Great Lakes Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

1,220 Reviews
Great Lakes Blackout StoutGreat Lakes Blackout Stout

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GreatPondBrewer on 11-30-2003

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Reviews: 1,220 | Ratings: 3,497
Photo of Jeffreysan
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 edition, 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a quarter of a finger of caramel-colored head that quickly dissolved into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that collected in the center of the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Tons of massive roasted malt aroma, imparting strong notes of toasted pumpernickel bread, coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste: Spectacular! Jesus, what a flavor! Strong, big, bold roasted malt and coffee flavor up front imparting notes of toasted and buttered pumpernickel bread and café au lait without any coffee bitterness, followed by some strong brown sugar-like sweetness which lingers for quite a while in the mouth, and finished with some beautifully balanced hops. Goddamn, it’s delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and smooth, as there is practically no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 9.0%, I’m very surprise at how little alcohol there is on the palate, as its’ incredibly well masked.

Overall: Goddamn, this in one of the best non-barrel-aged Imperial Stouts I’ve ever had!! Strong, big, bold flavors of roasted malt and strong amount of brown sugar, balanced beautifully with hops. This is another excellent beer from Great Lakes, and could easily become my favorite beer from that outstanding brewery! It’s fucking brilliant!

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Photo of Ahhdball
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black as night -or a "blackout" (computer glitch my ass) with a slight beige head which left a beautiful lace as I drank. A great color which light can nay penetrate! In fact the lights flickered when I started to pour it!
Roasted nuts and burnt cocoa with a slight smoked wood overtone. It's a strong warning that this is no ordinary beer. Very complex and strong.
Oh my god the taste! This is the best beer I've had so far. I'm tasting two maybe three malts in this. A good portion of Rauchmalz with Caramel Dunkel and Hell. Strong yet smooth finish with virtually nothing left over but a longing for another round.
Thick and chewy mouthfeel which makes it easier to do than my last girlfriend. The difference being I don't need to scrub down when I'm done drinking it.
I only bought a four pack but will have it again. Very easy to drink with a steak or alone. Going to grab one of my favorite 5x54 Drew Estates and have another! Damn this is great.

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Photo of imaguitargod
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at the brewery. It pours to a medium head that lasts a bit then mellows out to a ring around the edge of the glass. The color? Well, they don't call this Blackout for nothing! Dark black with burgundy around the edge. I would say that this sucker is 98.7% black.

The hops come in instantly and then leave as fast as they appeared. Sweet, malty, and smooth as silk. This thing is amazing, truly amazing. I'm going to have to place this as my second favorite stout. For the past 2 months Neenerzig was ranting about this beer left and right, telling me I've got to try it. Now that I did, I can see why he said to. I want to hug it and hold it forever so it doesn't go away!

-Jonathan Passow

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Photo of maltheaded
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is a winner, I wouldn't change a thing. Tastes like it was oak barreled. I like the flavors of Great Lakes brews, and this one doesn't disappoint. Tastes alot like dragon's milk. I highly recommend this one.

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Photo of hoplover82
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tried this beer about a month ago with my friend Jason, (thanks by the way). And He said it was going to be EPIC, and man was he right. I gave this beer a perfect score. I don't think I gave any other beer a perfect score, but this one I believe deserves it. It truely was epic in every sence. Outstanding indeed. I couldn't find anything wrong with it. Probably the best beer I've tried to date. I highly recommend this one.

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Photo of misternebbie
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

reworked my already high review of this beer had several drafts of this the other day
just awesome and dangerous ! so smooth barely detectable taste of alcohol for its 9 % ABV, not as smoky as a lot of other stouts rick coffee caramel and dark chocolate

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.97/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks @afatty! the 09 bottle was what he procured in a trade for a 2011 GL Christmas Ale!

Pours like a black-out. No light passes through at all. The head is somewhere between white and caramel.

The smell is barrel-aged. I know its not barrel-aged, but still. I get smooth whiskey, vanilla, roasted malts, and hints of more bourbon. It was kind of hard to figure it all out; its all just thrown in together. Also, it smells grainy, like a Great Lakes brew should smell. Lacing is amazing especially for the ABV; I cant see through the coating/lacing on the side of the glass.

The maint hing I notice is that I get hints of dark fruits. It tastes like a good IRS, but I cant help but notice how subtly complex it is. Maybe 2 years has done it well, but I love this. I love the dry grain feeling, and the dark chocolate and hints of dark fruits. That bourbon/whiskey feeling isnt present as much as in the nose, but the dry grains have subdued that. Heavy, chewy body. I like how dry it feels. even though the malt leaves a slick feeling. It makes a nice balance that is often lost in IRSs.

