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Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,992 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,992
Reviews: 1,135
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 433
Gots: 516 | 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: Wildman on 02-14-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,992 | Reviews: 1,135 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AdamGarcia
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 btl into Chimay chalice. Been a fan of this beer (and GL in general) for a while, its about time I reviewed it.

A: Par for the course for an RIS. Deep black with just a bit of light that creeps through around the edges. Head vanishes quickly, leaving just a thin ring. Lacing clings after each sip.

S: Roasty, toasty goodness. Coffee. Dark chocolate.

T: Very nice. Expresso roast coffee is prominent. Just the right amount of bitterness, both from the malt and hops. Even picking up a little bit of cola in the finish. Very rich.

M: Could be a little more viscous, but ok overall. Carbonation is right on.

D: What one would expect. High abv isn't necessarily apparent. I could stand to have another.

If you haven't had this one, try it out. Great Lakes is a brewery that gets overlooked a little too much, even by those of us in the region. They may not do anything flashy in terms of packaging or advertising but they do make great beers that speak for themselves.

Photo of kiddynamite920
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black, of course. Has some legs on it. Near brown head, one of the darker heads I've encountered.

S: Great roasty aroma. Alcohol mixed with dark fruits. Cocoa and cinnamon with some vanilla. A swirl brings out some hops and a kick of alcohol.

T: Big chocolate malt profile. Hits with a silky, luxurious dark malt smoothness. Alcohol burns the back of the throat later. Actually has a nice hop profile as well, in the bitter department. I would guess Goldings?

M: Very nice and robust. Not slick, but not chewy. Has the mouthfeel of an amped up milk stout.

D: Wish I had more than two. One's going away for some aging. Very drinkable, and although it may seem a bit hot now, I can only imagine some age on this brew. Great beer.

Photo of nickd717
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a great imperial stout. People tell me I overrate imperial stouts and need to rate more to style, but man, I really love this style and I can't bring myself to deny such a great beer a good rating. This one is more subtle than others. 12oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

Pours just about black with a one-finger tan head that fades slowly. Lacing coats the inside of the glass.

Aroma is roasty with sweet caramel and lots of chocolate, along with some slight dark fruit notes.

Flavor is very nice and incredibly balanced. Mildly sweet, with caramel, toffee, roast, and chocolate. A little anise and some hop bitterness also. Complex yet subtle.

The mouthfeel is really outstanding. Medium body for the style with incredible smoothness.

Very drinkable for an imperial stout. Overall an amazing beer, a really fine example of the style. Subtle and balanced rather than in-your-face. Time to go seek out BA Blackout.

Photo of dmamiano
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black as the wv coal....surprisingly thin head but laces on the swirl.
these beer is hanging on the sides of the glass..very leggy
deep roastiness..hints of chocolate, toffee, coffee and an unmistakable hop prescence in the nose as well.
Thick, full on the palate. Bitterness quickly overtakes the dark malty goodness of this one.
Roasted grain and a striking bitter edge from the strong hops.
LOVE IT!!! Must have more!

Photo of kegger22
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Blackout Imperial Stout poured a very dark brown in color with a half-inch light brown head that reduced to a self sustaining collar.

The aroma was coffee first and chocolate second, though not over sweet; and roasted all over.

The taste was coffee dipped in chocolate, poured over alcohol soaked wood, and then smoked to perfection.

The mouth feel was full bodied with sufficient carbonation.

Drinkability was higher than most 9.00 ABV's because I wanted it to be.

Right up there with the Siberian Nights, Old Raspy and Black Chocolate Stout. This Cleveland native takes a backseat to no one.

Photo of semibaked
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, btw this is from 2009.

A - Pours heavy on the black side with shades of black, with a huge amount of fluffy light beige head, kinda looks like the top of an ice cream soda.

S - Big whiff of dark molasses, maybe some spice, dark chocolate, coffee, and a tiny bit of sugary sweetness.

T - Big combination of dark roasted malts, hops, chocolate, coffee, and molasses. A lot of complexity.

M - Medium bodied stout and coats my toungue with a light oil consistency.

D - This is a very good RIS from a great brewering company, I highly recommend this and would love to try the BA version of this.

Photo of steve8robin
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Traded for a 4-pack of these...

A: Ok. Dark with slight ruby highlights around the edges. Small white head that quickly fades.

S: Smells of chocolate upfront followed by oak and malts. Middle is a hint of booziness. Smells like a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

T: Upfront is a nice blend of chocolate, booziness, coffe, and hops. Not one overpowers the other. Roastiness in the middle with slight matls and citrus on the backend. A hoppier version of Black Chocolate Stout. Very good.

M: Syrupy with a decent amount of smoothness.

D: The blend on this one makes it a little over-bearing going down. Once you get past it, it goes down much easier.

All in all, I'm very glad I got to try this brew. If you have the opportunity, definitely give this brew a try. This is like a blend of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Imperial Stout Trooper. Great brew if you like stouts.

Photo of Jmoore50
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in my Black Booty BIF. Served into a Great Lakes pint glass.

The appearance is dark and thick. It is no doubtingly black with very dark cocoa edges. The head on this thing! It pours a two finger coffee colored head that does not want to leave. It is so thick and foamy, incredibly enjoyable. The legs are not noticeable because the lacing on this one is thick. The head on this beer is just leaving the thickest trails!

The smell is of coffee with some piney hops. Baking cocoa and sweet chocolate notes in there as well. The coffee is a dry bitter coffee smell.

The taste is pretty full action palate assault. Roasted grains with burnt coffee and a bit of the hop bitterness. Lots of grain action going on with loads of earthy and bread flavors.

The mouthfeel is more like syrup, thick and luscious. Overall amazing palate destroyer, just a big fat slug of a beer!

Good drinkability at 9%. This thing is thick, I cannot believe the oil that came in this bottle. Very enjoyable.

Photo of bonkers
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dunt for this one. I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my SA pint glass. It pours thick, jet black, with a 2+ finger white head. There are huge coffee and chocolate notes in the nose, more than some coffee stouts I have had. The coffee flavor is very rich, with supple chocolate in the background. It is very thick and the taste coat every part of the mouth. Very well carbonated and easy to sip on. This beer is underated.

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.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,992 ratings.