Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
85
very good
411 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
11.94%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
84
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 927
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.

 781 characters

Photo of ybnorml
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very dark black beer, cannot see any light thru it. Has a small creamy light brown head. The aroma starts with a solid cereal malt note. Followed quickly by a wonderful coffee/chocolate character. Your mouth is greeted by a robust roasted grain flavor that moves smoothly into chocolate/coffee character. With the chocolate hitting first and leaving the finish for the tastebud tingleing bitter coffee note.

 409 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber. Poured into my Carlsberg impy pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a 90% solid black with the other 10% being a UPS brown. Head was a nice beige color with retention nicely mainatined at the filmy foam level.

Smell- I've had some very good RIS's, and a lot had very strong, easily defined aromas. This one had creamy hazelnuts with splashes of cascade hops miced with bakers chocolate. But keepin mind all these smells were muted. Or they weren't almost overpowering. Really let your nose dive into the smell than be overwhelmed.

Taste- Strat out with slightly hoppy, creamy hazelnuts. Actually, a good taste comparison with this beer is chocoate, hazelnut coffee. But once again, the flavors weren't cloying.

Mouthfeel- Rich, but not too rich for an RIS. Not too mention nutty and creamy.

 825 characters

Photo of edchicma
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one hit me just right. At 7.5 abv it is on the lowere end of some Imp stouts I've sampled, but the quality is excellent. It pours mahogany to balck with a small head. The smell is a combination of smoky, malty witha faint hop presence. The taste shines....smoke, malt sweetness, coffee, sugar candy and hops..excellent. The mouthfeel was smooth, and almost creamy. This made for an extermely drinkable brew. Highly recommended.

 432 characters

Photo of nflmvp
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured almost pitch black. There's no light getting through this one. A two inch head faded to a 1/4 inch within about a minute. Smell is chocolate and oatmeal. Taste is smokey and chocolatey sweet. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth and has a very slight bite on the finish. Overall, drinkability is good. I like this one enough that I'd definitely buy it again.

 355 characters

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.

 917 characters

Photo of ProfessorHops
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I served myself this beer in a pint sized frosted mug. Unfortunately this alter the natural appearance. But the bottle I bought was self weight and not refrigerated. I wanted to taste this brew badly and fast. My first Imperial stout...

I poured it into the mug. It's appearance is very bold and sinister. Beer poured like most stouts.

First taste I was surprised in the flavor. A hallow maltness, with elements of spring water and cedar.

The pallet is very fast and the finish seams to strike more earlier than most brews. The finish is long and hard and introduces the accents of the drinks flavor of coffee and chocolate.

I'm more of a fan of easer to drinks beers, and this one is not at all easy to drink. It burns and is very filling, but with that said I really enjoyed this brew. The long finish with it's very detailed avenues of maltness. This beer taste awesome. But drinks honorably. Which is perfect for the style.

 942 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.46/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a bottle bought on a recent trip to Boston. Pouring at room temp into a snifter. The beer pours a thick viscous pitch black. A soft fluffy tan head of 1 cm foams up easily. the head does fade gradually to an almost non-existent edge layer.
Aroma is deep and malty with molasses, brown sugar, some dark fruit, plums and maybe fig with some roast malt and chocolate too. A little bit of everything and it mixed well.
First sip reveals an average body with mild rolling carbonation. There is a bit of a slick mouthfeel and is generally lighter than I expected.
Flavor is similar to advertised by nose, starts with some sweet malt qualities, chocolate and brown sugar with molassess again. Then it rolls to some roasted malt and a hint of bitter espresso as well. Maybe the bitterness is actually from hops as it develops to more of an herbal/resiny bite than coffee after more sips. This is a sipper as it is large and robust, but no hint of alcohol so be careful. The drinkability is high and I would recommend this brew to others. A nice stab at an Imperial Stout. Look for it!

 1,094 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two-finger light brown head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Roasted coffee nose. Starts with a malty roasted coffee flavor, hint of hops in the finish, the higher ABV is not noticeable. $4.70 for a 22 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

 312 characters

Photo of nlmartin
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer was poured into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark black almost purple/blue. No opaqueness to light. The head was tan and one finger high. There was absolutely no head retention at all. Thin whisp of lacing remain on the glass.

Smell: The beer was a pool of dark roasted coffee, with bits of dark chocolate and anise floating on smokey vapours.

