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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

409 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 409
Hads: 1,704
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,356
Gots: 340 | FT: 39
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 409 | Hads: 1,704
Photo of ChadQuest
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black with browning around the edges. finger of head.
The aroma and flavors give off vanilla, i am kinda surprised by how much on the palate actually. good stuff. there is a solid roasted malt backbone through the center of this holding it all toghether and it has aspects that remind me of coffee a bit. Chocolate is here too but melded with bourbon into a creamy concoction. Good stuff all around. I wish the mouthfeel had a bit more viscosity....but i say that about every stout. :)

The flavors are best in show here, good stuff. If this got a bit more body, and a bit more aromatics, it would be more awesome...er.

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Photo of ricke
3.94/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of marvin213
3.94/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of n2185
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of sweet cocoa with vanilla, oak, and bourbon dominate. There are also notes of toffee and sweet chocolate.

T: sweet cocoa and bourbon dominate with vanilla, toffee, and oak also very prevalent. The finish is lightly boozy and sweet.

M: thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is nice and lively on the tongue.

O: a good beer, overall. Not terribly complex, but quite tasty nonetheless

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/06/10- Had this one on-tap at the GL brew pub.
A: Pitch black, brown hues, thinner cream collar.
S: Nice vanilla bourbon, molasses, light cigar, clean, not woodsy.
T: Sweet, cigar, molasses, smokey burnt, close to DL with vanilla and oak.
M: Sticky sweet, with some carbonation.
D: Pretty good for a couple glasses.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is the rhythm of the night. The horns blaring, jarring lights glaring in the corners of the eyes, a cold wind whipping the streets far below, swaying the building, and only black when he looks up. Well, almost only black. The city's dank glow cast a hint of brown about the edges of the field of vision, a few small puffs of soap-bubble cloud drift by at eye level, then he is left with the cold, lonely blackness.
The aroma of the city drifts upwards, the massive amounts of bourbon from the distillery many long stories below. The city is rank with it, dripping with it. It is tearing apart families and building empires, creating both pleasure and misery, heartbreak, fatigue... The shoppes, then, a leather-shoppe, mingling with the bourbon as he kneels on the edge... A cream-sweetness, the old ice cream place, vanillins, the oak barrels of the fire-water plants, the warm stench of alcohol, burnt, spent grain.
And the flavours of that city... as many as the aromas, if not quite as piquant. Bourbon, of course. The cornerstone. World-class licorice, vanilla fudge, sweet oak-alcohol, alcohol, alcohol in the finish, and the burnt grain that wafts through, it's necessary for the plant, necessary for the city's survival, the constant burnt grain floating down the river, children laugh and play...
It's thin, though. warming and dry, wry humor, the humor that is built upon deep despair. Low carbonation, as any good distillery town should have... Few bubbly people, there's far too much to be somber about, too many bloody faces walking the streets, too many children without fathers.
The city is enjoyable for a tourist. You wouldn't want to live there, you wouldn't want to drink it constantly as the locals do, it will draw you in. WATCH OUT! It will draw you in, you'll never escape, you'll grow old and red, your world will become an endless dreamscape.

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Photo of Raj
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2014 bottle. 12oz pour. Aged at room temp.

A: black with dark brown highlights. Minimal head. Leaves a little coating on the glass but not vicious.
S: upfront fudgey, chocolate. oaky, light vanilla, dark fruit (very dark cherry or prune), cola. Some bourbon on the nose, but more dominated by chocolate and oaky notes.
T: taste is very similar, starts with bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, oaky notes, dark fruit. Pretty smooth. Some roast and slight bitterness to balance. Still has the cola flavor. I do get some bourbon and slight alcohol burn toward the end.
M: medium, but a little thin compared to what I expect from a BA stout.
O: solid BA stout. Nice balance of the expected flavors, do wish it was a little thicker and less cola.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The appearance on this one is dark dark black with a one finger mocha tan colored head. It is a fluffy head that leaves a light lacing on the glass. Although the lacing does not last forever, it has some grainy legs that like to creep on the sides of the glass. A good looking Imperial Stout.

The smell is of chocolate, bourbon oak barrels, ABV heat, burnt and roasted grains, earth.

