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Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

406 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 406
Hads: 880
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 17.77%
Wants: 27
Gots: 67 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 406 | Hads: 880
Photo of BigPlay1824
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: pours a very deep brown that is impenetrable and has a ton of suspended sediment, pours with a finger of frothy mocha brown colored head that lingers nicely and has large bubbles, leaves spotty lacing
S: very nice mocha scent, very reminiscent of a strong coffee, very deep and enjoyable
T: begins with a nice coffee note which just intensifies and deepens throughout the sip, really deep and tastey, not entirely complex but yummy nonetheless
M: medium carbonation tingle, very thick on the palate and has a wonderful velvety texture which sticks to the palate
O: a delicious brew, lacking a bit in complexity but incredibly deep, really delicious

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the black bomber into a snifter the beer was a very dark black color with slight ruby hues in the light. A thin layer of head skimmed the top of the beer and carbonation clung to the sides of the glass. Some spotty lacing throughout the sample.

The smell is a heavy roasted malt, black coffee, dark chocolate, and dark fruit: plum and fig.

The taste is heavy in orasted character with a robust malty backbone. Roasted flavor is dominant throughout each sip and is complimented by strong (Starbuck's-ish) black coffee. Some dark chocolate and chicory bitterness to the finish. Figs and plums in the end of each sip and the alcohol is near undetectable.

Medium firm body with about average carbonation levels.

A good all around RIS. Nice roasted character dominates the beer. Would have liked to have seen a little bit more presence from the alcohol, but it was well balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of codsmith
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet-black with a very slight amount of creamy tan head. Doesn't really lace the glass

S: Has a nice sweet coffee, chocolate & roasted malt aroma. Very smooth and well balanced.

T: The taste is a lot like the aroma. Very smooth and creamy on the palette. There is a slight amount of roasted bitterness hitting at the end. Very well balanced

M: Moderate mouthfeel, carbonation is in the correct level.

O: My favorite Two Brothers beer and I've had it all ways (cask, draft & bottle), but always a very good and well balanced imperial stout.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A very traditional look to a stout. Pitch dark, thin head, low carbonation.

Smell: There is light hop sweetness here. Malt, dark chocolate, and some very dark fruits play a role here.

Taste: Awesome here. A smooth hop presence hits at first. A creamy malt body carries this beer. Such a complex body really represents the the american stout well. I'm not really sold on this beer being a Russian Imperial Stout, but is an awesome American stout.

Mouthfeel: More of a clean smoothness here. Again not really the feel of a Russian Imperial Stout, but more of a traditional Stout.

Overall: I think Two Brothers is one of the better breweries in my home state of Illinois. Their beers tend to be very solid. This beer is one of my favorites and can go toe to toe with many other American Stouts.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased because it seemed such a good value. Now maybe it's not worth it, or maybe it will be. I've generally liked this brewery so my anticipation runs favorable.
Certainly pours like and heavy enough. Very dark small head. Only hints of color on the bottom of the ridel wine glass.
I'd anitcipate a full and heavy aroma, but that's not what I got. It was much tighter than most, however, it is a nice dark roast, coffee, and a little chocolate.
Nice full flavor, in contrast to the aroma. Slightly sweet, roast, coffee. Moderately bitter that appears largely at the end. Longer finish with mild dryness and good flavors. Nice dark fruit flavors.
seems a little thin for style, but I like the lower carbonation. Feel ultimately is nice.
I like this. it drinks well. It certianly isn't the biggest, thickest or richest out there, but the flavors are good, the feel is nice and it drinks well (I could easily have another).
In the end I would say "yes" it's a good value.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter. Formed a thick layer of khaki colored bubbles that quickly receded, leaving no lace behind. The body is dark, dense and pretty much black. You can force ruby slivers around the edges if backlit.

The nose is rather weak for a RIS...burnt chocolate, coffee, toasted malts, heavy cream, molasses...all very subtle.

Thank goodness the flavors do not follow the nose (in strength at least). Starts off with a black coffee bitterness that smoothly transitions into a sweet malt middle that turns roasty at the finish. No booziness make this really smooth drinking.

