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

Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel AgedNarwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged
BA SCORE
4.33/5
1,850 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#430
Reviews:
281
Ratings:
1,850
pDev:
8.55%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
282
Gots:
917
Trade:
117
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,850 |  Reviews: 281
Photo of Justdoit1234
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Mikexw
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bb-magic
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HoppingMadMonk
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Completely black,light carbonation with a medium feel despite that. Heavy aroma of roasted grain,espresso,and sweet boozy bourbon. Taste didn't stray far from the aroma,despite high abv it was somewhat hidden. This is far from a session beer,something to be had when you are relaxed and have time slowly enjoy this.

 315 characters

Photo of Patches826
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Scobu
3.35/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of doktorhops
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #900! Only 100 more reviews till I get a free sub and perhaps a captains hat (Seinfeld reference). So what better way to go out than with this barrel aged version of one of my favourite Russian Imperial Stouts: Sierra Nevada Narwhal. I review a lot of Sierra Nevada brews, and they rarely disappoint (except for Otra Vez of course), so I really wanted to save something special for #900 and it had to be something BIG [Bearing Immense Gusto], and dark, and barrel aged - well looks like we’ve found ourselves a tasty... and no I’m not going to attempt to drink the entire bottle tonight... 750mls of obsidian nectar of the Gods in our good friend Narwhal - really, really looking forward to this - is perhaps an understatement.

Poured from a 750ml corked & caged bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Black like the inkiest depths of the vacuum of space with a thin tan ring that does little to offset the terror to be found in this dark murky soup. Less impressive beers abound freely in comparison to this Goliath. 9/10.

S: The aroma: Inescapable - a rich melange of sweet bourbon whiskey, dark fruits, molasses, a woody/oaky note, chicory, licorice, and cacao nibs. “Get down on your knees and pay me respect now” - Barrel Aged Narwhal Imperial Stout 2015. This aroma is scary assertive. 9/10.

T: Maybe it’s the 2 yrs age on it but this is nothing near as powerful as I expected from the aroma. First sip is a bit of a bourbon nip with a slight burn, dark fruits (raisin, plum) and the molasses/oaky note. Second sip comes in and dumps chicory, licorice and a raw espresso character. Aftertaste comes in with a touch of medicinal herb and espresso bitterness. 9/10.

M: Feels less viscous and heavy than regular Narwhal - which is a surprise I wasn’t even expecting! Mid to heavy bodied with a thin carbonation. 8/10.

D: It’s overall civilized, but at 12.9% ABV one gets the feeling that maybe “it’s a little too much”. Too much ABV, too much flavour going on - it’s not as good as regular Narwhal in that respect, regular Narwhal had more balance. So yeah, what I’m trying to say is that I would actually take a regular Narwhal over this, and that feels a bit of an odd statement from me - shouldn’t barrel aging make a regular beer better??? In the case of Narwhal for me the answer is a slightly perplexed “no”. Oy vey I’ve got a lot of barrel aged Narwhal to drink now... I’ve never been so daunted by a 750ml bottle of beer in my life... I need beer friends. 8/10.

Food match: I had cigars on regular Narwhal and it’s even more relevant here.

 2,591 characters

Photo of BEER88
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's narwhal, shit is delicious!

32 characters

Photo of KensWorld
4.73/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottle cellared.

Soooo smooooth!

39 characters

Photo of weareallfalafel
4.89/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of DoctorEvil65
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gaddabble
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Futbolmanby
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JDizzle
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jonnydrinker
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of NickThePyro
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a thin glaze of a little head. Seemingly collared lacing here and there. The smell starts off with the sweet bourbon over a big roasty blissful coffee bean. Delicate cocoa bean underneath. The taste replicates the smell nicely. Bourbon boozy sweetness slides into the aftertaste. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a great sipping quality about it. Cabonation has pretty much died off (hmmm...that was kinda quick considering that this was only a 2015 bottle, yeah well). Overall, barrel aged imperial stout, damn, this is really nice. SN did a stellar job with this one. I’d have again, maybe I just had at the right time.

 740 characters

Photo of AlexFreudenberg
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lingenbrau
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black and viscous with a foamy dark tan head that caps the surface. Mild lacing. Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted coffee, charred bread, and burnt sugar. Taste follows with a touch of nuttiness. Was a bit surprised to find this a bit dry and hot from the booze especially as it warmed. There was still plenty of syrupy richness but really finished dry. Overall, this was an excellent BA Imperial Stout, and aging it this last year and a half seemed to work out quite well for me. Cheers!

 514 characters

Photo of RMW66
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of VashonGuy
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of IKR
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage
Appearance: Very dark brown, looks black unless it's held up to a light. Has a modest-sized light beige head that faded fairly quickly. Good looking beer.

Smell: Moderate bourbon, brown sugar, and coffee/roasted malt aroma. Nice nose on this one.

Taste: the Bourbon hits first closely followed by roasted malts notes, brown sugar, modest dark chocolate, and tannic oak notes. The finish is fairly dry and clean.

Mouth-feel: Light side of full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Nice mouthfeel.

Overall: The base beer is good and the bal-aging takes it up a notch, I like the fact that it's bal-aged but the roasted malt notes did not get buried by the bourbon bal-aging and are still readily apparent. Sierra Nevada does beer right.

 760 characters

Photo of Jason_cs
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DraftDaddy
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Narwhal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 1,850 ratings
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