1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout

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

1,373 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,373
Reviews: 383
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.38%
Wants: 1,240
Gots: 273 | FT: 24
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,373 | Reviews: 383 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

SocalKicks, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

emerge077, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

many thanks to thebrewo for hooking this one up via trade. it is a real treat. pours not quite black, with a shiny glow and an inch or so of rich mocha lather on top. the nose is not alcoholic at all, very impressive. lots of deep roast, some lighter coffee notes, and a lot of vanilla from the bourbon barrel. some char too, but it isn't bitter to the taste at all, and is in fact more on the sweet side. some licorice notes in the taste as well, and a warming chocolaty finish that reminds me of some of the top rated barrel aged imperial stouts on BA. what I love the most about this beer is its feel, its not a big heavy syrupy sticky mess like so many of these can be. its still full bodied, but drinkably so, not weighty or overly sweet or boozy. almost reminds me of the eclipse series, with that touch of honey but pleasant lightness in a dark beer. it seems weird to call this an everyday barrel aged imperial stout, but it kind of is. its something I could see myself drinking a lot more of than many of the others. the buzz is nice, and the finish is glorious, staying on the palate for quite some time. probably the best great lakes offering ive ever had.

StonedTrippin, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fellow BA and friend dtx00 traded this, appearance was pitch black nearly opaque with a big foaming tan head. I must say this is awesome stuff, just like the regular version. Aromatics big oak barrel whiskey aging effects hints of vanilla/toffee and oak going strong, a touch of anise and dark chocolate/coffee roasted malts with a hint of cherry fruitiness going on. Flavor is layered with a balanced whiskey barrel aging and rock solid big stout flavors, probably the most drinkable version out there beside fresh KBS. Again big alcohol but not overly boozey, just some whiskey barrel aged vanilla/charred oak/and hints of cherry to go with a big ol' stout from Cleveland. Dark roasted malts bring out some dark chocolate notes but not much in the way of strong coffee tones. Mouthfeel is full bodied defnitely warming and even carbonation some versions are almost flat this one had enough bubbles flowing to make each sip easy going on the palate. Overall excellent version above and beyond qauality and definitely highly sought out amongst our little online community, for a reason!!!

WVbeergeek, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
4.73/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to foofaa for sharing this on my birthday, enjoyed chilled from a mug.

The color is black as the name, very thick sandstone head with creamy appearance, lace sticks very well and retention is very good. The smell is bready with slight sweet caramel and vanilla odor with slight roasted and peppery tinged aroma with nice toffee and light bourbon sweet woody nose. The feel is great it starts sweet with mild tannin and full middle with great carbonation adding levity with slight roast and hint of alcohol as it finishes.

The flavor is very full with lots of toffee, cocoa, wood with vanilla and bourbon interwoven with slight coffee and bready flavors from the yeast with a toasted and spiced taste which brings out some dark fruit toward the middle with mild earthy hints of raisin and chocolate toward the finish with oak blending well throughout the flavor. Overall this is a splendid oak aged stout, it satisfied from first taste and I didn't want to drain the glass, but it left me feeling satisfied and it is one of the most drinkable wood aged stouts I have had.

Slatetank, Jul 03, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
4.24/5  rDev -3%
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.

MasterSki, Mar 12, 2013
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a small snifter.

Solid black color, with minimal head.

Aroma, sweet, rich, bourbony, decadent. Molasses, anise, a bit of charcoal, but mostly sweet whiskey.

There's the same in the taste, only more intensely. Thick and rich, the imperial stout qualities that were hiding behind the bourbon in the aroma are coming forward in the flavor.
Big and roasty, loads of dark malt, gets drier, more of a dry roast, coating the throat, very satisfying. Almost refreshing!
Wait, did I say that about a thick, dark richly roasting RIS, aged in bourbon? Maybe I did...
It's -10 outside. In this weather, that's refreshment!

I'm a sucker for bourbon, and love an RIS. This one is quite a nice accomplishment. Doesn't quite do enough for me with each sip, something in it lacks complexity, but a little more comes out in the swallow, it rushes further flavor back along the throat. And then there's the heat that follows, and the fullness of flavor, and the warmth...damn, I'm glad my heat is working, and I'm glad I cracked this open tonight of all nights. Hey, I just heard it may get to 2 above later tomorrow...right on!

A wonderful drink, and many praises to BuckeyeNation for getting this out to me!

feloniousmonk, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of drabmuh
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Paul for bringing this one out. Served side by side with a bottle of Blackout stout. Decent head, beer is black, head is brown, the head rallies to leave some lacing on the walls of the glass. Looks good.

There is a mild oak aroma that is hiding behind a nice bourbony / liquor aroma. It doesn't smell hot but this is a "tiny" beer at 9%, I wouldn't expect it to be hot. Its roasty mildly, maybe some sweetness in there too. Smells good.

Beer is thinner than other stouts I've had recently but it tastes good. There is a nice bourbon character to the whole thing and the sweetness plays off well with the alcohol and the caramel from the bourbon barrel. There may be some mild vanilla in there from the oak but its not dominant at all. Its a good beer, deserving of its place among the middle of the best barrel aged bourbon stouts. I wish it were more available.

drabmuh, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of oline73
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

oline73, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

mendvicdog, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 09/25/10 notes. Big thanks to Lunch for bringing this one, I've wanted to try it for a while. Thanks Paul! 2009 Vintage.

a - Pours a dark black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, and oak. Well balanced and very nice.

t - Tastes of bourbon, toasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. Hint of oak.

m - Medium body and low carbonation; smooth and easy to drink for a barrel aged RIS.

d - I enjoyed this one a lot, but it was slightly disappointing. Don't get me wrong, this is a great beer, but I don't know how much of an improvement it is on the normal Blackout Stout. We tried BA Sexual Chocolate, Ivan the Terrible, and this in a tasting and I think everyone was in agreement that this was the third in that group. I thought it smelt very good, and again, it is very good and I'd definitely drink it again, but I would try and get another bottle of BA SC or Ivan before another bottle of this.

mdfb79, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of beernads
4.5/5  rDev +3%

beernads, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

DrunkinYogi, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

Gueuzedude, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -19.2%
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

kojevergas, Aug 07, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

XmnwildX12, May 08, 2014
Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +14.4%

imperialking, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +3%

InspectorBob, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

drewone, Jun 08, 2012
Photo of yourefragile
4.5/5  rDev +3%

yourefragile, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of corby112
4.13/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber, 2008 vintage received in a past trade with JCB. Thanks again Jason!

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a 2.5 finger frothy beige head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap. Large rings and chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Complex aroma with a prominent barrel character complimented by deep roasted malt notes. Lots of earthy oak/wood in the nose but this is countered by hints of dark chocolate, oatmeal, coffee/espresso bean and toast.

Chewy, viscous body with a flavor profile that's similar to the aroma. Lots of dry, toasted earthy oak/wood flavor up front that is countered by a very roasted dark malt presence. Hints of bitter dark chocolate, burnt toast, oatmeal and deeply roasted coffee bean. A bit heavy on the roasted side for my liking resulting in a slightly acrid/burnt flavor but there is enough sweetness to balance things out. As the palate adjust, this becomes less harsh and the maltier, especially chocolate, notes start to come forward. Some alcohol sweetness but not much heat at 9.5%. Slight warmth n the finish. Very good!

corby112, May 02, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I shared this one on our Black Friday beer trip. I believe it was a 2010.

A - Pours jet black with a small one finger tall head leaving very little lace down the glass.

S - Smells of bourbon, dry oak, dark chocolate, coffee, charred wood, and lots of dark roasted malt. This one smells pretty good.

T - Starts off with a big dose of warm bourbon up front quickly giving way to a mix of chocolate, coffee grounds, tobacco, dark roasted malt, and lots of dry oak tannins. The flavors were all there but it never really took me all the way.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Good balance overall but the booze does take a tole on the pallet over the course of the bottle and it develops a bit of a chalky feel toward the end of the bottle.

O - A very good take on the style. I enjoyed it but compared to say...bourbon barrel plead the 5th, which I had only a short time before this, it just doesn't compare. I wouldn't turn it down in the future, thats for sure.

orangesol, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of weeare138
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to hopdog for sharing this brew...
Appears a pitch black with a small dark tan head. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, caramel, rich, sugar infused whipped butter.
Taste is of the same wonderful smells.
Mouthfeel is just ever so slightly thin but the rich flavors are still there and very enticing.

weeare138, Jan 19, 2006
Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.