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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

405 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 405
Hads: 877
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 11.94%
Wants: 26
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
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Reviews: 405 | Hads: 877
Photo of bearrunner44
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- As black as midnight. A hard pour produced about a centimeter of creamy, caramel-colored foam. The retention is good; a faint ring of head remained throughout consumption.

Smell- Rich, sweet malt aroma backed by a touch of grassy hops. Roasted cocoa beans. Alcohol scents float inconspicuously underneath it all.

Taste & Mouthfeel- Smooth and fairly rich; the smoothness is oatmeal-like. Carbonation is appropriately subdued. The malt flavor is sweet, milky, and caramel-like at first, almost cloyingly so. It becomes more dry towards the finish, though. The hops also become more prominent. They're leafy and herbal, and the overall taste of the finish is earthy and slightly bitter. The alcohol is hidden pretty well; it tastes like a 5-6.00 ABV, not 7.5.

Verdict- The richness and body you would expect from an Imperial stout is here, even if it's not the most complex one on the market.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, borderline black with a half finger of tan head with a very agressive pour...disappears almost instantly...no lacing.
Not a lot going on in the nose...some vanilla, milk chocolate, carmelized malt.
The taste is good, but it is not wowing me at this point. Served near room temperature and it has a decent chocolate profile, plenty of hops, but the mouthfeel is terribly thin for the style and seems watered down when I think of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts.
I like the folks at Two Brothers and this one drinks fairly easily...I would try this one again when I see it on tap, but I won't be stocking up on this one at this point.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 22oz bomber, lot # 3345; no best-by or bottled-on date found. Pours inky black, dark as night, with just a semblance of a head in the form of some scattered bubbles on the surface and around the rim. Nothing, repeat nothing, gets through the black hole of liquid filling the goblet. Mere hints of lacing are left behind, nothing more. Aroma has dark fruit aspects co-mingling with a bit of espresso, with suggestions of floral hoppiness. Somewhat understated, on the whole. Body borders on medium, which is a bit of a letdown, as I feel they should be full and chewy for this style. It is still quite smooth, nonetheless.

Taste is comprised of a smidgen of malty, brown sugar sweetness and then a healthy helping of roasty, charred bitterness. An inkling of dark fruit tries to come forth, yet is suppressed by the roasty character and pleasant floral hoppiness, with the latter having some nice lasting qualities. Lacking complexity, Northwind is still fairly satisfying with its roasty flavors, though it could have been much more of a flavor storm, imo.


overall: 3.85
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of Jredner
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is fairly hoppy, but with an odd lager-like aroma and very little roastiness, but some minor coffee notes. A deep black body lies beneath a dminishing mocha hued thin film of a head. Flavor is a nicely burnt/roasted melange of coffee and dark chocolate, hearty dark fruits and malt. Alcohol is almost unoticeable and the palate is thinnish.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

La Cave Du Vin in Cleveland had this on tap this week. I've had spotty experiences with Two Brothers beers in the past (the Bitter End pale ale rocks, the DuPaige French Ale tasted contaminated, and the Oh Brother tripel tasted like ass). But this stout was awesome.

If you've had Founders breakfast stout, you can imagine this stuff. Just reduce the coffee component by about 75% (making it just right in my opinion). I couldn't drink more than one, because I was trying too many other beers. But I'll get this again if I see it.

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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 MattBrooks
4.65/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found out after trying this fantastic brew that it regularly comes in six packs as the next in a series of seasonals, but the brewery couldn't get the six-pack holders made in time, so they put it in a 22oz bottle this year. This beer pours brownish-black with a beautiful cascade and complimentary colored head. It smells the way a cup of coffee would had that cup been made by Hershey's. Yum! The only flaw in the whole beer is the mouthfeel, it could have been a little bit heavier for my taste. Some Russian Imperials can come off way too bitter or way to chocolate-y, not this one. It has great balance throughout and it's not too hard to put down a few bombers, even if it is 7.5%.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass black with a ruby highlight and a brown but low head which fell quickly and lace the glass.

The aroma was nicely chocolately with a earthy hop presence. The aroma contained a sizeable expresso coffee aroma. The hops were grassy and almost a bit of menthol was present.

The flavor was coffee with a nice chocolate flavor and a well done hop presence. The hops were grassy and earthy and very prominent in the flavor. As the beer warmed a bit of the menthol component of the aroma was present in the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting roasty coffee expresso and chocolate coupled with a strong grassy bittering well into the afteraste and beyond. The body was medium full and just a bit lower than expected. For an 8.5% ABV beer the alcohol was very restrained.

22 ounce bottle, 8.5% ABV on label. Lot 3345. Thanks beerinator!

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

22 oz brown bomber. No freshness dating, but it is lot 3345.

The beer is an opaque jet black with a good light brown head. Decent lacing.

