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

861 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 861
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 25
Gots: 65 | FT: 1
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: 861 | Reviews: 406
Photo of rmp5262
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Recently I have been drinking Speedway stout, Ten-Fidy, and Bell's Expedition Stouts so I have acquired a taste for the more thick stouts.

Appearance: Black, more translucent than other russian imperial stouts. Aggressively poured with a brown head of one finger that dissipated quickly. Carbonation bubbles could be seen on the glass.

Smell: Dull smell that closely resembles a dark ale or porter.

Taste: Tastes like a porter, smooth with hints of chocolate and malt. Hides the alcohol well

Mouthfeel: Very thin, almost watery. Too much carbonation for a stout

Overall: Okay beer, I wouldn't get this again.

Serving type: Poured from bottle into a stout glass

Photo of Qbdoo
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - black as night.
Smell - not very distinct.
Taste - hints of chocolate, dark fruit, with a slightly smoky tinge.
Mouthfeel - somewhat light but very smooth. Although doesn't pour in a highly carbonated way, there slightly bubbly feel to it.
Overall - not superb but a really good introduction to the style. I had this after going through a succession of Russian Imperial Stouts that I wanted to love but felt were too boozy. They should probably be cellared. This you can drink and enjoy now.

Photo of Suds
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very dark, perfectly black beer. The head is a deep tan color, leaving a lot of lace, but not very thick. The smell is layered and intense....smoke and alcohol...roasted grain, charcoal, wood, booze, and malt. The taste is not as complex as the smell, but is sweet, warming, and has an abrupt bitteness that comes in the mid-taste. Full and satisfying mouthfeel. Good.

Photo of Baron_of_Suds
2.86/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Surprising amount of carbonation for RIS. Head dissipates to small, almond ring which lingers throughout consumption.

S: Dull and oddly reminiscent of a Belgian Strong Dark, but with burnt hops

T: Nutty roasted malt, dark chocolate as it warms, alcohol

M: Thin body. Carbonation.

O: Decent beer, but not a great representation of the style. Typical RIS characteristics are somewhat lacking.

Photo of sully11277
4.41/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter glass.

A- Black with a light brown head. that fades a little but sticks around on surface of the beer.

S- it smells like cocoa, coffee, and dark roast

T- It is so smooth and the cocoa and roast flavors come through. You can hardly tell this beer is 9.1% ABV. You do not get much of an alcohol burn or anything.

M- Did I mention this beer is smooth. It is just a enjoy of all the notes that hit your tongue but nothing to overpower it.

O- This is a great beer, I poured it and before I knew it my glass was empty and I was wishing I bought a 6 pack of this beer. You could not drink it all day but it would be great for one of those snowed in nights.

Photo of Fcolle2
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours slick black and solid in color with a one finger tan head that has good retention.

Smell is good. rich roasted coffee and cocoa forward. The midsection has a great rich toffee like malt aroma before a moderate alcohol presence finishs.

Taste is great. Rich chocolate flavors forward before a sweet warm toffee flavor dominates the middle of the beer. Finishes with a mild roasted bitterness that is very well balanced. Fair amounts of alcohol also detectable.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice thick body and moderate amount of carbonation keep this a highly drinkable velvety smooth brew

Photo of Willytee3
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark chocolate black with a touch of red highlight. A thin mocca color head emerges and builds slowly after the pour. Nice thick ring forms with bubbly island film and spotty lace.
Smells of coco chocolate malts with a touch of dry oak and cheese.
Tastes of rich roasted malts with a barley a touch of stovepipe and good malted sweetness. Balanced by a nice hop bitter and hint of anise. A bit of lemon rind and espresso with a bitter chocolate finish.
Nice full body with good palate coating flavors, a bit thin on carbonation.
Overall a tad sweet and chocolaty balanced by a nice hop bitter but is still a tad sweet for me.
A very nice imperial with almost no alcohol showing.

Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A real nice pour out of the bottle, dark walnut brown, hitting the glass with a creamy character and a dark walnut black body. Head is creamy tan chocolate and foams up quite nicely with a solid two fingers. Very slowly settles to a simple thin puck and collar. Very nice.

