Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
84
good

402 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 402
Hads: 863
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.03%
Wants: 25
Gots: 64 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 402 | Hads: 863
Photo of MattBrooks
4.65/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found out after trying this fantastic brew that it regularly comes in six packs as the next in a series of seasonals, but the brewery couldn't get the six-pack holders made in time, so they put it in a 22oz bottle this year. This beer pours brownish-black with a beautiful cascade and complimentary colored head. It smells the way a cup of coffee would had that cup been made by Hershey's. Yum! The only flaw in the whole beer is the mouthfeel, it could have been a little bit heavier for my taste. Some Russian Imperials can come off way too bitter or way to chocolate-y, not this one. It has great balance throughout and it's not too hard to put down a few bombers, even if it is 7.5%. (689 characters)

Photo of NoHorsePiss
4.61/5  rDev +23.3%
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. (474 characters)

Photo of schellsbeer
4.55/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Side note....a crazy beer store in town is selling this stuff for 6.49 a 6 pack. I have 2 1/2 cases of this aging. Man...are they dumb.

After taking a break from reviewing, I decided that it was time again and what a beer to start with.

Two Brothers Brewing is quickly becoming one of my favorites. These two guys do things right....period.

I love a thick stout and this one didn't disappoint. It has everything a top notch stout should have.

A - Black as fricking night. Very impressive! Oil and thick. Excellent.

S - Very good. Upon warming, the burnt malt and coffee notes become more evident.

T - One of the best stouts I have had. Period. Excellent. Burnt. Bitter. Thick. Caramel. Chocolate. Yeah....this is a guy stout and not one for babies. WOW.

M - Thick and delicious. Like maple syrup or molasses. Oil on the tongue. Wonderful....I could drink these all day.

D - High compared to other RIS because it only has 7.5% alcohol. Much lower than most RIS out there. Top Notch stout. I WILL be purchasing more of these.

Thanks guys...I am becoming a big fan. (1,073 characters)

Photo of HESSLER500
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured slowly down the side of a glass, there really is no head to mention of. A sniff of this stuff reveals hops, cocoa, and coffee. Mouth feel is just about thick, but not overbearing. Taste reveals an exceptional balance of malts, hops and sweetness. Much better blended then Storm King which i think is way to hoppy for my tastes. Northwind is a wonderfully easy to drink stout that, even though has a relatively high abv, doesn't knock your socks off with the burn. I think this stuff is slightly better then Rasputin, which i think is excellent in it's own right. (569 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.49/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
45 IBUs, 9.1% ABV, Lot 3071 printed on back of label.

A - Northwind pours like syrup, black as night, and is topped by a rocky, effervescent cocoa head. Low retention, undoubtedly from the stout's high alcohol level, leaves no lace left on the glass.

S - Rich and robust, the thick aroma abounds with roasted malt giving off chocolate, cocoa, and dark coffee notes. Earthiness suggests wood as phenolic, dark fruit aromatics join the party, alcohol-soaked raisins and plum to name a few.

T - Opening with rich dark roasted malts and a sweet chocolate milkiness that are accented with light vanilla hints, Northwind features a prominent bold-roast coffee bitterness and flavor to the finish. Complexity grows as the beer warms, releasing more of the fruity esters and alcohol phenols found in the aroma.

M - It's very full body is evident from the syrupy pour through the aroma and flavor to the chewy mouthfeel. Northwind is as smooth as velvet and thick! Balancing with moderate dryness, the beer finishes acridly bitter.

O - Just the thing to sip on a cooler day, Two Brothers' Northwind Russian imperial stout is a thick, black beauty, rich with roasted malt characteristics of chocolate and coffee. A beautiful blend, especially paired with some chunks of dark chocolate. (1,316 characters)

Photo of rembrant
4.48/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look Classic stout, oilcan black,ample froth,lacing clings well.

Scent Rosted Malts Dark Chocolate, slight fruity hops.

taste Up front,a surprise,fudge Brownie with raisins. Then it quickly returns to being a Stout,and the raisin shifts a bit to a subtle Port Wine as the choco shifts to Espresso. I enjoy how some of these big old Stouts play the Malt/Hops lag into a way to transform flavors

This,relatively, has a kinder,sweeter note than a lot of Imperial Stouts,despite the bitter-sour hop finish.

I've been exploring quite a few Stouts the last couple of weeks and,no question,Stout variants are where Brewers like to play a lot of tricks. This has several elements and they shift. It's a mystery tour of flavors with that undertone of Port and espresso quite interesting.

it goes well with Provolone or Prawns or Naked Women. Some of my favorite other flavors.

