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

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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:
1,371
Gots:
348
For Trade:
36
User Reviews
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Reviews: 419 | Ratings: 1,792
Photo of jjayjaye
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque darkness with a wispy shallow off tan head that fades quickly, leaving negligible lacing in it's wake. A moderately intense heavily roasted malt note shares the space with a nice but understated barrel aged character. The mouth feel is medium-heavy bodied, adequately carbonated with a silky smooth texture that compliments the taste REALLY well. Barely enough 'coating' nature to complement the flavors. Full flavored (4.25), moderate levels of bourbon capture your attention while a roasted and 'well TOASTed' thing happens. The feel lacks the substance to complement with enough 'hang time'. The 9% ABV is REAL (..and will kick butt._) however..this one MUST keep on - keep'in on. Many thanks for the opportunity, Kev!!

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Photo of BB1313
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. I've had this in the past. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours jet black, mocha head which fades and not overwhelming lacing or retention. Smells like a chocolate chip cookie. Lots of dark chocolate, vanilla, expresso, bourbon, oak/wood. Wow, this is alot boozier than I recall from the past. I always got very subtle bourbon notes, but it's very noticeable in this vintage. Dark chocolate dominates the flavors along with more oak and bourbon. Bittersweet. Mouthfeel is nice and on the lighter side; not heavy and well carbonated. Although the alcohol is noticeable and it finishes hot, it's very tasty and enjoyable. This makes a great sipper.

Great stout which will benefit from time. 2012 vintage is boozier than previous vintages I've had. Age this one!

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

January 2012 Vintage from the bottle.

A: Dark as night with about a finger of tan head. A decent amount of foamy lacing.

S: Bourbon and woodiness, with very faint hints of vanilla and roasted malt. Chocolately notes come through as the brew warms. Not quite as in your face as other BBA stouts, but still good.

T: Roasted malt and bitter chocolate are actually almost just a prominent as the bourbon barrel. Again not as in your face as most barrel aged brews, but very good balance.

M: Barely full bodied, which is a rarity for a barrel aged stout - they're usually thick and syrupy. It works for this beer, though, since it isn't as big as many other barrel aged beers. Alcohol is apparent, but does not interfere.

O: A very good beer. This was the first time I had had this in its bottled form (living in Cleveland, it isn't too hard to get some on draft around release time). I like the fresh bottle a little more than the fresh tap. A little more balance, not as much alcohol presence (though there is still some). Not quite as good as some of the elite BBA stouts like BCBS, but a great beer nonetheless. The Ohio 12% cap on abv probably does not help Great Lakes in this respect, but they turn out amazing beer anyway.

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

Thanks nhindian!

A: The beer is pitch black with about a finger of light brown head. The head's retention is decent, and it laces my glass in thin wisps. 4

S: The aroma is quite robust and really works the entire spectrum of bourbon and stout. Things start off with roasted malt and some booze, but the baker's chocolate, whiskey, and vanilla really take the nose over quickly. The beer even smells thick. The finish is of oak and some more roast. I thought the aroma could use another factor to make it stand out, along with toning down the booziness. Either way it's a really solid overall aroma. 4.5

T: The taste starts off small, chocolate mostly, but then an assault of booze and vanilla comes your way. The assault calms into a nice taste of bourbon and oak, with the chocolate coming back into play, and it all finishes with a cool boozy oakiness and slight roast. This beer is very much like a smooth bourbon, with a chocolately body. The chocolate is sweet to curb what would otherwise be an offensive amount of alcohol. It's a very nice balance. 4

MF: The body is very full with a lower than average amount of carbonation. Despite all the alcohol I found this to be very drinkable. I was surprised to find the alcohol to be that prominent despite the beer being below 10% ABV. It's my lone detraction from this otherwise well concocted drink. 3.5

O: This beer was damn good. Probably the best beer I've ever had from Ohio. Really glad I got a full 4pack as I fully expect this to improve after a year or so as the bourbon cools off a bit. Don't miss this one! 4

