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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.
very good

743 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 743
Reviews: 384
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 18
Gots: 37 | 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: 743 | Reviews: 384 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of superspak


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

12 ounce bottle into snifter, lot 51, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings to the glass, with slight alcohol legs. Aromas of big milk chocolate, roasted malt, smoke, cream, toffee, caramel, and light herbal. Very nice and unique aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of milk chocolate, smoke, roasted malt, toffee, cream, coffee, caramel, toast, and earth. No bitterness after the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, roasted malt, cream, toffee, and earth on the finish for a bit. Very nice flavor balance and robustness; minimal cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and body; with a nice creamy and slick mouthfeel; a touch thin for 9% though. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice imperial stout. Nice balance of robust and unique stout flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on. Very enjoyable stuff.

10-08-2012 03:50:12 | More by superspak
Photo of zeff80


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

12-31-2008 20:16:17 | More by zeff80
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

04-29-2009 01:12:30 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of roadhouse


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance is nearly black in color except for a few mahogany highlights when held up to a light source. The head is about an inch and a half thick and tan in color. It falls to a skim and leaves some moderate lacing.

Aroma is chocolaty, with a bit of licorice, dark fruit, and a slight vinous note.

Taste is again chocolaty up front with a bit of dark fruit in the middle, molasses, and the finish is like lightly creamed coffee.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a nice creamy texture. Not as thick as some Imperial Stouts but it's good.

Pretty good Imperial Stout. If there is such a thing as a sessionable RIS, then I guess this would have to be it.

02-17-2009 04:55:45 | More by roadhouse
Photo of budsboy


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

02-07-2009 20:15:36 | More by budsboy
Photo of Mdog


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

01-18-2009 17:07:59 | More by Mdog
Photo of Hibernator


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

08-25-2007 22:58:48 | More by Hibernator
Photo of hosehead83


3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

poured from a 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Inky black in color with a decent head of tan foam.
Aroma-Faint chocolate and dark toasted malt
Taste-Dark roasted coffee and cream,faint dark fruit, dark chocolate. Subtle hop note in the slightly warming finish. Friendly and pleasant, a nice imperial stout to cut your teeth on, or just a mellow-drinking sipper for a cold night.

01-31-2012 00:14:43 | More by hosehead83
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black, trace of brown, nice foamy 2 inch head and plenty of lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, bold coffee, chocolate, dark fruits like rasin and plum. Wood and smoke. Some licorice, a little vanilla some hops round his brew out.

Taste - Roasted malts and mild coffee/chocolate overtones make up the main flavors of this beer. Hops are mild, only slight bitterness comes out. Chocolate and brown sugar round out the flavor at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Its thick but, not overly harsh on mouth for being 9.1%. Tounge gets malts, some coffee and chocolate and a little hop bitterness. Palette gets remaining sugars and malts, and some chcolate. Aftertaste is mild, smooth and malty.

Overall - Im shocked how smooth and one dimentional this beer is. Nothing strong, groundbreaking or special about this. The booze is well masked, this is closer to a porter then anything. Too mild and smooth for what style it is. Its decent but not close to being a top ris.

01-19-2012 05:47:35 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of umustdrink


3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

22 oz bomber picked up in Wisconsin

A - Completely black in color. Head is a medium brown color, with a froth-like consistency. Lacing is minimal.

S - Deep bready malt aroma with an interesting bitterness.

T - Very different tasting RIS, upfront its a sweet wheatey yeast taste with dark malts and a light bitterness. Finish is a creamy chocolate oilyness.

M - Creamy and on the thicker side. Light oilyness promotes a long lasting taste.

D - This is pretty good, the first sip I was a little turned off but after a few more I began to like this beer more.

03-01-2007 05:04:27 | More by umustdrink
Photo of williamherbert

New York

3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

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.

04-11-2009 17:04:29 | More by williamherbert
Photo of zeledonia


3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

Bottled 20 December 2011.

Pours very dark brown, black at the center, with a little light coming through the edges. One finger of brownish tan head, fades fairly quickly and leaves little lacing. A whole lot of light brown sediment that I wasn't expecting - should have poured a little more gently.

Smell is slightly smoky. In fact, smoke is the one thing that jumps out at me, though it comes on the back end of some deep roasted chocolatey malts. Woody and high in the nose, without much of the deep rich robustness I might expect.