Mouth Yep Lots That hops posing as Port lingers,good viscosity....even the froth is tasty I can't pinpoint carbonation as a distinct prickle,but it's not flat at all. Nice.

Drinkable I'm not sure of the ABV and Imp Stouts are large but I'm feeling like a better man having had one,so,I figure one more and I'm nearly perfect. (1,201 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
4.46/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a bottle bought on a recent trip to Boston. Pouring at room temp into a snifter. The beer pours a thick viscous pitch black. A soft fluffy tan head of 1 cm foams up easily. the head does fade gradually to an almost non-existent edge layer.
Aroma is deep and malty with molasses, brown sugar, some dark fruit, plums and maybe fig with some roast malt and chocolate too. A little bit of everything and it mixed well.
First sip reveals an average body with mild rolling carbonation. There is a bit of a slick mouthfeel and is generally lighter than I expected.
Flavor is similar to advertised by nose, starts with some sweet malt qualities, chocolate and brown sugar with molassess again. Then it rolls to some roasted malt and a hint of bitter espresso as well. Maybe the bitterness is actually from hops as it develops to more of an herbal/resiny bite than coffee after more sips. This is a sipper as it is large and robust, but no hint of alcohol so be careful. The drinkability is high and I would recommend this brew to others. A nice stab at an Imperial Stout. Look for it! (1,094 characters)

Photo of donteatpoop
4.46/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I stocked up on imperial stouts for the winter. This was the last bottle.

initial impression: very surprised, what a great beer. Rich upfront flavor, very palatable. Roasted malts hit you right up front, a nice hop presence balanced nicely with dark malts, hints of chocolate and coffee. Fantastic beer.

I'm doing this all out of order.

Smell was molases-like, bitter hop and roasted malt aromas.

Poured midnight brown, impenitrable to light. Wonderful cap of tan head at the top, thick lacing rings the side of the glass.

Thick creamy mouthfeel, goes down smooth. The 9.1% alcohol percentage is a surprise, went down too smooth for that. Great beer. (657 characters)

Photo of scott
4.45/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

V.06
When I initially had this, it hadn't reached the market yet, and I couldn't wait for it to get there. This a highly recommended offering. A smooth and well-balanced drinker, this maintains a nice coffee/chocolate backbone with nice notes of vanilla & oak. Dark and heady. I can sum this up with one word. Excellent. Pricey, though. (337 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.45/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - inky black pour with some thickness to it. A conservative head evaporating quickly to a thin collar-ring and a few pockets of stray foam on top.

Aroma - roasty malts and chocolate syrup. Simple, effective, well done.

Taste - malts, sweet like melted chocolate up front. A burnt malt bitter char on the swallow, leaving the palate dry. The aftertaste is warm and roasty, and stays that way at length. The abv fills the finish with vapory warmth, lucious and full while showing off some roasted coffee notes. I like the balance.

Mouthfeel - my earlier comment regarding melted chocolate was primarily aimed at the mouthfeel. Very smooth and easy-flowing.

Drinkability - a well-constructed beer, another one wouldn't be out of the question, nor would laying a few down for some cellar time. Big for a stout, a little light for an Impy. No matter, this is on the short list for a tasty winter warm-up. (914 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Pellinore1 for the great BIF box that included this brew.

a - popped the bottle and poured into oversized snifter. Deep sludgy black with a full 3 finger head after pouring the full bottle abruptly into my glass. The head isn't going nowhere. This is frothy and here to stay. Lacing shows evidence of where the beer once was.

s - Odor screams of milky roasted malts. Good amount of roastiness and a fair amount of smoke to round her out. Smells really nice.

t - I am surprised at the smokiness of this beer. How could I have gone this long without hearing about this gem?

m - Creamy and rich. Full and milky. Carbonation is nice for the beer, but not in your face. Perhaps a bit too milky, but otherwise, pretty spot on.

o - I am really surprised that I don't hear people raving about this beer. Fantastic milk stout flavor with a campfire of smokiness. Really great flavor and somewhat unique. Not sure if properly categorized as a RIS, but if so...a damn fine one and one that could be a gateway rauch. (1,023 characters)

Photo of RobertW
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I like it. Its what I expect from an Imperial Stout. Very satisfying with a taste that lingers and changes. Complex.

A- Dark brown/black.

S-Mocha-Coffesque...I can smell the ABV!

T- MMm. Rich,Deep,Complex,Smooth

M- Excitement! mouth feel is awesome, one of the best. Ive come to expect this from 2-Brothers!

