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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: 1,703
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 1,357
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: 1,703
Photo of mwill7287
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12oz. bottle (thank God this wasn’t a bomber!) into an 11oz. GLBC snifter.

Appearance: Very dark brown to black with a half-finger’s worth of creamy tan head. The foam is thick and solid. A multitude of fizzy bubbles dance up the side of the glass. A smattering of fluffy lacing sticks to the glass throughout the drink. The head reduces to a lacing and then completely disappears about halfway through the drink. 4.25

Smell: Mellow bourbon and vanilla notes sit atop a robust Russian Imperial Stout base. I like the meld of bourbon and the BOS original. A great blend. 4

Taste: Cool, mild bourbon, savory vanilla, and a woody tone comprise the initial impression. Sweet chocolate and faint coffee of the original Blackout Stout are a best friend to the bourbon aging. Excellent combination. A bite of bourbon builds up with the aftertaste, while remaining generally mild, though near the end of the drink the bourbon opens up almost too much. This beer has a full taste without overpowering the senses as a BA beer often can. 4.5

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, even for a BBA stout. It’s higher in carbonation than I expected it would be. The bourbon aging is just right on the palate – very present but not at all overpowering. Sticky reside is left behind on the lips. 5

Overall: Certainly this is a delicious and excellent feeling BBA stout. I appreciate the mellow bourbon notes in both the nose and the taste. So many BBA stouts are overpowering in all respects. This is just right. FYI I find this bottled version superior to the draft version for whatever reason. Obviously as a BBA stout, this is a sipper, and the high ABV would limit me to one or two of these in one sitting. 4.5

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


bottled in 2012 had alongside the non-barrel aged variety bottled 4/20/2012 both in oversized batch 2 TB snifters.

a - both brews are dark as night with a thin off cream colored head that fizzes away almost immediately leaving tiny bubble islands and a congregation of bubbles clinging to the glass on the surface. swirling the glass brings things back to life and the head is creamy...lacing is spotty at best. nice shine to both.

s - nose is uber complex. takes the regular and just mushes it through booze soaked wood. the wood has a nice presence and smells fantastic with the beer. really wonderful and unique smelling BA stout. takes the chocolate from the original and douses it in nuttiness.

t - takes the original and just douses it with bourbon. it really works even though bourbon heavy. the chocolate comes out more and is really rich and decadent. the nuttiness that was suggested in the nose is there, but not nearly as pronounced as suggested. but boy oh boy, this is a yummy brew

m - upon the first sip the thing that jumped out at me is that silky lush feel. i had just been sipping the non BA and this is the most pronounced difference. really fantastic, decadent, lush silky feel. way heavier than the non BA

o - overall, wow...really a wonderful BA stout. have had this a few times before, but gotta say it is certainly top tier for BA stouts. worth checking out.

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Photo of output01x
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Bottled In 2012) into a snifter glass.

A vigorous pour yields a 2 1/2-finger mocha colored head of dense, creamy bubbles. After a few minutes, the head slowly recedes to a thin, even dusting and thick foam ring. The body is as black as the label on the bottle with absolutely no traces of color or light. Great lacing clings to almost every area of available glass.

Dark gourmet chocolate, espresso, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. The nose is a great combination of these aromas with bourbon definitely being the dominant part.

Creamy milk chocolate, caramel, and plum start each sip. Upon swallowing, vanilla and dulce de leche come out but are quickly accompanied by a sweet bourbon flavor. As the bourbon flavor grows in intensity, a nice alcohol warmth takes hold in the back of the throat that persists between sips. A slight dry coffee aftertaste can also be noticed poking through the alcohol warmth as an aftertaste.

Full bodied with good carbonation, this beer is a creamy delight. The body is rather sticky and very coating but is not syrupy in the least. The carbonation never really presents itself as fizzy but can definitely be noticed in the creaminess of the mouthfeel. This is definitely one easy-drinking RIS.

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

12oz bottle with 2012 stamped on the side of the label.

Pours pitch black in color. The smallest amount of light penetrates near the top of the beer showing some dark brown hues. The head itself is light brown in color and stood almost two fingers tall initially. It has since reduced to a thin layer with some nice lacing on the glass.