Good solid Russian nose for the bouquet. Mild sense of dark bitter chocolate, light warm roast tones, good ripping grain sense and maybe a little bit of berried fruit also. Real nice, I am liking where this is going.

Palate is light but with a good creamy coating play. Wonderful sweet malts and dark roast character. Bitter dark chocolate abounds, with a real nice moderate controlled sweetness on the finish. The body is ideal and probably the best part of the beer, light but with lots of coating the flavors all around, and a tiny little bit of fizz on the tip of the tongue for playful character.

Overall a real solid Russian Imperial worth having and seeking out again, really did enjoy this one.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours deeply brown with ruby highlights. A vigorous pour produces only a minimal head, dense yes, but small. Very little lacing about the glass. The appearance is the weak link for this beer.
Aroma finds this beer with strong roasted malts, anise, coffee and cream.
The taste has a lot of roasted malt depth and just borders on being charred. I get some bright fruity hops too which wasn't suggested in the nose. I taste a hint of anise rolled in coffee beans.
Drinks smooth and sweet and coats the tongue. As sweet as it is there is some bitterness towards the end.
A very good RIS, not quite up to the big boys but good indeed.

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

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present aside from Lot 3422. I'm guessing this bottle has gotten a little bit of age to it by now, though. It's been quite a while since my last bottle of this stuff, so I am excited to try it out again.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours two fingers of beautiful mocha colored head, which recedes fairly quick. Body is an opaque black. Nice thick lacing.

S - Smell is of beautiful roasted coffee bean, dark chocolate / cocoa, and toasted barley malts. The malted barley lends somewhat of a nutty smell to the mix also. Smells very creamy & full-bodied. Wonderful.

T - Taste follows the nose; creamy chocolate, roasted coffee bean goodness, hop bitterness, dark powdery cocoa, perhaps even a bit of vanilla.

M - Feel is bitter with the hops & coffee bean roast, but is sleek & creamy at the same time.

Overall, an excellent sipping beer. Rich, dark, creamy, & full-bodied, this would be a great beer to warm you up on a cold winter night. Definitely a beer all stout lovers should look into.

Two Brothers North-Wind Imperial Stout ---4/5.

Photo of Lawl3ss
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lightly chilled 12 oz. bottle into a 33 cl snifter. Bottle states "Lot 0033", no printed bottling or best-by date, although the label isn't older than 2010.

Look- Pours a deep brown-black with two fingers of dense mocha head that falls quickly to a fingernail ring that persists until the glass is empty. Excellent webbed lacing. From what I can tell, the beer is crystal clear, but it's still opaque in the glass.

Smell- Plain but pleasant, mild nutty-coffee-mocha aroma. Light roast, warm feel. Not particularly complex, but welcoming.

Taste- Similar to the aroma; mild, inoffensive, nicely developed cocoa-nutty-soft roast flavors. Astringency is mild, makes me think of Carafa-III or similar rather than roasted barley or black patent, comes across as cold-press mocha coffee. Light toasted caramel, vanilla-laced maple butter. Finishes with a bit of oatmeal. Not aggressive, but that in itself is refreshing. Soft, full flavored without thrashing my palette, excellent balance.

Mouthfeel- Soft carbonation, medium-full body with a bit of stick. Silky. Very easy drinking for the style.

Overall- Not flashy, but very, very solid. This would easily make my go-to everyday list if it were available in my area. Recommended.

Photo of mvanaskie13
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass, color is dark brown, head is brown, presenting nicely 1/2" thick, with some lacing.

Smell is subdued, but notes of biscuit malt, chocolate, roasted malt come through.

Taste is very pleasant, nice creaminess, flavors are chocolate and roast blend up front, coffee notes, hints of biscuit and toffee, other notes include fig/raisin type fruitiness.

Mouthfeel is very nicely done, hard to believe this is 9%, very drinkable pleasant creaminess and presence, nice lingering flavors.

Overall, a very solid, very drinkable RIS from two brothers - none of their variety pack has disappointed.

Photo of themind
3.49/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Two brothers makes a decent stout. I enjoyed this brew and would not turn it down if offered. There are so many great stouts out there that I am always looking for the next big thing...unless it's KBS or BCBS. That said I would say any stout lover needs to give this a go.

