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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: 881
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: 881
Photo of mothman
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Bud American Ale glass.

Pours about 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a ring and leaves slight splattered lace. Pours a brown bronze, but the color in the class is black.

Aroma: Roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, dark fruits, molasses. Nothing huge, but not bad.

Taste: Big roasted malt profile, some grassy hops balance it out. Lots of chocolate and some coffee. Molasses with dark dried fruits again.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and a slight amount of bitterness. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very roasted and slightly dry.

Overall, for the price this beer is pretty decent. I have had a ton of better RISs, but they are normally a lot more expensive, so I give two brothers props on this. It is fairly drinkable, as it is nothing to big. I dig it for what it is.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by matt9875. Thanks Matt!

A: Black in color (or lack thereof) with a half inch of thick beige head. The head displays good retention and leaves some healthy lacing upon the glass.

S: The aroma is predominantly roasted malt, with some subtle chocolate scents far in the distance.

T: The flavor, like the aroma, is extremely roasty. The beer lacks complexity, but overall tastes fine, just simple.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth on the palate.

D: Very drinkable. I enjoyed this and would have it again.

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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 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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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A real nice pour out of the bottle, dark walnut brown, hitting the glass with a creamy character and a dark walnut black body. Head is creamy tan chocolate and foams up quite nicely with a solid two fingers. Very slowly settles to a simple thin puck and collar. Very nice.

Good solid Russian nose for the bouquet. Mild sense of dark bitter chocolate, light warm roast tones, good ripping grain sense and maybe a little bit of berried fruit also. Real nice, I am liking where this is going.

Palate is light but with a good creamy coating play. Wonderful sweet malts and dark roast character. Bitter dark chocolate abounds, with a real nice moderate controlled sweetness on the finish. The body is ideal and probably the best part of the beer, light but with lots of coating the flavors all around, and a tiny little bit of fizz on the tip of the tongue for playful character.

Overall a real solid Russian Imperial worth having and seeking out again, really did enjoy this one.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours aa turgid dark brown with lots of small floaties, and little head. A bit viscous. Smells of licorice and bit roasty. Th taste is a bit more complex and has more oomph. More licorice and roastiness, and a hint of bitter chocolate. Long finish. Very, very smooth in the mouth, and overall a little flawed but still quite pleasurable.

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

Sampled through the efforts of 120/190 BIF and lostbearbrew.

Pours a dark brown beer with no real head formation.

Smell is fairly fruity mostly raisin, figs, and plums. Pepper and spice ride to my nose on the alcohol fumes mostly pepper and cinnamon. Good aromas of chocolate and Kahlua.

Taste is sweet and quite roasted, smoky and bitter at the start. Very quickly the taste smoothes out and chocolate and smoke become the dominant flavors. Can't really say that this has a coffee flavor to it. Faint fruit flavors mostly figs. Good bitter snap lasts all the way through the glass.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty RIS that is worth trying. A good flaw free RIS that isn't one of the best but a very good choice for those that like them smoky and on the bitter end of the spectrum.

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Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Viggo!
Pours with plenty of bubbly head, looks like chocolate milk minus that it's nearly opaque black in colour. A wild, organic essence (probably from the type of yeast) underlies the aroma along with notes of chocolate malt, a seperate bready yeast, light malt. Distinct cherry in the aroma. Medium bitterness with flavour of cocoa butter most predominant. A neat stove top roast - toasty and smoky - like if you leave something on the burner. The smokyness really suits the flavours well although is a little off-putting in the aftertaste. Doesn't taste a decimal over 6%.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Black in colour with half a finger of medium brown head.

S - Chocolate, nuttiness, licorice.

T - Milk chocolate, toasted nuts, licorice, some noticeable alcohol. Sweet overall and the sweetness lingers in the finish.

M - Thick, creamy, silky. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of weeare138
3.92/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Buebie for this brew.

Lot 3178

Poured into a tulip a black color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with lots of sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some vanilla, chocolate/toffee. The taste is very nice, sweet, malty, with nice touch of chocolate/toffee notes. Medium body, this is not a high ABV IS, but very tasty. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Duff27
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Full two inch mocha head on a dark brown bodied beer. Head has long staying power, as it never did fully recede. Spider-lacing. Very appealing looking beer.

S- Deep chocolate notes with some roast/coffee aromas as well.

T- Roastiness at the forefront, then semi-sweet cocoa mixed with some coffee again. The 9.1%abv is very well hidden as I want to just gulp this one down. Perceived lacto notes?

M- Small bubble carbonation, fitting. Medium to medium-thin mouthfeel for the style.