Taste: There is a bit of smoky woody earthyness dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: This beer is light to medium bodied. There is a nice balance between malty and hoppy. I would have liked a bit heavier beer. Overall not a bad drinking beer. I dont want any more of this. There are better beers to be had at this price.

 713 characters

Photo of waldowin
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an inky black, but thin. The decent dark brown head forms quickly, and fades almost as quickly.

Smells of coffee and figs, pretty simple but not unpleasant.

Taste is of roast, coffee, and a hint of figs. Not very strong, but the alcohol is nonexistant in the taste.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for what I expected, and slightly acidic. Not a very smooth drinker.

The harsh flavors and the thin body, combined with the higher ABV of this beer means one bottle is almost more than I'd want.

 502 characters

Photo of frazbri
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing had a black body topped by a thick, tall, tan head. The aroma contained notes of dark chocolate and coffee with an underlying fruitiness. Cocoa and charcoal were two of the main flavor components. Body was medium/full with moderate carbonation.

This stout was most notable for it's roasty flavor. Beyond the roastiness, it needed to be amped up a little more to be a great impy. Imperial stouts are not subtle beers. Northwind needed more body and flavor.

 509 characters

Photo of jaxon53
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time i have seen this one, bought a single bomber. served chilled, in a pint glass. Poured a deep black with a short tan head that dissapeared quickly into a small ring in the middle of the glass, with almost no lacing. Really didn't get too much smell from this one. Had a creamy , almost coffee taste with maybe a hint of chocolate. This beer i thought had a creamy , milky kind of feel to it. Although it was very drinkable i have definatley had better. Biggest dissapointment of any two brothers i have had thus far.

 526 characters

Photo of blackie
3.31/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour creates a pretty low tan head that almost immediately becomes just a ring around the glass. The beer is a really dark brown in color.

smell: Doesn't smell too imperial, but not bad. First I get some aromas of roasted grain and bittersweet chocolate, just a hint of molasses. Not much else to it. Lighter hop aroma.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is around the middle of the low range. The body is medium or just under it.

taste: Roasted malt, bittersweet and dark chocolates, decent hop flavor with a light to moderate bitterness.

drinkability: Nothing bad about this beer per se, but it is a little bland for the imperial style. Still, the ABV is well hidden and the beer goes down smooth.

Brought a bottle back from Madison, sat in the cellar fridge a couple months. Lot 3345 is printed on the label.

 834 characters

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.

 543 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, Riley's

appearance: pours an oily black colour with noticeable ruby highlights into the snifter...forms a fizzy light tan head that dissipates pretty quickly...very little in the way of lacing

smell: aromas are fairly mild...a little smooth chocolate, burnt java bean, slightly creamy...very subdued and not terribly impressive

taste: initial taste better than the aromas would indicate...very creamy, heavy on the licorice...very little alcohol present, bitter hop aftertaste, light raisin...mild chocolatey and burnt coffee flavours. I'm not sure how imperial this is, but i've had far worse

mouthfeel: medium body, creamy, not much alcohol present, bittersweet aftertaste

drinkability: pretty drinkable

 733 characters

Photo of bearrunner44
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- As black as midnight. A hard pour produced about a centimeter of creamy, caramel-colored foam. The retention is good; a faint ring of head remained throughout consumption.

Smell- Rich, sweet malt aroma backed by a touch of grassy hops. Roasted cocoa beans. Alcohol scents float inconspicuously underneath it all.

Taste & Mouthfeel- Smooth and fairly rich; the smoothness is oatmeal-like. Carbonation is appropriately subdued. The malt flavor is sweet, milky, and caramel-like at first, almost cloyingly so. It becomes more dry towards the finish, though. The hops also become more prominent. They're leafy and herbal, and the overall taste of the finish is earthy and slightly bitter. The alcohol is hidden pretty well; it tastes like a 5-6.00 ABV, not 7.5.

Verdict- The richness and body you would expect from an Imperial stout is here, even if it's not the most complex one on the market.

 911 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, borderline black with a half finger of tan head with a very agressive pour...disappears almost instantly...no lacing.
Not a lot going on in the nose...some vanilla, milk chocolate, carmelized malt.
The taste is good, but it is not wowing me at this point. Served near room temperature and it has a decent chocolate profile, plenty of hops, but the mouthfeel is terribly thin for the style and seems watered down when I think of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts.
I like the folks at Two Brothers and this one drinks fairly easily...I would try this one again when I see it on tap, but I won't be stocking up on this one at this point.

