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Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Blackout StoutBlackout Stout
3,533 Ratings
Blackout StoutBlackout 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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 3,533 |  Reviews: 1,227
Photo of granger10
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out like its name, black as night. It produces a good sized creamy head that looked beautiful. The smell is very roasted with a chocolate espresso note to it. The initial flavor I got was a strong roasted coffee precense. The roasted flavors turn into a burnt chocolate that is a little unsettling. Hops mix with the alcohol and provide a spicyness, almost fruitiness but then become more bitter the further I go. The finish is alcohol dry. The body was slightly thinner than I would have hoped for. This was a good complex beer but not my favorite in the Imperial Stout category.

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Photo of Ellbert
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nice dark color, almost black. There is a little bit of light that can get through this. The head is a nice tan color that doesn't last as long as I would like. There is a very sticky lace that coats the glass.

Smell: Roasted malt with bittersweet chocolate in the nose. Faint hops arise in the nose. No alcohol seems to be present.

Taste: Very roasty. Very roasty. Bitter, bitter, bitter. Very roasty. The roastedness is fairly harsh at first. Hops are very spicy. Alcohol is a little warm in the end. Leaves you a little dry but with a very pleasant flavor or roasteness and chocolate. This is kind of like if you take a chocolate bar and smoke it.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. I feel that this is lacking a little bit. I would have liked to have this be a little thicker. I would also have liked to see this with a little less harsh carbonation.

Overall a very drinkable beer. A very good imperial stout. Go GLBC

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Photo of cokes
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black. Treated ever-so-slightly with ruby, but black for all intents and purposes. The head is compacted, for a while lasting, and tan.
Nose full of burn and char and roast. Echoes of bourbon and grape is it warms, but slight and fairly hollow. Solid and satifying nose-wise, yet not quite an adequate prelude.
Begins assertively roasted. Smoky even, with burnt trees and burnt rubber and spent charcoal. Not as incinerated as, say, Expedition or Rogue Imperial, but plenty fire-damaged as it is.
From the ashes, a sweetness seeps. Gooey caramel and vanilla bean. Hallmark blackened chocolate chip cookies (take note). Seared walnuts. Mocha coffee, with heavy espresso roasted bitterness.
Hopping resides, obviously, on the tail end, and it joins with the burnt hues. Enflamed pine trees and singed woody shrubs. Boozy, port traits are established here as well. Chocolatized brandy and still-smoldering, woody, bourbon-drenched embers. But the alcohol is largely concealed.
Mostly full in stature. Not the largest Imperial Stout. But a well realized and representative version of such. It may lack a little (and just a little) in overall nuance and depth, it is nonetheless as drinkable and enjoyable as any. And it just gets better as it exceeds cellar temp.
Well done, as expected.

That burnt chocolate chip cookie flavor just seems to resonate in the mouth and the memory, and I love it.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Beer looks nice. Its dark, but not 'dark as the inside of a bear's...' dark. Can see throught the bottom of the glass...looks a deep red when held to the light. Not bottle conditioned, so that's convenient, but I'd prefer a darker, more opaque imperial stout. Nice mellow brown head that hangs around.

Nose is really roasty. I get a touch of hops too, but mostly roasty, chocolatey notes.

Taste is big. Lots of roasted barley in this brew...probably lots of chocolate malt too. About mid way through the taste get a very subtle 'wineyness', could use a bit more honestly to counter all that roastedness. I definately get some bitterness too in the finish. Finishes with kind of an astringent roastedness and deep bitterness that will make it hard to drink more than one or two of these. Really tough finish.

very very nice mouthfeel...silky smooth, big and chewy all in one. If the roast was toned down a touch this beer would be right on.

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Photo of oberon
4.37/5  rDev +4%
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 bigbubba
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent stout. I am glad I finally found it. I think this was the last 4 pack in all the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.

It is very dark with a big light brown head. It left a nice dark lace on the inside of the glass. It didn't pour as thick and oily as many other Imperial stouts do.

