Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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Blackout StoutBlackout Stout
3,572 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: 3,572 |  Reviews: 1,236
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a pretty damn opaque stout that smells like booze, java, kahlua, and cola.
There is an initial spice that ends quickly, giving way to oats, dark chocolate, a myriad of roasted nuts, and raisinettes in the finish. This is all taking place under an implied coffee umbrella.
This is a bit slick in the mouth. By the end of the glass, all traces of head are gone and it looks like I"m drinking ink. and loving it.

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Photo of euskera
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out jet black into my snifter. Smell is subdued, pleasant sweetness with a little coffee overtone.

Taste is delightful; more reserved that some of the other Imperials I've tasted. Concentrated malts, roasted and sweet, with a little hint of hop bitterness in there for balance. I tasted caramel, even a hint of raisins.

Nice robust mouthfeel and devilishly drinkable. I only wish I had bought more of this. Highly recommended.

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Photo of gimmehead
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apearance: Black with a 1+ finger chocolate milkshake colored head

Smell: Bittersweet chocolate, bitter coffee, black licorice, alcohol

Taste: Rich roasted malts, bitter and slightly burnt coffee, alcohol

Mouthfeel: Thick and smooth, very nice

Drinkability: ABV is very warming,but bitterness takes over. Probably wouldn't drink more than a 4 pack.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter at GLBC's brewpub. A perfectly formed dark tan head sat atop a blacker than black stout. The appearance seems to absorb light, due to its density. When swirled, some residue is left on the glass like a strong whiskey. The aroma was filled with roasted malt, with bitter chocolate, alcohol, and plenty of coffee. A slight smokiness is also present, adding some complexity to the nose. Taste begins very smoothly with lots of malt - big and creamy. Some bitter coffee and burnt malt flavors are apparent as well. Some caramel and chocolate are floating around in there too. Slightly piney but definitely citrous hops make a short-lived appearance near the end before being overthrown by that great roasted aftertaste. A slight alcohol presence adds some warmth to the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is by no means thin, but it is not as fat and chewy and some RISs. A very drinkable RIS, I could seriously enjoy this year-round (hopefully someday this will be offered year-round).

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

Pours black as night black with a decent brown head that leaves some lacing in my glass, chocolate, coffee, and tobacco aromas. Burnt coffee, chocolate and roasted nutty flavors, full bodied with a thick and creamy mouthfeel, has a nice smokey bitter finish, alcohol very well hidden, drinks like a regular stout, very nice.

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

Pours a dark black with a small quickly fading tan head into my chalice. Smells of coffee, chocolate, toffee, and caramel, with a slight bit of herbal hops popping through. Taste is sweet at first. Sticky caramel and bitter coffee dominate the taste. There is a definite dark chocolate and molassses presence here also. Some piney hops poke through at the end, but are not overpowering as they are in some impys. There is an ever so slight alcohol presence with this one too. The bitter coffee lingers in the mouth, as this one coats nicely but yet remains somewhat thin. I really would love to drink these all the time, one of my top imperial stouts.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BA cmaruschak for scoring me some of this from all the central Ohio stout hounds! It was well worth the wait.

Presentation: Cool little rundown on the side of the bottle stating that it is brewed in honor of the big power grid failure that hit the Great Lakes region in 2003. States that "for freshest taste please enjoy by Juy 11/05". I always feel like saving a bottle for the day after their recommendation out of spite but I need to get over that little tendency.

Appearance: Inky and syrupy black pour developing into a billowy and tightly carbonated tan head.

Smell: Vinous notes, dark dried fruit, and a hint of blended alcohol and cocoa to finish.

Taste: Bitter chocolate and black malts up front with some powdered sugar, chocolate, molasses, and raisins. A drying alcohol finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and dry with a whole lot of character.

Drinkability: Dangerously deceptive. The alcohol is hidden well. This is a great stout. It tastes very fresh and raw. I'm going to lay a few down and see what time does to this one. This is definitely another fine offering from one of my favorite breweries!

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

Bottle dated best before July 11, 05. Served at 55°. Pours an opaque jet black color with a brown, short-lived head. Intense espresso nose with notes of black-strap molasses, chocolate and plum brandy. The flavor is equally as intense; black patent and chocolate malts, espresso, bakers' chocolate, treacle, and plum all wrapped up in a chewy mouthfeel that is finished nicely with the further bittering quality of hops. Very flavorful. Drinkability is actually great for a 9%er. Well done, GLBC!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was happy to find this at my local the other day. Deep dark charcoal night pour into my tulip glass with a nice dark tan bubbly head. No light is getting through here..bring your candles. Big molasses, bitter coffee, sweet cocoa, dark fruits and some piney hops. The nose is very bold and rich...inviting.

