Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

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very good

786 Ratings
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Ratings: 786
Reviews: 387
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 21
Gots: 41 | 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: 786 | Reviews: 387 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Durge
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A black mahogany color with a modest tan head and very little lacing. The aroma brings a pleasant licorice and roasted malt. The flavor is very similar to the aroma, maybe more chocolaty with the licorice still a mellow lead. It's a bit sweet but has a woodsy buttery malt and mild citrus hop all in a mid-bodied brew with light carbonation. Alcohol is not much notable so it's plenty drinkable. Kind of unique and enjoyable.

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

On tap at Two Brothers on 8/9/09.

A - Snifter appeared as a dark orb of onyx with a thin, creamy tan head that vanished but flared up a bit with each swirl, leaving some stringy lace that slid down the glass.

S - Initial aroma combines toasted malts and roasty coffee with a hint of chocolate. A scant hop presence exists, but it buried beneath all of the malt, with perhaps just a tinge of earthy hops poking through. Alcohol presence is also quite modestly displayed.

T - Semi-sweet chocolate dominates the flavor with subtle earthy hop bitterness and roasted coffee characteristics taking a back seat. There's also a hint of licorice and subtle hop notes in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with an oily texture and a touch of bristly carbonation, resulting in a pretty smooth mouthfeel overall. Finishes with subtle bitterness and some residual sweetness on the palate.

D - Pretty solid Imperial Stout overall. Nothing amazing, but quite drinkable. Alcohol isn't too obtrusive either.

Photo of Kegatron
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap @ the Two Brothers Tap House on 8/9/09. Served in a snifter.

Pours an abosolute black, with a thin smattering of light mocha colored head on top. Retains with a fizzy look around the edges, leaving some minimal lace back. The aroma is generally dark and roasty smelling, with some thicker malt notes of chocolate and caramel. Green citrus and dark fruits emerge as well, as this warms.

The taste is more dark roast, with thickish notes of chocolate and toffee sweetness. Touch of fruits and coffee as well. Roast and fruit linger into the finish, which is probably the best part. Much like the aroma (and even to a lesser extent), I'm waiting for this profile to cut loose, and it never does. All of the flavors start up but then just never delivers anything memorable. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fuller bulky creaminess in some spots, but then seems really light in others. Inconsistent feel to say the least.

An average Imperial Stout at best. Just nothing here overly impressed me, save the aroma, which finally got going a bit once it hit room temp. This was my second time experiencing this beer (the first was in the bottle) and my opinion remains unchanged.

Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this is an underrated russian imperial stout,in my opinion.

smell is of roasted coffee,chocolate,and dark fruit.

palate is roasted coffee,burnt dark chocolate,slight currant flavor. finishes with a nice roasted coffee and chocolate with a moderate hop bitterness.

mouthfeel is where this beer lacks though.not as thick as i would like it to be,but still pretty good.

i could have two or three of these on a cold's a good sipper.very reasonably priced too.

Photo of RickS95
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, fluffy, brown head. Like liquid coal in a

Malts and hops in the nose, maybe a hint of coffee bean in the backgroud, possibly even notes of oatmeal.

A good tasting beer. I kept waiting for coffee or chocolate on the palate, but it wasn't there. Initially the hops want to take over, but the malt balances quickly.

There is a creaminess in the mouth, as this is a full-bodied beer. Nice lacing.

Everything in this beer balances nicely. It's hoppy, but the bitter is balanced by the malt. It's highly alcoholic (8.5%) but the warming is subtle on the tongue. Despite the high ABV, this is a good drinking beer.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, damn near black in color. Only a slight quarter inch of head forms on the pour, but it's gone faster than it appears. Smell is roasted malts and some cocoa.
Taste has a bit more roasted coffee beans than you would ever pick up in the nose. It's a nice touch. Medium depth on the mouthfeel. Works well with the bitterness and the carbonation. I would like to see it be a little more creamy and more chocolate on the flavor. Still, it's a decent Impy in it's own right.

