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

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

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,628 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,628
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 1,330
Gots: 333 | FT: 37
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: 1,628 | Reviews: 406
Photo of EgadBananas
4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks for the hookup John!

Appearance: midnight black, mildly viscus, meager near finger brown head, fast dissipation.

Aroma: toasty oak, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, woodsy char, subtle coffee, light fusel notes, toffee.

Taste: milk chocolate, fainter coffee, slight booze, roasted wood, vanilla, nouget, bourbon-y caramel.

***Great balance, not too daunting, but the 12oz is perfect. The barrel takes away from the great coffee notes in the regular version, but I'd call it a fair trade off. Good drinkability, and a BA stout that can stand up with the best. $7 is a great value for this stout.

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle sent via trade. Opened 2.17.13
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BDeYeW3CEAE4W9V.jpg

A: Pours black as night with very little tan head. Some alcohol legs present.

S: Huge chocolate aroma up front, wasn't expecting that. Some coffee sandwiched in there with the barrel backing it up. Huge Chocolate and barrel. Just a fantastic smelling beer.

T: Packs a chocolate punch. Chocolate, with wood from the barrel. Some coffee bitterness on the finish. Some bourbon in there as well.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, some alcohol burn with a slight bitter (coffee) finish. Little sweet sticky-ness coats the mouth on the finish.

O: Wow, beer of the year so far. Really surprised me, esp since GL doesn't have a big barrel program. Only disappointing aspect is that I only have 3 more left from my 4 pack.

Photo of MudDrinker
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Jet black with skinny brown head.

Smell - Bourbon, butterscotch, chocolate and caramel.

Taste - Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. Dry honey, butterscotch, vanilla, dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and lots of caramel and toffee sweetening the burn. As to be expected with bourbon, plenty of alcohol present in the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied. Sticky, a little syrupy. Bourbon burn is present throughout.

Overall - This stuff is pretty amazing, but I can really only take one a night. It's kind of like a bourbon & caramel ice cream shake with a looootttt of bourbon.

I like it!

A completely different beast from Blackout Stout (which is still a great beer).

Photo of ONUMello
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 edition, poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass
A: Black color with a 1/2-finger tan head that settles to a thin film
S: WOW. Tons of dark chocolate up front, some coffee, roasted malt, cream, a touch of hops. Mostly though it's just rich creamy hot chocolate (except the beer is cellar temp). I could smell this all day
T: Here the bourbon comes through much more than the nose, along with chocolate, coffee, & rich malt. A touch of heat right up front that smooths out as the palate develops
M: Rich, creamy, a hint of heat as mentioned in the taste
O: I know lots of Great Lakes' lighter beers are well loved, but between this & the Edmund Fitzgerald porter, I think dark beers are where they truly shine. $8 for a 12oz bottle seems a bit steep until you step back & look at what many restaurants are charging for BMC; I would happily buy more of this for that price. As the release tasting event showed, this beer ages like a champ so pop one now but set a few aside for a few years.

Photo of Sulkanator
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly the best beer that I have ever had. And I have had a LOT of quality beer in my 43 years. This beer is perfection in a bottle. I honestly do not know how another beer can ever eclipse the superb taste of this beer. At $30 a 4 pack though it isn't cheap. And if you are fortunate enough to have it on tap for the brief period of time it is available, you'd willingly pay more than $8 a beer for this gem.

Photo of HotHands
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the Jan 2013 release, fresh from the brewery.

A - jet black. Small tan head.

S - chocolate and coffee overwhelmed by boozy bourbon.

T - Taste follows the nose. Strong charred bourbon flavor. Sweet but definitely not too much - it starts off a bit sweet and then the bourbon-hop punch whisks it away. A chocolate finish similar to Brooklyn BCS. Bourbon lingers for a long time.

M - In my opinion, the right consistency for an imperial stout, not too thick, well balanced.

Overall - an already solid stout that is very well complemented by the bourbon. A good balance of flavors shows that the brewers really know what they're doing with this barrel-aged stout.

Photo of jvillefan
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Jet black with a quickly dissipating white head.

S: Bourbon is the first thing smelled in this beer. There is deeply roasted malts I the background of this beer.

T: There is one of the best balances between bourbon, dark malts, and chocolate that I've ever had.

M: Very viscous with a decent carbonation.

