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

2,806 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,806
Reviews: 1,100
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 422
Gots: 422 | FT: 34
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Blackout Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,806 | Reviews: 1,100 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 7ways
3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had to try this just based on the name. Poured into a snifter.

Appears dark brown bordering on black with a fleeting dark brown head and milky lace. Looks like a typical stout, nothing unexpected. And the smell was much less than expected. Roasty dark malt meld, a hint of sweet chocolate and more than a hint of alcohol. I tasted more of the same, plus tobacco and old coffee on the lingering finish. Surprisingly good hop balance, but not enough to mask the full red wine booziness. The carbonation was also typical, mouthfeel was silky but thin. Felt aerated the warmer it got. I've had so many lighter bodied RIS's lately that I'm questioning my own definition of a full bodied beer.

A solid RIS, but a little too basic for me. I'm ready to move on after half of it. Would probably go well with a cigarette.

Photo of OlieIPA
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Patron Wizard gave this beer to me...thank you buddy...here's to you!!

A: Almost like a flat soda with just about no head. More transparent then I'm used to.

S: A mixture of molasses and alcohol. Maybe some coffee undertones perhaps.

T: Much more chocolate and coffee taste then the smell indicates. Molasses is apparent with a slight burnt after taste. The alchohol is hidden well throughout the sip.

M: Thinner then most RIS's with a very gentle carbonation.

D: Probably one of the most easy going RIS's around; could enjoy all night.

Overall: The best thing about this beer is the taste...which is remarkable! Other then that, the beer displays very average to above average qualities that a lot of RIS's out there have. A very good beer that is "try it" on my list. You won't be disapointed, but won't be blown away either.

Photo of maximum12
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sholland119 for this tasty treat in my favorite style.

It's also my favorite style of RIS: creamy & slick in the mouth. There's a definite feel of the 9% ABV blazing into the back of the mouth & down, down, down. I wish it weren't such a warm evening in MN now.

This is a smoooth-drinking, top-notch beer that's perfectly balanced: not over the top (alcohol, coffee, malts, hops, anything) but has hints & gobbles of everything that is good & holy in a beer.

I'm smiling now.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to DuqTroops for the bottle.

Poured into pint glass out Black with a thin tan head. Very good lacing that sticks around for most of the time I'm drinking it.

Taste is very good. Has a slight sweet chocolate taste that doesn't really last long. The flavor then goes to an alchol flatness.

Smell is roasted sweet smell.

Mouthfeel is very smooth. Hardly any carbonation. Thick, but not dry.

Overall, of the limited number of RIS I've had, this would probably be the most drinkable for me.

Photo of jwinship83
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- black body with a small lasting sticky coffee colored head. very nice.

S- roasted malt, dark chocolate, a small amount of coffee, and just a hint of booze

T- very roasty. you can taste the alcohol. chocolate is in here too. lots of coffee and hops in the finish.

M- wonderfully thick and oh so smooth.

D- one of my favorite RIS to date. i picked this up cheap because its past the breweries best by date, but this shows no signs of ruining. give this one a try, i can see why its in the top 100. great lakes shows its ability to master yet another style. if it wasnt so strong you could drink this one all day. the 12oz size makes it possible to have more than one, but not several.

Photo of BWH3
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep dark brown w/ hints of toffee and red when tilted and held to the light. Solid beige head fades slowly to a thin layer of foam a top the dark concoction. Still as a moonless night. Just lovely.

S: Cocoa > coffee hits the nose. The burnt, smoky flavor of whiskey and tobacco make me feel I am drinking at a 60s era poker game. Vanilla and toffee notes temper these more robust flavors. Overall, deep, earthy, and manly.

T: An extremely mineral like and smoky bitterness. The hops are shockingly dry nearly extracting the moisture from my mucous membranes. The alcohol heat and whisky aromas ignite the peat flavored bitterness into a roasted grain bon fire. And this bitterness smolders forever. The only negatives are the exceptional dryness.

M: Viscous and sticky despite the lack of sweetness. As stated above, very good head retention and very dry.