Photo of katan
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a goblet, lot 3178

A - Totally opaque beer - black all the way. SRM north of 35. Little head formation, with only a very light film remaining. Hazing or carbonation is not present, but could be well concealed by the color.

S - Chocolate and roasted malts - nice and sweet with only a hair of coffee bitterness in the background. I can sense only the lightest of hop additions in the smell.

T - Starts off with a light sweet note, with only a hint of roasted malts. Some hops bitterness start to show in the mid-stream - only enough to create a hint of american hops. Finishes with a chocolate edge, first bitter but then turning to sweet. Sits with a nice coffee/sweet note on the tongue.

M - Moderate to high body - body development is strong for the relatively modest abv for the style. Carbonation bite is not present. Somewhat clingy on the tongue.

D - Not sure drinkable is the word, but it sure goes down like a smooth beer. ABV is very manageable for the style. Flavors are not over the top - no palette fatigue.

Good selection from TB - reminds me much of the good ol' Old Rasputin.

Photo of Florida9
2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Drank this at 2Brothers TapHouse

A: Served in a small snifter. Black in color. Fully opaque. About a 1/8th inch of creamy tan head that quickly receded to the rim of the glass.

S: Stale coffee, cocoa, and an odd sort of creamy lactic scent. Heavily roasted, almost burnt, malts.

T: Again coffee, but more like cheap ass chicory coffee and not the good stuff. Cocoa and chocolate. Roasted malts and a raw, biting woodsiness, blending, unpleasantly, with a noticeable fruity sourness. Typically I enjoy coffee and chocolate flavors, but this beer seems to be highlighting coffee and chocolate's negative aspects.

M: Medium in body. Low carbonation. Thin for a RIS.

D: I don't know what is going on with this beer. It really misses the mark and is quite disappointing. Thin, burnt, and sour, but (thankfully) with not much of a residual aftertaste, I simply couldn't enjoy this beer. Eventually I bellied up and ordered a Cane & Ebel to help me get this one down.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one as an extra twice in the last month, go figure. I saw that as a sign I should probably try one. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 05/19/2009.
The pour was fantastic. Rich dark brown, and completely opaque. Huge head of tan rises up and over the top, only gradually settling down as the session gets going. Rich looking is an understatement here as this one presented exactly as it should have. Lots of chocolate in the aroma right away, hints of vanilla and molasses start to pop up as it comes up near room temperature along with a notable cookie dough like presence, very sweet. Smooth, creamy body here really let the flavor sit in well, and the sweet, dessert like profile just continued right along as it progressed. Light coffee notes, lots of cocoa and a hint of molasses. Definite night cap here. Not much in the way of ABV issues for the style made it somewhat session able if dare I mention it.
Overall not bad at all. Nothing going to blow your mind here, but I have to say this was a more then solid effort on their part. I would have no issue at all with having this one again, in fact I might look for it as it really seemed to go over quite well.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled this at an epic tasting hosted by EinWeizenbitte. Thanks a ton Todd!

Appearance: Brown, foamy head dissipates fairly quickly to a creamy crown. Decent retention after that. Body is dark brown with amber shades around the edges. A bit too much visibility? Head leaves notch-like rings of lacing along the walls of the glass.

Smell: Roasted malt, fruity esters, and a strong dosage of sour fruitiness resembling citrus and berries. Not particularly bad, but not what I would normally look for nor want in this style.

Taste: Roasted malt and dark chocolate make a brief initial appearance, then step aside as an avalanche of raspberry and lemon rolls through onto the palate. Tons of sourness in the finish. This just seems wrong.

Mouthfeel: Sugary, syrupy, and lambic-like. Medium carbonation and body. Finishes dry and sour.

Drinkability: As a big RIS fan, I was not a fan of this big RIS. Fruit accents are nice, but this went over the top. Finish didn't resemble an imperial stout in the least bit. This wasn't terrible, but it definitely wasn't for me.

