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Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

749 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 749
Reviews: 384
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 18
Gots: 39 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 749 | Reviews: 384 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by the other Matt.

Beer is black with a thin tan head of small and medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass, carbonation is moderate. Looks good.

Aroma is strong but only with this almost coffee like bitterness from roast. Interesting. Aroma would not be described as "complex".

Beer is medium in body and holy hell is it bitter in the back. If there is anything else happening in this beer...any other flavors may only be captured in the orbit of this massive amounts of roast in the back of the palate. It's like a flavor avalanche that destroys a village of peaceful snow dwelling people at the base of a mountain...OK, that's hyperbole. It's not terrible but it's a one note wonder. Not great at all.

drabmuh, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of HeightsEats
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is a nice mix of dark caramel and subtle hops. While the typical sweetness and roasty flavors of a stout are clearly present, a hop backbone comes through as well. Full bodied but not overly sweet, the hop presence and balance of flavors makes this beer quite drinkable (and the alcohol is well-hidden).

HeightsEats, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by matt9875. Thanks Matt!

A: Black in color (or lack thereof) with a half inch of thick beige head. The head displays good retention and leaves some healthy lacing upon the glass.

S: The aroma is predominantly roasted malt, with some subtle chocolate scents far in the distance.

T: The flavor, like the aroma, is extremely roasty. The beer lacks complexity, but overall tastes fine, just simple.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth on the palate.

D: Very drinkable. I enjoyed this and would have it again.

Huhzubendah, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of champ103
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes. Light lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt of chocolate and coffee. Not acrid in the nose at all. Some dark fruits as well. Not very complex, but enjoyable.
T: Follows this nose. Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, light coffee. Nothing is acrid or astringent. Some dark fruits again, and overall enjoyable.
M/D: A full body that is creamy and smooth. Very easy to drink. Something I can sip on all night as a winter warmer.

A really nice Imperial Stout. Lots of flavor, and a treat to drink. Something I would recommend.

champ103, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of birchstick
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours a black color without much of a head

S - smells of roasted coffee and rich chocolates

T - starts off with some sweet cocoa that quickly becomes some roasted malt / coffee that fades to some dark chocolates. Not uber complex or deep, but very rich overall with its flavors.

M - medium to full body with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Pretty solid mouthfeel.

D - I can't say this was my favorite RIS I have ever had, but it was pretty delicious. For the price I paid, this was a pretty good deal.

birchstick, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
2.08/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This single was included in a huge birthday haul sent by JamnesCameron.

A- Poured into my new DFH signature glass. (I sure hope acronyms are allowed in reviews). Head is very hard to coax out but this is a high performance glass. Its still makes the beer lace a little bit.

S- My first whiff left me reeling. Pure molasses. Very intensely unusual. Anise is also very strong. This blend of old man candy is off putting. There is also plenty of cough syrup.

T- Acidic coffee with a cough syrup and tart cherry strangeness. There is a distinct dip spit flavor. Why is there a sourness? Beats me, but it seems to check out in many other reviews, including BuckeyeNation's from 05 so I hardly think this is another one to add to 2010: the year of infection.

M- Too much carbonation. It hurts the teeth and numbs the tongue.

I cant say this beer is good, but there is worse. I mean the fact that its a B rated RIS says it all.

MbpBugeye, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of Erish
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a Nonic pint glass.

A: opaque blackish-brown color, an aggressive pour unleashed a thick, cascading, dark tan head that fell into a wonderful cap with tenacious lacing.

S: coffee, molasses, roasted malt, smoky oak, soy sauce, dark chocolate, hint of farmer's cheese. Classic RIS profile.

T: loads of roasted malt flavor up front, as well as a hint of farmer's cheese, the coffee is strong in the middle, followed by an anise and chocolate note, as well as a generous grassy/herbal hop note, the finish is grassy hop/toasted malt bitter, somewhat chalky, and smoky. Nicely balanced with good structure and fidelity to the profile. Well done.

M: medium to full-bodied, lightly creamy, finish is slightly oily, the carbonation is low to moderate, the lingering finish is chalky.

D: This is a wholly enjoyable RIS, with plenty going for it. I would put this among the top of the second tier of RISs. If the mouthfeel were more satisfying, it would rub shoulders with FBS and Old Rasputin.

Erish, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black hue with finger of khaki head and the lacing is great.

S: Roasty chestnut, charred malt, some dark fruit and hazelnut-ish coffee. A little subdued for me, but a nice aroma.

T: Nice sweet malt taste, with definite licorice notes and creamy lactose. Could use a little more burn and char, its sort of subdued.

M: Great, creamy and coating.

D: Good stout overall.

Dreadnaught33, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of AJacob81
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heard this was much improved this year, decided to give it another go. Served in a snifter.

A - Pours deep black with a hint of mahogany, with a single finger of khaki foam. Retention and lacing very nice for an RIS. Handsome beer.

S - Cocoa and black coffee up front, with faint hints of milk chocolate and dark fruit. Not an overwhelming bouquet, which I prefer for the style. I like stouts you can smell as soon as you pop the top, this one needs an aggressive pour to release a moderate amount of aroma.

T - Same as the nose, dark choco-coffee dominates, with grace notes of chocolate-covered raisins and figs. Not as complex as a truly world-class RIS would be, but still very tasty.

M and D - This is where this brew really shines, and represents a huge improvement over past vintages. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, medium-thick in consistency. Somewhere between a sipper and a gulper, right where I'd want an RIS to be for drinkability.

A great step forward for the Brothers Ebel. Now, age it in the French oak casks, and we might have something very special here.

AJacob81, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of WildTurkey
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to snifter. Cool temp; at least 50'F.

A: Pitch black. No amber light passing through. Tan, mocha color head, about one finger thick. Slightly creamy but with mixed size bubbles. Looks good.

S: Coffee and roasted malts. Little bit of chocolate. I'm also getting a little bit of hops.

T: Lots of roasted malts. Some coffee and dark fruit. Some mild hops and alcohol are coming through at the end. Flavors are well harmonized and smooth but not as strong or complex as some other RIS I've had. Still very good - in my opinion.

M: Great mouthfeel, one of the first things I noticed after drinking. Medium-to-Fuller bodied. Very rich and creamy. It really coats the mouth.

D: A very drinkable stout. Flavor profile is balanced. Stong flavor but nothing too overwhelming. I'm really slugging this back. Very good

WildTurkey, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of dnjmed
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

dnjmed, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of beerwolf77
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Milrose while in Illinois. Served in a fucking pilsner glass. Not cool.

A: Pitch black, small beige head, modest lace. No cap or retention.

S: Roasty black coffee. Lots of sweet chocolate. Maybe a hint of wet cardboard.

T: Mild roast black coffee. Some chocolate. Not the most powerful flavors. Hint of dish soap in the finish.

M: Full body with very low carbonation.

D: Maybe it was the glass but this one was sort of a chore to get down. If I see it in the bottle I will give it a second chance.

beerwolf77, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Pours a dark chocolate with a mocha head, pretty!

S: Chocolate and black patent malt in the nose, with some bittering hops in the back.

T: Lots of chocolate and creamy malts. A hint of lactose even? Really, just lots and lots of milk chocolate.

D: No joke, one of the top three most drinkable RIS. This brew is so well balanced I felt like I was drinking a Great Lakes beer.

Overall: Its been said before and its true: this is a one-note beer. Its just a huge load of chocolate. That being said, they really milk that one note for all its worth; this beer is never boring and is remarkably smooth and drinkable. A good and unpretentious RIS.

JohnnyChicago, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours dark brown with one finger of fizzy chocolate head. Not much for head retention, but the persistent dirty halo is a plus. Ho hum.

Smell -- Well-roasted malt, dark chocolte, coffee with cream, and a hint of char. A bit more like a milk stout, truthfully, but still quite good.

Taste -- First impressions are sweet: mellow malt roastiness, chocolate, and coffee with cream. As the beer goes down some mild sour and acrid dark roast flavors begin to develop to lend some balance to the mocha-esque sweetness. Sure this isn't a milk stout?

Mouthfeel -- A hair heavier than medium-bodied, medium fluffy carbonation. RIS methinks not.

Drinkability -- Had you told me this was a milk stout, I would've given it much higher marks. Really lacks the complex character and dark fruit elements that typify the RIS style. That said, there's enough going on in the flavor profile to make it interesting and enjoyable. Glad I tried it, but might not seek it out again.

yeahnatenelson, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of ChugginOil
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black with a couple fingers of mocha colored head when poured aggresuclery. Microbubbles resonnate throughout the head. Good lacing

S- Roasted malt and faint coffee scents are picked up, followed by booze.

T- Similar to scent. Toasted maltiness mixed with a bitter coffee taste. Pretty tasty roastiness going on. The booze taste is subtle at the end.

M- Pretty thick and syrupy and covers the palate well

D- Sits heavy but could put down a few over DA BEARS whoppin' that ass. A great stout @ $8.99 per six pack

ChugginOil, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of NeutroMan
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours an opaque, nearly black with a thin film of reddish brown head that quickly dissipates. The nose is dominated by roasted malts - mostly coffee and chocolate. Some fruitiness (mostly plum) begins to become more noticeable as the beer warms. Taste is a complex blend of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, fruity esters, and some minimal hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and chewy with some alcohol warmth (particularly as the beer warms up). One of the more drinkable RIS.

NeutroMan, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

I've been waiting for this to come around again so's I could finally get a crack at it. It pours a slick obsidian topped by a finger of sienna foam. The nose comprises coffee, roasted malts, cocoa, and some light molasses. The taste loads up on the roasted malts, with some light cocoa, hop flowers, and light greens slapdashily tossed in, as though an afterthought. The body is fairly hefty, with a light carbonation and a semi-chewy feel. Overall, a one-dimensional stout, yes, but that one dimension is tackled very well.

TMoney2591, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of shodrod
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a 'motor oil' black with no head. Coffee and chocolate dominate the nose. Those two characteristics take front stage in the taste. A slight bourbon hint and notes of hops creep up in the finish. A fantastic beer to warm your bones on a cold night, the Northwind is an amazing example of an imperial stout.

shodrod, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of Vdubb86
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

On-Tap at The Firkin Two Brother's Tap Takeover

This beer pours a pretty darkness with a finger of brown foam. The smell is a bit of oak, belgian-like aroma, brown sugar and a light roasted note. Most of the nose is really light. The taste has an odd hop bitterness that I didn't expect. There is a light bourbon flavor and a decent amount of cocoa. It must be said that this beer is a bit astringent on the palate and a bit thinner than I would have liked, but it is still rather drinkable. A good beer all around.

Vdubb86, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the brewpub.

Pours near black with a really thin mocha head. Not much lacing. The nose brings chocolate, roast, and a bit of coffee. The taste is of roasted malt with some lingering espresso and dark chocolate in the background. Not too boozy, but this is pretty light in ABV for the style. A bit of dry roast. Drinks quite well.

Thorpe429, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of GDBEERMAN
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip: from notes
A: The tan head pours a thick 2 in. fluff. The Head holds very well with a nice layer throughout. The body is a deep pitch of black and in non transparent.
S: A bit subtle on the aroma, what is found is a sweet note, classic for the style.
T/M: The front is dry and creamy. The tastes pf sweet malts and nutty malts. A full, rich and creamy mouthfeel. The lingering taste is a bit short. Overall a good choice for the style.
D: This classic style is represented will with the Northwind. The ABV is hidden so well I could barely tell there was 9.1%(as per 2010 bottle stats.)

GDBEERMAN, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of Tone
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a brown color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight dark citrus, slight roasted malt, slight alcohol, slight hops, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, roasted malt, sweet malt, and slight dark citrus. Overall, good aroma, blend, and body.

Tone, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of rembrant
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look Classic stout, oilcan black,ample froth,lacing clings well.

Scent Rosted Malts Dark Chocolate, slight fruity hops.

taste Up front,a surprise,fudge Brownie with raisins. Then it quickly returns to being a Stout,and the raisin shifts a bit to a subtle Port Wine as the choco shifts to Espresso. I enjoy how some of these big old Stouts play the Malt/Hops lag into a way to transform flavors

This,relatively, has a kinder,sweeter note than a lot of Imperial Stouts,despite the bitter-sour hop finish.

I've been exploring quite a few Stouts the last couple of weeks and,no question,Stout variants are where Brewers like to play a lot of tricks. This has several elements and they shift. It's a mystery tour of flavors with that undertone of Port and espresso quite interesting.

it goes well with Provolone or Prawns or Naked Women. Some of my favorite other flavors.

Mouth Yep Lots That hops posing as Port lingers,good viscosity....even the froth is tasty I can't pinpoint carbonation as a distinct prickle,but it's not flat at all. Nice.

Drinkable I'm not sure of the ABV and Imp Stouts are large but I'm feeling like a better man having had one,so,I figure one more and I'm nearly perfect.

rembrant, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured jet black with a moderate sized mocha colored head that died down leaving lacy patterns of bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some notes of coffee and hints of alcohol.
T: The initial taste has flavors of semisweet chocolate and roasted malts while the finish has flavors of lightly roasted coffee with a very mild amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, thin and very smooth. There is a subtle hint of dryness in the finish.
D: The alcohol is masked very well from the taste so this is a very drinkable beer for the style.

metter98, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of craytonic
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: BLack pour, nearly flat, no head or lacing
Smell: Chocolate, fudge, coffee, very simple and almost one-dimensional
Taste: Similar, lots of chocolate, fudge, and a hint of coffee; a bit sweet
Mouthfeel: a bit thin and sticky
Drinkability: one and done, never again.

craytonic, Jun 27, 2010
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 749 ratings.