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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.

2,990 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,990
Reviews: 1,134
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 433
Gots: 518 | 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:
Beer added by: Wildman on 02-14-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,990 | Reviews: 1,134 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vacax
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours black with a fine tan head that displays good retention. Aromas of burnt sugar, dark fruity yeast, slight spiciness. Taste is similar to the aroma, along with rum soaked raisins. Dry roasty finish with some alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is full with a medium-high carbonation. Exceptionally fruity fruity and yeasty, and not in a good way for me.

Photo of shanecb
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice dark, black color. Looks a lot like coffee if you tilt the glass. There was a little bit of a dark tan-colored head at the beginning, but that quickly went away.

S - Rich smell! Hints of chocolate and toasty grains. Almost has a sweet malty aroma to it as well.

T - Very much the same as the smell. The sweet maltiness definitely comes through, as do notes of chocolate. There's a definite hop flavor in the aftertaste. Can't particularly sense the alcohol either.

M - Only average to me. Seems a little thin in the mouth, not what I was expecting. The carbonation is incredibly mild. Nothing substantial to the mouthfeel.

D - Pretty good drinkability! It goes down very smooth, and the taste isn't overpowering in any way, so this is a pretty drinkable beer.

Photo of Adamdc
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up while driving through Ohio back in March. It has a 'best by' date of: 7/28/09

A: very nice deep black pour with a nicely formed 1 inch tan head with moderate lacing

A: chocolate, roast, molasses and hops---very nice aroma!

T: same as aroma but the hops kick in quickly and dominate the finish. Not getting any alcohol despite it's 9.00 ABV

M: I'd call it medium, not quite as thick as I think it should be but not bad

D: very drinkable! Very smooth. Goes down a little too well.

This is not in the same class as the 'big boys' but it's a very solid brew by an oustanding brewery (one of my favorites)!

UPDATE---I'm drinking a bottle that I've been cellaring from the above batch and it has all come together very nicely with almost a year on it. The lingering hop bitterness has mellowed and the chocolate comes through so much more on the aroma. This is fantastic. Silky smooth. I'm going to up the mouthfeel and the taste a half point! I wish I had some more of these!!

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

A: black color beer with a brown head. bubbles stay ontop of the surface.

S: toasty and hoppy

T: its like how it smells, toasty grains. hint of chocolate. after finishing the sip if you take a breath of air, you can profoundly notice the 9.00 abv (damn did i just drink hard alcohol ahah).

M: smooth, mid-thick body good carbonation for this kind of beer (i like beer with less carbonation anyways).

D: for having a pretty thick body it was easy to drink becuase it tastes good.

Notes: a well made beer, would recommend it to anyone. let it warm, drink it slow, enjoy this beer... cause its 10$ for a 4-pack! if there is another major black out, i hope i have a 4-pack of this beer with me. when i finshed this beer i didn't want it to end.

Photo of jjanega08
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A= pours a pretty thin looking black color with some brown highlights. The head is thin and has a little retention and no lacing. Like I mentioned thin for the style.
S= lots of coffee and roasted malts in it. Small chocolate smell but mostly coffee.
T= a lot of sweet carmely malt. Some toffee. Lots of coffee to it. Very nice. A little smokey in the finish.
M= thin and sort of unimpressive. Coats pretty well though.
D= decent. Not the best RIS I have ever had. I imagine the BA version being fabulous. Pretty good though

Photo of ltjska04
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this over a year ago but wasn't very impressed. I thought it might be a bad bottle or maybe my palate just wasn't ready, so I've been looking forward to trying this again.

Poured into a snifter from a bottle with a best by date a month from today, this is great looking; very dark and a nice head that recedes to a ring around the glass. The first smells I got were of chocolate and a bit of hops. The hops don't come through as much in the taste, but the rich chocolate and malts do. Damn this is good! It reminds me a bit of Founder's Breakfast Stout but not as powerful. So much better than last time I had it. Great mouthfeel and this goes down almost too smoothly. The alcohol of this barely makes itself known.

