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

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

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1,530 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,530
Reviews: 397
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 1,330
Gots: 321 | FT: 34
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,530 | Reviews: 397
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review from notes-on tap at GLBC on 8/13/11. This is actually the 3rd time I've had this beer-and the 2nd time I've had it on-tap

A- Body is big, thick, nearly black, viscous, and opaque. Served with a minimal head which retains well at a collar. Little to no lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- The base is pretty Russian Imperial Stout-like (moreso than original blackout to me)- dark chocolate, anise, currants. Lots of smooth woody wet oak overtones and big mildly sweet bourbon barrel presence at the back. All of these characters blend together nicely an one does not stand out more than another.

T- Flavor is much like the nose. Initial flavors of RIS-with highlights of anise and dark chocolate come through the most initially with just the slightest hint of bourbon sweetness as an overtone. The smooth woody oak rushes in and blends with the bourbon alcohol burn of the finish without detracting from the well put together RIS base beer.

M- Fantastic. Low to medium carbonation and a big, thick, smooth, viscous body.

O- This is my 3rd experience with this beer. All three times it has been an exceptional, stand out-BA RIS-one of my favorites in the category for sure. Its got a lot of everything with an exceptional blend. Great brew put together by Great Lakes.

Photo of ike4tay45
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Opaque black with a nice finger of tan head that left almost no lacing at all around the glass.

S-Bourbon, Chocolate, coffee and some hints of dark roasted nuts.

T-Same as the nose, nice bourbon, chocolate and coffee notes that mix well with the hops and malts perfect balance.

M-Rich, creamy, perfect balance.

O-Great brew especially for an RIS, loved this one great blend of everything.

Photo of smakawhat
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Meridian Pint DC, into a snifter glass. Thanks also to Bernie from Great Lakes for the extra sip.

Giant truly jet black midnight body, with a small collar of tan caramel appearance. Some minor scattered lacing while drinking.

Nose has a traditional bourbon barrel aged beer sense, super caramel and paralines but not much more varied than that. Small hints of brown sugar giving to a coca cola sweetness.

Taste matches nose. A typical bourbon aged stout, with a matching malt density. Texture brings a prickly caramel but slightly too carbonated with hint of gas taking away the brews better tastes on the palate.

Overall pretty dam solid. As it warms even mild licorice and molasses creep in making for one classic enjoyable drink. I would certainly partake of this beverage any day!

Photo of FosterJM
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

741st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

Not sure vintage
Not sure BA who brought this

App- A very dark brown with a ton of dark reds on the edges as to be expected with some brown highlights. A pretty thin looking one finger head to it. Some retention was seen with a little bit of lacing on it.

Smell- Bitter dark chocolate with some small hops and a little bit of roasted malt. At the same time a little vanilla and oak as well.

Taste- It follows the nose a little bit with a nice dark chocolate with a the roasted malt but changes itself into something more than the base with addition of barrel flavors. Just that much better.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a low/medium carb level. A little creamy chocolate/walnut roast

Drink- I loved the bottle I had of the base beer. The pour I had at CF7 really was that much better.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at The Great Taste of the Midwest 2011. 5 oz pour into a tasting glass.

A- Pours pitch black opaque color, one finger dark brown head that dissipates quickly to a nice brown ring around the glass. Nice lacing and retention.
S- Really nice bourbon and vanilla aroma up front, dark roasted malts, chocolate, oak/wood, caramel.
T- Similar to nose, well balanced tasty beer, bourbon and vanilla taste upfront, chocolate, slight coffee taste, dark roasted malts, nice oak presence, caramel, slight black licorice flavor in the finish, really well balanced beer.
M- Big mouth feel, decent carbonation, smooth drinking, nice heat as it goes down but nothing overpowering.
O- I’ve wanted to try this beer for some time. This beer was one of the beers on the top of my list to try at this year’s festival. Really well balanced Bourbon barrel aged stout; I will for sure seek out a couple of bottles of this gem.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
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!!!

Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into three snifters. Thanks to pops and HeatherAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to brokenleadedcask for this from our latest trade!

2009 Vintage

A: Pours black with a slight cola-brown tint at the edges. A thin, brown-bread colored head fans out on top and soon disappears before leaving a creamy collar clinging to the glass.

