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 oline73
oline73

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

08-07-2013 22:30:07 | More by oline73
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my New Belgium tulip.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and light carbonation evident. An inch of head stays throughout the drink, and light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of bitter chocolate, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, dark fruits, and very light coffee. The bitter chocolate stands out the most.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, sweet dark fruits, light sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee again. Sweeter than I was expecting.

m - Full body and low to moderate carbonation, thick and chewy. Very nice.

d - A pretty nice RIS. Bitter chocolate stands out in the smell, while sweet fruit stands out in the taste. Great mouthfeel and body, would certainly have again.
4/3.5/3.5/4.5/4 = 3.73%
___
EDIT: On 11/27/11 I had a 3 year (09, 10, & 11) mini-vertical thanks to the Chicago Group. All three version were good, and very different. I liked the 10 the best as it smelled fresher and had a lot more coffee, but my I'm bumping my ratings up to 4/4/4/4.5/4.5 as I loved this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2011 23:44:30 | More by mdfb79
Photo of XmnwildX12
XmnwildX12

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

12-13-2013 05:11:14 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of imperialking
imperialking

Illinois

4/5  rDev +5.5%

02-21-2012 05:05:39 | More by imperialking
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

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

Thanks to Tomdecapolis for the bottle...
Appears a black with a small tan head and scattered lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and a touch of coffee.
The taste is of the same aromas.
Mouthfeel is sweet, slightly thin, with some hops resonating. Rich flavors seem to hang on to the palate a bit too long.
Not a bad brew though.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2006 18:59:40 | More by weeare138
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

2.17/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured black with good carbonation and a brown head. Nose is roasted malt, cocoa, coffee and a lingering sour funk...uh oh. Taste is immediate funkyness, sourness, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee but that damn sourness was terrible. Mouthfeel is warming, sour like it was either infected or had a buttload of rotten green apples dumped into the mash. Drinkability, no way. Avoid and this was among the worst RIS I have ever had and I have had my share.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 03:43:21 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

I had purchased this, along with several other Two Brothers bottles, at The Fridge, meaning to try them as a vertical, but this one kept getting shunted to the side until now.

From the bottle: "Dark delights like this were once shipped to the Imperial Court of Russia. With a firm roasty maltiness balanced against a generous helping of hops, Northwind can stand up to the worst its namesake can dish out! Enjoy it by a roaring fire!; "Two Brothers is a craft brewery on the outskirts of Chicago that specializes in rare and seldom-brewed beer styles. The two of us - Jason and Jim Ebel - strive to produce the very best beers available anywhere."; "We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!"

I always enjoy a heavy-handed pour from a bottle. I have gotten quite good at knowing when to stop and the resulting pseudo-cascade is a sight to behold. I netted a sturdy two fingers of dense, deep-tan head as the result of my pour and it sat there stubbornly, like Pussy Riot after being released by Putin. Color was an inky, deep, dark-brown allowing less than ZERO light penetration (SRM = 44). Nose smelled of fire smoke and dark chocolate. Wow. Mouthfeel was thick and viscous and tasted and felt like a dollop of dark chocolate ice cream had been scooped onto my tongue. The 9.1% ABV was well-masked, making for an alarmingly smooth, easy-drinking beer. Warming, the chocolate flavors became even more prevalent and the smokiness began to wane. The finish was semi-dry, not really sweet at all, but not totally dry, either. I really liked this, despite not being a huge fan of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 22:41:11 | More by woodychandler
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)

A-This beer pours a dark black with tiny bubbles of carbonation and a thin tan head that fades quickly.

S- This beer has a smell of deep roasted malt and a hint of sourness. Some faint hints of toasted malt and maybe a faint cold coffee smell aswell.

T- This beer has a nice cocoa, toasted barley and a hint of smoke mixed in the initial sip. The finish has a faint aged cheese taste in a good way. The finish has a faint hop note that is a bit watery.

M- This beer has a medium body with a faint hint of sourness but not really an astringent flavor. No alcohol warmth either.

D- Although the alcohol content is a bit lower than I like in an Imperial Stout, it does have some unique flavors that are very nice. It does have a good malt base but it does have an interesting aged cheese flavor that I haven't found in any other beers. Maybe yeast characteristic? Nice beer and I will have to get a few in the winter months.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2005 21:44:23 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of InspectorBob
InspectorBob

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +5.5%

05-17-2013 12:30:59 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

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

A: Pours midnight black with a two finger tall foamy tan head. Lots of visible sediment that is also tan in color. Head reduces slightly but very good head retention overall. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Not as intense a smell present as I would have liked for this style. Hints of chocolate, oak, roasted dark malts, coffee, and vanilla.

