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

Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,145 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1145
Reviews: 374
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 9.13%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Dogbrick on 11-29-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,145 | Reviews: 374 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

2.23/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Dark ruby brown color with a small, light tan head. Needs to be much darker. Timid nose, with only a light hint of the barrel element. Thin mouth feel, low complexity and fairly depthless character overall. Some hints of caramel and corn whiskey, but there is hardly much of a beer underneath. This is a rerate of the newer bottling, but its a lot like the first: bland, poorly concentrated, lacking texture and just dull overall.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2008 16:41:13 | More by Crosling
Photo of tewaris
tewaris

Minnesota

2.95/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared generously by Andrew, thanks! Poured into a tasting snifter.

Thin and brown as opposed to viscous black: not-so-stout-y looking. Aroma is bourbon, coal/smoke/roast, and some, umm... tartness? Taste has strong presence of roast and coffee, and the associated acidity. Not as big on bourbon in taste as in the aroma. Some chocolate notes. Very thin body with low carbonation. Seems like something is wrong with this beer/bottle.

Overall pretty pedestrian for a sought after barrel aged stout.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2011 08:22:15 | More by tewaris
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber from Ryan011235, poured into an oversized snifter at cellar temperature. Borrowing comments from my review of the regular Blackout for comparison.

Blackout: A modest head and even more modest lacing. Body is a deepish brown; porter would have been my style guess just based on looks.
BA Blackout: No change here.

Blackout: The nose is full of rich roasted malts and milk chocolate, with hints of mixed berries.
BA Blackout: This version is certainly boozier, with plenty of oak and whiskey in the mix. The roast seems to have disappeared; only the chocolate and berry aromas remain from the base beer. Different, but not necessarily better.

Blackout: The berry flavor becomes quite pronounced as it warms up, and some molasses joins in with the chocolate to make for a rather sweet and tangy stout. It's just roasted enough to keep all that stuff under control. Some leafy bitterness and fresh coffee midswallow.
BA Blackout: Roast and coffee are mere afterthoughts in this version. Berry, chocolate and molasses remain. Paired up with the sweet oak and whiskey, this makes for a veeeery slow sipper. It's not over-the-top sweet, but it becomes a bit of a chore after a certain point. (Important distinction: not a make-your-fillings ache drainpour a la the unholy trinity of Dark Lord, WWS and Creme Brulee.)

Blackout: The lingering warming alcohol is not at all out of place. Lack of fullness is a minor quibble. Some additional dark malts and upping the viscosity a notch would really take it to the next level.
BA Blackout: Pretty much the same story. It's certainly boozier, but appropriately so.

Overall impression, Blackout: Pretty good stuff here. I'm looking forward to the barrel-aged version I've got queued up in the beer fridge.
Overall impression, BA Blackout: Doesn't measure up to the regular version. It seems to me that drier, roastier stouts are the ones that respond best to barrel aging. Perhaps this one will age gracefully, but I won't seek it out again. Fans of sweeter stouts should definitely check it out, though.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 02:09:36 | More by PDXHops
Photo of bishopdc0
bishopdc0

Maine

3.11/5  rDev -29%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2013 02:28:30 | More by bishopdc0
Photo of mentor
mentor

Colorado

3.35/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Fresh 2008 Batch (well, 2 months old). Pours a finger of dark brown head over a pitch liquid. Smells coffee roasty, flat oak, tannic, mild vanilla, some chocolate. Smells very dry and dominated by oak.

Tastes wet to start with alcohol and cherry-like tang biting in a way that cooperates with the drying edgy bourbon oak. Baker's chocolate, fig newton, iron, and onion underneath the dominant alcohol and oak. Leaves the tongue dry and a lingering rough alochol bite with chocolate edge. Meraganue aftertaste. Alcohol curts the mouthfeel to thin, but some dextrine plays on the tongue when swirled. Moderate carbonation. Bourbon County Stout Light. Very similar barrel and alcohol profile, but not the malt sweet and thick mouthfeel found in one of my favorites. Needs *alot* of time in the cellar for this one to pull together.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2008 09:08:17 | More by mentor
Photo of MusicaleMike
MusicaleMike

Pennsylvania

3.39/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pouring this to celebrate the end of my local blackout! Thank god that's over...
BA Blackout pours with a deep brown body, about cola colored. A modest tan head rises about only a half inch thick with moderate head retention. Nothing impressive about its appearance for an imperial stout.