O: Get this beer at least once. This beer should be the bench mark for elite stouts.

Photo of popery
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From notes, 8/22/10. 2006 vintage. Pours black with just a few bubbles on top that dissipate pretty quickly. Didn't expect much appearance-wise, anyway. Excellent barrel-aged stout. Very smooth feel. Some well-blended oxidation really added a nice aged flavor. Great bourbon aroma with a big chocolate and roasted malt flavor. The whole thing was blended into a velvety soft package. Some light vanilla and oak around the edges. Very little alcohol burn, at least at this point. Great beer.

Photo of warrenout330
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle pour, 28oz snifter for pleasure

A- pours a pitch black color, 1 finger thick tan colored head... sticky lacing to my snifter....

S- smooth milk chocolate, faint coffee, boozy hot Bourbon, soft vanilla wood

T- smooth chocolate, milky taste, boozy Bourbon, sweet vanilla, woody undertones... slight roasted coffee

M- a tad slick and oily, slight water mouth feel, thinner than I imagine which brings this to point ... hot Bourbon booze on the tongue.... numbing sensation on the tongue

O- my first experience with this beer and event ... this has caught me off guard and opened a path for this style and following ... but lacks in the feel for a full body...will keep a few but I'm looking for ptfbba with these extras

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting to try this for a while now. Traded for a few bottles and finally popped open a 2012 BA Blackout on 19 Jan 2013. No disappointment here:
A: looked a bit thin and lighter than I expected, but still poured a nice deep, dark brown with a quickly dissipating head.
S: smelled really nice, slight hints of bourbon on that classic blackout sweetness.
T: very nice, bourbon notes, alcohol is hidden very well behind sweet flavors of vanilla and syrup.
M: extremely smooth for a big caliber barrel aged stout!
O: exceeded expectations, as good as I expected....can't wait to drink another one!!

Photo of vonnegut21
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep black with minimal head.

S: Nice barrel character, toasted malt, chocolate, Hints of vanilla and caramel. An excellent tasting beer.

T: Vanilla, caramel, bourbon and baker's chocolate. Mild roasted malt and slight hop bitterness. Very mild flavor profile for a barrel aged beer.

M: Mild carbonation, and a bit thin honestly. I'd like a little more body in my barrel aged stout.

O: A pretty nice barrel aged stout. Definitely worth seeking out, but not up there with the elite BA stouts out there.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thin on the glass.

S: The aroma contains dark fruit, licorice, roasted malts and chocolate.

T: The taste starts with a hearty roasted malt character that is quickly followed by a good combination of flavors including chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and licorice. The hops presence is extremely mild but is exactly where it should be for this type of beer to provide a good balance. There is a bit of an alcohol sting combined with the barrel-aging essence. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

O: Tasty with good complexity, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a very good beer to sip on for a very long time.

Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to silverX for this gem.

A - poured into a sweetH2O tulip black as night with a thin tan head. Very nice lacing remains and the liquid looks quite bold.

S - good amount of fig with dark chocolate and a pitch of booze. Slight sweet caramel comes in with a faint buttery scent that makes my mouth water.

T - dark chocolate, fig and hints of coffee in there but not too heavy a all. No if booze intake which doesn't surprise me since its below 10%. Sight malty character to it as well bu only after a few sips for me.

M - very soothing but not too thick or thin for that matter. Just perfectly in the middle.

O - a great stout. I would love to get more of these.

Photo of nlmartin
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dam I wish I remembered who traded this bottle to me. Anyhow thanks!

The beer was chilled and set out on the counter for about 20 minutes to warm up enough for consumption. The beer was served in a snifter.

A- The body of the beer is inky black. A thin burnt tan head rides the blackness. Scattering of lacing marks this beers rapid passage from my glass.

S- The aroma of the beer is very bourbon forward. Pleanty of vanilla, molasis dark roasted malts cocoa, dark chocolate, coffee, and yes I am getting figs and dates.

T Again very bourbon forward, lots of vanilla, molasis, dark cocoa, milk chocolate, fudge, brownies, brown sugar. It reminds me of bourbon balls. Very sweet but nicely balanced against the roast.

M- The body of the beer is moderate with gentle carbonation. A pleasant bourbon heat permeates the beer. If the body was a bit thicker this would bump another point.

O- This beer was an excellent bourbon barrel treatment of an already great beer. Very nicely executed.

