Great Lakes Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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1,202 Reviews

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: 1,202 | Ratings: 3,421
Photo of IronLover
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown to black in color with faint dark ruby highlights. Poured with a short, beige foam with good retention. Medium high roasted malt, dark chocolate and roasted coffee bean aromas. Light aromas of dark fruit. No hop aromas. Medium bodied with medium light carbonation. Light creamy smoothness with pleasant warming through the middle to the finish. Medium high roasted malt and sweet dark chocolate flavors up front followed by medium high hop bitterness and a boozy sting through the middle to the end. Finished semi-dryly with bitteesweet chocolate and estery dark fruit notes, a light, dry bitterness and pleasant boozy warmth. Most certainly falls within the broad parameters of the style. Most importantly, this was very drinkable.

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Blackout Stout pours to a brief-lived, thin creamy tan head on a dark, dark brown effervescent beer with lots of ruby highlights. Lacing is modest, consisting of some really distinctive, fine grained tribalesque antler-like swoops. The aroma is medium in intensity: caramel and light milk chocolate riding atop an undercurrent of cassis, toffee and booze with a hint of soy sauce up top. The flavor is darker and more toffee-like than the nose, with dark chocolate leading the charge, supported by toffee notes and hints of molasses. The roast character is pretty dark, but not bitter at all, and the net result is slightly sweet. The finish is booze and dark toffee, neither sweet nor bitter, and the linger is slightly bitter, cocoa-like, and brief-lived. The mouthfeel is where this beer really shines: big even for the full body, super creamy and sticky, and just slightly peppery from the very restrained carbonation; this is how a big stout should drink. (12 oz bottle, 127 days before best-by)

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


A: Moderate coffee-like and deep roast malts, very faint bourbon, with a touch of alcohol on the finish.

A: Black color with a dark brown hue, totally opaque, with a thin tan head. Moderate lacing evident in the glass.

T: Moderate coffee-like and deep roast malt flavor with a slight wood character, and a light bitterness.

M: Medium-full bodied with moderately light carbonation.

O: Solid; the beer exhibits a deep roast character that’s well complimented by the bourbon barrels. However, as a Russian imperial stout, the beer’s aroma could use a little more dark fruit nuance and a bit deeper mouth-feel.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.42/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Look - Black, with some dark dark brown tones.
Smell - Coffee, chocolate, charred notes, hints of caramel sweetness.
Taste - Espresso, dark bitter chocolate, alcohol
Feel - Needed and wanted thicker....

Overall - Overly bitter/boozy for my liking. Not a huge fan.....

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Not an oily, all consuming black, reddish brown as light filters thru. Tan head with fine carbonation on edges. Spotty lacing.

S: Coffeehouse mélange of dark chocolate, hazelnut, caramel. Roasty with lightly charred barley. Fruity juniper berries, pine. Good balance.

M: Smooth, oily and easy to down. Not a sexy stout experience.

T: Plums and dark raisins with licorice. Char trails by a good margin. Mellow roast keeps coffee impressions to that of a whipped cream topped mocha latte. Black tar notes on the back save it from an overly sweet fruity, chocolatey black hole. Overall, fruit notes seem underdeveloped. I was expecting more.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Does not pour as dark as its name, a dark brown where I can see the clarity at the edges even in low light. Carbonation isn't huge on a medium pour, by a thick light tan ring does last and replenishes each sip.

Nose has a light tartness to the roasted malt, over-toasted sourdough perhaps. Maybe a little more unsweetened chocolate versus coffee behind that. Hint of char on that toast, perhaps as well.

Taste starts with the toast impression, but not sourdough. Then a hint of smoke, then medium strength coffee (here and there I get an occasional dark fruit sensation, but may be searching too much). After these phases roll through, turns a tad chocolatey. The bite of alcohol or spicy hops hits at the end to produce a little tingle on the tongue.

Lighter in body than some may like for a stout, but a decent depth of flavor nonetheless. Carbonation is moderate and isn't missed nor get in the way.

