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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,220 | Ratings: 3,498
Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On nitro tap at Map Room 4/14/07

Dark in the glass with some nice creamy very tan (almost amber) head.

The smell -- roasty.

The taste -- lovely, rich sweet, roasty, coffeeey. Definitely an imperial stout with nice coffee or chocolate overtones. Sweetness balances the slight bitterness from the coffee. A great warm up for Dark Lord Day or on a snowy April day in Chicago!

I was actually quite impressed with this beer. I thought I had tried it before. Either I am mistaken or it is much improved!

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Photo of kajerm
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a snifter-- I've been waiting a long time to try this. Pours oil slick black and pretty viscous with a one-finger brown head and surprisingly decent lacing. It has exactly the dignified, slightly evil look that I look for in a Russian imp.

Smells like coffee, rich dark-roasted malts, and a little dark chocolate. Standard, maybe, but flawless and super-balanced.

Tastes like it smells, with a stronger coffee presence and some early and mid-palate sweetness. Finishes with bitterness, both from black malt and from hops. The slight hop flavor at the end pretty much seals it-- this shit is awesome. One of the best-crafted, most balanced, and easiest drinking imperial stouts I've ever had.

Now if I could just find somewhere in Chicago that sells it...

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Photo of MmmIPA
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black body with a off white one finger head and some thick lacing .Dark fruits,roasted malts and some carmel come to my nose.Dark fruit taste(plums,raisons,prunes)Very smooth nitro? mouthfeel and very creamy also.Awesome RIS I love it.Taste almost like one of my favoreit RIS but with alot more kick.It never gets overly boozy and hard to drink.Great tasting.

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Photo of wingman14
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a thick black with a dark brown head. The smell is very inviting and has multiple flavors coming through. There are some sweet notes of vanilla and chocolate, and some dark malt characteristics. The taste follows suit and does not overpower for a RIS. I am impressed with the balance of taste and smell with the ABV, you get the warming sensation of a high alcohol beer without the overpowering alcohol taste that drowns out the subtle flavors that this beer delivers. The mouthfeel is good, it has a small hoppy bite at the beginning that adds another layer to this great brew. This one is easy to drink and is an overall great RIS and a great beer. Definitely worth checking out. Enjoy.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a thick black, almost oil like. Extremely opaque with no light penetration what so ever. Huge tan head, gave was very reluctantly leaving a nice web of lace all down the glass for the duration.

S - Smell was very thick, robust and full. Sweet tones were the dominant choice here. Lots of milk sugar was evident and welcomed, with the slight hints of coffee and vanilla, perhaps a cookie dough coming through, Just what I would expect.

M & T - Ahh nothing like a good stout. Felt very thick, full, smooth and creamy. This was definatly a dessert and fitting for my nightcap. The taste was very very sweet, and had alot of vanilla in the flavor. Almost tasted like a vanilla ice cream shake! Hints of coffee and roasted dark chocolate were hiding in there. One of the sweetest full flavored stouts I have had, very nice.

D - Overall this was awesome. A very classic big stout that made me smile. I really enjoyed this and must say it definatly lived up to expectations. I have to give much props to this, full in every sense of the word.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional pour, thick viscous black with a one to two inch offwhite head that fades fairly quickly to a rim, but leaves some great lacing. Smell is a little lighter than I'd like, but with figs, lightly roasted grain, and vanilla. Taste is rich, slightly sweet with creamy chocolate, some smooth tasting roasted grains, vanilla, and dark fruit. The mouthfeel is incrdibly smooth and creamy, like a milkshake- phenomenal! Unbelievably drinkable for an Imperial Stout with a respectable abv. A great product, and one of the easiest drinking RIS that I've had that still has some body and flavor.

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Photo of alexgash
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours into the Corsendonk tulip a very dark root beer brown with an inkier middle. Thick one-inch cushion of dark sandy brown head, with tiny dark bubbles popping here and there and edges that are trying to crawl up the glass. Nose is a heady mix of rich roasted coffee, dark malts, peat, dark fruits, and herbal hops. Complex and appetizing.

Flavors follow the aroma in complexity and richness. Roasted bitterness up front followed by chewy malts: chocolate, stewed fruits, rum, scorched sugar, peat bog. Just delicious. Rich, sweet and roasty malt flavors swell mid-palate before dark/baking chocolate bitterness joins in and a renewed, strong coffee flavor develops. This roasted bitterness dries the finish out a little and complements the earlier sweet malt nicely. Hints of flint and smoke in there as well. Long, slightly warming finish, though the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Full-bodied with a chewy feel. Very well made and extremely drinkable.

