Two Brothers Brewing Company

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #831
Ranked #23,337
3.84 | pDev: 11.72%
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
Very Good
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 430 | Ratings: 993 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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AndreaAleWise from Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Viscous jet black with almost no foam remaining after a pour into a tulip glass.
S: Slight odor of black licorice.
T: This is very flavorful imperial stout with a very tart black licorice and/or dark bitter chocolate taste initially that predominates, and then offers an aftertaste that lingers and does not diminish that brings to mind walnuts, molasses, dark bread. The high alcohol content is imperceptible to me until I'm nearing finishing the glass when it hits me. This imperial stout reminds me of bitter red wine (don't ask me the variety, because I rarely drink wine): it has an inextinguishable, bitter aftertaste that can compel you to have some bread or cheese to counteract it (unless you savor such an aftertaste).
F: Tongue-tingling, black tart licorice explodes than softens into a long-lasting aftertaste of strong black tea, toasty dark bread.
O: This is an unusual imperial stout with an over the top black licorice flavor. As a result, it's not among my favorite, go-to imperial stouts, but once in a while I'll drink one.

Mar 21, 2021
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Stooven from Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

First, for the price it's well worth it ($11/6 12oz bottles). It's muddy looking and the head/lacing is week. Smell is a bit subdued and while the alcohol is well-hidden, I've put this beer at a disadvantage because I've had a lot of barrel-aged beers recently. Still, it's not a complex taste. The mouthfeel is surprisingly rich, in that regard, maybe really well engineered carbonation.

Dec 21, 2020
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Nass from Florida

3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

There is no date just a julian code on the back of the bottle. The pour is nighttime black. The taste is char, dark chocolate, anise, fig, faint coffee note & faint vanilla note, not bad at all. Cheers! B

Dec 25, 2019
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jkblr from Indiana

3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle lot #2858 (probably 2 months old) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at fridge temp 9.1% ABV 45 IBU. The beer pours midnight black with mocha brown head. The head recedes to a few bubbles and a thin ring leaving some lacing. The aroma is faint with baker's chocolate and marshmallow. The taste is more dark chocolate without the strong roasty notes. On the end, there is a trace of tangy, berry like fruit along with a mildly bitter and semidry finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and adequately carbonated. Overall, good and a great value. Really would need more complexity to compete with style leaders.

Nov 28, 2018
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briandgilbert from Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L-nice dark pour with a slight head
S-good aromas I like it better than expected
T-impressed with taste compared to smell, others smell better and taste worse, this tastes as good as it smells. It’s smooth and easy, not powerful at all. Easy to drink.
F-feels like a usual stout with slightly thicker feel than other brews. Nothing special.
O-better flavor than others but not one to broadcast as amazing!

Nov 20, 2018
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a nice, hoppy imperial stout that checks a lotta boxes - jet black pour, dark tan head, nice char and dark chocolate aromas and flavors, and the hops are an added bonus.

It’s just a little thin for the style, but still a pleasure to drink. Nicely done by Two Brothers.

Nov 13, 2018
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ONUMello from Ohio

3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On draft a pint glass
A: Pitch black, thin head
S: Cocoa, nutty, coffee, earth
T: Matches the nose
M: Full-bodied
O: A good stout but little stands out

Nov 09, 2018
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/20/17; drank 3/30/18 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

A violent pour yielded a small tan head; minimal lace.

Fresh earth, cream, black licorice & faint strawberry notes in the nose.

Creamy medium thick mouthfeel.

Black licorice, cream & faint strawberry flavors up front; fresh earth & faint mint notes on the finish. No booze heat.

Robust flavors, true to the style, but a bit odd with the strawberry & mint accents. Interesting.

Mar 31, 2018
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bret717 from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look- pours black with a 1 finger tan head

Smell- there's something strangely nutty right off the bat, like peanut butter almost; under that there's also a little dark chocolate and smoke

Taste- Follows the nose, making this an odd tasting imperial stout; again, getting that nutty thing followed by dark chocolate, mild smoke and a little hop bitterness

Feel- medium bodied and smooth

Overall- The peanut butter taste and nose in this one really through me off considering PB is not an additive here. Despite that, I did like it and enjoyed drinking it; it's just a different take on an Imperial stout than i'm used to

Feb 21, 2018
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ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a bottle, lot#3247. Almost black, no head but leaves a small tan ring.
S: Roasted malts, hints of coffee.
T: Plum, coffee and a nice smoky flavor.
F: A little thin for the style, minimal carbonation.
O: A very well done, reasonably priced RIS. I'd like to find it again and see how it ages.

