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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

2,474 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,474
Reviews: 1,076
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 400
Gots: 318 | FT: 26
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Blackout Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,474 | Reviews: 1,076 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrmanning
mrmanning

Ontario (Canada)

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

I lived through the said blackout that this beer commemerates. Bottle courtesy of Hyde. This one is pitch and pours a thick froth of mocha foam. Dotty lace. The aroma is mostly coffee, but has the presence of molasses, some dark baker’s chocolate, plums, roasty malts and hops. Flavours are roasted nutty malts, dark cocoa beans, black coffee, molasses and rum. The balance here is mind blowing. If this was a blind taste, I would have guessed 5% ABV. Best balanced Impy I’ve had thus far. F#@# me, where do I sign up? Thanks Derek!

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2006 13:38:08 | More by mrmanning
Photo of mrasskicktastic
mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

3.18/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A dark brown beer with about a cm long transmission depth. There is no head save a ring on the edge of the brew. I can count on two hand the number of small lacing clumps that manage to climg to the sides before they quickly sink back into the black brew.

S - Strong coffee with a milder, but still strong, chocolate, toffee, dates and raisins. There is a bit of a strong clean aroma that reminds me of some Pilsners that I have had - I am guessing Saaz hops, but I'm not sure. A bit of alcohol, but nothing too potent.

T - A slightly sweet chocolate and coffee flavor are about equal. There is a bit of a dark fruit character and sot sauce as well. The aftertaste is of burnt malt and a touch of coffee bitterness and grassy bitterness. Abv is detectable, but faintly as a some sort of peppery finish.

M - Medium viscosity, a little smooth and a bit creamy, slightly refreshing. Gums in my throat a little, but not terribly so - it is a minor effect.

D - Not too bad. I wouldn't mind having this one again - but I definiely won't seek it out. There are many RIS that I would have an easier time finding and enjoy more. It could work with some choice foods. Way too powerful to session.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2006 19:32:44 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of EvilKeith
EvilKeith

Alabama

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

Blackout Stout, as the name would suggest, poured into the glass jet black in color and fully impervious to light. The head was fizzy, cola-like and tan in color. The lacing was spotty, but generously sticky.
The smell was roasted, grainy, sweet rich chocolate, with a bit of earthiness and yeast funk and spicy alcohol.
The taste was sweet fruitiness, unsweetened cocoa, nutty grain huskiness, with a sharp peppery and warming alcohol. The finish was overtly roasted and charred, I found this to pleasant, but dry.
The carbonation was fairly active on a medium body which gave this a crisp, but creamy mouthfeel.

I had long been coveting this Blackout Stout. I had somehow expected something much greater than what I poured and drank. Don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent Russian Imperial Stout, I just had unrealistic expectations.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2006 17:34:02 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of timtheenchanta
timtheenchanta

South Carolina

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

Black like spent motor oil with a rich tan thin head and thin specks of lacing that don't hold on the glass too well.

Big bitter chocolate nose. There are some hints of peanut butter, and a little bit of alcohol.

Huge taste and mouthfeel. Lots of bitter hot chocolate taste and viscous almost chewy feel to it. Some alcohol flare in the finish.

A great stout but it doesn't top the list. Still very very solid. Thanks go out to Zorro for sending me this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2006 03:33:47 | More by timtheenchanta
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq

New Hampshire

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

Best before date of May 29, 2005.

Pours opaque and black, with mahogany edging everso faint.
Tan, dense head struggles out of solution, with a cascading ascention of batter-like carbonation.
Half an inch of head falls within a couple of minutes, leaving behind a beaded ring and a placid surface, with random lacework.
Aromatics are aggresively and unapologetically imperial, to say the least.
Intense dark roast coffee, with bitter chocolate and cocoa-dusted biscuit malts. Hints of charcoal and vanilla mill about, with a warming afterthought.
Body is full and thick, but still stays within the "drinkable" range.
Significant residuals of stout character linger.
Pallet is dry, sticky and chocolatey. A firm hop bitterness is welcome amongst the unfermentables of roasted barley and carmelized malts.
Bitter coffee grounds accent the rich chocolate, along with suggestions of nougat and Kahlua.
Finishes fairly warming, but not hugely, with lingering suggestions Hershey's-spiked espresso fortified with dark rum.
A top notch Imperial stout, and barrel aging of some sort would add a beautiful dimension to this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2006 00:02:25 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of macster
macster

Florida

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly viscous and opaque black color with a touch of ruby red highlights. Creats a dense, 1/2" thick tan head which settles to a thin wisp. Minimal spotty lacing along the sides of the snifter. Luscious and complex aromas of espresso beans, dark chocolate, charred wood, dark fruit and molasses emerge along with a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is almost perfect; smooth, creamy, chewy with just the right amount of CO2. Flavors are a bit more assertive as compared to the nose. Loads of fig, licorice, bittersweet chocolate, espresso bean, burnt malt and charcoal overwhelm the tongue. Long, bittersweet finish with strong notes of charred wood, roasted malts with a touch of hops and ethanol which nicely warms things up. A top notch Imp. Stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2006 06:59:00 | More by macster
Photo of Phocion
Phocion

Minnesota

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

Thanks to northerntimber for this. Best by date of April '05, so this ought to be a treat.

Pours a dark brown with just a hint of ruby. Thin brown head that quickly recedes into a light lacing.

Aroma is incredible. Thick cocoa and coffee beans, but very pleasant and not bitter like I'd expect from other Imperial stouts. Smoke and molasses/brown-sugar, but no hops to speak of.

Creamy dark chocolate, anise, and lightly roasted coffee bean. Warming alcohol flavors and absolutely no bitterness. Something tells me this has mellowed with age.

Creamy, silky-smooth mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable at 9% ABV and oh-so-smooth. Luckily I've only got one bottle.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2006 19:15:07 | More by Phocion
Photo of jcdiflorio
jcdiflorio

West Virginia

4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served into a nonic glass from a brown long neck 12oz bottle,crimp-on cap.

Opaque,black slight reddish hue,a thick tan colored head,1" thick creamy head,sticking down the sides of the glass.
A complex malty nose very roasty,burnt,smokey hints of molassess and licorice.
The taste was very roasty,thick carmell.molassess,followed by a brown sugary sweetness.The finish was sharp,very roasty and chocolatly.
A warming alcohol presense also at the finish.
Thick and chewy in the mouth,the tastyness makes this more drinkable than a beer of this style would normally be.
Must try stout I'd say,good beer for a cold winters night.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2006 04:07:23 | More by jcdiflorio
Photo of maundythirsty
maundythirsty

Wisconsin

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

Opaque black beer with the slightest bit of brown translucence around the edges. One finger of oily tan head that goes on break after 30 seconds or so. The smell will make your toes tingle. Deep espresso and caramel and toffee. You have to chase it into the glass a bit, but the volume goes up with the temperature.

All that coffee and dark sugar shows up in the taste, too. Pretty powerful sweetness, but the over-roasted coffee flavor and more mellow malt tastes stand up admirably. And doggone it, someone snuck some hops in under that big grain bill. The finish is a touch bitter and resinous. Nice alcohol bite and smooth medium body.

Blackout Stout addresses my least favorite aspect of the Russian imperial stout by balancing that toothachey sweetness with some bittering from both dark malt and and quick hello from some hops. This is going to be a favorite example of the style for me.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2006 20:10:12 | More by maundythirsty
Photo of drinknewbelgium
drinknewbelgium

Pennsylvania

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

pours with not too much head but common for stouts tastes of chocolate and coffee the bottle has been aged 10 months so it has a the smell of coffee and it has a great complex feel in the mouth come this spring grab yourself a few of these recommended

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 01:06:27 | More by drinknewbelgium
Photo of FtownThrowDown
FtownThrowDown

Ohio

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into my Delirium tulip glass.
Poured black with a nice 1/4" head that lasted about a minute or so. Very good amount of lacing on the side of the glass.
A lot of stouts that contain coffee suffer from the "burnt coffee" smell. This beer has one of the more pleasant coffee aromas. Very pleasant chocolate smell with little alcohol noticed in the nose.
Taste is a smooth coffee stout. Flavors are blended and evenly distributed. At first theres coffee, then theres a chocolate/slight hop taste in the middle. None of these jump out at you. It's a nice flow from one to another. My only complaint here is that the mouthfeel is a little thinner than I like out of my stouts. But thats splitting hairs, this is a terrific stout. This offering doesn't leave you with the mouth coating coffee aftertaste as well. Which makes this a highly sessionable offering. A very solid offering from a very solid brewery. A must try, even for non-stout fans.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 00:44:34 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

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

Thanks for sharing grub!

Pours insanely black, thick tan head forms, tons of lace and great retention, definately looks like a stout. Smell is sweet and roasty, toffee, coffee, chocolate, some dark fruits. Taste is awesome roasty chocolate, coffee and caramel, some dark fruits, nice bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to thick bodied with low carbonation. Definately world class!

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2006 21:51:39 | More by Viggo
Photo of peabody
peabody

Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out like the black of night with a nice tan head.
Very strong choclolate coffee fruity aroma but no Alcohol smell despite the 9%.
Taste is a black bitter sweet coffee with caramel and chocolate overtones. I like these hops here. The malt is wonderful here and is almost milky in texture.
Mouthfeel is a great bitterness with hints of sweet malts and coffee residue.
I could drink a couple of these but as dark as it is, I couldn't see this as a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2006 00:19:27 | More by peabody
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

4.9/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours an opaque black color. The head is two-fingers in height, and tan in color. Lacing is decent. The aroma is of chocolate, coffee, graham crackers, alcohol, and roasted malt. The taste like the aroma, but with a bit more alcohol. The aftertaste is fantastic with a ton of chocolate and roasted malt. The mouthfeel is full bodied without being too thick. Carbonation is rather low leaving a nice silky texture. Overall, this is one of the best stouts I have ever had. It seems to walk the line between a tradional impy and a huge American version.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2006 00:25:48 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting for a long time to review this beer and I'm not sure why I haven't. This is the '06 version about 8 months old.

About as dark sludge brown as a beer can get without being black. Hell it may even be black. A tan head of half inch only stayed with me for a minute or so dying down into trace lace and a nice bubbly ring. Tiney carbonation bubbles make their way up the sides of the glass.

Wonderful nose on this beer. Huge amounts of dark fruits, black currant and plum leading the way. Very rich and masculine smelling. Large amounts of chocolate roasted malt and hints of a floral type hop. This is a juicy smelling stout to say the least.

Much of the same flavors that are noticable in the nose. Large amounts of hops however. Long finish is helped with the resiny hop bitterness. Roasted bitter chocolate flavors, with chocolate malt, hints of vanilla, and loads of juicy dark fruits. Mollasses as well. I get no traces of alcohol as this is very smooth. However it seems the mouthfeel is slightly thin. Still an awesome beer by Great Lakes.

Can't wait to try the Barrel Aged version this weekend!!!

