Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

BA SCORE
85
very good
962 Ratings
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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 962 |  Reviews: 418
Photo of thinwhiteduke
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of maximum12
2.48/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a single recently. I'd have picked up more, the price is definitely right for an RIS, but I've had a pair of Two Brothers beers & not enjoyed either one. Hold my breath & dive.

It's black. Shocking. Smell isn't great, more like a milk stout. Taste isn't great either. It's very thin even for a regular stout, & there's not much taste to it at all. A bit of malt, maybe a hop sprig, eye of newt, balls of bull.

This isn't very good. Two Brothers has disappointed me three time in a row. I hate to give up on a brewery, but I'm close.

 546 characters

Photo of BDeibs
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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

This is a very dark, perfectly black beer. The head is a deep tan color, leaving a lot of lace, but not very thick. The smell is layered and intense....smoke and alcohol...roasted grain, charcoal, wood, booze, and malt. The taste is not as complex as the smell, but is sweet, warming, and has an abrupt bitteness that comes in the mid-taste. Full and satisfying mouthfeel. Good.

 378 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ink black color. Little head. A thin rimming of brown lace. Nice aroma of roasted coffee bean and bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Only about medium bodied. Low carbonation lends to a nice drinkability. But the flavor profile isn't as "Bighuge" as I'd like it to be. There are the bittersweet chocolate tones. Cocoa tones. Java tones. And low bitterness for an Imperial. (The A/V is 7.5% and the IBUs are 45. Mild for an IS.) This would make for one helluva dry stout, but as an Imperial, it just doesn't stack up.

This is not a great Imperial Stout, but it is better than their Iditorod Imperial Stout from the same Brewery I had a few years ago.

 677 characters

Photo of barnzy78
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter. Poured near-black with a very thin, tan head that left minimal lacing on the glass and dissipated completely rather quickly. Aromas of coffee and roasted malt are noticeable. Tastes seem to be muted, even as it warms. Roasted barley, coffee, burnt sugar, and anise are present with a slightly hoppy finish. Alcohol is warming, but well concealed. Carbonation is low and mouth-feel is smooth. Overall, I seem to go back and forth with this one every time I have it: sometimes I love it and sometimes I'm disappointed. It's a good example of the style, but seems to be lacking.

 611 characters

Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

 441 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Pellinore1 for the great BIF box that included this brew.

a - popped the bottle and poured into oversized snifter. Deep sludgy black with a full 3 finger head after pouring the full bottle abruptly into my glass. The head isn't going nowhere. This is frothy and here to stay. Lacing shows evidence of where the beer once was.

s - Odor screams of milky roasted malts. Good amount of roastiness and a fair amount of smoke to round her out. Smells really nice.

t - I am surprised at the smokiness of this beer. How could I have gone this long without hearing about this gem?

m - Creamy and rich. Full and milky. Carbonation is nice for the beer, but not in your face. Perhaps a bit too milky, but otherwise, pretty spot on.

o - I am really surprised that I don't hear people raving about this beer. Fantastic milk stout flavor with a campfire of smokiness. Really great flavor and somewhat unique. Not sure if properly categorized as a RIS, but if so...a damn fine one and one that could be a gateway rauch.

 1,023 characters

Photo of champ103
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nearly opaque black color. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes. Light lace is left behind.
S: Roasted malt of chocolate and coffee. Not acrid in the nose at all. Some dark fruits as well. Not very complex, but enjoyable.
T: Follows this nose. Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, light coffee. Nothing is acrid or astringent. Some dark fruits again, and overall enjoyable.
M/D: A full body that is creamy and smooth. Very easy to drink. Something I can sip on all night as a winter warmer.

A really nice Imperial Stout. Lots of flavor, and a treat to drink. Something I would recommend.

 601 characters

Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Lucnifter
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of MSandahl23
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of ZAP
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't believe they call this an Imperial Stout...It's a decent tasting "Stout" if you leave the "Imperial" out of it...It is medium bodied rather than over-the-top thick...the nose is mainly cocoa and coffee beans but very soft....the taste is burnt malts and some coffee beans but lacks complexity....finishes with a bit of a hop bite which is surprising given the low IBU...Call this a "Stout" and it rates high "3's"...as an "Imperial" I feel I'm being generous giving it low "3"'s...no carbonation at all hardly and that combined with the creamy texture allows this to be very drinkable as a "Stout"...not as an Imperial...I want more....I deserve more....If a beer is called Imperial it should have more than just a high ABV..I feel like I'm being too hard on this because as I drink it is is pretty decent....it's just not close to being a good "Imperial Stout"...

