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Great Lakes Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

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1,207 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: 1,207 | Ratings: 3,442
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.

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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!

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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....

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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.

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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 Stouts....no 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

Black like spent motor oil with a rich tan thin head and thin specks of lacing that don't hold on the glass too well.

Big bitter chocolate nose. There are some hints of peanut butter, and a little bit of alcohol.

Huge taste and mouthfeel. Lots of bitter hot chocolate taste and viscous almost chewy feel to it. Some alcohol flare in the finish.

A great stout but it doesn't top the list. Still very very solid. Thanks go out to Zorro for sending me this one.

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

Best before date of May 29, 2005.

Pours opaque and black, with mahogany edging everso faint.
Tan, dense head struggles out of solution, with a cascading ascention of batter-like carbonation.
Half an inch of head falls within a couple of minutes, leaving behind a beaded ring and a placid surface, with random lacework.
Aromatics are aggresively and unapologetically imperial, to say the least.
Intense dark roast coffee, with bitter chocolate and cocoa-dusted biscuit malts. Hints of charcoal and vanilla mill about, with a warming afterthought.
Body is full and thick, but still stays within the "drinkable" range.
Significant residuals of stout character linger.
Pallet is dry, sticky and chocolatey. A firm hop bitterness is welcome amongst the unfermentables of roasted barley and carmelized malts.
Bitter coffee grounds accent the rich chocolate, along with suggestions of nougat and Kahlua.
Finishes fairly warming, but not hugely, with lingering suggestions Hershey's-spiked espresso fortified with dark rum.
A top notch Imperial stout, and barrel aging of some sort would add a beautiful dimension to this one.

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

Pours a fairly viscous and opaque black color with a touch of ruby red highlights. Creats a dense, 1/2" thick tan head which settles to a thin wisp. Minimal spotty lacing along the sides of the snifter. Luscious and complex aromas of espresso beans, dark chocolate, charred wood, dark fruit and molasses emerge along with a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is almost perfect; smooth, creamy, chewy with just the right amount of CO2. Flavors are a bit more assertive as compared to the nose. Loads of fig, licorice, bittersweet chocolate, espresso bean, burnt malt and charcoal overwhelm the tongue. Long, bittersweet finish with strong notes of charred wood, roasted malts with a touch of hops and ethanol which nicely warms things up. A top notch Imp. Stout.

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Photo of Phocion
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to northerntimber for this. Best by date of April '05, so this ought to be a treat.

Pours a dark brown with just a hint of ruby. Thin brown head that quickly recedes into a light lacing.

Aroma is incredible. Thick cocoa and coffee beans, but very pleasant and not bitter like I'd expect from other Imperial stouts. Smoke and molasses/brown-sugar, but no hops to speak of.

Creamy dark chocolate, anise, and lightly roasted coffee bean. Warming alcohol flavors and absolutely no bitterness. Something tells me this has mellowed with age.

Creamy, silky-smooth mouthfeel. Dangerously drinkable at 9% ABV and oh-so-smooth. Luckily I've only got one bottle.

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

served into a nonic glass from a brown long neck 12oz bottle,crimp-on cap.

Opaque,black slight reddish hue,a thick tan colored head,1" thick creamy head,sticking down the sides of the glass.
A complex malty nose very roasty,burnt,smokey hints of molassess and licorice.
The taste was very roasty,thick carmell.molassess,followed by a brown sugary sweetness.The finish was sharp,very roasty and chocolatly.
A warming alcohol presense also at the finish.
Thick and chewy in the mouth,the tastyness makes this more drinkable than a beer of this style would normally be.
Must try stout I'd say,good beer for a cold winters night.

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

Opaque black beer with the slightest bit of brown translucence around the edges. One finger of oily tan head that goes on break after 30 seconds or so. The smell will make your toes tingle. Deep espresso and caramel and toffee. You have to chase it into the glass a bit, but the volume goes up with the temperature.

All that coffee and dark sugar shows up in the taste, too. Pretty powerful sweetness, but the over-roasted coffee flavor and more mellow malt tastes stand up admirably. And doggone it, someone snuck some hops in under that big grain bill. The finish is a touch bitter and resinous. Nice alcohol bite and smooth medium body.