T: Primarily dark bittersweet chocolate with hints of dark druit (plum + fig), oak, and some coffee bitterness. Not overly bitter and there is an underlying sweetness from the dark roasted malts.

M: Medium bodied with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Alcohol is very well hidden in this beer - both in the taste and the smell. Very enjoyable and a very well balanced beer. Some complexity in the flavors. Good beer for a cold winter day.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 23:41:48 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

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

Pours a two-finger light brown head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Roasted coffee nose. Starts with a malty roasted coffee flavor, hint of hops in the finish, the higher ABV is not noticeable. $4.70 for a 22 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2006 23:21:37 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled through the efforts of 120/190 BIF and lostbearbrew.

Pours a dark brown beer with no real head formation.

Smell is fairly fruity mostly raisin, figs, and plums. Pepper and spice ride to my nose on the alcohol fumes mostly pepper and cinnamon. Good aromas of chocolate and Kahlua.

Taste is sweet and quite roasted, smoky and bitter at the start. Very quickly the taste smoothes out and chocolate and smoke become the dominant flavors. Can't really say that this has a coffee flavor to it. Faint fruit flavors mostly figs. Good bitter snap lasts all the way through the glass.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty RIS that is worth trying. A good flaw free RIS that isn't one of the best but a very good choice for those that like them smoky and on the bitter end of the spectrum.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2006 23:32:51 | More by Zorro
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

02-24-2013 03:42:04 | More by DrunkinYogi
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Buebie for this brew.

Lot 3178

Poured into a tulip a black color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, with lots of sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some vanilla, chocolate/toffee. The taste is very nice, sweet, malty, with nice touch of chocolate/toffee notes. Medium body, this is not a high ABV IS, but very tasty. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2009 00:18:06 | More by Wasatch
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Bud American Ale glass.

Pours about 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a ring and leaves slight splattered lace. Pours a brown bronze, but the color in the class is black.

Aroma: Roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, dark fruits, molasses. Nothing huge, but not bad.

Taste: Big roasted malt profile, some grassy hops balance it out. Lots of chocolate and some coffee. Molasses with dark dried fruits again.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and a slight amount of bitterness. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very roasted and slightly dry.

Overall, for the price this beer is pretty decent. I have had a ton of better RISs, but they are normally a lot more expensive, so I give two brothers props on this. It is fairly drinkable, as it is nothing to big. I dig it for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2010 02:33:07 | More by mothman
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a minimal brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head what there was, is gone almost immediately, leaving a few little areas of bubbles around the edge, and lacing as well is minimal to non-existent. Aroma is dark grains, and that's about it. Taste is sweet dark malts upfront, some coffee bitterness, and a dry close. Seems closer to a regular stout here. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both not bad, but heaven forbid one rate against the style, this one would be out the door. Not bad for a beer, but not to style, in my mind.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2005 00:07:21 | More by ppoitras
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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

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%.

Serving type: bottle

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

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by matt9875. Thanks Matt!

A: Black in color (or lack thereof) with a half inch of thick beige head. The head displays good retention and leaves some healthy lacing upon the glass.

S: The aroma is predominantly roasted malt, with some subtle chocolate scents far in the distance.

T: The flavor, like the aroma, is extremely roasty. The beer lacks complexity, but overall tastes fine, just simple.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth on the palate.

D: Very drinkable. I enjoyed this and would have it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 20:32:00 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2012 03:50:12 | More by superspak
Photo of brandoman63
brandoman63

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

01-16-2013 15:23:38 | More by brandoman63
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

3/5  rDev -20.8%

01-08-2013 15:36:22 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2007 02:23:39 | More by Viggo
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4.14/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2013 17:53:42 | More by smakawhat
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ink black color. Little head. A thin rimming of brown lace. Nice aroma of roasted coffee bean and bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Only about medium bodied. Low carbonation lends to a nice drinkability. But the flavor profile isn't as "Bighuge" as I'd like it to be. There are the bittersweet chocolate tones. Cocoa tones. Java tones. And low bitterness for an Imperial. (The A/V is 7.5% and the IBUs are 45. Mild for an IS.) This would make for one helluva dry stout, but as an Imperial, it just doesn't stack up.

This is not a great Imperial Stout, but it is better than their Iditorod Imperial Stout from the same Brewery I had a few years ago.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2003 21:21:59 | More by Bighuge
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 735 ratings.