Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,096 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,096
Reviews: 1,155
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 447
Gots: 552 | FT: 38
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: 3,096 | Reviews: 1,155
Reviews by zhooker:
Photo of zhooker
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (3 months left, according to the drink-by date) into a DFH pint glass. DARK. Hauntingly dark. Opaque dark. Enough said. Mountain of head; great retention through about half the glass (half a finger or so). Lacing nicely.

The nose is all fireside roastiness. Contra my expectations, little chocolate or coffee. Well, maybe more coffee than originally thought. But just a little more. Overall it's pretty big and smoky. The aroma matches the appearance in intensity.

This is a surprisingly hoppy brew. Much more so than Great Lakes' Edmund Fitzgerald porter, which I think is comparable. But this guy/gal is much more bouncy on the back of the tongue, a hop-driven frenzy, I am guessing. Just think big roasted black malt taste, with a tinge of sweetness, and a nice bitter finish.

This all makes it pretty explosive in your mouth. I wouldn't call it smooth, but it is exciting. There seems to be some extra carbonation going on here too, really pushing the flavor all up in every part of your grill. The hop finish characteristically roughs up the back of your tongue a little.

I'd have two or three of these before I needed a change of pace. It would probably be the either the big roasted flavors or the hops that I would tire of. The sweetness is well balanced, so no complaints there. This is a good stout, but nothing is pushing it into the range of excellence.

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 Mooslerfitness
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served out of a sniffer best buy 5/08/15chocolate Hershey bar on nose
T chocolate moca coffee with slight alcohol this is a must for stout lovers who dont care about barrel age

Photo of jpro
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A delicious, drinkable imperial stout... A lot of flavor and very enjoyable.

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 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 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 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 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 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 nickadams2
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Pours dark brown with a thick light brown head that quickly dissipates. Thick with little lacing.

S_ Rich malt,coffee,and dark chocolate.

T_Heavy malt and dark chocolate up front. Bitter coffee nicely rounds out the sweetness of the malt.Slightly boozy.

M_Thick and viscous. Coats mouth nicely.

D_Real smooth for a big brew. Like to enjoy a couple in a sitting.

Photo of ROBORB
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of Mike, thanks brother!

This beer pours a deep black with a long lasting 1 inch thick brown head. The aroma consists of roasted malts, chocolate and a very vibrant fruit. The taste follows the aroma with a very prominent malt presence and a bitter follow through. This was a great example of a RIS and I would love to try the barrel aged version of this.

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

2011 release; best by 5/5/12

A - Pours very dark brown wit two fingers of brown head. Head has very good retention and leaves rings of lacing.

S - Dark chocolate, a bit of sugar, some dark dried fruits and a mil coffee presence. Very nice. Smells a bit on the sweet side, but not over the top.

T - Some hops up front that I did not notice in the aroma, followed by massive bittersweet chocolate. Some deep roasted malts with coffee and a faint amount of char, and some dark fruits on the finish. Similar to the smell, there is a touch of sweetness, but the roasted/bitter elements are much more prominent.

M - Medium mouthfeel, actually slightly oily. Finishes on the dry side.

O - Really solid RIS. I wouldn't buy it by the case, but I look forward to a 4-pack each year.

Photo of barhoc11
4/5  rDev -5%

I have wanted to try this one for a while so maybe I had higher expectations...

This thing tastes like a Edmund Fitzgerald on steroids, which isn't a bad thing, but its just too sweet for my taste. I like my RIS's to be thick and viscous, which this is not. This is still a 'above average' RIS but not in the same ballpark as some others.

This is a beer I would try out to see if it fits your tastes.

Photo of generallee
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The body has a dark brown/black color that is nearly opaque. On top there is a Light tan head of modest size (about one finger) that fades down to just a small ring of bubbles that makes some slick lacing.

Smell: The aroma has lots of roasted malty grain and a heavy vodka like alcohol presence.

