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Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,190 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,190
Hads: 3,323
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 14.32%
Wants: 472
Gots: 657 | FT: 35
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

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: 1,190 | Hads: 3,323
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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Photo of smanson56
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'm thinking this was a 2012 bottle as the best by date was 4/28/13. This stout had aged wonderfully and was very full bodied with a great nose. It was very smooth and had no alcohol taste. I had received this as an extra in a trade a while ago and wow what an extra. I am humbled to say the least!

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Photo of Jeffreysan
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 edition, 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a quarter of a finger of caramel-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that collected in the center of the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Tons of massive roasted malt aroma, imparting strong notes of toasted pumpernickel bread, coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste: Spectacular! Jesus, what a flavor! Strong, big, bold roasted malt and coffee flavor up front imparting notes of toasted and buttered pumpernickel bread and café au lait without any coffee bitterness, followed by some strong brown sugar-like sweetness which lingers for quite a while in the mouth, and finished with some beautifully balanced hops. Goddamn, it’s delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and smooth, as there is practically no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 9.0%, I’m very surprise at how little alcohol there is on the palate, as its’ incredibly well masked.

Overall: Goddamn, this in one of the best non-barrel-aged Imperial Stouts I’ve ever had!! Strong, big, bold flavors of roasted malt and strong amount of brown sugar, balanced beautifully with hops. This is another excellent beer from Great Lakes, and could easily become my favorite beer from that outstanding brewery! It’s fucking brilliant!

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Photo of tillmac62
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

BBD 5/13/15. Pours black as a starless night. Above normal head volume, excellent lacing and retention. Nice complex nose of semi-sweet chocolate, molasses, roast notes, hints of vanilla and dark fruit (plum, date) in the background. Almost full bodied with a nice creamy texture. Slightly above normal carbonation with a touch of effervescence in the middle and a nice burst in the finish. The outstanding flavor profile is intense, very complex and reasonably balanced. It begins with a wave of flavor that slowly separates into sweet dark chocolate over molasses, then flows into the subtle vanilla and dark fruit notes. The middle is a strong roast flavor over a roast and hop bitterness that puckers the tongue a bit over a caramel sweetness. The finish is a slow fade of caramel/molasses sweetness over a lingering bitterness with just a hint of alcohol. This one is an excellent example of a roast forward stout that is masterfully complex and reasonably balanced with sweetness.

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Photo of delta490
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark black, with brown hints around the edges as you move it under light. A light tan head caps it, lasting a good way into the beer and leaving nice soapy lacing. The aroma is a blend of deep roasted malts and dark fruits, (raisins, figs) and the taste follows closely along. It is much sweeter than I would have expected, but that is not a bad thing. The body is a little lighter in weight (not as slick or heavy) but still quite good.

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Photo of PaulyB83
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Best by 04/23/15 Poured into a tulip glass.

L- Pitch black, small light white-brown head that dissipates quickly.

S- Sweet, licorice, light roasty acidic smell, little bit of dark fruits.

T- Sweet milk chocolate, plum, light coffee, finishes with some bitter chocolate and hops.

F- Medium, a bit on the lighter side for an imperial stout.

O- Kinda find this one to be a bit too much sweetness forward and lacking in a big flavor to match that sweetness. In my opinion it's pretty forgettable, a bit hard to find, at least in my area, and on the pricey side compared to others in its league that I prefer far more.

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

"Best by" date on bottle was 05/08/15.

Aggressive pour into pint glass resulted in less than one finger head, which dissipated rapidly. It's dark - not the blackest porter I've ever seen, put pretty darned dark.

Malty up front, with coffee, cream, chocolate...followed by a rather sneaky alcohol glow and finishing with smoke, caramel, and a hint of hops. A whole lotta stuff going on here.

Mouthfeel is slick and maybe a little thin for my taste, but it's certainly not off-putting. A very easy beer to drink. Reminds me of their Edmund F. in some ways, with chocolate.

Overall, this is another solid offering from Great Lakes. Wish I'd bought another bottle.

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Photo of mabermud
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The body appears brown, looks a little shabby, and it also appears thin. The head looks unkempt. The aroma is of malt, milk chocolate, and wafts of faint alcohol. Everything is getting better. Now, the taste does not disappoint. Sweetness, lactose, milk chocolate, some faded licorice, and char at the end. There is nothing about the feel that jumps out, but it compliments the overall experience well. I think it could use some body and some carb action, it is shallow.

Overall, I dig it. This stout vaguely reminds me of Narwhal, but I like this a tad better. It is sweeter and smoother.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have never tried any of the Great Lakes stouts before. This is a good start!

Appearance: Dark but not as dark as some, head is virtually nonexistent. When the beer settles there is not even a spec of lacing.

Smell: Kind of boozy but not too bad, dark malts, dark fruits, some chocolate. A little like a chocolate covered raisin in that respect.

Taste: Dark roasted malts, not too boozy, dark fruits, prunes, raisins, and some minor chocolate notes, but not very prominent. Mouthfeel is pretty clean which I can appreciate. Its not a cloying beer at all, which for a stout this was a a good thing. It also avoided the dreaded licorice that some maintain.

Overall: This is the best Great Lakes beer I have had. I need to try more of the special releases. They are beginning t surprise me! Still not my favorite brewery but they definitely do darker beers better than the ales, in my opinion.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated BB 04/22/15 at 50 degrees into tulip
Aroma faint roasted malt
Head small (2 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishing to 2 mm ring and layer
Lacing initially complete coverage of tiny bubbles, then small islands of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor – bitter chocolate; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, slightly oily, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,190 ratings.