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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: 882
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
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Reviews: 406 | Hads: 882
Photo of MorganJ
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: dark and uniform black color when poured from 12 oz bottle into a snifter.
Smell: some chocolate and faint coffee.
Taste and feel: good - some carmel, toasted dark malt, chocolate and coffee with a little hop burn at the feel
Overall: Not the best or most flavorful, definitely not hoppy which is fine with me. Overall, a decent imperial stout. Drinkable. Had this one a year after I bought it. I generally like Two Brothers beers and this one is good in the Winter.

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Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for a year. This is a well made medium bodied imperial stout. Milk chocolate, toasted malts, coffee, and some unrecognizable fruits (maybe pineapple and plums). It's smooth and creamy, I don't understand why people are hating so much on this one.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, lot # 0155. Pours very dark brown, with a khaki head that doesn't stick around long. Aroma of coffee, with a some chocolate and a bit of booze. Medium body. Some malt, sweetness, and perhaps a bit of hops in the flavor. Russian imperial stouts are perhaps my favorite style; this one does nothing to stand out from the others, but it does seem to be well balanced. And, as this is one of the least expensive Russian imperial stouts I have found, it's not a bad beer for the price. I hope to buy a few more to cellar and see how it is with another year or two on it.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours an opaque black under a 1” tan head S: dark malt and dried fruit aromas T: Dark malt flavors, chocolate, dark dried fruit, moderate hop bitterness. This beer has a good balance of dry and sweet and bitter. F: The carbonation is exceptionally fine – almost like a nitro beer. O: A satiating very easy to drink Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of OhioLimoncello
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly light and sweet malty stout. Roast aroma is supported by a nice backbone of toasted malts. Wish this very enjoyable 9.1% ABV, 45 IBU brew was more available.

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Photo of mlockman
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very enjoyable, but very different; not much of the flavor one would expect from its style. As my friend said, "Forget everything you think you know about imperial stouts, because this ain't it"

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Photo of farmhaus
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: Very dark with a thick, mocha head.
Nose: Notes of roast and vanilla. The alcohol is apparent.
Taste: More roast and vanilla. Some cacao chocolate. Boozy. The finish leaves an odd markery, almost medicinal, character.
Feel: Heavy body. Leaves with a cling.
Overall: Decent but nothing to write home about--mainly due to the mouthfeel and finish.

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Photo of StinkyFishBoys
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Northwind wintertime release is equivalent to when you have a hot bod in the bed and you're almost positive you're out of ween rubs, but you look anyway, and you find a crumpled up foil square with no tares. A good bold imperial stout by Two Dudes and it comes in 6's!

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Photo of russpowell
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent ebony with a sliver of caramel colored head. Slightly better than average head retention & lacing

S: Roasty, faint dark fruit

T: Roasty, dark fruit & a little carob up front, some smokeyness as well, plus dryness. Figgyness, smokeyness & dryness dominate as this warms. Finishes dry, roasty, with a little jammyness, a little leafy hoppyness

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation

Drinks alright, a solid but not spectacular example of the style

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown almost black like oil with similar viscosity and khaki colored head. Roasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with a bit of sweetness and roasted character.

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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 Mikus
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured pitch black into a stemless wine glass (shoot me, my snifter was dirty), clean division between body and the cocoa-tinged head. Looks were the best quality unfortunately. Didn't live up to the IS moniker to me... slight roastiness and bitterness on the nose, with a weird smoky note too. Bit smoky and pleasantly bitter on the palate, actually the smokiness would be perfect if this was supposed to be a smoked beer)... lacked some of the bigger coffee and chocolate flavors I expect, and came off a bit thin on the mouthfeel. Upside is that the wife really liked it, and that has to be taken into account, I suppose. Wouldn't search this out, unless I was in the mood for a smoked porter.

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Photo of jds16
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A bit too far on the sweet side, which is fine for half a glass but drinkability suffers. A bit drier and I'd like this a whole lot more. Solid, but falls short of great.

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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 TheBrewo
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

We pour this brew from the bottle into our three-quarter sized tasting snifters. It glugs out a deep, velvety espresso coloring, holding virtually no head. Few specks of lacing are left around the glasses as the beer begins to disappear. A dense haze obscures clarity, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be light, but what little bubbles are there are large. The aroma is cloyingly sweet yet heavy, giving up notes of metallic and sugary molasses, soy sauce, salted toffee, dried coral, tin, iced passion fruit tea, vodka and bourbon booziness, buttery diacetyls, dark fruitiness of fig, dried plum, apricots, and cherries, roasty chocolate and black maltiness, raw barley powderiness, pecan nuttiness, clean vanilla bean, and astringent and bitter red wine grapeiness. The taste to follow gives cold caramel, rich red cherry fruitiness, lactic creaminess, salty soy sauce, tin and aluminum, oily chocolate and butterscotch syrups, wet chocolate, black, and caramel maltiness, lime rind, poppy seeds, dusty dried rose petals, thick wood lacquer, phenolic plastics, powdered cocoa, high fructose corn syrup, vinyl plastics, and smoky leathers. The body is medium but oily, and the carbonation is a bit on the high side. Each sip provides appropriate slurp and smack, but cream and froth are lost to oily slickness, which coats the mouth before drying it significantly. The abv remains stylistically approachable, and drinkability sits at a cool sipability.