Blackout Stout addresses my least favorite aspect of the Russian imperial stout by balancing that toothachey sweetness with some bittering from both dark malt and and quick hello from some hops. This is going to be a favorite example of the style for me.

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

pours with not too much head but common for stouts tastes of chocolate and coffee the bottle has been aged 10 months so it has a the smell of coffee and it has a great complex feel in the mouth come this spring grab yourself a few of these recommended

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

12oz bottle poured into my Delirium tulip glass.
Poured black with a nice 1/4" head that lasted about a minute or so. Very good amount of lacing on the side of the glass.
A lot of stouts that contain coffee suffer from the "burnt coffee" smell. This beer has one of the more pleasant coffee aromas. Very pleasant chocolate smell with little alcohol noticed in the nose.
Taste is a smooth coffee stout. Flavors are blended and evenly distributed. At first theres coffee, then theres a chocolate/slight hop taste in the middle. None of these jump out at you. It's a nice flow from one to another. My only complaint here is that the mouthfeel is a little thinner than I like out of my stouts. But thats splitting hairs, this is a terrific stout. This offering doesn't leave you with the mouth coating coffee aftertaste as well. Which makes this a highly sessionable offering. A very solid offering from a very solid brewery. A must try, even for non-stout fans.

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

Thanks for sharing grub!

Pours insanely black, thick tan head forms, tons of lace and great retention, definately looks like a stout. Smell is sweet and roasty, toffee, coffee, chocolate, some dark fruits. Taste is awesome roasty chocolate, coffee and caramel, some dark fruits, nice bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to thick bodied with low carbonation. Definately world class!

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

Pours out like the black of night with a nice tan head.
Very strong choclolate coffee fruity aroma but no Alcohol smell despite the 9%.
Taste is a black bitter sweet coffee with caramel and chocolate overtones. I like these hops here. The malt is wonderful here and is almost milky in texture.
Mouthfeel is a great bitterness with hints of sweet malts and coffee residue.
I could drink a couple of these but as dark as it is, I couldn't see this as a session beer.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours an opaque black color. The head is two-fingers in height, and tan in color. Lacing is decent. The aroma is of chocolate, coffee, graham crackers, alcohol, and roasted malt. The taste like the aroma, but with a bit more alcohol. The aftertaste is fantastic with a ton of chocolate and roasted malt. The mouthfeel is full bodied without being too thick. Carbonation is rather low leaving a nice silky texture. Overall, this is one of the best stouts I have ever had. It seems to walk the line between a tradional impy and a huge American version.

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

Been waiting for a long time to review this beer and I'm not sure why I haven't. This is the '06 version about 8 months old.

About as dark sludge brown as a beer can get without being black. Hell it may even be black. A tan head of half inch only stayed with me for a minute or so dying down into trace lace and a nice bubbly ring. Tiney carbonation bubbles make their way up the sides of the glass.

Wonderful nose on this beer. Huge amounts of dark fruits, black currant and plum leading the way. Very rich and masculine smelling. Large amounts of chocolate roasted malt and hints of a floral type hop. This is a juicy smelling stout to say the least.

Much of the same flavors that are noticable in the nose. Large amounts of hops however. Long finish is helped with the resiny hop bitterness. Roasted bitter chocolate flavors, with chocolate malt, hints of vanilla, and loads of juicy dark fruits. Mollasses as well. I get no traces of alcohol as this is very smooth. However it seems the mouthfeel is slightly thin. Still an awesome beer by Great Lakes.

Can't wait to try the Barrel Aged version this weekend!!!

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Photo of jj21
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

6 month aged 12 ounce bottle in a Delerium Tremens Tulip
Appearance- To quote Nigel Tufnel: "It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black." with a good tan head that hangs around for a while leaving a nice ring easily brought back with a few aggitations in the glass.
Smell- Chocolate, espresso, smoky and brilliant. There's a slight alcohol presence at the finish, but not overpowering.
Taste- Heavenly! Everything the aroma offered and more. Alcohol is indeed present, but not offensive. Delicious!
Mouthfeel- Warming and smooth. This is a beer that will sneak up on you and kick you in the sack.
Drinkability- Dangerously easy for an Imperial Stout. Must get more!!! Great choice for my 50th review.

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,442 ratings.
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