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Great Lakes Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

1,201 Reviews
For Trade:

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: 1,201 | Ratings: 3,401
Photo of meatyard
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark pour with just a little cola color showing through the surface when looking through towards light. The moderate tan head dissapates to a thin covering along with some lacing. Smells of darkly roasted malts with some coffee. Tastes of roated malt, some chocolate and a bit of coffee with a hint of alcohol. Body is slightly thick and drinkability is good though two at a time would be enough. Had it on tap recently where I recall it as being smoother and more balanced. A very good beer.

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Photo of malcontent
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Actually not as thick on the pour as other RIS's although the low-level head and opaque body are spot-on. Still, I could use a little lacing or something.

Dark roasted malt with burnt edges shine through an appealing level of booziness and some alluring dark fruit. Hints of dark cocoa linger as well as a coffee note that certainly isn't as strong as other reviews have claimed.

THAT'S what I remember! Tons of sweet plum and dark chocolate flood the palate followed by a beautiful java body and a great charcoal finish. Alcohol is certianly present but not dominant as are othe spice notes (cinnamon, clove). Yummy.

Creamy and thick with a great viscosity that allows the flavors to really imbed themselves in your mouth. This is actually one of the most drinkable RIS's I've had and I could easily do some serious damage if I had more than the one bottle!

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Photo of BlindPig
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Thin light mocha head on a black body.
S- Some coffee and roasted malts. Also some kind of different smell. It is light a really deep roasted aroma. Hints of chocolate through it too. Some grass hops with maybe a tiny bit of citrus to it to just add another layer to it.
T- Big blend of malts that make a great malt complexity and really make a great flavor to it. Some chocolate, coffee, and deep roasted malts all come through. Maybe even hints of oatmeal. The few citrus hops come through and almost add a "brighter" note to it. Still hidden behind everything but there is some grapefruit flavors in there. Also some grass hops in there just for the bitterness since they don't come out to much at all. Leaves a decent bitterness on the tongue with some chocolate malts to it. The bit of citrus hops do add a whole new layer of complexion to the beer and also bring out interesting flavors IMO.
M- Full body with low carbonation (carbonation may be scratching on the medium side).
D- I think this is a very good beer and I love how they put some citrus hops in it to really brighten this huge beer up. It really comes through nicely. I think they did a great job on this.

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Photo of mmcave
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a four pack excitedly from Sam’s, but its readily available else where now, chilled it and poured into nonic. Off white/ light kaki head developed with shades of gray, decent retention and sticky melted marsh mellow lacing. The body is a highly reflective mahogany color, oily and completely opaque. Smells is robust, slightly salty, smoky, with lovely roasted barley notes. Both toasted and chard malts are apparent in the nose, which round out subtle hints of chocolate and caramel with notes of wonderful dry roast coffee. Hops on this are faint (more so than some other RIS), but provide just enough back up to showcase the malt quite pleasantly. The flavor is excellent big, rich and intense, yet immediately accessible and tasty as hell. Rich and sumptuous, round bitter sweet, smoked dark chocolate with hints of toffee and dry roasted coffee plus a bit of sugar for ballast. Bitterness is minimal, just enough to balance the sweet richness and add color to the bitter-sweet character. The mouthfeel is creamy surrounded by a slightly oily sensation and then a nice dry roasted coffee finish. I have to comment on this brew’s ability to utilize quite surly RIS characteristics so tactfully, not cloying in the least. This is extremely drinkable; I could have one for every meal and then some especially breakfast. Despite the ABV this is totally a seasonable beer, just be careful. I am so happy to have had this and will be buying in bulk in the future.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle is from 2007, best by 8/2/07. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. It smells mostly like roasted malt and coffee, with some molasses and chocolate too. It tastes pretty much the same way to me, but with some dark fruit in the taste. There's more bitterness than sweetness in the taste. There's also a hoppy bitter aftertaste and a dry finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and oily, but a bit carbonated at the same time. Drinkability is pretty good considering the 9% ABV. The alcohol is noticable, but not overwhelming at all. Overall, I think this is a pretty decent beer.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank a 12 oz. of this. Best-by date of 8/2/07. Pours an opaque black, like a dark cup of coffee. Very little head, and no retention on it. Smells very heavily of molasses... some coffee, cocoa, red wine. Tastes are very similar... molasses, coffee, dark chocolate. Medium thickness on the mouthfeel, tiny bit of carbonation. Overall, a great stout. Fairly complex. Really enjoyed the flavors and aromas.