However, in the aroma I find much to be impressed with! I smell raisins, dates, boozy alcohol, oak, leather, drunken cherries, chocolate, and soy sauce. Nothing really dominates here, but it's rather well-balanced. It's a rich aroma for sure, and it promises a complex palate.

Up front, this full bodied beer has a booziness on the roof of the mouth. The flavor is a mix of oak, whisky, fruitiness, cocoa, and finally, espresso on the finish. Carbonation is medium, with a mildly bitter hop finish. It's definitely on the lighter side of the spectrum for the style.

One could call this a "drinkable" Imperial Stout, because the abv, while high, is still under 10%. The body is not viscous, and the booziness is mostly contained. It's not the best example of a barrel-aged impy stout. It's not the worst either. It's somewhere in the middle.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 06:46:33 | More by MusicaleMike
Photo of babyhobbes
babyhobbes

Ohio

3.43/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2007 20:38:16 | More by babyhobbes
Photo of goblue3509
goblue3509

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown almost black color with a thin slight off white head and almost no lacing at all. The aroma is of vanilla, oak, and bourbon notes, with a slight hint of dark fruts present. The taste has a roasted malt backbone with hints of vanilla, chocolate, and oak, also the bourbon alcohol flavor really comes through at the end of the drink. The mouthfeel is low carbonation a little slick and slightly creamy. The drinkability is about average, the bourbon alcohol flavor is not as enjoyable as other ris's. The taste didn't seem as balanced as others.

Serving type: on-tap

09-12-2010 14:20:13 | More by goblue3509
Photo of Arbitrator
Arbitrator

California

3.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bomber into a glass. 2010 vintage courtesy of boatshoes.

