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 BrokenEdge
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Solid brew and my favorite offering yet from Great Lakes. Pours dark brown, nearly black, with a thin tan head that quickly reduces down to a layer of foam. If the head was more impressive and long lasting, it would have greatly helped this beer's score, it is definitely the weakest point. Leaves good amounts of foamy lacing as you drink. Smell is roasted malt and raisin. While drinking, the taste of chocolate and vanilla makes its presence known. It's a very sweet RIS, not a lot of bitterness from either hops or charred flavors. But it's a mild enough sweetness to not seem overwhelming or sickening, very pleasant. Feels very creamy and smooth (nearly oily) going down, like a milk stout. Finishes somewhat bitter and clean. This isn't as huge of a stout as some other RIS are, but it's very easy to drink (doesn't feel like 9% at all) and just an enjoyable experience.

 877 characters

Photo of FriedSlug
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark black with a dark tan head. Smells like coffee, licorice and sweet roasted malts. Very sweet with a lot of molasses, licorice, roasted malts, coffee and char. Pretty solid RIS.

 181 characters

Photo of zonker17
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very dark pour with brown head that disappears. Faint roasty nose. Very sweet, molasses, burnt malt. Big body and moderate carbonation. Finished with a little bitterness but coats mouth with that sweet, almost syrupy feel.

 222 characters

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

Best by date of 6 May, 2015.

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a deep brownish black color with a 1/4-1/2" dark tan head that soon begins to recede leaving some foam, some speckles and some legs of lacing on the side. There's a nice irregular island of foam and a thin layer covering the rest of the liquid. Sipping creates sheets of foam that quickly become small speckles, patches and legs clinging to the glass. Some foam remains visible even to the end of the beer.

The aromas include dark roasted malt blended nicely with some dark chocolate. There are also what seems like touches of caramel and molasses mixed in as well.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose but with a touch of overall added sweetness that softens and smooths out the other flavors. There's no burn from the alcohol and it is definitely well concealed, so that may be the origin of the softening sweetness.

The mouthfeel is on the full bodied side and thick enough to be almost chewy. There's enough carbonation to create a creamy feel. The finish begins about mid-way through as the chocolate and sweetness give way to the roasted malt and bitterness. Last to leave the scene is that touch of dark roast and hop bitterness that lingers for a bit on the back of the palate.

This is a very nice Russian Imperial Stout that deserves to be ranked among some of the best out there. While it may or may not be world class it is definitely within shouting distance and what is even better is that it is produced on a regular basis and relatively easy to obtain. I'll be having this one again. My only thought about improving this beer is that I would prefer the sweetness to disappear a bit earlier in the finish so that the ending is a wee bit dryer and with a touch more prominance given to the bitterness.

 1,812 characters

Photo of Ikeithbot
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Really a great offering of the Imperial Stout style. not much experimental going on here but the tastes are right on point. the smell is great the mouth feel is normal for an Imperial Stout very low alcohol taste not too bad for a 9.04 overall very good I would compare it to Rasputin by North Coast Brewing

 308 characters

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

look: black as burnt motor oil, cinnamon colored head and little lacing.
smell: light chocolate smell.
taste: chocolate and roasted malts.
feel full bodied and full of flavor.
overall pretty good.

 196 characters

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was a very good Russian Imperial Stout that was sent to me from a friend in Ohio

(L) Very dark, almost black with a think brown head.

(A) The aroma is roasted coffee and chocolate.

(T) The taste is roasted malts, and chocolate, dark fruit, and a lingering pleasant bitterness.

(F) Medium, moderate carbonation.

 319 characters

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

This was nice brew. Very similar to regular Dark Horse Plead the Fifth in that they both have a lot of chocolate/fudge notes with some bitterness and hop presence. I prefer Plead just a bit more but this one has its place too.

 228 characters

Photo of jaypaul522
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got during the holidays. Poured into a tulip glass and got thin head over very dark colored beer. The aroma was chocolate and slight raisin, with malt. The taste is very smooth, and you can taste the chocolate very well. The feel is full bodied, but not overly so or I would have rated this beer higher. After-taste is very pleasant, and the alcohol doesn't overpower the good flavor. An excellent stout.

 404 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beer review #900
A-almost black in color but with dark brown highlights in the light with a thin layer of khaki colored head

S-roasted malt, dark roasted coffee, and chocolate

T-roasted malt and dark coffee dominate the taste with sweet chocolate, dark fruits, and then has a bitter finish

M-medium body, moderate carbonation, bitter finish

Overall a very enjoyable and well balanced RIS, good amount of roastedness with chocolate

 436 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Got a 4-pack of 12oz bottles at Krugel's in Wilkes-Barre last week ($11.99)....

