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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 beckje01
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Black color with no activity and a big tan head.

S- Astringent smell and a hint of sweet.

T- A slight hop taste then malt it's ok very astringent the chocolate malt is ok but could play a bigger part to add to the complexity.

M-Nice thickness and activity.

D- Ok, not great I probably wouldn't have again there are much better examples of the style but this is average.

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Photo of optiontwo
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. poured into Unibroue tulip glass

Appearance: Black with a one inch somewhat tan head that was only conjured with a vigorous pour.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, tobacco, caramel, and nuts. Plenty going on here, can't wait to taste.

Taste: Reminds of dark chocolate covered nuts, almonds maybe. There's a definite roasted flavor to everything that's in there. Other flavors include smoky coffee, dark fruit, and even cherries perhaps. The finish is clean with a perfect amount of hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful for an imperial stout. Carbonation and viscosity are both spot on.

Drinkability: Surprisingly high. I'm impressed that Two Brothers has made an imperial stout that tastes and feels like an imperial but is only 7.5% ABV. If you're looking for a nice full bodied stout to drink for a whole night, this is it.

Overall: I love it. I'll definitely be picking this one up again to have my friends try. Once again, very impressed with what Two Brothers has done here but I'm usually impressed with what they do.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of mnstorm99
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice black pour with a small tan head that sticks around for a short while laces nice down the glass.
Aroma is malty with just a touch of hops, mostly spicy chocolate and biscuits.
Taste is a little different, the hops come through pretty well here more balanced than most RIS, with a much bigger malt presence. Chocolate and caramel dominate with a nice sweet candy like hop flavor.
Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, with a touch of oily residue left on the palate, this is a very easy, drinkable RIS. I'll have another!!!

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Photo of Buebie
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter. Color is pitch black. 1 inch thick creamy brown head. Retention is terrific with a long lasting quarter inch of goodness hanging around.
Thin full drapes of lace.

Aroma is ho-hum, toasted mild chocolate grains, and I mean mild as in literally. Some sweet cotton candy aroma.

MMmmmm, this is thick! Thick and creamy with a good sweet punch. Mellow smooth carbonation.
Candy like at the start, switching to more cotton candy flavors, bitter sweet chocolate and warm alcahol.
Finishes well with a toasty bitter grain flavor ligering a long time.

The aroma is misleading, this sure is flavorful. The mouthfeel alone is reason enough to try it. Outstanding for the style.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- black body with a full finger of beige head with heavy lacing.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate, some ripe dark fruits maybe.

T- chocolate and roasted malt upfront. the finish was sour??? not sure how i feel about that...

M- a little thin and watery for my likes. very creamy and smooth

D- theres little to no trace of alcohol in this one, but the thinness and sour aftertaste make it so finishing more than one wouldnt be desirable. im going to have to try this one again fresh and maybe change the review. a sour RIS makes me think something was wrong with this bottle, maybe the liquor store i got it from didnt treat it as well as they could have.

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Photo of blakesell
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer has been aged in my cellar for roughly 2 years under the best cellaring conditions that I can muster.

Poured from the 22oz bottle into an over sized brandy snifter.

Appearance- Beer pours a solid midnight with no head at all really, lacing does cling to the sides pretty thickly. There is a somewhat gluey consistency to the beer itself.

Smell- Lactose and milk chocolate upfront with many many dark malts bringing up the rear. I really love the two brothers yeast strain, especially after aging the smell really jumps out of their beers.

Taste- Dark malts upfront with a nice creamy chocolate coating coming through. Lightly bitter but seems quite balanced. Very thick on the mouth. Some light licorice notes and some prunes as well on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and thick with very low warming, which isn't that surprising as the beer isn't that high on the ABV levels. Full bodied, medium in carbonation levels.

Drinkability- Very smooth on the drinkability scale and I would love to try it on tap.

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Photo of tpd975
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice deep dark abyss black hue with a 1/2 finger head. The head dies rather quickly and yields to a small bubbly collar. No lace.

S: Tons of dark fruit up front with hints of roasty malt. A nice tart stout.

T: Flavor really matches the nose. Dark fruit and more dark fruit right at the start. Figs, Raisins, and Dates are all there. Light hints of charred malt as well. This one is all about the fruit though.

M: Medium in body with a nice level of carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable. Would like a touch of chocolate, smoke, or coffee though.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep black body with tan foam sporting a slightly reddish trim to it. Nice aromas but a little faint for an RIS--chocolate, a bit of coffee, bit of berry, nothing to take control of it. That this translates to the taste is somewhat disappointing, though it's pretty good. Coffee, some molasses, and chocolate factor in most prominently but, again, this could use a take-charge characteristic. I find the texture on the thin side especially when compared to personal favorites such as Old Rasputin, but I suppose most are.

It's a pretty good beer, and nothing Two Brothers should be ashamed of by any means. But I find myself demanding more malt, yet again. Other Russian Imperial Stouts fit the bill better than this, though it's worth a try.

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

A hookup from Mr Taco.

Pours a deep, lightless dark brown almost black color with 1 pinky of creamy tan head, average retention with some good lacing. Smells of dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malt, oat, and molasses. Tastes of raisins and other dark fruit followed by chocolate. A sweet molasses-like backbone also contains some flavors of oat and roasted malt. Finishes with some smokiness and a touch of citrus bitterness. Medium in body and low in carbonation, semi-syrupy with good dark fruit flavors as well as chocolate and a touch of roastiness and hops make a nicely balanced RIS. More mild than some of the big bruiser RIS out there, but very flavorful and low in ABV making it easier to drink.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 16oz pint glass at Firkin 4/20/08. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Served a dark, coal black with a creamy dark tan head. Poor retention, however, that leaves sheets and spots of lace.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, sweet dark fruit, toffee, chocolate, and caramel.

T: Charred black malt, overripe dark fruit, chocolate, bitter espresso, and cherry.

M: Very creamy with a nice peppery hop bite.

D: Big RIS flavors and aromas + medium sized RIS abv% = excellent drinkability.

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Photo of drbeef
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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

Pours a nice black with a slighty brown head. The smell is pretty sweet and decent. The taste is super sweet and not at all characteristic of an Imperial stout. Its a good beer but nothing compared to the brew I had before this review. The mouthfeel is a little thin but decent.

Overall, I wouldnt grab this about because of the super sweet taste of this imperial stout. Just not a big fan

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

Poured oily black with an aggressive bubbly tan head settling to very little, leaving bubbly lace. Only a few deep red highlights catch on the bottom of the glass. Roasted grain and fruit scents brim from the glass, with prune, burnt wood, and smoke. An interesting mix of sweet, tart, and sour aromas. Taste is unique and inviting, with a good deal of cocoa, dark toasted bread, and juicy dark fruits. A light smoke flavor seems to tie it all together very nicely, giving it a mature taste. Finishes with some clean hop bitterness. Sticky, smooth, and slightly dry on the back end. Though differing from many RISs in feel and taste, a very unique and great beer on its own. Excellent drinkability, very palatable and easy to consume with a reasonable abv. Not what I expected in a RIS, but an excellent brew.

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Photo of crayphish
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brew pours a light canceling jet black liquid. Liquid is notably thick with a thin dark beige head. Nominal lacing. Smell is roasted malts with coffee and chocolate making their presence known. Some tartness is noted. Taste is chocolate coffee with a sweet raisin note over a faint hop bitterness. Not overly complex, but extremely balanced. Mouthfeel is fairly full due to the thickness of the beer. Does not finish as clean as one would like. The heaviness of this beer hurts its drinkability. Though it was still enjoyable.

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Photo of karengarys
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours really dark black, as expected, tan head as expected, not hazy.

Smell reminds me of rasins.

taste is nice RIS taste, bit of rasins and fruit but this is NOT fruity, it is just.... balanced... It has a tad of hops that most RISs don't, and it really works for some reason.

Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, the alcohol stabs the tongue a bit but the hops cleans it up well.

Finish is clean too - the stuff going on all works well together...

It is way easy to drink. I didn't want to spend $8-9 a pop on this, but sometimes ya just gotta say.... why now.. I think I'm gonna grab a few more now that I've learned it is worth it.

Give this a whirl. It fits the RIS class, but it is a tad bit different giving me exactly what I would want from a small high quality American brewery.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - inky black pour with some thickness to it. A conservative head evaporating quickly to a thin collar-ring and a few pockets of stray foam on top.

Aroma - roasty malts and chocolate syrup. Simple, effective, well done.

Taste - malts, sweet like melted chocolate up front. A burnt malt bitter char on the swallow, leaving the palate dry. The aftertaste is warm and roasty, and stays that way at length. The abv fills the finish with vapory warmth, lucious and full while showing off some roasted coffee notes. I like the balance.

Mouthfeel - my earlier comment regarding melted chocolate was primarily aimed at the mouthfeel. Very smooth and easy-flowing.

Drinkability - a well-constructed beer, another one wouldn't be out of the question, nor would laying a few down for some cellar time. Big for a stout, a little light for an Impy. No matter, this is on the short list for a tasty winter warm-up.