The taste is a little thin, which is a common problem with barrel aged imperial stouts. The barrel thins out a base beer making everything else a little light on the palate. This beer has lots of burnt and roasted grains, earth, chocolate and bourbon. I am not sure if this bottle is a blend of barrel and un-barrel beer, but it is not very intense. Everything is somewhat muted, and I think it is because this beer is going through its transitional period. It is turning into something different and better, and we popped the bottle a little early. I can see this turning into something great, but not now.

The body is light and a bit hot with some graininess. It is a bit hot and incredibly astringent. Sucks your palate dry, the glass of water was refilled a few times by the end.

This is a good beer, but I opened to a bit too soon before its full transition. I am not sure what this would have tasted like fresh, but a year or so is going to be this beers time to shine.

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Photo of Spider889
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage: "2516 Series"

The snifter of this that I had at the release party seemed underwhelming, but I interpreted it as a rushed keg (I want to say they kept pushing back the release date due to space/tank availability issues. The carbonation was low and the beer seemed lackluster and soapy to some extent (but still desirable).

This bottle rectifies that, and falls more in line with past releases...

A - Poured into a Cigar City snifter. The beer is a dense black. Blackout Stout has never been the thickest of beers, 2011 vintage more than I remember in years past, even. But somehow this bottle of BA Blackout seems thicker than the base beer (normally I find this to be the reverse). The head is rather short, a greyish cream color, but has decent enough staying power over time. Only the slightest hint of lace feebly clings to my glass.

S - The aroma is the best part of this beer - at least this year's vintage, at this point in the aging process. Vanilla and oak are huge here, and appreciably make this one to inhale over and over again.A slight roasty chocolate notion falls in line behind the luscious vanilla, and as I dig deeper still - often by literally getting my nose deep into the snifter - I can find ripe bourbon whiskey character. It's slightly fruity and a little boozy with a dollop of honeyed sweetness on the back end.

T - The bourbon is really prominent this year. I find it slightly off-putting for my tastes. The bourbon is not hot by any means, but just potent. It masks much of the base beer which disappoints. The fruity character of the bourbon almost tricks me into thinking that there's a tartness to the beer, but closer inspection tells me that yes, this is only the prominence of the barrel. Charred oak and mild ash hints to what this beer once was, and a subtle sweet chocolate note foretells what this beer will one day become if cellared. In any case, this beer is still delicious, but needs some extended age for me.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sticky texture with a nice mocha coffee finish/aftertaste.

O - There's a reason this is one of my favorite beers - Great Lakes knows their stuff. This year's vintage is simply more whiskey-forward than I remember from last year. Ought to age very well.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jmacdaddy2008 for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown color with a 1 inch khaki head that fades to an oily cap. Random thin streaks and spots of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and cocoa powder. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, cocoa powder, and slight coffee. There is a definite alcohol warmth felt in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has lower carbonation and is a bit flat with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS with some nice bourbon qualities but it's not as good as I thought it would be. I am glad I got to try this one though.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of Florida9
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black, but with just a little bit of light shining through on the side. Forms a thin, light tannish head on the pour. No lacing.

S: Obvious aroma of bourbon and vanilla followed by the sweet smell of dark malt.

T: Okay, there is now no mistaking the barrel-aging on this one. Taste is virtually all bourbon, vanilla, oak, and alcohol, with dark malts, molasses, and brown sugar playing a supporting role. Quite full flavored.

M: On the lighter side of heavy with appropriate carbonation.

D: Too brash and in-your-face on the barrel aging for my tastes. Maybe this beer will improve with age, maybe the bourbon qualities will tone down and reveal a more subdued and complex beer. I don't know, but in it's current state, it was just too much for me to consider overly enjoyable.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i believe this is the 2012 batch.

poured into a snifter, just a shade lighter than black, negligible though. thin tan head. nothin crazy, looks like an imperial stout.

nose:slightly overdone oatmeal raisin cookies soaked in bourbon, touch of coffee.

dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon is present but doesn't really over whelm. could use a touch more roasted character, still a solid beer.

mouthfeel is a touch lacking. still a solid beer.

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Photo of camil1mj
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 12 oz bottle received from Misterhops in a trade. Served at cellar temprature into my Founders snifter.

A: Deep black. 2 finger foamy head that quickly dissipates. Moderate lacing.

S: Bitter dark chocolate with hints of whiskey.

T: Like the smell: immediate punch of bitter dark chocolate. I get more of a whiskey flavor, instead of the bourbon flavors I get out of some of my favorite -bals.

