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Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
411 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
411
Ratings:
923
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
18.04%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
81
For Trade:
0
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark delights like this were once shipped to the imperial court of Russia. With a firm, roasty maltiness balanced against a generous helping of hops, Northwind can stand up to the worst its namesake can dish out! Enjoy it by a roaring fire.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 923
Photo of dlello2
2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Cloudy black. Lots of brown head with big bubbles.

S - Chocolate is first. Definitely roasty. Surprised to not really get any hops here. Some wood and smoke.

T - Follows the nose quite closely. Less chocolate and more burnt toast. Roasty qualities fail to wow. Actually find it lacking in flavor which is interesting considering the 9% abv. Not the best.

M - Thinner body than I'd have liked. Lacking in carbonation and slick.

O - Not impressed by this one. Following it with a hop juice black... hopefully that will treat me right!

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.71/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled this at an epic tasting hosted by EinWeizenbitte. Thanks a ton Todd!

Appearance: Brown, foamy head dissipates fairly quickly to a creamy crown. Decent retention after that. Body is dark brown with amber shades around the edges. A bit too much visibility? Head leaves notch-like rings of lacing along the walls of the glass.

Smell: Roasted malt, fruity esters, and a strong dosage of sour fruitiness resembling citrus and berries. Not particularly bad, but not what I would normally look for nor want in this style.

Taste: Roasted malt and dark chocolate make a brief initial appearance, then step aside as an avalanche of raspberry and lemon rolls through onto the palate. Tons of sourness in the finish. This just seems wrong.

Mouthfeel: Sugary, syrupy, and lambic-like. Medium carbonation and body. Finishes dry and sour.

Drinkability: As a big RIS fan, I was not a fan of this big RIS. Fruit accents are nice, but this went over the top. Finish didn't resemble an imperial stout in the least bit. This wasn't terrible, but it definitely wasn't for me.

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Photo of beachbum1975
2.74/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch 3178

Poured into my over-sized Duvel tulip a dark, opaque rootbeer color with a medium to dark tan head. Minimal, spotty lacing...

This nose is light on this one. Hints of sweet malts, vanilla and an unusual banana-like essence. Not too impressed by the nose...

Ok, the strange banana smell that had me worried faded as I drank. This is a medium to full bodied beer with medium to full flavor. Medium to high carbonation on the mouthfeel, as well. Flavors include heavily roasted coffee, a touch of dark chocolate and sweet malts all bundled up in a sweet, vanilla bean package. Mouthfeel is wet (almost watery) in the beginning, then the hops kick in just a bit go lend to a semi-dry finish. Aftertaste carries the same slightly bitter hops...

Overall, this is a decent example of a Russian Imperial Stout, but not big enough for me. It's reminiscent of an English version RIS and I prefer the extreme American RIS'es...

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Photo of colts9016
2.75/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this beer from mday, thank you.

Poured into a pint glass at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A very dark dark brown color. There is a quarter inch tan head that is creamy. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

Nose: A roasted malt complex with coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and molasses. There is a hint of hops hard to discern what is dominate in my nose.

Taste: A roasted malt complex with coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. There is a slight burnt complex,hops is not really valid in this beer.

Overall: The mouth feel is creamy and flat. The body of the beer is medium full and the finish is flimsy. This is a rather poor RIS, There is no hops a little flavor and not much else. Rather disappointed, I was hoping for more.

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Photo of zebulon
2.78/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this in two pours from a 22 oz bomber. Temperature was from my basement at about 55 to 60 deg.

Dark brown/black color formed light brown head on first pour to about 1/2" second pour I was carefull and got 1" head. Head went down fact to thin film. Head looked creamy but I tasted light.

Chocolate aroma with a slight metallic edge.

Taste was chocolate with slight coffee, but had that metallic taste that I objected to. There was also a light fizzy taste at first. Later the fizziness was gone slight sour come out and a taste of dried fig and toffee.

Mouth feel started creamy and declined to light.

OK drink but somewhat disappointing. Kind of a stout light.
We could debate whether this is an a imperial or a chocolate, but really who cares if it is good. This just didn't make the grade. It is almost as if it was brewed for complexity and ended up with slight off flavor and not enough body. At $5.95 a bottle not worth it

Would have given this a 2.6 or 2.7 in some catagories but that is not allowed.

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Photo of Florida9
2.81/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Drank this at 2Brothers TapHouse

A: Served in a small snifter. Black in color. Fully opaque. About a 1/8th inch of creamy tan head that quickly receded to the rim of the glass.