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Photo of joekfsu
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. Pours black, nearly opaque. Almost no head, beige, quickly diminishing. Light fruity aroma, maybe cherry or cranberry. Malt flavor up front, ends on bitter chocolate. Light aftertaste of bitter chocolate. Light to medium body, almost no carbonation. Alcohol hidden well. Very drinkable, but more so for the imperial stout drinker than others.

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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 Risser09
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass - 2007 vintage

Appearance: This is a black ale with no penetrating light and a brown head that leaves some lacing on the glass. No signs of rapid carbonation.

Smell: Stale toasted malt, coffee, chocaolate and roasted grains. Not overly complex.

Taste: A roasty malt flavor profile. Flavors of burnt toast, cherry, blackened meat and some cherry, vanilla, and anise hang out in the barkground. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery. This beer needs improvement in this area for sure, in order to keep up with the other competitors in this style. Alcohol is lingering in the background.

Drinkability: Great, considering its low abv for the style and lack of an overwhelming mouthfeel. I won't touch more than 1 bottle of an RIS, but do as you wish. This beer is worth trying, since it only had a $5 price tag.

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Photo of Phatz
3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to Risser09 for sharing this bottle with me.

On first sip this seemed like a really good beer. At our tasting we stacked a few other great stouts up against Northwind RIS and it honestly was no match for BORIS the Crusher. But, in all fairness it is a pretty decent beer, were it not in such a tough league.

Appearance: Pours black, almost impenetrable to the light and it has a little brown head. Some lace.

Smell: The aroma is of dark roasted malts, coffee, roasted grains, chocolate espresso bitterness.

Taste: Again roasty and dark with lots of flavor; just not enough to compete with the best of 'em. Burnt chocolate coffee roasted malts, a touch of vanilla, caramel and anise and some plum with a bitter dry finish. Nice.

Mouthfeel: It has a nice flavor but need more body. Both for the flavor and the mouthfeel. The body is thin for the style.

Drinkability: This is an exceptionally easy drinking RIS. It is a lower ABV and lighter weight than most giving it less depth than some but also more approachable. It is certainly worth a taste.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into nonic pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Pours a motor oil black with a coffee and milk colored two inch head that fades down into a thin ring in a minute or two, leaves nice looking lacing down the sides of the glass

S: It's a pretty subdued smell for a suposedly big beer, I had to nearly dip my nose in this one to pick up the scent, but hey, sometimes I like a little subtlety. Get the normal smokey caramel malts paried with a burnt espresso background, this one seems to rely more on the smoked malt scent than the chocolate and coffee I'm used to which is nice, but still seems a bit off.

T/MF: Sort of a greasy mouthfeel which is a bit offputting. Tastes of toasted malts and sweet raisins and plums, the fruits dominate this one though, finishes rather clean with only a bit of oil hanging around on the tongue. A chocolatey tobacco sweetness lingers in between each sip. Not nearly as hoppy as other Imperial Stouts I've tried which is a nice change of pace but really threw me for a loop when I took the first sip.

D: To be honest I almost wanted to pour this one out after the first sip, but it grew on me after a while, not much mind you but not terrible.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout
22 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a deep black with trails of sticky lacings on the side of the glass.

Whiffs of a chocolate bar and freshly brewed French Roast coffee.

Juicy chocolate syrup thickness with hints of milk chocolate. Hints of roasted coffee beans, almost espresso-like in the bitterness of the punch. A touch of sour cream interjects with a bitter hop bite. A touch of caramel sweetness with roasted malts as the backbone.

Solid - I would like to try this brew in the dead of winter.

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Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nearly black color with ruby highlights and a prodigiously rocky head that sticks well with films of lace

Smell: Wafts of roasty coffee, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit

Taste: Upfront, there is a dark fruit element of prune, dates, caramel and chocolate; surprisingly sweet and fruity; after the swallow, the grassy bitterness arrives to complement the fruit, with an element of smoke on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not quite to style (not big enough and it is a bit too sweet and fruity); more like a Baltic Porter, in my opinion

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Photo of letsgopens
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another selection from Two Brothers. This Imperial Stout pours black with amber red highlights. Visible small bubbles and a tan/brown head that recedes leaving a bit of light lace.

The aroma incorporates coffee and some chocolate. A touch of mild smoke and lots roasted malt.

A lot of initial roastiness with plenty of malt flavor. The expected chocolate and pleasant mellow coffee. Done well, but mellow nearly all around. Very nice stout-like qualities but lacking that traditional bite and warmth associated with many Imperials. Caramel, some hops, half & half, and molasses in the finish.

Smooth and creamy on the palate. Heavy but not too syrupy. Pleasant and good all around.

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