O- Again. A dependable Imperial Stout. Recommended. (364 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of readbaron pours an opaque black color with a dense brown head. Nice retention.

Nose is not overly big, but what is there smells fantastic! Light sweetness, nutty chocolate and modest coffee. Clean, really showcases the malt. Very nice, I think Im gonna like this one.

Smooth and creamy, rich and chocolaty. Yea, this is my kinda stout. Alcohol prevalent, but smooth and blends well with the other flavors. Finish is pretty dry considering the full body and residual sugars up front. There is some hop complexity and bread-dough yeast as it warms. I dont think this would be a great candidate for aging, but right now, it is damn good! I am very impressed. (682 characters)

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours black with a 1" bubbly tan head that reduces to a thick 1/8" head.

Smells of cocoa, vanilla, molasses, some smoke and roasted malt. Very appetizing smelling!

Starts smooth, tasting of roasted caramel malt. Chocolate hits the roof of the mouth on it's way down, with a pleasant alcohol warmth as it finishes. Very pleasing and very drinkable.

Has a smooth mouthfeel, almost creamy. Warms the tongue as you drink your way through the pint.

An excellent brew that I will look for again. (542 characters)

Photo of spointon
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on tap at the Two Brother's pub in Warrenville on 2/14/2009.

A= This stout poured a deep dark black-brown color (no light passed through this one) with a dense 1/2" dark tan head. The head dropped slowly and left decent lace down my glass.

A= The aroma was of a heavy dark sweetness, roasted malts, treacle, dark chocolate, and light hops. Alcohol was only noticable after swirling the glass.

T= Sweet malt up front plays against a nice roasted coffee bean and bitter chocolate character. Some hops flash forward briefly before this one settles back into a sweet/roasy battle to the finish. Some nice warmng alcohol in the end.

MF= Heavy body wth a slightly viscous and creamy feel. Carbonation was moderate but seemed lighter due to the density of this beer.

D= I was really blown away by this beer. An excellent RIS for sure, on par with (or at least worth mentioning in the same breath as) Old Rasputin. Not the strongest of RIS' but the flavor was so good I didn't care. Highly recommended! (1,016 characters)

Photo of BierStein711
4.41/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good example of the style. Very accessible to beginners!

Appearance: Jet black with red at the bottom. Fast reducing head. (I had an older bottle)

Smell: Cocoa, Coffee, roasted malt

Taste: Cocoa, roasted malt

Mouthfeel: Smooth and refreshing!

I think the low bitterness units on this beer make it far more accessible to those folks who are afraid of stouts or do not like the style. I am a big stout guy, and I'd endorse this beer for the neophyte or the seasoned stout fan. Pick up a sixer today! (502 characters)

Photo of sully11277
4.41/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter glass.

A- Black with a light brown head. that fades a little but sticks around on surface of the beer.

S- it smells like cocoa, coffee, and dark roast

T- It is so smooth and the cocoa and roast flavors come through. You can hardly tell this beer is 9.1% ABV. You do not get much of an alcohol burn or anything.

M- Did I mention this beer is smooth. It is just a enjoy of all the notes that hit your tongue but nothing to overpower it.

O- This is a great beer, I poured it and before I knew it my glass was empty and I was wishing I bought a 6 pack of this beer. You could not drink it all day but it would be great for one of those snowed in nights. (691 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

La Cave Du Vin in Cleveland had this on tap this week. I've had spotty experiences with Two Brothers beers in the past (the Bitter End pale ale rocks, the DuPaige French Ale tasted contaminated, and the Oh Brother tripel tasted like ass). But this stout was awesome.

If you've had Founders breakfast stout, you can imagine this stuff. Just reduce the coffee component by about 75% (making it just right in my opinion). I couldn't drink more than one, because I was trying too many other beers. But I'll get this again if I see it. (533 characters)

Photo of drewba
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The way this pours is the quintessential imperial stout "look". Opaque black with ruby and purple tints around the edge of the glass. Two finger mocha head that is fluffy and full. Head falls to a thin yet bubbly mocha film with some pretty serious lacing.

S - The aroma is bold and really stands out. Huge dark chocolate and coffee with some honey and smoke nuance.

T - The chocolate and smoke are really coming forward in the taste. Whereas the chocolate hits right away and stays for the middle of the taste, the smoke is still highly apparent in the finish and aftertaste, unlike the chocolate. Coffee, and the tiniest amount of dark fruit are backing up the chocolate and there is a fair amount of sweet, honey perhaps. The sweetness does remind me a little bit of lactose sugar in a milk stout, but I don't see anything on the label to think that it was made with lactose sugar. The hops are definitely in the finish and add a small lemon tinge and a small level of bitterness. I'd have given it a 5/5, but the smoke is a little too pronounced for me. Admittedly, I'm not a fan of smoke...