Bottom line: this is a great stout and is among my favorites. I'm so glad I gave it a second chance.

Photo of Lothore
3.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Bottle is dated 4/05. Pours a deep black hue with a small coffee head which dissaptes quickly.

S-Smell is very sweet, caramel, roasted malt, coffee.

T- Tastes is dominated by roasted malt but rounded out by a deep sweetness that sticks around for quite a while.

M- Thick with low carbonation.

D- This has aged extremely well. Flavors are all very mellow and has perhaps gotten a little too sweet but it was tasty none the less.

Photo of everetends
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle sent to my by the greatness that is IBUnit63. I have heard quite a bit about this brew and it was a great suprise to see this bottle in the package. Served this one up in my Terrapin snifter. Nothing like a good Russian Imperial Stout on a Friday night.

A: Pours a pretty nice, seemingly viscous stream of inky black in color. Held to the light, at the very top you get some dark red hued brown, but the body is mostly black that is on the most part not letting light through. At the pour, I got about half a finger of mocha colored head. The problem is that there is little to no retention and there is very little lace to speak of. There is a clear and somewhat thick film that coats the glass. Very nice, but it does have some room to grow, especially in the head department.

S: Getting a good amount of milk chocolate coming across here in the nose. Maybe a milk chocolate bar next to a warm cup of dark coffee. Getting a little bit of some hops jumping out at me, maybe of an earthy variety or maybe some citrus presence. Getting a good amount of roast along with some vanilla heaviness. Maybe a touch of cream as well. Getting a touch of tobacco as well. Quite enjoyable.

T: The taste is very much like the nose and that makes me very happy. Getting a really nice high end coffee flavor with some added milk chocolate going on in here. Nice vanilla notes kicking in here with some nice roasty malt and wood flavor. Nice and slight milky goodness coming across here. Pretty decent robust flavor with a somewhat nice and subtle spice flavor (maybe some anise seed). Getting just a touch of hops on the back end. Yet again, a nice tobacco presence that is light but also adds just a nice richness to this brew. Not bad at all, man. Not bad at all.

M: Light side of full bodied. Actually has a touch of thinness to it that is turning me off just a touch. I was expectig a much thicker brew. ABV is up there, but it is pretty mild on the palate and throat. Brings some warmth but it doesn't get too crazy at all. Carbonation is a bit on the light side, but it keep this beer creamy and nice. Has a nice and velvet smoothness to it. Aftertaste is mostly some chocolate and roast.

D: For the 9%, I can't complain at all. Sure it is a bit thin, but that absolutely helps the drinkability. This went down incredibly well and quickly for an RIS. It has a lot going for it in the flavor and aroma categories, but it does have room to grow in the look and feel. The look was truly lacking but the flavor really helps it all out. Very glad to have finally tried this and it works nicely. Another great brew to have enjoyed from Great Lakes. Damn tasty.

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

I've been meaning to review this for a while.

A: Pours blackish-brown, like syrup. About one finger of head with little retention, but good lacing.
S: Sweet, chocolate, coffee, roastiness, slightly hoppy.
T: Chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruits, caramel, sweet, maltiness, light hint of hops and light bitterness.
M: Thick, smooth, good carbonation.
D: What a great IRS. Probably couldn't have more than one of these, but it's so flavorful and so delicious.

