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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

803 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 803
Reviews: 390
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 21
Gots: 49 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 803 | Reviews: 390 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The beer pours jet black with a clingy moderate tan head. The aroma is moderate-high bittersweet malt with moderate roast and a bit of chocolate. The flavor is very malty-intense bittersweet malt with underlying roast and bit of ash. The hop bitterness adds additional balance to the malt especially with slightly dry finish. The body is very smooth and full with a bit of warming quality in my belly. The carbonation is moderate. Overall a very well made IS and still having good drinkability--great on this cold, rainy evening.

Photo of mrright1967
1.9/5  rDev -50%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After spending several minutes perusing the aisles and bypassing many of the staple imperial stouts at my neighborhood liquor store, I decided to give this new arrival a chance. It was my first time trying any beer from Two Brothers.

It looks and pours like an imperial stout and has the alcohol content that one would expect. Unfortunately that is were the similarities to the characteristics one would expect in a quality imperial stout end. There's no need to discuss hints of coffee or chocolate or any subtle blending of flavors associated with stouts. There is one pervasive and overwhelming taste of sour milk that masks any other taste that might be present.

At first, I assumed the 6 pack of bottles I had purchased had spoiled in some way. However in reading other reviews I see that my experience is not unusual. The sour taste has been discussed by other reviewers. One reviewer described it as an overwhelming metallic taste. Whatever it is - it's nasty.

I've always described the experience of drinking beer as being like oral sex - even when its bad, its good. But this beer defies such a contention. Its just bad. Not bad in an interesting or novel way, but bad like ... "Man, is it safe for me to even be drinking this?"

As I said, this was my first experience with Two Brothers. Maybe their other offerings are better, but I'll never know. This will be the only money these 2 brothers will ever see from me.

Avoid at all cost.

Photo of mgbickel
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter. Formed a thick layer of khaki colored bubbles that quickly receded, leaving no lace behind. The body is dark, dense and pretty much black. You can force ruby slivers around the edges if backlit.

The nose is rather weak for a RIS...burnt chocolate, coffee, toasted malts, heavy cream, molasses...all very subtle.

Thank goodness the flavors do not follow the nose (in strength at least). Starts off with a black coffee bitterness that smoothly transitions into a sweet malt middle that turns roasty at the finish. No booziness make this really smooth drinking.

The mouth feel teeters on the heavy side of medium...creamy with moderate carbonation.

This is a pretty solid stout. I had no problems putting a 12oz bottle away and found myself wanting more. Well worth a try!

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours black with a 1" bubbly tan head that reduces to a thick 1/8" head.

Smells of cocoa, vanilla, molasses, some smoke and roasted malt. Very appetizing smelling!

Starts smooth, tasting of roasted caramel malt. Chocolate hits the roof of the mouth on it's way down, with a pleasant alcohol warmth as it finishes. Very pleasing and very drinkable.

Has a smooth mouthfeel, almost creamy. Warms the tongue as you drink your way through the pint.

An excellent brew that I will look for again.

Photo of Naugled
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the more impressive RIS's I've had in awhile.

Jet black opaque crystal body, with a thin quick brown head. Head could be better, but it is decent nonetheless.

Roasted coffee and chocolate notes are full in the nose.

The same aromas follow very distinctly in the flavor, it has a relatively low apparent bitterness that doesn't linger.

Rich smooth mouth feel with a slight crisp carbonation.

A very drinkable RIS, no signs of cloying or hotness. A solid RIS.

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

klikger was kind enough to share a bottle of this with me.

appearance - very dark. thick head that laces the sides of the glass.

smell - not a very strong smell, but hints of chocolate.

taste - chocolate and malts come through. very nice taste with hints of fruit.

mouthfeel - thick and creamy...mmm

overall a very nice beer. complex flavor and very drinkable.

