Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,145 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,145
Hads: 3,123
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 7.89%
Wants: 450
Gots: 561 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Blackout Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,145 | Hads: 3,123
Photo of blitz134
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (842 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good Russian Imperial Stout. Pours to a very dark color, maybe not completely pitch black, though it is very opaque. Head is a light chocolatey color. Lacing doesn't stick, nor does the head stay around for long.

The smell is good. Very chocolatey with a nice bold coffee aroma. Very rich. Not briney in the least bit. The taste is similar, though even more exceptional. Tastes like dark chocolate with a very nice bold coffee roast. Nice balance between sweet, dry, and bitter.

The body is nice and thick. Decent carbonation. Quite drinkable for such a big stout. I love this stuff. I wish I had more. (623 characters)

Photo of jdmorgan
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a small, but creamy head. The smell had dark and rich aromas of roasted malt with a hint of coffee. In addition, the aroma had sort of a sweet smell to it. The taste was very bold and the hop bitterness likewise had some "bite" to it. The taste of the high amount of alcohol in this beer was also present. The mouthfeel was medium/thick with low carbonation. Unfortunately, I felt that the high alcohol taste of this beer lowered it's drinkability for me. Nonetheless, this is a hearty imperial stout and would be a good companion with a meal. I believe those who enjoy imperial stouts will find this to be a quality beer which I recommend trying. (661 characters)

Photo of AltBock
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this on-tap at the Great Lakes Brewpub. The bartender poured it into a small 12oz. or something a little smaller than that Snifter glass. The temperature was just right, not too cold and not too warm. I had this in bottles before, so I can say is that the flavor and everything else was enhanced just a little bit.

When it came to me in the Snifter glass, it was a pitch black color with a nice size (considering the size of the glass) off white head of foam. It receded very nicely leaving behind it plenty of that off white color lace. The smell was still the same of the bottled version but just a little better. The aroma was that of a pleasant mixture of roasted malts, roasted coffee beans, and just a hint of sweet chocolate in the background. On-tap enhanced the flavor of the sweet dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, roasted malt, and the hint of bitter hops at the end. Excellent! The mouthfeel was thick, full bodied, and this time I could feel the 9% ABV. Wow! A beer that is a must try on-tap. But becareful that ABV will sneak up on you. Way to go Great Lakes! (1,086 characters)

Photo of Graham21
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 cm head, almost dissapeared, looks like very low cabonation, coffee colored.

It smells like coffee and a milk chocolate, and roasted malt undertones,also maybe some fruit(berries?)

It tastes creamy, like milk chocolate, coffee, hoppy and malty. Good carbonation. (270 characters)

Photo of ej285701
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Chimay goblet. Best before date of Aug.10, 2006.

Pours an extremely dark brown with about an inch of tan head. Looks pretty good.

The smell is very sweet like a milk stout. It reminds me a lot of Bell's Speacial Double Cream Stout. It also smells of strong roasted malts as well as alcohol and a touch of bitter hops.

The taste is not as sweet as the nose, and the roasted malts are definitely more pronounced, as well as a biter-sweet chocolate flavor with some nice hops backing it. Alcohol is noticable as well. This beer is very full-flavored as the finish seems to last forever.

The mouthfeel is full-bodied, altough not as thick as some other imperial stouts. Still, it fits the style.

Dinkability is good, but I don't think I would want to have more than one in a sitting. The roastiness becomes a bit tiresome. I can see how some people may really like this, but I would take a Founder's Imperial Stout over this any day. (971 characters)

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

Poured pitch black with an ample inch and a half head that slowly faded to a nice creamy cover of carmel. Smell is smokey and peat like. Taste is also smokey and somewhat chocolately. Mouthfeel is full.

Overall drinkability is very good. A nice example of a RIS. Considering cracking another one of these, rather than tasting something different. (349 characters)

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

12 Oz Bottle sampled through the efforts of justcas and BIF across America.

Pours a very dark brown beer that is impenetrable by light except slightly around the edges. What little light that can shine through shows some red highlights. Small light brown head formation.

Smell is semi sweet and bready with a good chocolate aroma. Fruity aroma and clean with out any over roasted harsh scents like smoke. Slight cherry aroma but this does in fact smell like a chocolate cake; that isn't a bad thing though.

Taste is sweet for the style and fruity with a bitter aftertaste at the beginning. Good fruit flavor after the shock of the first sip, figs, raisins, cherry, and juicy fruit. Chocolate is much subdued in the taste as compare to the smell, it is here but it is far fainter than the fruity flavors. Coffee is also very subdued in this version of RIS. Pleasant faintly piney bitterness in the after taste.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Quite a tasty RIS and a good one for those who like the fruity complex flavors of RIS more than chocolate and coffee flavors. Lip smacking good beer here. This isn't a Stone RIS but it is damn tasty and a beer I can highly recommend. (1,182 characters)

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

It fits the appearance of an Imperial Stout pretty good. A very dark beer topped with a creamy tan head. Not much in the way of aroma, maybe it’s too cold yet.
This is a very mellow Impy. There is some roast definitely, some alcohol, and certainly some bitterness too. Plenty of cocoa taste.
I usually don't enjoy stouts in the Spring/Summer especially Imperial Stouts but this was a good sipper anytime of the year.