Nice nose consisting of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and a touch of wood.

Taste: A good amount of bourbon up front followed by the classic smooth chocolate taste of the original Blackout Stout. Suggestions of vanilla and oak near the middle. Very little hops in this IS which is always a good thing when it comes to barrel aged beers. I find that a strong hop presence and a strong barrel presence sometimes clash. A touch of sweetness and alcohol heat in the finish.

Medium bodied (which would normally be a bit thin for the style) but the base beer has a creamy mouthfeel which is also present in the BA version. Carbonation is on the low side.

A super enjoyable BA IS without a doubt.

Morey's Bottom Line: Well, I drove 2hrs to get this, and then waited in line for about and hour and a half. In short, it was worth it. I really like this beer a whole lot, and you can bet I'll be at the release next year.

*This beer pairs extremely well with chocolate. Try it, you won't be disappointed.

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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 travMI13
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From tasting notes 1/21/11, with fellow BA'a AngryNucleus and BeRanger. Beer #7 of the night.

2012 vintage. 6 oz. pour into a Founders snifter. Thanks to BeRanger for scoring this one.

A: Black with deep red edges and a half of a finger of off-white head. Very significant lacing.

S: Espresso beans with a touch of dark fruit. Does not smell boozy at all. I honestly couldn't smell the bourbon here.

T: Blackberries, espresso, and oak. The after taste is vanilla. I love the flavor of this. I only got a touch of bourbon, and I was surprised by that. So smooth. The flavors blend together nicely.

M: Very dry mouthfeel, yet with a fruity sweetness. Interesting. This beer is incredibly smooth.

O: A fantastic bourbon barrel imperial stout with very unique flavors. I really enjoyed how mellow the bourbon was. It allowed the other flavors to really come through significantly. This was a very unique bourbon barrel stout experience. Great Lakes did a great job with this. I'm glad I have a couple more bottles of this to enjoy.

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Photo of BeRanger
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, #7 from our outstanding stout tasting party.

A: Ports black with a rim of off-white head, mild lacing.

S: Chocolate, Vanilla, Roasted Malts, Bourbon, Dark Fruits. A wonderful mix.

T: All the flavors come through that were smelled - it seemed everything was complimentary. There isnt a harsh after-taste which is nice.

M: Medium body, lifght carbonation.

O: This is outstanding. I love how the flavors came through and everything melded together very well. It isn't a huge ABV but the alchol was masked very well. Great BA stout.

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Photo of korguy123
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 thanks to silverX

A- Totally opaque black pour with a three finger large bubbled soapy light tan head that quickly deflates. Leaves a finger width cap and soapy lacing.

S- Chocolate and brown sugar with huge vanilla and bourbon/ oak. Slight licorice with molasses. Much more rounded than regular blackout.

T- Chocolate sauce, brown sugar, massive vanilla notes. Sweet and roasty. Smooth and chewey. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M- Creamy and smooth with slight alcohol warmth.

O- Excellent beer, very well crafted and awesome seeing how balanced this base beer can be with extra love.

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Photo of sitarist
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It appears opaque in my dimly lit room. Crema-like head, falls quickly.

Earthy, peat, vanilla, and burbon aromas. Not overly bold, but a little unbalanced.

Lots of vanilla, and burbon; hints if chicory, coco, and coffee. Its flavor too is a bit unbalanced, but great flavors none the less.

Not quite full-bodied, it's still warming, and bold.

Overall it's a great stout, but it doesn't wow me this year.

4 pk. = $27

2013 update: The color is not as dark as I remember. It has a stronger bourbon aroma as well. Previous years had a "peat" aroma; I do not detect any in this batch. Coco, whiskey, coffee, some vanilla. There seems to be more bourbon on my tongue, and down the hatch as well. Still a great beer, but much different than previous years.

4 pk. = $32

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Photo of CFHMagnet
4.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got into Cleveland for the release yesterday nice and early. I have heard so many good things about this beer, and finally I was able to pick up a 4 of my own. I got a little aggressive while pouring this one into my snifter, and ended up with half a finger of mocha colored head. This dissipated in about a minute or so to leave a faint bubbly ring around the top of a black body. There seems to be absolutely no light passing through this sexy, delicious beast.

