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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.

2,620 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,620
Reviews: 1,083
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 417
Gots: 353 | 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: 2,620 | Reviews: 1,083 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MDekker
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out black as night, with some toast-colored head that vanishes pretty fast. Decent lacing as the level drops. Looks good. Smells of dark roasted java, and bitter chocolate. Enticing. Hints of alcohol too. Upon the first sip I really hit by dark chocolate and licorice. It makes me think of ripened cherries, too. Lingering dark bitterness hangs on at the end. It's really quite good. It has a nice consistency, too - not syrupy thick, but it has some chewy moments in the mouth. The high alcohol would keep me from packing in a lot of it, but it's a pleasing brew.

MDekker, Jul 09, 2007
Photo of BrewSomerville
3.55/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Aromas of chocolate & dark, roasted coffee...strong aromas of both. Somewhat sweet smelling. Molasses? Hops are not really detected in the aroma.

Looks onyx black. Mocha coloured head. Average head retention. Good lacing.

Taste is very similar to the aroma; chocolate and coffee. The alcohol really comes out to play on your tongue (9% ABV). Some hop flavour can be found if you are looking for it. Bittering hops must have done their job here, because it doesn't taste as sweet as the aroma had me anticipating. It's difficult to describe the hop flavouring though... I would have to say Floral, grassy, & herbal. The hops build in intensity as you approach the bottom of your glass.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick and a bit sticky. Very smooth & silky. Fine carbonation & and not over done, the CO2 was used sparingly here as it is supposed to be with a good stout. Very nice mouthfeel.

Overall, a good brew. I prefer my stouts with a lower ABV, but this is an IMPERIAL stout so it is being true to its style.

BrewSomerville, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to barleywinebrewer and nchrist13 for this one!

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours an opaque black with a one finger tan head that dies down to a thin lacing for the rest of the time. Stickiness is decent, nothing to go crazy about. I absolutely love this smell, almost like an oatmeal stout. Very sweet milk chocolate odor with a sweet oat background. Hints of coffee and espresso as well, can't detect any alcohol in the nose at all. Taste, wow...very balanced. Starts off with roasted malt then the coffee flavor dominates the tongue. Towards the end, hops emerge and balance out this one very well. This might be my favorite tasting Imperial Stouts by far. So smooth for 9% abv. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a fair amount of carbonation, just enough for this style. Taste keeps getting better and better as the temperature rises. Drinkability is amazing. Pick this one up for sure.

BeerTruth, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of scott
4.85/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


After a couple of months in climate controlled hibernation...

Gorgeous. Dark. Excellent retention and lace.
One powerful nose beckons for immediate consumption, but alerts you to pay close attention to the complex tale it is about to tell. This is so well balanced and masterfully crafted, that simple words of roast/coffee/baker's chocolate and the like don't adequately portray what is really going on here.
For as big as it is, the body is quite delicate, with a pleasantly dry finish that only begs for you to pull in more. Very impressive that it is almost crisp and refreshing on a lukewarm Ohio night. Go figure.
Hands down one of, if not the best RIS out there. The only thing that makes this more enjoyable is a bath in a Jim Beam barrel which is completely sublime. So recommended, if I had the money, I'd buy it for you. Never pass this one up.

scott, Jun 21, 2007
Photo of Reed415
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a black color with a thick dark tan head

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, leafy hops, roasted nuts in the nose

T - Very similar to the much, full of dark chocolate coffee, Roasted flavors, balance by some nice mild hops.

M - Full bodied, Moderation carbonation.

D - Very complex and balanced stout

Reed415, Jun 14, 2007
Photo of mdm46410
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. This Imperial Stout poured a solid black with a thick tan head that slowly faded away, leaving some excellent lacing around the glass. Just a bit of light is visible through the beer. The beer has nice big chocolate aroma, with notes of lightly roasted malts and some hop undertones. The flavor has quite a bit going on. You can taste cherries, milk chocolate, hints of coffee, and a touch of alcohol. I really enjoyed the flavor of this brew. The mouthfeel is full-bodied with a healthy dose of carbonation. Just a little bit thinner than I would prefer. The thin mouthfeel and unwanted level of carbonation are my only complaints. Overall, a very well done stout.

mdm46410, Jun 12, 2007
Photo of jaxon53
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this brew from brandoman63 through the Brews-n-Tunes BIF.