S: Stale coffee, cocoa, and an odd sort of creamy lactic scent. Heavily roasted, almost burnt, malts.

T: Again coffee, but more like cheap ass chicory coffee and not the good stuff. Cocoa and chocolate. Roasted malts and a raw, biting woodsiness, blending, unpleasantly, with a noticeable fruity sourness. Typically I enjoy coffee and chocolate flavors, but this beer seems to be highlighting coffee and chocolate's negative aspects.

M: Medium in body. Low carbonation. Thin for a RIS.

D: I don't know what is going on with this beer. It really misses the mark and is quite disappointing. Thin, burnt, and sour, but (thankfully) with not much of a residual aftertaste, I simply couldn't enjoy this beer. Eventually I bellied up and ordered a Cane & Ebel to help me get this one down.

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Photo of nickd717
2.83/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared at the after-Bruery tasting. Meh, this one didn't really do it for me. Not bad, but one of the poorer examples of what is probably my favorite style (note that I consider "Russian Imperial Stout" and "American Double/Imperial Stout" to be the same style until I hear a convincing reason not to). One of the guys from the local group who is known for his contrarian ratings asked, "Have you ever given an imperial stout a below average rating?" and I said, "Probably not, because I usually only drink above average imperial stouts." Well, here is a below average one, and it's getting a below average rating from me.

Pours black with a one-finger tan head and some good lacing.

Aroma is roast, coffee, dark fruit, and some earthy tartness. Flavor is earthy, dirty, and oddly tart, yet not to the point where I'd think it was infected. Roast and coffee along with some DMS-like notes, cooked corn, that I don't typically find too appealing in this style.

A tad thin for the style with some astringency on the palate.

Drinkability is average at best. I am not a big fan at all. This is my second beer from these guys, and I'm not sure I want to try many more. I'd still like to note though that this wasn't a total disaster, and there is definitely the potential for this style to get much worse, which is why I didn't give it a D or F. I just tend to avoid those bad examples.

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Photo of Auracom
2.85/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2-3 oz. from the 12 oz. bottle on March 24th, 2011 in my mini snifter - one of 10 beers in my stout tasting; from notes.

A - Decent head on this one, very opaque black coloring. Barely any retention, quick dissipation down to a few bubbles on the sides. Some visible alcohol feet.

S - Citrusy and funky at the same time with sweet malts. A pine quality underneath... in support of the citrus I guess. Maybe some roasted notes.

T - Ugh. Bland. Severely-mellowed chocolate and caramel. Despite the citrus character in the aroma, there's virtually no citrus, floral, or pine to be found on the tongue with the exception of orange peel (but it's barely there). Slightly bitter on backend.

M - Similar to Bell's Expedition, more carbonation than expected.

D - Bleh. The taste is so incredibly subdued... it's really the opposite of what I hope for in an imperial stout. I expect huge notes in both the aroma and taste and Northwind barely fulfills the former and fails miserably at the latter. What's the purpose or point of this beer? Two Brothers advertises the unique hop addition to it but it doesn't work.

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Photo of Jekster
2.85/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a deep dark rich brown color with a dark mocha head that dissipates to little or no lacing.

Smell: This beer smells of toasted caramel, dark robust coffee and cream. There is a slight woody character as well like fresh cut oak or a sawed fire wood. There is a slight bready sweetness in the background as well as a dark roasted grain.

Taste: Roasted sweetness carries the foremost flavor in this beer. There is some lite caramel and malt sweetness, but it does not hold a candle light to the almost overpowering roast character. There is a slight acid bitterness in the end as well as minor alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel: This beer is surprisingly thin for an imperial stout. There is a slight slickness and creamy component, but not as thick as you would expect for the style.

Drinkability: This beer is a sipper but not in the traditional sense of an imperial stout. It's more of a sipper because of the strong roast character and slight alcohol hit towards the swallow. I would not drink more than two of these in any sitting.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This beer did not live up to my expectations. It had a nice aroma, but the flavor is amazingly one dimensional. The roast character dominates and leaves little else to be detected. Moreover, there is a complete lack of the thick chewy coating body that I expect from a high gravity sippable beer. Instead, this beer is quite thin and even dry after the swallow. I think this is very uncharacteristic of the style and not what I really want to sip on a cold winter night. For the price, it's not bad yet I would suggest spending a couple more dollars and picking up one of the better RIS's out there.

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Photo of Baron_of_Suds
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Surprising amount of carbonation for RIS. Head dissipates to small, almond ring which lingers throughout consumption.