The nose is a delicious mix of dark chocolate, hints of vanilla, a bit of wood and some bourbon to top it off.

Upon taking a sip of this beer and exclaiming on how good it is, my fiancee proceeded to tell me that she wished I looked at her like that. Delicious dark roasted malt and dark chocolate are the beginning of the taste journey. Vanilla, a hint of something dark and raisin-esque and wood form the transition, then the ending is a bit of dark chocolate, a whisper of coffee and some bourbon.

This beer is full bodied and VERY amazingly creamy. Carbonation is just right. Even though bourbon is a strong characteristic of this beer, the alcohol burn associated with it is very mild and very pleasant. Warming. Perfect for a cold evening.

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Photo of keller2343
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Batch on release date 1/17/12

A - pours a weak tan head which dissipates quickly. Appearance is opaque dark brown.
S - Strong Bourbon Flavors, hints chocolate
T - Overwhelming bourbon, which I appreciate. Getting some chocolate and hints of coffee.
M - A little lighter than I expect from an RIS.
D - Loved it, excited to see how some aging smooths out the bourbon flavor.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

More of the notes from the Southsound gathering.

A Pours a dark brown with a tanish head.

S Some bourbon, dark chocolate, a bit of vanilla.

T Pretty much the same as the nose with bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate and a bit of wood.

M Seemed a bit thin but alright I guess.

Overall an excellent stout just nothing mind blowing.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured deep brown with a light tan cap

S: Faded bourbon, light cocoa, roasted malt and booze

T: Immediate faded bourbon, hints of vanilla, minute cocoa with tobacco and old wood. Booze was noticable but faded

M: Big body overall but I felt it was a bit thin on the way down

O: Good overall, nice drinking RIS but was looking for a bit more taste, heartiness and complexity.

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

Taken from notes on 12.20.2011

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip. This followed the none BA version.

A - Pours a dark brown with a very thin dark tan head that is gone almost instantly.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, chocolate and oak.

T - Again nice vanilla and chocolate, with a bourbon-oak finish.

D - Still smooth and nice. Lower carbonation and again a thinner body like the standard Blackout.

O - I was very impressed. A great tasting beer, but again a bit thin.

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

Got a bottle of the 2010 release in a trade from tburkhart!

Jet black with a thin tan head. This is what I've come to expect a good stout looks like, but there isn't the brown oily resin that I see in the exceptional ones.

Strong bourbon at first with a little roastiness. This a really strong scented stout.

This is an incredibly strong stout with tons of barrel flavors (vanilla and bourbon) as well as a strange woody aftertaste. I've tried the non-barrel aged beer and it was outstanding, but this is a completely changed beer. In my opinion it's one of the best beers to spend time in a barrel because it's already outstanding and this just makes it even better.

The mouthfeel was full bodied stout meets aging and bourbon flavors. The beer has very little carbonation and a strong chocolate/woody aftertaste that lingers. I honestly would have preferred a little more carbonation to make this creamier with all of its inherently heavy caramel and chocolate flavors.

Strong flavored beer with generous attributes given by the barrel. It was technically an extra I didn't pay for, but I'm almost certain it's worth the price. There's so much flavor and it definitely rivals an aged BCBS (which is way too alcoholic when fresh). I would have liked a little more body, but it's not worth complaining about.

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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 brentk56
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Zip's in Cincinnati

Appearance: Arrives in a snifter with a finger of ecru foam on top of the black liquid; leaves just a bit of lacing behind

Smell: Subtle hints of bourbon waft above the chocolate, vanilla and oak elements

Taste: Up front, the chocolate, bourbon and vanilla elements blend together with some fruit and licorice arriving at mid-palate; all the elements come together in the finish in a balanced fashion

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; very smooth

Overall: In terms of balance, this has to be one of the best examples of a bourbon barrel aged stout I have encountered; I was told it was a year old and the flavors have mellowed perfectly

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

Amazing! On my want list for nearly a year and find it on tap at South Park Tavern!! Great Lakes selected SPT for 2 kegs tonight. First one tapped at 4p, gone by 6. It is everything I had hoped for. Smooth, sweet, little/no hop bite, bourbon flavors. A refreshing, sipping beer ... world-class. A halo beer.

