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Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,792 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,792
Reviews: 1,097
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 422
Gots: 421 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Wildman on 02-14-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,792 | Reviews: 1,097 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes- Blackout Stout.

A- Dark black with a thick tan head. Overflowing and heavy lacing.
S- Dusty chocolate malt with a sweet sugary touch.
T- Sweet thick chocolate malt. Creamy milky caramel with sweet sugar. No alc. detection and finishes off with a creamy maltiness.
M- Very Smooth and very creamy. Milky and sweet.

Overall- Let it warm up. Wow, delicious! Alc. is hidden behind a big creamy beer!

Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

While doing my post-Christmas inventory, I noticed this one had a BB date of 08/03/09 so didn't want to wait any longer to crack it open. Thin mocha head atop a dark, cola liquid, under a bright light it was apparent the carbonation was still ample. Spotty, ribbon lace and a swirl reproduced head, it seemed nothing had gone past its prime in the last half year or so.

Smell of toasty malts, dark, dark chocolate, a touch of smoke and molasses ... heavenly! Taste was also superb with deep, dark chocolate notes, just enough sweetness to make it delicious, malted barley, some coffee notes, biscotti, and a touch of nutty astringency. The alcohol is extremely well hidden, this RIS goes down extremely well, mouthfeel couldn't be much better than this with a creamy texture and a bitter aftertaste that lingers.

While perhaps not the most complex RIS I've tasted, certainly one of the most tasty, another big winner from Great Lakes Brewery in Ohio, what an outstanding lineup on the US side of the Great Lakes, wish I could get their products in Ontario!

Photo of GilGarp
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dated best before 7/26/09.

Served cool in a OSU Buckeyes pint glass in celebration of their Rose Bowl apperance today.

Pours a very dark brown color with very good clarity. The bone white head is thick, creamy and long-lasting.

Aroma is sweet and roasty. Coffee and chocolate come through strong. Very pleasant.

Flavor is intense in roasted malts. Dark cold french-press coffee, chocolate covered espresso beans, and a bit of nutty flavor. Strong bitterness is more associated with the malts than with hops.

Mouthfeel is excellent with medium-plus body and lowish carbonation. The bitterness and alcohol hold it back from perfection.

Overall excellent and a very solid example of the style. GO BUCKS!!

Photo of Anthony1
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet roasted malts, slight vanilla, tons of chocolate/toffee/caramel. The taste follows the nose pretty much, nice roasted, chocolatey, coffee flavor. Alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, a nice RIS, very much to the style.

Photo of grayburn
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was terribly excited about getting to try this, and maybe the personal hype set me up for a bit of a letdown. Don't get me wrong, this is not by any means a bad beer, in fact it's pretty good, just not world-changing.

Pours pitch black with a small dark brown head, lacing is not bad though.

Smell and taste are both a slightly incongruous mix of roasted
coffee and booze. Sure, the typical chocolaty goodness is there, just hidden a wee bit more than I would like it to be. Maybe a bottle a couple of years old would be more my style.

Too thin on the body. The carbonation is spot on, the brew just doesn't feel big enough for the style.

Despite the imperfections, or perhaps because of them, this beer is surprisingly drinkable. Not bad, and certainly one I would like to try with some age on it.

Photo of sprucetip
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All the elements come together with great synergy in this impenetrably black ale. A prodigous hot chocolate head rises an inch and a half and loiters there for a while, leaving thick lacing.

SMELL is wonderful. Chocolate, coffee, and a bit of booze first. Hints of licorice, faint spiciness, rihc caramel malty sweetness and light roast. Extremely complex and well balanced. Not much short of amazing.

TASTE delicately balanced blend of roast, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, malty sweetness and come alc at the end.

FEEL creamy, silky smooth, rihc, full bodied, minimal alc warming, and a bit of drying and bitterness heading into the finish.

OVERALL Smooth, balanced, rich complex and delicious. Wow! Grateful for the opportunity to try this. Even more pleased to have discovered one more fantastic brewery that was until recently unknown to me.

Photo of scottyshades
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep rich brown/black color that has garnet highlights when held to light. The head is strangely light in color, almost white.

S: Very chocolaty, lactose all over the place, alcohol gives a sharp bite to the nose. Raisin, dark fruit, and a slight nutty aroma. Very nice nose.

