Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
85
very good
411 Reviews
THE BROS
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Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
twobrosbrew.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:
411
Ratings:
933
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
18.04%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
84
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 933
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Sam's in Chicago.

Pours an opaque black, brown edges, very thick tan head, great retention, some lace spots. Smell is sweet, coffee, soem chocolate, caramel, cherry, burned aroma, not bad. Taste is smoky, chocolate and coffee roasts, fruits, more roast, burnt caramel cocoa finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, a sweet and easy drink, hides alcohol well. Burnt flavour is slightly annoying though.

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Photo of dgfair
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle poured into Great Lakes snifter.

A - Pours an opaque oily, jet black color with a very thin head that dissipates almost instantly and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S - Heavy cocoa upfront balanced with a little bit of malty sweetness and light roasted coffee. A little thin in smell, and I would love to have the scents hit a little harder.

T - Sweet, powdered cocoa with a little bit of roasty coffee and roasty malt. A slight taste of alcohol at the swallow, but not overpowering...just enough to let you know it's there. Flavor becomes a little more biscuity as it warms also.

M - Not bad, kinda thin for an impy stout, but the carbonation is perfect. Also, the balance between dry and oily is very, very nice.

D - This is probably the easiest drinking RIS I've had. The thin body and not overly complex taste make this one go down quick and smooth. I certainly like this, but it's almost more like an imperial porter than an imperial stout.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into my shaker "pint" glass. Appears a dark brown with two fingers of tan head. Smells of nuts, cocoa, coffee, and roasted malt. Tastes of bittersweet chocolate, mildly roasted coffee, and raisins. Medium in both body and carbonation. Finish is dry and slightly bitter. The alcohol makes it's presence known in a small way. Not bad.

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Photo of bashiba
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a very opaque black color with a thick creamy cappucino colored head that left great lacing.

The aroma had decent hints of nuts, chocolate, and a bit of banana.

Taste is full of burnt black malts with a heavy smoky and charred flavor, does have some nice hints of coffee and chocolate, a little more bitter than the average imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is light and creamy with a lot of carbonation.

Not to bad, but a little light for imperial stout.

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Photo of umustdrink
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber picked up in Wisconsin

A - Completely black in color. Head is a medium brown color, with a froth-like consistency. Lacing is minimal.

S - Deep bready malt aroma with an interesting bitterness.

T - Very different tasting RIS, upfront its a sweet wheatey yeast taste with dark malts and a light bitterness. Finish is a creamy chocolate oilyness.

M - Creamy and on the thicker side. Light oilyness promotes a long lasting taste.

D - This is pretty good, the first sip I was a little turned off but after a few more I began to like this beer more.

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Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Viggo!
Pours with plenty of bubbly head, looks like chocolate milk minus that it's nearly opaque black in colour. A wild, organic essence (probably from the type of yeast) underlies the aroma along with notes of chocolate malt, a seperate bready yeast, light malt. Distinct cherry in the aroma. Medium bitterness with flavour of cocoa butter most predominant. A neat stove top roast - toasty and smoky - like if you leave something on the burner. The smokyness really suits the flavours well although is a little off-putting in the aftertaste. Doesn't taste a decimal over 6%.

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Photo of brewcrew76
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep black with 2 fingers of brown head.

S - Roasted malt, coffee and dark chocolate. This smell is slightly overpowered by a lactic vegetal sourness.

T - The vegetal sourness in the aroma is the dominating flavor. Hints of roasted malt and dark chocolate but it is tough to get past the vegetal taste.

M - A little thin for an Impy Stout.

D - Not a very good beer. It is really tough to get past the vegetal taste.

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Photo of jjayjaye
2.47/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours dark opaque black with a full finger dark tan head that fades fairly quickly.

The smell of roasted malt is overwhelming in that the "roasted" smell is borderline burnt. It's sharp and biting to me.

