Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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85
very good
411 Reviews
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Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

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:
411
Ratings:
927
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
18.04%
 
 
Wants:
30
Gots:
84
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 927
Photo of brewcast6
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle that had been aged for approximately a year and Poured into a snifter glass

Aroma: Strong carmel aroma, Roasted malt, with undertones of coffee and chocolate, slight alcohol presence -- Very well balanced aroma

Appearance: Jet black color with a deep tan head that is initially well formed but has very little retention

Flavor: Complex flavors of alcohol, roasted malt, hints of chocolate, coffee, slight alcoholic flavor

Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied, with a creamy texture, gives a little alcohol warmth, very little carbonation

Overall Impression: Very complex beer with a variety of flavors making you want to take another drink. I drank a bottle of this a year ago before it aged and it was one of the best Imperial stouts I have had in regards to the fact that it doesn't have a big alcohol burn you normally get with most imperial stouts and it gets even better with age!

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Photo of drseamus
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to littlebreeze for bringing this to our tasting.

A: Jet black with a super thick head.

S: The aroma has a slight espresso/coffee note. Some sweet malt but a decently tight nose.

T: Fairly light flavor. What's there features heavy chocolate and a touch of coffee. Good sweetness.

M: Pretty light bodied, especially for an imperial stout.

D: Very good. The lightness of the body increases the drinkability.

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Photo of bwood06
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Very dark, almost black beer with a thick off-white creamy head that last forever. 4.5/5

S - Dark chocolaty richness with a hint of espresso. A bit of vanilla as well. 4.25/5

T - Taste follows the nose with a bit more cocoa, a bit less espresso, and a bit more vanilla. 4/5

M - Very thick and viscous with a wet finish. Not nearly as dry as most imperial stouts that I've had. Finishes very cleanly with a lingering bitterness. 3.75/5

O - Very good beer but the lingering bitterness brings down the score just a tad for me. Nice complexity while maintaining drinkability. 4.25/5

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An absolute favorite for the season. Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This FINE imperial stout pours pitch black with a rockin' tan head that slowly fades to a thick layer of foam with fantastic lacing. Nose of dark chocolate, light coffee, dark fruits, sweet dark malts, and moderate hops. Flavors follow the taste with sweet dark malts and chocolate to the front and sides, coffee and some light hop bitterness to the back with a light sweet aftertaste. Excellent! A beer I look forward to each year.

Cheers!

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Photo of Zorro
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled through the efforts of 120/190 BIF and lostbearbrew.

Pours a dark brown beer with no real head formation.

Smell is fairly fruity mostly raisin, figs, and plums. Pepper and spice ride to my nose on the alcohol fumes mostly pepper and cinnamon. Good aromas of chocolate and Kahlua.

Taste is sweet and quite roasted, smoky and bitter at the start. Very quickly the taste smoothes out and chocolate and smoke become the dominant flavors. Can't really say that this has a coffee flavor to it. Faint fruit flavors mostly figs. Good bitter snap lasts all the way through the glass.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty RIS that is worth trying. A good flaw free RIS that isn't one of the best but a very good choice for those that like them smoky and on the bitter end of the spectrum.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass, color is dark brown, head is brown, presenting nicely 1/2" thick, with some lacing.

Smell is subdued, but notes of biscuit malt, chocolate, roasted malt come through.

Taste is very pleasant, nice creaminess, flavors are chocolate and roast blend up front, coffee notes, hints of biscuit and toffee, other notes include fig/raisin type fruitiness.

Mouthfeel is very nicely done, hard to believe this is 9%, very drinkable pleasant creaminess and presence, nice lingering flavors.

Overall, a very solid, very drinkable RIS from two brothers - none of their variety pack has disappointed.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

oh, good. an imperial stout for me to try at our MCD meeting! I brought along a Bells Expedition stout too but i'd already tried that before so I was glad to have a new one in front of me. Pours black with a small white head. I actually expect a good RIS to have a darker head or none at all but whatever. Nose is of plums and roasted malts and chocolate. Smooth roasty flavor, molasses, sweet and some complexity. a bit thin on the mouthfeel maybe but ok. fantastic drinkability. not harsh or boring. just right. i could go nuts on this baby.

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Photo of MillRat
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour from the 22 oz bomber is true to impy stout form. The dark brown stream from the bottle allows the barest amount of light through, and once it's in the glass its opaque black. The head is a finely bubbled cocoa brown, which dissipates quickly.

The aroma is chocolatey roasts with the the barest hint of earthy English hops.

The taste shows off the brothers signature maltiness, balanced well against a double bitterness from both the roasted grains and a solid hops note. It does not have the cloying body that plagues some imps. As with the brothers other high-alcohol brews, you won't realize how powerful it is until you read the label or stand up. At least their label gives you fair warning.

The mouthfeel more moderate than many other impy stouts, but it does not sin on the thin side.

Unlike most other imperials that leave you sated after a bottle or two, I would have glady had another one or six of these, and that would have left me pretty useless for rest of the day. It is dangerously drinkable, which is quite an accomplishment in this style.

