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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

845 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 845
Reviews: 399
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
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: 845 | Reviews: 399
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

Photo of lightindarkness
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured oily black with an aggressive bubbly tan head settling to very little, leaving bubbly lace. Only a few deep red highlights catch on the bottom of the glass. Roasted grain and fruit scents brim from the glass, with prune, burnt wood, and smoke. An interesting mix of sweet, tart, and sour aromas. Taste is unique and inviting, with a good deal of cocoa, dark toasted bread, and juicy dark fruits. A light smoke flavor seems to tie it all together very nicely, giving it a mature taste. Finishes with some clean hop bitterness. Sticky, smooth, and slightly dry on the back end. Though differing from many RISs in feel and taste, a very unique and great beer on its own. Excellent drinkability, very palatable and easy to consume with a reasonable abv. Not what I expected in a RIS, but an excellent brew.

Photo of crayphish
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brew pours a light canceling jet black liquid. Liquid is notably thick with a thin dark beige head. Nominal lacing. Smell is roasted malts with coffee and chocolate making their presence known. Some tartness is noted. Taste is chocolate coffee with a sweet raisin note over a faint hop bitterness. Not overly complex, but extremely balanced. Mouthfeel is fairly full due to the thickness of the beer. Does not finish as clean as one would like. The heaviness of this beer hurts its drinkability. Though it was still enjoyable.

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

This pours really dark black, as expected, tan head as expected, not hazy.

Smell reminds me of rasins.

taste is nice RIS taste, bit of rasins and fruit but this is NOT fruity, it is just.... balanced... It has a tad of hops that most RISs don't, and it really works for some reason.

Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, the alcohol stabs the tongue a bit but the hops cleans it up well.

Finish is clean too - the stuff going on all works well together...

It is way easy to drink. I didn't want to spend $8-9 a pop on this, but sometimes ya just gotta say.... why now.. I think I'm gonna grab a few more now that I've learned it is worth it.

Give this a whirl. It fits the RIS class, but it is a tad bit different giving me exactly what I would want from a small high quality American brewery.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - inky black pour with some thickness to it. A conservative head evaporating quickly to a thin collar-ring and a few pockets of stray foam on top.

Aroma - roasty malts and chocolate syrup. Simple, effective, well done.

Taste - malts, sweet like melted chocolate up front. A burnt malt bitter char on the swallow, leaving the palate dry. The aftertaste is warm and roasty, and stays that way at length. The abv fills the finish with vapory warmth, lucious and full while showing off some roasted coffee notes. I like the balance.

Mouthfeel - my earlier comment regarding melted chocolate was primarily aimed at the mouthfeel. Very smooth and easy-flowing.

Drinkability - a well-constructed beer, another one wouldn't be out of the question, nor would laying a few down for some cellar time. Big for a stout, a little light for an Impy. No matter, this is on the short list for a tasty winter warm-up.

Photo of joekfsu
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. Pours black, nearly opaque. Almost no head, beige, quickly diminishing. Light fruity aroma, maybe cherry or cranberry. Malt flavor up front, ends on bitter chocolate. Light aftertaste of bitter chocolate. Light to medium body, almost no carbonation. Alcohol hidden well. Very drinkable, but more so for the imperial stout drinker than others.

Photo of WesWes
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of black and chocolate malts. It seems sweet; not overly bitter. The taste is good. It has a sweet, chocolatey flavor that goes down smooth and finishes with just a bit of black malt and hop bitterness. This tastes like more like a chocolate stout than a RIS. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is damn fine beer. I'm not sure why it wasn't reviewed better, but I really enjoyed it.

Photo of Risser09
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass - 2007 vintage

Appearance: This is a black ale with no penetrating light and a brown head that leaves some lacing on the glass. No signs of rapid carbonation.

Smell: Stale toasted malt, coffee, chocaolate and roasted grains. Not overly complex.

Taste: A roasty malt flavor profile. Flavors of burnt toast, cherry, blackened meat and some cherry, vanilla, and anise hang out in the barkground. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery. This beer needs improvement in this area for sure, in order to keep up with the other competitors in this style. Alcohol is lingering in the background.

Drinkability: Great, considering its low abv for the style and lack of an overwhelming mouthfeel. I won't touch more than 1 bottle of an RIS, but do as you wish. This beer is worth trying, since it only had a $5 price tag.

Photo of Phatz
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to Risser09 for sharing this bottle with me.

On first sip this seemed like a really good beer. At our tasting we stacked a few other great stouts up against Northwind RIS and it honestly was no match for BORIS the Crusher. But, in all fairness it is a pretty decent beer, were it not in such a tough league.

Appearance: Pours black, almost impenetrable to the light and it has a little brown head. Some lace.

Smell: The aroma is of dark roasted malts, coffee, roasted grains, chocolate espresso bitterness.

Taste: Again roasty and dark with lots of flavor; just not enough to compete with the best of 'em. Burnt chocolate coffee roasted malts, a touch of vanilla, caramel and anise and some plum with a bitter dry finish. Nice.

