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

1,242 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,242
Reviews: 381
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 9.36%
Wants: 1,209
Gots: 271 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,242 | Reviews: 381 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of writerLJBerg
writerLJBerg

Oregon

3.6/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle from Exitmusic00. Thanks! 2012 vintage.

A: Inky black/ a shade over mahogany. A rim of fizzing light mocha head. Light on the legs.

N: Chocolate, molasses, caramel, and loads of vanilla. Honey and brown sugar. This is a very sweet nose, but it's not cloying. A little bit of black licorice is about as bitter as it gets.

T: Dark chocolate, caramel, and more vanilla. There's some ground coffee bits and licorice. Oak and a hefty bitterness. Some honey.

M: Heavily carbonated and a bit lighter than I'd prefer.

O: A well balanced stout that doesn't blow me away. It seems to have lost a little bit of what makes bourbon and Imperial stouts great. I blame a lot of that on the lack of heft in the beer. Still, you won't go too wrong with it.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 02:49:39 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of rayjay
rayjay

Hawaii

3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2009 04:05:15 | More by rayjay
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got bottles of this one from TJBurgess and Masterski in trades a while back. Thanks a lot guys!

From a bomber into snifter.
Vintage: 2009
Note: Drunk right after the base beer.

APPEARANCE: Same as the base beer. Completely transparent pour produces a small, medium-looking tan head that quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Lousy retention. Dark brown body, transparent, with zero carbonation evident. A ring remains and leaves some lacing dots down the glass. Way too thin and transparent a body, with relatively lousy head retention.

SMELL: A mellow nose on this one. Some oak and bourbon with notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Very little of the base beer at all, and the barrel aromas have mellowed quite a bit. A little boring at this point.

TASTE: This is more like it. Very nice stuff. Some roasted malts make their way through from the get go, then a wave of bourbon barrel takes center stage. Lots of nice bourbon, oak, vanilla and milk chocolate from the barrels through the mid palate into the finish. A bolder and lingering aftertaste of barrel notes, some roasted malts and dark chocolate from the base beer, and a touch of bitterness. Milder flavors overall, but much bolder and more impressive than the nose had advertised, and it’s very well balanced, with the base beer and the barrels blending well together.

PALATE: Same feel as the base beer for the most part. Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth enough and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A slightly sticker finish than the base, but the same average body.

OVERALL: I’ve never had this beer fresh, but at this point, the ’09 vintage has probably mellowed out as much as anyone would want. The nose has probably started to tail off, but the flavors are still bold enough to showcase how well everything has blended and come together. If you’ve got a bottle this old, do something with it, as it’s probably not going to get any better. A very nice balance between barrel and base beer on this one, which we can’t say about every bourbon barrel stout. This one still suffers from a thin body and average feel, but otherwise, it is an enjoyable beer for sure. Thanks again for the trades guys!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 13:34:33 | More by Jeffo
Photo of TheBrewo
TheBrewo

Michigan

3.66/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

We pour a brew a color completely deserving of the name “Blackout”. It sits oily and jet black, letting zero light through its center. It holds a one finger head of big coffee colored bubbles, showing decent retention, and receding at a medium pace into a big aggregate covering most of the liquid’s surface. Punctate spots of lacing stick all around the glass. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears relatively active. The aroma gives massive bourbon from the very first whiff, mixing with warming and drying oakiness, milk chocolate nibs, thickly roasted chocolate and brown malts, sweet vanilla cake icing, ethanolic sting, and black cherries. With warmth comes enhanced char, whisky burn, and melted milk chocolate. Our first impression is that the flavoring is very robust, charred, and much more booze-forward than expected. As we sip, the taste opens with the darkest roasted coffee and chocolate malts that give smoke and charcoal, soured acidity, and inherent grainy sweetness. The remainder of the front is filled by dried oaky woodiness, moss, those aromatic, syrupy dark cherries, and white sugar sweetness. The middle comes to a peak with the union of bone chilling booziness, rock salt, and hugely soured char of fire-ruined malts. Pulling to the finish are notes of authentic bourbon heat, rumbles of charred coffee beans, those continuous flashes of white sugars, roasted chocolate malts, rotten molasses, and green grassiness. The aftertaste breathes of bready malts, rum soaked fruitcake, bourbon, charred coffee and chocolate malts, soy sauce, baker’s yeast, and drying wood barreling. The body is full, and the carbonation is lighter. The mouth is coated with oily slickness and sugary stickiness is brushed across the lips, with the booze and burnt malts eventually sucking much of the moisture from the palate. Each sip gives nice slurp, smack, pop, and froth, with slightly lesser creaminess. The abv is appropriate but warming, and the beer is definitely a slow sipper.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the huge, warming, and inviting nose. While this component of the beer approaches comparability to the top of the heap beers like Bourbon County, the taste strays a bit, focusing much more on the outright presence of booze, and seeing how roasty and charred we could go with the malts. This swings things out of that perfect balance, with loss of necessary sweetness, and what are essentially burnt malts. Sadly this beer marks the rare case where the standard base beer is considerably smoother than the barrel aged version. That being said, this guy sips wells, is certainly palatable, and is a treat for any enthusiast.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 00:45:39 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of dcloeren
dcloeren

Texas

3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown/mahogany with ruby red edges. Produced a finger of cinnamon colored head that quickly disappeared into the "blackout".

