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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,550 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,550
Reviews: 399
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 1,329
Gots: 322 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Dogbrick on 11-29-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,550 | Reviews: 399
Reviews by CADMixes:
More User Reviews:
Photo of NHhomebrewguy
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours pitch black with a one finger tan head that fades quickly. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, coconut and vanilla. The tastes follows the nose but with more coconut and vanilla. Full creamy mouthfeel. Warming as it goes down. Just a fantastic beer that I hope to enjoy every year! Much better than the regular BO stout if you ask me. Well done GLB!!

Photo of gcamparone
4.16/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz glass into a snifter, split with a friend.

Pours a deep brown opaque body with a small brown head that reduces to leave a ring of foam.

Aromas of vanilla, bourbon booze, sweet caramel, milk chocolate and molasses come through. Allowed to warm for an hour or so.

Upfront is bittersweet chocolate, whiskey, vanilla, caramel, finish is roasty, coffee, toasted malt. Mouthfeel is medium with low carbonation.

Overall a solid BA stout, not quite bcbs but nice and balanced and flavorful.

Photo of neurobot01
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 12oz bottle (acquired via trade) into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: seemed to pour a little light and foamy to me, but the expected black with minimal head in the glass.

Smell: huge chocolate, vanilla, cherry. Pretty mild bourbon/barrel notes.

Taste: chocolatey, pretty sweet, mild bourbon, with some oak and maybe very minimal hops bitterness. Alcohol present but not dominant. No off flavors, but adds up to less than the sum of its parts nonetheless.

Feel: oily, a bit sudsy, medium-to-full bodied. Not at all dry.

Overall: pretty good, actually, but clearly a notch below the top tier. I was probably a bit hard on this; interested to see how the 2012, 2014, and non-BA iterations I've got in the cellar stack up.

Photo of ricke
3.94/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, quite pale for the style, with an off-white head.

The aroma is lightly roasted with notes of milk chocolate, bourbon, toasted almonds, ashes and salty licorice.

The flavor is quite sweet with delicate malty backbone of roasted coffee, caramel, fudge and chocolate. Bourbon, almonds, vanilla and some light smoky notes. The finish is lightly bitter with lingering notes of oak, bourbon and salty licorice. Medium body, smooth carbonation.

I had high expectations on this one, and unfortunately they weren't really met. A decent barrel aged imperial stout, no more.

Photo of marvin213
3.94/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It has essentially no head. Though black as a country night, little foam suggests a thin body. The smell is nice. As I had, hoped, this seems like a testimony to the oak barrel--no sweet bourbon or other such influence--just a nose of rustic oak on big RIS. It's a deep, consistent, chocolatey, raisin-liquid. There are malts and anise, and there is oak barrel in a barn, untouched and virgin.

So why do I feel guilty about missing the bourbon? Do I compare this among all barrel-aged brews, or just non-bourbon BA brews? There's a difference! Oddly, I can't help but wonder what it'd be like aged in a Buffalo Trace barrel. It's good, but underwhelming. It's that flatness I feared at the outset! I'd like to have it again, but I am unlikely to seek it out.

Edit: After reading other reviews, I see it is indeed bourbon barrels. I'm shocked. I really don't get bourbon. Maybe this one's not just flat...but flatlined? But how wouldn't I get more nose? Perhaps I started too cold. I suppose I get it more as it warms, but I do not get a well-blended bourbon beer. I smelled goodness, and can get some of that (goodness), but for me the good bourbon has left the building.

Photo of babyhobbes
3.43/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2005 22oz bottle

Dark brown with not much of a head.
Smells of alcohol with an odd whiskey/bourbon type smell. I thought these were just regular oak-barrels, but used barrels. I don't know, there definitely a bourbony sort of odor. It's a little disconcerting.

Taste: Well, it's got a good chocolate malt flavor, but the alcohol is pretty strong. It's really almost too much, to be honest.

This is pretty thin.

Drinkability: This is a great beer, but really drinks like a nice whiskey, I can't possibly drink more than one and it's getting tough to finish this bottle.

