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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 nickfl
nickfl

Florida

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of medium tan foam on top of an opaque, black body with some sediment floating in it. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves light lace.

S - Very roasty with a strong coffee aroma as well as some peaty smoke.

T - Dark, roasted malt up front with notes of burnt caramel, chocolate, and espresso. More coffee and baker's chocolate in the middle and smoky notes in the finish that provide lots of roasted grain bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This stout is robust and roasted to the point that it really tastes like a coffee stout. It quite a contrast compared to many other imperial stouts that finish much sweeter than this one. This relative dryness allows it to be fairly drinkable even though it does nothing to lighten the overall experience or hide the alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 00:04:45 | More by nickfl
Photo of Brenden
Brenden

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2B tap takeover at Swig 7/11/12. The wife's beer; #2.5?

This beer is big and black with a brown head about one finger tall that shows good retention. Lacing is a bit understated on the glass. It's not a big, thick, heavy stout, by any means, and one can see the direction they wanted to take with this beer by looking at it. It's more even and balanced than a big, destructive monster.
Northwind has a strong malts foundation with roasty notes. The chocolate is more bittersweet baking chocolate than sweet, but a sweetness certainly does come through, vanilla and dark fruits, making it sweeter than is typical without being cloying. I can see some in the beer community with the new trend of face-melting beers not liking that this beer is lighter than some, but the focus really is on the overall flavor, balance and attenuation. It succeeds. There's a complexity to this beer with the malts, the sweetness, cocoa, coffee grounds, and even caramel/toffee. There's a nice earthiness as well and just enough light hops to keep it malt-forward but balanced.
The body isn't as big as one might expect and, I'll admit, perhaps not as big as it should be. It does have a richness to it, though, a nice flow, smoothness, and a nip of crispness to keep it moving.

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2012 14:39:23 | More by Brenden
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp

New York

3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 00:27:51 | More by vfgccp
Photo of dlello2
dlello2

Illinois

2.6/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Cloudy black. Lots of brown head with big bubbles.

S - Chocolate is first. Definitely roasty. Surprised to not really get any hops here. Some wood and smoke.

T - Follows the nose quite closely. Less chocolate and more burnt toast. Roasty qualities fail to wow. Actually find it lacking in flavor which is interesting considering the 9% abv. Not the best.

M - Thinner body than I'd have liked. Lacking in carbonation and slick.

O - Not impressed by this one. Following it with a hop juice black... hopefully that will treat me right!

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 00:29:08 | More by dlello2
Photo of dhannes
dhannes

Wisconsin

4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A=Very dark brown...poured a large (3 finger) golden head that lasted over a minute.

S=Almost non-existant. Faint smell of semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa powder.

T=Coffee with tangy aftertaste; hints of irish whiskey flavoring, as well as slight chocolate flavors; slightly sweet as well.

M=Very drinkable...perhaps a bit less body for the style; almost no carbonation left; cannot taste the alcohol.

O=My bottle had been in the cellar for 3+ months, and probably was on the shelf for a month or two before that. Very nice beer that is good by itself or may go well with red meat or barbecued chicken, perhaps. Would buy again.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2012 01:30:41 | More by dhannes
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq

New Hampshire

3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch 36, 22oz bottle from at least a few years ago.

Pours blackish with brown edging and barely a trace of tan head. A flat surface with zero lacing for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with roast, char, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. Hints of Oreo shells and brownies.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a slickish, slightly flat mouthfeel. Thin for the style.

Brownie bits, Hershey syrup, and roasted malts start the palate. Hints of dark chocolate and coffee grounds follow through.

Finishes quickly with fading chocolate and roast.

This is like a RIS-mini, or even closer to a Porter. The classic RIS profile is subdued in every way and the beer is thin and flatish with no warmth on the throat.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 00:33:14 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of BFro
BFro

Illinois

3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nothing over the top about this effort from Two Bros. Not sure if it's the norm with other batches of North wind, but the bottle I poured had tons of sediment. Looked like orange rind pieces. Whatever it was made the end of the glass start to taste like a bitter orange peel. Otherwise it was a par effort on this imperial stout. Not the best I've had, but not the worse either. Probably wouldn't buy again, but if someone offered me one, I'd drink it.

