Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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85
very good
417 Reviews
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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
Reviews:
417
Ratings:
960
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
11.9%
 
 
Wants:
31
Gots:
91
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 417 | Ratings: 960
Photo of vic21234
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle is labeled "Lot 3071."

A- Pours black with a nice tan head. Lots of yeast particles appear to be in this one, theres a large heap of it at the bottom of my glass.

S- Lots of roasty malt and coffee. Roastiness is the most apparent smell here.

T- The roasty malts are big in this one, and also a surprising bit of a hoppy finish. I'm also getting hints of coffee and chocolate.

M- Heavy, with a nice lingering malt finish. This beer does not drink like a 9%ABV, not much alcohol presence.

I'm partial to Two Brothers since its my local brewery. This was one of the first Imperial Stouts I've had, and I always enjoy it. I do admit however that there are plenty of better examples of the style out there.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black, trace of brown, nice foamy 2 inch head and plenty of lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, bold coffee, chocolate, dark fruits like rasin and plum. Wood and smoke. Some licorice, a little vanilla some hops round his brew out.

Taste - Roasted malts and mild coffee/chocolate overtones make up the main flavors of this beer. Hops are mild, only slight bitterness comes out. Chocolate and brown sugar round out the flavor at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Its thick but, not overly harsh on mouth for being 9.1%. Tounge gets malts, some coffee and chocolate and a little hop bitterness. Palette gets remaining sugars and malts, and some chcolate. Aftertaste is mild, smooth and malty.

Overall - Im shocked how smooth and one dimentional this beer is. Nothing strong, groundbreaking or special about this. The booze is well masked, this is closer to a porter then anything. Too mild and smooth for what style it is. Its decent but not close to being a top ris.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter. Poured near-black with a very thin, tan head that left minimal lacing on the glass and dissipated completely rather quickly. Aromas of coffee and roasted malt are noticeable. Tastes seem to be muted, even as it warms. Roasted barley, coffee, burnt sugar, and anise are present with a slightly hoppy finish. Alcohol is warming, but well concealed. Carbonation is low and mouth-feel is smooth. Overall, I seem to go back and forth with this one every time I have it: sometimes I love it and sometimes I'm disappointed. It's a good example of the style, but seems to be lacking.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Two Brothers Roundhouse.

A- black with 1 finger cola head. Very little lacing.

S- roasted malts, faint chocolate and some licorice

T- roasted malts and again licorice, some chocolate and pine hop bitterness

M- medium body and crazy drinkable. Very smooth and dare I say light.

O- good ris, but nothing special. At 9% I could drink a 6 pack over a night though because of the drinkability.

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Photo of chadn
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Review is of the 12-oz bottle, bought from local store 3 months before pouring.

Ratings based on comparison to other beers in this class.

Appearence: dark brown/black beer, like a proper stout. Poured like water, almost no bubbles, and no head. Slight lacing that lasts only a couple seconds on sides.

Smell: Mostly roasted, slight vanilla and chocolate

Taste: Definitely roasted, bitter, slightly sour, chocolate, and hardly any hint of alcohol, which is surprising considering 9% ABV. Dry finish.

Mouth: Smooth and rich. Some carbonation like a cola, which is unexpected. Dry and clean finish.

Overall: Tastes good but not the best stout. Definitely does not taste like a 9% ABV beer .. more like 6%. Strong roasted stout with a dry finish makes it easy to keep drinking this one.

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Photo of tsauce2
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is dark brown/black. Nearly opaque. Head is tan, 1 in, dissipates to the outsides of the beer. Light carbonation. Medium/heavy lacing.

S: Dark roast malt, light coffee and hop additions, bittered chocolate malt.

T: Dark roast malt, bittered chocolate malt, oats, light hop additions. Slight sweetness on the back end. No alcohol is discernable. Aftertaste is bittered dark roast malt and some coffee notes.

M: Medium body. There is a creamy, oat taste to this that very nicely compliments the bittered chocolate malt feel. Dry finish.

O: This is a good RIS, but in terms of the whole broad spectrum of RIS's, I think it lacks just a bit. Very little carbonation, which if it was more viscous, would be fine. For the body, imo, more carbonation needs to be present. The flavor overall was good, but was a little bland. Nice job of covering any boozy flavors; I did not detect any. The mouthfeel is also very nice. I would by this beer again at the right price and certainly would not turn this beer down.

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Photo of negroobserver
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

North-Wind Imperial Stout
45 IBU, 9.1% ABV
12 oz Bottle

Poured into a large Brandy snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color. Very small cream colored head, which dissipates quickly and leaves behind a thin foamy rim on the edge of the glass.

S: Smells smoky. Has a very mild malty and chocolatey aroma at the back end. A very faint sweet licorice or vanilla like aroma. No dominant scents here, but I like that the vanilla aroma is almost hidden. This is my third bottle and this is the first time I've noticed it. Interesting, but disappointing that the last few weren't at the same level as this bottle.

