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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,220 | Ratings: 3,502
Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great start, with a bottle picture and description that reminds those of us who survived the Great Grid Blackout. Then a beautiful black pour. A stout with great American hops and some malt taste. Thanks to Chuck's Fine Wines for breaking up a six pack for me.
Second bottle 26 months later, great and substantial coffee and roast aroma. Beautiful mocha ring on head. bMedium mouthfeel,n warming alcohol, satisfying coffee aftertaste.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one of the classics, although this one isnt always as easy to find as the other great lakes beers. i was lucky enough to have this one on tap during my travels, so awesome. its a dense stout, but not thick and sludgy like bourbon county or anything. in fact, it might be one of the better carbonated imperial stouts out there. its a lot like old rasputin from north coast i though, maybe a little less of the english ale yeast character in this one, but the grain bill feels very similar. its big and full bodied, but its also interesting, with maybe some oats or even rye in here in some proportion. it gives the beer a fluffy feeling, and i taste raisin and chocolate in here, its delicious without being overly complex. pillowy in its mouthfeel and well carbonated, which is uncommon and unexpected in the style, and the finish lasts forever. the booze is well hidden behind the unsweetened chocolate bitterness. a true gem, especially on tap. easily one of the best non barrel aged stouts in the country.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a black rich looking liquid. The head was creamy and brown in color. The lacing looked good on the glass. The smell of the beer was roasted with some coffee and chocolate on the nose. I slight amount of dark fruit in there too with some booze. The taste of the beer had a good strength to it, lots of chocolate upfront and bad a burnt toast flavor in the back end. The flavor wasn't as strong as some of the Russian Imperials out there. The mouthfeel was thick and full bodied. Overall I found this beer to be damn good and would enjoy having it again one day.

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Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at RFD, Washington, DC

A: It poured very dark amber (near black) in color with a thin layer of mocha-colored bubbles on the surface.
S: The nose mostly has aromas of dark, roasted malts along with some notes of chocolate and coffee.
T: Like the smell, there are lots of flavors of dark, roasted malts along with chocolate and coffee. There is also some bitterness, particularly in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and somewhat creamy on the palate. There is a little dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink. I would definitely try another one of these.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extremely solid stout. Huge roasted malt character and malt sweetness. Lots of complexity with unusual balcance. Light lactose additions help to mellow the rough 'stout-like' edges without contributing sourness. Oatmeal like smoothness does the same. Higher than normal carbonation combined with lightly fusal alcohols causes a scrubbing of the throat on the way down. This the only flaw. Finishes with a roasty-sweet sensation and lightly charcoal-like. Other contributing posatives: french roast, milk chocolate, and marshmellows in the nose, flavor, and feel. Quite nice.

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Photo of brentk56
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by 10/1/06; reviewed 1/5/09

Appearance: Pours an obsidian color with a creamy tan head that pancakes the liquid and leaves bubbles of lace behind

Smell: Dark chocolate, plenty of roast; almost cigar-like from the oxidation, I suspect

Taste: A mouthful of dark chocolate is joined, by mid-palate, with a tobacco and dark fruit (prunes and dates) combination, that gets surprisingly bitter; after the swallow, the bitterness lingers and is joined by the cigar flavors from the aroma

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Over 2 years beyond its best by date and still drinking superbly; a fine beer; I have tasted it fresh and it has quite a hop kick; I like it both fresh as well as cellared

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cellared 2005 bottle.

Super midnight black body, topped with a tan cappucino tinged head of foam. Spindly spots of lacing ring the glass. Looking good for a two-year old brew.

Slight sweetness to the aroma, banana esters, almond, caramel malt are all present.

Hops are still there, but way in the back. Subdued bitterness results, meshing well with the charred malts in the middle. Earthiness lingers well into the finish, with a mild coffee bean presence. Dark baker's chocolate runs through the whole experience, very tasty and satisfying. Nutty and dry in the finish, which lasts for a good while. Any notion of alcohol heat has been subdued, but it still packs some strength. Creamy feel to it...easy to get lost with this one.

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

Appearance - Almost black, more of a dark brown. More opacity than I would expect from the style, though it's certainly still dark.

Smell - Bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, dark roasted coffee beans and the faintest trace of alcohol.