Characteristics: smoky, matly, slight dark chocolate, bitter orange rind. Drinks smooth though. Not overly harsh/bitter as some stouts in this genre can be.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2012 01:34:39 | More by BFro
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 BigPlay1824
BigPlay1824

New York

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: pours a very deep brown that is impenetrable and has a ton of suspended sediment, pours with a finger of frothy mocha brown colored head that lingers nicely and has large bubbles, leaves spotty lacing
S: very nice mocha scent, very reminiscent of a strong coffee, very deep and enjoyable
T: begins with a nice coffee note which just intensifies and deepens throughout the sip, really deep and tastey, not entirely complex but yummy nonetheless
M: medium carbonation tingle, very thick on the palate and has a wonderful velvety texture which sticks to the palate
O: a delicious brew, lacking a bit in complexity but incredibly deep, really delicious

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2012 02:09:11 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of JohnnyMc
JohnnyMc

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first beer from this brewery. It pours a very nice pitch black with a slight head.

The aroma is very subtle and has hints of chocolate, malt and smokiness. Taste wise is pretty much the same, there is a lot of malt and chocolate to taste and it's surprisingly mild for an Imperial Stout.

Despite the high ABV (9), there is no hint of alcohol in the taste or smell.

This is a decent beer, but not one of my favorites and certainly nowhere near the best Imperial Stout I have tried.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2012 02:23:25 | More by JohnnyMc
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours midnight black with a two finger tall foamy tan head. Lots of visible sediment that is also tan in color. Head reduces slightly but very good head retention overall. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Not as intense a smell present as I would have liked for this style. Hints of chocolate, oak, roasted dark malts, coffee, and vanilla.

T: Primarily dark bittersweet chocolate with hints of dark druit (plum + fig), oak, and some coffee bitterness. Not overly bitter and there is an underlying sweetness from the dark roasted malts.

M: Medium bodied with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Alcohol is very well hidden in this beer - both in the taste and the smell. Very enjoyable and a very well balanced beer. Some complexity in the flavors. Good beer for a cold winter day.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 23:41:48 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of zeledonia
zeledonia

Minnesota

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 20 December 2011.

Pours very dark brown, black at the center, with a little light coming through the edges. One finger of brownish tan head, fades fairly quickly and leaves little lacing. A whole lot of light brown sediment that I wasn't expecting - should have poured a little more gently.

Smell is slightly smoky. In fact, smoke is the one thing that jumps out at me, though it comes on the back end of some deep roasted chocolatey malts. Woody and high in the nose, without much of the deep rich robustness I might expect.

Taste comes through with, again, that hit of smoke. But here there's more going on. Some nice dark chocolate, a hint of dark fruit, and another chunk of wood to chew on. Bitterness is quite low. A lot of different flavors swimming around, lending some nice subtle variation to it.

Mouthfeel is solid. Fairly heavy body, about right in the middle of the pack for an impy stout. Good medium-low carbonation, and a lingering slick on the tongue.

An interesting, rather smoky imperial stout. Different, but pretty tasty. I like the variety in the flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2012 04:31:27 | More by zeledonia
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken

New York

3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: nearly opaque, but some dark brown translucence around the edges; dark tan head

S: mild roasted malt

T: more toward the bitter/dry end of the imperial stout spectrum; burnt notes, faint cocoa/chocolate notes

M: lighter than other imperial stouts, more carbonation, very slight astringency

O: as always, if you like stouts/imperial stouts it is worth a try. For me, the gold standard in stouts is Old Rasputin. This beer is not as smooth or mellow, and it is not as sweet either. A decent beer, but not something that I would purchase again unless I craved a stout and had no other choices available.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 01:52:24 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of hosehead83
hosehead83