First sip brings a big, bold burnt chocolate maltiness mixed with coffee, rich molasses, hints of vanilla and a nice bitter piney hoppiess. Wow. A cornucopia of flavors explode across the palate....this is just a damn fine imperial stout. There's a nice interplay between the sweet and bitter flavors as well.

Superbly lush, full bodied, creamy and thick. This is how I like my stouts!! It's a joy to drink this brew, especially after a hard days work. The alcohol is well hidden and I could easily see having a few of these. Another great brew from Great Lakes...highly recommended to all fans of imperial stouts.

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Photo of JLShepard
2.89/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma: A pleasantly sweet coffee aroma is the first thing that catches your nose. It is followed up by a fairly strong smell of alcohol.

Appearance: Black as black can be, this is a very dark beer, which allows no light to pass through. It pours with a nice, half-inch deep head. Unfortunately, the head dissipates quickly, leaving a few islands of bubbles and a crown of bubbles around the top.

Taste: Chocolate and coffee flavors start this beer off, though they are quickly replaced by the strong taste of alcohol with a faint metallic edge to it. It fades into a pleasant hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth the whole way down, though with the failing of being a bit too thin.

Overall, a nice example of the style, though I'm not a fan of Imperial Stouts, as the alcohol taste is usually too strong for my liking. It is, however, a beautiful beer to look at, and reminisce about the power outage this beer commemorates.

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Photo of foXXtail
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed to commemorate the great Northeast Power outage of August 2003, this beer celebrates good old fashioned neighborhood porch parties.

The Blackout Stout, as the name suggests, pours as inky purple black as I remember the sky being that night - even holding the beer up directly to the light allows none to pass through. Mounded on top of the midnight-hewed brew is a generous dollop of tan head. The head fades slowly, and still provides full coverage at the bottom of the glass. The nose is earthy - with lots of chocolate and espresso scents, all headed up by a strong vodka smell. There is no mistaking the high alcohol kick of this brew.

The taste is quite strong. Alcohol hits first, backed up by a slight grassiness. Right behind the surge of vodka flavor is strong chocolate and burnt espresso. The strong grassy hop flavor brings up the back. Also prevalent in the taste is a metallic flavor, like copper, and a strange caramel maltiness. The beer provides perfect carbonation for the style, but is far too thin.

A terrific brew that doesn't "eat like a meal."

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Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black out light is what this does, nothing penetrates its oily blackish body. Grows a very thin cocoa brown cap thats foamy thick and thins out slowly leaving a slight skim and a good collar. Lace is thin and subsides some glaring oily spots but mostly a small curtain sticking close to the collaring is what continues to keep.

Aroma is of fresh coffee with tiny bits of chocolate and maintains a roasty deepness.

Taste is roasty, semi-heavy in the front, heavier as it goes with chocolate depositing hints as the roasty black malts and coffee sooth their way across the palate. Darker fruit notes of raisin and plum supersede some empty areas where the roast and coffee miss. Some darker toffee too. Its got a good hold from front to back thats quite nice to undertake. Finishes complex with a slight drying mix of piney burnt hop flavor, more roast, some dark fruit notes, and slight coffee. Overall, quite soothing and smooth with just a nudge of alcoholic warmth after each sip and/or gulp.

Feel is favorable in smoothness, not quite as thick as I wanted, but clean, slightly oily/creamy, roasty, and well bodied in about a medium/heavy porter sense. Great finisher with a heavy set return and warmth.

Drinkable and dangerously so. Gone from my glass quickly with this stuff. So smooth and inviting with nice rich flavors that aren't, either, to heavy or to shy, its nearly perfect in that regards. It gains a heavier hold as it wavers off after each sip. A good quality to have; has that nice heavy return of chocolate and roast thats killer to just cinder in your throat. A fine Imperial stout.

Many large border-crossing thanks to cokes for the samples!

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Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with a freshness date on the label. I am sure this beer will do well many months after the freshness date has expired.

Appearance: Thickly cropped tan head forms with a trail of spider web like lace. Midnight black color lets no light through.

Smell: Hints of charcoal and black currants with a faint smokiness in the back.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Creamy dark chocolate flavor is dominant with burnt grain and dark roasted coffee within. Hops are a bit dim with some oily residue and bitterness in the back end.

Drinkability & Notes: Not bad, not bad at all … had to pair this with some chocolate and it did very well with the dark chocolate.

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Photo of clvand0
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A friend brought this to a club meeting for us to sample. Came in a 12 ounce bottle Pours a dark color with a tall off-white head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is of dark malts and lots of coffee. A little bit of sweetness too. The flavor is thick and malty. Lots of coffee. Great mouthfeel and drinkability.

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

Many thanks to WVBeergeek for this great beer.