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2006 20:39:52 | More by mcallister
Photo of jj21
jj21

Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

6 month aged 12 ounce bottle in a Delerium Tremens Tulip
Appearance- To quote Nigel Tufnel: "It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black." with a good tan head that hangs around for a while leaving a nice ring easily brought back with a few aggitations in the glass.
Smell- Chocolate, espresso, smoky and brilliant. There's a slight alcohol presence at the finish, but not overpowering.
Taste- Heavenly! Everything the aroma offered and more. Alcohol is indeed present, but not offensive. Delicious!
Mouthfeel- Warming and smooth. This is a beer that will sneak up on you and kick you in the sack.
Drinkability- Dangerously easy for an Imperial Stout. Must get more!!! Great choice for my 50th review.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2006 14:56:01 | More by jj21
Photo of Tallboy
Tallboy

Antarctica

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

Pours: An opaque black that has got to be the darkest I have ever seen, with an evervescent creamy beige head .
Scent: At first I detected espresso and chocolate mixed roasted malts, then some earthy tones and just a notice of a citrus scent thrown in somewhere for good measure.
Taste: An explosion of nice caramel flavor greets you warmly, and soon that turns into a intense coffee/latte that is finaly balanced out by it's complex and bitter hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation with full on body warming Alcohol.
Drinkability: Even tho this is my fave brew from Great lakes, anything more than a 4 pack and I tend to get a lil' too squirrely due to the high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2006 02:57:31 | More by Tallboy
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thin tan head that descends to a swirling covering.

The smell is of roasted coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. A hint of alcohol comes through, but is non-interfering.

The taste is of robust chocolate-covered coffee beans enveloping sweet, dark fruits. A mild alcohol taste acts in a warming, supportive fashion. A mild bitter hop presence takes the edge off some of the sweetness, though the latter remains appropriately solid. As it progresses, a smokiness develops in the background.

It is smooth and rich. It takes great self-control to sip it rather than down it, as it is so delicious and easy to drink. Slightly drying. The flavors hold on tight for quite some time.

Rich and complex, it easily ranks among one of my favorites of the style. I wish that it was available in my area!
Thanks to BuckeyeNation for this one!

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2006 04:06:08 | More by jwc215
Photo of grub
grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to nlmartin for hooking me up with this bottle in a recent mystery six-pack trade.

pours a nearly opaque black colour with a full inch of dense tan head. the head is very slow to drop and leaves lots of lace behind.

aroma is great. roasty and malty. nice crackery malt.

taste is great. really roasty and nice. espresso and dark chocolate. bready malt. some caramel. bit of alcohol, but balanced really well. a little warm on the way down.

mouthfeel is good. it's pretty big, which i'd expect. carbonation level is moderate and good.

drinkability is great. really well balanced and tasty. really happy that i got this one. thanks again nate!

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2006 01:24:24 | More by grub
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours about as jet black as a black jet can get, impassable to light but for mahogany at the very margins. A finger of dark tan head sits arrogantly on top, sustaining just long enough. Lacing is plentiful and varied.

The aroma is a paisley flow of aurae, with coffee, charred espresso, dark chocolate, deep roasted malt, bread crust, prune, and a mellow hoppiness all swirling together around a pinwheel center of alcohol.

Upon tasting, the complexity continues in an alomst psychedelic progression starting with dark charred roasted malt, then moving on to espresso, bittersweet chocolate, some brown sugar sweetness, and a muted nuttiness. A basic but dark doughiness comes through before a vinous presence, think sherry or port, slides into a feathery but potent current of alcohol. A black cherry earthy sweetness blinks toward the close before the hops quick-change from light floral character to a bitterness joined by that of the burnt grain, a lingering earth-bound memory of all the flavor entailed. It's certainly complex, but about as well blended as something this big and rich could hope to be.

Full bodied, it coats admirably, but surprisingly it washed away too soon leaving a mistier legacy than I had hoped for.

