Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

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

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Reviews: 418 | Ratings: 962
Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.34/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

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Photo of Hereforbeer92
4.89/5  rDev +29.4%
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!

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of TH28
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
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

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Photo of GrumpyGas
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of zshaft
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of nausicaa-taos
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.85/5  rDev +28.3%
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.

 557 characters

Photo of gopens44
3.59/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of jp32
4.56/5  rDev +20.6%
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.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.97/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of MorganJ
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of Wasted_Youth
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

 251 characters

Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, lot # 0155. Pours very dark brown, with a khaki head that doesn't stick around long. Aroma of coffee, with a some chocolate and a bit of booze. Medium body. Some malt, sweetness, and perhaps a bit of hops in the flavor. Russian imperial stouts are perhaps my favorite style; this one does nothing to stand out from the others, but it does seem to be well balanced. And, as this is one of the least expensive Russian imperial stouts I have found, it's not a bad beer for the price. I hope to buy a few more to cellar and see how it is with another year or two on it.

 579 characters

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours an opaque black under a 1” tan head S: dark malt and dried fruit aromas T: Dark malt flavors, chocolate, dark dried fruit, moderate hop bitterness. This beer has a good balance of dry and sweet and bitter. F: The carbonation is exceptionally fine – almost like a nitro beer. O: A satiating very easy to drink Russian Imperial Stout.

 347 characters

Photo of OhioLimoncello
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly light and sweet malty stout. Roast aroma is supported by a nice backbone of toasted malts. Wish this very enjoyable 9.1% ABV, 45 IBU brew was more available.

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Photo of mlockman
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very enjoyable, but very different; not much of the flavor one would expect from its style. As my friend said, "Forget everything you think you know about imperial stouts, because this ain't it"

 194 characters

Photo of farmhaus
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: Very dark with a thick, mocha head.
Nose: Notes of roast and vanilla. The alcohol is apparent.
Taste: More roast and vanilla. Some cacao chocolate. Boozy. The finish leaves an odd markery, almost medicinal, character.
Feel: Heavy body. Leaves with a cling.
Overall: Decent but nothing to write home about--mainly due to the mouthfeel and finish.

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Photo of russpowell
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent ebony with a sliver of caramel colored head. Slightly better than average head retention & lacing

S: Roasty, faint dark fruit

T: Roasty, dark fruit & a little carob up front, some smokeyness as well, plus dryness. Figgyness, smokeyness & dryness dominate as this warms. Finishes dry, roasty, with a little jammyness, a little leafy hoppyness

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation

Drinks alright, a solid but not spectacular example of the style

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown almost black like oil with similar viscosity and khaki colored head. Roasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with a bit of sweetness and roasted character.

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 fl. oz Bottle
Bottled on January 15th, 2015
Reviewed on March 6th, 2015
Served in a Snifter

Poured a rich dark brown, nearly black body. Not much of a head... just a thin lining of light brown foamy bubbles. Sparse amount of sticky light brown lacing throughout.

Dense notes of toasted grains. Thick and sweet notes of molasses and caramel. Faint smokey bitterness.

Toasted grains up front. Light, sweet malts gained steam. Good notes of caramel and toffee. Sweeter flavors lived in a pretty strong backbone of toasted malts. Finished semi-sweet with a noticeable hit of alcohol. Full-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Certainly not as thick as other Imperial Stouts. Toasty and tasty. Dangerously drinkable for my taste. Another delicious offering from Two Brothers!

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Photo of Mikus
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured pitch black into a stemless wine glass (shoot me, my snifter was dirty), clean division between body and the cocoa-tinged head. Looks were the best quality unfortunately. Didn't live up to the IS moniker to me... slight roastiness and bitterness on the nose, with a weird smoky note too. Bit smoky and pleasantly bitter on the palate, actually the smokiness would be perfect if this was supposed to be a smoked beer)... lacked some of the bigger coffee and chocolate flavors I expect, and came off a bit thin on the mouthfeel. Upside is that the wife really liked it, and that has to be taken into account, I suppose. Wouldn't search this out, unless I was in the mood for a smoked porter.

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Photo of jds16
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A bit too far on the sweet side, which is fine for half a glass but drinkability suffers. A bit drier and I'd like this a whole lot more. Solid, but falls short of great.

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Photo of chinchill
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Tall Paul’s (FL - Feb. 2015); revisited with a more enjoyable 12 oz bottle in March 2017. ~ Averaged ratings.

Pours essentially black with a light tan head that has good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass.

The smell is a bit sweet, there’s roasted malt, chocolate, and hints of caramel, coffee and toffee.

Taste (3/3.75): Dark roasted grains. A touch of sour (more on tap) and only a faint bit of dark fruit. Coffee, smoke and dark chocolate in the finish.

Feel: reasonably smooth; medium-full body.

Overall: an average example of the style although the high ABV is well hidden.

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