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

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BA SCORE
96
world-class
419 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
419
Ratings:
1,792
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
8.78%
 
 
Wants:
1,372
Gots:
348
For Trade:
35
User Reviews
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Reviews: 419 | Ratings: 1,792
Photo of boatshoes
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes taken at the Great Lakes BA Blackout release party this fall. Had it on tap for the second time and it was quite a treat. Traded away four of my six bottle allocations and looking to enjoy one myself here in the near future!

Appearance- Comes off the tap an opaque black with a minimal ring of tan head much in the league of many barrel-aged stouts that I've had. Spot on for the style.

Smell- Complex, tasty, and interesting. Lots of very well blended notes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, burnt coffee, sweet molasses, and brown sugar. The wood is very evident here but rounded out nicely through the roastiness and coffee accents that show through from the base stout.

Taste- Again, lots of bourbon, vanilla, and wood here. However, as will the nose, the roasted qualities of the original base stout blend nicely with the barrels (this year Buffalo Trace for the first time rather than Jim Beam) and show through. Some warming alcohol on the way down but not sharp by any means.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is silky smooth and substantial, though oddly not as heavy as I was expecting. Drinkability is surprisingly good as I found that the roasted elements in the taste helped minimize some of the overwhelming sweetness I usual find in this style. Goes down quite easy.

Overall, one of the big boys. Try this if you can, it's very good and I'd say one of the best barrel-aged offerings out of the state of Ohio.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When in doubt, just barrel-age it. It's kinda like bacon; any dish is immediately improve by adding bacon, even ice cream.

As with the original, the Barrel Aged Blackout is almost black, almost opaque, and almost holds an ideal head. The thin and lightly tanned foam struggles to retain, but does eventually succum to the lighter carbonation and alcohols. Very light lacing all arround.

Espresso and cocoa dominate the glass with intense level of flavor. These flavors alternate with each sip, never knowing which will prevail on the next. Backup flavors of cherries, licorice, and rum-like alcohols give rise to the esters and strength of the Stout. Caramel sweetness emerges from the alcohols with a sugary-sweet teeth coating feel. Quite hot and with a harsh cough-syrup numbing quality, this beer proves to be quite young and unrefined. The malt flavor in the aftertaste is accompanied by a woody, nutty taste that helps with dryness and complex flavors thanks to the barrel aging. The oak accentuates the sweetness of the beer while adding these nutty notes for added depth.

I remember when Arrogant Bastard came out in an oak aged version, the sweetness was more pronounced and the woods rounded out the alcohols. This beer takes on the same results, just in a Stout-like way. If this beer was less alcoholic in the mouthfeel, it could rival the greats.

Thanks Boatshoes!

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Photo of maximum12
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Don't like stories with your reviews? Take your grumpy butt elsewhere!

This is a bottle of 2008 BA Blackout. I'd set up three trades for this white whale - & all three fell through, with the other end vanishing & ceasing to respond to bmails. I was bummed. ISOs, bmails, almost deals, no BA Blackout. Then two fine BA members teamed up behind my back.

My wife, nursingbeer, decided to do something extra nice for our 10th anniversary. She sought out a saint among saints, sholland119, asking if he could put together a nice box for me. Well, on our anniversary she gave me a box of beer - 2 bombers of Unfiltered Double Simcoe (one of my all-time favorites), a 2009 Darklord (really???) & a 2008 BA Blackout Stout. No shit!! The two sneaks got me one of the beers I've wanted most for the past two years.

On to the beer which, for her trouble, I split with my rather marvelous wife. Poured black, with a hissing dark cap on it that fell quickly. Dark black. Smells great. Barrel, along w/roasted malt & hints of coffee come out of the goblet.

After all this trouble, wouldn't it suck if I didn't like it? Ha! Not much chance of that, since the base beer is great. And this is...sublime. The bourbon on this sucker is dead on, subtle, but with a bite to it, where it doesn't start to warm my chest cavity until about halfway down. The base beer is there underneath, & it supports the barrel-aged aspect wonderfully, although there's more vanilla & a touch of chocolate that I don't recall in the standard Blackout. Silky smooth going down. As it warms, the aroma improves even more, & it takes on a more oily feel to it. Damn. I could drink this until the cows woke up.

Perfect. Only my second pure five. Scott & Molly, thank you!!

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the trade boatshoes

This poured a pitch black color with the latest forming head I've ever seen. I actually thought it was flat at first, because I did a pour dead center into the middle of my tulip and got nothing. I turned around to set the bottle down and when I turned back suddenly there was a quarter inch of head sitting there. Spooky.

