Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
86
very good

785 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 785
Reviews: 386
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 20
Gots: 42 | 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: 785 | Reviews: 386 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of readbaron pours an opaque black color with a dense brown head. Nice retention.

Nose is not overly big, but what is there smells fantastic! Light sweetness, nutty chocolate and modest coffee. Clean, really showcases the malt. Very nice, I think Im gonna like this one.

Smooth and creamy, rich and chocolaty. Yea, this is my kinda stout. Alcohol prevalent, but smooth and blends well with the other flavors. Finish is pretty dry considering the full body and residual sugars up front. There is some hop complexity and bread-dough yeast as it warms. I dont think this would be a great candidate for aging, but right now, it is damn good! I am very impressed.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a Southampton oversized snifter. Shared with schen9303. Reviewed from notes.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger fine greyish-mocha head with poor retention. Beer is a thick, opaque black. Lacing is patchy and stringy with good cling. Moderately thick legs. Deduction for head retention, but otherwise pretty nice.

S: Nose is very muted and simple. Coffee, roasted malt, some chocolate, and cocoa powder. Very little is detectable and a lot of the traditional imperial stout flavors are missing.

T: Opens sweet chocolate, molasses, raisins, prunes, espresso beans, and coca-cola spice. Roasted malt bitterness towards the middle provides a nice balance. Cocoa powder adds a layer of graininess. Sweet chocolate on the finish with a sweetened coffee aftertaste. Very balanced and surprisingly impressive.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily and silky in the mouth and smooth going down. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste that carries a touch of heat. Nice.

O: Northwind imperial stout falters in a lot of ways but it's really impressive in the one aspect that really counts: flavor. Not much to look at or smell but this imperial stout is incredibly balanced and displays the perfect amount of dark fruit, roasted malt, and chocolate sweetness. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of ruckus232
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 Ounce bottle pured into a pint glass

Appearance: Very dark brown (almost black) with a large amount of brown head.

Smell: Sweet malt smell with roasted scents accompanied by what seems to be like raisins.

Taste: There is some roasted bitterness with a little bit of sweetness. There is somewhat of an alcohol taste that is present at first but leaves quickly.

Photo of EricCioe
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the University of Chicago Pub, 4 May 2011.

This pours black with a half finger khaki head that leaves just a bit of lace on the way down. On the nose there is rich molasses mixed with some deep fruits, mostly unidentifiable, but nice nevertheless. There is also some roasted malt, but on the whole the nose is pretty muted and holds this brew back a bit for me. In the mouth, the molasses and dark fruit get a little coating in some chocolate. The biggest flavor that I got was dark fruit, with was a nice prominent flavor here. The body is pretty full and chewy but not huge, though finish is ultra-long with dark fruit and extraordinarily bitter malt hanging on.

Overall, I was happy with this beer, but it wasn't my favorite imperial stout. Worth a look for sure.

Photo of AnPiobaire
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Two Brothers Northwind IMperial Stout was poured from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet at about 54 degrees.

The pour was nice and dark brown and opaque, however the brew did seem to have some sediment in suspension. The head was a caramel colored thin head with very good retention and lacing that stuck around for the entire brew.

The nose was mild but nice. Roasted malt with a hint of coffee and dark fruit.

Taste was nice and filled with roasted malt and coffee bean along with notes of bitter chocolate. It finishes with a mild bitterness that lingers.

This brew has a thick mouthfeel that coats the palate nicely.

Overall this is a very competent imperial stout and although I may not go hunting around for it, I would certainly order some or pick some up if I come across it again. Enjoy!!!

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

Had 2 pints of this on draft at my local last night. Happy secretary's (administrative professionals') day!

Appearance: Dark. Dark to the point of opacity. fairly small bit of head to start out with, but it did retain well. Bartender at the local tends to fill pints up to the rim, not that I mind.

Smell: Probably the weakest aspect of the beer - nothing really stood out in terms of hop aroma, maltiness and hints of alcohol covered it up.

Taste: Very smooth, full-bodied malt flavor: sweet caramel and chocolate. Alcohol warms at the end but is hidden very well under the malt. Maybe a tiny bit of hop bitterness but it's hard to tell whether that's a coffeelike acidity or alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and thick. The sweet heavy malt in this beer combined with the low carbonation made it very smooth, pleasant, and easy to drink.

Overall: Full disclosure, I had no idea of the ABV or style of the beer when I was drinking it. It was billed at my bar as a stout and I enjoyed it greatly as a stout. I can see why people expecting a big imperial stout have been disappointed - the amount of bitterness in the brew really reminds me of a regular or even a sweet. However, the body of the beer, the drinkability, and the nice malt bill made this a very enjoyable beer. Cross "imperial" off the name and I think it would be better reviewed.