Taste - Licorice, espresso, earthy hops, dark chocolate and a bit of burnt bitterness. Excellent balance between sweet, roasty and hoppy flavors. Medium in body and considerably less rich than many imperial stouts. The finish is more on the dry and bitter side, leaving an pleasantly acrid burnt flavor on the roof of the mouth.

Notes - Above average but perhaps not world-class.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Jdoolin : Poured a deep black color stout with a nice foamy head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of chocolate and coffee malt is well balance with a medium hoppy finish. Taste is really well balance between chocolate malt, some dry roasted malt and a medium bitter finish. Body was quite full with some adequate carbonation. Overall, I thought this was well done and alcohol was not perceptible. I might have lack some complexity but it was still quite enjoyable.

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Photo of oline73
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

The beer pours a very dark almost black color with several fingers of thick tan head. The head fades to a nice layer rather quickly and leaves some lacing on the side of the glass. I wasn't in love with the smell of this beer. I'm getting some sweet malt and dark fruit, but there is a slightly off note that I'm having trouble describing. Fortunately, the note that I didn't like in the smell didn't show up in the taste. While this was a very roasty beer, I thought the roast was quite smooth. I'm also getting dark chocolate and some dark fruit. The finish is sweet and roasty. The alcohol is quite well hidden. I'd have another bottle in the future.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with a nice mocha head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. Initial nose is plenty of roasted malt followed up by dark chocolate, caramel/toffee, and hints of molasses. Taste is nice. Some sweetness is added in, which dilutes some of the nuances of the nose. Mouthfeel is nice, thick, and chewy. Very drinkable. A very solid stout for how widely available it is.

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Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Smokestack chalice.

Pours only a ΒΌ finger of tan head. Not very good retention and pretty much no lace. Color is a deep dark brown, pretty much black.

Aroma: Chocolate, cocoa, licorice, dark fruits, coffee beans. Nose is a little weak, but good.

Taste: Chocolate, earthy hops, cocoa, coffee beans, licorice and dark fruits, cherries. Very similar to the smell. Roasted/burnt malts. At the very end I get a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Robust, thick, and burnt feel. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a burnt malt aftertaste that I am not a fan of.

Overall, a pretty good beer. This bottle will give me know troubles. After having this one, I can only imagine how good the BA version is. I will be seeking that one out when it is released again. A good beer worth a try.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/28/2012. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, plum, light licorice, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, light-moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, plum, light licorice, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, plum, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, light-moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Russian imperial stout. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, light-moderate dark fruit, and light earthy hops flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to AKsmokedPorter for this big gem of a beer,pours a deep black with a few ruby highlights showing thru with a mocha colored head,aroma ofrum and nuts with some bitter chocolate thrown in just incredibley appetizing with its wide variety.A big rich stout very chewey mouthfeel big and buttery with that rum note again with some nuttiness as well.A big complex awesome beer, man I miss getting GLB beers on a regular basis cuzz this one would be in my fridge all the time.

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

Got a couple of these that I've been saving, this is the first to taste, thanks to both Noslenwerd and Tyson for this one. Enjoy by 08/02/10, it's been in the cellar for a while, but that's the way I likes it!

A nice head, semi dark and thick, frothy and slow fading with a nice lacing, shows itself. The beer below is as black as the midnight. Once the head eventually fades it shows the nice lacing on the sides and keeps a light head covering.

The nose is beautiful! It wafts out lots of dark malts, a really nice roasty malt with a little coffee and touch of bitter like aromas, as well as a little black patent malt, and a touch of bakers chocolate. It seems to have a touch of a creamy note as well. There is some nice sweetness, plenty of caramel, a little molasses, a touch of vanilla, and some aged malt aromas even.

The taste is very rich, thick, lush, and pillowy. A nice malt profile again, with plenty of roasted malts and a little coffee, a little black patent malt, and a touch of bakers chocolate still. Some light creamy tastes, and a fluffy nougat like taste too. Some sweetness, but not a lot, with some caramel and touch of vanilla. A little bitterness, touch of earthy hops I think, as well as some bitterness from the roasted malts, but this is kept at bay very well. For all the dark malts and roast I would have expected a lot more minerality and bitterness. A touch of an aged malt taste too, which could be for the fact this has been sitting in the cellar for a year or so, or from the beer itself. It also doesn't have the 9% abv feel, drinks more like 7%. It reminds me a lot of Night Stalker from Goose Island.

The mouth is pretty thick, lush, rich, and pillowy, with decent carbonation for the style.

It finishes with lots of the malts still lingering for a while. As it coats the mouth, most of the flavors just linger. Some of the roast and black patent malt remain, but a lot less now. More bitterness though as the hops and roasted malts catch up finally. Some sweetness, but dries a bit too. More of the caramel, vanilla, and rich malty flavors linger, with more of the pillowy nougat and a little chocolate. No real boozy taste either.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Appearance: Typical stout appearance. Opaque black body with ruby glints of light coming through at the base of the glass. Creamy tan head. Good head retention and lacing.
Smell: Surprisingly limited. Offers some roastiness (some ashen/smokey character and a bit of coffee) and dull bittersweet chocolate.
Taste: There's a nice thread of soft fruitiness that runs through the Blackout, but there's also a rougher strand of alcohol that goes along with that, so it's kind of a trade-off. Beyond that it's quite basic with notes of dark caramel, brown sugar, burnt sugar, bittersweet chocolate, and a light dusting of dark cocoa. The alcohol is noticeable, but not to the point of being distracting - although it clearly cuts down on the drinkability. Some grassy and leafy hops flitter about in the background, which is appropriate for the style (although some brewers are bringing them more to the front lately).
Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with a gently tingling carbonation that opens to become airy as it warms. Smooth and slick once warmed.
Drinkability: It's rich, but blunt. And not very complex for what it is. Unmasked notes of alcohol hinder it. Otherwise it's a decent sipper for a cool autumn or winter night.

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Photo of chinchill
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled dated "enjoy by" 5-5-2012.

Pours nearly black. Clear, not cloudy. Small, short-lived tan head.

Very aromatic, with a strong dark chocolate component. The chocolate remains in the flavor, but takes a backseat to the coffee. Both of these, as well as a spicy hop note, are secondary to a rich dark malt base.

O: excellent, if not up to world class renditions such as Founders Breakfast Stout.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the GLBC.

Pours a dense black with a thin head of mocha colored tan foam. Retains well around the edges and with some thin wisps across the center that leaves a nice smattering of lace behind down the sides of the glass. The aroma posesses deep notes of chocolate, char, espresso, dark fruits, floral hops, a smidge of heat, and what I affectionately like to call the "Cleveland Funk".

The taste matches the aroma, with burnt roasted malts up front, cocoa and caramel sweetness, zippy coffee, tart cherry notes, and a lively bitterness that runs through the profile. The mouthfeel is chewy, thick, and slick across the palette but still maintains a pretty poppy carbonation upon first sip. The finish is warm, sticky, and lingering.

This is just a really solid RIS and one that I really look forward to each year. I'm glad that I was able to get out there in time to still have some on draft. Packed with bold flavors and a beefy, warm feel, it still stays pretty quaffable for its size. Great stuff as usual from the GLBC.

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

Acquired via trade from biegaman, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle with a into a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a short beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of chocolate and roasted malts along with some coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is typically RIS malty up front with a strong flavor of bitter-sweet dark chocolate, however, this beer isn't quite as thick or heavy as many big stouts. There's a very mild hops presence which is to be expected given the style and the fact that this beer is over 2 years-old. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky but clean for the style.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a really good big stout to drink for a long time especially with some age on it.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Note: 2013 Vintage

A: Pours an opaque yet clear jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some very faint dark cola brown highlights when held up to the light. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy dark beige head that reduces to a small to medium sized patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted, almost charred malts along with some lighter notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits (raisin and plum). The dark fruit aromas fades as the beer comes up to room temperature.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of dark roasted, almost charred malts with a light note of dark chocolate. There are light notes of freshly ground coffee and moderate notes of dark fruits (plum and raisin). Very light hints of vanilla and moderate amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade slowly.

M: Just shy of full bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: I found this beer to be very enjoyable and has a great flavor/aroma. Very easy to drink with well hidden alcohol, I would be happy to have a couple of these but alas I was only able to find one when searching the local beer stores this year. Definitely worth grabbing if you come across it and wishing I could find the barrel aged version.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured like a stout, if you can believe it: dark brown-black, with a frothy tan head that deposited some soapy lacing. Roasty character in the aroma, bitter notes of cocoa and coffee and a bit of ash. Flavors of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, tobacco ash, coffee bitterness. Heavier-medium mouthfeel, pretty smooth, and pretty drinkable overall.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a full, frothed, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Roasty, creamy, chocolatey aroma with an underlying spiciness and a scent of vanilla powder.

