Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

BA SCORE
85
very good
962 Ratings
THE BROS
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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
Ratings:
962
Reviews:
418
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
11.9%
 
 
Wants:
32
Gots:
90
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 962 |  Reviews: 418
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of smithj4
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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

 476 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.07/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful bowling ball black with a creamy tan head builds out of no where and hangs around with fantastic retention and ok lace.

S - Nice crisp roast with deep cocoa and coffee highlights. Slight sour/musty edges.

T - Relatively light. Hammy smoke, char, and dark roast coffee.

M - Thin body for the style. Hides the 9% well though.

O - I'm ambivalent about the smoke, but overall it's the light body that really hurts the profile.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Motor oil black with sparse ruby accents along the bottom edge of the pint glass. The dense, coffee milkshake-colored head has a surface that is virtually flat (in other words, it's anti-rocky: "Oy! Adrian!"). A lack of inherent stickiness quickly results in a thin sliver of foam and absolutely no lace.

The nose grabs back some measure of self-respect; it's a pretty good one. There's plenty of power, with a focus on ground coffee bean-flecked chocolate fudge. There's very little hoppiness and no molasses, anise, smoke, etc. to fill it out. Simple, but effective.

There's quite a bit of flavor, although the best of this style are hardly quaking in their RIS boots. Sweet dark chocolate is still in charge, with sweet black coffee obediently taking orders. Did I mention that it's sweet? Sour plays a big role as well. The malt is fairly heavily roasted, but not charred, and there's more fruity hoppiness than the nose suggested there would be.

Each mouthful finishes sweet and sticky, with malt and hops co-existing in relative harmony. The body is medium-full. On second thought, given the style, it's probably closer to medium. There's lots of mouthcoating going on. Less sugar would be preferrable.

Northwind Imperial Stout doesn't seem much like a RIS to me. No matter, it's still good beer. Despite its minor flaws, I found a lot to like in this bottle.

 1,378 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one as an extra twice in the last month, go figure. I saw that as a sign I should probably try one. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 05/19/2009.
 
The pour was fantastic. Rich dark brown, and completely opaque. Huge head of tan rises up and over the top, only gradually settling down as the session gets going. Rich looking is an understatement here as this one presented exactly as it should have. Lots of chocolate in the aroma right away, hints of vanilla and molasses start to pop up as it comes up near room temperature along with a notable cookie dough like presence, very sweet. Smooth, creamy body here really let the flavor sit in well, and the sweet, dessert like profile just continued right along as it progressed. Light coffee notes, lots of cocoa and a hint of molasses. Definite night cap here. Not much in the way of ABV issues for the style made it somewhat session able if dare I mention it.
 
Overall not bad at all. Nothing going to blow your mind here, but I have to say this was a more then solid effort on their part. I would have no issue at all with having this one again, in fact I might look for it as it really seemed to go over quite well.

 1,224 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked this up at brass rail deli, enjoyed chilled from a tulip out of a longneck 12 oz brown.

The color is dark almost black with 2 + fingers of medium beige with fluffy almost rocky looking head. The bead is fine and lace sticks well. The smell is very nice, lots of cocoa type aroma with moderately sweet malt and slight vanilla-like floral aspect with low alcohol odors and mild woody hop ester. The feel is decent with moderately full body with medium bitterness and slight alcohol warmth with a gentle toasted texture and medium sweet feel with slight spice in the relatively dry finish.

The taste is has a dark and milk chocolate flavor with light caramel and mild woody hops with toasted grain and subtle creamy yeast which adds to the sweet malt body w/ a mild molasses type richness. Overall this may not be the most complex stout but still not really flawed and pretty darn drinkable because you barely taste any alcohol + the malt is sweet without being cloying. I could drink a couple of these easily.

 1,020 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.31/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

I had purchased this, along with several other Two Brothers bottles, at The Fridge, meaning to try them as a vertical, but this one kept getting shunted to the side until now.

From the bottle: "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!; "Two Brothers is a craft brewery on the outskirts of Chicago that specializes in rare and seldom-brewed beer styles. The two of us - Jason and Jim Ebel - strive to produce the very best beers available anywhere."; "We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!"