S: Bourbon and vanilla-y oak at the onset that in no way overpower the complexities of the nose. Dark chocolate, carmelized dark fruit, fudge, heavily roasted malt, and espresso.

T: Exactly as above. The bourbon is so well integrated into this. Heather picked up some notes of black licorice/anise as it warmed up. Alcohol flavor is non-existant.

M: Stick to your ribs without being syrup-y. Just the right amount of bourbon heat keeps things from becoming too slick or too sweet.

O: A fantastic barrel aged beer. Also loved the relatively low (for the style) abv.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jmacdaddy2008 for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown color with a 1 inch khaki head that fades to an oily cap. Random thin streaks and spots of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and cocoa powder. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, cocoa powder, and slight coffee. There is a definite alcohol warmth felt in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has lower carbonation and is a bit flat with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS with some nice bourbon qualities but it's not as good as I thought it would be. I am glad I got to try this one though.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black color with a moderate frothy brown head that diminished slowly and produced sticky legs and fair lacing. Good roasted malt, vanilla and woody aroma. Full body with a smooth texture. Complex sweet chocolate flavor with a sweet smooth woody finish of long duration. Very well balanced barrel stout.

Photo of boomer31
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
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

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An 09 bottle split with onix1agr and poured into duvel tulips. Thanks to jerk44 for the hook up.

A- a very hard pour yields on a small finger on tan head that settles very quickly to leave just a sudsy ring around the glass. Black in body with a coke like glow at the edges.

S- bourbon vanilla and brown sugar bruleed dark fruits. Roasty malts bring in a touch of espresso and bakers chocolate.

T- Opens up with a big roasty malt hit that gives you a lot of coffee and dark chocolate. Lots of dark fruits and a bit of anise. The barrel is understated and lends its flavor subtly to the rest. There so chared oak and molasses in the mix. Hints of vanilla and bourbon boozeiness in the back.

M- a bit fuller then medium in body with a nice light carb. There's just a touch of bourbon heat in the back and it works perfectly.

O- the name of the game here is balance. The barrel weaves its way in and out of the base beer with elegance and grace where so many other are being bludgeoned to death. Its got enough punch to get the job done but smooth and subtle at the same time. I like blackout but I love ba blackout.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle split with oglmcdgl, into a Duvel tulip.

Barrel Aged Blackout pours a pretty black color resulting in a black body. The liquid out the bottle is dark brown though. A stealth pour yielded only a few cm of ivory white loose bubbles, very weak looking.

Smell is a bit brighter though with barrel oak blasting up the nose, and this is when it's cold. Mix of roasted malt and bakers chocolate, fudge. Vanilla and bourbon. A small hit of dark fruit with warming no alcohol.

By god this is great beer, it's very well mixed two years in. Vanilla from the oak is large yet not sweet, bourbon from the oak is pleasant yet not overbearing. Under that blackout does it's thing with a mix of chocolate and roasted malt.

This is really smooth, it's smooth as hell. Goes down easy as pie. Feel is above medium bodied with low carb, not stingy in any way. The aftertaste is smooth minimal and consists of vanilla.

Im glad I tried it and this is one that lives up to the hype. Im sure the two years in the bottle helped alot. This was all too easy to drink like a fish.

Photo of ChadQuest
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black with browning around the edges. finger of head.
The aroma and flavors give off vanilla, i am kinda surprised by how much on the palate actually. good stuff. there is a solid roasted malt backbone through the center of this holding it all toghether and it has aspects that remind me of coffee a bit. Chocolate is here too but melded with bourbon into a creamy concoction. Good stuff all around. I wish the mouthfeel had a bit more viscosity....but i say that about every stout. :)

The flavors are best in show here, good stuff. If this got a bit more body, and a bit more aromatics, it would be more awesome...er.

Photo of GabrielM
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared from cmurren25, a very generous BA. Thanks again Chad! Poured into a Bruery snifter.

A - just as a BLACKOUT stout should look - as dark as a bottomless pit in the center of a supernova. Plus a bit of off-white head atop, which is comforting.

S - sweet bourbon and malt dominate the nose, with some oak, vanilla and maybe cinnamon on the back end.

T - delicious, but not as sweet as expected. There is definitely some warmth to it which is providing a bite, but I like it.

M - outstanding! I can't believe how smooth and creamy this one is. Almost undercarbonated but it sits perfectly on the palate and goes down like a milkshake. Very impressive.