Mouthfeel: It has a nice flavor but need more body. Both for the flavor and the mouthfeel. The body is thin for the style.

Drinkability: This is an exceptionally easy drinking RIS. It is a lower ABV and lighter weight than most giving it less depth than some but also more approachable. It is certainly worth a taste.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into nonic pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Pours a motor oil black with a coffee and milk colored two inch head that fades down into a thin ring in a minute or two, leaves nice looking lacing down the sides of the glass

S: It's a pretty subdued smell for a suposedly big beer, I had to nearly dip my nose in this one to pick up the scent, but hey, sometimes I like a little subtlety. Get the normal smokey caramel malts paried with a burnt espresso background, this one seems to rely more on the smoked malt scent than the chocolate and coffee I'm used to which is nice, but still seems a bit off.

T/MF: Sort of a greasy mouthfeel which is a bit offputting. Tastes of toasted malts and sweet raisins and plums, the fruits dominate this one though, finishes rather clean with only a bit of oil hanging around on the tongue. A chocolatey tobacco sweetness lingers in between each sip. Not nearly as hoppy as other Imperial Stouts I've tried which is a nice change of pace but really threw me for a loop when I took the first sip.

D: To be honest I almost wanted to pour this one out after the first sip, but it grew on me after a while, not much mind you but not terrible.

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

Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout
22 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a deep black with trails of sticky lacings on the side of the glass.

Whiffs of a chocolate bar and freshly brewed French Roast coffee.

Juicy chocolate syrup thickness with hints of milk chocolate. Hints of roasted coffee beans, almost espresso-like in the bitterness of the punch. A touch of sour cream interjects with a bitter hop bite. A touch of caramel sweetness with roasted malts as the backbone.

Solid - I would like to try this brew in the dead of winter.

Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nearly black color with ruby highlights and a prodigiously rocky head that sticks well with films of lace

Smell: Wafts of roasty coffee, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit

Taste: Upfront, there is a dark fruit element of prune, dates, caramel and chocolate; surprisingly sweet and fruity; after the swallow, the grassy bitterness arrives to complement the fruit, with an element of smoke on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not quite to style (not big enough and it is a bit too sweet and fruity); more like a Baltic Porter, in my opinion

Photo of letsgopens
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another selection from Two Brothers. This Imperial Stout pours black with amber red highlights. Visible small bubbles and a tan/brown head that recedes leaving a bit of light lace.

The aroma incorporates coffee and some chocolate. A touch of mild smoke and lots roasted malt.

A lot of initial roastiness with plenty of malt flavor. The expected chocolate and pleasant mellow coffee. Done well, but mellow nearly all around. Very nice stout-like qualities but lacking that traditional bite and warmth associated with many Imperials. Caramel, some hops, half & half, and molasses in the finish.

Smooth and creamy on the palate. Heavy but not too syrupy. Pleasant and good all around.

Photo of giblet
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

good brew. poured nice and had a lot of appeal. a little lighter in taste than what i had expected, but still nice. it has the coffee smell and taste from the roasting. not as hoppy as i prefer.

this is another of the good micro - mini brews that is worth the effort to try. i would recomend trying this one.

not sure that it makes my top 25 overall. for a darker beer - imperial stout it does make my top 25 in that category.

once again not the best but certainly worth the experience!

drink more beer!

"Beer is proof that God loves man!" Benjaman Franklin

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

V.06
When I initially had this, it hadn't reached the market yet, and I couldn't wait for it to get there. This a highly recommended offering. A smooth and well-balanced drinker, this maintains a nice coffee/chocolate backbone with nice notes of vanilla & oak. Dark and heady. I can sum this up with one word. Excellent. Pricey, though.

Photo of BeerBelcher
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The imperial stout category is something of a category of giants. Looking at the other beers of this style I've reviewed, they've been largely excellent. Dark Lord, Old Rasputin, Great Divide Yeti, Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Great Lakes Blackout, and Alesmith Speedway Stout are all fantastic beers full of lots of dry roastiness and full mouthfeels. And this one fell short, at least compared to those others. While I'm a big fan of Two Bros beers, I thought this one was disappointing and not very drinkable. Flavor was not very roasty and mouthfeel was a bit watery. And maybe it was when I had it in my evening, but this beer made me feel exceptionally full which led me not to finish it. Unfortunately, the next day I'm unable to articulate what exactly it was I objected to.

Photo of mynie
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour, not rough at all. Big brown head, nearly completely opaque, mild degree of carbonation belaying the comparatively low ABV.

Smells of intense raosted malt, bitter, dry and burnt. This is a complemented nicely, if strangely, by a harsh semisour Belgiany yeast. Not what I'm used to in an RIS, but very good.

Tastes--tastes not very much like an RIS at all. The yeast is what starts things out, and it starts out strongly, almost like a Belgian dark, chocoately and burny sour. This drops off quickly into a middle of very dark chocolate and then, clear as day, a pleasant node of burning leaves, ending again on a very smooth and sweet Belgiany yeast. Nice.