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

11.2 fl. Oz. bottle poured into DUvel tulip. Served 55-60 F.
A: Dark black. Reddish brown frothy head. Splotchy head left around tulip.
S: Very sweet, creamy, and hops.
T: Very bitter and creamy. Malts are dark and similar to molasses. Sharp bitter hop linger.
M: Medium on mouth.
D: Not what was expected for style.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a dark tan head that thinned out and left a few trails of lacing.
S - roasted malt and chocolate.
T - starts off with a roasted malty flavor and then chocolate and caramel sweetness come in with a light bitterness towards the finish.
F - full bodied with a chalky feel on the finish.
D - it's worth a try.

Photo of thedrewski86
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, opaque black color with a thin tan skim for a head. Whatever lacing starts to form slides down the glass with the alcohol. Great smell of dark fruits, alcohol, raisins and vinegar. Taste is very nice, strong boozy malts with a solid hop presence without being bitter. Nice and toasty. I'm actually getting a little bit of biscuit from the malts which is odd for the style. Pretty big body, you could drink this fast but that abv sneaks up on you! It's actually 9.1%, not 8.5% as it says on this site.

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

Pours an opaque black with ruby red highlights. Topped with a thin creamy brown tan head which has great retention and sticks to the top of the brew and the glass. Warming sherry like arioma with subtle hints of fresh dark fruits. Sweet malty drink with a vinous quality and sweet fruity flavor. The finish is slow and lingers a bit too long. A little bit of cloying sweetness lingers with a soft warming sensation.

Photo of mikey711
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black that pours a cascading guiness like head although much darker. Pretty good lace and good head retention as well

S: Slight roastedness followed by sweet chocolate. The too flavors much each other out a little bit

T: Very nicely balanced between the sweet chocolate and a milded roasted flavor. Normally I like my stouts dry and roasty but the sweetness in this one was quite enjoyable

M: A slight hint of acidity but no heat and mostly creamy

D: A very easy drinking stout

Photo of Dotcubed
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a modest topping of coco colored foam for a year old bottle. bottle marked Lot 3178

Smells pretty inviting, roasted malt.
Dark black color. Creamy, dry.

Warming but not hot like I thought it may be with such high alcohol.
Hints of salty black licorice? Need more of these.

Very substantial offering. I'd like six for this time next year.

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

Pours a 2 finger milk chocolate head, body is pitch black. Head retention and lacing are slightly above average.

Smell is more like a doppelbock than an imperial stout. Lots of dried fruits like raisins and prunes. There's also some bready malts, hops and alcohol are faint.

Taste is a mix between a stout, baltic porter and a doppelbock. Similar to smell, dried fruit, lots of bready and chocolate malt. Its just missing that burnt malt/coffee flavors that I love in imperial stouts. Hops balance out malt nicely and alcohol is present but nicely subdued.

Mouthfeel is good. Pretty standard stout feel to it, medium bodied, good amount of carbonation. Head stayed shortly, wish there was more presence of it

Drinkability was good. For almost 9 percent it was sessionable. Doesn't really taste like what you'd think of an imperial stout. Kinda similar to old viscosity but not as good. Worth a try but tons of other beers better than this

Photo of brewcast6
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle that had been aged for approximately a year and Poured into a snifter glass

Aroma: Strong carmel aroma, Roasted malt, with undertones of coffee and chocolate, slight alcohol presence -- Very well balanced aroma

Appearance: Jet black color with a deep tan head that is initially well formed but has very little retention

Flavor: Complex flavors of alcohol, roasted malt, hints of chocolate, coffee, slight alcoholic flavor

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied, with a creamy texture, gives a little alcohol warmth, very little carbonation

Overall Impression: Very complex beer with a variety of flavors making you want to take another drink. I drank a bottle of this a year ago before it aged and it was one of the best Imperial stouts I have had in regards to the fact that it doesn't have a big alcohol burn you normally get with most imperial stouts and it gets even better with age!

Photo of sitarist
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black. The head is tan withe a coral like hue. Two finger head quickly falls to a ring with some nice lacing.

Its smokey on the nose with hints of coffee, bitter coco, licorice, grape candy, raisins, and a hint of alcohol.

Light coffee dominates the palate with hints of bitter coco. The mouthfeel is big and creamy. Great balance between bitter and sweet. The flavors and body work well together to hide the alcohol well.

