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Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

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2,933 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,933
Reviews: 1,125
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 425
Gots: 499 | FT: 35
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: Wildman on 02-14-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,933 | Reviews: 1,125 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zimm421
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Appears jet black with a thin tan head that dissipates fairly quickly, and leaves good lacing down the glass.

In the nose, there are hints of chocolate, both sweet and bittersweet, as well as coffee and some alcohol scents. The taste is dominated by chocolates, again sweet and bittersweet, as well as alcohol and some caramel in the background. The aftertaste is pleasant, and slightly bitter. The taste is very complex, with really a lot going on, but not one part dominates over the others.

The mouthfeel starts out very smooth, but does have a little bite towards the end, presumably from some carbonation but definitely the alcohol as well. It is definitely creamy and thick, and goes down smooth. The drinkibility is great, this brew is so inviting and goes well after a nice dinner. Something that is great to drink on a cold night, and would go great with dessert or just by itself.

Photo of sidetracked
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin brown head that dissipates quickly.

Smells of bitter roasted malts with a hint of sweetness.

Tastes of roasted malts with a lot of bitter baking chocolate. There's a little sweetness, but the bitterness really dominates. Finishes slightly dry with a long lingering bitter chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with no real chewyness. Low carbonation.

The body is a little lacking and the bitterness is a bit much over time, but overall a good imperial stout.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a deep brown color, looking black, red hues shine through. Dark mocha colored head, thin and bubbly. There is some retention and a small amount of lacing left on the glass

S-the nose is fair in strength, it brings a fair amount of molasses, some dark chocolate, notes of vanilla, hints of smoked wood, slightly burnt coffee, and a touch of anise

T-big flavors here, very nice and amped up from the nose. The molasses comes in first, a touch of smokey wood chips, nice dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Notes of slightly burnt coffee, then the sweet dark fruits come in. Ripe plum and a hint of dark cherry.

M-lighter end of full body, thick, it is extremely smooth and creamy, a high amount of carbonation providing a nice crisp finish.

D-this drinks easy, the body isn't so big you can only drink one; but it is still thick giving the feel of a stout. Great complexity on the flavors with a very nice blending. Fantastic!

Photo of sitarist
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- They should call it the black hole, no light escapes. Pours a deep dark black with two fingers of a crema tan head that last awhile. Lots of lacing.

S- Bakers chocolate, chocolate liquor, a bit of alcohol, and a hint of coffee. The scents are invitingly strong and straight forward.

T- I prefer my chocolate 72% cacao, this taste like 82%. The hops and malt are well balanced. The flavors are pretty much bitter chocolate, with a slight alcohol presence, and a slight espresso aftertaste.

M- Heavy bodied, medium carbonation, slightly sticky, slightly bitter and dry. Every thing is well balanced.

D- For being so full flavored and bodied its pretty drinkable. Its a warming sipper. One or two are all I can do.

Notes- What a difference a year makes; last year I really couldn't appreciate this beer. I'm stocking up this year!

Photo of BeerVikingSailor
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh beer for 2010 season, poured from bottle into GL pint glass....perfect pre-birthday gift to myself, this is one of my fav RIS!

A - nice total black(out) color, no light showing, nice thick foamy tan head, some lacing

S - great smelling stout, it jumps out at you, great aromas of burnt chocolate malts, cocoa, some coffee in there as well....bit boozy.

T - TFA (totally freakin awesome), perfect example of what a Russian Imp. Stout should taste like! Some hops up front, balanced well with the massive malt presense, and almost smoky dark chocolate feel....dry well hidden alcohol in the finish....drink too many of these too fast and your head will be spinning!

MF - lovely, tasty beer, feels good all the way around....let it warm up a bit, and the malt / hop flavors appear even more balanced...yummy!

D - super drinkable, a "go to stout" around here for sure; only problem is that is goes down a little too easy! Could polish off a 4 pack of this easily, but would then fall into a deep late winter slumber! Best savored slowly and enjoyed....going to age a few of these in the cellar to see how it does...

Great RIS from Great Lakes, a winner!

Photo of betterbgood
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I been drinking this beer for years now, I had it continuously in the growler, but this review comes from the bottle, did some irish car bombs also with it in the past, i digress

first off the appearance is black,i even held it up to the screen, no light came through, (black out)

the smell is of caramel, vanilla, chocolate malts aroma

the taste is creamy, not watery, nice bodied flavor of just great RIS, cant' explain sorry this is a review but,

mouthfeel is a smooth thickness of what a stout suggest perfect

drinkability is about the four pack it comes in.