The mouth feel teeters on the heavy side of medium...creamy with moderate carbonation.

This is a pretty solid stout. I had no problems putting a 12oz bottle away and found myself wanting more. Well worth a try!

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Photo of harrymel
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dhren1979 for this extra!
Poured from crown capped bottle to NB Globe.

Says Lot 3190 on back of bottle, not sure what this means.

A: Black, soily ale drizzles to the glass and excites a nice single finger of mocha head. This head dissipates in a couple minutes, but is easily reintroduced with a quick swish of the stout. Scattered sticky lacing.

S: Inky, industrial, smokey. Sweetened cocoa with a nice blending of licorice, roasted figs, dates, cinnamon. Intriguing and brings me back in repeatedly.

T: Very malt forward. Coffee, cocoa nibs, cinnamon. The beer has a nice creamy taste. The finish is long, and gradually keeps me coming back for more.

M: Low to no carbonation in mouth. The beer is thick, creamy and viscous. This beer makes me think of Wilcox farms Chocolate milk in body.

D: This was such a wonderful surprise of a beer! If you can get your hands on this, give it a go.

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Photo of WildTurkey
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to snifter. Cool temp; at least 50'F.

A: Pitch black. No amber light passing through. Tan, mocha color head, about one finger thick. Slightly creamy but with mixed size bubbles. Looks good.

S: Coffee and roasted malts. Little bit of chocolate. I'm also getting a little bit of hops.

T: Lots of roasted malts. Some coffee and dark fruit. Some mild hops and alcohol are coming through at the end. Flavors are well harmonized and smooth but not as strong or complex as some other RIS I've had. Still very good - in my opinion.

M: Great mouthfeel, one of the first things I noticed after drinking. Medium-to-Fuller bodied. Very rich and creamy. It really coats the mouth.

D: A very drinkable stout. Flavor profile is balanced. Stong flavor but nothing too overwhelming. I'm really slugging this back. Very good

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 fl. oz Bottle
Bottled on January 15th, 2015
Reviewed on March 6th, 2015
Served in a Snifter

Poured a rich dark brown, nearly black body. Not much of a head... just a thin lining of light brown foamy bubbles. Sparse amount of sticky light brown lacing throughout.

Dense notes of toasted grains. Thick and sweet notes of molasses and caramel. Faint smokey bitterness.

Toasted grains up front. Light, sweet malts gained steam. Good notes of caramel and toffee. Sweeter flavors lived in a pretty strong backbone of toasted malts. Finished semi-sweet with a noticeable hit of alcohol. Full-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Certainly not as thick as other Imperial Stouts. Toasty and tasty. Dangerously drinkable for my taste. Another delicious offering from Two Brothers!

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Photo of NeutroMan
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours an opaque, nearly black with a thin film of reddish brown head that quickly dissipates. The nose is dominated by roasted malts - mostly coffee and chocolate. Some fruitiness (mostly plum) begins to become more noticeable as the beer warms. Taste is a complex blend of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, fruity esters, and some minimal hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and chewy with some alcohol warmth (particularly as the beer warms up). One of the more drinkable RIS.

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Photo of HeightsEats
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is a nice mix of dark caramel and subtle hops. While the typical sweetness and roasty flavors of a stout are clearly present, a hop backbone comes through as well. Full bodied but not overly sweet, the hop presence and balance of flavors makes this beer quite drinkable (and the alcohol is well-hidden).

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Photo of Schmittymack
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into the trusty shaker glass; served nearly room temperature. Poured a nice dark black color with a creamy brownish head. Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malt. Taste was wonderful malt, coffee, dark chocolate and no hop bitterness in the end. I'm glad I still have a few bottles of this left; will be nice to have after a day on the slopes next ski season. Best brew I had in the evening Friday, the 27th.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black with a couple fingers of mocha colored head when poured aggresuclery. Microbubbles resonnate throughout the head. Good lacing

S- Roasted malt and faint coffee scents are picked up, followed by booze.

T- Similar to scent. Toasted maltiness mixed with a bitter coffee taste. Pretty tasty roastiness going on. The booze taste is subtle at the end.

