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Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

843 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 843
Reviews: 398
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 23
Gots: 61 | 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: 843 | Reviews: 398
Photo of MasterSki
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of Mdog
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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).

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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.

Photo of akokandy
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of FishHeadLover
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

Photo of DaggerEyes
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of kirok1999
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of KeefD
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle, 45 IBUs, 8.5% ABV. Poured into a snifter, dark brown, not quite black with a small head that quickly disappeared and no lacing. Nice chocolaty aroma, dark fruit, decent hop presence in the nose, very light coffee aroma. Flavor of roasted malt, light smokiness, hints of coffee. Very dry, barely any malty sweetness. Bitter and roasted. Medium bodied, light carbonation. This is an OK RIS, but after the brews I've had recently, this one just doesn't cut it as one of the best.

Photo of bowersdm
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - amazing. It was the typical color or an RIS with just a tiny hint of ruby on the fringes when held in front of a light with a stiff, slowly fading 2.5cm head.

S - dark chocolate (or maybe semi-sweet) and roasted barley. There may have been something else going on here, but i have a sinus infection, so my smell is slightly off.

T - okay, it's definitely dark chocolate followed by a small hop flavor. After a few drinks, a coffee taste is noticeable, as well as a smokiness or burnt barley flavor.

M - perfect carbonation. It's thick and really, really creamy. It's probably the best mouthfeel/texture I've ever had in a bottled RIS.

D - Pretty good. The abv is low and beer isn't quite as filling as other RISs.

Eh, this is a pretty good RIS. If you're new to the style, I'd recommend trying it just so you can prep yourself for the flavor overload of other RISs. It's one to try, but I'm not crazy about it.

Photo of beckje01
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Black color with no activity and a big tan head.

S- Astringent smell and a hint of sweet.

T- A slight hop taste then malt it's ok very astringent the chocolate malt is ok but could play a bigger part to add to the complexity.

M-Nice thickness and activity.

D- Ok, not great I probably wouldn't have again there are much better examples of the style but this is average.

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

12oz. poured into Unibroue tulip glass

Appearance: Black with a one inch somewhat tan head that was only conjured with a vigorous pour.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, tobacco, caramel, and nuts. Plenty going on here, can't wait to taste.

Taste: Reminds of dark chocolate covered nuts, almonds maybe. There's a definite roasted flavor to everything that's in there. Other flavors include smoky coffee, dark fruit, and even cherries perhaps. The finish is clean with a perfect amount of hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful for an imperial stout. Carbonation and viscosity are both spot on.

Drinkability: Surprisingly high. I'm impressed that Two Brothers has made an imperial stout that tastes and feels like an imperial but is only 7.5% ABV. If you're looking for a nice full bodied stout to drink for a whole night, this is it.

Overall: I love it. I'll definitely be picking this one up again to have my friends try. Once again, very impressed with what Two Brothers has done here but I'm usually impressed with what they do.

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

Pours black with a thin tan head. Nose is coffee and roasted tones. Flavor is thick in malts. Nice enough level of molasses and chocolate. Smooth and slightly sweet. Feel is quite smooth on liquid. Carbonation is lower but a it should be. This is a nice RIS that is easier drinking than it's more flamboyant counterparts. Not a wad of complexity, but nice enough to be able to enjoy.

Photo of mnstorm99
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice black pour with a small tan head that sticks around for a short while laces nice down the glass.
Aroma is malty with just a touch of hops, mostly spicy chocolate and biscuits.
Taste is a little different, the hops come through pretty well here more balanced than most RIS, with a much bigger malt presence. Chocolate and caramel dominate with a nice sweet candy like hop flavor.
Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, with a touch of oily residue left on the palate, this is a very easy, drinkable RIS. I'll have another!!!

Photo of Buebie
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter. Color is pitch black. 1 inch thick creamy brown head. Retention is terrific with a long lasting quarter inch of goodness hanging around.
Thin full drapes of lace.

Aroma is ho-hum, toasted mild chocolate grains, and I mean mild as in literally. Some sweet cotton candy aroma.

MMmmmm, this is thick! Thick and creamy with a good sweet punch. Mellow smooth carbonation.
Candy like at the start, switching to more cotton candy flavors, bitter sweet chocolate and warm alcahol.
Finishes well with a toasty bitter grain flavor ligering a long time.

The aroma is misleading, this sure is flavorful. The mouthfeel alone is reason enough to try it. Outstanding for the style.

Photo of jwinship83
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- black body with a full finger of beige head with heavy lacing.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate, some ripe dark fruits maybe.