I poured this stout in a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass, i think i'm going to drink every beer in this glass, it has all the characteristics of every glassware

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

12 ounce bottle to a tulip pint glass
A: opaque black with a tan frothy head about 2 fingers diminishing quickly. but the lace covers the glass in thick patches.
S: chocolate malts, a bit of alcohol, a hint of coffee.
T: creamy rich chocolate, old drip coffee, no booze what so ever the balance is perfect.
M: low carbonation leaving a thick rich coating on the pallet. great feel form start to finish. I will say that that I have had better body out of other RIS.
D: high for the style , could drink these down, this is a perfectly balanced RIS, this is great lakes best brew,

Photo of ne0m00re
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers, for sentimental and practical reasons alike. It was probably just released today, but I have a four pack of bottles in my fridge, one of which I poured for this review.

12 oz bottle poured into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.

A: Opaque black, with the thinnest red hue around the edges. The head is dense; it pours thick and dies down to a strong lace.
S: Chocolate, creamy coffee with a hint of alcohol and mild fruit... that I can't quite put a finger on at the moment (black currant or cherry, maybe?).
T: Creamy balance of alcoholic, roasted malts, chocolate espresso, and a bourbon vanilla charred flavor that lingers.
M: Thin, but creamy with a sharp, alcoholic finish.
D: This beer drinks like a good cigar. You take your time with it, but you can have one after another.

Like I said, this is one of my favorites. I'd compare the overall experience to Flying Dog's Gonzo.

Photo of bakeller
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle with best by date of 7/28/2009 into my DFH signature glass.

A: Jet black through and through with a minimal tan head even with a vigorous pour.

S: Coffee and chocolate on the nose with a whiff of alcohol. Quite sweet smelling with a ton of roasty malt.

T: Taste is fairly dominant with roasted malt and chocolate picks up some bitterness in the finish which reminds me of a nice espresso

M: Really the highlight of this beer. Very minimal carbonation with very slow cascading bubbles up the side of the glass. The lack of CO2 give it a very smooth and velvety feel. Has almost a syrup quality and coats the mouth and tongue allowing the taste to linger for quite some time.

D: Very respectable RIS, could not drink a ton of these but certainly a nice treat on a cold winter night.

After 3+ years of age the alcohol is well hidden in the taste but it still has a wonderful warming effect. Would not hesitate aging this well past the best buy date that is listed on the bottle.

Photo of stephens101
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impenetrably black with a bit over one finger of pure tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves a thin sheet of lace all around the glass. At the nose sweet chocolates are noticed followed quickly by some bitter chocolates, a very faint woodiness and some distant hops. Tastes of cocoa with a vein of sweet chocolates through the middle and alcohol heat and burnt wood in the end. Fairly creamy with some dry edges, and goes down easily despite the alcohol (very little heat is noticed). Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Photo of getkrunkhoe
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

sampled on 8-12-09 (from notes)

App-Beautiful rich dark color,very little tan head, not much but thin laced head.

Ar-cocoa,molasses,roasty like WHOA!, subtle vanilla note, a touch of dark fruits (which explains the bit of tartness in the finish).

T-nice chocolaty goodness,roast is present, and I get a bit of tart or bite towards the end;mild but there.

MF-carbonation is nice,its a bit tart (as i mentioned already) you can feel the tart as it goes down.

D-not too rich, not too lacking, just a great approachable Stout.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Thanks, brokenleadedcask!

Black pour, with a nice finger and a half of mocha colored foam. Head retains well and leaves behind some nice lacing.

Delicious aroma of coffee and chocolate. Sweet and bitter like baker's chocolate. Some dark fruit and a deep roastiness in there, too. This beer smells, um, robust.

Just tons and tons of flavor. Great balance between the sweet and bitter. The chocolate gives way to the roast in the end. Very rich flavor, with absolutely no trace of the ABV.

Body isn't quite as hefty as I was hoping for, but, really, that's the only knock I can think of. This is an outstanding beer. Very, very drinkable for a 9% RIS. I much prefer regular Blackout Stout to its barrel-aged counterpart.

