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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,220 | Ratings: 3,497
Photo of GimpyCane
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on tap at Great Lakes and what an outstanding brew. Poured black, opaque with a mocha tan head. Nice head retention and left a excellent amount of sticky lacing. Upon smelling you get a robust scent of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla ending with a hint of alcohol. The flavor is amazing. Very complex with a slightly sweet bitter dark chocolate, expresso coffee and a small undertone of vanilla to begin. Somewhere in the middle I got a little of molasses and licorice. The light hoppy flavor shine through the end that is complimented with a slight bit of alcohol to balance out the brew. The beer is very smooth, full body, oily and creamy and softly carbonated to make it a very enjoyable session. You can drink this all night, but watch out it packs 9% abv and it will creep up on you. One of the best RIS I've had. Enjoy.

 845 characters

Photo of BillyB
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark black, opaque. Slight ruby highlights when held up to the light.
Minimal, thin tan head that dissipates quickly.

Aromas are complex and immense! Roasted malt, whiskey, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruits like plums, raisins and peppery, spicy hops.

Taste includes everything mentioned in aroma as well as more esspresso, chocolate and whiskey characteristics.

Big, full bodied beer with and oily, chewy thickness and and incredibly pleasant warming alcohol sensation.

 489 characters

Photo of pmatz2
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshness Date Best if consumed by Aug 06

I've aging this one for about a year. When I first had this last winter I needed some pretty sweet truffles to finish my glass. This one has been aging for over a year.

Appearance: Pours Black as night with a dark tan head that didn't stick around to long.

Smell: Roasted malt with an alcohol nose

Taste & Mouth Feel: Starts with a strong espresso flavor with alcohol warming in the finish. As it warms chocolate is more pronounced

Drink-ability: Went down a little too easy ;-) This is one awesome stout a true pleasure. Everything balances just right

 610 characters

Photo of andebrice
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

really dark color, with a tannish brown, non-persistant head. Consistently thin lacing. Smells of a sweet citrus overtone, comparable to an over ripe pink grapefruit. Undertones of roasted chocolate malts. Can tell this will be sweet with a very hoppy finish. Very complex taste. Starts sweet then overcome with hops, malty but really subdued by the hops, an almost grapefruit hop taste with a pine tasting finish. Perfect carbonation on this one. I think if they had allowed for more carbonation the higher alcohol taste would linger and ruin the taste, so not having such a large head may hurt the appearance of the beer but definetely works in its favor for the taste. Overall a great imperial stout worth trying.

 716 characters

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark black with faint ruby tints towards the edges. 1/2 finger head that recedes to a faint skim with a strong ring. Thinnish looking pour.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, burnt coffee beans, spicy dark fruit, and oily hops.

T: Huge flavor of burnt malt expertly coupled with espresso, bittersweet chocolate, rum soaked raisins, tart cherries, and fantasticly peppery hops!

M: The mouthfeel is much thicker than I expected given my observations of the initial pour. Sneaky creaminess followed by a huge wallop of burnt bitterness in the middle and finish. Very spicy hops in the "forever" finish.

D: Each sip reveals a different aspect of the flavors, aromas, and textures of this excellent RIS. This is a must try!

 773 characters

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

Bought in February-drink by date of 7-15-07.

Appearance: Very nice. Creamy brown one finger head that left a nice lacing. Beer is indeed a blackout.

Smell: One can pick up so many things in this brew. There's coffee, molasses, chocolate, and hints of cherry and soy sauce. I'm even picking up a slight bit of licorice in there.

Taste: This is one of my favorite stouts. Truly great. Coffee, chocolate, and soy sauce are easily detected. A nice blend of malt and minor hops.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Blackout feels so smooth on the palate and goes down the same way. Not too thick, but not too thin either. Just about right for me. I could drink two or three of these in a sitting. Overall, clearly one of the best offerings from Great Lakes. I'm a big fan of their brews, but I may be a bit biased. I am in Columbus after all.