T: Mostly flat and tasteless. Dark roasted malts. There is a smoky chalky taste which lingers in the mouth. Slight sour and hoppy quality.

M: The beer has some depth, but not the kind of rich texture that you would expect from an Imperial class beer. It doesn't coat the glass or the mouth in the way that an Imperial Stout should. At best, it has the depth and texture of a standard stout. At 9.1% ABV, I can't smell or taste the alcohol in the beer, which makes me question the validity of the company's claims regarding the ABV content. Or it could be that this is one of the better crafted beers on the market in that respect. Who knows?

Overall, I had great hopes for this beer and was hoping that this was a rare exception to the pricy Imperial Stouts that one finds on the market. Sadly, I feel like I was duped by the company into buying an inferior product which appears to be very misleading in its claims.

VERY DISAPPOINTING, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I ACTUALLY LIKE TWO BROTHERS' BEERS (NOT ALL, BUT SOME).

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours an opaque, very dark brown color with 1/2 finger of dark khaki head. Some retention and lace.

S: Creamy chocolate and some roasted notes. Mellow but good.

T: Leads with roast, then smooth, spicy chocolate. Slight bitterness on the finish. Caramel flavors persist on the aftertaste. No hint of alcohol. As the beer warms, some cola emerges. Still later, the roasted flavors become more persistent throughout each sip.

M: Quite smooth, a little cream and oil.

O: Nothing extraordinary, but quite solid and enjoyable. In a style with so many outstanding examples, I'm not sure it's one I would seek out, but definitely not one that I would turn down, either. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of MelissaJ
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black color, brown head, seems a bit watery as there's not much lacing.

S: Coffee, caramel, cocoa, but the aroma is weak.

T: Immediately a strong toasted malt taste which stays, some dark fruits, then some bitter chocolate, slight caramel notes, finishes with almost a sourdough bread taste. Really interesting taste profile.

M: it's very smooth--the carbonation is a medium. Quite light. Creamy.

O: I first tried this beer when it was refrigerator-cold and the taste was too sharp. I tried it again after letting a bottle warm up a bit and it was a much better experience which let the subtle layers of flavor beneath the loud toasted malt shine--definitely warming up a bit is necessary for this. It's good, and I'd have it again, but it's also not one of my top favorites.

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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.

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

cold from the tap at Finch's, chocolatey black to a 14oz bell's tulip with a two finger, short lasting, mocha head

aroma of roasted malts, toffees and dark chocolate.

big roasty malts up front, a bit of smoke and a healthy shot of creamy cocoa.

big bodied, medium carbonation, sweet, smooth and creamy.

overall: super sweet, above par, smooth.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into tulip.
Deep dark black, little off white head.
Smells of roasty malts and a bit of coffee.
A bit over carbonated.
Roasty malt, slight coffee and milky flavor. Cant notice the abv at all. Overall, its slightly lacking...but a decent RIS.

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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.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Snifter-shaped glass

A - Beer pours with a black, lights out, colored body; brown/coffee colored head; half finger size head, which dissipated rather quickly; good amount of lacing formed on the sides of the glass; some visible bubbly in the body of the beer

S - Hop front; mostly roast malt; american coffee nose; dry and chalking notes; hay; dry grass

T - Irish dry stout taste; chalky; dark chocolate and roasted malt; strong coffee bean flavor; grass and hop flavor washes around a bit, but is lost in all the roasted-chalky flavors; comes up mostly on the back-end of the sip; dark fruit, like dates

M - Creamy and chewy; slight effervescent feel on the tongue; light flavor, kind of airy, like a Irish dry stout (Guinness); lacking in the strong RIS category; not very bitter aftertaste, but smooth texture

D - Kind of missed the whole RIS - strong Imperial hop and roasted taste; slightly above average RIS; easy to consume; plenty of light stout flavor; needs a bit more hop and roasted malt punch

 1,041 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.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
2.65/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

Black pour with a dark tan head. Two fingers thick head quickly fades into a thin film. Appears thin and watery for the style.

Smells of light roasted malt with a hint of semi-sweet chocolate. It's tough to really get deep into the aroma. You really have to dig your nose into the glass to pick up whatever roastiness and bitterness there is.

Taste is much like the smell. Lightly roasted malts and semi-sweet bakers chocolate. The flavors are subdued and uninspiring, especially for a RIS. There's just not enough boldness in here.

Thin and borderline watery mouthfeel. Much too thin for the style. Low carbonation and absolutely no viscosity. I suppose that one positive it that it's easy to drink for a 9.1 abv.

Meh, an average at best RIS. It lacks oomph and boldness. The roasty and chocolaty flavors needed to be ratcheted up many notches. The mouthfeel was also a major letdown. Too thin and watery for the style. Overall, not wholly terrible, but not an RIS worth seeking out.

