1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

2,551 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,551
Reviews: 1,078
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 407
Gots: 328 | FT: 25
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Blackout Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,551 | Reviews: 1,078 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopHeadKen
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love pouring stout just to watch the rich blackness of the beer cascade like a waterfall out of the creamy tan head; and this Stout is no exception.

This beer has a very rich malty taste with lingering toasted malt flavor and a smooth alcoholic warmth. First taste is sweet and malty. Hops seem balanced and subtle; with a trace of hop bitterness remaining afterwards.

HopHeadKen, Jul 26, 2004
Photo of SheepNutz
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep jet black color with two fingers of medium-tan head. There is some lacing left over. The smell is full of burnt malt, coffee, caramel, and a slight hickory smell. Very nice. The taste has a good roasted malt base with some sweet molasses and caramel. A hint of espresso and hops on the slightly dry finish. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, just gliding over the tongue. The drinkability is pretty good for a 9% brew. A damn good Imperial Stout!

SheepNutz, Jul 16, 2004
Photo of cbill
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I don't drink too many imperial stouts, but i figured i'd give this a try. Poured dark, dark black with a tan head. Smelled of burnt coffee and had a malty note. Very heavy in the mouth with tastes of coffee, malt, slight chocolate and some burnt flavor. Even after swallowing this one lingers on for a good five seconds or more. Still, it seems very drinkable and i could definately have a couple at a time until the alcohol caught up. Definately recomended.

cbill, Jul 14, 2004
Photo of ZAP
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This might be my favorite stout...pours a very black color with a nice creamy 1/4 inch topping of head...nose is sweet milk chocolate...almonds....and tobacco....body is full and creamy....carbonation is about perfect...the taste is outstanding....starts off with the rich sweet milk chocolate...some good nutty notes...almonds and walnuts...finshes with a hit of bitter dark chocolate and some leafy/tobacco/herbal notes..9% ABV and it is nowhere to be found on the taste...

For an Imperial this is pretty good....could use a bit more thickness to bring the mouthfeel up to a 5.0...and there is a tich of light that shines into it so I drop the appearance slightly as well but we're splitting hairs...drinkability is only 4.5 because it doesn't seem nearly as Full as the king of Imperials Expedition

Overall one of the best stouts of any kind I have tried...

Thanks to Big Hugeperson for the offerings...

ZAP, Jul 14, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Guess what? This beer is black. Yes, black as night. It also has a very nice brownish head. This is a great beer to stare at.

Smell – Big, stouty smells even when cold. The chocolate, cocoa powder, refined sugar, and coffee lay well on a bed of roasted, almost burnt malts. As it opens up, the malts really come alive. This is an olfactory treat.

Taste – Amazing! A 5.0 for sure. This one blew me away. The malts really take over at the taste, and it is smooth as silk. Dark, burnt, bitter silk. The coffee is also huge here. It is just as much stout-flavored coffee as it is coffee-flavored stout.

I didn’t expect this big of a punch. The bitterness is so strong yet so smooth. It reminds me of some heavy, almost syrupy Middle Eastern coffee that my Lebanese sito (grandmother) used to brew. I can almost feel the loose grounds on my tongue.

Mouthfeel – Full in the mouth with some of the most harmonious flavors that I’ve ever tasted. This is a symphony in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – This could not have tasted or felt better.

Comments – OFS, the God of beer trading, comes through huge on this one. It’s going to be hard to top this offering from Great Lakes.

RoyalT, Jun 28, 2004
Photo of pezoids
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stout is a special beer. Reminds me of Storm King. Thick and black and full of substance. The aroma is sweet and dark with licorice, burnt caramel smoke and a spicy alcohol. Complex and rich in flavor, full bodied with the finish of spicy smoked malt. Overall, a very drinkable and very strong stout that might just cause you to black out.

pezoids, Jun 23, 2004
Photo of francisweizen
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly opaque black with blood red highlights and a nice espresso tinged head of foam. The aroma is excellent! Creamy coffee, dark chocolate, port wine, alcohol, roasted malts, and cream. The taste is excellent as well. This is a super creamy imperial stout with a lovely blend of deep coffee flavors, roasted malt flavors, and dark chocolate flavors. The mouthfeel is super thick and creamy, like a frappucino and the drinkability is like buddah! A magnificently under-rated imperial stout!

francisweizen, Jun 23, 2004
Photo of Brent
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of the darkest stouts I've poured - not even a hint of ruby at the edge of the glass when held to the light. Very soft aroma of sweet milk chocolate and a vague hint of coffee. A little less hefty in the mouth than the appearance would suggest. Dark roasted but well balanced bitterness. No particular emphasis on any particular flavor - sort of a generic but well-done Imperial. Sampled fairly warm, and at first I was assailed by an unpleasant rubbing alcohol vapor at the finish, but either this went away or I became acclimated to it, because it quickly fell out of the flavor profile.

