Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

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very good

405 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 405
Hads: 877
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 11.94%
Wants: 26
Gots: 67 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 405 | Hads: 877
Photo of jaxon53
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time i have seen this one, bought a single bomber. served chilled, in a pint glass. Poured a deep black with a short tan head that dissapeared quickly into a small ring in the middle of the glass, with almost no lacing. Really didn't get too much smell from this one. Had a creamy , almost coffee taste with maybe a hint of chocolate. This beer i thought had a creamy , milky kind of feel to it. Although it was very drinkable i have definatley had better. Biggest dissapointment of any two brothers i have had thus far.

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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 blackie
3.31/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of morimech
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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Photo of birchstick
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

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Photo of tpd975
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
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.


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


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Photo of alexgash
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
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)

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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 Florida9
2.81/5  rDev -25.5%
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.

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Photo of prototypic
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of jsh420
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

batch #3508

pours jet black with a 1 finger head that fades fast and leaves no lacing

smell cocoa and sweet dark fruits

taste is a little thin - dark fruit coco and cola?

mouthfeel is very thin for a RIS

drinkability is so so - i want more from a RIS

overall there are better irish dry's then this - not a beer i will seek out again but will see how it ages

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.85/5  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.

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Photo of merlin48
3.92/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of Vancer
4.07/5  rDev +8%
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.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.45/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of harrymel
4.19/5  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.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a deep dark brown with an inch of rich tan head.

Aroma of light sweet malts and dark ripe fruit.

The taste is much like the aroma. Dark ripe fruit up front followed by sweet roasted malts, white sugar, and a touch of coffee. Finish delivers a bit of malt and burnt chocolate.

Medium bodied, smooth, and lightly carbonated.

A very drinkable RIS, but on the light side for the style.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 405 ratings.