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

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1,820 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,820 |  Reviews: 423
Photo of mcallister
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
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 +7.8%
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 +7.8%
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 +7.8%
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 +7.8%
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 HaveUSeenMyCellar
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of djcira
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of PenguinBeerFan
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
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 +7.6%
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 +7.6%
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 +7.6%
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 Nichols33
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of craytonic
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
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 Gregf51
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tiffany0322
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of Tyecko
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of opwog
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of prototypic
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks go out to BuckeyeNation for his benevolence and generosity in sending me this fine beer.

Bottle labeled "Series 2516"

Appearance: It pours an extremely dark brown, nearly jet black color. The head is a dark, mocha brown color and is roughly two fingers deep. Retention was relatively good though lacing leaned toward the lighter end of the spectrum. In comparison, it's not materially different from Blackout Stout, which is also a very fine looking brew.

Smell: Clearly, it's elite in this regard. Very vibrant chocolate and roasted malt aroma is perfectly complemented with a touch of bourbon. The bourbon aroma is easily noticeable, but far from overwhelming. I gravitate more towards that combo as opposed to those where the bourbon is the primary feature. Roasted coffee, faint dark fruit, and light toasted nut aromas add complexity and depth. Alcohol appears to be masked very well. Hops make a slight appearance toward the end. There's no constructive way I could criticize the nose on this one. It truly is exceptional in every way.

Taste: Frankly, it's very similar to the nose. The bourbon flavor is blended very well with chocolate and roasted malts and complements those flavors very well. The bourbon again comes across as a secondary flavor. It's far from overwhelming. To me, the stout element of the beer is the primary attraction. There is a very nice roasted coffee flavor. Plum and toasted nut flavors are noteable, but not overly strong. It's very complex and flavorful. My only complaint is that the light hops that are noticeable in smell disappear in taste. Just a little light hop bitterness would perhaps take it to the next level. Very minor, constructive criticism. It's truly hard to take anything away from it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It definitely leans toward medium bodied. It's still a sipping beer and certainly one to savor. Carbonation is excellent. The mouthfeel is very creamy, smooth, and among the best I've had. Despite its high abv, it's very drinkable. I'm certainly appreciating the one bottle I have very much and am wishing I had more. This is an excellent bourbon barrel stout. It's clearly one of the best I've had the opportunity to try. Kentucky Breakfast Stout is perhaps a slight bit better, but not much. If you have the opportunity to try this one, you certainly should.

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Photo of akorsak
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 650 mL bottle, number 540 of 900 from the 2006 release, from a Dark Lord Day 2007 trade with kirok1999.

A: The stout pours thick and dark as a blackout on a moonless night. Even when I hold the Troegenator mug to a light source, ruby highlights are few and far between. A small coating of tan head tops off the stout with moderate lacing.

S: The nose is heavy on bourbon, an oaky, corn-laden sweetness that is right at home amongst the burnt, charred grains of the stout.

T: WOW! This is a well-blended, balanced stout. The barrel aging (and subsequent cellar aging) has done wonders, concentrating a buttery, oaken boozy flavor that is sweet but not overpowering. The result is a nice warming bourbon flavor. Interspersed with the bourbon is the body of the beast: Blackout! Dark molasses, burnt toast and raisins, baker's chocolate define the moist stout. A subtle tartness pops up near the end of a sip, adding a twist before fading back to a bourbon finish. This is the best barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout (not American Double Stout, mind you) that I've had.

M: A near-perfect blend of bourbon and stout. Neither taste overpowers the other, instead they play nicely from the first sip to the last.

D: If you've got an '06 vintage laying around, it's drinkin' beautifully right now. The alcohol is present but never distracting and the bourbon-stout combo is a revelation.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to my awesome brother-in-law Dave for hooking me up with this beauty! Pitch black pour with a one finger caramel colored head that fades quickly. The smell is over the top! Very complex with the bourbon as the star. I'm also getting some dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, espresso, and toffee. The taste is complex as well, with the bourbon once again dominant. Loads of oak and vanilla as well as dark chocolate, espresso, and a hint of cloves. This improved so much as it came to temperature. And the warming of the alcohol was really nice, but well disguised. Extremely smoothe and really scary drinkability, especially considering I had a nice buzz after just one bomber. Definitely one of those rare beers to just appreciate and enjoy slowly. Thanks again Dave!

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Photo of waltonc
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle acquired in a trade thanks to pabobcat.

A: Pours nearly black with small, but not insignificant tan head. The head eventually disappears completely without a shred of lacing.

S: Bourbon, boozy, chocolaty dark malts.

T: Exceptional flavor - really nice bourbon, not hot at all (perhaps because of the 2 years of aging), chocolate, vanilla. Not really any soy or molasses compared to, say, Dark Lord. A little sweetness, but not anywhere close to being cloying.

M: Medium bodied and carbonation that starts out feeling a tad light but finishes perfectly. Definitely not a crazy thick stout like Dark Lord or Darkness.

D: This is extraordinarily drinkable for a 9% stout. In fact, I am taking occasional double gulps, like Harry Carey drinking a cool Budweiser after eating barbecued spareribs.

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Photo of Deuane
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub during the mug club member release party.

A-Deep dark, almost black, brown with ruby highlights. Small tan head holds on and finally lets go to a rim of film along the edges. Spotty lace clings behind.

S-Present, but not overwhelming, bourbon notes with oak, vanilla, earth, tobacco and bitter chocolate swirling with roasty/toasty malt.

T-Mmmm, mmmm, mmm! A bif ole mouthful smooth, mellow oak aged bourbon. Vanilla and caramel malt sweetness are complimented by dry/bitter tones of chocolate, oak, espresso and tobacco. Alcohol heat certainly present but not offensive. All well supported by a healthy dose of roasted malt.

M-Medium-heavy body with a super smooth and luscious!

D-Big and robust...a brew with serious kahones! A beer that deserves more (shhh lets keep it to ourselves) hype. Who cares as long as I can get more in the future.

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Photo of brentk56
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Zip's in Cincinnati

Appearance: Arrives in a snifter with a finger of ecru foam on top of the black liquid; leaves just a bit of lacing behind

Smell: Subtle hints of bourbon waft above the chocolate, vanilla and oak elements

Taste: Up front, the chocolate, bourbon and vanilla elements blend together with some fruit and licorice arriving at mid-palate; all the elements come together in the finish in a balanced fashion

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; very smooth

Overall: In terms of balance, this has to be one of the best examples of a bourbon barrel aged stout I have encountered; I was told it was a year old and the flavors have mellowed perfectly

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Photo of mdeluna
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of rtaps
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours black with a small light brown head, that has fairly short retention. looks viscous and leaves spotty lacing behind

roasted chocolate brownies, coffee, dark fruits, mild bourbon notes

very rich milk chocolate, with some coffee notes, some bourbon heat on the back end

medium bodied and carbonation, and viscous

overall the nose is great and got better as it warmed, the taste fallowed the nose it was great and got better and had more depth as it warmed, would love to get more bottles of this. thanks PittRooney for the trade

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 1,820 ratings
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