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Photo of kegger22
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout is a very dark brown color and has a one finger light brown head that reduces to a self sustaining collar.

The aroma is just what you would expect in RIP, roasted coffee and rich chocolate.

The taste follows in lock-step with the aroma. Coffee and chocolate, but there is an interesting, light sour taste in the background for variety.

The mouth feel is full bodied with pretty good carbonation that works well for this stout.

Too thick, rich, heavy and alcoholic to rate very highly in drinkability, but not bad.

I found Northwind to be a very good Russian Imperial. The flavor was strong and tasty, with chocolate being most prominent. The price was also right at $1.99 for a 12 oz single, a bargain for this style. Another good job by Two Brothers Brewing.

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Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for a year. This is a well made medium bodied imperial stout. Milk chocolate, toasted malts, coffee, and some unrecognizable fruits (maybe pineapple and plums). It's smooth and creamy, I don't understand why people are hating so much on this one.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A real nice pour out of the bottle, dark walnut brown, hitting the glass with a creamy character and a dark walnut black body. Head is creamy tan chocolate and foams up quite nicely with a solid two fingers. Very slowly settles to a simple thin puck and collar. Very nice.

Good solid Russian nose for the bouquet. Mild sense of dark bitter chocolate, light warm roast tones, good ripping grain sense and maybe a little bit of berried fruit also. Real nice, I am liking where this is going.

Palate is light but with a good creamy coating play. Wonderful sweet malts and dark roast character. Bitter dark chocolate abounds, with a real nice moderate controlled sweetness on the finish. The body is ideal and probably the best part of the beer, light but with lots of coating the flavors all around, and a tiny little bit of fizz on the tip of the tongue for playful character.

Overall a real solid Russian Imperial worth having and seeking out again, really did enjoy this one.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 16oz pint glass at Firkin 4/20/08. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Served a dark, coal black with a creamy dark tan head. Poor retention, however, that leaves sheets and spots of lace.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, sweet dark fruit, toffee, chocolate, and caramel.

T: Charred black malt, overripe dark fruit, chocolate, bitter espresso, and cherry.

M: Very creamy with a nice peppery hop bite.

D: Big RIS flavors and aromas + medium sized RIS abv% = excellent drinkability.

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Photo of Damian
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Drank on-tap at Redbones Barbecue, Somerville, MA

Poured a deep, thick brown/black with no head (just a bubbly film of off-white froth) and no lacing.

Aroma was very subtle initially. Notes of roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate and a general oakiness were mildly detectable. By mid-glass, a distinct (and unexpected) yeastiness was noticeable and by the end of the drink, notes of vanilla, caramel/toffee and a strong bourbon-like quality had emerged.

The taste was similar to the nose yet sweeter and much more intense. All the flavors seemed to hit hard up front. A mix of molasses, dark chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, sweet and lightly roasted malts, bourbon and hops assaulted the palate. While the flavors were quite potent, they all somehow managed to carry equal weight. A sweet, lactic quality was also very noticeable. As the beer moved along the palate, the flavors seemed to gradually fade, until the hops resurfaced again in the finish.

Rich, thick and full-bodied with a creamy, soupy and full mouthfeel.

Overall, this beer is a mild version of a typical Russian imperial stout. The malts were not quite as roasted, the hop profile was weaker, the ABV was significantly lower and the beer generally seemed to be sweeter (at times it tasted like a hybrid of a Russian imperial stout and a sweet stout). While this made for a rather tasty and easy-drinking example of the style, it is understandable why many purists may find this beer disappointing.

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Photo of Dmoore07
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Very viscous coming out of the bottle. Deep black color. Tan head, dissipated quickly but left lacing.

S- Sweet and malty with prominent chocolate notes.

T- Smooth, rich body. Full of chocolate, toffe, and mocha malt characters. Just enough bitterness lingers in the rear to balance the malty body.

M- Rich and creamy. The alcohol is fairly well hidden.

D- Pretty drinkable. The high ABV would keep me at just one of these, but that doesn't mean it wasn't wast going down.

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Photo of trbergman
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Opaque, very dark brown body with one finger of tan head.

S - Chocolate, licorice, coffee, vanilla.

T - Heavy chocolate flavor with flavors of coffee and cream, vanilla, and licorice. Some nuttiness, either from malt or yeast, and dark fruits are present. Little hop flavor - perhaps some slight earthiness - and moderate bitterness for the style.

M - Dense, chewy, full body. Silky and smooth in the mouth.