M- Pretty thick and syrupy and covers the palate well

D- Sits heavy but could put down a few over DA BEARS whoppin' that ass. A great stout @ $8.99 per six pack

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mred137 for the opportunity.

A: Very black with tons of head. Some lacing.

S: Nice roasted coffee nose.A little bit of hops in the back which I always enjoy. Reminds me of darkness every time.

T: Very nice roasted espresso taste. Almost a hint of a milk stout from all the sweetness. Balanced well.

M: Nice creaminess. Very dry finish with a light body for the style.

D: Very drinkable. What I like about two brothers is that they play with the traditional takes on a style and cross pollinate them with others. To me this was a RIS with a milk stout. Their tripel was really a Belgian IPA. I have enjoyed their stuff when I can find it. Thanks to Mr. Ed.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was cellared for one year before being opened and what ever happened in that year certainly made this beer absolutely delicious.

Pour - super dark and viscous. Its the dredges from a super dark pot of coffee. This is black (period). No light shines through. The head is thin and coffee colored. This looks potent.

Aroma - lots of raisins and prunes along with licorice and anise. This is a very strong smelling RIS without a lot of malt or hop aromas just a ton of dark stewed and fermented fruits.

Taste - wow, all those smells come to life on my tongue. This has a very strong flavor of those dark fruits and a nice lashing of warm alcohol. This is not a heavily malt centered imperial stout nor is it hoppy, its all about the rich dark fruit flavors and how they've developed over the past year.

Overall - I'm really digging this beer, so much flavor and its certainly making me feel nice as well. You have to love 12 oz. bottles of strong beer. They are such perfect serving sizes.

Would I buy more of it? - I might be swayed, not sure. I really like this after a year in the cellar, it could be nice to buy some more bottles and put them away for years to come.

Vintage - Winter 2008/9

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Photo of letsgopens
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another selection from Two Brothers. This Imperial Stout pours black with amber red highlights. Visible small bubbles and a tan/brown head that recedes leaving a bit of light lace.

The aroma incorporates coffee and some chocolate. A touch of mild smoke and lots roasted malt.

A lot of initial roastiness with plenty of malt flavor. The expected chocolate and pleasant mellow coffee. Done well, but mellow nearly all around. Very nice stout-like qualities but lacking that traditional bite and warmth associated with many Imperials. Caramel, some hops, half & half, and molasses in the finish.

Smooth and creamy on the palate. Heavy but not too syrupy. Pleasant and good all around.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lightly chilled 12 oz. bottle into a 33 cl snifter. Bottle states "Lot 0033", no printed bottling or best-by date, although the label isn't older than 2010.

Look- Pours a deep brown-black with two fingers of dense mocha head that falls quickly to a fingernail ring that persists until the glass is empty. Excellent webbed lacing. From what I can tell, the beer is crystal clear, but it's still opaque in the glass.

Smell- Plain but pleasant, mild nutty-coffee-mocha aroma. Light roast, warm feel. Not particularly complex, but welcoming.

Taste- Similar to the aroma; mild, inoffensive, nicely developed cocoa-nutty-soft roast flavors. Astringency is mild, makes me think of Carafa-III or similar rather than roasted barley or black patent, comes across as cold-press mocha coffee. Light toasted caramel, vanilla-laced maple butter. Finishes with a bit of oatmeal. Not aggressive, but that in itself is refreshing. Soft, full flavored without thrashing my palette, excellent balance.

Mouthfeel- Soft carbonation, medium-full body with a bit of stick. Silky. Very easy drinking for the style.

Overall- Not flashy, but very, very solid. This would easily make my go-to everyday list if it were available in my area. Recommended.

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Photo of hawks10
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and oily as expected, tremendous fluffy dark tan head, looks like dark panacake batter.

Coffee and a slight chocolate smell, found the smell to be the "weakest" part of the beer.

Malty and slightly chocolate taste, really not much hop presence but a slightly bitter, coffee aftertaste.

Overall I really enjoy this beer, I think it is underrated and a great value for a RIS.