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

<i>14/400</i>... Poured an opaque black color with a small, tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of vanilla oak, some butter, lots of bourbon, roast, caramel malts, and nuts. Taste of chocolate, some smoke, vanilla oak, roast, some light spices, and finishing with a whisky / alcohol burn. Thin mouthfeel for an impy.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like a stout. Black, lighter then tan head boardering on off white. Sticky lacing, relative good staying power in the head. Aroma is some what muted, what is there smells of vanilla mixed with chocolate milk and light roast. But again it is very faint, however as it 'breaths' the aroma pronounces itself more. Flavor wins all the points here. Nice marriage of barrel to beer. Chocolate, roast, and vanilla mesh seemlessly with bourbon barrel vanilla and toffee. Velvety smooth mouthfeel and rich. Little hint of alocohole here and there, actually kinda hot-ish for a beer of 9.5%. That's it that's all, great beer here.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmm . . . This one is a strange ba stout in my opinion. Nothing is necessarily out of place and it doesn't even come across as disjointed per se. However, as a whole nothing stands out as world class or even above average for me. I suspect that this beer has been better in seasons past and may be better in seasons future. Meaning that this years version of ba Blackout is possibly a product of quality issues I believe has plagued many of GLBC brews this year. Then again as an after thought, this was probably brewed and barreled in 2014 and coincidently bottled in 2015. Anywho . . . even from the pour it almost doesn't resemble a deep and richly black imperial stout. This appears to be more of a very dark brown. Very little head and some lacing lingers as I search for words to overly describe this beer. Aroma is overall good with plenty of roastiness and some bourbon. Taste is fine overall but the flavors come off as rather mute and watered down in a sense. Even the bourbon is pretty subtle. Which I can usually appreciate world class subtleties in world class beers but like I mentioned above . . . Nothing is coming off as above average. The number one thing that makes or breaks a beer for me other than taste is mouthfeel. This beer has an average feel in my book. Just too thin with no substance. So, in closing I will seek this out again. Maybe next year or Lord willing the year after that as I believe GLBC has had some quality issues in 2015 for whatever reason . . . Nosferatu, Dortmunder, Oktoberfest, etc. Until then some think this is tje best. Some will argue that Jackie O's has a better ba stout. But in my book, Thirsty Dogs ba Siberian Night still sits atop the throne as Ohio's best ba stout.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish amber. Off white head forms and leaves some lace. Aroma of malt, coffee, vanilla, of course, some bourbon. In the taste, roasted malt, vanilla, smoke, wood and a warming booze. You get a lot of the barrel with this brew. Roasted and a lot of tannins drying it out. Full bodied, smooth, dry and satisfying. Overall, a different beast than the regular, more coffee and vanilla tasting version. A standalone giant in its own right.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2013. Tasted alongside regular Blackout Stout. Teku glass.

A: Pours mostly black, a dark coffee brown around the edges, with a half finger of light brown head which recedes quickly to a thick ring. Quite good clarity. Good retention for what's there, and a few streaks and dots of lacing.

S: Sweet, round whiskey, oak, and vanilla, and alcohol burn.

T: Bourbon that burns a little as it goes down, vanilla extract and oak, an undertone of chocolate malt and roast which imparts some structure, with a long, slightly boozy and barrel-y finish.

M: Medium-full body and medium-light, slightly sharp carbonation.

O: The barrel treatment is a bit on the harsher end, esp. with the alcohol burn, and the base characteristics are pretty overwhelmed. Some of the harshness mellows out as it warms to room temperature, but it remains.

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Photo of seeswo
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle split with Josh. Pours black with a small tan head. The nose is nice - milk chocolate, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, bourbon. The taste is a mish mash of bourbon (w/ vanilla and oak) and smaller amounts of bitter chocolate/coffee. The bitterness in the finish is just a touch much for me in that it winds up being a touch acrid. The mouthfeel is really nice and smooth. Overall, this beer was good, but not nearly as good as when I had it on tap at the Great Taste. Will be happy to try this one fresh.

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Photo of jpiper
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at GL. I've been drinking this at the source about every other day since the release. I've never had a beer whose flavor was so dependent on what I had eaten immediately prior than this one. First day I was disappointed; second I was impressed; third day was also a let down, until I started in on the pretzels, then it was pretty good; fourth day was best of all. So I asked if they mixed the batches or went straight from barrel to keg. Evidently they mix them. So, I rate with an emphasis on the good days. This beer can be impressive. I imagine giving this one some time to mellow out can only help, but the barrel aging surely takes this a step or two about the regular Blackout. So creamy and delicious.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 360 of 900 from 2006 release. Pours black, an agressive pour yields a very small light to medium tan head that quickly fades. Aroma is somewhat smoky like burnt leaves, a light cocoa sweetness and cola aroma leads into a boozy and woodiness. Some soft sweet vanilla up front in the taste, slightly cola-y before a good bite of alcohol and drying finish. Leaves a nice roasty dry aftertaste with a small bit of tangy acidity. Medium to heavy in body, quite soft on the palette at first, finishes with a decent bite and drying hoppy and woodiness. Very nice beer, love the biting finish and dry roasty aftertaste.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 12oz bottle (acquired via trade) into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: seemed to pour a little light and foamy to me, but the expected black with minimal head in the glass.

Smell: huge chocolate, vanilla, cherry. Pretty mild bourbon/barrel notes.

Taste: chocolatey, pretty sweet, mild bourbon, with some oak and maybe very minimal hops bitterness. Alcohol present but not dominant. No off flavors, but adds up to less than the sum of its parts nonetheless.

Feel: oily, a bit sudsy, medium-to-full bodied. Not at all dry.

Overall: pretty good, actually, but clearly a notch below the top tier. I was probably a bit hard on this; interested to see how the 2012, 2014, and non-BA iterations I've got in the cellar stack up.

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Photo of harrymel
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2013

I'm a huge fan of Blackout and I am happy to have this one in my hands. It's been a want of mine for quite some time that a gracious local BA put into my hands.

It's black as it's namesake and has a central pillow and flanking ring of mocha foam. Smells of graham, oak, toasted malts, residually melted sugars, a hint of craft caramel, some vanilla, alcohol and raw oats. Flavor follows suit: malts, oak, vanilla, oak, leathery, a bit of fig, a solid molasses undertone (nothing too overpowering, just a complement), and some nougat. Nearly full bodied with slightly hi carb and a semi dry finish. This a really tasty beer. I'm glad to have had it, and I would drink it again for certain.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mcallister for the trade, I got this one back in Nov 07 so I think it's a good guess that this is from the 07 release. 2516 Series on the label.

Almost completely dark with only the slightest hints of ruby on the sides. A soft inch of mocha colored foam rose to the top of the glass and receded very slowly back into the beer. Good retention, a bit of lacing, and a swirl brings back some more foam which is quite impressive for a BA beer.

Bourbon on the nose as I first started pouring but once it's in the glass I can pick up some dry oak, vanilla, wet grains, sugar cookies, dark roasted malts, and bitter chocolate. Not as complex as I thought it would be but still quite good. A little more brown sugar and some lactic sweetness. Lots of dry oak, tannins, and cocoa. Vanilla seems to intensify a bit more as the beer warms up.

More chocolate on the flavor than the aroma...wow, very smooth. The barrel seems to have faded to the background but it is so darn tasty. Hints of vanilla, crème, oak, an toasted malts. A little alcohol heat in the finish and somewhat tingly on the tongue too. As the beer warms up it's all chocolate in the finish with hints of oak.

Very smooth and rich upfront but a tad thin in the middle and finish, low carbonation. Thinner body as it warms up but it's expected from a BA beer.

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Photo of rodkin
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottling.

Pretty standard appearance. Black, kind of thick looking but honestly not as much as I would expect. Tiny little head that disappears almost completely, leaving minimal lacing around the side of the glass.

Smell is coffee, chocolate, some barrel, bit of heat, maybe a little vanilla. More of the slightly bitter burnt malt flavors than the sweet ones, though.

Taste confirms the smell. Burnt coffee grounds, dark chocolate, some bourbon, and just a little hint of vanilla sweetness. It's actually pretty nice, avoids a cloying sweetness. A little milk chocolate on the way down, especially as it warms. Maybe a tiny bit of dark fruit, too. It's not too hot, but it does have a kind of boozy flavor.

