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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: 3,427
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.42/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Look - Black, with some dark dark brown tones.
Smell - Coffee, chocolate, charred notes, hints of caramel sweetness.
Taste - Espresso, dark bitter chocolate, alcohol
Feel - Needed and wanted thicker....

Overall - Overly bitter/boozy for my liking. Not a huge fan.....

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Not an oily, all consuming black, reddish brown as light filters thru. Tan head with fine carbonation on edges. Spotty lacing.

S: Coffeehouse mélange of dark chocolate, hazelnut, caramel. Roasty with lightly charred barley. Fruity juniper berries, pine. Good balance.

M: Smooth, oily and easy to down. Not a sexy stout experience.

T: Plums and dark raisins with licorice. Char trails by a good margin. Mellow roast keeps coffee impressions to that of a whipped cream topped mocha latte. Black tar notes on the back save it from an overly sweet fruity, chocolatey black hole. Overall, fruit notes seem underdeveloped. I was expecting more.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Does not pour as dark as its name, a dark brown where I can see the clarity at the edges even in low light. Carbonation isn't huge on a medium pour, by a thick light tan ring does last and replenishes each sip.

Nose has a light tartness to the roasted malt, over-toasted sourdough perhaps. Maybe a little more unsweetened chocolate versus coffee behind that. Hint of char on that toast, perhaps as well.

Taste starts with the toast impression, but not sourdough. Then a hint of smoke, then medium strength coffee (here and there I get an occasional dark fruit sensation, but may be searching too much). After these phases roll through, turns a tad chocolatey. The bite of alcohol or spicy hops hits at the end to produce a little tingle on the tongue.

Lighter in body than some may like for a stout, but a decent depth of flavor nonetheless. Carbonation is moderate and isn't missed nor get in the way.

A solid brew very much along the lines of Edmund in being a fine representation of the style.

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Photo of Evilyak
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

pours black with a voluminous head. maybe too vigorous a pour, but still, this is a lot of head.

smell is malty with some charred notes. i can smell the alcohol.

aftertaste is cherry cola. i'm having a hard time sorting out the taste at the front because that cola taste has taken over a bit.

feel is creamy and carbonated without being overdone.

it's ok.

 360 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Weird cola flavor. I've had beers before that had a soda quality but it was usually a Sprite like thing from a sour. I just could not get over the cherry cola thing going on in the nose and taste. It was not a bad beer but a bit one note to me. I'd like to try the barrel aged version to see if things change.

 309 characters

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as night with a tan head that fizzles out very quickly. Aromas of molasses, char, burnt and roasted barley, raisins and dried plums. Taste goes from sweet, robust grains to dried plums and charred raisins to a slightly bitter charred barley malt finish. Full body and just right moderate carbonation. Tasty stout and accessible for many reasons.

 351 characters

Photo of Ksmoove27
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - dark black oil with one finger light chocolate head; light lacing

Aroma - roasted malt, caramel and coffee

Taste - follows the nose, roasted malt, baking chocolate on the front expresso, caramel

Feel - oily with mild carbonation, alcohol aftertaste

Overall - good but a step behind Founders Breakfast, Old Rasputin and Yeti

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Photo of mlockman
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Flavors are predominantly on the forefront of the swallow as this beer is very much a front-of-the-tongue experience. A rich stout that is intensely flavorful , I would recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of SteelSaw
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pour pitch black. A hard pour gives way to a thin tan head.

Smell: Milk Chocolate, Burnt Sugar, Malt, Bakers Chocolate, slight coffee notes.

Taste: Pretty much follows the nose, milk chocolate up front with a twinge of bakers chocolate near the end. Sugar and slight subtle coffee.

Feel: Intially hits the tongue with a creamy mocha like consistency. Pretty thick but not quite to the chewy degree of mouthfeel.