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Photo of dnjmed
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured out into a pint glass. maybe should've broken out a tulip for this. served at about 55 F and rising

Looks awesome. Pitch black even held up to the light. 3/4 inch head that is the color of caramel or maybe even cafe au lait

Smells sweet with note of vanilla possibly. Some good roasted character coming through as well.

Taste is a strong malt profile. I pick out chocolate, vanilla, coffee, sweet cherry but not necessarily in that order. First sip I was pleasantly struck by some good piney hops at the end, but I've settled into the stout now and they're less noticeable but there.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and very enjoyable.

A good beer and a good stout but in this style it's got some tough competition. That being said it's a lot easier to get my hands on than other R.I.S.s. It's definitely keeping me warm on this cold December night

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Photo of SerialHiker
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours the darkest brown to black…a pinky finger of dark mocha head formed and remained…looks a bit watery, the head swirls around faster than normal and thins a little quicker than I woulda liked…(3.5/5)

Smell: Roasted malts, oatmeal, chocolate, coffee, lactose…a very nice aroma, fairly straight forward…with deeper inspection, I get a hint of citrus…not overly pungent or diverse, but nice…(4/5)

Taste: Deep roasted malts, chocolate, oatmeal, very much like the nose…I don’t get as strong of a milk flavor as the nose had, but it does have a creaminess to it…roasted coffee and coffee bitterness stand out and really become the dominant flavors as the beer warms…there’s some sweet candy toffee taste that is very mild, but apparent…I do get a light citrus freshness with each sip after I swallow that rounds everything off…this is a somewhat robust imperial stout and is definitely the best quality of this brew…(4.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, light to medium carbonation…it does fluff up a bit, bringing some chocolate milkshake to the palate, but it’s super thin and wears out quickly…it’s a little watery for what I would expect and that is this brew’s flaw…roasted malt, oatmeal and coffee bitterness in the after taste…(3.5/5)

Overall: This is maybe my favorite Two Brothers beer, I seek it out when I come to Chicago during the winter months and take some home with me to share…the flavor is robust and very tasty, but unfortunately it’s a bit watery and that rushes the mouthfeel away…I do find that after 15 minutes out of the fridge, the coffee aroma and flavor awake, taking the flavor to another level…in the future, I’ll set the bottle aside a few minutes before opening…while all it’s components may not be “world class”, the flavor is outstanding, making this one of my favorite stouts...overall, I couldn’t recommend this brew more, if you see it at the store (or me with one), give it a try…(4.5/5)

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours slick black and solid in color with a one finger tan head that has good retention.

Smell is good. rich roasted coffee and cocoa forward. The midsection has a great rich toffee like malt aroma before a moderate alcohol presence finishs.

Taste is great. Rich chocolate flavors forward before a sweet warm toffee flavor dominates the middle of the beer. Finishes with a mild roasted bitterness that is very well balanced. Fair amounts of alcohol also detectable.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice thick body and moderate amount of carbonation keep this a highly drinkable velvety smooth brew

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
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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Photo of WesWes
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of black and chocolate malts. It seems sweet; not overly bitter. The taste is good. It has a sweet, chocolatey flavor that goes down smooth and finishes with just a bit of black malt and hop bitterness. This tastes like more like a chocolate stout than a RIS. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is damn fine beer. I'm not sure why it wasn't reviewed better, but I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of McNealc31
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like it should. Black with a dark brown head. In love with the aroma, charred wood, vanilla, and dark fruits. Surprisingly smooth and creamy. The flavor isn't bludgeoning, but what is there is tasty and well balanced. Deep roasted malt, burnt marshmallows, and eventually toffee.

Not the biggest Imperial Stout out there, but quite tasty. Quaffable, to say the least.

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Photo of oreo
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at the Two Brothers Tap House.

Deep black with a 1 finger tan head.

Smells awesome. Tons of coffee and chocolate and roasty malts! This is my type of beer.

Smell is better than the taste. The coffee seemed faded in comparison to the smell, but still noticeable. Chocolate and roasty malts make their presence known throughout this beer. When fresh, this beer has a nice bitter hop finish.

Thick stout mouthfeel.

Very drinkable at 9%. Be careful!

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 406 ratings.