Nice nose of roasted malts, coffee, & dark chocolate.

The taste is of roasted almost smoky malts. I like the way the hops add a secondary taste of pine & citrus. This adds a nice balance as the coffee, malts and chocolate notes are massive. Some raisin/plum taste emerges late.

Very smooth and creamy mouth. I like this beer, great one to share & savor. I’m kind of surprised its not rated higher, but to each their own. One of the better offerings from Two Brothers.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.53/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Dark brown, but still allows light to penetrate the beer. Head dafers quickly to nothing.

Smell: None too strong smelling, light cocoa and old coffee, kind of sour.

Taste: Fairly weak and unimpressive for an Imp. Stout. Coffee is obvious, but none too dominant, alcohol does not help to enhance it much, either. Bitterness is none to strong.

Mouthfeel: Watery and lightly carbonated, unimpressive.

Drinkability: Skip it, this may be one of the weakest and the lowest ABV Imperial Stouts I have run across.

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Photo of zjungleist
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nearly black in color, slightly brown, but poured almost zero head. The smell is basically burnt, but it's hard to tell since it is so very faint. The flavor proved to be more of an eye opener, with some fairly intense burnt malt flavors, but that's about all. Not much coffee, chocolate, but those flavors grow as I drink. The hops are there in the background, but nothing to write home about. The mouth feel is pretty thin, thinner than I expected. The carbonation is low, but it cuts through the thin beer like a knife. At least it's not syrupy. The 8.5% (as listed on my bottle) is masked well, though. Unfortunately, I am just not all that impressed with this beer, and as I recall, I was not impressed by my last one from Two Brothers. It seems like they cut too many corners to achieve the style.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Bomber.

A: Pours a jet black with a half finger caramel colored brown head, that dissipates pretty quickly.

S: Aromas of roasted coffee and silky bitter chocolate malts.

T: Chocolatey, roasty, coffee flavor.

M & D: Mouthfeel is very silky smooth with a well balanced taste, but its not as heavy as I would have liked it to be. This stout could have more body to it. It's a semi drinkable beer with nice chocolatey aftertaste, but just not enough.

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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 BuckeyeNation
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Motor oil black with sparse ruby accents along the bottom edge of the pint glass. The dense, coffee milkshake-colored head has a surface that is virtually flat (in other words, it's anti-rocky: "Oy! Adrian!"). A lack of inherent stickiness quickly results in a thin sliver of foam and absolutely no lace.

The nose grabs back some measure of self-respect; it's a pretty good one. There's plenty of power, with a focus on ground coffee bean-flecked chocolate fudge. There's very little hoppiness and no molasses, anise, smoke, etc. to fill it out. Simple, but effective.

There's quite a bit of flavor, although the best of this style are hardly quaking in their RIS boots. Sweet dark chocolate is still in charge, with sweet black coffee obediently taking orders. Did I mention that it's sweet? Sour plays a big role as well. The malt is fairly heavily roasted, but not charred, and there's more fruity hoppiness than the nose suggested there would be.

Each mouthful finishes sweet and sticky, with malt and hops co-existing in relative harmony. The body is medium-full. On second thought, given the style, it's probably closer to medium. There's lots of mouthcoating going on. Less sugar would be preferrable.

Northwind Imperial Stout doesn't seem much like a RIS to me. No matter, it's still good beer. Despite its minor flaws, I found a lot to like in this bottle.

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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 orbitalr0x
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage Batch 2860:

Deep black pour with an inch of tan head on top of the brew. Good sticky patchwork lacing on the glass. Aromas of deep roasted malts with a big dark chocolate forefront. Coffee weaves in along with a touch of char.

First sip is dark roasted, charred malts flowing into dark chocolate along with a touch of coffee as well. Burnt bread accents with caramel undertones and a slight creaminess. Hops kick on the way down as it finishes somewhat dry.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with good carbonation, not as heavy and rich as most imperial stouts, however it's rather drinkable. Pretty good stout overall.

2005 vintage:

Pours from the bottle a deep onyx with a small tan coffee head on top. The head falls to a ring around the glass. Looks good in the glass. Aromas of dark roasted malts, liquid chocolate, ground coffee, sweet fruits and a hint of hops. Subdued overall..but there's still a nice mix of aromas there.