Photo of Luk13
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to sarro. Pitch black with light off white head. Aroma of coffee, powdered chocolate, vanilla and smoke. Taste is bittersweet chocolate, coffee and rich crunchy cereal. A very nice layered and balanced imperial stout that benefits from barrel aging without being overdone.

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

22oz bottle from 2009.

Pours opaque black with a thin, quickly dissapating head of tan. A thin bead of foam remains for the duration with zero lacing.

Bourbon, char, bakers chocolate, and coffee start the nose. Hints of vanilla and Kahlua follow through.

Full bodied with a slightly oily mouthfeel. Not as thick and chewy as some of todays big RIS's.

Dark chocolate drizzled with bourbon and coffee dust on the palate. Boozy and rich with hints of smoke and vanilla.

Finishes with a bourbony warmth and charred chocolate.

A nicely balanced BA RIS, but thinner and less instense than the best examples of the style.

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

Look: black as night with a 1/4 inch tan head and ok retention some film on the top with some spotty dots of lace

Smell: right away the bourbon greets you and that is then followed up by some chocolate fudge some slight coffee notes and finishes with a nice vanilla sweetness

Taste: much the same as the nose but it follows a slightly different pattern. Upfront is the chocolate brownie and roasted coffee flavors. That is followed up by some oak and vanilla and then the beer finishes with a splash of bourbon. Fantastic

Mouthfeel. Thick body and mild carbonation

Overall. This is an exceptional BA stout one of my favorite fresh. Highly recommended

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of Auslander pours a rick black color with a moderate cap of tan head. Retention is decent and just a little lace.

Nose is outstanding! Lots of wood, unsweetened chocolate and vanilla. Damn near perfect...not too sweet, a great balance of stout and barrel.

This is my first Barrel Aged Blackout and it is much better than the regular version, which is a pretty good beer in its own right...my point is this is one of the most improved barrel treatments to a beer I have had in quite some time. The vanilla is so rich, I would have guessed it was a vanilla infused stout if had blind. Not too fruity and the chocolate is bold. Its not too boozy, not over-the-top sweet and has great flow. Mouthfeel is not overly thick, but it is adequate and the carbonation is supple and smooth. This is a great beer, one of the most impressive I have had in awhile, thanks Auslander!

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - The body is black, but the pour belies transparency. Deep brown it would seem. Just-shy-of-mocha head. A hefty collar remains.

Smell - Bourbon smacks you around a bit. After my nostrils regain their balance, vanilla is the strongest flavor. Roasted malts all about, mostly coffee. Nice.

Taste - At first, I was a little let down. It's a ton of bourbon compared to the stout. After a few sips, though, it really shines with its depth of flavors. The bourbon is strong at first, surely, but vanilla is the persisting flavor that continues into a coffee roast. Midrange yields and chocolatey flavor that lingers into a dark fruit and touch of earthiness. I was tempted to give it a 5 for flavor.

Mouthfeel - And here is it's downfall from greatness. It's still a pretty thin stout. Well, not thin, but definitely not chewy enough for the barrel intensity. It's hot from the barrel and nearly drowned out.

Overall - Only on close inspection is this a really great beer. I would be hard pressed to admit this is better than the original, as the barrel masks a great deal of the beer's qualities. Nonetheless, I am a sucker for bourbon and its barrels. Well done.

Photo of cfrances33
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to clegolfski, poured into a Hill Farmstead stem. 2012 vintage.

Pour: Completely pitch black with a half finger of tan head. Head manages to hang around even though it was relatively small, and leaves a decent amount of lacing. Body doesn't look super think, but this beer has some nice legs.

Smell: A nice combination of caramel, toffee, vanilla and dark fruits. Bourbon is in there, but in a very subdued, supporting role.

Taste: Oh my. This a delicious. Really nice chocolate and bourbon up front, that combines with the vanilla to form a distinct brownie character. Really holds onto milk chocolate goodness throughout the sip and lingers very well.

Mouthfeel: Another point where this beer particularly excels. Really smooth and velvety, with barely any burn. Chewy, but not in the dark fruit sort of way, and more in the brownie sort of way, following the taste.

Overall: An exceptional beer. I will absolutely be seeking more of this out.

