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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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2,997 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,997
Reviews: 1,137
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 434
Gots: 515 | FT: 33
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: GreatPondBrewer on 11-30-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,997 | Reviews: 1,137 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CharlatanSin
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Time to start hacking away at this backlog of review notes from my Wisconsin trip. That place, by the way, is beer heaven.

Blackout Stout. One of those things we've heard legends about here in NYC, but have never received. Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Blackout pours a deep, ominous black. The pour creates a big, pillowy tan head which recedes quickly and doesn't leave a ton of lacing.

S: Very sweet. Dark malts dominate, with a bit of dark fruit and chocolate. A tiny bit of booze as it warms. Faint but pleasant.

T/M: Quite good, but doesn't really stand out. The dark malts have more of a roasted taste than in the nose, which lends a nice bitterness. The chocolate is stronger, too. Bitter baker's chocolate. Maybe a tiny hint of booze. The mouthfeel is the best aspect here. Creamy, viscous and extremely coating, the way a good stout should be.

D/Overall: Very nice RIS, but not something I'd go out of my way for. Which is good, since going out of my way would require airfare.

Photo of TheGordianKnot
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased on tap at a pub, but received in a regular pint glass... Would have preferred a tulip or snifter, but o well.

A- Beautiful black with a very small caramel head (perhaps the bartender wasn't sure how to pour)

S- Had a very sweet and coffee/toffee like smell

T- Decent imperial stout. Very prominent bourbon taste, which wasn't what I quite fancy, but the hops balanced nicely

M- Everything one would expect in an imperial stout

D- My first drink was the best. I gulped down a good third of it and noticed the different flavors on my tongue (the roasted barley, bitter hops, and sweetness of the malt were wonderful for this first 5 seconds!) with a decent aftertaste. Towards the end, it seemed like it kept getting thicker and thicker and the bourbon flavor got to be a bit much.

Overall, not a bad imperial stout. Imperials are not my stout of choice, but one can absolutely appreciate what Great Lakes did with this. I tend to feel that GL is overrated (being from Ohio people go absolutely crazy for the stuff, not knowning anything about beer; just that it's from Ohio) but this was a gem to find, especially on tap! I was about to get a guinness after to balance out the flavor and mouthfeel, but realized that would have tasted like water after this bad boy, so I got an IPA with my burger instead. I would enjoy again...

Photo of MrDanno96
3.51/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pretty impressive. I filled my snifter all the way to the top and it almost looks like the glass is painted black - that's how little light is getting through this thing. Just a thin tannish white head crowns the brew.

S: Feint roasty aromas are the primary scents here. Dark roast coffee, roasted malt, and black patent. Maybe some hints of bitter chocolate. A little underwhelming to be honest - this could use a stronger nose.

T: Like the nose, the taste is kind of one dimensional. Lots of roasted malt character dominates the flavor: black patent, espresso, bittersweet chocolate, and burnt coffee. A little sweetness is detectable at the beginning of each sip - chocolate and hits of dark fruit and molasses. This is quickly covered up, however, but the aforementioned dark malts. The finish is harshly bitter - too much black patent malt IMO. Sometimes the "burnt coffee" flavor can be desirable in big stouts, but here it's just a little to abrasive.

M: Full bodied with a slightly harsh finish of burnt coffee and alcohol.

D: This stout is simply O.K. IMHO. I think it could benefit greatly from sacrificing a little of its "blackout" color by trading a little of the darker roasted malts for some slightly sweeter malts. Perhaps a little more chocolate malt would do this brew good. I'll throw a couple in the cellar and see if a year takes some of the bitter bite out of the flavor.

Photo of crossovert
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, 2010 vintage.

Pours into my snifter a thick, dark blackish brown. The head is thick and tan with lots of large and small bubbles. It stays a long tie before receding and leaving behind lacing.

The smell is perhaps a bit underwhelming. It is heavy on bready dark malt scent with a bit of alcohol and sugar. There is also some faint chocolate, coffee, and raisin.

The mouthfeel is big and thick. The taste is predominantly roasted dark chocolate with some coffee. There is a light hop bite and some dark fruitiness and alcoholic kick. The end of the mouthfeel is slightly cloying.

This is a good RIS but there are better ones out there, I am eager to try this with some age on it however as it might just be too fresh. I also would like to try the BA version.

Photo of Pabs311
3.71/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours almost black w/ rich mocha head that lingers for quit a while and slowly settle leaving some good looking lacing.