Im glad I gave this one a shot, cant wait to try more from this brewery.

Photo of MrDanno96
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours pitch black with about a finger of tan head. The head quickly dissipated in a couple minutes, however, and left little lacing.

S: Sweet toasty malty, coffee with some creamer in it, and some hints of chocolate in the aroma.

T: Strong dark coffee and dark chocolate battle for control in the taste. Some slightly burnt coffee/malt (probably black patent) come through in the finish and leave a mildly bitter aftertaste. A little booze is also detectable.

M: This quaff as a medium body and a little too much carbonation IMHO. I had a little trouble finding all the flavors before the carbonation bite took over. A little alcohol warming as this one goes down.

D: Not a bad drinking brew, especially if you like coffee flavored stouts. However, I don't think this quite achieves the taste complexity or body of most really good RISs. Watch out for the 8.5% abv too.

Photo of stewart124
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a fairly dense head after a strong pour. This fizzled away within a minute.

Strong coffee aroma with hints of chocolate in the nose and some earthy bits.

Medium bodied with a nice dose of noble bittering. This is accompanied by an acrid bitterness from the roasted malts. Bits of chocolate in the taste but this doesn't come off as a terribly complex imperial stout.

Very taste and smooth, this russian imperial stout is a treat and easy to drink. Nothing really stands out but there is nothing wrong with this beer. Plain and simple, it's an easy drinking russian imperial stout.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap, in a pint glass at Bodega in Columbus, OH on 1/2/10

A - Dark brown, nearly black in color. 1/8th inch layer of tan head. Thin retention. No lacing.

S - Subtle nose of roasted malts. Notes of coffee & earthy hops. Dark sugars & faint dark fruit, maybe prunes.

T - Plenty of chocolate with mild coffee notes. Undertones of brown sugar & molasses. Roasted dark malts. Modest hop twinge around the edges with hints of citrus. Rather sweet. Something in there seems almost medicinal.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation; it's smooth & creamy. A bit of alcohol slickness is present.

D - Easy enough to drink; it's decent overall. Not particularly interesting & maybe a touch too sweet.

Photo of mikereaser
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle on 1/27/10

A - Pours a pitch black with just a layer of tiny bubbles on the surface.

S - roasted malts, bitter sweet chocolate

T - nicely balanced roasted malts, chocolate and just a hint of some hops

M - smooth, creamy, medium bodied, light carbonation

D - nothing earth shattering, easy to drink, smooth, but i probably won't search it out again.

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Opaque, very dark brown body with one finger of tan head.

S - Chocolate, licorice, coffee, vanilla.

T - Heavy chocolate flavor with flavors of coffee and cream, vanilla, and licorice. Some nuttiness, either from malt or yeast, and dark fruits are present. Little hop flavor - perhaps some slight earthiness - and moderate bitterness for the style.

M - Dense, chewy, full body. Silky and smooth in the mouth.

D - Lacks the complexity of other beers of the style, but very easy-drinking. Pardon the abuse of the term, but this is almost a sessionable big stout.

Photo of indiapaleale
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was cellared for one year before being opened and what ever happened in that year certainly made this beer absolutely delicious.

Pour - super dark and viscous. Its the dredges from a super dark pot of coffee. This is black (period). No light shines through. The head is thin and coffee colored. This looks potent.

Aroma - lots of raisins and prunes along with licorice and anise. This is a very strong smelling RIS without a lot of malt or hop aromas just a ton of dark stewed and fermented fruits.

Taste - wow, all those smells come to life on my tongue. This has a very strong flavor of those dark fruits and a nice lashing of warm alcohol. This is not a heavily malt centered imperial stout nor is it hoppy, its all about the rich dark fruit flavors and how they've developed over the past year.

Overall - I'm really digging this beer, so much flavor and its certainly making me feel nice as well. You have to love 12 oz. bottles of strong beer. They are such perfect serving sizes.

Would I buy more of it? - I might be swayed, not sure. I really like this after a year in the cellar, it could be nice to buy some more bottles and put them away for years to come.

Vintage - Winter 2008/9

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 803 ratings.