There is a nice roasted coffee and some chocolate in both the smell and taste. A little bitterness in the aftertaste hides the potent alcohol. Hard to believe it is 9%.

The mouthfeel is not as thick as many others in this category, and that seems to make it real easy to drink. I could get into real trouble if I ever find this on tap and served by the pint!

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Photo of wbickerton
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Mad Mex in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. I am still recovering from the flu/cold, but I did not notice any negative aroma. It seemed to have a slight coffee/chocolate aroma. Very dark with a tight frothy head. Delicious coffee and chocolate flavor with a full-bodied palate. It's listed here as 9% ABV, but this can't be right. It tasted as though it were 5.5 to 6.5% at most. If this is 9% ABV, GLBC should be given an award for masking alcohol content. Stouts are not my favorite beers, but this stout will force me to go to Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company in the South Side to pick up a keg, assuming it is still available.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
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 zerk
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black... absolutely freaking black... with a thin tan head that leaves a fair amount of lace. Aroma is a mix of malt, coffee, fennel, and some chocolate. Flavor is an absolutely amazing combniation of espresso, some notes of port wine, and spicy hops - bold and potent... with a noticeable alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is thick and oily with low to medium carbonation. This is a massive and wondefrul brew that is a great deal at $9 for a 4 pack!

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Photo of beerluvr
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A dark tan head tops nearly opaque deep dark brownish/black liquid. Good lacing. Intense rich coffee and dark fruit nose. Viscuous mouthfeel with robust flavors of coffee, milk chocolate, roasted barley, nicely integrated hoppiness, then alcohol is both tasted and felt. The long, long flavorful finish hints at yeasty fruitiness and espresso bitterness...simply fab-u-lous! Reminds me of a tamer version of Bell's Expedition Stout. Thanks to CRJMellor for this roasty gem...my 400th review, and quite a fitting brew for it!

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Photo of ngandhi
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The rich cocoa and fruit of some great imperials with the deep roast of others, Blackout is the coming-together of this oft-inconsistent style. Nose is all malt and blkwushopblksqa . . . this is an awesome beer.

Fudge, roasted walnuts, and 30-year-old port. A hint of Nutra-Sweetness (how odd), but otherwise perfect.

So close to Rogue, it hurts.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Solid black color, huge tannish head, active, bubbling, ...aroma, bitter cocoa, nutty, just the thing...on the palate, full, rich, thick, delicious, perfect...lush texture, cocoa is everywhere, carob and anise and more join in on the flavor, thick, rich , delicious,...yum, an excellent stout, from an excellent brewer toward whom I've never had a complaint...full, rich, bodied, potent mouthfeel, this gives Kalamazoo's a run for it's money...wish I had more to test them against one another...but all I can say now is that I fully enjoyed this one, and will seek this one out in the future, if I can!!!
What a great stout...wish I could have this more often!

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Photo of proc
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can this brewery do no wrong?

Great Lakes has got to be considered among the best breweries in the U.S. All of their offerings have been superb and this is no exception.

Blackout Stout pours out to the darkest black I have seen a beer pour out yet. Yep, the term "blackout" is very appropriate here. The aroma is that of coffee and malt. The taste is fantastic. Chocolate, coffee, licorice ane melted malted milk balls come to mind. the ABV is exceptionally well hidden, maybe better hidden than nearly any beer I have tried. Extremely easy to drink. This is an impressive Imperial Stout. If you've been afraid of this big boy style, don't be.

Note to Great Lakes: Get this beer all over and not just in the Midwest.

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle indicates best before May 29, 2004. I can pick up a slight brownish tinge to the beer as it comes out of the bottle but once in the glass it as black as a night sky. The head quickly goes away. I get mostly a chocolate aroma from the beer. Another sniff reveals a roasted coffee aroma. Actually it smells freshly brewed. First sip reveals a very dry, woody tasted with more roasted and burnt notes than chocolate. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and not syrupy or thick at all. Alcohol bite doesn't seem present at first. Several sips into the glass a pronounced bitter aftertaste is developing. A beer for sipping. It will take a while to get through the glass. Still Bell's gets my vote for a better Imperial Stout in the Midwest.

