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Great Lakes Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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1,206 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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,206 | Ratings: 3,426
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 brother_rebus
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

editing my original review:

initially, my review was for the fresh 4 pk.
but having "aged" this in my fridge for 11 months, it jumped up a bit on the scale for me.
first off, it looks a bit less bubbly, and is indeed somewhat more subdued in terms of co2.
the hops are much less abrasive, more died down, mellowed out.
the body is ever so slightly smoother and fuller.
perhaps just from the mellowing of all ingredients.
either way, I think the ~1yr mark is the sweet spot for this beer.
claims it "went bad" in June/2016. but four months past that, its perfect.

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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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Photo of K-Dog
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This one aged almost two years. Pours jet black and smells of chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Nice sweet tasting stout and even though it's a regular ris, could have fooled me, has some bourbon flavor to it. One if the best non barrel aged stouts out there. Thought it was best with one year of age. After two it has a more sour flavor but it still held up nicely. I just hope one day to try the barell aged version that's only avaiable at the brewery. Please great lakes bottle it for store distribution

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

wow this was good. not as thick and syruppy as a lot of russion imperials, yet it definately still holds up. tons of deep malt flavors, not too hoppy. almost pure black with just a bit of light letting through

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Photo of kbwalters
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a spiegelau stout glass. Best by 5/8/15, so probably going on 7 months now.
Look = 4.0 Pours a deep brown into an opaque brown in the glass, not black though. 1.5 fingers of dark brown frothy head fades to a cap; good lace.
Aroma = 4.0 Sweet milk chocolate dominates; some light roasted malt notes highlight it.
Taste = 3.75 Sweet chocolate throughout, roasted malt flavors come in on the backend; mild coffee flavors. Mild bitter finish of roasted malt.
Feel = 3.75 Medium bodied with light to medium carbonation; somewhat creamy but not as thick as I’d like from a RIS.
Drinkability = 4.0
Overall = 3.875 Perfectly fine RIS, but nothing I haven’t seen before. Wonder if the age hurts it at all.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

32 oz. growler filled several months ago poured into a NB snifter.

A note about the growler. It's a ceramic-topped swing and snap-lock bottle that has always held beer well, but this is the longest I've ever let a beer sit before tasting - it became a bit of an experiment to see how this stout would hold up in it over time. The condition of the beer confirms my conclusion that if properly filled, this style of growler (unopened, of course) will hold its beer properly rather indefinitely.

A - Pours a brown molasses into the glass. A one-finger head of rather fluffy British khaki foam disappears rather quickly, leaving a sheen of fine lace across the surface pocked by large, exploding bubbles. Held to a full-spectrum light, the beer is solid black, even at the edges of the glass.

S - Bacon! Sugars from dark molasses mix with notes of campfire char smoke and roasted malt. Just a touch of ABV. Chocolate syrup emerges from the background. Soft.

T - At the front, there's light-to-moderate roasted malt with a suggestion of lactose sweetener that gets cut off by just enough herbal hops to notice. That's followed by luscious 50% chocolate, followed by rich, chewy caramel. Bittering hops in the finish give the impression of moving the chocolate part of the profile into a more bitter semi-sweet taste.

M - Smooth, with a nice viscosity over the tongue. Silky. Just enough carbonation to support the body, which is close to moderate. A kaleidoscope of individual components mesh well together, but also stand alone enough for each to be noticed. Moderately long, but soft, finish that's a touch dry.

O - Easy-to-drink stout that leans heavily on dark sugars and chocolate in the taste profile. No coffee to speak of, just roasted malt. Could easily see this bourbon barrel-aged. Yummy. Another solid brew from Great Lakes.

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Photo of Dr-Jan-Itor-
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A great, Russian imperial if you can come across it. Nothing fancy, just darn good beer. Great in the winter, but I also enjoy it in the summer. It's just light enough that hot weather doesn't ruin it.

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Photo of mozart4898
3.94/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L – 1/2 finger head dissipates to a tiny ring. Opaque black color.
S – Coffee, a little earthy. No discernable alcohol on the nose. Smells like an inviting stout, however nothing stands out.
T – Malt bitterness and coffee flavor, with a touch of chocolate. A hint of slightly citrusy hops on the aftertaste that is quickly overwhelmed by the roasty bitterness of a substantial malt base. This beer is almost 2 months past the “best buy” date however being an imperial stout I doubt this really is a negative, if anything I would imagine flavors may have mellowed and matured at this point. Still quite intense, yet dangerously drinkable.
F – Fairly dry and only medium body – not at all watery but certainly more attenuated than some imperial stouts. Not a bad thing per se. Medium low carbonation (reasonable for the style).
O – For me this is a pretty middle of the road imperial stout, in that it seems to stay right down the middle of the style guidelines. Many of these beers top out well north of 10% ABV (12% or higher even) and this one, at 9%, is actually on the low end alcohol wise of commercial examples. Still plenty of flavor and a good beer for an after dinner sipper or a nightcap.