This is a good beer, but the alcohol flavor, together with the thin watery mouthfeel is a turnoff. I thought it would age better, but I think I liked it better last year.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.14/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Got in a trade.

Poured into my tulip.

The beer is pour black with a very small head.
The nose is a mix of alcohol caramel coconut general bourbon barrel aroma dominate. As it warms the overwhelming alcohol smell subsides.

The taste is mainly bourbon wiht hints of sweetness and a tad vanilla.

The mouth is a bit thin with a overwhelming level of carbonation, given the style. The alcohol warms and leaves a little numbing on the lips and tongue.

I don't want to be one of those people but given the "hype" around this beer it is lackluster. Good flavors but no the flavors are good.

Photo of tjthresh
3.52/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black. No real head that I saw. At least it surely didn't last too long. Typical BA imperial stout aromas. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, some roast. Typical BA flavors. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, some roast. Medium body. Silky. Light carbonation. There really isn't much here to set it apart for the rest of this sort. It really reminds me a lot of Schlafly BA Imperial Stout.

Photo of badbeer
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black, but brown at the edges with a very light tan head that retains well and leaves bits of lacing. Sweet smell like a coffee with creamer; oak, vanilla, and bourbon is also present. It immediately gives me sweet malt and vanilla flavors. It also has some creamy, lactose notes to it. Roastiness seems rather subdued in comparison to the regular Blackout Stout. Amazingly smooth going down; full bodied with light carbonation. Great beer, thanks go to kmweaver for the bottle!

Photo of dogfishandi
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage. 12oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a darkness snifter.

pours out pretty much opaque black, some rubiness evident on the edges in the light. a nice creamy light mocha colored head with good retention. some thin lacing and just a bit of legs left on the glass after a swirl.

nice, warming bourbon in the aroma, turns into some solvent like booze as it warms. behind the bourbon is some vanilla and a bit of some cocoa and roasted, burnt malts.

very nice taste, the bourbon is very strong and right at the forefront. some nice mellow vanilla and oaky barrel qualitites go with the bourbon nicely. also some very nice dark chocolate flavors. rich and boozey, very nice taste.

just a bit too thin for the style IMO, but it has a nice rich feel to it. a nice low amount of carbonation.

a very good barrel aged impy stout, but the bourbon is very strong with it being so fresh which might be a turn off to some and it does come off a bit thin. i think age will greatly improve this beer as it didnt really seem to live up to some of the older vintages ive had in the past.

Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, brew3crew!

Black throughout with a very small dark brown head. Not quite as thick and viscous as some beers within the style, though this is still quite thick. Leaves irregular, dotted lines of stick down the glass. Very pretty and appropriate for the style.

The aroma is rich and decadent with lots and lots of chocolate. There's only a faint trace of bourbon barrel in the aroma, but it's not really missed. The aroma is complete, rich, and decadent as is. Mild roast, slight coffee, and just a hint of alcohol heat. Complete.

The flavor is simply astounding. This is like liquid chocolate brownies. When I think of FTowne's wife's chocolate brownies, this is what I think of. Layers upon layers of rich, bitter, sweet, earthy chocolate. Still, the barrel character is minimal, but it's not missed.

Medium to full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Slightly creamy.

If I was given this blind, I may not even acknowledge the barrel. That being said, this is a chocolate lover's dream and I can't wait for my next sip...this beer is fantastic.

Photo of boatshoes
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes taken at the Great Lakes BA Blackout release party this fall. Had it on tap for the second time and it was quite a treat. Traded away four of my six bottle allocations and looking to enjoy one myself here in the near future!

Appearance- Comes off the tap an opaque black with a minimal ring of tan head much in the league of many barrel-aged stouts that I've had. Spot on for the style.

Smell- Complex, tasty, and interesting. Lots of very well blended notes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, burnt coffee, sweet molasses, and brown sugar. The wood is very evident here but rounded out nicely through the roastiness and coffee accents that show through from the base stout.