2011 bottle update:

Pour is the same. Smell is totally different. Powdered milk and dark chocolate dominate the nose. Hints of roasted malt and coffee can be found. Slightly sweet. Very full body, very creamy and smooth. Mouthfeel is amazing and perfect. Hints of toffee, caramel, and candied sugars. Odd for an RIS. Hops are non-existent. The grains are buried under layers of complexity. All the above flavors. God bless Great Lakes, I love you.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.95/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

trying this beer as we speak. Nice dark color. Smooth going. Hint of chocolate and raisins . Smells delicious with the malts and chocolate. Kinda like drinking a raisinette.

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Photo of crayphish
4.95/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The stout poured a opaque black with a thin tan head. Thick lacing. Smell is roasted malt and chocolate. Some hops. Taste is roasted chocolate with a very complex enjoyable cherry sweetness. A very full thick mouth feel. My mouth is coated with the taste. The 9% alcohol in this beer is well hidden which makes it a wonderful drinkable stout. This beer ages exceptionally well. This years batch is still available around here, and it gets better every weekend. The more you let this beer warm, the more the java shows through.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
4.94/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's not every day that I can say an Imperial Stout has a full, balanced taste AND is easy to drink. Well, that sums up Great Lakes' Blackout Stout perfectly.

There is the nice dark coffee, roasted taste with hints of toffee, the 9% which you can't tell is in there and the easy drinkability. One of my new favorites from Great Lakes.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.92/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the GLBC.

There comes a time when you get "wowed" by a great beer...this is such a time.

Served in the "I get to keep" glass from the brewery.

Appearance: 99% opaque, inky blackness. Only a few wavelengths of smoked cherry-colored light penetrate the very edge of the beer. Tight layer of tan-colored head laces the glass in a patchwork quilt fashion.

Smell: Holy shit. An earth-shattering array of roasted malt, toasted toffee, coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate. A smoky, earthen undertone to this as well.

Taste: How could the taste manage to compete with the smell? It does, and does it very well. Very chocolatey...reminds me of chocolate s'mores. Toasted nuts doused with Starbucks coffee. Add a few shots of Heath bars for good measure. Finishes with just a whiff of lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel and Drinkaiblity: Full-bodied. Very thick and near-total palate saturation. Dangerously drinkable, with the ABV well-hidden. Out of this world.

GLBC does it again...and does it very well. Get a bottle if you can, or, better yet, hit the brewpub to sample it from the tap.

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Photo of wolfeyshiz
4.9/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ya, like other reviews have said it does have that potent taste you would expect from a beer with 9% alcohol, but if that's what you're expecting then you're in for a treat. Great flavor and texture for a beer as strong as this.

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Photo of AmishLightning
4.9/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Big Black and Beautiful. Thicker pour with the perfect head formation. Good lacing on the glass. About a one finger head after a steady pour.

Smell: Literally brought tears to my eyes when I first caught a wiff. A malty bomb mixed with coffee aromas and a little bit of coco to keep it interesting. Perfect amounts of each nothing was over-powerful or out of place.

Taste: An amazing beer, this certainly is. I have never tasted such rich malts before in my life. This beer is perfect for what I have always wanted. Super-rich malt flavors give this brew an impeccable sweetness. A little bit of bitter from the roasted malts add a good balance to the overall taste. The specialty malts definitely do there job in making this fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Thick but not oily as some Russian imperial stouts can end up tasting. Little carbonation as most high ABV beers can tend to be. I really appreciate the bit of alcohol warming that happens at the end of the beer. It lets you know whats its all about, and I think the low carbonation helps to not mask that feeling.

Overall: This is probably my favorite beer to date. The maltiness and aroma definitely make this brew something more than real. I really don;t know how to describe how I am feeling right now. It is a mix of elation and wonder. Many people may think this review to be over-exaggerated, but actually this is just about the perfect beer for me.

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Photo of Illini5596
4.9/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An absolute work of art. The Blackout Stout is well named, being deep black in color, letting no light through at all. The head on mine was a deep rich darm creamy foam, making this look quite regal. The taste... paradise, Great Lakes has produced some find beers in the past but they absolutely hit this one out of the park. Deep, rich, full bodied, complex, with the flavor of dark roasted grains, coffee, and chocolate with a good creamy feel.

This is the beer all stouts aspire to be, hands down one of the most phenominal beers I have ever tasted. A little strong to drink every day, but go out and try some immediately, you will regret it if you don't!

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours an opaque black color. The head is two-fingers in height, and tan in color. Lacing is decent. The aroma is of chocolate, coffee, graham crackers, alcohol, and roasted malt. The taste like the aroma, but with a bit more alcohol. The aftertaste is fantastic with a ton of chocolate and roasted malt. The mouthfeel is full bodied without being too thick. Carbonation is rather low leaving a nice silky texture. Overall, this is one of the best stouts I have ever had. It seems to walk the line between a tradional impy and a huge American version.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.88/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The head starts out beautiful with a lacing that clings to the glass nicely, really nice. Has a dark black color.

