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Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

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3,031 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 3,031
Reviews: 1,147
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 435
Gots: 534 | 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: GreatPondBrewer on 11-30-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,031 | Reviews: 1,147
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.

Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After aging the beer for close to a year, finally cracked open my last bottle last night.

The beer pours the expected blackish brown color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is every bit as attractive as the beers appearance, with an aroma of licorice, burnt toast, coffee and chocolate. As nice as this beer smells, it tastes even better. One gets some very nice soft, creamy flavors of chocolate and coffee, with a hint of licorice. The beer has an impressive plush, rich mouthfeel. There's also a hint of hoppy bitterness in the finish, which enhances the overall flavor profile. Drinkabilty is quite good, with the 9% abv. very well disguised. The beer has an impressive long, lingering finish.

A year of aging has really helped this beer I think, as I don't recall fresh bottles tasting nearly as good. This is pretty impressive.

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

Pours a very deep (black out) black with some nice tan head and very nice tan lacing. Deep malty scent with hints of burnt grain and a hint of sweetness (milk or oatmeal?). Excellent taste, a very deep dark stout with great burnt grain flavors and a wonderful hit of sweetness as it goes down, which reminds me of a milk stout; enouth hops to keep it from being too unbalanced. Nice and smooth, with just a bit of alcohol burn on the tongue at the end. An excellent impy stout!

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appropriately black body capped with a thin tan head. The smell is of dark roasted malts and black currants. Tastes like bitter chocolate and roasted coffee. It has a nice sweetness throughout, and finishes with an appropriate ammount of bitterness.

Overall, a very nice RIS. Not the best I've ever had, but I enjoyed it more than Victory Storm King Stout.

Photo of cdViking
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade with Dayglo, thanks man. Bottle consumed on 4/26/09.

Pours nice looking black with minimal head, and copious carbonation. Smells delicious, with strong chocolate and coffee scents, with a little bit of molasses and/or brown sugar. Taste matches awesome smell, with bitter chocolate and dark, roasted coffee coming to the forefront. The beer is a pleasure to drink, and is smooth and nicely (but not overly) syrupy. I enjoyed sipping on one a lot, and could go for another, but its not a drink I could have all the time; you can feel the ABV.

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

A dark brown/black color pour with a medium creamy brown head,that lasted a while,lots of lacing, Aroma of coffee,chocolate, Some licorice, light smoke,and maybe brown sugar. Big rich full flavor of charred malt,vanilla,chocolate,coffee,and a touch of bitter hops at the finish. Creamy mouthfeel,without being sticky, the medium carbonation keeps it lively. Very drinkable. A top notch Stout in every respect, very good

Thank you GLB

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

Appears to pour solid jet black, but a little light shows through a ruby glimmer.

Smells of roasted coffee and dark malts.

Taste has plenty going on for it. A bit of sweet malts, quickly dominated by a dark roasted coffee malts, and a bit of bitter finishing hops. The sweetness tries to find it's way back in on the finish as well, making this a very unique brew.

Mouthfeel is very nice for a stout. Nowhere near thin, but not three year old motor oil either.

Drinkability is a tough one for this brew, because while the taste and feel are phenomenal, the thick coating it leaves behind, and high octane level it packs would have me struggling after two. I would say it could be a perfect after dinner beer, or a nice brew to nurse on a cold night.

Special thanks to RixBeer for hooking me up with this one. If he has any left, I'd recommend you pay him a visit....

Photo of beerman207
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice lacing and two finger head poured that was mocha color

S- Smelled coffee, some chocolate present nice.

T- Very full bodied with coffee taste coming through. Very nice.

M- Medium body - nice overall feeling on the paate

D- Not sure that I would have many of these in a sitting as the ABV would prohibit but overall very drinakable.

Another great beer from Great Lakes

Photo of turamarth
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Blvd Smokestack goblet.

Appearance: Pitch black, some thin tannish bubbles on it, little to no head with a fairly vivacious pour.

Smell: Your basic stouty aromas, coffee, chocolate, earthy hints. But there seems to be a very nice blueberry smell. Reminds me a lot of this sidamo coffee I had a few weeks ago. Very sweet and berrylicshious.

Taste: Very sweet and malty. Nice coffee and chocolate notes. The alcohol is pretty present in the taste. Maybe some hints of berries, but not as much as in the nose. Pretty good.

Mouth: Pretty thick. Leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. A pretty good feel.

Drink: Fairly drinkable. The alcohol seems to slow things down. But, enjoyable.

Photo of Rhynes2
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this straight from the bottle. It pours a thick creamy black. Very intense black color. Mouthfeel was great. Creamy is the best way to describe the feel of this brew. The taste really turned me on to stouts, extremely complex with notes of caramel and toasted nuts. Smell goes right along with the taste. Head was thick and frothy and stayed around the whole time. I was really happ to have picked this brew up while I could. Great call and I will be coming back for more next year.

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 3,031 ratings.