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Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of seeswo
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle split with Josh. Pours black with a small tan head. The nose is nice - milk chocolate, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, bourbon. The taste is a mish mash of bourbon (w/ vanilla and oak) and smaller amounts of bitter chocolate/coffee. The bitterness in the finish is just a touch much for me in that it winds up being a touch acrid. The mouthfeel is really nice and smooth. Overall, this beer was good, but not nearly as good as when I had it on tap at the Great Taste. Will be happy to try this one fresh.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap (10 oz) at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse. Poured almost pitch black color with crimson red hues along the sides. Thin tan colored head that dissipated fairly quickly. Tiny stream of bubbles surface around the edges consistently.
Aroma is nothing short of spectacular. Bourbon cask aroma, with lots of vanilla, oak and hints of caramel, some coffee and milk chocolate. It is very aromatic, yet it is not very overwhelming.
Taste akin to the aroma is high on bourbon, with a nice taste of vanilla/sweetness taking over the bourbon, which finally gives way to smooth yet bitter chocolate and coffee notes with just a hint of bitterness in the finish. Surprisingly clean finish. Full-bodied and silky smooth on the palate.
This has to be hands-down one of the best bourbon barrel aged stouts I have had so far, period. Nothing short of spectacular.
The levels of balance achieved in the aging process is just fantastic, and no words can express it more than actually getting a taste of it. I was told by the Great Lakes employees that they only make 800 bottles a year which are sold only at the brewery. It's a shame it is not sold elsewhere. If you enjoy the regular Black Out Stout; which is also very good, then you will absolutely, positively enjoy this one.
Definitely worth a try and comes highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of bobhits
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer without the bourbon is a subtle and complex "weak" imperial stout. With the bourbon this is an intense and full bodied sweat bourbon treat. I had the pleasure of having both on tap tonight and only regret not having a second!

Sadly appearance suffers when trying to pour a full glass (6oz) of beer so lets say this one is dark and should in theory have head. The aromas are vanilla, coffee, and chocolate, and the hop aroma of the base beer does make a few minor appearances.

This is a thick and creamy mildly under carbonated beast. Truly tasty and among the best beers I've had. This really does seem like a fully different beer from the base. Highly recommended but hell I love bourbon barrel stouts.


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Photo of iadler
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks for exitmusic00 bringing this over. '10 bottle poured into two tulips.

A- Pours a dark black with a two finger mocha head that dissipates into a thin cap with minimal lacing

S- Freshly baked flour-less chocolate cake with caramel, vanilla bean, dark fruits, bourbon and roasted malt.

T- Big dark chocolate notes, with with slightly bitter coffee beans, bread, caramel and roasted malt. Bourbon is present, but very well blended with the other flavors.

M- Medium carbonation with a medium body. Finishes a bit roasted. The mouthfeel could be a bit thicker.

O- Very impressed with this beer. The bourbon was noticeable but not overpowering by any means. Really well balanced and a easy drinking beer with no sign of the high ABV.

Thanks Matt!

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Photo of aasher
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer in the Darkness Day BIF this past weekend in Minneapolis. Amazing score! I've wanted to try this forever. This bottle is the 2010 vintage.

It pours the darkest of browns in color, full in body, with a slight beige lacing around the glass. The aromas consist of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and toffee. It has a great nose for a bourbon barrel aged stout, with nice complexity. The flavors feature an array of flavors. You get a good amount of roasted malt up front, sweetened by vanilla, bourbon and toffee. It has phenomenal flavor. The bourbon is just the right amount. It drinks very, very smoothly and has great flavor. For a RIS, and a bourbon barrel aged version at that, it has amazing drinkability. It drinks a little fine but it really is fitting. This is a phenomenal beer, phenomenal. I love it. I'm eternally grateful for this bottle.

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