Aroma shows wonderful complexity. Deep rich fruity quality that surrounds roast, coffee, dark malt. This aroma is outstanding.

Black with 1/4 to 1/2 inch head that's dark and steady. Very attractive.

Flavor matches aroma, but carries with it more of the roast. Slight burnt coffee character. Slight fruitiness (but less than the aroma). Sweetness that's intense, but not excessive and lets the roast dominate. Don't detect much alcohol in flavor, but feel it later.

Wonderfully and appropriately rich, but maybe not quite as full as others in this category. Carbonation adds to the softness.

This beer blew me away immediately. Easily one of the more immediately accessible beers for this style. Might not have as intense character as others in this style, but overall an extremely pleasurable beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +9%
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 Winter
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black in color with a thick rocky tan head. Aroma consist of chocolate malt, cocoa, dark chocolate and a hint of raisin and alcohol. Smooth, medium-to-full-bodied mouthfeel. Robust burnt malt front. Raisiny, dark rum flavor soon follows. Rather vinous midway through. Hops turn flavor bitter toward the back of the tongue. Not over hoppy, but just enough to make things more interesting. Finishes somewhat sweeter than expected with alcoholic vapors.

Not as thick and robust as some imperial stouts, but the taste makes this imperial easy drinking, despite the 9% abv.

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Photo of soper2000
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A rather vicious pour gave this beer a nice 2.5 finger tan head which rested upon a midnight body. A nice lacing was left alongside of my Sam Smith pint glass. The aroma of this pint soon filled the room of malty sweetness. A large note of expresso was clearly present and demanded attention. Taste was rich with coffee and chocolate. It is really hard for me to pick up any notes of alcohol. Remarkably like a Storm King without the massive hop bite. Mouthfeel isn't quite as viscious as I would've expected.

Overall this was an excellent pickup for me, especially at a rate of 5 bucks per mixed sixer. I think I'll end up going back and picking up the remaining Blackout Stouts that they had on the mixed sixer rack.

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Photo of chilidog
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One hard to find (for me) brew. Got some via beer trade after endless search with a always "Sold Out" responce.
We saved these until the one year anniversary of the black-out, Aug.14th. Enjoyed by the fire on a cool star-lite night. Very fitting!
The beer poured, black as the night sky, with a nice two inch tan head. Lace was plenty. The aroma gave off roasted malts. The taste was soft yet complex. Heavy dark roasted malts balanced by a soft alcoholic hop. Backing up the tastes were sweetened coffee, molasses and burnt wood chips.(the wood chips might be my fault). A smooth alcohol softened things to allow this to be not just a great relaxer brew but a nice drinkable full bodied imperial stout.Nice job GLBC.

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Photo of deejaydan
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours into my trusty pint glass and just fits. Deep, pitch black color, with a nice 1 inch tan head.

First sip is like an oversweetened expresso, then the sweetness fades slightly and you get more roasty with a little pop of hops at the end.

A good imperial stout, but not great. I'd rather have an Edmund Fitzgerald from these guys than this. Just not alot of complexity to me, and too much roasted grains.

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

12oz bottle obtained via trade with Skidz. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1" of light brown head over the opaque dark, dark brown/black brew. Laced well. Aroma is all about dark malts, but overboard on the coffee, which portends well. Taste is heavy dark malts, with coffee leading the way, but enough sweetness from the other darks to balance evrything out for my palate. Mouthfeel is superb, and drinkability is high, although the sweetness may get old eventually, but I doubt it. Yet another winner from the massive Skidz trade...

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Photo of HopHeadKen
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love pouring stout just to watch the rich blackness of the beer cascade like a waterfall out of the creamy tan head; and this Stout is no exception.

This beer has a very rich malty taste with lingering toasted malt flavor and a smooth alcoholic warmth. First taste is sweet and malty. Hops seem balanced and subtle; with a trace of hop bitterness remaining afterwards.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep jet black color with two fingers of medium-tan head. There is some lacing left over. The smell is full of burnt malt, coffee, caramel, and a slight hickory smell. Very nice. The taste has a good roasted malt base with some sweet molasses and caramel. A hint of espresso and hops on the slightly dry finish. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, just gliding over the tongue. The drinkability is pretty good for a 9% brew. A damn good Imperial Stout!

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Photo of cbill
4.69/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I don't drink too many imperial stouts, but i figured i'd give this a try. Poured dark, dark black with a tan head. Smelled of burnt coffee and had a malty note. Very heavy in the mouth with tastes of coffee, malt, slight chocolate and some burnt flavor. Even after swallowing this one lingers on for a good five seconds or more. Still, it seems very drinkable and i could definately have a couple at a time until the alcohol caught up. Definately recomended.

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Photo of ZAP
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
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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Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 3,572 ratings