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

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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%
 
 
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1,371
Gots:
348
For Trade:
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Reviews: 419 | Ratings: 1,792
Photo of Skrypt
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Swamp Head snifter. Bottled 2013. Served at 55F.

Pours a thick beige head that dissipates quickly, but that's probably due to this glass having been run through the dishwasher.

Really faint nose. Not really picking up much of anything outside of a little smoke, bourbon and vanilla.

The front is a really subtle light, floral hop taste that lasts for a second and is followed by a coffee-like bitterness and milk chocolate. The finish is dominated by bourbon.

This is a nice full-bodied stout that has a really surprising softness in the mouth, as if it were carbonated with nitrogen. Medium carbonation overall, though. There's a pretty good bit of alcohol heat.

Overall, this is a really enjoyable brew, but the barrel aging actually took away some of the subtlety that makes the original so good. The barrel characteristics haven't integrated very well. I'm going to let my second bottle sit in the cellar for 12 months or so and see how it compares to the regular Blackout then.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah, goin' through the review notebook. Got this one from a BIF, I do believe. Mucho thanks to the fine individual who sent this along.

A- Nice motor oil pour with a brown sugar, thick 2cm head that has tremendous staying power (and visual appeal). Wow, that's a nice pour.

S- Big bourbony sweetness. Vanilla and caramel, pretty light, not much char.

T- A lot stronger roast malt presence than I found in the nose. Bitter chocolate and a bit of molasses, def. oak presence and straight bourbon are noted too. Explosive flavors- very agressive, and well-executed. I'm impressed.

M- Lower than average carbonation, but since the flavors are on point, I'll suffer through it ;)

D- Moderate. b-bal stouts are a dime a dozen these days, but it takes more than a barrel and a stout to make a good beer. This one is just that- a (very) good beer. I would not hesitate to drink this one again. Impressive.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Curran last night.

This one pours a moderately dark black, not the darkest I've ever seen, with a quarter inch head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

This one smells like cookie dough, chocolate, and some light sweet bourbon.

This is one of more balanced, lighter BA stouts out there. It tastes really good, but it seems to lack the general oomph I'm looking for in this style. It's got a lot of cocoa powder, cookie dough, and vanilla flavors, with a milder bourbon presence than expected. If I were to guess, this is probably blended and not 100% barrel aged.

This is a bit thin for the style, but that's probably a part of the 9.5% ABV- a few notches lower than the typical BA RIS. It's got a very creamy mouthfeel, with a lower level of carbonation.

This is not quite at the level of other big name BA stouts. It's also

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

Waited till my birthday to crack my first one of these. Poured into a snifter.

A- Its very difficult to get any head on this beer at all yet somehow there are tons of pearls of lacing polka dotting the glass. I must say that the beer didnt look very thick on the pour (at least by BA RIS standards.)

S- Oak is quite strong here giving the beer a smooth vanilla smell. Bourbon is there but it brings a boozy smell more than anything else, I would like more character from the bourbon. Milk chocolate and a shot of anise intermingle with currants and mulberries.

T- While not the heaviest on bourbon, this one does allow the boozy stuff to jump out at you. The bourbon and alcohol are certainly the last flavors left in your mouth, and boy do they stick around. Do they over stay their welcome? Thats subjective, but it could be the case for many people. Lots of barrel notes of wood and vanilla. Since the barrels dominate I have to poke around the flavor profile to find the Blackout Stout beneath. Its there, with its nice chocolatiness, but it does like to give you a run around.

M- Low carbonation, as the pour already had me thinking. Thats no worry though, a BA stout that has a lot of carbonation either has a problem or isnt executed to my liking. This is thin as compared to lots of it's peers.

D- 2010's batch is feeling much higher than the listed 9.5% even though my bottle says 9% even. Im having a hard time believing either. Place this blind in front of most people and they would guess around the 11% mark.

The verdict: A good beer, one for the cellar. I didnt put myself too far out of the way to obtain my allotment and for that Im glad. As it stands, I wouldnt do much more for some of this. We will stash one and see what it becomes. I have a feeling it will be a late bloomer.

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Photo of SirSketch
3.96/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Firm tan head that stays. Primarily black in color with just a small amount of deep red highlights.

S - Mainly bourbon in the aroma and a strong oak character. The whiskey works well with the roasty/burnt smell in the beer. Great vanilla aroma, too.

T - Thankfully, the bourbon and malt flavor contributions are more balanced than in the aroma. Big on the chocolate and french roast coffee flavors. Maybe a bit of astringency from the dark grain. One of the better bourbon characteristics I've had in a beer.