T- chocolate and roasted malt upfront. the finish was sour??? not sure how i feel about that...

M- a little thin and watery for my likes. very creamy and smooth

D- theres little to no trace of alcohol in this one, but the thinness and sour aftertaste make it so finishing more than one wouldnt be desirable. im going to have to try this one again fresh and maybe change the review. a sour RIS makes me think something was wrong with this bottle, maybe the liquor store i got it from didnt treat it as well as they could have.

Photo of blakesell
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer has been aged in my cellar for roughly 2 years under the best cellaring conditions that I can muster.

Poured from the 22oz bottle into an over sized brandy snifter.

Appearance- Beer pours a solid midnight with no head at all really, lacing does cling to the sides pretty thickly. There is a somewhat gluey consistency to the beer itself.

Smell- Lactose and milk chocolate upfront with many many dark malts bringing up the rear. I really love the two brothers yeast strain, especially after aging the smell really jumps out of their beers.

Taste- Dark malts upfront with a nice creamy chocolate coating coming through. Lightly bitter but seems quite balanced. Very thick on the mouth. Some light licorice notes and some prunes as well on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- Creamy and thick with very low warming, which isn't that surprising as the beer isn't that high on the ABV levels. Full bodied, medium in carbonation levels.

Drinkability- Very smooth on the drinkability scale and I would love to try it on tap.

Photo of tpd975
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice deep dark abyss black hue with a 1/2 finger head. The head dies rather quickly and yields to a small bubbly collar. No lace.

S: Tons of dark fruit up front with hints of roasty malt. A nice tart stout.

T: Flavor really matches the nose. Dark fruit and more dark fruit right at the start. Figs, Raisins, and Dates are all there. Light hints of charred malt as well. This one is all about the fruit though.

M: Medium in body with a nice level of carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable. Would like a touch of chocolate, smoke, or coffee though.

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

Deep black body with tan foam sporting a slightly reddish trim to it. Nice aromas but a little faint for an RIS--chocolate, a bit of coffee, bit of berry, nothing to take control of it. That this translates to the taste is somewhat disappointing, though it's pretty good. Coffee, some molasses, and chocolate factor in most prominently but, again, this could use a take-charge characteristic. I find the texture on the thin side especially when compared to personal favorites such as Old Rasputin, but I suppose most are.

It's a pretty good beer, and nothing Two Brothers should be ashamed of by any means. But I find myself demanding more malt, yet again. Other Russian Imperial Stouts fit the bill better than this, though it's worth a try.

Photo of HopDerek
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hookup from Mr Taco.

Pours a deep, lightless dark brown almost black color with 1 pinky of creamy tan head, average retention with some good lacing. Smells of dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malt, oat, and molasses. Tastes of raisins and other dark fruit followed by chocolate. A sweet molasses-like backbone also contains some flavors of oat and roasted malt. Finishes with some smokiness and a touch of citrus bitterness. Medium in body and low in carbonation, semi-syrupy with good dark fruit flavors as well as chocolate and a touch of roastiness and hops make a nicely balanced RIS. More mild than some of the big bruiser RIS out there, but very flavorful and low in ABV making it easier to drink.

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

Served in a 16oz pint glass at Firkin 4/20/08. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Served a dark, coal black with a creamy dark tan head. Poor retention, however, that leaves sheets and spots of lace.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, sweet dark fruit, toffee, chocolate, and caramel.

T: Charred black malt, overripe dark fruit, chocolate, bitter espresso, and cherry.

M: Very creamy with a nice peppery hop bite.

D: Big RIS flavors and aromas + medium sized RIS abv% = excellent drinkability.

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

I'll tell you right now that I haven't had this beer in a couple weeks but I thought I should mention that if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it.

Beautiful black with dark creamy head

Chocolate and coffee with malty and dried fruit sweetness.

Taste? The same. Dark chocolate, roasty, sweet and delicious.

A little easier to drink than some other imperial stouts. Went through a few growlers of this stuff in as many weeks.

As if it wasn't a treat on its own, you can get a Northwind Float at the Tap House. Like beer heaven.

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

Pours a nice black with a slighty brown head. The smell is pretty sweet and decent. The taste is super sweet and not at all characteristic of an Imperial stout. Its a good beer but nothing compared to the brew I had before this review. The mouthfeel is a little thin but decent.

Overall, I wouldnt grab this about because of the super sweet taste of this imperial stout. Just not a big fan

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 843 ratings.