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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,264 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,264
Reviews: 381
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.38%
Wants: 1,218
Gots: 274 | FT: 22
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Dogbrick on 11-29-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,264 | Reviews: 381 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Spider889
Spider889

Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage: "2516 Series"

The snifter of this that I had at the release party seemed underwhelming, but I interpreted it as a rushed keg (I want to say they kept pushing back the release date due to space/tank availability issues. The carbonation was low and the beer seemed lackluster and soapy to some extent (but still desirable).

This bottle rectifies that, and falls more in line with past releases...

A - Poured into a Cigar City snifter. The beer is a dense black. Blackout Stout has never been the thickest of beers, 2011 vintage more than I remember in years past, even. But somehow this bottle of BA Blackout seems thicker than the base beer (normally I find this to be the reverse). The head is rather short, a greyish cream color, but has decent enough staying power over time. Only the slightest hint of lace feebly clings to my glass.

S - The aroma is the best part of this beer - at least this year's vintage, at this point in the aging process. Vanilla and oak are huge here, and appreciably make this one to inhale over and over again.A slight roasty chocolate notion falls in line behind the luscious vanilla, and as I dig deeper still - often by literally getting my nose deep into the snifter - I can find ripe bourbon whiskey character. It's slightly fruity and a little boozy with a dollop of honeyed sweetness on the back end.

T - The bourbon is really prominent this year. I find it slightly off-putting for my tastes. The bourbon is not hot by any means, but just potent. It masks much of the base beer which disappoints. The fruity character of the bourbon almost tricks me into thinking that there's a tartness to the beer, but closer inspection tells me that yes, this is only the prominence of the barrel. Charred oak and mild ash hints to what this beer once was, and a subtle sweet chocolate note foretells what this beer will one day become if cellared. In any case, this beer is still delicious, but needs some extended age for me.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sticky texture with a nice mocha coffee finish/aftertaste.

O - There's a reason this is one of my favorite beers - Great Lakes knows their stuff. This year's vintage is simply more whiskey-forward than I remember from last year. Ought to age very well.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 05:39:04 | More by Spider889
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"2516 Series," which I guess is the same as the 2009 bottling. A million thanks to kels for facilitating this one. Have held onto it as long as I possibly could--it was screaming to finally be released from its glass prison...first sip is a big "cheers!" to Kelley.

Pours a midnight black with super-subtle rust-brown and ruby hues. Head is a light tan but doesn't hang around very long. Turns to a thin crown quickly.

Aroma is a mixture of dark fruit (esp. fig and raisin), touch of alcohol, freshly cut wood, and spent coffee grounds. There wasn't much chill on this, but even with warming it started to recall whiskey each time I brought it to the nose.

Upon the tongue the wood is prominent, and together with the warmth of the alcohol it gives the impression of being as much aligned with whiskey or other spirits as much as it belongs to the beer family. But everything balances out pretty well -- there are liqueur-soaked dark berry, fig and plum elements, a nice helping of vanilla, and a watery milk-chocolate vibe. Leaves a lasting finish, yet again favoring the alcohol and wood.

Texturally it's a smooth, gliding, slick kind of thing...not as thick as many stouts, not as chewy, which makes it particularly easy to drink. A little sticky, and without much carbonation (fine by me).

If I think this was a little underwhelming, that's only because it's ranked so incredibly high on this site. A little too woody and alcoholic, could use more big gooey chocolate, thick sweet cream and coffee characteristics--the stuff of my favorite stouts--but still a good stout? No doubt about it.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2010 23:01:58 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of camil1mj
camil1mj

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

S: Bitter dark chocolate with hints of whiskey.

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 02:07:30 | More by camil1mj
Photo of DmanGTR
DmanGTR

Florida

3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joe for breaking this out at our little tasting. Review from notes on 4/3/10. 2009 vintage.

A - Poured very dark brown, almost black (but not quite) with a light tan bubbly head. Looks actively carbonated. Decent retention. Mahogany hues in the light. 4.0

S - Wow, bourbon overpowers everything. Bourbon all over the place. A bit of ash, dark fruit, and roast somewhere in there but somewhat lost. Could use a bit more balance I think. But still, a pleasing aroma. 3.5

T - Actually, this is a bit different from the aroma. The balance is there and actually very nicely executed. You can tell this beer has been aging in bourbon barrels for a while; highly assertive vanilla, charred oak, and deep blackberry tones. However, there is a characteristic ashy flavor of Blackout Stout that I don't appreciate as much and it is noticeable in the BA Blackout. 4.0

M - Decently big body, but I would put it more in the scale of medium bodied. Very smooth carbonation and a slight prickle on the palate. 4.0

D - Very nicely drinkable. Again, that distinct ash is hindering me a touch but overall, a nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2010 15:23:50 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of Florida9
Florida9

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black, but with just a little bit of light shining through on the side. Forms a thin, light tannish head on the pour. No lacing.

S: Obvious aroma of bourbon and vanilla followed by the sweet smell of dark malt.

T: Okay, there is now no mistaking the barrel-aging on this one. Taste is virtually all bourbon, vanilla, oak, and alcohol, with dark malts, molasses, and brown sugar playing a supporting role. Quite full flavored.

M: On the lighter side of heavy with appropriate carbonation.

D: Too brash and in-your-face on the barrel aging for my tastes. Maybe this beer will improve with age, maybe the bourbon qualities will tone down and reveal a more subdued and complex beer. I don't know, but in it's current state, it was just too much for me to consider overly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 02:53:36 | More by Florida9
Photo of wyattshotmaker
wyattshotmaker

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 04:37:48 | More by wyattshotmaker
Photo of marvin213
marvin213

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2011 17:53:50 | More by marvin213
Photo of ne0m00re
ne0m00re

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/06/10- Had this one on-tap at the GL brew pub.
A: Pitch black, brown hues, thinner cream collar.
S: Nice vanilla bourbon, molasses, light cigar, clean, not woodsy.
T: Sweet, cigar, molasses, smokey burnt, close to DL with vanilla and oak.
M: Sticky sweet, with some carbonation.
D: Pretty good for a couple glasses.

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2010 05:33:07 | More by ne0m00re
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 03:04:12 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of khiasmus
khiasmus

South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is the rhythm of the night. The horns blaring, jarring lights glaring in the corners of the eyes, a cold wind whipping the streets far below, swaying the building, and only black when he looks up. Well, almost only black. The city's dank glow cast a hint of brown about the edges of the field of vision, a few small puffs of soap-bubble cloud drift by at eye level, then he is left with the cold, lonely blackness.
The aroma of the city drifts upwards, the massive amounts of bourbon from the distillery many long stories below. The city is rank with it, dripping with it. It is tearing apart families and building empires, creating both pleasure and misery, heartbreak, fatigue... The shoppes, then, a leather-shoppe, mingling with the bourbon as he kneels on the edge... A cream-sweetness, the old ice cream place, vanillins, the oak barrels of the fire-water plants, the warm stench of alcohol, burnt, spent grain.
And the flavours of that city... as many as the aromas, if not quite as piquant. Bourbon, of course. The cornerstone. World-class licorice, vanilla fudge, sweet oak-alcohol, alcohol, alcohol in the finish, and the burnt grain that wafts through, it's necessary for the plant, necessary for the city's survival, the constant burnt grain floating down the river, children laugh and play...
It's thin, though. warming and dry, wry humor, the humor that is built upon deep despair. Low carbonation, as any good distillery town should have... Few bubbly people, there's far too much to be somber about, too many bloody faces walking the streets, too many children without fathers.
The city is enjoyable for a tourist. You wouldn't want to live there, you wouldn't want to drink it constantly as the locals do, it will draw you in. WATCH OUT! It will draw you in, you'll never escape, you'll grow old and red, your world will become an endless dreamscape.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2009 23:31:09 | More by khiasmus
Photo of Jmoore50
Jmoore50

Nevada

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The appearance on this one is dark dark black with a one finger mocha tan colored head. It is a fluffy head that leaves a light lacing on the glass. Although the lacing does not last forever, it has some grainy legs that like to creep on the sides of the glass. A good looking Imperial Stout.

The smell is of chocolate, bourbon oak barrels, ABV heat, burnt and roasted grains, earth.

The taste is a little thin, which is a common problem with barrel aged imperial stouts. The barrel thins out a base beer making everything else a little light on the palate. This beer has lots of burnt and roasted grains, earth, chocolate and bourbon. I am not sure if this bottle is a blend of barrel and un-barrel beer, but it is not very intense. Everything is somewhat muted, and I think it is because this beer is going through its transitional period. It is turning into something different and better, and we popped the bottle a little early. I can see this turning into something great, but not now.

The body is light and a bit hot with some graininess. It is a bit hot and incredibly astringent. Sucks your palate dry, the glass of water was refilled a few times by the end.

This is a good beer, but I opened to a bit too soon before its full transition. I am not sure what this would have tasted like fresh, but a year or so is going to be this beers time to shine.
J

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 01:40:44 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of SirSketch
SirSketch

Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2011 00:56:35 | More by SirSketch
Photo of ricke
ricke

Sweden

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, quite pale for the style, with an off-white head.

The aroma is lightly roasted with notes of milk chocolate, bourbon, toasted almonds, ashes and salty licorice.

The flavor is quite sweet with delicate malty backbone of roasted coffee, caramel, fudge and chocolate. Bourbon, almonds, vanilla and some light smoky notes. The finish is lightly bitter with lingering notes of oak, bourbon and salty licorice. Medium body, smooth carbonation.

I had high expectations on this one, and unfortunately they weren't really met. A decent barrel aged imperial stout, no more.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2010 14:13:55 | More by ricke
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottles courtesy of both Sliffy and JSquires. An imperial stout yes, not a Russian. Another good example of a bourbon barrel aged. But I would like some other tastes besides bourbon. The stout is black, the head is off-white and gourgeous with bubbles. There is active carbonation. Seems a slice thinner than the non-barrelled.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2006 03:34:21 | More by Sammy
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of sweet cocoa with vanilla, oak, and bourbon dominate. There are also notes of toffee and sweet chocolate.

T: sweet cocoa and bourbon dominate with vanilla, toffee, and oak also very prevalent. The finish is lightly boozy and sweet.

M: thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is nice and lively on the tongue.

O: a good beer, overall. Not terribly complex, but quite tasty nonetheless

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2012 23:56:01 | More by n2185
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BA review #700. Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Black with half a finger of bubbly light brown head that very quickly receded to a ring around the glass.

S - Huge bourbon aroma up front with vanilla and oak complimenting it. Some roasted malts and chocolate in the background.

T - Bourbon, vanilla and oak up front. Toasted oats, chocolate an some sweetness in the middle. Warming alcohol and bourbon returning in the finish.

M - Medium body. A little thin at times and definitely thin for the style. Moderate carbonation that was a little heavy for my liking.

O - This was very good but missed the mark for me (based on expectation). Needs more body and less carbonation. Mouth feel got considerably better in after about a half hour in the glass.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 22:20:56 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to unclejedi for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
2009 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a black color, some carbonation, not much of a head at all, a couple of tiny islands appear. The nose is malty, with some oak notes, chocolate, toffee, some spice. The taste is malty, nice oak note, chocolate/toffe, with some spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty brew, but not what it's hyped up to be.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 01:17:50 | More by Wasatch
Photo of kbutler1
kbutler1

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Thanks to Peter for opening this one up from the most recent release. Poured into a tulip glass a dark brown color with a slight tan head. The aroma is very subtle with slight hints of roast and booze. Medium mouthfeel. The oak is pretty subdued with notes of vanilla. The one thing I would say is that this beer is very smooth and easy drinking. I wish it had more of a oak barrel flavor to it but it does have a fair amount of vanilla flavors. The appearance of this really upsets me, there is no head and no lace, booo.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 21:19:54 | More by kbutler1
Photo of MbpBugeye
MbpBugeye

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Waited till my birthday to crack my first one of these. Poured into a snifter.

A- Its very difficult to get any head on this beer at all yet somehow there are tons of pearls of lacing polka dotting the glass. I must say that the beer didnt look very thick on the pour (at least by BA RIS standards.)

S- Oak is quite strong here giving the beer a smooth vanilla smell. Bourbon is there but it brings a boozy smell more than anything else, I would like more character from the bourbon. Milk chocolate and a shot of anise intermingle with currants and mulberries.

T- While not the heaviest on bourbon, this one does allow the boozy stuff to jump out at you. The bourbon and alcohol are certainly the last flavors left in your mouth, and boy do they stick around. Do they over stay their welcome? Thats subjective, but it could be the case for many people. Lots of barrel notes of wood and vanilla. Since the barrels dominate I have to poke around the flavor profile to find the Blackout Stout beneath. Its there, with its nice chocolatiness, but it does like to give you a run around.

M- Low carbonation, as the pour already had me thinking. Thats no worry though, a BA stout that has a lot of carbonation either has a problem or isnt executed to my liking. This is thin as compared to lots of it's peers.

D- 2010's batch is feeling much higher than the listed 9.5% even though my bottle says 9% even. Im having a hard time believing either. Place this blind in front of most people and they would guess around the 11% mark.

The verdict: A good beer, one for the cellar. I didnt put myself too far out of the way to obtain my allotment and for that Im glad. As it stands, I wouldnt do much more for some of this. We will stash one and see what it becomes. I have a feeling it will be a late bloomer.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 01:15:11 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of ShogoKawada
ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah, goin' through the review notebook. Got this one from a BIF, I do believe. Mucho thanks to the fine individual who sent this along.

A- Nice motor oil pour with a brown sugar, thick 2cm head that has tremendous staying power (and visual appeal). Wow, that's a nice pour.

S- Big bourbony sweetness. Vanilla and caramel, pretty light, not much char.

T- A lot stronger roast malt presence than I found in the nose. Bitter chocolate and a bit of molasses, def. oak presence and straight bourbon are noted too. Explosive flavors- very agressive, and well-executed. I'm impressed.

M- Lower than average carbonation, but since the flavors are on point, I'll suffer through it ;)

D- Moderate. b-bal stouts are a dime a dozen these days, but it takes more than a barrel and a stout to make a good beer. This one is just that- a (very) good beer. I would not hesitate to drink this one again. Impressive.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 15:13:54 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of newk340
newk340

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -8.5%

02-04-2012 21:01:46 | More by newk340
Photo of fenlop54
fenlop54

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -8.5%

05-06-2014 17:22:29 | More by fenlop54
Photo of johnyb
johnyb

Florida

4/5  rDev -8.5%

04-30-2014 06:41:50 | More by johnyb
Photo of jh1982
jh1982

Nevada

4/5  rDev -8.5%

11-14-2011 13:37:01 | More by jh1982
Photo of MADPolo
MADPolo

Alabama

4/5  rDev -8.5%

07-03-2013 14:28:24 | More by MADPolo
Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,264 ratings.