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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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406 Reviews
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Reviews: 406
Hads: 1,684
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,342
Gots: 347 | 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
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Reviews: 406 | Hads: 1,684
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like a stout. Black, lighter then tan head boardering on off white. Sticky lacing, relative good staying power in the head. Aroma is some what muted, what is there smells of vanilla mixed with chocolate milk and light roast. But again it is very faint, however as it 'breaths' the aroma pronounces itself more. Flavor wins all the points here. Nice marriage of barrel to beer. Chocolate, roast, and vanilla mesh seemlessly with bourbon barrel vanilla and toffee. Velvety smooth mouthfeel and rich. Little hint of alocohole here and there, actually kinda hot-ish for a beer of 9.5%. That's it that's all, great beer here.

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Photo of BakaGaijin
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A - pours with very little head.

S - mild coffee smell and chocolate milk. A hint of bleached white toast.

T- Some bourbon and roasted malt up front. Some cocoa. A bit more bitterness on the finish then I would like.

M - Wow. Wow. Wow. This mouthfeel is incredible. Silken. Nicely carbonated. I almost don't want to swallow this.

O - Really good barrel-aged stout. The alcohol is not very noticeable. The mouthfeel is incredible and the taste is very good.

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Photo of metter98
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at RFD, Washington, DC

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high tan head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles on the center and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon are present in the nose along with notes of dark chocolate.
T: The taste starts out with initial flavors of bourbon from the barrel aging and finishes with dark chocolate.
M: It feel just about full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer has a great balance; it has lots of big notes and they all seem to come through—you can definitely taste both the bourbon and the stout.

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

200th (Last) Review

Tap @ Coles 10 oz. pour

A: Midnight black in color, caramel colored lacing, no more than a few centimeters in length. Aesthetically pleasing on the eyes.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, coffee bean, heat, vanilla bean, charcoal.

T: The bourbon and the heat of the alcohol give way first. Upon intake, you get the backlash of the coffee and the vanilla together, which is superb.

M: High viscosity, chewy, big tannin on the palate that lingers with a sting. The star.

O: This was my Whale. Complete Satisfactory!

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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 PaulyB83
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%

Poured into a nonic pint glass at Local Roots in Powell, OH.

A- Black, small off-white ring of head, very slight amount of light coming through on the edges.

S- Unripe banana, chocolate, slight dark fruit, coffee, slight vanilla.

T- Chocolate covered cherry, coffee, some alcohol coming through.

M- A bit on the thin side for a barrel aged imperial stout.

O- I was really lucky to find this on tap while I was in Columbus for the weekend. I was a bit disappointed by this one, not a that big of a barrel presence to me. I might even say I prefer Dragon's Milk to this.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml Bottle received in trade with iguenard - thanks! 2014 edition

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, coffee, wood/booze

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and faint coffee. There is also nutty/pie crust type flavour

Overall - I was expecting it to be a little thicker looking, but its fairly light and lively and it has a tremendous flavour. It's a big beer but it is still very well balanced and all the flavours work very well together. The barrel aging isn't all that pronounced, it just accentuates the beer a touch. A high quality brew that is surprising not cloying in the least.

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Photo of bryanbullock
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Has the look of used motor oil with extremely small amount of carbonation, the bubbles dissipate very quickly. Somewhat more transparent than what I expected.

S - Bourbon forward on the nose, with hints of oak and coffee.

T- The taste is a amalgamation of bourbon and malt, the sweetness pairs effortlessly with the coffee bitters. Small hints of vanilla.

M- Good thick viscosity, smooth all the way through, lacks carbonation.