Brent, Jun 16, 2004
Photo of mobyfann
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paid $6.99 for a 4pk.

The appearence is the stout I like to see, very dark brown base with a medium-dark mid-sized head that retains for a little bit, but fades away pretty quick. The smell is a bold stouty one.

The taste is pretty light for a 9.0% stout, which I guess is real good, but the taste hints of roasted malts with some sort of sweetness I'm unfamiliar with. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh but it's doable, and the drinkability is simply fine for a stout.

Final Thought: It's no Storm King Stout, but it's a contender without a doubt!

mobyfann, Jun 11, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Harrington 2-row, Crystal 77, Black Malt, and Roasted barley. Hopped with Simcoe and Northern Brewer. 9.0% ABV, 50 IBU's, OG=23P.

Pours out completely black without any hint of transparency, forming a small dark tan head with poor retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation is moderate-mild. Aroma strongly suggestive of Frankenberry cereal with lots of strawberries, followed by lots of dark milk chocolate, prunes, figs, coffee, and cocoa. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium-dense body and slick, oily finish. Taste is wonderful...begins with potent herbal resinous hops, followed by chocolate, coffee, prune juice and raisins, then a peppery wave of alcohol, some woody and oaky notes towards the malty and robust finish with medium bitterness. A little bit of tart, burnt pine sweetness and charcoal caresses the tongue with a touch of acidity. As it warms, the roasted malty sweetness emerges to the Nth degree, a ton of black cherries comes out, and the happy 9.0% ABV buzz kicks in.

GLBC has always produced exceptional brews and this is another stellar example. Wonderful in every sense of the word, this brew competes head to head with other great examples in the style, including Old Raspy, Black Bear, Kzoo stout, Rogue Shakespeare, Samuel Smith, and Storm King.

Mitchster, Jun 08, 2004
Photo of aracauna
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A little light for an imperial with a bit of mahogany around the edges, the head is nicely tan and creamy. The aroma nicely roasty with a hint of fig. The flavor is sweet (a little sugary) and fruity (the fig again) with an almost metallic bitterness finishing it out.

aracauna, Jun 05, 2004
Photo of benmiliron
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid $2.79 for a 12 oz bottle.

Blackout stout is a good, heavy imperial stout. Black with ruby at the edges. Good dark roasted malt taste with a strong smack of hop bitterness and a lingering alcohol backup. This is a fine beer, but for the price and the ABV, it's more of a dessert beer than anything.

benmiliron, May 19, 2004
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to CRJMellor for sending this Great Lakes Brewing Co. brew my way. I kept it safe and secure for a while but finally decided it was time for me to give it its freedom. Poured into my trusty tasting glass, Blackout Stout had an ominous black hue with glints of ruby coloring around the edges. An unsettled fizzy mocha colored head perched on top, slowly dwindling down to a light skim.
The nose was full of roasted grains, dark chocolate and herbal hops. This one didn't have much sweetness in store, it seemed. The taste confirmed those thoughts as even the initial taste had only a mild sweetness. Mainly, the taste was full of bittersweet baking chocolate, dark malts, and a generous amount of hops lending a solid bitterness to a dry finish. The 9% ABV was very well concealed, even as it approached room temp. The feel was medium heading toward full, somewhat chewy, and dry.
Overall, I found Blackout Stout to be a highly enjoyable imperial stout. Another well-crafted brew from Great Lakes BC.

Boilermaker88, May 17, 2004
Photo of irishmoss
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It appears that I've been lucky twice now, surviving the blackout and surviving the Blackout Stout. Label read Best Before May 29/04. So this has had a little time to mellow and blend.
The appearance is a jet black with a small dark mahogany ring around the edge when held up to the light and viewed from the underside of the glass. A nice light brown head that sticks around a while, then gives way to a thick ring around the edge with islands.
The smell is surprisingly very sweet and the roasted malts seem to come through well. Faint chocolate milk flavors that give way to piney hops.
The flavor is roasted chocolate malts with hints of vanilla and caramel. This gives way to hoppy character with a slight vinous tone, then back to a little hop bitterness. Absolutely smooth, well balanced, very drinkable, and even ends a little tannic. I dare anyone to notice a slight trace of alcohol in this...it's just not there, in my opinion. Great job here, I can't believe that I've not picked this up sooner and probably missed my opportunity to stock my cellar. Very impressed...

irishmoss, May 15, 2004
Photo of PartyHatjo
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to beergeek279 for an incredible imperial stout...

