Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,154 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,154
Hads: 3,160
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 14.32%
Wants: 467
Gots: 568 | FT: 35
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Great Lakes Blackout Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,154 | Hads: 3,160
Photo of Jmamay22
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a blackout black with a tan head that quickly dissipates to a thin collar. Smells of roast, chocolate, and faint hint of vanilla that comes and goes. Very smooth mouthfeel. I imagine some oats helped to create the silkiness. Carbonation is light, which accentuates the smooth feel.

Taste is less roasted than the scent. A nice well rounded chocolate flavor. Hops only provide balance without creating any strong bitterness or flavor. Only a hint of alcohol warmth. Very well rounded imperial stout that doesn't punch you in the face as many in the style can. Very well done.

 582 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one of the classics, although this one isnt always as easy to find as the other great lakes beers. i was lucky enough to have this one on tap during my travels, so awesome. its a dense stout, but not thick and sludgy like bourbon county or anything. in fact, it might be one of the better carbonated imperial stouts out there. its a lot like old rasputin from north coast i though, maybe a little less of the english ale yeast character in this one, but the grain bill feels very similar. its big and full bodied, but its also interesting, with maybe some oats or even rye in here in some proportion. it gives the beer a fluffy feeling, and i taste raisin and chocolate in here, its delicious without being overly complex. pillowy in its mouthfeel and well carbonated, which is uncommon and unexpected in the style, and the finish lasts forever. the booze is well hidden behind the unsweetened chocolate bitterness. a true gem, especially on tap. easily one of the best non barrel aged stouts in the country.

 1,008 characters

Photo of utopiajane
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A wonderful stout. Pitch black with a mocha colored head of faom that falls in streaks andlevaes spots to look at too. Roasty with a hint of chocolate on a deep sweet malt. Caramel and brown sugar. Taste follows that nose all the way. Big beautiful stout. Lots of maltiness. From the way it rolls on to the palate, to the way it envelopes the palate. It's all about the delicious malt. I love it. Roasty, with a bit of molasses, chocolate and a nuttiness. Dry firm and unending. A slight ting form alcohol on the nose and one on the palate at the very end with a friendly warmth.

 591 characters

Photo of ivorycannon
3.03/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: Midnight black

Smell: Some dark chocolate, Caramel

Taste: Coffee , chocolate, some bitterness. Then it gets a bit sweet, like a cola taste.

Feel: Medium body

Overall: Not my favorite Ris but it is worth a try.

 221 characters

Photo of hopflyer
3.7/5  rDev -11.7%

Enjoy by 5/8/15. Really? A stout not implied to improve with age?

Pours black with brown highlights. Tan head dissipates to thin ring

Smells of coffee and bakers chocolate. A bit of plum. Maybe some ash.

First taste leans towards the dark fruit spectrum but has a bit of sweetness. Like a fruit snack flavor. Nothing exploding here but nothing off-putting either. A little bitterness detected and cancels the sweetness further thru. Not much depth.

Feel is less than medium body and pretty low carbonation. Kind of light for an RIS. A little alcohol burn.

Not too bad. The body and low carb in this doesn't hit the spot for me. Almost makes it a session stout if their is such a thing but I wouldn't really want more than one in a sitting.

 755 characters

Photo of Sandalwood
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Pours watery, black color with a small tannish head, there is a little lacing. The odor is strong with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, slightly smoky. The taste is a little thin, but full of flavor, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, very malty, slight pine, and some bitterness throughout.

 306 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer looks magnificent. Pours pitch black with a thin root beer head. The smell is typical of an RIS: roasts, chocolate and I also get treacle. The taste and feel is amazing. Smooth is the word. The roasts and chocolate blend together very well. To me this is almost a perfect taste, pleasant and inviting on a stormy winter's night.

So, now I know. Next time I am in the store, buy more. This is an excellent RIS and I would put it up against any of the non BA big boys for top of the heap.