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

Appearance:
Despite a hard, controlled pour, this beer literally exploded all over me; there were easily ~4 fingers of head which kept flowing over the lip of the glass into which I poured it. After a while, the thick, foamy light-brown head settled at ~2 fingers. The beer itself is almost pitch black, but it's really more of a ruby-dark brown mix. Lacing is excellent.

Smell:
The major notes of the nose are a heavily roasted malt and smoked chocolate. Overall, it's kind of an "earthy" scent.

Taste:
I find this beer fairly sweet, but not directly on account of the chocolate. The notes of barley and chocolate are heavily roasted/smoked, but the flavor still seems rather sugary. Sweetness isn't particularly overpowering, as it resembles something which might be found in a dark fruit (plum, perhaps). I detect minimal hopiness, so there isn't too much bitterness of which to speak.

Mouthfeel:
This is a very thick beer, so I assume that a copious amount of sugar was present in the malt. As such, I rate the body as heavy. At 9.1% the alcohol is well hidden, but it seems to dry out my mouth towards the end of each sip (though only ever-so-slightly). This is definitely a beer which you want to consume slowly.

Overall:
I can't speak much to the complexity or balance of this beer. Personally, I find it a bit sweet for my liking, but I do enjoy the presence of the "darker" sweetness. The characteristic smokiness is also present, but it's not too overpowering. I have a feeling that this style is really more of an acquired taste; however, this shouldn't stop you from trying it.

Photo of moz9
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bvick7 for the bottle. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. I chose to review it because I found it to be better than the recent reviews have indicated.

It pours a nice black with a tan brown head. The smell is a little thin at first, but the taste and mouthfeel makes up for it. The roasted grains and chocolate are apparent, yet very smooth.

Overall I think this is just a very good RIS. It's not anything flashy or fancy, but a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of JizackFH
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Sunswick 35-35 in Astoria, NY on 4/8/11.

Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a very very dark brown, almost black, color. It has a mocha colored 1-finger head. The head had decent retention, and left some scattered lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of very dark roasted malt, black coffee, and molasses. There are also notes of dark chocolate, dark fruits, anise, and there is also a nuttiness to it.

T - It tastes of sweet roasted malt, dark chocolate, and black coffee up front. There were also flavors of licorice, nuts, and dark fruits. The alcohol content was hidden very well, but it shows up a tad in the finish. I think it could have used some more char/roasted bitterness.

M - This has a medium to full body and lower carbonation. It goes down very smooth, and has a rich and creamy feel to it. The finish has just a hint of dryness to it.

O - This beer has pretty good drinkability. It goes down smooth and has a nice flavor. I could drink a couple of these in an evening. Overall, I thought it was a very nice beer. I just think it could have used a little more roasted bitterness in the taste, since it seemed to be a little more sweet than I would have liked it to be. Good beer though. I would try again.

Photo of Radome
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A - A very, very dark brown, but not black. No light penetrates. Head is dark tan and made of tiny, creamy bubbles. It piled about 3/4" high after the pour, then slowly faded to a 1/8" layer and thick lacing.

S - The aroma is mostly grainy malt. Hops and alcohol are muted in comparison. Not as complex as other Imperial Stouts I've tried.

T - Taste is warm and bready malt. There is a crisp graininess to it. There is some of the rummy, dark fruit complexity that I like in this style. Not much alcohol flavor and the hop flavor is non-existent.

M - Thick body, creamy/silky carbonation feel. No hops presence.

O - Overall, this is a well-crafted, clean beer. It is not as big and bold as many other examples, but it is very enjoyable.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a brown-ish head. In the aroma, sweet roasted malt and oatmeal. In the taste, roasted malt and a dry coffee, yet a bit sweet in the coffee. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry small presence of coffee and chocolate. Nice flavors and easy to drink.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Pellinore1 for the great BIF box that included this brew.

a - popped the bottle and poured into oversized snifter. Deep sludgy black with a full 3 finger head after pouring the full bottle abruptly into my glass. The head isn't going nowhere. This is frothy and here to stay. Lacing shows evidence of where the beer once was.

s - Odor screams of milky roasted malts. Good amount of roastiness and a fair amount of smoke to round her out. Smells really nice.

t - I am surprised at the smokiness of this beer. How could I have gone this long without hearing about this gem?

m - Creamy and rich. Full and milky. Carbonation is nice for the beer, but not in your face. Perhaps a bit too milky, but otherwise, pretty spot on.

o - I am really surprised that I don't hear people raving about this beer. Fantastic milk stout flavor with a campfire of smokiness. Really great flavor and somewhat unique. Not sure if properly categorized as a RIS, but if so...a damn fine one and one that could be a gateway rauch.

Photo of portia99
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle...been holding on to this one for a while (lot 3149 - not sure how old, but has at least a year on it). Poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours an extremely dark brown color that is pretty much totally opaque. A thick finger of foamy and a bit fizzy cappuccino brown head lingers for a minute and falls to an even skim coat with just a hint of foamy lacing around the edge of the glass.

