Here is the last of the stout collection from Mark back in May. It's Great Lakes Brewing, Blackout Stout. This is their Imperial stout for those days when inclement events "force" you to just relax and have a beer.
This is a very pleasing drinkable beer for an Imperial Stout and I definitely tip my hat to Great Lakes for not trying to make some crazy Imperial that's so off the chart you can handle about 2 oz. of the 22oz bottle you opened and now have to figure out how to get through the rest.
It pours inky black with a fine tan head that has a fluffiness to it even though it doesn't boil over. The nose is sweet and carmelly with a slight alcohol smell. At 9% ABV that doesn't suprise me. What does suprise me at that strength is the balance. I know we've made leaps and bounds in beer strength and complexity over the past decade (Remember when Molson XXX at 7.3% was crazy strong!) but some of that has come at the expense of drinkability. We get these amazing beers that are complex and thought provoking on the order of whiskey or cognac but at the same time, like whiskey or cognac, you can only have a few ounces before you either start to lose your palette or get drunk. this is nicely balanced and very drinkable for the strength. A great beer to drink on a rainy Sunday afternoon or say watching the Stanley cup finals.
It starts with a sweet carmel taste with light coffee in the middle and hints of dark bittersweet chocolate. Bittering hops at the end help balance the sweetness and are the key to the drinkability of this beer. It doesn't ever get too sweet on you and you can keep going. This would be an excellent beer with a dark chocolate dessert or just on a rainy Sunday afternoon in June. In June Seattle!
Pros: When you're burned out on all the crazy barrel aged sipping beers and just want a stout you can drink and thoroughly enjoy without demanding the spotlight. This is your stout.
Cons: This is a sleeper and at 9% will creep up on you quickly. Don't drink these all afternoon and then drive home.
4 out of 5 stars! Thanks for a great pick Mark!