 499 characters

Photo of beersnobraven
4.61/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: They call it Blackout Stout for a reason.
Smell: Big malty chocolate bomb.
Taste: Tastes like if a hot lava chocolate cake was cooled and put in a bottle. Delicious! It's really sweet for a Russian Imperial Stout, which some people might not like, but I love sweet beers myself.
Feel: Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I expected.
Overall: Another great offering from Great Lakes and a solid Imperial Stout. The unusual sweetness might be a turn-off to some, so maybe stay away from this brew if you're not into that, but if you are, it's hard to do better!

 561 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(best by 05/13/2015 - poured into a Chouffe tulip)

L: black, at least super-dark brown, and relatively opaque... small cap of foam forms initially, pulls away leaving a thin collar... very scant lace for an ostensibly amply-hopped beer

S: upfront, nutty dark-roast coffee and a touch creme, base of cookie-esque malt... punchy whiff of fresh piney hops... maybe a little vanilla?... bold overall smell, straight-forward, classic, familiar and inviting

T: dense cookie malts with a thread/spread of moderately bitter chocolate and coffee flavors... coming across rather mellow, the hops and roast pop in the finish, holding in the back of the palate with a lovely, mild sweetness which is enhanced by the stealthy alcohol... bit of an almost caramelized BBQ char builds up in the aftertaste - wonderful... considering the exciting intensity of flavor, I'm a bit surprised that the aftertaste doesn't glow as brightly

F: upon first sip, surprisingly on the thinner, lighter side - in other words, very taut and slick-smooth... mellow sizzle going down... the booze attenuates it perhaps a bit too much, dulling the sugary malt roundness just enough... otherwise, stupid easy to knock back

O: has many of the moreish qualities that their Ed Fitz possesses... this is certainly in the upper echelon of American-style (non-adjunct, non-barrel-aged) strong stouts... wish I bought another bottle

 1,394 characters

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

A: Completely opaque dark brown beer with a light brown foamy head.

S: Sugary cocoa, chocolate, cream, chocolate drizzled berries, caramel....delicious desserty things.

T & M: More chocolate and awesomeness. Soft around the edges, smooth, roasty malt and purpley fruits...

O: Very likable beer. Thick but easy drinking chocolate malty goodness.

 349 characters

Photo of BurrDManiac
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

There are several advantages to living in the northeast in the winter, and getting Blackout Stout in a growler is one of them. The mug is a black hole that defies the transmission of light. The flavor is rich with deep coffee and chocolate, without any alcoholic bite, and it leaves you with a touch of sweetness. Get it whenever the opportunity is available.

 362 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.71/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark ruby color. The head is a finger high, with a khaki shade. While it's wonderfully creamy, its retention isn't very good at all. There is a bit of lacing left on the glass. (3.5)

Smell: My nose just got punched in the face with a ton of dark chocolate. As much as I love its chocolaty aroma, it's sadly lacking in roasted qualities. Instead, it favors brown sugar and even caramel notes. On the other hand, the presence of dark fruit suggests this is well attenuated - so it probably won't be cloying. And that's good, especially considering the nose is still nicely rich. (3.75)

Taste: It does a good job of directly following the nose. The first flavor on the palate is chocolaty, transforming into caramel, and then into a raisiny finish. Gentle kisses of hop bitterness and ashy roast also exist throughout. It's well balanced, if *slightly* favoring sweetness. Not the most complex, but very likable. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: Slightly light in its feel, with a lingering sweetness that's more slimy than creamy. Having said that, it's decently carbonated, and there's almost (almost, mind you) no alcohol coming through. And, if I can be honest, really easy to drink. Leave it to Great Lakes to make an imperial stout that's extremely easy going. (3.5)

Overall: It drinks like a bigger version of Edmund Fitzgerald. And I'm sorry, but I fail to see how that's remotely bad in any way. Because of that, though, it's missing a few 'stouty' characteristics to make it a proper world beater. Still, it's another rock-solid offering from Great Lakes. (3.75)

3.71/5: Not over-the-top or massive, just really easy to like

 1,680 characters

Photo of JMUbrewz
3.4/5  rDev -18.9%

Based on all other ratings of this beer, I'm thinking I got a bottle in the early stages of infection. I almost drain poured it after tasting it right out of the fridge. It was slightly tangy, with an unpleasant berryish flavor. I also got a tiny bit of soy sauce and some char. The beer did improve as it warmed up though, which is now making me question myself. The bottle was best by 4-15, I think? Not sure how far out GLBC dates bottles of Blackout, but I'm willing to bet this beer was mishandled at some point. GLBC has only been in our distro for a month. I'm being kind with this rating because I have a hard time believing this is what it's supposed to taste like. I'll have to try a different batch or a draft version to give this beer another shot.

 760 characters

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

12 oz bottle poured into a Guinness pint glass.

A - Jet black, a half finger tan head that moved to a thin, but frothy lace. Great retention on the side of the glass.

S- Roasted malts, dark chocolate, grains. Not a hint of heat.

T - Interesting. Very chocolate forward, with some caramel and a touch of alcohol heat. There is also something on the finish I can't put my finger on. Cocoa powder? Not as much of the smoke or roastality (yep, that's a new word, ready for use) normally associated with RISs.

M - Good balance, has a soft feel with some heft, but decently carbonated (though below average) and does not get sticky.

O - A recommended RIS, but smoke/roast fans may not be impressed.

 703 characters

Photo of mr-jj
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle. Brought back from the Midwest in a friend's luggage. Best by 5/8/15.

Pours a deep brown, almost black with medium viscosity. Thin tan head with not a lot of lacing. Smell is dark roast coffee with some dark chocolate and roasted malt. Flavor is coffee and chocolate with some dark fruit. Some hop bitterness on the finish. Body is medium, but ample carbonation gives it a lighter feel.

Overall, this is an excellent RIS that brings all of its flavors together nicely.

 519 characters

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

Appearance- Black in color, opaque. Pours a half finger thick, tan/mocha colored head, frothy, dissipates to razor thin. Slight lacing on sides of glass.
Aroma- Predominantly roasted malts, accompanied by a certain grainy/yeasty aroma. Some slight chocolate notes poking through, also some coffee, cold bitter coffee grounds.
Taste- Sweet chocolate notes, a certain sweetness throughout, maybe some dark fruits as well. Bitter roasted malt, creamy caramel notes too. Lingering coffee and hop bitterness on the end.
Feel- Thinner to medium feel, not very sticky at all. Medium carbonation present.
Overall- Nice balance of flavors, an interesting sweetness throughout mostly chocolate but also has a certain dark fruit profile. Counterbalance of bitterness from wonderful coffee notes and slight hop. The aroma is suprisingly absent for the most part, just not much there, mouthfeel is also a tad thin, can get watery at times. Still, a very pleasent and flavorful beer.

 969 characters

Photo of spacebear09
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Appearance- Dark black beer with minimal head, even when attempting to pour from very far away from the glass.

Smell- Fudge, plums, dark chocolate

Taste- Very roasty with loads of dark fruit and an aftertaste of cloyingly sweet milk chocolate...

Mouthfeel- Creamy with the carbonation being almost nonexistent.

Overall- I remember this being my favorite RIS last year. Now, I drink this and appreciate it for being a good beer... but honestly I find it gross. There is a milk chocolate overtone that I think is absolutely disgusting. Way too sweet for an Imperial but too heavy to be a dessert stout. Still a well crafted beer, but I won't be buying it again anytime soon.

 676 characters

Photo of HattedClassic
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a decent brownish tan head that dissipates very quickly. The beer itself is an opaque black that has some very dark brown notes that are barely noticeable. The surface of the beer appears very slick and a little bit oily as well.

The beer smell is pretty good. The beer has the recognizable smell from the brewery's yeast that works well with the other subdued notes. The other notes consist of dark chocolate and hints of deep roasted malts. However, the smell most resembles a lighter version of Nutella, which is pretty good.

The taste is a bit sweeter than the smell. The yeast presence isn't very strong in the taste and is dominated by the stronger roasted malts and the sweet chocolate. The chocolate does a very good job of dulling the roasted malt taste while still maintaining a bit of roast. The closest taste that someone could compare to would be a slightly toasty Nutella. The bitter hops aren't very noticeable until the aftertaste and before then are actually the weakest note. The hops give a little bitterness and seem to help the roast come out instead of being a distinct flavor of its own.

