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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.

410 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 410
Hads: 1,708
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,353
Gots: 342 | FT: 39
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Dogbrick on 11-29-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 410 | Hads: 1,708
Photo of hoplover82
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! My goodness, this is one of those EPIC beers.

It pours a thick black with a thin tan head with lots of dotty and thin lines of lacing.

The aroma is strong and complex with roasty barley and slight bitter dark chocolate and licorice. As it warms, the toffee realy comes out.

The taste is just as complex and strong with roasted coffee as the dominant character with licorice, bitter dark chocolate and toffee in the background. The coffee lingers forever.

Full bodied and very thick and creamy, like drinking a beer smoothy.

Very drinkable, I could have another one of these!

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Photo of DrJay
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of ClockworkOrange. Thanks!
Very dark with faint chestnut edges. Carbonation looked low on the pour, since a very thin light brown cap appeared and I wasn't all that careful. Fine bubbles formed a solid collar. Spotty lacing. Caramel and whiskey aromas, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, malt, light roast. Very nice aroma, lots of character without any single trait overpowering the rest. Roast was more prominent in the flavour and bitterness was solid, yet fairly soft, throughout. Faint hop flavour towards the end. Whiskey and booze gave the palate a tingle from start to finish. Bittersweet and milk chocolate notes, vanilla, drying oak, caramel, dry cocoa in the finish. Fine carbonation, a little on the low side. The body was between medium and full, a little on the light side for a RIS, but this aided drinkability. Plenty of warmth without being hot. Overall, a well crafted and balanced barrel-aged beer.

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Photo of PatronWizard
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sent in trade from my oh so sweet bitch Egledhill. This one's to you princess! I'm not greedy enough to down this all by my lonesome so I shared in a multiple bottle tasting with Mauerhan, OlieIPA, and Aimstatus. Who all enjoyed it by the way.

Decent head after a big pour. Light tan and creamy. Pitch black fluid.

Really nice coffee scent. Big chocolate, espresso.

Huge flavor. I mean a whole damn mouthful. Bourbon. Stout. Chocolate. Coffee. Coffee. Bourbon. Very pronounced.

Super smooth. Little burn at the end, yet great.

Sure coulda drank the whole damn bottle instead of sharing! Didn't have quite the ABV kick I usually enjoy in a big beer.

Sending this to me was the coolest thing Eric has ever done in his entire life. Especially since everything else he's ever done has been pretty stupid.

Overall: really good

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Photo of Mauerhan
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

FIRST off HUGE thanks to patronwizard for cracking this gem. i am pretty excited for this. lets be honest here people... im flying at full mast at this point.

pours a dark black with a rich ruby red highlight. thick mocha head sits about 1 finger tall. nice lacing

smells rich. malt. woody. coffee. sexy.

taste is fucking awesome. enough said. coffee. chocolate woods. god this thing is good

mouth is smooth and creamy. fucking awesome.

i love this beer. and would probably give up a night with olie for another bottle. any takers?

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

PatronWizard...for the crap you give me, I still have to thank you for this incredible beer.

A: Dark and black liquid that displayed a nice tan looking head. Lacing was good as well.

S: Wow! An incredible and robust coffee aroma along with a good amount a oak presence.

T: Again...Wow! Flavor profile is dominated by a espresso/coffee character along with hints of chocolate and caramel. This beer is also bourbony (bad spelling...I know), but not overwhelming like the KBS; blends in very well with the rest of the flavors.

M: Full-body with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: At 9% ABV, this beer hides the alcohol very well. The flavor and aroma profile is also very awesome as well.

Overall: One of those beers that you have to say "Wow!" to. The aroma made me excited, as did the taste. A must try...seriously. Cheers!!!!

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Photo of waltonc
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle acquired in a trade thanks to pabobcat.

A: Pours nearly black with small, but not insignificant tan head. The head eventually disappears completely without a shred of lacing.

S: Bourbon, boozy, chocolaty dark malts.

T: Exceptional flavor - really nice bourbon, not hot at all (perhaps because of the 2 years of aging), chocolate, vanilla. Not really any soy or molasses compared to, say, Dark Lord. A little sweetness, but not anywhere close to being cloying.

M: Medium bodied and carbonation that starts out feeling a tad light but finishes perfectly. Definitely not a crazy thick stout like Dark Lord or Darkness.

D: This is extraordinarily drinkable for a 9% stout. In fact, I am taking occasional double gulps, like Harry Carey drinking a cool Budweiser after eating barbecued spareribs.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.52/5  rDev -18.7%
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.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice 1/2 finger head with nice retention and a very dark color.