Taste- Again, lots of bourbon, vanilla, and wood here. However, as will the nose, the roasted qualities of the original base stout blend nicely with the barrels (this year Buffalo Trace for the first time rather than Jim Beam) and show through. Some warming alcohol on the way down but not sharp by any means.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is silky smooth and substantial, though oddly not as heavy as I was expecting. Drinkability is surprisingly good as I found that the roasted elements in the taste helped minimize some of the overwhelming sweetness I usual find in this style. Goes down quite easy.

Overall, one of the big boys. Try this if you can, it's very good and I'd say one of the best barrel-aged offerings out of the state of Ohio.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color, definitely fitting of the moniker blackout stout. Even a decent almost 1 inch amass of tan head on the top of it, really impressive appearance for a barrel aged stout. Aroma, nice and mild actually, really the best barrel aroma this side of Eclipse. Everything you'd want, chocolate, vanilla, oak, mild bourbon, even caramel and just the slightest amount of smoke/charred edge from the barrel.

And all those aromas are plenty evident as flavor as well. Rather than make a gigantic bourbon bomb (king henry) with no complexity, they went soft, I generally think the 8-10% abv range to be perfect for barrel aged stouts, the malt body absorbs lots of the heat, and you're not breathing that alcohol fire/heat while you sip on the beer. Carbonation is right on point here, low overall, but perfect for style, brings out head, the aroma, but allows the nice viscosity to chill. The sweetness is minimal, keeps the beer in the creamy category rather than sweet. Not that there is anything wrong with a sweet bal aged stout (chocolate rain).

Doesn't try and be overly complex, massive, etc. . .

It really fits into that niche of bal aged stouts like Central Waters & Fifty Fifty's Eclipse: Really damn good beers, great blending, lack of heat, nice chocolate. Rather than trying to be the biggest, they just focus on being the best.

Highly recommend. Soon enough, this beer won't be on the top100 list anymore because there's always some new, uber rare beer made in an area of the country that isn't known for beer, and it will become even easier to acquire. I look forward to that day. If you're reading this, and you have a bottle of blackout stout, yes, you can offer it in a trade to me.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fellow BA and friend dtx00 traded this, appearance was pitch black nearly opaque with a big foaming tan head. I must say this is awesome stuff, just like the regular version. Aromatics big oak barrel whiskey aging effects hints of vanilla/toffee and oak going strong, a touch of anise and dark chocolate/coffee roasted malts with a hint of cherry fruitiness going on. Flavor is layered with a balanced whiskey barrel aging and rock solid big stout flavors, probably the most drinkable version out there beside fresh KBS. Again big alcohol but not overly boozey, just some whiskey barrel aged vanilla/charred oak/and hints of cherry to go with a big ol' stout from Cleveland. Dark roasted malts bring out some dark chocolate notes but not much in the way of strong coffee tones. Mouthfeel is full bodied defnitely warming and even carbonation some versions are almost flat this one had enough bubbles flowing to make each sip easy going on the palate. Overall excellent version above and beyond qauality and definitely highly sought out amongst our little online community, for a reason!!!

Photo of motobri
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

At GLBC Restaurant, great place, great atmosphere. I'm not going to bore you with a half-assed description of this beer. You can taste the burbon. The mouthfeel is not overly thick, but the alcohol is there, and the burbon barrel makes it that much more apparent. It's just an outstanding stout. outstanding beer. And I'm not a stout lover.

Photo of pwoods
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. '08 bottles, notes from awhile back.

A: Pours pitch black with good viscosity. Nice big strong dark tan head forms and holds nicely. Nice lacing.

S: Bourbon isn't quite as potent as on tap but very balanced as always with GLBC. Nice mellow coffee and chocolate. Some juicy hops and alcohol add even more depth.

T/M: Just a great balanc of everything. all the flavors are so potent but very balanced with melds together nicely. A great, robust stout booming with rich caramel and molasses and even some nutty flavors. Great bourbon and alcohol warmth mix in and add depth. Just so damn complex. Body is full and silky smoothy without geting cloying.

D: Pretty damn high for a RIS, especially a bourbon barrel stout. a fantastic offering.

Photo of Brenden
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Sean (Shawn?...anyway, twohearteddean) for busting this one out at out last Toledo tasting. I just found my notes.