Photo of tarheels86
3.74/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

651mL 2009 ed courtesy of beeranddogs. The pour is clear cola, not black, with ruby highlights. The beer is almost the opposite of normal Blackout in that you have to really coax a head out of this thing. Even swirling, pouring from ten stories high; the head is about a quarter inch of yellowish tan foam that has okay retention and leaves little swathy lace. I understand that barrel aged beers may have less carbonation and head retention, but after the beer is finished in the barrel, it gets put back into the brite tank for conditioning in the bottle. So it should have good retention and rise up healthily. But the pour is dismal, making it hard to get a big aroma out of the beer. The muted bourbon first comes across a bit oxidized, slight red apples, lots of cocoa butter, and marzipan. As it warms, the nose comes into play with big bourbon, coconut, vanilla. It is quite mellowed out but very apparent. The taste is thinning, a bit watery. Really lacks the richness and bitterness of normal Blackout. There is definitely milk chocolate, warming bourbon, slight oak, lots of vanilla and cream. But the body is not well integrated. Very little carbonation doesn’t help the mouthfeel and lack of bitterness makes the body rely on vanilla and bourbon with no drying oak, no spicy oak, no spicy alcohol even. Just sort of a sweet mess that is hard to fall in love with. 11/8/2010 8/3/7/4/15=3.7

Photo of kevanb
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage 12oz bottle, poured into a Goose Island Chalice

BA Blackout Stout has a very motor oil like consistency, extremely opaque, jet black color, hints of dark brown when held to the light. A TINY mocha colored head appears, tightly packed bubbles but it recedes straight away, leaving behind no lacing just a fine layer of film. The aroma is good, strong bourbon notes, dark bitter chocolate, sweet malt, charred wood, almost a hint of dark fruit, but alcohol really takes over at the end, loads of sweetness without much balance. The flavors are impeccable, great integration of bourbon, wood, chocolate and roast. Big notes of bourbon and wood jump out, smooth chocolate bridges the roasted coffee and malts together, very cohesive and well rounded, unfortunately, alcohol perseveres and lingers a bit too long for a 9.5% beer, mutes some of the subtleties and leaves a harsh feeling in the mouth. The body is certainly the highlight of this beer, spectacular texture, milky, creamy, full, robust, but most importantly, quaffable. Coats the mouth very well, adds so much to the finish, just a great creaminess that really helps the richness without diminishing the bitterness and roastiness.

Verdict: Wonderful stout from Great Lakes. Sad to see my last bottle go, but this has aged gracefully, I'd love to take a stab at keeping these in the cellar for more than 9 months, but temptation will likely get the best of me. The richness is spot on, great body, a well rounded and very pleasant barrel aged stout.

Photo of jegross2
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Score: 91

2012 vintage bottle ("2516 series") served in a tulip/snifter hybrid glass and enjoyed on 08/13/12. A big thanks to Nick for hooking me up with this bottle!

Appearance: Pours a thin film of tan head that quickly dissipates into a thin bubby tan ring around the glass. Poor lacing with oily cling and slightly below average retention. Black bodied with a strip of brown highlight at the top of the glass. 4/5

Smell: Lots of roasted coffee notes followed by milk and raw chocolate, mild bourbon notes and a little fig. As it warms, the bourbon aromas grow a little boozy. 4.25/5

Taste: Bourbon flavor upfront with a coffee twist followed by raisin/fig towards the finish. Creamy milk chocolate on the midpalate. There is tobacco flavor on the back half too. The beer has a boozy brown sugar flavor that turns to a caramel malt flavor in the aftertaste. Slight bourbon bite as the beer warms. My impression is that this is the kind of beer that is better aged than fresh. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, light carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. Slightly roasty and mildly bitter. 4/5

Overall: A little boozy, just like the base beer. My impression is that this is the kind of beer that is better aged than fresh. The barrel aging adds some nice complexity to an already solid base beer, but I felt that this one was a bit over-hyped overall. A beer I would seek out again? Absolutely. "Top 100" worthy? Not even close.

Recommendation: Nab a bottle of this if you like the base beer, but do not trade your cellar to acquire a bottle. I would recommend sitting on this vintage (2012) another 6 months if you have a bottle or two.

Pairings: Vanilla almond biscotti.

Cost: $26 for a four pack of 12 oz bottles ($7 if purchased individually).

Photo of jmarsh123
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,628 ratings.