Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,144 Reviews
THE BROS
89
very good

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Reviews: 1,144
Hads: 3,114
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 447
Gots: 558 | FT: 37
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,144 | Hads: 3,114
Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great start, with a bottle picture and description that reminds those of us who survived the Great Grid Blackout. Then a beautiful black pour. A stout with great American hops and some malt taste. Thanks to Chuck's Fine Wines for breaking up a six pack for me.
Second bottle 26 months later, great and substantial coffee and roast aroma. Beautiful mocha ring on head. bMedium mouthfeel,n warming alcohol, satisfying coffee aftertaste. (438 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at RFD, Washington, DC

A: It poured very dark amber (near black) in color with a thin layer of mocha-colored bubbles on the surface.
S: The nose mostly has aromas of dark, roasted malts along with some notes of chocolate and coffee.
T: Like the smell, there are lots of flavors of dark, roasted malts along with chocolate and coffee. There is also some bitterness, particularly in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and somewhat creamy on the palate. There is a little dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink. I would definitely try another one of these. (597 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with a nice mocha head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. Initial nose is plenty of roasted malt followed up by dark chocolate, caramel/toffee, and hints of molasses. Taste is nice. Some sweetness is added in, which dilutes some of the nuances of the nose. Mouthfeel is nice, thick, and chewy. Very drinkable. A very solid stout for how widely available it is. (381 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by 10/1/06; reviewed 1/5/09

Appearance: Pours an obsidian color with a creamy tan head that pancakes the liquid and leaves bubbles of lace behind

Smell: Dark chocolate, plenty of roast; almost cigar-like from the oxidation, I suspect

Taste: A mouthful of dark chocolate is joined, by mid-palate, with a tobacco and dark fruit (prunes and dates) combination, that gets surprisingly bitter; after the swallow, the bitterness lingers and is joined by the cigar flavors from the aroma

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Over 2 years beyond its best by date and still drinking superbly; a fine beer; I have tasted it fresh and it has quite a hop kick; I like it both fresh as well as cellared (733 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev +6%
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. (1,008 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extremely solid stout. Huge roasted malt character and malt sweetness. Lots of complexity with unusual balcance. Light lactose additions help to mellow the rough 'stout-like' edges without contributing sourness. Oatmeal like smoothness does the same. Higher than normal carbonation combined with lightly fusal alcohols causes a scrubbing of the throat on the way down. This the only flaw. Finishes with a roasty-sweet sensation and lightly charcoal-like. Other contributing posatives: french roast, milk chocolate, and marshmellows in the nose, flavor, and feel. Quite nice. (574 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a black rich looking liquid. The head was creamy and brown in color. The lacing looked good on the glass. The smell of the beer was roasted with some coffee and chocolate on the nose. I slight amount of dark fruit in there too with some booze. The taste of the beer had a good strength to it, lots of chocolate upfront and bad a burnt toast flavor in the back end. The flavor wasn't as strong as some of the Russian Imperials out there. The mouthfeel was thick and full bodied. Overall I found this beer to be damn good and would enjoy having it again one day. (584 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Jdoolin : Poured a deep black color stout with a nice foamy head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of chocolate and coffee malt is well balance with a medium hoppy finish. Taste is really well balance between chocolate malt, some dry roasted malt and a medium bitter finish. Body was quite full with some adequate carbonation. Overall, I thought this was well done and alcohol was not perceptible. I might have lack some complexity but it was still quite enjoyable. (489 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Almost black, more of a dark brown. More opacity than I would expect from the style, though it's certainly still dark.

Smell - Bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, dark roasted coffee beans and the faintest trace of alcohol.

Taste - Licorice, espresso, earthy hops, dark chocolate and a bit of burnt bitterness. Excellent balance between sweet, roasty and hoppy flavors. Medium in body and considerably less rich than many imperial stouts. The finish is more on the dry and bitter side, leaving an pleasantly acrid burnt flavor on the roof of the mouth.

Notes - Above average but perhaps not world-class. (623 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glossy anthracite with a faint glimmer of light at the margins, capped by a firmsticky, resolute head of cocoa brown. Thick, chunky gobs of lace affix themselves to the glass and will, no doubt, have to be removed with hot water. Great Lakes brews lace monsters and this one is no exception.