M/D - Very smooth, buttery mouthfeel that makes this beer a pleasure to drink. Overall, a great example of bourbon barrel aging.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottles courtesy of both Sliffy and JSquires. An imperial stout yes, not a Russian. Another good example of a bourbon barrel aged. But I would like some other tastes besides bourbon. The stout is black, the head is off-white and gourgeous with bubbles. There is active carbonation. Seems a slice thinner than the non-barrelled.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BA review #700. Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Black with half a finger of bubbly light brown head that very quickly receded to a ring around the glass.

S - Huge bourbon aroma up front with vanilla and oak complimenting it. Some roasted malts and chocolate in the background.

T - Bourbon, vanilla and oak up front. Toasted oats, chocolate an some sweetness in the middle. Warming alcohol and bourbon returning in the finish.

M - Medium body. A little thin at times and definitely thin for the style. Moderate carbonation that was a little heavy for my liking.

O - This was very good but missed the mark for me (based on expectation). Needs more body and less carbonation. Mouth feel got considerably better in after about a half hour in the glass.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewing 2013 vintage, been on my want list for many years.

Pours a black body, head is tan in color. Head retention was slightly below average and lacing was above average.

Smells of sweet bourbon, vanilla, chocolate malts, and a hint of honey. For 10% abv, I definitely got a good whiff of alcohol.

Taste is a mix of a classic imperial stout, deep roasted malts, combined with sharp bourbon notes. Surprised at the raw ethanol characteristics of the beer, at almost two years old the beer still has a kick to it. Chocolate and burnt malts offset that unpleasant heat. Beer finishes with some vanilla sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Head died fast and unfortunately didn't contribute any.

Overall this was a good beer but it was a little underwhelming. The hype surrounding this beer as one of the top 250 in the world probably raised my expectations somewhat. Bourbon was pretty pronounced but all the other flavors were kinda muted. Glad I got to try it but It wasn't anywhere close to the top barrel aged stouts out there.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Thanks to Peter for opening this one up from the most recent release. Poured into a tulip glass a dark brown color with a slight tan head. The aroma is very subtle with slight hints of roast and booze. Medium mouthfeel. The oak is pretty subdued with notes of vanilla. The one thing I would say is that this beer is very smooth and easy drinking. I wish it had more of a oak barrel flavor to it but it does have a fair amount of vanilla flavors. The appearance of this really upsets me, there is no head and no lace, booo.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black with browning around the edges. finger of head.
The aroma and flavors give off vanilla, i am kinda surprised by how much on the palate actually. good stuff. there is a solid roasted malt backbone through the center of this holding it all toghether and it has aspects that remind me of coffee a bit. Chocolate is here too but melded with bourbon into a creamy concoction. Good stuff all around. I wish the mouthfeel had a bit more viscosity....but i say that about every stout. :)

The flavors are best in show here, good stuff. If this got a bit more body, and a bit more aromatics, it would be more awesome...er.

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Photo of ricke
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, quite pale for the style, with an off-white head.

The aroma is lightly roasted with notes of milk chocolate, bourbon, toasted almonds, ashes and salty licorice.

The flavor is quite sweet with delicate malty backbone of roasted coffee, caramel, fudge and chocolate. Bourbon, almonds, vanilla and some light smoky notes. The finish is lightly bitter with lingering notes of oak, bourbon and salty licorice. Medium body, smooth carbonation.

I had high expectations on this one, and unfortunately they weren't really met. A decent barrel aged imperial stout, no more.

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Photo of marvin213
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It has essentially no head. Though black as a country night, little foam suggests a thin body. The smell is nice. As I had, hoped, this seems like a testimony to the oak barrel--no sweet bourbon or other such influence--just a nose of rustic oak on big RIS. It's a deep, consistent, chocolatey, raisin-liquid. There are malts and anise, and there is oak barrel in a barn, untouched and virgin.

So why do I feel guilty about missing the bourbon? Do I compare this among all barrel-aged brews, or just non-bourbon BA brews? There's a difference! Oddly, I can't help but wonder what it'd be like aged in a Buffalo Trace barrel. It's good, but underwhelming. It's that flatness I feared at the outset! I'd like to have it again, but I am unlikely to seek it out.

Edit: After reading other reviews, I see it is indeed bourbon barrels. I'm shocked. I really don't get bourbon. Maybe this one's not just flat...but flatlined? But how wouldn't I get more nose? Perhaps I started too cold. I suppose I get it more as it warms, but I do not get a well-blended bourbon beer. I smelled goodness, and can get some of that (goodness), but for me the good bourbon has left the building.

