Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

420 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Dogbrick on 11-29-2005

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Reviews: 420 | Ratings: 1,804
Photo of tpd975
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge Thanks to BeerTruth for the share! You Rock Adam!

A: Pours a nice flat black hue with tones of amber showing through. The head was nice solid and creamy. Retention was only ok with light lace noted.

S: Huge aroma from this one. Tons of rich chocolate, gooey toffee, macroons, and all the goodness that comes from barrel ageing.

T: Rather oaky, but not overthetop. Rich Belgian chocolate, coconut, with hits of vanilla. The roast was wonderful and the beer soo complex with numerous layers.

M: Full in body, thick enough to cling to the mouth and throat providing lasting enjoyment.

D: Very, glad I shared it, but is one I could have sipped on for an hour.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had the good fortune of coming across this beer at the Great Lakes brewpub in Cleveland, OH. Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout is certainly not retired, unless the version I had was a further aged release of a previous year. I'd assume not, however, as it was listed at 10% ABV. Served in a snifter.

Pours a seal brown body with a decent head of light khaki foam that retreats to a ring of large bubbles. Not quite as dark as most in its category, as I could see through the brew halfway through the snifter. The aroma was heavy on the bourbon, with a backbone of dark, sweet chocolate. A solvent-like alcohol note lurked below the upper notes.

The flavor, as the 5.0 rating suggests, was exceptional. Rich, dark chocolate notes covered the palate with a background of earthy hops and vanilla undertones. Bourbon whiskey and oak are saved for the finale, as a spicy, wooden booziness rides out for an enjoyable finish. The body isn't overly thick or viscous, drinking more like a porter. It also wasn't as hot as the normal Blackout Stout, although I would love to see how this stuff tastes after a year or more in the cellar. Overall, a fantastic brew from the solid beer-makers from Ohio. The two glasses I had of this stuff went down dangerously easily, and I can only hope I cross paths with this beer again.

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Photo of PenguinBeerFan
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber. Celebrating an OSU Rose Bowl win with one of Ohio's finest brews.

A - Pours the typical inky black of any RIS. Almost no head, surprising, even with an aggressive pour.

S - Beautiful. Dark chocolate and bourbon dominate. Mouth watering.

T - I had this years batch on tap at the brewery, and was a little off put by the overpowering bourbon. It seems to have significantly mellowed in the bottled iteration. Terrific full malty body, hints of dark chocolate, a touch of hops, and just the right amount of bourbon on the swallow. I'd rank it above the KBS I had last week,

M - Full and smooth. Typical quality big stout fare.

D - Very smooth. Obviously not going to put away a case of it, but within the style, this goes down as easy as any I've ever had. Labeled at 9%, but from conversations I've had at the brewery this clocks in at 11-13%. Effects seem to confirm this.

Overall, wholly deserving of a place among the elite American beers.

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Photo of bamadog
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Happy New Years... to me! I've been sitting on this since October of of '09 and figured that tonight is good enough night to drink it. Review is from notes taken on 12/31/2010 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a very dark brown/near black and it looks just a little bit thinner than the standard Blackout; starts with a faint 1/4 finger light tan, creamy and loose head that fades quickly to nothing other than a faint wisp and a thin, milky looking ring around the surface; body is entirely opaque;

Smell: Smell is quite awesome -- tons of rich, syrupy sweet chocolate and a bit of a dry cocoa powder to it; fair presence of bourbon still holds on and adds a bit of vanilla to it; slight roasty and burnt malt; as it continues to warm, a chocolate covered cherry presence that is dark and a little tart starts to creep in as well... It really just keeps getting better.

Taste: Hell yes. There is a lot of goodness hanging out in this beer -- the first thing I really notice is an aged and oaky bourbon flavor; a well balanced mixture of syrupy sweet and bittersweet chocolate and a bit of the dry cocoa powder lingers a bit afterwards; a sweet and dark, slightly tart cherry flavor with touch of vanilla is blended in there as well; the bourbon lingers in the aftertaste and it reminds me that I'm fortunate to live in Kentucky.