Blackout smells of chocolate syrup-laced black coffee with supporting roles being played by hops and smoke. There are faint echoes of dark brown sugar, but no molasses spiciness that I could appreciate. It's a wonderful aroma, I just hope the coffee is scaled back on the palate.

Wow, this is powerful stuff! My first sip exploded over my tongue, coated my mouth and sent a frisson of pleasure straight into my brain. First of all, although I didn't doubt it for a second, this beer has the most substantial mouthfeel of any Great Lakes offering in existence, and GL is a brewery known and celebrated for that characteristic. Blackout Stout is easily as full and as rich as Victory Storm King Stout. It doesn't quite top the pure, heavy silkiness of Perkuno's Hammer, but it's damn close.

As Imperial stouts go, it isn't overly complex. It's just a hugely delicious, coffee/chocolate flavor bomb that is pure poetry in the mouth. Hops, smoke and anise give it character and added personality, but don't really detract from the mission at hand. If possible, the flavor knob hits '11' with warming and the beer becomes more spicy as well. It's hard to imagine a more robust, more flavorful, yet more drinkable beer in this category. 9% ABV? You'd never know it.

Blackout Stout is great beer from one of the truly great breweries in North America. It has instantly become one of my favorites and it is my fervent hope that Great Lakes will decide to brew it year-round. I'd also like to see it distributed to this state, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll be stocking up on my trips back to Ohio, though, that much is certain. Highly recommended. A huge 'thank you' to Dogbrick for the opportunity. (1,993 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cellared 2005 bottle.

Super midnight black body, topped with a tan cappucino tinged head of foam. Spindly spots of lacing ring the glass. Looking good for a two-year old brew.

Slight sweetness to the aroma, banana esters, almond, caramel malt are all present.

Hops are still there, but way in the back. Subdued bitterness results, meshing well with the charred malts in the middle. Earthiness lingers well into the finish, with a mild coffee bean presence. Dark baker's chocolate runs through the whole experience, very tasty and satisfying. Nutty and dry in the finish, which lasts for a good while. Any notion of alcohol heat has been subdued, but it still packs some strength. Creamy feel to it...easy to get lost with this one. (737 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a thick black, almost oil like. Extremely opaque with no light penetration what so ever. Huge tan head, gave was very reluctantly leaving a nice web of lace all down the glass for the duration.

S - Smell was very thick, robust and full. Sweet tones were the dominant choice here. Lots of milk sugar was evident and welcomed, with the slight hints of coffee and vanilla, perhaps a cookie dough coming through, Just what I would expect.

M & T - Ahh nothing like a good stout. Felt very thick, full, smooth and creamy. This was definatly a dessert and fitting for my nightcap. The taste was very very sweet, and had alot of vanilla in the flavor. Almost tasted like a vanilla ice cream shake! Hints of coffee and roasted dark chocolate were hiding in there. One of the sweetest full flavored stouts I have had, very nice.

D - Overall this was awesome. A very classic big stout that made me smile. I really enjoyed this and must say it definatly lived up to expectations. I have to give much props to this, full in every sense of the word. (1,056 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (478 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeff for sending me this beer many moons ago. Finally got around to opening this one.

A: The pour is a very dark brown color that can look black if in the right lighting. A small but sturdy tan head.

S: Lots of nice roast and chocolate aromas right off the bat. As I smell this beer a few more times the intense coffee aroma really starts to make itself known.

T: Quite a bit of coffee is present on the palate as well. Underneath, lots of roasted malts and semisweet chocolate which helps to balance out the intense roast of the coffee and malt components.

M: The body is maybe a bit light for an imperial stout, but this beer is very smooth on the tongue so I can't punish it too much.

D: Really pleasant and easy to drink. I really liked this beer quite a lot and found the 9% ABV to be not be present at all. (827 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a full, frothed, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Roasty, creamy, chocolatey aroma with an underlying spiciness and a scent of vanilla powder.

Taste: Creamy dark chocolate and smooth, sweet caramel. Light fruitiness. A touch of wood, roast, and light spice. Sprinkled vanilla-flavored sugar. A bit warming in the chalky, chocolatey finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Though I could use a bit more fullness to the body, it's still a very good stout. Good one, Great Lakes. (555 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to Wedge421 for hooking me up with this bottle!

