Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Narwhal

Barrel-Aged Narwhal Imperial Stout. Sierra Nevada Brewing. Chico, CA.

I’ve had the Narwhal stout once, and thought it was decent. This is the bourbon-barrel-aged version.

11.9% ABV.


This is what I like to see in a stout: pours with a thick, chocolatey head, but not an uncontrollable one.

Perfect pour.


Lovely can.



I can smell it from two feet away.

Sweet and alcoholic chocolate.

Aimee loves the smell, and likens it to a room-freshening perfume.



The taste lives up to the smell.

Dark, bitter chocolate dominates. Super malty.

Curiously spicy aftertaste!

Long-lived aftertaste.

Aimee disagrees about the “spicyness”, but compared to the other bourbon-barrel-aged stouts I have had, there is something kicking my tastebuds here. Maybe “tart” would describe it better.

An hour later, as I dump the warm dregs at the bottom of the glass into my mouth, I taste something burned, like the char left in the frying pan after cooking.



Not too thick… but it’s pretty thick. Good carbonation.

Compared to the flat Goose Island Boubon County Stout I had recently, the moderate carbonation here helps the drinkability a lot.

I once again get annoyed with the thick syrupiness before I finish the full can.



This is another challenging beer, with complex flavors, and a thick, syrupy mouthfeel.

It’s good, though not preferable to my memory of Dragon’s Milk, nor Boulevard’s interpretation. I like it better than the Goose Island Bourbon County, which was very thick, flat, and alcoholic.

Kind of tired of these at the moment, and want to try more drinkable, non-imperial, stouts.

I do love Dragon’s Milk though.