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

BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,816 Ratings
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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
Ratings:
1,816
Reviews:
423
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
8.78%
 
 
Wants:
1,363
Gots:
338
For Trade:
33
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,816 |  Reviews: 423
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.

 327 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of jaydoc
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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.

 645 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

many thanks to thebrewo for hooking this one up via trade. it is a real treat. pours not quite black, with a shiny glow and an inch or so of rich mocha lather on top. the nose is not alcoholic at all, very impressive. lots of deep roast, some lighter coffee notes, and a lot of vanilla from the bourbon barrel. some char too, but it isn't bitter to the taste at all, and is in fact more on the sweet side. some licorice notes in the taste as well, and a warming chocolaty finish that reminds me of some of the top rated barrel aged imperial stouts on BA. what I love the most about this beer is its feel, its not a big heavy syrupy sticky mess like so many of these can be. its still full bodied, but drinkably so, not weighty or overly sweet or boozy. almost reminds me of the eclipse series, with that touch of honey but pleasant lightness in a dark beer. it seems weird to call this an everyday barrel aged imperial stout, but it kind of is. its something I could see myself drinking a lot more of than many of the others. the buzz is nice, and the finish is glorious, staying on the palate for quite some time. probably the best great lakes offering ive ever had.

 1,167 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Knapp85
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This poured out nice and black in color. The smell of the beer has a nice roasted aroma to it with some subtle bourbon notes on the nose. The taste of the beer is balanced fairly well be between the barrel aging and the actual beer itself. Overall it's a very nice example of a barrel aged stout.

 296 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of metter98
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at RFD, Washington, DC

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high tan head that died down, leaving a patch of bubbles on the center and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon are present in the nose along with notes of dark chocolate.
T: The taste starts out with initial flavors of bourbon from the barrel aging and finishes with dark chocolate.
M: It feel just about full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer has a great balance; it has lots of big notes and they all seem to come through—you can definitely taste both the bourbon and the stout.

 703 characters

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Boatshoes!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
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

 4,588 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of brentk56
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
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

 695 characters

Photo of oline73
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had this side by side with the regular version. This was a 2012 bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

The beer pours a very dark almost black color with a half finger of very thick head. The head sticks around nicely and leaves mild lacing on the glass. I could smell this beer all day. Right off the bat I'm getting milk chocolate and bourbon. The barrel has given this beer a caramel, vanilla, and coconut note. The roast sweetness and bourbon work well together. The taste lives up to the smell, which makes me very happy. There is a definite alcohol presence, but it's not unpleasant. Milk chocolate, and roasted malt show up right away with a strong bourbon note. There is some vanilla and coconut, but not as much as there was in the smell. The finish has some heat to it along with bourbon and roasted malt. There is a nice oaky note in the mix.

This is a very good beer and I would love to try one with some more age on it.

 939 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

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

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

 485 characters

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

This one came from bakerslp in a recent trade. Thanks! 2008 vintage.

A: Dark brown, not entirely opaque, some hints of transparency around the edges. Doesn't look terribly viscous. The head doesn't rise very high - a finger or so, and settles to a ring fairly fast.

S: Chocolatey sweetness, vanilla, hints of butterscotch and bourbon. Light alcohol presence, nothing jarring. Pretty pleasant.

T & M: Very similar to the aroma. Chocolatey with nice woody tannins to back it up. Slightly earthy. Bourbon flavors are balanced nicely, never overwhelming the base beer. Medium-light in body, moderate carbonation. Middleweight stuff, I'd say - balanced, not too heavy or rich, and very drinkable for the style.

Edit: Recently tried the '09 batch and it's exceptional. Bumping scores accordingly.

3/15/2011: Tried the 2010 batch and found it less impressive than '06 through '09, though it's still a pretty good beer.

 916 characters

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

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Great Lakes Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.33 out of 5 based on 1,816 ratings.
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