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Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
411 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
411
Ratings:
925
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
18.04%
 
 
Wants:
30
Gots:
83
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Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 925
Photo of DrDemento456
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A harsh pour produced two inches of mocha head. Lacing is medium on this one with a very dark black liquid.

S - Smells mostly of roast coffee which is awesome. Slight cocoa and chocolates along with a mild bit of hops as well. Then I wait for the foam to settle...

T - Sweet chocolate and bitter roasted coffee hit the tongue at the same time. Little hop presence which is good since the beer is over 5 months old. The finish almost has a sweet malted toffee tone that is tasty.

M - Perplexing since it drinks very medium bodied but it's a 9 percent full bodied imperial.

Overall it hard to say it but this beer is right on par with southern tier Oat. Great sweetness with a balanced roast and very drinkable. At 2.19 a bottle I now kick myself for not getting a sixer since it's so damn tasty. Not sure why this has a B rating since it screams A quality.

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Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

La Cave Du Vin in Cleveland had this on tap this week. I've had spotty experiences with Two Brothers beers in the past (the Bitter End pale ale rocks, the DuPaige French Ale tasted contaminated, and the Oh Brother tripel tasted like ass). But this stout was awesome.

If you've had Founders breakfast stout, you can imagine this stuff. Just reduce the coffee component by about 75% (making it just right in my opinion). I couldn't drink more than one, because I was trying too many other beers. But I'll get this again if I see it.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown almost black like oil with similar viscosity and khaki colored head. Roasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with a bit of sweetness and roasted character.

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Photo of glid02
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter. Poured near-black with a very thin, tan head that left minimal lacing on the glass and dissipated completely rather quickly. Aromas of coffee and roasted malt are noticeable. Tastes seem to be muted, even as it warms. Roasted barley, coffee, burnt sugar, and anise are present with a slightly hoppy finish. Alcohol is warming, but well concealed. Carbonation is low and mouth-feel is smooth. Overall, I seem to go back and forth with this one every time I have it: sometimes I love it and sometimes I'm disappointed. It's a good example of the style, but seems to be lacking.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours pitch black in my tulip glass with a sporadic toffee colored layer of creamy textured head.

S - Dark chocolate, char, light smokiness, and cocoa cream.

T - Smoky, dark roasted chocolate, char, very light alcohol effervescence, woody, lightly smoky.

M - Thin medium body to heavy light body (somewhere in the middle).

O - ABV is well hidden, nice char, but too thin.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, Riley's

appearance: pours an oily black colour with noticeable ruby highlights into the snifter...forms a fizzy light tan head that dissipates pretty quickly...very little in the way of lacing

smell: aromas are fairly mild...a little smooth chocolate, burnt java bean, slightly creamy...very subdued and not terribly impressive

taste: initial taste better than the aromas would indicate...very creamy, heavy on the licorice...very little alcohol present, bitter hop aftertaste, light raisin...mild chocolatey and burnt coffee flavours. I'm not sure how imperial this is, but i've had far worse

mouthfeel: medium body, creamy, not much alcohol present, bittersweet aftertaste

drinkability: pretty drinkable

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.49/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
45 IBUs, 9.1% ABV, Lot 3071 printed on back of label.

A - Northwind pours like syrup, black as night, and is topped by a rocky, effervescent cocoa head. Low retention, undoubtedly from the stout's high alcohol level, leaves no lace left on the glass.

S - Rich and robust, the thick aroma abounds with roasted malt giving off chocolate, cocoa, and dark coffee notes. Earthiness suggests wood as phenolic, dark fruit aromatics join the party, alcohol-soaked raisins and plum to name a few.

T - Opening with rich dark roasted malts and a sweet chocolate milkiness that are accented with light vanilla hints, Northwind features a prominent bold-roast coffee bitterness and flavor to the finish. Complexity grows as the beer warms, releasing more of the fruity esters and alcohol phenols found in the aroma.

M - It's very full body is evident from the syrupy pour through the aroma and flavor to the chewy mouthfeel. Northwind is as smooth as velvet and thick! Balancing with moderate dryness, the beer finishes acridly bitter.

O - Just the thing to sip on a cooler day, Two Brothers' Northwind Russian imperial stout is a thick, black beauty, rich with roasted malt characteristics of chocolate and coffee. A beautiful blend, especially paired with some chunks of dark chocolate.

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Photo of champ103
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes. Light lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt of chocolate and coffee. Not acrid in the nose at all. Some dark fruits as well. Not very complex, but enjoyable.
T: Follows this nose. Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, light coffee. Nothing is acrid or astringent. Some dark fruits again, and overall enjoyable.
M/D: A full body that is creamy and smooth. Very easy to drink. Something I can sip on all night as a winter warmer.

A really nice Imperial Stout. Lots of flavor, and a treat to drink. Something I would recommend.

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Photo of cbutova
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of maximum12
2.48/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a single recently. I'd have picked up more, the price is definitely right for an RIS, but I've had a pair of Two Brothers beers & not enjoyed either one. Hold my breath & dive.

It's black. Shocking. Smell isn't great, more like a milk stout. Taste isn't great either. It's very thin even for a regular stout, & there's not much taste to it at all. A bit of malt, maybe a hop sprig, eye of newt, balls of bull.

This isn't very good. Two Brothers has disappointed me three time in a row. I hate to give up on a brewery, but I'm close.

