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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

415 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 415
Hads: 1,750
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,366
Gots: 344 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

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: 415 | Hads: 1,750
Photo of Treebs
3.55/5  rDev -18%
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.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.71/5  rDev -14.3%
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.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours black with a thin light brown head. Leaves tons of soapy spots down the glass.

S: A good amount of bourbon right away, and it smells awesome. Brownie batter, toffee, caramel, some vanilla, barrel and some faint tobacco.

T: Opens on a pretty big roasted note, with some faint dark chocolate and astringent black coffee. Bourbon comes on strong on the finish and leaves a slightly hot, drying finish. A touch of peat and anise on the finish as well. There's a touch of sweetness in here, but it's beaten away pretty quickly by the darker, bolder flavors. A very tasty stout, but a bit much if you don't like them dark and nasty. Luckily, I do.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks nhindian!

A: The beer is pitch black with about a finger of light brown head. The head's retention is decent, and it laces my glass in thin wisps. 4

S: The aroma is quite robust and really works the entire spectrum of bourbon and stout. Things start off with roasted malt and some booze, but the baker's chocolate, whiskey, and vanilla really take the nose over quickly. The beer even smells thick. The finish is of oak and some more roast. I thought the aroma could use another factor to make it stand out, along with toning down the booziness. Either way it's a really solid overall aroma. 4.5

T: The taste starts off small, chocolate mostly, but then an assault of booze and vanilla comes your way. The assault calms into a nice taste of bourbon and oak, with the chocolate coming back into play, and it all finishes with a cool boozy oakiness and slight roast. This beer is very much like a smooth bourbon, with a chocolately body. The chocolate is sweet to curb what would otherwise be an offensive amount of alcohol. It's a very nice balance. 4

MF: The body is very full with a lower than average amount of carbonation. Despite all the alcohol I found this to be very drinkable. I was surprised to find the alcohol to be that prominent despite the beer being below 10% ABV. It's my lone detraction from this otherwise well concocted drink. 3.5

O: This beer was damn good. Probably the best beer I've ever had from Ohio. Really glad I got a full 4pack as I fully expect this to improve after a year or so as the bourbon cools off a bit. Don't miss this one! 4

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Photo of kscaldef
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Winter 2011/2012 release

A: Jet black, thin mocha head with little retention

S: Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, molasses

T: Chocolate, but with a sharp undernote of alcohol. Woody bite. Light notes of cherry and fig.

M: Very low carbonation. Despite that, maintains only medium body keeping the drinkability high, marred only by a slight harsh finish.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.62/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 bottle shared by ChrisPro. I've had this a few times, but always seem to miss taking notes, so thanks for the opportunity. Served in a Närke snifter.

A - Tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving behind stray specks of lace. Near-black body. Largely what you'd expect from this style.

S - Lots of coconut and vanilla, oak, and a touch of spicy bourbon. Base beer imparts some baker's chocolate and roast. Alcohol is pretty tame at this stage.

T - The taste is significantly more sweeter, with more caramel, fudge, and even a light biscuit note from the base beer's malt profile. Less oak and light bourbon to taste. More balanced, and I think that's more by design than due to age.

M - Chewy, medium-full body, with low carbonation, and a sticky and viscous finish. Not very oaky or tannic, with some mild alcohol warmth.

D - A well-made barrel-aged stout that displays the restraint I'd expect from a fairly conservative brewery like Great Lakes. I'd certainly drink it again if it were on-tap or readily available in bottles, and I think the exorbitant trade demands have abated now that supply has increased; was somewhat overhyped when it was only 600 bottles. Still, a nice spin on an already solid beer.

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Photo of oline73
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had this side by side with the regular version. This was a 2012 bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

The beer pours a very dark almost black color with a half finger of very thick head. The head sticks around nicely and leaves mild lacing on the glass. I could smell this beer all day. Right off the bat I'm getting milk chocolate and bourbon. The barrel has given this beer a caramel, vanilla, and coconut note. The roast sweetness and bourbon work well together. The taste lives up to the smell, which makes me very happy. There is a definite alcohol presence, but it's not unpleasant. Milk chocolate, and roasted malt show up right away with a strong bourbon note. There is some vanilla and coconut, but not as much as there was in the smell. The finish has some heat to it along with bourbon and roasted malt. There is a nice oaky note in the mix.

This is a very good beer and I would love to try one with some more age on it.

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Photo of rodlavers
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 vintage poured into a snifter.

Pours midnight black, with a thin mocha-cola brown head which dissipates. Minimal lacing, mostly, not quite "legs" but very small amounts of light brown slowly drip down the glass.

Bourbon/vanilla aromas up front, hints of coffee and chocolate, and a decent woody character. I even get a very slight tobacco smell as it warms up. Chocolate character is dark.

Taste is similar. Starts out heavy on the booze, almost too harsh until it warms a bit. Chocolate more noticeable here than in smell. Balances out nicely, bourbon, vanilla, wood, chocolate, minimal coffee and sweetness (mostly bitter), although something is missing which would make this as good as others in the style I love so much.

Feel at first is bubble and highly carbonated. After a bit of warming, Blackout Stout smooths a bit up front to incorporate milky sweetness and feel. Maintains a bitter character on the end.

Overall this is a good Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. I enjoy others more, and I probably should have let this one sit a year or so. I'm glad I tried it. Cheers.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of MudDrinker
4.46/5  rDev +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).

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Photo of ONUMello
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of Sulkanator
5/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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Photo of HotHands
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of jvillefan
4.59/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of popery
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of warrenout330
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
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

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
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!!

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Photo of vonnegut21
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of Luk13
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.