Mouthfeel is fine. Not too thick, but it works pretty well. Decent carb, decently creamy.

Overall, a pretty good BA stout. A bit too boozy for my taste, which hurts drinkability, but it's got some good flavors. I'd be curious to see what some age does to it. Didn't really blow me away, though... maybe I've just been having too many stouts recently.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle. Rambling aroma of thinning nuts, fire and marshmallow. Coffees come forth, but fade quickly. Subdued and absent. Pours deep brown with ruby corners and a rim of tan. Light carbonation. A machismo of coffee rubs against the grain of background wood and toothy sugars. Chewiness absent. Bright and nostril burning. Fairly dry and not overly heavy. Nutty dry. Smack excels in this beer with a never ending carousel of left over coffee tannins, chocolate dust, chipotle and edges of earth. Thanks for sharing, Andy!

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Photo of Jredner
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bourbon, vanilla, oak, light pineapple, chocolate and essresso all appear in this very intense aroma. The body is deep black and holds a diminishing, wispy mocha head.

Smooth roasted dark chocolate in the fore is followed by a heavy bourbon blast which then rolls toward vanilla, roasted/burnt malt and milk chocolate flakes and creamed coffee. It almost seems less intense than the original as far as the base flavor, but barrel aging can sometimes alter beers in odd ways. I’d actually say i like this version a bit better than the original.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from '10 bomber into tulip glass. Pours opaque dark brown color with a small off white creamy head. Smells like chocolate liquor, vanilla, brown sugar and molasses. Initial taste is a medium body that coats the mouth with caramel and roasty smokiness. Quite a lot of warming from alcohol. Finishing with chocolate and warming alcohol presence. Flavor hangs around for a while, but doesn't quite match up to the regular blackout stout that I really love. A still good beer nonetheless, but I'd rather get a six pack of the regular one which is much easier.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is dark brown with a tight toffee colored head. Nose is light bourbon and wood, fair bit of sweet milk chocolate, hints of anise and chewy caramel. Taste has more wood, lots. Fairly forward bourbon notes, lots of rich milk chocolate and some sweeter caramel type malt. Full bodied, thick and creamy with strong carbonation and some alcohol burn through the finish. Heavy on the bourbon and wood side.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle shared by Thirstybird. 2009 vintage. Pours 2-3 shades shy of black with zero head; just a few clusters of bubbles. Nose is malty, suggests artificial sweetener and cocoa (reminds me a bit of BA IST). Taste is much better than implied by the nose. There is a suggestion of spirits, but this is not a bourbony BA beer. Flavor profile reveals chocolate, roast and some earthiness. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style - body is medium-light with a mild, easy carbonation. All and all, a very drinkable and approachable beer but lacking some of the bolder characteristics of the style.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a. 12 oz bottle into a 8 oz snifter. 2011 vintage.

A- pours black with a 1 finger dark tan head. Small blotches and trails of lacing.

S- big coffee nose, roast, vanilla and some bourbon.

T- bitter coffee and dark roasted malts. Bourbon and vanilla come into play in the middle. Finishes with a abv, bourbon note.

M- full body and medium carbonation. Drinks easily with a sligh bitter bite near the finish.

O- nice BA stout but not one I will seek out every year.

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Photo of squaremile
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the recent BA tasting at Bailey's Taproom. After having a number of world class imperial stouts, we cracked this and wows were heard around the table. Color is pitch black with a small head, aroma is a bit boozy but pleasant. The taste is a great balance of coffee and barrel flavors balanced by a light sweetness. It was not an overpowering beer, but very well executed and unique.

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Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured via 22oz. bomber into goblet on 12/19/08. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Poured an opaque, deep black body with slim tan head that receded into patchy film and left decent lacing around the glass.

S - Subtle nose for a barrel-aged stout with hints of bourbon, chocolate malt, licorice and a bit of alcohol.

T - Initial flavor is a mixture of bourbon, chocolate, mild coffee and woody notes with a definite oak presence. The bourbon rose to the forefront as the liquid approached room temperature.

M - Smooth and creamy texture with soft carbonation and a bit of heat from the alcohol presence.

D - The bourbon character is fairly subtle here, making this one go down quite easily. Good stuff!

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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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