This beer is about as black as beer and be and really isn't letting any light through. A thick tan foam resides on top, really only reaching not quite one finger tall and leaving moderate lacing sticking to the glass.
The smell is delicious, all the coffee and cocoa one would hope to find in here with the smoky notes and big barley malts presence I had hoped for. Light sweetness underneath is detectable in notes of caramel, toffee, and very dark fruits. A bourbon-lie fusel alcohol presence is certainly noticeable. A very faint okay touch I hope is more noticeable in the flavor is also detectable.
...And it is. Some other complexities drop off very, very slightly as this warms and allows a touch more of the oak and the bourbon / cognac heat to come through. Otherwise, big malts offer up all the roastiness, coffee, cocoa, caramel and dark fruits found in the nose with a touch of nuttiness now to be discovered in the flavor.
The body is thick, huge and robust, as expected. Otherwise, this is surprisingly dry for a stout, which I assume can be attributed to the barrel. Carbonation is just enough and this is a very rich, smooth beer.
Since "drinkability" is now "overall", it gets a higher score. After all, would I like more? Of course. But could I have more? No, no I could not.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jim for this one! 12oz bottle

A: Pours black, very dark, with a small tan head on top. Decent retention leaving a small ring with patch of foam on top. Very thin sheets of lacing.

S: Mmm, some bourbon and chocolate. There is a hint of vanilla, brown sugar, and a little wood.

T: Upfront some slightly roasty malt and chocolate, while the finish is full of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. The finish is slightly sweet.

M: Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

O: A nice sipping beer. Thinner than most in the style, not thick and syrupy, a little more body I think would have helped. But all in all, a solid BA RIS.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.89/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 1/12
Black. Nice 1cm tan head. Good retention, Good lacing. Fairly oily.

Big rich and bold nose. Fantastic. Big rich fudge chocolatey brownie. Dark roasted nuts. Mild bourbon. Nice vanilla and rich caramel. Mild oak.

Flavor is just amazing. From beginning to lingering after taste just delightful! Such perfect balance. Big fudgy chocolatey brownie with lovely vanilla and mellow bourbon. No heat what soever. so easy to drink!

Medium bodied. Not as viscous as anticipated. Silky smooth. Very little carbonation.

Overall just an amazing beer.

Photo of GilGarp
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jdoncbus for this awesome trade!

It's been cellaring for several months now but I couldn't wait any longer. After chilling slightly in the fridge, I pop the cap and pour it into a globe glass.

It is truly black but I struggle in vain to see any color or light passing though. It has creamy tan head. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing but it's still a nice looker.

Aroma is awesome with the oak barrel coming through strong. It has a wonderful bourbon and vanilla smell overlaying the dark roasted malts. There's also a good dose of hops on the nose but it's overshadowed by the wood aging.

Flavor is intense and incredible as well. That oak aging brings all sorts of sweet bourbon and vanilla to the taste but it doesn't completely overwhelm like some. There is a great amount of roasted coffee and chocolate, some toffee and caramel sweetness, and a big bitter punch from the dark malts and hops.

Mouthfeel is fantastically smooth and creamy with very minimal harshness from the alcohol. It hides it's 9% well. Drinkability is great for the style and I will continue to enjoy every sip of this bottle until it runs dry. What a beer.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"2516 Series," which I guess is the same as the 2009 bottling. A million thanks to kels for facilitating this one. Have held onto it as long as I possibly could--it was screaming to finally be released from its glass prison...first sip is a big "cheers!" to Kelley.

Pours a midnight black with super-subtle rust-brown and ruby hues. Head is a light tan but doesn't hang around very long. Turns to a thin crown quickly.

Aroma is a mixture of dark fruit (esp. fig and raisin), touch of alcohol, freshly cut wood, and spent coffee grounds. There wasn't much chill on this, but even with warming it started to recall whiskey each time I brought it to the nose.

Upon the tongue the wood is prominent, and together with the warmth of the alcohol it gives the impression of being as much aligned with whiskey or other spirits as much as it belongs to the beer family. But everything balances out pretty well -- there are liqueur-soaked dark berry, fig and plum elements, a nice helping of vanilla, and a watery milk-chocolate vibe. Leaves a lasting finish, yet again favoring the alcohol and wood.

