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Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
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 | 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:
18.04%
 
 
Wants:
30
Gots:
84
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 927
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - inky black pour with some thickness to it. A conservative head evaporating quickly to a thin collar-ring and a few pockets of stray foam on top.

Aroma - roasty malts and chocolate syrup. Simple, effective, well done.

Taste - malts, sweet like melted chocolate up front. A burnt malt bitter char on the swallow, leaving the palate dry. The aftertaste is warm and roasty, and stays that way at length. The abv fills the finish with vapory warmth, lucious and full while showing off some roasted coffee notes. I like the balance.

Mouthfeel - my earlier comment regarding melted chocolate was primarily aimed at the mouthfeel. Very smooth and easy-flowing.

Drinkability - a well-constructed beer, another one wouldn't be out of the question, nor would laying a few down for some cellar time. Big for a stout, a little light for an Impy. No matter, this is on the short list for a tasty winter warm-up.

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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!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle of this years vintage

A: Pours black and viscous with a dark brown head. Foam sticks on sides of glass

S: the first smell is a very nice dark chocolate followed by a nice earthy hop bitterness. Notes of coffee, cocoa, and roasted barley.

T: first thing that hits me is the malts. Deep roasted flavor that is balanced very nicely with the hops. This year seems to have a nicer balance which translates into less sweetness. There is a slight hair of booziness on the end, but it melds nicely with all the other flavors present.

MF: Very nice, silky, velvety and thick. Not overwhelming on the body like some big stouts tend to be.

D: The last two years of this beer were unimpressive but solid, this years seems to be up a notch, particularly in relation to its balance. Because of this balance, and the incredible value (10.99 per 6er), this beer is highly drinkable.

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Photo of harrymel
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dhren1979 for this extra!
Poured from crown capped bottle to NB Globe.

Says Lot 3190 on back of bottle, not sure what this means.

A: Black, soily ale drizzles to the glass and excites a nice single finger of mocha head. This head dissipates in a couple minutes, but is easily reintroduced with a quick swish of the stout. Scattered sticky lacing.

S: Inky, industrial, smokey. Sweetened cocoa with a nice blending of licorice, roasted figs, dates, cinnamon. Intriguing and brings me back in repeatedly.

T: Very malt forward. Coffee, cocoa nibs, cinnamon. The beer has a nice creamy taste. The finish is long, and gradually keeps me coming back for more.

M: Low to no carbonation in mouth. The beer is thick, creamy and viscous. This beer makes me think of Wilcox farms Chocolate milk in body.

D: This was such a wonderful surprise of a beer! If you can get your hands on this, give it a go.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 16oz pint glass at Firkin 4/20/08. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Served a dark, coal black with a creamy dark tan head. Poor retention, however, that leaves sheets and spots of lace.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, sweet dark fruit, toffee, chocolate, and caramel.

T: Charred black malt, overripe dark fruit, chocolate, bitter espresso, and cherry.

M: Very creamy with a nice peppery hop bite.

D: Big RIS flavors and aromas + medium sized RIS abv% = excellent drinkability.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours deeply brown with ruby highlights. A vigorous pour produces only a minimal head, dense yes, but small. Very little lacing about the glass. The appearance is the weak link for this beer.
Aroma finds this beer with strong roasted malts, anise, coffee and cream.
The taste has a lot of roasted malt depth and just borders on being charred. I get some bright fruity hops too which wasn't suggested in the nose. I taste a hint of anise rolled in coffee beans.
Drinks smooth and sweet and coats the tongue. As sweet as it is there is some bitterness towards the end.
A very good RIS, not quite up to the big boys but good indeed.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
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 kmpitz2
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
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 SpeedwayJim
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a Southampton oversized snifter. Shared with schen9303. Reviewed from notes.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger fine greyish-mocha head with poor retention. Beer is a thick, opaque black. Lacing is patchy and stringy with good cling. Moderately thick legs. Deduction for head retention, but otherwise pretty nice.

S: Nose is very muted and simple. Coffee, roasted malt, some chocolate, and cocoa powder. Very little is detectable and a lot of the traditional imperial stout flavors are missing.

T: Opens sweet chocolate, molasses, raisins, prunes, espresso beans, and coca-cola spice. Roasted malt bitterness towards the middle provides a nice balance. Cocoa powder adds a layer of graininess. Sweet chocolate on the finish with a sweetened coffee aftertaste. Very balanced and surprisingly impressive.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily and silky in the mouth and smooth going down. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste that carries a touch of heat. Nice.

O: Northwind imperial stout falters in a lot of ways but it's really impressive in the one aspect that really counts: flavor. Not much to look at or smell but this imperial stout is incredibly balanced and displays the perfect amount of dark fruit, roasted malt, and chocolate sweetness. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of ADR
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque, murky almost black appearance, with a residual reddish-skim head. Aromas seem decent, promise fruits and some burnt java. Slightly oily mouthfeel, malting is dry and somewhat Irish-style in some senses. A bit of anise and plum to the impression with a full swallow. Bitterness in the aftertaste, some from the hops, and it builds with continued sips. Overall, I liked this beer, but without interesting sweet complex tones it lacks as a brew in the Imperial Stout category.

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Photo of nickd717
2.83/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared at the after-Bruery tasting. Meh, this one didn't really do it for me. Not bad, but one of the poorer examples of what is probably my favorite style (note that I consider "Russian Imperial Stout" and "American Double/Imperial Stout" to be the same style until I hear a convincing reason not to). One of the guys from the local group who is known for his contrarian ratings asked, "Have you ever given an imperial stout a below average rating?" and I said, "Probably not, because I usually only drink above average imperial stouts." Well, here is a below average one, and it's getting a below average rating from me.

Pours black with a one-finger tan head and some good lacing.

