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: 1,682
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 1,343
Gots: 347 | FT: 38
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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 406 | Hads: 1,682
Photo of squaremile
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the recent BA tasting at Bailey's Taproom. After having a number of world class imperial stouts, we cracked this and wows were heard around the table. Color is pitch black with a small head, aroma is a bit boozy but pleasant. The taste is a great balance of coffee and barrel flavors balanced by a light sweetness. It was not an overpowering beer, but very well executed and unique.

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Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured via 22oz. bomber into goblet on 12/19/08. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Poured an opaque, deep black body with slim tan head that receded into patchy film and left decent lacing around the glass.

S - Subtle nose for a barrel-aged stout with hints of bourbon, chocolate malt, licorice and a bit of alcohol.

T - Initial flavor is a mixture of bourbon, chocolate, mild coffee and woody notes with a definite oak presence. The bourbon rose to the forefront as the liquid approached room temperature.

M - Smooth and creamy texture with soft carbonation and a bit of heat from the alcohol presence.

D - The bourbon character is fairly subtle here, making this one go down quite easily. Good stuff!

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Photo of rodkin
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottling.

Pretty standard appearance. Black, kind of thick looking but honestly not as much as I would expect. Tiny little head that disappears almost completely, leaving minimal lacing around the side of the glass.

Smell is coffee, chocolate, some barrel, bit of heat, maybe a little vanilla. More of the slightly bitter burnt malt flavors than the sweet ones, though.

Taste confirms the smell. Burnt coffee grounds, dark chocolate, some bourbon, and just a little hint of vanilla sweetness. It's actually pretty nice, avoids a cloying sweetness. A little milk chocolate on the way down, especially as it warms. Maybe a tiny bit of dark fruit, too. It's not too hot, but it does have a kind of boozy flavor.

Mouthfeel is fine. Not too thick, but it works pretty well. Decent carb, decently creamy.

Overall, a pretty good BA stout. A bit too boozy for my taste, which hurts drinkability, but it's got some good flavors. I'd be curious to see what some age does to it. Didn't really blow me away, though... maybe I've just been having too many stouts recently.

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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 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, 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 seeswo
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle split with Josh. Pours black with a small tan head. The nose is nice - milk chocolate, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, bourbon. The taste is a mish mash of bourbon (w/ vanilla and oak) and smaller amounts of bitter chocolate/coffee. The bitterness in the finish is just a touch much for me in that it winds up being a touch acrid. The mouthfeel is really nice and smooth. Overall, this beer was good, but not nearly as good as when I had it on tap at the Great Taste. Will be happy to try this one fresh.

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Photo of jpiper
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at GL. I've been drinking this at the source about every other day since the release. I've never had a beer whose flavor was so dependent on what I had eaten immediately prior than this one. First day I was disappointed; second I was impressed; third day was also a let down, until I started in on the pretzels, then it was pretty good; fourth day was best of all. So I asked if they mixed the batches or went straight from barrel to keg. Evidently they mix them. So, I rate with an emphasis on the good days. This beer can be impressive. I imagine giving this one some time to mellow out can only help, but the barrel aging surely takes this a step or two about the regular Blackout. So creamy and delicious.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 360 of 900 from 2006 release. Pours black, an agressive pour yields a very small light to medium tan head that quickly fades. Aroma is somewhat smoky like burnt leaves, a light cocoa sweetness and cola aroma leads into a boozy and woodiness. Some soft sweet vanilla up front in the taste, slightly cola-y before a good bite of alcohol and drying finish. Leaves a nice roasty dry aftertaste with a small bit of tangy acidity. Medium to heavy in body, quite soft on the palette at first, finishes with a decent bite and drying hoppy and woodiness. Very nice beer, love the biting finish and dry roasty aftertaste.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 12oz bottle (acquired via trade) into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: seemed to pour a little light and foamy to me, but the expected black with minimal head in the glass.

Smell: huge chocolate, vanilla, cherry. Pretty mild bourbon/barrel notes.