Previous review of the 2009: 4.8 / A+ (my highest barrel-aged RIS score at the time of this writing). I LOVED the '09 vintage and traded for a bunch of the '10s.

~~~

A: Pours a nearly opaque, ruddy brown body (translucent at the edges and murky brownish-black in the center). Some tan head, but not much retention or lacing.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, anise, vanilla, caramel, oak. Not much coffee. I liked the pronounced caramel of last year's and am disappointed to see it reduced this time. Still a good nose, but it's less pungent than I remember. Substantial booze, bordering on nail-polish remover. I'm not happy with this year's nose.

T: Bourbon, chocolate, raisins, and anise are the strongest flavors, in order. Bourbon isn't overwhelming. It pairs well with vanilla and chocolate in the mid-taste. The vanilla tastes artificial. Some caramel and roast, with tannic astringency in the finish. A nuanced flavor, but I'm disappointed that the caramel is lessened and the oak is brought out more in this year's batch. And, as mentioned above, it's somewhat hot.

M: Medium-bodied, but creamy. Last year's wasn't a hefty beer, either, but this one seems drier and less expressive in flavor. It also has a mild heat to it, which becomes amplified by the lack of sugars to cover it up.

D: I'm a little disappointed by this year's release. I had multiple bottles of the '09, including one as recently as two months ago, so it's not an embellished memory in my head. This year's changed, and it's not as synchronized to my palate as last year's was. It's still a good beer, just not a great one. I seem to be the most apologetic about it, as a bottle split 3 ways left more than 16 oz in the bottle. This one really didn't win over our tasting group as much as last year's.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 06:38:58 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of Treebs
Treebs

Illinois

3.51/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle served in Westbrook snifter. 2012/2013 bottle.

A: Pours a semi-translucent black color with some dark ruby edges. A light khaki head forms on the pour and recedes quickly to a thin ring. No real lace.

S: Bourbon up front with some toasted coconut and a little vanilla. Smooth oak barrel with some rich chocolate notes, fudge and a little roasted malts.

T: Light chocolate with minimal bourbon. Oaky with light vanilla and some odd residual heat on the back end. Light roast as well.

M: Very thin bodied, but the finish is smooth. Medium high carbonation as well.

O: This was alright, but I'm just not a fan of this beer or the base. It's too thin to begin with and the barrel aging thins this out even more and the base gets kind of lost.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2013 00:39:06 | More by Treebs
Photo of tjthresh
tjthresh

Indiana

3.53/5  rDev -19.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 18:17:35 | More by tjthresh
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

3.53/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured deep brown with a light tan cap

S: Faded bourbon, light cocoa, roasted malt and booze

T: Immediate faded bourbon, hints of vanilla, minute cocoa with tobacco and old wood. Booze was noticable but faded

M: Big body overall but I felt it was a bit thin on the way down

O: Good overall, nice drinking RIS but was looking for a bit more taste, heartiness and complexity.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 15:11:26 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.53/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Currently rated #95 on the top 250 beers list. Acquired for $13.00 (I know...) at a local SoCal bottle shop and served into a flared stem-snifter/tulip hybrid glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given its current ratings as well as my previous good experiences with beers from this brewery. Bottle is 12 fl oz, brown glass, and has a branded "25 years" pry-off cap. Reviewed as a barrel aged imperial stout because it identifies as such on the label. Bottled in 2013. 9.5% ABV confirmed.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of nice khaki colour. Way too thin, though. Not much creaminess either. Little froth. Looks a bit like a cask ale (and I mean that in a bad way). Retention is okay; it reduces to a floater ring within 40 seconds and the ring hangs around an additional minute and a half. Not a great head for the style, but not a bad one per se. Just a bit underwhelming.

Body colour is an opaque jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Overall, it's pretty par for the course as far as barrel aged imperial stouts are concerned. Looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Milk chocolate, chocolate malt, vanilla (but not evocative vanilla bean, more vanilla from bourbon), a hint of molasses, buried roast, and more sweet chocolate notes. Not getting any of the toasty oak I look for in the best of the best barrel aged stouts. The bourbon is surprisingly buried as well, which may be a good sign in that it's subtly complementary of the base beer, or may be a bad sign in that it doesn't commit to the barrel notes. Tasting will reveal all.

No off flavours are overtly obvious. No yeast or hop character is detectable, nor is any alcohol. By no means a boozy or hot aroma. I look for coffee, but don't find any. Likewise for dark fruit.