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Photo of ZAP
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't believe they call this an Imperial Stout...It's a decent tasting "Stout" if you leave the "Imperial" out of it...It is medium bodied rather than over-the-top thick...the nose is mainly cocoa and coffee beans but very soft....the taste is burnt malts and some coffee beans but lacks complexity....finishes with a bit of a hop bite which is surprising given the low IBU...Call this a "Stout" and it rates high "3's"...as an "Imperial" I feel I'm being generous giving it low "3"'s...no carbonation at all hardly and that combined with the creamy texture allows this to be very drinkable as a "Stout"...not as an Imperial...I want more....I deserve more....If a beer is called Imperial it should have more than just a high ABV..I feel like I'm being too hard on this because as I drink it is is pretty decent....it's just not close to being a good "Imperial Stout"...

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Photo of Durge
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A black mahogany color with a modest tan head and very little lacing. The aroma brings a pleasant licorice and roasted malt. The flavor is very similar to the aroma, maybe more chocolaty with the licorice still a mellow lead. It's a bit sweet but has a woodsy buttery malt and mild citrus hop all in a mid-bodied brew with light carbonation. Alcohol is not much notable so it's plenty drinkable. Kind of unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of readbaron pours an opaque black color with a dense brown head. Nice retention.

Nose is not overly big, but what is there smells fantastic! Light sweetness, nutty chocolate and modest coffee. Clean, really showcases the malt. Very nice, I think Im gonna like this one.

Smooth and creamy, rich and chocolaty. Yea, this is my kinda stout. Alcohol prevalent, but smooth and blends well with the other flavors. Finish is pretty dry considering the full body and residual sugars up front. There is some hop complexity and bread-dough yeast as it warms. I dont think this would be a great candidate for aging, but right now, it is damn good! I am very impressed.

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Photo of Brenden
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2B tap takeover at Swig 7/11/12. The wife's beer; #2.5?

This beer is big and black with a brown head about one finger tall that shows good retention. Lacing is a bit understated on the glass. It's not a big, thick, heavy stout, by any means, and one can see the direction they wanted to take with this beer by looking at it. It's more even and balanced than a big, destructive monster.
Northwind has a strong malts foundation with roasty notes. The chocolate is more bittersweet baking chocolate than sweet, but a sweetness certainly does come through, vanilla and dark fruits, making it sweeter than is typical without being cloying. I can see some in the beer community with the new trend of face-melting beers not liking that this beer is lighter than some, but the focus really is on the overall flavor, balance and attenuation. It succeeds. There's a complexity to this beer with the malts, the sweetness, cocoa, coffee grounds, and even caramel/toffee. There's a nice earthiness as well and just enough light hops to keep it malt-forward but balanced.
The body isn't as big as one might expect and, I'll admit, perhaps not as big as it should be. It does have a richness to it, though, a nice flow, smoothness, and a nip of crispness to keep it moving.

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Photo of mynie
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour, not rough at all. Big brown head, nearly completely opaque, mild degree of carbonation belaying the comparatively low ABV.

Smells of intense raosted malt, bitter, dry and burnt. This is a complemented nicely, if strangely, by a harsh semisour Belgiany yeast. Not what I'm used to in an RIS, but very good.

Tastes--tastes not very much like an RIS at all. The yeast is what starts things out, and it starts out strongly, almost like a Belgian dark, chocoately and burny sour. This drops off quickly into a middle of very dark chocolate and then, clear as day, a pleasant node of burning leaves, ending again on a very smooth and sweet Belgiany yeast. Nice.

This tastes more like a Belgian export stout than a Russian Imperial. It'd probably have a higher rating if it was labeled as the former, actually. Still, at 3.99 a bomber this was quite the deal, and it's nice to come across a strong stout that's still highly drinkable and doesn't kick you so hard in the ass.

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Photo of Suds
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of FLima
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Darkover for hooking me up. Pours a deep dark black with a thin and quickly disappearing brown head. Slow, creeping carbonation up the sides of the glass and thin lacing. The aroma is bitter roasted coffee with a bit of malt. Not as rich as most Imperial Stouts, and not quite as flavorful either. There is a nice coffee flavor but not much malt to counterbalance. There is a small amount of chocolate in the flavor as well. The finish is roasted coffee. On the Stout scale this is pretty good but on the Imperial Stout scale it falls short. Still not a bad brew though.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nearly opaque black color. The head is one inch of tan foam. It recedes slowly into decent lacing. The aroma is of graham cracker, roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate. The taste is of very roasty with notes of chocolate and coffee. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a nice stout. It isn't the biggest Imperial Stout out there, but it is very solid nonetheless. I will certainly drink this again.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a brown-ish head. In the aroma, sweet roasted malt and oatmeal. In the taste, roasted malt and a dry coffee, yet a bit sweet in the coffee. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry small presence of coffee and chocolate. Nice flavors and easy to drink.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber - Pours brown, sits black. Slim, compactly fluffy capping of tanned foam sits atop briefly. Very minimal lacing in a few spots.

Aroma of mild milk chocolate with a slight graham cracker crusted roastyness/burntness.

Taste is alot like what the aroma leads to with a moderate amount of cookie/cake like milk chocolate. Slippery in the front, partially oily enriched with a richer/fuller backend. Tenderly sweetened by a bit with a centered oatyness and soft chocolate malting. Notes akin to some peppery spice, burntish coffee or cake edges. Quite mild overall on the flavor palate though. Keeps smooth and solid but nothing to complexing. Reminds more of an Oatmeal fashioned type stout then anything.

Feel is smooth and supple with a bit of oilyness to its body. Seemingly rounded within a medium body and a softer carbonation. Finishes lightly spiced and feathery hopped with a faint chocolate drify of soft dryness.

A moderately paced drinkin' stout. Not super complex nor impactful as most Impy Stouts. but does the job just fine for when in the mood for something on the darker side.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 411 ratings.