Photo of augustgarage
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Courtesy of mikesgroove (thanks!). Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Very dark brown, though perhaps not quite opaque body with faint rufous highlights around the edges. Small sudsy, buff head with marvelous retention. Decent albeit whispy lacing with faint legs.

Sweet roast malt, chocolate, molasses, brown bread, and faint fruitiness in the nose. Reminds me of a good Baltic Porter rather than an RIS in some ways.

Heavy roast malt and a variety of sweet flavors (chocolate malt balls, treacle, brown sugar) on the palate, slowly adding a clean, almost citrus-tinged light bitterness, and morphing into a long finish with black licorice, toasted bread crust, and loam. Aftertaste is dry, though the finish is still fairly sweet. Delicious, though again, maybe not quite "to style."

Medium-bodied with substantial carbonation, and a light astringency. ABV is well hidden. Overall, a touch thin for an "Imperial" stout.

Really nice roast malt notes throughout and a sweetness balanced just enough by hops to make this exceptionally drinkable. Wish I had a few more of these...

Photo of bamadog
4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super pumped to be getting this in a growler, and it makes me just that much more excited for the bottles to be hitting the shelves again next month! Pour is from the growler to a snifter - this is my second opportunity to review this fine stout from different containers.

Appearance: Just like the name suggests, this beer is pitch black and the body is entirely opaque; starts with a 1/2 finger dark tan head that looks creamy but fades to nothing in a matter of moments; no real lacing to speak of at all either.

Smell: Quite potent and robust; lots of deep and dark bittersweet chocolate scents that are slightly syrupy and lots of burnt/roasted coffee ground aspects; there is also a light and slightly earthy bitter hoppiness lingering around in the nose as well.

Taste: Outstanding, much like the smell... Tons of those deep and dark roasted and toasted malts combine with that bittersweet baker's chocolate, backed up with a very slight earthy hoppiness and a faint flavor of alcohol way in the back (yet still very well blended); slight flavors of vanilla and wood as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel could be just a little thicker, but it's very smooth and creamy overall; carbonation is soft and allows the the body that fluid creaminess and it leaves a firm and solid stickiness all over the mouth; the belly is left quite warm from the 9% ABV.

Drinkability: Easily my favorite overall RIS and I'm so excited for this time of year as I'll be able to add to my vertical of it; amazing flavors and smells from my go-to brewery since getting back East that create the perfect cold winter night brew. Thank you GLBC, thank you.

Photo of wd40
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark black appearance that turns dark brown/red around the edges when held up to the light. Nice layer of tan foam about half an inch thick. Smell was chocolate and coffee. It had a pleasant aroma, but not a particularly robust one. The taste is great, rich chocolate and coffee with hints of vanilla. The only detraction is a slight bit of alcohol in the finish. It is just a little unpleasant which is why this otherwise very drinkable beer does not have a perfect score in the taste or drinkability categories. The mouthfeel is good. Could be just a bit more viscous, but it is very good. I'll definitely have this again the next time it's available.

Photo of erosier
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L: Pours a deep black color with no light coming through. It has a short tan colored head that laces the glass a bit on the way down.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, black and chocolate malts, caramel, and a hint of coffee at the end of the nose.
T: Tastes like the smell with a big roasted malt base with a really nice balance of bitter and sweet malts. Some chocolate, coffee, and caramel follow and the aftertaste is very smooth and clean.
M: Very smooth, warming, thick, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: This is a very drinkable beer even with the high abv volume. Great beer for sure and great representation of the style.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage (best by 7/28/09) poured into a Stone tumbler

pour was dark and thick with a very light cocoa creme head. light retention. not quite jet black but damn close.

lots of scents on the nose. up front are molasses, light vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark fruit, and some charcoal.

up front is some light booze with a deep dark chocolate bitterness that really adds some life to this. light black licorice and light dark roasted malts. a hint of espresso here and there. a bit sweet in the finish.

thick, very thick. not syrupy which is a huge plus

i am blown away. i had this last winter but it was fresh, i loved it, but i was not floored by it. ohh what a year has done. very mellow and blended together with a nice wide range of flavors and scents. at no point does it get boring. thank god i have more.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
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
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
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
4.23/5  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 -16.9%
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%
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 +6.9%
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 -1.4%
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
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,933 ratings.