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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 SisuPride
SisuPride

Tennessee

3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured really dark with a thin head as about as dark tan of a head as you will ever see. The beer smelled good and I woyld not hae guessed it to be over nine percent alcohol but it is. Stout it is! The taste was a more biter than I prefer but it was alright tasting. Mouthfeel was average and oevral a decent stout.l

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 23:57:45 | More by SisuPride
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 zebulon
zebulon

Illinois

2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I poured this in two pours from a 22 oz bomber. Temperature was from my basement at about 55 to 60 deg.

Dark brown/black color formed light brown head on first pour to about 1/2" second pour I was carefull and got 1" head. Head went down fact to thin film. Head looked creamy but I tasted light.

Chocolate aroma with a slight metallic edge.

Taste was chocolate with slight coffee, but had that metallic taste that I objected to. There was also a light fizzy taste at first. Later the fizziness was gone slight sour come out and a taste of dried fig and toffee.

Mouth feel started creamy and declined to light.

OK drink but somewhat disappointing. Kind of a stout light.
We could debate whether this is an a imperial or a chocolate, but really who cares if it is good. This just didn't make the grade. It is almost as if it was brewed for complexity and ended up with slight off flavor and not enough body. At $5.95 a bottle not worth it

Would have given this a 2.6 or 2.7 in some catagories but that is not allowed.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2007 21:56:58 | More by zebulon
Photo of Jekster
Jekster

Indiana

2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a deep dark rich brown color with a dark mocha head that dissipates to little or no lacing.

Smell: This beer smells of toasted caramel, dark robust coffee and cream. There is a slight woody character as well like fresh cut oak or a sawed fire wood. There is a slight bready sweetness in the background as well as a dark roasted grain.

Taste: Roasted sweetness carries the foremost flavor in this beer. There is some lite caramel and malt sweetness, but it does not hold a candle light to the almost overpowering roast character. There is a slight acid bitterness in the end as well as minor alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel: This beer is surprisingly thin for an imperial stout. There is a slight slickness and creamy component, but not as thick as you would expect for the style.

Drinkability: This beer is a sipper but not in the traditional sense of an imperial stout. It's more of a sipper because of the strong roast character and slight alcohol hit towards the swallow. I would not drink more than two of these in any sitting.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This beer did not live up to my expectations. It had a nice aroma, but the flavor is amazingly one dimensional. The roast character dominates and leaves little else to be detected. Moreover, there is a complete lack of the thick chewy coating body that I expect from a high gravity sippable beer. Instead, this beer is quite thin and even dry after the swallow. I think this is very uncharacteristic of the style and not what I really want to sip on a cold winter night. For the price, it's not bad yet I would suggest spending a couple more dollars and picking up one of the better RIS's out there.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 03:33:58 | More by Jekster
Photo of dnjmed
dnjmed

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 05:06:47 | More by dnjmed
Photo of --Dom--
--Dom--

Missouri

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Even with a good hard pour, not much head. Less than 1 finger, brown, dissipates quickly. I'm less interested in that than the taste thought, this beer tastes great. Pours a dark brown, nearly black. This is a thick beer.

Smells of roasted malt, slightly burnt aroma, slight coffee aroma as well.

For me, the mouthfeel of this beer is perfect. It doesn't feel too heavy, or too carbonated. Pretty much spot on. Every flavor is there in balance. I taste the roasted malts, hint of coffee, hint of chocolate. Just sweet enough, not too sweet. You really wouldn't guess the high gravity unless you already knew. The alcohol rides along the palate with all the other flavors very well. The finish is great, no biting aftertaste of any kind.

This beer is very strong, but very drinkable. I could definitely have 2 in a night. It isn't perfect, but it's close. I do not consider myself a stout guy, but I really do like this beer a lot. It isn't perfect but it is very good. Well done once again Two Brothers. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 02:04:38 | More by --Dom--
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 ironbike1
ironbike1

New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very smooth Imperial Stout coming in at 9.10abv.