 837 characters

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

12oz bottle -> nonic
freshest taste: 07/03/07

Pours deep black with rich brown tones in the light. A 2inch pillowy tan head has staying power and leaves behind rings of droopy crusty tan lace.

Nose: Burnt roasted chocolate, rich coffee, some dark fruit, and oily hops

Taste: Most of the nose can be found in the flavor. Rich chocolate combine with roasted coffee, currants, and a good bit of hop bitterness in the roasty finish. No alcohol detected even at the tender age.

Mouth: Smooth and creamy.

This rich flavorful stout slides down with ease. Way too drinkable for the high abv which i am sure will lead to some having blackouts that have nothing to do with a computer glitch.

 700 characters

Photo of riversider76
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black, with a red hue when you hold it to the light. Thin head, with good retention,and lacing. Smell is of roasted coffee, with some chocolate undertones. Body is thick,rich,and silky. Taste is of dark roasted coffee, nicely bittered. If I've had a better Imperial Stout, I dont recall when.Excellent!

 308 characters

Photo of phil7568
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a nice brown head.
The smell is coffee and chocolate, makes my mouth water.
From the first taste I fell in love with this stuff. It's smooth as silk with a smoky finish and I'd never know it was 9%.
Great RIS, I'll definitely stock up.

 261 characters

Photo of cueball52
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours as the name indicates, blackout. Holding it up to the light you can get a very faint hint of deep ruby red at the edges but for the most part it is a blackout.
It starts with about a 1 1/2 " head that settles down to about a 1/4" leaving a nice lace as it fades.
It has a heavy but pleasant coffee aroma.
For a 9 % brew it is very well balanced. You get the taste of a good roasted coffee, chocolate, followed with hops. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering.
Be careful with this one its smoothness may sneak up on you!

 542 characters

4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black stout with just a hint of red at the edges. 2" tan, dense, full head. Good retention. Complete sheet of lace.

S - Roasted malt. Some wood? Strong coffee - espresso. Smoky. Hops are present and add some support to a good aroma.

T - Creamy coffee flavors. Strong roast. Vanilla bean character. Nutty. Boozy, bitter finish. Salty and sweet. Warming!

M - Full bodied, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

D - Extremely drinkable at 9%. So smooth and mellow for an Imperial Stout it is liable to sneak up on ya.

 536 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Thick pitch black in color. Pours a tan two fingered head that dissipates into floating bubble islands. A ring of micro bubbles cling to the edges of the glass. Nice sticky lacing.

S: Roasted coffee. Dark Chocolate. Slight dark fruit. Earth.

T: Bitter dark chocolate is immediately set upon by a rich deep roasted coffee taste. There is a slight hop bite that is taken over by a balancing caramel malt swirl. Finishing tastes are of charred wood and a faint smoke presence.

M: Silky smooth. A tad slick for the style. Ample carbonation. Dry but pleasant finish.

D: Incredibly drinkable for a Russian Imperial Stout. You can feel that this is a bigger beer but the high ABV never gets in the way of your next sip. Very subtle for the style. Recommended.

 810 characters

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

Thanks to RoyMunson for this brew.

a - pour balck with a one-finger tan head, retention around the edges, slight lacing

s - burnt malt and bittersweet chocolate, some dark fruit and a hint of soy sauce and slight alcohol

t - bittersweet chocolate is predominant flavor, lots of burnt malt, slight note of hops, long bitter finish with a hint of alcohol

m - full-bodied, moderate carbonation, dry finish

d - pretty drinkable RIS, fairly smooth taste that doesn't overwhelm with alcohol

Great beer overall. Very smooth drinking for an RIS...maybe second in that category to Siberian Nights. Very good, but nothing spectacular. I can't wait to get my hands on the barrel-aged version.

 699 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received this 12 oz. bottle several months back from my man melbatoast93...double-checked the label and was disappointed to read: "For freshest taste, please enjoy by: August10/06"...uh oh. Poured to a standard pint.