Smell is of licorice, roasted and chocolate malts with a slight undertone of mint that seems to happen in several stouts. There is s smell that is bourbonesque.

Roasted and chocolate malts come through and provide undersones of licorice and malt. Toffee comes through to add some sweetness.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and fully bodied, there is a bit of alcohol but I think it will die down as the beer ages.

This is a very smooth and drinkable beer. Thanks to Deuane for the sample, this is a top notch RIS.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chris graciously shared this beer on the 2nd night of drinking so epic, I'm surprised Turisas haven't sung a song about it. Or maybe Tankard? 2008 vintage

A: Pitch black with dark brown highlights and a disappointingly light (in color) brown head that lasts

S: Mellow with the balance leaning heavily towards chocolate and cream. Coffee gets more pronounced as it warms up but in many ways, it makes me think of a simpler Abyss - great balance between the barrel and RIS character without the deep complexity. Mild vanilla and not much oak. Excellent.

T: Wow. Incredible balance between the barrel and RIS characteristics. Barrel character is mild, warming and is noticed towards the finish, appearing only as the beer warms up, lending a hint of vanilla and bourbon. For the most part, this is a graceful Blackout with chocolate, cream and coffee beautifully balanced. Not very tannic, nor is it very woody. Finishes with a hint of coffee bitterness and bourbon, pretty awesome.

M: The carbonation and finish are fantastic and work beautifully - soft and gentle. The body, though, is a little thin for my liking

D: The balance between flavors makes this one easy drinker

**Edit 11 Feb 2012**
I got a 2009 vintage from goryshkewych a long time ago. Thank you, George! largadeer and Arbitrator raved about this particular vintage, but I think it's dropped off since its peak. The nose really does evolve. Initially reminiscent of the 09 Elijah Craig Eclipse with a nice blend of coconut, caramel and vanilla, as it warms up, chocolate, bourbon, oak and milk chocolate (milk duds) appear. In particular, it has a Cheerios-like character that I don't particularly care for. Smooth and boozy, both on the nose and palate, this is quite enjoyable. 4/4/4

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Photo of aforbes10
4.89/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a "career beer" for me, meaning that i've wanted to try it for most of my drinking "career." Now, thanks to a generous package from kkulacki, I have my chance (thanks, Konrad). Pours black but not overly viscous with a thin light brown head. Lacing is watery and quick. Smells extremely good...lots of chocolate and vanilla, with a rum/bourbon note, forcasting an alcohol filled deliciousness. Deep chocolate malt odor too, I can almost smell the crushed grain. Flavor is equally rewarding...big and chocolaty, with obvious oak and vanilla undertones. Barrel aging has not overwhelmed this beer, but actually improved it (and considerably, in my estimation) No extreme bitterness, just a hint of espresso. Alcohol obvious, but not distracting, on the finish, blending in well with the vanilla and malt. Delicious. Velvety mouthfeel, if a bit thin on the finish. Very, very good. It was worth the wait. Happy New Year!!!

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Photo of largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one came from bakerslp in a recent trade. Thanks! 2008 vintage.

A: Dark brown, not entirely opaque, some hints of transparency around the edges. Doesn't look terribly viscous. The head doesn't rise very high - a finger or so, and settles to a ring fairly fast.

S: Chocolatey sweetness, vanilla, hints of butterscotch and bourbon. Light alcohol presence, nothing jarring. Pretty pleasant.

T & M: Very similar to the aroma. Chocolatey with nice woody tannins to back it up. Slightly earthy. Bourbon flavors are balanced nicely, never overwhelming the base beer. Medium-light in body, moderate carbonation. Middleweight stuff, I'd say - balanced, not too heavy or rich, and very drinkable for the style.

Edit: Recently tried the '09 batch and it's exceptional. Bumping scores accordingly.

3/15/2011: Tried the 2010 batch and found it less impressive than '06 through '09, though it's still a pretty good beer.

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Photo of sholland119
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to unclejedi for his generosity in sending this for Secret Halloween.

We enjoyed this one after a trip to the ER with what turned out to be (thankfully) a sprained rather than broken ankle. Boy was this a welcome treat.

A-Pours black as coal with little head and no lacing. My favorite color in beer.

S- Vanilla notes with bitter dark chocolate and caramel.

T-Lives up to the expectations. Sweet caramel and vanilla dominate the front with roasted coffee and bitter hops taking over in the finish. A bit of alcohol as it warms but not too much.

M-Rich and viscous and full bodied.

D-Is this really only 9% ABV? Insanely full flavored and drinkable at that alcohol level.

I am a big fan of the regular Blackout Stout. The barrel aging makes it amazing.