M: The barrel aging thins this out in comparison to the non barrel aged version. Well carbonated.

O: Average barrel aged stout. Not my favorite by any means as it missing the heavy, sweet flavors I love in this style.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joe for breaking this out at our little tasting. Review from notes on 4/3/10. 2009 vintage.

A - Poured very dark brown, almost black (but not quite) with a light tan bubbly head. Looks actively carbonated. Decent retention. Mahogany hues in the light. 4.0

S - Wow, bourbon overpowers everything. Bourbon all over the place. A bit of ash, dark fruit, and roast somewhere in there but somewhat lost. Could use a bit more balance I think. But still, a pleasing aroma. 3.5

T - Actually, this is a bit different from the aroma. The balance is there and actually very nicely executed. You can tell this beer has been aging in bourbon barrels for a while; highly assertive vanilla, charred oak, and deep blackberry tones. However, there is a characteristic ashy flavor of Blackout Stout that I don't appreciate as much and it is noticeable in the BA Blackout. 4.0

M - Decently big body, but I would put it more in the scale of medium bodied. Very smooth carbonation and a slight prickle on the palate. 4.0

D - Very nicely drinkable. Again, that distinct ash is hindering me a touch but overall, a nice beer.

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Photo of rye726
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle, aged for one year. Poured into a snifter at cellar temp. Pours near black, nice head. Notes of bourbon, oak, chocolate, caramel, molasses and vanilla. Good, but lacks complexity. Body a bit thin for teh style. Decent stout, lacks depth.

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Photo of PaulyB83
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%

Poured into a nonic pint glass at Local Roots in Powell, OH.

A- Black, small off-white ring of head, very slight amount of light coming through on the edges.

S- Unripe banana, chocolate, slight dark fruit, coffee, slight vanilla.

T- Chocolate covered cherry, coffee, some alcohol coming through.

M- A bit on the thin side for a barrel aged imperial stout.

O- I was really lucky to find this on tap while I was in Columbus for the weekend. I was a bit disappointed by this one, not a that big of a barrel presence to me. I might even say I prefer Dragon's Milk to this.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.86/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is one of a few barrel aged beers in which I prefer the regular version better. Looks and smells outstanding. I just think it drinks way too sweet and the body has a little bit too much carbonation giving it a soapy feel. I would guess that this is a Jack Daniels barrel beer. It tastes like cheap whisky instead of good bourbon. I also notice a lot more black licorice than in the base beer. Still above average, but pretty disappointed.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with almost no head and some lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

Lots of roast in the aroma. Some vanilla, oatmeal and a bit of bourbon, but not as much as I'd like.

There is much more bourbon in the flavor. A little sweeter and less roasty than the smell would indicate. Lots of vanilla, oak and bourbon with some chocolate and just a bit of roast. Bourbon is actually a tad overpowering as it warms. It's good, but not terribly well integrated.

Creamy mouthfeel and proper carbonation.

Overall fairly solid although something about the bourbon integration is a bit off for me. I'll definitely drink this again, but if it's a choice between this, KBS, BBPtF, etc. this one probably comes in last.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to bpfrush for trading me this beer! Thanks Brian! This beer has been on my radar for a long time; it good to get some closure! lol.

Vintage 2010.

650ml bomber poured into a CBS snifter.

Appearance: Black motor oil colored beer with very thin cap of white head that settles quickly to ring around the snifter. Spotty lacing on the side.

Smell: A surprisingly weak nose on this beer. Faint roasted malts and some smoke. U get just a hint of barrel notes in the nose. Also a faint metallic smell is noted from the beer.

Taste: The taste of this beer is also very subtle just like the nose. The beer has two phases when you taste it. It starts off tasting like the regular blackout stout and finishes with the barrel notes becoming more evident. When you first taste this beer it starts out with a mild to moderate roast like a bigger version of blackout stout. Then the roast just builds in the beer with every sip. Close to the end of the beer you get more of the roast because it just continues to build. Smoke is noted in the middle of the beer and it almost like the smoke makes the base beer transition into the barrel notes. In the finish you get subtle notes of oak, vanilla, tobacco, molasses, black licorice, and some booze that is gone as quick as you sense it. I also taste a chocolate covered coffee bean and a lactose note in the finish. The bourbon is the last thing that you taste and its sweet with a barely noticable sour note. Fairly decent complexity, but I wish there was stronger flavors in this beer. The beer gets sweeter in a "chocolaty bourbon" kind of way and the roastiness almost becomes "expresso like" and both become more pronounced as the beer gets closer to room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation levels. The beer is thin for a barrel aged stout. I think the beer is well carbonated and it really helps to make this beer taste better.