 652 characters

Photo of Bierman9
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 22oz bomber, lot # 3345; no best-by or bottled-on date found. Pours inky black, dark as night, with just a semblance of a head in the form of some scattered bubbles on the surface and around the rim. Nothing, repeat nothing, gets through the black hole of liquid filling the goblet. Mere hints of lacing are left behind, nothing more. Aroma has dark fruit aspects co-mingling with a bit of espresso, with suggestions of floral hoppiness. Somewhat understated, on the whole. Body borders on medium, which is a bit of a letdown, as I feel they should be full and chewy for this style. It is still quite smooth, nonetheless.

Taste is comprised of a smidgen of malty, brown sugar sweetness and then a healthy helping of roasty, charred bitterness. An inkling of dark fruit tries to come forth, yet is suppressed by the roasty character and pleasant floral hoppiness, with the latter having some nice lasting qualities. Lacking complexity, Northwind is still fairly satisfying with its roasty flavors, though it could have been much more of a flavor storm, imo.

Prosit!

overall: 3.85
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4

883

 1,175 characters

Photo of Jredner
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is fairly hoppy, but with an odd lager-like aroma and very little roastiness, but some minor coffee notes. A deep black body lies beneath a dminishing mocha hued thin film of a head. Flavor is a nicely burnt/roasted melange of coffee and dark chocolate, hearty dark fruits and malt. Alcohol is almost unoticeable and the palate is thinnish.

 346 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

La Cave Du Vin in Cleveland had this on tap this week. I've had spotty experiences with Two Brothers beers in the past (the Bitter End pale ale rocks, the DuPaige French Ale tasted contaminated, and the Oh Brother tripel tasted like ass). But this stout was awesome.

If you've had Founders breakfast stout, you can imagine this stuff. Just reduce the coffee component by about 75% (making it just right in my opinion). I couldn't drink more than one, because I was trying too many other beers. But I'll get this again if I see it.

 533 characters

Photo of weeare138
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tomdecapolis for the bottle...
Appears a black with a small tan head and scattered lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and a touch of coffee.
The taste is of the same aromas.
Mouthfeel is sweet, slightly thin, with some hops resonating. Rich flavors seem to hang on to the palate a bit too long.
Not a bad brew though.

 368 characters

Photo of MattBrooks
4.65/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found out after trying this fantastic brew that it regularly comes in six packs as the next in a series of seasonals, but the brewery couldn't get the six-pack holders made in time, so they put it in a 22oz bottle this year. This beer pours brownish-black with a beautiful cascade and complimentary colored head. It smells the way a cup of coffee would had that cup been made by Hershey's. Yum! The only flaw in the whole beer is the mouthfeel, it could have been a little bit heavier for my taste. Some Russian Imperials can come off way too bitter or way to chocolate-y, not this one. It has great balance throughout and it's not too hard to put down a few bombers, even if it is 7.5%.

 689 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass black with a ruby highlight and a brown but low head which fell quickly and lace the glass.

The aroma was nicely chocolately with a earthy hop presence. The aroma contained a sizeable expresso coffee aroma. The hops were grassy and almost a bit of menthol was present.

The flavor was coffee with a nice chocolate flavor and a well done hop presence. The hops were grassy and earthy and very prominent in the flavor. As the beer warmed a bit of the menthol component of the aroma was present in the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting roasty coffee expresso and chocolate coupled with a strong grassy bittering well into the afteraste and beyond. The body was medium full and just a bit lower than expected. For an 8.5% ABV beer the alcohol was very restrained.

22 ounce bottle, 8.5% ABV on label. Lot 3345. Thanks beerinator!

 874 characters

Photo of Redrover
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz brown bomber. No freshness dating, but it is lot 3345.

The beer is an opaque jet black with a good light brown head. Decent lacing.

Nice nose of roasted malts, coffee, & dark chocolate.

The taste is of roasted almost smoky malts. I like the way the hops add a secondary taste of pine & citrus. This adds a nice balance as the coffee, malts and chocolate notes are massive. Some raisin/plum taste emerges late.

Very smooth and creamy mouth. I like this beer, great one to share & savor. I’m kind of surprised its not rated higher, but to each their own. One of the better offerings from Two Brothers.

 621 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe