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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

415 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 415
Hads: 1,750
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,366
Gots: 344 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 415 | Hads: 1,750
Photo of brewandbbq
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from 2009.

Pours opaque black with a thin, quickly dissapating head of tan. A thin bead of foam remains for the duration with zero lacing.

Bourbon, char, bakers chocolate, and coffee start the nose. Hints of vanilla and Kahlua follow through.

Full bodied with a slightly oily mouthfeel. Not as thick and chewy as some of todays big RIS's.

Dark chocolate drizzled with bourbon and coffee dust on the palate. Boozy and rich with hints of smoke and vanilla.

Finishes with a bourbony warmth and charred chocolate.

A nicely balanced BA RIS, but thinner and less instense than the best examples of the style.

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

Look: black as night with a 1/4 inch tan head and ok retention some film on the top with some spotty dots of lace

Smell: right away the bourbon greets you and that is then followed up by some chocolate fudge some slight coffee notes and finishes with a nice vanilla sweetness

Taste: much the same as the nose but it follows a slightly different pattern. Upfront is the chocolate brownie and roasted coffee flavors. That is followed up by some oak and vanilla and then the beer finishes with a splash of bourbon. Fantastic

Mouthfeel. Thick body and mild carbonation

Overall. This is an exceptional BA stout one of my favorite fresh. Highly recommended

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of Auslander pours a rick black color with a moderate cap of tan head. Retention is decent and just a little lace.

Nose is outstanding! Lots of wood, unsweetened chocolate and vanilla. Damn near perfect...not too sweet, a great balance of stout and barrel.

This is my first Barrel Aged Blackout and it is much better than the regular version, which is a pretty good beer in its own right...my point is this is one of the most improved barrel treatments to a beer I have had in quite some time. The vanilla is so rich, I would have guessed it was a vanilla infused stout if had blind. Not too fruity and the chocolate is bold. Its not too boozy, not over-the-top sweet and has great flow. Mouthfeel is not overly thick, but it is adequate and the carbonation is supple and smooth. This is a great beer, one of the most impressive I have had in awhile, thanks Auslander!

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - The body is black, but the pour belies transparency. Deep brown it would seem. Just-shy-of-mocha head. A hefty collar remains.

Smell - Bourbon smacks you around a bit. After my nostrils regain their balance, vanilla is the strongest flavor. Roasted malts all about, mostly coffee. Nice.

Taste - At first, I was a little let down. It's a ton of bourbon compared to the stout. After a few sips, though, it really shines with its depth of flavors. The bourbon is strong at first, surely, but vanilla is the persisting flavor that continues into a coffee roast. Midrange yields and chocolatey flavor that lingers into a dark fruit and touch of earthiness. I was tempted to give it a 5 for flavor.

Mouthfeel - And here is it's downfall from greatness. It's still a pretty thin stout. Well, not thin, but definitely not chewy enough for the barrel intensity. It's hot from the barrel and nearly drowned out.

Overall - Only on close inspection is this a really great beer. I would be hard pressed to admit this is better than the original, as the barrel masks a great deal of the beer's qualities. Nonetheless, I am a sucker for bourbon and its barrels. Well done.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to clegolfski, poured into a Hill Farmstead stem. 2012 vintage.

Pour: Completely pitch black with a half finger of tan head. Head manages to hang around even though it was relatively small, and leaves a decent amount of lacing. Body doesn't look super think, but this beer has some nice legs.

Smell: A nice combination of caramel, toffee, vanilla and dark fruits. Bourbon is in there, but in a very subdued, supporting role.

Taste: Oh my. This a delicious. Really nice chocolate and bourbon up front, that combines with the vanilla to form a distinct brownie character. Really holds onto milk chocolate goodness throughout the sip and lingers very well.

Mouthfeel: Another point where this beer particularly excels. Really smooth and velvety, with barely any burn. Chewy, but not in the dark fruit sort of way, and more in the brownie sort of way, following the taste.

Overall: An exceptional beer. I will absolutely be seeking more of this out.

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Photo of tarheels86
3.74/5  rDev -13.6%
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

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Photo of kevanb
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage 12oz bottle, poured into a Goose Island Chalice

BA Blackout Stout has a very motor oil like consistency, extremely opaque, jet black color, hints of dark brown when held to the light. A TINY mocha colored head appears, tightly packed bubbles but it recedes straight away, leaving behind no lacing just a fine layer of film. The aroma is good, strong bourbon notes, dark bitter chocolate, sweet malt, charred wood, almost a hint of dark fruit, but alcohol really takes over at the end, loads of sweetness without much balance. The flavors are impeccable, great integration of bourbon, wood, chocolate and roast. Big notes of bourbon and wood jump out, smooth chocolate bridges the roasted coffee and malts together, very cohesive and well rounded, unfortunately, alcohol perseveres and lingers a bit too long for a 9.5% beer, mutes some of the subtleties and leaves a harsh feeling in the mouth. The body is certainly the highlight of this beer, spectacular texture, milky, creamy, full, robust, but most importantly, quaffable. Coats the mouth very well, adds so much to the finish, just a great creaminess that really helps the richness without diminishing the bitterness and roastiness.

Verdict: Wonderful stout from Great Lakes. Sad to see my last bottle go, but this has aged gracefully, I'd love to take a stab at keeping these in the cellar for more than 9 months, but temptation will likely get the best of me. The richness is spot on, great body, a well rounded and very pleasant barrel aged stout.

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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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Photo of jmarsh123
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with almost no head and some lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

Lots of roast in the aroma. Some vanilla, oatmeal and a bit of bourbon, but not as much as I'd like.

There is much more bourbon in the flavor. A little sweeter and less roasty than the smell would indicate. Lots of vanilla, oak and bourbon with some chocolate and just a bit of roast. Bourbon is actually a tad overpowering as it warms. It's good, but not terribly well integrated.

Creamy mouthfeel and proper carbonation.

Overall fairly solid although something about the bourbon integration is a bit off for me. I'll definitely drink this again, but if it's a choice between this, KBS, BBPtF, etc. this one probably comes in last.

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Photo of dcloeren
3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 and 2010 vintages broken out at a tasting. What a treat!

First, the 2009 comes out. The older the better, right? Wrong. Sour. Unhappy faces about. Barrel-aged beer dumped into the bushes. Bushes now happy, bushes don't know the beer has gone over.

2010 next. Initially paranoia that this one is putrified too. No, we're OK.

Pours a deep, contemplative black, with no head whatsoever. The smell is molasses, vanilla, heavy bourbon. Delicious. But when it comes to taste, I do find the bourbon tramples on the base beer. And that's a shame, the base beer has an incredible sweet note that gets lost in the barrel aging. Make no mistake, I like this beer, maybe even enough to trade it for one of my kids, but I did like the base beer a bit more.

Mouthfeel is good and slick.

I liked it very much, but what it really did for me is remind me of how much I liked the un-barreled version.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, huge thanks to RyanMcFly1985. Poured into Founders snifter. 2516 Series (not sure what that means), bottled in 2012.

A- Pours a dark black slightly brown, mostly opaque but slightly translucent around the edges. A thin mocha head forms when pouring but quickly fades to leave pretty much no head. Some very light carbonation. Leaves some very light spotty lacing.

S- The heavy bourbon presence is definitely the first thing that hits you. Mostly bourbon but also some vanilla oak, dark fruits, light roasted malts, and some very light dark chocolate.

T- Definite bourbon but not nearly as much as in the aroma, dark fruits, vanilla from the oak, dark fruits on the finish mixed with a tiny bit of dark chocolate and more bourbon. Taste lingers for a little while.

M- Medium bodied, definitely a sipper, packs a tiny bit of heat, despite the heat though it is easy to drink, fairly low carbonation that fit well with the stout tastes.