Taste: chocolatey, pretty sweet, mild bourbon, with some oak and maybe very minimal hops bitterness. Alcohol present but not dominant. No off flavors, but adds up to less than the sum of its parts nonetheless.

Feel: oily, a bit sudsy, medium-to-full bodied. Not at all dry.

Overall: pretty good, actually, but clearly a notch below the top tier. I was probably a bit hard on this; interested to see how the 2012, 2014, and non-BA iterations I've got in the cellar stack up.

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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 pmarlowe
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2013. Tasted alongside regular Blackout Stout. Teku glass.

A: Pours mostly black, a dark coffee brown around the edges, with a half finger of light brown head which recedes quickly to a thick ring. Quite good clarity. Good retention for what's there, and a few streaks and dots of lacing.

S: Sweet, round whiskey, oak, and vanilla, and alcohol burn.

T: Bourbon that burns a little as it goes down, vanilla extract and oak, an undertone of chocolate malt and roast which imparts some structure, with a long, slightly boozy and barrel-y finish.

M: Medium-full body and medium-light, slightly sharp carbonation.

O: The barrel treatment is a bit on the harsher end, esp. with the alcohol burn, and the base characteristics are pretty overwhelmed. Some of the harshness mellows out as it warms to room temperature, but it remains.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the trade boatshoes

This poured a pitch black color with the latest forming head I've ever seen. I actually thought it was flat at first, because I did a pour dead center into the middle of my tulip and got nothing. I turned around to set the bottle down and when I turned back suddenly there was a quarter inch of head sitting there. Spooky.

Smell is a lovely blend of roasted malts, sweet dark fruit, wood, chocolate, and toffee. The bourbon is surprisingly mellow, I thought this one would be a little more bold since it is so young. Not that I'm complaining....this is pretty damn nice.

The taste, while good, doesn't quite hit the level that the smell did. In my opinion, the base beer for this is a solid stout but honestly I didn't see how barrel aging it could turn it into a world class beer, and as I sit here and sip on it I feel my suspicions were correct. While the barrel does add some complexities, it still comes off rather generic in the world of giant barrel aged monstrosities. I suppose there is a time and a place for generic, but never will I call it world class. What we have here is just a damn good barrel aged stout--nothing more, nothing less.

Mouthfeel is medium/full and relatively flat. There are some bubbles, but not a whole lot. More carbonation probably would have helped this quite a bit, because in its current heavy state the complexities don't seem to blend as well as they should. All that being said, it still NEARLY works.

I'm actually surprised to see that this beer is only 9%. I would have guess it was in the 11-13 range, probably because of the heaviness on the tongue which causes the volatiles to just sit and burn away. It really isn't very hot, but it is hotter than it should be. Nonetheless, this is a solid beer but I'm really not sure it should be as highly rated as it is. But that is up for you to decide for this out!

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Photo of russwbeck
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks nhindian!

A: The beer is pitch black with about a finger of light brown head. The head's retention is decent, and it laces my glass in thin wisps. 4

S: The aroma is quite robust and really works the entire spectrum of bourbon and stout. Things start off with roasted malt and some booze, but the baker's chocolate, whiskey, and vanilla really take the nose over quickly. The beer even smells thick. The finish is of oak and some more roast. I thought the aroma could use another factor to make it stand out, along with toning down the booziness. Either way it's a really solid overall aroma. 4.5

T: The taste starts off small, chocolate mostly, but then an assault of booze and vanilla comes your way. The assault calms into a nice taste of bourbon and oak, with the chocolate coming back into play, and it all finishes with a cool boozy oakiness and slight roast. This beer is very much like a smooth bourbon, with a chocolately body. The chocolate is sweet to curb what would otherwise be an offensive amount of alcohol. It's a very nice balance. 4

MF: The body is very full with a lower than average amount of carbonation. Despite all the alcohol I found this to be very drinkable. I was surprised to find the alcohol to be that prominent despite the beer being below 10% ABV. It's my lone detraction from this otherwise well concocted drink. 3.5

O: This beer was damn good. Probably the best beer I've ever had from Ohio. Really glad I got a full 4pack as I fully expect this to improve after a year or so as the bourbon cools off a bit. Don't miss this one! 4

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Photo of egajdzis
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

<i>14/400</i>... Poured an opaque black color with a small, tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of vanilla oak, some butter, lots of bourbon, roast, caramel malts, and nuts. Taste of chocolate, some smoke, vanilla oak, roast, some light spices, and finishing with a whisky / alcohol burn. Thin mouthfeel for an impy.

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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 BB1313
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. I've had this in the past. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours jet black, mocha head which fades and not overwhelming lacing or retention. Smells like a chocolate chip cookie. Lots of dark chocolate, vanilla, expresso, bourbon, oak/wood. Wow, this is alot boozier than I recall from the past. I always got very subtle bourbon notes, but it's very noticeable in this vintage. Dark chocolate dominates the flavors along with more oak and bourbon. Bittersweet. Mouthfeel is nice and on the lighter side; not heavy and well carbonated. Although the alcohol is noticeable and it finishes hot, it's very tasty and enjoyable. This makes a great sipper.

Great stout which will benefit from time. 2012 vintage is boozier than previous vintages I've had. Age this one!

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

January 2012 Vintage from the bottle.

A: Dark as night with about a finger of tan head. A decent amount of foamy lacing.

S: Bourbon and woodiness, with very faint hints of vanilla and roasted malt. Chocolately notes come through as the brew warms. Not quite as in your face as other BBA stouts, but still good.

T: Roasted malt and bitter chocolate are actually almost just a prominent as the bourbon barrel. Again not as in your face as most barrel aged brews, but very good balance.

M: Barely full bodied, which is a rarity for a barrel aged stout - they're usually thick and syrupy. It works for this beer, though, since it isn't as big as many other barrel aged beers. Alcohol is apparent, but does not interfere.

O: A very good beer. This was the first time I had had this in its bottled form (living in Cleveland, it isn't too hard to get some on draft around release time). I like the fresh bottle a little more than the fresh tap. A little more balance, not as much alcohol presence (though there is still some). Not quite as good as some of the elite BBA stouts like BCBS, but a great beer nonetheless. The Ohio 12% cap on abv probably does not help Great Lakes in this respect, but they turn out amazing beer anyway.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

many thanks to thebrewo for hooking this one up via trade. it is a real treat. pours not quite black, with a shiny glow and an inch or so of rich mocha lather on top. the nose is not alcoholic at all, very impressive. lots of deep roast, some lighter coffee notes, and a lot of vanilla from the bourbon barrel. some char too, but it isn't bitter to the taste at all, and is in fact more on the sweet side. some licorice notes in the taste as well, and a warming chocolaty finish that reminds me of some of the top rated barrel aged imperial stouts on BA. what I love the most about this beer is its feel, its not a big heavy syrupy sticky mess like so many of these can be. its still full bodied, but drinkably so, not weighty or overly sweet or boozy. almost reminds me of the eclipse series, with that touch of honey but pleasant lightness in a dark beer. it seems weird to call this an everyday barrel aged imperial stout, but it kind of is. its something I could see myself drinking a lot more of than many of the others. the buzz is nice, and the finish is glorious, staying on the palate for quite some time. probably the best great lakes offering ive ever had.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque darkness with a wispy shallow off tan head that fades quickly, leaving negligible lacing in it's wake. A moderately intense heavily roasted malt note shares the space with a nice but understated barrel aged character. The mouth feel is medium-heavy bodied, adequately carbonated with a silky smooth texture that compliments the taste REALLY well. Barely enough 'coating' nature to complement the flavors. Full flavored (4.25), moderate levels of bourbon capture your attention while a roasted and 'well TOASTed' thing happens. The feel lacks the substance to complement with enough 'hang time'. The 9% ABV is REAL (..and will kick butt._) however..this one MUST keep on - keep'in on. Many thanks for the opportunity, Kev!!

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Photo of Immortale25
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Label says Bottled In 2015.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with a 1/4 inch tan head that doesn't retain long before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some sheer swirls of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves tiny clots behind.