Dark black with a thin brownish head that fades quick but leaves nice lacing throughout the drink.
Smell is of burnt oak/nuts or chocolate and the taste is smokey,earthy with nuts & with a bitter taste of chocolate in the backdrop. Not a real intense stout but it is very well balanced and hides the abv very well the drinkablility is very high for this style.
excellent beer a must try and a cellar favorite.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 00:41:32 | More by ironbike1
Photo of moz9
moz9

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bvick7 for the bottle. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I chose to review it because I found it to be better than the recent reviews have indicated.

It pours a nice black with a tan brown head. The smell is a little thin at first, but the taste and mouthfeel makes up for it. The roasted grains and chocolate are apparent, yet very smooth.

Overall I think this is just a very good RIS. It's not anything flashy or fancy, but a very enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2011 02:46:22 | More by moz9
Photo of mecummins
mecummins

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- poured a dark dark brown color. Very rich looking. Produced a 1 & 1/2 finger dark tan head. The foam dissipated very quickly, however, leaving a thin film to cover the beer. Bits of lacing here and there, but nothing really exciting.

S- dark chocolate, coffee and some roasted malts. There was a sweetness there as well.

T- sort of disappointing at first. The taste did not live up to the aroma at all. There was a harsh alcohol taste on the front note, followed by the bitterness of the chocolate & coffee. As it warmed though, it grew a bit sweeter and better balanced. I enjoyed it a lot more after it sat out for 20 minutes or so.

M- very lush and rich mouthfeel. It had a chewy quality to it. Medium finish

O- it was a decent stout that I'd drink again, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2013 03:29:32 | More by mecummins
Photo of sully11277
sully11277

Illinois

4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter glass.

A- Black with a light brown head. that fades a little but sticks around on surface of the beer.

S- it smells like cocoa, coffee, and dark roast

T- It is so smooth and the cocoa and roast flavors come through. You can hardly tell this beer is 9.1% ABV. You do not get much of an alcohol burn or anything.

M- Did I mention this beer is smooth. It is just a enjoy of all the notes that hit your tongue but nothing to overpower it.

O- This is a great beer, I poured it and before I knew it my glass was empty and I was wishing I bought a 6 pack of this beer. You could not drink it all day but it would be great for one of those snowed in nights.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 21:03:55 | More by sully11277
Photo of fallopia
fallopia

Indiana

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a refrigerated bottle into a snifter

Appearance: Deep brown, nearly black color with a fine, beading light-mocha head.

Aroma: Toasted, meaty malts with powdered cocoa hints.

Flavor: Smoky, cocoa and mild coffee notes with a slight burnt aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Well-balanced, medium-to-full bodied malts with a slightly harsh, carbonated finish.

Overall, this was a well-balanced, slightly lighter than expected stout that I would rate in the upper half of its class.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2012 01:42:44 | More by fallopia
Photo of willseph
willseph

Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, dark as midnight, one finger head (dark clay in color) that stuck around for the duration of the beer. Right away, the nose reminded me of slightly burnt toast and whiskey with a touch of piney hops. Not a bad combo actually. Lots of lacing all the way through the beer.

The toasted malt taste overpowers anything else on the front end, but there is a slight taste of toffee & chocolate (like a Heath bar). The back end is subtle hops, but I was still tasting the malt. Definitely a heavy, chunky feeling beer. Let it sit out a bit, it gets better toward the upper 40 degrees. I was impatient, and I wish I had waited.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2011 18:18:25 | More by willseph
Photo of JimboHD2005
JimboHD2005

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

By far, one of the best imperial stouts I've had. I am so pleased that Two Brothers brought this back to six packs again this year.

This poures pitch black with no light coming through in a snifter held towards light, even at the upper edges. Looks just what I expect from an Imperial Stout. Has a slight quarter inch or so head that disapates after a couple of minutes.