A solid brew very much along the lines of Edmund in being a fine representation of the style.

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Photo of Evilyak
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

pours black with a voluminous head. maybe too vigorous a pour, but still, this is a lot of head.

smell is malty with some charred notes. i can smell the alcohol.

aftertaste is cherry cola. i'm having a hard time sorting out the taste at the front because that cola taste has taken over a bit.

feel is creamy and carbonated without being overdone.

it's ok.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Weird cola flavor. I've had beers before that had a soda quality but it was usually a Sprite like thing from a sour. I just could not get over the cherry cola thing going on in the nose and taste. It was not a bad beer but a bit one note to me. I'd like to try the barrel aged version to see if things change.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as night with a tan head that fizzles out very quickly. Aromas of molasses, char, burnt and roasted barley, raisins and dried plums. Taste goes from sweet, robust grains to dried plums and charred raisins to a slightly bitter charred barley malt finish. Full body and just right moderate carbonation. Tasty stout and accessible for many reasons.

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Photo of Ksmoove27
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - dark black oil with one finger light chocolate head; light lacing

Aroma - roasted malt, caramel and coffee

Taste - follows the nose, roasted malt, baking chocolate on the front expresso, caramel

Feel - oily with mild carbonation, alcohol aftertaste

Overall - good but a step behind Founders Breakfast, Old Rasputin and Yeti

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Photo of mlockman
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Flavors are predominantly on the forefront of the swallow as this beer is very much a front-of-the-tongue experience. A rich stout that is intensely flavorful , I would recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of SteelSaw
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pour pitch black. A hard pour gives way to a thin tan head.

Smell: Milk Chocolate, Burnt Sugar, Malt, Bakers Chocolate, slight coffee notes.

Taste: Pretty much follows the nose, milk chocolate up front with a twinge of bakers chocolate near the end. Sugar and slight subtle coffee.

Feel: Intially hits the tongue with a creamy mocha like consistency. Pretty thick but not quite to the chewy degree of mouthfeel.

Overall: Stellar, a great stout that's on the sweeter side that drinks easy. Would recommend grabbing if you see it.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours jet black with a solid dark-cream colored head.

smells like sweet milk chocolate coffee. sweet and mellow.

taste is mellow and full of chocolate notes. slight chocolate taste at the end. finishes bitter and dry. goes down smooth and is easy drinking for a 9% beer. all i can say is mellow, in a good way. not overpowering in any one way. mellow chocolate and coffee taste with added sweetness. a good RIS for sure. would totally drink this again.

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

Pours a thick black with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly. Moderate lacing. Nose is bitter dark chocolate. Strong chocolate malt flavor with a hint of hops on the end. Full body with moderate carbonation. Gosh, am I drinking beer or a malt from Al's Diner in Happy Days!

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.84/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best before 5/6/16. Poured 12/8/15. $3.49 single. Poured into, unfortunately, a shaker pint. I love the name and story behind this beer. The 2003 black out is something I'll always remember vividly for a number of reasons.

Appearance: Hard pour into the glass didn't do much for a head, and left just a film on top of the beer. The name of the beer is misleading though, as this beer isn't pitch black -- instead it's a hazy ruby black color, and looks more like a porter. Whenever I can see through a stout, it makes me nervous for the taste and feel.

Smell: Roasted and caramel malt, a little coffee, and some... hops? This is not quite as big and bold and I was expecting, and to me smells like an imperial version of Edmund Fitzgerald. This doesn't smell like a RIS to me as much as some sort of porter. This is light on roasted malt (heavier on caramel), and even lighter on coffee. No alcohol in the aroma, and no dark fruits buried in there. Smells very nice regardless.

Taste/feel: Follows the nose flawlessly, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your stout preferences. This beer is actually very sweet with quite the table sugar presence -- there's just a "biting" sweetness that kicks in and lingers until the finish where there's a mild bitterness. Flavors of primarily caramel malt come through with a mild-to-moderate amount of roasted malt and a really slight coffee flavor. I also get an earthy hop flavor briefly on the front and in the middle of each sip, which also contributes just a wee bit of hop bitterness. Honestly, I get more of a hop bitterness than roast bitterness from this beer. This is one of the most unexpected experiences I can think I've had from a beer in quite awhile. The mouthfeel is about what I expected given its appearance, maybe a little better. Black out Stout "hefts up" and is actually a somewhat creamy, near full-bodied beer. The carbonation is mild.

This is a stout I'd recommend to anyone whose preference is stouts that are on the sweeter side, because this is certainly that. The too-subtle roastiness, excess sweetness, and a bit of a disappointing mouthfeel make this beer a letdown, to me. I was expecting a viscous beer with a "chewy" feel and bold bitter roast. Of course, that's simply because I expected it from the name. Why? I don't know why. I blame myself.

For the price, it's neither a rip off or a bargain. It's a very solid seasonal offering from GLBC, just one that doesn't fit the bill of a "Russian Imperial Stout", in my eyes.

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Photo of KBrady
3.46/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Aged little over a some other reviewers have mentioned it's possible that this hurts the beer.

Poured into a snifter, smelled a burnt, charcoal-ish aroma. Tasted a bit metallic and thin, with a fairly unpleasant mouthfeel. I would try it again fresh and it's possible I got a lemon, but for now I must rate it as such.

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Photo of StartedwithSAM
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours into a grand snifter jet black with a one finger off-white or somewhat tannish head, dissipating quickly with little or no lacing.

Smells of roasted bitter cocoa with subtle dark fruit.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with a noticeable level carbonation.

The taste is strong, earthy, cocoa forward flavors finishing with a slightly dry, Belgian-style fruitiness.

Overall this was a solid Russian Imperial Stout, nothing that really wow'd me. That being said it is far better than last years which was much more cloying. This years release is an interesting balance, or struggle if you prefer, between an American-style and Belgian-style RIS. GLBC is moving in the right direction with this. Cheers.

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Photo of SometimesIfart
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Oh yes. Ohhhhh yessss. Hit quite a good bit of brews today at my local shop, mostly winter seasonals. I've wanted this one for quit some time yet I've never been able to find it until now. I hope it's every bit as good as it was in my dreams. Enough talk, let's drink it.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass since I managed to drunkenly break my snifter. Oh well, thug life. This brew pours blacker than Seal and much blacker than Charlie Murphy. This beer is black, like the deep voiced smooth talkin' 1970's black pimp that picked up yo momma. Head rises to about a quarter of mocha and dies down to some thick cloud formations amongst the top of the drink. This guy has some depth going for it. No lacing remains at the end of the beer.

Smell - Coffeeeeeeee. Coffeeeeeee. Coffee. Coffee is big on that forefront with nice hints of burnt breadyness and chocolate cake batter. Raisins and a bit of prune with a kiss of alcohol. Milk chocolatey goodness wraps around the nostrils as the beer warms up a bit.

Taste - Seems every drink brings something new to the forefront. Initially I got a big dosage of the aforementioned cake batter which quickly turned into a chocolate frosting covered low fat brownie. The alcohol seems to grow more apparent as you continue into the beer but it never once becomes too much. As the beer has warmed a bit more I'm getting some noticeable charred meat and a touch of charcoal and smoke. Like a charred back strap more than anything else. At peak drinking temperature now and a newer milk chocolate bar like front has joined the party with a bit of ash on the finish. Interesting.

Feel - The mouthfeel on this brew is moderate to full depending on the specific temperature of the beer and there is a large creamyness despite the fact that there is no remaining head at this point. Flavors remains much the same and swallows with just a bit of alcohol on the back end.

Overall - I had extremely high hopes for this beer and to be quite honest it fell just a tad shy. Do not get me wrong this thing is great but the whole ash/charcoal thing got a bit weird as I continued to drink it. Either way, I am glad I bought it and would likely recommend it to stout lovers. As always, give it a shot and come to your own conclusion..