S: Dull and oddly reminiscent of a Belgian Strong Dark, but with burnt hops

T: Nutty roasted malt, dark chocolate as it warms, alcohol

M: Thin body. Carbonation.

O: Decent beer, but not a great representation of the style. Typical RIS characteristics are somewhat lacking.

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Photo of brewcrew76
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep black with 2 fingers of brown head.

S - Roasted malt, coffee and dark chocolate. This smell is slightly overpowered by a lactic vegetal sourness.

T - The vegetal sourness in the aroma is the dominating flavor. Hints of roasted malt and dark chocolate but it is tough to get past the vegetal taste.

M - A little thin for an Impy Stout.

D - Not a very good beer. It is really tough to get past the vegetal taste.

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Photo of klewis
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lot 36, listed at 8.5% ABV

A: Pours black with a tiny bubbly head. Very little lacing.

S: A nice malty aroma of mocha and cocoa.

T: Tastes like cocoa powder with a vegetal, celery-like finish. The flavor is thin for an impy stout and for a "big beer".

M: Medium-thin bodied and a bit fizzy, especially for the style. A bit chalky.

D: Thin, watery, and just plain off for the style. Pass.

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Photo of negroobserver
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

North-Wind Imperial Stout
45 IBU, 9.1% ABV
12 oz Bottle

Poured into a large Brandy snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color. Very small cream colored head, which dissipates quickly and leaves behind a thin foamy rim on the edge of the glass.

S: Smells smoky. Has a very mild malty and chocolatey aroma at the back end. A very faint sweet licorice or vanilla like aroma. No dominant scents here, but I like that the vanilla aroma is almost hidden. This is my third bottle and this is the first time I've noticed it. Interesting, but disappointing that the last few weren't at the same level as this bottle.

T: Mostly flat and tasteless. Dark roasted malts. There is a smoky chalky taste which lingers in the mouth. Slight sour and hoppy quality.

M: The beer has some depth, but not the kind of rich texture that you would expect from an Imperial class beer. It doesn't coat the glass or the mouth in the way that an Imperial Stout should. At best, it has the depth and texture of a standard stout. At 9.1% ABV, I can't smell or taste the alcohol in the beer, which makes me question the validity of the company's claims regarding the ABV content. Or it could be that this is one of the better crafted beers on the market in that respect. Who knows?

Overall, I had great hopes for this beer and was hoping that this was a rare exception to the pricy Imperial Stouts that one finds on the market. Sadly, I feel like I was duped by the company into buying an inferior product which appears to be very misleading in its claims.

VERY DISAPPOINTING, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I ACTUALLY LIKE TWO BROTHERS' BEERS (NOT ALL, BUT SOME).

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.93/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The imperial stout category is something of a category of giants. Looking at the other beers of this style I've reviewed, they've been largely excellent. Dark Lord, Old Rasputin, Great Divide Yeti, Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Great Lakes Blackout, and Alesmith Speedway Stout are all fantastic beers full of lots of dry roastiness and full mouthfeels. And this one fell short, at least compared to those others. While I'm a big fan of Two Bros beers, I thought this one was disappointing and not very drinkable. Flavor was not very roasty and mouthfeel was a bit watery. And maybe it was when I had it in my evening, but this beer made me feel exceptionally full which led me not to finish it. Unfortunately, the next day I'm unable to articulate what exactly it was I objected to.

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Photo of Jettanbass9
2.94/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - nearly jet black but still is permiable by light. Light tan head barely holds on to the glass.

S - Anise, licorice, dark caramel and dark fruits. Strong pale malt aromas. Whats lacking? oh yea, roast.... I can't help but to ding a few points for not getting as much roast in a beer like this. Major flaw.

T - Tons of anise and licorice, dark fruit and some roast poking through. No hop flavor. Very clean fermentation, no yeast character.

M - Full mouthfeel and light carbonation, slick on the tounge. Good mineral balance.

D - The beer goes back easy but misses the mark on the style's coined boldness. A sipper, definitely, however needs some help in the roast area of flavor and aroma. Two Brothers, please revamp this beer.

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Photo of craytonic
2.97/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: BLack pour, nearly flat, no head or lacing
Smell: Chocolate, fudge, coffee, very simple and almost one-dimensional
Taste: Similar, lots of chocolate, fudge, and a hint of coffee; a bit sweet
Mouthfeel: a bit thin and sticky
Drinkability: one and done, never again.

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Photo of rmp5262
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Recently I have been drinking Speedway stout, Ten-Fidy, and Bell's Expedition Stouts so I have acquired a taste for the more thick stouts.