Taste/Mouth: It has a big sweet malt flavor up front with lots of roasted grain, roasted malt and roasted coffee notes. This is surrounded by a heavy boozy alcohol presence and tempered by solid hop bitterness. Also there is some mild odd fruitiness in there as well. The finish really hits you with sweet boozy alcohol that hangs on the tongue and warms the palate. The texture is full, smooth and slick with mild carbonation.

Notes: This is a big full bodied slow sipper.

Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with a freshness date on the label. I am sure this beer will do well many months after the freshness date has expired.

Appearance: Thickly cropped tan head forms with a trail of spider web like lace. Midnight black color lets no light through.

Smell: Hints of charcoal and black currants with a faint smokiness in the back.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Creamy dark chocolate flavor is dominant with burnt grain and dark roasted coffee within. Hops are a bit dim with some oily residue and bitterness in the back end.

Drinkability & Notes: Not bad, not bad at all … had to pair this with some chocolate and it did very well with the dark chocolate.

Photo of merlin48
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours an inky, old motor oil body, quite opaque. Two cm light brown head retains well, and leaves some patchy lace behind.

Aroma: Dark roasted malts open the show with burnt coffee, bitter chocolate, nutty hazelnut, smoked almonds, and a kiss of cherries. Some smoky, campfire wood adds an interesting complexity to the excellent nose.

Mouthfeel: Coating and smooth, yet medium bodied. A nice combination.

Taste: Wow! Very nice. Dark roasted malts are compelling, with old coffee bitterness, bittersweet medium chocolate, and a hint of cherries. A solid "whomp" of fruit esters enters midway through, and adds some McIntosh apple notes to the cherries. The pleasing fruit esters are accompanied by a note of fusel alcohol, and combine quite well on the palate. Lots of nutty flavors add to the mix, with smoked almonds and hazelnuts adding a kiss of smokiness. Expected bitter roasty finish concludes this pleasant bottle.

Drinkability/Impression: This is a kickass American impy stout that is accented with an excellent array of fruit esters and smoky nuttiness that compliments the dark, roasted malts perfectly. Highly recommended!

Photo of warriorsoul
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Buckspin for this one...been holding onto this for a while and today feels like the right time to enjoy...last day of winter.
Dense black with half a finger of cocoa-colored head that disappears within minutes, except a thin creamy layer that leaves behind some magnificent lacing.
Aroma is a masterful blend of dark chocolate, fig, espresso, and roasted alcohol in the nose.
Taste is real impressive...very rich, sweet chocolate, robust coffee, caramel and a small amount of bittering hops. The bitterness remains just a touch in the finish...otherwise, quite clean. Again, no hint of the alcohol...just how do you make 9% disappear? I feel it as it warms me up, but a very drinkable high gravity brew.
Mouthfeel is smooth, quite thick and goes down too easy...this is one I'd snag a full case and sit on a good 12 for a year or two. One excellent brew from GL.

Photo of MisterDeeds
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears to pour solid jet black, but a little light shows through a ruby glimmer.

Smells of roasted coffee and dark malts.

Taste has plenty going on for it. A bit of sweet malts, quickly dominated by a dark roasted coffee malts, and a bit of bitter finishing hops. The sweetness tries to find it's way back in on the finish as well, making this a very unique brew.

Mouthfeel is very nice for a stout. Nowhere near thin, but not three year old motor oil either.

Drinkability is a tough one for this brew, because while the taste and feel are phenomenal, the thick coating it leaves behind, and high octane level it packs would have me struggling after two. I would say it could be a perfect after dinner beer, or a nice brew to nurse on a cold night.

Special thanks to RixBeer for hooking me up with this one. If he has any left, I'd recommend you pay him a visit....

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black in color, 1/2 inch head, opaque, medium carbonation

Smell: roasted malt, sweet cream and sugar

Taste: dark and sweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, a good dose of earthy hops, and light caramel

Mouthfeel: heavy bodied, medium-low carbonation,chewy, sweet with distinct bitterness

Overall: A nice and hoppy imperial stout that shows off multiple layers as it warms. A great winter beer. I would certainly pop one of these each weekend if it was available here.

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 3,096 ratings.