Great Lakes Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

1,198 Reviews
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Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GreatPondBrewer on 11-30-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,198 | Ratings: 3,387
Photo of Dr-Jan-Itor-
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A great, Russian imperial if you can come across it. Nothing fancy, just darn good beer. Great in the winter, but I also enjoy it in the summer. It's just light enough that hot weather doesn't ruin it.

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Photo of mozart4898
3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L – 1/2 finger head dissipates to a tiny ring. Opaque black color.
S – Coffee, a little earthy. No discernable alcohol on the nose. Smells like an inviting stout, however nothing stands out.
T – Malt bitterness and coffee flavor, with a touch of chocolate. A hint of slightly citrusy hops on the aftertaste that is quickly overwhelmed by the roasty bitterness of a substantial malt base. This beer is almost 2 months past the “best buy” date however being an imperial stout I doubt this really is a negative, if anything I would imagine flavors may have mellowed and matured at this point. Still quite intense, yet dangerously drinkable.
F – Fairly dry and only medium body – not at all watery but certainly more attenuated than some imperial stouts. Not a bad thing per se. Medium low carbonation (reasonable for the style).
O – For me this is a pretty middle of the road imperial stout, in that it seems to stay right down the middle of the style guidelines. Many of these beers top out well north of 10% ABV (12% or higher even) and this one, at 9%, is actually on the low end alcohol wise of commercial examples. Still plenty of flavor and a good beer for an after dinner sipper or a nightcap.

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Photo of dmgeng
3.39/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been wanting to try this one for a while but couldn't convince myself to pull the trigger until now and I wasn't a fan. (But it could just be batch specific)

A - Nice black color. Has a slight haze after pouring with a fine, tan head.

S - First tones that I notice were the roasty tones next there were the traditional dark fruits, chocolate, and sweet malts. It's got that dark roasted character that you would expect.

T - On the tip of the tongue it's got sweet malt and some caramel, but as soon as it hits the middle of the palate there is a huge sour note. It is very similar to the acidic tang that you get with a Guinness only 3x the magnitude in this beer. There is some licorice, dark chocolate, and some dark fruits but all underneath the tang. On the finish the dry, roasted, coffee bean flavor is true. I could still drink it with the sour but definitely my least favorite in the category.

M - Moderate mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. Slightly thin for being 9% but still enough body and enough release to keep the feel stylistic.

Overall, this was not a very enjoyable beer for me. I have talked to others that have had this beer and they've said that this beer wasn't their favorite but they didn't get the acidic flavor that I got. So it could be just a fluke but I don't think I'll be getting it again. If you really enjoy Guinness then I would say go ahead and try this one but if you just want a RIS then definitely go for TenFidy!

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of neurobot01
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best by 3/14/14, so take the ratings with a grain of salt. Pretty solid, but the feel is pretty thin, and the oxidation is evident. Good, not great at this point.

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Photo of Mike_Honcho1
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Poured black into the snifter with 1 finger of khaki head that quickly dissipated into a thin cap. Slight lacing on the glass as well.

Smell: I detect chocolate, coffee and an arrangement of dark fruits.

Taste: The taste is heavy on the coffee and cocoa. Nice coffee bitterness on the back end to balance out the sweetness.

Feel: This beer is full bodied and has a slick/velvety mouth feel.

Overall: This beer is great. Could be a go to RIS for me in the winter time.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Best by 5/8/15. Pokal goblet. Average of reviews on 2-27-15 and 3-19-15.

Appearance: Pours a totally opaque black. hints of brown at the edge. 1/2" tan head quickly fades to a ring.

Aroma: Sweet, malty, roasty, vanilla, prunes, molasses. 2-27 bottle had issues. Smelled bloody/flinty, salty and earthy, in addition to the previous description.

Taste: Sweet arrival, sweet mid-palate. Drying at the end. Roasty (as opposed to hoppy) bitterness at the end. Ever so slightly cloying. Not a hint of alcohol. Delicious. Earlier bottle was sour/tart and fruitier.

Mouthfeel: Heavy. Slick. Modest carbonation. Earlier bottle was lighter than expected, and had almost no carbonation.

Overall: It is clear something was wrong with the 2/27 bottle. That is the first time that has ever happened to me with a bottle from Great Lakes. Nevertheless, the second bottle reclaimed its position in my annual rotation. An excellent RIS, worth the wait. I have one cellaring now.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

L: Pours black enough to truly blackout light, with a thick creamy mocha colored head. Excellent retention and lacing.

S: Roasted malts, chocolate, roasted coffee, molasses, tobacco, brown sugar, dark fruit, even a slight smokiness and earthy hops.

T: Chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, molasses, brown sugar, with some dark fruits, earthy hops, and a nice alcohol warmth on the finish.

F: Medium bodied, low carbonation, nice creamy finish with a slight alcohol burn.