Mouthfeel: Body is actually thicker than it looks, and for being a barrel aged beer, the thickness has held up wonderfully and is a pleasant surprised as I typically find beers that spend time in the barrel to thin out a bit from the additional exposure to oxygen; carbonation is very soft and nearly non-existent, but it works in the thicker body and I wouldn't want my bourbon carbonated anyway; a thick and sticky semi-dry coating is left all over the mouth and the teeth feel a little gritty; the belly is left exceptionally warm from the bourbon goodness.

Drinkability: ABV be damned, I would be happy to sip on this all night! Wonderful scents and flavors to match (or even surpass); typically I would rate this bit a bit lower when something is big and prevalent, but it's REALLY exceptional. Also, the thickness in the body is exceptionally thick, and I freaking love that in my stouts. Great Lakes is one of my all-time faves, and this is one of the further reasons why.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 courtesy of Axic10. Thank you very much, Alex.

Bomber split with steepH20.

Black, next to no head and hardly any lacing. Hmm....not an overly inspiring start.

Fudge, cake batter, bourbon, and the hops, albeit less pungent, from the base beer mesh nicely. A prelude to a prevalent theme with this beer.

Wow, has time been kind to this BA Blackout. So smooth and well integrated. Everything works in harmony as the malts, hops, and barrel presence are all complimentary to each other. Smooth vanilla puts a finishing bow on an supremely enjoyable experience.

So nicely done and not over the top. SteepH20 preferred the Dark Intrigue, while I found this not only to be superior, but a favorite in the style. Fantastic.

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Photo of sliverX
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter. Dark almost black in color, rich tan head that lasted some time. Smelled very much of whiskey. Tasted like they had brewed the stout using whiskey instead of water which wasn't a bad thing... whiskey, stout (dark roasted barley) and a hint of coffee were the basic tastes. More coffee presence as the beer warmed. Isn't something you would have more than a glass of as it was 11% abv and to me was more of a dessert/after dinner type...

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Photo of craytonic
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 release bottle, consumed 3/22/10

Appearance: Black, with a nice, creamy brown sugar head.

Smell: I smell bourbon! Lots of it actually, delicious bourbon. Also some fudge, toffee chocolate, cappuccino, caramel, and vanilla.

Taste: Bourbon in the front, dominant without being overbearing. Also dark brown sugar, sweet molasses, fudge, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cappuccino, oak and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth and creamy

Drinkability: High, although the ABV felt (I didn't actually taste it) much higher than 9%. One of my favorites for the style.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fellow BA and friend dtx00 traded this, appearance was pitch black nearly opaque with a big foaming tan head. I must say this is awesome stuff, just like the regular version. Aromatics big oak barrel whiskey aging effects hints of vanilla/toffee and oak going strong, a touch of anise and dark chocolate/coffee roasted malts with a hint of cherry fruitiness going on. Flavor is layered with a balanced whiskey barrel aging and rock solid big stout flavors, probably the most drinkable version out there beside fresh KBS. Again big alcohol but not overly boozey, just some whiskey barrel aged vanilla/charred oak/and hints of cherry to go with a big ol' stout from Cleveland. Dark roasted malts bring out some dark chocolate notes but not much in the way of strong coffee tones. Mouthfeel is full bodied defnitely warming and even carbonation some versions are almost flat this one had enough bubbles flowing to make each sip easy going on the palate. Overall excellent version above and beyond qauality and definitely highly sought out amongst our little online community, for a reason!!!

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Photo of pwoods
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter. '08 bottles, notes from awhile back.

A: Pours pitch black with good viscosity. Nice big strong dark tan head forms and holds nicely. Nice lacing.

S: Bourbon isn't quite as potent as on tap but very balanced as always with GLBC. Nice mellow coffee and chocolate. Some juicy hops and alcohol add even more depth.

T/M: Just a great balanc of everything. all the flavors are so potent but very balanced with melds together nicely. A great, robust stout booming with rich caramel and molasses and even some nutty flavors. Great bourbon and alcohol warmth mix in and add depth. Just so damn complex. Body is full and silky smoothy without geting cloying.