S-sweet roasted malts and some coffee and hints of bittersweet chocolate. not an overly impressive nose.

T-good coffee character, roasted malts and a dry finsih. once again not overly impressed.

M/D- medium0light bodied, low carbonation. very drinkable. i dunno what happened here, but i wasn't overly impressed. hopefully the other 2 i aquired will drink better in a few months.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottles poured a dark black using the Sam Adams pefect pint glass. Decent amount of foam lacing the glass. The taste comes through as dark roasted chocolate. A very smooth stout overall and quite drinkable. No trace of the 9% alc at all in any sip. A pretty good stout overall, nothing amazing, but good. Glad I finally got to try this one. Would have no issues drinking this again.

Photo of Poormon79
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up recently in a 4 pack. I plan on getting all three of the special brew greal lakes plans to put out.

A: very dark. RIS standard black. put to light a hint of red is present.

S: somewhat of a sweet roasted malts. small chocolate smell

T: the roasted malts come through. chocolate sense comes with the smell

D: i could sip on this bad boy all night.

Unfortunatly it was fairly expensive at $11 something a 4 pack. But very worth it. Ill let a bottle sit for awhile

Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

WOW..nice.smooth for an Imperial stout, Black , Malty, a slight alcohol finish, but all of the typical stout traits, even a little touch of smoke. Aroma of Dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, alcohol, mocha and coffee. Flavor is sweet roasted malts, tabacco and chocolate, . Great balance. Smooth, creamy and very easy drinking. Alcohol is a bit noticeable. Very good beer, but did you expect any less from Great Lakes. Let this 9% bitch sit a year.

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

Vintage 2010
This beer pours a very dark brown if not black with a thin tan head that really seams to stick around as it warms.
It smells mostly of bitter chocolate with some roasted coffee too but the chocolate is what stands out.
I get a lot of the roasted bitterness with chocolate hiding underneath. Some coffee notes in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is very creamy but the bitterness balances it out so it goes down smooth not too rich.
A very drinkable stout at 9% and the price doesn't hurt it either.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nighttime black, I get it, blackout stout. Where's the carbonation? Burnt aroma.

Medium bodied for an imperial. Not sludge, but not Guinness thin either. A little more on the bitter side. Feels warm. Feels like tobacco too. Fire, smoke, everything surrounding something that is burnt, it has a coal feel complimenting the burnt chocolate. Cold campfire night stout.

I woudln't say that this beer is unique, its a pretty standard IS with a smoky bent, unlike the rauchbier smoky feel. I guess I would say its most similar to what I imagine an Alaskan Imperial Smoked Porter would be like.

Not a bad price for a big middle of the road stout.

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

On-tap, served in a snifter

A pitch black body with a frothy, cappuccino color head that recedes slowly to form a thin layer of thick foam. Excellent retention and spider web lacing.

The aroma is more fresh roasted coffee and bitter chocolate than anything else. Some dark cherries and a mild hint of booze. Everything in a pretty good balance, nothing leaps out and smacks me around.

The flavor profile is similar to the nose only with more roast. Dark, Belgian chocolate up front with lingering roast coffee and dark cherry in tow. The finish is bitter and roasty with just a touch of warming. Again, everything is in a very good balance and nothing overwhelms. Not a large, gargantuan stout by any means, but big and playful.

Smooth and lush, with a very easy drinking quality. It's so well-balanced that it goes down super smooth. The flavors are bold without being overpowering which bodes well for its drinkability. The finish is bitter and a lingering roast.

Photo of Scrapss
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Thick and dark as night. Inert 2 finger deep tan head that dissipated. Has very slight legs. Some lacing.

S: I sense coffee, tobacco, chocolate and roasted sensations with ever so slight hop note. It smells like a toned-down, refined Sam Adams Triple Bock.

T: Smell delivers and taste follows, all the strongly malt, chocolate and lively burnt and roasted notes with mellowing flavors. Very sharp and short lived bite. Alcohol is barely present, it is slight and not nearly as powerful as SA/TB.

M: Chocolate bite, thin, smooths into strongly warming feeling. Faintly reminds me of John Walker Black Label, but at a very reduced ABV. All the flavors fall off nicely at the finish, leaving a smooth, then very slightly dry feeling. Not what I expected at all.

D: This is a rather good and certainly a pleasurable sip.

I really like this concoction. It reminds me of a Sam Adams Triple Bock but (pleasantly) muted and filtered to the point of refinement. Great Lakes continues to deliver quality brew!

