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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.

407 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 407
Hads: 1,686
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,339
Gots: 348 | 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: 407 | Hads: 1,686
Photo of Gyle41386
3.79/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes:

2516 Series.

Pours a cola color. Decent head, retention, and lacing.

No mistaking this is a BA stout from the aroma...big time roasted barley, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, espresso, etc etc. Slightly nutty quality, too.

I hate to give this beer a 3.5 for flavor, but it was just a little too hot. The 9% ABV made itself known early and often. Some time in the cellar would do good, but this is still a damn good beer. It's got all of the elements of a dynamite imperial stout, but just a little too much heat. Will hopefully be re-visiting this one soon.

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Photo of fiver29
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. Easily one of the best beers I have tried. You can certainly tell this beer was aged in Jim Beam Barrels. Here in Cleveland they do a Jim Beam tasting along with beer tasting with this special release. Strong bourbon and toasted coffee aroma. Pours black with nice head retention. Bourbon flavors abound a light mouthfeel followed by dark chocolate/coffee like flavors. Beautiful long finish.

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Photo of John_M
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Generously provided by Brad (ygtbsm94) at the BA gathering at Max's yesterday.

The beer pours a brownish black color with an impressive creamy head. Head retention is very, very good, with lots of sticky lacing all around. Surprisingly, the nose is a bit muted, though I do get some light coffee and chocolate. What there is smells pretty good. Flavors on the palate pretty much replicate the nose, except there is nothing shy about the amount of flavor I get. I get a huge, rich, creamy presense of milk chocolate, cherry and coffee, with a hint of licorice. The mouthfeel is really impressive in this beer, and comes across as long, smooth and very creamy. Drinkability is very, very good for such a big beer, and I could see myself getting into trouble drinking this one.

The regular blackout stout isn't bad, but this is truly exceptional. Very well done.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium off-white foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of of well balanced vanilla, bourbon, oak with some deep roasted malt. Taste is also a well balanced mix between some bourbon. Vanilla and deep roasted malt with not one flavor overtaking the other. Body is lightly creamy while being full and carbonation is perfect for style, i.e. about average with no apparent alcohol. Easily drinkable with just enough character.

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Photo of rayjay
3.63/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Viscous looking black beer without significant carbonation or foam. Tiny islands of foam do persist though.

Lots of whiskey on the nose, a bit distracting. Smells like Canadian whiskey. Lots of sweet malts too, masking the roasted malts.

Very smooth and sweet, leading more to the Canadian whiskey parallel. Reminds me of a Dr Pepper and Canadian whiskey drink. Not a malt sweetness, more of a syrup-type sweetness, definitely bogarting the spotlight a bit. Roasted malts and hop bitterness are noticeable, but you have to look for them. I detect a lot more carmel malt than I remember being in the regular version (which I love). No heat at all, but gives you whiskey fume breath with every sip. I wish the wood was more up front.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery, guess I was expecting a heavier mouthfeel. Still pretty good. Carbonation is low. Smooth, but not the velvet mouthfeel type. More like whiskey drink on ice smooth.

Definitely drinkable, although drinking a bomber solo is a challenge. A good beer worth seeking out, but a bit of a let-down based on other reviews. I just really think the liquor is too dominant and distracting. Cheers!

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a short light tan head.

Scent of bourbon, oak, vanilla, sugars, dark fruit, roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. Complex and balanced, excellent.

Taste of bourbon, oak and chocolate initially, roasted malts, molasses and vanilla come in and linger for a bit. Finishes with bourbon, roasted malts, dry oak, and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth with a bit of carbonation.

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Photo of beerman207
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Kels for hooking Bamadog and I up at a tasting to celebrate her new job. This was aged from 2008.

A - Black as midnight - very dark - small head leaves some decent lacing behind. Very inviting

S - Oak, Coffee, bourbon, alcohol

T - Bourbon, coffee, alcohol present - fantastic flavor

M - Alcohol is dominant for me in the mouthfeel but in a good way. Very nice balance and feeling. This beer is very smooth. Much smoother than KBS.