D: A must grab for the fans of the Russian Imperial Stouts.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Nice and jet black dark beer. There is very little head...I mean there is no head. Looks good for a RIS.

S- Smells like a starbucks. There is a touch of chocolate with the coffee. Smells thin.

T- Coffee does dominate the taste, but the chocolate is there as well. Nice a bitter tasting. Despite the thin smellingness this feels nice and thick. Nice solid tasting RIS, but it isn't extremely complex.

M- Kinda thick, but grainy feeling.

D- Easy to drink, nice solid RIS beer. Would be a great session beer.

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

A black, opaque color, with a hint of red at the bottom of the glass. A coffee colored head forms, not thick, and dissolves away quickly. The scent of chocolate and coffee, followed by dried fruit, mostly currants and raisons, along with cream scent at the end. A malty strength in the taste at the start, bringing along the flavors of bitter chocolate and hearty dark bread flavor. Midway across a coffee bitterness comes out and ends with a mild citrus, with a touch of grassiness at the end. A thick, slick, and oily mouthfeel, with a mild warming sensation from alchol at the back of the throat. Man, this is a very good imperial stout, very good scent and flavor, makes this a must try beer.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick, dark, and oily. Minimal head.

Smells roasted dark malts, raisins, and molasses. Very inviting.

Taste is very sweet and alcoholic.. maybe a little too far on the strong alcoholic taste side. Very powerful. A slow sipping beer.

Sweeter than other imperial stouts I have had. Lots of alcohol finish.

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

Blackout seems appropriate. This brew is black, no light shining through. There is a nice finger and a half tan head, decent retention. Good clingy lacing.

Definite roasted/burnt malt picked up first by the nose. There is a sweet aroma to the brew, somewhat of a chocolate smell.

Heavy on the front end with roasted malt and dark coffee. Chocolate flavors appear as you enjoy. Not a sweet chocolate, think unsweetened cocoa. Slight bitterness in back but not an assertive bitterness.

Full mouth feel and very creamy. Some what of a milky texture.

Very enjoyable brew. Though not a style which is meant to be sessionable by any mean, this is as easy to drink as any RIS. If my endorsement meant anything this is one I could get behind.

Photo of brushtachio
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

black hole in a pint glass. Not a photon of light can penetrate my glass. On tap at the Vue in Hudson. Long lasting khaki head that leaves nice rings.

Served a little too cold and was almost odorless at first! Warming brought chocolate, overoasted coffee, a touch of sweet dark fruit.

Taste and mouthfeel are first rate. Smooth and oily. Moderately to heavily hopped.

Not a session beer but damn drinkable for an RIS.

Photo of soulgrowl
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: About as black as black can be, with edges of cola-brown and a fair but fleeting camel-brown head.

Smell: Loads of orange, falling somewhere between Orange Crush and Grand Marnier, steeped in chocolate syrup and coffee. A big honey aroma emerges from the darkness as well, very nice and unexpected for the style - it isn't a dark, funky, buckwheat honey, either, it's bright and fruity like acacia or clover. Big on booze, calling to mind a well-stocked cabinet of liqueurs: Kahlua, Sambuca, and Drambuie among them.

Taste: The flavor is not quite that of a really good RIS - rather, it is like an echo of a really good RIS. Sweet and potently alcoholic, it is clear this is malty, but the actual flavors from those malts never really come into focus. Coffee and chocolate, orange and apple, toffee and oatmeal are all suggested but never articulated. It mostly tastes like a rum and Coke - sweet and sharply boozy.

Mouthfeel: Nicely thick and chewy, but also plenty dry and sharp.

Drinkability: It grows on you as you sip it - an unusual RIS that doesn't quite deliver the richness I hope for in the style, but interesting nonetheless.

Photo of dnichols
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black as the blackest night. It had a chocolate brown head that stood about two fingers and lasted forever.

S: It is full of chocolate flavors (milk, dark, bakers...it has it all), coffee, dark sugars and darkly roasted malts.

T: This was a real taste treat. It tasted like a mouth full of dark rich imported chocolate laced with fine brewed espresso. It was creamy and rich and hid the alcohol well.

