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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.

2,516 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,516
Reviews: 1,077
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 402
Gots: 324 | FT: 25
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: 2,516 | Reviews: 1,077 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of maundythirsty


4.33/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

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


4.03/5  rDev -4.5%

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

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


4.45/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

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!

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


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

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


4.9/5  rDev +16.1%

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.

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


4.55/5  rDev +7.8%

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!!!

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


4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

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.

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


4.33/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

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


4.38/5  rDev +3.8%

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!

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.65/5  rDev +10.2%

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!

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

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +3.1%

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.

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


3.45/5  rDev -18.2%

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.

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


4/5  rDev -5.2%

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....

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


3.48/5  rDev -17.5%

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.

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

British Columbia (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +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.

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


4.45/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

08-10-2006 12:11:48 | More by loren01
Photo of dirtylou


4/5  rDev -5.2%

Re-reviewed for the context of Imperial/Russion Stout Session...4th in line for myself, expatsteve, DaPeculierDane, and Golden2wenty1

appearance: probably the darkest of the bunch (at least at this point of the tasting)...opaque darkness, creamy chocolate head with some strong lacing left behind

smell: dark and mysterious...heavy on the licorice, a strong bitterness, dark roasted coffee, booze covered plum/dark cherry and other dark fruit

taste: strong licorice flavour, big roasted malt, dark roasted coffee flavours, strong booze presence, plum, raisin, dark cherry, nice espresso touch, light bourbon...good stout

mouthfeel: high bitterness, strong abv, medium-full body

drinkability: good, slightly inhibited by bitterness

07-27-2006 18:42:30 | More by dirtylou
Photo of expatsteve


4.33/5  rDev +2.6%

Appearance: Pours black with splashes of ruby. Produces a brief 1/4 inch head, and leaves a little lacing on top of the glass. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Raisins, molasses and some nice chocolate malts. A tickle of booze keeps the nose tight and impressive.

Taste: Nice espresso flourish over raisins and chocolates. A little bitterness in the finish, and a warm glow left in the throat. Chocolate and roasted coffee developments on the middle palate. Really good flavor, with sweetness balancing other elements out.

Mouthfeel: Bitterness balances the thicker body of this beer. Low carbonation, smooth and almost creamy. Perfect stout body.

Drinkability: Balanced flavor with lots of nice malt developments. Not the most complex of imperial stouts, but definitely one of the more nicely executed.

07-26-2006 19:10:45 | More by expatsteve
Photo of sabrills70

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -5.7%

12oz brown bottle with a best before date of 10/06. Pours a jet black with a 1 finger head, great longevity and lace. Smells of highly roasted almost burnt malt mixed with chocolate, coffee and dried dark fruits. Tastes are similar with coffee being the main flavor. Alcohol comes flying through and is warming all the way down. Hops are a bit subtle but there is a nice roasted bitterness that lingers in the mouth. This stuff screams for some chocolate cake. It is smooth and creamy an although tasty it is a bit heavy to be super drinkable, but do not pass this beer by if you see it. Just drink it slowly and enjoy.

07-22-2006 21:06:36 | More by sabrills70
Photo of badbeer


4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Poured out completely black with a nice tan head leaving a very nice lacing. Hops, coffee, and a bit of cocoa in the nose. Taste explodes on the tongue, starting with currants and chocolate, then transforming into a little cherry flavor and a lot of roastiness. Amazing taste, I loved it. Low-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied, would have like it a little thicker. Takes a while to drink, but each sip was savored. Definitely a nice beer, try it if you see it available, but don't fret if you don't.

07-19-2006 06:16:52 | More by badbeer
Photo of kirok1999


4.18/5  rDev -0.9%

Appearance- Pours a thick, oily black with a tan head that quickly dissapates.

Smell- Charcoal, chocolate, and coffee.

Taste- Matches the smell. Sweet malted charcoal, with coffee and chocolate backbone. Nice mild carbonation that warms nicely with the alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Oily and thick. Slides down and the alcohol warms the whole experience.

Drinkability- Way too drinkable. The taste makes it outstanding as a cold winter night brew.

07-11-2006 01:22:55 | More by kirok1999
Photo of denjen


4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Dennis: They say some good can come from everything bad. This beer is based off the 2003 power outage that affected a lot of the northeastern US. Smelling of roasty malts the beer tastes like what you would expect from an imperial stout, strong dark chocolate tastes combined with burnt toast hints. I"m sure there are some hop somewhere but I can't pick them out from the rich taste. Certainly no the richest/thickest Imperial stout I've had, but at 9% it certianly will keep you warm at night. But as the label shows, any friend who shows up with (24-pack) $53 bucks of beer in a black out is always welcome.
Jen: As a general rule of thumb, Great Lakes makes some outstanding beers. This one seems to fall short by just a hair. It starts with a nice scent of roasted malts. The taste follows up nicely with a dry espresso taste and dark chocolate (not creamy like milk chocolate, more like a Hersheys Special Dark mini bar). There is a definite dryness to this that leaves your mouth with a taste that lingers only for a short while. On the exhale, I get a twinge of the 9% alcohol. The body of this beer is just too thin for me, and that is where this brew falls up a hair short. I feel a Russian Imperial Stout should coat your mouth and hang around for a while after swallowing. I would, however, never turn this down, as I am a stout lover and this is a very good one to have!

07-09-2006 22:53:57 | More by denjen
Photo of veggiemafia


3.93/5  rDev -6.9%

12oz. into a snifter.

REALLY REALLY black, intensely black. Black with a passion. Moderate head formation, but that quickly dissolves.

Smell is nice, but a little boozy. The biggest thing I get once this is warmer is bourbon, with notes of espresso, vanilla and prunes behind the bourbon.

Taste is much bigger on coffee and dark roasted grains. There's gotta be 3 or 4% black malt in here, and it's really nice. Finishes dry and nice.

Mouthfeel is a little flat, and a little sticky, but very luxurious.

One of the more drinkable RIS's I've encountered.

Doesn't hold a candle to 2004 Stone IRS, but what does, really?

07-05-2006 00:43:02 | More by veggiemafia
Photo of Illini5596


4.9/5  rDev +16.1%

An absolute work of art. The Blackout Stout is well named, being deep black in color, letting no light through at all. The head on mine was a deep rich darm creamy foam, making this look quite regal. The taste... paradise, Great Lakes has produced some find beers in the past but they absolutely hit this one out of the park. Deep, rich, full bodied, complex, with the flavor of dark roasted grains, coffee, and chocolate with a good creamy feel.

This is the beer all stouts aspire to be, hands down one of the most phenominal beers I have ever tasted. A little strong to drink every day, but go out and try some immediately, you will regret it if you don't!

06-30-2006 18:17:45 | More by Illini5596
Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,516 ratings.