Northwind Imperial Stout | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
85
very good
411 Reviews
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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:
930
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
18.04%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
84
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 930
Photo of jaxon53
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time i have seen this one, bought a single bomber. served chilled, in a pint glass. Poured a deep black with a short tan head that dissapeared quickly into a small ring in the middle of the glass, with almost no lacing. Really didn't get too much smell from this one. Had a creamy , almost coffee taste with maybe a hint of chocolate. This beer i thought had a creamy , milky kind of feel to it. Although it was very drinkable i have definatley had better. Biggest dissapointment of any two brothers i have had thus far.

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Photo of morimech
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small tan head that quickly fades to a collar of bubbles. Just a little bit of spotty lacing is left on the glass. Has a nice roasted malt aroma with hints of dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee. Has a touch of sweetness in the flavor that is kind of unique with its subtle dark fruit notes. It is not until the finish that things turn bitter with the roasted malt and hops. The hops give some floral and herbal notes. A little solvent like alcohol warms and cleans the palate. The body feels a little light for a RIS. Carbonation is nice. A nice drinker but kind of average when it comes to RIS.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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 DrinkSlurm
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into tulip.
Deep dark black, little off white head.
Smells of roasty malts and a bit of coffee.
A bit over carbonated.
Roasty malt, slight coffee and milky flavor. Cant notice the abv at all. Overall, its slightly lacking...but a decent RIS.

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Photo of Gmann
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep dark brown color with a light brown head, average head retention, leaves a little sticky lacing. Hints of mocha and espresso in the nose, a little roasty but not much else. Roasted malt and bitter chocolate dominate the taste, some burnt wood action, and mocha flavors finish things off. A moderate chewy body with enough carbonation to ease the drinkability; finishes with a roasty bitterness. A straight roasted RIS, not much in the way of viscous flavors or hoppiness.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

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Photo of birchstick
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours a black color without much of a head

S - smells of roasted coffee and rich chocolates

T - starts off with some sweet cocoa that quickly becomes some roasted malt / coffee that fades to some dark chocolates. Not uber complex or deep, but very rich overall with its flavors.

M - medium to full body with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Pretty solid mouthfeel.

D - I can't say this was my favorite RIS I have ever had, but it was pretty delicious. For the price I paid, this was a pretty good deal.

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Photo of cokes
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Muddy dark brown pour, ends up essentially black with a healthy tan head.
Nose full of dark roast coffee, and bitter chocolate. Fainter, plums try to stake this as imperial, but fail.
Flavor profile seems to rest somewhere between a milk- and a dry stout, although beefed up a bit. Big roasted malts, chocolate and mocha notes are the major factors here. There is a good deal of caramel sweetness which mingles congenially with the lactic qualities. Lingering in the distance are some molasses and plums, providing the only hints of Imperialness. Hopping enter and mixes with the continuing roastedness to make the finish very dry.
Mouthfeel is creamy, in a skim milk type fashion, but it is void of the sweet, clinging, heftiness that should be present.
Easy drinker, and a pretty decent stout overall. I gave it some leeway because of this. However it is lacking in most imperial catagories.

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Photo of jsh420
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

batch #3508

pours jet black with a 1 finger head that fades fast and leaves no lacing

smell cocoa and sweet dark fruits

taste is a little thin - dark fruit coco and cola?

mouthfeel is very thin for a RIS

drinkability is so so - i want more from a RIS

overall there are better irish dry's then this - not a beer i will seek out again but will see how it ages

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

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present aside from Lot 3422. I'm guessing this bottle has gotten a little bit of age to it by now, though. It's been quite a while since my last bottle of this stuff, so I am excited to try it out again.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours two fingers of beautiful mocha colored head, which recedes fairly quick. Body is an opaque black. Nice thick lacing.

S - Smell is of beautiful roasted coffee bean, dark chocolate / cocoa, and toasted barley malts. The malted barley lends somewhat of a nutty smell to the mix also. Smells very creamy & full-bodied. Wonderful.

T - Taste follows the nose; creamy chocolate, roasted coffee bean goodness, hop bitterness, dark powdery cocoa, perhaps even a bit of vanilla.

M - Feel is bitter with the hops & coffee bean roast, but is sleek & creamy at the same time.

Overall, an excellent sipping beer. Rich, dark, creamy, & full-bodied, this would be a great beer to warm you up on a cold winter night. Definitely a beer all stout lovers should look into.

Two Brothers North-Wind Imperial Stout ---4/5.