D: Pretty damn high for a RIS, especially a bourbon barrel stout. a fantastic offering.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: black as night with a 1/4 inch tan head and ok retention some film on the top with some spotty dots of lace

Smell: right away the bourbon greets you and that is then followed up by some chocolate fudge some slight coffee notes and finishes with a nice vanilla sweetness

Taste: much the same as the nose but it follows a slightly different pattern. Upfront is the chocolate brownie and roasted coffee flavors. That is followed up by some oak and vanilla and then the beer finishes with a splash of bourbon. Fantastic

Mouthfeel. Thick body and mild carbonation

Overall. This is an exceptional BA stout one of my favorite fresh. Highly recommended

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Photo of Raziel313
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The color is very deceiving. Very dark brown color not really stout like.
Smell is of bold chocolate and bourbon
Amazing flavor profile. Layered with loads of bourbon character. Great toffee flavor.
Mouth feel is like silk
Overall just straight blown away by how smooth this is. Will definitely be seeking out more of this.

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Photo of mcallister
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black! Creamy mocha head nice and thick rests at the top of the snifter. Beer is served way too cold so while waiting about 10 minutes now for things to warm up a little the head has faded some but still leaves a layer of creamy head with a thick ring around the glass. This is a deep opaque black.

First thing you notice on the nose is the thick layers of toasted oak with a heavy dose of Jim Beam. It's the little nuances that excite the senses. Rich with dark bitter chocolate, strong brewed coffee, roasted burnt malts, black cherry, anise, and caramelized sugars. Toffee mollasses and some floral hops round things out.

This one packs quite the punch. Very warming in the chest. The forefront again is the bourbon flavors as well as toasty vanilla oak. Rich plush mouth with a medium finish of what I'd say is about 40 seconds. The finish mainly consists of strong mocha coffee. A rich creamy middle is consumed with a chocolate covered cherry, black curran, crème brulee, and burnt malts. Entry is a bit thin but it evens itself out. Smooth and viscous overall. The first drink is all the alcohol after that you adapt to this beast. Complex and well balanced. Damn good job by GLBC!

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Photo of DrewOSU
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pwoods shared this one at my place with ftownthrowdown and drewOSU.

A: Pours black with a ¼ inch tan head. Large head for a RIS. Lacing is slight and watery

S: Huge bourbon nose, burns the nostrils. Hints of chocolate but cannot get over the bourbon!

M/T: Medium, oily mouth as it slides down the tongue. The bourbon punches the tongue on initial taste, then it seems to back off for a second after swallow. A rush of roasted coffee comes in the aftertaste.

D: I could feel the bourbon burn my chest after a glass. Very drinkable for some, but I would definitely have to limit myself on this beer.

Awesome BA example. I was very surprised by the way the beer seems to hit hard with the bourbon, back off and then hit again with a coffee after note. It was like drinking two beers in one glass. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to foofaa for sharing this on my birthday, enjoyed chilled from a mug.

The color is black as the name, very thick sandstone head with creamy appearance, lace sticks very well and retention is very good. The smell is bready with slight sweet caramel and vanilla odor with slight roasted and peppery tinged aroma with nice toffee and light bourbon sweet woody nose. The feel is great it starts sweet with mild tannin and full middle with great carbonation adding levity with slight roast and hint of alcohol as it finishes.

The flavor is very full with lots of toffee, cocoa, wood with vanilla and bourbon interwoven with slight coffee and bready flavors from the yeast with a toasted and spiced taste which brings out some dark fruit toward the middle with mild earthy hints of raisin and chocolate toward the finish with oak blending well throughout the flavor. Overall this is a splendid oak aged stout, it satisfied from first taste and I didn't want to drain the glass, but it left me feeling satisfied and it is one of the most drinkable wood aged stouts I have had.

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Photo of sholland119
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to unclejedi for his generosity in sending this for Secret Halloween.

We enjoyed this one after a trip to the ER with what turned out to be (thankfully) a sprained rather than broken ankle. Boy was this a welcome treat.

A-Pours black as coal with little head and no lacing. My favorite color in beer.

