Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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85
very good
415 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:
415
Ratings:
951
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
11.9%
 
 
Wants:
31
Gots:
89
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 415 | Ratings: 951
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage Batch 2860:

Deep black pour with an inch of tan head on top of the brew. Good sticky patchwork lacing on the glass. Aromas of deep roasted malts with a big dark chocolate forefront. Coffee weaves in along with a touch of char.

First sip is dark roasted, charred malts flowing into dark chocolate along with a touch of coffee as well. Burnt bread accents with caramel undertones and a slight creaminess. Hops kick on the way down as it finishes somewhat dry.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with good carbonation, not as heavy and rich as most imperial stouts, however it's rather drinkable. Pretty good stout overall.

2005 vintage:

Pours from the bottle a deep onyx with a small tan coffee head on top. The head falls to a ring around the glass. Looks good in the glass. Aromas of dark roasted malts, liquid chocolate, ground coffee, sweet fruits and a hint of hops. Subdued overall..but there's still a nice mix of aromas there.

First sip brings a roasted, slightly smoky maltiness along with hints of chocolate and brewed coffee. I actually get more chocolate and coffee in the nose than in the taste. A hint of bitter citric hops hits on the way down. Not a bad stout...but this is nowhere near an imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is medium light and slightly dry. The body here is weak, even for a stout. I shouldn't find it this easy to down an imperial stout. This doesn't really excite enough to drink more. I'll leave one in my cellar and see what happens to it.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out black, with no head at all. Sweet chocolate and caramel aroma. The flavor is sweet chocolate with some bitter coffee. This is hardly an Imperial Stout, though. This beer is thick without being big on flavor. On top of that, there is very little carbonation, so it is like drinking sludge. Low marks for drinkability. I think I would have liked this beer more if it just had some bubbles, although it still wouldn't be an imperial stout.

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

Pours dark brown and maroon with a highly carbonated light tan head that fades away quickly to nothing and leaves not a semblance of lace. Lots of yeasties floating in suspended animation.
Aroma of very over roasted coffee, almot burnt, sweet chocolate and a hint of black licorice.
Flavor has some bitter chocolate, a sharp bitter coffee note and some vinous qualities.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied at best. This is where this one falls down for me, just not enough meat on the bone to be an Impy Stout. Almost thin on the tongue. Some lingering coffee and chocolate notes but not much plate covering flavoring. Finishes really dry and a little roasty, almot porterish.
Drinkability is above average but if this in a Impy Stout I'll eat my left pinkie. Just not much oomph to this, pleasant enough beer but really thin for style and a little bit too one dimensional on the sweet side.

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Photo of GIVEMEBACKMYSON
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On the pour this produces a moderately sized, quite dark brown head. The head does not last long at all before it completely vanishes. This is bordering on black, but not quite.
The aroma brings back two memories: Little Debbie fudge brownies, and gas station coffee that's been on the burner for hours.
THis initially hits my tongue with a cocoa sweet chocolate flavor. This soon puts on the left turn signal and merges in with dark, bitter chocolate, which has the right-of-way. Then a robust coffee flavor shows up. Reminds me of some jamaican coffee a couple honeymooners brought me as a souvenir once. Blue Mountain? I like. At the end there is a slight sugary glance. When I swallow this, though, is when i taste some rust, some lime, and some non-oxidized metallic component. Kind of bizarre, but it doesn't destroy the experience. Doesn't help, but i can get over it.
This is a little bit empty in the mouth. By that, I mean that it doesn't have the CO2, grit, and viscosity that I look for in an imperial stout. At times this seems wet and watery, but not watered down.
This is a pretty good beer overall, with a couple things that could be improved upon to make it kick ass.
For me it just barely fits in the imperial stout category. If it were classified as an American stout, the scores'd be a bit higher.

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Photo of ahking
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice rich stout. Aromas of strong coffee and molasses. Quite bitter tasting from dark malts (black patent?) and variety of hops. Roasted and chocolate malt flavors pervade. Pours almost completely black (as should be expected) with a creamy tan head. I am a sucker for stouts and this is a nice one overall. I have had better, but this one is a nice affordable mainstay.

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

Rocky tan head falls quickly over pitch darkness with redish brown glints as light refracts off its edges. Arising aromas of coffee bean, prunes, bittersweet chocolate are carried to your nose by is fine appropriate carbonation. Creamy medium body with flavors of caramel, fruit,black cherry molasses and balancedhops. Finishes dry and bitter with roasted flavors. Mile IBUs and abv a nice stout but only a warmup for a great RIS.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ya never know what to expect from the “Two Brothers”; a murky black, with a thin yet dissolving tan head. Anise, black licorise and coffee beans on the nose. Somewhat thin, yet creamy up front; a massive espresso twang to it. Sweet tasting; dark chocolate noticeable; some caramel and warming coffee notes. Expecting more of a belly warming effect for the style; yet, this doe not disappoint; sticky molasses left on the palate. This should be rated top in the “Not to the style listed on the label, but still pretty good” category; a decent “stout”.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Everything about this beer cries mediocre. The head never really flourished and left only tiny hints of cling. The nose was roasty, in that day old coffee gound way.