This tastes more like a Belgian export stout than a Russian Imperial. It'd probably have a higher rating if it was labeled as the former, actually. Still, at 3.99 a bomber this was quite the deal, and it's nice to come across a strong stout that's still highly drinkable and doesn't kick you so hard in the ass.

Photo of blitz134
2.57/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Basically pitch black, miniscule amounts of light comes through in the crevases of the glass. Half inch of tan head floats along on top. Isn't sticky though so teh class is left clean as it is drank down.

Really has a simple malt flavor that is amazingly nondescript. Not really much else to it, no toasted notes.

This has a bit more flavor though but honestly no where close to what an RIS should be. Slight toasted flavor gives way to a touch of coffee. Still, not much to this one. I hate to give a below average rating...it isn't bad necessarily, but nothing draws me to this.

Medium mouthfeel which isn't that bad. A little lingering flavor. This one isn't that hard to drink, nothing to be offended by. But no flavor in this really. Nothing I want to revisit.

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost black but in reality dark, dark chocolate brown. Thick tan head that dissolved to a thin foamy veneer. Nose was a bit of an oddity-smells like ice water. Wierd...

Flavor is solid RIS. However, not one dominant flavor, just bunches of malts, chocolate and coffee tones. Come candy tones too such as licorice and caramel. Also getting some daker fruits--cherries and old dried apricots. Mouthfeel is perhaps a bit thin and watery but not too off for the style. A very easily drinkable RIS without any off-the-wall flavors or ABV.

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

Pours pitch black with a tan creamy head. Little to no lacing.

Aroma is roasted dark grain and a surprising amount of sweet dark fruit. Mild chocolate and coffee notes.

Taste is sweet rich chocolate up front. Then charred dark grain, coffee, and mild dark fruit makes an appearance. The finish is pleasantly bitter, and peppery.

Mouthfeel is smooth and soft. Medium bodied.

Overall a tasty, chocolate stout. However, I did find it to be too mild to have the title 'imperial'.

Photo of warmstorage
2.04/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

22 ounce bomber.

Appearance: deep black, minimal beige head, moderate lacing.

Aroma and taste: super fruity esters, distinct alcohol, and intense, almost overpowering metallic taste. Sour notes, backgrounded roast, all overwhelmed by the metallic taste.

Thick mouthfeel, but not particularly distinct in other ways.

This was so intensely metallic and sour that we drainpoured it. I feel bad saying so, but this is just not a good offering.

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

I poured this in two pours from a 22 oz bomber. Temperature was from my basement at about 55 to 60 deg.

Dark brown/black color formed light brown head on first pour to about 1/2" second pour I was carefull and got 1" head. Head went down fact to thin film. Head looked creamy but I tasted light.

Chocolate aroma with a slight metallic edge.

Taste was chocolate with slight coffee, but had that metallic taste that I objected to. There was also a light fizzy taste at first. Later the fizziness was gone slight sour come out and a taste of dried fig and toffee.

Mouth feel started creamy and declined to light.

OK drink but somewhat disappointing. Kind of a stout light.
We could debate whether this is an a imperial or a chocolate, but really who cares if it is good. This just didn't make the grade. It is almost as if it was brewed for complexity and ended up with slight off flavor and not enough body. At $5.95 a bottle not worth it

Would have given this a 2.6 or 2.7 in some catagories but that is not allowed.

Photo of Damian
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Drank on-tap at Redbones Barbecue, Somerville, MA

Poured a deep, thick brown/black with no head (just a bubbly film of off-white froth) and no lacing.

Aroma was very subtle initially. Notes of roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate and a general oakiness were mildly detectable. By mid-glass, a distinct (and unexpected) yeastiness was noticeable and by the end of the drink, notes of vanilla, caramel/toffee and a strong bourbon-like quality had emerged.

The taste was similar to the nose yet sweeter and much more intense. All the flavors seemed to hit hard up front. A mix of molasses, dark chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, sweet and lightly roasted malts, bourbon and hops assaulted the palate. While the flavors were quite potent, they all somehow managed to carry equal weight. A sweet, lactic quality was also very noticeable. As the beer moved along the palate, the flavors seemed to gradually fade, until the hops resurfaced again in the finish.

Rich, thick and full-bodied with a creamy, soupy and full mouthfeel.

Overall, this beer is a mild version of a typical Russian imperial stout. The malts were not quite as roasted, the hop profile was weaker, the ABV was significantly lower and the beer generally seemed to be sweeter (at times it tasted like a hybrid of a Russian imperial stout and a sweet stout). While this made for a rather tasty and easy-drinking example of the style, it is understandable why many purists may find this beer disappointing.

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

Purchased at Sam's in Chicago.

Pours an opaque black, brown edges, very thick tan head, great retention, some lace spots. Smell is sweet, coffee, soem chocolate, caramel, cherry, burned aroma, not bad. Taste is smoky, chocolate and coffee roasts, fruits, more roast, burnt caramel cocoa finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, a sweet and easy drink, hides alcohol well. Burnt flavour is slightly annoying though.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 845 ratings.