D - The drinkability for this is very high considering the higher ABV. I could have easily had more of this. Wow. What a fantastic beer. Believe the hype on this one.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jdoncbus for this awesome trade!

It's been cellaring for several months now but I couldn't wait any longer. After chilling slightly in the fridge, I pop the cap and pour it into a globe glass.

It is truly black but I struggle in vain to see any color or light passing though. It has creamy tan head. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing but it's still a nice looker.

Aroma is awesome with the oak barrel coming through strong. It has a wonderful bourbon and vanilla smell overlaying the dark roasted malts. There's also a good dose of hops on the nose but it's overshadowed by the wood aging.

Flavor is intense and incredible as well. That oak aging brings all sorts of sweet bourbon and vanilla to the taste but it doesn't completely overwhelm like some. There is a great amount of roasted coffee and chocolate, some toffee and caramel sweetness, and a big bitter punch from the dark malts and hops.

Mouthfeel is fantastically smooth and creamy with very minimal harshness from the alcohol. It hides it's 9% well. Drinkability is great for the style and I will continue to enjoy every sip of this bottle until it runs dry. What a beer.

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Photo of youngblood
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours black as midnight. Super thick looking, not a ton of head but it sits rather mightily atop my glass. Low visible carbonation.
S - Smells incredible. Strong hints of bourbon, smooth oak, espresso, caramel, slight pine, tobacco. Yum.
T - The taste follows the nose rather closely. Lovely roasted flavors here. Lots of espresso, strongish bourbon, slightly sweet. Just amazing.
M - Great mouthfeel. Perfectly weighted on the tongue, super smooth.
D - Goes down ultra smooth for a 9%er.

Blackout Stout is one of my all time favorite stouts, so when I heard that they did BA I knew that I had to get one. It didn't disappoint, simply delicious.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Dark Lord Day 2009

A: Good, dark black color without too much head.

S: Sweet, dark malts with a good amount of bourbon.

T: Very nice, and more complex than the nose let on. Plenty of roasted malt with underlying sweetness. The bourbon definitely comes through and coats the palate in a very nice way.

M: Pretty thick without having too much carbonation. A good jolt of alcohol.

D: Very, very nice. Great Lakes can simply seem to do no wrong.

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

Pours black but not opaque and surprisingly clear. Smells of whiskey, tobacco and raisins make up the nose. First sip is bitter whiskey with, oak, raisins and other dark fruits dominating the flavor. Hints of coconuts and vanilla add to the beer's complexity. Slightly thin on the body and a little light on the carbonation. Very pleasant indeed!

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Photo of jampics2
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dear God,

When I die, please have this on tap at the Pearly Gates Bar and Grill - It wouldn't be heaven without it!

Cheers, Jampics2

(Seriously - this is the best beer I have ever had. More bourbon than the Founders KBS, smoother than Abyss, and rarer and "more special" than Darklord or just about anything else.) On to the good stuff:

A - Pours with little head. Blacker than Dick Cheney's soul.

S - Smells like luscious cocoa and a bit of bourbon spiceyness. You can tell this is going to be boozy, but alluring nonetheless.

T - Tastes like heaven - chocolate and bitter into vanilla bourbon bliss. The way this holds together is amazing. It's extreme in every fashion, but somehow everything balances out. Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns has every malady known to mankind and that's what's keeping him alive.

M - A little on the stingey side, but hearty and everything I'd want an RIS to be.

D - I had 4 the night it went on tap at GL. Not my shining moment, but it's so good I could just keep drinking it. If it wasn't so limited in bottles, I could see opening 2 in a night.

