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Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

712 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 712
Reviews: 383
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 712 | Reviews: 383 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BradC
BradC

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On draft, pours a jet black with a finger of head that thins but lasts.

Not much aroma here at all, maybe a little bit of roasted grain but not much else.

Tastes of roasted grain, chocolate and toffee followed by a hop bitterness that lingers

Moderately carbonated, not as chewy as I usually like my RIS,but only 9%abv.

Overall, not as flavorful as I usually like these beers but easy drinking and not too strong.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2014 18:59:57 | More by BradC
Photo of Brenden
Brenden

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2012 14:39:23 | More by Brenden
Photo of JohnnyMc
JohnnyMc

Ohio

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

This is my first beer from this brewery. It pours a very nice pitch black with a slight head.

The aroma is very subtle and has hints of chocolate, malt and smokiness. Taste wise is pretty much the same, there is a lot of malt and chocolate to taste and it's surprisingly mild for an Imperial Stout.

Despite the high ABV (9), there is no hint of alcohol in the taste or smell.

This is a decent beer, but not one of my favorites and certainly nowhere near the best Imperial Stout I have tried.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2012 02:23:25 | More by JohnnyMc
Photo of kawilliams81
kawilliams81

Yukon (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Two Brothers Roundhouse.

A- black with 1 finger cola head. Very little lacing.

S- roasted malts, faint chocolate and some licorice

T- roasted malts and again licorice, some chocolate and pine hop bitterness

M- medium body and crazy drinkable. Very smooth and dare I say light.

O- good ris, but nothing special. At 9% I could drink a 6 pack over a night though because of the drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2012 21:00:20 | More by kawilliams81
Photo of robwestcott
robwestcott

Indiana

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

cold from the tap at Finch's, chocolatey black to a 14oz bell's tulip with a two finger, short lasting, mocha head

aroma of roasted malts, toffees and dark chocolate.

big roasty malts up front, a bit of smoke and a healthy shot of creamy cocoa.

big bodied, medium carbonation, sweet, smooth and creamy.

overall: super sweet, above par, smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2011 21:04:00 | More by robwestcott
Photo of Northsider
Northsider

Illinois

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

On tap at Two Brothers Tap House.

I'm not usually a fan on Imperial Stouts but this one wasn't bad. The flavor masked the alcohol nicely, which many RISs don't do. Color was almost pitch black with nice tan head. Smelled of roasted malts. The taste was almost smokey, not chocolaty or of coffee like my experience with most stouts.

Overall this seemed like a great desert beer, not something I would drink quickly, but rather something I could nurse with a full stomach.

Serving type: on-tap

07-24-2011 13:32:23 | More by Northsider
Photo of EricCioe
EricCioe

Montana

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the University of Chicago Pub, 4 May 2011.

This pours black with a half finger khaki head that leaves just a bit of lace on the way down. On the nose there is rich molasses mixed with some deep fruits, mostly unidentifiable, but nice nevertheless. There is also some roasted malt, but on the whole the nose is pretty muted and holds this brew back a bit for me. In the mouth, the molasses and dark fruit get a little coating in some chocolate. The biggest flavor that I got was dark fruit, with was a nice prominent flavor here. The body is pretty full and chewy but not huge, though finish is ultra-long with dark fruit and extraordinarily bitter malt hanging on.

Overall, I was happy with this beer, but it wasn't my favorite imperial stout. Worth a look for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

05-05-2011 00:40:12 | More by EricCioe
Photo of EORS
EORS

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had 2 pints of this on draft at my local last night. Happy secretary's (administrative professionals') day!

Appearance: Dark. Dark to the point of opacity. fairly small bit of head to start out with, but it did retain well. Bartender at the local tends to fill pints up to the rim, not that I mind.

Smell: Probably the weakest aspect of the beer - nothing really stood out in terms of hop aroma, maltiness and hints of alcohol covered it up.

Taste: Very smooth, full-bodied malt flavor: sweet caramel and chocolate. Alcohol warms at the end but is hidden very well under the malt. Maybe a tiny bit of hop bitterness but it's hard to tell whether that's a coffeelike acidity or alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and thick. The sweet heavy malt in this beer combined with the low carbonation made it very smooth, pleasant, and easy to drink.