T: Pretty damn bitter after the first sip. The hops really come out of nowhere and give this a nice bite, in addition to the alcohol bite. Raisin, fig, smoke, coffee, and chocolate

MF/D: Creamy mouthfeel (a litter lighter than I thought), viscous, and smooth going down.

Overall very nice, a little bitter for my taste, but if you like hoppy stouts, this one is pretty legit

Photo of colts9016
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from Kels, thank you for this beer. I am happy to go back to a RIS. I poured it into a pint glass at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger medium tan head that is foamy and creamy with poor retention. The color of the beer is opaque.

Nose: A medium dark malt aroma, with coffee, anise, chocolate, cherries, plums, roasted malt, and a subtle sweetness. There is a mild hop aroma in the beer that leans towards fruity esters that are grapefruit and orange, floral, and some wood.

Taste: A medium roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, wood, anise, and raisins. There is a subtle hop flavor that comes in at the end that is grapefruit, medium pine, and floral esters.

Overall: Mouth feel is dry, creamy, and luscious. The body of the beer is medium full and the finish is medium full. This is a descent RIS, I feel that the body wasn't as deep as some of the greats. The hops was there but not too developed. I am being nit picky but for it to make an A, it has make a stand and it didn't.

Photo of jrallen34
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I drank this from tap into a snifter.

The beer is black wtih a light tan that doesn't have much of a head retention or lacing.

The aroma is mostly just light hops.

The taste ups the antee on the aroma as it is mostly hoppy and lots of bitterness. Too much bitter for my liking in a RIS.

The feel is too light and watery not very drinkable.

Photo of boatshoes
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have had this in the bottle but providing my review off of notes from having it on tap at the Great Lakes BA Blackout release party this fall. The little brother of a stellar lineup had that evening.

Appearance- Pours an opaque black with a minimal ring of head around the edges of the top of the the beer. Little carbonation evident and a small amount of lacing left. Pretty good representation.

Smell- Lots of roastiness and a surprising amount of coffee come through strong on the nose. Surprisingly, there is also a touch of a sharp afterbite perhaps from alcohol as well. I don't detect a lot other than these elements, but they blend nicely and appetizingly overall.

Taste- Again, a very prominent roastiness with burnt coffee coming through strongly thereafter as well. Some mild astringency shows through. Good, easy-going stout.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- I find that the mouthfeel is a bit thin on this beer, highlighted by the slight alcohol astringency, which affected the drinkability for me slightly. Other than that though, it goes down nicely.

Overall, a good imperial stout. Not the best I've had, but a solid offering in a solid lineup.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into snifter. Best-by date of 7/28/09, but I've got a hunch this one will be A-ok.

Pours black with a one-finger, tightly-packed light tan head. Gets denser as the head recedes a bit, leaving walls of lacing clinging to the sides of the glass. Great lacing, great retention. Probably a 4.3 really, but we'll round it off.

Nose has loads of coffee and bakers chocolate, full and robust but refined - no rough edges, clean and well developed.

Taste is good - starts off with molasses, dark cocoa and an almost minty hop character, with an emerging roastiness that really only hints at coffee coming on. Finish is roasty, rich chocolate and more of that cool hop note balance perfectly, lightly bitter on the palate. There is an odd almost vegetal quality with the coffee on the finish that gives an impression of coffee grounds instead of fresh-brewed coffee that knocks a bit off.

Mouthfeel is medium to medium-full, lighter than expected but creamy and a bit dry towards the finish. Alcohol is pretty much missing, fantastic drinkability.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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 macktbone
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- as the name implies...it's dark. But it sure aint a Black Out. The edges are a mohogany hue and it has no noticable head, possibly due to the %9.00.

S-Nice chocolate/cocoa nose.

T- Nice flavor but closer to a porter than I prefer for a strong stout. Mossy and light chocolate flavors.

M- WAY TOO THIN. It looked thin during the pour and proved to be thin on the toungue.

D Nice to try and say I have buy not living up to the hype.

Photo of bmoney
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a nice dark brown appearance with a thin head an scattered lacing

S- Sweet smell: Chocolate, toffee, and coffee smells upfront, some alcohol apparent in the background

T- Roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, ash, a little nutty, can taste the alcohol in the aftertaste.

M- Thin but nice and smooth, can't taste the hop bitterness but i can feel it.