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Photo of n2185
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with a finger of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of sweet cocoa with vanilla, oak, and bourbon dominate. There are also notes of toffee and sweet chocolate.

T: sweet cocoa and bourbon dominate with vanilla, toffee, and oak also very prevalent. The finish is lightly boozy and sweet.

M: thick body with medium carbonation, this beer is nice and lively on the tongue.

O: a good beer, overall. Not terribly complex, but quite tasty nonetheless

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/06/10- Had this one on-tap at the GL brew pub.
A: Pitch black, brown hues, thinner cream collar.
S: Nice vanilla bourbon, molasses, light cigar, clean, not woodsy.
T: Sweet, cigar, molasses, smokey burnt, close to DL with vanilla and oak.
M: Sticky sweet, with some carbonation.
D: Pretty good for a couple glasses.

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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 Raj
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2014 bottle. 12oz pour. Aged at room temp.

A: black with dark brown highlights. Minimal head. Leaves a little coating on the glass but not vicious.
S: upfront fudgey, chocolate. oaky, light vanilla, dark fruit (very dark cherry or prune), cola. Some bourbon on the nose, but more dominated by chocolate and oaky notes.
T: taste is very similar, starts with bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, oaky notes, dark fruit. Pretty smooth. Some roast and slight bitterness to balance. Still has the cola flavor. I do get some bourbon and slight alcohol burn toward the end.
M: medium, but a little thin compared to what I expect from a BA stout.
O: solid BA stout. Nice balance of the expected flavors, do wish it was a little thicker and less cola.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The appearance on this one is dark dark black with a one finger mocha tan colored head. It is a fluffy head that leaves a light lacing on the glass. Although the lacing does not last forever, it has some grainy legs that like to creep on the sides of the glass. A good looking Imperial Stout.

The smell is of chocolate, bourbon oak barrels, ABV heat, burnt and roasted grains, earth.

The taste is a little thin, which is a common problem with barrel aged imperial stouts. The barrel thins out a base beer making everything else a little light on the palate. This beer has lots of burnt and roasted grains, earth, chocolate and bourbon. I am not sure if this bottle is a blend of barrel and un-barrel beer, but it is not very intense. Everything is somewhat muted, and I think it is because this beer is going through its transitional period. It is turning into something different and better, and we popped the bottle a little early. I can see this turning into something great, but not now.

The body is light and a bit hot with some graininess. It is a bit hot and incredibly astringent. Sucks your palate dry, the glass of water was refilled a few times by the end.

This is a good beer, but I opened to a bit too soon before its full transition. I am not sure what this would have tasted like fresh, but a year or so is going to be this beers time to shine.
J

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Photo of Spider889
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage: "2516 Series"

The snifter of this that I had at the release party seemed underwhelming, but I interpreted it as a rushed keg (I want to say they kept pushing back the release date due to space/tank availability issues. The carbonation was low and the beer seemed lackluster and soapy to some extent (but still desirable).

This bottle rectifies that, and falls more in line with past releases...

A - Poured into a Cigar City snifter. The beer is a dense black. Blackout Stout has never been the thickest of beers, 2011 vintage more than I remember in years past, even. But somehow this bottle of BA Blackout seems thicker than the base beer (normally I find this to be the reverse). The head is rather short, a greyish cream color, but has decent enough staying power over time. Only the slightest hint of lace feebly clings to my glass.

S - The aroma is the best part of this beer - at least this year's vintage, at this point in the aging process. Vanilla and oak are huge here, and appreciably make this one to inhale over and over again.A slight roasty chocolate notion falls in line behind the luscious vanilla, and as I dig deeper still - often by literally getting my nose deep into the snifter - I can find ripe bourbon whiskey character. It's slightly fruity and a little boozy with a dollop of honeyed sweetness on the back end.

T - The bourbon is really prominent this year. I find it slightly off-putting for my tastes. The bourbon is not hot by any means, but just potent. It masks much of the base beer which disappoints. The fruity character of the bourbon almost tricks me into thinking that there's a tartness to the beer, but closer inspection tells me that yes, this is only the prominence of the barrel. Charred oak and mild ash hints to what this beer once was, and a subtle sweet chocolate note foretells what this beer will one day become if cellared. In any case, this beer is still delicious, but needs some extended age for me.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sticky texture with a nice mocha coffee finish/aftertaste.

