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Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,035 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 3,035
Reviews: 1,147
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 436
Gots: 536 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GreatPondBrewer on 11-30-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,035 | Reviews: 1,147
Reviews by beerad666:
Photo of beerad666
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a near black with the head vanishing quickly leaving a thin tan ring of bubbles. The aroma is roasted with chocolate, vanilla, cherry a hint of hops and nice light alcohol burn. After my first sip I was hooked on this beer, it is incredibly balanced. Toasted and roasted, with light chocolate and not overly sweet. Finished by a bit of hops to round it all off. I was just happy to not see this overly sweet as so many other RIS are. I could be drinking this beer all the time if I could. I had a couple on tap and loved every sip of it. Great beer!

More User Reviews:
Photo of Roguer
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Extremely dark brew, clear as far as one can tell. 1 finger dark tan head; poor retention, nice lacing.

Huge coffee and chocolate notes from the malt, with a touch of banana ester. Smells strong without smelling boozy. Aroma is reminiscent of FIS and JA Framinghammer.

Flavor follows: this is a big, bold stout, with up-front notes of chocolate and coffee, followed by a slightly tart hint of dark fruit, and finished by an exceptionally bitter, incredibly roasted wash of the malt.

Big-bodied and medium-full feel; some foaming; no sting. Pretty drinkable with a dry, roasty finish with a touch of lingering hop oil.

This is a very solid RIS, one that I can only imagine makes for a fantastic base for barrel-aging. Not in FIS/Speedway/Ten-FIDY territory, but perhaps the tier immediately below.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one of the classics, although this one isnt always as easy to find as the other great lakes beers. i was lucky enough to have this one on tap during my travels, so awesome. its a dense stout, but not thick and sludgy like bourbon county or anything. in fact, it might be one of the better carbonated imperial stouts out there. its a lot like old rasputin from north coast i though, maybe a little less of the english ale yeast character in this one, but the grain bill feels very similar. its big and full bodied, but its also interesting, with maybe some oats or even rye in here in some proportion. it gives the beer a fluffy feeling, and i taste raisin and chocolate in here, its delicious without being overly complex. pillowy in its mouthfeel and well carbonated, which is uncommon and unexpected in the style, and the finish lasts forever. the booze is well hidden behind the unsweetened chocolate bitterness. a true gem, especially on tap. easily one of the best non barrel aged stouts in the country.

Photo of oberon
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to AKsmokedPorter for this big gem of a beer,pours a deep black with a few ruby highlights showing thru with a mocha colored head,aroma ofrum and nuts with some bitter chocolate thrown in just incredibley appetizing with its wide variety.A big rich stout very chewey mouthfeel big and buttery with that rum note again with some nuttiness as well.A big complex awesome beer, man I miss getting GLB beers on a regular basis cuzz this one would be in my fridge all the time.

Photo of RoyalT
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Guess what? This beer is black. Yes, black as night. It also has a very nice brownish head. This is a great beer to stare at.

Smell – Big, stouty smells even when cold. The chocolate, cocoa powder, refined sugar, and coffee lay well on a bed of roasted, almost burnt malts. As it opens up, the malts really come alive. This is an olfactory treat.

Taste – Amazing! A 5.0 for sure. This one blew me away. The malts really take over at the taste, and it is smooth as silk. Dark, burnt, bitter silk. The coffee is also huge here. It is just as much stout-flavored coffee as it is coffee-flavored stout.

I didn’t expect this big of a punch. The bitterness is so strong yet so smooth. It reminds me of some heavy, almost syrupy Middle Eastern coffee that my Lebanese sito (grandmother) used to brew. I can almost feel the loose grounds on my tongue.

Mouthfeel – Full in the mouth with some of the most harmonious flavors that I’ve ever tasted. This is a symphony in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – This could not have tasted or felt better.

Comments – OFS, the God of beer trading, comes through huge on this one. It’s going to be hard to top this offering from Great Lakes.

