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Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

856 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 856
Reviews: 404
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 25
Gots: 62 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 856 | Reviews: 404
Reviews by sponberg:
Photo of sponberg
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque with a brown head, like most RIS. Aroma has something going on in it - almost lactic. like a milk stout, a mineraliness.

Same thing in the flavor - if there's an Imperial Milk Stout category, this could be the flag bearer. Starts out with an underlying coffee-cocoa roastiness, but there's an odd roundness in here that I couldn't figure out until I recalled Keegan's Mother's Milk stout - a similar flavor. Indescribable, not offensive, just not what I was anticpating. Finishes creamy-smooth, no hop character to speak of. Appropriately chewy, could have another to figure it out.

Gracias to BA JeffKrenner for the bottle!

More User Reviews:
Photo of NoHorsePiss
4.61/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - Man, this is a black one, just how I like my RISs, 1/8" of head that disappeared in 15 seconds
S - Caramel and fruit. I'd use it as air freshener or cologne.
T - Good and malty. I love malt flavor and this has it in spades.
M - This is a chip-less, snack-less beer. Never a need to trade off tastes when drinking it. Let the taste sit there between sips.

I enjoyed my single bottle from the store and will do my best to get a 6-pack before the seasonal shipment leaves.

Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark in color, almost black, with a nice, tanned head that pooled over the liquid and left a nice foam ring on the inside edge of my goblet.

Smell – This is a classic stout, with a roasted malt aroma that dominates the nose. I can also pick up some fine Arabic coffee and a lovely touch of anise.

Taste – This is a bitter brew indeed. The coffee takes charge here, getting me to think I should try to get Starbucks to sell this in their stores (but only after 3:00 PM). There’s a bit of sugary sweetness at the finish, but mainly this is all about the traditional roasted malt and coffee flavors.

Mouthfeel – This one was medium-bodied – on the lighter side for an “Imperial Stout” – but held up well in between the cheeks. I especially enjoyed the bitter nature of this one.

Drinkability – This was a very drinkable stout that went down easily. It would be an excellent example of the style to let one of your “Budweiser Buddies” try.

Comments – Special thanks to qarre for organizing the BIF 5.0, of which I was the first recipient (yippee!) and the lucky beneficiary of this promising effort from Two Brothers.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage Batch 2860:

Deep black pour with an inch of tan head on top of the brew. Good sticky patchwork lacing on the glass. Aromas of deep roasted malts with a big dark chocolate forefront. Coffee weaves in along with a touch of char.

First sip is dark roasted, charred malts flowing into dark chocolate along with a touch of coffee as well. Burnt bread accents with caramel undertones and a slight creaminess. Hops kick on the way down as it finishes somewhat dry.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with good carbonation, not as heavy and rich as most imperial stouts, however it's rather drinkable. Pretty good stout overall.

2005 vintage:

Pours from the bottle a deep onyx with a small tan coffee head on top. The head falls to a ring around the glass. Looks good in the glass. Aromas of dark roasted malts, liquid chocolate, ground coffee, sweet fruits and a hint of hops. Subdued overall..but there's still a nice mix of aromas there.

First sip brings a roasted, slightly smoky maltiness along with hints of chocolate and brewed coffee. I actually get more chocolate and coffee in the nose than in the taste. A hint of bitter citric hops hits on the way down. Not a bad stout...but this is nowhere near an imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is medium light and slightly dry. The body here is weak, even for a stout. I shouldn't find it this easy to down an imperial stout. This doesn't really excite enough to drink more. I'll leave one in my cellar and see what happens to it.

Photo of blitz134
2.57/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Basically pitch black, miniscule amounts of light comes through in the crevases of the glass. Half inch of tan head floats along on top. Isn't sticky though so teh class is left clean as it is drank down.

Really has a simple malt flavor that is amazingly nondescript. Not really much else to it, no toasted notes.

This has a bit more flavor though but honestly no where close to what an RIS should be. Slight toasted flavor gives way to a touch of coffee. Still, not much to this one. I hate to give a below average rating...it isn't bad necessarily, but nothing draws me to this.

Medium mouthfeel which isn't that bad. A little lingering flavor. This one isn't that hard to drink, nothing to be offended by. But no flavor in this really. Nothing I want to revisit.

Photo of ROBORB
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Mike B, thanks man!

This beer poured solid black with a thin chocolate head. The aroma consisted of roasted malts and fruits. I found the alcohol to be masked very well. The problem I had with this beer was its carbonation. It is overly carbonated and doesn't match the profile that I am used to. Regardless, it is a good drinking beer but not something I will search out again.