Photo of jsh420
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

batch #3508

pours jet black with a 1 finger head that fades fast and leaves no lacing

smell cocoa and sweet dark fruits

taste is a little thin - dark fruit coco and cola?

mouthfeel is very thin for a RIS

drinkability is so so - i want more from a RIS

overall there are better irish dry's then this - not a beer i will seek out again but will see how it ages

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours aa turgid dark brown with lots of small floaties, and little head. A bit viscous. Smells of licorice and bit roasty. Th taste is a bit more complex and has more oomph. More licorice and roastiness, and a hint of bitter chocolate. Long finish. Very, very smooth in the mouth, and overall a little flawed but still quite pleasurable.

Photo of williamherbert
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is black tar with 1/3 puffy brown head. Lots of bubbles in the head. Dark as a bowling ball, even up close to the light.

Bittersweet cocoa powder smell. Sweet caramels and stone fruits, like raisins and dates. Roasted coffee malts too. Complex and nice.

The taste is roasted coffee malts, like a porter with a mild kick of alcohol. More raisins, sweet grapes and cocoa in the taste. Balanced between sweet and bitter, especially with warmth. Light toffee at the end.

The mouth is thick and ashy, but with a buttery smooth finish. Oily but more ashy as it warms up. It's pretty good. Very thick, though, so repeats might be a tough sell. Still, it's a balanced, complex stout.

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

Bottle. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma of rich roasted malt and bitter chocolate. Flavor of roasted malt and sweet malt with alcohol in the finish. Pretty decent, but it doesn't really excite me either. Just a chill imperial stout.
7/4/8/4/14 (3.7/5)

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

Pours a very deep dark brown color with a light brown head, average head retention, leaves a little sticky lacing. Hints of mocha and espresso in the nose, a little roasty but not much else. Roasted malt and bitter chocolate dominate the taste, some burnt wood action, and mocha flavors finish things off. A moderate chewy body with enough carbonation to ease the drinkability; finishes with a roasty bitterness. A straight roasted RIS, not much in the way of viscous flavors or hoppiness.

Photo of UA8
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a rich dark brown with a thick tan head that recedes leaving heavy lacing.

S- Scents of roasted coffee, malts, and grassy hops.

T- Leads with roasted toffee malts, finishes with hints of yeast, herbal hops, and a touch of smoke.

M- For and Imperial Stout this beer is too light in body.

D- The beer tastes good but is hardly an imperial stout. It's not dense enough in flavor or viscosity. Resembles more of a standard stout, other than the ABV.

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

Purchased because it seemed such a good value. Now maybe it's not worth it, or maybe it will be. I've generally liked this brewery so my anticipation runs favorable.
Certainly pours like and heavy enough. Very dark small head. Only hints of color on the bottom of the ridel wine glass.
I'd anitcipate a full and heavy aroma, but that's not what I got. It was much tighter than most, however, it is a nice dark roast, coffee, and a little chocolate.
Nice full flavor, in contrast to the aroma. Slightly sweet, roast, coffee. Moderately bitter that appears largely at the end. Longer finish with mild dryness and good flavors. Nice dark fruit flavors.
seems a little thin for style, but I like the lower carbonation. Feel ultimately is nice.
I like this. it drinks well. It certianly isn't the biggest, thickest or richest out there, but the flavors are good, the feel is nice and it drinks well (I could easily have another).
In the end I would say "yes" it's a good value.

Photo of colts9016
2.73/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this beer from mday, thank you.

Poured into a pint glass at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A very dark dark brown color. There is a quarter inch tan head that is creamy. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

Nose: A roasted malt complex with coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and molasses. There is a hint of hops hard to discern what is dominate in my nose.

Taste: A roasted malt complex with coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. There is a slight burnt complex,hops is not really valid in this beer.

Overall: The mouth feel is creamy and flat. The body of the beer is medium full and the finish is flimsy. This is a rather poor RIS, There is no hops a little flavor and not much else. Rather disappointed, I was hoping for more.