Served at cellar temperature into my Oversized snifter, from a 12 oz. bottle. Poured a deep, spent motor oil black that no light could pass through. Just about an inch of thick coffee brown head rose from the glass. Head slowly settled into impressive lacing. Smell was of fine milk chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, some subtle hop tones, and a smooth touch of vanilla, not bad at all. Taste was of Espresso, chocolate, some woold like flavors, vanilla, some hops, and a little alcohol burn at the back of my throat. The smell was better than the taste in my opinion, but still had a great flavor to it. Mildly carbonated with plenty of warming alcohol. Had a somewhat thick and full mouthfeel to it. Seemed pretty well balanced. Very drinkable. A pretty solid beer in my book,

jaxon53, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of KingG
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade about 18 months ago. Time to pop it.

Served at cellar temp and poured into my Duvel tulip glass/

Appearance is good. Extremely black liquid. Robust, mocha colored head forms but thins out through the drinking session.

Smell is very good. Espresso, Turkish coffee, dark and semi-sweet chocolate. Alcohol fumes and vanilla bean are in the background as well.

Taste is very good. While the smell focuses more on the coffee, the flavor is dominated by the dark chocolate. Large roasted malt profile too. The flavor is a tad bit thin when compared to the higher-ranked RIS's but still very nice.

Mouthfeel is very good. Nice, Smooth, creamy, full-bodied. Carbonation is subdued but i believe that's from the aging process.

Drinkability is good. Another 12oz bottle wouldn't be a problem.

A nice chocolatey treat. Nice combination of coffee and chocolate flavors. A fine RIS that would start a session off quite well. Recommended.

KingG, May 31, 2007
Photo of
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle

Clear (I think) dark, dark brown liquid. Mahogany at edges. Small, creamy, brown head. No lacing, nice legs.

Medicinal and alcoholic. Touch of chocolate. Sweet, dark fruits. Coffee. Blackstrap molasses. A lot going on, but a bit milder aroma than I was expecting.

Taste hits me with coffee and roast notes at first. Alcohol. Sweet taste of chocolate, bittersweet, of course. Raisins. Molasses. Finish is herbal and grassy. Overall, nice balance of sweet and bitter components.

Medium - heavy body. Carbonation is bigger than appearance suggests. Medium at least, and could be turned down just a bit. Fairly dry. Alcohol warming noticeable.

Very nice stout. Quite drinkable despite ABV and body. Marred, IMO, by just a touch too much carbonation. I would certainly drink again, glad I got a 4 pack.

, May 29, 2007
Photo of flexabull
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking beer. Pours a deep flat black color, with a nice big white head.

Aromas are a bit smokey, with notes of burnt coffee, and bitter chocolate.

Flavors are dry, and surprisingly bitter. There is a bitter coffee like quality, some cocoa, and a creamy dark sweet sugary taste on the finish. Pretty nice RIS. Not very complex, this is pretty straight forward.

Mouthfeel seems a touch light for a RIS, but it's still above average.

All in all? A nice representation of the style. Needs a bit more body, but it's still an enjoyable and very drinkable RIS.

I received a few bottles of this in BIFs, thanks everyone!

flexabull, May 13, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Jdoolin : Poured a deep black color stout with a nice foamy head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of chocolate and coffee malt is well balance with a medium hoppy finish. Taste is really well balance between chocolate malt, some dry roasted malt and a medium bitter finish. Body was quite full with some adequate carbonation. Overall, I thought this was well done and alcohol was not perceptible. I might have lack some complexity but it was still quite enjoyable.

Phyl21ca, May 09, 2007
Photo of steamingheap
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out dark black with a creamy tan head that quickly falls. Deep chocolate roasted smells highlight the aroma. There is an element of dark fruit. Chocolate flavors start the flavor profile and become replaced with deep malty sweetness. The dark fruits are present mid-taste as well. There is just enough bitterness and alcohol bite to balance out the deep malt profile. The bitterness in the aftertaste seems more like roasted/toasted bitterness that lingers long after the beer is gone. At 9% alcohol, this beer hides it dangerously well. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and really rounds the beer out nicely.