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Photo of AltBock
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber bottle with the usual Blackout Stout label. Everything was the same except the label is bigger, it's computer generated, the mighty words "Barrel Aged" in front of Blackout Stout, and a hand written number and bottled year on the side. Mine was bottle number #562 out of 900 from the 2006 bottling year. This was my Christmas present to myself. Let's see what 2 years of age did to this beer.

Appearance: I had no other choice then to pour this big beer into my Great Lakes Christmas Ale Snifter. Ok, who's the funny man who replaced my Stout with motor oil? That's not cool. I really wanted to try this bee....Wait a minute. This thick black liquid is the beer. I'm sorry! It's just that they shard the same density and color is why I first thought it was motor oil. I held this big black beer up to the light to see if light could penetrate this beer and light just bounced off it. It almost looked like this beer was wearing sunscreen the way the light bounced off it. I've never seen anything like it. On top of this pitch black liquid was a small skim of mocha film. It was either mocha color or a dark tan color. It was hard to tell what color it was because it receded away to fast. Even though the head of foam left this world too soon, it did mange to leave behind a tiny string of foamy rings and 2 to 4 spots of lace. I loved the beer's color, but was a little disappointed by the head of foam. It didn't matter all that much.

Smell: I'm not too sure what to think about the aroma. I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. The aroma was thick and roasted like it should be, but it wasn't all that potent. It smelled like it was missing that fire up its ass to come busting out of the glass. I swirled it around to see if I could wake it up, but nothing really happened. In the end, the aroma was thick and roasted with dark roasted malts, a speck of roasted espresso beans, a pinch of 90%+ dark chocolate, a few black cherries, charred oak, a gentle touch of alcohol and tobacco, and an bitsy bitsy amount of vanilla beans at the finish line. I really liked the amount of oak and dark roasted aromas that were contained in this aroma and how well it controlled the alcohol, but I just couldn't excited over it. It was just missing that kick that it needed.

Taste: The taste didn't disappoint at all. The taste was thick, chewy, roasted, and all the flavors in here were at the right strength. It had that kick that the aroma was missing. The taste didn't come in waves of flavors. It was just one big chewy dark roasted taste. This Barrel Aged Stout was chewy and heavily roasted with dark roasted malts, roasted espresso beans, lightly bitter dark chocolate, a nice gentle touch of charred oak, a hint of black cherries, a tiny speck of vanilla beans, a drop of bourbon, a subtle pinch of roasted hops, and a mild taste of alcohol. What was so nice about this taste was the fact that each and every dark roasted flavor (there's a lot of them too!) had the same amount of time in the spotlight. Not one flavor had more time than the other flavors. I know it was hard for the oak, bourbon, and alcohol to do that, but Great Lakes did it!

Mouthfeel: It was a thick, chewy roasted full bodied beer that never really exposed it's relatively high 9% ABV. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to hide the 9% ABV behind all of the dark roasted flavors. The aftertaste was almost as complex as the initial taste. The aftertaste was roasted and lightly sweet with roasted malts, roasted espresso beans, dark chocolate, a hint of bourbon, charred oak, and some lightly roasted hops. This roasted aftertaste will hang on for about 10 seconds and then it's gone.

Drinkability: I would absolutely love another one these. But if there is one big problem with this beer, it would have to be this beer's availability. It's one of those beers that are only available at the brewery one time a year and at a certain time. If you love thick chewy roasted Stouts or you just like Great Lakes, then this is the beer for you. That is if you can get your hands on one. How did I get my hands on one? I knew somebody who knew somebody, that knowes somebody who went to Great Lakes at the right time.

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Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured via 22oz. bomber into goblet on 12/19/08. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Poured an opaque, deep black body with slim tan head that receded into patchy film and left decent lacing around the glass.

S - Subtle nose for a barrel-aged stout with hints of bourbon, chocolate malt, licorice and a bit of alcohol.

T - Initial flavor is a mixture of bourbon, chocolate, mild coffee and woody notes with a definite oak presence. The bourbon rose to the forefront as the liquid approached room temperature.

M - Smooth and creamy texture with soft carbonation and a bit of heat from the alcohol presence.

D - The bourbon character is fairly subtle here, making this one go down quite easily. Good stuff!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is almost black and the dark brown head is small. Retention is decent and there is some lacing. Aroma is of chocoloate, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, and a very little bourbon. BA Blackout tastes like bittersweet chocolate. There is some coffee but a small amount. The alcohol is noticeable. The bourbon that was absent in the aroma is more apparent in the flavor, but still understated. Finish is bitter chocolate and alcohol. Medium - full bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from Prototypic, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a very dark brown with only the faintest of ruby highlights when held to light. Smallish mocha head dissipates quickly. Smells of Vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts. Taste is bourbon, followed by roast and chocolate, then some alcohol, faint dark dried fruits, leaving a lingering bitter roast and bourbon on the tongue. Yum! Body is medium, mouthfeel is oily/creamy, carbonation is low but appropriate. Great smelling and tasting brew. The only thing I would change is maybe a bit of a thicker body.

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

Thanks to Josh for this trade in line at Darkness 2008.

bomber poured into a new belgium tulip.

A - Poured a black. Just a whispy tan head with ring around. Some lacing.

S - Very complex smell. Alcohol, coffee and dark chocolate.

T - Bourbon, coffee and sweet malt. Very minor bitter finish. Warmth from alcohol.

M - Medium mouthfeel, but it coats the mouth.

D - Yes. Easy drinking for the ABV.

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Photo of grub
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

ClockworkOrange hooked me up with one of these. thanks jason! unclejedi also "forced" me to drink some of this at darkness day, so thanks jim!

22oz bottle. sampled dec 14/08.

pours black and nearly opaque, only barely showing brown at the edge. a small dense brown head forms, quickly dropping to a ring around the glass and leaving spotty lace.

aroma is great. dark chocolate. coffee. earthy and woody. vanilla. anise. bit of bourbon. alcohol. big biscuit and bready malt. bit of cracker.

taste is great. wow, this is where the barrel really comes alive. bourbon. vanilla. earthy and woody. dark and bittersweet chocolate. bit of milk chocolate. bit of alcohol. big biscuit and bready malt again. medium-low bitterness level, more chocolaty than hoppy. bit of dark fruit too. caramel. bit of toffee.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. medium-low carbonation level. pretty smooth.

drinkability is good. balanced and nice. the barrel character is very nice, but i get the feeling this would be even better with some time in the cellar to let it really mellow and mesh together. looking forward to trying this again.

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Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, big thanks to ClockworkOrange for sending this up.

Pours a deep opaque black, some brown in the edges, thin light tan head forms, quickly settles to a thin ring around the glass, some lace spots, looks like a stout. Smell is crazy, very nutty, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, some coffee roast, toffee, peanut brittle, nice barrel character, dark fruit, more bourbon, smells great. Taste is great as well, buttery oak, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and coffee, toffee, sweet brown sugar middle, a bit toasty with corn syrup and bourbon in the finish. Really nice flavour. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, alcohol is well hidden but some heat does come through in the finish. Really nice example of bourbon barrel aging RIS, very well done. Thanks Jason!

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Photo of mentor
3.36/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super jet onyx black with a teeny tiny head of espresso foam that dies qucikly. Aromas of big booze, bourbon, adn wood with some nutty chocolate and coffee undertones. Taset is full up hot bourbon as well as deeply roasted malts and imperial stout notes. Dark fruit also makes an entrance. Mouthfeel is thick but not cloying. Drinkability remains high especially for bourbon lovers such as I. Great!

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Ben for hooking me up with a bottle.
Pours black with just a slight hint of head forming on the pour. Smell is strong bourbon, some dark chocolate.
Taste is more of the bourbon, but much more balanced than the last time I had tried this a couple years back. This version allows the underlying Blackout to stand up to the bourbon and still be seen. The barrel aging is complimentary and not dominant. Still pretty full on the mouth feel and not hot at all.
I would love to make it up to GLBC and experience this on draft.

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

<i>14/400</i>... Poured an opaque black color with a small, tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of vanilla oak, some butter, lots of bourbon, roast, caramel malts, and nuts. Taste of chocolate, some smoke, vanilla oak, roast, some light spices, and finishing with a whisky / alcohol burn. Thin mouthfeel for an impy.

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Photo of gonzo46and2
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Chris for bringing this one to the tasting at Matt's this weekend.

Pours a black that nearly no light can penetrate.

Aroma is wonderful. There's a big bourbon presence with the normal aroma of an Imperial Stout. Chocolate, caramel, coffee, bread, and brown sugar.

Taste is off the charts! Sweet cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a huge bourbon profile.

Mouthfeel is thick, sticky and sweet.

This was probably the best stout I've ever had. I can't wait to get my hands on some more of this heavenly nectar.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black, small coffee head, leaves pretty fast. Ring remains. Webby sticky lacing.

S - Coffee up front, followed by chocolate and booze.

T - Booze is evident, silky chocolate and coffee notes.

M - Good balance, medium to heavy body, not as much carb as I would have liked.

D - Would tire pretty quick, regardless of how good it is.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 410 ratings.