Photo of ROBORB
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Mike B, thanks man!

This beer poured solid black with a thin chocolate head. The aroma consisted of roasted malts and fruits. I found the alcohol to be masked very well. The problem I had with this beer was its carbonation. It is overly carbonated and doesn't match the profile that I am used to. Regardless, it is a good drinking beer but not something I will search out again.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kirok1999 for this one, via the GB&U BIF.

Pours a deep dark brown that lets quite a bit of light in through the edges with only a slight irregular film of head.

Smells... a little weak. There's a fruity and toasty base that could be just about anything that is backed by a combination of green grapes, airy tobacco and smoke. Very fair, very light. Not bad at all, but a little on the thin end.

Whoa. Grape juice. There's a mostly green grapes backed with a touch of brownie and a hint of smokey coffee. Finishes sweet and clean. Huh. This definitely doesn't hang with the best of them, but it's nice and clean. More of your drinkin' stout. Not really an RIS by a long shot, in my book. But the ABV is up, which slides by remarkably. Hmmm. I'm torn here.

Very clean, very smooth; almost watery. But there's a touch of bubble-induced viscosity that helps out a bit.

An easy drinking RIS with "Drinkability?" I'm not sure where I stand on this one. I guess I like it?

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

Poured from the bottle a deep dark brown with an inch of rich tan head.

Aroma of light sweet malts and dark ripe fruit.

The taste is much like the aroma. Dark ripe fruit up front followed by sweet roasted malts, white sugar, and a touch of coffee. Finish delivers a bit of malt and burnt chocolate.

Medium bodied, smooth, and lightly carbonated.

A very drinkable RIS, but on the light side for the style.

Photo of maximum12
2.48/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a single recently. I'd have picked up more, the price is definitely right for an RIS, but I've had a pair of Two Brothers beers & not enjoyed either one. Hold my breath & dive.

It's black. Shocking. Smell isn't great, more like a milk stout. Taste isn't great either. It's very thin even for a regular stout, & there's not much taste to it at all. A bit of malt, maybe a hop sprig, eye of newt, balls of bull.

This isn't very good. Two Brothers has disappointed me three time in a row. I hate to give up on a brewery, but I'm close.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, lot 3508, bottle says 8.5% ABV. The beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is OK, lacing is very good. The aroma is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and some molasses. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also burnt/charred malt and caramel that I can taste, along with a bit of hops in the slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium with average carbonation, it's slick but it's also thin for an Imperial Stout. With that being said the mouthfeel isn't bad, it's just not as rich as I'd like my stouts to be. Drinkability is pretty good, it is very smooth and easy to drink. That's where the thin mouthfeel helps this beer. It is very easy to drink. The alcohol isn't very noticable either. I think this is an overall good beer, I would pick this up again in the future. Not a bad choice at all!

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

Thanks to littlebreeze for bringing this to our tasting.

A: Jet black with a super thick head.

S: The aroma has a slight espresso/coffee note. Some sweet malt but a decently tight nose.

T: Fairly light flavor. What's there features heavy chocolate and a touch of coffee. Good sweetness.

M: Pretty light bodied, especially for an imperial stout.

D: Very good. The lightness of the body increases the drinkability.

Photo of Vonerichs
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter at Two Bros.

This one is very dark, almost black. There is a one-finger, very foamy head with a toffee tint.

Light smells of roasted malt and chocolate.

Tastey. Consistent with the smell up front, then finishes with toffee and a slight bitterness, but a very balanced bitterness that compliments the sweet chocolate. Impressive flavor, but considering it's "imperial" designation I don't think it lived up to that standard. I expect something more over the top when "imperial" is part of the equation.

Creamy but a little light for an imperial stout. It does leave a smooth feel in the mouth. Slightly bitter aftertaste.

The 7.5% abv is not noticable at all, this goes down very easily.

Another impressive brew by Two Bros. that I would recommend.

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 786 ratings.