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Inky black in color with a decent head of tan foam.
Aroma-Faint chocolate and dark toasted malt
Taste-Dark roasted coffee and cream,faint dark fruit, dark chocolate. Subtle hop note in the slightly warming finish. Friendly and pleasant, a nice imperial stout to cut your teeth on, or just a mellow-drinking sipper for a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 00:14:43 | More by hosehead83
Photo of JackieTH
JackieTH

Minnesota

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured aggressively, rewarded with an inch of tan foam over a black-oily looking brew. The foam dissipated quickly leaving a thin skein. Smell was light. Roast malt, chocolates just not much of it. Taste was a definite improvement over the nose. Nicely roasty, bittersweet chocolate, raisins, vanilla, a nice bit of hops, too. Good balance, creamy mouthfeel with a stiff carbonation keeping it interesting. Some sourness appears during the finish. Good flavor, easy to drink, enjoyable if not spectacular.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 04:25:42 | More by JackieTH
Photo of hopfacebrew
hopfacebrew

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

My man Rob hooked this up as an extra in our trade! Thanks again!!

A - Poured from 12oz bottle to a pint glass. The beer pours gjet black with a huge 3 finger head that overflowed the pint glass. The quite bubbly tan head slowly fades to a thin film throughout the glass with huge bubbly lacing.

S - Not a lot of aroma for a Russian Imperial. Slight hints of roasted malt, alcohol tones, and not much more.

T/M - The beer starts thin but gradually fills your pallete with a plethora of flavors: numerous specialty grains, nice roasted malts, slight acohol warmth, mild bittnerness. I was suprised at the creamy mouthfeel which lasts from the beginning to end though it finishes a tad dry. I'd say the beer is more of a medium-full than full bodied beer with reasonable carbonation.

D - A very drinkable beer.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It was a pleasure to sample another Two Brothers brew. If I had the opportunity I'd drink it again and recommend to friends.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 01-28-2011 03:02:37

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 22:08:50 | More by hopfacebrew
Photo of vic21234
vic21234

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle is labeled "Lot 3071."

A- Pours black with a nice tan head. Lots of yeast particles appear to be in this one, theres a large heap of it at the bottom of my glass.

S- Lots of roasty malt and coffee. Roastiness is the most apparent smell here.

T- The roasty malts are big in this one, and also a surprising bit of a hoppy finish. I'm also getting hints of coffee and chocolate.

M- Heavy, with a nice lingering malt finish. This beer does not drink like a 9%ABV, not much alcohol presence.

I'm partial to Two Brothers since its my local brewery. This was one of the first Imperial Stouts I've had, and I always enjoy it. I do admit however that there are plenty of better examples of the style out there.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 01:58:53 | More by vic21234
Photo of wvsabbath
wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black, trace of brown, nice foamy 2 inch head and plenty of lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, bold coffee, chocolate, dark fruits like rasin and plum. Wood and smoke. Some licorice, a little vanilla some hops round his brew out.

Taste - Roasted malts and mild coffee/chocolate overtones make up the main flavors of this beer. Hops are mild, only slight bitterness comes out. Chocolate and brown sugar round out the flavor at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Its thick but, not overly harsh on mouth for being 9.1%. Tounge gets malts, some coffee and chocolate and a little hop bitterness. Palette gets remaining sugars and malts, and some chcolate. Aftertaste is mild, smooth and malty.

Overall - Im shocked how smooth and one dimentional this beer is. Nothing strong, groundbreaking or special about this. The booze is well masked, this is closer to a porter then anything. Too mild and smooth for what style it is. Its decent but not close to being a top ris.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 05:47:35 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter. Poured near-black with a very thin, tan head that left minimal lacing on the glass and dissipated completely rather quickly. Aromas of coffee and roasted malt are noticeable. Tastes seem to be muted, even as it warms. Roasted barley, coffee, burnt sugar, and anise are present with a slightly hoppy finish. Alcohol is warming, but well concealed. Carbonation is low and mouth-feel is smooth. Overall, I seem to go back and forth with this one every time I have it: sometimes I love it and sometimes I'm disappointed. It's a good example of the style, but seems to be lacking.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 05:31:26 | More by barnzy78
Photo of kawilliams81
kawilliams81

Yukon (Canada)

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

On tap at Two Brothers Roundhouse.

