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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

758 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 758
Reviews: 385
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 19
Gots: 40 | 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: 758 | Reviews: 385 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Haybeerman
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, slightly opaque. Poured a 1 finger mocha head with fair retention. Laced in even rings.

S: Burnt bitter coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. Woody/alcohol aroma in the background.

T: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Coffee and toffee flavors some out in the middle. Balance bittering hops cleanse the mouth and readies the next drink.

M: Full side of medium body. May be more carbonated than most. Rich, creamy and smooth (though a little less carbonation would help).

Haybeerman, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of spointon
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on tap at the Two Brother's pub in Warrenville on 2/14/2009.

A= This stout poured a deep dark black-brown color (no light passed through this one) with a dense 1/2" dark tan head. The head dropped slowly and left decent lace down my glass.

A= The aroma was of a heavy dark sweetness, roasted malts, treacle, dark chocolate, and light hops. Alcohol was only noticable after swirling the glass.

T= Sweet malt up front plays against a nice roasted coffee bean and bitter chocolate character. Some hops flash forward briefly before this one settles back into a sweet/roasy battle to the finish. Some nice warmng alcohol in the end.

MF= Heavy body wth a slightly viscous and creamy feel. Carbonation was moderate but seemed lighter due to the density of this beer.

D= I was really blown away by this beer. An excellent RIS for sure, on par with (or at least worth mentioning in the same breath as) Old Rasputin. Not the strongest of RIS' but the flavor was so good I didn't care. Highly recommended!

spointon, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of KarlHungus
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nearly opaque black color. The head is one inch of tan foam. It recedes slowly into decent lacing. The aroma is of graham cracker, roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate. The taste is of very roasty with notes of chocolate and coffee. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a nice stout. It isn't the biggest Imperial Stout out there, but it is very solid nonetheless. I will certainly drink this again.

KarlHungus, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of bort11
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint glass. Half inch mocha colored head and no lacing. Color is a dark cola brown.

Smell is a little on the weak side. It's dark and malty, but just not very bold. There is some candied ginger and brown sugar. Taste has a bigger bite of ginger and some cloves. Doesn't really fit what I have in mind for an RIS.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Goes down fairly well, but is not leaving a big impression. This is OK at best

bort11, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of aerozeppl
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mred137 for the opportunity.

A: Very black with tons of head. Some lacing.

S: Nice roasted coffee nose.A little bit of hops in the back which I always enjoy. Reminds me of darkness every time.

T: Very nice roasted espresso taste. Almost a hint of a milk stout from all the sweetness. Balanced well.

M: Nice creaminess. Very dry finish with a light body for the style.

D: Very drinkable. What I like about two brothers is that they play with the traditional takes on a style and cross pollinate them with others. To me this was a RIS with a milk stout. Their tripel was really a Belgian IPA. I have enjoyed their stuff when I can find it. Thanks to Mr. Ed.

aerozeppl, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice 2 finger head with very good retention and a nice dark brown color.

Smell is pretty tame with some mild dark malts coming through and a bit of earthyness.

This beer has a sweet toffee flavor with some dark malts. Some roasted and chocolate characteristics come through with some adequate bitterness to balance. LOTS of body and unfermenatables in here.

This beer has an intense slick body.

This is a pretty drinkable, not bad at all.

jasonjlewis, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of budsboy
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black pour with a two-tone tan head that doesn't last as long as it maybe should.

Sweet malt sugar smell blends with espresso, chocolate and a sour grape aroma.

Well balanced sweet and bitter flavors: Coffee, dark chocolate, candied fruit, and raisin-prune. Slight metallic and sour taste is a bit off-putting.

Medium bodied but smooth with a minimum amount of carbonation.

This is an easy-drinker version of the RIS. Good but not outrageously so. A solid brew.

budsboy, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of hawks10
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and oily as expected, tremendous fluffy dark tan head, looks like dark panacake batter.

