Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

402 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 402
Hads: 863
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.03%
Wants: 25
Gots: 64 | 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: 402 | Hads: 863
Photo of faernt
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought this as part of a trade. I drink Imperial Stouts often and all year so another to the collecton is always welcome. I lost Old Rasputin for a year over distribution issues and am always on the lookout for a worthy Imperial.

Northwind looks like an Imperial when it's poured. It's dark and somewhat oily as it goes into the glass. It smells brown (mostly coffee). The taste is pleasant but not surprising. I ask myself if I'd had too many Imperial Stouts (no). I ask myself when was the last time I'd been surprised by an Imperial Stout (a few months ago with some 2002 Rogue). This one just isn't surprising. It tastes more like an Irish Stout with a little attitude. It's a little dry and the flavor is not that complex. It's actually a good one flavor (two....a little sweet dark chocolate) beer but not the beguilingly complex brew I look for in this style. Second thought leads me to compare it more to an Oatmeal Stout than to a dry Irish Stout.

I find this to be a food beer more than a beer I'll drink alone. I'll drink it with Chorizo flavored fajitas and Chicken Mole. It's a good beer but not to my expectation of style. (1,144 characters)

Photo of drewbage
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Beer sampled on 4/7/2004 at the Clark Street Ale House in Chicago. Arrived in a standard pint glass.

Straight pint blacker than black on co2 service. No head

Aroma is nutty and toasted corn with a long tobacco burnt at the edges.

Flavor is intensely sweet off the 'stache with a large coffee bite with a good finish that has a slight bite of metal and licorice

Body is actually a bit thin for the notion of an Imperial Stout. Probably best to think of this as an Foreign Export. (491 characters)

Photo of zerk
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick and opaque black with a thin tan head. Aroma is a mixture of burnt wood, chocolate, and coffee. Flavor begins slightly smokey and sweet with notes of caramel, coffee, and hints of chocolate and a touch earthy hop bitterness. Body is full and thick, with low carbonation. Drinkablility is quite high, as the beer is low in alcohol for the style, and very pleasant tasting.

This beer is a little difficult to judge... when compared to other Imperial Stouts, it doesn't have many of the requisite traits needed, and thus falls short. When judged on it's own, however, it's quite a tasty and drinkable beer, that is priced really well. ($8.99 for a six pack) (671 characters)

Photo of Skidz
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a very dark brown finishing black with nothing showing through on the sides, a smokey brown head on top. This is very unique, I've never seen such color in a stout head before, it was like thunderclouds were forming right before a storm...

Smells stongly of roastiness and coffee. Tastes very rich, the roastyness coming through, moving to the coffee tones and a nice bitter tang at the end.

Very nice, full body with plenty of character to please. Easily consumed, this beer would fit well in an all-star stout session. Definately one of the best Imperials I've had. (584 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark in color, almost black, with a nice, tanned head that pooled over the liquid and left a nice foam ring on the inside edge of my goblet.

Smell – This is a classic stout, with a roasted malt aroma that dominates the nose. I can also pick up some fine Arabic coffee and a lovely touch of anise.

Taste – This is a bitter brew indeed. The coffee takes charge here, getting me to think I should try to get Starbucks to sell this in their stores (but only after 3:00 PM). There’s a bit of sugary sweetness at the finish, but mainly this is all about the traditional roasted malt and coffee flavors.

Mouthfeel – This one was medium-bodied – on the lighter side for an “Imperial Stout” – but held up well in between the cheeks. I especially enjoyed the bitter nature of this one.

Drinkability – This was a very drinkable stout that went down easily. It would be an excellent example of the style to let one of your “Budweiser Buddies” try.

Comments – Special thanks to qarre for organizing the BIF 5.0, of which I was the first recipient (yippee!) and the lucky beneficiary of this promising effort from Two Brothers. (1,159 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Darkover for hooking me up. Pours a deep dark black with a thin and quickly disappearing brown head. Slow, creeping carbonation up the sides of the glass and thin lacing. The aroma is bitter roasted coffee with a bit of malt. Not as rich as most Imperial Stouts, and not quite as flavorful either. There is a nice coffee flavor but not much malt to counterbalance. There is a small amount of chocolate in the flavor as well. The finish is roasted coffee. On the Stout scale this is pretty good but on the Imperial Stout scale it falls short. Still not a bad brew though. (580 characters)