O- This was definitely a nice BA Imperial Stout that was interesting to try. The nose was a little bit too dominated by the bourbon, but the taste was nicely balanced. This beer was definitely a sipper, there was a tiny bit of heat and the bourbon presence is a little bit heavy. The beer was nicely done with a fairly nice balance (bourbon could have been toned down a tiny bit), plenty of complex tastes, nice use of barrel aging, and a nice mouthfeel despite the slight heat. Not a beer that I'd seek out all the time, but definitely an interesting try.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a. 12 oz bottle into a 8 oz snifter. 2011 vintage.

A- pours black with a 1 finger dark tan head. Small blotches and trails of lacing.

S- big coffee nose, roast, vanilla and some bourbon.

T- bitter coffee and dark roasted malts. Bourbon and vanilla come into play in the middle. Finishes with a abv, bourbon note.

M- full body and medium carbonation. Drinks easily with a sligh bitter bite near the finish.

O- nice BA stout but not one I will seek out every year.

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Photo of OSUBeerStudent
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of trystero. Thanks Peter.

A - Opaque black with a moderately dense mocha head that pretty quickly dissipates to a ring around the edges. What I expect from such a stout.

S - Maybe a bit cold but nice, subtle. Very vanilla, oaky bourbon most prevalent but doesn't punch you in the face. Some coffee, chocolate, licorice present too. A very nice nose but fainter than expected.

T - The bourbon is pretty subtle. Not boozy like some of the other giants (KBS, BCBS). Definitely more oaky than many BBA stouts. More vanilla and oaky bourbon here, following the nose. Chocolate and coffee more present here than in the nose. Very pleasant and less boozy. No alcohol here. This is a BBA stout that's not super-sweet - the chocolate is bitter chocolate.

M - Fairly thick. The carbonation isn't super-high, so it definitely has a thick, almost coating feel. Because this beer isn't very sweet, though, the thickness doesn't lead to a syrupy feel. Very dry on the finish. Very drinkable.

Overall this is a very good beer. It definitely stands out from many of the other BBA stouts that are cropping up everywhere from the bitter chocolate and dry oak. It also benefits from being under 10% ABV in that there's no booziness to speak of. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of claspada
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle (650ml bottle) shared by HimerMan at a recent bottle share.

Pours a viscous black color without much in the way of head formation and very little carbonation. Should be expected with 6 years of age on this.

Aromas begin really, really smooth nose with notes of vanilla, dark and milk chocolate with complementary oak and light bourbon. As it warms that dark fruity characteristic that comes from aging dark malt forward beers begin to emerge more and more. Lovin' it.

The tastes begin with a sweetish dark toffee and dark chocolate flavors. Mild sweetness, mild oak and no apparent alcohol warmth. The chocolate and roast provide a balance of sweet and bitter. The bourbon adds some marshmellow/vanilla sweetness. Same dark fruits as the nose emerge more and more as it warms.

The mouthfeel is medium to high bodied with low, non-existent carbonation but thankfully the ABV is below 10, so the potential syrupy-texture that can occur in this style is not a problem. Low carbonation creates a finish that is thick and creamy.

Overall this was super, age has done nothing to lower the quality of the original product and if anything it has only added to the complexity and quality. This is one smooth beer and I am grateful for the opportunity to taste this. This only proves that cellaring beer is a great practice if you have the discipline. I appreciate the less than 10% ABV making this much more "drinkable" compared to many of the monsters that are produced in today's imperial heavy craft beer market.

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Photo of Mavajo
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

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

Thanks to foofaa for sharing this on my birthday, enjoyed chilled from a mug.

The color is black as the name, very thick sandstone head with creamy appearance, lace sticks very well and retention is very good. The smell is bready with slight sweet caramel and vanilla odor with slight roasted and peppery tinged aroma with nice toffee and light bourbon sweet woody nose. The feel is great it starts sweet with mild tannin and full middle with great carbonation adding levity with slight roast and hint of alcohol as it finishes.

The flavor is very full with lots of toffee, cocoa, wood with vanilla and bourbon interwoven with slight coffee and bready flavors from the yeast with a toasted and spiced taste which brings out some dark fruit toward the middle with mild earthy hints of raisin and chocolate toward the finish with oak blending well throughout the flavor. Overall this is a splendid oak aged stout, it satisfied from first taste and I didn't want to drain the glass, but it left me feeling satisfied and it is one of the most drinkable wood aged stouts I have had.