Photo of WorldWideStout
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of pecorasc as an extra he knew I wanted. Been looking forward to trying this for awhile - thanks Sam!

A: The pour is a regular brown, lighter than I expected. In the snifter, it becomes darker. Head rose to about two fingers but left the glass with no trace fairly quickly.

S: As I poured I could smell some chocolate. Closer sniffs were rewarded with more of this, though more bitter than originally anticipated, and a definite brownie smell, which I had heretofore read of rather dubiously in others' reviews of stouts. There were also aspects of baker's chocolate and cocoa in the mix.

T: Starts off with some unripened dark fruit, followed by the brownie/baker's chocolate, which just sort of fades away. Aftertaste is bitter cocoa beans, though it's not too intense.

M: Not as full-bodied as I'd like, though it does improve drinkability. There is also a bit of chalkiness; perhaps because of the flavors, I am reminded of a bit of cocoa powder that hasn't yet dissolved. This sensation is at least somewhat conjured up, as there is certainly no sediment floating about; regardless, it is unique but not unpleasant.

D: Quite high for a decently alcoholic and flavorful brew.

I was in the mood for a more chocolately stout, and I got it. I'm not a huge fan of the dark fruit notes in this one, but luckily they play a secondary role. I'm glad I got to have this, and now I'm even more interested in the barrel-aged version!

Photo of Mavajo
3.06/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to Buckeyenation for the bottle.

Pours nearly black, but allows quite a bit of light through. You can pretty much see right through it as it pours, and the edges have quite a bit of transparency. Head is surprisingly white - probably weighs in as "off-white" overall. About two fingers thick, with decent retention. Almost no lacing. Just a bit too "light" looking for a big stout.

Nose is great. Cocoa/coffee and roasted malts. Very nice nose, which indicates that a great taste should follow. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Taste is quite a bit watered down, with some coffee/cocoa notes and a slight smokiness. It's a bit bland overall. Almost like someone took a very good stout, and then diluted it with water. Disappointing.

If I was bummed by the taste, the mouthfeel was worse. Thin body. Not what I want from a big stout. Carbonation was okay. Again, the watery character of this beer weighs in again here.

This brew is just boring. Mediocre taste, weak mouthfeel. I expected much better. It's not offensive or awful - it's just bland and boring. Possibly the most uninspired RIS/Double Stout I've ever had.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes to pimpmyporter for sending this beer my way.

Poured into my imperial pint glass the beer is dark brown bordering on black. The beige head rises to about two fingers before settling to leave just spots of lace.

The aroma is a heavy dose of roasted malt along with generous amount of coffee and hints of chocolate. Light hint of bitterness.

The flavor is very nice blend of roast bready malts with black bitter coffee and hints of chocolate fudge. Great mix of these components.

Full body with light carbonation. Hangs on the tongue.

Overall a super easy drinking RIS if there ever was one. I'm glad I scored a handful of bottles.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick opaque black with dense chocolate milk head that laces decently. Smell is strong with some big roasted/toasted malts and coffee notes. Taste follows with a punch of dark malt with some exceptional toasted flavors. Some sweeter notes under there too. Light hints of dark chocolate, and mild hop bitterness, though not nearly as much as in Storm King or Black Sun Stout. MF is creamy and clean, a bit dry actually. Very drinkable for a RIS, a great example of the style. No tricks, just a good beer.

Photo of cbutova
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at Capone's in PA on Friday, reviewed from notes. Pours pitch black with a nice tan colored head that leaves a fine coat of tan lacing. There is a nice ring and cloud atop the beer as I drink it and the head has nice retention and looks. Smells of roast malt, some caramel/sugars, a tiny pinch of alcohol, some cocoa and coffee. Needs a bit more strength but a good balance indeed. Much of the same in the taste. Heavy roast malts, cocoa a hint of alcohol, some sweets and a good earthy hop backbone to balance the flavor. Mouthfeel is very nice. An awesomely creamy and heavy body with great warming. A bit of oily feeling to it and a nice low amount of carbonation make for a perfect RIS mouthfeel. The tongue is left with a coat of roast malt. Very sessionable for a 9% RIS, ABV present but in a good way. The taste and price were good. A nice straight up RIS.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes on 8/28/09, on tap at MacGregor's

A - Very dark, nearly pitch black. Thick, rich tan head that never dies. Beautiful lacing and excellent retention. Nearly flawless. 5.0

S - Rich chocolate malt, cream, light expresso. Mildly biscuity, but could be more pronounced. 4.0

T - Initial roasted barley, hint of smokiness and tobacco with more roasted barley and oatmeal. No alcohol at all. However, a bit of charcoal is somewhat off putting. 4.0

M - Very rich and velvety. Carbonation dances on the palate and creates a smooth sensation. Excellent. 4.5

D - Very good, I can only wish for this to be on cask... 4.0

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

A- Black with some ruby highlights; thin, tan head.