Overall, this is A++. This is the perfect beer IMO.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained in trade with unclejedi. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head recedes promptly, with leggy dwindling lace. Aroma is dark grains, vanilla, and alcohol. Taste is roasty sweetness upfront, barrel character in the middle, and alcohol warmth at the close. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, almost seems to evaporate off the tongue, and drinkability is very nice for the style. Could stand for a bit more body, but all in all a great offering.

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Photo of tpd975
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge Thanks to BeerTruth for the share! You Rock Adam!

A: Pours a nice flat black hue with tones of amber showing through. The head was nice solid and creamy. Retention was only ok with light lace noted.

S: Huge aroma from this one. Tons of rich chocolate, gooey toffee, macroons, and all the goodness that comes from barrel ageing.

T: Rather oaky, but not overthetop. Rich Belgian chocolate, coconut, with hits of vanilla. The roast was wonderful and the beer soo complex with numerous layers.

M: Full in body, thick enough to cling to the mouth and throat providing lasting enjoyment.

D: Very, glad I shared it, but is one I could have sipped on for an hour.

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

Pours a very nice deep brown that appears black without light, leaving a nice creamy tan head and good lacing.

Smell is fantastic. Bourbon is present but not overwhelming over the already fantastic Blackout smell, chocolate, coffee, cream.

Taste is really great as well, pretty much an accurate mirror of the smell and just the right amount of bourbon flavor.

Mouth is a little more thin that I would have liked and it doesn't quite coat the mouth, but the carbonation is low and right.

Drinkability is good, I can't wait to get back out to Ohio to pick up some more when it hits. Blackout is one of if not my one favorite "easy" to get imperial stout, this is a damn good version of it.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1 pt., 6 fl. oz. bottle courtesy of unclejedi - many, many thanks! Poured into a 22 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a not-too-thick looking but pretty near black body, topped by a fuzzy, fizzy, fast-fading tan head, the swirling dusting of lace and the thin, bubbly collar the only reminder of what once was. There's really not too much to say about the appearance - hence the relatively low score - except that it's probably not too inappropriate for the style.

On second thought, the lacing is absolutely fantastic - huge swaths of sticky, bubbly, smooth lacing, like nets cast alongside the snifter curvature. Spotty and speckly in certain places, streaming and runny in others, it's very attractive.

Aroma: Strong, woody bourbon is the most prominent note here, and it becomes even more prominent and overpowering as it warms. Equal parts vanilla and chocolate, toast and roast. A well-balanced brew, though definitely not one to treat lightly.

Taste: A near-perfect balance. The wood here comes through more than in most if not all of the barrel-aged brews I've ever had the pleasure of. What I mean by that is that this one tastes overwhelmingly of stray vanilla and oaky notes, well-integrated with the relatively subtle-to-begin with backing beer. Though I've only had the pleasure of the GL Blackout Stout once, one of my first impressions of it was that it would be a very good "foundation" beer for something else - it was subtle, well-made, well-balanced, and one of the most purely drinkable RISs I'd ever had.

Waves upon waves of flavor. The aforementioned vanilla. Wood. Slightly warming, slightly spicy, slightly earthy bourbon. The traditional RIS notes - milky sweet cocoa, coffee, toast, a faint, underlying hop bitterness. A few hints of dark fruit appear in the background, but they're well-blended. Though the bourbon is strong and definitely a primary player, it never becomes overdominant; that is, once this beer warms, the bourbon always manages to stay balanced with the other constituent part of this brew.

Mouthfeel: One of the softest, most perfectly carbonated beers I've ever had. This one's near perfect - medium-bubbled, medium-bodied (as was the original GL Blackout Stout, a very fine-bodied brew to begin with), cut perfectly by whatever bourbon is present here, with no cloy or stick or unnecessary thickness. Just a damn fine feeling brew.

Drinkability: This is a damn fine brew. It's not over the top in any way, but balanced in every way conceivable - that is to say, very drinkable. The 9% abv is eminently reasonable, and perfectly acceptable for an RIS - I definitely approve. There's really not too much to be said about this one. Enjoy it, enjoy it with friends, enjoy it to its fullest extent. It's a big winner of an RIS, alone or with company.

