Monday, February 13, 2012

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Temperatures have dropped around here lately which means it's the ideal time for an imperial stout, and I just happened to have one that was sent to me in a trade with I have had several of Great Lakes beers and have found them all to be very good across the board. It's been a while since I had a plain ol' imperial stout (nothing flavored), so I was hoping this would remind how good that style can be.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (617) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 11, 2012
When it comes to stouts, there’s so many different sub-styles, especially flavored style (i.e. coffee, chocolate, milk, etc.). Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a plain ol’ imperial stout, and Great Lakes Blackout Stout is what I mean. It’s a robust, complex, and delectable beer that reminds you how tasty a strong stout can be without added flavor.

I received a 12oz bottle in a trade (thanks, Max!). I poured it into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Absolutely pitch black body with no other colors visible at all. Forms a small, dark tan, frothy head which dissipates mostly, but not completely and leaves some lacing (regenerates easily with a good swirl).

Smell: Strong nose of black licorice, vanilla, and a hint of whiskey or wood.

Taste: There’s two very distinct, but quite enjoyable halves to the palate of Great Lakes Blackout Stout. It begins with a sweet side - black cherry, rum-soaked raisin, vanilla and a cola-like taste are all quite prominent. In fact, for a moment there it reminds me of a short-lived Dr. Pepper flavor. Through the middle the tastes becomes more dry - the alcohol making itself known. It’s similar to whiskey, but without any smokiness or of rum without the spice. Like black licorice-flavored vodka I suppose.

The second half is a warming sensation as the alcohol dominates the profile. It’s not distracting from the initial flavors, in fact, it complements and transitions to the bitter finish very well. Deeply roasted malts, burnt coffee beans and dark chocolate appear for a fairly brief instance right as the beer finishes. The aftertaste is a very nice combination of sticky vanilla extract, cough syrup and bitter dark chocolate. Very delectable indeed, but borders on cloying.

Drinkability: Great Lakes Blackout Stout weighs in at 9% ABV, which is right on the cusp between "a little big" and "proceed with caution." Its alcoholic characteristics are no secret so there’s definitely a lot of sheer energy to the mouthfeel. Although the aftertaste is sticky, the liquid itself is not quite that thick. Full-bodied for sure, but with a moist, smooth, velvety texture. There’s noticeable heat here, even for experienced drinkers. I’d recommend starting with a cold bottle and sipping it over an hour. The complexity and intense mouthfeel really justify each other.
Grade: 9/10

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