Smell is a lovely blend of roasted malts, sweet dark fruit, wood, chocolate, and toffee. The bourbon is surprisingly mellow, I thought this one would be a little more bold since it is so young. Not that I'm complaining....this is pretty damn nice.

The taste, while good, doesn't quite hit the level that the smell did. In my opinion, the base beer for this is a solid stout but honestly I didn't see how barrel aging it could turn it into a world class beer, and as I sit here and sip on it I feel my suspicions were correct. While the barrel does add some complexities, it still comes off rather generic in the world of giant barrel aged monstrosities. I suppose there is a time and a place for generic, but never will I call it world class. What we have here is just a damn good barrel aged stout--nothing more, nothing less.

Mouthfeel is medium/full and relatively flat. There are some bubbles, but not a whole lot. More carbonation probably would have helped this quite a bit, because in its current heavy state the complexities don't seem to blend as well as they should. All that being said, it still NEARLY works.

I'm actually surprised to see that this beer is only 9%. I would have guess it was in the 11-13 range, probably because of the heaviness on the tongue which causes the volatiles to just sit and burn away. It really isn't very hot, but it is hotter than it should be. Nonetheless, this is a solid beer but I'm really not sure it should be as highly rated as it is. But that is up for you to decide for yourself....seek this out!

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Photo of Wasatch
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to unclejedi for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
2009 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a black color, some carbonation, not much of a head at all, a couple of tiny islands appear. The nose is malty, with some oak notes, chocolate, toffee, some spice. The taste is malty, nice oak note, chocolate/toffe, with some spices. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a pretty tasty brew, but not what it's hyped up to be.

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Photo of gford217
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, 2008 vintage, poured into a tulip.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle and is completely opaque black in the glass with a small, short-lived tan head that recedes to a collar, leaves spotty lacing on the sides.

The aroma is nice - dark and roasty with the bourbon barrel only complimenting things. There are dark chocolate malts and roasted coffee mainly with the vanilla from the oak and a little bourbon coming through in the background.

The bourbon steps forward a little in the taste with the vanilla coming in up front as well. The backbone is still mainly chocolate sweetness and dark roasted malts but the finish brings back the barrel presence with a definite burn going down.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with soft carbonation and a slightly dry oaky finish.

This is a very good bourbon barrel stout with the barrel character coming out aggressively in the taste. Overall, it's a big sweet and smooth imperial stout that's got a bit more chocolate than the typical RIS.

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Photo of dukedevil0
3.72/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this 2009 release bomber from a nice new trader shrxxm216, thanks brett!

A: Pours a dark black color though slightly thin with a slow arriving khaki colored one finger head that reduces down to just a tiny rim and not really any lacing.

S: Smells awesome, like a triple chocolate cookie, milk and dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, oak, even some nutmeg, tobacco

T: Tastes similar to the smell, but not nearly as pleasant - lots of chocolate both milk and dark, roasted malts, but less vanilla, oak, tobacco flavors - a slight boozy taste...this really just tastes like a mess of flavor

M: This is my biggest disappointment with this beer and maybe it would be better on tap, but it's so much thinner than I would ever want a top notch imperial stout to be. This is close porter territory for me. I'm guessing that barrel aging thinned it out some. The carbonation is so low that this is almost like a cask ale.

D: It doesn't really feel like a BIG beer, but there is a slight alcohol flavor and it just doesn't hold up to my expectations for flavor and mouthfeel

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Photo of mothman
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter

Color is black with tan head, very small head. Due to light pour.

Aroma: Sweet caramel and sugar, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, coffee. Amazing how everything flows so well.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, sweet caramel. Very awesome.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, sweet. Near perfect. Full bodied. Good carbonation. Clean.

Overall, one of my new favorite beer. It is really awesome. I am impressed and want more. Very great flavors and extremely drinkable.

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Photo of koopa
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received in a trade from a nice BA thanks!

Appearance: Very dark brown / borderline black body with a nice dark brown crown that shows some retention and lace.

Smell: A good amount of bourbon and sweet oak over some roast malt.

Taste: Sweet oak dominates, followed by roast malt, mild chocolate notes and some bourbon...the exact opposite of the nose!

Mouthfeel: Disappointing until it warms ups. Then you get a body that is on the fuller side of medium with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good considering the strength.

I didn't like it as much as I was hoping to but its a solid brew.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Didn't make it to the release, but this gem was still on-tap almost a week later. Poured into a snifter. Served a little on the cold side, tried to give it some time to warm up. 2009 Version (aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels).

A- Pours a dark, chocolate brown, borderline black. Produced two fingers width of cream colored head; reduced to a frothy ring.