Photo of aszatk01
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The thing that strikes me most about his beer is the supremely smooth transition between its wonderful creamy upfront chocolate sweetness and its intense bitter hopped/alcohol finish. The aromas and flavors are huge, consisting largely of chocolate, coffee, tobacco, brown sugar, cherries, plums, smoke and burnt… burntness. Appearance is great. The beer is almost pure blackness. The crown is creamy and thick and leaves a nice coating around the edge of the glass. Drinkability is insane when I’ve had this stuff on tap. The bottled variety was a little more difficult to drink. The alcohol seemed less covered to me.

Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Jet-black pour with a light tan head, decent retention without much lacing being left along the glass. Aroma is full of creamy roastiness; a nice campfire sweetness with burnt, roasted barley, sweet chocolates, some char, and woody tones. The nose is heavy and robust, sure to please any big time stout fan. Blackout stout is no joke - the beer is very silky and smooth on the tongue, roasted barley hits first in large quantities, followed by some dirty and earthy flavors, again, reminiscent of a campfire smoke-out. Hints of smoke lay in the background; halfway through, more malty sweetness comes out in the form of black licorice, dates, grape skins, coffee loaded with cream and sugar, molasses, and syrup. The sweetness is apparent but never sickening or cloying thanks to the alcohol and hop profile. The alcohol is warm but not hot, and the hops are a bit flowery and dry, providing a bit of bitterness to combat the sweetness. Aftertaste lays heavily on the roasted side with some fading char and light ashy bitterness. Body is on the thicker side, silky, smooth, creamy, medium carbonation.

Hot damn, Great Lakes Brewing Company knows what they're doing. Nearly every brew I try by them, I am utterly impressed. They continue to deliver, brew after brew, style after style, and Blackout Stout is no exception. I wish this beer were a little easier to find.

Photo of t2grogan
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Reviewed from notes on 7/19/10.

A: Pretty black with a 1 finger mocha head. The head recedes and leaves a hazy film with tightly cropped darker bubbles here and there that look like bunches of grapes. The lacing is sparkly and decently sticky.

S: Big, roasted malts make themselves known immediately. Aromas of bitter chocolate, molasses, and toffee creep in behind the roastyness. Some dark toast, a touch of weathered leather, and unsalted peanuts almost come out in the bouquet. Mostly, the smell is that big, roasty, toasty malt aroma with the sweeter flavor peeking out like a little brother hiding behind his older sibling. The molasses smell really jumps out as the beer warms.

T: An opposite of the smell, the sweeter flavors really dominate the taste with dark chocolate and molasses leading the charge, while the roastyness tucks away into the sides of my mouth. Then, at the end of each sip, the bittering hops activate on my tongue and re-accentuate the bitterness of the roasted malted barley. The yeast adds a hearty, pumpernickel-like taste to the collage of flavors.

M: Good for a RIS, but not great. I keep waiting for a heavy, coating sensation to wash over my palate, but the sip is mainly medium bodies with a puckering bitterness at the end.

D: Extraordinarily drinkable. The combination of the sweet choco-molasses and the roasted malt and bittering hops make this a smooth drinker that I will seek out again in the future.

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SanFranJake
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of delaced21
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of sgoodship
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 at the Binny's in the South Loop, Chicago. Weather was crazy in Chicago today. Had a whole bunch of snow, so a hearty stout was a good way to go.

A: Blackout is a great name because this stuff is as dark as they come. Hint of mahogany coming through the edges against the light. Gave a nice coffee finger head. No lacing and the head reduced quickly to a thick creamy ring that stayed around for the duration like a faithful old black Labrador.

S: Bitter, burned roasted malt. Little bit of burned sugar. A little chocolate. Nice. As the drink settled in the glass, I began to smell more whiskey type alcohol.

T: First taste was bitter coffee with a burnt roasted malt, it rushed quickly past a teaser of alcohol and went straight into a more bready malt finish with a slightly hoppy/bitter coffee-like aftertaste. As it warmed in the glass, the alcohol definitely started to become more dominant. As it warmed more, the alcohol stepped back a touch to allow for a licorice profile to creep in. Heavy alcohol flavor and licorice - two things I am not a huge fan of.

M: Smooth and a nice medium to full body but the alcohol and maybe the hops with an assist from the low carbonation give it a sharp burn that I could do without.

