Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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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:
932
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
18.04%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
84
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 932
Photo of negroobserver
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
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).

 1,637 characters

Photo of AmericanGothic
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

 742 characters

Photo of MelissaJ
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
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 -8.5%
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 robwestcott
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

 347 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

 256 characters

Photo of willseph
3.39/5  rDev -10.1%
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 ferrari29
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
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 -8.5%
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 dgugliuzza
2.65/5  rDev -29.7%
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 -15.6%
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.

 695 characters

Photo of jbphoto88
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

 1,016 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
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 NuclearDolphin
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
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!

 876 characters

Photo of freewheelinbob
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 704 characters

Photo of Kbogac
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 344 characters

Photo of Wh0IsMrX
3.77/5  rDev 0%
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.

 671 characters

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.

 552 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
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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Photo of Northsider
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Two Brothers Tap House.

I'm not usually a fan on Imperial Stouts but this one wasn't bad. The flavor masked the alcohol nicely, which many RISs don't do. Color was almost pitch black with nice tan head. Smelled of roasted malts. The taste was almost smokey, not chocolaty or of coffee like my experience with most stouts.

Overall this seemed like a great desert beer, not something I would drink quickly, but rather something I could nurse with a full stomach.

 473 characters

Photo of shanblur
3.22/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. No date present on the bottle.

A - Pours opaque black with a minimal tan head which fades quickly to a minimal ring with very light lacing.

S - Roasted malts predominate with muted chocolate and coffee aromas

T - Roasted malts with a hint of smoke. A nice chocolate and espresso flavor as well. Minimal hop presence detected on the finish.

M - Dense with a light carbonation

This is a nice beer. I have had both better and worse. I would not go out of my way to have another one.

 527 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A harsh pour produced two inches of mocha head. Lacing is medium on this one with a very dark black liquid.

S - Smells mostly of roast coffee which is awesome. Slight cocoa and chocolates along with a mild bit of hops as well. Then I wait for the foam to settle...

T - Sweet chocolate and bitter roasted coffee hit the tongue at the same time. Little hop presence which is good since the beer is over 5 months old. The finish almost has a sweet malted toffee tone that is tasty.

M - Perplexing since it drinks very medium bodied but it's a 9 percent full bodied imperial.

Overall it hard to say it but this beer is right on par with southern tier Oat. Great sweetness with a balanced roast and very drinkable. At 2.19 a bottle I now kick myself for not getting a sixer since it's so damn tasty. Not sure why this has a B rating since it screams A quality.

 863 characters

Photo of HESSLER500
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured slowly down the side of a glass, there really is no head to mention of. A sniff of this stuff reveals hops, cocoa, and coffee. Mouth feel is just about thick, but not overbearing. Taste reveals an exceptional balance of malts, hops and sweetness. Much better blended then Storm King which i think is way to hoppy for my tastes. Northwind is a wonderfully easy to drink stout that, even though has a relatively high abv, doesn't knock your socks off with the burn. I think this stuff is slightly better then Rasputin, which i think is excellent in it's own right.

 569 characters

Photo of SisuPride
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
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 Schmittymack
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into the trusty shaker glass; served nearly room temperature. Poured a nice dark black color with a creamy brownish head. Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malt. Taste was wonderful malt, coffee, dark chocolate and no hop bitterness in the end. I'm glad I still have a few bottles of this left; will be nice to have after a day on the slopes next ski season. Best brew I had in the evening Friday, the 27th.

 442 characters

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 932 ratings.
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