S - A bit boozy, soapy and a bit detergent-like, dark fruits, a bit of licorice, a bit floral, and lightly touched by roasted malt. Nothing wrong, but far from unique or memorable.

T - Flavor varies largely from the aroma. Lots of roastiness giving a distinct coffee flavor, some dark and milk chocolate, light touches of prunes, alcohol. Nicely bitter with a combination of grassy hops and dark roasted malts and a smooth but mild sweetness around the edges.

M - Creamy and smooth...sweetened espresso-like. Low carbonation and medium/full body. Really smooth and chocolately and coffee filled body.

O - I like this beer...it isn't what I'd call an outstanding example of the style, but it certainly is enjoyable. This is actually a pretty easy drinker and has an absolutely silky smoothness to it. The sum is better than the parts here. This won't blow you away, but it is solid and something that I could easily have more of.

Photo of Auracom
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2-3 oz. from the 12 oz. bottle on March 24th, 2011 in my mini snifter - one of 10 beers in my stout tasting; from notes.

A - Decent head on this one, very opaque black coloring. Barely any retention, quick dissipation down to a few bubbles on the sides. Some visible alcohol feet.

S - Citrusy and funky at the same time with sweet malts. A pine quality underneath... in support of the citrus I guess. Maybe some roasted notes.

T - Ugh. Bland. Severely-mellowed chocolate and caramel. Despite the citrus character in the aroma, there's virtually no citrus, floral, or pine to be found on the tongue with the exception of orange peel (but it's barely there). Slightly bitter on backend.

M - Similar to Bell's Expedition, more carbonation than expected.

D - Bleh. The taste is so incredibly subdued... it's really the opposite of what I hope for in an imperial stout. I expect huge notes in both the aroma and taste and Northwind barely fulfills the former and fails miserably at the latter. What's the purpose or point of this beer? Two Brothers advertises the unique hop addition to it but it doesn't work.

Photo of veinless
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received from ChadQuest as part of our trade amongst some other Two Brothers stuff - thanks Chad!

Pours a completely opaque deep blackish brown with a one-finger back-generating tan head that retains well and has a coffee look to it. Tiny bubbles continue to rise to the top slowly but steadily, something I haven't seen much in RISs.

Smell is a blend of light fruit, licorice and roasted malt, along with a touch of vanilla. I'd like more of the malt to come out here, but the licorice and vanilla is pretty nice to smell too.

Taste is very sweet and full of vanilla, with roasted malts and bitter hops only showing halfway through the sip. Licorice provides a buttery backbone to the beer. Malts when they show are a toasted and charred contrast to the sugary start. Make no mistake, this is a tasty beer - it just doesn't go together as well as some other stouts out there due to the sweetness being off and on.

Mouthfeel is not overly thick or heavy, but certainly not thin either. Lots of creamy, buttery character and a heavy dose of stickiness due to the sweetness. Finish is a mouth-smacking beast. Drinkability is hindered by the imbalance, but it isn't hard to drink at all.

Photo of IchabodcraneIpa
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

The pour on this one revealed a nice not overly thick brown color with a fat tan head crowning the top.

The smell of this one was of roasts and malts with a chocolatey character and possibly some dark fruit presenting itself at the end of the nose.

The taste of this stout is a nice roasted malt flavor with a coffee like tinge in it. It is also sweeter than other stouts I have tried at this point.

The mouthfeel of this one is fairly wet and slick and it seems to slide of the tongue and down the throat.

I think the drinkability of this one may be on the medium side as this one seems to be high in alcohol and not my usual style beer.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks pretty good. Pretty dank black pour, with a light brown head and sporadic lacing.

Aroma is sparse, but theres some roasted malts, and hints of sweetness and chocolate. With some agitation, some dark fruits present themselves.

Taste is rather roasty, with some milk chocolate and some bittersweet notes. Maybe a hint of coffee, but just a hint.

The feel is upper medium in body, slick and creamy in texture with light carbonation. For a Russian Imperial, the feel could have benefited from being heavier.

Not bad on the drink. Lighter and not as flavorful and intense as other RIS's, but overall decent.

Photo of donteatpoop
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I stocked up on imperial stouts for the winter. This was the last bottle.

initial impression: very surprised, what a great beer. Rich upfront flavor, very palatable. Roasted malts hit you right up front, a nice hop presence balanced nicely with dark malts, hints of chocolate and coffee. Fantastic beer.

I'm doing this all out of order.

Smell was molases-like, bitter hop and roasted malt aromas.

Poured midnight brown, impenitrable to light. Wonderful cap of tan head at the top, thick lacing rings the side of the glass.

Thick creamy mouthfeel, goes down smooth. The 9.1% alcohol percentage is a surprise, went down too smooth for that. Great beer.