 872 characters

Photo of iRun2Beer
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
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 FLima
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As deep black as it can be with a thick caramel head with medium retention and leaving lots of laces.
Light and predominant aroma of dark and creamy chocolate.
Flavor of sweet mocha, pine, caramels, roasted, nutty and smoky malts, licorice, earthy and citrus hops, and a bit of dark fruits. Dry aftertaste with a log lasting roasty bitterness.
A super creamy feeling. Full body with low carbonation. Alcohol of 9.1% abv is very well hidden.
Very good Imperial Stout, no defects, though not overly complex but still pleasant. Good bridge for the style.

 551 characters

Photo of Sparky44
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of mynie
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour, not rough at all. Big brown head, nearly completely opaque, mild degree of carbonation belaying the comparatively low ABV.

Smells of intense raosted malt, bitter, dry and burnt. This is a complemented nicely, if strangely, by a harsh semisour Belgiany yeast. Not what I'm used to in an RIS, but very good.

Tastes--tastes not very much like an RIS at all. The yeast is what starts things out, and it starts out strongly, almost like a Belgian dark, chocoately and burny sour. This drops off quickly into a middle of very dark chocolate and then, clear as day, a pleasant node of burning leaves, ending again on a very smooth and sweet Belgiany yeast. Nice.

This tastes more like a Belgian export stout than a Russian Imperial. It'd probably have a higher rating if it was labeled as the former, actually. Still, at 3.99 a bomber this was quite the deal, and it's nice to come across a strong stout that's still highly drinkable and doesn't kick you so hard in the ass.

 987 characters

Photo of glid02
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Sunswick in Astoria, NY.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with hints of unsweetened chocolate. As the beer warms the chocolate aromas come out a bit more.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lightly roasted malt flavors up front are soon joined by mildly bitter dark chocolate flavors. These carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit thinner than most RIS's with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall the tap version of this tasted a little cleaner however whether it be tap or bottle this beer still didn't quite deliver. Not a bad beer but not worth seeking out.

 810 characters

Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of dirtylou
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
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 BeerFMAndy
4.49/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
45 IBUs, 9.1% ABV, Lot 3071 printed on back of label.

A - Northwind pours like syrup, black as night, and is topped by a rocky, effervescent cocoa head. Low retention, undoubtedly from the stout's high alcohol level, leaves no lace left on the glass.

S - Rich and robust, the thick aroma abounds with roasted malt giving off chocolate, cocoa, and dark coffee notes. Earthiness suggests wood as phenolic, dark fruit aromatics join the party, alcohol-soaked raisins and plum to name a few.

T - Opening with rich dark roasted malts and a sweet chocolate milkiness that are accented with light vanilla hints, Northwind features a prominent bold-roast coffee bitterness and flavor to the finish. Complexity grows as the beer warms, releasing more of the fruity esters and alcohol phenols found in the aroma.

M - It's very full body is evident from the syrupy pour through the aroma and flavor to the chewy mouthfeel. Northwind is as smooth as velvet and thick! Balancing with moderate dryness, the beer finishes acridly bitter.

O - Just the thing to sip on a cooler day, Two Brothers' Northwind Russian imperial stout is a thick, black beauty, rich with roasted malt characteristics of chocolate and coffee. A beautiful blend, especially paired with some chunks of dark chocolate.

 1,316 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of tan head which settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A rich and roasty dark malt driven aroma with a scent of chocolate, coffee, and black licorice. Dark roasted barley malt with a scent of dark chocolate, coffee, biscuit, toast, smoke, caramel, and yeast. Big scent of black licorice. Sweet hints of molasses and vanilla. Dark fruit hints of plum, raisin, and fig. Subtle earthy hops. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a roasty and rich dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, coffee, and black licorice. Dark roasted barley malt with upfront notes of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, biscuit, smoke, caramel, and yeast. Good anise notes of black licorice. Sweet notes of vanilla and molasses. Subtle dark fruit undertones of raisin, fig, and plum. Light presence of earthy hop bitterness. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and slick. Alcohol heat is minimal.

Overall: A pretty good take on an Imperial Stout. Good roasty malt flavors with a nice touch of black licorice.

 1,184 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nearly opaque black color. The head is one inch of tan foam. It recedes slowly into decent lacing. The aroma is of graham cracker, roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate. The taste is of very roasty with notes of chocolate and coffee. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a nice stout. It isn't the biggest Imperial Stout out there, but it is very solid nonetheless. I will certainly drink this again.

 491 characters

Photo of papat444
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flashback #84

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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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