Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

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2,831 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 2,831
Reviews: 1,105
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 423
Gots: 432 | 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
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Ratings: 2,831 | Reviews: 1,105 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of RyanPB
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Magnificent. I ran back to the store to buy more. Pours a solid, opaque black, dark tan head. Really nothing fantastic in the smell but the taste is tremendous. Chocolate and coffee mingled together that stays throughout the start, middle and end. Incredibly drinkable. I'll probably have another right after this.

Photo of jeonseh
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just picked up a 4 pack of this for 10 bucks and was very happy to get some. Poured into my crystal snifter and a best before date of 8/19/08

A- looks like your typical RIS. A dark brown that actually seems a bit lighter than most RIS's I have tried as there seems to be a bit of a brown tint to it. Very small if any head that essentially only sits on the sides of the glass and barely anything floats on top. There are also small amount of carbonation trickling up the sides of the glass which gives the idea that something is stirring inside this one.

S - the smell seems to have a bit of coffee roastiness to it plus there biggest character I seem to get is a dark chocolate flavors that constantly eminates from this one. Also the roasted aspect in a way makes this smell a bit like peppered beef jerky to me for some reason. Not really that big of a nose though either for an RIS

T - oh great lakes does it once again and by that I mean create a beer that is super drinkable and a nice representation of the style. The biggest flavor that moves in on my first is a deep roasty dark chocolate flavor which seems to dominate the initial taste notes. After a while there is also a slight bitter hops taste that slowly moves in and adds a bit of a bite to this one. Have to also add that really would have no idea this is 9% as you can't taste any of the alcohol at all. The aftertaste seems to be a nice espresso roast taste that gives sits right there. Didn't find this to be overly complex especially given the style but it is good in its simplicity and very tasty on the whole as I love the deep chocolate notes contrasting with the spiciness of the hops. Actually have to say I was a bit surprised but how much dark chocolate seems to dominate this beer as in a way it reminds me of drinking an ST Choklat.

MF - overall, a rather smooth drinking stout as it is not too thick or overly sticky either. It has a nice light creaminess to it which goes well with the chocolate flavors and there is also a light amount of carbonation that comes in with the hops flavor and helps to make that a bit more prominent and I do like how that aspect occurs. I think that the body of this one goes pretty good with the simple but well done flavor profile.

D- if there is an RIS that is good enough and not too heavy to drink one after another this is definitely it. Really the whole package just makes me want to have another and I have to say that I actually feel like I could. Probably not the best tasting or the most complex stout but definitely one of the most drinkable that I have ever had especially at only like 9.99 a 4 pack before taxes!

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

A - Dark brown bordering on black. It took some effort to get a half inch of head. Retention and lacing were both good.

S - Roasted malt and espresso come through in the forefront. Just a hint of chocolate and vanilla in the background. Just about what I would expect from a RIS.

T - Roasted flavors and coffee really stand out in the flavor. Milk chocolate is not far behind though. Alcohol plays a minor roll in the flavor. There is also a very small amount of fruity sweetness in the background but it is so faint there is no way to pick it out.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. Very smooth with a slight dry finish.

D - Drinkability is very good. Everything comes together in this beer with good balance and makes it go down very easy. Another success for Great Lakes.

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

A year later, lets see how it does this time around. I'll try not to be bias, but I have a good feeling. This RIS pours a nearly opaque black with some visible ruby/brown highlights barely peaking through when held to the light. The frothy tan head retains its shape well and leaves some monstrous walls of sticky, mostly uniform lace.

Coffee and semi-sweet chocolate stick out initially to the nose along with some notes of toffee and molasses. Lots of roasted malts throughout. Mild leafy hops and a nutty aroma flows in to the finish. A slightly dry, husky character is present as well. Just a hint of smoky char as well. Well pronounced and appetizing, but I wouldn't say pungent. Very nice throughout.

Mmmm, that's nice. Creamy but still bitey with tons of bitter-sweet chocolate and spent coffee grounds. Some molasses and, again, that familiar smoky char mixed with dark caramel and blackened marshmallow. Just a tad bit of booze in the finish. Complex and boisterous but still very drinkable. A great example of a brew that can continually keep the palate entertained and still retain balance and modesty. That's what Great Lakes does I suppose.

Smooth and creamy with just the right amount of moderate carbonation to lift the texture a bit and appear rather bright initially. A hint of warmth and syrupy substance to coat the tongue and create a satisfying stout body. A fantastic selection to be sure, and still welcomed even once spring had sprung.

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

12oz bottle from the 2008 bottling received via trade from moose3285. Poured into my Duvel tulip

A: Jet black with a light tan head. Nice!

S: This is intoxicating. There's sweet chocolate, alcohol, roasted coffee, raisins. Hints of vanilla. The alcohol does smell a little hot, though

T: Delicious! It's less sweet than it smells with more coffee coming through. There's a lot more roast in the taste. The alcohol is almost absent, which is a relief as it had me a bit worried at first. The finish is burnt dark chocolate

M: Silky and thick. Excellent

D: An after dinner sipper, for sure. Good for the style

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this via trade from SPLITGRIN I believe.

Pours from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pitch black with a tan head, about one finger in size. Becomes a thick, sludgelike film on top of the beverage as time goes by.

Roasted and burnt malts, sweet licorice, raisins, brandy, chocolate and vanilla aromas.

Initially sweet with an upfront hop bitterness that brings a slight pucker to the mouth. Slightly alcoholic. Very tasty.

Thick, viscous, and sticky chewy on the palate. Pretty damn drinkable and a great RIS. Alcohol warmth all the way to the belly and up to the ears and cheeks. Thanks again Bryan.

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

A_Pours very dark brown. Hints of black shining through. Two finger head falls down to a nice cap.

S_Smell is mostly of sweet fruit with hints of roasted barley.

T_Very smooth, on the sweeter side overall. The bitterness is there throughout which is a nice contrast. This is bold and brassy without the alcohol smashing you in the face. Not so much dependant on chocolate or coffee flavours this one ventures more into te macerated fruit zone without being too overdone. Hints of an applewood smoke and maybe a bit of allspce.

M_Medium bodied for a RIS which actually makes htis pretty nice. A good carbonation lends well to the brew.

D_Very drinakable and a tasty overall stout without being too extreme. Well done.

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

The date on my bottle got cut off, but I know this bottle is over a year old.

Pours a deep dark brown, nearly completely black with a one finger head that fades to a thikc cap. The resulting lace sticks very nicely, leaving a nice sheet of foam.

Smell; dark roasted malts that are almost coffee like, with some hints of bakers chocolate and brown sugar. Some touches of anise come through with just a faint trace of soy as well. A little smokiness comes through in the background, with little bit of some hops drifting through.

Taste; chocolate and coffee dominate right out of the gates, but neither one is overly bitter. Molasses and a touch of brown sugar give this a little sweetness through the middle, along with a trace of soy and anise, and the the finish is a little smoke and the fading back to chocolate with a mild trace of hops, and the alcohol is nonexistent in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, which is no big surprise for the style, and the drinkablity is great. I had this when I first purchased the four pack, and while is was really good, I have to say that I think I actually preferred this one with a touch over a year on it. Just fantastic.

Photo of elmore
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice. Got the last 4 pack of this left on the shelf. Despite living in OH, I have had a hard time finding this. This is black as pitch. The biggest, thickest, fluffiest, mocha head I have seen on a RIS. Phenomenal. Fantastic retention. The sides are absolutely coated with foamy lacing. The appearance is perfect.

Smells of espresso, sweet carmely malts, smoked meats. This is a serious beer.

This is complex. Tastes of burnt malts and bitter espresso. Smokey and chocolaty. Some very subtle sweetness. Reminds me of smores made over a campfire. Subtle bitter hops in the aftertaste.

Creamy, thick, meaty. Very satisfying mouthfeel. Carbonation is fine, and very active, maintaining a beautiful head and nice lace. This is just too intense to really consider drinkable. A special occasion beer.

A sublime RIS. Very complex. Definitely a sipper. Waited a long time to try this and was definitely worth it. Hope I can find another 4 pack - will definitely hoard some of these.

Photo of moose3285
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 release poured into a Dogfish Head snifter.

A - I'm trying to find something wrong with the appearance of this beer but I can't. Pours black with a one finger fluffy tan/brown head. Head resides after a couple minutes to a ring around the glass.

S - Strong coffee and roasted malt smell. Has some hop aroma and the alcohol is fairly present in the nose.

T - Starts off with big, dark chocolate flavors with some coffee flavors tied in nicely. Moves to a big hop flavor which lingers on the tongue for a pretty long time. Has a slight alcohol taste but not too much. The hops give this a very "clean" taste.

M - Nice and creamy mouthfeel. Thick, but not too thick. Maybe a bit over-carbonated. But other than that this has a really nice mouthfeel.

D - I really could drink a couple of these in a night. However, I might regret that if I did, so I'll stop at one or two. This beer leaves you wanting more.

Overall, a great beer by Great Lakes and highly recommended. I really can't wait to see what happens to this beer with a little age on it, as the hops start to disappear. I plan on laying some of these down to see what happens to them in a year or two.

Photo of pwoods
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

64oz. growler, filled at Party Source, poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a solid black with no visibility. 1 finger of deep mocha head forms after a hard pour. Some retention and decent lacing.

S: Very bitter coffee notes with plenty of charred, chalky malts. A touch of sweetness in the back.

T/M: A nice mixture between sweet chocolate and strong bitter coffee. Hops seem a bit on the weak side. Body is above medium but not quite full. Carbonation is very low but seems to add a nice smoothness to things.

D: Tasty and pretty easy to drink but lacks a bit of hop balance.

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

Big thanks to DrBayern for this gem! Shared with pint_sized - Black pour with a nice medium brown head in a snifter. Smell was a creamy chocolately coffee roast with almost a hint of peanut buttery creaminess...(maybe I'm just crazy) Such a nice, smooth roasty chocolate flavor, with a light but noticeable and pleasant alcohol flavor to it. A great mouthfeel and perfect carbonation level let it go down like smooth chocolate. Really a great beer, with an amazingly smooth light lingering aftertaste of fine bittersweet dark chocolate. A must try!

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

it's KpaNHNN black! yeah that's uber in russian...

A- totally opaque with just the thinnest ring of a rosewood highlight at the bottom of my pint glass. the thick rich tan head looks like coco-wheats and sounds like rice krispies. bubbles open and close and create pits and craters and leave a thick, rather uniform matrix of lace that resembles old dusty cobwebs that dry into a doughy crust. reminds me of my pizza shop days.

S- a fruity tartness precedes a huge woodsy smoky cocoa/coffee and burnt brown sugar aroma. a little rodent of herbal hops sticks his head out briefly but is quickly whacked back down by a giant roasted malt hammer. high quality coffee and dark chocolate dominate and don't let much else through with the exception of some charred oak.

T- with such a zesty, sharp initial bitterness i wonder what's the IBU for this bad boy? the website lists it as 85, but i would have guessed higher. i like the hops first in an imperial stout, allowing the obviously stronger malt the balance out the bitter, instead of the opposite. supple worn-in leather (one of my fav. tastes) some of the usual dark fruits (currant, fig, date) and with a little kick of what seems like black cherry. the faintest hint of black licorice is also detected along with something comparable to horehound, but these are way in the background, and took about 8 sips with my eyes closed to decipher. the coffee and dark chocolate are still dominant though, especially in the second half of the mouthful, along with those above-mentioned dark fruits thrown on a campfire. though barely any alcohol can be detected until this point,
a nice thick resinous hashish bitterness returns at the swallow for a tongue curling hoppy finish that dries out ever so gently.

MF- everybody knows great lakes kicks ass, and i'm proud to be born and raised in northeastern ohio. i'm also proud of the browns, but that's a different website. the feel is more than substantial aaand by now i'm feeling that 9%. ok am i drinking suede? it sure feels like it. maybe goatskin leather. it matches the taste. you can almost chew it, but like melted ice cream, you know you don't have to. full bodied to say the least, it has a perfect mid-mid-low carbonation and i'm not even hungry anymore. also a bit of charcoal on the palate, but not to the extent of something like mezcal, this is a way mild feeling. just freakin heavenly.

D- ah, the breaks. just like all these imperials that might be the best tasting beers ever, due to the sheer magnitude of what's put into them, there D is at a D-crease because they're so damn everything! high abv, high nutritional content, my body says "i'm full, lets take a nap" instead of "yeah! let's party and drink 8 more!!" what you lack in quantity, you make up for in quality.

Photo of jdoncbus
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a thin, tan head that sticks nicely to the glass; when moved around it leaves a polka dot effect.

Nose is smokey, sweet malt that permeates with a toasted-molasses quality. The bottle mentions the hops but I do not smell much. Malt meets a busy coffee roaster.

The oily yet crisp stout hits the palate with a flavor consisting of wood, vanilla, and cappuccino roast beans. The finale is a firm, bitter bite that exposes the hop presence. Mouth is left dry and tart and a trail of alcoholic warmth heads down the back of the throat. A nice aftertaste sits in the mouth like a squatter.

This one certainly packs a punch and should be imbibed slowly. Another fine offering from the people in Cleveland and will enjoy it the rest of the winter.

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

I am reviewing the 2007 release, which has been aging in my beer fridge for a year.

A: Jet-black, coal black, with a tinge of auburn when held to the light. A coffee-colored head. Lots of fine, fine carbonation in the head, although carbonation isn't really present in the body of the beer itself.

S: Coffee and dark chocolate. Seriously dark chocolate--85% cocoa dark chocolate. Raisins also present, with some alcoholic bite.

T: Again, a mix of chocolate, coffee, and raisins. Some vanilla and molasses, too. The faintest hint of sweet tobacco. Bitter-sweet, with a sweet finish, mostly from the vanilla and molasses flavors.

M: Full-bodied, with a little bit of chalkiness.

D: If this weren't 9% and so damn rare, I could drink this nightly. I had been looking forward to breaking this out for a while.

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

This stout pours pitch black (hence the name) with a very smooth , one inch tan head. The smell is a very strong coffee and chocolate. The taste is a burnt darker chocolate with a sweet and slightly bitter aftertaste. Very strong flavor and yet there is a smoothness to it. Difficult to explain clearly which is why this stout is a must try.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,831 ratings.