M: It is full bodied, creamy and oily on the tongue. It finishes warm and clean. There is little carbonation.

D: It is the kind of beer you save for special occasions. Not a session beer but a great beer for any season and anytime you need a treat.

Photo of Proteus93
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Stark black with a sandy, creamy head. Bottle is dated as best enjoyed by Aug. 18, '08, so it's a touch dated - but the style dictates that it will typically be just fine for a while afterwards.

S: A toasted malt (over being roasted or nearly burnt), coffee notes, some nuttiness.

T: Straight up coffee flavours - more a natural malt-flavouring hinting towards coffee rather than flavours brought out by infusing a beer with coffee. Notes of unsweetened chocolate are in there, as well. Hints of charcoal. A very light sweetness on the end that tops things off. Very nice.

M: A nice creaminess that is reminiscent of a milky drink. Carbonation works together with that beautifully. If this is what the little age overdue causes, I'll take more just like it. Fantastic.

D: A big beast. It goes great lengths to hide that, but in the end, the alcohol trumps. Easy does it, or it might hurt in the morning.

Photo of thethrone
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep dark brown with generous foarmy tan head. Good retention,

S - Strong, complex aroma which features roasted coffee, dark fruits, dark malts.

T - The start features dark chocolate and rich dark malts. Follows with some woodiness, vanilla. Finishes with a a bite of hops for balance.

M - Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Has a bit of a grainy feel on the tongue at the finish.

D - Hides its alcohol level pretty well, and has all the characteristics of a solid RIS. Definately a beer worth seeking out.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bastard up at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield in July. It's been sitting in the cellar up until about 30 minutes ago. 12 oz bottle cracked, and poured aggressively into large tulip glass.

A: Dark, clear brown on the pour. Black as it rested with a gorgeous, 2 finger, creamy mocha head that sticks around for a few minutes, leaving trace amounts of gooey lacing up the walls of the glass.

S: High amounts of "Milky Way-like creaminess', ground coffee, smoke and ash on the nose.

T: Rich pounding of coffee and light alcohol on the front, followed by smoke, banana. The beer finishes with a nice, coffee aftertaste.

M: Surprisingly light-bodied with an average amount of flavor coming through for a RIS. Solid and well-balanced.

Overall, a nice example of a RIS.

Photo of yourefragile
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Deep brown/black color, against light has some deep reds against the light. Very still, little carbonation. Mocha head that slowly dissipates to a ring and think splotchy film. Streaks and specks of lacing.
S: Very strong, roasted malt smell with smokey dark chocolate and espresso notes. Slightly sweet and dark fruit. Very earthy and woodsy.
T: Medium body, very light carbonation, overall smooth mouthfeel with a pinch of hop bitterness in the finish. Finish remains slightly dry and earthy like the smell. Very strong roasted, burnt malt flavor. Complemented by espresso and dark chocolate flavor. Slight sweetness and dark fruitiness. Very nice balance of flavors without being overwhelming and well hidden alcohol. One of my favorite GLBC beers and an excellent RIS at the price and availability. A definite sipper, but still very drinkable. Hops have faded, but are still present, very nice at 6 months out.

Photo of d0ggnate
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've saved this one for a few months in the fridge. Now's the time.

A: Rich, dark as night pour fills my glass and finished with a half finger mocha tan head. This layer begins as tightly laced but fades quickly to a ring around the glass.
S: A rich, roasted coffee aroma pushes through first. A bit of a creamy smell. Almost a bit woodsy.
T: Bitter chocolate and continued creamed coffee taste. Hazelnut is what I suspect. I feel this is my morning coffee gone cold, but in the best way possible.
M: Very sharp flavors. Distinct carbonation without visual evidence. Not as viscous as the pour appeared it would be.
D: Delicious! I had never heard of this one and thought I would be underwhelmed, yet I find myself excited. Great stuff.