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Photo of masterbruewer
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It poured black, very black, the blackest beer I've seen yet. No amber tints, no light coming through. With a thick light brown head that sticks around and leaves nice lacing.

The smell is a nice balanced blend of malt, coffee and chocolate flavors.

The flavor is of mellow burnt oak and hops. It gets more complex as it warms, with more chocolate and coffee flavors emerging and a little flower and fruit hiding in the back.

The mouthfeel is substantial, but not boorish. It hits your mouth like a velvet glove of flavor and spreads about the mouth with a smooth feel. A little carbonation keeps the flavor lively.

This is a highly drinkable stout. Strong flavor but no off tastes. At 9.0 ABV, I wouldn't drink too many in a setting, but I'll definately try this one again.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep black with just a hint of maroon as the light permeates the mass. Very minor tan head created on the pour. Lots of lace as the pint is consumed.
Aroma is raw, rough coffee, oatmeal, wood and light milk chocolate.
Flavor is rich milk chocolate complimented by some coffee and grain or oat richness. Minor swett alcohol and some residual earthy, wooddy bitterness at the end.
Mouthfeel is smooth to start and subtley escalates up to a very dry alcoholic and palate coating feel with some moderate bitterness.
Drinkability is very nice. Another great beer from GL.

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Photo of bditty187
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black. Opaque. It is stunning in its depth; it is an abyss in my glass. The russet head reached a very modest ¼ of an inch before it quickly faded to a collar. No subsequent lacing. The bouquet was simply lovely, big roasted malt aromas, a hint of coffee, chocolate, and a hint of milk-like sweetness. I couldn’t detect much in the way of hops, in other words it hasn’t been too “Americanized.” The potency is strong enough to get its point across, which is “drink me!” The flavors on the palate are great. I could leave the description at that. It is simply great. Big, angry, burn malts, dry coffee, and tree bark upfront, in the middle a sizable malty sweetness emerges and the first notice of the hops slide into the finish. Before I could reach the finish however the alcohol reared its head, it brought some heat and a pleasant bite. This is an outstanding Imperial Stout, be forewarned though, this isn’t a hop monster like Storm King Stout, its more a kin to the SS Imperial Stout, but better. The aftertaste is long, rich malty alcohol; a hint of chocolate covered cherries, espresso, the dryness is impressive. It is very tasty. The mouthfeel is thick and hearty; the bulk on the tongue can be described as full. Carbonation levels are low but natural. It coated my mouth like lacquer. The alcohol punch is perfect, it encouraged me to sip and savor. I gladly did. This is an outstanding offering and yet another masterpiece from GLBC. This one come recommended; seek this out! Thank you PhantomVodoo

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Photo of CortexBomb
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful black beer with a frothy tan head, but it leaves town pretty quickly. Aroma is nicely roast and chocolate dominated, and strongly sweet.

Taste is large on hops and chocolate and a huge helping of roast and definite alcohol flavour being evident and the normal hop bitterness to finish. The sweetness from the aroma also is present through nearly the entire duration, and lingers along with the bitterness. This is a nice representative of the Russian Imperial style.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick without being amazing, while the drinkability is a bit above average.

The bottom line: Great Lakes is one of my favourite semi-local brewers, and Blackout Stout is a great product. If you like the style, you should definitely give this one a go.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has been much anticipated in this area. Great Lakes is an excellent brewery, and finally a big beer released in bottle form. This pours a deep dark black liquid with a great tan creamy head. The head didn't stay around as long as I would like, and there wasn't much lacing on the glass as I had hoped. Still looked pretty good. Smells of chocolate and dark roasted coffee, almost espresso-like. Taste is fairly sweet with a good coffee and roasted malt flavor. This imperial stout is very highly hopped. The alcohol presence is very noticable. Mouthfeel is almost full bodied, perhaps just a bit thin. Seems to be pretty drinkable for an imperial stout, particularly one that has so much hop character. I found this to be even tastier as it warmed.
In summary, another outstanding beer from an outstanding brewery. Maybe more people need to take notice of Great Lakes, because they are doing some wonderful things, and they have been very consistent.