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

Thanks to mcallister for the trade, I got this one back in Nov 07 so I think it's a good guess that this is from the 07 release. 2516 Series on the label.

Almost completely dark with only the slightest hints of ruby on the sides. A soft inch of mocha colored foam rose to the top of the glass and receded very slowly back into the beer. Good retention, a bit of lacing, and a swirl brings back some more foam which is quite impressive for a BA beer.

Bourbon on the nose as I first started pouring but once it's in the glass I can pick up some dry oak, vanilla, wet grains, sugar cookies, dark roasted malts, and bitter chocolate. Not as complex as I thought it would be but still quite good. A little more brown sugar and some lactic sweetness. Lots of dry oak, tannins, and cocoa. Vanilla seems to intensify a bit more as the beer warms up.

More chocolate on the flavor than the aroma...wow, very smooth. The barrel seems to have faded to the background but it is so darn tasty. Hints of vanilla, crème, oak, an toasted malts. A little alcohol heat in the finish and somewhat tingly on the tongue too. As the beer warms up it's all chocolate in the finish with hints of oak.

Very smooth and rich upfront but a tad thin in the middle and finish, low carbonation. Thinner body as it warms up but it's expected from a BA beer.

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Photo of chefnash51
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle. Poured into my Duvel glass. Love the regular Blackout.. expectations are high

Seems like most of my great beer moments are enjoyed while I have the night to myself and I am parked in front of my LCD playing COD4..or COD WAW

anywho.. back to the review.

A - No real surprise.. BLACK. Small head with slight lacing

S - Great Smell.. stands out from other BA Imps. Nice bourbon barrel notes of vanilla and oak.. also picking some nice dark chocolate tones. Maybe some toffee in as it warms. Bitter Cacao.

M/T - This is some Damn Fine tasty brew. All the notes I was smelling seem to stand out and yet blend together so well.

D- This is where this beer shines. I have NEVER had such a drinkable BA Imp Stout. It's actually on the dangerous side of being too drinkable. WOW. I had to slow myself down from finishing in five minutes. So smooth.

bottom line.. love it.

thanks Zapata. true Gem.

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Photo of brdc
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks clockworkorange for this one. Large capped bottle. Compared directly to an aged bottle of the regular blackout stout.

Poured into a snifter, it is pitch black, opaque, with a creamy tan head.
Aroma is pleasant and the barrel aging added to the complexity; malts do not feel as charred as the original version, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla and bourbon make an appearance.
Full bodied, soother than the original as the bourbon notes are more pleasant than the alcohol bite of the original; it is also less charred, a bit less bitter than the original. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla. Still bitter, but drinkability is significantly higher than the original.

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Photo of DrewOSU
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pwoods shared this one at my place with ftownthrowdown and drewOSU.

A: Pours black with a ¼ inch tan head. Large head for a RIS. Lacing is slight and watery

S: Huge bourbon nose, burns the nostrils. Hints of chocolate but cannot get over the bourbon!

M/T: Medium, oily mouth as it slides down the tongue. The bourbon punches the tongue on initial taste, then it seems to back off for a second after swallow. A rush of roasted coffee comes in the aftertaste.

D: I could feel the bourbon burn my chest after a glass. Very drinkable for some, but I would definitely have to limit myself on this beer.

Awesome BA example. I was very surprised by the way the beer seems to hit hard with the bourbon, back off and then hit again with a coffee after note. It was like drinking two beers in one glass. Very enjoyable.

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

Props to bakerslp for hookin me up w/ this one.

A: Pours a few shades from black with a minimal tan-colored creamy head that swooshes its way down to just a ring. Spotted wet lacing forms around the glass when you swirl.

S: Great smell; Huge bourbon aroma followed by vanilla and oak wood with hints of leather and chocolate. Faint acidity in the background, likely also from the barrel.

