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Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,035 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 3,035
Reviews: 1,147
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 435
Gots: 535 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,035 | Reviews: 1,147
Photo of htomsirveaux
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle tried 1 Aug 2010. Served in the 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Courtesy of a trader from a while ago, don't remember who...

Samll dark brown head. Lightly carbonated. Very dark brown, almost opaque. Dark roasted and burnt malts, cocoa and coffee in aroma. Sweet cocoa flavor. Lots of mocha. Creamy dark cocoa and coffee. Medium body, a bit lighter than expected. Finish and aftertaste are chocolately sweet with a bit of an ethanol burn.

A good non special release RIS.

Photo of corby112
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a light source and a two finger yellowish beige head. Good retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that leaves rings and chunks of lacing behind.

Deep roasted aroma with lots of dark malt, chocolate, burnt toast, roasted coffee bean, oatmeal and toffee. It smells slightly acrid but there is a subtle lactic cream presence as well that balances out the deep roasted presence in the nose.

Chewy full body that is roasty and smokey but not as much as the aroma suggests with lots of luscious, silky chocolate/mocha flavor. Pretty roasty up front and slightly acrid with hints of bitter dark chocolate, smoke, burnt toast and coffee bean but this is countered mid-palate by a lactic cream and sweeter malt flavor. Hints of chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, caramel, oatmeal and toffee. There is also an earthy, bitter hop presence that lingers throughout into a long dry finish. The ABV is very well masked but it is a bit too bitter/acrid/burnt tasting for my liking.

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

Reviewed from notes 1/18/2011

A: chocolatey-based alcohol scent, perhaps molasses

Ap: black with a 1 finger mocha head, minimal lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, medium body, smooth

Af: chocolate, malts, minimal alcohol notes, doesn't linger long

O: smooth stout with not much aftertaste, smells like a high ABV brew, but doesn't taste that way


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

A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pours a really really dark brown. Although I've seen porters darker than this, the head on this brew is thick, impressive, and chocolate milk like.

S: The aroma is really chocolatey. There are small hints of fresh coffee, and a light hop tingle.

T: The flavor profile is a mix of milk chocolate and bitter dark chocolate (definitely due to hops), but the hops are very light, almost English is style. This stout is good, I just wish it had more depth.

MF/D: Mouthfeel is full and creamy, drinkability is great for an RIS.

Overall, I really don't know what to think about Blackout Stout. Its good, but it just doesn't jump out to me. The nose is great, but this whole be can be much more dynamic.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer glass.

Appearance: Beer is opaque; a dark, rich brown color. Carbonation is visible near the sides of the glass in moderate quantities. Head is a caramel-like tan color which leaves heavy lacing as it recedes slowly. After a few minutes, there is still a finger's worth of head remaining.

Smell: Rich in caramel maltiness. Some semi-sweet chocolate interspersed with a fresh, nutty aroma. Just a hint of vine fruit.

Taste: Heavy on the malt. From beneath the blanket of caramel, spiky hops poke at the tongue. Aftertaste is bitter with some spice notes towards the end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and oily. The carbonation comes on slowly and stays mellow throughout the experience. Coats the mouth and remains to allow the drinker to enjoy the flavor for a longer period of time.

Drinkability: Pretty good! Not 100%, but definitely worth trying and keeping around.

Photo of scottfrie
3.36/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a pitch black color with about a quarter inch of dense dark brown head that slowly faded into a thin collar around the glass. A million little specks of spotty lacing were left down the glass.
S: Light notes of roasted grains, creamy chocolate with hints of alcohol.
T: Follows the nose. Fairly sweet all around with big roasted malt notes. Alcohol is noticeable with a warm aftertaste. Not as much chocolate but it shows up in the finish. Aftertaste has a light hope bitterness to it and a touch of smoke.
M: Medium body with a mouthfeel that is a bit rough around the edges. Tingly carbonation.
D: I wasn't that impressed with this. It's good, but not great. I'm not loving the mouthfeel or aftertaste.

