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

Your Rating: None

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BA SCORE
4.36/5
Outstanding
1,820 Ratings
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States
greatlakesbrewing.com

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
Ranking:
#336
Reviews:
423
Ratings:
1,820
pDev:
8.72%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,362
Gots:
338
Trade:
32
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,820 |  Reviews: 423
Photo of mhammo129
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of beast464
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of Bartos
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of halo3one
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of tjthresh
3.52/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black. No real head that I saw. At least it surely didn't last too long. Typical BA imperial stout aromas. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, some roast. Typical BA flavors. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, some roast. Medium body. Silky. Light carbonation. There really isn't much here to set it apart for the rest of this sort. It really reminds me a lot of Schlafly BA Imperial Stout.

 376 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.52/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got bottles of this one from TJBurgess and Masterski in trades a while back. Thanks a lot guys!

From a bomber into snifter.
Vintage: 2009
Note: Drunk right after the base beer.

APPEARANCE: Same as the base beer. Completely transparent pour produces a small, medium-looking tan head that quickly fades to a wisp and ring. Lousy retention. Dark brown body, transparent, with zero carbonation evident. A ring remains and leaves some lacing dots down the glass. Way too thin and transparent a body, with relatively lousy head retention.

SMELL: A mellow nose on this one. Some oak and bourbon with notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Very little of the base beer at all, and the barrel aromas have mellowed quite a bit. A little boring at this point.

TASTE: This is more like it. Very nice stuff. Some roasted malts make their way through from the get go, then a wave of bourbon barrel takes center stage. Lots of nice bourbon, oak, vanilla and milk chocolate from the barrels through the mid palate into the finish. A bolder and lingering aftertaste of barrel notes, some roasted malts and dark chocolate from the base beer, and a touch of bitterness. Milder flavors overall, but much bolder and more impressive than the nose had advertised, and it’s very well balanced, with the base beer and the barrels blending well together.

PALATE: Same feel as the base beer for the most part. Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth enough and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A slightly sticker finish than the base, but the same average body.

OVERALL: I’ve never had this beer fresh, but at this point, the ’09 vintage has probably mellowed out as much as anyone would want. The nose has probably started to tail off, but the flavors are still bold enough to showcase how well everything has blended and come together. If you’ve got a bottle this old, do something with it, as it’s probably not going to get any better. A very nice balance between barrel and base beer on this one, which we can’t say about every bourbon barrel stout. This one still suffers from a thin body and average feel, but otherwise, it is an enjoyable beer for sure. Thanks again for the trades guys!

 2,237 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Currently rated #95 on the top 250 beers list. Acquired for $13.00 (I know...) at a local SoCal bottle shop and served into a flared stem-snifter/tulip hybrid glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given its current ratings as well as my previous good experiences with beers from this brewery. Bottle is 12 fl oz, brown glass, and has a branded "25 years" pry-off cap. Reviewed as a barrel aged imperial stout because it identifies as such on the label. Bottled in 2013. 9.5% ABV confirmed.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of nice khaki colour. Way too thin, though. Not much creaminess either. Little froth. Looks a bit like a cask ale (and I mean that in a bad way). Retention is okay; it reduces to a floater ring within 40 seconds and the ring hangs around an additional minute and a half. Not a great head for the style, but not a bad one per se. Just a bit underwhelming.

Body colour is an opaque jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Overall, it's pretty par for the course as far as barrel aged imperial stouts are concerned. Looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Milk chocolate, chocolate malt, vanilla (but not evocative vanilla bean, more vanilla from bourbon), a hint of molasses, buried roast, and more sweet chocolate notes. Not getting any of the toasty oak I look for in the best of the best barrel aged stouts. The bourbon is surprisingly buried as well, which may be a good sign in that it's subtly complementary of the base beer, or may be a bad sign in that it doesn't commit to the barrel notes. Tasting will reveal all.