This is a fantastic brew that really brings out the deep roasted and chocolate flavors that stouts should have. The roasted malt bitterness makes up for the fact that it isn't as hoppy as I would have personally liked. Perfect with a small piece of dark chocolate.

steamingheap, May 07, 2007
Photo of Luchman
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz 2006 bottle poured into a small snifter

A: Pours out looking like cola but looks black, smooth, and velvety in the glass. Atop sits a short lived ¼ inch head, tan/dark cocoa in color. Fades leaving a creamy lacing on the sides. 4.5

S: Mmmmm.. Smells delicious. Chocolate, smooth mocha coffee, a nice caramel/toffee note, and a slight hint of some dark fruits and breads. A hint of alcohol is there as well, which I think, enhances the smell of this beer. A slight bit of hops are there, but this is definitely malt dominate. Again, smells delicious.

T: Chocolate and coffee lead it here with a nice touch of roasted malts, and the dark bread/fruits. A nice and slight smoky, earthy tone is there as well. Alcohol, again, leaves its trace, but it is pleasantly welcomed. A few more sips in and I get that nice caramel touch to it. No hops to speak of really, but that may be from the bottle being a year old. However, a bitterness on the tongue is present at the end.

M: Mouth feel is full with a low/medium carbonation that fits it well. Great.

D: Definitely an awesome stout. Great Lakes did nothing out of the ordinary but did everything right with this one. A few more sips into it and the alcohol presence was starting to bring this beer down, which surprises me since this is only a 9% abv beer. Even though one is enough for a sitting, I will be revisiting this one.

Luchman, May 07, 2007
Photo of Vancer
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just a joy sippin’ on this brew. Smooth and silky, the 9% was barely discernable, although the cheeks got rosy red.

Almost a jet black pour with ruby red edges, smallish tan head, probably due to the high %

Chocolate malt and toasted smores in the aroma. Each quaff glides down with notes of a chocolate shake laced with licorice – maybe a spoonful of dark cherry and plum for each bottle.

Geez, I could drink these all evening, SLOWLY.

Many thanks to Mike (mcallister) for the brew, sent in the SimplyBeer BIF.

Vancer, May 04, 2007
Photo of BladeRunner
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great Stout let me tell you. I did not give it a perfect score, because I haven't tried enough stouts, so there could possibly be a better tasting stout. If I do not happen to find a better stout out there, then I will revise my review and give it a perfect score.

Using a snifter, it pours a nice deep black, with a tan head that doesn't stay too long. The lacing is semi-thin, and isn't too sticky. I smell mocha espresso, and a some alcohol prescense.

Taste is very smooth for having such a high alcohol percentage.
Espresso hints of flavor hit your mouth right away, and the prescense of alchol is rather suttle for what you might first expect from this beer. It tastes better slightly warmed up, so I recommend you take your time with this beer.

Mouthfeel was outstanding, almost like fireworks going on in my mouth. It has a very tingly mouthfeel, that almost tickles the tongue.

I gave it's drinkability high just for taste alone, and all you need is a 4-pack, because it has such a high alcohol percentage. If your drinking just for taste, than this is highly drinkable. Just take your time with this beer.

BladeRunner, May 04, 2007
Photo of westweasel
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams tasting glass.

The appearance of this beer was a deep, dark brown & black mahogany color with about 1/4 inch of tan head. The aroma was very roasty with some dark chocolate, coffee, and a little bit of citrusy lemon.

The taste had a strong roasty bite that would morph into hop bitterness in the finish - a clean transition from one to the other. There was no strong alcohol taste.

The mouthfeel was full with some light carbonation.

The drinkability was excellent. You don't taste the strong alcohol at all. I would prefer it to be a tad bit sweeter, but that's just me.

westweasel, Apr 27, 2007
Photo of JustinOSU99
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich black color with an excellent one-inch thick tan head.
S: Coffee, Chocolate, Malts, Espresso, Vanilla Bean
T: Strong high alcohol taste that mimics the great smell of the beer. Heavy taste of dark chocolate, roasted nuts, coffee, licorice, very complex.
M: Feels incredibly light for a stout which I love. Definitely goes down smooth with a nice bitter aftertaste.
D: Excellent stout. One I would love to have more of.

JustinOSU99, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of bort11
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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
Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,620 ratings.