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Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

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

758 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 758
Reviews: 385
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 19
Gots: 40 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 758 | Reviews: 385 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kylehay2004
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: half finger dark tan head with little retention and lacing on a dark brown with light passing through body. some clumps are noted floating around.

S: roasted malt, dark chocolate and brown sugar but overall light aroma.

T: lots of confectioners chocolate, vanilla and brown sugar. The roasted malts are mild and mostly contribute a slightly bitter finish with coffee notes as well.

M: medium body, creamy with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Not too bad. Flavor is mildly complex, the aroma is good but a little weak. Overall very drinkable however with well hidden alcohol content.

kylehay2004, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This poured out as a very dark black color with a tan foamy head on top. The retention and head are really quite good. The smell of the beer is roasted with some notes of chocolate, subtle sweetness too. The taste is rich with roasted malt and chocolate, decent bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is pretty good, a smooth rich thickness. Overall this beer is pretty good. Not as rich or extreme as some Russian Imperials but still pretty good.

Knapp85, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of TMoney2591
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.

TMoney2591, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of emerge077
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!

emerge077, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a jet black color with a port-like, small, tan head. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt, molasses and floral notes.

T - It tasted rich and malty. It had subtle coffee flavors and a slight bitter hop kick.

M - It was smooth and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty nice imperial stout. It's not overwhelmingly alcoholic and tastes very good.

zeff80, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A rough pour brings up a full tan head over an opaque black body. When held to the light, reddish-mahogany highlights are visible at the base of the glass and just below the surface. The head drops fairly quickly; but it does maintain a thin surface covering and leaves some tight, spotty lace. Roasty notes dominate the aroma. It's quite black-coffee-ish with a decent amount of prune-like fruitiness thrown in, and even some sweetish dark chocolate. The moderate carbonation is very fine; and helps to boost the creamy character of its surprisingly only medium body. Rich flavor, however, is where this beer shines. It's loaded with notes of bittersweet chocolate, burnt caramel, dark fruit skins, black cherry, burnt "late-night diner" coffee, blackstrap molasses, and leafy hops. It finishes dry and bitter, but not overly long, with a residual coffee/chocolate roastiness. Well-balanced and nicely done. Worth trying.

NeroFiddled, Mar 24, 2003
Photo of nickfl
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of medium tan foam on top of an opaque, black body with some sediment floating in it. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - Very roasty with a strong coffee aroma as well as some peaty smoke.

T - Dark, roasted malt up front with notes of burnt caramel, chocolate, and espresso. More coffee and baker's chocolate in the middle and smoky notes in the finish that provide lots of roasted grain bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This stout is robust and roasted to the point that it really tastes like a coffee stout. It quite a contrast compared to many other imperial stouts that finish much sweeter than this one. This relative dryness allows it to be fairly drinkable even though it does nothing to lighten the overall experience or hide the alcohol.

nickfl, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black dark body full of malt and hops, dark tan head forming thick and dwindling slow, forms fine even lacing with eadh sip. Aroma dark chocolate malts, hints of coffee, and a touch of soy sauce. Flavor creamy dark chocolate, ripened fruit notes. A touch of saoy sauce. Mouthfeel is full bodied carbonation is moderate. Nothing heavy or cloying on the palate, drinkability is solid version of a great Impy Stout.

WVbeergeek, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains dark fruit, roasted malts, chocolate, some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of dark fruit and chocolate. Then a roasted malt character that is a bit on the thin side for the style comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and creates some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp but a bit watery, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, there are several other stouts I would choose before this one.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of Kegatron
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.

Kegatron, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin tan head. Nose is coffee and roasted tones. Flavor is thick in malts. Nice enough level of molasses and chocolate. Smooth and slightly sweet. Feel is quite smooth on liquid. Carbonation is lower but a it should be. This is a nice RIS that is easier drinking than it's more flamboyant counterparts. Not a wad of complexity, but nice enough to be able to enjoy.

RblWthACoz, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked this up at brass rail deli, enjoyed chilled from a tulip out of a longneck 12 oz brown.

The color is dark almost black with 2 + fingers of medium beige with fluffy almost rocky looking head. The bead is fine and lace sticks well. The smell is very nice, lots of cocoa type aroma with moderately sweet malt and slight vanilla-like floral aspect with low alcohol odors and mild woody hop ester. The feel is decent with moderately full body with medium bitterness and slight alcohol warmth with a gentle toasted texture and medium sweet feel with slight spice in the relatively dry finish.

The taste is has a dark and milk chocolate flavor with light caramel and mild woody hops with toasted grain and subtle creamy yeast which adds to the sweet malt body w/ a mild molasses type richness. Overall this may not be the most complex stout but still not really flawed and pretty darn drinkable because you barely taste any alcohol + the malt is sweet without being cloying. I could drink a couple of these easily.