The intense roasted malt flavor adds to a somewhat heavier mouthfeel and gives it a chewy sensation. Hops are present and complemented with a balanced carbonation.

This is a very difficult one to swallow for me. The most difficult characteristic is the nose; i can hardly stand to get my face near enough to take a mouthful. There is a significant harsh acidic after taste that puts it to bed for me.

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Photo of sponberg
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque with a brown head, like most RIS. Aroma has something going on in it - almost lactic. like a milk stout, a mineraliness.

Same thing in the flavor - if there's an Imperial Milk Stout category, this could be the flag bearer. Starts out with an underlying coffee-cocoa roastiness, but there's an odd roundness in here that I couldn't figure out until I recalled Keegan's Mother's Milk stout - a similar flavor. Indescribable, not offensive, just not what I was anticpating. Finishes creamy-smooth, no hop character to speak of. Appropriately chewy, could have another to figure it out.

Gracias to BA JeffKrenner for the bottle!

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Photo of klewis
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lot 36, listed at 8.5% ABV

A: Pours black with a tiny bubbly head. Very little lacing.

S: A nice malty aroma of mocha and cocoa.

T: Tastes like cocoa powder with a vegetal, celery-like finish. The flavor is thin for an impy stout and for a "big beer".

M: Medium-thin bodied and a bit fizzy, especially for the style. A bit chalky.

D: Thin, watery, and just plain off for the style. Pass.

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Photo of k2pantan
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a: poured out looking mostly black. appears dark brownish/red in the light. very little head, light brownish in color, that dissipated fairly quickly

s: smoky, coffee, with chocolate undertones

t: first thing noticed was the coffee and chocolate flavor which then evolved to a more bitter taste. i was expecting more of a lasting taste but it just wasn't there

m: medium body....not too light or heavy. if anything, it didn't have a creamy, more full bodied feel which is a sensation that i enjoy most out of imps.

d: goes down easy without any offense but it's not something that i would buy again.

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Photo of balconybrew
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Leaves an expresso colored thin head and a dark liquid.

Smell - Hint of malt, Overwhelming smoked plums and minimal raisins. Sight hops.

Taste - much like the smell. Slightly more hops and roasted malt than smell. Malt becomes gets slightly stronger towards the end. Some fruity sourness. As it warms, the alcohol comes out.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied.

Drinkability - Alcohol warms you a little much for more than one.

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

A deep, dark liquid that produces little head and minimal lacing.

Plums, smoke, sour fruit, and alcohol make for a very unexpected nose. Not what I generally look for in the nose of a Russian Imperial, but it's not an unwelcome change from the average take on this style.

Begins startlingly on the sour side (not like a Flemish sour) for the genre but opens up with nice fruity qualities complimented by the dark bread flavors that follow. There are strange hints of cola/root beer and citrus on the finish (could they have used too many hops?). An unusual and not entirely enjoyable take on the RIS. The alcohol, however, is brilliantly masked (the bottle claims 8.5%, NOT the 7.5% listed by BA).

Some don't care for syrupy beers but I look for a thickness in an RIS that is lacking here. In addition, for mostly having non-existant head this is much more carbonated than I could have guessed. Liked certain aspects of this but I don't know if I'd have another.

OK, why are the scores so high? This beer improves in a massive way as it warms up. Rich, roasted malt tones become more pronounced as does the nuanced sweetness. Drink this just under room temp and I think you'll enjoy it a whole lot.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle. Leaves an espresso foam colored one finger head that quickly recedes into just a foam ring at the edges, and leaves not much lacing. Body is almost black, being the deepest possible brown.

Smell - some unexpected horse blanket, cloves and bananas, - strange coming from an RIS. Hint of the expected roasted malt, but just a hint.

Taste - similiar to the smell. The horse blanket, cloves, and bananas, over malt bread. Also there is a bit, but just a bit, of a tangy hop bite. Some roasted malt becomes more prominent on the finish, but it is mixed with the horse blanket sourness.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, and fluid.