Overall: It reminds me alot of a Barrel aged Milk Stout brewed with coffee. Its just not a really strong flavorful barrel aged beer. Its a solid beer that has decent complexity, but I was underwhelmed by the nose, taste, and mouthfeel of this beer. Even though I was fairly critical on this beer, I still did enjoy drink this beer. My recommendation is to drink this beer at room temperature because this beer really needs time to open up so you can get the most enjoyment/flavor out of this beer. I am also thinking that this beer might be better to drink fresh.

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Photo of jdklks
3.84/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour yields a small light brown head that dissipates quickly and is quite thin. The body is black through the middle with amber/brown edges and looks a lot lighter than I've come to expect or desire from the style. The smell is fantastic. Nice and strong like I like the aroma eminating from the glass. Hints of chocolate, roasted malts (which is reminiscent of dry coffee beans), the slightest hint of the barrel aging, caramel, and maybe some licorice.

The flavor is very good, but the beer is under-carbonated to a fault. sweet malts up front, plumb and cherries. Bitter chocolate and a little vanilla through the middle along with some wet oak barrel flavors that give way to a slightly burnt bitter coffee finish and an alcoholic burn in the esophagus and aftertaste. Maybe a hint of molasses, and definitely some licorice. Flat cola. If this beer was better carbonated, the flavors would explode, and it would truly be a treat. Still good though.

Mouthfeel is both thin and undercarbonated, and this is a less than pleasing combination. The drinkability is okay for the style, and the flavor is good enough to keep you reaching for more, but the lack of carbonation is detrimental to every category except the aroma.

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Photo of Realale
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black. Very fine light brown head stays throughout the snifter, leaving some lacing.

Nose is a whiff of alcohol, followed by coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, and a touch of ash over rich, brown bready malt. The bourbon influence is thankfully pretty restrained, and well-integrated.

Medium full in the mouth. Really mouthfilling stuff. Malt, malt, malt. Chocolate, bready, and yeasty. Touch of bitterness to balance. Again, the bourbon influence is quite subdued - there's a touch more caramelly sweetness, and a hint of bourbon flavor. Well done, but I believe I prefer the regular version.

Mouthfeel is bit more highly carbonated than I'd prefer. It seems to work against the body of the beer rather than with it. Quite drinkable for what it is, but the snifter was more than enough for me. Kudos to Great Lakes for not going over-the-top with the wood or bourbon flavors.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

More of the notes from the Southsound gathering.

A Pours a dark brown with a tanish head.

S Some bourbon, dark chocolate, a bit of vanilla.

T Pretty much the same as the nose with bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate and a bit of wood.

M Seemed a bit thin but alright I guess.

Overall an excellent stout just nothing mind blowing.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.79/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes:

2516 Series.

Pours a cola color. Decent head, retention, and lacing.

No mistaking this is a BA stout from the aroma...big time roasted barley, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, espresso, etc etc. Slightly nutty quality, too.

I hate to give this beer a 3.5 for flavor, but it was just a little too hot. The 9% ABV made itself known early and often. Some time in the cellar would do good, but this is still a damn good beer. It's got all of the elements of a dynamite imperial stout, but just a little too much heat. Will hopefully be re-visiting this one soon.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
3.77/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 12oz. I have had this a bunch, first review

A- Pitch black to dark brown. Transparent around the edges, but full in the middle. Minimal coffee lacing with low legs. No sticking to the glass, very watery like a CW BA Stout,,,, blah

S- Burnt toffee>sweet malt>dark fruits> and finally the barrel. Thin smelling.

T- Burnt sugar and toffee> sweet malt> barrel> dark fruit.

M- Just fn thin. So sick of thin midwest ba stouts. Central Waters crushes thin BA stouts, Great Lakes has crushed every vintage... whatever, this was an extra. Tastes good when you think of it that way.

O- Just done with Central Waters and Great Lakes. I invite Founders and Goose Island.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 409 ratings.