D: I am a huge fan of Great Lakes. I did not enjoy this as much as I did last year and I'm not sure if the beer changed or my taste changed. There is so much I love about this brew but the bitter combination of burnt malt and alcohol combined with a cloying type licorice makes it harder to drink than it needs to be. I'd be happier if it were a smoother drink but that's the beauty of beer - that's just my taste! Try it and enjoy it. I will certainly enjoy the 2 I have left and look forward to it next year.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue II:

Brewed in dedication of the "Blackout Of 2003" which turned the lights off for about 50 million people. Pours off thick and produces a tight, tiny-bubbled tan lace. A shade or two from pitch black, some ruby highlights are noticeable. Aromas of burnt sugar, unsweetened dark chocolate, medium-roasted coffee and fresh black berries. Extremely smooth and creamy with a slick full body. Hop bitterness becomes pronounced right in the middle with suggestions of orange and mint. Maltiness drops layers of sweetness and roasted/burnt flavors with hint of chocolate cake, dark molasses and freshly-used coffee grounds. Ghost-like smokiness. Some alcohol warmth is present with some dark berry esters. The burnt character peaks toward the end but never becomes acrid or overbearing. Finishes a little sweet.

Wow, very impressive, and right on-target for the Imperial Stout style. A little deceiving, the alcohol is noticeable but clean and keeps this beer within a very drinkable state.

Photo of TuckerCarlson
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't reviewed in forever, but here goes:

Served at around cellar temperature (took it out of the fridge while I went grocery shopping) in a Bud American Ale glass (imperial pint with etched base for continuous bubbling). Well past the "please enjoy by" date of 8/2/2010 on the bottle, but I'm not particularly concerned, considering the style.

a: totally opaque, and not much head or head retention; what remains appears creamy and tan; slight lacing (head and lacing could have been stronger with a more aggressive pour)

s: dark, strong; fruity, alcoholic, and slightly burnt

t: sweet up front, moving into dark/burnt flavors on the tongue with drying from the alcohol, resolving into this flavor common in my favorite dark beers that I can only describe as somewhat grassy; chocolate and raisins through the second two-thirds; fruitier and not as heavily laden with dark/burnt flavors as North Coast Old Rasputin and Victory Storm King

m: not terribly carbonated, which is good; thick, but not the most viscous beer I've drank

d: it's hard to talk about a Russian Imperial Stout as "drinkable", but this rates pretty well in terms of enjoyability; excellent as a dessert, and a much better alternative to chocolate mousse; I'll probably reach for Edmund Fitzgerald (from Great Lakes) or Victory Storm King (in the RIS category) more often, but this is a decadent, delicious offering from a solid brewery

Photo of bdkucharski
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Ben7773
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was happy to find this at my local the other day. Deep dark charcoal night pour into my tulip glass with a nice dark tan bubbly head. No light is getting through here..bring your candles. Big molasses, bitter coffee, sweet cocoa, dark fruits and some piney hops. The nose is very bold and rich...inviting.

First sip brings a big, bold burnt chocolate maltiness mixed with coffee, rich molasses, hints of vanilla and a nice bitter piney hoppiess. Wow. A cornucopia of flavors explode across the palate....this is just a damn fine imperial stout. There's a nice interplay between the sweet and bitter flavors as well.

Superbly lush, full bodied, creamy and thick. This is how I like my stouts!! It's a joy to drink this brew, especially after a hard days work. The alcohol is well hidden and I could easily see having a few of these. Another great brew from Great Lakes...highly recommended to all fans of imperial stouts.

Photo of blitz134
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppymeal for this one...

There's a blackout in my glass. Pitch black body, light brown head came with about 3/4" thickness but reduced to a thin foam layer.

Aroma is strong chocolate and deep roasted coffee. Very smooth aroma with nothing harsh coming through. A bit of sweet fruit rounds it out.

Coffee and chocolate are at the forefront on this one and then it transitions to some sweeter notes of fresh dark fruit, plum and some raisin. Then there is a nice bitterness which lingers for a bit in the finish. A combination of smooth and bitter fight for a dominate position on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full. Coats the entire mouth and the flavor lingers for quite a while. Drinkability is superb. No harshness to be found really and a nice play of flavors on the tongue make this one that is easy to enjoy.

Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of bulldogg915
4/5  rDev -5%

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 3,035 ratings.