Style: Russian Imperial Stout
From: Cleveland, OH
Brewer’s Note: “Need someone to help you paint your bedroom? We know a guy. Change your oil? We know a guy. Loan you some bold, bitter hops and toasty black malt? We definitely know a guy. Named for the infamous Blackout of 2003 that left the Northeastern United States in complete darkness, Blackout Stout is a pretty useful friend to have around. Hearty and resourceful, he knows how to make his own fun. Crack open a bottle and you will too.”
The beer label is similar to all other Great Lakes’ labels. I like the simplicity, but the coloring is a little dark, the graphic looks a little odd due to the addition of people in the photo, and I am not a huge fan of how simple the font is.
The beer pours a deep dark brown, and sits in the glass as midnight black. It forms a head of tan colored bubbles atop the beer, but swiftly whittles that away to a scrim. In body, the beer is slightly viscous and nearly perfectly opaque, which just hints of ruby light escaping through the edges of the glass. On the nose, the beer smells of medium roast coffee, with baker’s chocolate and dark fruit notes dancing in and out of the nostrils. It smells almost like a blend of hot cocoa and coffee. Touches of creamy milk even show themselves to the nose. On the tongue, the beer tastes surprisingly sweet and fruity in its beginnings, but dries out perfectly with bitter roast and a touch of herbal hops in the finish. Slightly tart acidity also shows its face at the beginning of the sip, but is bulled away by the rich roasted bitters. In flavor, the beer begins as plum juice, milk chocolate, and a touch of raisins. This moves forward into rich dark roast coffee notes and then char and a light bite of herbal hops on the finish. The dark fruit returns on the finish and aftertaste, and sits nicely on the palate for a while. In the mouth, the beer feels just below full in body, with a smoothness that borders on being thin given the beer’s alcohol percentage and style. The mouth is left coffee-bitter but with a lot of acid-canceling saliva swimming in the cheeks. Overall, this is a nice imperial stout. In terms of the Russian Imperial Stout, it falls a little flat for what I look for in the style, but it has some awesome imperial stout characters that work perfectly. I want more roast and charred malt flavors in this beer in order to see it as an RIS, but its deeply fruity and tart malt character at the beginning was really quite intriguing and made the beer interesting and complex to sip. The mouthfeel was a bit thin overall for what I wanted for the style, but that does make the beer easy to sip. This is a really nice imperial stout with some funky character. Not my favorite in the style, but a nice interpretation.