The smell has a plum flavor to it along with a sweet coffee smell.

Taste is smooth and sweet with some fruitiness. Dark fruit mixes with sweet dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, very enjoyable.

I would like to have another of these soon. I enjoyed it very much.

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Photo of JiminKY
4.88/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am absolutely a big fan of Great Lakes beers, but I can honestly say this beer deserves top numbers. It is the finest Imperial or Double Stout I have tasted to date--and that includes Stone, Old Rasputin, Weyerbacher (raspberry), Bell's 7000 and DFH WWS.

A - Beautiful opague black with a thin tan ring of head. Thick, but not oily or flat in appearance.

S - The smell is not overpowering, but has distinct notes of black licorice and currant. Enticing without being overbearing.

T - Unbelieveable balance of flavor. Roastiness and alcohol perfectly blended.

M - It bathes your mouth without being cloying or overly sticky. A nice lingering aftertaste with just a hint of heat in the back of your throat.

D - Goes down a little too easily, but certainly packs a punch. An excellent, highly drinkable Imperial Stout.

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Photo of mashedpotatoes
4.87/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. This really is a great beer. Better than I could have imagined. Pitch black and light does not penetrate; Blackout Stout is properly named. Head rises nice and even like a low rumbling freight train as with all stouts, levels off about 1/2 inch then dissipates leaving a nice creamy top layer. The coffee and toffee taste hits first then immediately followed by bitter dark chocolate, it's truly delicious! Although the high Abv is readily present, it's not overwhelming. The texture is perfect, silky smooth just like a real Stout should be. Drinkability is not extremely high due to the high Abv, I would say enjoy just a couple and call it a night.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.85/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Guess what? This beer is black. Yes, black as night. It also has a very nice brownish head. This is a great beer to stare at.

Smell – Big, stouty smells even when cold. The chocolate, cocoa powder, refined sugar, and coffee lay well on a bed of roasted, almost burnt malts. As it opens up, the malts really come alive. This is an olfactory treat.

Taste – Amazing! A 5.0 for sure. This one blew me away. The malts really take over at the taste, and it is smooth as silk. Dark, burnt, bitter silk. The coffee is also huge here. It is just as much stout-flavored coffee as it is coffee-flavored stout.

I didn’t expect this big of a punch. The bitterness is so strong yet so smooth. It reminds me of some heavy, almost syrupy Middle Eastern coffee that my Lebanese sito (grandmother) used to brew. I can almost feel the loose grounds on my tongue.

Mouthfeel – Full in the mouth with some of the most harmonious flavors that I’ve ever tasted. This is a symphony in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – This could not have tasted or felt better.

Comments – OFS, the God of beer trading, comes through huge on this one. It’s going to be hard to top this offering from Great Lakes.

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Photo of boogles
4.85/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Affinity is subjective, of course. To frame my simple review, I mostly like IPAs and Stouts, but not only double IPAs or double stouts, and I like many varieties down to good pale ale. I've had many beers, and consider experiencing craft brews a venture worth pursuing.

For the record, I am compelled to point out that Great Lakes labels this as an imperial stout, not a Russian imperial stout as Beeradvocate lists it, and I agree with the Great Lakes designation. But I am going by taste, not science, and I do not claim expertise.

I curiously spotted this at a small but dedicated local store. I may have had slightly skewed expectations because I really like the Great Lakes porter (Edmund Fitz.), which, here in Columbus, OH, is available even at giant grocery stores. This stout, however, is what the porter wishes it could, and imagines itself, to be. It is good enough that I am now prepared to make reservations at whatever hotel is within walking distance of the brewery, and I will make the trip, knowing I will end up beyond the limit--it is sooo good that this ridiculous indulgence will be quite sane.

(... so far--still haven't tried the 3X Floyd Breakfast, on my to-do list, nor any of the non-bottled West coast champions, FWIW, which isn't much. Life is way too short. Quick disclaimer: I have not otherwise made the exclamation, "best beer ever," and I make this statement carefully, soberly, and sincerely.)

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Photo of scott
4.83/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


After a couple of months in climate controlled hibernation...

Gorgeous. Dark. Excellent retention and lace.
One powerful nose beckons for immediate consumption, but alerts you to pay close attention to the complex tale it is about to tell. This is so well balanced and masterfully crafted, that simple words of roast/coffee/baker's chocolate and the like don't adequately portray what is really going on here.
For as big as it is, the body is quite delicate, with a pleasantly dry finish that only begs for you to pull in more. Very impressive that it is almost crisp and refreshing on a lukewarm Ohio night. Go figure.
Hands down one of, if not the best RIS out there. The only thing that makes this more enjoyable is a bath in a Jim Beam barrel which is completely sublime. So recommended, if I had the money, I'd buy it for you. Never pass this one up.