Coffee and a slight chocolate smell, found the smell to be the "weakest" part of the beer.

Malty and slightly chocolate taste, really not much hop presence but a slightly bitter, coffee aftertaste.

Overall I really enjoy this beer, I think it is underrated and a great value for a RIS.

hawks10, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of Jettanbass9
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - nearly jet black but still is permiable by light. Light tan head barely holds on to the glass.

S - Anise, licorice, dark caramel and dark fruits. Strong pale malt aromas. Whats lacking? oh yea, roast.... I can't help but to ding a few points for not getting as much roast in a beer like this. Major flaw.

T - Tons of anise and licorice, dark fruit and some roast poking through. No hop flavor. Very clean fermentation, no yeast character.

M - Full mouthfeel and light carbonation, slick on the tounge. Good mineral balance.

D - The beer goes back easy but misses the mark on the style's coined boldness. A sipper, definitely, however needs some help in the roast area of flavor and aroma. Two Brothers, please revamp this beer.

Jettanbass9, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of Goliath
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black and completely opaque with a large inch and a half brown head. Excellent retention and minimal lacing notches the glass as you drink.

The aroma is boring. Some roasty malts, with a slight chocolatey tone and a bit of booze are the major players.

The taste is ok, but like the nose it's a bit boring. Some good chocolate notes followed by some big roasty malts and a bit of bitterness on the finish. A bit of a hop presence finishes the beer off.

Mouthfeel is pushing full bodied and it is lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate. The beer is fine, but in the grand scheme of things it's nothing special. Just another boring Imperial Stout. I would really have liked to see the alcohol ramped up a bit with a little more complexity of flavor as well. 7.5%(I thought it said 8.5 on the bottle) is a bit on the light side for an Impy stout, at least for my tastes.

Goliath, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of beachbum1975
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch 3178

Poured into my over-sized Duvel tulip a dark, opaque rootbeer color with a medium to dark tan head. Minimal, spotty lacing...

This nose is light on this one. Hints of sweet malts, vanilla and an unusual banana-like essence. Not too impressed by the nose...

Ok, the strange banana smell that had me worried faded as I drank. This is a medium to full bodied beer with medium to full flavor. Medium to high carbonation on the mouthfeel, as well. Flavors include heavily roasted coffee, a touch of dark chocolate and sweet malts all bundled up in a sweet, vanilla bean package. Mouthfeel is wet (almost watery) in the beginning, then the hops kick in just a bit go lend to a semi-dry finish. Aftertaste carries the same slightly bitter hops...

Overall, this is a decent example of a Russian Imperial Stout, but not big enough for me. It's reminiscent of an English version RIS and I prefer the extreme American RIS'es...

beachbum1975, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Jekster
2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a deep dark rich brown color with a dark mocha head that dissipates to little or no lacing.

Smell: This beer smells of toasted caramel, dark robust coffee and cream. There is a slight woody character as well like fresh cut oak or a sawed fire wood. There is a slight bready sweetness in the background as well as a dark roasted grain.

Taste: Roasted sweetness carries the foremost flavor in this beer. There is some lite caramel and malt sweetness, but it does not hold a candle light to the almost overpowering roast character. There is a slight acid bitterness in the end as well as minor alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel: This beer is surprisingly thin for an imperial stout. There is a slight slickness and creamy component, but not as thick as you would expect for the style.

Drinkability: This beer is a sipper but not in the traditional sense of an imperial stout. It's more of a sipper because of the strong roast character and slight alcohol hit towards the swallow. I would not drink more than two of these in any sitting.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This beer did not live up to my expectations. It had a nice aroma, but the flavor is amazingly one dimensional. The roast character dominates and leaves little else to be detected. Moreover, there is a complete lack of the thick chewy coating body that I expect from a high gravity sippable beer. Instead, this beer is quite thin and even dry after the swallow. I think this is very uncharacteristic of the style and not what I really want to sip on a cold winter night. For the price, it's not bad yet I would suggest spending a couple more dollars and picking up one of the better RIS's out there.