S- Roasted malts and some chocolate malt.

T- Big roasted note towards the end with some notes of chocolate just before; burnt malts create a slight bitterness but nothing too strong. Warming alcohol presence is there as well.

M- Silky smooth up-front with a more assertive carbonation towards the finish.

D- A nice, drinkable RIS; pretty easy to enjoy without any aging.

Photo of jcnd9803
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Brown/black with zero head. Nice lacing though.

S- Chocolate, toffee, and coffee. Almost a burnt malt smell.

T- Roasted malts, chocolate, and somewhat nutty. I do catch some ashy flavors, which brings the burnt smell to life.

M- Thin but smooth.

D- This is a nice beer. It provides some nice flavor without going over the top. It's a nice change of pace from some of the other big name imperial stouts.

Photo of damndirtyape
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Single bottle (best by 08/02/10) poured into a tumbler.

Appearance: Black in the glass - dark ruby red held up to the sunlight. Persistent tan foam around the edge of the glass with some thick lacing as I drink it down. The foam upon pouring was about 1/8" thick, but it died down rather rapidly.

Smell: Cocoa is strongest to my nose, with something sweet at the end...maybe a raisin? Deep inhale I get some sweet coffee liquor smells. Regardless it's nice.

Taste: Cocoa up front, followed immediately with a nice malty sweetness, then bitterness, then a just right sweet coffee finish. It is like drinking down a really good chocolate/coffee liquor, but not nearly as cloying or as hot in alcohol. The alcohol is perfectly hidden - I know it's helping bring out the flavors, but it doesn't make the beer too hot or powerful. Overall it's just right.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation/spiciness on the tongue, quickly replaced with a thick and slick mouthfeel. Goes down real nice but reminds me it was there.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipping or end-of-meal beer. Very relaxing and tasty as a desert, but I can't have too much of just desert. So not a more than one beer, but still very good.

Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Clark's 3-17-10

The beer pours a pitch black color with a creamy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a sweet chocolatey scent that's rich and creamy with a touch of black malt earthiness. The taste is great as well. It has a warm chocolate malt flavor that goes down slow and easy with a slight black malt bitterness. It's damn smooth and rich. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a delicious beer. As far as stouts go, this one is in my top ten.

Photo of hashiru
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I get molasses both in the smell and taste of this beer. I've always liked Great Lakes brews and this one has not changed my opinion.

To me this was similar to and almost as good as Bell's Batch 9000 at about 1/2 the price. For that how can you go wrong?

Photo of capra12
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed solo, served out or a shipyard pint glass,

Appearance: Deep and dark moghagundy with a 2 finger light brown head that dissipates nicely and leaving a spotty/weblike lacing.

Smell: Chocolate malts, hint of roasted coffee and dried dates.

Taste: Much like the nose, opens with a mild dark fruit, caramel, molasses malt profile. There is an intense spike in the dark fruit profile as the dark chocolate malts emerge in the middle. I get a rich coffee toward the finish in this brew as the dark fruit and strong malt backbone comes back to finish this off. Leaving a dark malt, coffee and fermented dark fruit aftertaste. Yum

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with min-moderate carbonation and rather intense as far as the flavor profile is concerned.

Drinkabilirty: I would definitely have this again, and recommend this to those seeking a solid RIS with tons of molasses, dark malts, dark fruit and coffee.

Photo of beerad666
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a near black with the head vanishing quickly leaving a thin tan ring of bubbles. The aroma is roasted with chocolate, vanilla, cherry a hint of hops and nice light alcohol burn. After my first sip I was hooked on this beer, it is incredibly balanced. Toasted and roasted, with light chocolate and not overly sweet. Finished by a bit of hops to round it all off. I was just happy to not see this overly sweet as so many other RIS are. I could be drinking this beer all the time if I could. I had a couple on tap and loved every sip of it. Great beer!

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,997 ratings.