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
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Ratings: 962 |  Reviews: 418
Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Pours a dark chocolate with a mocha head, pretty!

S: Chocolate and black patent malt in the nose, with some bittering hops in the back.

T: Lots of chocolate and creamy malts. A hint of lactose even? Really, just lots and lots of milk chocolate.

D: No joke, one of the top three most drinkable RIS. This brew is so well balanced I felt like I was drinking a Great Lakes beer.

Overall: Its been said before and its true: this is a one-note beer. Its just a huge load of chocolate. That being said, they really milk that one note for all its worth; this beer is never boring and is remarkably smooth and drinkable. A good and unpretentious RIS.

 690 characters

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

Appearance -- Pours dark brown with one finger of fizzy chocolate head. Not much for head retention, but the persistent dirty halo is a plus. Ho hum.

Smell -- Well-roasted malt, dark chocolte, coffee with cream, and a hint of char. A bit more like a milk stout, truthfully, but still quite good.

Taste -- First impressions are sweet: mellow malt roastiness, chocolate, and coffee with cream. As the beer goes down some mild sour and acrid dark roast flavors begin to develop to lend some balance to the mocha-esque sweetness. Sure this isn't a milk stout?

Mouthfeel -- A hair heavier than medium-bodied, medium fluffy carbonation. RIS methinks not.

Drinkability -- Had you told me this was a milk stout, I would've given it much higher marks. Really lacks the complex character and dark fruit elements that typify the RIS style. That said, there's enough going on in the flavor profile to make it interesting and enjoyable. Glad I tried it, but might not seek it out again.

 977 characters

Photo of ChugginOil
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black with a couple fingers of mocha colored head when poured aggresuclery. Microbubbles resonnate throughout the head. Good lacing

S- Roasted malt and faint coffee scents are picked up, followed by booze.

T- Similar to scent. Toasted maltiness mixed with a bitter coffee taste. Pretty tasty roastiness going on. The booze taste is subtle at the end.

M- Pretty thick and syrupy and covers the palate well

D- Sits heavy but could put down a few over DA BEARS whoppin' that ass. A great stout @ $8.99 per six pack

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Photo of NeutroMan
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours an opaque, nearly black with a thin film of reddish brown head that quickly dissipates. The nose is dominated by roasted malts - mostly coffee and chocolate. Some fruitiness (mostly plum) begins to become more noticeable as the beer warms. Taste is a complex blend of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, fruity esters, and some minimal hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and chewy with some alcohol warmth (particularly as the beer warms up). One of the more drinkable RIS.

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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.

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Photo of shodrod
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a 'motor oil' black with no head. Coffee and chocolate dominate the nose. Those two characteristics take front stage in the taste. A slight bourbon hint and notes of hops creep up in the finish. A fantastic beer to warm your bones on a cold night, the Northwind is an amazing example of an imperial stout.

 321 characters

Photo of Vdubb86
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

On-Tap at The Firkin Two Brother's Tap Takeover

This beer pours a pretty darkness with a finger of brown foam. The smell is a bit of oak, belgian-like aroma, brown sugar and a light roasted note. Most of the nose is really light. The taste has an odd hop bitterness that I didn't expect. There is a light bourbon flavor and a decent amount of cocoa. It must be said that this beer is a bit astringent on the palate and a bit thinner than I would have liked, but it is still rather drinkable. A good beer all around.

 537 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the brewpub.

Pours near black with a really thin mocha head. Not much lacing. The nose brings chocolate, roast, and a bit of coffee. The taste is of roasted malt with some lingering espresso and dark chocolate in the background. Not too boozy, but this is pretty light in ABV for the style. A bit of dry roast. Drinks quite well.

 361 characters

Photo of GDBEERMAN
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip: from notes
A: The tan head pours a thick 2 in. fluff. The Head holds very well with a nice layer throughout. The body is a deep pitch of black and in non transparent.
S: A bit subtle on the aroma, what is found is a sweet note, classic for the style.
T/M: The front is dry and creamy. The tastes pf sweet malts and nutty malts. A full, rich and creamy mouthfeel. The lingering taste is a bit short. Overall a good choice for the style.
D: This classic style is represented will with the Northwind. The ABV is hidden so well I could barely tell there was 9.1%(as per 2010 bottle stats.)