A: Can a beer get any blacker? Hard to imagine...this one is pure darkness and leaves a thin amber coating on the glass as it settles to the bottom. A firm head of creamy foam, tan with a yellowish glow, crests at about 2 fingers. It dissolves within about 30 seconds and forms a 1/4" cap. Lacing is fairly random, splotches of sticking cream.

S: Sweet and smoky, my first reaction was soy sauce. Leathery notes, hints of smoked bacon and maple, molasses, cocoa and cherries - all united with a bounty of spicy hops. Really savory and wonderful to stir up from time to time. My only knock is that it faded about as quickly as the head and required agitation each time I wanted to get another fine noseful. But otherwise, it's perfect.

T: Rich bittersweet chocolate on ripe, bourbon-soaked cherries. Smoky and savory like the smell, there's a notable boozy warmth hidden beneath all that chocolate, burnt malts and hops. I could never quite pinpoint it, and after a while I really didn't care. A wonderful, bold, balanced mix of flavors.

M: Soft, smooth and creamy. A coating mouthfeel, full and lingering bitterness. Alcohol warmth without ever being overbearing. Weakens just a little towards the end of the glass, but still a terrific mouthfeel.

D: This is one I'd love to have again. And if this is what it tastes like nearly 6 months past it's freshness date, it makes me wonder what it tastes like fresh or whether it's best cellared a while. A fine Imperial Stout, highly recommend and one to which I'll return.

 1,749 characters

Photo of TheBungyo
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured as black as one could hope and head was minimal. No lacing. Nose is full of chocolate and espresso and minimal dark fruits. Taste is far richer. Though the same flavors appear, they seem more fleshed out ... the chocolate is milky and rich, the espresso tasting fine and as if it came from a premier coffee house. Mouth isn't quite as thick as I want but it's still very nice. I'd buy this again for sure. Thanks to Nlmartin for the trade!

 451 characters

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

Thanks to Crosling for a bottle. Pours with a slight head. The smell is malty with some chocolate/coffee-ish hints. Deep malt taste without a hint of the ABV which makes this very drinkable. An extremely well done RIS by Great Lakes which is a solid brewery.


 269 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this one.
Poured a total blackout, he-he! I tried to aggressively pour this and zero head. A small film formed that was the color of cocoa powder. Aromas of coffee, espresso and dark chocolate and some burnt aromas there also.
This stout is very assertive, alcohol is layered somewhere in there but does not factor in the flavors for me. Bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors. I also get some tannin flavors-nice balance to some of the sweetness. The malt bill on this must have generous black patent and chocolate malts. The hop profile is a medium bitterness that gives the dominant malt profile a nice zing. An earthy bitterness is there towards the finish. I enjoyed mine with dessert of a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. Great dessert stout and it goes down nice. Not sessionable but I could quaff two at one sitting. My second GLBC offering and I am impressed.

 914 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes to BuckEyeNation for this one.

Pours a thick black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, some lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet roasted malts, slight vanilla, tons of chocolate/toffee/caramel. The taste follows the nose pretty much, nice roasted, chocolatey, coffee flavor. Alcohol is hidden very well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, a nice RIS, very much to the style.

 422 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark coffee color with abundant carbonation and abundant tan head.

Aroma is sweet coffee and caramel, and is wonderful.

Taste is slightly sweet up front, and the finish is coffee, oakiness, and complex. It is quite good, but I didn't feel the urge to guzzle it down because it was so delicious.

Mouthfeel is slightly sticky and pretty good. I also found this beer to be pretty drinkable. All-around quite good and easily the peer of Victory Storm King Stout.

 485 characters

Photo of Dubbercody
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great beer to finish my night with the Great Lakes...Bottle with a vigorous pour gave a medium tan fluffy head.

Hits all the drum beats a Imperial Stout should- chocolate, malt, coffee, etc. Great beer that made me happy...wishing it came in a bomber, but alas the 12oz trade was fan-freaking-tastic.

