1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

2,528 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,528
Reviews: 1,079
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 404
Gots: 327 | FT: 24
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Blackout Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,528 | Reviews: 1,079 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bort11
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%

Thanks to DuqTroops for this one!

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Dark tan head that stands about a fingers width. Recedes to a very thin cap. No real lacing sticks to the glass. Color is a velvety blackness, with pinpricks of ruby red highlights when held to the light.
Smell has a very rich cocoa powder sweetness mixed with a dark espresso bitterness. Smell is able to escape the glass without me having to stick my nose down in it. Very nice.
Taste is so evenly balanced between sweet and bitter. Top notch! More chocolate espresso flavors with the tiniest hint of spices.
Mouthfeel has a thin creaminess to it. Smooth but not heavy. Goes down very easy. This was a great experience. I would love to get this more often.

bort11, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of hammer09
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a clear, golden-brown darkening to black as the pint glass fills. Huge (4 fingers), rocky, tan head, which takes several minutes to settle to about 1/2 inch thick.

Smell is of alcohol sweetness and a burnt overtone; roasted malt, coffee, and vanilla. It almost smells like this stout has been aged in bourbon barrels, but according to the label, this is the non-bourbon aged variety. Some hop bitterness, but mostly hidden.

Taste is characteristic of vanilla, roasted malt, and chocolate. Mildly sweet and malty with a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Slightly sticky with a dry finish. Warming and alcoholic.

Overall, a very good RIS.

hammer09, Apr 21, 2007
Photo of Alkey
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

12oz. bottle poured black unable to see through with a small tan head that leaves some spots of lace.

Smell - lots of dark roasted malt, slight chocolate.
Taste - some coffee flavors, a bit of unsweetened chocolate, lots of dark malty notes.
Feel - medium/light slightly creamy.
Drinkability - very easy to drink, alcohol is well hidden and could be a problem because this is a tasty sessionable brew.

Alkey, Apr 21, 2007
Photo of Cresant
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a snifter. Dated 7/29/07. The body was...black. The head was two finger of khaki foam that faded to nothing. This one didn't have "legs" but it did have a nice thick film when swirled.

Smell was very chocolaty. Chocolate covered cherried. Alcohol presence came later (but not too much).

Taste was rich, creamy chocolate. Tongue tingling bitterness. Lively. Semi-sweet cocoa. Very well counter-balanced.

Mouthfeel was creamy and smooth. Moderate carbonation. Very drinkable.

Cresant, Apr 17, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
4/5  rDev -5.2%

12oz bottle dated 8/2/07. Pour an opaque black, just a touch of brown at the bottom when held to the light. Has creamy Cappucino head, decent retetnion and copious webs of lace.

The aroma is some what weak--woody, malty, with a hint of molasses. The flavor has a lot of wood, a bit of a bright suggestion of dark fruit, charcol, carob, coffee, charred malt, and some astringent alcohol just after a burst of dry, semi-bitter, hops and molasses.

It's medium bodied, with a bit of a syrupy character. Not a lot of complexity in terms of experiencing different sensations and or flavor on different points of the palate, but enough flavor emerge to keep it intersting. Very drinkable stout. Very solid overall, and one I find to be a good "summer" stout, but not earth shattering.

Osiris9588, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

Poured opaque darkness with less than a finger tan head that faded fairly quickly. Little lacing observed. Some pools of effervescence on the surface.

The smell is reserved until allowed to warm to almost room temperature. After that a pleasant roast malt and light coffee tootsie-roll character over a sweet dark fruit that i suspect is actually alcohol.

The mouth feel is "the business". It's medium bodied and creamy with a light almost fizzy sensation that complements the overall sweetness. An immediate warmth in the back of the throat and chest (for me) on it's way down.

It tastes like the aroma. Sweet malty, coffee and chocolate.

It's quite drinkable. I am enjoying the 9% ABV. Nicely done. What do you do for an encore?

jjayjaye, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%

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.

NeroFiddled, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

On nitro tap at Map Room 4/14/07

Dark in the glass with some nice creamy very tan (almost amber) head.

The smell -- roasty.