Photo of croc
4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first experience with this particular seasonal brew came at last years Beerfest, (September 2008) in Rochester NY. Word was that this dark stout was only available for a very short period of time. A friend and fellow beer enthusiast and I, parked ourselves right in front of the Great Lakes podium and began inflating our pourers heads while scoring full glasses of the delicious brew. We found out that Great Lakes at that time was not being distributed in the Rochester market but, by chance, Great Lakes would soon be flooding the shelves of local grocers Wegmans and other local distribution centers. To our dismay, we found that Great Lakes offered a variety of great tasting ales, and stouts but the coveted Blackout stout was actually a seasonal brew saved over from the past spring! We tried to get a lead on where it was hidden finally contacting the brewery itself. Our efforts were in vein. There simply was none to be had. We gave up. I was at a local Bar/Restaurant a couple of weeks ago when in pure amazement saw Blackout Stout on the menu! A few inquires to the manager and I was informed that a small shipment made its way in from Cleveland and that, what was available to the public, was being rationed out at our local "Beers of the World" store. 1 phone call later I was informed by the clerk that 6 cases remained. I immediately finished my drink and headed over to purchase every last bottle. 6 cases and almost $400 dollars later, I had every drop in Rochester in my possession! I made a few calls to a few good friends and parted with a couple of the cases. This is the stuff dreams are made of! Dark,full flavor, slight bitter bite, with hints of chocolate, and nutty. Great served slightly below room temp. and paired well with fruits, chocolates, and sweet desserts. This is a sipping beer meant to be drank from a goblet. At 9% ABV it is nearly perfect. I don't bother to break this stuff out for the general house guests as few have the pallet to appreciate the quality and character of this fine, fine brew.

Photo of biegaman
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A glossy black iron that is surprisingly embracing of light; brush strokes of dark crimson accent the beer in numerous places. It of course remains opaque even despite the highlighting. There isn't much head although a loose crowning and filmy web stay sprawled over the surface. It's nice to have some light to appreciate this fine looking beer!

The aroma is an equal blend of one part chocolate, one part coffee, one part hops but each sniff yields a different emphasis. This bouquet is an exquisite blend of fudge, cocoa, espresso, licorice, hops and dark caramel. If you like the smell of RIS's this one should entertain you; it offers a bunch of both complimenting and contrasting scents.

To provide some point of reference, this tastes something like their Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, only amplified by at least three fold and with correspondingly additional doses of coffee and hops. It is surprisingly quaffable given the richness of the flavour, which by the way tastes like a chocolate sponge cake drizzled in caramel, topped with currants, dipped in coffee and sprinkled with diced hop cones. (Is there anything better?)

As far as quickly disappearing Imperial Stouts go, Blackout must hold the record. Forget this silly notion of 9% (at least until you finish the bottle, then treat it seriously.) The beer drinks like it's a stout of 6 or 7% but has the richness, maltiness, hoppiness and decadence of those that dawn the 'Imperial' moniker. Not to mention, I've found the beer ages exceedingly well too.

As a friend once said of it: "it doesn't matter how highly this is rated, it should be rated higher." I couldn't agree more. It's hard to go wrong with anything Great Lakes brews but it simply is wrong to not have a bottle or two of their Blackout Stout on hand in the cellar at all times. You never know when a blackout will hit and believe you me, you'll be happy to have a stockpile on hand just in case!

Photo of endincolorado
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours fairly thick and syrupy. Opaque black, with a tiny bit of chestnut showing through at the bottom of the glass. Nice, thick tan head with a mix of tiny and medium bubbles that recede slowly. Good sheets of tan lace cling to the glass.

Smell- Black coffee, cocoa, and light alcohol aromas hit first, followed by some ripe fruit, and a faint hop-bitterness.

Taste- Dark, rich malt that reminds me of slightly burnt toast, with more ripe fruit, and cocoa. Some hops and a dry smokiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Full-bodied, with an almost velvety texture that helps these flavors wander all over the palate slowly, but efficiently. Perfect carbonation, and a definite alcohol-warming sensation.

Drinkability- High ABV makes this a beer to be wary of. Though the alcohol is evident, it doesn't take away from drinkability too much.

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

Poured a nice black with good carbonation and a medium tannish head. Nose is sweet light chocolate, roasted malts, espresso and a kick of alcohol. Taste is big roasted malt with cocoa on the end. Nice ABV punch to it. I almost detected some licorice candy and perhaps slight smokiness and wood. Mouthfeel is nice and drinkability is really good.