Scents of carmel, toffee and chocolate come through nicely without being overpowering.

Notes of a deep chocolate, rich maltiness and slight bitterness. Malt is nicely balanced with the hop bitterness.

Very easy to drink and will be picking up more of this to share with friends. A perfect warmer in this bitter winter (-19 today).

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 03:50:54 | More by JimboHD2005
Photo of FishHeadLover
FishHeadLover

Tennessee

4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love this brewery so I was really looking forward to this one.
A- Poured black with a little thickness, brown head that laced around the edge of the glass.
S- Smelled of slight coffee and chocolate.
T- Taste was smooth with hints of chocolate and coffee. The ABV was lighter than I am use to in an imperial but it went well with the taste.
M- Not as chewy as some imperials but it had a coating on the tougue that was nice.
D- Very drinkable very smooth and finished without any hint of burnt coffee.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 19:33:48 | More by FishHeadLover
Photo of craftbeerbyob
craftbeerbyob

Illinois

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black with a frothy white head. Slightest head maintained throughout my pour.

Smell: Roasted, smoke, chocolate, coffee nose. But subtle!

Taste: Smoke, roasted forward taste with a creamy chocolate/coffee finish. Fantastic!

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Not a meal but not a an easy drink. It is meant to be enjoyed over time.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 04:49:37 | More by craftbeerbyob
Photo of MelissaJ
MelissaJ

Indiana

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black color, brown head, seems a bit watery as there's not much lacing.

S: Coffee, caramel, cocoa, but the aroma is weak.

T: Immediately a strong toasted malt taste which stays, some dark fruits, then some bitter chocolate, slight caramel notes, finishes with almost a sourdough bread taste. Really interesting taste profile.

M: it's very smooth--the carbonation is a medium. Quite light. Creamy.

O: I first tried this beer when it was refrigerator-cold and the taste was too sharp. I tried it again after letting a bottle warm up a bit and it was a much better experience which let the subtle layers of flavor beneath the loud toasted malt shine--definitely warming up a bit is necessary for this. It's good, and I'd have it again, but it's also not one of my top favorites.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 05:07:39 | More by MelissaJ
Photo of brewcast6
brewcast6

Nebraska

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

Poured from a bottle that had been aged for approximately a year and Poured into a snifter glass

Aroma: Strong carmel aroma, Roasted malt, with undertones of coffee and chocolate, slight alcohol presence -- Very well balanced aroma

Appearance: Jet black color with a deep tan head that is initially well formed but has very little retention

Flavor: Complex flavors of alcohol, roasted malt, hints of chocolate, coffee, slight alcoholic flavor

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied, with a creamy texture, gives a little alcohol warmth, very little carbonation

Overall Impression: Very complex beer with a variety of flavors making you want to take another drink. I drank a bottle of this a year ago before it aged and it was one of the best Imperial stouts I have had in regards to the fact that it doesn't have a big alcohol burn you normally get with most imperial stouts and it gets even better with age!

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 05:27:05 | More by brewcast6
Photo of freewheelinbob
freewheelinbob

Minnesota

3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a great price for a RIS yesterday and was really looking forward to trying it.

Looks really nice, opaque dark brown, a bit of read on the bottom and a satisfactory light tan head. Quite a bit of sediment, expected from 2 Bros.

Some caramel in the smell that intensified as it got closer to room temp. Then a bit of roasted coffee and vanilla too.

First, a bit of dark chocolate and molasses. Then, pretty sweet. Aftertaste a bit sour. No alcohol taste at all. Medium mouthfeel.

Pretty satisfied overall. I have 5 more and I'll probably sit on a couple until next year to see what happens. Pretty solid, not as complex as others of the style, and a bit sweet also. I'll get it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2011 02:39:31 | More by freewheelinbob
Photo of scottwestphall
scottwestphall

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black stout with 0 transparency. Poured with little head and left no lacing.   Sort of disappointing. The aroma was really nice with a whiff of black licorice. The flavor was good as expected by this genre of beer. Bits of coffee, carmel, and roasted malts as a stout like this should have. The body was thick and kinda heavy. At 9.1% alcohol it's not something you can just throw back while watching the Superbowl.  Overall it's pretty good and I would drink it again, though for my money I'd opt for Ole Rasputin which is still the standard.   Decent effort, but not the top dog. 