The taste -- lovely, rich sweet, roasty, coffeeey. Definitely an imperial stout with nice coffee or chocolate overtones. Sweetness balances the slight bitterness from the coffee. A great warm up for Dark Lord Day or on a snowy April day in Chicago!

I was actually quite impressed with this beer. I thought I had tried it before. Either I am mistaken or it is much improved!

4thoseabout2bock, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of kajerm
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

On tap in a snifter-- I've been waiting a long time to try this. Pours oil slick black and pretty viscous with a one-finger brown head and surprisingly decent lacing. It has exactly the dignified, slightly evil look that I look for in a Russian imp.

Smells like coffee, rich dark-roasted malts, and a little dark chocolate. Standard, maybe, but flawless and super-balanced.

Tastes like it smells, with a stronger coffee presence and some early and mid-palate sweetness. Finishes with bitterness, both from black malt and from hops. The slight hop flavor at the end pretty much seals it-- this shit is awesome. One of the best-crafted, most balanced, and easiest drinking imperial stouts I've ever had.

Now if I could just find somewhere in Chicago that sells it...

kajerm, Apr 08, 2007
Photo of MmmIPA
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%

Pitch black body with a off white one finger head and some thick lacing .Dark fruits,roasted malts and some carmel come to my nose.Dark fruit taste(plums,raisons,prunes)Very smooth nitro? mouthfeel and very creamy also.Awesome RIS I love it.Taste almost like one of my favoreit RIS but with alot more kick.It never gets overly boozy and hard to drink.Great tasting.

MmmIPA, Apr 07, 2007
Photo of wingman14
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%

This one pours a thick black with a dark brown head. The smell is very inviting and has multiple flavors coming through. There are some sweet notes of vanilla and chocolate, and some dark malt characteristics. The taste follows suit and does not overpower for a RIS. I am impressed with the balance of taste and smell with the ABV, you get the warming sensation of a high alcohol beer without the overpowering alcohol taste that drowns out the subtle flavors that this beer delivers. The mouthfeel is good, it has a small hoppy bite at the beginning that adds another layer to this great brew. This one is easy to drink and is an overall great RIS and a great beer. Definitely worth checking out. Enjoy.

wingman14, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%

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.

mikesgroove, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%

Exceptional pour, thick viscous black with a one to two inch offwhite head that fades fairly quickly to a rim, but leaves some great lacing. Smell is a little lighter than I'd like, but with figs, lightly roasted grain, and vanilla. Taste is rich, slightly sweet with creamy chocolate, some smooth tasting roasted grains, vanilla, and dark fruit. The mouthfeel is incrdibly smooth and creamy, like a milkshake- phenomenal! Unbelievably drinkable for an Imperial Stout with a respectable abv. A great product, and one of the easiest drinking RIS that I've had that still has some body and flavor.

Georgiabeer, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of alexgash
4.6/5  rDev +9%

Pours into the Corsendonk tulip a very dark root beer brown with an inkier middle. Thick one-inch cushion of dark sandy brown head, with tiny dark bubbles popping here and there and edges that are trying to crawl up the glass. Nose is a heady mix of rich roasted coffee, dark malts, peat, dark fruits, and herbal hops. Complex and appetizing.

Flavors follow the aroma in complexity and richness. Roasted bitterness up front followed by chewy malts: chocolate, stewed fruits, rum, scorched sugar, peat bog. Just delicious. Rich, sweet and roasty malt flavors swell mid-palate before dark/baking chocolate bitterness joins in and a renewed, strong coffee flavor develops. This roasted bitterness dries the finish out a little and complements the earlier sweet malt nicely. Hints of flint and smoke in there as well. Long, slightly warming finish, though the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Full-bodied with a chewy feel. Very well made and extremely drinkable.

alexgash, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of andrewmartin
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%

Finally got around to trying this GL seasonal

A: Motor oil, in both color and viscosity. Tan head that quickly fads.

S: Deep fruits (blueberries, plums), alcohol, and brandy. Very nice so far.

T: Roaste malts dominate up front, coffee and chocolate present, some alcohol and brandy notes, finishes with sweet plums and molasses.

M: The roasted flavors are so intense that they almost kill any other sensation in the tongue.