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

12oz bottle from DoctorDog! Thanks for the extra! 7/28/09 freshness date. (Note Stefon Harris' Blackout came on while reviewing this beer, haha that made me laugh)

A: Very dark brown with a light tan head, about an inch that recedes to about nothing. Not quite as dark as I had expected, but still a dark, dark beer. A few chunks of lacing.

S: Milk chocolate, molasses, coffee, roasted/burnt barley, a few hints of brown sugar, a few hints of booze as well. Overall a pretty sweet smelling beer, but hits all the RIS notes as it should. Nice smelling beer.

T: Coffee, dark fruits, over ripened red apples, plums, brown sugar, and tons of chocolate, nice bitterness, not exactly hop bitterness right up front, but a coffee bitterness, hops come into play after the beer is swallowed, hops are clean and soapy, somewhat citrus like in character, but get pushed out of the way by the overall "hugeness" of the other flavors. Excellent really, not a huge booze presence which is welcomed for a beer that is 9%.

M: Thick, yet with nice carbonation, a little bit of warmth, but not overbearing. Hits all the notes that I need it to. Spot on.

D: Easy drinking beer for such a high ABV. If on tap, I think I'd get in trouble with multiple pints of this. I wish I could get this beer a little closer than trades. Really a nice beer, I'll be looking for this again.

Thanks Ben!

Photo of kels
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I cannot believe I've never reviewed this beer. Pulled out a bottle today and wondered what I wrote only to find that I'd never written a review. Here goes...

Appearance: This beer looks delicious in the glass. It pours the darkest brown, pretty much black, with a 2 finger tan, creamy head that fades and retains at a thick, bubbly skim. A nice amount of sticky lacing hangs around.

Smell: Not too big, but definite notes of creamy chocolate, slight alcohol and darkly roasted malts. There's even the slightest detection of a floral hoppiness.

Taste/Mouthfeel: So delicious and almost even refreshing for a RIS. The chocolate comes across as slightly bitter and sweet, along with the dry roastiness of the dark malts. There is a slight burn from subtle alcohol presence and a little bit of hop bite in the finish. The feel is very bright, well-carbonated and smooth. It's not typical of the style, but it makes it very easy to drink year round. I love this beer!

Drinkability: So high for the style. I definitely look forward to this in bottle and on tap when it comes out every year.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my Imperial pint glass. This stout appears a nearly opaque deep dark brown color with an inch of pillowy dark ecru foam. Nose consists of rich, deeply roasted grains, fresh coffee beans, and raisins. Tastes of bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee, a hint of vanilla and sweet molasses, plums, raisins, and earthy hops. Approaching full bodied with ample carbonation. Alcohol starts really coming out as the stout warms, but it is still quite sippable and enjoyable.

Photo of jwhawkins81
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma - Definite hop aroma and alcohol is present too.

Appearance - Poured a dark black with a light brown head that stuck around.

Taste - Definitely good with a dominate roasted maltiness, but a little too much hop bite for me. Alcohol is noticable but no where near the 9% ABV.

Mouthfeel - Thin, surprisingly so.

Drinkability - This beer a great stout and pretty drinkable for a 9% beer.

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

Appearance: Black but not opaque, big brown head.

Smell: Pretty strong roasted smell, coffee.

Taste: Very tasty, coffee/mocha mix of bitterness and sweetness, semi-sweet dark chocolate, moderate-low bitterness.

Drinkability: Not too heavy, a little dangerous how fast this big beer is disappearing from my glass.

I'm glad I picked this up in Chicago. A very nice sweet imperial stout that has just enough bitterness to keep it away from being cloying. Highly recommended!

Photo of 3Vandoo
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black Imperial stout, with a shy lace that sticks on the glass and float quietly on a sea of darkness.

Smell at first of roasted coffee with hints of vanilla. Followed by some flavors of cherry. Dark chocolate malted smell that ends the body.