No off flavours are overtly obvious. No yeast or hop character is detectable, nor is any alcohol. By no means a boozy or hot aroma. I look for coffee, but don't find any. Likewise for dark fruit.

It does seem a bit too sweet for my tastes based solely on the aroma.

Overall, it's an appealing aroma of fairly high strength.

T: Caramel, dark malts, and chocolate malts fill out the overly sweet body, with some lurking chocolate-covered cherry notes hiding beneath the surface. Vanilla lends still more sweetness, and it isn't particularly welcome. No toasty oak, interesting woody barrel notes, or coffee here. Lacks roast - to its detriment. Some licorice and molasses. A bit of heat hits on the climax and stays through the finish, accompanying the one-dimensional bourbon character. Overall, it's rather narrow for the style; it doesn't have the diversity and depth of flavour that great beers in the style do. The balance is imperfect as well, with too much sweetness coming through as well as a bit of alcohol. I wouldn't call it simple, but it lacks the complexity of better barrel aged imperial stouts. Certainly not a subtle beer either.

As it warms, the third act takes on more bourbon and the vanilla evens out a bit, accompanied by a bit of cocoa dust. I like it warmer. I think the bourbon accentuates the base beer, but it's by no means a perfect marriage.

Flavour intensity is high. Flavour duration is above average. Pretty good amplitude.

No off-flavours, yeast, or hop character comes through. I don't get any charred or burnt qualities either.

Mf: Heavy on the palate, but not overbearing. Filling, sticky, chewy. Thick and full-bodied. Just a touch syrupy. It's a big beer, that's for sure. The mouthfeel complements the flavour profile nicely, but it does get a bit thin right on the finish - which is also where the beer works best. Not an ideal execution of texture for the style, but respectable given the beer's aims. More roasted character (perhaps ideally featuring some rich coffee roast as well) would lend the beer needed subtle coarseness and dryness; it's slick-smooth and wet as is, which doesn't really suit it best. I do like the softness. Unrefreshing. Not harsh, oily, or gushed.

Dr: A tasty little imperial stout from a brewery I really admire. I like it, but top 100? Undeserved. I wouldn't buy it again at this price point, but it is good stuff. There are far better beers in the style well below its price. Recommended for fans of sweeter takes on the style. I'm looking forward to trying the regular blackout. Drinkable for the ABV, but it's still a sipper.

I'd like to revisit this with some age on it; I think a good two years would suit it nicely. Another solid brew from Great Lakes - just not a world-class one.

Low B

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured deep brown with a light tan cap

S: Faded bourbon, light cocoa, roasted malt and booze

T: Immediate faded bourbon, hints of vanilla, minute cocoa with tobacco and old wood. Booze was noticable but faded

M: Big body overall but I felt it was a bit thin on the way down

O: Good overall, nice drinking RIS but was looking for a bit more taste, heartiness and complexity.

 380 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle # 142/900; Vintage 2006; Sampled December 2007
Minimally carbonated, a slightly vigorous pour produces only a scant, quarter-finger thick, light brown colored head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring. The beer is an opaque, deep, black, brownish tinged color. The aroma is fairly oak focused as this is the first thing that I notice; spicy oak, a bit of buttery oak and a touch of vanillin are noticeable in that order as far as magnitude as well. It is actually pretty hard to notice any of the other notes underneath the oak; perhaps a touch of burnt cherry aromatics and some toasted-burnt grain. After the beer has warmed a bit and I hae revisited the nose, I can now pick out flavors of molasses, but the aroma is still way more oak dominated that I would wish.