It does seem a bit too sweet for my tastes based solely on the aroma.

Overall, it's an appealing aroma of fairly high strength.

T: Caramel, dark malts, and chocolate malts fill out the overly sweet body, with some lurking chocolate-covered cherry notes hiding beneath the surface. Vanilla lends still more sweetness, and it isn't particularly welcome. No toasty oak, interesting woody barrel notes, or coffee here. Lacks roast - to its detriment. Some licorice and molasses. A bit of heat hits on the climax and stays through the finish, accompanying the one-dimensional bourbon character. Overall, it's rather narrow for the style; it doesn't have the diversity and depth of flavour that great beers in the style do. The balance is imperfect as well, with too much sweetness coming through as well as a bit of alcohol. I wouldn't call it simple, but it lacks the complexity of better barrel aged imperial stouts. Certainly not a subtle beer either.

As it warms, the third act takes on more bourbon and the vanilla evens out a bit, accompanied by a bit of cocoa dust. I like it warmer. I think the bourbon accentuates the base beer, but it's by no means a perfect marriage.

Flavour intensity is high. Flavour duration is above average. Pretty good amplitude.

No off-flavours, yeast, or hop character comes through. I don't get any charred or burnt qualities either.

Mf: Heavy on the palate, but not overbearing. Filling, sticky, chewy. Thick and full-bodied. Just a touch syrupy. It's a big beer, that's for sure. The mouthfeel complements the flavour profile nicely, but it does get a bit thin right on the finish - which is also where the beer works best. Not an ideal execution of texture for the style, but respectable given the beer's aims. More roasted character (perhaps ideally featuring some rich coffee roast as well) would lend the beer needed subtle coarseness and dryness; it's slick-smooth and wet as is, which doesn't really suit it best. I do like the softness. Unrefreshing. Not harsh, oily, or gushed.

Dr: A tasty little imperial stout from a brewery I really admire. I like it, but top 100? Undeserved. I wouldn't buy it again at this price point, but it is good stuff. There are far better beers in the style well below its price. Recommended for fans of sweeter takes on the style. I'm looking forward to trying the regular blackout. Drinkable for the ABV, but it's still a sipper.

I'd like to revisit this with some age on it; I think a good two years would suit it nicely. Another solid brew from Great Lakes - just not a world-class one.

Low B

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 03:56:06 | More by kojevergas
Photo of kk73
kk73

Hawaii

3.55/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into my glass. 2009 vintage.

A - Pours black with tiny off white foam cap. Not even a fingers worth of head. Doesn't pour as thick as I would usually like my stouts. Some lacing.

S - Lots of bourbon, wood, oak, vanilla, some faint roasted or charred barrel(if thats even possible).

T - Wow, just didnt think it was as good as all the reviews Ive read. Still good, I just think I would rather have a bottle of KBS instead. Taste pretty much follows the nose, maybe to my taste buds the bourbon is not as well integrated in this beer as I would hope. I get lots of bourbon, wood, and oak. I dont get that viscous, roasted flavor I like in stouts.

M - A bit thin, and a little undercarbonated for me. Not as smooth or chewy, imo, as I like in an RIS.

D - A nice beer, and my first I believe from Great Lakes. Maybe I should try to get my hands on a 2010 version and see if it differs. One bomber was more than enough for me in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 08:07:16 | More by kk73
Photo of sisuspeed
sisuspeed

New Hampshire

3.55/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to spycow for the bottle!

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip. A big black body with a thin, light-tan head. Leaves a few suds behind as lacing. Could use a little more color in the head for a RIS.

The aroma is filled with sweet, slightly spicy bourbon and dark malts. Milk chocolate and a little bit of alcohol. Hint of vanilla. Good, but somewhat one-dimensional compared to other BA stouts.

Milk chocolate, dark roasted malt, bourbon oak and alcohol on the finish. All the components are here, but it's almost kind of bland and there is too much alcohol in the taste, especially on the finish.

Smooth and milky with low carbonation. Too much alcohol burn on the finish for a 9.5% stout. I've had many stouts above 10% where the ABV is not this noticeable.

Overall, BA Blackout comes across as a fairly average BA RIS. Nothing here really makes me want to come back to the glass and the ABV is not enjoyable. I wasn't a fan of the regular Blackout stout, so maybe it's not a surprise that I'm not a huge fan of this one. Maybe other vintages have been better, but this most recent release is not worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 22:45:47 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle # 142/900; Vintage 2006; Sampled December 2007