Appearance: Black, more translucent than other russian imperial stouts. Aggressively poured with a brown head of one finger that dissipated quickly. Carbonation bubbles could be seen on the glass.

Smell: Dull smell that closely resembles a dark ale or porter.

Taste: Tastes like a porter, smooth with hints of chocolate and malt. Hides the alcohol well

Mouthfeel: Very thin, almost watery. Too much carbonation for a stout

Overall: Okay beer, I wouldn't get this again.

Serving type: Poured from bottle into a stout glass

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Photo of Greywulfken
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: nearly opaque, but some dark brown translucence around the edges; dark tan head

S: mild roasted malt

T: more toward the bitter/dry end of the imperial stout spectrum; burnt notes, faint cocoa/chocolate notes

M: lighter than other imperial stouts, more carbonation, very slight astringency

O: as always, if you like stouts/imperial stouts it is worth a try. For me, the gold standard in stouts is Old Rasputin. This beer is not as smooth or mellow, and it is not as sweet either. A decent beer, but not something that I would purchase again unless I craved a stout and had no other choices available.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Everything about this beer cries mediocre. The head never really flourished and left only tiny hints of cling. The nose was roasty, in that day old coffee gound way.

And the taste? Mmm, unremarkably stout-y. Major hints of rubber and weirdly used hop tones.

Thin on mouthfeel and with a strangely annoying sting blend of hops and dry roastiness. I like some of Two Brother's beers ... but this just has average written all over it.

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Photo of beckje01
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Black color with no activity and a big tan head.

S- Astringent smell and a hint of sweet.

T- A slight hop taste then malt it's ok very astringent the chocolate malt is ok but could play a bigger part to add to the complexity.

M-Nice thickness and activity.

D- Ok, not great I probably wouldn't have again there are much better examples of the style but this is average.

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Photo of waldowin
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an inky black, but thin. The decent dark brown head forms quickly, and fades almost as quickly.

Smells of coffee and figs, pretty simple but not unpleasant.

Taste is of roast, coffee, and a hint of figs. Not very strong, but the alcohol is nonexistant in the taste.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for what I expected, and slightly acidic. Not a very smooth drinker.

The harsh flavors and the thin body, combined with the higher ABV of this beer means one bottle is almost more than I'd want.

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Photo of ZAP
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't believe they call this an Imperial Stout...It's a decent tasting "Stout" if you leave the "Imperial" out of it...It is medium bodied rather than over-the-top thick...the nose is mainly cocoa and coffee beans but very soft....the taste is burnt malts and some coffee beans but lacks complexity....finishes with a bit of a hop bite which is surprising given the low IBU...Call this a "Stout" and it rates high "3's"...as an "Imperial" I feel I'm being generous giving it low "3"'s...no carbonation at all hardly and that combined with the creamy texture allows this to be very drinkable as a "Stout"...not as an Imperial...I want more....I deserve more....If a beer is called Imperial it should have more than just a high ABV..I feel like I'm being too hard on this because as I drink it is is pretty decent....it's just not close to being a good "Imperial Stout"...

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Photo of Kegatron
3.04/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap @ the Two Brothers Tap House on 8/9/09. Served in a snifter.

Pours an abosolute black, with a thin smattering of light mocha colored head on top. Retains with a fizzy look around the edges, leaving some minimal lace back. The aroma is generally dark and roasty smelling, with some thicker malt notes of chocolate and caramel. Green citrus and dark fruits emerge as well, as this warms.

The taste is more dark roast, with thickish notes of chocolate and toffee sweetness. Touch of fruits and coffee as well. Roast and fruit linger into the finish, which is probably the best part. Much like the aroma (and even to a lesser extent), I'm waiting for this profile to cut loose, and it never does. All of the flavors start up but then just never delivers anything memorable. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fuller bulky creaminess in some spots, but then seems really light in others. Inconsistent feel to say the least.

An average Imperial Stout at best. Just nothing here overly impressed me, save the aroma, which finally got going a bit once it hit room temp. This was my second time experiencing this beer (the first was in the bottle) and my opinion remains unchanged.

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Photo of chinchill
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.07/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful bowling ball black with a creamy tan head builds out of no where and hangs around with fantastic retention and ok lace.

S - Nice crisp roast with deep cocoa and coffee highlights. Slight sour/musty edges.

T - Relatively light. Hammy smoke, char, and dark roast coffee.

M - Thin body for the style. Hides the 9% well though.

O - I'm ambivalent about the smoke, but overall it's the light body that really hurts the profile.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 411 ratings.