...I'm out of catchy tunes here, so...yeah... This guy pours a straight obsidian, luster and all, with a small layer of hussy-white bubbly head. The nose is of deep chocolate, molasses, vodka (the hell?), dark malts, a hint of coffee, and some black cherries waaaay in the back. The taste is somewhat similar, with notes of dark oats, figs, raisins, bitter chocolate, and an alcholic burn thrown in for good pyromaniacal measure. The body is a heavy medium, with low carbonation and a surprisingly watery feel. In fact, it's this thinness that knocks it down a peg for me. Just too much water, y'know? Ask the gilled Kevin Costner...he'll set ya straight. Overall, a pretty solid stout, but I just don't feel it's all that excellent, nor does it live up to its hype. Now I've gotta track down a barrel-aged version to keep that one honest... (936 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

The beer pours a very dark almost black color with several fingers of thick tan head. The head fades to a nice layer rather quickly and leaves some lacing on the side of the glass. I wasn't in love with the smell of this beer. I'm getting some sweet malt and dark fruit, but there is a slightly off note that I'm having trouble describing. Fortunately, the note that I didn't like in the smell didn't show up in the taste. While this was a very roasty beer, I thought the roast was quite smooth. I'm also getting dark chocolate and some dark fruit. The finish is sweet and roasty. The alcohol is quite well hidden. I'd have another bottle in the future. (705 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Appearance: Typical stout appearance. Opaque black body with ruby glints of light coming through at the base of the glass. Creamy tan head. Good head retention and lacing.
Smell: Surprisingly limited. Offers some roastiness (some ashen/smokey character and a bit of coffee) and dull bittersweet chocolate.
Taste: There's a nice thread of soft fruitiness that runs through the Blackout, but there's also a rougher strand of alcohol that goes along with that, so it's kind of a trade-off. Beyond that it's quite basic with notes of dark caramel, brown sugar, burnt sugar, bittersweet chocolate, and a light dusting of dark cocoa. The alcohol is noticeable, but not to the point of being distracting - although it clearly cuts down on the drinkability. Some grassy and leafy hops flitter about in the background, which is appropriate for the style (although some brewers are bringing them more to the front lately).
Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with a gently tingling carbonation that opens to become airy as it warms. Smooth and slick once warmed.
Drinkability: It's rich, but blunt. And not very complex for what it is. Unmasked notes of alcohol hinder it. Otherwise it's a decent sipper for a cool autumn or winter night. (1,257 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the GLBC.

Pours a dense black with a thin head of mocha colored tan foam. Retains well around the edges and with some thin wisps across the center that leaves a nice smattering of lace behind down the sides of the glass. The aroma posesses deep notes of chocolate, char, espresso, dark fruits, floral hops, a smidge of heat, and what I affectionately like to call the "Cleveland Funk".

The taste matches the aroma, with burnt roasted malts up front, cocoa and caramel sweetness, zippy coffee, tart cherry notes, and a lively bitterness that runs through the profile. The mouthfeel is chewy, thick, and slick across the palette but still maintains a pretty poppy carbonation upon first sip. The finish is warm, sticky, and lingering.

This is just a really solid RIS and one that I really look forward to each year. I'm glad that I was able to get out there in time to still have some on draft. Packed with bold flavors and a beefy, warm feel, it still stays pretty quaffable for its size. Great stuff as usual from the GLBC. (1,038 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from biegaman, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle with a into a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a short beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of chocolate and roasted malts along with some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is typically RIS malty up front with a strong flavor of bitter-sweet dark chocolate, however, this beer isn't quite as thick or heavy as many big stouts. There's a very mild hops presence which is to be expected given the style and the fact that this beer is over 2 years-old. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky but clean for the style.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a really good big stout to drink for a long time especially with some age on it. (984 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got a couple of these that I've been saving, this is the first to taste, thanks to both Noslenwerd and Tyson for this one. Enjoy by 08/02/10, it's been in the cellar for a while, but that's the way I likes it!

A nice head, semi dark and thick, frothy and slow fading with a nice lacing, shows itself. The beer below is as black as the midnight. Once the head eventually fades it shows the nice lacing on the sides and keeps a light head covering.

The nose is beautiful! It wafts out lots of dark malts, a really nice roasty malt with a little coffee and touch of bitter like aromas, as well as a little black patent malt, and a touch of bakers chocolate. It seems to have a touch of a creamy note as well. There is some nice sweetness, plenty of caramel, a little molasses, a touch of vanilla, and some aged malt aromas even.