Overall, this was a reasonable representation of the style that was easy to enjoy. If we had to complain, the mouthfeel thinned more than we hoped, and contributed towards washing out the brightest punches of flavoring. The best thing about it was hard to pin down, as the aromas and flavors naturally coiled into one another, but unfortunately the same dullness persisted throughout. We were in a very stouty mood when we pulled this one from the cellar, and it shared between the two of us nicely, and warmly. Going along with the bottle’s label, we too would recommend enjoying this beer by a roaring fire. It makes the experience that much richer.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An absolute favorite for the season. Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This FINE imperial stout pours pitch black with a rockin' tan head that slowly fades to a thick layer of foam with fantastic lacing. Nose of dark chocolate, light coffee, dark fruits, sweet dark malts, and moderate hops. Flavors follow the taste with sweet dark malts and chocolate to the front and sides, coffee and some light hop bitterness to the back with a light sweet aftertaste. Excellent! A beer I look forward to each year.


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Photo of Vixie
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours almost pure black with a bit of a tan head that doesn't stay around too long, leaving some lacing across the surface of the beer and the dies of the glass.

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

Taste starts out a bit sweet, like a dried fruit sweet. It's a bit like prune or raisin up front, there's also coffee and chocolate. Finishes with a bit of hop bitterness and a touch of smoke.

Pretty smooth going down, the carbonation is a touch high for the style, giving a bit more tingling than expected.

Overall an easy to drink example of the style. Not quite as in your face as usually is the case, making this a great beer for someone wanting to try an RIS for the first time, but a bit intimidated by their strength. It is a bit on the sweet side, but still one worth checking out.

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Photo of Ri0
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured 12oz bottle into chalice.

A - Obsidian with a 1 finger light tan head that fades into a very thin ring. A few dabs of lacing on the glass.

S - Aromas of roasted malts, dark chocolate and a bit of burnt caramel.

T - Nice amounts or roasted malt to go along with dark chocolate. Picking up hints of toffee and caramel with burnt notes.

M - Medium body, quite smooth with creamy carbonation.

O - A nice imperial stout that is easy to drink despite the higher ABV.

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Photo of bwood06
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Very dark, almost black beer with a thick off-white creamy head that last forever. 4.5/5

S - Dark chocolaty richness with a hint of espresso. A bit of vanilla as well. 4.25/5

T - Taste follows the nose with a bit more cocoa, a bit less espresso, and a bit more vanilla. 4/5

M - Very thick and viscous with a wet finish. Not nearly as dry as most imperial stouts that I've had. Finishes very cleanly with a lingering bitterness. 3.75/5

O - Very good beer but the lingering bitterness brings down the score just a tad for me. Nice complexity while maintaining drinkability. 4.25/5

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Photo of NoHorsePiss
4.61/5  rDev +22.3%
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.

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Photo of pagriley
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

2013 vintage, so a year of bottle age

A - pours pitch black, head dissipates quickly with a little lacing
S - Caramel, a hint of coffee and a bit of dried dark fruits coming through
T - toasty and roasty
M - smooth as you could want. A touch lighter in the body (no surprise given it is a year old)

Overall a super solid Imperial stout. Not sure why a fair few people aren't that excited - it is a $12 6-pack classic imperial stout that checks all the boxes! 2 bucks a bottle people!

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Photo of seedyone
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

10/09/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. I feel guilty saying this, but if it were 2 years ago I would be ecstatic about this stout. Since then, there have been many in the genre that have out paced this effort. Not that there anything wrong here, it's just that there is not much to set it apart. Sitting in a place with 40 choices I realize that I'm privileged & the guilt sets in when I have to pass over such a noble effort. Looking forward to trying their vanilla bean brew.

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Photo of brianmandell
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An enjoyable, almost sessionable imperial stout due to its thin body. The score reflects the thin mouthfeel and relatively simple flavor profile. However, what is there is very enjoyable. Roasty malts, tart cherry, dark chocolate flavors. Active, creamy carbonation which offsets the slightly viscous but thin mouthfeel. The alcohols are well integrated. My bottle was aged for approximately 7 months from purchase.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours pitch black in my tulip glass with a sporadic toffee colored layer of creamy textured head.

S - Dark chocolate, char, light smokiness, and cocoa cream.

T - Smoky, dark roasted chocolate, char, very light alcohol effervescence, woody, lightly smoky.

M - Thin medium body to heavy light body (somewhere in the middle).

O - ABV is well hidden, nice char, but too thin.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.31/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

I had purchased this, along with several other Two Brothers bottles, at The Fridge, meaning to try them as a vertical, but this one kept getting shunted to the side until now.

From the bottle: "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!; "Two Brothers is a craft brewery on the outskirts of Chicago that specializes in rare and seldom-brewed beer styles. The two of us - Jason and Jim Ebel - strive to produce the very best beers available anywhere."; "We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!"

I always enjoy a heavy-handed pour from a bottle. I have gotten quite good at knowing when to stop and the resulting pseudo-cascade is a sight to behold. I netted a sturdy two fingers of dense, deep-tan head as the result of my pour and it sat there stubbornly, like Pussy Riot after being released by Putin. Color was an inky, deep, dark-brown allowing less than ZERO light penetration (SRM = 44). Nose smelled of fire smoke and dark chocolate. Wow. Mouthfeel was thick and viscous and tasted and felt like a dollop of dark chocolate ice cream had been scooped onto my tongue. The 9.1% ABV was well-masked, making for an alarmingly smooth, easy-drinking beer. Warming, the chocolate flavors became even more prevalent and the smokiness began to wane. The finish was semi-dry, not really sweet at all, but not totally dry, either. I really liked this, despite not being a huge fan of the style.

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