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Photo of GimpyCane
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on tap at Great Lakes and what an outstanding brew. Poured black, opaque with a mocha tan head. Nice head retention and left a excellent amount of sticky lacing. Upon smelling you get a robust scent of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla ending with a hint of alcohol. The flavor is amazing. Very complex with a slightly sweet bitter dark chocolate, expresso coffee and a small undertone of vanilla to begin. Somewhere in the middle I got a little of molasses and licorice. The light hoppy flavor shine through the end that is complimented with a slight bit of alcohol to balance out the brew. The beer is very smooth, full body, oily and creamy and softly carbonated to make it a very enjoyable session. You can drink this all night, but watch out it packs 9% abv and it will creep up on you. One of the best RIS I've had. Enjoy.

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Photo of BillyB
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark black, opaque. Slight ruby highlights when held up to the light.
Minimal, thin tan head that dissipates quickly.

Aromas are complex and immense! Roasted malt, whiskey, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruits like plums, raisins and peppery, spicy hops.

Taste includes everything mentioned in aroma as well as more esspresso, chocolate and whiskey characteristics.

Big, full bodied beer with and oily, chewy thickness and and incredibly pleasant warming alcohol sensation.

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Photo of pmatz2
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshness Date Best if consumed by Aug 06

I've aging this one for about a year. When I first had this last winter I needed some pretty sweet truffles to finish my glass. This one has been aging for over a year.

Appearance: Pours Black as night with a dark tan head that didn't stick around to long.

Smell: Roasted malt with an alcohol nose

Taste & Mouth Feel: Starts with a strong espresso flavor with alcohol warming in the finish. As it warms chocolate is more pronounced

Drink-ability: Went down a little too easy ;-) This is one awesome stout a true pleasure. Everything balances just right

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Photo of andebrice
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

really dark color, with a tannish brown, non-persistant head. Consistently thin lacing. Smells of a sweet citrus overtone, comparable to an over ripe pink grapefruit. Undertones of roasted chocolate malts. Can tell this will be sweet with a very hoppy finish. Very complex taste. Starts sweet then overcome with hops, malty but really subdued by the hops, an almost grapefruit hop taste with a pine tasting finish. Perfect carbonation on this one. I think if they had allowed for more carbonation the higher alcohol taste would linger and ruin the taste, so not having such a large head may hurt the appearance of the beer but definetely works in its favor for the taste. Overall a great imperial stout worth trying.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark black with faint ruby tints towards the edges. 1/2 finger head that recedes to a faint skim with a strong ring. Thinnish looking pour.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, burnt coffee beans, spicy dark fruit, and oily hops.

T: Huge flavor of burnt malt expertly coupled with espresso, bittersweet chocolate, rum soaked raisins, tart cherries, and fantasticly peppery hops!

M: The mouthfeel is much thicker than I expected given my observations of the initial pour. Sneaky creaminess followed by a huge wallop of burnt bitterness in the middle and finish. Very spicy hops in the "forever" finish.

D: Each sip reveals a different aspect of the flavors, aromas, and textures of this excellent RIS. This is a must try!

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Photo of prototypic
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought in February-drink by date of 7-15-07.

Appearance: Very nice. Creamy brown one finger head that left a nice lacing. Beer is indeed a blackout.

Smell: One can pick up so many things in this brew. There's coffee, molasses, chocolate, and hints of cherry and soy sauce. I'm even picking up a slight bit of licorice in there.