O - There's a reason this is one of my favorite beers - Great Lakes knows their stuff. This year's vintage is simply more whiskey-forward than I remember from last year. Ought to age very well.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jmacdaddy2008 for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown color with a 1 inch khaki head that fades to an oily cap. Random thin streaks and spots of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and cocoa powder. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, cocoa powder, and slight coffee. There is a definite alcohol warmth felt in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has lower carbonation and is a bit flat with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS with some nice bourbon qualities but it's not as good as I thought it would be. I am glad I got to try this one though.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"2516 Series," which I guess is the same as the 2009 bottling. A million thanks to kels for facilitating this one. Have held onto it as long as I possibly could--it was screaming to finally be released from its glass prison...first sip is a big "cheers!" to Kelley.

Pours a midnight black with super-subtle rust-brown and ruby hues. Head is a light tan but doesn't hang around very long. Turns to a thin crown quickly.

Aroma is a mixture of dark fruit (esp. fig and raisin), touch of alcohol, freshly cut wood, and spent coffee grounds. There wasn't much chill on this, but even with warming it started to recall whiskey each time I brought it to the nose.

Upon the tongue the wood is prominent, and together with the warmth of the alcohol it gives the impression of being as much aligned with whiskey or other spirits as much as it belongs to the beer family. But everything balances out pretty well -- there are liqueur-soaked dark berry, fig and plum elements, a nice helping of vanilla, and a watery milk-chocolate vibe. Leaves a lasting finish, yet again favoring the alcohol and wood.

Texturally it's a smooth, gliding, slick kind of thing...not as thick as many stouts, not as chewy, which makes it particularly easy to drink. A little sticky, and without much carbonation (fine by me).

If I think this was a little underwhelming, that's only because it's ranked so incredibly high on this site. A little too woody and alcoholic, could use more big gooey chocolate, thick sweet cream and coffee characteristics--the stuff of my favorite stouts--but still a good stout? No doubt about it.

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Photo of Florida9
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Black, but with just a little bit of light shining through on the side. Forms a thin, light tannish head on the pour. No lacing.

S: Obvious aroma of bourbon and vanilla followed by the sweet smell of dark malt.

T: Okay, there is now no mistaking the barrel-aging on this one. Taste is virtually all bourbon, vanilla, oak, and alcohol, with dark malts, molasses, and brown sugar playing a supporting role. Quite full flavored.

M: On the lighter side of heavy with appropriate carbonation.

D: Too brash and in-your-face on the barrel aging for my tastes. Maybe this beer will improve with age, maybe the bourbon qualities will tone down and reveal a more subdued and complex beer. I don't know, but in it's current state, it was just too much for me to consider overly enjoyable.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i believe this is the 2012 batch.

poured into a snifter, just a shade lighter than black, negligible though. thin tan head. nothin crazy, looks like an imperial stout.

nose:slightly overdone oatmeal raisin cookies soaked in bourbon, touch of coffee.

dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon is present but doesn't really over whelm. could use a touch more roasted character, still a solid beer.

mouthfeel is a touch lacking. still a solid beer.

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Photo of camil1mj
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 12 oz bottle received from Misterhops in a trade. Served at cellar temprature into my Founders snifter.

A: Deep black. 2 finger foamy head that quickly dissipates. Moderate lacing.

S: Bitter dark chocolate with hints of whiskey.

T: Like the smell: immediate punch of bitter dark chocolate. I get more of a whiskey flavor, instead of the bourbon flavors I get out of some of my favorite -bals.

M: The barrel aging thins this out in comparison to the non barrel aged version. Well carbonated.

O: Average barrel aged stout. Not my favorite by any means as it missing the heavy, sweet flavors I love in this style.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joe for breaking this out at our little tasting. Review from notes on 4/3/10. 2009 vintage.

A - Poured very dark brown, almost black (but not quite) with a light tan bubbly head. Looks actively carbonated. Decent retention. Mahogany hues in the light. 4.0

S - Wow, bourbon overpowers everything. Bourbon all over the place. A bit of ash, dark fruit, and roast somewhere in there but somewhat lost. Could use a bit more balance I think. But still, a pleasing aroma. 3.5

T - Actually, this is a bit different from the aroma. The balance is there and actually very nicely executed. You can tell this beer has been aging in bourbon barrels for a while; highly assertive vanilla, charred oak, and deep blackberry tones. However, there is a characteristic ashy flavor of Blackout Stout that I don't appreciate as much and it is noticeable in the BA Blackout. 4.0

M - Decently big body, but I would put it more in the scale of medium bodied. Very smooth carbonation and a slight prickle on the palate. 4.0

D - Very nicely drinkable. Again, that distinct ash is hindering me a touch but overall, a nice beer.

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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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