Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Beer of the week: Great Lakes Barrel Aged Blackout Stout

Beer score: 9.9

Company: Great Lakes Brewing Company
ABV: 10.5
IBU: 50

I've been a fan of Great Lakes beers since I lived in Ohio in the '90s, the state where the brewery is located. Finding this beer on tap in a Durham, North Carolina, restaurant made me want to kick myself in the ass for not having had a Great Lakes brew in a long while.

To put it simply, this is an awesome beer and perhaps one of the best stouts I've very had the pleasure to taste. The only reason I've not given this stout a perfect score is because I'm a hard-ass idiot who doesn't believe anything is perfect, but otherwise this beer would be a perfect 10.

This would be an awesome stout even if it were not aged in barrels, but those barrels happen to be bourbon barrels, and here you definitely have more than a hint of that bourbon flavor. And when I say "more than a hint," I really mean it. This drink tastes like an excellent stout has had a shot of fine bourbon dropped into it.

As for describing the drink itself, I've always said you can tell a good stout if you hold it up in a clear glass to the light and can't see anything through it, and that's the case here. The coloring is a deep, dark chocolate and the scent definitely has bourbon to it along with some hints of spiced cake and good chocolate. In the tasting, there's definitely bourbon, and I mean good bourbon, along with some perfect sweetness that isn't too sweet but is quite rich, almost like a dark chocolate. The texture here is near-perfect for a stout with just the barest touch of carbonation, a slightly frothy head, and a strength that is just shy of the syrupy feeling common to many stouts.

Can I recommend this beer? Oh, hell yeah! Unfortunately, it seems Great Lakes only makes this stout available sporadically, so good luck finding it. When you do find it, snag it up immediately. You'll enjoy, I promise.

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