Appearance: Brown coming out of the bottle, and it coats the side of the glass as it is poured. In the glass it's black with dark brown tones near the head. Head is about a half inch thick and dark tan. Got it to "merengue" above the rim of the glass (always love that in a beer).

Aroma: Kalamata Olives??? Yeah, that was the first thing that hit my nose, and it was a very, very pleasant surprise (and odd, nonetheless). Some hoppiness is present, but I get mostly olive in the smell. Roasted coffee and chocolate are present as well (chocolate covered olives???)

Taste: This was also a bit odd, I'm inhaling as I take the first sip--smelling the olive character and my tongue gets hit with sweetness, just seemed a bit odd. Nevertheless delicious first taste. Chocolate comes through strong in this one followed by currant and coffee. Olive aroma dies after drinking a couple sips.

Mouthfeel: Good body...appropriately carbonated.

Drinkability is pretty high for a Imperial Stout. I didn't have any more to have after this one, but I could have put away a couple.

PartyHatjo, May 14, 2004
Photo of Bighuge
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is nearly black. Some shimmers of crimson are visible. Slight chocolate brown head with average retention. The collar stays around for a while and leaves some sporadic lace. Nice bittersweet chocolate on the nose as well as some smoke, burnt malts, tobacco and deep, dark fruits. There's such a great balance of sweet and bitter characteristics on the palate. Usually I go for the Imperials with the Huge roasted and hop bitterness, but this one's got a nice sweetness up front that turns bitter, and I love it. First I get sweet malts, molasses, brown sugar and fruits like cherry and plum. But then, it turns bitter and nasty (in a good way). Roasted bitterness. Hop bitterness. Alcoholic bitterness. And jagged char tones, black patent and tobacco. The mouthfeel is lightly (and appropriately) carbonated. And the body is damn near full. This is a great one, and that is no surprise coming from Great Lakes.

I love trying great,new Imperial Stouts. Thanks for the opportunity Ryan.

Bighuge, May 14, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Standard 12 ounce brown glass bottle. Dark label that has a black background with white lettering. The picture is of a group of people moonlit in a dark blue hue for obvious reasons given the Stouts name. Blurb to the right of the label states that this an Imperial Stout brewed from natural ingredients. Recommended Serving Temperature of 45°F, as well as a listed Strength of 9.0% by volume. Enjoy By Date is Dec. 9 04.

Appearance: Extremely dark black with lots of Black Hole nothingness in the body that bends light and warps time. The head is a light brown affair that laces well and remains smooth and uniform. Lots of fine-bubbled carbonation races to the surface as the beer is tilted and then up righted again quickly. Powerful appearance.

Nose: Immense odor of powerful thick roasted malts laden with alcohol. The nose of this beer instantly implants pictures of the Red and Gold push top 16oz Tins of Lyle’s Black Treacle that we had back in England. Some milky chocolate smatters the back end of this incredible offering.

Taste: Fantastic dark roasted malts, a rising chocolate bitterness and lots of swishing powerful malts in the middle. The finish is dry and bitter-chocolate-sweet. Astringency lingers in the liquorice coated treacle malt finish. Damn good.

Mouthfeel: Imperious and definitely not shy, the feel is silky, creamy and smooth whilst the body is full and thick.

Drinkability: Bring it on!! Whilst I could drink this all night, I fear that this Imperial Stout would take more out of me than I could ever take out of it. Hell this drinks easily for a 9% Imperial Stout.

Overall: Quite simply - Superb! What a way to close out a Saturday Night!!!

An Imperial Cheers to BigHuge for this Monster.

TheLongBeachBum, May 09, 2004
Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great start, with a bottle picture and description that reminds those of us who survived the Great Grid Blackout. Then a beautiful black pour. A stout with great American hops and some malt taste. Thanks to Chuck's Fine Wines for breaking up a six pack for me.
Second bottle 26 months later, great and substantial coffee and roast aroma. Beautiful mocha ring on head. bMedium mouthfeel,n warming alcohol, satisfying coffee aftertaste.

Sammy, May 09, 2004
Photo of granger10
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out like its name, black as night. It produces a good sized creamy head that looked beautiful. The smell is very roasted with a chocolate espresso note to it. The initial flavor I got was a strong roasted coffee precense. The roasted flavors turn into a burnt chocolate that is a little unsettling. Hops mix with the alcohol and provide a spicyness, almost fruitiness but then become more bitter the further I go. The finish is alcohol dry. The body was slightly thinner than I would have hoped for. This was a good complex beer but not my favorite in the Imperial Stout category.

granger10, May 06, 2004
Photo of Ellbert
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nice dark color, almost black. There is a little bit of light that can get through this. The head is a nice tan color that doesn't last as long as I would like. There is a very sticky lace that coats the glass.