Photo of Indybeer
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Poured a pitch black with a decent head that didn't stick around long. Some lacing left behind on the glass. Aroma is chocolate and roasted malt, with a heavy dose of espresso thrown in. For style this is pretty muted as an imperial stout, but I still find it very good and enjoyable. The taste has the roasted malt and coffee, but in a subdued way that makes it a very drinkable beer. Got to see what this thing is like after some more aging. (457 characters)

Photo of Wildman
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured very black, with no light getting through it. It had a light tan bubbly head that left only trace lace as it subsided. The aroma was of malt, hops, chocolate and some coffee. A flavor of malt, hops and chocolate with some coffee elements. A bit lighter than most beers of this style with a slightly bitter finish. Not one that will challenge the great imperials, but it is not a bad beer. (405 characters)

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I seem to be out-of-step on this one, but I believe it's a much better beer than the numbers I'm seeing. Then again, I'm a big stout fan so I might be biased by the style.

I'll admit it may not be too true to style as this bottle exploded with a huge head and most Imperials don't boast great heads. As I look at the body I'm noticing lots of residue and floaties so there must still be some yeasties at work here even at low storage temps.

The huge and voluminous beige head eventually recedes to a small cover and the a ring leaving nice lacing. The very darl brown body is definitely not black, but it is light resistant to a fault; ain't passing through this cave of darkness.

The nose is huge and gives off very nice coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt notes. Maybe even a little hops buried in there. Great taste that is heavy roasted coffee overlayed with dark chocolate. Very, very nice heavy body without being syrupy, sticky. Great drinkability in the sipping category.

I really liked this stout and I'm going to store some back for aging. I'll others will as well. (1,087 characters)

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2-year old bottle. We sampled this at the homebrew club meeting, so these are consensus impressions. Very smoky and tobacco-y, with a dry finish. Not quite to style (though with a beer intended to age, it's hard to keep the flavor from changing) but an enjoyable brew. Extra points for its unusual, but very pleasant smell. (323 characters)

Photo of jackndan
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers in Chicago. Very thick and dark brew, light cannot penetrate it at all. The head was thick, toffee tan, but not particularly long lasting. The aroma is nice, somewhat chocolatety, with hints of coffee. The taste is nice, extremely malty. The dominant flavors are espresso, chocolate, and just a tiny bit of liquid soap, but that is not half as bad as it sounds. The body is light, perhaps too much so for the style. Not bad, worth sampling. Nowhere near as big as some of the other Imperials on the site. (547 characters)

Photo of Jon
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque with dark brown tints and the thinnest layer of cocoa-hued bubbles. Roasted chocolate malt, espresso, and nutty aromas persist. Coffee, chocolate, roasted nutty malt with an accompanying sweetness lend to a a mild, earthy hop bitterness on the finish. Finish is reminiscent more of a traditional Imperial Stout rather than some of the more extreme American versions. Body borders on medium-full, rather than simply full like some others. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and elegant with mellow carbonation that works well. Two Brothers makes a very drinkable Imperial Stout with this one, and while it is indeed good, it lacks a bit of character that keeps it from being truly great. A nice stout, nonetheless, and one I will revisit. (739 characters)

Photo of jcalabre
2.7/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I originally sampled this beer on 19 April 2003. I am writing this review from my notes:
Appearance: It has the usual Imperial Stout characteristics: black with a tan head,
Aroma: It's chocolately on the nose,
Mouthfeel: Unfortunately it has a very light mouthfeel & is a bit thin by this style's standards. Somewhat roasty, but not what I'd expect fm an imperial (368 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
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. (587 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (922 characters)

Photo of BeerBuilder
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, with a light, creamy brown head. Leaves good lacing. The aroma is chocolatey, with a deep roastiness toward the end. The flavor is chocolately up front, it then flows to a light roasty, coffee-like flavor. It finishes dry with burnt roast malt bitterness. The texture is somewhat oily and creamy. A very tasty full-bodied brew. (334 characters)