Photo of AwYeh
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewpub, 12/28/10.

A: Pours pitch black with a small tan head.

S: Aroma is of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts.

T: All notes of smell follow through into taste; where just a bit of bitter hops make themselves known. Great balance all around; never too sweet.

M: Oily and smooth, medium to thick body. Low carbonation, especially for a Great Lakes brew.

D: Very drinkable and enjoyable; while I'm not rushing back to take sip after sip like I am with my very favorite beers, I fully enjoyed my glass and could easily have had another.

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

A - Pours solid black into my tulip glass with about a finger of off white head, decent retention and lacing.

S - Roasted malts, a bit of smoke, some tobacco, bitter chocolate, sweet dark fruit.

T - Sweet roasted caramel malts and toffee notes. Dark fruit notes are also present and as it mellows the coffee notes really come out paired with the bitter cocoa. There is a slight alcohol presence as well.

M - Smooth and creamy, extremely well balanced.

D - Great lakes rarely disappoints and this is no exception. Fantastic beer and I only wish it was more widely distributed.

Photo of codewarrior
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Poured into a tulip pint. Bottle has a best by date of 08/30/10 (I'm not sure if that's the best by or the bottling date ... but it's drinking really well)

I enjoyed a bottle of this with my grandfather a few days before Christmas. When I told him I had brought some Cleveland beer, he had to have some, and loved it. For my part I got to sip on one of the best bang-for-buck RIS I've had while listening to tales of Cleveland of years past. Is everyone's grandfather from Cleveland? It seems like they are. And also, Cleveland seems ... pretty damn spectacular (maybe they weren't joking on 30 Rock?).

L: Black as night with ample head. Pretty standard in the look department, which for a RIS means that I'm about to enjoy this.

S: Deep roast with lots of hoppy bite to it, great depth of booze as well. This thing is a hot mess ... in a good way.

D: Wall of malt, with a bitter, roasted hop kick. Booze kicks in behind that. Just nice all around.

F: Thick, oily and wonderful. 'nuff said.

D: Awesome. Well done Cleveland.

Photo of Brez07
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 8/2/10

A: Pours brown into the glass, but once there it's what you'd think - black. Very limited amount of head

S: I'm initially greeted with a whiff of alcohol. Quickly overtaken by roasted malt and some dark fruit

T: Big roasted malt and smoke flavors. The roast hits you upfront, the smoke finishes the sip off. There is some baking chocolate hidden in there

M: Medium bodied. Certainly not the thickest of stouts out there. Appropriate carbonation

D: Might be one of the roastier stouts I've had. Wish this was a little more balanced. Worth a try though

Photo of jhimstedt
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - About 1/4 inch head, light tan. Not foamy or creamy, but tight and carbonated; held on briefly, no lacing. Not opaque, but little translucent with reddish/brown hues. Thin looking pour

S - prunes, tobacco, roasted malts, little booze, slight bit of coffee and vanilla.

T - The middle palette is mostly sweet, fruit and vanilla. Finishes with all roast, coffee and finally some chocolate. Slight cherry and tartness on the beginning of finish.

M - medium bodied, thin but not watery. well carbonated.

Quite a nice drinkable RIS. Not exactly what I look for usually, but would definitely try and get more. Could be a little chewier for me, but otherwise quite nice.

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

2010 vintage - 12oz bottle poured into large snifter glass. thanks gill!

Pours a deep inky black with a thinner tan head. Fades to slightly retained film across the beer, leaving spots of lacing on the glass.

Plenty of scents in the nose, beginning with licorice, followed by raisins and dates, a hint of chocolate, and a bit of booze.

Begins with some dark sweetness coupled with licorice. Faint hop bitterness gives way to more candied fruit. A heavy roasted malt backbone supports the beer with molasses and semisweet chocolate. Finishes with some dark sweetness and a bit of booze.

Fuller body, medium carbonation, smooth and creamy with a little lingering chewyness in the feel. A really nice sipper of a RIS, great flavor and the alcohol is masked well.

