Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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.

410 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 410
Hads: 1,707
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 18.01%
Wants: 1,355
Gots: 342 | FT: 39
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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 410 | Hads: 1,707
Photo of fiver29
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. Easily one of the best beers I have tried. You can certainly tell this beer was aged in Jim Beam Barrels. Here in Cleveland they do a Jim Beam tasting along with beer tasting with this special release. Strong bourbon and toasted coffee aroma. Pours black with nice head retention. Bourbon flavors abound a light mouthfeel followed by dark chocolate/coffee like flavors. Beautiful long finish.

 397 characters

Photo of Realale
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Black. Very fine light brown head stays throughout the snifter, leaving some lacing.

Nose is a whiff of alcohol, followed by coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, and a touch of ash over rich, brown bready malt. The bourbon influence is thankfully pretty restrained, and well-integrated.

Medium full in the mouth. Really mouthfilling stuff. Malt, malt, malt. Chocolate, bready, and yeasty. Touch of bitterness to balance. Again, the bourbon influence is quite subdued - there's a touch more caramelly sweetness, and a hint of bourbon flavor. Well done, but I believe I prefer the regular version.

Mouthfeel is bit more highly carbonated than I'd prefer. It seems to work against the body of the beer rather than with it. Quite drinkable for what it is, but the snifter was more than enough for me. Kudos to Great Lakes for not going over-the-top with the wood or bourbon flavors.

 884 characters

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle sent via trade. Opened 2.17.13

A: Pours black as night with very little tan head. Some alcohol legs present.

S: Huge chocolate aroma up front, wasn't expecting that. Some coffee sandwiched in there with the barrel backing it up. Huge Chocolate and barrel. Just a fantastic smelling beer.

T: Packs a chocolate punch. Chocolate, with wood from the barrel. Some coffee bitterness on the finish. Some bourbon in there as well.

M: Medium bodied, creamy, some alcohol burn with a slight bitter (coffee) finish. Little sweet sticky-ness coats the mouth on the finish.

O: Wow, beer of the year so far. Really surprised me, esp since GL doesn't have a big barrel program. Only disappointing aspect is that I only have 3 more left from my 4 pack.

 805 characters

Photo of BeRanger
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, #7 from our outstanding stout tasting party.

A: Ports black with a rim of off-white head, mild lacing.

S: Chocolate, Vanilla, Roasted Malts, Bourbon, Dark Fruits. A wonderful mix.

T: All the flavors come through that were smelled - it seemed everything was complimentary. There isnt a harsh after-taste which is nice.

M: Medium body, lifght carbonation.

O: This is outstanding. I love how the flavors came through and everything melded together very well. It isn't a huge ABV but the alchol was masked very well. Great BA stout.

 556 characters

Photo of jdklks
3.84/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour yields a small light brown head that dissipates quickly and is quite thin. The body is black through the middle with amber/brown edges and looks a lot lighter than I've come to expect or desire from the style. The smell is fantastic. Nice and strong like I like the aroma eminating from the glass. Hints of chocolate, roasted malts (which is reminiscent of dry coffee beans), the slightest hint of the barrel aging, caramel, and maybe some licorice.

The flavor is very good, but the beer is under-carbonated to a fault. sweet malts up front, plumb and cherries. Bitter chocolate and a little vanilla through the middle along with some wet oak barrel flavors that give way to a slightly burnt bitter coffee finish and an alcoholic burn in the esophagus and aftertaste. Maybe a hint of molasses, and definitely some licorice. Flat cola. If this beer was better carbonated, the flavors would explode, and it would truly be a treat. Still good though.

Mouthfeel is both thin and undercarbonated, and this is a less than pleasing combination. The drinkability is okay for the style, and the flavor is good enough to keep you reaching for more, but the lack of carbonation is detrimental to every category except the aroma.

 1,240 characters

Photo of UA8
4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours jet black with a small yet dense tan head

S- The scents of wonderful smokey bourbon barrels abound. backing of roasted cocoa malts with a touch of coffee.

T- This is a huge beer. Starts with the Taste of bourbon and roasted malts, mid palate fills with warming alcohol and a touch of hops, the finish come nearly 30 seconds or more after the beverage has left the mouth in the form of wonderfully rich coffee tones. I must say I'm very impressed hat the finish comes as late and pronounced as it does.

M- Nice and full could be a bit thicker for my liking.

D- Well if your having one which is what I had I would say the drinkability is splendid since it leaves you with a wonderful buzz. however if you plan on operating a motor vehicle that is probably where you'll want to stop. It says 10%, it feels more like12%+ which a person at the brewery said was very possible. This is a fantastic stout any way you slice it and well worth the trip to the brewery to experience it.