Jekster, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of drunkmonk
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cool grey winter day here in NC, with a chilly north wind blowing. What better a beer to try today?

Thanks to DavidEddie for a very thoughtful extra and opportunity to try this one.

Thick jett black pour. Nice thick dark tan head with great staying power. Dark fruits, charred malts, star anise, bittersweet chocolate and coffee aroma's. Wonderful melding of dark fruits flavors, and rich roasted malts along with a coffee and chocolate kiss. Hops are ample and keep all the rich flavors well in check. Mouthfeel is ultra creamy. Ethanol is very well hidden and only felt in a nice gullet warming capacity. Dangerously drinkable.

This may not hold the abv girth of most Imperial Stout's, but who cares? This is great stuff. I Wish I lived near this Place. Would love to try this one from the source.

drunkmonk, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of riversider76
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the darkest of browns with a thin tan head.Excellent retention, and very nice laceing.Aroma is of coffee and maybe some dark fruit and chocolate. Body was smooth,silky, and mildly carbonated. Taste was coffee and fruit up front with a dark roasted finish.Hints of chocolate through out. Excellent.

riversider76, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of kimcgolf
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a used motor oil black, with medium-thick tan head that lingers well and leaves okay lacing. Try as I might, I could detect little nose. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, and as beer warmed, more tingly. Initial taste was dark fruit and coffee, which became overwhelmed by alcohol toward the end of the glass. Finish was semi-sweet and fairly long lasting, with alcohol becoming dominant at the end.

Not a bad, reasonably priced Impy.

kimcgolf, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of MasterSki
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Andrew brought a few of these over for New Beer Sunday - my wife and I are cleanin' out the fridge tonight. Not sure how my palate is going to stand up after the rest of the Sanctification so I'll do this one first.

A - Dark brown, not totally impenetrable, with a little bit of light sneaking through at the edges. One-fingered mocha foam with decent retention and nice lacing.

S - Not the most potent smell, really got to stick my nose in the glass. The first thing that jumps out at me is a woody flavor, along with some bitter coffee, dark chocolate, and burnt malt. I think the alcohol is causing the wood flavor.

T - Strong bittersweet chocolate and burnt malt flavor, with a bit of tannin that might be giving me the wood notes. There's also some coffee and even a bit of residual hoppiness indicating the freshness of this beer.

M - Good medium body, but a little more carbonation than I like. Creamy, but with a bit of grittiness at the top of the palate. Leaves a sticky residual coating.

D - The ABV isn't all that well hidden - it's not that it tastes boozy, but it doesn't hide the alcohol like better brews do. The carbonation is also a turnoff - it's slow going, even when sharing a 12oz with the wife.

I don't think this is quite in RIS territory - more of an American Double/Imperial. It's a solid brew, but I don't think I'll be drinking a ton with the excessive carbonation and so many better stouts out there.

MasterSki, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of Mdog
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, good head.

Smell: Kind of strange, black licorice and bubblegum?

Taste: Nothing like the smell, pretty standard dark chocolate and coffee bitterness, maybe a little hint of wood smoke?

Mouthfeel: Very heavy.

Drinkability: Pretty tasty and a little less expensive than most impy stouts.

I had never seen this one from Two Bros. before, so I picked up a single to try. The mouthfeel stood out the most to me, very thick and syrupy. The smell from this was very strange, maybe it was from my glass or my nose was messed up. Who knows?
Worth a try.

Mdog, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of JimboHD2005
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

By far, one of the best imperial stouts I've had. I am so pleased that Two Brothers brought this back to six packs again this year.

This poures pitch black with no light coming through in a snifter held towards light, even at the upper edges. Looks just what I expect from an Imperial Stout. Has a slight quarter inch or so head that disapates after a couple of minutes.

Scents of carmel, toffee and chocolate come through nicely without being overpowering.