Photo of cretemixer
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours deepest opaque brown, with a thin tan head that fades fast leaving a “cling-ring”. I can see some floaties lurking near the side of my glass.
Malty coffee aroma. Bready with a smoked barley aroma too.
Slightly acidic first taste with weak coffee flavors. It seems a little lacking for an Imperial Stout. Not bad, nicely balanced, just a little less complex than the style dictates. Finishes thin, with a little alcohol warmth.
Lighter body that most Imperials with appropriate carbonation. Drinkability is a toss up. It goes down pretty smooth and easy, but I was hoping for something a little more satisfying. (621 characters)

Photo of AudioGilz
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If this wasn't an imperial, I would have a little more higher ratings for it. But it just isn't cut out for the real imperials out there. It's a good stout, and that's it. It's opaque black with a medium-sized and thick creamy tan head. The aroma is strong roasted malts and hints of chocolate. The flavor is very roasty, robust porter-like in a way, kind of sweet, with a nice bitterness coming through on the finish. I found some sourness on the finish as well, kind of annoying. It's kinda worth a try maybe sorta....I dunno. I won't buy it again. (550 characters)

Photo of ZAP
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't believe they call this an Imperial Stout...It's a decent tasting "Stout" if you leave the "Imperial" out of it...It is medium bodied rather than over-the-top thick...the nose is mainly cocoa and coffee beans but very soft....the taste is burnt malts and some coffee beans but lacks complexity....finishes with a bit of a hop bite which is surprising given the low IBU...Call this a "Stout" and it rates high "3's"...as an "Imperial" I feel I'm being generous giving it low "3"'s...no carbonation at all hardly and that combined with the creamy texture allows this to be very drinkable as a "Stout"...not as an Imperial...I want more....I deserve more....If a beer is called Imperial it should have more than just a high ABV..I feel like I'm being too hard on this because as I drink it is is pretty decent....it's just not close to being a good "Imperial Stout"... (872 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (677 characters)

Photo of marcobrau
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not quite as strong as some Imperial Stouts, at only 7 percent alcohol by volume,but still a very tasty stout. The most dominant malt flavor is that of chocolate malt. Good hop and malt balance, though the malt tends to dominate the flavor profile. This stout isn't very roasty and tends toward being sweet. It is relatively big bodied, but not huge enough to be called "Imperial." A decent stout, but better examples of this style are out there. (446 characters)

Photo of mickstepp
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black. Little to no head. Very little lacing. Faint roasted malt and hop aroma. The taste is likewise: toasty malt and a complement of hops. Very mild. The taste and mouthfeel are more along the lines of a Porter rather than an Imperial Stout. A very drinkable beer but not very representative of the intended style. (322 characters)

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

Dark ruby-black in color, has a small tightly bubbled tan head. Sweet, roasted caremel and coffee aroma, sweet plum-caremel flavor. Medium-body with creamy, smooth and slick mouthfeel, seems a little light for the style, still all in all decent stout. (251 characters)

Photo of MJR
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Has a very dark brown body that is completely opaque. There's no head to speak of...it's starts as a small fizz of bubbles and disappears completely.

Smell: Aroma of roasted malt and coffee. There's a very faint green hop smell hidden deep in the muck...

Taste: Has a nice balance of roasted malt flavor and hop bitterness. A touch of a burnt flavor makes itself known towards the end. Has that same green hop flavor from the aroma. Finishes with a slight sour note. A little lacking in the complexity department...

Mouthfeel: The body's a bit thin for an Imperial Stout. On thickness alone, this would be just enough for a porter.

Drinkability: It's not a bad brew...it's just a little mediocre compared to it's competition. Why drink this when there are other Imperials with more body and character? At least the alcohol is hidden well... (864 characters)

Photo of cokes
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Muddy dark brown pour, ends up essentially black with a healthy tan head.
Nose full of dark roast coffee, and bitter chocolate. Fainter, plums try to stake this as imperial, but fail.
Flavor profile seems to rest somewhere between a milk- and a dry stout, although beefed up a bit. Big roasted malts, chocolate and mocha notes are the major factors here. There is a good deal of caramel sweetness which mingles congenially with the lactic qualities. Lingering in the distance are some molasses and plums, providing the only hints of Imperialness. Hopping enter and mixes with the continuing roastedness to make the finish very dry.
Mouthfeel is creamy, in a skim milk type fashion, but it is void of the sweet, clinging, heftiness that should be present.
Easy drinker, and a pretty decent stout overall. I gave it some leeway because of this. However it is lacking in most imperial catagories. (898 characters)

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 402 ratings.