Aroma is roast, coffee, dark fruit, and some earthy tartness. Flavor is earthy, dirty, and oddly tart, yet not to the point where I'd think it was infected. Roast and coffee along with some DMS-like notes, cooked corn, that I don't typically find too appealing in this style.

A tad thin for the style with some astringency on the palate.

Drinkability is average at best. I am not a big fan at all. This is my second beer from these guys, and I'm not sure I want to try many more. I'd still like to note though that this wasn't a total disaster, and there is definitely the potential for this style to get much worse, which is why I didn't give it a D or F. I just tend to avoid those bad examples.

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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

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black, trace of brown, nice foamy 2 inch head and plenty of lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, bold coffee, chocolate, dark fruits like rasin and plum. Wood and smoke. Some licorice, a little vanilla some hops round his brew out.

Taste - Roasted malts and mild coffee/chocolate overtones make up the main flavors of this beer. Hops are mild, only slight bitterness comes out. Chocolate and brown sugar round out the flavor at the finish.

Mouthfeel - Its thick but, not overly harsh on mouth for being 9.1%. Tounge gets malts, some coffee and chocolate and a little hop bitterness. Palette gets remaining sugars and malts, and some chcolate. Aftertaste is mild, smooth and malty.

Overall - Im shocked how smooth and one dimentional this beer is. Nothing strong, groundbreaking or special about this. The booze is well masked, this is closer to a porter then anything. Too mild and smooth for what style it is. Its decent but not close to being a top ris.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I went to a stout tasting event yesterday and this was not one of the featured beverages, but I bought one of these to try yesterday, and I like it a lot.

It opens beautifully to a foamy dark dark brown. The head keeps going and lace continues too. The aroma is first rate. It's a mild combination of hops and roasty aroma. Nice.

The taste is well balanced and extremely drinkable. You could have several of these and not notice the booze taste or aroma, but it is there. It has a bitter and sweet aftertaste.

Overall, this is a very satisfying Russian Imperial Stout. It may be a little lighter on flavors than some, but it is more drinkable than most.

On a later re-tasting I did not like this nearly as much and it had a slightly sour taste.

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

Batch 36, 22oz bottle from at least a few years ago.

Pours blackish with brown edging and barely a trace of tan head. A flat surface with zero lacing for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with roast, char, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. Hints of Oreo shells and brownies.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a slickish, slightly flat mouthfeel. Thin for the style.

Brownie bits, Hershey syrup, and roasted malts start the palate. Hints of dark chocolate and coffee grounds follow through.

Finishes quickly with fading chocolate and roast.

This is like a RIS-mini, or even closer to a Porter. The classic RIS profile is subdued in every way and the beer is thin and flatish with no warmth on the throat.

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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 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 portia99
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle...been holding on to this one for a while (lot 3149 - not sure how old, but has at least a year on it). Poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours an extremely dark brown color that is pretty much totally opaque. A thick finger of foamy and a bit fizzy cappuccino brown head lingers for a minute and falls to an even skim coat with just a hint of foamy lacing around the edge of the glass.

S - A bit boozy, soapy and a bit detergent-like, dark fruits, a bit of licorice, a bit floral, and lightly touched by roasted malt. Nothing wrong, but far from unique or memorable.

T - Flavor varies largely from the aroma. Lots of roastiness giving a distinct coffee flavor, some dark and milk chocolate, light touches of prunes, alcohol. Nicely bitter with a combination of grassy hops and dark roasted malts and a smooth but mild sweetness around the edges.

M - Creamy and smooth...sweetened espresso-like. Low carbonation and medium/full body. Really smooth and chocolately and coffee filled body.

O - I like this beer...it isn't what I'd call an outstanding example of the style, but it certainly is enjoyable. This is actually a pretty easy drinker and has an absolutely silky smoothness to it. The sum is better than the parts here. This won't blow you away, but it is solid and something that I could easily have more of.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.53/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Dark brown, but still allows light to penetrate the beer. Head dafers quickly to nothing.

Smell: None too strong smelling, light cocoa and old coffee, kind of sour.

Taste: Fairly weak and unimpressive for an Imp. Stout. Coffee is obvious, but none too dominant, alcohol does not help to enhance it much, either. Bitterness is none to strong.

Mouthfeel: Watery and lightly carbonated, unimpressive.

Drinkability: Skip it, this may be one of the weakest and the lowest ABV Imperial Stouts I have run across.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Inky black in color with a decent head of tan foam.
Aroma-Faint chocolate and dark toasted malt
Taste-Dark roasted coffee and cream,faint dark fruit, dark chocolate. Subtle hop note in the slightly warming finish. Friendly and pleasant, a nice imperial stout to cut your teeth on, or just a mellow-drinking sipper for a cold night.

 378 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.28/5  rDev -13%
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.

 394 characters

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

Bottled 20 December 2011.

Pours very dark brown, black at the center, with a little light coming through the edges. One finger of brownish tan head, fades fairly quickly and leaves little lacing. A whole lot of light brown sediment that I wasn't expecting - should have poured a little more gently.

Smell is slightly smoky. In fact, smoke is the one thing that jumps out at me, though it comes on the back end of some deep roasted chocolatey malts. Woody and high in the nose, without much of the deep rich robustness I might expect.

Taste comes through with, again, that hit of smoke. But here there's more going on. Some nice dark chocolate, a hint of dark fruit, and another chunk of wood to chew on. Bitterness is quite low. A lot of different flavors swimming around, lending some nice subtle variation to it.

Mouthfeel is solid. Fairly heavy body, about right in the middle of the pack for an impy stout. Good medium-low carbonation, and a lingering slick on the tongue.

An interesting, rather smoky imperial stout. Different, but pretty tasty. I like the variety in the flavor.

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