O- Damn good beer, not as superior to the standard blackout stout that I am already very fond of.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle into a tulip.

dark black pour with a slight head. smell is big on bourbon...expected. taste is very smooth and drinkable. slight bourbon but it didnt overpower the chocolate notes at all and you get a lot of the original beer flavor too. the big knock for me on this beer though is the mouthfeel...almost a thin body. way way too thin for a BA stout, we were joking that this was a session BA stout. still though, the flavor is solid. just wish it had SOME sort of body.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Jeff for the trade! Pours black with brown highlights when held to the light. Thin tan head that fades quickly. Not a lot of lacing to speak of. Lots of roasted coffee on the nose. Notes of chocolate, bourbon, and some dark fruit, notably fig. Bourbon on the front of the palate followed by coffee and sweet, dark fruit. Milk chocolate and tobacco on the back end. Nice malty caramel aftertaste. Bourbon gets more and more prominent as it warms. Medium bodied with light carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. Overall a solid BA stout, a little over-hyped, but I'd seek it out again!

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Photo of TheBullsHorn
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What can be said about this beer that hasn't already been said in other reviews. A fantastic russian imperial stout to begin with, gets raised to a complex degree when the booze and the wood are introduced from the bourbon barrel-aging. The nose comes big with notes of booze, tobacco, burnt sugar, and caramel with wood coming through in between. Same again when it comes to the palate. All those flavors with added pleasure of bourbon, and everything that that spirit brings to the table. An exceptional ale.

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Photo of CLEmark
4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown amber.
Aroma of oak, coffee, caramel, malt, vanilla, and bourbon.
Taste, oak, hint of coffee, roasted malt, vanilla

Overall, very well balanced for a barrel age. The black out stout really holds it's own against the bourbon barrel. Very well done beer, I had a hard time finding anything wrong with it.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.4/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pouring this to celebrate the end of my local blackout! Thank god that's over...
BA Blackout pours with a deep brown body, about cola colored. A modest tan head rises about only a half inch thick with moderate head retention. Nothing impressive about its appearance for an imperial stout.

However, in the aroma I find much to be impressed with! I smell raisins, dates, boozy alcohol, oak, leather, drunken cherries, chocolate, and soy sauce. Nothing really dominates here, but it's rather well-balanced. It's a rich aroma for sure, and it promises a complex palate.

Up front, this full bodied beer has a booziness on the roof of the mouth. The flavor is a mix of oak, whisky, fruitiness, cocoa, and finally, espresso on the finish. Carbonation is medium, with a mildly bitter hop finish. It's definitely on the lighter side of the spectrum for the style.

One could call this a "drinkable" Imperial Stout, because the abv, while high, is still under 10%. The body is not viscous, and the booziness is mostly contained. It's not the best example of a barrel-aged impy stout. It's not the worst either. It's somewhere in the middle.

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

Bottle from jbwimer. Huge thanks for this big want of mine. Bottle pours pitch black into my tulip with a small half finger khaki brown head. Aroma of loads of rich chocolate fudgy goodness, some roasty grains, bourbon, oak, coconut. Flavor is big sweet chocolate up feont with plenty of bourbon and roast, it finishes with huge vanilla from the barrel, some light coconut and chocolate and oh my lord so smooth. Velvety smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation, heavy body. This is fantastic. The finish is one of the best and it is so velvety smooth. Right up there with the best BA stouts and yet much more drinkable. Great Lakes is just such an incredible brewery.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish amber. Off white head forms and leaves some lace. Aroma of malt, coffee, vanilla, of course, some bourbon. In the taste, roasted malt, vanilla, smoke, wood and a warming booze. You get a lot of the barrel with this brew. Roasted and a lot of tannins drying it out. Full bodied, smooth, dry and satisfying. Overall, a different beast than the regular, more coffee and vanilla tasting version. A standalone giant in its own right.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 2013 12oz bottle into a Crooked Stave tulip.

Appearance- Black with quick bubbly off-mocha head that left some good lacing.

Smell- Some vanilla and caramel from the bourbon, milk chocolate, light oak, light booze, no real hop presence, decent chocolate malt backbone.

