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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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

766 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 766
Reviews: 386
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 20
Gots: 40 | 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: 766 | Reviews: 386 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bierman9
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Prosit!

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

883

Bierman9, Jan 29, 2006
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a dark tan head that thinned out and left a few trails of lacing.
S - roasted malt and chocolate.
T - starts off with a roasted malty flavor and then chocolate and caramel sweetness come in with a light bitterness towards the finish.
F - full bodied with a chalky feel on the finish.
D - it's worth a try.

JoeyBeerBelly, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of malfunxion
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

malfunxion, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of morimech
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

morimech, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of Florida9
2.78/5  rDev -26.8%
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.

Florida9, May 28, 2009
Photo of Suds
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Suds, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of ffejherb
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

ffejherb, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

cosmicevan, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of cbutova
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

cbutova, Apr 11, 2013
Photo of merlin48
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my first sampling of a brew from Two Brothers. Thanks to clvand0 for the trade. This 12 oz bottle pours an opaque, deep brown body with a small, tan, head that quickly drops into film and collar lace.
Aroma features prominent, dark roasted malts with a coffee dominance. Hints of dark chocolate, anise, and walnuts are picked up in the background.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but somewhat light for style. Carbonation is low, and there is a tingling hops presence that comes from the 45 IBUs proclaimed by the label.
The taste is dominated by coffee bitterness. Smoky, roasted malts are prevalent, with some dark fruits(prunes and figs) and nuttiness. A hint of licorice is also noted.
This isn't as substantial as most imperial stouts, but is still a good one that is worth a try.

merlin48, Nov 06, 2004
Photo of Vancer
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, poured a freakin’ motor oil black, nice tan head – disappointed that it didn’t lace better, just some thin rings.

Nice aromas of chocolate, raisons and nuts. Superb quaff too, really noticed the anise – along with coffee and sweet dark chocolates. I enjoyed all these flavors for the entire bomber.

Medium bodied that thinned just a smidgen too much by the end of the bomber. But all things considered, this was a darn fine mid-west cut at an RIS.

Vancer, Jul 04, 2006
Photo of prototypic
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

prototypic, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

brewdlyhooked13, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of birchstick
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

birchstick, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of IdrinkGas
4/5  rDev +5.3%

IdrinkGas, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of harrymel
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

harrymel, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

GCBrewingCo, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of homebrew311
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

homebrew311, Nov 19, 2009
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.

GbVDave, May 01, 2008
Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

DrinkSlurm, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of garymuchow
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

garymuchow, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of kmpitz2
3.23/5  rDev -15%
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.

kmpitz2, Oct 24, 2004
Photo of Tyrawlings
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Tyrawlings, Feb 12, 2012
Photo of FLima
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As deep black as it can be with a thick caramel head with medium retention and leaving lots of laces.
Light and predominant aroma of dark and creamy chocolate.
Flavor of sweet mocha, pine, caramels, roasted, nutty and smoky malts, licorice, earthy and citrus hops, and a bit of dark fruits. Dry aftertaste with a log lasting roasty bitterness.
A super creamy feeling. Full body with low carbonation. Alcohol of 9.1% abv is very well hidden.
Very good Imperial Stout, no defects, though not overly complex but still pleasant. Good bridge for the style.

FLima, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of JohnK17
4/5  rDev +5.3%

JohnK17, Mar 21, 2013
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 766 ratings.