Taste: Creamy dark chocolate and smooth, sweet caramel. Light fruitiness. A touch of wood, roast, and light spice. Sprinkled vanilla-flavored sugar. A bit warming in the chalky, chocolatey finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Though I could use a bit more fullness to the body, it's still a very good stout. Good one, Great Lakes.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glossy anthracite with a faint glimmer of light at the margins, capped by a firmsticky, resolute head of cocoa brown. Thick, chunky gobs of lace affix themselves to the glass and will, no doubt, have to be removed with hot water. Great Lakes brews lace monsters and this one is no exception.

Blackout smells of chocolate syrup-laced black coffee with supporting roles being played by hops and smoke. There are faint echoes of dark brown sugar, but no molasses spiciness that I could appreciate. It's a wonderful aroma, I just hope the coffee is scaled back on the palate.

Wow, this is powerful stuff! My first sip exploded over my tongue, coated my mouth and sent a frisson of pleasure straight into my brain. First of all, although I didn't doubt it for a second, this beer has the most substantial mouthfeel of any Great Lakes offering in existence, and GL is a brewery known and celebrated for that characteristic. Blackout Stout is easily as full and as rich as Victory Storm King Stout. It doesn't quite top the pure, heavy silkiness of Perkuno's Hammer, but it's damn close.

As Imperial stouts go, it isn't overly complex. It's just a hugely delicious, coffee/chocolate flavor bomb that is pure poetry in the mouth. Hops, smoke and anise give it character and added personality, but don't really detract from the mission at hand. If possible, the flavor knob hits '11' with warming and the beer becomes more spicy as well. It's hard to imagine a more robust, more flavorful, yet more drinkable beer in this category. 9% ABV? You'd never know it.

Blackout Stout is great beer from one of the truly great breweries in North America. It has instantly become one of my favorites and it is my fervent hope that Great Lakes will decide to brew it year-round. I'd also like to see it distributed to this state, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll be stocking up on my trips back to Ohio, though, that much is certain. Highly recommended. A huge 'thank you' to Dogbrick for the opportunity.

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Photo of billab914
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter. Poured dark brown in color with a thin tan head barley covering the top of the beer. The head faded to a thin ring around the glass, where it left a bit of lacing.

The aroma has a good amount of smooth chocolate flavor to it. Some caramel and malt flavors also come through. It has more of the sweet malty aromas to it then anything else. I'm sure a year of aging has something to so with that.

The taste also has a big cocoa and chocolaty flavor to it right up front. The finish is where I get a bit more of the roasty and bitter flavors with some coffee and more chocolate. It has a pretty strong long lasting bitterness to it in the finish. A little sweet malty, chocolate and caramel flavors help balance it out a bit. Very nice flavors to it. A nice smokiness developed as it warmed as well.

The mouthfeel has above average thickness, not quite as thick as some of the real heavy stouts I've had but still fairly heavy. The carbonation is low, just as it should be in a beer like this in my opinion.

Drinkability is very good, it had some very good chocolate and roasty, bitter flavors to it. I'm sure the year of aging had an effect on it from looking at some other reviews that say it was boozy or very hoppy. Unfortunately I haven't had one fresh yet to compare. This one that I opened was very enjoyable and smooth though.

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Photo of russpowell
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to joe1510 for this one, this is one I've been hoping to try for a decade! Tasting based on notes

Pours chestnut/mahogany with 2+ fingers of mocha head, Above average lacing & head retention

S: Coffee, cocoa & some booze when warm

T: Rich dark chocolate & a hint of coffee up front. Slight boozeyness & chicory as this warms, plus oaky vanilla, a bit of herbal hop bitterness, & charred grains. Finishes sweet, chocolatey & a bit boozey

MF: Chewy with moderate carbonation & nice smoothness, plus some stickyness

Very easy to drink, the flavor in this beauty would make ignore the the ABV if available in quantity here. Well put together RIS!

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,502 ratings.
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