Overall: Stellar, a great stout that's on the sweeter side that drinks easy. Would recommend grabbing if you see it.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours jet black with a solid dark-cream colored head.

smells like sweet milk chocolate coffee. sweet and mellow.

taste is mellow and full of chocolate notes. slight chocolate taste at the end. finishes bitter and dry. goes down smooth and is easy drinking for a 9% beer. all i can say is mellow, in a good way. not overpowering in any one way. mellow chocolate and coffee taste with added sweetness. a good RIS for sure. would totally drink this again.

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Photo of lastmango
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a thick black with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly. Moderate lacing. Nose is bitter dark chocolate. Strong chocolate malt flavor with a hint of hops on the end. Full body with moderate carbonation. Gosh, am I drinking beer or a malt from Al's Diner in Happy Days!

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.84/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best before 5/6/16. Poured 12/8/15. $3.49 single. Poured into, unfortunately, a shaker pint. I love the name and story behind this beer. The 2003 black out is something I'll always remember vividly for a number of reasons.

Appearance: Hard pour into the glass didn't do much for a head, and left just a film on top of the beer. The name of the beer is misleading though, as this beer isn't pitch black -- instead it's a hazy ruby black color, and looks more like a porter. Whenever I can see through a stout, it makes me nervous for the taste and feel.

Smell: Roasted and caramel malt, a little coffee, and some... hops? This is not quite as big and bold and I was expecting, and to me smells like an imperial version of Edmund Fitzgerald. This doesn't smell like a RIS to me as much as some sort of porter. This is light on roasted malt (heavier on caramel), and even lighter on coffee. No alcohol in the aroma, and no dark fruits buried in there. Smells very nice regardless.

Taste/feel: Follows the nose flawlessly, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your stout preferences. This beer is actually very sweet with quite the table sugar presence -- there's just a "biting" sweetness that kicks in and lingers until the finish where there's a mild bitterness. Flavors of primarily caramel malt come through with a mild-to-moderate amount of roasted malt and a really slight coffee flavor. I also get an earthy hop flavor briefly on the front and in the middle of each sip, which also contributes just a wee bit of hop bitterness. Honestly, I get more of a hop bitterness than roast bitterness from this beer. This is one of the most unexpected experiences I can think I've had from a beer in quite awhile. The mouthfeel is about what I expected given its appearance, maybe a little better. Black out Stout "hefts up" and is actually a somewhat creamy, near full-bodied beer. The carbonation is mild.

This is a stout I'd recommend to anyone whose preference is stouts that are on the sweeter side, because this is certainly that. The too-subtle roastiness, excess sweetness, and a bit of a disappointing mouthfeel make this beer a letdown, to me. I was expecting a viscous beer with a "chewy" feel and bold bitter roast. Of course, that's simply because I expected it from the name. Why? I don't know why. I blame myself.

For the price, it's neither a rip off or a bargain. It's a very solid seasonal offering from GLBC, just one that doesn't fit the bill of a "Russian Imperial Stout", in my eyes.

 2,514 characters

Photo of KBrady
3.46/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Aged little over a year....as some other reviewers have mentioned it's possible that this hurts the beer.

Poured into a snifter, smelled a burnt, charcoal-ish aroma. Tasted a bit metallic and thin, with a fairly unpleasant mouthfeel. I would try it again fresh and it's possible I got a lemon, but for now I must rate it as such.

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Photo of StartedwithSAM
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours into a grand snifter jet black with a one finger off-white or somewhat tannish head, dissipating quickly with little or no lacing.

Smells of roasted bitter cocoa with subtle dark fruit.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with a noticeable level carbonation.

The taste is strong, earthy, cocoa forward flavors finishing with a slightly dry, Belgian-style fruitiness.

Overall this was a solid Russian Imperial Stout, nothing that really wow'd me. That being said it is far better than last years which was much more cloying. This years release is an interesting balance, or struggle if you prefer, between an American-style and Belgian-style RIS. GLBC is moving in the right direction with this. Cheers.

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Great Lakes Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.19 out of 5 based on 3,427 ratings.
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