And the taste? Mmm, unremarkably stout-y. Major hints of rubber and weirdly used hop tones.

Thin on mouthfeel and with a strangely annoying sting blend of hops and dry roastiness. I like some of Two Brother's beers ... but this just has average written all over it.

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Photo of merlin48
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my first sampling of a brew from Two Brothers. Thanks to clvand0 for the trade. This 12 oz bottle pours an opaque, deep brown body with a small, tan, head that quickly drops into film and collar lace.
Aroma features prominent, dark roasted malts with a coffee dominance. Hints of dark chocolate, anise, and walnuts are picked up in the background.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but somewhat light for style. Carbonation is low, and there is a tingling hops presence that comes from the 45 IBUs proclaimed by the label.
The taste is dominated by coffee bitterness. Smoky, roasted malts are prevalent, with some dark fruits(prunes and figs) and nuttiness. A hint of licorice is also noted.
This isn't as substantial as most imperial stouts, but is still a good one that is worth a try.

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Photo of clvand0
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a very small tan head that doesn't stay long. A little light comes around the edges. The aroma has a strong presence of roasted malt and coffee. Promising. The flavor has a lot of coffee in it and not much else. It also seems like the body could have a little more. Seems a bit watered down and thin for an imperial stout. Not a bad brew, but not the best imperial.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a deep dark brown. Thereis just a hint of light through the top and there is no head except a small tan rim around the top. The nose has some dark raisin/fig tones to it along with a bit of mocha as well. The flavor was not what I would expect; it was thin coffee, almost a bit watery and weak. The feel was also a bit thin as well with a hint of creamyness. Drinkability is just ok. Its a decent beer, but not really special.

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Photo of aracauna
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown but with plenty of light coming through at the edges. There’s virtually no head and what does form fades quickly. The aroma is roast, raspberries and nuts. The flavor adds a bit of chocolate and nougat to that combination. Still, this is a very light Imperial Stout. It’d be a decent sweet stout, but would still be a bit thin.

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Photo of Morris729
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper brown color with noticeable flakes of sediment floating throughout. Nose is dominated by roasted malts and grains with a touch of cocoa beans in the background. A bit thin in body for the style and this is paired with a minimal amount of carbonation. Taste begins with notes of dark fruits along with some unsweetened baker’s chocolate. A touch of acidic coffee and bitter hops are present towards the end. A decent enough brew but not quite what I expect from an imperial stout. Thanks to faernt for the sample!

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Photo of faernt
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought this as part of a trade. I drink Imperial Stouts often and all year so another to the collecton is always welcome. I lost Old Rasputin for a year over distribution issues and am always on the lookout for a worthy Imperial.

Northwind looks like an Imperial when it's poured. It's dark and somewhat oily as it goes into the glass. It smells brown (mostly coffee). The taste is pleasant but not surprising. I ask myself if I'd had too many Imperial Stouts (no). I ask myself when was the last time I'd been surprised by an Imperial Stout (a few months ago with some 2002 Rogue). This one just isn't surprising. It tastes more like an Irish Stout with a little attitude. It's a little dry and the flavor is not that complex. It's actually a good one flavor (two....a little sweet dark chocolate) beer but not the beguilingly complex brew I look for in this style. Second thought leads me to compare it more to an Oatmeal Stout than to a dry Irish Stout.

I find this to be a food beer more than a beer I'll drink alone. I'll drink it with Chorizo flavored fajitas and Chicken Mole. It's a good beer but not to my expectation of style.

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Photo of drewbage
3.27/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Beer sampled on 4/7/2004 at the Clark Street Ale House in Chicago. Arrived in a standard pint glass.

Straight pint blacker than black on co2 service. No head

Aroma is nutty and toasted corn with a long tobacco burnt at the edges.

Flavor is intensely sweet off the 'stache with a large coffee bite with a good finish that has a slight bite of metal and licorice

Body is actually a bit thin for the notion of an Imperial Stout. Probably best to think of this as an Foreign Export.

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Photo of zerk
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick and opaque black with a thin tan head. Aroma is a mixture of burnt wood, chocolate, and coffee. Flavor begins slightly smokey and sweet with notes of caramel, coffee, and hints of chocolate and a touch earthy hop bitterness. Body is full and thick, with low carbonation. Drinkablility is quite high, as the beer is low in alcohol for the style, and very pleasant tasting.

This beer is a little difficult to judge... when compared to other Imperial Stouts, it doesn't have many of the requisite traits needed, and thus falls short. When judged on it's own, however, it's quite a tasty and drinkable beer, that is priced really well. ($8.99 for a six pack)

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Photo of Skidz
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a very dark brown finishing black with nothing showing through on the sides, a smokey brown head on top. This is very unique, I've never seen such color in a stout head before, it was like thunderclouds were forming right before a storm...