D - Lacks the complexity of other beers of the style, but very easy-drinking. Pardon the abuse of the term, but this is almost a sessionable big stout.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my New Belgium tulip.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and light carbonation evident. An inch of head stays throughout the drink, and light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of bitter chocolate, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, dark fruits, and very light coffee. The bitter chocolate stands out the most.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, sweet dark fruits, light sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee again. Sweeter than I was expecting.

m - Full body and low to moderate carbonation, thick and chewy. Very nice.

d - A pretty nice RIS. Bitter chocolate stands out in the smell, while sweet fruit stands out in the taste. Great mouthfeel and body, would certainly have again.
4/3.5/3.5/4.5/4 = 3.73%
___
EDIT: On 11/27/11 I had a 3 year (09, 10, & 11) mini-vertical thanks to the Chicago Group. All three version were good, and very different. I liked the 10 the best as it smelled fresher and had a lot more coffee, but my I'm bumping my ratings up to 4/4/4/4.5/4.5 as I loved this one.

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Photo of shodrod
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a 'motor oil' black with no head. Coffee and chocolate dominate the nose. Those two characteristics take front stage in the taste. A slight bourbon hint and notes of hops creep up in the finish. A fantastic beer to warm your bones on a cold night, the Northwind is an amazing example of an imperial stout.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: pours a very deep brown that is impenetrable and has a ton of suspended sediment, pours with a finger of frothy mocha brown colored head that lingers nicely and has large bubbles, leaves spotty lacing
S: very nice mocha scent, very reminiscent of a strong coffee, very deep and enjoyable
T: begins with a nice coffee note which just intensifies and deepens throughout the sip, really deep and tastey, not entirely complex but yummy nonetheless
M: medium carbonation tingle, very thick on the palate and has a wonderful velvety texture which sticks to the palate
O: a delicious brew, lacking a bit in complexity but incredibly deep, really delicious

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the black bomber into a snifter the beer was a very dark black color with slight ruby hues in the light. A thin layer of head skimmed the top of the beer and carbonation clung to the sides of the glass. Some spotty lacing throughout the sample.

The smell is a heavy roasted malt, black coffee, dark chocolate, and dark fruit: plum and fig.

The taste is heavy in orasted character with a robust malty backbone. Roasted flavor is dominant throughout each sip and is complimented by strong (Starbuck's-ish) black coffee. Some dark chocolate and chicory bitterness to the finish. Figs and plums in the end of each sip and the alcohol is near undetectable.

Medium firm body with about average carbonation levels.

A good all around RIS. Nice roasted character dominates the beer. Would have liked to have seen a little bit more presence from the alcohol, but it was well balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of codsmith
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet-black with a very slight amount of creamy tan head. Doesn't really lace the glass

S: Has a nice sweet coffee, chocolate & roasted malt aroma. Very smooth and well balanced.

T: The taste is a lot like the aroma. Very smooth and creamy on the palette. There is a slight amount of roasted bitterness hitting at the end. Very well balanced

M: Moderate mouthfeel, carbonation is in the correct level.

O: My favorite Two Brothers beer and I've had it all ways (cask, draft & bottle), but always a very good and well balanced imperial stout.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A very traditional look to a stout. Pitch dark, thin head, low carbonation.

Smell: There is light hop sweetness here. Malt, dark chocolate, and some very dark fruits play a role here.

Taste: Awesome here. A smooth hop presence hits at first. A creamy malt body carries this beer. Such a complex body really represents the the american stout well. I'm not really sold on this beer being a Russian Imperial Stout, but is an awesome American stout.

Mouthfeel: More of a clean smoothness here. Again not really the feel of a Russian Imperial Stout, but more of a traditional Stout.

Overall: I think Two Brothers is one of the better breweries in my home state of Illinois. Their beers tend to be very solid. This beer is one of my favorites and can go toe to toe with many other American Stouts.

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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 mgbickel
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter. Formed a thick layer of khaki colored bubbles that quickly receded, leaving no lace behind. The body is dark, dense and pretty much black. You can force ruby slivers around the edges if backlit.

The nose is rather weak for a RIS...burnt chocolate, coffee, toasted malts, heavy cream, molasses...all very subtle.

Thank goodness the flavors do not follow the nose (in strength at least). Starts off with a black coffee bitterness that smoothly transitions into a sweet malt middle that turns roasty at the finish. No booziness make this really smooth drinking.

The mouth feel teeters on the heavy side of medium...creamy with moderate carbonation.

This is a pretty solid stout. I had no problems putting a 12oz bottle away and found myself wanting more. Well worth a try!

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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 WildTurkey
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to snifter. Cool temp; at least 50'F.

A: Pitch black. No amber light passing through. Tan, mocha color head, about one finger thick. Slightly creamy but with mixed size bubbles. Looks good.

S: Coffee and roasted malts. Little bit of chocolate. I'm also getting a little bit of hops.

T: Lots of roasted malts. Some coffee and dark fruit. Some mild hops and alcohol are coming through at the end. Flavors are well harmonized and smooth but not as strong or complex as some other RIS I've had. Still very good - in my opinion.

M: Great mouthfeel, one of the first things I noticed after drinking. Medium-to-Fuller bodied. Very rich and creamy. It really coats the mouth.

D: A very drinkable stout. Flavor profile is balanced. Stong flavor but nothing too overwhelming. I'm really slugging this back. Very good

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 411 ratings.
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