1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

735 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 735
Reviews: 384
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 18
Gots: 33 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 735 | Reviews: 384 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jaxon53
jaxon53

Connecticut

3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time i have seen this one, bought a single bomber. served chilled, in a pint glass. Poured a deep black with a short tan head that dissapeared quickly into a small ring in the middle of the glass, with almost no lacing. Really didn't get too much smell from this one. Had a creamy , almost coffee taste with maybe a hint of chocolate. This beer i thought had a creamy , milky kind of feel to it. Although it was very drinkable i have definatley had better. Biggest dissapointment of any two brothers i have had thus far.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2006 04:22:50 | More by jaxon53
Photo of smartassboiler
smartassboiler

Illinois

3/5  rDev -20.8%

01-09-2014 02:02:21 | More by smartassboiler
Photo of morimech
morimech

Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small tan head that quickly fades to a collar of bubbles. Just a little bit of spotty lacing is left on the glass. Has a nice roasted malt aroma with hints of dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee. Has a touch of sweetness in the flavor that is kind of unique with its subtle dark fruit notes. It is not until the finish that things turn bitter with the roasted malt and hops. The hops give some floral and herbal notes. A little solvent like alcohol warms and cleans the palate. The body feels a little light for a RIS. Carbonation is nice. A nice drinker but kind of average when it comes to RIS.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2009 15:25:54 | More by morimech
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2007 08:23:22 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Florida9
Florida9

Illinois

2.78/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Drank this at 2Brothers TapHouse

A: Served in a small snifter. Black in color. Fully opaque. About a 1/8th inch of creamy tan head that quickly receded to the rim of the glass.

S: Stale coffee, cocoa, and an odd sort of creamy lactic scent. Heavily roasted, almost burnt, malts.

T: Again coffee, but more like cheap ass chicory coffee and not the good stuff. Cocoa and chocolate. Roasted malts and a raw, biting woodsiness, blending, unpleasantly, with a noticeable fruity sourness. Typically I enjoy coffee and chocolate flavors, but this beer seems to be highlighting coffee and chocolate's negative aspects.

M: Medium in body. Low carbonation. Thin for a RIS.

D: I don't know what is going on with this beer. It really misses the mark and is quite disappointing. Thin, burnt, and sour, but (thankfully) with not much of a residual aftertaste, I simply couldn't enjoy this beer. Eventually I bellied up and ordered a Cane & Ebel to help me get this one down.

Serving type: on-tap

05-28-2009 17:07:07 | More by Florida9
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Northwind pours a dark mahogany color. Looks a lot like chocolate fudge. It's close to opaque, save for a few scarlet highlights at the outer edges. It's topped with a moderate mocha tan head that reaches a couple of fingers in depth. It's slow to dissipate and leaves a nice, sticky coat of lace on the glass. This is impressive looking stuff.

The nose is on the weak side of the spectrum. It has a nice malty scent up front. Chocolate malts seem to be the focal point. They have a bittersweet smell. Roasted coffee follows and seems to take over from there. They're a nice complement to the chocolate malts. There's a hint of roasted malts, but it's subtle. It's not exactly deep or complex, but it's far from bad. Alcohol is blended very well and isn't noticeable. A little more strength and this would easily warrant a score bump.

The flavor is a notch better. Chocolate malts are indeed front and center. They do have a bittersweet flavor, but there is some unexpected sweetness there, as well. I like the mix. Roasted coffee doesn't seem quite as strong in flavor, but its presence is effective. It complements the chocolate malts nicely and adds a nice dimension to the overall flavor. Roasted malts are present, but they take a backseat to the other flavors. Nonetheless, they bolster the flavor. There is some evidence of hops here. They're lightly citric and a little bitter. Alcohol is masked very well for an 8.5% beer. I'm not getting much at all there. It finishes chocolaty and dry.

Northwind has a medium-full body that feels more and more substantial with warming. It's nice and smooth. I'm tempted to award the next highest score, but it doesn't quite feel creamy. Drinkability is good. Northwind has a nice flavor that satisfies. It's not exactly world class, but it is good and goes down easy. Given its strength, I'll stick with a single 12 oz. bottle. But, I'd be tempted to have another bottle.

Two Brothers is generally a brewery you can count on for good beer. That's exactly what you get with Northwind. It's not great by any stretch, but it is very good. With a couple of tweaks, it'd easily attain a higher score. The nose could use a little strength and the flavor could use just a little pizzazz. More hops or some spices might do the trick. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with Northwind. It's good beer that's probably a little better than this score might indicate. Not much, but a little. Definitely recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2010 03:37:01 | More by prototypic
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dhren1979 for this extra!
Poured from crown capped bottle to NB Globe.

Says Lot 3190 on back of bottle, not sure what this means.

A: Black, soily ale drizzles to the glass and excites a nice single finger of mocha head. This head dissipates in a couple minutes, but is easily reintroduced with a quick swish of the stout. Scattered sticky lacing.

S: Inky, industrial, smokey. Sweetened cocoa with a nice blending of licorice, roasted figs, dates, cinnamon. Intriguing and brings me back in repeatedly.

T: Very malt forward. Coffee, cocoa nibs, cinnamon. The beer has a nice creamy taste. The finish is long, and gradually keeps me coming back for more.

M: Low to no carbonation in mouth. The beer is thick, creamy and viscous. This beer makes me think of Wilcox farms Chocolate milk in body.

D: This was such a wonderful surprise of a beer! If you can get your hands on this, give it a go.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2011 12:59:05 | More by harrymel
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass black with a ruby highlight and a brown but low head which fell quickly and lace the glass.

The aroma was nicely chocolately with a earthy hop presence. The aroma contained a sizeable expresso coffee aroma. The hops were grassy and almost a bit of menthol was present.

The flavor was coffee with a nice chocolate flavor and a well done hop presence. The hops were grassy and earthy and very prominent in the flavor. As the beer warmed a bit of the menthol component of the aroma was present in the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting roasty coffee expresso and chocolate coupled with a strong grassy bittering well into the afteraste and beyond. The body was medium full and just a bit lower than expected. For an 8.5% ABV beer the alcohol was very restrained.

22 ounce bottle, 8.5% ABV on label. Lot 3345. Thanks beerinator!

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2006 22:59:30 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of mattmarka1
mattmarka1

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

01-17-2014 23:03:39 | More by mattmarka1
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Pellinore1 for the great BIF box that included this brew.

a - popped the bottle and poured into oversized snifter. Deep sludgy black with a full 3 finger head after pouring the full bottle abruptly into my glass. The head isn't going nowhere. This is frothy and here to stay. Lacing shows evidence of where the beer once was.

s - Odor screams of milky roasted malts. Good amount of roastiness and a fair amount of smoke to round her out. Smells really nice.

t - I am surprised at the smokiness of this beer. How could I have gone this long without hearing about this gem?

m - Creamy and rich. Full and milky. Carbonation is nice for the beer, but not in your face. Perhaps a bit too milky, but otherwise, pretty spot on.

o - I am really surprised that I don't hear people raving about this beer. Fantastic milk stout flavor with a campfire of smokiness. Really great flavor and somewhat unique. Not sure if properly categorized as a RIS, but if so...a damn fine one and one that could be a gateway rauch.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 05:44:48 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2008 22:37:11 | More by GbVDave
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle of this years vintage

A: Pours black and viscous with a dark brown head. Foam sticks on sides of glass

S: the first smell is a very nice dark chocolate followed by a nice earthy hop bitterness. Notes of coffee, cocoa, and roasted barley.

T: first thing that hits me is the malts. Deep roasted flavor that is balanced very nicely with the hops. This year seems to have a nicer balance which translates into less sweetness. There is a slight hair of booziness on the end, but it melds nicely with all the other flavors present.

MF: Very nice, silky, velvety and thick. Not overwhelming on the body like some big stouts tend to be.

D: The last two years of this beer were unimpressive but solid, this years seems to be up a notch, particularly in relation to its balance. Because of this balance, and the incredible value (10.99 per 6er), this beer is highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 03:27:23 | More by homebrew311
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2013 02:55:55 | More by cbutova
Photo of birchstick
birchstick

Colorado

3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours a black color without much of a head

S - smells of roasted coffee and rich chocolates

T - starts off with some sweet cocoa that quickly becomes some roasted malt / coffee that fades to some dark chocolates. Not uber complex or deep, but very rich overall with its flavors.

M - medium to full body with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Pretty solid mouthfeel.

D - I can't say this was my favorite RIS I have ever had, but it was pretty delicious. For the price I paid, this was a pretty good deal.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 00:30:38 | More by birchstick
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a deep dark brown. Thereis just a hint of light through the top and there is no head except a small tan rim around the top. The nose has some dark raisin/fig tones to it along with a bit of mocha as well. The flavor was not what I would expect; it was thin coffee, almost a bit watery and weak. The feel was also a bit thin as well with a hint of creamyness. Drinkability is just ok. Its a decent beer, but not really special.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2004 14:01:54 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of MSandahl23
MSandahl23

Indiana

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

01-27-2013 15:39:00 | More by MSandahl23
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow

Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased because it seemed such a good value. Now maybe it's not worth it, or maybe it will be. I've generally liked this brewery so my anticipation runs favorable.
Certainly pours like and heavy enough. Very dark small head. Only hints of color on the bottom of the ridel wine glass.
I'd anitcipate a full and heavy aroma, but that's not what I got. It was much tighter than most, however, it is a nice dark roast, coffee, and a little chocolate.
Nice full flavor, in contrast to the aroma. Slightly sweet, roast, coffee. Moderately bitter that appears largely at the end. Longer finish with mild dryness and good flavors. Nice dark fruit flavors.
seems a little thin for style, but I like the lower carbonation. Feel ultimately is nice.
I like this. it drinks well. It certianly isn't the biggest, thickest or richest out there, but the flavors are good, the feel is nice and it drinks well (I could easily have another).
In the end I would say "yes" it's a good value.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2009 01:18:18 | More by garymuchow
Photo of ADR
ADR

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2002 08:24:10 | More by ADR
Photo of nickd717
nickd717

California

2.83/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared at the after-Bruery tasting. Meh, this one didn't really do it for me. Not bad, but one of the poorer examples of what is probably my favorite style (note that I consider "Russian Imperial Stout" and "American Double/Imperial Stout" to be the same style until I hear a convincing reason not to). One of the guys from the local group who is known for his contrarian ratings asked, "Have you ever given an imperial stout a below average rating?" and I said, "Probably not, because I usually only drink above average imperial stouts." Well, here is a below average one, and it's getting a below average rating from me.

Pours black with a one-finger tan head and some good lacing.

Aroma is roast, coffee, dark fruit, and some earthy tartness. Flavor is earthy, dirty, and oddly tart, yet not to the point where I'd think it was infected. Roast and coffee along with some DMS-like notes, cooked corn, that I don't typically find too appealing in this style.

A tad thin for the style with some astringency on the palate.

Drinkability is average at best. I am not a big fan at all. This is my second beer from these guys, and I'm not sure I want to try many more. I'd still like to note though that this wasn't a total disaster, and there is definitely the potential for this style to get much worse, which is why I didn't give it a D or F. I just tend to avoid those bad examples.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2010 17:45:15 | More by nickd717
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy

Connecticut

4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a bottle bought on a recent trip to Boston. Pouring at room temp into a snifter. The beer pours a thick viscous pitch black. A soft fluffy tan head of 1 cm foams up easily. the head does fade gradually to an almost non-existent edge layer.
Aroma is deep and malty with molasses, brown sugar, some dark fruit, plums and maybe fig with some roast malt and chocolate too. A little bit of everything and it mixed well.
First sip reveals an average body with mild rolling carbonation. There is a bit of a slick mouthfeel and is generally lighter than I expected.
Flavor is similar to advertised by nose, starts with some sweet malt qualities, chocolate and brown sugar with molassess again. Then it rolls to some roasted malt and a hint of bitter espresso as well. Maybe the bitterness is actually from hops as it develops to more of an herbal/resiny bite than coffee after more sips. This is a sipper as it is large and robust, but no hint of alcohol so be careful. The drinkability is high and I would recommend this brew to others. A nice stab at an Imperial Stout. Look for it!

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2006 02:17:51 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of DrinkSlurm
DrinkSlurm

Connecticut

3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into tulip.
Deep dark black, little off white head.
Smells of roasty malts and a bit of coffee.
A bit over carbonated.
Roasty malt, slight coffee and milky flavor. Cant notice the abv at all. Overall, its slightly lacking...but a decent RIS.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 03:30:05 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of IdrinkGas
IdrinkGas

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +5.5%

09-02-2013 02:43:00 | More by IdrinkGas
Photo of Tyrawlings
Tyrawlings

Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

02-12-2012 15:57:04 | More by Tyrawlings
Photo of matjack85
matjack85

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

02-03-2013 00:27:52 | More by matjack85
Photo of Redrover
Redrover

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bomber. No freshness dating, but it is lot 3345.

The beer is an opaque jet black with a good light brown head. Decent lacing.

Nice nose of roasted malts, coffee, & dark chocolate.

The taste is of roasted almost smoky malts. I like the way the hops add a secondary taste of pine & citrus. This adds a nice balance as the coffee, malts and chocolate notes are massive. Some raisin/plum taste emerges late.

Very smooth and creamy mouth. I like this beer, great one to share & savor. I’m kind of surprised its not rated higher, but to each their own. One of the better offerings from Two Brothers.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2006 00:18:15 | More by Redrover
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 735 ratings.