Narwhals are awesome. They’re like the unicorns of the deep, braying and prancing with their (presumably) magical horns far below the surface of the icy arctic seas. Wandering through the isle of the local beverage outlet last month, I stumbled upon a curious thing: an imperial stout by Sierra Nevada sporting none other than my favorite mysterious seafaring pal Mr. Narwhal. The little dude practically jumped off the shelf and skewered me in the face. As a fan of Sierra’s Pale Ale and hop-heavy Torpedo, I figured lets give him a whirl, shall we? I was surprised, but pleasantly?
Holy crap, did someone say malt? Whew! This aggressive Russian Imperial Stout by Sierra Nevada punches your tongue in its pretty little mouth and then steps on your brain with its 10.2% ABV. Good times. I think?
Label – Nautical. Narwhalical. Awesome.
Appearance – Pours inky black like the souls of dead leviathans thrown into a blender. Low carbonation and a thin Mocha-colored head that dissipates almost immediately – like your mental capacity does when you drink this bad boy.
Aroma – Roast malts, hints of subtle fruit, and a touch of alcohol oomph waft lazily from this black roiling ocean of malty darkness.
Taste – Bold flavors crash the palate like a rogue wave. A tingly dash of roasty malt hits first on the tip of the tongue before strengthening alongside chocolate notes and a strong toasted, burnt tinge. A hefty amount of bitterness and hop strength make nice with a tang of alcohol strength, before washing away, leaving residual burny bitterness that sticks around.
Overall– This is a super flavorful, good beer. But it’s definitely not my slow jam. The malt-forward flavor dominates, and while there’s plenty of bitter to go around, the intensity isn’t Splash Mountain fun.