Smells stongly of roastiness and coffee. Tastes very rich, the roastyness coming through, moving to the coffee tones and a nice bitter tang at the end.

Very nice, full body with plenty of character to please. Easily consumed, this beer would fit well in an all-star stout session. Definately one of the best Imperials I've had.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark in color, almost black, with a nice, tanned head that pooled over the liquid and left a nice foam ring on the inside edge of my goblet.

Smell – This is a classic stout, with a roasted malt aroma that dominates the nose. I can also pick up some fine Arabic coffee and a lovely touch of anise.

Taste – This is a bitter brew indeed. The coffee takes charge here, getting me to think I should try to get Starbucks to sell this in their stores (but only after 3:00 PM). There’s a bit of sugary sweetness at the finish, but mainly this is all about the traditional roasted malt and coffee flavors.

Mouthfeel – This one was medium-bodied – on the lighter side for an “Imperial Stout” – but held up well in between the cheeks. I especially enjoyed the bitter nature of this one.

Drinkability – This was a very drinkable stout that went down easily. It would be an excellent example of the style to let one of your “Budweiser Buddies” try.

Comments – Special thanks to qarre for organizing the BIF 5.0, of which I was the first recipient (yippee!) and the lucky beneficiary of this promising effort from Two Brothers.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Darkover for hooking me up. Pours a deep dark black with a thin and quickly disappearing brown head. Slow, creeping carbonation up the sides of the glass and thin lacing. The aroma is bitter roasted coffee with a bit of malt. Not as rich as most Imperial Stouts, and not quite as flavorful either. There is a nice coffee flavor but not much malt to counterbalance. There is a small amount of chocolate in the flavor as well. The finish is roasted coffee. On the Stout scale this is pretty good but on the Imperial Stout scale it falls short. Still not a bad brew though.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Poured a pitch black with a decent head that didn't stick around long. Some lacing left behind on the glass. Aroma is chocolate and roasted malt, with a heavy dose of espresso thrown in. For style this is pretty muted as an imperial stout, but I still find it very good and enjoyable. The taste has the roasted malt and coffee, but in a subdued way that makes it a very drinkable beer. Got to see what this thing is like after some more aging.

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Photo of Wildman
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured very black, with no light getting through it. It had a light tan bubbly head that left only trace lace as it subsided. The aroma was of malt, hops, chocolate and some coffee. A flavor of malt, hops and chocolate with some coffee elements. A bit lighter than most beers of this style with a slightly bitter finish. Not one that will challenge the great imperials, but it is not a bad beer.

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

I seem to be out-of-step on this one, but I believe it's a much better beer than the numbers I'm seeing. Then again, I'm a big stout fan so I might be biased by the style.

I'll admit it may not be too true to style as this bottle exploded with a huge head and most Imperials don't boast great heads. As I look at the body I'm noticing lots of residue and floaties so there must still be some yeasties at work here even at low storage temps.

The huge and voluminous beige head eventually recedes to a small cover and the a ring leaving nice lacing. The very darl brown body is definitely not black, but it is light resistant to a fault; ain't passing through this cave of darkness.

The nose is huge and gives off very nice coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt notes. Maybe even a little hops buried in there. Great taste that is heavy roasted coffee overlayed with dark chocolate. Very, very nice heavy body without being syrupy, sticky. Great drinkability in the sipping category.

I really liked this stout and I'm going to store some back for aging. I'll others will as well.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2-year old bottle. We sampled this at the homebrew club meeting, so these are consensus impressions. Very smoky and tobacco-y, with a dry finish. Not quite to style (though with a beer intended to age, it's hard to keep the flavor from changing) but an enjoyable brew. Extra points for its unusual, but very pleasant smell.

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Photo of jackndan
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers in Chicago. Very thick and dark brew, light cannot penetrate it at all. The head was thick, toffee tan, but not particularly long lasting. The aroma is nice, somewhat chocolatety, with hints of coffee. The taste is nice, extremely malty. The dominant flavors are espresso, chocolate, and just a tiny bit of liquid soap, but that is not half as bad as it sounds. The body is light, perhaps too much so for the style. Not bad, worth sampling. Nowhere near as big as some of the other Imperials on the site.

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Photo of Jon
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque with dark brown tints and the thinnest layer of cocoa-hued bubbles. Roasted chocolate malt, espresso, and nutty aromas persist. Coffee, chocolate, roasted nutty malt with an accompanying sweetness lend to a a mild, earthy hop bitterness on the finish. Finish is reminiscent more of a traditional Imperial Stout rather than some of the more extreme American versions. Body borders on medium-full, rather than simply full like some others. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and elegant with mellow carbonation that works well. Two Brothers makes a very drinkable Imperial Stout with this one, and while it is indeed good, it lacks a bit of character that keeps it from being truly great. A nice stout, nonetheless, and one I will revisit.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 951 ratings.
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