Sierra Nevada ‘BA Narwhal’ BA Imperial Stout


“Deep in our barrel room, out of light’s reach, our legendary Narwhal Imperial Stout rests in bourbon barrels for nearly a year. After aging, it emerges anew: rich with notes of oak, vanilla and coconut layered onto the Stout’s malt flavors of dark chocolate and espresso. Enjoy this beast of a beer.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with a finger of brown head perched on top. Decent retention and lacing as it subsides.

Aroma: Bourbon barrels eat your heart out! It has similar characteristics to the Buffalo Trace barrel aged Ramjet we reviewed recently – big, beefy and menacing but with gorgeous shades of burnt toffee, vanilla, toasted coconut and spice with a very dank old oak character. It’s pure impy stout too – rich, roasty/charred, dark chocolate, espresso, licorice etc etc. All the usual suspects. Superb!

Flavour: Old Narwhal is fitting for this beer as it’s as big as a whale! Intense Bourbon barrel hits the taste buds and hints at vanilla, caramel/toffee, spice and subtle Sherry. The impy stout base plays a good support role with its char, chocolate and licorice notes. Traces of molasses, leather and ash work their way in to a big and warming finish that goes for days.

Mouthfeel: Dense, oily and muscly. Plenty of warmth from the 11.9% ABV but at the same time it’s tempered. Mild-moderate Co2. Full bodied.

Overall: Almost on par with the likes of Bourbon County and the like…in your face bourbon, aged oak and rich stout characters. Yes please!