O: An excellent stout that I look forward to every year. Very drinkable for a 9% Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of sjones5045
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Home 4/30/15

Jet black as it should be with that name. The smell has a few different aromas coming through like the chocolate, tabbcoo, and smoke but everything that comes through is faint. The taste is the same. Many different tastes but nothing really comes to the front and gives this beer an identity. Not necessarily dull but leave you wishing for more any of the tastes to take over but it never does. Good beer but nothing special.

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Photo of SteveB24
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look-color is pitch black, as the name suggests, has an oil like shine to it. very little head on the pour.
Smell-hints of coffee, tobacco and chocolate, some hop dankness in there as well,
Taste- Nice, roasted malts and coffee upfront, followed by lots of molasses to the point that it tasted a bit like soy sauce, which i find to be rather off putting. slight bit of alcohol warmth at the very end.
Feel- Thin/medium body, for an imperial stout. slightly creamy, almost no carbonation.
Overall- not bad but underwhelming. would not buy again, but i am looking foreword to the BA version in my fridge.

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Photo of SebD
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice thick creamy tan head that dies down moderately slow and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted malts, chocolate, light coffee, light earthy hops, faint smoke and dark fruit.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has loads of roasted malts, sweet chocolate, light coffee, some earthiness and very faint dark fruit on the back.

Mouthfeel: It has a low-med carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas. Solid stout!

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of mchegash
3.64/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 4.5/5
Pours a deep black in color, with hints of dark brown-red visible near the edges of the glass, in the right light. About a finger of tan head which quickly dissipates down to minimal head. This beer really is quite black, it's beautiful, and fitting a beer named after one of the greatest American "blackouts" in recent history (NE US power outage of 2003).

Smell - 4.25/5
Roasty, chocolate malts, along with small hints of hops, (fruity?) sweetness, and alcohol. The smell reminds me of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, which is an incredible beer.

Taste - 3.25/5
Fairly sweet, more hoppy than I was expecting. Has roasty fruity alcohol flavors. Not quite what I was expecting in the taste. It seems like the roastiness is less prominent than the aroma, and everything else is more prominent. I taste hints of banana and a weird kind of nasty earthiness. Not that the beer is terrible, but I must say I am rather disappointed in the taste. I was expecting more from Great Lakes.

Mouthfeel - 3.5/5
Very smooth and creamy, slightly less than medium-bodied. Carbonation is light, which fits the beer well. Slightly bitter.

Overall - 3.5/5
Though I had high expectations, this beer did not deliver. The taste was not really what I was looking for. A beer this dark should have more roastiness/etc to it. But that's not really what I got here. The beer looked and smelled great, but besides that it was just average. I would say skip this beer and just pick up some Edmund Fitzgeralds.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.46/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Some hickory smoked / wood fired taste on this one, not a cream / chocolatey stout but more of the fire & brimstone type. Some dark berry / burnt fruitcake is also present, and it finishes with a lingering toasted malt. Intriguing, but not exactly in my personal wheelhouse.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: [4.75] Pours a deep dark color with almost no light penetration. The beer forms a luscious 1 1/2 finger head. The head is dense tan bubbles. As the head recedes it leaves a thick layer of lacing on the glass. The bottle lists a drink by date of (05/13/15) and an ABV of (9.0%)

S: [4.50] Campfire wood, bacon, chocolate, malt, dark fruit. There is a lot on the nose.

T: [4.50] Sweet chocolate on the tip of the tongue. Some dark fruits in the mix too then roasted malts for a looooong finish. The taste goes on for a while.

M: [4.75] The mouthfeel is smooth and delicious. I will use the word luscious again. There is no sense of the 9.0% alcohol.

O: [4.50] This is an excellent Stout (one of the best I have had). It hits on all fronts. The nose is great and inviting and plays into the taste. The taste doesn't follow the nose exactly but continues a theme. The nose and body both share a great mild char and chocolate. The mouthfeel is velvety and sexy. I can't think of anything to knock this beer for.

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Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served out of a sniffer best buy 5/08/15chocolate Hershey bar on nose
T chocolate moca coffee with slight alcohol this is a must for stout lovers who dont care about barrel age

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Photo of mikeg67
3.26/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours black with tall, long lasting, creamy, brown head and nice lacing. Aroma is of roasted malt, toast, dark fruit, alcohol and coffee, some sourness. Body is full, creamy and smooth. Taste is of toasted malt, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit, herbal hops and unpleasant sourness. Something is very wrong with this bottle.

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Photo of Roguer
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Extremely dark brew, clear as far as one can tell. 1 finger dark tan head; poor retention, nice lacing.

Huge coffee and chocolate notes from the malt, with a touch of banana ester. Smells strong without smelling boozy. Aroma is reminiscent of FIS and JA Framinghammer.