Taste comes through with, again, that hit of smoke. But here there's more going on. Some nice dark chocolate, a hint of dark fruit, and another chunk of wood to chew on. Bitterness is quite low. A lot of different flavors swimming around, lending some nice subtle variation to it.

Mouthfeel is solid. Fairly heavy body, about right in the middle of the pack for an impy stout. Good medium-low carbonation, and a lingering slick on the tongue.

An interesting, rather smoky imperial stout. Different, but pretty tasty. I like the variety in the flavor.

02-11-2012 04:31:27 | More by zeledonia
Photo of balconybrew


3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Leaves an expresso colored thin head and a dark liquid.

Smell - Hint of malt, Overwhelming smoked plums and minimal raisins. Sight hops.

Taste - much like the smell. Slightly more hops and roasted malt than smell. Malt becomes gets slightly stronger towards the end. Some fruity sourness. As it warms, the alcohol comes out.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied.

Drinkability - Alcohol warms you a little much for more than one.

01-09-2007 03:38:01 | More by balconybrew
Photo of Knapp85


3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

This poured out as a very dark black color with a tan foamy head on top. The retention and head are really quite good. The smell of the beer is roasted with some notes of chocolate, subtle sweetness too. The taste is rich with roasted malt and chocolate, decent bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is pretty good, a smooth rich thickness. Overall this beer is pretty good. Not as rich or extreme as some Russian Imperials but still pretty good.

03-10-2013 05:45:26 | More by Knapp85
Photo of CHSLBrew


3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

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.

01-14-2009 16:40:08 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of ffejherb


3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

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.

09-02-2009 22:11:47 | More by ffejherb
Photo of pmccallum86


3.88/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours a midnight black with a thin bubbly mocha head that dissipates relatively quickly.

Smell is of rich roasted malt and quite a bit of hops. More hops in the nose than a lot of other RIS.

Taste is roasted malt, rich dark chocolates and loads of hops. Definitely a more hop forward RIS, which I tend to view as a good thing. Another solid tasting brew from Two Brothers.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with the roasted malt and hops flavors lingering on the tongue for minutes afterwards.

Not the best RIS out there, but a damn solid one certainly worth a try.

01-16-2010 01:59:06 | More by pmccallum86
Photo of Slatetank


3.86/5  rDev +1.8%

I picked this up at brass rail deli, enjoyed chilled from a tulip out of a longneck 12 oz brown.

The color is dark almost black with 2 + fingers of medium beige with fluffy almost rocky looking head. The bead is fine and lace sticks well. The smell is very nice, lots of cocoa type aroma with moderately sweet malt and slight vanilla-like floral aspect with low alcohol odors and mild woody hop ester. The feel is decent with moderately full body with medium bitterness and slight alcohol warmth with a gentle toasted texture and medium sweet feel with slight spice in the relatively dry finish.

The taste is has a dark and milk chocolate flavor with light caramel and mild woody hops with toasted grain and subtle creamy yeast which adds to the sweet malt body w/ a mild molasses type richness. Overall this may not be the most complex stout but still not really flawed and pretty darn drinkable because you barely taste any alcohol + the malt is sweet without being cloying. I could drink a couple of these easily.

01-21-2014 23:51:28 | More by Slatetank
Photo of ADR


3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

Opaque, murky almost black appearance, with a residual reddish-skim head. Aromas seem decent, promise fruits and some burnt java. Slightly oily mouthfeel, malting is dry and somewhat Irish-style in some senses. A bit of anise and plum to the impression with a full swallow. Bitterness in the aftertaste, some from the hops, and it builds with continued sips. Overall, I liked this beer, but without interesting sweet complex tones it lacks as a brew in the Imperial Stout category.

12-12-2002 08:24:10 | More by ADR
Photo of glid02


3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

On-tap at Sunswick in Astoria, NY.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with hints of unsweetened chocolate. As the beer warms the chocolate aromas come out a bit more.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lightly roasted malt flavors up front are soon joined by mildly bitter dark chocolate flavors. These carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit thinner than most RIS's with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall the tap version of this tasted a little cleaner however whether it be tap or bottle this beer still didn't quite deliver. Not a bad beer but not worth seeking out.