 615 characters

Photo of Tone
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a brown color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight dark citrus, slight roasted malt, slight alcohol, slight hops, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, roasted malt, sweet malt, and slight dark citrus. Overall, good aroma, blend, and body.

 421 characters

Photo of rembrant
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look Classic stout, oilcan black,ample froth,lacing clings well.

Scent Rosted Malts Dark Chocolate, slight fruity hops.

taste Up front,a surprise,fudge Brownie with raisins. Then it quickly returns to being a Stout,and the raisin shifts a bit to a subtle Port Wine as the choco shifts to Espresso. I enjoy how some of these big old Stouts play the Malt/Hops lag into a way to transform flavors

This,relatively, has a kinder,sweeter note than a lot of Imperial Stouts,despite the bitter-sour hop finish.

I've been exploring quite a few Stouts the last couple of weeks and,no question,Stout variants are where Brewers like to play a lot of tricks. This has several elements and they shift. It's a mystery tour of flavors with that undertone of Port and espresso quite interesting.

it goes well with Provolone or Prawns or Naked Women. Some of my favorite other flavors.

Mouth Yep Lots That hops posing as Port lingers,good viscosity....even the froth is tasty I can't pinpoint carbonation as a distinct prickle,but it's not flat at all. Nice.

Drinkable I'm not sure of the ABV and Imp Stouts are large but I'm feeling like a better man having had one,so,I figure one more and I'm nearly perfect.

 1,201 characters

Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured jet black with a moderate sized mocha colored head that died down leaving lacy patterns of bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some notes of coffee and hints of alcohol.
T: The initial taste has flavors of semisweet chocolate and roasted malts while the finish has flavors of lightly roasted coffee with a very mild amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, thin and very smooth. There is a subtle hint of dryness in the finish.
D: The alcohol is masked very well from the taste so this is a very drinkable beer for the style.

 629 characters

Photo of craytonic
2.97/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: BLack pour, nearly flat, no head or lacing
Smell: Chocolate, fudge, coffee, very simple and almost one-dimensional
Taste: Similar, lots of chocolate, fudge, and a hint of coffee; a bit sweet
Mouthfeel: a bit thin and sticky
Drinkability: one and done, never again.

 276 characters

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

The beer pours jet black with a clingy moderate tan head. The aroma is moderate-high bittersweet malt with moderate roast and a bit of chocolate. The flavor is very malty-intense bittersweet malt with underlying roast and bit of ash. The hop bitterness adds additional balance to the malt especially with slightly dry finish. The body is very smooth and full with a bit of warming quality in my belly. The carbonation is moderate. Overall a very well made IS and still having good drinkability--great on this cold, rainy evening.

 529 characters

Photo of mrright1967
1.96/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After spending several minutes perusing the aisles and bypassing many of the staple imperial stouts at my neighborhood liquor store, I decided to give this new arrival a chance. It was my first time trying any beer from Two Brothers.

It looks and pours like an imperial stout and has the alcohol content that one would expect. Unfortunately that is were the similarities to the characteristics one would expect in a quality imperial stout end. There's no need to discuss hints of coffee or chocolate or any subtle blending of flavors associated with stouts. There is one pervasive and overwhelming taste of sour milk that masks any other taste that might be present.

At first, I assumed the 6 pack of bottles I had purchased had spoiled in some way. However in reading other reviews I see that my experience is not unusual. The sour taste has been discussed by other reviewers. One reviewer described it as an overwhelming metallic taste. Whatever it is - it's nasty.

I've always described the experience of drinking beer as being like oral sex - even when its bad, its good. But this beer defies such a contention. Its just bad. Not bad in an interesting or novel way, but bad like ... "Man, is it safe for me to even be drinking this?"

As I said, this was my first experience with Two Brothers. Maybe their other offerings are better, but I'll never know. This will be the only money these 2 brothers will ever see from me.

Avoid at all cost.

 1,450 characters

Photo of mgbickel
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter. Formed a thick layer of khaki colored bubbles that quickly receded, leaving no lace behind. The body is dark, dense and pretty much black. You can force ruby slivers around the edges if backlit.