Photo of merlin48
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my first sampling of a brew from Two Brothers. Thanks to clvand0 for the trade. This 12 oz bottle pours an opaque, deep brown body with a small, tan, head that quickly drops into film and collar lace.
Aroma features prominent, dark roasted malts with a coffee dominance. Hints of dark chocolate, anise, and walnuts are picked up in the background.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but somewhat light for style. Carbonation is low, and there is a tingling hops presence that comes from the 45 IBUs proclaimed by the label.
The taste is dominated by coffee bitterness. Smoky, roasted malts are prevalent, with some dark fruits(prunes and figs) and nuttiness. A hint of licorice is also noted.
This isn't as substantial as most imperial stouts, but is still a good one that is worth a try.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, borderline black with a half finger of tan head with a very agressive pour...disappears almost instantly...no lacing.
Not a lot going on in the nose...some vanilla, milk chocolate, carmelized malt.
The taste is good, but it is not wowing me at this point. Served near room temperature and it has a decent chocolate profile, plenty of hops, but the mouthfeel is terribly thin for the style and seems watered down when I think of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts.
I like the folks at Two Brothers and this one drinks fairly easily...I would try this one again when I see it on tap, but I won't be stocking up on this one at this point.

Photo of badbeer
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark black with a tan colored head; it even had a bit of a reverse cascade to it. Smell was of cocoa, chocolate, earthy hops and roasted coffee. Taste was much of the same, but this beer felt a little green to me, and the others who tried it. It had a very nice finish to it, and we seemed to agree that with a bit more age on it, this would be a much better beer than it already is. Higher side of medium bodied and lower carbonation. This was pretty nice, and I am going to pick up a couple bombers to age next time. I think this one gets much better with time.

Photo of gibgink
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Standard stout, but nothing I would pickup again.

Photo of ADR
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque, murky almost black appearance, with a residual reddish-skim head. Aromas seem decent, promise fruits and some burnt java. Slightly oily mouthfeel, malting is dry and somewhat Irish-style in some senses. A bit of anise and plum to the impression with a full swallow. Bitterness in the aftertaste, some from the hops, and it builds with continued sips. Overall, I liked this beer, but without interesting sweet complex tones it lacks as a brew in the Imperial Stout category.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black dark body full of malt and hops, dark tan head forming thick and dwindling slow, forms fine even lacing with eadh sip. Aroma dark chocolate malts, hints of coffee, and a touch of soy sauce. Flavor creamy dark chocolate, ripened fruit notes. A touch of saoy sauce. Mouthfeel is full bodied carbonation is moderate. Nothing heavy or cloying on the palate, drinkability is solid version of a great Impy Stout.

Photo of chinchill
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap at Tall Paul's (FL).

Pours essentially black with a lght tan head that has good retentino and leaves some lacing on the glass.

The smell is a bit sweet, there's roasted malt, chocolate, and a hint of caramel and toffee.

Taste: Dark roasted grains. A touch of sour and only a faint bit of dark fruit. Coffee, smoke and dark chocolate in the finish.

Feel: reasonablt smooth; medium-full body.

Overall: a poor example of the style although the high ABV is well hidden.

Photo of glid02
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Sunswick in Astoria, NY.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with hints of unsweetened chocolate. As the beer warms the chocolate aromas come out a bit more.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lightly roasted malt flavors up front are soon joined by mildly bitter dark chocolate flavors. These carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit thinner than most RIS's with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall the tap version of this tasted a little cleaner however whether it be tap or bottle this beer still didn't quite deliver. Not a bad beer but not worth seeking out.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A-This beer pours a dark black with tiny bubbles of carbonation and a thin tan head that fades quickly.

S- This beer has a smell of deep roasted malt and a hint of sourness. Some faint hints of toasted malt and maybe a faint cold coffee smell aswell.

T- This beer has a nice cocoa, toasted barley and a hint of smoke mixed in the initial sip. The finish has a faint aged cheese taste in a good way. The finish has a faint hop note that is a bit watery.

M- This beer has a medium body with a faint hint of sourness but not really an astringent flavor. No alcohol warmth either.

D- Although the alcohol content is a bit lower than I like in an Imperial Stout, it does have some unique flavors that are very nice. It does have a good malt base but it does have an interesting aged cheese flavor that I haven't found in any other beers. Maybe yeast characteristic? Nice beer and I will have to get a few in the winter months.

Photo of Wh0IsMrX
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a one-finger head of creamy tan. No lacing and short head retention.

S: Nose is sweet with notes of coffee, roasted malt, and booze.

T: The flavor masks the alcohol nicely but is disappointingly shallow. There is a slightly bitter roast flavor that comes through with hints of coffee, sweet chocolate and toffee. The very smooth finish is almost
lacking something.

M: Creamy with minimal carbonation. Very good.

O: I felt as though this was a desert beer to some degree. The flavor was good but didn't quite rise to the level of complexity and depth that I had hoped for in the finish. A solid beer, but not the best Two
Brothers has to offer.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.21/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another charcoal black beer during the time of year when it's most appropriate. This one is too dark to see through and has a lightly milked coffee head to it that is vey bubbly.

Right when you start pouring this beer is when you get the malt punch in the face. There is deep roasted notes with a hint of black licorice. The grains seem a little stale and musty to be a great scent but it's passable and definitely an imperial stout.

The taste is a lot like the nose. Predominantly grains that are roasted to yield touches of chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. However again they fall short as in the nose. The taste doesn't have a huge character but little tid bits of flavor that are notes but not a complete song.

Mouthfeel is excellent for an imperial stout. Smooth, creamy and shy on the carbonation. The slick feel coats your mouth and leaves you with a nice malty aftertaste. A good beer but not really one that pushes the limits or raises the bar. Good enough to drink but there are better ones to be had.

Photo of Brenden
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2B tap takeover at Swig 7/11/12. The wife's beer; #2.5?

This beer is big and black with a brown head about one finger tall that shows good retention. Lacing is a bit understated on the glass. It's not a big, thick, heavy stout, by any means, and one can see the direction they wanted to take with this beer by looking at it. It's more even and balanced than a big, destructive monster.
Northwind has a strong malts foundation with roasty notes. The chocolate is more bittersweet baking chocolate than sweet, but a sweetness certainly does come through, vanilla and dark fruits, making it sweeter than is typical without being cloying. I can see some in the beer community with the new trend of face-melting beers not liking that this beer is lighter than some, but the focus really is on the overall flavor, balance and attenuation. It succeeds. There's a complexity to this beer with the malts, the sweetness, cocoa, coffee grounds, and even caramel/toffee. There's a nice earthiness as well and just enough light hops to keep it malt-forward but balanced.
The body isn't as big as one might expect and, I'll admit, perhaps not as big as it should be. It does have a richness to it, though, a nice flow, smoothness, and a nip of crispness to keep it moving.

Photo of zjungleist
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nearly black in color, slightly brown, but poured almost zero head. The smell is basically burnt, but it's hard to tell since it is so very faint. The flavor proved to be more of an eye opener, with some fairly intense burnt malt flavors, but that's about all. Not much coffee, chocolate, but those flavors grow as I drink. The hops are there in the background, but nothing to write home about. The mouth feel is pretty thin, thinner than I expected. The carbonation is low, but it cuts through the thin beer like a knife. At least it's not syrupy. The 8.5% (as listed on my bottle) is masked well, though. Unfortunately, I am just not all that impressed with this beer, and as I recall, I was not impressed by my last one from Two Brothers. It seems like they cut too many corners to achieve the style.

Photo of nkersten
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from bottle into pint glass. Black, thick with tan/cream colored head that hangs around the edges.
S- Lots of roasted malts, coffee aroma, some hops and a bit of alcohol.
T- Subdued taste for an imperial stout. Great dark roasted malt character, some dark chocolate, light hop presence and a tinge of alcohol heat in the finish.
M- Thick and heavy bodied without being syrupy. Starts to coat more as it warms up.
D- Good for an imperial stout. No taste is too overwhelming, not too sweet, pretty balanced. A fine example of a seasonal stout, just a little on the lighter side of the big imperials.

Photo of cokes
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Muddy dark brown pour, ends up essentially black with a healthy tan head.
Nose full of dark roast coffee, and bitter chocolate. Fainter, plums try to stake this as imperial, but fail.
Flavor profile seems to rest somewhere between a milk- and a dry stout, although beefed up a bit. Big roasted malts, chocolate and mocha notes are the major factors here. There is a good deal of caramel sweetness which mingles congenially with the lactic qualities. Lingering in the distance are some molasses and plums, providing the only hints of Imperialness. Hopping enter and mixes with the continuing roastedness to make the finish very dry.
Mouthfeel is creamy, in a skim milk type fashion, but it is void of the sweet, clinging, heftiness that should be present.
Easy drinker, and a pretty decent stout overall. I gave it some leeway because of this. However it is lacking in most imperial catagories.

Photo of Sammy
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ginger Man. A very faint stout, lighter mouthfeel. Sour aroma. Smooth, until sourish finish. The best is the look, it is black and looks like an imperial stout,but it is not the best representation of the style.Still drinkable. Some roasting, maybe it needed to age more.

Photo of rossracing
2/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

just not a stout person

Photo of pmcadamis
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - The brown head on this deep-brown brew is super-dense and thick. The head looks like raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and thick lace sticks all over the glass. Head retention is great for a beer of this ABV. Rootbeer highlights around the edges show that this one is a notch down the scale from pure black.

S - Double chocolate chip cookies. This smells extremely sweet and gooey with a hint of chicory underneath. Some toasted bran notes add a bit of complexity.

T - Super sweet melted milk chocolate. This one is a bit one dimensional, but some of those chicory notes from the nose come through to keep this from getting too cloying. As it warms, more hops come out at the finish.

M - Dextrin-y and heavy, this cleans up at the finish to end on a pleasingly dry note with bitter chicory root and hay-like hints of hops.

This one lacks the complexity of some high ABV stouts, but it's still really tasty, and could be somewhat drinkable since the really dry finish leaves you wanting another sip of initial sweetness. It's a vicious cycle. Could be dangerous!

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice solid black appearance. Good thickness for a stout. Decent head and good lacing. Definitely solid.

Smell: Roast coffee with hints of chocolate. This is the only stout I can think of that smells more of coffee than chocolate, or at least notably so. Refreshing smell.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Mainly chocolate and coffee. Some dark fruit as well. Nothing that really stands out and it's not that strong, besides a nice smokiness. This smokiness really adds a lot though. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy and this goes well with the smokiness.

Drinkability: The nice mouthfeel makes this enjoyable.

Overall: A respectable example of a stout.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.