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

Finally got around to trying this GL seasonal

A: Motor oil, in both color and viscosity. Tan head that quickly fads.

S: Deep fruits (blueberries, plums), alcohol, and brandy. Very nice so far.

T: Roaste malts dominate up front, coffee and chocolate present, some alcohol and brandy notes, finishes with sweet plums and molasses.

M: The roasted flavors are so intense that they almost kill any other sensation in the tongue.

D: Solid example for the style-I'm going to give it some time to see how it ages.

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

A 1/2 gallon screwtop growler filled at Capone's in Norristown, PA. The M and D evaluations are the same as my earlier on-tap review.

A: The stout is a thick oily black color that allows absolutely nothing through it. The head is a thick white color that is large but doesn't lace.

S: The aroma is acrid burnt malts with a subtle wine-like character that mixes with some sweet chocolate. The alcohol is not shy.

T: The stout lives up the 'Imperial' moniker. There are dark and dense malts that provide a strong flavor base, highlighting some chocolate and caramel sweetness that mixes well with the sharp bitterness of the burnt malts. Some thick bready malts escape burning and add a dry alefruit element. All these flavors bask in the strength of the alcohol.

M: The mouthfeel is both dry and sharp and exquisitely lush, providing burnt, sweet and acidic flavors.

D: At 9%, this is not a beer to pound but every sip of the pint was delicious.

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

WOW. Now that is nice.

Appearance: Pour an absolute black with a frothy tan head.

Smell: Chocolate roasty malts cocoa and a touch of smokiness.

Taste & Mouthfeel: The flavor is exceptional but in the smooth hearty mouthfeel the whole experience in the mouth from texture to taste is magnificent. Dark roast malts chocolate shavings caramel licorice all flavor the cheeks with a smooth soft chewy rich milk chocolaty beer. The hops are light but show through at the back end and the aftertaste is just right dry. nice!

Drinkability: This is a beer I could drink day and night, though at 9% ABV it would make for a rather un-productive life =)

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of BuckSpin
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: c.2005 11oz bottle (Best By date of 7/11/05) cellared in my possession for 12 months, in a classic conical pint glass

Note: I hadn't really paid much attention to the 7-11 date, hope it hasn't crapped out!

Poured a little thick but not viscous by any means. Nose is surprisingly soft initially, a bit surprised given how aggressive this black beauty is fresh. Soft, muted black iced coffee, wisp of smoke, light tannins, dusty, mild hops. As it opens up some dark chocolate qualities show up, bittersweet raisins, some alcohol is noticeable. Head was a pencil's worth of mixed walnut stained foam that crackled nicely but not loudly, fading quickly to a sheen and glass ring, with zero lacing. Its black like its namesake, opaque, oily looking, slick with no surface agitation from any rising carbonation.

It has toned down considerably. As a newborn its like newborns, wild eyed, loud, naked, but its definitely not going thru any "terrible twos"! A subtle, dare I say delicate malt profile hovers over a nice (but nowhere near as loud) hop bitterness. There is a softness to it, silky, not velvety. Its surprising easy to drink, which is nice. Some raisin, cherry, dried currants are present on the tongue over the nicely warming (and still sharp & biting) hops. The alcohol is much more obvious now up front as it warms more...interesting that it continues to bloom with air & temperature. Very soft coffee, milk chocolately in hushed sweetness. Perhaps I was a little quick to judge this as being too tamed. Its definitely milder & surprisingly easy to drink, but I am enjoying this sip by sip evolution, there is quite a bit going on here.

It evens & balances out very nicely on the palate, earthy, leathery, tranquil, like a welcome intermission. A trace of some caramel sweetness, then a soft fade away with a semi-dry, last sip of gritty morning coffee bitterness, leaving a chewy, coating, warm, bittersweet aftertaste reminiscent of a nice single malt.

Wow. That was excellent. Time certainly tames the savage beast that is Blackout Stout, but a new animal emerges. I enjoyed this very much, and wish I had more to enjoy. It grew & changed with each taste and showed a lot of character, body and substance. I would recommend this regardless, but if you can cellar a 4-pack away and try some at 6 month intervals I think you will really enjoy that last one 24 months from now. A very enjoyable beer experience and one I highly recommend.

