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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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1,241 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,241
Reviews: 381
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 9.36%
Wants: 1,207
Gots: 270 | FT: 22
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: 1,241 | Reviews: 381 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dave122382


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

11-07-2012 02:23:28 | More by dave122382
Photo of kustard


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

05-18-2013 21:13:02 | More by kustard
Photo of Saudereth


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

04-07-2014 21:03:23 | More by Saudereth
Photo of brianlindman


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

12-31-2011 14:38:14 | More by brianlindman
Photo of goblue3509


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 damngoode


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

11-01-2013 16:27:13 | More by damngoode
Photo of Gushue3


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

03-08-2014 21:20:55 | More by Gushue3
Photo of Arbitrator


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 vissai


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

01-16-2012 21:12:31 | More by vissai
Photo of davesway10


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

07-11-2013 00:54:55 | More by davesway10
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3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

03-05-2014 16:00:24 | More by DeskLazer
Photo of bsuedekum


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

12-03-2011 13:45:54 | More by bsuedekum
Photo of uvm2003


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

05-21-2012 01:34:18 | More by uvm2003
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3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

04-15-2013 03:46:22 | More by ArchEnemyBrew
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3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

01-30-2014 23:03:43 | More by drummermattie02
Photo of mhammo129


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

02-04-2014 07:26:31 | More by mhammo129
Photo of beast464


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

01-25-2012 20:40:23 | More by beast464
Photo of Bartos


3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

03-26-2014 03:45:02 | More by Bartos
Photo of Treebs


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


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 kojevergas


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 barleywinefiend


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 kk73


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

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


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
Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,241 ratings.