From the moment I sniffed this beer I was exceedingly impressed by just how blended the elements were, and the flavor actually exhibited this admirable quality even more. It was a joy from the first look to the last drop, and the only thing I ever questioned was how fleeting some of the qualities seemed, but that is so small a knock as to be inconsequential. The ABV is a large intoxicating presence, and not to be ignored, though the warming way it has about it is more charming than daunting. So this is one RIS that, like so many others, should be enjoyed in careful moderation, but with the utmost gusto.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2006 21:54:56 | More by Foxman
Photo of egajdzis
egajdzis

Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured pitch black color with a thin tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of hops and roasted chocolate malts. Taste of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, some hops and a light alcohol burn. Slightly above average mouthfeel. I prefer the barrel-aged version more.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2006 12:11:00 | More by egajdzis
Photo of quasimoto
quasimoto

Ohio

4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Its a very deep black with deep mohagany highlights around the edges of the beer. The head what there was of it dissapated rather quickly but left some lace.

S - Strong roasted aromas of chocolate, coffee and some molasses. There are also some phenoilics in there to...might be all of the alcohol i smell. I dunno Im still learning.

T - Roasted, bitter coffee, chocolate, creamy vinouslike molasses. There is alot of molasses , makes me think of bar-b-que sauce.

M - mine is a little to cold yet, but I prefer it that way. A nice subtle bitterness bites the tounge, followed but a very smooth creamy sensation. AWESOME AFTER TASTE!!!

D- While it is rather warm outside, I do believe I could drink this anytime....

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 21:55:13 | More by quasimoto
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pretty much black with mahogany highlights. Moderate wet sand colored head gradually fades to leave a few islands of foam atop the glass. Beer displays pretty good lacing as well. Aroma has notes of dark fruit, tobacco, and a hint of espresso. Perhaps just a hint of hop spiciness as well. Flavor has a lot of dark chocolate and espresso in it; I mean a LOT. Very dry, almost like eating cocoa powder. Then it sweetness just a bit carried by a wisp of alcohol. A slight amount of bitterness balances out the package. Really can’t believe how neutral the finish is. Most RIS will tend to have a strong, thick, lingering finish. This just leaves you with a bit of double-strength mocha. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected. The amount of dark roast flavors begs for a bit of thick malt to balance things out, but it never happens. Great finish for a dry stout, not sure about an Imperial stout. Not really bad, but typically the RIS reminds you of it's power and size. This one's more strong and wiry than a big brute. Drinkability is decent, but it gets a little tiring after a while. Wish it had a bit more body.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2006 01:04:50 | More by aaronh
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For my 600th review I grabbed this highly rated bottle of stout.

The bottle recommends a 45F serving temperature, but I found that it was a little chalky and the flavours where subdued... perhaps a little more like a Foreign Export Stout? (when it's young).

I think I prefer it closer to 55F, when the body lightens and the flavour becomes a little more sherry-like.

A: Black, some tan head, some retention & lace.

S: Mocha, dark bread, brown sugar, dark raisin, a little pine. More sherry as it warms.

T: Mocha, brown sugar, dark bread, nut & some fruityness, with a piney resin in the finish. Pleasant dry roastyness with a little acidity. Alcohol is really well hidden at 45F, but comes forward as it warms (along with some spice & fruity esters as well). Bitterness is forward, but not nearly as assertive as some (particularly American) versions.

M: Moderate to full body is a little acidic (and chalky when cold); moderate carbonation. It becomes a little smoother & silkier after some cellaring.

D: Quite good for it's strength. Alcohol is very subdued when it's cool.

Wonderful, but different than most American versions of the RIS.

Thanks for picking this up Eric (Frozensoul327)!

I had the last bottle 4 months after the best before date. I think it actually gets better cellaring. Much smoother, silky body, some smokyness, warming sherry-like alcohol with hints of spice. Hell of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2006 01:03:30 | More by Derek
Photo of loren01
loren01

Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark black, good sized tan head, slight lacing in the glass
S: Smells chocolatey, also picking up hint of maple syrup
T: Chocolate flavor is strong, also has a slight oaky maybe charcoal flavor. Alcohol twinge is present
M: Dry finish, moderate to heavy mouthfeel
D: Tasty warming heavy bodied stout, would drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2006 12:11:48 | More by loren01
Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,474 ratings.