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Photo of blackie
3.31/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour creates a pretty low tan head that almost immediately becomes just a ring around the glass. The beer is a really dark brown in color.

smell: Doesn't smell too imperial, but not bad. First I get some aromas of roasted grain and bittersweet chocolate, just a hint of molasses. Not much else to it. Lighter hop aroma.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is around the middle of the low range. The body is medium or just under it.

taste: Roasted malt, bittersweet and dark chocolates, decent hop flavor with a light to moderate bitterness.

drinkability: Nothing bad about this beer per se, but it is a little bland for the imperial style. Still, the ABV is well hidden and the beer goes down smooth.

Brought a bottle back from Madison, sat in the cellar fridge a couple months. Lot 3345 is printed on the label.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 22oz bomber, lot # 3345; no best-by or bottled-on date found. Pours inky black, dark as night, with just a semblance of a head in the form of some scattered bubbles on the surface and around the rim. Nothing, repeat nothing, gets through the black hole of liquid filling the goblet. Mere hints of lacing are left behind, nothing more. Aroma has dark fruit aspects co-mingling with a bit of espresso, with suggestions of floral hoppiness. Somewhat understated, on the whole. Body borders on medium, which is a bit of a letdown, as I feel they should be full and chewy for this style. It is still quite smooth, nonetheless.

Taste is comprised of a smidgen of malty, brown sugar sweetness and then a healthy helping of roasty, charred bitterness. An inkling of dark fruit tries to come forth, yet is suppressed by the roasty character and pleasant floral hoppiness, with the latter having some nice lasting qualities. Lacking complexity, Northwind is still fairly satisfying with its roasty flavors, though it could have been much more of a flavor storm, imo.

Prosit!

overall: 3.85
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4

883

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Photo of prototypic
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Northwind pours a dark mahogany color. Looks a lot like chocolate fudge. It's close to opaque, save for a few scarlet highlights at the outer edges. It's topped with a moderate mocha tan head that reaches a couple of fingers in depth. It's slow to dissipate and leaves a nice, sticky coat of lace on the glass. This is impressive looking stuff.

The nose is on the weak side of the spectrum. It has a nice malty scent up front. Chocolate malts seem to be the focal point. They have a bittersweet smell. Roasted coffee follows and seems to take over from there. They're a nice complement to the chocolate malts. There's a hint of roasted malts, but it's subtle. It's not exactly deep or complex, but it's far from bad. Alcohol is blended very well and isn't noticeable. A little more strength and this would easily warrant a score bump.

The flavor is a notch better. Chocolate malts are indeed front and center. They do have a bittersweet flavor, but there is some unexpected sweetness there, as well. I like the mix. Roasted coffee doesn't seem quite as strong in flavor, but its presence is effective. It complements the chocolate malts nicely and adds a nice dimension to the overall flavor. Roasted malts are present, but they take a backseat to the other flavors. Nonetheless, they bolster the flavor. There is some evidence of hops here. They're lightly citric and a little bitter. Alcohol is masked very well for an 8.5% beer. I'm not getting much at all there. It finishes chocolaty and dry.

Northwind has a medium-full body that feels more and more substantial with warming. It's nice and smooth. I'm tempted to award the next highest score, but it doesn't quite feel creamy. Drinkability is good. Northwind has a nice flavor that satisfies. It's not exactly world class, but it is good and goes down easy. Given its strength, I'll stick with a single 12 oz. bottle. But, I'd be tempted to have another bottle.

Two Brothers is generally a brewery you can count on for good beer. That's exactly what you get with Northwind. It's not great by any stretch, but it is very good. With a couple of tweaks, it'd easily attain a higher score. The nose could use a little strength and the flavor could use just a little pizzazz. More hops or some spices might do the trick. Overall, I'm pretty impressed with Northwind. It's good beer that's probably a little better than this score might indicate. Not much, but a little. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks pretty good. Pretty dank black pour, with a light brown head and sporadic lacing.

Aroma is sparse, but theres some roasted malts, and hints of sweetness and chocolate. With some agitation, some dark fruits present themselves.

Taste is rather roasty, with some milk chocolate and some bittersweet notes. Maybe a hint of coffee, but just a hint.

The feel is upper medium in body, slick and creamy in texture with light carbonation. For a Russian Imperial, the feel could have benefited from being heavier.

Not bad on the drink. Lighter and not as flavorful and intense as other RIS's, but overall decent.

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Photo of tpd975
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice deep dark abyss black hue with a 1/2 finger head. The head dies rather quickly and yields to a small bubbly collar. No lace.