The nose is a little softer than I would like but still quite nice. Chocolate, a touch of bourbon but not nearly enough... vanilla bean on the end.

The taste follows the nose and is a little more bourbon forward... still, I wish that it would have more of a bite but they have taken the bit out and have left this beer with the more caramelized version of what the bourbon would be like without the heat...

The body is light for a RIS but has a very appropriate amount of carbonation. Very easy drinking and I am just now realizing this while I'm typing this but my glass is almost empty.

Overall, this was a delightful BBA stout but by no means was it top notch. It is lacking in the body more so than anything but it is definitely one of the softest BBA stouts I have had. Take this for what you want but while this was a good beer, I was not impressed.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2012 02:09:53 | More by dcloeren
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
coreyfmcdonald

Georgia

3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark, dark brown, a shade away from pitch black.  A finger of khaki foam forms with strong retention.

S: Strong, sweet bourbon is very prominent with milk chocolate and caramel sweetness to accompany.  Roasted malts and slight coffee are certainly in the background, but they help to balance the sweetness a bit.  

T: Again, sweet bourbon is extremely strong, a bit too strong for my taste.  Sweet caramel is also present, though not as strong as in the aroma.  Dark chocolate and very light roasted malts are in the background.  The booze is quite strong and distracting.

M: Relatively thick and creamy.

O: While certainly not bad, this beer is quite boozy and the bourbon is in your face.  I also wish there was more roasted malt and dark chocolate present. Maybe I'll wait a year and re-review.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 00:03:42 | More by coreyfmcdonald
Photo of dukedevil0
dukedevil0

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this 2009 release bomber from a nice new trader shrxxm216, thanks brett!

A: Pours a dark black color though slightly thin with a slow arriving khaki colored one finger head that reduces down to just a tiny rim and not really any lacing.

S: Smells awesome, like a triple chocolate cookie, milk and dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, oak, even some nutmeg, tobacco

T: Tastes similar to the smell, but not nearly as pleasant - lots of chocolate both milk and dark, roasted malts, but less vanilla, oak, tobacco flavors - a slight boozy taste...this really just tastes like a mess of flavor

M: This is my biggest disappointment with this beer and maybe it would be better on tap, but it's so much thinner than I would ever want a top notch imperial stout to be. This is close porter territory for me. I'm guessing that barrel aging thinned it out some. The carbonation is so low that this is almost like a cask ale.

D: It doesn't really feel like a BIG beer, but there is a slight alcohol flavor and it just doesn't hold up to my expectations for flavor and mouthfeel

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2009 00:49:56 | More by dukedevil0
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 1/1611

2516 Series

Pours a cola brown that settles dark. When held to the light it reveals deep hues of ruby; similar to grape juice in that respect. One and a half fingers of loose, tan colored foam that immediately began to fizzle out from the inside. Thin skim of retention. Good lace.

Though it doesn't smell bad, the nose seems of the timid order. Musty oak & soft vanilla permeate an otherwise restrained base beer. Hints of earthy hops in the mid-section. Moderate roasted notes lie beyond with subtle undertones of chocolate, coffee & a tangy twinge. No booze.

One sip brings an array of clustered, disheveled flavors all clamoring for attention. Let's see if I can make some sense of the madness. The base beer is in good standing, offering familiar notes of smooth, roasted chocolate, modest earthy hops & hints of coffee. Possibly the barrel is what's muddying up the mix; what with charred oak & sweet whiskey heat that carries the finish. The stout & the barrel are uncomfortable bedfellows in this instance. The culmination is too sweet.

Full bodied & appropriately viscous with gritty underpinnings. Moderate carbonation for the style; has a bit of a kick but isn't too prickly or brash. Finishes hot & slick with barrel & roasted chocolate at odds once again.

Honestly, I am a bit bummed with this one; it's sorely lacking integration, in my opinion. This is the first time I've had this beer so I have no prior vintage by which to compare. Perhaps some time will put it at ease; then again, perhaps not. As is, it's good but far from great.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 00:55:16 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of glazeman
glazeman

Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split with airohead2001.

A: Black in color with barely any head and a tan crown of bubbles.

S: A little coffee on the nose, but to be honest, I hardly get anything but the tad bit of coffee and tad bit of malt.

T: Well, I'm sure glad the taste is more exciting than the look or smell. There's a nice amount of coffee and toasted malt, as well as some subtle bourbon finished off by a tad of dark chocolate. I wish the bourbon were slightly more prominent.

M: The viscosity here is pretty good, but a little low. The carbonation is also very low.

