Hot (well, lukewarm) on the heels of the appearance of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum this summer is the Chico brewery's imperial stout, Narwhal.
It costs the same as Hoptimum so it's by no means cheap, but if it performs as well in the flavour department it should be worth it.
It starts well enough, pouring black and tan and showing lovely dark chocolate and malted biscuit on the nose, while also allowing some brighter hop notes to shine through. The aroma is really all about the darker malts though, with brown sugar, coffee and dark fruit in the mix. On tasting, there's some chocolate, roasty stuff and a bit of bitterness too, but ultimately it's not as bold or complex as something like Black Chocolate Stout or Victory Storm King, a sin when it's 10.2% ABV. The star of the show is the texture, which is smooth, creamy and rich while remaining plenty drinkable.
Lovely drink, but you can definitely do better with your fiver.