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

12oz 2012 edition. Not sure who sent this, but thanks! Into a Stone IRS glass.

A: Inky black with a light tan head, foams up to about a quarter of an inch and quickly fades to a small cap. No lacing to speak of. Nice looking beer.

S: Rich with toffee, coffee, oak, and whisky. Definite boozy note, but not out of place. Nice amount of coffee and burnt malt. Not one dimensional in any direction, just a nice blend of everything that makes a bourbon stout awesome.

T: Taste follows the nose nicely with a huge bourbon note, definite barrel presence. Oaky and full of vanilla and whisky. Nice chocolate as well as a decent amount of toffee.

M: Warming, but not hot, a little thinner thank I'd like and the carbonation is a touch high, still very tasty.

O: A solid barrel aged imperial stout. Nothing else really to say! Glad to try it and wish I could get it regularly.

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Photo of BlastBeats
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle of Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout -- poured into two snifters and shared w/ my brother.

Appearance: pours the dark black color that's typical of many barrel-aged stouts.. although the head on this one is a little lighter than expected; it swirls into a collection of small tan bubbles.

Smell: smells great. The bourbon is really pronounced in the aroma.

Taste: one taste and you're able to tell that this one is vastly different from the non-barreled version. Actually, I didn't care for the first few sips, but thankfully my palate readjusted. The regular Blackout has a character reminiscent of milk chocolate, with distinct coffee undertones - those attributes seem to have been replaced w/ a hefty dose of oak and mellow bourbon flavors - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. With each ensuing sip, this beer kept getting better.

Mouthfeel: I think the mouthfeel is adequate - not too full, but at the same time, I definitely wouldn't want this any thinner.

Overall: Great Lakes is a really well-rounded brewery. It seems like all of their offerings are enjoyable and this one is no exception. Seek and enjoy advocates.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black/really dark reddish brown, with very little head, some lacing. As I swirl the beer, the body appears to be a bit thinner.

S: Coffee, chocolate, bourbon, some burn char smell, roasted malt. Sweetness.

T: Wow. This may be my new favorite tasting stout. It's got coffee, chocolate, some bourbon/oak/vanilla, brown sugar, little of hops but not overpowering. You can taste the alchohol a bit at the end, but not too boozy.

M: A bit thin for my liking, but it's smooth and velvety.

O: Near perfect in my books. Very tasty stout!

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

Big thanks to Jim for this one! 12oz bottle

A: Pours black, very dark, with a small tan head on top. Decent retention leaving a small ring with patch of foam on top. Very thin sheets of lacing.

S: Mmm, some bourbon and chocolate. There is a hint of vanilla, brown sugar, and a little wood.

T: Upfront some slightly roasty malt and chocolate, while the finish is full of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. The finish is slightly sweet.

M: Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

O: A nice sipping beer. Thinner than most in the style, not thick and syrupy, a little more body I think would have helped. But all in all, a solid BA RIS.

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

12oz bottle
Served in a Great Lakes snifter
2516 Series

A - It is black as night. There is absolutely no light coming through. A small mocha head is short lived.

S - I get some molasses, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a little anise.

T - The old bourbon smacked me right in the kisser. Oddly enough, it tastes like Blackout Stout with bourbon in it. There is plenty of bourbon, along with chocolate and molasses.

M - Nice and thick

O - If you like the taste of bourbon and stouts, you will probably like this beer. I am glad I had the opportunity to have it. Thanks Auslander.

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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 NorthsideFred
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying a 2009 bottle thanks to Kels. I've been holding onto this for almost two years. Thought this would a be great gift to myself for fathers day.

A: Looks good. Almost black with very little carbonation and minimal lacing.

S: Excellent. Bourbon and damp oak are the predominant smells.

T: Very nice. The bourbon grabs you first, but I also get chocolate and a hint of smokiness.

M: Full bodied, silky smooth.

O: Top notch all the way!

I don't know if I'll ever be fortunate enough to land this again. One can only hope.

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Photo of Spider889
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.