Taste- Mildly bitter chocolate, vanilla, sweet bourbon, caramel and chocolate malts,super light hops. Light whiskey tinge. Lightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Pretty well carbonated, which I wasn't expecting from the pour. Lightly hot. Medium body.

Overall- Solid BA stout. A little hot and a little over carbonated, but still quite pleasant.

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Photo of MCain04
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 yr old bottle, poured into a Vault Brewing Co Snifter at around 50F.

Pours a dark brown, near black body, light tan head of good thickness with decent retention, some lacing.

Smell is a lot more bourbon barrel forward than I expected. Heavy bourbon and vanilla, with oak, roasty malt, toffee, and chocolate.

Taste is pretty much along the nose. Really nice bourbon barrel character with a lot of vanilla, bourbon, toffee, and chocolate. A smooth taste. Aftertaste is bitter and roasty. No alcohol burn whatsoever.

Mouthfeel is medium at best. However, the carbonation is about right and it is fairly smooth with a dry finish, not overly sticky.

Overall, this is an excellent BA RIS, one that I am enjoying immensely. It could definitely use a thicker mouthfeel, but is still quite delicious. Worth seeking out.

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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 brewtus
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 release vintage poured into snifter. Pours black with a small off white head. Smell is full of great bourbon oak notes, some cinnamon, sweet marshmallow, some coffee , some chocolate. Taste starts with a hit of smooth bourbon oak barrel, some hints of cocoa, coffee, sweet dark fruit, again some cinnamon, small anise flavor. Texture is perfect, velvety smooth. Overall this beer is fantastic, I had one fresh and it was pretty hot, after about 8 months it's has aged wonderfully, amazing bba stout from an amazing Ohio brewery.

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Photo of ynsane
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Being a huge fan of the original Blackout Stout already, I just had to give the barrel aged version a whirl. I was impressed. The added oakiness (for better lack of term) was a grand addition to an already phenomenal brew. It added a great depth of flavor to the already great stout that Great Lakes has had brewing for a while. The mocha notes that start as you take your first sip are satisfying and enjoyable, while the finish hits you with notes of bourbon and vanilla. If you enjoyed the original, give this one a try. I do not think you will be disappointed.

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Photo of harrymel
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2013

I'm a huge fan of Blackout and I am happy to have this one in my hands. It's been a want of mine for quite some time that a gracious local BA put into my hands.

It's black as it's namesake and has a central pillow and flanking ring of mocha foam. Smells of graham, oak, toasted malts, residually melted sugars, a hint of craft caramel, some vanilla, alcohol and raw oats. Flavor follows suit: malts, oak, vanilla, oak, leathery, a bit of fig, a solid molasses undertone (nothing too overpowering, just a complement), and some nougat. Nearly full bodied with slightly hi carb and a semi dry finish. This a really tasty beer. I'm glad to have had it, and I would drink it again for certain.

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Photo of CJArtanis
4.95/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I can't say enough about this beer. The first thing that comes to mind is the most important characteristic that can be associated with a beer, and wine for that matter, balance. This stout is so overly whelming balanced it's crazy. It's a creamy, velvety, roasty, chocolaty, bourbon flavored masterpiece. I've been brewing myself for 6 years now and can only aspire to craft a beer as grand as this. I could write forever about how delicious it is and it wouldn't do it any justice. If you haven't had this beer, I implore you to buy or get one in a trade. Outstanding!

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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 kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
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

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Photo of DonFrap
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage poured from 12oz bottle into treehouse snifter

A: almost no head, very little lacing, no retention

S: strong bourbon smell, dark fruits, but overpowered by the bourbon. It's a smooth bourbon smell though.

T: Still pretty hot, but smoother than other bottles I've had. I've always though that BA blackout was a little too hot for my taste.

M: nice and heavy. I do wish there was a tad more carb.

O: I've had a few bottles of this, both fresh and aged. I definitely recommend sitting on this for at least a year, it ages well.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 406 ratings.