S- Notes of chocolate, subtle vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Very mellow, but a complete package in terms of complexity.

T- Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and bourbon create a perfect blend as soon as it touches the palate. More on the mellow side at first, yet quite complex. The bourbon comes forward a little more in the finish along with some of the barrel qualities.

M- At first it was slightly watered down and not as viscous as I had hoped for. However, after I let this beer warm up, the body thickened a bit and was more than satisfactory.

D- For a BA RIS, this was incredibly drinkable. At 10% abv. can't ask for much more.

Overall, a little more bourbon forward then some I have had in the past, but still maintained the subtle complexities of an aged bottle. Incredibly smooth and a perfect fit between BA RIS that have too much bourbon and BA RIS that do not have enough bourbon qualities in them.

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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 khiasmus
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is the rhythm of the night. The horns blaring, jarring lights glaring in the corners of the eyes, a cold wind whipping the streets far below, swaying the building, and only black when he looks up. Well, almost only black. The city's dank glow cast a hint of brown about the edges of the field of vision, a few small puffs of soap-bubble cloud drift by at eye level, then he is left with the cold, lonely blackness.
The aroma of the city drifts upwards, the massive amounts of bourbon from the distillery many long stories below. The city is rank with it, dripping with it. It is tearing apart families and building empires, creating both pleasure and misery, heartbreak, fatigue... The shoppes, then, a leather-shoppe, mingling with the bourbon as he kneels on the edge... A cream-sweetness, the old ice cream place, vanillins, the oak barrels of the fire-water plants, the warm stench of alcohol, burnt, spent grain.
And the flavours of that city... as many as the aromas, if not quite as piquant. Bourbon, of course. The cornerstone. World-class licorice, vanilla fudge, sweet oak-alcohol, alcohol, alcohol in the finish, and the burnt grain that wafts through, it's necessary for the plant, necessary for the city's survival, the constant burnt grain floating down the river, children laugh and play...
It's thin, though. warming and dry, wry humor, the humor that is built upon deep despair. Low carbonation, as any good distillery town should have... Few bubbly people, there's far too much to be somber about, too many bloody faces walking the streets, too many children without fathers.
The city is enjoyable for a tourist. You wouldn't want to live there, you wouldn't want to drink it constantly as the locals do, it will draw you in. WATCH OUT! It will draw you in, you'll never escape, you'll grow old and red, your world will become an endless dreamscape.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.79/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes:

2516 Series.

Pours a cola color. Decent head, retention, and lacing.

No mistaking this is a BA stout from the aroma...big time roasted barley, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, espresso, etc etc. Slightly nutty quality, too.

I hate to give this beer a 3.5 for flavor, but it was just a little too hot. The 9% ABV made itself known early and often. Some time in the cellar would do good, but this is still a damn good beer. It's got all of the elements of a dynamite imperial stout, but just a little too much heat. Will hopefully be re-visiting this one soon.

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Photo of fiver29
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. Easily one of the best beers I have tried. You can certainly tell this beer was aged in Jim Beam Barrels. Here in Cleveland they do a Jim Beam tasting along with beer tasting with this special release. Strong bourbon and toasted coffee aroma. Pours black with nice head retention. Bourbon flavors abound a light mouthfeel followed by dark chocolate/coffee like flavors. Beautiful long finish.

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Photo of John_M
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Generously provided by Brad (ygtbsm94) at the BA gathering at Max's yesterday.

The beer pours a brownish black color with an impressive creamy head. Head retention is very, very good, with lots of sticky lacing all around. Surprisingly, the nose is a bit muted, though I do get some light coffee and chocolate. What there is smells pretty good. Flavors on the palate pretty much replicate the nose, except there is nothing shy about the amount of flavor I get. I get a huge, rich, creamy presense of milk chocolate, cherry and coffee, with a hint of licorice. The mouthfeel is really impressive in this beer, and comes across as long, smooth and very creamy. Drinkability is very, very good for such a big beer, and I could see myself getting into trouble drinking this one.

The regular blackout stout isn't bad, but this is truly exceptional. Very well done.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium off-white foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of of well balanced vanilla, bourbon, oak with some deep roasted malt. Taste is also a well balanced mix between some bourbon. Vanilla and deep roasted malt with not one flavor overtaking the other. Body is lightly creamy while being full and carbonation is perfect for style, i.e. about average with no apparent alcohol. Easily drinkable with just enough character.

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Photo of rayjay
3.63/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Viscous looking black beer without significant carbonation or foam. Tiny islands of foam do persist though.

Lots of whiskey on the nose, a bit distracting. Smells like Canadian whiskey. Lots of sweet malts too, masking the roasted malts.