Texturally it's a smooth, gliding, slick kind of thing...not as thick as many stouts, not as chewy, which makes it particularly easy to drink. A little sticky, and without much carbonation (fine by me).

If I think this was a little underwhelming, that's only because it's ranked so incredibly high on this site. A little too woody and alcoholic, could use more big gooey chocolate, thick sweet cream and coffee characteristics--the stuff of my favorite stouts--but still a good stout? No doubt about it.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks go out to sproser for including this in an amazing box.

Pours a pitch death black with an ok tan head that requires a vigorous pour to form, but lingers pretty well and leaves ok lacing.

Nose is alot of roasted malt, a dose of booze, and a little chocolate profile.

Wow. This is quite excellent. Starts of with huge notes of chocolate and cream. Shortly after big portions of roasted malt come out alongside a slight liquor note. Wood and chocolate come out again around the finish, and a small suprise of some relatively significant bitterness. The aftertaste lingers with a great melding of roasted malt, bitterness, booze, and some chocolate. Incredibly complex, turning a page with every sip.

Mouthfeel is pretty much flawless here. Nice and chewy with the perfect amount of carbonation. A nice light dryness on the finish but mostly big and slick.

Drinkability is pretty much what you would expect out of a 9% impy stout. Pretty solid, will finish the bomber with ease.

Overall, this is a very very nice barrel aged imperial stout. The original blackout is a classic, so i expected nothing less than excellence here, and they came through. There are better barrel aged stouts out there, but very, VERY few. The complexity is a marvel here, as it changes with every sip, so much going on. Would love to see how this would do with age, I think it would do amazingly well with a couple years on it. Definitely pick some up if you get the chance, excellent beer.

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottles courtesy of both Sliffy and JSquires. An imperial stout yes, not a Russian. Another good example of a bourbon barrel aged. But I would like some other tastes besides bourbon. The stout is black, the head is off-white and gourgeous with bubbles. There is active carbonation. Seems a slice thinner than the non-barrelled.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a frothy 1.5 finger frappachino colored head with big bubbles at the top and moderate retention. Beer is a comparatively thin, opaque black. Lacing is stringy with some spottiness and moderate stick.

S: Nose is very subtle for a -bal aged beer. Muted chocolate, cocoa powder, and roasted malt. Next to no booziness or heat. Slight touch of brownie and molasses.

T: Opens sweet milk chocolate, molasses, honey, and a slight bourbon heat. Brown sugar, fudge brownie, sweet liquorice, prunes, raisins, and coca-cola towards the middle. A tickle of bourbon at the end followed by a brown sugar and honey finish and a sweet, chocolate aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Filmy and oily in the mouth but not really heavy or sticky. Goes down super smooth with very little heat considering the abv. Finish is messy with an aftertaste that lingers.

D: One of the easiest drinking -bal aged imperial stouts that I've come across, this is a completely different animal compared to the regular blackout stout which I wasn't a huge fan of. Not fantastically complex but it has all the sweet, roasty, bourbony character that I need. Well worth searching out and I can't wait to see how this one develops.

Photo of scott
4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

V.06
Black!, with a tan thin-rimmed head, along with a nice rim to indicate higher than average alcohol. Well (not overly) carbonated.
Aroma of blissfully subdued bourbon & wood char, vanilla, slight coffee and chocolate.
Taste is incredible, with many notes found in the nose transfering over to the tongue. This has so many levels of complexity, although it won't overwhelm you. Imagine a nice piece of rich chocolate cake, and a bourbon with a splash as a wash.
Creamy and oh so nice, as it warms and opens up, this actually has a juicy, mouthwatering quality going on, that I never would expect.
This is barrel aging at it's best, and this is no doubt one of the best, if not the best, BA Stouts money can buy.
This brew deserves to have a rowdy, much anticipated "Blackout Day", because people in-the-know with this beer are lucky sonsabitches.
Actually, if Man was allowed to profess love to a Beer, now would be one of those times.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,550 ratings.