Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Blackout Stout

Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Cleveland, OH

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.0%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

So I looked into the beer fridge and, right away, I knew: gonna be a Blackout tonight. That’s right. Gonna pour me a black curtain of imperial stout from the good folks at Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland, a town that’s big, a town that’s bright (when it’s not blacked out, that is), a town that can work, and a town that can fight.

OK, this beer isn’t actually named for Woody Guthrie’s pro-war diddy about the London air raids of dubbel-yuh, dubbel-yuh two, but instead for the Blackout of 2003 that left much of the eastern seaboard out of power and reached as far west as Cleveland. It’s also a rarity in that it’s a big beer from a brewery that’s known for restrained, although still excellent, brews.

Blackout Stout doesn’t exactly pour a complete blackout—we’ll call it a very, very dark brown. Not the light-absorbing engine oil of some imperial stouts, but it’s plenty dark. The head is rocky and gorgeous, a light tan froth that sticks around for the entirety of the drink. The aroma that wafts off of it is just as enticing, with massive chocolate and caramel notes mixed in alongside grainy malt and a hint of alcohol.

The sip begins with a soft, almost lusciously smooth entry of chocolate and toffee flavors. No roasty/toasty notes at all, just pure and smooth, thick and rich. About two-thirds of the way through the sip a hot shot of alcohol nips at and almost numbs the tongue before giving way to a long, chocolate silk pie finish.

This a damn good, expertly crafted imperial stout, with nary a rough edge to be found. There are better ones out there, but not many. Let it warm to about 60° and eat it alongside some peanut butter pie and you’ll be more than ready to pull down the shade an’ turn out the light …

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on May 19, 2008.
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