Notes of a deep chocolate, rich maltiness and slight bitterness. Malt is nicely balanced with the hop bitterness.

Very easy to drink and will be picking up more of this to share with friends. A perfect warmer in this bitter winter (-19 today).

JimboHD2005, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a stemless red wine glass.

A-Opaque black beer, looks as cold and dark as the northwind for which this beer is named. A full, dark brown head formed off the pour and retained nicely.

S-This beer smells heavy. Roasted malts dominate with some chocolate. A slight alcohol aroma pokes its head in a bit.

T-Charred, roasted malts weigh heavily on my palate. Some chocolate character comes through, which lingers into the finish. Hop bitterness is reinforced by the black malts. Some slight esters in the realm of dark fruit. A slight boozy flavor appears near the finish.

M-Medium-heavy, feels just a bit thin for the style. Still, this beer feels substantial, slightly oily as it moves, with a slight grainy roughness. A low, creamy carbonation allos for the warming alcohol to reign in.

D-A lighter RIS, compared to some, but nonetheless quite complex.

CHSLBrew, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of littlekidlover
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this beer into a tulip shaped glass. The head was a coffee and cream color, about a finger think, it receded quickly leaving lacing up the glass. I got coffee and chocolate off the nose, the taste was mostly coffee and dark chocolate with a slight berry background (think a good dark chocolate). The mouthfeel is satisfying, not as thick as some of the bigger Imperial Stouts. Very drinkable for the style. Hops are balanced, no bitter aftertaste. I alternated 3 Northwind's with 2 Dogfish Head 90 minutes yesterday, can't complain. I want to taste one next to the Victory Storm King this week.

littlekidlover, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of akokandy
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a snifter. Black with tan 1-finger head which fades pretty quickly to lacing around the rim. Leaves some lacing on the way down the glass.

S- Fairly subtle aroma for an in-your-face beer. Roasted coffee and molasses are detectable.

T- The first thing I taste is chocolate, followed by roasted coffee, molasses, and light hops on the finish.

M- Thinner than I would like and not enough carbonation.

D- I could put away a few, but not really a session beer. Two to three in a night is good for me.

akokandy, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of FishHeadLover
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love this brewery so I was really looking forward to this one.
A- Poured black with a little thickness, brown head that laced around the edge of the glass.
S- Smelled of slight coffee and chocolate.
T- Taste was smooth with hints of chocolate and coffee. The ABV was lighter than I am use to in an imperial but it went well with the taste.
M- Not as chewy as some imperials but it had a coating on the tougue that was nice.
D- Very drinkable very smooth and finished without any hint of burnt coffee.

FishHeadLover, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of DaggerEyes
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
poured a dark motor oil black. Pitch black, when held up to the light you still can't see through it. Thick four finger high light mocha colored head. Head settles into a one finger high big bubbled craggy pillow, splotchy lacing clinging to the wall of the glass.

Roastey coffee, dark chocolate aromas. A little vanilla perhaps and maybe a slight slight slight bit of pine

Coffee roastey malt taste. A little smokey, smooth and velvety with a somewhat surprising off dry finish. Taste is a little underwhelming. Very lightly carbonated.

DaggerEyes, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a jet black color with a port-like, small, tan head. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt, molasses and floral notes.

T - It tasted rich and malty. It had subtle coffee flavors and a slight bitter hop kick.

M - It was smooth and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty nice imperial stout. It's not overwhelmingly alcoholic and tastes very good.

zeff80, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of kirok1999
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice bit of darkness in the glass. A bit of a fizzy head at first which quickly fades and leaves no lace.
Smell is dark and slightly choclaty. Sweet with a hint of charcoal.
Taste is very nice. Extremely smooth and creamy, almost like an oatmeal or milk stout. Very smooth notes of coffee, chocolate, very mild dark fruit. No noticable alcohol at all. Not hugely over the top but a nice smooth, easy to drink stout.

kirok1999, Dec 26, 2008
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 758 ratings.