The taste is very rich, thick, lush, and pillowy. A nice malt profile again, with plenty of roasted malts and a little coffee, a little black patent malt, and a touch of bakers chocolate still. Some light creamy tastes, and a fluffy nougat like taste too. Some sweetness, but not a lot, with some caramel and touch of vanilla. A little bitterness, touch of earthy hops I think, as well as some bitterness from the roasted malts, but this is kept at bay very well. For all the dark malts and roast I would have expected a lot more minerality and bitterness. A touch of an aged malt taste too, which could be for the fact this has been sitting in the cellar for a year or so, or from the beer itself. It also doesn't have the 9% abv feel, drinks more like 7%. It reminds me a lot of Night Stalker from Goose Island.

The mouth is pretty thick, lush, rich, and pillowy, with decent carbonation for the style.

It finishes with lots of the malts still lingering for a while. As it coats the mouth, most of the flavors just linger. Some of the roast and black patent malt remain, but a lot less now. More bitterness though as the hops and roasted malts catch up finally. Some sweetness, but dries a bit too. More of the caramel, vanilla, and rich malty flavors linger, with more of the pillowy nougat and a little chocolate. No real boozy taste either. (2,177 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

original review Look -4.5 Smell 4.5 Taste 5 Feel 5 Overall 5
I enjoyed this courtesy of tenderbranson69 enjoyed in a tasting glass cool.

Appearance is deep brown with a thick looking body and thin ring of ecru cream. The smell has lots of vanillaand mild bitter aroma of slight wood which could be the hops w/light smokiness and gentle toffe accents. The cocoa presence is deep in the nose. The feel is full with moderate carbonation and gentle sweetness w/ moderate bitterness and mild sweet feel as it finishes with a goodly amount of spice but mild roasted textures in general.

This tastes like a luscious stout right off the bat it has some woody notes with a lot of cocoa and sweet caramel giving a smooth taste with bits of toast and slight hop edge which has a mellow woody bitterness and subtle toffee in there which provides a nice balance to the alcohol and hops w/ slight vanilla creaminess midway into a mild pepper and gentle molasses element near the end of the taste. Overall this is incredibly smooth and easy to drink for the abv, pretty much nails it for me with a lot of dark grain flavor without an abundance of bitterness to take away, a wonderful beer and instense amount of flavor, just great in every way.

re-review 2/5/2015 enjoyed chilled in a stout glass.
black as advertized with thin light tan head after settling and very fine bead with spots of lace sticking. The smell is good with malty aroma with caramel scent and mild roast aroma with gentle alcohol w/ a subtle milk chocolate quality. The feel is rich with creamy, roast and medium carbonation with light sweet flavor and full body with mild bitterness with subtle alcohol as it finishes semi-dry

The taste has lush malt layers with creamy caramel interwoven with chocolate malt roastiness and slight smooth with low bitterness and semi-sweet almost dessert-like with a coffee/cocoa and caramel blend of malt qualities as it finishes with mostly dry and mild alcohol flavor with low harshness and some raisin-like sweet flavors. Overall this is a wonderful stout with lots to like but finishes a bit sweet -not as drinkable as I remember but still worthy and one I recommend as a great example of the style. (2,202 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to t0rin0 for throwing this in as an extra in a trade!

Pours pitch black with a tan head. Nose is not very evident, but there is malt and coffee thing with some molasses. Flavor is smooth and fairly sweet with a bit of coffee on the back side. Molasses is there too. Thick and robust, but not massively complex. There has to be a load of alcohol in here because I am feeling the hit after a third of a pint, and I have only had a few beers tonight. Feel is slick on liquid and the carbonation is low but good. Nice to drink. A smooth and slick stout. (558 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev -6%
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. (695 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to joe1510 for this one, this is one I've been hoping to try for a decade! Tasting based on notes

Pours chestnut/mahogany with 2+ fingers of mocha head, Above average lacing & head retention

S: Coffee, cocoa & some booze when warm

T: Rich dark chocolate & a hint of coffee up front. Slight boozeyness & chicory as this warms, plus oaky vanilla, a bit of herbal hop bitterness, & charred grains. Finishes sweet, chocolatey & a bit boozey

MF: Chewy with moderate carbonation & nice smoothness, plus some stickyness

Very easy to drink, the flavor in this beauty would make ignore the the ABV if available in quantity here. Well put together RIS! (654 characters)

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,144 ratings.