Great Lakes Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

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3,101 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,101
Reviews: 1,156
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.55%
Wants: 447
Gots: 555 | FT: 38
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: 3,101 | Reviews: 1,156
Photo of jwc215
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thin tan head that descends to a swirling covering.

The smell is of roasted coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. A hint of alcohol comes through, but is non-interfering.

The taste is of robust chocolate-covered coffee beans enveloping sweet, dark fruits. A mild alcohol taste acts in a warming, supportive fashion. A mild bitter hop presence takes the edge off some of the sweetness, though the latter remains appropriately solid. As it progresses, a smokiness develops in the background.

It is smooth and rich. It takes great self-control to sip it rather than down it, as it is so delicious and easy to drink. Slightly drying. The flavors hold on tight for quite some time.

Rich and complex, it easily ranks among one of my favorites of the style. I wish that it was available in my area!
Thanks to BuckeyeNation for this one!

Photo of grub
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to nlmartin for hooking me up with this bottle in a recent mystery six-pack trade.

pours a nearly opaque black colour with a full inch of dense tan head. the head is very slow to drop and leaves lots of lace behind.

aroma is great. roasty and malty. nice crackery malt.

taste is great. really roasty and nice. espresso and dark chocolate. bready malt. some caramel. bit of alcohol, but balanced really well. a little warm on the way down.

mouthfeel is good. it's pretty big, which i'd expect. carbonation level is moderate and good.

drinkability is great. really well balanced and tasty. really happy that i got this one. thanks again nate!

Photo of Foxman
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours about as jet black as a black jet can get, impassable to light but for mahogany at the very margins. A finger of dark tan head sits arrogantly on top, sustaining just long enough. Lacing is plentiful and varied.

The aroma is a paisley flow of aurae, with coffee, charred espresso, dark chocolate, deep roasted malt, bread crust, prune, and a mellow hoppiness all swirling together around a pinwheel center of alcohol.

Upon tasting, the complexity continues in an alomst psychedelic progression starting with dark charred roasted malt, then moving on to espresso, bittersweet chocolate, some brown sugar sweetness, and a muted nuttiness. A basic but dark doughiness comes through before a vinous presence, think sherry or port, slides into a feathery but potent current of alcohol. A black cherry earthy sweetness blinks toward the close before the hops quick-change from light floral character to a bitterness joined by that of the burnt grain, a lingering earth-bound memory of all the flavor entailed. It's certainly complex, but about as well blended as something this big and rich could hope to be.

Full bodied, it coats admirably, but surprisingly it washed away too soon leaving a mistier legacy than I had hoped for.

From the moment I sniffed this beer I was exceedingly impressed by just how blended the elements were, and the flavor actually exhibited this admirable quality even more. It was a joy from the first look to the last drop, and the only thing I ever questioned was how fleeting some of the qualities seemed, but that is so small a knock as to be inconsequential. The ABV is a large intoxicating presence, and not to be ignored, though the warming way it has about it is more charming than daunting. So this is one RIS that, like so many others, should be enjoyed in careful moderation, but with the utmost gusto.

Photo of egajdzis
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured pitch black color with a thin tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of hops and roasted chocolate malts. Taste of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, some hops and a light alcohol burn. Slightly above average mouthfeel. I prefer the barrel-aged version more.

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

A - Its a very deep black with deep mohagany highlights around the edges of the beer. The head what there was of it dissapated rather quickly but left some lace.

S - Strong roasted aromas of chocolate, coffee and some molasses. There are also some phenoilics in there to...might be all of the alcohol i smell. I dunno Im still learning.

T - Roasted, bitter coffee, chocolate, creamy vinouslike molasses. There is alot of molasses , makes me think of bar-b-que sauce.

M - mine is a little to cold yet, but I prefer it that way. A nice subtle bitterness bites the tounge, followed but a very smooth creamy sensation. AWESOME AFTER TASTE!!!

D- While it is rather warm outside, I do believe I could drink this anytime....