D/O- Very drinkable for the style...a good introductory RIS. Thanks for leaving this at my place Zuidman, I owe you.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batting fourth...North....Wind....Imperial Stooouuuttt! Was wanting a decent clean-up hitter for my four beer evening...and got it....cold cocked!!! The 2Bros Imp Stout....has some alcohol in it....let me tell you. Poured into a brandy sniffer and the color was a wonderful dark creamy pour, with tan foam head. Unfortunately the Alcohol over powers the sweet malty undertones of the nose. The taste is decent once the buds get used to the 9.1% ABV!!! Again the alcohol over powers the taste, which has roast, chocolate, coffee, and maybe molasses where perhaps the sweetness comes. Once Again....the alcohol affects the mouthfeel and drinkability. Session....no way...two would be tough to handle! This beer needs to be partaked on the wintry nights. Stay classy!

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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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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.28/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured black with good carbonation and a brown head. Nose is roasted malt, cocoa, coffee and a lingering sour funk...uh oh. Taste is immediate funkyness, sourness, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee but that damn sourness was terrible. Mouthfeel is warming, sour like it was either infected or had a buttload of rotten green apples dumped into the mash. Drinkability, no way. Avoid and this was among the worst RIS I have ever had and I have had my share.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two-finger light brown head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Roasted coffee nose. Starts with a malty roasted coffee flavor, hint of hops in the finish, the higher ABV is not noticeable. $4.70 for a 22 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A-This beer pours a dark black with tiny bubbles of carbonation and a thin tan head that fades quickly.

S- This beer has a smell of deep roasted malt and a hint of sourness. Some faint hints of toasted malt and maybe a faint cold coffee smell aswell.

T- This beer has a nice cocoa, toasted barley and a hint of smoke mixed in the initial sip. The finish has a faint aged cheese taste in a good way. The finish has a faint hop note that is a bit watery.

M- This beer has a medium body with a faint hint of sourness but not really an astringent flavor. No alcohol warmth either.

D- Although the alcohol content is a bit lower than I like in an Imperial Stout, it does have some unique flavors that are very nice. It does have a good malt base but it does have an interesting aged cheese flavor that I haven't found in any other beers. Maybe yeast characteristic? Nice beer and I will have to get a few in the winter months.

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Photo of Tone
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a brown color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight dark citrus, slight roasted malt, slight alcohol, slight hops, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, roasted malt, sweet malt, and slight dark citrus. Overall, good aroma, blend, and body.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A totally opaque black beer with a smallish head that nevertheless has good retention; with its sticky lacing the appearance is top notch. Rich nose that's sweet and syrupy, with toffee and caramel, then a wave of booze.

Fruitcake taste that's rich but somewhat disappointingly not super deep. The booze is fairly well hidden and there's very little bitterness or hop presence. Definitely syrupy, slight roast, vague coffee notes. Initial burst of flavor isn't followed through enough to make this super memorable.

Smooth, with low carbonation, moderate stickiness; overall a pleasing mouthfeel. Medium body. Short finish and aftertaste that like the initial taste dies away a bit too fast.

Not bad, but not as good as the other beers I've tried from this brewery, which have been impressive. A solid B, I guess, worth trying, but probably won't come back to it in a crowded RIS field. Nice price though.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a minimal brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head what there was, is gone almost immediately, leaving a few little areas of bubbles around the edge, and lacing as well is minimal to non-existent. Aroma is dark grains, and that's about it. Taste is sweet dark malts upfront, some coffee bitterness, and a dry close. Seems closer to a regular stout here. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both not bad, but heaven forbid one rate against the style, this one would be out the door. Not bad for a beer, but not to style, in my mind.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
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).

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

Purchased at Sam's in Chicago.

Pours an opaque black, brown edges, very thick tan head, great retention, some lace spots. Smell is sweet, coffee, soem chocolate, caramel, cherry, burned aroma, not bad. Taste is smoky, chocolate and coffee roasts, fruits, more roast, burnt caramel cocoa finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, a sweet and easy drink, hides alcohol well. Burnt flavour is slightly annoying though.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ink black color. Little head. A thin rimming of brown lace. Nice aroma of roasted coffee bean and bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Only about medium bodied. Low carbonation lends to a nice drinkability. But the flavor profile isn't as "Bighuge" as I'd like it to be. There are the bittersweet chocolate tones. Cocoa tones. Java tones. And low bitterness for an Imperial. (The A/V is 7.5% and the IBUs are 45. Mild for an IS.) This would make for one helluva dry stout, but as an Imperial, it just doesn't stack up.

This is not a great Imperial Stout, but it is better than their Iditorod Imperial Stout from the same Brewery I had a few years ago.

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