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.

2,797 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,797
Reviews: 1,097
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 422
Gots: 421 | 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: 2,797 | Reviews: 1,097 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Quarter Inch Thick Malty Chocolate head. Poured into a snifter, (don't know why...strange bar). Appears very dark. Black.

S. Malty toasted Chocolate goodness. Hops are very subdued.

T. A nice kick to it initially then becomes quite dry. The notes of toasted malt are all there, and also has a slight sweetness to it. True to the style.

M. Very thick and earthy, coats the palate very nicely.

D. Could get used to drinking these. Had it at the bar with some buffalo chicken dip...had to set it aside as it does not pair well with hot sauce.

Overall: The bartenders favorite beer apparently. I enjoyed it as I do love stouts, and this one tastes very much like a russian stout. Pretty amazing.

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

Great Lakes Brew Co. are usually pretty decent. Let's see how this one goes down.

Body is pitch black with deep brown/ruby undertones. Head is very small. Though tan and creamy looking, I would have liked more of a head and some stronger lacing.

Smells like sweet chocolate, bitter chocolate, mocha coffee/ mocha latte (creamy, chocolate milk smell if you can imagine). Chocolate and caramel, maybe some crystal, malts with a good touch of roasted barley. Perhpas a little bit of black patent. Smell is very enticing. Hop are small and bready/English.

When its cold the alcohol comes out right away and ithat's not too pleasant. It says serve at 55 degrees F, but I disagree. 60-65 is much better. After it warms creamy coffee and bitter roased malts come to the forefront as the alcohol recedes to the background. Decent amount of caramel malts in there, but the bitter black patent, or whatever is making it so bitter, isn't as balanced as I would like. The ingredients taste fresh and abundant so I don't think they really skimpted on anything.

Velvety and good, though a little thinner than an Old Rasputin, but a little heavier than a Stormking. Its ok.

Blackout stout is a decent RIS. Mellower than a Stormking, and not AS bitter as some other RISs out there, I would like to see a little more balance between coffee and the bitter roasted flavor. The aroma is misleading and I wish that it tasted more like it smells.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz received in trade with Tilley4... shared with SAS.. mine in my trusty snifter.

1" head.. black brew.. good spotty lacing.

Aroma is a little char and dark fruits with more than enough chocolate.. smells like slightly sweetened fresh brewed coffee with a little bit of alcohol.

Flavor is dark chocolate and strong morning coffee.. subtle smoke .. getting some minor hoppiness cutting through the masses.. but it still tastes black from front to back. Mouthfeel is thick and fairly chewy.. lingering semi sweet mocha finish.. sticks with you for minutes easily. Really very drinkable for a brew this big.

I could easily go on with this review.. but I have other stuff to do.

Huge thanks to Tilley4.. Jason is an awesome trader... we must do it again ... soon!

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

Summer of 69? Pours a black colored hue with reddish tinge around the edges. A little help with the pour provided a frothy with a lighter tan head. Good retention and lacing through out although did dissipate over time. Some viscous sticking to the glass but limited.

The nose is malty but limited overall for a Imp Stout. A stronger astringent nose with roasted coffee and a touch of chocolate on the backend. Some solvent characteristics and a touch of chlorine as well. Hints of liquorish and anis. Lighter earthy tones, both peaty and some light hop undertones.

The taste is more maltier than the nose originally indicated but does lack some depth. There is a good roast quality with more of burnt flavor than coffee. Some lighter chocolate notes that give a rich flavor. Some lighter phenol and solvent flavors as well. Not getting much hop flavors but a light earthy undertone.

The body is closer to mid and to me is where this beer falls off. To start there is a good malt texture but the finish is just wispy/watery and lacks that depth. Almost like an American stout than Imp/Double Stout. There are some good textures, a silky finish, but I am looking for more. Overall good but could use some help.

Photo of tpd975
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Being born in the Midwest before moving south its sad that I had to turn to a guy from CANADA for this one. Thanks biegaman.

There comes a time when you get "wowed" by a great beer...this is such a time.

Served in the "I get to keep" glass from the brewery.

A: An inky matte black sort of hue with touches of red showing thru. The head is made up of a tight layer of tan-colored bubbles. The lacing is wide spread and webbed.

S: Wow. An array of roasted malt comes blasting at you. Fresh roasted coffee, buttery toffee, and bittersweet chocolate mostly. There is a hint of charcoal and smoke if you really concentrate.