BTW- This beer got better as it warmed. (462 characters)

Photo of cproioi
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Wonderful black body that leaves no room for light to pass through at all.
S: Very interesting smell of roasted malt and some mocha.
T: This is where this beer shines. Had a very rich dark chocolate taste and an over all very full taste that begs to be paired with a rich chocolate dessert.
M: Pretty thick that thickened as it warmed.
D: A beer that should be drank slowly as you share time with friends. However, be careful this beer should be taken seriously. (469 characters)

Photo of klewis
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8/10/06 freshness date

A: Pours an impermeable black with a small fluffy head that quickly subsides. The beer leaves lots of lacing that casually slips back into the beer after each sip.

S: Rich aromas of chocolate and roasted malt. A touch of hops in the back of the bouquet.

T: Malty with earthy flavors up front, followed by a smooth hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Despite an active carbonation, this beer is quite soft and smooth in texture. Its body is as expected for the style.

D: This is a very accessible RIS that isn't as overwhelming as some in the taste and ABV categories, making it quite drinkable. And at the 4/$8.99 price tag, this is quite a good value. (687 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour produces a thin, dark mocha head that soon becomes just a ring around the glass. The beer is nearly black in color.

smell: At the forefront are aromas of roast coffee, almost burnt grain, and an earthiness. Along with those are bittersweet chocolate and spicy green hop aromas. There is a considerable alcohol note, though not detracting, and somewhat expected. I'd like to see a little more malt character, as the hop aroma actually hides quite a bit of it.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a light medium, and the body on the ligher end of the heavy range.

taste: Up front are mixed flavors of different chocolates intermingled with a moderate roasted flavor. The flavors are very smooth and well mixed so that it is hard to pick out this individuals. Hints of cream, smoke, wood, and alcohol are also found. The hop flavor is moderate, though still elusive given all the dark characters. A light to moderate bitterness lingers with a roasted chocolatey flavor into the finish.

drinkability: Good drinkability for a beer of this weight. Alcohol pretty well hidden.

Picked up while somewhere in the Midwest visiting dirtylou, probably cellared for the better part of a year. There is a best by date of July 11, 2005 printed on the bottle.

11-01-06: The hops have calmed down, allowing more complexity to come through in the nose, and this baby has become downright delicious. Bumping smell, mouthfeel, and drinkability up 0.5. (1,463 characters)

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

bought a bottle at odies big ten in lansing, michigan. ($3.09)
pours black with ruby highlights when you hold it up to the light.
the aroma is rich and roasty.
the flavor is malty bit of coffee and chocolate, roasted malt, toffee, hop spice.
the mouthfeel is pleasent and creamy.
this is a great stout, i'm making sure i get a few in my cellar. (349 characters)

Photo of bennetj17
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black pour, but doesn't appear as viscous as anitcipated. The near 1/2 inch tan head dissipates quickly into a touch of froth. A nice ring lingers for a while but eventually fades to nothing. The smell is a great asset to this beer; very toasty and strong, with light notes of chocolate and coffee. The taste begins subtle and turns into a nice roasted coffee flavor with hints of sweet mocha flavor. Moderate bitterness lingers, slight alcohol also. The mouthfeel has quite a medicore thickness for an Imperial Stout, although its quite smooth with decent carbonation. Drinkablity was decent. Usually these beers improve as they warm in your hand, but this one lost its initial sweetness and just became slightly bitter/sour. Luckily the alcohol is pretty well blended. Overall I expected greater things from this top brew... (831 characters)

Photo of CaptCleveland
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fresh 4-pack purchased at local supermarket. Drink by date Sept/06.

A: Pours a dark, oily-black color, tight 1/2 inch head retained after pour into room temperature pint glass.

S: A delight: burnt chocolate, roasted coffee and piny hops.

M: Smooth, medium mouthfeel; not expected with this much alcohol and that dark, oily texture. Pleasant surprise.

D: Smooth, goes down easy; alcohol hidden in complex flavors including malt and nice amount of hops. Could easily have 2-3, until the alcohol catches up.

An exceptional imperial stout. (540 characters)

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

Poured pitch black with a tan bubbly head.

Smell is dark burnt grain and roasted malt with a slight smokiness. Coffee and bitter chocolate. A touch of dark fruit.

Taste is the sweetness of molasses losing the battle with the bitterness of coffee, dark malt, and chocolate. Dark fruit and cherries round this one out.Complex and satisfying. Finish dry with decent hops. Alcohol adds a slight bite, but not enough to give away the high ABV.