Photo of aaronh
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours pretty much black with mahogany highlights. Moderate wet sand colored head gradually fades to leave a few islands of foam atop the glass. Beer displays pretty good lacing as well. Aroma has notes of dark fruit, tobacco, and a hint of espresso. Perhaps just a hint of hop spiciness as well. Flavor has a lot of dark chocolate and espresso in it; I mean a LOT. Very dry, almost like eating cocoa powder. Then it sweetness just a bit carried by a wisp of alcohol. A slight amount of bitterness balances out the package. Really can’t believe how neutral the finish is. Most RIS will tend to have a strong, thick, lingering finish. This just leaves you with a bit of double-strength mocha. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected. The amount of dark roast flavors begs for a bit of thick malt to balance things out, but it never happens. Great finish for a dry stout, not sure about an Imperial stout. Not really bad, but typically the RIS reminds you of it's power and size. This one's more strong and wiry than a big brute. Drinkability is decent, but it gets a little tiring after a while. Wish it had a bit more body.

Photo of Derek
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For my 600th review I grabbed this highly rated bottle of stout.

The bottle recommends a 45F serving temperature, but I found that it was a little chalky and the flavours where subdued... perhaps a little more like a Foreign Export Stout? (when it's young).

I think I prefer it closer to 55F, when the body lightens and the flavour becomes a little more sherry-like.

A: Black, some tan head, some retention & lace.

S: Mocha, dark bread, brown sugar, dark raisin, a little pine. More sherry as it warms.

T: Mocha, brown sugar, dark bread, nut & some fruityness, with a piney resin in the finish. Pleasant dry roastyness with a little acidity. Alcohol is really well hidden at 45F, but comes forward as it warms (along with some spice & fruity esters as well). Bitterness is forward, but not nearly as assertive as some (particularly American) versions.

M: Moderate to full body is a little acidic (and chalky when cold); moderate carbonation. It becomes a little smoother & silkier after some cellaring.

D: Quite good for it's strength. Alcohol is very subdued when it's cool.

Wonderful, but different than most American versions of the RIS.

Thanks for picking this up Eric (Frozensoul327)!

I had the last bottle 4 months after the best before date. I think it actually gets better cellaring. Much smoother, silky body, some smokyness, warming sherry-like alcohol with hints of spice. Hell of a beer.

Photo of loren01
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark black, good sized tan head, slight lacing in the glass
S: Smells chocolatey, also picking up hint of maple syrup
T: Chocolate flavor is strong, also has a slight oaky maybe charcoal flavor. Alcohol twinge is present
M: Dry finish, moderate to heavy mouthfeel
D: Tasty warming heavy bodied stout, would drink this again.

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

Re-reviewed for the context of Imperial/Russion Stout Session...4th in line for myself, expatsteve, DaPeculierDane, and Golden2wenty1

appearance: probably the darkest of the bunch (at least at this point of the tasting)...opaque darkness, creamy chocolate head with some strong lacing left behind

smell: dark and mysterious...heavy on the licorice, a strong bitterness, dark roasted coffee, booze covered plum/dark cherry and other dark fruit

taste: strong licorice flavour, big roasted malt, dark roasted coffee flavours, strong booze presence, plum, raisin, dark cherry, nice espresso touch, light bourbon...good stout

mouthfeel: high bitterness, strong abv, medium-full body

drinkability: good, slightly inhibited by bitterness

Photo of expatsteve
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black with splashes of ruby. Produces a brief 1/4 inch head, and leaves a little lacing on top of the glass. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Raisins, molasses and some nice chocolate malts. A tickle of booze keeps the nose tight and impressive.

Taste: Nice espresso flourish over raisins and chocolates. A little bitterness in the finish, and a warm glow left in the throat. Chocolate and roasted coffee developments on the middle palate. Really good flavor, with sweetness balancing other elements out.

Mouthfeel: Bitterness balances the thicker body of this beer. Low carbonation, smooth and almost creamy. Perfect stout body.

Drinkability: Balanced flavor with lots of nice malt developments. Not the most complex of imperial stouts, but definitely one of the more nicely executed.

Photo of sabrills70
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with a best before date of 10/06. Pours a jet black with a 1 finger head, great longevity and lace. Smells of highly roasted almost burnt malt mixed with chocolate, coffee and dried dark fruits. Tastes are similar with coffee being the main flavor. Alcohol comes flying through and is warming all the way down. Hops are a bit subtle but there is a nice roasted bitterness that lingers in the mouth. This stuff screams for some chocolate cake. It is smooth and creamy an although tasty it is a bit heavy to be super drinkable, but do not pass this beer by if you see it. Just drink it slowly and enjoy.