S- Vanilla notes with bitter dark chocolate and caramel.

T-Lives up to the expectations. Sweet caramel and vanilla dominate the front with roasted coffee and bitter hops taking over in the finish. A bit of alcohol as it warms but not too much.

M-Rich and viscous and full bodied.

D-Is this really only 9% ABV? Insanely full flavored and drinkable at that alcohol level.

I am a big fan of the regular Blackout Stout. The barrel aging makes it amazing.


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Photo of treyrab
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the 2010 BABO the other night at the release party. Here goes:

A: Pours a dark brown with a moderately dark khaki head. Decent head retention. Held up to the light there is clearly brown hues and some scarlet and mahogany colors as well.

S: The smell is spot on, really. It is almost as if they are learning from experience and really perfecting this beer. It was a perfect blend of bourbon (more bourbon that prior vintages), rich, dark, sweet chocolate, cocoa nibs, slight oak dryness, and sweet vanilla.

T: The taste resembles the smell again with great bourbon (again, more than prior vintages), sweet vanilla, oak dryness, and rich dark chocolate.

M/D: Spot on for the style. Not thick or chewy, just a perfect balanced Imperial Stout. Nice and creamy.

4.5 / 4.5 / 5 / 4.5 / 4.5

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Photo of dar482
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer offers caramel, bourbon sweetness, cacao bitterness, a bitter dark chocolate, a medium mouthfeel. A robust BA stout that definitely is different from the base. An interesting vanilla, sweetness, and smoothing out of the bee from the barrel.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to garbercury for sending this bad boy my way. Simply because he thought I would enjoy it. Gar you kick ass. 2010 vintage shared with the tasting crew.

A: A total blackout as far as color goes. Truth in advertising. No real head or lace.

S: Nice mild roast malt. Sweetened coffee, dark chocolate. The barrel aging has given this a great extra layer of complexity.

T: The flavor has one of the finest blends of coffee, chocolate and bourbon I've ever tasted. No harshness in the roast flavor. The bourbon is just enough to let you know it's present but not overpowering. Super smooth and drinkable.

M: Full rich thick body. Mild carbonation.

O: This was a simply outstanding barrel aged RIS. I love regular Black out and this just took it to another level. I may have to plan a road trip for the next release.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on tap at BA Blackout release

Pours a heavy, inky black color with a small ruby hue outlining the beer's form. A smaller tannish head bubbles up, retaining slightly and leaving some patches of lacing around the glass.

Whoa - the scents here were dead on, with notes of roasted dark malts, toffee, light vanilla, pleasant oakiness, and just enough bourbon.

Begins with some caramel malts and some roasted warmth. Caramel, molasses, and hints of coffee pierce through. Vanilla and some leathery oak tones warm the palate. Pleasant, enhancing bourbon rounds out the flavors as the beer becomes slightly warm and boozy, but not over the top. The flavors are all so balanced, without any component becoming overpowering.

A bit thinner body for the style, but still pretty full, with nice carbonation and some velvet smoothness. So delicious and drinkable, and not out of control with the ABV, despite being a little warm. I finished a sample, immediately bought a full glass, and still wanted more. One of my favorite barrel aged stouts right now.

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Photo of montageman
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Bomber #416 out of 900. Poured into a pint glass. This is a dark beer - pours thick like syrup, very dark brown with a little tan head that disappears qucikly leaving a little bit of lacing. Smells warm and roasty like bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate. No doubt that the smell is extremely inviting. Awesome flavor here - bitter coffee/roasted malt upfront, vanilla sweetness segues into a bourbon-ish finish - very complex. Very thick in the mouth - almost chewy, slight carbonation. Definitely a dessert beer for me - a little too sweet to have more than one, but definitely an incredible brew. I would be interested in seeing what some aging would do to this. Highly recommended.

Thanks to McAllister for this one.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black/really dark reddish brown, with very little head, some lacing. As I swirl the beer, the body appears to be a bit thinner.

S: Coffee, chocolate, bourbon, some burn char smell, roasted malt. Sweetness.