S- Lots of dark chocolate, char and of course bourbon. Definitely on the not-so-sweet side with more molasses and chicory than vanilla and brown sugar.

T- More dark chocolate and now some vanilla shows up along with some oak. As far as actual bourbon flavor though, there's not a whole lot. There's also not a lot of added complexity to the base beer from its time on the barrel. Very drinkable for the ABV but there's just not much extra to latch onto compared to other BA stouts. Bitter, charry aftertaste.

M- Semi-creamy with medium carbonation and a full body.

O- A slight disappointment. It tastes good but doesn't deliver the wow factor of other BBA beers. A bit too carbonated and there's just not enough barrel presence.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thin on the glass.

S: The aroma contains dark fruit, licorice, roasted malts and chocolate.

T: The taste starts with a hearty roasted malt character that is quickly followed by a good combination of flavors including chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and licorice. The hops presence is extremely mild but is exactly where it should be for this type of beer to provide a good balance. There is a bit of an alcohol sting combined with the barrel-aging essence. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

O: Tasty with good complexity, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a very good beer to sip on for a very long time.

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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 rodlavers
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 vintage poured into a snifter.

Pours midnight black, with a thin mocha-cola brown head which dissipates. Minimal lacing, mostly, not quite "legs" but very small amounts of light brown slowly drip down the glass.

Bourbon/vanilla aromas up front, hints of coffee and chocolate, and a decent woody character. I even get a very slight tobacco smell as it warms up. Chocolate character is dark.

Taste is similar. Starts out heavy on the booze, almost too harsh until it warms a bit. Chocolate more noticeable here than in smell. Balances out nicely, bourbon, vanilla, wood, chocolate, minimal coffee and sweetness (mostly bitter), although something is missing which would make this as good as others in the style I love so much.

Feel at first is bubble and highly carbonated. After a bit of warming, Blackout Stout smooths a bit up front to incorporate milky sweetness and feel. Maintains a bitter character on the end.

Overall this is a good Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. I enjoy others more, and I probably should have let this one sit a year or so. I'm glad I tried it. Cheers.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Winter 2011/2012 release

A: Jet black, thin mocha head with little retention

S: Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, molasses

T: Chocolate, but with a sharp undernote of alcohol. Woody bite. Light notes of cherry and fig.

M: Very low carbonation. Despite that, maintains only medium body keeping the drinkability high, marred only by a slight harsh finish.

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Photo of jegross2
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Score: 91

2012 vintage bottle ("2516 series") served in a tulip/snifter hybrid glass and enjoyed on 08/13/12. A big thanks to Nick for hooking me up with this bottle!

Appearance: Pours a thin film of tan head that quickly dissipates into a thin bubby tan ring around the glass. Poor lacing with oily cling and slightly below average retention. Black bodied with a strip of brown highlight at the top of the glass. 4/5

Smell: Lots of roasted coffee notes followed by milk and raw chocolate, mild bourbon notes and a little fig. As it warms, the bourbon aromas grow a little boozy. 4.25/5

Taste: Bourbon flavor upfront with a coffee twist followed by raisin/fig towards the finish. Creamy milk chocolate on the midpalate. There is tobacco flavor on the back half too. The beer has a boozy brown sugar flavor that turns to a caramel malt flavor in the aftertaste. Slight bourbon bite as the beer warms. My impression is that this is the kind of beer that is better aged than fresh. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, light carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. Slightly roasty and mildly bitter. 4/5

Overall: A little boozy, just like the base beer. My impression is that this is the kind of beer that is better aged than fresh. The barrel aging adds some nice complexity to an already solid base beer, but I felt that this one was a bit over-hyped overall. A beer I would seek out again? Absolutely. "Top 100" worthy? Not even close.

Recommendation: Nab a bottle of this if you like the base beer, but do not trade your cellar to acquire a bottle. I would recommend sitting on this vintage (2012) another 6 months if you have a bottle or two.

Pairings: Vanilla almond biscotti.

Cost: $26 for a four pack of 12 oz bottles ($7 if purchased individually).

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