 987 characters

Photo of MusicaleMike
3.4/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pouring this to celebrate the end of my local blackout! Thank god that's over...
BA Blackout pours with a deep brown body, about cola colored. A modest tan head rises about only a half inch thick with moderate head retention. Nothing impressive about its appearance for an imperial stout.

However, in the aroma I find much to be impressed with! I smell raisins, dates, boozy alcohol, oak, leather, drunken cherries, chocolate, and soy sauce. Nothing really dominates here, but it's rather well-balanced. It's a rich aroma for sure, and it promises a complex palate.

Up front, this full bodied beer has a booziness on the roof of the mouth. The flavor is a mix of oak, whisky, fruitiness, cocoa, and finally, espresso on the finish. Carbonation is medium, with a mildly bitter hop finish. It's definitely on the lighter side of the spectrum for the style.

One could call this a "drinkable" Imperial Stout, because the abv, while high, is still under 10%. The body is not viscous, and the booziness is mostly contained. It's not the best example of a barrel-aged impy stout. It's not the worst either. It's somewhere in the middle.

 1,134 characters

Photo of glazeman
3.68/5  rDev -15%
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.

 685 characters

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.

 893 characters

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.

 1,070 characters

Photo of bs870621345
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jparkanzky for this bottle! 2012 release.

Pours black with a half inch head and tons of lacing. Almost over carbonated.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, oak, and chocolate.

Taste opens with a sweet chocolate and caramel flavor which moves into a bit of roast, chocolate, caramel and vanilla flavors. Moves into a vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, and oak flavors on the finish. The bourbon barrel treatment really enhances the stout and I'm really enjoying it.

Mouthfeel is moderate, probably due to over carbonation.

Overall, this is a great stout...very underrated...glad I had 2, but I will be drinking the other soon.

 628 characters

Photo of beerandcycling88
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

More of the notes from the Southsound gathering.

A Pours a dark brown with a tanish head.

S Some bourbon, dark chocolate, a bit of vanilla.

T Pretty much the same as the nose with bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate and a bit of wood.

M Seemed a bit thin but alright I guess.

Overall an excellent stout just nothing mind blowing.

 336 characters

Photo of output01x
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Bottled In 2012) into a snifter glass.

A vigorous pour yields a 2 1/2-finger mocha colored head of dense, creamy bubbles. After a few minutes, the head slowly recedes to a thin, even dusting and thick foam ring. The body is as black as the label on the bottle with absolutely no traces of color or light. Great lacing clings to almost every area of available glass.

Dark gourmet chocolate, espresso, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. The nose is a great combination of these aromas with bourbon definitely being the dominant part.

Creamy milk chocolate, caramel, and plum start each sip. Upon swallowing, vanilla and dulce de leche come out but are quickly accompanied by a sweet bourbon flavor. As the bourbon flavor grows in intensity, a nice alcohol warmth takes hold in the back of the throat that persists between sips. A slight dry coffee aftertaste can also be noticed poking through the alcohol warmth as an aftertaste.

Full bodied with good carbonation, this beer is a creamy delight. The body is rather sticky and very coating but is not syrupy in the least. The carbonation never really presents itself as fizzy but can definitely be noticed in the creaminess of the mouthfeel. This is definitely one easy-drinking RIS.

 1,263 characters

Photo of Sephiroth
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with decent head for a barrel-aged beer. Black is the color. Slight lacing. Aroma of coffee, bourbon, and vanilla.

Taste has plenty of chocolate-laced coffee. Anise combined with oak and leather. Oh yeah, there's bourbon and vanilla there too. Mouthfeel is quite full, the finish is lengthy. High drinkability for this beer.

 334 characters

Photo of boatshoes
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes taken at the Great Lakes BA Blackout release party this fall. Had it on tap for the second time and it was quite a treat. Traded away four of my six bottle allocations and looking to enjoy one myself here in the near future!

Appearance- Comes off the tap an opaque black with a minimal ring of tan head much in the league of many barrel-aged stouts that I've had. Spot on for the style.

Smell- Complex, tasty, and interesting. Lots of very well blended notes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, burnt coffee, sweet molasses, and brown sugar. The wood is very evident here but rounded out nicely through the roastiness and coffee accents that show through from the base stout.

Taste- Again, lots of bourbon, vanilla, and wood here. However, as will the nose, the roasted qualities of the original base stout blend nicely with the barrels (this year Buffalo Trace for the first time rather than Jim Beam) and show through. Some warming alcohol on the way down but not sharp by any means.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is silky smooth and substantial, though oddly not as heavy as I was expecting. Drinkability is surprisingly good as I found that the roasted elements in the taste helped minimize some of the overwhelming sweetness I usual find in this style. Goes down quite easy.

Overall, one of the big boys. Try this if you can, it's very good and I'd say one of the best barrel-aged offerings out of the state of Ohio.

 1,450 characters

Photo of sonicdescent
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice deep brown that appears black without light, leaving a nice creamy tan head and good lacing.