Bottom Line: Decent stout worth a look.

Photo of cbutova
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Poured from the 12oz bottle into a small snifter with a pitch black body. A small, one-finger mocha brown head forms with decent retention, falling to a frothy ring and random clouds atop the beer. Spotty lace at the top with some nice creamy pillows down at the bottom.

S- Dark fruit like raisin and cherry mixed with bitter dark cocoa powder up front in the aroma. Really not a ton of depth in the smell overall for a Russian Imperial Stout. A slight hint of alcohol and some dark roasted grain as well.

T- Like the nose there is a good deal of dark fruit flavors here like dried cherry, fig and raisin. The dark grains add a nice cocoa powder, cracked cereal grain and burnt/ash notes. Some nutty, brown sugar and sweet hints too. No alcohol present here. The chocolate taste opens nicely with warming.

MF- Moderately thick body with higher end carbonation but in the style's range still. Fairly creamy overall consistency. Slight alcohol warmth and burnt bitterness in the finish.

Pretty solid RIS that is cocoa and fruit forward. Smooth with hidden alcohol.

Photo of RobertW
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I like it. Its what I expect from an Imperial Stout. Very satisfying with a taste that lingers and changes. Complex.

A- Dark brown/black.

S-Mocha-Coffesque...I can smell the ABV!

T- MMm. Rich,Deep,Complex,Smooth

M- Excitement! mouth feel is awesome, one of the best. Ive come to expect this from 2-Brothers!

O- Again. A dependable Imperial Stout. Recommended.

Photo of Duff27
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Full two inch mocha head on a dark brown bodied beer. Head has long staying power, as it never did fully recede. Spider-lacing. Very appealing looking beer.

S- Deep chocolate notes with some roast/coffee aromas as well.

T- Roastiness at the forefront, then semi-sweet cocoa mixed with some coffee again. The 9.1%abv is very well hidden as I want to just gulp this one down. Perceived lacto notes?

M- Small bubble carbonation, fitting. Medium to medium-thin mouthfeel for the style.

D/O- Very drinkable for the style...a good introductory RIS. Thanks for leaving this at my place Zuidman, I owe you.

Photo of justintcoons
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance
Pitch black with 1 finger of light brown head that dissipates quickly.

Nose
Roasted barley, milk chocolate, caramel and smoke.

Taste
Roasted barley and caramel. Overripe plum and a light milk chocolate sweetness. Hints of red grape. Gets more roasty towards the finish with notes of medium roast coffee and smoke.

Mouthfeel
Medium bodied, smooth and dry.

Overall
Loads of roasted barley, caramel and smoke. There's not too much chocolate or coffee. Easy drinking for 9.1%.

Photo of Knapp85
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 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.

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

Appearance: Pours the darkest brown to black…a pinky finger of dark mocha head formed and remained…looks a bit watery, the head swirls around faster than normal and thins a little quicker than I woulda liked…(3.5/5)

Smell: Roasted malts, oatmeal, chocolate, coffee, lactose…a very nice aroma, fairly straight forward…with deeper inspection, I get a hint of citrus…not overly pungent or diverse, but nice…(4/5)

Taste: Deep roasted malts, chocolate, oatmeal, very much like the nose…I don’t get as strong of a milk flavor as the nose had, but it does have a creaminess to it…roasted coffee and coffee bitterness stand out and really become the dominant flavors as the beer warms…there’s some sweet candy toffee taste that is very mild, but apparent…I do get a light citrus freshness with each sip after I swallow that rounds everything off…this is a somewhat robust imperial stout and is definitely the best quality of this brew…(4.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, light to medium carbonation…it does fluff up a bit, bringing some chocolate milkshake to the palate, but it’s super thin and wears out quickly…it’s a little watery for what I would expect and that is this brew’s flaw…roasted malt, oatmeal and coffee bitterness in the after taste…(3.5/5)

Overall: This is maybe my favorite Two Brothers beer, I seek it out when I come to Chicago during the winter months and take some home with me to share…the flavor is robust and very tasty, but unfortunately it’s a bit watery and that rushes the mouthfeel away…I do find that after 15 minutes out of the fridge, the coffee aroma and flavor awake, taking the flavor to another level…in the future, I’ll set the bottle aside a few minutes before opening…while all it’s components may not be “world class”, the flavor is outstanding, making this one of my favorite stouts...overall, I couldn’t recommend this brew more, if you see it at the store (or me with one), give it a try…(4.5/5)

Photo of schoolboy
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I went to a stout tasting event yesterday and this was not one of the featured beverages, but I bought one of these to try yesterday, and I like it a lot.