Slatetank, Jan 21, 2014
Photo of MasterSki
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Andrew brought a few of these over for New Beer Sunday - my wife and I are cleanin' out the fridge tonight. Not sure how my palate is going to stand up after the rest of the Sanctification so I'll do this one first.

A - Dark brown, not totally impenetrable, with a little bit of light sneaking through at the edges. One-fingered mocha foam with decent retention and nice lacing.

S - Not the most potent smell, really got to stick my nose in the glass. The first thing that jumps out at me is a woody flavor, along with some bitter coffee, dark chocolate, and burnt malt. I think the alcohol is causing the wood flavor.

T - Strong bittersweet chocolate and burnt malt flavor, with a bit of tannin that might be giving me the wood notes. There's also some coffee and even a bit of residual hoppiness indicating the freshness of this beer.

M - Good medium body, but a little more carbonation than I like. Creamy, but with a bit of grittiness at the top of the palate. Leaves a sticky residual coating.

D - The ABV isn't all that well hidden - it's not that it tastes boozy, but it doesn't hide the alcohol like better brews do. The carbonation is also a turnoff - it's slow going, even when sharing a 12oz with the wife.

I don't think this is quite in RIS territory - more of an American Double/Imperial. It's a solid brew, but I don't think I'll be drinking a ton with the excessive carbonation and so many better stouts out there.

MasterSki, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown color, with conspicuous floaties, and a head that is small and swiftly diminshing. Aroma is brisk and brimming with espresso character, rich with cocoa.
Texture is thick and warming, but a little difficult to swallow. I have to wonder if I have an old bottle, and if that could be the cause. (This came in a Two Brothers 12pack sampler)
Lacks the complexity that I come to enjoy in better Imperial Stouts. This clearly is not one of those. Later on, others flavors come to mind, and I'm tasting brandy, molasses, dates. Why so slow to show? It's too late, I'm bored already.

feloniousmonk, Mar 26, 2003
Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by the other Matt.

Beer is black with a thin tan head of small and medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass, carbonation is moderate. Looks good.

Aroma is strong but only with this almost coffee like bitterness from roast. Interesting. Aroma would not be described as "complex".

Beer is medium in body and holy hell is it bitter in the back. If there is anything else happening in this beer...any other flavors may only be captured in the orbit of this massive amounts of roast in the back of the palate. It's like a flavor avalanche that destroys a village of peaceful snow dwelling people at the base of a mountain...OK, that's hyperbole. It's not terrible but it's a one note wonder. Not great at all.

drabmuh, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

oline73, Aug 07, 2013
Photo of WesWes
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

WesWes, Oct 09, 2007
Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my New Belgium tulip.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and light carbonation evident. An inch of head stays throughout the drink, and light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of bitter chocolate, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, dark fruits, and very light coffee. The bitter chocolate stands out the most.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, sweet dark fruits, light sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee again. Sweeter than I was expecting.

m - Full body and low to moderate carbonation, thick and chewy. Very nice.

d - A pretty nice RIS. Bitter chocolate stands out in the smell, while sweet fruit stands out in the taste. Great mouthfeel and body, would certainly have again.
4/3.5/3.5/4.5/4 = 3.73%
___
EDIT: On 11/27/11 I had a 3 year (09, 10, & 11) mini-vertical thanks to the Chicago Group. All three version were good, and very different. I liked the 10 the best as it smelled fresher and had a lot more coffee, but my I'm bumping my ratings up to 4/4/4/4.5/4.5 as I loved this one.

mdfb79, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

DrunkinYogi, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

XmnwildX12, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +5.3%

imperialking, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +5.3%

InspectorBob, May 17, 2013
Photo of woodychandler
4.31/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

woodychandler, Mar 13, 2014
Photo of weeare138
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tomdecapolis for the bottle...
Appears a black with a small tan head and scattered lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and a touch of coffee.
The taste is of the same aromas.
Mouthfeel is sweet, slightly thin, with some hops resonating. Rich flavors seem to hang on to the palate a bit too long.
Not a bad brew though.

weeare138, Jan 27, 2006
Photo of dbrauneis
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours midnight black with a two finger tall foamy tan head. Lots of visible sediment that is also tan in color. Head reduces slightly but very good head retention overall. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Not as intense a smell present as I would have liked for this style. Hints of chocolate, oak, roasted dark malts, coffee, and vanilla.

T: Primarily dark bittersweet chocolate with hints of dark druit (plum + fig), oak, and some coffee bitterness. Not overly bitter and there is an underlying sweetness from the dark roasted malts.

M: Medium bodied with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Alcohol is very well hidden in this beer - both in the taste and the smell. Very enjoyable and a very well balanced beer. Some complexity in the flavors. Good beer for a cold winter day.

dbrauneis, Feb 19, 2012
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 758 ratings.