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Photo of dmgeng
3.39/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been wanting to try this one for a while but couldn't convince myself to pull the trigger until now and I wasn't a fan. (But it could just be batch specific)

A - Nice black color. Has a slight haze after pouring with a fine, tan head.

S - First tones that I notice were the roasty tones next there were the traditional dark fruits, chocolate, and sweet malts. It's got that dark roasted character that you would expect.

T - On the tip of the tongue it's got sweet malt and some caramel, but as soon as it hits the middle of the palate there is a huge sour note. It is very similar to the acidic tang that you get with a Guinness only 3x the magnitude in this beer. There is some licorice, dark chocolate, and some dark fruits but all underneath the tang. On the finish the dry, roasted, coffee bean flavor is true. I could still drink it with the sour but definitely my least favorite in the category.

M - Moderate mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. Slightly thin for being 9% but still enough body and enough release to keep the feel stylistic.

Overall, this was not a very enjoyable beer for me. I have talked to others that have had this beer and they've said that this beer wasn't their favorite but they didn't get the acidic flavor that I got. So it could be just a fluke but I don't think I'll be getting it again. If you really enjoy Guinness then I would say go ahead and try this one but if you just want a RIS then definitely go for TenFidy!

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of neurobot01
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best by 3/14/14, so take the ratings with a grain of salt. Pretty solid, but the feel is pretty thin, and the oxidation is evident. Good, not great at this point.

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Photo of Mike_Honcho1
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Poured black into the snifter with 1 finger of khaki head that quickly dissipated into a thin cap. Slight lacing on the glass as well.

Smell: I detect chocolate, coffee and an arrangement of dark fruits.

Taste: The taste is heavy on the coffee and cocoa. Nice coffee bitterness on the back end to balance out the sweetness.

Feel: This beer is full bodied and has a slick/velvety mouth feel.

Overall: This beer is great. Could be a go to RIS for me in the winter time.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Best by 5/8/15. Pokal goblet. Average of reviews on 2-27-15 and 3-19-15.

Appearance: Pours a totally opaque black. hints of brown at the edge. 1/2" tan head quickly fades to a ring.

Aroma: Sweet, malty, roasty, vanilla, prunes, molasses. 2-27 bottle had issues. Smelled bloody/flinty, salty and earthy, in addition to the previous description.

Taste: Sweet arrival, sweet mid-palate. Drying at the end. Roasty (as opposed to hoppy) bitterness at the end. Ever so slightly cloying. Not a hint of alcohol. Delicious. Earlier bottle was sour/tart and fruitier.

Mouthfeel: Heavy. Slick. Modest carbonation. Earlier bottle was lighter than expected, and had almost no carbonation.

Overall: It is clear something was wrong with the 2/27 bottle. That is the first time that has ever happened to me with a bottle from Great Lakes. Nevertheless, the second bottle reclaimed its position in my annual rotation. An excellent RIS, worth the wait. I have one cellaring now.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

L: Pours black enough to truly blackout light, with a thick creamy mocha colored head. Excellent retention and lacing.

S: Roasted malts, chocolate, roasted coffee, molasses, tobacco, brown sugar, dark fruit, even a slight smokiness and earthy hops.

T: Chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, molasses, brown sugar, with some dark fruits, earthy hops, and a nice alcohol warmth on the finish.

F: Medium bodied, low carbonation, nice creamy finish with a slight alcohol burn.

O: An excellent stout that I look forward to every year. Very drinkable for a 9% Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of sjones5045
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Home 4/30/15

Jet black as it should be with that name. The smell has a few different aromas coming through like the chocolate, tabbcoo, and smoke but everything that comes through is faint. The taste is the same. Many different tastes but nothing really comes to the front and gives this beer an identity. Not necessarily dull but leave you wishing for more any of the tastes to take over but it never does. Good beer but nothing special.

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Photo of SteveB24
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look-color is pitch black, as the name suggests, has an oil like shine to it. very little head on the pour.
Smell-hints of coffee, tobacco and chocolate, some hop dankness in there as well,
Taste- Nice, roasted malts and coffee upfront, followed by lots of molasses to the point that it tasted a bit like soy sauce, which i find to be rather off putting. slight bit of alcohol warmth at the very end.
Feel- Thin/medium body, for an imperial stout. slightly creamy, almost no carbonation.
Overall- not bad but underwhelming. would not buy again, but i am looking foreword to the BA version in my fridge.

