Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

BA SCORE
85
very good
418 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
twobrothersbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
418
Ratings:
962
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
11.9%
 
 
Wants:
32
Gots:
91
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 418 | Ratings: 962
Photo of dirtylou
3.48/5  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

 733 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains dark fruit, roasted malts, chocolate, some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of dark fruit and chocolate. Then a roasted malt character that is a bit on the thin side for the style comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and creates some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp but a bit watery, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, there are several other stouts I would choose before this one.

 803 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle. Leaves an espresso foam colored one finger head that quickly recedes into just a foam ring at the edges, and leaves not much lacing. Body is almost black, being the deepest possible brown.

Smell - some unexpected horse blanket, cloves and bananas, - strange coming from an RIS. Hint of the expected roasted malt, but just a hint.

Taste - similiar to the smell. The horse blanket, cloves, and bananas, over malt bread. Also there is a bit, but just a bit, of a tangy hop bite. Some roasted malt becomes more prominent on the finish, but it is mixed with the horse blanket sourness.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, and fluid.

Drinkability - this is decent, but not great. High abv also holds down sessionability.

 746 characters

Photo of SisuPride
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured really dark with a thin head as about as dark tan of a head as you will ever see. The beer smelled good and I woyld not hae guessed it to be over nine percent alcohol but it is. Stout it is! The taste was a more biter than I prefer but it was alright tasting. Mouthfeel was average and oevral a decent stout.l

 326 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost black but in reality dark, dark chocolate brown. Thick tan head that dissolved to a thin foamy veneer. Nose was a bit of an oddity-smells like ice water. Wierd...

Flavor is solid RIS. However, not one dominant flavor, just bunches of malts, chocolate and coffee tones. Come candy tones too such as licorice and caramel. Also getting some daker fruits--cherries and old dried apricots. Mouthfeel is perhaps a bit thin and watery but not too off for the style. A very easily drinkable RIS without any off-the-wall flavors or ABV.

 546 characters

Photo of iadler
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tulip.

A- Pours a dark brown with a thin off white head that dissipates into a thin cap. Minimal lacing is left behind.

S- Roasted and caramel malt, dark fruit, coffee and some dark chocolate.

T- Dark fruit upfront with notes of black and red cherry followed by roasted and bitter malt, coffee, cocoa powder and a hint of cream.

M- Medium carbonation and a thin watery body. Finishes slightly bitter.

O- Not a bad RIS, but nothing memorable and just lacks the complexity and mouthfeel I look for in the style.

 526 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kirok1999 for this one, via the GB&U BIF.

Pours a deep dark brown that lets quite a bit of light in through the edges with only a slight irregular film of head.

Smells... a little weak. There's a fruity and toasty base that could be just about anything that is backed by a combination of green grapes, airy tobacco and smoke. Very fair, very light. Not bad at all, but a little on the thin end.

Whoa. Grape juice. There's a mostly green grapes backed with a touch of brownie and a hint of smokey coffee. Finishes sweet and clean. Huh. This definitely doesn't hang with the best of them, but it's nice and clean. More of your drinkin' stout. Not really an RIS by a long shot, in my book. But the ABV is up, which slides by remarkably. Hmmm. I'm torn here.

Very clean, very smooth; almost watery. But there's a touch of bubble-induced viscosity that helps out a bit.

An easy drinking RIS with "Drinkability?" I'm not sure where I stand on this one. I guess I like it?

 981 characters

Photo of nlmartin
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer was poured into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark black almost purple/blue. No opaqueness to light. The head was tan and one finger high. There was absolutely no head retention at all. Thin whisp of lacing remain on the glass.

Smell: The beer was a pool of dark roasted coffee, with bits of dark chocolate and anise floating on smokey vapours.

Taste: There is a bit of smoky woody earthyness dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: This beer is light to medium bodied. There is a nice balance between malty and hoppy. I would have liked a bit heavier beer. Overall not a bad drinking beer. I dont want any more of this. There are better beers to be had at this price.

 713 characters

Photo of blackcompg
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from their 12oz bottle...

Appearance - Poured half finger of mocha brown head, beer is an opaque dark brown/black.

Smell - Molasses, roasted malt, rich, dark coffee.