Taste is quite smooth and mellow, caramel hits you first, a balanced maltness, licorice hints, roasted coffee flavors and shy dark chocolate, it left an aftertaste of roasted burnt coffee and a nutty note in mouth.

Photo of dmfrench
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great, full-flavored 'Belgian' RIS

A: Nearly opaque plum brown, apparent only whey held to a light... fleeting half finger tight tan head... minimal lacing

S: Not very aromatic...just a bit of raisin/plum fruitiness and some burnt malt

T: Large Belgian-like dark fruit flavors, as per the smells... burnt malt takes the back seat, and I'm not getting much chocolate... there's also a hint of spiciness apart from the hop bitterness, which is most of the finish

M: Very satisfying if not a hair grainy

D: It wasn't a fight, but like all RIS, more than one usually too much

Photo of theghost3
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, opaque brown; almost black. There's a 2-finger, cafe au lait head. Minimal lacing.

The smell is strong on the dark roasted coffee malts and slightly smokey. The taste is bitter-burnt coffee & dark chocolate malt with some slight dark fruit flavors. The mouthfeel is not real thick, slightly acidic.

This is a drinkable RIS. It's closer to Ten FIDY than Old Rasputin, but not quite in the same category of either of those.

Photo of UA8
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours an opaque jet black with a frothy rich brown head.

S- Big notes of heavily roasted malts, smoke, coffee, and a bit of boozy alcohol.

T- Leads with semi sweet caramel malts, , midpalate has a touch of dark dried fruit and smoke. Finishes big and bold with herbal hops and blackened malt, both of which lend a nice bitterness.

M- Rich and full bodied with minimal carbonation.

D- This is a very solid effort on the style. I enjoy this beer quite a bit and love the BA version. Worth seeking out really explodes with flavors once it warms.

Photo of sarahspat
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

An abundance of thickish mocha tinted head sits atop a midnight black beer. Unfortunately, most of the head departs quickly and only leaves a few scraps of lacing behind.

Smells of chocolate and freshly brewed coffee.

The taste also contains chocolate but in a richer, more complex way than the nose does. Specifically, chocolate cake and cocoa powder. Very nice. There is also a considerable caramel presence and a small amount of floral hops notes sound in the background. Some fresh berries struggle to be noticed among the other powerful flavors. Overall, I'd say the malt and hops flavors complement each other very well here. However, the flavors are not as "in-your-face" as you might expect for an RIS. I really like this beer, so I would feel bad giving it lower than a 4, but honestly, I think its flavor is probably more reminiscent of a stronger stout than an RIS or even an imperial stout. The mouthfeel is also more befitting of a stout; definitely too light for an RIS. However, the drinkability is great and there's no sign of alcohol on the palate.

When I had this for the first time about a year ago, Blackout Stout was the first stout I ever really liked. I was surprised to see it listed as an RIS and not just an American Stout. This is a great beer in itself, but it can't compete with some of the huge beers in this category.

Photo of twelvsies
3.05/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big fan of Great Lakes as a whole, and while this beer seems to be a big hit with many, it just isn't my pint of ale. Dark brown color, relatively carbonated, glints of red up to the light, almost Coca-cola like in appearance. Nice roasty smell. Hints of chocolate, milk, coffee, and sugar. Flavor is just a little underwhelming. Great roasty malt flavor, but nothing really deep here. A little bit sugary and sweet, with hardly any bitterness. A little thin on the palate. Nice roast to this beer but really nothing extraordinary or anything holding this beer together. Try their lagers or Burning River pale ale for a good representation from this brewery.

Photo of nsmartell
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an almost pitch black color with a thin, really tan head that didn't stick around for long.

Smell: Coffee and slightly sweet chocolate.

Taste: Sweet and malty. You can definitely taste the coffee and chocolate and there was only a slight hint of the hops.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and silky smooth with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability: Very good, very drinkable RIS. Will definitely seek out again.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,990 ratings.