Taste: This is one of my favorite stouts. Truly great. Coffee, chocolate, and soy sauce are easily detected. A nice blend of malt and minor hops.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Blackout feels so smooth on the palate and goes down the same way. Not too thick, but not too thin either. Just about right for me. I could drink two or three of these in a sitting. Overall, clearly one of the best offerings from Great Lakes. I'm a big fan of their brews, but I may be a bit biased. I am in Columbus after all.

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Photo of beerphan
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> nonic
freshest taste: 07/03/07

Pours deep black with rich brown tones in the light. A 2inch pillowy tan head has staying power and leaves behind rings of droopy crusty tan lace.

Nose: Burnt roasted chocolate, rich coffee, some dark fruit, and oily hops

Taste: Most of the nose can be found in the flavor. Rich chocolate combine with roasted coffee, currants, and a good bit of hop bitterness in the roasty finish. No alcohol detected even at the tender age.

Mouth: Smooth and creamy.

This rich flavorful stout slides down with ease. Way too drinkable for the high abv which i am sure will lead to some having blackouts that have nothing to do with a computer glitch.

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Photo of riversider76
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, with a red hue when you hold it to the light. Thin head, with good retention,and lacing. Smell is of roasted coffee, with some chocolate undertones. Body is thick,rich,and silky. Taste is of dark roasted coffee, nicely bittered. If I've had a better Imperial Stout, I dont recall when.Excellent!

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Photo of phil7568
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a nice brown head.
The smell is coffee and chocolate, makes my mouth water.
From the first taste I fell in love with this stuff. It's smooth as silk with a smoky finish and I'd never know it was 9%.
Great RIS, I'll definitely stock up.

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Photo of cueball52
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours as the name indicates, blackout. Holding it up to the light you can get a very faint hint of deep ruby red at the edges but for the most part it is a blackout.
It starts with about a 1 1/2 " head that settles down to about a 1/4" leaving a nice lace as it fades.
It has a heavy but pleasant coffee aroma.
For a 9 % brew it is very well balanced. You get the taste of a good roasted coffee, chocolate, followed with hops. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering.
Be careful with this one its smoothness may sneak up on you!

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4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black stout with just a hint of red at the edges. 2" tan, dense, full head. Good retention. Complete sheet of lace.

S - Roasted malt. Some wood? Strong coffee - espresso. Smoky. Hops are present and add some support to a good aroma.

T - Creamy coffee flavors. Strong roast. Vanilla bean character. Nutty. Boozy, bitter finish. Salty and sweet. Warming!

M - Full bodied, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

D - Extremely drinkable at 9%. So smooth and mellow for an Imperial Stout it is liable to sneak up on ya.

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Photo of Tyrawlings
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Thick pitch black in color. Pours a tan two fingered head that dissipates into floating bubble islands. A ring of micro bubbles cling to the edges of the glass. Nice sticky lacing.

S: Roasted coffee. Dark Chocolate. Slight dark fruit. Earth.

T: Bitter dark chocolate is immediately set upon by a rich deep roasted coffee taste. There is a slight hop bite that is taken over by a balancing caramel malt swirl. Finishing tastes are of charred wood and a faint smoke presence.

M: Silky smooth. A tad slick for the style. Ample carbonation. Dry but pleasant finish.

D: Incredibly drinkable for a Russian Imperial Stout. You can feel that this is a bigger beer but the high ABV never gets in the way of your next sip. Very subtle for the style. Recommended.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to RoyMunson for this brew.

a - pour balck with a one-finger tan head, retention around the edges, slight lacing

s - burnt malt and bittersweet chocolate, some dark fruit and a hint of soy sauce and slight alcohol

t - bittersweet chocolate is predominant flavor, lots of burnt malt, slight note of hops, long bitter finish with a hint of alcohol

m - full-bodied, moderate carbonation, dry finish

d - pretty drinkable RIS, fairly smooth taste that doesn't overwhelm with alcohol

Great beer overall. Very smooth drinking for an RIS...maybe second in that category to Siberian Nights. Very good, but nothing spectacular. I can't wait to get my hands on the barrel-aged version.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received this 12 oz. bottle several months back from my man melbatoast93...double-checked the label and was disappointed to read: "For freshest taste, please enjoy by: August10/06"...uh oh. Poured to a standard pint.