Taste - Wow, lots of roasted malt and grains, rich roasted coffee, just a touch of tart, dark fruits, and the slightest burnt toffee in the background for just a whisper of sweetness. Finishes with toasted to almost burnt pumpernickel crust & coffee grounds, dry and slightly bitter. Some dried grassiness here too.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth thanks to medium carb, somewhat mouthcoating, but not quite as substantial as I would like. Halfway thru the sip the carb nearly cleans the palate, and lends a somewhat watery and chalky finish. Not unpleasant, but would prefer some more thickness & chewiness from a 9%+ RIS.

Overall - This is a good and enjoyable RIS, but in my opinion doesn't quite stand out. Decent for the style.

 902 characters

Photo of Risser09
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass - 2007 vintage

Appearance: This is a black ale with no penetrating light and a brown head that leaves some lacing on the glass. No signs of rapid carbonation.

Smell: Stale toasted malt, coffee, chocaolate and roasted grains. Not overly complex.

Taste: A roasty malt flavor profile. Flavors of burnt toast, cherry, blackened meat and some cherry, vanilla, and anise hang out in the barkground. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery. This beer needs improvement in this area for sure, in order to keep up with the other competitors in this style. Alcohol is lingering in the background.

Drinkability: Great, considering its low abv for the style and lack of an overwhelming mouthfeel. I won't touch more than 1 bottle of an RIS, but do as you wish. This beer is worth trying, since it only had a $5 price tag.

 852 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

 389 characters

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into nonic pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Pours a motor oil black with a coffee and milk colored two inch head that fades down into a thin ring in a minute or two, leaves nice looking lacing down the sides of the glass

S: It's a pretty subdued smell for a suposedly big beer, I had to nearly dip my nose in this one to pick up the scent, but hey, sometimes I like a little subtlety. Get the normal smokey caramel malts paried with a burnt espresso background, this one seems to rely more on the smoked malt scent than the chocolate and coffee I'm used to which is nice, but still seems a bit off.

T/MF: Sort of a greasy mouthfeel which is a bit offputting. Tastes of toasted malts and sweet raisins and plums, the fruits dominate this one though, finishes rather clean with only a bit of oil hanging around on the tongue. A chocolatey tobacco sweetness lingers in between each sip. Not nearly as hoppy as other Imperial Stouts I've tried which is a nice change of pace but really threw me for a loop when I took the first sip.

D: To be honest I almost wanted to pour this one out after the first sip, but it grew on me after a while, not much mind you but not terrible.

 1,196 characters

Photo of IchabodcraneIpa
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

The pour on this one revealed a nice not overly thick brown color with a fat tan head crowning the top.

The smell of this one was of roasts and malts with a chocolatey character and possibly some dark fruit presenting itself at the end of the nose.

The taste of this stout is a nice roasted malt flavor with a coffee like tinge in it. It is also sweeter than other stouts I have tried at this point.

The mouthfeel of this one is fairly wet and slick and it seems to slide of the tongue and down the throat.

I think the drinkability of this one may be on the medium side as this one seems to be high in alcohol and not my usual style beer.

 685 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from a 12 oz bottle

A- pours a black thin color with very little tan head an just a touch of lacing ..really just average

S- was roasted malts,some chocolate with hints of coffee and vanilla

T- follows the nose a bit more flavor for the palate,some cocoa a bit nore roated tastes

M- thin on the mouth for an imperial . more sweet than bitter and roasted flavors were medium

O- not bad still tasty , just not the one i will look for 2brothes is a solid brewery, one that i look for and drink year round this stout is not at the top of thier offerings but still worthy of a try

 581 characters

Photo of aracauna
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown but with plenty of light coming through at the edges. There’s virtually no head and what does form fades quickly. The aroma is roast, raspberries and nuts. The flavor adds a bit of chocolate and nougat to that combination. Still, this is a very light Imperial Stout. It’d be a decent sweet stout, but would still be a bit thin.

 340 characters

Photo of bjohnson
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Bomber.

A: Pours a jet black with a half finger caramel colored brown head, that dissipates pretty quickly.

S: Aromas of roasted coffee and silky bitter chocolate malts.

T: Chocolatey, roasty, coffee flavor.

M & D: Mouthfeel is very silky smooth with a well balanced taste, but its not as heavy as I would have liked it to be. This stout could have more body to it. It's a semi drinkable beer with nice chocolatey aftertaste, but just not enough.

 466 characters

Photo of Goliath
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black and completely opaque with a large inch and a half brown head. Excellent retention and minimal lacing notches the glass as you drink.

The aroma is boring. Some roasty malts, with a slight chocolatey tone and a bit of booze are the major players.

The taste is ok, but like the nose it's a bit boring. Some good chocolate notes followed by some big roasty malts and a bit of bitterness on the finish. A bit of a hop presence finishes the beer off.

Mouthfeel is pushing full bodied and it is lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate. The beer is fine, but in the grand scheme of things it's nothing special. Just another boring Imperial Stout. I would really have liked to see the alcohol ramped up a bit with a little more complexity of flavor as well. 7.5%(I thought it said 8.5 on the bottle) is a bit on the light side for an Impy stout, at least for my tastes.

 882 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2-year old bottle. We sampled this at the homebrew club meeting, so these are consensus impressions. Very smoky and tobacco-y, with a dry finish. Not quite to style (though with a beer intended to age, it's hard to keep the flavor from changing) but an enjoyable brew. Extra points for its unusual, but very pleasant smell.

 323 characters

Photo of AudioGilz
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If this wasn't an imperial, I would have a little more higher ratings for it. But it just isn't cut out for the real imperials out there. It's a good stout, and that's it. It's opaque black with a medium-sized and thick creamy tan head. The aroma is strong roasted malts and hints of chocolate. The flavor is very roasty, robust porter-like in a way, kind of sweet, with a nice bitterness coming through on the finish. I found some sourness on the finish as well, kind of annoying. It's kinda worth a try maybe sorta....I dunno. I won't buy it again.

 550 characters

Photo of willseph
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, dark as midnight, one finger head (dark clay in color) that stuck around for the duration of the beer. Right away, the nose reminded me of slightly burnt toast and whiskey with a touch of piney hops. Not a bad combo actually. Lots of lacing all the way through the beer.

The toasted malt taste overpowers anything else on the front end, but there is a slight taste of toffee & chocolate (like a Heath bar). The back end is subtle hops, but I was still tasting the malt. Definitely a heavy, chunky feeling beer. Let it sit out a bit, it gets better toward the upper 40 degrees. I was impatient, and I wish I had waited.

 645 characters

Photo of ROBORB
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Mike B, thanks man!

This beer poured solid black with a thin chocolate head. The aroma consisted of roasted malts and fruits. I found the alcohol to be masked very well. The problem I had with this beer was its carbonation. It is overly carbonated and doesn't match the profile that I am used to. Regardless, it is a good drinking beer but not something I will search out again.

 396 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out black, with no head at all. Sweet chocolate and caramel aroma. The flavor is sweet chocolate with some bitter coffee. This is hardly an Imperial Stout, though. This beer is thick without being big on flavor. On top of that, there is very little carbonation, so it is like drinking sludge. Low marks for drinkability. I think I would have liked this beer more if it just had some bubbles, although it still wouldn't be an imperial stout.

 473 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ginger Man. A very faint stout, lighter mouthfeel. Sour aroma. Smooth, until sourish finish. The best is the look, it is black and looks like an imperial stout,but it is not the best representation of the style.Still drinkable. Some roasting, maybe it needed to age more.

 281 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.36/5  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.

 616 characters

Photo of MJR
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Has a very dark brown body that is completely opaque. There's no head to speak of...it's starts as a small fizz of bubbles and disappears completely.

Smell: Aroma of roasted malt and coffee. There's a very faint green hop smell hidden deep in the muck...

Taste: Has a nice balance of roasted malt flavor and hop bitterness. A touch of a burnt flavor makes itself known towards the end. Has that same green hop flavor from the aroma. Finishes with a slight sour note. A little lacking in the complexity department...

Mouthfeel: The body's a bit thin for an Imperial Stout. On thickness alone, this would be just enough for a porter.

Drinkability: It's not a bad brew...it's just a little mediocre compared to it's competition. Why drink this when there are other Imperials with more body and character? At least the alcohol is hidden well...

 864 characters

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 962 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe