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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.

409 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 409
Hads: 1,704
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,356
Gots: 340 | 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: 409 | Hads: 1,704
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 montageman
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Bomber #416 out of 900. Poured into a pint glass. This is a dark beer - pours thick like syrup, very dark brown with a little tan head that disappears qucikly leaving a little bit of lacing. Smells warm and roasty like bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate. No doubt that the smell is extremely inviting. Awesome flavor here - bitter coffee/roasted malt upfront, vanilla sweetness segues into a bourbon-ish finish - very complex. Very thick in the mouth - almost chewy, slight carbonation. Definitely a dessert beer for me - a little too sweet to have more than one, but definitely an incredible brew. I would be interested in seeing what some aging would do to this. Highly recommended.

Thanks to McAllister for this one.

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Photo of cabsandking
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The union of bourbon and stout might even be a better marriage than peanut butter and jelly. Great Lakes does not disappoint here and probably my favorite brew of theirs to date.
Pours a dense black color and thin layer of lace swirl. Not too much in the nose (this might account for being poured too cold) but faintly detectable notes of chocolate, espresso, and bourbon. The taste is outstanding with notes of dark chocolate, espresso, brown sugar and roasted malts all surrounded by a blanket of smooth bourbon character. Bourbon increases towards the end of the gulp and is even more apparent in the finish along with some sweet, chary, aged oak bourbon barrel notes. Mouth feel is very smooth. This brew is enormously enjoyable and despite its nine percent abv, it goes extremely easily.

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Photo of marvin213
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It has essentially no head. Though black as a country night, little foam suggests a thin body. The smell is nice. As I had, hoped, this seems like a testimony to the oak barrel--no sweet bourbon or other such influence--just a nose of rustic oak on big RIS. It's a deep, consistent, chocolatey, raisin-liquid. There are malts and anise, and there is oak barrel in a barn, untouched and virgin.

So why do I feel guilty about missing the bourbon? Do I compare this among all barrel-aged brews, or just non-bourbon BA brews? There's a difference! Oddly, I can't help but wonder what it'd be like aged in a Buffalo Trace barrel. It's good, but underwhelming. It's that flatness I feared at the outset! I'd like to have it again, but I am unlikely to seek it out.

Edit: After reading other reviews, I see it is indeed bourbon barrels. I'm shocked. I really don't get bourbon. Maybe this one's not just flat...but flatlined? But how wouldn't I get more nose? Perhaps I started too cold. I suppose I get it more as it warms, but I do not get a well-blended bourbon beer. I smelled goodness, and can get some of that (goodness), but for me the good bourbon has left the building.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i believe this is the 2012 batch.

poured into a snifter, just a shade lighter than black, negligible though. thin tan head. nothin crazy, looks like an imperial stout.

nose:slightly overdone oatmeal raisin cookies soaked in bourbon, touch of coffee.

dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon is present but doesn't really over whelm. could use a touch more roasted character, still a solid beer.

mouthfeel is a touch lacking. still a solid beer.

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

In a BIF box from Vonerichs - thanks!

12oz, 2013 vintage into 10oz wine glass.

The coloring is nice with slight feathering from black to coffee at the edges. But there is no lacing, no evidence of carb at all once it settles into the glass.

The sharp booze note is very upfront but as this mellows and wood, bourbon and roast all pop up.

Well balanced taste with this bottle perhaps needing a few more moths of age to blunt the booze edge. A bit of caramel-vodka aftertaste which is also a rather stark departure from the expectation.

A bit flat, nothing wrong with that but would have preferred more carbonation.


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Photo of tekstr1der
3.71/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours almost black, though much lighter than any other of this style I’ve seen. Aroma is multi with notes of chocolate and espresso, but kind of mild. Whisky barrel aging makes itself an obvious taste upfront, and on each sip toward the bottom of the glass. Quickly mellows into semi sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Decent brew overall, but not a great example of an imperial stout. I’m don’t much enjoy whisky, so perhaps I’m not being exactly objective.

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Photo of SirSketch
3.96/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Firm tan head that stays. Primarily black in color with just a small amount of deep red highlights.

S - Mainly bourbon in the aroma and a strong oak character. The whiskey works well with the roasty/burnt smell in the beer. Great vanilla aroma, too.

T - Thankfully, the bourbon and malt flavor contributions are more balanced than in the aroma. Big on the chocolate and french roast coffee flavors. Maybe a bit of astringency from the dark grain. One of the better bourbon characteristics I've had in a beer.

M/D - Very smooth, buttery mouthfeel that makes this beer a pleasure to drink. Overall, a great example of bourbon barrel aging.

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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 dukedevil0
3.72/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this 2009 release bomber from a nice new trader shrxxm216, thanks brett!

A: Pours a dark black color though slightly thin with a slow arriving khaki colored one finger head that reduces down to just a tiny rim and not really any lacing.

S: Smells awesome, like a triple chocolate cookie, milk and dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, oak, even some nutmeg, tobacco

T: Tastes similar to the smell, but not nearly as pleasant - lots of chocolate both milk and dark, roasted malts, but less vanilla, oak, tobacco flavors - a slight boozy taste...this really just tastes like a mess of flavor

M: This is my biggest disappointment with this beer and maybe it would be better on tap, but it's so much thinner than I would ever want a top notch imperial stout to be. This is close porter territory for me. I'm guessing that barrel aging thinned it out some. The carbonation is so low that this is almost like a cask ale.

D: It doesn't really feel like a BIG beer, but there is a slight alcohol flavor and it just doesn't hold up to my expectations for flavor and mouthfeel

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

pours black with a small light brown head, that has fairly short retention. looks viscous and leaves spotty lacing behind

roasted chocolate brownies, coffee, dark fruits, mild bourbon notes

very rich milk chocolate, with some coffee notes, some bourbon heat on the back end

medium bodied and carbonation, and viscous

overall the nose is great and got better as it warmed, the taste fallowed the nose it was great and got better and had more depth as it warmed, would love to get more bottles of this. thanks PittRooney for the trade

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Photo of schwemjw
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark black with a tan/ mocha head that stayed awhile.

S: WOW! A ton of bourbon in here. Oak and coffee swirl around the nostrils. Brown sugar with a hint of caramel. Little bit of real dark chocolate. I could smell this from a mile away. Hints of vanilla are tempting with the slightest bit of coffee bitterness.

T: BOURBON! Lots of vanilla intermingled with deep roasted malt, a hint of a rye bread, caramel and butterscotch. The chocolate is a deep dark chocolate and there is definitely a roasted nut quality here. A dry bitter finish that carries on. Tons of bourbon with a lot of booze at the end. Oak and raisin play with my taste buds while a licorice hints at the sides of my tongue. More please.

M: Full bodied but never over bearing or syrupy. no carbonation but defnitely warming.

O: I absolutely love this beer. I love blackout stout and this just kicks it up a notch. Bigger and bolder with a good hit of bourbon. this is not one to pass on! /96

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Photo of Stevem68
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chocolate color. Has a sweet aroma of bourbon. Flavor is bourbon, carmally and very smooth. Leaves a little bit of a warm mouthfeel. Overall pretty delicious

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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 Skrypt
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Swamp Head snifter. Bottled 2013. Served at 55F.

Pours a thick beige head that dissipates quickly, but that's probably due to this glass having been run through the dishwasher.

Really faint nose. Not really picking up much of anything outside of a little smoke, bourbon and vanilla.

The front is a really subtle light, floral hop taste that lasts for a second and is followed by a coffee-like bitterness and milk chocolate. The finish is dominated by bourbon.

This is a nice full-bodied stout that has a really surprising softness in the mouth, as if it were carbonated with nitrogen. Medium carbonation overall, though. There's a pretty good bit of alcohol heat.

Overall, this is a really enjoyable brew, but the barrel aging actually took away some of the subtlety that makes the original so good. The barrel characteristics haven't integrated very well. I'm going to let my second bottle sit in the cellar for 12 months or so and see how it compares to the regular Blackout then.

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Photo of hops202
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into snifter. 2014 Vintage

A - pours black with hints of brown around the edges

S - tons of bourbon, some vanilla and sugar

T - bourbon up front, with lots of burnt sugar, some caramel and vanilla and less chocolate than expected having been very familiar with the regular blackout stout.

M - very smooth but almost a bit to thin

O - incredibly delicious barrel aged version of an already phenomenal stout

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: Very cool label in the traditional GLBC style. Label has a small description of the beer, ABV info, brewed on date, brewery info, web info, and serving temp recommendation. Neck label has a cool back story on the beer. 25th Anniversary Cap.

Appearance: Appearance: I allowed this to warm for 10min before pouring from its 12oz bottle into a 16oz snifter. An aggressive pour lead to a 1 finger tan foam head of medium density atop a jet black colored beer that lets absolutely no light through. Retention was a solid 2min 9sec before fading to a thin foam coating and ring. Very good lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Aroma has strong hints of bourbon throughout. Vanilla and hints of roast coffee and a chocolate malt can be detected. A light anise spice is apparent along with hints of alcohol.

Flavor/Taste: Taste starts out a bit nutty with hits of chocolate followed by a woody vanilla flavor. Finishes with a roast coffee taste. A nice bourbon backbone can be tasted throughout. Alcohol is also detectable throughout.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: On the heavier side of medium bodied with a medium carbonation and an oily creamy mouthfeel. Drinkability is medium.

Overall/Comments: Very good offering that is complex in the nose as well as on the palette. BABOS lives up to the hype that surrounds it. Be prepared for this to fall on the expensive side but I think that is to be expected from a limited release. Classified as a Russian Imperial Stout at 9.5% ABV. Consumed 3/15/13.

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Photo of matttttYCE
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served into my Deschutes snifter glass

The head is about half a finger high, light brown in color, and not even fully covering the top of the beer. Recedes rather quickly, leaving little lace. Color of the beer is as the name suggests - a blackout.

Aroma is a wonderful mix of bourbon barrel juice, vanilla, oak/wood, lots of beautiful notes of chocolate and fudge, roasted malts, caramel, coffee, and dark fruits. Bourbon aromas are very balanced and complimentary to all the other things going on here.

Taste is wonderful just like the aroma. Balanced bourbon flavors, vanilla, oak, caramel, and toffee mix in wonderfully with all the fudge, chocolate, cocoa, roasted malts, and coffee notes of this RIS. I actually have never had regular Blackout Stout, but it's something I imagine is quite good. This one is definitely up there with some of my other favorite barrel aged stouts.

Feel is just about what I expected going into this. Velvety consistency, light carbonation, medium-full body, and a wonderful medium-long, dry finish that really leaves me with hints of the barrel aging and the chocolate and roasted malt qualities.

This is a very good barrel aged RIS! The barrel aging isn't overpowering. It is noticeable and wonderfully complimentary to what the base beer seems to be. Tom/trxxpaxxs, thank you so very much for being so generous as to send this to me, among many other great beers, in the N00B BIF Round 5! Your generosity is STILL a bit unbelievable to me. You are the epitome of a great BA! Cheers to you, my friend!

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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 camil1mj
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 12 oz bottle received from Misterhops in a trade. Served at cellar temprature into my Founders snifter.

A: Deep black. 2 finger foamy head that quickly dissipates. Moderate lacing.

S: Bitter dark chocolate with hints of whiskey.

T: Like the smell: immediate punch of bitter dark chocolate. I get more of a whiskey flavor, instead of the bourbon flavors I get out of some of my favorite -bals.

M: The barrel aging thins this out in comparison to the non barrel aged version. Well carbonated.

O: Average barrel aged stout. Not my favorite by any means as it missing the heavy, sweet flavors I love in this style.

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Photo of punkrkr27
3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Inky black pour with a small, short lived, tan head. Mildly chocolaty aroma with a hint of dark fruit and bourbon. Rich milk chocolate flavor with hints of espresso, dark fruit, toasted almond, and a nice smoky bourbon kick on the end. The body is wonderfully full, velvety and decadent with soft carbonation. Not immensely complex, but great balance.

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Photo of boomer31
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting a bottle since I've started seeking out barrel aged beers. Traded for this at DLD. Big thanks jampics2. 2010 vintage

A - Pours black with brown edges. No color can penetrate this in the center of the glass. Tiny dark brown head that leaves immediately.

S - Vanilla and bourbon followed by chocolate.

T - Big chocolate followed by vanilla and oak. A hint of alcohol in the back which adds a nice spice. One of the better barrel aged beers I've had, balanced, not overly sweet not too much bourbon.

M - Nice low carb, not sticky but has a nice long alcohol finish

O - Blackout stout was not one of my favorites RIS. The barrel did wonders to this brew. Quite nice, very enjoyable

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed on Friday, 29 October 2010 at Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, OH. Drove up from New York with a buddy and met up with a second from California for this release, coinciding with a wedding perfectly that weekend. On tap in 10oz snifter. Color is black with a slight burgundy-orange color when held up to the light. One-finger head up to the brim, head is beige-caramel and super creamy. Lacing is married to the glass. Carbonation is lighter-than-average -- simply perfect! Heavy, yet slightly-sweet bourbon aroma, touch of vanilla, bite of toffee, hardly smell the hot alcohol, bittersweet chocolate stings the nose. The taste makes me want to cry. Bourbon flavor sails over the heads of heavy vanilla, toffee, slight maple, and milk chocolate. The bourbon and chocolate flavors stick to the tongue.

Nearing the bottom of the glass, the alcohol gets slightly hotter, and the vanilla has a hard time saying goodbye. Time to drink another.

Aging six 2010 bombers bought that morning, potentially trading 3 of those with others around Beer Advocate (just message me). I could write volumes about this beer, but I must stop to give my mind a rest. Legendary beer.

EDIT, 5 November 2010: One bomber left for trading, but in the middle of a couple of trades and job transition, will let you know (especially you guys that msg'd me) if/when I decide to trade one.

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

Black!, with a tan thin-rimmed head, along with a nice rim to indicate higher than average alcohol. Well (not overly) carbonated.
Aroma of blissfully subdued bourbon & wood char, vanilla, slight coffee and chocolate.
Taste is incredible, with many notes found in the nose transfering over to the tongue. This has so many levels of complexity, although it won't overwhelm you. Imagine a nice piece of rich chocolate cake, and a bourbon with a splash as a wash.
Creamy and oh so nice, as it warms and opens up, this actually has a juicy, mouthwatering quality going on, that I never would expect.
This is barrel aging at it's best, and this is no doubt one of the best, if not the best, BA Stouts money can buy.
This brew deserves to have a rowdy, much anticipated "Blackout Day", because people in-the-know with this beer are lucky sonsabitches.
Actually, if Man was allowed to profess love to a Beer, now would be one of those times.

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

Had at the recent BA tasting at Bailey's Taproom. After having a number of world class imperial stouts, we cracked this and wows were heard around the table. Color is pitch black with a small head, aroma is a bit boozy but pleasant. The taste is a great balance of coffee and barrel flavors balanced by a light sweetness. It was not an overpowering beer, but very well executed and unique.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 409 ratings.