T: The taste does not disappoint either. Tons of flavor to match the aroma. Very chocolatey with tons of coffee to back it up. Touches of vanilla and marshmellow sweetness really make this one shine. There is a bit of hop bite in the middle just enough to compliment all the toasted malt. This is a true gem.

M: Full-bodied brew. Very thick and yet creamy.

D: As drinkable as any stout out there and there are few RIS' that can touch it. Not of hint of the ABV in this one. I could set down with a six pack and drink until it was gone, or I feel over.

Overall: World class no doubt about it, deserves a higher rating than it gets. There are few that can rival this one in taste, and the drinkability is off the chart. I love it!

GLBC does it again...and does it very well. Get a bottle if you can, or, better yet, hit the brewpub to sample it from the tap.

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

12 oz. brown bottle

A: Poured into a snifter. Pours a pitch black color, with a nice tan head on top. Light retention rate, and a good amount of lacing.

S: very malty aroma. Rich and roasted characteristics. A lot of chocolate and toffee.

T: this is an extremely rich stout. Very sharp flavors of sweet roasted malts and toffee. A light amount of coffee flavors.

M: very smooth and creamy. The carbonation level is a little higher than I would like.

D: a very smooth stout, especially for being 9%. I could drink this consistantly.

Photo of joepais
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to goryshkewych for this one
Bottle poured into my tulip glass produced a good fingers worth of tan head that quickly turns to a ring of lace around the glass the body of his brew was black with a little red around the edges

Aromas of roasted malts coffee and some hop flavor to it to it

It's got a great hop presence in the flavors along with the roasted malts and a little bit of alcohol

Medium body, not much carbonation on this so it makes it smooth going down

Sips really well, not a bad RIS would drink another one if I had it

Photo of BMoney575
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 4-11-08
Best before 8-18-08

Pours thick and viscous, almost black with a little red peeking around the edges. The head fades quickly, leaving clingy fingers of lacing.

Smell is malty but not too sweet, quite subtle with a good amount of black licorice.

Taste is subtle, very, very dry, with lots of flavors that come in with the aftertaste. Roasted malt, lots of smoke, and a little bit of wood, finished by a pleasant alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel is great, super creamy, with subtle carbonation.

Drinkability is dangerously good, for 9%.

Overall, a very different kind of RIS. Reminds me a lot of an Irish Dry Stout. Surprisingly refreshing, and very drinkable.

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

Not quite what I had hoped but still not too poor. It's near black but surely see through around the edges of this glass. Thin head but somewhat high carbonation at first. Smells mainly of roasted coffee grains and light alchohol. I'll leave it at that. Taste is a little more expansive, featuring a caramel and chocolate but still more of the coffee in terms of malt. I didn't notice the bitter hops in the smell as much and must have thought it to be roast bitterness of the coffee. Well, it's there and really not bad at all. A weird combo of hops and roast flavors that really achieves a near balance. Mouthfeel is pretty silky with a bitter finish for a RIS. Good drinkability and mouthfeel but only because of that interesting factor. Glad I have a couple more to savor...

Thanks to hoppymeal, grub, cartdan, and DrJay for a bottle each.

Photo of milesfan76
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was utterly (and pleasantly) shocked to actually see this on-tap at BW-3 in Niles. Poured into a pint glass.

A: Looks just like the name suggests- black. About a two-finger tannish head.

S: Smells of roasted malts, coffee, and hops.

T: Tastes considerably hoppier than the bottled version. Malts and coffee also come through. Excellent. Alcohol pretty well hidden.

M: Thick body, but doesn't seem quite as thick as from the bottle. Carbonation is fine.

D: I'd give it a 5, but I actually have to dock it for being too drinkable for its ABV.
I really want to keep drinking, but I can't.

You can't go wrong with Great Lakes. Excellent stout.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks go out to Tilley4 for this extra.

12oz bottle, enjoy by 08/02/08, served in a standard pint glass.

A - black color with a dark tan head that thinned to a ring, leaving a little bit of lacing.

S - sweet, roasted coffee aroma.

T - roasted malty flavor with a espresso bitterness that leaves a sticky sweet after taste.

M - medium/full bodied rich, creamy brew with a mild carbonation feel.

D - a hearty, good drinking stout

Photo of hwwty4
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to jeonseh for this one in LIF 6b.

