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Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Narwhal Imperial Stout

Serve in Snifter


on tap

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RATINGS: 72   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.94   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 387   ABV: 12.9%
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Barrel-Aged Narwhal is our deliciously dark Imperial Stout aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. Barrel aging is a strange science; it mellows some characteristics of the original beer while intensifying others. Narwhal’s aggressive roastiness has calmed, but the rich, chocolate-like malt backbone is brought to the fore. Black as midnight, this intense stout is complex with notes of cocoa and espresso balanced with hints of vanilla and toasted coconut from the oak casks. Nearly as rare as it’s nautical namesake, try Barrel-Aged Narwhal while you can because like the creature itself, it will soon dive into the depths and leave nary a trace behind.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
maltman53 (371) - Corrales, New Mexico, USA - NOV 27, 2014
Tap@Brewery pours coffee-black. Barrel aging has tamed Narwhal’s aggressive roastiness, but the rich, chocolate-like malt backbone is brought to the fore. Overall, all that you like in the non-barrel aged Narwhat but deeper chocolate notes.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
jcartamdg (2052) - Spring Hill, Florida, USA - NOV 27, 2014
Pours jet black with a thin offwhite head. Aroma of bourbon, oak, chocolate and roast. Taste is bourbon, chocolate, alcohol heat, coffee, vanilla and oak. Nice balance, a bit hot but that’s expected given the style

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
TomDecapolis (4525) - Milton, Delaware, USA - NOV 27, 2014
Pours a deep black with a medium bubbly tan head. Aroma of tart cherry, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, light bourbon notes and caramel. Flavor of dark chocolate, tart cherries, vanilla, bourbon, oak and cocoa.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
GothGargoyle (1374) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - NOV 26, 2014
UPDATED: NOV 27, 2014 Black with a good beige head. Aroma is bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, dates, fig. Full bodied, slightly oily mouthfeel, somewhat sweet on the palate. Taste is bourbon, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, figs, caramel, chocolate.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
davey101 (694) - Connecticut, USA - NOV 26, 2014
750 ml into a tulip. Pours pitch black with a finger of tan foam that dies down to some edging. Nose is very barrel forward. Oak and vanilla drenched chocolate. Light fusel heat. Flavor is chocolate followed by a hugely mellow wave of vanilla. A touch of coconut and bitter roast but this is one smooth beer. A bit pricey but this is a damn impressive beer from Sierra. Not quite BCBS or Parabola level but it’s close.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
matlev76 (20) - Ontario, CANADA - NOV 24, 2014

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
peteinSD (1394) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 24, 2014
Bottle. Black pour with a large froth of dark tan foam. Relatively thin bourbon with vanilla undertones and pine bitterness through the finish on the aroma. Semi-harsh bourbon up front on the taste with fudge, bitter chocolate, light roast, alcohol spice (as well as some heat), and hop bitterness. Coating mouthfeel. Pretty good.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
ACHops (736) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 24, 2014
750 ml bomber, served in a chalice. Pours thick inky brownish black with a thick mocha head that laces well. Aroma is big rich milk chocolate, roasty dark malt, molasses, mild espresso, port, bourbon, a hint of coconut... whoa. Not much oak but some leather and barrel-aged notes as well. Taste is similar although not quite as diverse or rich as the nose: dark roasty malt, some vanilla, huge cocoa and baking chocolate flavor mid-palate. The description is spot on: regular Narwhal is dominated by the roast, this is much better balanced, less dry, with a rich chocolate note dominating the roast. Incredibly smooth mouthfeel. Very light alcohol heat on the finish, but otherwise the 13% abv is well hidden. I’m sure this is young for this beer, and it will improve with age. A bit pricey at $20 a bottle, but quite promising.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
ineedbeer (839) - Oakland, California, USA - NOV 23, 2014
Poured from a 750 ml bottle. Aroma is full of rich chocolate notes with lighter coffee and faint roast. Hints of tobacco and leather. Light vanilla and coconut with some sweet bourbon notes and faint oak. Not super bourbon forward. Pours black with a small, fairly thin, dark mocha head that sticks around on the edges for quite some time. Light lacing and fairly long legs. Flavor is moderately sweet with lots of chocolate character. Medium light roasted coffee bean character. Light tobacco and leather with hints of dark fruit and smoke. More bourbon than in the aroma with fainter vanilla and coconut. Medium light alcohol spice in the finish. More dark fruit and bourbon as it warms. Moderate bitterness. Mouthfeel is full bodied and fairly silky with medium low carbonation. Low, but slightly present roast astringency and medium low alcohol warmth. Overall, a very nice, big stout with a lot of malt and barrel character with fairly clean yeast. The aroma is really nice, bit I fill the flavor did not quite match it. Nice mouthfeel but a bit of astringency from the roast.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Dansrc51 (46) - Eugene, Oregon, USA - NOV 22, 2014
Yep, they knocked it out of the park with this one. The barrel aging does not over power the beer, but compliments it. excellent

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