A- black with 1 finger cola head. Very little lacing.

S- roasted malts, faint chocolate and some licorice

T- roasted malts and again licorice, some chocolate and pine hop bitterness

M- medium body and crazy drinkable. Very smooth and dare I say light.

O- good ris, but nothing special. At 9% I could drink a 6 pack over a night though because of the drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2012 21:00:20 | More by kawilliams81
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
Photo of tsauce2
tsauce2

Indiana

3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is dark brown/black. Nearly opaque. Head is tan, 1 in, dissipates to the outsides of the beer. Light carbonation. Medium/heavy lacing.

S: Dark roast malt, light coffee and hop additions, bittered chocolate malt.

T: Dark roast malt, bittered chocolate malt, oats, light hop additions. Slight sweetness on the back end. No alcohol is discernable. Aftertaste is bittered dark roast malt and some coffee notes.

M: Medium body. There is a creamy, oat taste to this that very nicely compliments the bittered chocolate malt feel. Dry finish.

O: This is a good RIS, but in terms of the whole broad spectrum of RIS's, I think it lacks just a bit. Very little carbonation, which if it was more viscous, would be fine. For the body, imo, more carbonation needs to be present. The flavor overall was good, but was a little bland. Nice job of covering any boozy flavors; I did not detect any. The mouthfeel is also very nice. I would by this beer again at the right price and certainly would not turn this beer down.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 11:17:13 | More by tsauce2
Photo of negroobserver
negroobserver

New York

2.85/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

North-Wind Imperial Stout
45 IBU, 9.1% ABV
12 oz Bottle

Poured into a large Brandy snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color. Very small cream colored head, which dissipates quickly and leaves behind a thin foamy rim on the edge of the glass.

S: Smells smoky. Has a very mild malty and chocolatey aroma at the back end. A very faint sweet licorice or vanilla like aroma. No dominant scents here, but I like that the vanilla aroma is almost hidden. This is my third bottle and this is the first time I've noticed it. Interesting, but disappointing that the last few weren't at the same level as this bottle.

T: Mostly flat and tasteless. Dark roasted malts. There is a smoky chalky taste which lingers in the mouth. Slight sour and hoppy quality.

M: The beer has some depth, but not the kind of rich texture that you would expect from an Imperial class beer. It doesn't coat the glass or the mouth in the way that an Imperial Stout should. At best, it has the depth and texture of a standard stout. At 9.1% ABV, I can't smell or taste the alcohol in the beer, which makes me question the validity of the company's claims regarding the ABV content. Or it could be that this is one of the better crafted beers on the market in that respect. Who knows?

Overall, I had great hopes for this beer and was hoping that this was a rare exception to the pricy Imperial Stouts that one finds on the market. Sadly, I feel like I was duped by the company into buying an inferior product which appears to be very misleading in its claims.

VERY DISAPPOINTING, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I ACTUALLY LIKE TWO BROTHERS' BEERS (NOT ALL, BUT SOME).

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 05:57:49 | More by negroobserver
Photo of AmericanGothic
AmericanGothic

Iowa

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours an opaque, very dark brown color with 1/2 finger of dark khaki head. Some retention and lace.

S: Creamy chocolate and some roasted notes. Mellow but good.

T: Leads with roast, then smooth, spicy chocolate. Slight bitterness on the finish. Caramel flavors persist on the aftertaste. No hint of alcohol. As the beer warms, some cola emerges. Still later, the roasted flavors become more persistent throughout each sip.

M: Quite smooth, a little cream and oil.

O: Nothing extraordinary, but quite solid and enjoyable. In a style with so many outstanding examples, I'm not sure it's one I would seek out, but definitely not one that I would turn down, either. Certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 04:25:27 | More by AmericanGothic
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
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 712 ratings.