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Photo of Gusler
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer as it emigrates from the bottle to my 30 year old “Chimay Chalice” is the color of obsidian with the head a beauteous chocolate color and also burly in size, as it calmly erodes the lace forms a fine sheet of lace to obscure the glass. The aroma of roasted grain dominates the nose with hints of bittersweet chocolate, fresh and pleasing to the eye and the nose, start is thick with malted grain, ambrosial, the top chewy thick. Finish is deliberate in its acidity, the hops sweet-tempered in their spiciness, desert dry aftertaste with the bittersweet chocolate flavor lasting to the very last, a find stout from a magnificent brewery.

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Photo of Skidz
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a deep, rich brown that holds black in the glass with only the slightest bit of light showing through the bottom of the glass. Nice looking tan head on top with some nice lacings around the sides. Retreats to the sides of the glass, doesn't hold anything in the center. When pouring this out, I was just getting a nose full of smells before I even put my shnoz even close to it.

Smells of nice roasted grains, malts and some hoppy aromas as well. Taste starts out mellow but quickly picks up steam as some heavy roastyness blows its way through. Dark caramel and chocolate undertones peek out a bit just before a tangy blast of orange like flavors hit the roof of your mouth then simmers down, back into those roasted grains and malts leaving you with only the slightest bit of bitterness on your tongue. Alcohol prescence is there, but it's well covered by the bold flavors and excellent flow.

Full body packed with loads of different flavors to try and pick out. Very smooth and clean tasting, nothing here to complain about. This is definately a great brew to just sit back and enjoy in the quiet dark night. By two and share with a friend.

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Photo of Ahhdball
5/5  rDev +19%
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 abents
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours black as night with a thin mocha colored head that laces the glass beautifully. Head doesn't stand too long however.

Smell: Aromas of coffee, chocolate, malt and a slight hint of alcohol, though not as present as I expected.

Taste: Huge roasted malt taste gives way to coffee notes and that slight hint of chocolate, hops evens out the race in my mouth however and smooths out the malty sweetness leaving your mouth dry in the end. Some alcohol noted in the finish and this just warms you up for more.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but incredibly smooth, stickyness left over coats your mouth and I'm loving it.

Drinkability: This is a pretty hefty beer and although I went through the bottle rather quickly I kinda wish I wouldn't have. Very good beer, but one is enough. Next up an amber.

Great stout overall by Great Lakes. They make some quality beers and this is just one more great one to add to the list.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draught at Winking Lizard (served in a snifter). I didn't think my luck could get much better after learning they were finally bottling this gem, only to find it on draught mere miles from my home! The beer is an inky black color with a thin light brown head. The head dissipates but never dissapears, and the lacing is thin. Strong roasty aroma of coffee and chocolate as it warmed. Rich bodied, with a nicely balanced blend of coffee, chocolate, malt and hops flavors. The alcohol is well-hidden too. This Imperial is definitely on the hoppy side for the style but it is pulled off very well. Some Imperials are borderline cloying with the big chewy malt/alcohol flavors but that is not the case here. The finish retains the coffee and hops aspect and makes this abundantly drinkable. I don't think this version is really any better or worse than the bottled, but it's still a great beer.

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Photo of crackerpooch
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Presentation- 12oz. brown bottle with freshness date marked.

Appearance- Almost completely opaque and midnight brown in color. Pours a one figure head that is tan in color and is retained in a very thin film with good lacing.

Smell- Carmel and coffee maltiness with a bit of alcohol thrown in.

Taste- Malty-coffee taste that ends in an alcohol bite. Mouth feel is thick and the taste clings to the palate, lingering for quite a while.

A big beer that might not do so well as a session beer, but is an excellent treat every once in a while.

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Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 3,533 ratings
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