The mouthfeel is very smooth and slick with very little carbonation. The beer is heavy bodied but it has a feel that makes it appear lighter.

Overall, a very good and interesting imperial stout. The stout seems to fall on the sweeter side instead of the roastier side, which is very unique.

 1,420 characters

Photo of snaotheus
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a little plastic hotel water cup. Best by 05/08/15 537-41DL.

Pours black and tarry with almost no head -- just a thin ring. Not much carbonation. Smell I coffee roast. Some chocolate and black licorice. Caramel.

Taste is sweet, strong bitter backbone. Heavy roast, almost burnt. Maybe caramel is the best way I can think of to describe the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is not light, but surprisingly light. Based on the viscous pour I thought it would be much thicker and heavier. Overall, very good.

 526 characters

Photo of nicholas2121
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great Lakes Blackout Stout brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Co., with an ABV of 9.0% This brew pours out a dark brown color, with a light brown head. Blackout Stout has the look of coffee. The smell is rich with flavor and malts. There is some sweetness in the smell of this brew. The taste is rich with flavor. This brew puts you in the mind of dark chocolate with roasted malts. There is a lot going on in this brew. Nothing overpowering in this brew, Blackout Stout has a real nice balance to it. The mouthfeel is rich and smooth. There is a lot of flavor, but a nice amount of smoothness. You can not pick up on the high ABV in this brew. Overall, I'm giving this brew a 4.5 out of 5. Great Lakes Brewing Co. did a nice job with this one. I would by this again.

 767 characters

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

Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co. Poured from the bottle into a glass drinking boot(I may have to edit proper glassware at another time), this brew's got a 2 finger thick brown head with gradually descending lacing, and a, you've guessed it, jet black body body.

I smell heftier malts, along with some classic R.I.S. traits such as chocolate and raisins. Not much hop presence in the aroma, and nothing really hinting towards the 9% abv.

Tastes like carmalezid malts, chocolate, and a dash of overall earthiness to it. Very tasty! So far, this is blowing me away from the other "dark winter brews" I've experienced thus far.

The mouthfeel going on here is slightly thicker,yes, as with all proper stouts. I wouldn't say its chewy or syrupy by any means. Pretty clean for what it is, actually.

Overall, a 4.75 for Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co. A great choice to get you out of the funk a miserable winter's day can bring. I will certainly buy this brew again!

 1,016 characters

Photo of barhoc11
4/5  rDev -4.5%

I have wanted to try this one for a while so maybe I had higher expectations...

This thing tastes like a Edmund Fitzgerald on steroids, which isn't a bad thing, but its just too sweet for my taste. I like my RIS's to be thick and viscous, which this is not. This is still a 'above average' RIS but not in the same ballpark as some others.

This is a beer I would try out to see if it fits your tastes.

 403 characters

Photo of richj1970
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. Enjoy by date is 4/21/15.

A: Pours pitch black with one finger light tan head. Some light spotty lacing.

S: Milk chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts.

T: Creamy milk chocolate, and rich roasted malts.

M: Full bodied with average carbonation for the style. Finish is creamy and a touch bitter.

O: Excellent stout. A touch sweeter that most RIS, but very drinkable. Glad a have 3 more to enjoy.

 446 characters

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/28/2012. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, plum, light licorice, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, light-moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, plum, light licorice, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, plum, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, light-moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Russian imperial stout. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, light-moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hops flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,590 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Label says enjoy by 03/16/14. Whatever.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with an 1/8 inch light brown color that doesn't retain long before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Big dark chocolate notes. Semi-sweet smelling with some caramel, vanilla and a bit of mocha.

T- A tad sweeter than I thought it would be, although the hops bring a bitter aftertaste. More dark chocolate, dark roasted malt and some alcohol flavor.

M- Moderately viscous for an RIS with medium carbonation and a full body.

O- I love all the chocolate I get from this. The sweeter layers of flavors accentuate the chocolate and bring out all the enjoyable qualities of it. Hard to describe, but this is a great RIS albeit sweet for the style.

 885 characters

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,154 ratings.