D- very drinkable considering the alcohol content, goes down easy

Photo of CityBoy1986
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. It was bottled on 28 July 2009.

The pour is almost black with just a hint of ruddy hues around the edges.

The nose is mostly coffee and chocolate with just a hint of sweetness and some alcohol. The taste starts off with the chocolate before changing to one of more coffee with the sweetness taking on a bigger presence. The alcohol is still noticeable, but it is definitely not the forward flavour.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side for a stout. Drinkability is good as long as the drinker treats it as a sipper rather than a gulper.

A good example of a stout. I wouldn't keep it around, but every now and then it would be good to have.

Photo of projectflam86
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. This bottle has about 6 months of age on it.

A- Pours a nearly opaque black color with a medium sized mocha colored head that leaves some scattered lace.

S- Full roasted dark malt aroma with coffee and cocoa. A bit of alcohol present.

T- Hearty malt flavor with roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate leading the way. Big roasted flavor with a bit of bitterness in the finish. Even after a few months the alcohol is fairly prominent with a gentle warming on the way down.

M- Full bodied with ok carbonation.

D- A really nice roasted RIS flavor that is easily to find around these parts.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade with nflmvp. Thanks Steve! Bottle dated 08/01/2007.

Poured into a Rémy Martin snifter.

Appearance: Poured out black and oily, though it showed glimmers of red when closely examined. A small, foamy, gray-brown head formed quickly on top, and then just as quickly departed. One minute into the tasting, it sits as a hair-thin, tan halo. Body is totally opaque, however I can still see gentle carbonation rising along the walls of the snifter. Mild lacing.

Smell: Smoked malt, toffee, and chocolate cake are the three strongest aromas, with roasted malt undertones appearing throughout. While I do get some flowery hop notes as well, this beer doesn't smell anywhere near the 85 IBU rating - not surprising given the two years of age. Still, this smells quite good; I enjoy it.

Taste: Roasted malt, barbecue smoke, toffee, and ash. This is my first time tasting this beer, but I'm guessing the 85 IBUs make Blackout Stout a palate-killer when it's fresh. I love palate-killing RISs. Unfortunately, age has not been so kind to this beer. The smoke, charred wood, and ash are still there, but the accompanying hop bitterness is gone. The balance - and the boldness to some extent - are now lost. I still think that this is a good beer, but I believe it would be way better fresh.

Mouthfeel: Oily, delicately carbonated (light - suits the style well), hearty, and still a touch harsh. Finishes dry, roasty, and warm. Aftertaste lingers for quite some time, which is a good thing - it's enjoyable. While I prefer creamy imperial stouts over oily ones, I like this one a lot. Very well done.

Drinkability: A very good RIS, but I believe it would be better fresh. I'd definitely buy more of this if it was available in my area. A great sipper.

Photo of natelocc787
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really good example. More milk chocolate than dark chocolate and the hops have been toned down some in the year and a half this one was aged. Alcohol well hidden and the mouthfeel is chewy and heavy with the booze in the finish minimal. Drinkability was close to perfect, great beer and it goes down well.

Photo of angelmonster
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This review is being done from a year aged bottle

Pours a nice two finger chocolate head. Body is pitch black. Head retention and lacing are good

Smell is of sweet chocolate malts. Roasted burnt coffee is also in there. Very light on the hops and alcohol.

First taste is of sweet chocolate malt, similar to the smell. It kinda reminds me of ten fidy but with more of a coffee presence. After taste is smoky, a bit nutty and has some of that prune/raisin flavor too. Aging of beer definitely has mellowed out the alcohol nicely and the hops arent what they once were

Mouth feel is nice and creamy. Body is slightly on the light side for an RIS but the head gives it some texture. Carbonation is good, lively but not over carbonated.

Drink ability is good. For 9% it drinks closer to about 7 percent. I dont know if its all in my head or what but this beer seems to have become much better with some aging. It seems more complex and smooth around the edges. Need some more of this

Photo of koopa
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received as an extra in a trade thanks!

Appearance: Dark brown with a minimal off white head that shows little retention or lace.

Smell: Oh baby this is a nice display of charred malt, coffee, a hint of nuttiness.

Taste: Lots of roast malt with a nutty flavor throughout and a slightly tangy finish. A bit unbalanced but lively!

Mouthfeel: On the thin side of medium bodied which surprised me.

Drinkability: high abv but easy mouthfeel.

Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

guessing 2008 vintage.pours pretty dark,hues of brown.mostly black.not much of a head,still looks alright.

nose has alot of roasted malt,coffee,and chocolate.

flavor is smooth,notes of coffee and dark chocolate dominate,finish has some coffee acridity.

mouthfeel is lacking,not bad.but not full bodied like an RIS should be.

drinkability is good.there are other russian imperial stouts that i would keep in rotation before this though.

Photo of mothman
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Smokestack chalice.

Pours only a ¼ finger of tan head. Not very good retention and pretty much no lace. Color is a deep dark brown, pretty much black.

Aroma: Chocolate, cocoa, licorice, dark fruits, coffee beans. Nose is a little weak, but good.

Taste: Chocolate, earthy hops, cocoa, coffee beans, licorice and dark fruits, cherries. Very similar to the smell. Roasted/burnt malts. At the very end I get a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Robust, thick, and burnt feel. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a burnt malt aftertaste that I am not a fan of.

Overall, a pretty good beer. This bottle will give me know troubles. After having this one, I can only imagine how good the BA version is. I will be seeking that one out when it is released again. A good beer worth a try.

Photo of younger35
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this brew from BeerTruth as an extra in a recent trade. I've had this beer many many times but never newer than over two years old. Drank from my Darkness snifter while watching the Raiders opening game (vs Chargers...).

Appearance- Pours a super dark black (darkest my girlfriends ever seen, she says) with a small dark tanned head. Basically after about 5 min there is no cap, no collar and no lacing what so ever.
Smell- Absolutely loaded with Heresy's milk chocolate and unsweetened dark chocolate. Pretty roasted as well but nothing crazy (like say Old Raspy) with a fairly stiff char. I can appreciate a bit of caramel in the background mixed with some coffee but honestly, this is almost all chocolate and char. Inviting nose.
Taste- A lot like the nose the taste starts out with a deep dark roasted burn that I would describe as a 'blackout' for sure. The malt is chocolaty and dark with a mix between raw cocoa and Tootsie Rolls. Definite hints of French roast and vanilla with a swift bitterness that seems to be half of the acidity from the malt and half from a bit of citrus from the hops. There is a kick of something fairly citric as a bite of lemony hops butts in toward the finish. The alcohol isn't crazy but it is fairly noticeable at times. Finishes with more of that smooth chocolate and a roasted linger.
Mouthfeel- Fairly thick and rich with a more aggressive bit of carbonation than I'd expect from the style.
Drinkability- Just an absolutely terrific brew. Like I said I've had this brew many time but they were all older. A random liquor store in Chicago had many 4 packs of this stuff covered with dust on its shelf. I think fresh it has a more brash, in your face taste, while older it was a bit mellower and the chocolate was more intertwined with everything. I really enjoyed this fresh but if I had to choose (new or old) I'd probably lean fresh. Thanks much Adam!

Photo of Reagan1984
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Bulldogp04 for providing this in trade.

Saved this bottle since receiving it in May. Have aged this one for a year. Bottle says "best before 9/4/08 but shows no sign of having degraded.

Just shy of creamy light tan head. Initially 2 fingers thick but quickly settled to a cap. Dark brown color with slight ruby highlights along the edges.

Aroma is fantastic. Chocolate, citrus notes..hops at this point?

Really nice flavor. Pretty complex. Dark chocolate, slight alcohol, still some nice hop bitterness. I get a lemon peel/citrus flavor. Dark roasted flavors and a touch of charcoal. Black Licorice comes out as it warms to room temp. There is a definite complexity to the dark roasted malts here. Very interesting.

Really silky smooth, very light carbonation.

Nice beer to slowly enjoy.

Photo of ibbjamin
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI. Poured into a snifter to review.

Smaller murky brown head which dissipates quickly leaving what looks to be unstirred creme in coffee. The beer itself as the name suggests is black as night. Some lacing.

The nose is a nice blend of aroma including sweet, lightly roasted malt, vanilla, creme and coffee. Also has a mild bourbon-esque booziness to it.

Taste is rather intense in a very good way. Mocha coffee, sweet malt, creme and vanilla. Some very welcomed warming from the alcohol.

Full body with a long, malty finish. Moderate creaminess. Minimal carbonation.

A good RIS that I'd recommend for anyone to try.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,792 ratings.