Overall: Full disclosure, I had no idea of the ABV or style of the beer when I was drinking it. It was billed at my bar as a stout and I enjoyed it greatly as a stout. I can see why people expecting a big imperial stout have been disappointed - the amount of bitterness in the brew really reminds me of a regular or even a sweet. However, the body of the beer, the drinkability, and the nice malt bill made this a very enjoyable beer. Cross "imperial" off the name and I think it would be better reviewed.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2011 04:38:42 | More by EORS
Photo of JizackFH
JizackFH

New York

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Sunswick 35-35 in Astoria, NY on 4/8/11.

Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a very very dark brown, almost black, color. It has a mocha colored 1-finger head. The head had decent retention, and left some scattered lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of very dark roasted malt, black coffee, and molasses. There are also notes of dark chocolate, dark fruits, anise, and there is also a nuttiness to it.

T - It tastes of sweet roasted malt, dark chocolate, and black coffee up front. There were also flavors of licorice, nuts, and dark fruits. The alcohol content was hidden very well, but it shows up a tad in the finish. I think it could have used some more char/roasted bitterness.

M - This has a medium to full body and lower carbonation. It goes down very smooth, and has a rich and creamy feel to it. The finish has just a hint of dryness to it.

O - This beer has pretty good drinkability. It goes down smooth and has a nice flavor. I could drink a couple of these in an evening. Overall, I thought it was a very nice beer. I just think it could have used a little more roasted bitterness in the taste, since it seemed to be a little more sweet than I would have liked it to be. Good beer though. I would try again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-17-2011 12:00:14 | More by JizackFH
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2011 05:43:11 | More by Sammy
Photo of oreo
oreo

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2011 20:23:41 | More by oreo
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes. Light lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt of chocolate and coffee. Not acrid in the nose at all. Some dark fruits as well. Not very complex, but enjoyable.
T: Follows this nose. Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, light coffee. Nothing is acrid or astringent. Some dark fruits again, and overall enjoyable.
M/D: A full body that is creamy and smooth. Very easy to drink. Something I can sip on all night as a winter warmer.

A really nice Imperial Stout. Lots of flavor, and a treat to drink. Something I would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2010 04:32:20 | More by champ103
Photo of beerwolf77
beerwolf77

Wisconsin

3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Milrose while in Illinois. Served in a fucking pilsner glass. Not cool.

A: Pitch black, small beige head, modest lace. No cap or retention.

S: Roasty black coffee. Lots of sweet chocolate. Maybe a hint of wet cardboard.

T: Mild roast black coffee. Some chocolate. Not the most powerful flavors. Hint of dish soap in the finish.

M: Full body with very low carbonation.

D: Maybe it was the glass but this one was sort of a chore to get down. If I see it in the bottle I will give it a second chance.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2010 02:19:02 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

I've been waiting for this to come around again so's I could finally get a crack at it. It pours a slick obsidian topped by a finger of sienna foam. The nose comprises coffee, roasted malts, cocoa, and some light molasses. The taste loads up on the roasted malts, with some light cocoa, hop flowers, and light greens slapdashily tossed in, as though an afterthought. The body is fairly hefty, with a light carbonation and a semi-chewy feel. Overall, a one-dimensional stout, yes, but that one dimension is tackled very well.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2010 07:51:40 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of Vdubb86
Vdubb86

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

On-Tap at The Firkin Two Brother's Tap Takeover

This beer pours a pretty darkness with a finger of brown foam. The smell is a bit of oak, belgian-like aroma, brown sugar and a light roasted note. Most of the nose is really light. The taste has an odd hop bitterness that I didn't expect. There is a light bourbon flavor and a decent amount of cocoa. It must be said that this beer is a bit astringent on the palate and a bit thinner than I would have liked, but it is still rather drinkable. A good beer all around.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2010 01:18:12 | More by Vdubb86
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the brewpub.

Pours near black with a really thin mocha head. Not much lacing. The nose brings chocolate, roast, and a bit of coffee. The taste is of roasted malt with some lingering espresso and dark chocolate in the background. Not too boozy, but this is pretty light in ABV for the style. A bit of dry roast. Drinks quite well.

Serving type: on-tap

10-24-2010 01:38:00 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap, in a pint glass at Bodega in Columbus, OH on 1/2/10

A - Dark brown, nearly black in color. 1/8th inch layer of tan head. Thin retention. No lacing.