Starts out a bit thin, but picks up some heft pretty quickly and in fact coats the mouth enough to be noticed as this lingers on through to the finish. Still this is not really heavy for an Imperial Stout, but is by no means light either. The light carbonation probably adds a bit to the perceived thinness. The finish has an interesting, toasted / roasted flavor which brings out a distinct nuttiness akin to a super Nut-Brown Ale. The flavor is not nearly as oak driven as the nose is, in fact the flavors the oak adds contribute a nice supporting character to the brew. Flavors of burnt cherries, blackened raisin, strong black coffee or slightly watered-down espresso, chocolate extract and blackened whole grain toast round out the malt contributed notes. The oak adds / contributes to flavors of rum, vanillin, burnt toffee, a touch of butterscotch and some bourbon-like flavors (really a mix of the alcohol and the previous three mentioned flavors). As the beer warms a bit the alcohol and spicy oak notes add something similar to the flavors found in cola; something sort of akin to clove, cardamom and molasses.

Somehow this beer is strangely thin; I would like it to be a bit more full, textured and rich. This does have enough complexity though to keep it interesting. This really needs to be served on the warm side of cool (no where near the 45°F mentioned on the bottle); somewhere north of 60°F / 16°C should do it; at this temperature it picks up a bit more fullness and perhaps a touch more round, malt flavors to help balance things out. Compared to the regular version though, this beer is really missing a lot of malt character & complexity; seems some how heavily filtered (which can actually mechanically happen inside a barrel) and stripped down. Not bad, just not the beer it was originally.

 2,597 characters

Photo of Treebs
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle served in Westbrook snifter. 2012/2013 bottle.

A: Pours a semi-translucent black color with some dark ruby edges. A light khaki head forms on the pour and recedes quickly to a thin ring. No real lace.

S: Bourbon up front with some toasted coconut and a little vanilla. Smooth oak barrel with some rich chocolate notes, fudge and a little roasted malts.

T: Light chocolate with minimal bourbon. Oaky with light vanilla and some odd residual heat on the back end. Light roast as well.

M: Very thin bodied, but the finish is smooth. Medium high carbonation as well.

O: This was alright, but I'm just not a fan of this beer or the base. It's too thin to begin with and the barrel aging thins this out even more and the base gets kind of lost.

 757 characters

Photo of sisuspeed
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to spycow for the bottle!

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip. A big black body with a thin, light-tan head. Leaves a few suds behind as lacing. Could use a little more color in the head for a RIS.

The aroma is filled with sweet, slightly spicy bourbon and dark malts. Milk chocolate and a little bit of alcohol. Hint of vanilla. Good, but somewhat one-dimensional compared to other BA stouts.

Milk chocolate, dark roasted malt, bourbon oak and alcohol on the finish. All the components are here, but it's almost kind of bland and there is too much alcohol in the taste, especially on the finish.

Smooth and milky with low carbonation. Too much alcohol burn on the finish for a 9.5% stout. I've had many stouts above 10% where the ABV is not this noticeable.

Overall, BA Blackout comes across as a fairly average BA RIS. Nothing here really makes me want to come back to the glass and the ABV is not enjoyable. I wasn't a fan of the regular Blackout stout, so maybe it's not a surprise that I'm not a huge fan of this one. Maybe other vintages have been better, but this most recent release is not worth seeking out.

 1,123 characters

Photo of kk73
3.57/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into my glass. 2009 vintage.

A - Pours black with tiny off white foam cap. Not even a fingers worth of head. Doesn't pour as thick as I would usually like my stouts. Some lacing.

S - Lots of bourbon, wood, oak, vanilla, some faint roasted or charred barrel(if thats even possible).

T - Wow, just didnt think it was as good as all the reviews Ive read. Still good, I just think I would rather have a bottle of KBS instead. Taste pretty much follows the nose, maybe to my taste buds the bourbon is not as well integrated in this beer as I would hope. I get lots of bourbon, wood, and oak. I dont get that viscous, roasted flavor I like in stouts.

M - A bit thin, and a little undercarbonated for me. Not as smooth or chewy, imo, as I like in an RIS.

D - A nice beer, and my first I believe from Great Lakes. Maybe I should try to get my hands on a 2010 version and see if it differs. One bomber was more than enough for me in one sitting.