Flavor follows: this is a big, bold stout, with up-front notes of chocolate and coffee, followed by a slightly tart hint of dark fruit, and finished by an exceptionally bitter, incredibly roasted wash of the malt.

Big-bodied and medium-full feel; some foaming; no sting. Pretty drinkable with a dry, roasty finish with a touch of lingering hop oil.

This is a very solid RIS, one that I can only imagine makes for a fantastic base for barrel-aging. Not in FIS/Speedway/Ten-FIDY territory, but perhaps the tier immediately below.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark, nearly opaque with thick, light tan head and thick lacing. Looks like a classic stout. Smell is burnt coffee and chocolate. I didn't discern the smell of any fruit or other sweet flavor. Taste emphasizes the coffee but there is a bitter hoppiness. I've read other reviews but I'm not tasting any dark fruit. You can taste the alcohol but at 9% it's not overwhelming. Good creamy mouth feel. Overall, this is a very good imperial stout but I'm missing the dark fruit.

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Photo of Diaper-Daniels
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I mean...I like stouts and all. And I like this one. But I was hoping for a thicker, blacker, stouter stout. Uhh what?? Didn't hear me?? Did I stouter??

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Photo of wedge
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black under a quickly diminishing beige head. A bubbly ring forms at the edges. Big roasted malt and dark chocolate aromas meet some hops and malted milk balls. Dark malty flavors of molasses, black malt char, dark fruits, vanilla, and a little coffee on the finish. Hoppier than most, but still secondary to the malts. Perhaps a bit less than full bodied, chewy, and smooth. A warming sensation grows deep in the throat, but things stay drinkable. Still a classic RIS - able to stand on its own without the addition of adjuncts or barrel aging.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Utter blackness, negligible head even with a rough pour. Only a ring of bright tan bubbles.

S: Roasted malt, earth, pretty dark chocolate with piercing bitterness.

T: Chocolate, coffee, a bit of smoke, something nearly minty which I suppose is the hops. Slightly sweet, but quickly overpowered by profound bitterness. This advertised combo initially deterred me from considering this beer, but upon tasting it, it's pretty good.

M: Significantly filmy, while still being light-medium bodied. Very light carbonation.

O: The simplicity of the flavor profile and relatively light body make this a very drinkable RIS, but ultimately it's a dead end. Any more hops and it would break into black IPA territory, any more malt and it would be lost among the mediocre stouts. As it is, it's tasty and distinguished. In a supersaturated beer world, that's saying a lot.

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Photo of pat61
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brilliant deep dark brown under a thin tan head. There is some light roast on the nose with traces of dark dried fruit. It has a big creamy palate with cried fruit, light roast and hints of mild coffee and chocolate flavors. Medium full body and medium low carbonation. Easy to drink, slightly warming.

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Photo of enjambed
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving: fridge temp bottle poured into pint glass

Look: pretty much jet black. Reserved pour produces thin espresso head that leaves almost nothing. Lacing is moderate.

Smell: Charred and roasty. Dark chocolate and coffee come out as the most noticeable. A little bit of doughy sweetness.Little to no alcohol.

Taste: Similar to smell, very roasty but also smooth and goes down very well despite its warmth. A bit of black licorice in there is noticeable along with some fruitiness. Some bittersweet dark chocolate lingers in the finish, but not too long.

Feel: Thick like an imperial should be. Also very smooth, with not much carbonation. Finish is dry.

Overall: A nice and solid RIS. It's surprisingly pleasant and I found myself quaffing it a bit faster than most other beers at 9%, although it was still nice and creamy. Would probably drink again.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass, Best Before 5/8/2015.

Deep brown/black color and a small light brown head. Dissipates quickly leaving a thin film on top. Roasted malts dominate the aroma. Flavor follows suit buts adds some dark chocolate and espresso. Thin, silky mouthfeel with a predominant dryness. Medium to full bodoed with a long lasting flavor.

I'm really surprised by the low pDev value (8.55%). I would think there would be more disparity based on how thin it is and the lack of fruit character and complexity for the style. Certainly a unique brew.

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Photo of BuccoFan
2.75/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

With the Exception of their Nosferatu, I find nearly all of the Great Lakes' beers just average, and this is unquestionably the most disappointing one I've had. This has the absolute look and feel of a halfway decent porter; it has no business, in my opinion, advertising itself as an RIS. With the last few sips left in the glass, the liquid looked nearly identical to soda. Given its rating, I'm apparently in quite a minority here, but I think this is flat-out a bad stout.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - black with a great frothy tan head
Smell -tangy sweet smell but with lots of roasted coffee malts
Taste - strong dark rich coffee malt taste
Feel - creamy smooth but with slight carbonation.
Overall - fantastic russian imperial stout!

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,198 ratings.