Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland
Beer: Blackout Stout
Taken out of context, Blackout Stout sounds like I should be waking up tomorrow morning on a park bench in my boxers cradling a 40. And at 9% ABV, there’s a good reason they only sell them in 4 packs. But, Blackout Stout recalls the infamous Blackout of 2003, which affected the Northwest, Midwest and Ontario, CA for two days… a minor inconvenience. After a couple years of cowering in fear of the darkness, I finally tried out the Blackout…
As the name suggest, its dark. Dark as night, in fact. Its pretty much a standard Russian Imperial Stout… darkly roasted malt (burnt to some standards), and a bitter hoppiness. I could see how that could keep you warm in those Siberian winters… or Cleveland winters. Blackout is a bit of a middle of the road imperial stout, not chokingly strong and not a weak wannabe stout, and its more palatable than many others.
The smell is ominous, with the standard coffee aromas and a hint of chocolate. (I know that sounds good… but it does pack a kick) The first taste was a little more harsh than the smell. It almost had to be balanced out by something chocolaty and sweet, like chocolate cake… but I had to settle with chips ahoy :(. After my taste buds calmed down after the initial punch in the mouth, I could pick up the strong hops and the chocolate and coffee notes. The finish is almost as harsh as the taste, but the after taste leaves a satisfying, bitter coffee taste.
Though it won’t be on my list of favorite beers, Blackout was worth the try and it is a quality imperial stout. If you are a dark beer drinker (or just like to commemorate American utility debacles), it is a must try. For the full experience, stop paying the bills for a while and crack one open.