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

Sample from tap at Great Lakes Brewing Company. This one certainly warms you up! Knock out just like a good imperial should. Hit the spot on this cold Thursday night!

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Photo of do_ob
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into a snifter. Dark brown pour and pretty well black in the glass, save for some some ruby hues around the bottom edge. About 1 finger of light tan foam with a sticky composition. Somewhat weak nose, but has notes of roasted malt, milk chocolate, expresso, caramel, and vanilla. A surprising amount of chocolate initially on the taste that quickly unfolds to expose roasty malts, bitter coffee, oak, vanilla, cinammon, and caramel. Quite tasty, really, albeit not really a traditional RIS. This is more of an American imperial stout from what I'm getting. Decent feel, but over-carbonated and a little too thin for me. I'd like this to be a bit more dense. Smooth drinking, though.

Overall, decent, but below average compared to other easily accessable big stouts. It is tasty, but if I'm reaching for a RIS, I'd pass this up for Old Raspy or Ten Fidy any day.

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Photo of cjohns73
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly dark brown that permits some light; minimal viscosity; thin egg shell colored head with a couple minutes of retention; couple dots of lacing.

Smell is roasted malt and chocolate; taste is less chocolate, more coffee; lots of bitterness throughout; the finish introduces some sweetness that is otherwise non-existent.

Balance is probably the name of the game here; lots of smoothness as well; feel is a bit thin and the taste profile doesn't exactly pop because of it.

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Photo of Slack
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown to black in color with almost no visible carbonation and minimal lacing.

Coffee dominates the nose with some sweet malt and an alcohol note present along with minor amounts of cocoa and raisins.

Taste is malt sweetness, cocoa, caramel, and coffee bitterness on the finish. Alcohol becomes present as it warms.

Mouthful is medium to light with a medium to high carbonation. Body is smooth but thin. Finish is lingering.

This beer is an excellent representation of the style with the minor drawback of the alcohol notes in the aroma and taste. It is nicely balanced, smooth, with coffee and malt present throughout.

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Photo of MUTINY
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a chalice.

A: Pours an opaque, inky black with 1/3" khaki head that recedes quickly. Retention is just-above-average, lacing is OK.

S: Mellow dark chocolate & vanilla bean tempered by hints of booze. I get just the slightest trace of plum & cinnamon as well.

T: Comes on with a big neapolitan ice cream hit, with traces of dark chocolate (with cherry), vanilla & strawberry. The mid palate is decidedly more boozy, undercurrents of cinnamon & nutmeg are detectable. the finish is almost overly sweet, but is pared back by a subtle hop note. Altogether quite nice.

M: Lowish carb married to a just-slightly-more-than-midweight malty body. Fairly rich, with a grainy saccharine thing going on.

O: Flawed, but impressive nonetheless.

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Photo of rudzud
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade. Date of 04/24/15

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a darker black hue with a thin mocha head that faded to leave thin wisps and a light halo.

S - Aromas of roasty malts, smokey chocolate, light licorice, nougat.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Very nice toast malts, little bit of smoke, very nice slightly sweet chocolate. Flashes of nougat and vanilla. Finish has a little bit of booze.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, creamy, though slightly thin for the style. Bit boozy too.

O - Overall this was a solid representation of the style. Really like the chocolate notes.

Serving Type: bottle

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Photo of Warren2621
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pitch black with a half finger head and a creamy tan ring around the edges of the glass once the head settles

Smell: Slightly roasty, smokey chocolate. Burnt toffee.. all smells combine for a good woody smoked boozy nose

Taste: Coffee, non bitter smooth chocolate, some roast

Feel: Low carbonation coats the mouth with a buttery sticky, teeth sucking addiction for more.

Overall: Worth having. A couple. As I drink more, the less I desire repeats but this should be bought if never had

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,421 ratings.
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