1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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
86
very good

758 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 758
Reviews: 385
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 19
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 758 | Reviews: 385 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Durge
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Durge, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of champ103
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

champ103, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of Brenden
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Brenden, Jul 12, 2012
Photo of IPAchris
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

IPAchris, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of pathman
4/5  rDev +5.3%

pathman, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of enelson
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

enelson, Jan 10, 2014
Photo of cokes
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Muddy dark brown pour, ends up essentially black with a healthy tan head.
Nose full of dark roast coffee, and bitter chocolate. Fainter, plums try to stake this as imperial, but fail.
Flavor profile seems to rest somewhere between a milk- and a dry stout, although beefed up a bit. Big roasted malts, chocolate and mocha notes are the major factors here. There is a good deal of caramel sweetness which mingles congenially with the lactic qualities. Lingering in the distance are some molasses and plums, providing the only hints of Imperialness. Hopping enter and mixes with the continuing roastedness to make the finish very dry.
Mouthfeel is creamy, in a skim milk type fashion, but it is void of the sweet, clinging, heftiness that should be present.
Easy drinker, and a pretty decent stout overall. I gave it some leeway because of this. However it is lacking in most imperial catagories.

cokes, Jan 01, 2003
Photo of whartontallboy
4/5  rDev +5.3%

whartontallboy, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of blackie
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour creates a pretty low tan head that almost immediately becomes just a ring around the glass. The beer is a really dark brown in color.

smell: Doesn't smell too imperial, but not bad. First I get some aromas of roasted grain and bittersweet chocolate, just a hint of molasses. Not much else to it. Lighter hop aroma.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is around the middle of the low range. The body is medium or just under it.

taste: Roasted malt, bittersweet and dark chocolates, decent hop flavor with a light to moderate bitterness.

drinkability: Nothing bad about this beer per se, but it is a little bland for the imperial style. Still, the ABV is well hidden and the beer goes down smooth.

Brought a bottle back from Madison, sat in the cellar fridge a couple months. Lot 3345 is printed on the label.

blackie, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of maximum12
2.48/5  rDev -34.7%
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.

maximum12, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of mynie
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

mynie, May 01, 2007
Photo of KarlHungus
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

KarlHungus, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of EgadBananas
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks pretty good. Pretty dank black pour, with a light brown head and sporadic lacing.

Aroma is sparse, but theres some roasted malts, and hints of sweetness and chocolate. With some agitation, some dark fruits present themselves.

Taste is rather roasty, with some milk chocolate and some bittersweet notes. Maybe a hint of coffee, but just a hint.

The feel is upper medium in body, slick and creamy in texture with light carbonation. For a Russian Imperial, the feel could have benefited from being heavier.

Not bad on the drink. Lighter and not as flavorful and intense as other RIS's, but overall decent.

EgadBananas, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of Gmann
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep dark brown color with a light brown head, average head retention, leaves a little sticky lacing. Hints of mocha and espresso in the nose, a little roasty but not much else. Roasted malt and bitter chocolate dominate the taste, some burnt wood action, and mocha flavors finish things off. A moderate chewy body with enough carbonation to ease the drinkability; finishes with a roasty bitterness. A straight roasted RIS, not much in the way of viscous flavors or hoppiness.

Gmann, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of tpd975
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice deep dark abyss black hue with a 1/2 finger head. The head dies rather quickly and yields to a small bubbly collar. No lace.

S: Tons of dark fruit up front with hints of roasty malt. A nice tart stout.

T: Flavor really matches the nose. Dark fruit and more dark fruit right at the start. Figs, Raisins, and Dates are all there. Light hints of charred malt as well. This one is all about the fruit though.

M: Medium in body with a nice level of carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable. Would like a touch of chocolate, smoke, or coffee though.

tpd975, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -21.1%

smartassboiler, Jan 09, 2014
Photo of alexgash
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Inky dark brown to black with a small, short-lived, light cocoa brown head. Nose of fresh-roasted grains, rye bread, chocolate pudding, and swampy cocoa beans. Roasted bitterness up front followed by moderate chocolate and dark fruit. A little astringent throughout. Dark chocolate bitterness in the finish. Not too bad. A lighter, medium-bodied stout that runs a little thin for my likes.

alexgash, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma of rich roasted malt and bitter chocolate. Flavor of roasted malt and sweet malt with alcohol in the finish. Pretty decent, but it doesn't really excite me either. Just a chill imperial stout.
7/4/8/4/14 (3.7/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +5.3%

bpfrush, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Holland
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Holland, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of mattmarka1
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

mattmarka1, Jan 17, 2014
Photo of MSandahl23
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

MSandahl23, Jan 27, 2013
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 st9647v3
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

st9647v3, Dec 24, 2012
Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 758 ratings.