First sip brings a roasted, slightly smoky maltiness along with hints of chocolate and brewed coffee. I actually get more chocolate and coffee in the nose than in the taste. A hint of bitter citric hops hits on the way down. Not a bad stout...but this is nowhere near an imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is medium light and slightly dry. The body here is weak, even for a stout. I shouldn't find it this easy to down an imperial stout. This doesn't really excite enough to drink more. I'll leave one in my cellar and see what happens to it.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.37/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out black, with no head at all. Sweet chocolate and caramel aroma. The flavor is sweet chocolate with some bitter coffee. This is hardly an Imperial Stout, though. This beer is thick without being big on flavor. On top of that, there is very little carbonation, so it is like drinking sludge. Low marks for drinkability. I think I would have liked this beer more if it just had some bubbles, although it still wouldn't be an imperial stout.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown and maroon with a highly carbonated light tan head that fades away quickly to nothing and leaves not a semblance of lace. Lots of yeasties floating in suspended animation.
Aroma of very over roasted coffee, almot burnt, sweet chocolate and a hint of black licorice.
Flavor has some bitter chocolate, a sharp bitter coffee note and some vinous qualities.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied at best. This is where this one falls down for me, just not enough meat on the bone to be an Impy Stout. Almost thin on the tongue. Some lingering coffee and chocolate notes but not much plate covering flavoring. Finishes really dry and a little roasty, almot porterish.
Drinkability is above average but if this in a Impy Stout I'll eat my left pinkie. Just not much oomph to this, pleasant enough beer but really thin for style and a little bit too one dimensional on the sweet side.

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3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On the pour this produces a moderately sized, quite dark brown head. The head does not last long at all before it completely vanishes. This is bordering on black, but not quite.
The aroma brings back two memories: Little Debbie fudge brownies, and gas station coffee that's been on the burner for hours.
THis initially hits my tongue with a cocoa sweet chocolate flavor. This soon puts on the left turn signal and merges in with dark, bitter chocolate, which has the right-of-way. Then a robust coffee flavor shows up. Reminds me of some jamaican coffee a couple honeymooners brought me as a souvenir once. Blue Mountain? I like. At the end there is a slight sugary glance. When I swallow this, though, is when i taste some rust, some lime, and some non-oxidized metallic component. Kind of bizarre, but it doesn't destroy the experience. Doesn't help, but i can get over it.
This is a little bit empty in the mouth. By that, I mean that it doesn't have the CO2, grit, and viscosity that I look for in an imperial stout. At times this seems wet and watery, but not watered down.
This is a pretty good beer overall, with a couple things that could be improved upon to make it kick ass.
For me it just barely fits in the imperial stout category. If it were classified as an American stout, the scores'd be a bit higher.

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Photo of ahking
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice rich stout. Aromas of strong coffee and molasses. Quite bitter tasting from dark malts (black patent?) and variety of hops. Roasted and chocolate malt flavors pervade. Pours almost completely black (as should be expected) with a creamy tan head. I am a sucker for stouts and this is a nice one overall. I have had better, but this one is a nice affordable mainstay.

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Photo of karst
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Rocky tan head falls quickly over pitch darkness with redish brown glints as light refracts off its edges. Arising aromas of coffee bean, prunes, bittersweet chocolate are carried to your nose by is fine appropriate carbonation. Creamy medium body with flavors of caramel, fruit,black cherry molasses and balancedhops. Finishes dry and bitter with roasted flavors. Mile IBUs and abv a nice stout but only a warmup for a great RIS.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ya never know what to expect from the “Two Brothers”; a murky black, with a thin yet dissolving tan head. Anise, black licorise and coffee beans on the nose. Somewhat thin, yet creamy up front; a massive espresso twang to it. Sweet tasting; dark chocolate noticeable; some caramel and warming coffee notes. Expecting more of a belly warming effect for the style; yet, this doe not disappoint; sticky molasses left on the palate. This should be rated top in the “Not to the style listed on the label, but still pretty good” category; a decent “stout”.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Everything about this beer cries mediocre. The head never really flourished and left only tiny hints of cling. The nose was roasty, in that day old coffee gound way.

And the taste? Mmm, unremarkably stout-y. Major hints of rubber and weirdly used hop tones.

Thin on mouthfeel and with a strangely annoying sting blend of hops and dry roastiness. I like some of Two Brother's beers ... but this just has average written all over it.

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Photo of merlin48
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my first sampling of a brew from Two Brothers. Thanks to clvand0 for the trade. This 12 oz bottle pours an opaque, deep brown body with a small, tan, head that quickly drops into film and collar lace.
Aroma features prominent, dark roasted malts with a coffee dominance. Hints of dark chocolate, anise, and walnuts are picked up in the background.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but somewhat light for style. Carbonation is low, and there is a tingling hops presence that comes from the 45 IBUs proclaimed by the label.
The taste is dominated by coffee bitterness. Smoky, roasted malts are prevalent, with some dark fruits(prunes and figs) and nuttiness. A hint of licorice is also noted.
This isn't as substantial as most imperial stouts, but is still a good one that is worth a try.

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Photo of clvand0
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a very small tan head that doesn't stay long. A little light comes around the edges. The aroma has a strong presence of roasted malt and coffee. Promising. The flavor has a lot of coffee in it and not much else. It also seems like the body could have a little more. Seems a bit watered down and thin for an imperial stout. Not a bad brew, but not the best imperial.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 405 ratings.