Very smooth and sweet, leading more to the Canadian whiskey parallel. Reminds me of a Dr Pepper and Canadian whiskey drink. Not a malt sweetness, more of a syrup-type sweetness, definitely bogarting the spotlight a bit. Roasted malts and hop bitterness are noticeable, but you have to look for them. I detect a lot more carmel malt than I remember being in the regular version (which I love). No heat at all, but gives you whiskey fume breath with every sip. I wish the wood was more up front.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery, guess I was expecting a heavier mouthfeel. Still pretty good. Carbonation is low. Smooth, but not the velvet mouthfeel type. More like whiskey drink on ice smooth.

Definitely drinkable, although drinking a bomber solo is a challenge. A good beer worth seeking out, but a bit of a let-down based on other reviews. I just really think the liquor is too dominant and distracting. Cheers!

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a short light tan head.

Scent of bourbon, oak, vanilla, sugars, dark fruit, roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. Complex and balanced, excellent.

Taste of bourbon, oak and chocolate initially, roasted malts, molasses and vanilla come in and linger for a bit. Finishes with bourbon, roasted malts, dry oak, and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth with a bit of carbonation.

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Photo of beerman207
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Kels for hooking Bamadog and I up at a tasting to celebrate her new job. This was aged from 2008.

A - Black as midnight - very dark - small head leaves some decent lacing behind. Very inviting

S - Oak, Coffee, bourbon, alcohol

T - Bourbon, coffee, alcohol present - fantastic flavor

M - Alcohol is dominant for me in the mouthfeel but in a good way. Very nice balance and feeling. This beer is very smooth. Much smoother than KBS.

D - The drinkability for this is very high considering the higher ABV. I could have easily had more of this. Wow. What a fantastic beer. Believe the hype on this one.

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

A - Pours black as midnight. Super thick looking, not a ton of head but it sits rather mightily atop my glass. Low visible carbonation.
S - Smells incredible. Strong hints of bourbon, smooth oak, espresso, caramel, slight pine, tobacco. Yum.
T - The taste follows the nose rather closely. Lovely roasted flavors here. Lots of espresso, strongish bourbon, slightly sweet. Just amazing.
M - Great mouthfeel. Perfectly weighted on the tongue, super smooth.
D - Goes down ultra smooth for a 9%er.

Blackout Stout is one of my all time favorite stouts, so when I heard that they did BA I knew that I had to get one. It didn't disappoint, simply delicious.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Dark Lord Day 2009

A: Good, dark black color without too much head.

S: Sweet, dark malts with a good amount of bourbon.

T: Very nice, and more complex than the nose let on. Plenty of roasted malt with underlying sweetness. The bourbon definitely comes through and coats the palate in a very nice way.

M: Pretty thick without having too much carbonation. A good jolt of alcohol.

D: Very, very nice. Great Lakes can simply seem to do no wrong.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black but not opaque and surprisingly clear. Smells of whiskey, tobacco and raisins make up the nose. First sip is bitter whiskey with, oak, raisins and other dark fruits dominating the flavor. Hints of coconuts and vanilla add to the beer's complexity. Slightly thin on the body and a little light on the carbonation. Very pleasant indeed!

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Photo of jampics2
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dear God,

When I die, please have this on tap at the Pearly Gates Bar and Grill - It wouldn't be heaven without it!

Cheers, Jampics2

(Seriously - this is the best beer I have ever had. More bourbon than the Founders KBS, smoother than Abyss, and rarer and "more special" than Darklord or just about anything else.) On to the good stuff:

A - Pours with little head. Blacker than Dick Cheney's soul.

S - Smells like luscious cocoa and a bit of bourbon spiceyness. You can tell this is going to be boozy, but alluring nonetheless.

T - Tastes like heaven - chocolate and bitter into vanilla bourbon bliss. The way this holds together is amazing. It's extreme in every fashion, but somehow everything balances out. Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns has every malady known to mankind and that's what's keeping him alive.

M - A little on the stingey side, but hearty and everything I'd want an RIS to be.

D - I had 4 the night it went on tap at GL. Not my shining moment, but it's so good I could just keep drinking it. If it wasn't so limited in bottles, I could see opening 2 in a night.

Overall, this is A++. This is the perfect beer IMO.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained in trade with unclejedi. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head recedes promptly, with leggy dwindling lace. Aroma is dark grains, vanilla, and alcohol. Taste is roasty sweetness upfront, barrel character in the middle, and alcohol warmth at the close. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, almost seems to evaporate off the tongue, and drinkability is very nice for the style. Could stand for a bit more body, but all in all a great offering.

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 419 ratings.
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