Poured into a small tulip.... It's a very dark chestnut brown color, nearly opaque. Can't see what the carbo situation is, but the head is thin and fine, mostly rim-clinging, with decent lacing. Smells of mocha covered malted milk balls... It is quite smooth going down, and a medium to medium-plus for body.

Taste is milk-chocolatey, with a smidge of molasses as well. Has some toffee, and subtle hints of raisins and currants. Hopping is light but detectable, with a smidge of florality.... Not bad, all-in-all... Prosit!!

4.03/5 rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4


 694 characters

Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.95/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

trying this beer as we speak. Nice dark color. Smooth going. Hint of chocolate and raisins . Smells delicious with the malts and chocolate. Kinda like drinking a raisinette.

 173 characters

Photo of EMV
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a glass into a tulip

L: Pours a dark, dark brown color... clear and nearly black. reddish hints as I hold it up to the light. Thin tan head with thick lacing.

S: Roast and espresso... hints of cocoa.

T/F: Roasted malts... dark sugars, sweet and smooth. Strong notes of coffee and also a bit of chocolate made more apparent by the sugars. A mild but noticeable hop presence towards the finish. Warming and creamy.

O: A fine Russian Imperial Stout... strong on the cocoa and burnt sugar character... clean with a very nice mouthfeel. Overall very solid beer. Dangerously drinkable.

Addendum: Even better after a year in the basement. Really mellowed and pulled out the roast flavor.

 711 characters

Photo of NoZeFace
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Included as an extra from a trade. It's a solid little stout. Pales in comparison BCBS (in it's wonderful taste and presentation) and Black Metal (in it's funk and going out there) from JK. It is a solid lil beer but nothing that grabs my attention like the others I mentioned above. Has notes of chocolate and a bit of spice. Glad I tried it but eh.

 350 characters

Photo of beerwolf72
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a solid stout that doesn't get much love in Southern Ohio. It usually treats me pretty well, not too thick, not too thin. Slightly smoky, slightly sweet. Just enough mouthfeel to let you know you're drinking a stout. Always stock up to get me through the winter.

 270 characters

Photo of m_hall
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip. This stout is a very, very dark reddish brown (basically black with some highlights under illumination around the edges.) Head is one-finger tall, tan, and dense, falling away to a thin film. Lacing is light and spotty.

Nose is sweetly aromatic and malty, with notes of dark berries, vanilla, and a nice alcohol tang at the end. Very nice, a little less 'dense' than a lot of Imps.

Flavor comes in with malt right up front, lots of dark semi-chocolate, brown sugar, and toffee, with a nice bit of dark fruit (blackberry, raisin) supporting. The mid-palate continues with the cocoa, while adding a touch of coffee bitterness. The finish is slightly dry and bittersweet, and lingers briefly, with just a trace of earthy hops.

Mouth-feel was medium, just a bit oily, very drink-able. Carbonation is light, and alcohol is present as a nice warmth, but this doesn't feel at all like a 9% abv beer, at all. It would be surprisingly easy to drink more than one of these in a sitting.

Overall, Blackout is an interesting change of pace in the world of Imperial Stouts- the lighter body in particular sets this one apart. Some hardcore fans might find this one a bit thinner than they'd like, but on the other hand the change of pace is something I found nicely refreshing. There's a lot of room within the guidelines of a given style, and it's good to see a craft brewery playing in those confines.

 1,440 characters

Photo of CNoj012
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights and is almost completely opaque. The head is two fingers and light brown with decent retention that eventually recedes to a small cap. There are also nice slim sheets of hanging lacing. The smell is roasted malts, chocolate and coffee with the slightest hint of nuttiness. Taste is the same with a nice hop bitterness on the back end. Feel is medium and viscous, really coats the whole mouth. Overall a very nice stout. Will certainly be picking up another 4pk.

 516 characters

Photo of DrainBamage
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with large bubbles that cling to the side of the glass and head that thins to less than a lace. Smell has roast malt aromas and some hints of chocolate. Goes down very dry and not highly carbonated like expected. It's slightly bitter also. Overall highly drinkable imperial stout. Two thumbs up.

 313 characters

Photo of jp32
3.74/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours black in color without much head retention. Smells roasty with notes of chocolate and coffee. Clean, well balanced flavor. It's not quite as big as I'd like a Russian Imperial Stout to be, but still has a nice flavor. Fairly run of the mill for stouts nowadays, there is nothing wrong with it per se, but nothing that sets it apart from its peers either.