Minimally carbonated, a slightly vigorous pour produces only a scant, quarter-finger thick, light brown colored head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring. The beer is an opaque, deep, black, brownish tinged color. The aroma is fairly oak focused as this is the first thing that I notice; spicy oak, a bit of buttery oak and a touch of vanillin are noticeable in that order as far as magnitude as well. It is actually pretty hard to notice any of the other notes underneath the oak; perhaps a touch of burnt cherry aromatics and some toasted-burnt grain. After the beer has warmed a bit and I hae revisited the nose, I can now pick out flavors of molasses, but the aroma is still way more oak dominated that I would wish.

Starts out a bit thin, but picks up some heft pretty quickly and in fact coats the mouth enough to be noticed as this lingers on through to the finish. Still this is not really heavy for an Imperial Stout, but is by no means light either. The light carbonation probably adds a bit to the perceived thinness. The finish has an interesting, toasted / roasted flavor which brings out a distinct nuttiness akin to a super Nut-Brown Ale. The flavor is not nearly as oak driven as the nose is, in fact the flavors the oak adds contribute a nice supporting character to the brew. Flavors of burnt cherries, blackened raisin, strong black coffee or slightly watered-down espresso, chocolate extract and blackened whole grain toast round out the malt contributed notes. The oak adds / contributes to flavors of rum, vanillin, burnt toffee, a touch of butterscotch and some bourbon-like flavors (really a mix of the alcohol and the previous three mentioned flavors). As the beer warms a bit the alcohol and spicy oak notes add something similar to the flavors found in cola; something sort of akin to clove, cardamom and molasses.

Somehow this beer is strangely thin; I would like it to be a bit more full, textured and rich. This does have enough complexity though to keep it interesting. This really needs to be served on the warm side of cool (no where near the 45°F mentioned on the bottle); somewhere north of 60°F / 16°C should do it; at this temperature it picks up a bit more fullness and perhaps a touch more round, malt flavors to help balance things out. Compared to the regular version though, this beer is really missing a lot of malt character & complexity; seems some how heavily filtered (which can actually mechanically happen inside a barrel) and stripped down. Not bad, just not the beer it was originally.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 03:45:10 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of writerLJBerg
writerLJBerg

Oregon

3.6/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle from Exitmusic00. Thanks! 2012 vintage.

A: Inky black/ a shade over mahogany. A rim of fizzing light mocha head. Light on the legs.

N: Chocolate, molasses, caramel, and loads of vanilla. Honey and brown sugar. This is a very sweet nose, but it's not cloying. A little bit of black licorice is about as bitter as it gets.

T: Dark chocolate, caramel, and more vanilla. There's some ground coffee bits and licorice. Oak and a hefty bitterness. Some honey.

M: Heavily carbonated and a bit lighter than I'd prefer.

O: A well balanced stout that doesn't blow me away. It seems to have lost a little bit of what makes bourbon and Imperial stouts great. I blame a lot of that on the lack of heft in the beer. Still, you won't go too wrong with it.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 02:49:39 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of rayjay
rayjay

Hawaii

3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Viscous looking black beer without significant carbonation or foam. Tiny islands of foam do persist though.

Lots of whiskey on the nose, a bit distracting. Smells like Canadian whiskey. Lots of sweet malts too, masking the roasted malts.

Very smooth and sweet, leading more to the Canadian whiskey parallel. Reminds me of a Dr Pepper and Canadian whiskey drink. Not a malt sweetness, more of a syrup-type sweetness, definitely bogarting the spotlight a bit. Roasted malts and hop bitterness are noticeable, but you have to look for them. I detect a lot more carmel malt than I remember being in the regular version (which I love). No heat at all, but gives you whiskey fume breath with every sip. I wish the wood was more up front.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery, guess I was expecting a heavier mouthfeel. Still pretty good. Carbonation is low. Smooth, but not the velvet mouthfeel type. More like whiskey drink on ice smooth.

Definitely drinkable, although drinking a bomber solo is a challenge. A good beer worth seeking out, but a bit of a let-down based on other reviews. I just really think the liquor is too dominant and distracting. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2009 04:05:15 | More by rayjay
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got bottles of this one from TJBurgess and Masterski in trades a while back. Thanks a lot guys!

From a bomber into snifter.
Vintage: 2009
Note: Drunk right after the base beer.

APPEARANCE: Same as the base beer. Completely transparent pour produces a small, medium-looking tan head that quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Lousy retention. Dark brown body, transparent, with zero carbonation evident. A ring remains and leaves some lacing dots down the glass. Way too thin and transparent a body, with relatively lousy head retention.