O - a great BBA stout that I've been wanting to try for a good while now. Thanks again Chad!

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip.
9.0% ABV, Best served at 55°F, 2516 Series.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for splitting this elusive bottle!

A - Totally black and deserving of it's name, this stout pours with nice clarity that disappears in the glass as quickly as the low tan head.

S - Thick and rich, the aroma is potent with roasted black malts and cold coffee. Light notes of barrel on the back end with a touch of bourbon.

T - Rich chocolaty flavor backed by roasted coffee and strong but not boozy bourbon barrel flavor. Awesome!

M - Full-bodied and rich with a smooth feel and light warming alcohol finish, Barrel-aged Blackout is an awesome feeling beer!

O - A fantastic brew all around, the barrel in this is nuanced, not hot and over-the-top like some others out there. Fantastic!

Photo of corby112
4.15/5  rDev -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!

Photo of beerwolf77
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to garbercury for sending this bad boy my way. Simply because he thought I would enjoy it. Gar you kick ass. 2010 vintage shared with the tasting crew.

A: A total blackout as far as color goes. Truth in advertising. No real head or lace.

S: Nice mild roast malt. Sweetened coffee, dark chocolate. The barrel aging has given this a great extra layer of complexity.

T: The flavor has one of the finest blends of coffee, chocolate and bourbon I've ever tasted. No harshness in the roast flavor. The bourbon is just enough to let you know it's present but not overpowering. Super smooth and drinkable.

M: Full rich thick body. Mild carbonation.

O: This was a simply outstanding barrel aged RIS. I love regular Black out and this just took it to another level. I may have to plan a road trip for the next release.

Photo of Urbancaver
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice d ark reddish brown with a decent amount of head. Light brown head that is a fairly minimal. Smells slightly fruity and very rich and malty. Nce and chocolatey with a solid bourbon presence. A very subtle banana on the tongue as well. A bit strong and boozy but very tasty. Overall a top notch beer

Photo of brew3crew
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

A-nice black body with no head what so ever
S-sweet malty smell. Almost no bourbon whatsoever
T-wow. Nice bourbon, vanilla and oak flavor. Great combination and very complex
M-medium body and oh so smooth
O-nicely suprised with this brew. Great offering from great lakes

Photo of commis
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a Bells tulip.

Very dark brown, approaching black, with deep ruby highlights. Cappuccino colored head about 1 finger deep, dissipates quickly but comes back vigorously with a swirl. The liquid coats and sticks to the glass but there is no lace. Nice looking beer.

Dark chocolate, butterscotch, burnt toast. Aromas are not overly strong but well defined and harmonious. Definitely some butterscotch, but it works just fine. As this warms I'm picking up more smokey notes. Cigar smoke. it's nice.

I'm not normally a fan of bourbon forward stouts. I love Bourbon as a predominant accent but not usually the star of the show. I feel, however, that GL does an awesome job of smacking you right in the face with the Bourbon while still keeping it from becoming overwhelming. I think the roasty nature of the base-beer helps keep the sweetness from the barrel from getting to be to much. Burnt marshmellowy and nutty. Great depth with the rise in temp, with just enough alc to let you know your enjoying an adult beverage.

I find this to be of Medium body for an Imperial Stout. It's not as heavy as most of it's peers, but I can find no fault because it still does not leave my tongue dry. It finds a way to coat it but doesn't cling at all. Carbonation seems a bit lower than I normally like, but that is most likely why it's thinner body is not an issue.

Awesome. This is great. It's so easy to drink because of the body and balance, but has none of the normal issues with a lighter bodies imp stout (astringency, tannin perception, being 'hot')...I like it. I've never had it before, and I'm glad I drank it for brunch today instead of including it in a trade (almost did).

Photo of sisuspeed
3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to spycow for the bottle!

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip. A big black body with a thin, light-tan head. Leaves a few suds behind as lacing. Could use a little more color in the head for a RIS.

The aroma is filled with sweet, slightly spicy bourbon and dark malts. Milk chocolate and a little bit of alcohol. Hint of vanilla. Good, but somewhat one-dimensional compared to other BA stouts.

Milk chocolate, dark roasted malt, bourbon oak and alcohol on the finish. All the components are here, but it's almost kind of bland and there is too much alcohol in the taste, especially on the finish.