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Photo of atsprings
4.74/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to ThomasHardy for the trade. The beer poured a deep opaque black with a thin head that slowly diminished and left no lacing. The aroma was dominated by dark bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, and of course, roasted barley. The taste possessed all these characteristics as well with a profound dryness. The beer was light on the palate for one so strong and the alcohol was mostly well hidden. This is a very great imperial stout

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Photo of zdk9
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A delicious looking stout. Pours a pure black with one finger's worth of cocoa-mohagony head. Some spidery lacing.

S- Dark and fruity aromas: raisins, figs, and just a touch of citrus. Also a mild mocha.

T- Mmm. Roasted and burnt full flavored malt. More dark fruit. Hops just linger on the outskirts of the tongue. Fairly bitter as a coffee.

M- Coats the mouth with chocolaty goodness. Not at all like a milkstout but still thick and present.

D- As much as I would like to, this one is not for drinking all night. The alcohol is well hidden, but the burnt overtones can be somewhat overbearing in large doses and the beer is fairly heavy. Still and extremely delicious beer!

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Photo of crayphish
4.95/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The stout poured a opaque black with a thin tan head. Thick lacing. Smell is roasted malt and chocolate. Some hops. Taste is roasted chocolate with a very complex enjoyable cherry sweetness. A very full thick mouth feel. My mouth is coated with the taste. The 9% alcohol in this beer is well hidden which makes it a wonderful drinkable stout. This beer ages exceptionally well. This years batch is still available around here, and it gets better every weekend. The more you let this beer warm, the more the java shows through.

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

Pours a dark black with hints of ruby when light hits it on the edges. A nice thick foamy light-brown head. Lots of billowy lacing left behind.

A deep aroma of milk chocolate.

Flavor is rich and thick. Milk chocolate, a hint of tobacco smoke, followed by a strong, smoky alcoholic bite in the aftertaste. Very warming.

Mouthful is creamy and thick. Well carbonated. Barely sticky.

Drinkability is excellent for the ABV. Great taste, aftertaste, and pleasing booze.

An extremely enjoyable RIS. One of the few Great Lakes I enjoy a lot.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers that when i saw it in the store for the first time ever (last night) i freaked out and yelled "holy shit!" I thought i might see in town one day since great lakes is now back in south bend, but i didnt expect it so soon. Pours black through and through so that's as advertised. Little khaki head hangs out for a while before just making a small ring. Very heavy burnt coffee odor. Smells like a malty campfire. Taste is very flavorful, in that its bold and the taste is very forward. burnt tasting and somewhat hoppy cocoa beans and coffee grounds. almost singular in its flavor and im a bit diappointed because i expected more or a fruity flavor. a bit too assertive with the char flavors and not enough fruity chocolates. Its a big think monster of a beer though and i think maybe i just caught it too early. I'll sit on the other 3 bottles for a while and see how they develop.

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Photo of Raymond69
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 12 oz BB 8/2/7 . Pours without much of head, dark. Not bottle conditioned.
I can smell citrusy hops , some roasted malts.

Taste starts out very hoppy, very little little of the malt makes it past the first sip. After a slight warming the roasted/chocolate/dark malts are evident and compliment the hops well. If I would've read the bottle before hand, it clearly states "Best served at 55f"

Mouthfeel isn't as heavy as I'd expect for a RIS. Drinkability is dangerous for a 9% abv beer. I'll enjoy drinking a case of this.

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

thanks to grundle20 for this via trade! I love a good RIS. What I like is a distinctive RIS and some days that's tough to find. Not with this beer at all. This one hits on all the factors I enjoy - blacker than night, robust malts swirling in espresso, chocolate, roasted grain smell and taste, full bodied and a slow drinker.

Where this one seemed to stand up a bit more than others was the hop profile. Definitely in the RIS vein but a few steps further into the bitter / grapefruit category than most RIS's I've had recently. That, combined with the alcohol and full body made this a great tasting brew. I'm glad I still have 2 more to go!

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Photo of schusterbauer
4.79/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

obviously, it's black. the head is a mixture of tan and white -- they swirl around one another, never mixing, and eventually dissipate, leaving a white ring around the top of the liquid. at the peak of the liquid, a bit of purple/brown can be seen as the light comes through. in the nose, it's a sinus clearer. sniff it when you have a head cold. chocolate, charcoal, menthol, hops... first impression of the taste is tobacco. lots of tobacco. close behind is brownies, maybe with pot baked in. also present are walnuts, charcoal, menthol, bitter hops, citric hops. primarily though, the taste seems to be tobacco, mint, and chocolate. it's wonderful and bold. nowhere near as all-inclusive as others in the style, and it's for the better because of it. amazingly smooth in the mouth -- just the right consistency to support the flavor profile. slightly warming, but the beer never betrays its 9% abv.

