Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sierra Nevada Narwhal

Type: Imperial Stout
Origin: Chico, CA
ABV: 10.2%
Price: $2.60/12oz
NSP: 13.93

I've had this one hanging out (maybe lurking is a better word) in the back of my fridge for a few months, and as always, a random weekday is the best time for a lurker.  Sierra Nevada obviously tends towards hop-forward beers, so I'm expecting this to be one of those in-your-face bitter, bone-dry SOBs.

It's definitely another of those ugly, inky black imperial stouts like Zhukov.  There's very little to say about it other than it looks dark.  The smell, though, is surprisingly mellow.  It's got all of the coffee and chocolate you'd expect/hope for in something in this category, but it's not really a nostril-ripping experience.  There's a fair bit of sweetness, and altogether it's not unlike coffee ice cream (maybe with a bit of Irishness added).

Indeed, this is actually a decently mellow imperial stout, and I mean that in a good way.  It's not one of those 110+ IBU 12% fuckers that make you sick of drinking it after three ounces.  The coffee-ish bitterness is somewhat strong, but countered by a nice little sweetness so it's not really palate-destroying.  Oh wait, check that- the bitterness far outlasts the sweetness in the finish, so after 12 oz or more of this it might be a bit challenging to maintain any higher flavor-sensing function.  There's no booziness whatsoever, which is pretty impressive, and the body's relatively light, which is equally so.  

In short, this is a goddamn good stout.  However, it doesn't quite have the same ridiculous smoothness as Zhukov and thus can't surpass it at the top of my current imperial stout ranking.  Still, though, having a 12 oz of this lurking in the back of the fridge for a random Thursday is a good way to grab a ticket to stouty happiness without going on malt overload.


  1. Yes gentlemen, this beer comes with a song:

    swimming in the ocean causing a commotion
    cuz they are so awesome

    swimming in the ocean
    pretty big and pretty white

    they beat a polar bear in a fight
    like an under water unicorn

    they've got a kick ass facial horn
    they're jedi of the sea
    they stop Cthulu eating ye

    narwhals they are narwhals
    narwhals just don't let them touch your balls

    narwhals they are narwhals

    inventors of the shish kebab