I always enjoy a heavy-handed pour from a bottle. I have gotten quite good at knowing when to stop and the resulting pseudo-cascade is a sight to behold. I netted a sturdy two fingers of dense, deep-tan head as the result of my pour and it sat there stubbornly, like Pussy Riot after being released by Putin. Color was an inky, deep, dark-brown allowing less than ZERO light penetration (SRM = 44). Nose smelled of fire smoke and dark chocolate. Wow. Mouthfeel was thick and viscous and tasted and felt like a dollop of dark chocolate ice cream had been scooped onto my tongue. The 9.1% ABV was well-masked, making for an alarmingly smooth, easy-drinking beer. Warming, the chocolate flavors became even more prevalent and the smokiness began to wane. The finish was semi-dry, not really sweet at all, but not totally dry, either. I really liked this, despite not being a huge fan of the style.

 1,593 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

 1,054 characters

Photo of ZEB89
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

I've been waiting for this to come around again so's I could finally get a crack at it. It pours a slick obsidian topped by a finger of sienna foam. The nose comprises coffee, roasted malts, cocoa, and some light molasses. The taste loads up on the roasted malts, with some light cocoa, hop flowers, and light greens slapdashily tossed in, as though an afterthought. The body is fairly hefty, with a light carbonation and a semi-chewy feel. Overall, a one-dimensional stout, yes, but that one dimension is tackled very well.

 560 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by matt9875. Thanks Matt!

A: Black in color (or lack thereof) with a half inch of thick beige head. The head displays good retention and leaves some healthy lacing upon the glass.

S: The aroma is predominantly roasted malt, with some subtle chocolate scents far in the distance.

T: The flavor, like the aroma, is extremely roasty. The beer lacks complexity, but overall tastes fine, just simple.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth on the palate.

D: Very drinkable. I enjoyed this and would have it again.

 522 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batting fourth...North....Wind....Imperial Stooouuuttt! Was wanting a decent clean-up hitter for my four beer evening...and got it....cold cocked!!! The 2Bros Imp Stout....has some alcohol in it....let me tell you. Poured into a brandy sniffer and the color was a wonderful dark creamy pour, with tan foam head. Unfortunately the Alcohol over powers the sweet malty undertones of the nose. The taste is decent once the buds get used to the 9.1% ABV!!! Again the alcohol over powers the taste, which has roast, chocolate, coffee, and maybe molasses where perhaps the sweetness comes. Once Again....the alcohol affects the mouthfeel and drinkability. Session....no way...two would be tough to handle! This beer needs to be partaked on the wintry nights. Stay classy!

 764 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black dark body full of malt and hops, dark tan head forming thick and dwindling slow, forms fine even lacing with eadh sip. Aroma dark chocolate malts, hints of coffee, and a touch of soy sauce. Flavor creamy dark chocolate, ripened fruit notes. A touch of saoy sauce. Mouthfeel is full bodied carbonation is moderate. Nothing heavy or cloying on the palate, drinkability is solid version of a great Impy Stout.

 424 characters

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of jgunther71
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

 1,024 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin tan head. Nose is coffee and roasted tones. Flavor is thick in malts. Nice enough level of molasses and chocolate. Smooth and slightly sweet. Feel is quite smooth on liquid. Carbonation is lower but a it should be. This is a nice RIS that is easier drinking than it's more flamboyant counterparts. Not a wad of complexity, but nice enough to be able to enjoy.

 383 characters

Photo of malfunxion
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Duff27
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Full two inch mocha head on a dark brown bodied beer. Head has long staying power, as it never did fully recede. Spider-lacing. Very appealing looking beer.

S- Deep chocolate notes with some roast/coffee aromas as well.

T- Roastiness at the forefront, then semi-sweet cocoa mixed with some coffee again. The 9.1%abv is very well hidden as I want to just gulp this one down. Perceived lacto notes?

M- Small bubble carbonation, fitting. Medium to medium-thin mouthfeel for the style.

D/O- Very drinkable for the style...a good introductory RIS. Thanks for leaving this at my place Zuidman, I owe you.

 606 characters

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