Drinkability - this is decent, but not great. High abv also holds down sessionability.

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Photo of mmcave
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased at Sams and cracked at a time when I was. Chilled a little under cellar and then thrown under warm water to expedite the process. Used a tumbler, the color is dark coffee black, with half inch tan nougat color head, with expectable lacing. Smells slight fruit esters which I did not expect in a RIS, but this is not necessarily unwelcome. There is some toffee, coffee, grape-ness. The taste is decent, but I feel like its lacking in several key areas namely strength, body and focus. Where I was expecting these things I got a couple other interesting things like some fruit and maybe some extra chocolate or coffee than usual, but these things to me do not make up the lack of the other stuff. This is not a bad RIS, but after tasting the good stuff "storm king", stuff like this is far less tasty. I for sure will not buy this again, but if it comes to you for free try it and you'll better understand the good stuff.

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Photo of EPseja
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ego for scoring a case of this and and sharing it. Served from a 22oz bomber in a Duvel Tulip at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours syrupy and thick with an almost black color. The head seems to be missing, but gradually forms as the bubbles struggle to find their way through the viscosity -- medium cocoa brown; settling to a thick film atop the beer that eventually disappears altogether. Lacing is nonexistant. A good start, but terrible longevity.

S - Big somewhat creamy semi-sweet chocolate nose with only fleeting hints of sweeter hoppiness. Light notes of sugar plums and molasses. Some (thankfully) sheer notes of soy as it warms... ick.

T - Starts with an interesting heavily toasted, yet sweet coffee maltiness. The middle shows a light tartness from the yeast, and a salt-water taffy character. A very refreshing hoppiness pops in the back of the throat afterward. Aftertaste is surprisingly green and semi-sweet. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M - Chewy barely discribes the thickness of this beer -- it's almost too thick. Too light on carbonation (I never thought I'd hear myself say that), and big on body. Mouth and throat coating as well as slick. Rolls around like hot caramel. Not filling in the belly though, which is very good.

D - After doing a monster RIS tasting, this one falls squarely in the above average category, with not a detriment to be found. Still, there are points where it could be more exciting, but it's nice to have a "go to" RIS when a bomber of most others would put you over the edge of comfortable.

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Photo of badbeer
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark black with a tan colored head; it even had a bit of a reverse cascade to it. Smell was of cocoa, chocolate, earthy hops and roasted coffee. Taste was much of the same, but this beer felt a little green to me, and the others who tried it. It had a very nice finish to it, and we seemed to agree that with a bit more age on it, this would be a much better beer than it already is. Higher side of medium bodied and lower carbonation. This was pretty nice, and I am going to pick up a couple bombers to age next time. I think this one gets much better with time.

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Photo of MillRat
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour from the 22 oz bomber is true to impy stout form. The dark brown stream from the bottle allows the barest amount of light through, and once it's in the glass its opaque black. The head is a finely bubbled cocoa brown, which dissipates quickly.

The aroma is chocolatey roasts with the the barest hint of earthy English hops.

The taste shows off the brothers signature maltiness, balanced well against a double bitterness from both the roasted grains and a solid hops note. It does not have the cloying body that plagues some imps. As with the brothers other high-alcohol brews, you won't realize how powerful it is until you read the label or stand up. At least their label gives you fair warning.

The mouthfeel more moderate than many other impy stouts, but it does not sin on the thin side.

Unlike most other imperials that leave you sated after a bottle or two, I would have glady had another one or six of these, and that would have left me pretty useless for rest of the day. It is dangerously drinkable, which is quite an accomplishment in this style.

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

Inky dark brown to black with a small, short-lived, light cocoa brown head. Nose of fresh-roasted grains, rye bread, chocolate pudding, and swampy cocoa beans. Roasted bitterness up front followed by moderate chocolate and dark fruit. A little astringent throughout. Dark chocolate bitterness in the finish. Not too bad. A lighter, medium-bodied stout that runs a little thin for my likes.