Smell is fantastic. Bourbon is present but not overwhelming over the already fantastic Blackout smell, chocolate, coffee, cream.

Taste is really great as well, pretty much an accurate mirror of the smell and just the right amount of bourbon flavor.

Mouth is a little more thin that I would have liked and it doesn't quite coat the mouth, but the carbonation is low and right.

Drinkability is good, I can't wait to get back out to Ohio to pick up some more when it hits. Blackout is one of if not my one favorite "easy" to get imperial stout, this is a damn good version of it.

 691 characters

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

Big thanks for exitmusic00 bringing this over. '10 bottle poured into two tulips.

A- Pours a dark black with a two finger mocha head that dissipates into a thin cap with minimal lacing

S- Freshly baked flour-less chocolate cake with caramel, vanilla bean, dark fruits, bourbon and roasted malt.

T- Big dark chocolate notes, with with slightly bitter coffee beans, bread, caramel and roasted malt. Bourbon is present, but very well blended with the other flavors.

M- Medium carbonation with a medium body. Finishes a bit roasted. The mouthfeel could be a bit thicker.

O- Very impressed with this beer. The bourbon was noticeable but not overpowering by any means. Really well balanced and a easy drinking beer with no sign of the high ABV.

Thanks Matt!

 758 characters

Photo of quasimoto
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep dark black with a dark tan head

S - Strong smells of dark chocalte, molases, and just overall sweet

T - Deep chocolate, molases, and the taste of oak and the dack ground of whiskey. Perfectly designed as they had intended. During the middle of this beer, as it warmed up, I swear it tasted exactly like a Entemans Chocolate brownie. (the brownies from the display at the end of the isle.)

M - Thick and creamy. Sharp bitterenss at the end.

D - Only one of these bottles at a time. This is definetly a sipping beer for those cold winter nights, and will surely warm you up.


 631 characters

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.

 1,234 characters

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

200th (Last) Review

Tap @ Coles 10 oz. pour

A: Midnight black in color, caramel colored lacing, no more than a few centimeters in length. Aesthetically pleasing on the eyes.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, coffee bean, heat, vanilla bean, charcoal.

T: The bourbon and the heat of the alcohol give way first. Upon intake, you get the backlash of the coffee and the vanilla together, which is superb.

M: High viscosity, chewy, big tannin on the palate that lingers with a sting. The star.

O: This was my Whale. Complete Satisfactory!

 530 characters

Photo of Josh012012
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Not sure if this was ba or not. Was on tap and advertised as "aged" but had little if any barrel character.

But an awesome beer drank like what I would imagine a triple oatmeal stout would.. very roasts and some other all the overwhelming sweetness that I remember from regular was gone.. awesome!

 299 characters

Photo of franksnbeans
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out black as night with a mohogany hue. Big cocoa head dies slow and leaves sheets of lacing. The nose is big on chocolate, bakers chocolate, a little toffee like note and a hint of bourbon. Taste starts off with big chocolate followed by a long lingering bourbon finish but not boozy. Full in the mouth and a true sipper. A tasty brew.

 342 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

PatronWizard...for the crap you give me, I still have to thank you for this incredible beer.

A: Dark and black liquid that displayed a nice tan looking head. Lacing was good as well.

S: Wow! An incredible and robust coffee aroma along with a good amount a oak presence.

T: Again...Wow! Flavor profile is dominated by a espresso/coffee character along with hints of chocolate and caramel. This beer is also bourbony (bad spelling...I know), but not overwhelming like the KBS; blends in very well with the rest of the flavors.

M: Full-body with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: At 9% ABV, this beer hides the alcohol very well. The flavor and aroma profile is also very awesome as well.

Overall: One of those beers that you have to say "Wow!" to. The aroma made me excited, as did the taste. A must try...seriously. Cheers!!!!

 842 characters

Photo of gonzo46and2
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Chris for bringing this one to the tasting at Matt's this weekend.

Pours a black that nearly no light can penetrate.

Aroma is wonderful. There's a big bourbon presence with the normal aroma of an Imperial Stout. Chocolate, caramel, coffee, bread, and brown sugar.

Taste is off the charts! Sweet cocoa, bitter chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a huge bourbon profile.

Mouthfeel is thick, sticky and sweet.

This was probably the best stout I've ever had. I can't wait to get my hands on some more of this heavenly nectar.

 538 characters

Photo of mschantz
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled pour from a 12 oz bottle from the 2015 batch. Pours nearly black with deep rich brown around the edges. About 1/4 inch of khaki head on top of this moderately viscous brew. Nose is a combination of brown sugar, molasses and booze - the booze notes dominate. Vanilla, brown sugar and of course bourbon dominate the taste. Bourbon contributes to a warming finish.

 374 characters

Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 410 ratings.