 968 characters

Photo of nut
3.57/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mbfolk
3.58/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Norseman
3.58/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lateralundertow
3.59/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Col6098
3.6/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of Sarlacc83
3.62/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle from Exitmusic00. Thanks! 2012 vintage.

A: Inky black/ a shade over mahogany. A rim of fizzing light mocha head. Light on the legs.

N: Chocolate, molasses, caramel, and loads of vanilla. Honey and brown sugar. This is a very sweet nose, but it's not cloying. A little bit of black licorice is about as bitter as it gets.

T: Dark chocolate, caramel, and more vanilla. There's some ground coffee bits and licorice. Oak and a hefty bitterness. Some honey.

M: Heavily carbonated and a bit lighter than I'd prefer.

O: A well balanced stout that doesn't blow me away. It seems to have lost a little bit of what makes bourbon and Imperial stouts great. I blame a lot of that on the lack of heft in the beer. Still, you won't go too wrong with it.

 757 characters

Photo of rayjay
3.63/5  rDev -16.7%
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!

 1,147 characters

Photo of dcloeren
3.65/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown/mahogany with ruby red edges. Produced a finger of cinnamon colored head that quickly disappeared into the "blackout".

The nose is a little softer than I would like but still quite nice. Chocolate, a touch of bourbon but not nearly enough... vanilla bean on the end.

The taste follows the nose and is a little more bourbon forward... still, I wish that it would have more of a bite but they have taken the bit out and have left this beer with the more caramelized version of what the bourbon would be like without the heat...

The body is light for a RIS but has a very appropriate amount of carbonation. Very easy drinking and I am just now realizing this while I'm typing this but my glass is almost empty.

Overall, this was a delightful BBA stout but by no means was it top notch. It is lacking in the body more so than anything but it is definitely one of the softest BBA stouts I have had. Take this for what you want but while this was a good beer, I was not impressed.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.68/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The appearance was a decent jet black color with a quickly dissipating less than a finger’s worth of white head into the body. There was barely any lacing. The smell was a super strong alcohol. It was so strong that I had to let it warm up a good half hour just to let it warm up to my senses. Once that happened there were some light vanilla and chocolate characteristics. The taste was mainly sweet and alcoholic hot. The aftertaste was hot, sweet and sticky leading into the same sort of finish. On the palate, this one was a sipper, there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. This was meant to be sipped. The carbonation was pretty smooth as well. Overall, I say this was a pretty good Imperial Stout well worthy of having again. Age this beer, don't drink this fresh, trust me.

 791 characters

Photo of wallbj
3.68/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of glazeman
3.68/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split with airohead2001.

A: Black in color with barely any head and a tan crown of bubbles.

S: A little coffee on the nose, but to be honest, I hardly get anything but the tad bit of coffee and tad bit of malt.

T: Well, I'm sure glad the taste is more exciting than the look or smell. There's a nice amount of coffee and toasted malt, as well as some subtle bourbon finished off by a tad of dark chocolate. I wish the bourbon were slightly more prominent.

M: The viscosity here is pretty good, but a little low. The carbonation is also very low.

D: Well, this beer is by no means bad, but it's not all that exciting either. I would have this again, but probably won't seek it out.

 685 characters

Photo of CTJman
3.69/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Mavajo
3.7/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a slightly watery looking black with a thin cream/eggshell head. Not really impressive. Nose is a bit on the faint side - a mild bourbon medley. Roasty dark chocolate on the palate with a bit of molasses, licorice and anise, and noticeable but not overpowering bourbon notes with mild caramel and vanilla. Medium mouthfeel with brisk carbonation.

A pretty balanced bourbon barrel stout. Personally, not a fan of the roastiness, but this is to be expected since I feel similarly about the regular Blackout Stout. Good beer, but not worth going to much trouble to seek out, in my opinion. Much better BA stouts out there, IMO.

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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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