 1,031 characters

Photo of Treebs
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a Deschutes Snifter on Thanksgiving.

A: Pours a black color with dark brown edges. Looks a little thin. 2 finger light khaki head forms on the pour with pretty decent retention and a very bubble body.

S: Roasted biscuit malts and slight baker chocolate. Not really pungent and I have dig for it. Very light.

T: Slightly roasty and bitter bakers chocolate with some toasted malts. Again it dissipates quickly like the nose leaving a little more to be desired.

M: A little too thin and not much flavor retention on the palate.

O: Too thin a little and a little one dimensional in terms of the flavor profiles. Not a bad beer, but not one I'm going to seek out again.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another charcoal black beer during the time of year when it's most appropriate. This one is too dark to see through and has a lightly milked coffee head to it that is vey bubbly.

Right when you start pouring this beer is when you get the malt punch in the face. There is deep roasted notes with a hint of black licorice. The grains seem a little stale and musty to be a great scent but it's passable and definitely an imperial stout.

The taste is a lot like the nose. Predominantly grains that are roasted to yield touches of chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. However again they fall short as in the nose. The taste doesn't have a huge character but little tid bits of flavor that are notes but not a complete song.

Mouthfeel is excellent for an imperial stout. Smooth, creamy and shy on the carbonation. The slick feel coats your mouth and leaves you with a nice malty aftertaste. A good beer but not really one that pushes the limits or raises the bar. Good enough to drink but there are better ones to be had.

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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

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 16oz Tulip Glass

Appearance - Black all around with a brown half finger head that quickly disappears

Smell - Strong Caramel and Vanilla Mocha aroma with a slight bit of chocolate. The Vanilla in particular gives it a fairly sweet smell

Taste - Much like the smell, the caramel flavor is the strongest. I can also taste the mocha and chocolate flavors, but surprisingly cannot really taste the vanilla.

Mouthfeel - It's pretty light on carbonation and for an Imperial Stout, this is a very easy beer to drink! It's nice and smooth and it's lighter body and lack of carbonation helps make it so.

Overall - While it may not be bursting with flavor like other Imperial Stouts I've had, this is fairly easy to recommend because it's flavor isn't overpowering to the point where it drives others away and the other factor is that it's just a really smooth stout!

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Photo of freewheelinbob
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a great price for a RIS yesterday and was really looking forward to trying it.

Looks really nice, opaque dark brown, a bit of read on the bottom and a satisfactory light tan head. Quite a bit of sediment, expected from 2 Bros.

Some caramel in the smell that intensified as it got closer to room temp. Then a bit of roasted coffee and vanilla too.

First, a bit of dark chocolate and molasses. Then, pretty sweet. Aftertaste a bit sour. No alcohol taste at all. Medium mouthfeel.

Pretty satisfied overall. I have 5 more and I'll probably sit on a couple until next year to see what happens. Pretty solid, not as complex as others of the style, and a bit sweet also. I'll get it again.

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Photo of Kbogac
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice brown head but it doesn't last. Dark brown almost black. Foam dissipates quickly to a ring with minimal lacing. Idont get a lot of smell. Some sweet malt and coffee but it's light. Balanced taste. Nice malt,coffee and some caramel. Medium mouthfeel with light carbonation. Overall this is a good stout. great taste & easy to drink.

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Photo of Wh0IsMrX
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a one-finger head of creamy tan. No lacing and short head retention.

S: Nose is sweet with notes of coffee, roasted malt, and booze.

T: The flavor masks the alcohol nicely but is disappointingly shallow. There is a slightly bitter roast flavor that comes through with hints of coffee, sweet chocolate and toffee. The very smooth finish is almost
lacking something.

M: Creamy with minimal carbonation. Very good.

O: I felt as though this was a desert beer to some degree. The flavor was good but didn't quite rise to the level of complexity and depth that I had hoped for in the finish. A solid beer, but not the best Two
Brothers has to offer.

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Photo of codsmith
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
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 tobelerone
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A totally opaque black beer with a smallish head that nevertheless has good retention; with its sticky lacing the appearance is top notch. Rich nose that's sweet and syrupy, with toffee and caramel, then a wave of booze.

Fruitcake taste that's rich but somewhat disappointingly not super deep. The booze is fairly well hidden and there's very little bitterness or hop presence. Definitely syrupy, slight roast, vague coffee notes. Initial burst of flavor isn't followed through enough to make this super memorable.

Smooth, with low carbonation, moderate stickiness; overall a pleasing mouthfeel. Medium body. Short finish and aftertaste that like the initial taste dies away a bit too fast.

Not bad, but not as good as the other beers I've tried from this brewery, which have been impressive. A solid B, I guess, worth trying, but probably won't come back to it in a crowded RIS field. Nice price though.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 960 ratings.
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