M - a bit too thin, but somehow feels syrupy. It isn't that viscous, but somehow stays in your mouth. Carbonation is silky smooth, spot on.

D - Again, the smoke stays with you well into the aftertaste, which knocks down the drinkability for me, but this is a highly tasty beer that I will drink that will be consumed back to back. Also, I'm not sure how this is 9% abv, it's hidden like a boss. (1,499 characters)

Photo of edchicma
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one hit me just right. At 7.5 abv it is on the lowere end of some Imp stouts I've sampled, but the quality is excellent. It pours mahogany to balck with a small head. The smell is a combination of smoky, malty witha faint hop presence. The taste shines....smoke, malt sweetness, coffee, sugar candy and hops..excellent. The mouthfeel was smooth, and almost creamy. This made for an extermely drinkable brew. Highly recommended. (432 characters)

Photo of karengarys
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours really dark black, as expected, tan head as expected, not hazy.

Smell reminds me of rasins.

taste is nice RIS taste, bit of rasins and fruit but this is NOT fruity, it is just.... balanced... It has a tad of hops that most RISs don't, and it really works for some reason.

Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, the alcohol stabs the tongue a bit but the hops cleans it up well.

Finish is clean too - the stuff going on all works well together...

It is way easy to drink. I didn't want to spend $8-9 a pop on this, but sometimes ya just gotta say.... why now.. I think I'm gonna grab a few more now that I've learned it is worth it.

Give this a whirl. It fits the RIS class, but it is a tad bit different giving me exactly what I would want from a small high quality American brewery. (790 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle of this years vintage

A: Pours black and viscous with a dark brown head. Foam sticks on sides of glass

S: the first smell is a very nice dark chocolate followed by a nice earthy hop bitterness. Notes of coffee, cocoa, and roasted barley.

T: first thing that hits me is the malts. Deep roasted flavor that is balanced very nicely with the hops. This year seems to have a nicer balance which translates into less sweetness. There is a slight hair of booziness on the end, but it melds nicely with all the other flavors present.

MF: Very nice, silky, velvety and thick. Not overwhelming on the body like some big stouts tend to be.

D: The last two years of this beer were unimpressive but solid, this years seems to be up a notch, particularly in relation to its balance. Because of this balance, and the incredible value (10.99 per 6er), this beer is highly drinkable. (894 characters)

Photo of drbeef
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll tell you right now that I haven't had this beer in a couple weeks but I thought I should mention that if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it.

Beautiful black with dark creamy head

Chocolate and coffee with malty and dried fruit sweetness.

Taste? The same. Dark chocolate, roasty, sweet and delicious.

A little easier to drink than some other imperial stouts. Went through a few growlers of this stuff in as many weeks.

As if it wasn't a treat on its own, you can get a Northwind Float at the Tap House. Like beer heaven. (546 characters)

Photo of littlekidlover
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this beer into a tulip shaped glass. The head was a coffee and cream color, about a finger think, it receded quickly leaving lacing up the glass. I got coffee and chocolate off the nose, the taste was mostly coffee and dark chocolate with a slight berry background (think a good dark chocolate). The mouthfeel is satisfying, not as thick as some of the bigger Imperial Stouts. Very drinkable for the style. Hops are balanced, no bitter aftertaste. I alternated 3 Northwind's with 2 Dogfish Head 90 minutes yesterday, can't complain. I want to taste one next to the Victory Storm King this week. (603 characters)

Photo of optiontwo
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. poured into Unibroue tulip glass

Appearance: Black with a one inch somewhat tan head that was only conjured with a vigorous pour.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, tobacco, caramel, and nuts. Plenty going on here, can't wait to taste.

Taste: Reminds of dark chocolate covered nuts, almonds maybe. There's a definite roasted flavor to everything that's in there. Other flavors include smoky coffee, dark fruit, and even cherries perhaps. The finish is clean with a perfect amount of hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful for an imperial stout. Carbonation and viscosity are both spot on.

Drinkability: Surprisingly high. I'm impressed that Two Brothers has made an imperial stout that tastes and feels like an imperial but is only 7.5% ABV. If you're looking for a nice full bodied stout to drink for a whole night, this is it.

Overall: I love it. I'll definitely be picking this one up again to have my friends try. Once again, very impressed with what Two Brothers has done here but I'm usually impressed with what they do. (1,021 characters)

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 402 ratings.