D: Well, this beer is by no means bad, but it's not all that exciting either. I would have this again, but probably won't seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2011 02:11:54 | More by glazeman
Photo of tarheels86
tarheels86

California

3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

651mL 2009 ed courtesy of beeranddogs. The pour is clear cola, not black, with ruby highlights. The beer is almost the opposite of normal Blackout in that you have to really coax a head out of this thing. Even swirling, pouring from ten stories high; the head is about a quarter inch of yellowish tan foam that has okay retention and leaves little swathy lace. I understand that barrel aged beers may have less carbonation and head retention, but after the beer is finished in the barrel, it gets put back into the brite tank for conditioning in the bottle. So it should have good retention and rise up healthily. But the pour is dismal, making it hard to get a big aroma out of the beer. The muted bourbon first comes across a bit oxidized, slight red apples, lots of cocoa butter, and marzipan. As it warms, the nose comes into play with big bourbon, coconut, vanilla. It is quite mellowed out but very apparent. The taste is thinning, a bit watery. Really lacks the richness and bitterness of normal Blackout. There is definitely milk chocolate, warming bourbon, slight oak, lots of vanilla and cream. But the body is not well integrated. Very little carbonation doesn’t help the mouthfeel and lack of bitterness makes the body rely on vanilla and bourbon with no drying oak, no spicy oak, no spicy alcohol even. Just sort of a sweet mess that is hard to fall in love with. 11/8/2010 8/3/7/4/15=3.7

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 03:31:35 | More by tarheels86
Photo of Gtreid
Gtreid

Florida

3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pretty much black, with slight reddish hues around the edges. Big wet sand colored head, probably close to 3 fingers.

A: Lots o whiskey. Big buorbon notes followed by a complex malt profile that consisted of chocolate, roast, and earth.

T: The forward whiskey flavor leads way to chocolate, vanilla, caramel, earthy hops, and a slight coffee note. Finshes pretty boozy, sweet, and slightly dry.

M: Way too high carbonation here. Very sharp on the palate, not nearly smooth enough. Heavy body.

O: Although this is a solid BA stout, it is not near the top of the list. I liked it, just didn't love it. The overcarbonation was the brews downfall. Skal.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2011 18:45:24 | More by Gtreid
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ethan for bringing this over to our pre On Photon tasting...2010 bottle drank into an Orval glass...Dark brown pour with a disappointing lack of carbonation, a light tan head is there for a second then gone...The aroma is full of peat on the front, and just incredibly sweet, molasses with sugar, no depth...The taste is also sweet but a typical barrel aged sweetness of bourbon or vanilla, just sugary sweet. You can't even tell this is barrel aged except for a slight wood finish. A little roasty helps the boringness.

I was really excited to try this but came away disappointed. I had the 09 on tap and it was much better. Would like to try to more to see if 10 just sucks or its just better on tap. This is an above average RIS but a below average BA RIS, doesn't add anything to the beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 18:39:29 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Schlais
Schlais

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

04-11-2012 20:52:13 | More by Schlais
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

12-14-2011 23:55:23 | More by acurtis
Photo of Mavajo
Mavajo

Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a slightly watery looking black with a thin cream/eggshell head. Not really impressive. Nose is a bit on the faint side - a mild bourbon medley. Roasty dark chocolate on the palate with a bit of molasses, licorice and anise, and noticeable but not overpowering bourbon notes with mild caramel and vanilla. Medium mouthfeel with brisk carbonation.

A pretty balanced bourbon barrel stout. Personally, not a fan of the roastiness, but this is to be expected since I feel similarly about the regular Blackout Stout. Good beer, but not worth going to much trouble to seek out, in my opinion. Much better BA stouts out there, IMO.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 00:28:20 | More by Mavajo
Photo of VeganUndead
VeganUndead

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

03-11-2013 00:58:19 | More by VeganUndead
Photo of Beercanman1
Beercanman1

Ohio

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

02-22-2014 10:20:25 | More by Beercanman1
Photo of BearsOnAcid
BearsOnAcid

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown pour with a small khaki head.

Bourbon hits first on the nose mixing in with sweet roasted malt and milk chocolate.

Milk chocolate and roasted malt come forward the most in the flavor. Creamy, lightly carbed mouthfeel. Moderate bourbon kick and easy drinking. Slight oxidation note.

Highly drinkable BA Impy Stout but not incredibly complex in the flavor/aroma.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 18:45:28 | More by BearsOnAcid
Photo of beercanman
beercanman

Ohio

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

04-02-2013 08:31:28 | More by beercanman
Photo of Durb777
Durb777

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

01-28-2013 14:10:51 | More by Durb777
Photo of ajzy
ajzy

Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

05-26-2013 01:21:36 | More by ajzy
Photo of Romulux
Romulux

Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

05-20-2012 20:59:16 | More by Romulux
Photo of HopsintheSack
HopsintheSack

California

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

08-08-2013 02:38:18 | More by HopsintheSack
Photo of SourAddict
SourAddict

Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

04-04-2013 17:20:28 | More by SourAddict
Photo of Daffron24
Daffron24

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

08-03-2013 04:23:31 | More by Daffron24
Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,242 ratings.