Jan 07, 2018
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The_Snow_Bird from Florida

4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a super dark caramel colored head on top. Can smell lots of roasted malts with hints of coffee. Tastes exactly like how it smells, except no sweetness to it, just pure roastedness

Dec 25, 2017
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4.34/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark brown-black body, with a tan head, and some lacing.

S - Chocolate, plum skin, a bit of roasted malt note.

T - Rich integrated flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, dark bread, toast, and a mildly bitter close.

M - Moderate heft, but pleasant and drinkable.

O - I like it, a lot. This is a fine beer, and includes all the flavor notes I look for in a quality stout.

Apr 02, 2017
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Hereforbeer92 from Illinois

4.89/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Boy is this beer ever underrated. In a world where so many companies are failing to get imperial stouts right, two brothers is producing a world class product. Dangerously drinkable, and since it comes in a 6 pack instead of the usual 4 when it comes to stouts of this calibur, it's also an incredible value for very very good beer. Do yourself a favor and keep an eye out!

Feb 07, 2017
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DraconusDesanctus666 from Florida

3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle,into a Funky Buddha snifter.

Thin,frothy,dark khaki colored head that dissolves quickly,leaving a thin ring around the glass.Oily jet black in color,with absolutely no light coming through the glass.

On the nose I get mostly roasted malts,with some faint dark fruit notes.A little bit of dark chocolate,but it is subdued.A little bit of toffee and licorice.To be honest this beer doesn't really have much of an aroma at all.Maybe it needs to warm a little.

The palate follows the nose.Mostly roasted malts,with just a little bit of dark fruit characteristics.Not much alcohol flavor,no smokiness,really nothing that would lead you to believe that it is a RIS besides the slight dark fruit flavor.

The body is around medium,which is pretty thin for a Russian Imperial.A little bit of alcohol warming,but not enough to move the needle for me.

I wouldn't say this is necessarily a BAD beer,but it is lacking as far as Russian Imperials go.If you expecting a RIS,you might be a little disappointed.I know I was.

Jan 25, 2017
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TH28 from Florida

3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. No apparent code dating on bottle. Appearance: Typical RIS, jet black, opaque, with a quickly dissipating brown head. Aroma: Dark chocolate, black cherry, with a touch of light roast and some papery oxidation. Taste: Rich malt sweetness that comes across as strong dark chocolate. A touch of dark fruit, with only a light roastiness. A slight oxidation is there, with a moderate perceived bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a touch of creaminess, but on the lighter side of the style, and a low carbonation. Alcohol warmth is noticeable, but not sharp. Finish: Leaves some chocolate and roast on the palate, with a bitterness that seems to strengthen after the swallow. Overall: Faiely average RIS. Heavier on the dark chocolate and dark fruit character, low on roastiness. Seems to lack some complexity and body of other notable beers within the style. Almost cloyingly sweet and a touch out of balance

Jan 15, 2017
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GrumpyGas from Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz draft pour is deep dark black and floating a 1/4in Tan head.
Roast malt aroma is sprinkled with anice and stone fruit.
Malt flavor has some smoke, almost, with biscuit and toast.
Medium mouth feel leans creamy and a wet finish.
Can't wait for this from a Bourbon barrel.

Dec 30, 2016
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zshaft from Connecticut

4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

so this is a short review. what a surprise. didn't expect much but this beer was a good one for me. kind of light on the roasty malts with some anaise and tons of dark fruit. i get fig and plumb. really chugable for the abv. maybe not the best rep for the style but a really good beer.

Dec 23, 2016
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nausicaa-taos from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A stout made for someone forced to order a stout. It allows some floral things to develop without being obvious about it. Deep, drinkable mouthfeel. Tastes like a meal, drinks like an appetizer.

Dec 01, 2016
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Nearly typical taste profile for a RIS, but an atypical restraint from extreme-ism. (Is that a beer ideology ?)
At any rate, Northwind has average Looks followed by a nose with a healthy dose of roasted malt. Additionally, Tastes have some dark fruit (let's call them raisins) come in nicely and unexpectedly. Sweetness doesn't really work its way in between the dry toasted malts and the drying hops. Mouthfeel is creamy and low bubbles and suits me. And in its ultimate test, Northwind went great with vanilla ice cream with a chocolate sauce. But on another occasion, it was good by itself.