S - Subtle nose of roasted malts. Notes of coffee & earthy hops. Dark sugars & faint dark fruit, maybe prunes.

T - Plenty of chocolate with mild coffee notes. Undertones of brown sugar & molasses. Roasted dark malts. Modest hop twinge around the edges with hints of citrus. Rather sweet. Something in there seems almost medicinal.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation; it's smooth & creamy. A bit of alcohol slickness is present.

D - Easy enough to drink; it's decent overall. Not particularly interesting & maybe a touch too sweet.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2010 04:00:46 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Imperial pint at Four Moon Tavern.

Black body with an impressive crown of tan lacing. The foam lasted a good while and looked appealing. Aroma was a little subdued but mostly roast malt and chocolate as you'd expect.

Flavor was rich and creamy, big fruity component, fig & plum, plenty of mellow roastiness and chocolate notes. Very creamy but still relatively light bodied for an RIS. Fairly dry in the finish, almost woody suggesting oak. Had to re-evaluate this after the tap sample, pretty impressive stuff. Make an oak-aged version!

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2010 01:28:55 | More by emerge077
Photo of Goldopelgt
Goldopelgt

Ohio

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

A: Pours an almost black color with a caramel head that dissipates relatively quickly...decent amount of lacing left on the glass...

S: Roasted sweet malts with a good amount of bitter chocolate that becomes more dominant as it warms and just a hint of coffee...

T: As it smells...Malts up front balanced with chocolate and coffee and just a hint of some dark fruits...relatively bitter finish, but not at all unpleasant...

M: Right amount of carbonation, but seems a little thin for my taste in a RIS...not bad, but lacking something...

D: A very drinkable brew, but seems to be missing something to be a damn good imperial stout...definitely worth a try, but there are better ones out there...

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2010 02:39:56 | More by Goldopelgt
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2010 18:43:49 | More by glid02
Photo of ffejherb
ffejherb

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Two Brothers on 8/9/09.

A - Snifter appeared as a dark orb of onyx with a thin, creamy tan head that vanished but flared up a bit with each swirl, leaving some stringy lace that slid down the glass.

S - Initial aroma combines toasted malts and roasty coffee with a hint of chocolate. A scant hop presence exists, but it buried beneath all of the malt, with perhaps just a tinge of earthy hops poking through. Alcohol presence is also quite modestly displayed.

T - Semi-sweet chocolate dominates the flavor with subtle earthy hop bitterness and roasted coffee characteristics taking a back seat. There's also a hint of licorice and subtle hop notes in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with an oily texture and a touch of bristly carbonation, resulting in a pretty smooth mouthfeel overall. Finishes with subtle bitterness and some residual sweetness on the palate.

D - Pretty solid Imperial Stout overall. Nothing amazing, but quite drinkable. Alcohol isn't too obtrusive either.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2009 22:11:47 | More by ffejherb
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2009 12:11:45 | More by Kegatron
Photo of Florida9
Florida9

Illinois

2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-28-2009 17:07:07 | More by Florida9
Photo of Vonerichs
Vonerichs

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter at Two Bros.

This one is very dark, almost black. There is a one-finger, very foamy head with a toffee tint.

Light smells of roasted malt and chocolate.

Tastey. Consistent with the smell up front, then finishes with toffee and a slight bitterness, but a very balanced bitterness that compliments the sweet chocolate. Impressive flavor, but considering it's "imperial" designation I don't think it lived up to that standard. I expect something more over the top when "imperial" is part of the equation.

Creamy but a little light for an imperial stout. It does leave a smooth feel in the mouth. Slightly bitter aftertaste.

The 7.5% abv is not noticable at all, this goes down very easily.

Another impressive brew by Two Bros. that I would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

02-27-2009 03:31:14 | More by Vonerichs
Photo of Haybeerman
Haybeerman

Colorado

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, slightly opaque. Poured a 1 finger mocha head with fair retention. Laced in even rings.

S: Burnt bitter coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. Woody/alcohol aroma in the background.

T: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Coffee and toffee flavors some out in the middle. Balance bittering hops cleanse the mouth and readies the next drink.

M: Full side of medium body. May be more carbonated than most. Rich, creamy and smooth (though a little less carbonation would help).

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2009 04:04:13 | More by Haybeerman
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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 712 ratings.