Mouthfeel is amazingly soft and full. Very nice.

Very nicely done, but could be a little more complex. (553 characters)

Photo of bashiba
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep black with burgundy highlights and a thick creamy dark tan head with good lacing and retention.

Smell is full of fresh coffee and bitter chocolate.

Taste is a pleasant mix of coffee and chocolate flavors mixing in with a great burnt maltiness, there is a touch of alcohol taste, it transitions well into a nice bitter and slightly herbal hop finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the medium side with a great creaminess to it.

Overall and extremely drinkable Imp Stout. (492 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (621 characters)

Photo of DuqTroops
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - very very black with a brownish color head.

Smell - chocolate and cocoa

Taste – very malty and smooth. i can taste a lot of the coffee flavoring here. Great drink!

Mouthfeel - full flavoring

Drinkability - could not have tasted or felt better.

Comments - Who needs the power grid? (309 characters)

Photo of sopor
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-tinted cola black. A perfect creamy-looking mocha colored head fills the airspace of my pint mug fully, almost to the point of overflowing, thank god for surface tension! This head can stick nearly half an inch over the rim of the glass! Absolutely black in the glass, with cherry-wood and mahogany highlights at the edges of the glass. Head is dissipating very slowly and leaving splotch lace on the glass. A thin film makes it all the way through the pint, with lace forming until the very end (I drank it pretty quick...)

Smells of creamy coffe and bitter dry roast malt. Hints of bittersweet chocolate mingle with notes of roast nuts.

A very well balancesd, very drinkable Imperial Stout. I'm a Pale Ale kinda guy, but this beer is showing me the light, or should I say dark! Starts with bittersweet chocolate leading into nutty roast malt with just the barest touch of bitter black malts and coffee. A very balanced hop addition ties the brew off and leaves you with an aftertaste of hop and chocolate/malt bitterness. Very pleasant IMO, I am an IPA fan, and this is a whole new kind of wonderful bitterness.

Body is full and thick, though not too heavy and oilly like I was afraid it might be.

A great flavor profile and not overly thick body make Blackout an incredible and very drinkable stout. Now if you can handle the 9% abv like its nothing, then you could probably pound this. As for me... this is my second beer today... I'm going to take a nap after this... (1,501 characters)

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

Black with faint ruby/mahogany highlights. The dense cap of brown foam left delicate lacing behind as it subsided to a solid ring. Rich roasted aroma with generous malty sweetness. Faint ripe fruit and alcohol as well. The flavour starts with a straightforward malt sweetness, roast and semi-sweet chocolate. Bitterness blends in nicely throughout. There's a hint of fruit and molasses towards the end and light alcohol warmth/spiciness carries through the finish, along with lingering caramel and roasted sweetness. Full bodied, low carbonation, creamy texture that's a little on the viscous side. This is a beauty. Another reason to plan a trip to visit Great Lakes. (668 characters)

Photo of waldowin
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an inky black. Not very thick, and the thin brown head fades quickly. Impressively black though, and good lacing from the ring that remains of the head.

Faint smell of smoke, espresso roast, dark chocolate and raisins, with a hint of alcohol. Not very strong, but what's there smells good.

Tastes of espresso, hints of fig and chocolate, and a light bitter finish. The hops add a grapefruit tartness to the mix. As it warms, it grows ever more complex. The alcohol is noticeable, but still, very tasty!

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, if not a bit thin for the style. Finish is a bit astringent, but leaves you ready for more coffee goodness.

For a beer this high in ABV, it's very drinkable. Just make sure to keep it in a window between 40-45 degrees. Any colder and it's just a rough alcohol/roast, any warmer and the coffee and hops make it sour. (868 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
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 malt...no 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. (886 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Solid. Pours out to a coffee black color with a big, dense head of cocoa colored foam. Lotsa lace in uniform rings. Nice. Lower level of carbonation. Aromas of malty coffee and chocolate are noted, with a earthy dirt element. Interesting and pleasing. Taste is full bodied and complex; flavors of roasted malts, wood, mild and aged whisky, grain and dark chocolate all stand out. Mouthfeel is creamy yet not overly thick or heavy. A rather drinkable RIS, considering the 9% ABV. This one could possibly benefit from a few months of aging. In anycase, it was good when I had it. Recommended. (590 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours suprisingly light but appears black inside the glass. Seriously subtle and lacking aroma of coffee beans, malt (chocolate, roast), strawberry extract, pine, apple and raisins. In terms of flavor, this is equally balanced by the dark malt, burnt fruit and sharp hop characteristics. Front palate begins with a hint of fruit then leads into a nice chocolate, roast, coffee bean flavor and finishes with a reasonable and acceptable hop flavor and bitterness. Lacking in texture. Just not a very good Imperial and I was really hoping to like this. (549 characters)

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,145 ratings.