Breakfast Beer Tasting: Sierra Nevada Narwhal

It’s across the pond once more, dear readers, as we take a trip to the dark side. The dark, heavy side to be precise. Yes it’s those heavyweights of brewing, Sierra Nevada with a heavyweight of a Stout.

“Narwhal Imperial Stout is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in the deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish, Narwhal will age in the bottle for years to come.”

Sounds good, but how will it fare in the ring?

Round 1: It’s a 12oz bottle and comes in at a not-to-be trifled with 10.2%. It was very lively and poured jet black with a large tan head. Pungent on the nose, it had cocoa, brown sugar, roasted barley; all in all a lot of malt. Also in there was ripe cherries and a slight smokiness.

Round 2: Quite sweet and thick on the palate. There’s plenty of roast malt but also a heavy dose of dark chocolate. The hops do come through on the second gulp to lend some balancing bitterness but the treacle-like; almost honeyed dark fruit sweetness comes through strongest. Slight tobacco and leather undertones as well.

Round 3: The finish is syrupy sweet with a little creamy coffee underlay.

Tyson says: Although initially promising, it proved too sweet overall for my palate. That and the alcohol that comes through about half way down means that it wouldn’t be my first choice off the beer shelf. 


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