It opens beautifully to a foamy dark dark brown. The head keeps going and lace continues too. The aroma is first rate. It's a mild combination of hops and roasty aroma. Nice.

The taste is well balanced and extremely drinkable. You could have several of these and not notice the booze taste or aroma, but it is there. It has a bitter and sweet aftertaste.

Overall, this is a very satisfying Russian Imperial Stout. It may be a little lighter on flavors than some, but it is more drinkable than most.

On a later re-tasting I did not like this nearly as much and it had a slightly sour taste.

Photo of McNealc31
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like it should. Black with a dark brown head. In love with the aroma, charred wood, vanilla, and dark fruits. Surprisingly smooth and creamy. The flavor isn't bludgeoning, but what is there is tasty and well balanced. Deep roasted malt, burnt marshmallows, and eventually toffee.

Not the biggest Imperial Stout out there, but quite tasty. Quaffable, to say the least.

Photo of MCain04
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark brown tow black with a 1 finger kahki head. Some retention, some lacing.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, roasted malts. Burnt marshmallows and campfires.

Taste: I get the roasty malts but disappointed a bit by the lack of other flavors. I had this last year and thought there was a more robust taste, let down by this year's vintage.

Feel: Moderately carbonated, a bit thin, bitter and a little dry on the finish.

Overall: Last year this was one of my go-to imperial stouts. This year... not as much. Still, for $10/6-pack for a 9.5%ABV brew, I'm impressed with the value. There's better taste for taste stouts out there, but for the price, this is a really solid offering.

Photo of TheSSG
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a HUGE, dense, tan head that is woven with hop resin and has fantastic retention and leaves lacing all over. Toasted malt makes for a coffee-like aroma with just a touch of floral hops. Black. A thick, viscous liquid is almost syrupy and starts bright with floral hops and roasted malt (which combines for a very coffee-like flavor), with warming booziness. The hop bitterness grows while keeping up with the whelming toasted malt, until there is just a crushing, deep roasted malt flavor. This subsides and merges with a slight hop floral flavor in the finish.

This is a really, really nice Imperial stout.

Photo of mecummins
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- poured a dark dark brown color. Very rich looking. Produced a 1 & 1/2 finger dark tan head. The foam dissipated very quickly, however, leaving a thin film to cover the beer. Bits of lacing here and there, but nothing really exciting.

S- dark chocolate, coffee and some roasted malts. There was a sweetness there as well.

T- sort of disappointing at first. The taste did not live up to the aroma at all. There was a harsh alcohol taste on the front note, followed by the bitterness of the chocolate & coffee. As it warmed though, it grew a bit sweeter and better balanced. I enjoyed it a lot more after it sat out for 20 minutes or so.

M- very lush and rich mouthfeel. It had a chewy quality to it. Medium finish

O- it was a decent stout that I'd drink again, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Photo of KFBR392
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A very traditional look to a stout. Pitch dark, thin head, low carbonation.

Smell: There is light hop sweetness here. Malt, dark chocolate, and some very dark fruits play a role here.

Taste: Awesome here. A smooth hop presence hits at first. A creamy malt body carries this beer. Such a complex body really represents the the american stout well. I'm not really sold on this beer being a Russian Imperial Stout, but is an awesome American stout.

Mouthfeel: More of a clean smoothness here. Again not really the feel of a Russian Imperial Stout, but more of a traditional Stout.

Overall: I think Two Brothers is one of the better breweries in my home state of Illinois. Their beers tend to be very solid. This beer is one of my favorites and can go toe to toe with many other American Stouts.

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 861 ratings.