SMELL: A mellow nose on this one. Some oak and bourbon with notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Very little of the base beer at all, and the barrel aromas have mellowed quite a bit. A little boring at this point.

TASTE: This is more like it. Very nice stuff. Some roasted malts make their way through from the get go, then a wave of bourbon barrel takes center stage. Lots of nice bourbon, oak, vanilla and milk chocolate from the barrels through the mid palate into the finish. A bolder and lingering aftertaste of barrel notes, some roasted malts and dark chocolate from the base beer, and a touch of bitterness. Milder flavors overall, but much bolder and more impressive than the nose had advertised, and it’s very well balanced, with the base beer and the barrels blending well together.

PALATE: Same feel as the base beer for the most part. Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth enough and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A slightly sticker finish than the base, but the same average body.

OVERALL: I’ve never had this beer fresh, but at this point, the ’09 vintage has probably mellowed out as much as anyone would want. The nose has probably started to tail off, but the flavors are still bold enough to showcase how well everything has blended and come together. If you’ve got a bottle this old, do something with it, as it’s probably not going to get any better. A very nice balance between barrel and base beer on this one, which we can’t say about every bourbon barrel stout. This one still suffers from a thin body and average feel, but otherwise, it is an enjoyable beer for sure. Thanks again for the trades guys!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 13:34:33 | More by Jeffo
Photo of TheBrewo
TheBrewo

Michigan

3.66/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

We pour a brew a color completely deserving of the name “Blackout”. It sits oily and jet black, letting zero light through its center. It holds a one finger head of big coffee colored bubbles, showing decent retention, and receding at a medium pace into a big aggregate covering most of the liquid’s surface. Punctate spots of lacing stick all around the glass. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears relatively active. The aroma gives massive bourbon from the very first whiff, mixing with warming and drying oakiness, milk chocolate nibs, thickly roasted chocolate and brown malts, sweet vanilla cake icing, ethanolic sting, and black cherries. With warmth comes enhanced char, whisky burn, and melted milk chocolate. Our first impression is that the flavoring is very robust, charred, and much more booze-forward than expected. As we sip, the taste opens with the darkest roasted coffee and chocolate malts that give smoke and charcoal, soured acidity, and inherent grainy sweetness. The remainder of the front is filled by dried oaky woodiness, moss, those aromatic, syrupy dark cherries, and white sugar sweetness. The middle comes to a peak with the union of bone chilling booziness, rock salt, and hugely soured char of fire-ruined malts. Pulling to the finish are notes of authentic bourbon heat, rumbles of charred coffee beans, those continuous flashes of white sugars, roasted chocolate malts, rotten molasses, and green grassiness. The aftertaste breathes of bready malts, rum soaked fruitcake, bourbon, charred coffee and chocolate malts, soy sauce, baker’s yeast, and drying wood barreling. The body is full, and the carbonation is lighter. The mouth is coated with oily slickness and sugary stickiness is brushed across the lips, with the booze and burnt malts eventually sucking much of the moisture from the palate. Each sip gives nice slurp, smack, pop, and froth, with slightly lesser creaminess. The abv is appropriate but warming, and the beer is definitely a slow sipper.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the huge, warming, and inviting nose. While this component of the beer approaches comparability to the top of the heap beers like Bourbon County, the taste strays a bit, focusing much more on the outright presence of booze, and seeing how roasty and charred we could go with the malts. This swings things out of that perfect balance, with loss of necessary sweetness, and what are essentially burnt malts. Sadly this beer marks the rare case where the standard base beer is considerably smoother than the barrel aged version. That being said, this guy sips wells, is certainly palatable, and is a treat for any enthusiast.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 00:45:39 | More by TheBrewo
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dukedevil0

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this 2009 release bomber from a nice new trader shrxxm216, thanks brett!

A: Pours a dark black color though slightly thin with a slow arriving khaki colored one finger head that reduces down to just a tiny rim and not really any lacing.

S: Smells awesome, like a triple chocolate cookie, milk and dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, oak, even some nutmeg, tobacco

T: Tastes similar to the smell, but not nearly as pleasant - lots of chocolate both milk and dark, roasted malts, but less vanilla, oak, tobacco flavors - a slight boozy taste...this really just tastes like a mess of flavor

