1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,337 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,337
Reviews: 383
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 1,228
Gots: 280 | FT: 26
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,337 | Reviews: 383 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ford0626
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

ford0626, May 29, 2014
Photo of KingDiamond
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

KingDiamond, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of VAbdoyan
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

VAbdoyan, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of dave122382
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

dave122382, Nov 07, 2012
Photo of kustard
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

kustard, May 18, 2013
Photo of Saudereth
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Saudereth, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of brianlindman
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

brianlindman, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of goblue3509
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Pours a dark brown almost black color with a thin slight off white head and almost no lacing at all. The aroma is of vanilla, oak, and bourbon notes, with a slight hint of dark fruts present. The taste has a roasted malt backbone with hints of vanilla, chocolate, and oak, also the bourbon alcohol flavor really comes through at the end of the drink. The mouthfeel is low carbonation a little slick and slightly creamy. The drinkability is about average, the bourbon alcohol flavor is not as enjoyable as other ris's. The taste didn't seem as balanced as others.

goblue3509, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of damngoode
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

damngoode, Nov 01, 2013
Photo of Gushue3
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Gushue3, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of Arbitrator
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

Arbitrator, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of vissai
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

vissai, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of m_dub
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

m_dub, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of davesway10
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

davesway10, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of DeskLazer
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

DeskLazer, Mar 05, 2014
Photo of bsuedekum
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

bsuedekum, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of uvm2003
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

uvm2003, May 21, 2012
Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

ArchEnemyBrew, Apr 15, 2013
Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

drummermattie02, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of mhammo129
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

mhammo129, Feb 04, 2014
Photo of beast464
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

beast464, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of Bartos
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Bartos, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of Treebs
3.51/5  rDev -19.7%

12 oz. bottle served in Westbrook snifter. 2012/2013 bottle.

A: Pours a semi-translucent black color with some dark ruby edges. A light khaki head forms on the pour and recedes quickly to a thin ring. No real lace.

S: Bourbon up front with some toasted coconut and a little vanilla. Smooth oak barrel with some rich chocolate notes, fudge and a little roasted malts.

T: Light chocolate with minimal bourbon. Oaky with light vanilla and some odd residual heat on the back end. Light roast as well.

M: Very thin bodied, but the finish is smooth. Medium high carbonation as well.

O: This was alright, but I'm just not a fan of this beer or the base. It's too thin to begin with and the barrel aging thins this out even more and the base gets kind of lost.

Treebs, Apr 20, 2013
Photo of tjthresh
3.53/5  rDev -19.2%

Black. No real head that I saw. At least it surely didn't last too long. Typical BA imperial stout aromas. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, some roast. Typical BA flavors. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, some roast. Medium body. Silky. Light carbonation. There really isn't much here to set it apart for the rest of this sort. It really reminds me a lot of Schlafly BA Imperial Stout.

tjthresh, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -19.2%

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

kojevergas, Aug 07, 2013
Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,337 ratings.