Smooth and milky with low carbonation. Too much alcohol burn on the finish for a 9.5% stout. I've had many stouts above 10% where the ABV is not this noticeable.

Overall, BA Blackout comes across as a fairly average BA RIS. Nothing here really makes me want to come back to the glass and the ABV is not enjoyable. I wasn't a fan of the regular Blackout stout, so maybe it's not a surprise that I'm not a huge fan of this one. Maybe other vintages have been better, but this most recent release is not worth seeking out.

Photo of abuliarose
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a large tulip glass, revealing deep black body under a thin and slightly airy-looking head. Very little lacing. I would have expected the head on this brew to be a bit... thicker. Smells awesome, though, with chocolate, toasted coconut, candied bacon and a little burnt caramel on the nose. Very nice smells, sweet-suggesting.

Tastes very sweet and very hazlenutty (frangelico?) with milk chocolate and caramel presence throughout. Slightly toasted. Lots of vanilla, some coconut milk richness but body is on the lighter side of heavy and flows easily from the alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is a little thinner and only a touch syrupy, but this drinks like a big beer: a flavorful sipper.

Overall it's pretty good. I am always amazed at the variations of RIS offered. This one is somewhere in the middle of all those.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bomber into a glass. 2010 vintage courtesy of boatshoes.

Previous review of the 2009: 4.8 / A+ (my highest barrel-aged RIS score at the time of this writing). I LOVED the '09 vintage and traded for a bunch of the '10s.


A: Pours a nearly opaque, ruddy brown body (translucent at the edges and murky brownish-black in the center). Some tan head, but not much retention or lacing.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, anise, vanilla, caramel, oak. Not much coffee. I liked the pronounced caramel of last year's and am disappointed to see it reduced this time. Still a good nose, but it's less pungent than I remember. Substantial booze, bordering on nail-polish remover. I'm not happy with this year's nose.

T: Bourbon, chocolate, raisins, and anise are the strongest flavors, in order. Bourbon isn't overwhelming. It pairs well with vanilla and chocolate in the mid-taste. The vanilla tastes artificial. Some caramel and roast, with tannic astringency in the finish. A nuanced flavor, but I'm disappointed that the caramel is lessened and the oak is brought out more in this year's batch. And, as mentioned above, it's somewhat hot.

M: Medium-bodied, but creamy. Last year's wasn't a hefty beer, either, but this one seems drier and less expressive in flavor. It also has a mild heat to it, which becomes amplified by the lack of sugars to cover it up.

D: I'm a little disappointed by this year's release. I had multiple bottles of the '09, including one as recently as two months ago, so it's not an embellished memory in my head. This year's changed, and it's not as synchronized to my palate as last year's was. It's still a good beer, just not a great one. I seem to be the most apologetic about it, as a bottle split 3 ways left more than 16 oz in the bottle. This one really didn't win over our tasting group as much as last year's.

Photo of Brez07
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split into two wine glasses last night. 2010 vintage via normyk in the Black Booty Vol 4 BIF

A: Pours a light brown but sits in the glass dark as night. 1 finger tan head, no lacing

S: Booze soaked brownie with walnuts. Nice oak presence. Cocoa powder, vanilla, roast and some smokiness. One of those beers you could smell forever

T: Very rich chocolate flavor with subtle roasted malt. Has that initial bite similar to what you get from wine. Reminds me a little of rum balls. Oak and light vanilla cap this one off

M: Full bodied, very smooth and creamy. Light roasted malt aftertaste

D: I wasn't a big fan of the regular version but that was delicious. In some ways, this reminded me of Kate the Great - not quite as complex or easy drinking but the flavors are pretty spot on. Two thumbs way up

Photo of sweemzander
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 Vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing!

(A)- Pours a fairly thick pitch black color. Produced a decent tan colored head that dissipated to bubbles. Some lace.

(S)- A nice mellow roasted profile. Bits of molasses, cocoa, and dry bready notes.

(T)- A nice richness. Raisin, cocoa, and molasses. Has a nice oaky vanilla and strong bourbon characters on the finish.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A mild roasted quality with a rich bourbon flavored core. Mildly bitter with an overall sweet profile.

(D)- A great barrel aged stout. It really has taken on the qualities of the oak and bourbon to its core and has meshed well with the overall base beer. Sweet and rich with an overall oaky dryness. Some good stuff right here.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,530 ratings.