T: Wow. This may be my new favorite tasting stout. It's got coffee, chocolate, some bourbon/oak/vanilla, brown sugar, little of hops but not overpowering. You can taste the alchohol a bit at the end, but not too boozy.

M: A bit thin for my liking, but it's smooth and velvety.

O: Near perfect in my books. Very tasty stout!

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Photo of nlmartin
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dam I wish I remembered who traded this bottle to me. Anyhow thanks!

The beer was chilled and set out on the counter for about 20 minutes to warm up enough for consumption. The beer was served in a snifter.

A- The body of the beer is inky black. A thin burnt tan head rides the blackness. Scattering of lacing marks this beers rapid passage from my glass.

S- The aroma of the beer is very bourbon forward. Pleanty of vanilla, molasis dark roasted malts cocoa, dark chocolate, coffee, and yes I am getting figs and dates.

T Again very bourbon forward, lots of vanilla, molasis, dark cocoa, milk chocolate, fudge, brownies, brown sugar. It reminds me of bourbon balls. Very sweet but nicely balanced against the roast.

M- The body of the beer is moderate with gentle carbonation. A pleasant bourbon heat permeates the beer. If the body was a bit thicker this would bump another point.

O- This beer was an excellent bourbon barrel treatment of an already great beer. Very nicely executed.

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Photo of stakem
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle care of ClockworkOrange at a tasting on 11/13/10. Thanks for sharing this Jason!

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a deep color of brown with decent clarity and some lighter brown and reddish hues around the edges. There is little to no signs of a head except for a thin collection of bubbles around the perimeter of the glass. Swirls barely aggitate more bubbles but create a thin leggy amount of lacing.

The aroma of this brew is exactly what I love about barrel aged beers. It smells of sweet vanilla and oak that is completely bourbon filled that accents the boozy smell to this brew. There is a minor amount of dark grain which imparts some chocolate character to round out the nose.

The taste is again boubon filled like the nose suggested that warms the back of the throat. There are some citrusy tangy hops present along with a long drawn out flavor of coffee, chocolate and vanilla. This is a smooth offering that has a light touch of oxidation.

Medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. Very well balanced and a great example. It leaves a lasting bourbon flavor which might be distracting for some, but I loved it. I would certainly seek this one out to have again. For being 2 years old at this point, it could have aged even longer but if I had bottles of this it would be very difficult to not open them up and enjoy now.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at last nights tasting at Gordon's fine wine and spirits in waltham ma. A big thanks to all the managers at the three gordon's for bringing out some nice beers from their own cellar.

This beer pours black with a small amount of light tan head that quickly dissipates

The smell is a nice sweet bourbon scent with hints of vanilla and oak, with a nice roasted malt backround

The taste is pretty similar to the smell, there is a nice sweet bourbon flavor, with a little alcohol warmth. the vanilla and oack notes are there to and the beer is a little drier than i expected, but there is still a wonderful roasty malt backround, just no malt sweetness

this beer is a little lighter mouthfeel, but it works well, could easily have drank the whole bottle of this beer

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Photo of GilGarp
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jdoncbus for this awesome trade!

It's been cellaring for several months now but I couldn't wait any longer. After chilling slightly in the fridge, I pop the cap and pour it into a globe glass.

It is truly black but I struggle in vain to see any color or light passing though. It has creamy tan head. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing but it's still a nice looker.

Aroma is awesome with the oak barrel coming through strong. It has a wonderful bourbon and vanilla smell overlaying the dark roasted malts. There's also a good dose of hops on the nose but it's overshadowed by the wood aging.

Flavor is intense and incredible as well. That oak aging brings all sorts of sweet bourbon and vanilla to the taste but it doesn't completely overwhelm like some. There is a great amount of roasted coffee and chocolate, some toffee and caramel sweetness, and a big bitter punch from the dark malts and hops.

Mouthfeel is fantastically smooth and creamy with very minimal harshness from the alcohol. It hides it's 9% well. Drinkability is great for the style and I will continue to enjoy every sip of this bottle until it runs dry. What a beer.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.33 out of 5 based on 1,804 ratings.
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