D: Solid example for the style-I'm going to give it some time to see how it ages.

andrewmartin, Mar 30, 2007
Photo of akorsak
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%

A 1/2 gallon screwtop growler filled at Capone's in Norristown, PA. The M and D evaluations are the same as my earlier on-tap review.

A: The stout is a thick oily black color that allows absolutely nothing through it. The head is a thick white color that is large but doesn't lace.

S: The aroma is acrid burnt malts with a subtle wine-like character that mixes with some sweet chocolate. The alcohol is not shy.

T: The stout lives up the 'Imperial' moniker. There are dark and dense malts that provide a strong flavor base, highlighting some chocolate and caramel sweetness that mixes well with the sharp bitterness of the burnt malts. Some thick bready malts escape burning and add a dry alefruit element. All these flavors bask in the strength of the alcohol.

M: The mouthfeel is both dry and sharp and exquisitely lush, providing burnt, sweet and acidic flavors.

D: At 9%, this is not a beer to pound but every sip of the pint was delicious.

akorsak, Mar 30, 2007
Photo of Phatz
4.43/5  rDev +5%

WOW. Now that is nice.

Appearance: Pour an absolute black with a frothy tan head.

Smell: Chocolate roasty malts cocoa and a touch of smokiness.

Taste & Mouthfeel: The flavor is exceptional but in the smooth hearty mouthfeel the whole experience in the mouth from texture to taste is magnificent. Dark roast malts chocolate shavings caramel licorice all flavor the cheeks with a smooth soft chewy rich milk chocolaty beer. The hops are light but show through at the back end and the aftertaste is just right dry. nice!

Drinkability: This is a beer I could drink day and night, though at 9% ABV it would make for a rather un-productive life =)

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of BuckSpin
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%

Presentation: c.2005 11oz bottle (Best By date of 7/11/05) cellared in my possession for 12 months, in a classic conical pint glass

Note: I hadn't really paid much attention to the 7-11 date, hope it hasn't crapped out!

Poured a little thick but not viscous by any means. Nose is surprisingly soft initially, a bit surprised given how aggressive this black beauty is fresh. Soft, muted black iced coffee, wisp of smoke, light tannins, dusty, mild hops. As it opens up some dark chocolate qualities show up, bittersweet raisins, some alcohol is noticeable. Head was a pencil's worth of mixed walnut stained foam that crackled nicely but not loudly, fading quickly to a sheen and glass ring, with zero lacing. Its black like its namesake, opaque, oily looking, slick with no surface agitation from any rising carbonation.

It has toned down considerably. As a newborn its like newborns, wild eyed, loud, naked, but its definitely not going thru any "terrible twos"! A subtle, dare I say delicate malt profile hovers over a nice (but nowhere near as loud) hop bitterness. There is a softness to it, silky, not velvety. Its surprising easy to drink, which is nice. Some raisin, cherry, dried currants are present on the tongue over the nicely warming (and still sharp & biting) hops. The alcohol is much more obvious now up front as it warms more...interesting that it continues to bloom with air & temperature. Very soft coffee, milk chocolately in hushed sweetness. Perhaps I was a little quick to judge this as being too tamed. Its definitely milder & surprisingly easy to drink, but I am enjoying this sip by sip evolution, there is quite a bit going on here.

It evens & balances out very nicely on the palate, earthy, leathery, tranquil, like a welcome intermission. A trace of some caramel sweetness, then a soft fade away with a semi-dry, last sip of gritty morning coffee bitterness, leaving a chewy, coating, warm, bittersweet aftertaste reminiscent of a nice single malt.

Wow. That was excellent. Time certainly tames the savage beast that is Blackout Stout, but a new animal emerges. I enjoyed this very much, and wish I had more to enjoy. It grew & changed with each taste and showed a lot of character, body and substance. I would recommend this regardless, but if you can cellar a 4-pack away and try some at 6 month intervals I think you will really enjoy that last one 24 months from now. A very enjoyable beer experience and one I highly recommend.