T: Oh this is delicious. Flavors of chocolate malts and vanilla swirl before bursting with sweet bourbon. You're treated to a comforting finish of dry oak and some of the lingering booze. Everything is in sync here.

M: The feel is exactly what I look for in these kinds of beers. Smooth, mild carbonation, a bit slick, but certainly not overbearing and sludge-like.

D: This is an extremely enjoyable beer. Not too thin, not too thick, just about right. The bourbon is balanced by the malt and vanilla and doesn't overwhelm the palate like some similar brews *$*cough*^$ blackops^#...What? Anyway. World glass. Smooth as hell. Seek this out. Lives up to the hype. I'm going to take down this whole bomber and sleep like a baby.

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Photo of beachbum1975
4.95/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pwoods shared this one at my place with ftownthrowdown and drewOSU. Thanks, dude!

Appeared light to medium viscosity. Clear, brownish to black color with an impressive ½ CREAMY moderately tan head. Great spotty lacing up the sides of my tulip as I sip. Beautiful thing to look at.

I smell the barrel, vanilla, chocolate and some phenols. Smells amazingly strong and tasty.

Wow, this beer is phenomenal! The big alcohol presence isn't masked in this one. Medium bodied with full flavor. Vanilla, bourbon, oaky woodiness, coffee, fireplace smokiness at times. Finishes with a lovely roasted, caramel, sweet buttery pecan type finish. Alcohol is just right on this one.

I really can't think of a better barrel-aged Russian Imperial stout. Top notch, amazing - this should be in the top ten. Don't think for a second this is "just" a barrel aged version of Blackout - it is, but MUCH more with the addition of the aging. Recommended...

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Photo of hoplover82
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! My goodness, this is one of those EPIC beers.

It pours a thick black with a thin tan head with lots of dotty and thin lines of lacing.

The aroma is strong and complex with roasty barley and slight bitter dark chocolate and licorice. As it warms, the toffee realy comes out.

The taste is just as complex and strong with roasted coffee as the dominant character with licorice, bitter dark chocolate and toffee in the background. The coffee lingers forever.

Full bodied and very thick and creamy, like drinking a beer smoothy.

Very drinkable, I could have another one of these!

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

Bottle courtesy of ClockworkOrange. Thanks!
Very dark with faint chestnut edges. Carbonation looked low on the pour, since a very thin light brown cap appeared and I wasn't all that careful. Fine bubbles formed a solid collar. Spotty lacing. Caramel and whiskey aromas, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, malt, light roast. Very nice aroma, lots of character without any single trait overpowering the rest. Roast was more prominent in the flavour and bitterness was solid, yet fairly soft, throughout. Faint hop flavour towards the end. Whiskey and booze gave the palate a tingle from start to finish. Bittersweet and milk chocolate notes, vanilla, drying oak, caramel, dry cocoa in the finish. Fine carbonation, a little on the low side. The body was between medium and full, a little on the light side for a RIS, but this aided drinkability. Plenty of warmth without being hot. Overall, a well crafted and balanced barrel-aged beer.

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

Sent in trade from my oh so sweet bitch Egledhill. This one's to you princess! I'm not greedy enough to down this all by my lonesome so I shared in a multiple bottle tasting with Mauerhan, OlieIPA, and Aimstatus. Who all enjoyed it by the way.

Decent head after a big pour. Light tan and creamy. Pitch black fluid.

Really nice coffee scent. Big chocolate, espresso.

Huge flavor. I mean a whole damn mouthful. Bourbon. Stout. Chocolate. Coffee. Coffee. Bourbon. Very pronounced.

Super smooth. Little burn at the end, yet great.

Sure coulda drank the whole damn bottle instead of sharing! Didn't have quite the ABV kick I usually enjoy in a big beer.

Sending this to me was the coolest thing Eric has ever done in his entire life. Especially since everything else he's ever done has been pretty stupid.

Overall: really good

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 407 ratings.