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Photo of croc
4.83/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first experience with this particular seasonal brew came at last years Beerfest, (September 2008) in Rochester NY. Word was that this dark stout was only available for a very short period of time. A friend and fellow beer enthusiast and I, parked ourselves right in front of the Great Lakes podium and began inflating our pourers heads while scoring full glasses of the delicious brew. We found out that Great Lakes at that time was not being distributed in the Rochester market but, by chance, Great Lakes would soon be flooding the shelves of local grocers Wegmans and other local distribution centers. To our dismay, we found that Great Lakes offered a variety of great tasting ales, and stouts but the coveted Blackout stout was actually a seasonal brew saved over from the past spring! We tried to get a lead on where it was hidden finally contacting the brewery itself. Our efforts were in vein. There simply was none to be had. We gave up. I was at a local Bar/Restaurant a couple of weeks ago when in pure amazement saw Blackout Stout on the menu! A few inquires to the manager and I was informed that a small shipment made its way in from Cleveland and that, what was available to the public, was being rationed out at our local "Beers of the World" store. 1 phone call later I was informed by the clerk that 6 cases remained. I immediately finished my drink and headed over to purchase every last bottle. 6 cases and almost $400 dollars later, I had every drop in Rochester in my possession! I made a few calls to a few good friends and parted with a couple of the cases. This is the stuff dreams are made of! Dark,full flavor, slight bitter bite, with hints of chocolate, and nutty. Great served slightly below room temp. and paired well with fruits, chocolates, and sweet desserts. This is a sipping beer meant to be drank from a goblet. At 9% ABV it is nearly perfect. I don't bother to break this stuff out for the general house guests as few have the pallet to appreciate the quality and character of this fine, fine brew.

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Photo of Brew33
4.83/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's official, Great Lakes is the best brewery in the country. They can do no wrong.

This beer is awesome. Perfect stout. A little bit smoky for the style but I rather like it. Faint alcohol warmth. Buttery smooth finish. Sweet, complex, earthy. Wow. Fantastic beer. Don't hesitate, this stuff is the nectar of the gods.

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Photo of Damian
4.82/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle
Enjoy by 8/18/08
Served in a snifter

Thanks to adamharbaugh for including this as an extra in our trade.

The beer poured an opaque, pitch black. Not a hint of light permeated this oily mass. The small, frothy, bubbly, tan head faded to a thin lasting ring. Spotty drops of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was a beautiful and harmonious blend of roasty and sweet. Potent, yet not over the top like some other Russian imperial stouts. Rich, malty and oaky with hints of bourbon. Deep and dark. Bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar and dark fruits also came through strong. As the beer warmed, the sweetness intensified.

The taste was magnificent as well. Similar to the aroma in many regards, except more dry and bitter (and possibly more intense). Sweet-ish up front. Coffee was most noticeable. Roasted malts also came through strong, along with an intense charred quality. Rich and oaky. Espresso notes were noticeable in the center. Some warming alcohol appeared on the back end. The finish was intense. Hoppy (in a piney and minty sort of way) and dry with a strong char flavor. Overall, remarkably well balanced. As the beer opened up, sweet toffee/caramel and brown sugar flavors emerged.

The mouthfeel was thick, creamy and smooth. Oily. Near full-bodied.

Drinkability was quite impressive. The well masked alcohol and balanced nature of this brew made it all too quaffable.

Some Russian imperial stouts receive praise for their intensity and brashness. Others however, are respected for their grace and finesse. This beer is definitely one of the latter. Overall, an incredibly well done version of the style.

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Photo of ZAP
4.82/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This might be my favorite stout...pours a very black color with a nice creamy 1/4 inch topping of head...nose is sweet milk chocolate...almonds....and tobacco....body is full and creamy....carbonation is about perfect...the taste is outstanding....starts off with the rich sweet milk chocolate...some good nutty notes...almonds and walnuts...finshes with a hit of bitter dark chocolate and some leafy/tobacco/herbal notes..9% ABV and it is nowhere to be found on the taste...

For an Imperial this is pretty good....could use a bit more thickness to bring the mouthfeel up to a 5.0...and there is a tich of light that shines into it so I drop the appearance slightly as well but we're splitting hairs...drinkability is only 4.5 because it doesn't seem nearly as Full as the king of Imperials Expedition

Overall one of the best stouts of any kind I have tried...

Thanks to Big Hugeperson for the offerings...

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,497 ratings.
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