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Photo of SebD
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice thick creamy tan head that dies down moderately slow and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted malts, chocolate, light coffee, light earthy hops, faint smoke and dark fruit.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has loads of roasted malts, sweet chocolate, light coffee, some earthiness and very faint dark fruit on the back.

Mouthfeel: It has a low-med carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas. Solid stout!

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of mchegash
3.64/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 4.5/5
Pours a deep black in color, with hints of dark brown-red visible near the edges of the glass, in the right light. About a finger of tan head which quickly dissipates down to minimal head. This beer really is quite black, it's beautiful, and fitting a beer named after one of the greatest American "blackouts" in recent history (NE US power outage of 2003).

Smell - 4.25/5
Roasty, chocolate malts, along with small hints of hops, (fruity?) sweetness, and alcohol. The smell reminds me of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, which is an incredible beer.

Taste - 3.25/5
Fairly sweet, more hoppy than I was expecting. Has roasty fruity alcohol flavors. Not quite what I was expecting in the taste. It seems like the roastiness is less prominent than the aroma, and everything else is more prominent. I taste hints of banana and a weird kind of nasty earthiness. Not that the beer is terrible, but I must say I am rather disappointed in the taste. I was expecting more from Great Lakes.

Mouthfeel - 3.5/5
Very smooth and creamy, slightly less than medium-bodied. Carbonation is light, which fits the beer well. Slightly bitter.

Overall - 3.5/5
Though I had high expectations, this beer did not deliver. The taste was not really what I was looking for. A beer this dark should have more roastiness/etc to it. But that's not really what I got here. The beer looked and smelled great, but besides that it was just average. I would say skip this beer and just pick up some Edmund Fitzgeralds.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.46/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Some hickory smoked / wood fired taste on this one, not a cream / chocolatey stout but more of the fire & brimstone type. Some dark berry / burnt fruitcake is also present, and it finishes with a lingering toasted malt. Intriguing, but not exactly in my personal wheelhouse.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: [4.75] Pours a deep dark color with almost no light penetration. The beer forms a luscious 1 1/2 finger head. The head is dense tan bubbles. As the head recedes it leaves a thick layer of lacing on the glass. The bottle lists a drink by date of (05/13/15) and an ABV of (9.0%)

S: [4.50] Campfire wood, bacon, chocolate, malt, dark fruit. There is a lot on the nose.

T: [4.50] Sweet chocolate on the tip of the tongue. Some dark fruits in the mix too then roasted malts for a looooong finish. The taste goes on for a while.

M: [4.75] The mouthfeel is smooth and delicious. I will use the word luscious again. There is no sense of the 9.0% alcohol.

O: [4.50] This is an excellent Stout (one of the best I have had). It hits on all fronts. The nose is great and inviting and plays into the taste. The taste doesn't follow the nose exactly but continues a theme. The nose and body both share a great mild char and chocolate. The mouthfeel is velvety and sexy. I can't think of anything to knock this beer for.

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Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served out of a sniffer best buy 5/08/15chocolate Hershey bar on nose
T chocolate moca coffee with slight alcohol this is a must for stout lovers who dont care about barrel age

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Photo of mikeg67
3.26/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours black with tall, long lasting, creamy, brown head and nice lacing. Aroma is of roasted malt, toast, dark fruit, alcohol and coffee, some sourness. Body is full, creamy and smooth. Taste is of toasted malt, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit, herbal hops and unpleasant sourness. Something is very wrong with this bottle.

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Photo of Roguer
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Extremely dark brew, clear as far as one can tell. 1 finger dark tan head; poor retention, nice lacing.

Huge coffee and chocolate notes from the malt, with a touch of banana ester. Smells strong without smelling boozy. Aroma is reminiscent of FIS and JA Framinghammer.

Flavor follows: this is a big, bold stout, with up-front notes of chocolate and coffee, followed by a slightly tart hint of dark fruit, and finished by an exceptionally bitter, incredibly roasted wash of the malt.

Big-bodied and medium-full feel; some foaming; no sting. Pretty drinkable with a dry, roasty finish with a touch of lingering hop oil.

This is a very solid RIS, one that I can only imagine makes for a fantastic base for barrel-aging. Not in FIS/Speedway/Ten-FIDY territory, but perhaps the tier immediately below.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark, nearly opaque with thick, light tan head and thick lacing. Looks like a classic stout. Smell is burnt coffee and chocolate. I didn't discern the smell of any fruit or other sweet flavor. Taste emphasizes the coffee but there is a bitter hoppiness. I've read other reviews but I'm not tasting any dark fruit. You can taste the alcohol but at 9% it's not overwhelming. Good creamy mouth feel. Overall, this is a very good imperial stout but I'm missing the dark fruit.

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,426 ratings.
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