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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

749 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 749
Reviews: 384
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 18
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: 749 | Reviews: 384 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Viggo, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of Bighuge
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

Bighuge, Feb 17, 2003
Photo of Tone
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a brown color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight dark citrus, slight roasted malt, slight alcohol, slight hops, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, roasted malt, sweet malt, and slight dark citrus. Overall, good aroma, blend, and body.

Tone, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

glid02, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of ShanePB
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

ShanePB, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of tobelerone
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A totally opaque black beer with a smallish head that nevertheless has good retention; with its sticky lacing the appearance is top notch. Rich nose that's sweet and syrupy, with toffee and caramel, then a wave of booze.

Fruitcake taste that's rich but somewhat disappointingly not super deep. The booze is fairly well hidden and there's very little bitterness or hop presence. Definitely syrupy, slight roast, vague coffee notes. Initial burst of flavor isn't followed through enough to make this super memorable.

Smooth, with low carbonation, moderate stickiness; overall a pleasing mouthfeel. Medium body. Short finish and aftertaste that like the initial taste dies away a bit too fast.

Not bad, but not as good as the other beers I've tried from this brewery, which have been impressive. A solid B, I guess, worth trying, but probably won't come back to it in a crowded RIS field. Nice price though.

tobelerone, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

TurdFurgison, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
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

dirtylou, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

drummermattie02, Jan 28, 2013
Photo of scruffwhor
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber. Poured into my Carlsberg impy pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a 90% solid black with the other 10% being a UPS brown. Head was a nice beige color with retention nicely mainatined at the filmy foam level.

Smell- I've had some very good RIS's, and a lot had very strong, easily defined aromas. This one had creamy hazelnuts with splashes of cascade hops miced with bakers chocolate. But keepin mind all these smells were muted. Or they weren't almost overpowering. Really let your nose dive into the smell than be overwhelmed.

Taste- Strat out with slightly hoppy, creamy hazelnuts. Actually, a good taste comparison with this beer is chocoate, hazelnut coffee. But once again, the flavors weren't cloying.

Mouthfeel- Rich, but not too rich for an RIS. Not too mention nutty and creamy.

scruffwhor, May 07, 2006
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

BeerFMAndy, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Black in colour with half a finger of medium brown head.

S - Chocolate, nuttiness, licorice.

T - Milk chocolate, toasted nuts, licorice, some noticeable alcohol. Sweet overall and the sweetness lingers in the finish.

M - Thick, creamy, silky. Moderate carbonation.

TheSevenDuffs, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of WoodBrew
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batting fourth...North....Wind....Imperial Stooouuuttt! Was wanting a decent clean-up hitter for my four beer evening...and got it....cold cocked!!! The 2Bros Imp Stout....has some alcohol in it....let me tell you. Poured into a brandy sniffer and the color was a wonderful dark creamy pour, with tan foam head. Unfortunately the Alcohol over powers the sweet malty undertones of the nose. The taste is decent once the buds get used to the 9.1% ABV!!! Again the alcohol over powers the taste, which has roast, chocolate, coffee, and maybe molasses where perhaps the sweetness comes. Once Again....the alcohol affects the mouthfeel and drinkability. Session....no way...two would be tough to handle! This beer needs to be partaked on the wintry nights. Stay classy!

WoodBrew, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Hopheadjeffery, Aug 01, 2013
Photo of bluejacket74
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, lot 3508, bottle says 8.5% ABV. The beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is OK, lacing is very good. The aroma is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and some molasses. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also burnt/charred malt and caramel that I can taste, along with a bit of hops in the slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium with average carbonation, it's slick but it's also thin for an Imperial Stout. With that being said the mouthfeel isn't bad, it's just not as rich as I'd like my stouts to be. Drinkability is pretty good, it is very smooth and easy to drink. That's where the thin mouthfeel helps this beer. It is very easy to drink. The alcohol isn't very noticable either. I think this is an overall good beer, I would pick this up again in the future. Not a bad choice at all!

bluejacket74, Mar 05, 2009
Photo of DrDemento456
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

DrDemento456, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of vfgccp
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful bowling ball black with a creamy tan head builds out of no where and hangs around with fantastic retention and ok lace.

S - Nice crisp roast with deep cocoa and coffee highlights. Slight sour/musty edges.

T - Relatively light. Hammy smoke, char, and dark roast coffee.

M - Thin body for the style. Hides the 9% well though.

O - I'm ambivalent about the smoke, but overall it's the light body that really hurts the profile.

vfgccp, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of Dogbrick
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Dogbrick, Feb 03, 2004
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

twiggamortis420, May 21, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

OWSLEY069, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of tavernjef
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

tavernjef, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of Haybeerman
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, slightly opaque. Poured a 1 finger mocha head with fair retention. Laced in even rings.

S: Burnt bitter coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. Woody/alcohol aroma in the background.

T: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Coffee and toffee flavors some out in the middle. Balance bittering hops cleanse the mouth and readies the next drink.

M: Full side of medium body. May be more carbonated than most. Rich, creamy and smooth (though a little less carbonation would help).

Haybeerman, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of ZAP
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
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"...

ZAP, Feb 27, 2003
Photo of Duff27
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Duff27, Apr 04, 2013
Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark in color, almost black, with a nice, tanned head that pooled over the liquid and left a nice foam ring on the inside edge of my goblet.

Smell – This is a classic stout, with a roasted malt aroma that dominates the nose. I can also pick up some fine Arabic coffee and a lovely touch of anise.

Taste – This is a bitter brew indeed. The coffee takes charge here, getting me to think I should try to get Starbucks to sell this in their stores (but only after 3:00 PM). There’s a bit of sugary sweetness at the finish, but mainly this is all about the traditional roasted malt and coffee flavors.

Mouthfeel – This one was medium-bodied – on the lighter side for an “Imperial Stout” – but held up well in between the cheeks. I especially enjoyed the bitter nature of this one.

Drinkability – This was a very drinkable stout that went down easily. It would be an excellent example of the style to let one of your “Budweiser Buddies” try.

Comments – Special thanks to qarre for organizing the BIF 5.0, of which I was the first recipient (yippee!) and the lucky beneficiary of this promising effort from Two Brothers.

RoyalT, Feb 21, 2004
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 749 ratings.