Photo of mashedpotatoes
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. This really is a great beer. Better than I could have imagined. Pitch black and light does not penetrate; Blackout Stout is properly named. Head rises nice and even like a low rumbling freight train as with all stouts, levels off about 1/2 inch then dissipates leaving a nice creamy top layer. The coffee and toffee taste hits first then immediately followed by bitter dark chocolate, it's truly delicious! Although the high Abv is readily present, it's not overwhelming. The texture is perfect, silky smooth just like a real Stout should be. Drinkability is not extremely high due to the high Abv, I would say enjoy just a couple and call it a night.

Photo of orcasteve
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

dry, haevy rich and packed with aholcaol, notes of bitter chocalat and coffiee, this is 9% abv and no excuses, this is a siper for sure, i only wish that i cracked this one open in the fall or winter insted of an 80 digree day in summer. this one is one that i wish that i could have this around all the time.

Photo of Jwale73
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this one from ThirstyBird (thanks Rian). Best enjoyed by 08/02/08 indicated on the label. Served in my DFH snifter. Poured one shade shy of black; no light penetration on this one. Half-inch tan colored head lost cohesion and broke down into a skim of foam and ringlets leaving behind only specks of lacing as the brew receded. Nose suggests dark fruit and chocolate on a malt backbone. Taste reveals espresso and some chocolate flavors, followed by a charred finish; dark fruit is nowhere to be found. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied without being at all viscous with a bit of carbonation burn concentrated at the front of the tongue. Good drinkability. Very flavorful without being cloyingly sweet. Alcohol is well hidden for a 9% abv. A little lighter-bodied RIS puts this on the fringes of the style, but a very nice offering nonetheless.

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

Thanks to Leftmindedrighty for the trade.

This is certainly an American interpretation, IMO, for the big and clean malt flavors. Blackout Stout is rich with roasted barley and dry dark chocolate flavors. As it warms there's a hint of the alcohol, but that's to be expected. The aroma smells sort of like toasted chocolate bread and there's also a great aftertaste that keeps the focus on the dry, dark grains along with a touch of chocolate liquor. A great beer.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

POurs jet black with a tannish color head. In the aroma, sweet oatmeal and a roasty malt. In the taste, chocolate, oatmeal, and a small hop note in the end. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry chocolate aftertaste. A very nice beer, big but not, nice small hop presence, and a big chocolate maltiness.

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

Thanks to t0rin0 for throwing this in as an extra in a trade!

Pours pitch black with a tan head. Nose is not very evident, but there is malt and coffee thing with some molasses. Flavor is smooth and fairly sweet with a bit of coffee on the back side. Molasses is there too. Thick and robust, but not massively complex. There has to be a load of alcohol in here because I am feeling the hit after a third of a pint, and I have only had a few beers tonight. Feel is slick on liquid and the carbonation is low but good. Nice to drink. A smooth and slick stout.

Photo of dancinwillie
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle reads: For freshest taste, please enjoy by: 08/18/08.

I've let this one warm for 20 minutes or so after opening, and another 10 after pour.

Poured into a chalice, black, with deep ruby highlights. Dense dark tan head that seems to be hanging around. After about 10 minutes, it drops down to a sheet of tan foam.

Aroma of roasted coffee fill my nose. good coffee too, sweet chocolate, and a little raison waft upwards as well.

Taste of bittersweet chocolate, mixed with a roasted coffee flavor leads off. An interesting malted milk flavor comes into play, but it's fleeting, as is the subdued citrus hop flavor. I am, however, happy that I can at least detect the hop flavor, as I think some Imperial Stouts seem to be entirely too unbalanced, but back to the beer at hand. For being 9% alcohol, there is very little bite/burn, but you can feel a very small amount of heat, but a nice warming heat.

Mouthfeel is a tad thin for my liking, but not so much as it is a problem. Low level of carbonation lets the flavor kind of build, as opposed to just hammering you.

I probably drink at least 2 or 3 of these at a sitting, but I would probably be happy to have the next day off from work. Deceptively drinkable, and I look forward to cellaring the other 3 from the 4-pack to see how they hold up after the recommended drinking time of 8/18/08.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,806 ratings.