectable.

Evokes a fairly balanced brew without much barrel character. Definitely seems more interesting than regular Narwhal. Seems a bit too sweet.

Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE: Boasts interesting notes of faint toasted coconut, mild vanilla, and a kiss of bourbon. It's missing toasted oak barrel and barrel sugar notes. Dark malts and chocolate malts comprise the simple foundation. Comes off a bit too sweet, but it's not quite boozy. Some caramel.

No yeast character, overt off-notes, caramel, or hop profile comes through.

It's decently balanced, but leaves much to be desired in terms of complexity/intricacy, subtlety, and nuance – especially considering the style – which demands that a lot be happening, at least to set it apart.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Decent flavour amplitude. It's nicely built, with some loose cohesion, but never comes off tasting like a gestalt whole.

I do like it, and it's certainly more interesting than regular Narwhal, but I still expect more from a barrel aged imperial stout – especially in today's oversaturated market.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, unrefreshing, lightly boozy, somewhat soft, fairly moderately thick and overcarbonated. Overall presence on the palate is nice but wanting. This texture doesn't elevate the beer and doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to the taste, but it suits the taste decently and doesn't hold the beer back.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, rough, scratchy, or dragging on the palate. It does have a noticeable alcohol warmth, however.

OVERALL: Definitely an improvement on the base beer, but still ultimately underwhelming considering the style. There are far better beers available in the style for less money, but this is decent and I do enjoy it. Sierra Nevada continues to fail to impress me, but I'm glad I tried this once. Unfortunately, the barrel character just never melts into the base like it should. A nice stab at the style, with a good premise. The toasted coconut stands out, but is too subtle in my opinion. More drinkable than a sipper, but by no means easy to drink.

Low B-

 3,308 characters

Photo of ZombieHead
3.31/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Photo of BillDon
3.32/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a hot mess the non BA is much better

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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.31 out of 5 based on 1,838 ratings.
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