BuckSpin, Mar 25, 2007
Photo of atsprings
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%

Thanks to ThomasHardy for the trade. The beer poured a deep opaque black with a thin head that slowly diminished and left no lacing. The aroma was dominated by dark bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, and of course, roasted barley. The taste possessed all these characteristics as well with a profound dryness. The beer was light on the palate for one so strong and the alcohol was mostly well hidden. This is a very great imperial stout

atsprings, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of zdk9
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%

A- A delicious looking stout. Pours a pure black with one finger's worth of cocoa-mohagony head. Some spidery lacing.

S- Dark and fruity aromas: raisins, figs, and just a touch of citrus. Also a mild mocha.

T- Mmm. Roasted and burnt full flavored malt. More dark fruit. Hops just linger on the outskirts of the tongue. Fairly bitter as a coffee.

M- Coats the mouth with chocolaty goodness. Not at all like a milkstout but still thick and present.

D- As much as I would like to, this one is not for drinking all night. The alcohol is well hidden, but the burnt overtones can be somewhat overbearing in large doses and the beer is fairly heavy. Still and extremely delicious beer!

zdk9, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of crayphish
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%

The stout poured a opaque black with a thin tan head. Thick lacing. Smell is roasted malt and chocolate. Some hops. Taste is roasted chocolate with a very complex enjoyable cherry sweetness. A very full thick mouth feel. My mouth is coated with the taste. The 9% alcohol in this beer is well hidden which makes it a wonderful drinkable stout. This beer ages exceptionally well. This years batch is still available around here, and it gets better every weekend. The more you let this beer warm, the more the java shows through.

crayphish, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of terrabyte
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

Pours a dark black with hints of ruby when light hits it on the edges. A nice thick foamy light-brown head. Lots of billowy lacing left behind.

A deep aroma of milk chocolate.

Flavor is rich and thick. Milk chocolate, a hint of tobacco smoke, followed by a strong, smoky alcoholic bite in the aftertaste. Very warming.

Mouthful is creamy and thick. Well carbonated. Barely sticky.

Drinkability is excellent for the ABV. Great taste, aftertaste, and pleasing booze.

An extremely enjoyable RIS. One of the few Great Lakes I enjoy a lot.

terrabyte, Mar 18, 2007
Photo of aforbes10
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%

This is one of those beers that when i saw it in the store for the first time ever (last night) i freaked out and yelled "holy shit!" I thought i might see in town one day since great lakes is now back in south bend, but i didnt expect it so soon. Pours black through and through so that's as advertised. Little khaki head hangs out for a while before just making a small ring. Very heavy burnt coffee odor. Smells like a malty campfire. Taste is very flavorful, in that its bold and the taste is very forward. burnt tasting and somewhat hoppy cocoa beans and coffee grounds. almost singular in its flavor and im a bit diappointed because i expected more or a fruity flavor. a bit too assertive with the char flavors and not enough fruity chocolates. Its a big think monster of a beer though and i think maybe i just caught it too early. I'll sit on the other 3 bottles for a while and see how they develop.

aforbes10, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of shroompod
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%

From 12 oz BB 8/2/7 . Pours without much of head, dark. Not bottle conditioned.
I can smell citrusy hops , some roasted malts.

Taste starts out very hoppy, very little little of the malt makes it past the first sip. After a slight warming the roasted/chocolate/dark malts are evident and compliment the hops well. If I would've read the bottle before hand, it clearly states "Best served at 55f"

Mouthfeel isn't as heavy as I'd expect for a RIS. Drinkability is dangerous for a 9% abv beer. I'll enjoy drinking a case of this.

shroompod, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%

thanks to grundle20 for this via trade! I love a good RIS. What I like is a distinctive RIS and some days that's tough to find. Not with this beer at all. This one hits on all the factors I enjoy - blacker than night, robust malts swirling in espresso, chocolate, roasted grain smell and taste, full bodied and a slow drinker.

Where this one seemed to stand up a bit more than others was the hop profile. Definitely in the RIS vein but a few steps further into the bitter / grapefruit category than most RIS's I've had recently. That, combined with the alcohol and full body made this a great tasting brew. I'm glad I still have 2 more to go!

barleywinebrewer, Mar 08, 2007
Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,528 ratings.