Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout
I’m going to get straight to the point on this beer to save you some time. If you like bold rich and dark stouts, then stock up on as many of these 4-packs as you can. This beer is malty enough that you can age it for years to come so don’t worry about buying too many and not being able to drink it right away. With that being said I’m going back to the store asap and getting some more 4-packs. One thing I like to do with these heavy malty beers is age them and then try a vertical flight in a couple of years so you can see how the beer will change over time and this will be a beer that we can do this with as it clocks in at 10.2% abv.
The Narwhal is a “mysterious create that thrives in the deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean”. Thus you can see that the brewers at Sierra Nevada had in mind a strong warming beer to help get us through this winter.
I know none of the US Disney locations get much snow and usually don’t get arctic like cold so we’ll probably miss out on the opportunity to experience a great seasonal or limited edition beer like this while we’re there. But with that being said I sure would like to see Disney food and beverage look into getting a person on staff (I’ll volunteer if they’re hiring) that would look for great beers like this and others to rotate in and through the appropriate dining venues. I think Disney has already made themselves a great food destination, now if only they could get a better pairing to enjoy with their great food.
Here’s how I would describe this beer.
Aroma: Dark Dark bittering Cocoa with a slight smoky espresso smell towards the end of my deep breath. The very first time I took a sip I did get a hint of a floral/citrusy hop, but since then I’ve only been able to taste or smell the malts.
Appearance: BLACK! Very clear as in no cloudiness or residues floating on by. The Head on this beer as you can see from the photo also makes me think of drinking a coffee house mocha and the head also did a bit of the Guinness cascading, which makes me even more thirsty for this stout.
Taste: If you want to have a beer and see what the taste of a strong malt flavor is like then sip this slowly as you will find the malt forward balance of this beer might be a little too strong for the weak. Personally I love malty dark beers and this was right up my alley for something that is bitter from the roasted malts and a hint of American hops. Speaking of hops this does come in at 60 IBU. (To give this number a bit of a relational scale so you can understand where this is on the hop units, an Standard American Lager or Pilsner could be in the range of 15-25 IBU. American IPA’s can be up to 70, while the IIPA (Double IPA) can be as high as 120.) For this much Hops you’re not going to taste the bitterness from the hops, but you will find a consistent bitterness like that of eating a bakers cocoa bar.
Mouthfeel: Warm and smooth. This beer will give a slight warmth as it’s coming in at over 10%, but I was actually surprised by the lack of alcoholic warmth. I’ve had some Unibroue beers that gave me more warm and fuzzy feelings than this beer.
When I go over the list in my head of things I would knock points off for in grading this beer, I just don’t find any, this has truly been a beer worthy of being labeled as a limited edition.
If I haven’t persuaded you yet to get out and get a pack of these, then we need to talk. The interesting part of this whole review is it reminded me of something I did as a child. I was having a sweet tooth/chocolate craving when I was young and I found a box/bar of bakers cocoa. To this day I still won’t eat dark chocolate, but I certainly will drink it, as long as it’s in this bottle.
As I was writing this post I kept thinking, I haven’t reviewed any of my local headliner breweries, namely Surly Brewing. They have a Coffee Bender brown ale that I really enjoy, anyone interested?