Photo of chalsk
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A major thank you to Damico for a bottle of this delicious RIS. Pours a black color with a caramel colored head. Aroma of roasted malt and chocolate, with hints of grapefruit. Sweet start, then roasty maltiness to the bitters. Bitters are at the perfect level. As the bitters fade, a velvety chocolate finish carries you home. What makes this beer special is the roasty flavor that hits in the middle and lingers through the finish. It gives the beer another level. Very nicely done.

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

Had on tap at Bocktown Beer and Grille on 11/10
Served in a tulip.

A: This beer pours jet black with a one finger of light brown head. Head recedes immediately and leaves wispy streaks of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is roasted, charred malts, bitter chocolate and a bit of caramel sweetness.

T: Taste starts with a sweet toffee and caramel malts mingled with a bit of dark fruit flavoring before moving in to a nice roasted malt that really fills out the middle. Finish has some semi-sweet licorice and a coffee, charred malts.

M: Full bodied, medium carbonation, nice silky, creamy mouthfeel.

D: Goes down easily, nice kick, very good representation of style. I've had this one in bottle before but on tap is even better. I really wish Great Lakes was distributed this way!

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A - It pours a deep brown-black with a crimson sheen and a bit of tan froth atop. Head is moderately-lived and deposits some lace. Visibly, it seems on the less-viscous side of the style.

S - Big roastiness is first and foremost, producing notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses and burnt sugar. There is a slight evergreen hoppiness on the finish that is very well-apportioned.

T - My first impression is that this brew has very good flavor, exceptional even. Succeeding quaffs confirm this to be one of the best straightforward RIS', a denizen of the realm of Stone IRS, Marshal Zhukov, and (the criminally underrated) LA Serpent Stout. The flavor is a delicious composite of dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, heavy roast, tobacco, and molasses with the slightest nip of green pine-y hop on the finish. None of the flavors are too- anything, everything is so easily appreciable; that is perhaps the greatest aspect of this brew.

M - Owing to lesser viscosity, the body is a bit skinny to match up with the overall impression I get from the brew. It doesn't necessarily need to be bigger, but it at least should be a bit more velvety or creamier. That said, it is still quite nice, it's just that I could see room for improvement.

D - Big fan. Good stuff. Worthy of its notoriety.

Photo of surlytheduff
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from an extra long Harpo's heavy metal tulip. Poured an inky black, with a solid three finger mocha frothy head. Smelled of chocolate and rich coffee, molasses, alcohol and sweet roasty grains.

Tasted sweet and a slightly fruity up front, alcohol heat in the middle wrapped around a prominent coffee/dark chocolate flavor, and a slight bitterness at the end. Felt thick and rich, robust, not too chewy, well carbonated. This is a nice regional (to me, anyway) representation of the style.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Poured an opague black with a nice creamy light brown heading. Left tremndous lacing all throughout.

Smell has a heavy coffee aroma.Bittersweet chocolate aroma with a touch of smoke.

Taste does have the same bittersweet chocolate as in the aroma. Middle in is a slight molasses touch with a wood taste.There is a slight hot booze finish that leaves a little burn down the throat. Hops do make there presence known.

Mouth is mid-full bodied. Great carbonation. Somewhat gritty on the palate not velvety texture that I am used to.

Damn I would really like to try the barrel aged version of this brew.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was good to see a "best by 8/02/10" on the label. A little age is good on an imperial stout

A - Pours a nice deep back with an inch of cocoa head. Looks nice.

S - On the nose semi- bitter coffee, mostly dark chocolates and slight fruit. Smells and looks heavy.

T - Starts off bitter with a creamy sort of texture and toward the middle you get a bit of hops along side of chocolate and finishes rather smooth with little to no ABV burn

M - Still a sipper though. Heavy beer

D - Man I kind of liked this more than the founder Imperial but never more than the breakfast stout. Still a nice addition to one of my favorite imperial stouts. Well done Great Lakes!

Photo of GabrielM
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A - so dark that all I see when looking into it is my reflection, so I'm happy. Also a nice bit of head.