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 01:28:40 | More by scottwestphall
Photo of foglemgs
foglemgs

Illinois

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured quite darkly from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The stout has a nice opacity to it and a brown head was briefly present. What remains of the head does leave a nice lacing on the glass.

S: I'm left a tiny bit wanting here, though it is nice that the high (9.1% ABV) doesn't overpower. There are roasted malt and coffee overtones, but I get nothing underneath. Not much subtlety to this brew.

T: Pretty damn decent, overall. The taste matches the smell (malt and coffee) and the alcohol lingers pleasantly on the tongue. I want to taste the alcohol in a Russian Imperial Stout, and this fits the bill.

M: Again, largely pleasant. This is not a heavy stout by my standards, but it has a nice dryness on the finish.

O: Two Brothers Brewing has done very well with North-Wind. The Imperial Stout is probably my favorite kind of beer, and this ranks right up there with the best, though the flavors aren't quite as BOOM as I would like.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 01:32:36 | More by foglemgs
Photo of drbeef
drbeef

Illinois

4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll tell you right now that I haven't had this beer in a couple weeks but I thought I should mention that if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it.

Beautiful black with dark creamy head

Chocolate and coffee with malty and dried fruit sweetness.

Taste? The same. Dark chocolate, roasty, sweet and delicious.

A little easier to drink than some other imperial stouts. Went through a few growlers of this stuff in as many weeks.

As if it wasn't a treat on its own, you can get a Northwind Float at the Tap House. Like beer heaven.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2008 00:20:50 | More by drbeef
Photo of Dmoore07
Dmoore07

Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Very viscous coming out of the bottle. Deep black color. Tan head, dissipated quickly but left lacing.

S- Sweet and malty with prominent chocolate notes.

T- Smooth, rich body. Full of chocolate, toffe, and mocha malt characters. Just enough bitterness lingers in the rear to balance the malty body.

M- Rich and creamy. The alcohol is fairly well hidden.

D- Pretty drinkable. The high ABV would keep me at just one of these, but that doesn't mean it wasn't wast going down.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 04:04:52 | More by Dmoore07
Photo of HESSLER500
HESSLER500

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured slowly down the side of a glass, there really is no head to mention of. A sniff of this stuff reveals hops, cocoa, and coffee. Mouth feel is just about thick, but not overbearing. Taste reveals an exceptional balance of malts, hops and sweetness. Much better blended then Storm King which i think is way to hoppy for my tastes. Northwind is a wonderfully easy to drink stout that, even though has a relatively high abv, doesn't knock your socks off with the burn. I think this stuff is slightly better then Rasputin, which i think is excellent in it's own right.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 13:34:00 | More by HESSLER500
Photo of chadn
chadn

Illinois

3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Review is of the 12-oz bottle, bought from local store 3 months before pouring.

Ratings based on comparison to other beers in this class.

Appearence: dark brown/black beer, like a proper stout. Poured like water, almost no bubbles, and no head. Slight lacing that lasts only a couple seconds on sides.

Smell: Mostly roasted, slight vanilla and chocolate

Taste: Definitely roasted, bitter, slightly sour, chocolate, and hardly any hint of alcohol, which is surprising considering 9% ABV. Dry finish.

Mouth: Smooth and rich. Some carbonation like a cola, which is unexpected. Dry and clean finish.

Overall: Tastes good but not the best stout. Definitely does not taste like a 9% ABV beer .. more like 6%. Strong roasted stout with a dry finish makes it easy to keep drinking this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 05:36:22 | More by chadn
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 712 ratings.