A: Can a beer get any blacker? Hard to imagine...this one is pure darkness and leaves a thin amber coating on the glass as it settles to the bottom. A firm head of creamy foam, tan with a yellowish glow, crests at about 2 fingers. It dissolves within about 30 seconds and forms a 1/4" cap. Lacing is fairly random, splotches of sticking cream.

S: Sweet and smoky, my first reaction was soy sauce. Leathery notes, hints of smoked bacon and maple, molasses, cocoa and cherries - all united with a bounty of spicy hops. Really savory and wonderful to stir up from time to time. My only knock is that it faded about as quickly as the head and required agitation each time I wanted to get another fine noseful. But otherwise, it's perfect.

T: Rich bittersweet chocolate on ripe, bourbon-soaked cherries. Smoky and savory like the smell, there's a notable boozy warmth hidden beneath all that chocolate, burnt malts and hops. I could never quite pinpoint it, and after a while I really didn't care. A wonderful, bold, balanced mix of flavors.

M: Soft, smooth and creamy. A coating mouthfeel, full and lingering bitterness. Alcohol warmth without ever being overbearing. Weakens just a little towards the end of the glass, but still a terrific mouthfeel.

D: This is one I'd love to have again. And if this is what it tastes like nearly 6 months past it's freshness date, it makes me wonder what it tastes like fresh or whether it's best cellared a while. A fine Imperial Stout, highly recommend and one to which I'll return.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured as black as one could hope and head was minimal. No lacing. Nose is full of chocolate and espresso and minimal dark fruits. Taste is far richer. Though the same flavors appear, they seem more fleshed out ... the chocolate is milky and rich, the espresso tasting fine and as if it came from a premier coffee house. Mouth isn't quite as thick as I want but it's still very nice. I'd buy this again for sure. Thanks to Nlmartin for the trade!

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Crosling for a bottle. Pours with a slight head. The smell is malty with some chocolate/coffee-ish hints. Deep malt taste without a hint of the ABV which makes this very drinkable. An extremely well done RIS by Great Lakes which is a solid brewery.


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Photo of ByTor2112
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this one.
Poured a total blackout, he-he! I tried to aggressively pour this and zero head. A small film formed that was the color of cocoa powder. Aromas of coffee, espresso and dark chocolate and some burnt aromas there also.
This stout is very assertive, alcohol is layered somewhere in there but does not factor in the flavors for me. Bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors. I also get some tannin flavors-nice balance to some of the sweetness. The malt bill on this must have generous black patent and chocolate malts. The hop profile is a medium bitterness that gives the dominant malt profile a nice zing. An earthy bitterness is there towards the finish. I enjoyed mine with dessert of a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. Great dessert stout and it goes down nice. Not sessionable but I could quaff two at one sitting. My second GLBC offering and I am impressed.

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

Thanks goes to BuckEyeNation for this one.

Pours a thick black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet roasted malts, slight vanilla, tons of chocolate/toffee/caramel. The taste follows the nose pretty much, nice roasted, chocolatey, coffee flavor. Alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, a nice RIS, very much to the style.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark coffee color with abundant carbonation and abundant tan head.

Aroma is sweet coffee and caramel, and is wonderful.

Taste is slightly sweet up front, and the finish is coffee, oakiness, and complex. It is quite good, but I didn't feel the urge to guzzle it down because it was so delicious.

Mouthfeel is slightly sticky and pretty good. I also found this beer to be pretty drinkable. All-around quite good and easily the peer of Victory Storm King Stout.

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,201 ratings.