01-08-2010 18:43:49 | More by glid02
Photo of samie85


3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

A- Pours black with a light brown, dense, two-finger head. Leaves some lacing.

S-Sweet chocolate malt and roasted coffee malt with a just a tad of sweet ethanol and vanilla.

T- Roasted malt upfront with a bit of cocoa/chocolate malt and some vanilla and ethanol notes.

M- Starts out a little thin bodied, but as it warms it becomes creamy and approaches being slightly thick. It's on the low end of medium carbonation.

D- Easy drinking considering it's an imperial stout(ABV) but it would be difficult to have more than a couple in a night.

12-15-2009 05:07:25 | More by samie85
Photo of JackieTH


3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

Poured aggressively, rewarded with an inch of tan foam over a black-oily looking brew. The foam dissipated quickly leaving a thin skein. Smell was light. Roast malt, chocolates just not much of it. Taste was a definite improvement over the nose. Nicely roasty, bittersweet chocolate, raisins, vanilla, a nice bit of hops, too. Good balance, creamy mouthfeel with a stiff carbonation keeping it interesting. Some sourness appears during the finish. Good flavor, easy to drink, enjoyable if not spectacular.

01-30-2012 04:25:42 | More by JackieTH
Photo of EPseja

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

Thanks to Ego for scoring a case of this and and sharing it. Served from a 22oz bomber in a Duvel Tulip at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours syrupy and thick with an almost black color. The head seems to be missing, but gradually forms as the bubbles struggle to find their way through the viscosity -- medium cocoa brown; settling to a thick film atop the beer that eventually disappears altogether. Lacing is nonexistant. A good start, but terrible longevity.

S - Big somewhat creamy semi-sweet chocolate nose with only fleeting hints of sweeter hoppiness. Light notes of sugar plums and molasses. Some (thankfully) sheer notes of soy as it warms... ick.

T - Starts with an interesting heavily toasted, yet sweet coffee maltiness. The middle shows a light tartness from the yeast, and a salt-water taffy character. A very refreshing hoppiness pops in the back of the throat afterward. Aftertaste is surprisingly green and semi-sweet. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M - Chewy barely discribes the thickness of this beer -- it's almost too thick. Too light on carbonation (I never thought I'd hear myself say that), and big on body. Mouth and throat coating as well as slick. Rolls around like hot caramel. Not filling in the belly though, which is very good.

D - After doing a monster RIS tasting, this one falls squarely in the above average category, with not a detriment to be found. Still, there are points where it could be more exciting, but it's nice to have a "go to" RIS when a bomber of most others would put you over the edge of comfortable.

12-09-2006 03:54:51 | More by EPseja
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

Big thanks to Viggo!
Pours with plenty of bubbly head, looks like chocolate milk minus that it's nearly opaque black in colour. A wild, organic essence (probably from the type of yeast) underlies the aroma along with notes of chocolate malt, a seperate bready yeast, light malt. Distinct cherry in the aroma. Medium bitterness with flavour of cocoa butter most predominant. A neat stove top roast - toasty and smoky - like if you leave something on the burner. The smokyness really suits the flavours well although is a little off-putting in the aftertaste. Doesn't taste a decimal over 6%.

02-25-2007 22:31:12 | More by biegaman
Photo of Bierman9

New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev +1.6%

Sampled from a 22oz bomber, lot # 3345; no best-by or bottled-on date found. Pours inky black, dark as night, with just a semblance of a head in the form of some scattered bubbles on the surface and around the rim. Nothing, repeat nothing, gets through the black hole of liquid filling the goblet. Mere hints of lacing are left behind, nothing more. Aroma has dark fruit aspects co-mingling with a bit of espresso, with suggestions of floral hoppiness. Somewhat understated, on the whole. Body borders on medium, which is a bit of a letdown, as I feel they should be full and chewy for this style. It is still quite smooth, nonetheless.

Taste is comprised of a smidgen of malty, brown sugar sweetness and then a healthy helping of roasty, charred bitterness. An inkling of dark fruit tries to come forth, yet is suppressed by the roasty character and pleasant floral hoppiness, with the latter having some nice lasting qualities. Lacking complexity, Northwind is still fairly satisfying with its roasty flavors, though it could have been much more of a flavor storm, imo.


overall: 3.85
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4


01-29-2006 20:23:12 | More by Bierman9
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 743 ratings.