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Photo of meatyard
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark pour with just a little cola color showing through the surface when looking through towards light. The moderate tan head dissapates to a thin covering along with some lacing. Smells of darkly roasted malts with some coffee. Tastes of roated malt, some chocolate and a bit of coffee with a hint of alcohol. Body is slightly thick and drinkability is good though two at a time would be enough. Had it on tap recently where I recall it as being smoother and more balanced. A very good beer.

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

Actually not as thick on the pour as other RIS's although the low-level head and opaque body are spot-on. Still, I could use a little lacing or something.

Dark roasted malt with burnt edges shine through an appealing level of booziness and some alluring dark fruit. Hints of dark cocoa linger as well as a coffee note that certainly isn't as strong as other reviews have claimed.

THAT'S what I remember! Tons of sweet plum and dark chocolate flood the palate followed by a beautiful java body and a great charcoal finish. Alcohol is certianly present but not dominant as are othe spice notes (cinnamon, clove). Yummy.

Creamy and thick with a great viscosity that allows the flavors to really imbed themselves in your mouth. This is actually one of the most drinkable RIS's I've had and I could easily do some serious damage if I had more than the one bottle!

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Photo of BlindPig
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Thin light mocha head on a black body.
S- Some coffee and roasted malts. Also some kind of different smell. It is light a really deep roasted aroma. Hints of chocolate through it too. Some grass hops with maybe a tiny bit of citrus to it to just add another layer to it.
T- Big blend of malts that make a great malt complexity and really make a great flavor to it. Some chocolate, coffee, and deep roasted malts all come through. Maybe even hints of oatmeal. The few citrus hops come through and almost add a "brighter" note to it. Still hidden behind everything but there is some grapefruit flavors in there. Also some grass hops in there just for the bitterness since they don't come out to much at all. Leaves a decent bitterness on the tongue with some chocolate malts to it. The bit of citrus hops do add a whole new layer of complexion to the beer and also bring out interesting flavors IMO.
M- Full body with low carbonation (carbonation may be scratching on the medium side).
D- I think this is a very good beer and I love how they put some citrus hops in it to really brighten this huge beer up. It really comes through nicely. I think they did a great job on this.

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Photo of mmcave
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a four pack excitedly from Sam’s, but its readily available else where now, chilled it and poured into nonic. Off white/ light kaki head developed with shades of gray, decent retention and sticky melted marsh mellow lacing. The body is a highly reflective mahogany color, oily and completely opaque. Smells is robust, slightly salty, smoky, with lovely roasted barley notes. Both toasted and chard malts are apparent in the nose, which round out subtle hints of chocolate and caramel with notes of wonderful dry roast coffee. Hops on this are faint (more so than some other RIS), but provide just enough back up to showcase the malt quite pleasantly. The flavor is excellent big, rich and intense, yet immediately accessible and tasty as hell. Rich and sumptuous, round bitter sweet, smoked dark chocolate with hints of toffee and dry roasted coffee plus a bit of sugar for ballast. Bitterness is minimal, just enough to balance the sweet richness and add color to the bitter-sweet character. The mouthfeel is creamy surrounded by a slightly oily sensation and then a nice dry roasted coffee finish. I have to comment on this brew’s ability to utilize quite surly RIS characteristics so tactfully, not cloying in the least. This is extremely drinkable; I could have one for every meal and then some especially breakfast. Despite the ABV this is totally a seasonable beer, just be careful. I am so happy to have had this and will be buying in bulk in the future.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle is from 2007, best by 8/2/07. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. It smells mostly like roasted malt and coffee, with some molasses and chocolate too. It tastes pretty much the same way to me, but with some dark fruit in the taste. There's more bitterness than sweetness in the taste. There's also a hoppy bitter aftertaste and a dry finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and oily, but a bit carbonated at the same time. Drinkability is pretty good considering the 9% ABV. The alcohol is noticable, but not overwhelming at all. Overall, I think this is a pretty decent beer.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.22/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank a 12 oz. of this. Best-by date of 8/2/07. Pours an opaque black, like a dark cup of coffee. Very little head, and no retention on it. Smells very heavily of molasses... some coffee, cocoa, red wine. Tastes are very similar... molasses, coffee, dark chocolate. Medium thickness on the mouthfeel, tiny bit of carbonation. Overall, a great stout. Fairly complex. Really enjoyed the flavors and aromas.

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,498 ratings.
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