Photo of badbeer
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out completely black with a nice tan head leaving a very nice lacing. Hops, coffee, and a bit of cocoa in the nose. Taste explodes on the tongue, starting with currants and chocolate, then transforming into a little cherry flavor and a lot of roastiness. Amazing taste, I loved it. Low-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied, would have like it a little thicker. Takes a while to drink, but each sip was savored. Definitely a nice beer, try it if you see it available, but don't fret if you don't.

Photo of kirok1999
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours a thick, oily black with a tan head that quickly dissapates.

Smell- Charcoal, chocolate, and coffee.

Taste- Matches the smell. Sweet malted charcoal, with coffee and chocolate backbone. Nice mild carbonation that warms nicely with the alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Oily and thick. Slides down and the alcohol warms the whole experience.

Drinkability- Way too drinkable. The taste makes it outstanding as a cold winter night brew.

Photo of denjen
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dennis: They say some good can come from everything bad. This beer is based off the 2003 power outage that affected a lot of the northeastern US. Smelling of roasty malts the beer tastes like what you would expect from an imperial stout, strong dark chocolate tastes combined with burnt toast hints. I"m sure there are some hop somewhere but I can't pick them out from the rich taste. Certainly no the richest/thickest Imperial stout I've had, but at 9% it certianly will keep you warm at night. But as the label shows, any friend who shows up with (24-pack) $53 bucks of beer in a black out is always welcome.
Jen: As a general rule of thumb, Great Lakes makes some outstanding beers. This one seems to fall short by just a hair. It starts with a nice scent of roasted malts. The taste follows up nicely with a dry espresso taste and dark chocolate (not creamy like milk chocolate, more like a Hersheys Special Dark mini bar). There is a definite dryness to this that leaves your mouth with a taste that lingers only for a short while. On the exhale, I get a twinge of the 9% alcohol. The body of this beer is just too thin for me, and that is where this brew falls up a hair short. I feel a Russian Imperial Stout should coat your mouth and hang around for a while after swallowing. I would, however, never turn this down, as I am a stout lover and this is a very good one to have!

Photo of veggiemafia
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. into a snifter.

REALLY REALLY black, intensely black. Black with a passion. Moderate head formation, but that quickly dissolves.

Smell is nice, but a little boozy. The biggest thing I get once this is warmer is bourbon, with notes of espresso, vanilla and prunes behind the bourbon.

Taste is much bigger on coffee and dark roasted grains. There's gotta be 3 or 4% black malt in here, and it's really nice. Finishes dry and nice.

Mouthfeel is a little flat, and a little sticky, but very luxurious.

One of the more drinkable RIS's I've encountered.

Doesn't hold a candle to 2004 Stone IRS, but what does, really?

Photo of Illini5596
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An absolute work of art. The Blackout Stout is well named, being deep black in color, letting no light through at all. The head on mine was a deep rich darm creamy foam, making this look quite regal. The taste... paradise, Great Lakes has produced some find beers in the past but they absolutely hit this one out of the park. Deep, rich, full bodied, complex, with the flavor of dark roasted grains, coffee, and chocolate with a good creamy feel.

This is the beer all stouts aspire to be, hands down one of the most phenominal beers I have ever tasted. A little strong to drink every day, but go out and try some immediately, you will regret it if you don't!

Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle with another slick GLBC label on it and a best by date of Aug. 10, 2006.

Poured pitch black with a very thin, tiny bubbled tan head. This is one very black beer. A nose of nearly all sorts of dark chocolate and roasted maltiness. Blackout Stout began as a dry hoppiness sweeps the tongue, then a flash of black licorice and dark, dark chocolate tones. Roasted malts and a background alcohol flavor round out this stout. Full bodied, but super drinkable because of the hidden alcohol in the flavor. This one is another winner from Great Lakes.

Photo of orfeu
4.72/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Maximum respect to nflmvp for the two bottles of Blackout Stout he included in our recent trade!

Best before Aug 10 2006. Just below cellar temp, poured into a 17-ounce snifter. Black like demonic ichor with a thin desert-khaki head. Aromas of fresh black plums in the middle of summer, slightly smoky roasted malts, earthy and piney hops, and just a touch of alcohol vapor. The taste is full of wonderful roasty and vinous flavors. Brief bitter pine-sap hops at the beginning. Dark cherry appears in the middle, right after a slight touch of cabernet bite. The finish is all dark roasted malts, like the tastiest burnt toast and dark topsoil sandwich. The 9% alcohol is apparent but expertly melded with the density of the overall flavor. Medium body and a slick, chewy mouthfeel. I would love to have this available where I live, but its rarity for me makes it that much more special. Stunning RIS.