S: Tons of dark fruit up front with hints of roasty malt. A nice tart stout.

T: Flavor really matches the nose. Dark fruit and more dark fruit right at the start. Figs, Raisins, and Dates are all there. Light hints of charred malt as well. This one is all about the fruit though.

M: Medium in body with a nice level of carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable. Would like a touch of chocolate, smoke, or coffee though.

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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 LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours black with a small tan head. Aroma of rich roasted malt and bitter chocolate. Flavor of roasted malt and sweet malt with alcohol in the finish. Pretty decent, but it doesn't really excite me either. Just a chill imperial stout.
7/4/8/4/14 (3.7/5)

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

Poured from the bottle a deep dark brown with an inch of rich tan head.

Aroma of light sweet malts and dark ripe fruit.

The taste is much like the aroma. Dark ripe fruit up front followed by sweet roasted malts, white sugar, and a touch of coffee. Finish delivers a bit of malt and burnt chocolate.

Medium bodied, smooth, and lightly carbonated.

A very drinkable RIS, but on the light side for the style.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased because it seemed such a good value. Now maybe it's not worth it, or maybe it will be. I've generally liked this brewery so my anticipation runs favorable.
Certainly pours like and heavy enough. Very dark small head. Only hints of color on the bottom of the ridel wine glass.
I'd anitcipate a full and heavy aroma, but that's not what I got. It was much tighter than most, however, it is a nice dark roast, coffee, and a little chocolate.
Nice full flavor, in contrast to the aroma. Slightly sweet, roast, coffee. Moderately bitter that appears largely at the end. Longer finish with mild dryness and good flavors. Nice dark fruit flavors.
seems a little thin for style, but I like the lower carbonation. Feel ultimately is nice.
I like this. it drinks well. It certianly isn't the biggest, thickest or richest out there, but the flavors are good, the feel is nice and it drinks well (I could easily have another).
In the end I would say "yes" it's a good value.

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Photo of Florida9
2.81/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Drank this at 2Brothers TapHouse

A: Served in a small snifter. Black in color. Fully opaque. About a 1/8th inch of creamy tan head that quickly receded to the rim of the glass.

S: Stale coffee, cocoa, and an odd sort of creamy lactic scent. Heavily roasted, almost burnt, malts.

T: Again coffee, but more like cheap ass chicory coffee and not the good stuff. Cocoa and chocolate. Roasted malts and a raw, biting woodsiness, blending, unpleasantly, with a noticeable fruity sourness. Typically I enjoy coffee and chocolate flavors, but this beer seems to be highlighting coffee and chocolate's negative aspects.

M: Medium in body. Low carbonation. Thin for a RIS.

D: I don't know what is going on with this beer. It really misses the mark and is quite disappointing. Thin, burnt, and sour, but (thankfully) with not much of a residual aftertaste, I simply couldn't enjoy this beer. Eventually I bellied up and ordered a Cane & Ebel to help me get this one down.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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

On tap at Two Brothers on 8/9/09.

A - Snifter appeared as a dark orb of onyx with a thin, creamy tan head that vanished but flared up a bit with each swirl, leaving some stringy lace that slid down the glass.

S - Initial aroma combines toasted malts and roasty coffee with a hint of chocolate. A scant hop presence exists, but it buried beneath all of the malt, with perhaps just a tinge of earthy hops poking through. Alcohol presence is also quite modestly displayed.

T - Semi-sweet chocolate dominates the flavor with subtle earthy hop bitterness and roasted coffee characteristics taking a back seat. There's also a hint of licorice and subtle hop notes in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with an oily texture and a touch of bristly carbonation, resulting in a pretty smooth mouthfeel overall. Finishes with subtle bitterness and some residual sweetness on the palate.

D - Pretty solid Imperial Stout overall. Nothing amazing, but quite drinkable. Alcohol isn't too obtrusive either.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance
Pitch black with 1 finger of light brown head that dissipates quickly.

Nose
Roasted barley, milk chocolate, caramel and smoke.

Taste
Roasted barley and caramel. Overripe plum and a light milk chocolate sweetness. Hints of red grape. Gets more roasty towards the finish with notes of medium roast coffee and smoke.

Mouthfeel
Medium bodied, smooth and dry.

Overall
Loads of roasted barley, caramel and smoke. There's not too much chocolate or coffee. Easy drinking for 9.1%.

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Photo of merlin48
3.92/5  rDev +4%
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 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 930 ratings.
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