Great beer to drink while watching an Evening with Kevin Smith to warm you up to enjoy the humor just a bit more....

 425 characters

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

12 oz, best before Aug. '06, cellared.

Pours absolute black, thick creamy tan head cascades and stick around.

Dark chocolate-espresso scents dominate, but there is a sweeter smell lingering, mixing with wafts of alcohol. You know you have a handful by the smell.

Chocolate, dark and sweet varieties, and coffee at first, with a woody, earthy undertone and warming alcohol. Everything in this works together. You taste this long after it is gone.

Smooth and round, full in the mouth. A little ragged on the edges.

Wonderful take-your-time-and-enjoy-yourself beer. Kick back, think deep, drink well.

I highly recommend aging this brew, if you can wait that long. It is damn good right off the bat, but aging this gives it a smooth blending of the flavors. Awesome.

 780 characters

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

Jet black with a full 2 finger tan head that melts slowly to sticky lacy all the way across the top.
Aromas are typically chocolate and coffee but all of it is sweet and none of the aromas are bitter in the least.
Taste initially is sweet milk chocolate and espresso coffee but then it seems to distance itself from other Imperial bitterness...evolves to bittersweet dark chocolate with a hint of the espresso and just stays in the mouth with a comforting sweetness.
Aftertaste is of dark chocolates.
Mouthfeel is creamy and thick without ever becoming cloying.

 598 characters

Photo of mrmanning
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I lived through the said blackout that this beer commemerates. Bottle courtesy of Hyde. This one is pitch and pours a thick froth of mocha foam. Dotty lace. The aroma is mostly coffee, but has the presence of molasses, some dark baker’s chocolate, plums, roasty malts and hops. Flavours are roasted nutty malts, dark cocoa beans, black coffee, molasses and rum. The balance here is mind blowing. If this was a blind taste, I would have guessed 5% ABV. Best balanced Impy I’ve had thus far. F#@# me, where do I sign up? Thanks Derek!

 534 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.14/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A dark brown beer with about a cm long transmission depth. There is no head save a ring on the edge of the brew. I can count on two hand the number of small lacing clumps that manage to climg to the sides before they quickly sink back into the black brew.

S - Strong coffee with a milder, but still strong, chocolate, toffee, dates and raisins. There is a bit of a strong clean aroma that reminds me of some Pilsners that I have had - I am guessing Saaz hops, but I'm not sure. A bit of alcohol, but nothing too potent.

T - A slightly sweet chocolate and coffee flavor are about equal. There is a bit of a dark fruit character and sot sauce as well. The aftertaste is of burnt malt and a touch of coffee bitterness and grassy bitterness. Abv is detectable, but faintly as a some sort of peppery finish.

M - Medium viscosity, a little smooth and a bit creamy, slightly refreshing. Gums in my throat a little, but not terribly so - it is a minor effect.

D - Not too bad. I wouldn't mind having this one again - but I definiely won't seek it out. There are many RIS that I would have an easier time finding and enjoy more. It could work with some choice foods. Way too powerful to session.

 1,202 characters

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

Blackout Stout, as the name would suggest, poured into the glass jet black in color and fully impervious to light. The head was fizzy, cola-like and tan in color. The lacing was spotty, but generously sticky.
The smell was roasted, grainy, sweet rich chocolate, with a bit of earthiness and yeast funk and spicy alcohol.
The taste was sweet fruitiness, unsweetened cocoa, nutty grain huskiness, with a sharp peppery and warming alcohol. The finish was overtly roasted and charred, I found this to pleasant, but dry.
The carbonation was fairly active on a medium body which gave this a crisp, but creamy mouthfeel.

I had long been coveting this Blackout Stout. I had somehow expected something much greater than what I poured and drank. Don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent Russian Imperial Stout, I just had unrealistic expectations.

 848 characters

Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,497 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.