The nose is rather weak for a RIS...burnt chocolate, coffee, toasted malts, heavy cream, molasses...all very subtle.

Thank goodness the flavors do not follow the nose (in strength at least). Starts off with a black coffee bitterness that smoothly transitions into a sweet malt middle that turns roasty at the finish. No booziness make this really smooth drinking.

The mouth feel teeters on the heavy side of medium...creamy with moderate carbonation.

This is a pretty solid stout. I had no problems putting a 12oz bottle away and found myself wanting more. Well worth a try!

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours black with a 1" bubbly tan head that reduces to a thick 1/8" head.

Smells of cocoa, vanilla, molasses, some smoke and roasted malt. Very appetizing smelling!

Starts smooth, tasting of roasted caramel malt. Chocolate hits the roof of the mouth on it's way down, with a pleasant alcohol warmth as it finishes. Very pleasing and very drinkable.

Has a smooth mouthfeel, almost creamy. Warms the tongue as you drink your way through the pint.

An excellent brew that I will look for again.

 542 characters

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

One of the more impressive RIS's I've had in awhile.

Jet black opaque crystal body, with a thin quick brown head. Head could be better, but it is decent nonetheless.

Roasted coffee and chocolate notes are full in the nose.

The same aromas follow very distinctly in the flavor, it has a relatively low apparent bitterness that doesn't linger.

Rich smooth mouth feel with a slight crisp carbonation.

A very drinkable RIS, no signs of cloying or hotness. A solid RIS.

 469 characters

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

klikger was kind enough to share a bottle of this with me.

appearance - very dark. thick head that laces the sides of the glass.

smell - not a very strong smell, but hints of chocolate.

taste - chocolate and malts come through. very nice taste with hints of fruit.

mouthfeel - thick and creamy...mmm

overall a very nice beer. complex flavor and very drinkable.

 365 characters

Photo of THORN
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl. Oz. bottle poured into DUvel tulip. Served 55-60 F.
A: Dark black. Reddish brown frothy head. Splotchy head left around tulip.
S: Very sweet, creamy, and hops.
T: Very bitter and creamy. Malts are dark and similar to molasses. Sharp bitter hop linger.
M: Medium on mouth.
D: Not what was expected for style.

 317 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a dark tan head that thinned out and left a few trails of lacing.
S - roasted malt and chocolate.
T - starts off with a roasted malty flavor and then chocolate and caramel sweetness come in with a light bitterness towards the finish.
F - full bodied with a chalky feel on the finish.
D - it's worth a try.

 354 characters

Photo of thedrewski86
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, opaque black color with a thin tan skim for a head. Whatever lacing starts to form slides down the glass with the alcohol. Great smell of dark fruits, alcohol, raisins and vinegar. Taste is very nice, strong boozy malts with a solid hop presence without being bitter. Nice and toasty. I'm actually getting a little bit of biscuit from the malts which is odd for the style. Pretty big body, you could drink this fast but that abv sneaks up on you! It's actually 9.1%, not 8.5% as it says on this site.

 523 characters

Photo of manahansf
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with ruby red highlights. Topped with a thin creamy brown tan head which has great retention and sticks to the top of the brew and the glass. Warming sherry like arioma with subtle hints of fresh dark fruits. Sweet malty drink with a vinous quality and sweet fruity flavor. The finish is slow and lingers a bit too long. A little bit of cloying sweetness lingers with a soft warming sensation.

 415 characters

Photo of mikey711
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black that pours a cascading guiness like head although much darker. Pretty good lace and good head retention as well

S: Slight roastedness followed by sweet chocolate. The too flavors much each other out a little bit

T: Very nicely balanced between the sweet chocolate and a milded roasted flavor. Normally I like my stouts dry and roasty but the sweetness in this one was quite enjoyable

M: A slight hint of acidity but no heat and mostly creamy

D: A very easy drinking stout

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Photo of Dotcubed
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a modest topping of coco colored foam for a year old bottle. bottle marked Lot 3178

Smells pretty inviting, roasted malt.
Dark black color. Creamy, dry.

Warming but not hot like I thought it may be with such high alcohol.
Hints of salty black licorice? Need more of these.

Very substantial offering. I'd like six for this time next year.

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