Photo of innersanctum
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big shout out to my main boilermaker, Jim E for this awseome gift!

Poured this 12 ounce gem into a British pint glass and really enjoyed this smooth stout

Jet black appearance with 2 fingers of foamy tan colored head and retention; this brew looks perfect, and staring at that glass rekindles an image of a British pub

Aroma of a sweet, biscuitty, and dark chocolate notes

Rich, full bodied, toasty malt, balanced with some hops which accentuate the side of my tongue, and a finish with a bit of zing that lingers on the palate. The 9% ABV is not present in the taste, where many stouts this potent are sipper type beers, the alcohol is unobtrusive.

Very balanced, yet medium heavy mouthfeel, which is perfect for tonight's 32F temperature outside

This is a nice easy drinker

Photo of Agold
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is not quite as dark as i would usually like for an imperial stout. It also is a bit lacking in lacing and head retention. The aroma makes up for its shortcomings in appearance. It smells of chocolate, roasted barley, and caramel. The flavor has these aspects as well, but adds in a subtle licorice flavor. Really enjoyable. The mouthfeel was full with a moderate amount of carbonation. The drinkability, is really nice on this beer. I barely feel the 9.1% at all. Really enjoyable and affordable RIS.

Photo of Sammy
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ginger Man. A very faint stout, lighter mouthfeel. Sour aroma. Smooth, until sourish finish. The best is the look, it is black and looks like an imperial stout,but it is not the best representation of the style.Still drinkable. Some roasting, maybe it needed to age more.

Photo of Dmoore07
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Very viscous coming out of the bottle. Deep black color. Tan head, dissipated quickly but left lacing.

S- Sweet and malty with prominent chocolate notes.

T- Smooth, rich body. Full of chocolate, toffe, and mocha malt characters. Just enough bitterness lingers in the rear to balance the malty body.

M- Rich and creamy. The alcohol is fairly well hidden.

D- Pretty drinkable. The high ABV would keep me at just one of these, but that doesn't mean it wasn't wast going down.

Photo of ironbike1
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very smooth Imperial Stout coming in at 9.10abv.

Dark black with a thin brownish head that fades quick but leaves nice lacing throughout the drink.
Smell is of burnt oak/nuts or chocolate and the taste is smokey,earthy with nuts & with a bitter taste of chocolate in the backdrop. Not a real intense stout but it is very well balanced and hides the abv very well the drinkablility is very high for this style.
excellent beer a must try and a cellar favorite.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batting fourth...North....Wind....Imperial Stooouuuttt! Was wanting a decent clean-up hitter for my four beer evening...and got it....cold cocked!!! The 2Bros Imp Stout....has some alcohol in it....let me tell you. Poured into a brandy sniffer and the color was a wonderful dark creamy pour, with tan foam head. Unfortunately the Alcohol over powers the sweet malty undertones of the nose. The taste is decent once the buds get used to the 9.1% ABV!!! Again the alcohol over powers the taste, which has roast, chocolate, coffee, and maybe molasses where perhaps the sweetness comes. Once Again....the alcohol affects the mouthfeel and drinkability. Session....no way...two would be tough to handle! This beer needs to be partaked on the wintry nights. Stay classy!

Photo of Khazadum
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Easily a one and a half to two finger beverage right here. The long-lasting head never fully leaves me, so I stare perpetually at this half a finger head that is fueled by a strong collection of small to mini bubbles. From top down it is similar to fresh fallen snow in creamy, clean appearance. Dark brown chocolate with an almost inky darkness. Fantastic lacing. This beer looks spot on for its style.

S- Nice and sharp. We have a bit of sweetness to it, malty mostly. Some hints of alcohol, and lots of roast with burnt running up and down the sides. Very simple aromas here with not too much positive balance to the acrid, cloying ones.

T- Opens roasted and toasted grains. Very minor that builds up to have this lovely bread that has been barely toasted turn into a full on blow-torched chunk of grain. Second half lets the blow-torch sit right on the substrate giving it burnt notes now... acrid but not disappointingly so. They never bother me, but I come to like them and expect them. Finishes up with burnt paper and grain hits, a tad sweet presence that I'm not sure where it came from, but it barely makes itself known. The very back of the palate has a thin layer of alcohol astringency ladled on, but fades quicker than anything else. All about being strong, burnt, grain here.

M- This is another area where this beer shines. Creamy and chewy are the first thoughts that came to mind. It is a full bodied monster of a beer. I love the thickness of it as it swirls around the cavity. Good tingle on the back end of carbonation that never occludes the flavors.

D- The feeling of this beer really picks up the slack of the flavors and aroma and drives home a solid beer. I easily finished this twelve ounce without thinking twice about the nine percent price tag to my liver. Impressed with this one from Two Brothers, did not expect it to be this decent.

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 785 ratings.