 364 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by date of 06/02/16

Appearance - Pours dark cola brown with a dark khaki colored finger width head. Fair retention, then dies down to a thin, consistent layer of surface suds. Lacing consists of broken lines and large spots.

Smell - Aroma hits on notes of chocolate, raisin, roasted malt, earthen character and a bit of caramel.

Taste - Hmm. A bit of toffee, caramel and creamed coffee upfront and throughout. Mid-taste offers a touch of smokey roast and dark chocolate. Distant notes of rum raisin hit near the finish. Aftertaste is light, with lingering vanilla, chocolate and a touch of boozy heat.

Mouthfeel - On the lighter side of full-bodied with low carbonation. More slick than creamy texture, with a drying finish.

Overall - This is an interesting Impy. What it lacks in aggressiveness it makes up for in ease of drink and a unique flavor profile. The toffee notes really give it a unique flavor for the style. I'd love to drink a few more of these, though I'm not sure if I'd be willing to trade to get it again.

 1,033 characters

Photo of Moose90
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from 2013, tasted NYE 2015

A — Pours a deep dark black hue into the glass, there is a roasted coffee colored head that forms and leaves behind some nice spots of lace.

S — Smell is strong and roasted, with notes of bitter coffee, dark chocolate, espresso, chewy molasses, little bit of a vanilla sweetness.

T — Rich and chewy notes of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and oats, a bit unassuming, but the components are all there.

M — Medium-Full bodied, lingering finish.

O — Pretty good overall, a nice easy going stout.

 547 characters

Photo of maedhros09
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Dark brown/black with 1-2 fingers tan head that lingers a bit
Smell: classic dark fruit and roasty aromas
Taste: Sweet dark fruits, roasted flavors (chocolate?), moderate lingering roasty herbal bitterness.
Feel: full-bodied, thick but not quite syrupy, fairly carbonated for the style yet creamy

Overall: A nicely done but somewhat generic imperial stout. The overall impression is of moderation (ABV, flavor, mouthfeel) with the malt playing the dominant role. Although i liked it I can't see why i would choose it over Old Rasputin, Narwhal, Expedition Stout or any number of widely available, similarly priced or cheaper imperials.

 647 characters

Photo of IronLover
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown to black in color with faint dark ruby highlights. Poured with a short, beige foam with good retention. Medium high roasted malt, dark chocolate and roasted coffee bean aromas. Light aromas of dark fruit. No hop aromas. Medium bodied with medium light carbonation. Light creamy smoothness with pleasant warming through the middle to the finish. Medium high roasted malt and sweet dark chocolate flavors up front followed by medium high hop bitterness and a boozy sting through the middle to the end. Finished semi-dryly with bitteesweet chocolate and estery dark fruit notes, a light, dry bitterness and pleasant boozy warmth. Most certainly falls within the broad parameters of the style. Most importantly, this was very drinkable.

 744 characters

Photo of OldManMetal
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Blackout Stout pours to a brief-lived, thin creamy tan head on a dark, dark brown effervescent beer with lots of ruby highlights. Lacing is modest, consisting of some really distinctive, fine grained tribalesque antler-like swoops. The aroma is medium in intensity: caramel and light milk chocolate riding atop an undercurrent of cassis, toffee and booze with a hint of soy sauce up top. The flavor is darker and more toffee-like than the nose, with dark chocolate leading the charge, supported by toffee notes and hints of molasses. The roast character is pretty dark, but not bitter at all, and the net result is slightly sweet. The finish is booze and dark toffee, neither sweet nor bitter, and the linger is slightly bitter, cocoa-like, and brief-lived. The mouthfeel is where this beer really shines: big even for the full body, super creamy and sticky, and just slightly peppery from the very restrained carbonation; this is how a big stout should drink. (12 oz bottle, 127 days before best-by)

 1,000 characters

Photo of Phil-Fresh
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


A: Moderate coffee-like and deep roast malts, very faint bourbon, with a touch of alcohol on the finish.

A: Black color with a dark brown hue, totally opaque, with a thin tan head. Moderate lacing evident in the glass.

T: Moderate coffee-like and deep roast malt flavor with a slight wood character, and a light bitterness.

M: Medium-full bodied with moderately light carbonation.

O: Solid; the beer exhibits a deep roast character that’s well complimented by the bourbon barrels. However, as a Russian imperial stout, the beer’s aroma could use a little more dark fruit nuance and a bit deeper mouth-feel.

 625 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.