Poured this beer into my Chimay chalice. It pours an opaque black that shows ruby hues when held up to the light. The head was just a thin layer of beige that dissipated into nothingness within a few seconds. No retention whatsoever. The aroma isn't as big as may RIS's. Definite notes of roasted malts, chocolate and what reminds me of sour pie cherries. Taste is pretty straight forward also. It's really big up front with a huge roasted grain flavor that settles on the back of your tongue and lingers for a while. Then comes the bitter chocolate, black licorice and sour cherries. This has a really good flavor but nothing is over whelming like with many RIS's. The alcohol is very mellow only coming out in the very end of the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for my liking. I enjoy big, chewy, beers. All in all this is a highly drinkable RIS. This is the first Russian Imperial Stout, that I think I could sit back and drink (or try to drink) a whole sixer.

Photo of david131
3.55/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Black, but not completely opaque, light is pretty visible around the edges. The off-white head is splotchy but leaves some pretty marbling on the surface. Not all that menacing looking.

S- Very roasty with coffee coming to mind. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable. A very strong chocolate aroma is there as well as a nutty/oat sense. This is definitely different for the style... it's not quite my bag, but I appreciate the complexity.

T- This is one roasty mother. The alcohol is surprisingly apparent as well. Lots of chocolate and coffee flavors come through as well as a slight nuttiness. Again, this is not quite my thing, and there is just something I am not crazy about here.

M- This is a little thin for a Russian Imperial Stout. There is no real ageable quality to this (personal opinion). I wish this was a little smoother and had some more meat on its bones.

D- This will probably be the last time I get this. There are many more superior Russian Imperial Stouts out there. It is decent... but maybe I am just spoiled.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle as an extra from kirok1999 and poured it into a 10oz Sam Smith nonic. Dark black with red tints at the edge of the glass so I guess it isn't a blackout after all. There is a "sticky" smell to it if that makes any sense and maybe yeasty dough. The flavor has a hoppiness to it and is pretty good, not too thick or syrupy at all. Very easy to drink. This is my first Great Lakes beer and it is pretty good, I'll have to check out their other offerings.

Photo of brdc
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small capped bottle, thanks to goryshkewych for this one.

Poured into a snifter, it is pitch black, opaque, with a creamy tan head.
Aroma is pleasant but not complex, charred malts, bittersweet chocolate. Full bodied, the alcohol is a bit more pronounced than I expected, along with the same charred malts, bittersweet chocolate and some coffee.
Solid, but not complex, the alcohol gets in the way a little bit and the malt feels a bit too toasted (charred).
I would like to age this one a bit to soften the rough edges.

Addendum: Aging this one for a year significantly improves drinkability, losing the alcohol bite, although malts still feel a bit too "charred". In a direct comparison with the barrel aged, both being aged, it is significantly "worse".

Photo of blakesell
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap into a British pint glass. This beer was the 2006 vintage saved by Boston's Bistro in his cellar and unveiled during the Great Lakes tasting had there on 3/20/08. Reviewed by personal notes on a BJCP score sheet.

Appearance- Beer pours thick, muddy, and black with a powerful three finger head rising over the edges of the glass! When held to the light I can perceive a bit of clarity, but this beer is still thick and black. When the head dies down, there is lacing all over the glass from that fine tan head.

Smell- Chocolate and dark roasted malts. Chocolate is more present than in any of my bottles at home. A touch of smoke lingers with black licorice and anise seed. Hops are detectable but not overpowering.

Taste- Creamy with vanilla, smoke, chocolate, licorice, plums, a bit meaty in a good way. A milky cream feel coats the mouth. Lingering coffee on the finish. Hops again are present and balance the beer with a proper bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Sticky, creamy, well carbonated, and mouth coating. Just a bit prickly on the tongue. Full-bodied and just a tad warming with its decent 9% alcohol.

Drinkability- This is a VERY pleasurable stout. Just the right amount of chocolate, just enough coffee, just enough warmth. Great Lakes has done a damn good job on this stout. It is no surprise that this beer is so in demand by the masses.

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

Poured into pint glass. Dark and syrupy, small tan head dissipates quickly. Ring remains. Not completely opaque, but rich darkness.

Smells of coffee, malt and slight black licorice.

First sip has high bitterness due to heavy hops per the label. Usually like a sweeter stout but this is nice and well balanced. Subsequent sips become sweeter.

Perfect carbonation. Nice mouthfeel - velvety and luscious. High ABV but very drinkable.

Nice imperial stout.

Photo of nrbw23
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- black, when held up to light hardly any light comes through with maybe a hint of red or ruby in there also. A nice creamy brown head that didn't last very long at all.

S- roasted malts, chocolate, little bit of coffee and maybe a little bit of nuts in there also.

T- Gets better the warmer it gets. Again chocolate and coffee. Alcohol comes through but tasted very nice.

