Serve in Snifter


on tap

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RATINGS: 1390   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.9/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 60   EST. CALORIES: 306   ABV: 10.2%
Narwhal Imperial Stout is the latest beer in Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude Series. This malt-forward monster is bold – with notes of baker’s cocoa, molasses, and dark roasted coffee. This massive imperial stout is incredibly complex, rich, and intense and will develop in the bottle for years to come.

Style: Imperial Stout
Hops: Magnum, Challenger
Malts: Two Row Pale, Chocolate, Honey, Carafa, Roasted Barley

Availability: 12 oz bottles, Draft
Arrival: October, 2012

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SlovakSniper (4986) - Candiac, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 8, 2013
Une bouteille bue dans mon camp de chasse. Une robe ténébreuse comme il se doit et un col épais qui génère une belle et longue dentelle. Un profond nez de malts très foncés, de torréfaction et de grains enfumés qui collaborent avec des parfums citronnés et des vapeurs de réglisse noire. Il faut que je le dise: ces arômes qui font le style me plaisent beaucoup. En bouche, ce sont des notes chocolatées, de la mélasse et des houblons qui se manifestent avec allégresse. Au palais, tout le savoir faire structurel de cette maison de grande qualité. En finale, j’aime le vibrant témoignage laissé par des houblons amers et bien aromatiques. Tout compte fait, une bière qui, malgré sa grosseur, est bien facile à boire.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
BuckeyeBoy (5824) - Boise, Idaho, USA - NOV 7, 2013
On tap at bier 30. Pours out black topped with a tan head. Nose is roast malts milk chocolate sweetness and some hop. Taste is as the nose roast smoke sweetness and a bittle bitterness on the end.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Brewdork (228) - Sanford, Florida, USA - NOV 7, 2013
Pours thick and black with a full two fingers of beautiful creamy tan head. Rich malty toffee aroma. Malt sweetness with lots of roasted coffee character and just a touch of smokiness. Thick, rich mouthfeel with a warming alcohol finish. Take your time with this one. It’s worth savoring.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Evolutionary (469) - Ohio, USA - NOV 7, 2013
Bottle from bonefish grill. Pours dark as night. Nose is smooth stout and taste is coffee and cocoa bean with some molasses too. A bid acrid though. ---Rated via my mouth

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ChadPolenz (1677) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 6, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It was bottled on 9/24/13 and cost $3.99 ($0.33 per ounce).

Appearance: Opaque black hue, no visible carbonation. Pours to a surprisingly large, dark brown, frothy head which laces and retains quite well.

Smell: Black licorice with minor notes of coffee, though alcohol is quite prominent.

Taste: Sierra Nevada is known for their hoppy beers, though Narwhal is probably their most notable stout. It gets a lot of acclaim from my fellow craft beer enthusiasts, though I probably wouldn’t equate it to some of the world class examples of the style. It’s a great example of an imperial stout brewed to spec.

The flavor profile here is familiar, but in a good way. The palette is significantly sweet with notes of caramel, milk chocolate and black licorice. It’s also quite bitter with a strong presence of roasted malt and astringent hops. The alcohol is a major component to the taste as well - imparting a dryness and maybe just a hint of smoke. Definitely satisfying and enjoyable, though it doesn’t exactly break new ground in the imperial stout field (not that I think it’s meant to). A beer that could likely be enjoyed by newcomers and connoisseurs alike.

Drinkability: I was a little intimidating going into Sierra Nevada Narwhal when I saw the 10.2% ABV on the label. I was prepared for a heavy, intense body that could only be sipped. I was quite relieved by how smooth and comfortable it was in the mouth. While there is a significant alcohol component, it’s a gentle warmth that works with the palette rather than against it. The mouthfeel is actually thinner than I’d expect and the aftertaste is a bit cleaner than most of the style, too.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
BelgianBeerGal (3776) - Panama City, Florida, USA - NOV 4, 2013
Phoenix bottle. Fairly standard dark stout pour with a nice foamy brown head. Big fruity, slightly astringent, aroma with some coffee and milk chocolate. Creamy mouthfeel. Flavor is actually fairly mild with dark roasted malt. A little booze and espresso in the finish. Pretty nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
SpongeRuiner (1114) - Michigan, USA - NOV 4, 2013
Pour looks great with that nice dark chocolate looking head I love so much. A lot of roasted chocolate in the smell. Nice thick texture. Small slight boozy at the end, nothing too much. Got four bottles from 2012 aging, should be quite nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MadIndian (2724) - Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 4, 2013
On draft at Isaacs. This was a really well blended Imperial stout with nice bold roasted malts, chocolate and a mild splash of honey. The body is nice and thick, the finish dry and coffee. Well done.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
daleharshman (1038) - Escondido, California, USA - NOV 3, 2013
2012 vintage. 12 ounce bottle purchased eleven months ago at Holiday Wine Cellar ($9.89 for four-pack with 10% discount). Pours pitch black with two fingers of creamy light brown head. AROMA of dark roasted malts, a bit of smoke, dusty dark bittersweet chocolate, espresso, and some vanilla. FLAVOR of rich creamy dark chocolate, lightly smoked and hard roasted malts, vanilla, dark earthy coffee, and lighter notes of honey and molasses. Only lightly sweet but really full of flavor. The high ABV is very well concealed. Perhaps not the most nuanced of imperial stouts, but this is highly drinkable and all-around great. (816, 823)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
mansquito (5195) - Nueva York, New York, USA - NOV 3, 2013
Whole Foods, Bowery 355ml: Pours black like oil. Aroma is a whole lot of chocolate, coffee, dried and preserved fruits, molasses. Taste is somewhat sweet. Plenty fruity. Loads of chocolate. Bunch of coffee. Body is thick and viscous. Yet, this is surprisingly drinkable. As other people pointed out, this might not be the most balanced thing in the world, but it certainly ain’t unbalanced in no bad way.

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