S - coffee, roasted malt, some chocolate and maybe dark fruit.

T - a slight espresso bitterness up front, which smooths out to a bit of chocolate and vanilla.

M - really nice. Perfect carbonation and well balanced flavors.

D - really tasty and decently easy to drink, but there is a tiny bit of heat to it, so a year on the cellar might be exactly what this brew needs.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip from a 12oz bottle. I believe this is a 2009 version.

A - Pours a dark dark oil brown with a thin .25 inch head. The color is nice and tan. The head recedes quite quickly and down to a thin skinny ring around the glass. Amore vigorous pour of whats left in the bottle produces a very densely packed array of bubbles. Very nice.

S - Starts off sweet and chocolaty with some nice booze hints that aren't too intense but offer a very nice overall aroma. Slight vanilla hints and some cinnamon as well. The boozy warmth and chocolatey goodness really come through as it warms.

T & M - A bit more oily on the tongue than on the pour. Starts off with nice caramel and boozy sweetness but that isn't too intense or a turn off. Nice slightly roasted notes com through after that as well. Slight hints of vanilla and cinnamon are very prevalent as well as some nice maple syrup. Yum. There is some chocolate in there but I wouldn't say its the prevalent flavor of this Stout. The roasted coffee nature is there but it isn't too strong. Very well balanced in terms of stouts. there are some hop notes on the back end that I can perceive but still a very malt heavy beer. Body i nice and rich with some good medium-full body and nice oily feel.

D - This RIS is very good I enjoyed it throughly yet I have others that are easier to come by that I would rank higher than this. Still good and with an ABV that isn't too crazy.

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

The 2009 was similar in appearance to the 2010. The smell was more subtle and the body was a bit more thin than the 2010. The chocolate was a little more muted.

4.5 / 4.5 / 4.5 / 4 / 4.5

The 2008 was my favorite of the prior year vintages. I enjoyed this more than the 2009 and 2007. Again, the appearance was very similar to the others (dark black, with brown and mahogany hues). This vintage was very thick and creamy with tons of chocolate.

4.5 / 4.5 / 4.5 / 4.5 / 4.5

When I got to Great Lakes I beelined for the 2007. Poured into a 5oz sample glass. Similar appearance as the others, not much different. The nose was very oaky and rather dry with cocoa nibs (almost like regular Blackout).

4.5 / 4.5 / 4.5 / 4 / 4.5

There you have it folks. Overall, I would rank them as follows:

1. 2008
2. 2010
3. 2009
4. 2007

Pretty amazing stuff. I'm glad I have a few for those cold winter PA nights coming down the pipeline.

Photo of kellyst
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black and opaque with a milk chocolate looking head that sticks around. Lots of lacing in the glass as this one goes down. Aroma is coffee and chocolate with slight citrusy hops in the background. The taste is huge. Chocolate is dominant than coffee. There is some slight licorice in the background and citrusy hop flavor. No noticeable molasses or dark fruit. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden. I can't believe this is a 9% abv beer. Drinkability is also very good for a 9% beer. Carbonation is appropriate and the mouthfeel is luxuriously rich. I'm not a huge fan of RIS and usually prefer barleywines during the cold winter months, but this is a well made beer that I will seek out this winter.

Photo of SiepJones
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Snifter

A: Pours a midnight black with no clarity. A half inch of mocha brown head sits on top of this beer. The head dissipates to some traces of bubbles.

S: Strong presence of alcohol in the nose, with hints of dark chocolate and a strong backing of dark fruit.

T: Roast malt, some coco, lots of dark fruits and a boozy finish.

M: The mouth is full and creamy, there is a slight tingle from the alcohol.

D: A good RIS however high ABV and strong alcohol presence make this beer a one and done for me.

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 brewnic
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Creamy, a lot of chocolate malts in the front but not as heavy or thick as Russian Imperials. Good well balanced with the malt and alcohol content. Just a little watery good if you're looking to drink a couple of glasses of RIS but when you are having just one might not be my first choice.

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