M- Felt kind of think creamy and also very good.

D- Very nice and smooth. I don't think I could put a whole lot of these down at one time but again a nice brew.

Photo of bgramer
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was sort of a letdown. After hearing everyone hype up this limited release, I got 2 four-packs. Maybe I was expecting too much but I've had some great RIS that blow this out of the water and my expectations were already too high because of what I've had before.

This beer pours black with a little tan head that disappears quickly but leaves nice lacing on the glass. There's molasses, licorice, raisins, and a nice roasty coffee taste but it doesn't feel complex and my palate/taste buds don't seem interested/challenged by this RIS.

Maybe I just need to let it sit for a bit and try again in 6 months or 1 year. I'll know better by then if I just had an off night.

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

Somehow I managed to acquire this one from three different people in about a week, but I think this particular bottle came from abankovich. A big thanks to everyone who sent it though, because this is a great beer.

Pours jet black with a nice smooth capuccino froth head with decent retention.

Smells like an impy stout. Dark toasted bread, burnt wood, light caramelized sugar, and a little coffee.

Taste is smooth and roasty. Nice woody character, almost tannic, sets over the darker toasted grains. For the style, refreshingly light on coffee and syrupy sweetness (though I usually like both). Very grainy but smooth and balanced. Finishes with toast and light bitterness.

Feels smooth. A nice sticky finish sits high on the palate instead of coating everything. Well bodied with foamy carbonation.

Drinks very well. Not overly syrupy with a really nice finish. A little heavy to drink a lot, but very sippable. Nice overall quality.

Photo of churchillps
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

As a caveat I'm really not a fan of stouts at all. I poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Tan head on a pitch black color. Totally opaque. Minimal lacing. No head after 5 seconds max.

S: Tobacco, dark bitter coffee, charcoal, and various burnt aromas.

T: Roasted coffee, chocolate, a bit of hops somewhere in the middle, all with a dry bitter finish.

M/D: No carbonation to speak of, extremely creamy and smooth. Feels quite nice. Couldn't have more than a few of these as they're very heavy in the stomach and dry the palate.

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

A big thank you to "goryshkewych" for this one.

S = Dark chocolate with coffee in the background.

T = Incredible! A wonderful balance of chocolate and roasted coffee. The chocolate was upfront with the coffee flavor near the middle and some hops bitterness toward the end. The bitterness was minimal and balanced the beer very well. The sweetness returned in the finish. The alcohol was hidden very well.

MF = Creamy, smooth, and low carbonation.

Overall = This was like drinking a "cafe mocha" in a bottle. It was one of the best RIS that I've ever had. Unfortunately, this is not distributed in my state, so I hope to be able to get my hands on this a few times a year.

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

Almost pitch black with a few ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass, and a layer of tan lace more persistent than average for an RIS.

Aroma is mostly freshly ground coffee with mild milk chocolate behind.

Taste is sweet but heavy on roasted malt up front, mild mocha and milk chocolate in the middle, and leafy but balanced hops in the finish with more heavily sweetened coffee flavor vying for supremacy. Just a kiss of alcohol noticed in the finish as well, not nearly as "hot" as, say, Brooklyn Black Chocolate.

Mouthfeel is where this beer stands out -- it's superbly balanced and dangerously more-ish. Simply a delicious and highly drinkable beer; I had to make an effort to pace myself against the high ABV.

A must-have RIS.

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Almost black, more of a dark brown. More opacity than I would expect from the style, though it's certainly still dark.

Smell - Bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, dark roasted coffee beans and the faintest trace of alcohol.

Taste - Licorice, espresso, earthy hops, dark chocolate and a bit of burnt bitterness. Excellent balance between sweet, roasty and hoppy flavors. Medium in body and considerably less rich than many imperial stouts. The finish is more on the dry and bitter side, leaving an pleasantly acrid burnt flavor on the roof of the mouth.

Notes - Above average but perhaps not world-class.

Photo of Romulux
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No more dissing Lebron,no more Indians bashing and no more, mistake by the lake smacktalk.Cleveland Rocks!This years batch,just hit Detroit last week and I will be going back for more.Pours black,not much head and really nothing in the way of lacing.Nice smell,nothing superb.Pick up a little coffee some dark chocolate.Taste is were its at,baby!Give me an IV and I could live off this stuff.Not too heavy.Not too light.Heavier with the dark chocolate and a twinge of coffee.A perfect blend.I've got to be careful with drinkability.It goes down so smoothly,naptime could creep up quickly.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,797 ratings.