It seems like there is no shortage of new and interesting beers from Sierra Nevada Brewing these days. What with their Ovila line, new 4-pack line, beer camp beers, and more; it’s almost hard to keep up. The nice thing is that all of these beers are brewed with Sierra Nevada’s traditional eye for quality. Basically, pick which ever one interests you and you’ll probably be very happy with the experience. Narwhal Imperial Stout is no exception.
Narwhal is Sierra Nevada’s newest entry in their new 4-pack limited release series. Hoptimum was the first. Almost immediately after its release, Narwhal took silver at the Great American Beer Festival in the imperial stout category. I was very excited to try this beer, not because of the medal, but because I enjoy just about every beer Sierra Nevada makes. And let’s be honest, the label is super cool. The design department did a great job with this one. After tasting this beer, I added it to my list of beer choices for Thanksgiving dessert pairings (How to Drink a Turkey Under the Table).
Appearance: Oily black with a brown head. Ok head retention.
Aroma: Espresso, cola, dried fruit, phenolic, prunes.
Taste: Bitter chocolate, powdered baker’s chocolate, raisins, deep roasted espresso. Very viscous mouthfeel.
Overall Impression: This is the driest imperial stout I’ve ever tried. It’s extremely well attenuated. The high alcohol level is also really well blended and unnoticeable except for the very thick mouthfeel. The sheer level of malt bitterness coupled with the dryness should match really well with richer, sweeter desserts. It should slice right through them like a really intense cup of espresso would. This is a very intriguing beer.