OA: I like Two Brothers and I'm glad I had this again to slightly increase my original rating.

5/31/20 Had yet again. Northwind reminds me that the art of roasting malt can be neglected with all this barrel-aging. I've decided to keep count over at Untappd.

Apr 24, 2016
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a simple black with a small head. The aroma presents light plum and raisin, as well as chocolate, reminding me strongly of a fruit and nut candy bar. The flavor begins again with fruit, plum and white grape, followed by some smooth, creamy flavors, ending with a hint or roastiness. The mouthfeel is creamy but not dense. Overall this is a superbly balanced stout. I must admit I have grown a bit tired of overbearing stouts and porters this year, and this beer is the perfect remedy, a symphony of balance tied together in a beautiful beer.

Feb 10, 2016
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gopens44 from Virginia

3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks like most any stout you'd imagine, as it's obviously black and opaque with a fairly thin beige head.

Nose does not beckon letters home either as the malt presence really dominates with a touch of earthy olive thing.

Taste is full of (as the nose suggests) earthy characteristics, such as that olive presence backed up by subtle hintsof chocolate.

Finishes dry with just a bit of arid sweetness.

Feb 01, 2016
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jp32 from Michigan

4.56/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lot # 3295.

Pours black in color without much head retention.

Aroma is of roasted malts, with notes of cocoa, molasses, black licorice... and more beautiful roasted malts.

Flavor is roasted and nice. It's simple. Probably very true to style. I notice dark roasted malts and black coffee with the slightest hint of chocolate and black licorice. Mostly, the flavor is of perfectly roasted malts. It's a touch boozy, but not more than it should be at 9.1%.

This is nicely done by the brewer. Very true to it's style. It lacks any exciting unique bells and whistles, but I'm taking that as a good thing here, because it's not lacking anything either. There's nothing wrong with making a beer exactly how it should be, and too often these days we are chasing an empty "the bigger the better" mindset with our craft beers.

This is good stuff. Extremely drinkable for an imperial stout. I could drink several of them.

Jan 14, 2016
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of tan head which settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A rich and roasty dark malt driven aroma with a scent of chocolate, coffee, and black licorice. Dark roasted barley malt with a scent of dark chocolate, coffee, biscuit, toast, smoke, caramel, and yeast. Big scent of black licorice. Sweet hints of molasses and vanilla. Dark fruit hints of plum, raisin, and fig. Subtle earthy hops. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a roasty and rich dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, coffee, and black licorice. Dark roasted barley malt with upfront notes of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, biscuit, smoke, caramel, and yeast. Good anise notes of black licorice. Sweet notes of vanilla and molasses. Subtle dark fruit undertones of raisin, fig, and plum. Light presence of earthy hop bitterness. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and slick. Alcohol heat is minimal.

Overall: A pretty good take on an Imperial Stout. Good roasty malt flavors with a nice touch of black licorice.

Jan 10, 2016
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1000lbgrizzly from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Onyx body, light tan dense head with great retention which is cool but raises concern about how much hopping this beer has seen. Spotty lacing. Earthy hops, dark chocolate, black licorice, roasty malt make the nose.Flavor is a good amount of chocolate and bitter hops, with licorice and faint vanilla on the finish. Despite the high hop flavor and bitterness, I like it. Oily, medium body, good sharp but fine carbonation.
This was a great beer, solidly in the bitter range, with flavors not commonly seen. I appreciate the flavors and quality here, it just didn't suit my palate completely. Great highly hopped but not black IPA stout.

Dec 21, 2015
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MorganJ from Washington

3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: dark and uniform black color when poured from 12 oz bottle into a snifter.
Smell: some chocolate and faint coffee.
Taste and feel: good - some carmel, toasted dark malt, chocolate and coffee with a little hop burn at the feel
Overall: Not the best or most flavorful, definitely not hoppy which is fine with me. Overall, a decent imperial stout. Drinkable. Had this one a year after I bought it. I generally like Two Brothers beers and this one is good in the Winter.

Nov 05, 2015
Northwind from Two Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 993 ratings