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The head starts out beautiful with a lacing that clings to the glass nicely, really nice. Has a dark black color.

The smell has a plum flavor to it along with a sweet coffee smell.

Taste is smooth and sweet with some fruitiness. Dark fruit mixes with sweet dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, very enjoyable.

I would like to have another of these soon. I enjoyed it very much.

Photo of frazbri
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great Lakes Blackout Stout (2006 release) poured deep black topped by a thick mocha head and outstanding lacing. Aroma had notes of freshly brewed coffee, chocolate, and just a hint of lemon zest. Flavors of rich dark chocolate, espresso and herbal bitterness. It was medium in body with moderate carbonation.

Blackout Stout is a B paper from an A student. It's good, but it doesn't have the body of the elite imperial stouts. The bitterness needs more counterpoint as well. At times, the hops become a solo act. Blackout is far from a failure, but it isn't truly special.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Best by date of August 2005, Sampled June 2006
Pours a deep black color with a frothy, chocolate-cream colored head that is initially a finger thick. The aroma smells of burnt raisins, burnt cherries and burnt figs as I pour this beer into my tulip glass. As I go in for a deeper draught of the aroma, I start to get notes of chocolate and roasted espresso beans underneath the concentrated burnt fruit notes. A hint of alcohol rounds out the aromatics and gives this an almost fruit brandy sort of note. I really like how the roast notes mix with the fruit aromatics.

The taste is sweet, yet not cloying and an immediate sense that reminds me of cocoa powder hits my taste buds; a solid chocolate note as well as a bit of a chalky note that I get from cocoa powder. The finish has a certain roasted note that picks up an acidity similar to that in an espresso. This beer has quite a burnt grain character to it as well; adds a certain dryness to this beer that in combination with the acidity helps to balance the sweet notes. There is a nice compound bitterness here as well, a combination of both the roast grain bill and a solid hop level. Maybe this is a touch thinner than I like, but it definitely works on a hot day like today.

Photo of bjohnson
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppymeal for this offering from Great Lakes

A: Pours a midnight jet black color with an initial half finger caramel colored head that dissipates but hugs the sides of the glass nicely.
S: Aromas of burnt and roasted coffee and chocolate are the most dominant notes.
T & M: Chocolate and coffee are the most pronounced flavors with some caramel thrown in there also. Wow, complex mix of burnt and roasted flavors dance in the mouth. Nice and smooth as it goes down, however, still thick and full bodied. Slight bitterness in there also. Great tasting RIS. High abv is not noticeable.
D: Good drinking RIS. Wonderfully balanced and smooth.

Photo of SethB2
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a chalice. Beer is exceptionally dark, earning the name 'blackout'. Holding it to light doesn't reveal anything either. Head it small and medium brown. Smell is awesome. I have never smelled as much coffee in a stout as I do in this one. Hiddent below that is a deep, ripe fruitiness melding with an excellent roasted quality. Taste is very good. Chocolatey malts up front followed by the coffee and sweetness going down. Very smooth. Mouthfeel is full and creamy with little carbonation, which works well for this beer. Drinkability is also nice.

Another excellent beer from an excellent brewery.

Photo of unclecrappy
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tonight's forecast: Dark.

Appearance in the glass is black, with a medium tan head. Black. No color. Just swirly, oily black.

Aroma is that of other black things: coffee, heavy dark bread, chocolate.

Taste is ungodly. Big roasted malt flavor up front, tempered by a coffee/chocolate combination. I'm sure there are hops in here, but I can't find any. Just a touch of alcohol taste, but given the high ABV it's masked nicely.

If you could drink velvet, this is what it would be like.

Drinkability isn't perfect only because of the 9 percent -- I could drink these for hours if I didn't have to get up and go to work tomorrow. I love this beer.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle. The beer looked really good, pitch black color with a nice thick tan foam. And it smelled better than whatever thing you can think of which is known for smelling good. Chocolate and coffee and some very mild burnt malts. The taste was almost perfect too. It felt a little oily and the body was if anything a tad light for the style, but it worked really well. Anyway it kept the drinkability pretty high.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 3,101 ratings.