Smell: Roasted malt with bittersweet chocolate in the nose. Faint hops arise in the nose. No alcohol seems to be present.

Taste: Very roasty. Very roasty. Bitter, bitter, bitter. Very roasty. The roastedness is fairly harsh at first. Hops are very spicy. Alcohol is a little warm in the end. Leaves you a little dry but with a very pleasant flavor or roasteness and chocolate. This is kind of like if you take a chocolate bar and smoke it.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. I feel that this is lacking a little bit. I would have liked to have this be a little thicker. I would also have liked to see this with a little less harsh carbonation.

Overall a very drinkable beer. A very good imperial stout. Go GLBC

Ellbert, May 02, 2004
Photo of cokes
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black. Treated ever-so-slightly with ruby, but black for all intents and purposes. The head is compacted, for a while lasting, and tan.
Nose full of burn and char and roast. Echoes of bourbon and grape is it warms, but slight and fairly hollow. Solid and satifying nose-wise, yet not quite an adequate prelude.
Begins assertively roasted. Smoky even, with burnt trees and burnt rubber and spent charcoal. Not as incinerated as, say, Expedition or Rogue Imperial, but plenty fire-damaged as it is.
From the ashes, a sweetness seeps. Gooey caramel and vanilla bean. Hallmark blackened chocolate chip cookies (take note). Seared walnuts. Mocha coffee, with heavy espresso roasted bitterness.
Hopping resides, obviously, on the tail end, and it joins with the burnt hues. Enflamed pine trees and singed woody shrubs. Boozy, port traits are established here as well. Chocolatized brandy and still-smoldering, woody, bourbon-drenched embers. But the alcohol is largely concealed.
Mostly full in stature. Not the largest Imperial Stout. But a well realized and representative version of such. It may lack a little (and just a little) in overall nuance and depth, it is nonetheless as drinkable and enjoyable as any. And it just gets better as it exceeds cellar temp.
Well done, as expected.

That burnt chocolate chip cookie flavor just seems to resonate in the mouth and the memory, and I love it.

cokes, Apr 26, 2004
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Beer looks nice. Its dark, but not 'dark as the inside of a bear's...' dark. Can see throught the bottom of the glass...looks a deep red when held to the light. Not bottle conditioned, so that's convenient, but I'd prefer a darker, more opaque imperial stout. Nice mellow brown head that hangs around.

Nose is really roasty. I get a touch of hops too, but mostly roasty, chocolatey notes.

Taste is big. Lots of roasted barley in this brew...probably lots of chocolate malt too. About mid way through the taste get a very subtle 'wineyness', could use a bit more honestly to counter all that roastedness. I definately get some bitterness too in the finish. Finishes with kind of an astringent roastedness and deep bitterness that will make it hard to drink more than one or two of these. Really tough finish.

very very nice mouthfeel...silky smooth, big and chewy all in one. If the roast was toned down a touch this beer would be right on.

cerevisiaephilus, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of oberon
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to AKsmokedPorter for this big gem of a beer,pours a deep black with a few ruby highlights showing thru with a mocha colored head,aroma ofrum and nuts with some bitter chocolate thrown in just incredibley appetizing with its wide variety.A big rich stout very chewey mouthfeel big and buttery with that rum note again with some nuttiness as well.A big complex awesome beer, man I miss getting GLB beers on a regular basis cuzz this one would be in my fridge all the time.

oberon, Apr 21, 2004
Photo of bigbubba
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent stout. I am glad I finally found it. I think this was the last 4 pack in all the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.

It is very dark with a big light brown head. It left a nice dark lace on the inside of the glass. It didn't pour as thick and oily as many other Imperial stouts do.

There is a nice roasted coffee and some chocolate in both the smell and taste. A little bitterness in the aftertaste hides the potent alcohol. Hard to believe it is 9%.

The mouthfeel is not as thick as many others in this category, and that seems to make it real easy to drink. I could get into real trouble if I ever find this on tap and served by the pint!

bigbubba, Apr 20, 2004
Photo of wbickerton
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Mad Mex in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. I am still recovering from the flu/cold, but I did not notice any negative aroma. It seemed to have a slight coffee/chocolate aroma. Very dark with a tight frothy head. Delicious coffee and chocolate flavor with a full-bodied palate. It's listed here as 9% ABV, but this can't be right. It tasted as though it were 5.5 to 6.5% at most. If this is 9% ABV, GLBC should be given an award for masking alcohol content. Stouts are not my favorite beers, but this stout will force me to go to Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company in the South Side to pick up a keg, assuming it is still available.

wbickerton, Apr 17, 2004
Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,551 ratings.