M: This is my biggest disappointment with this beer and maybe it would be better on tap, but it's so much thinner than I would ever want a top notch imperial stout to be. This is close porter territory for me. I'm guessing that barrel aging thinned it out some. The carbonation is so low that this is almost like a cask ale.

D: It doesn't really feel like a BIG beer, but there is a slight alcohol flavor and it just doesn't hold up to my expectations for flavor and mouthfeel

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2009 00:49:56 | More by dukedevil0
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coreyfmcdonald

Georgia

3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark, dark brown, a shade away from pitch black.  A finger of khaki foam forms with strong retention.

S: Strong, sweet bourbon is very prominent with milk chocolate and caramel sweetness to accompany.  Roasted malts and slight coffee are certainly in the background, but they help to balance the sweetness a bit.  

T: Again, sweet bourbon is extremely strong, a bit too strong for my taste.  Sweet caramel is also present, though not as strong as in the aroma.  Dark chocolate and very light roasted malts are in the background.  The booze is quite strong and distracting.

M: Relatively thick and creamy.

O: While certainly not bad, this beer is quite boozy and the bourbon is in your face.  I also wish there was more roasted malt and dark chocolate present. Maybe I'll wait a year and re-review.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 00:03:42 | More by coreyfmcdonald
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dcloeren

Texas

3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown/mahogany with ruby red edges. Produced a finger of cinnamon colored head that quickly disappeared into the "blackout".

The nose is a little softer than I would like but still quite nice. Chocolate, a touch of bourbon but not nearly enough... vanilla bean on the end.

The taste follows the nose and is a little more bourbon forward... still, I wish that it would have more of a bite but they have taken the bit out and have left this beer with the more caramelized version of what the bourbon would be like without the heat...

The body is light for a RIS but has a very appropriate amount of carbonation. Very easy drinking and I am just now realizing this while I'm typing this but my glass is almost empty.

Overall, this was a delightful BBA stout but by no means was it top notch. It is lacking in the body more so than anything but it is definitely one of the softest BBA stouts I have had. Take this for what you want but while this was a good beer, I was not impressed.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2012 02:09:53 | More by dcloeren
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jrallen34

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ethan for bringing this over to our pre On Photon tasting...2010 bottle drank into an Orval glass...Dark brown pour with a disappointing lack of carbonation, a light tan head is there for a second then gone...The aroma is full of peat on the front, and just incredibly sweet, molasses with sugar, no depth...The taste is also sweet but a typical barrel aged sweetness of bourbon or vanilla, just sugary sweet. You can't even tell this is barrel aged except for a slight wood finish. A little roasty helps the boringness.

I was really excited to try this but came away disappointed. I had the 09 on tap and it was much better. Would like to try to more to see if 10 just sucks or its just better on tap. This is an above average RIS but a below average BA RIS, doesn't add anything to the beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 18:39:29 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 1/1611

2516 Series

Pours a cola brown that settles dark. When held to the light it reveals deep hues of ruby; similar to grape juice in that respect. One and a half fingers of loose, tan colored foam that immediately began to fizzle out from the inside. Thin skim of retention. Good lace.

Though it doesn't smell bad, the nose seems of the timid order. Musty oak & soft vanilla permeate an otherwise restrained base beer. Hints of earthy hops in the mid-section. Moderate roasted notes lie beyond with subtle undertones of chocolate, coffee & a tangy twinge. No booze.

One sip brings an array of clustered, disheveled flavors all clamoring for attention. Let's see if I can make some sense of the madness. The base beer is in good standing, offering familiar notes of smooth, roasted chocolate, modest earthy hops & hints of coffee. Possibly the barrel is what's muddying up the mix; what with charred oak & sweet whiskey heat that carries the finish. The stout & the barrel are uncomfortable bedfellows in this instance. The culmination is too sweet.

Full bodied & appropriately viscous with gritty underpinnings. Moderate carbonation for the style; has a bit of a kick but isn't too prickly or brash. Finishes hot & slick with barrel & roasted chocolate at odds once again.

Honestly, I am a bit bummed with this one; it's sorely lacking integration, in my opinion. This is the first time I've had this beer so I have no prior vintage by which to compare. Perhaps some time will put it at ease; then again, perhaps not. As is, it's good but far from great.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 00:55:16 | More by Ryan011235
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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,145 ratings.