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With a vigorous pour you do get a inch and a half of milk chocolate colored head setting atop an oil black body. Very sweet rich smokey malt feel on the nose with a nice chocolate feel. Smooth and silky thin as it enters the mouth. Very pronounced sweetness and maltiness is soft and mocha like. There is a coffee like bitterness that lingers a bit on the finish. Alchol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is very soft for a Imperial Stout. Not one of your more bolb entries in this style catagorie, but very drinkable.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Inspection: Gives some technical info, 18.2 Plato, 12 fl. oz. 45 IBU, 7.5% abv. No date, but Lot 45 listed on the back.

Aroma: Richly roasted malts, nice noble hop edge, dark roasted coffee

Appearance: Opened with a very firm pop, and slowly began the climb to gushing. The pour was pure foam. The whole bottle was over carbonated. Once I got it into a mug (with several pours) it was deep black, no edge, little head and no lace.

Flavor: Rich roasted malts are first and foremost, some coffee flavor, mild hop bitterness keeps it all in line, and just some slight oxidation gives minor paper but some nice complexity.

Mouthfeel: After all the gushing, it was a bit flat. Medium body.

Overall Impression: Too bad about the carbonation level, it took away from a really good beer. It’s kind of nice to see the pros have some struggles with that as well as I. A great beer.
Thanks to mattcrill (Stoutness) for the trade.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Dark roasted grains, just a hint of fruitiness, a little light here but nothing off and pretty inviting.

Appearance: Jet black, a tight tan head, dark throughout. No edging at all.

Flavor: Strong roasted notes, coffee, chocolate, cocoa powder, some hop bitterness at the end and possibly some black patent notes which shouldn't be there.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, highly carbonated, mildly astringent, and a drying alcohol finish.

Overall impression: A little light on the mouthfeel for an impy stout. A touch too bitter (possibly from the black patent). A higher mash temperature or bumping up the unfermentables in the grain bill would put this over the top. A solid offering and with a few tweaks could be world class. Recommended.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle. The label states 8.5 % ABV, lot 36. Pours a very solid black, no highlights, no light coming through. Thin tan head disappears very quickly. Roasty, espresso, and dark chocolate aroma along with a hint of dark fruit. Roasty flavor, with some cocoa, but not much fruit. FInishes somewhat dry. A bit thin, however the carbonation was appropriate. Not complex like others in the style. Not bad, but not much depth to this one.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber - Pours brown, sits black. Slim, compactly fluffy capping of tanned foam sits atop briefly. Very minimal lacing in a few spots.

Aroma of mild milk chocolate with a slight graham cracker crusted roastyness/burntness.

Taste is alot like what the aroma leads to with a moderate amount of cookie/cake like milk chocolate. Slippery in the front, partially oily enriched with a richer/fuller backend. Tenderly sweetened by a bit with a centered oatyness and soft chocolate malting. Notes akin to some peppery spice, burntish coffee or cake edges. Quite mild overall on the flavor palate though. Keeps smooth and solid but nothing to complexing. Reminds more of an Oatmeal fashioned type stout then anything.

Feel is smooth and supple with a bit of oilyness to its body. Seemingly rounded within a medium body and a softer carbonation. Finishes lightly spiced and feathery hopped with a faint chocolate drify of soft dryness.

A moderately paced drinkin' stout. Not super complex nor impactful as most Impy Stouts. but does the job just fine for when in the mood for something on the darker side.

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Photo of Vancer
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, poured a freakin’ motor oil black, nice tan head – disappointed that it didn’t lace better, just some thin rings.

Nice aromas of chocolate, raisons and nuts. Superb quaff too, really noticed the anise – along with coffee and sweet dark chocolates. I enjoyed all these flavors for the entire bomber.

Medium bodied that thinned just a smidgen too much by the end of the bomber. But all things considered, this was a darn fine mid-west cut at an RIS.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 933 ratings.
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