Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Great Lakes Blackout Stout Returns

Here's the latest ales forecast: a Blackout is headed your way.   After taking a year off from being brewed, Great Lakes Blackout Stout, a beer we've written up several times, has made its return to shelves in Chicago, starting this week, as liquor stores are rolling out this year's allotment.  Cleveland's amazing Russian imperial stout makes its return in all its 9% glory.  I want to make you aware of a few points, including misconceptions regarding this year's release.

First, I was informed that the reasons that they suspended production of Blackout for 2010 were because (1) they wanted to switch to a November release schedule instead of the traditional January release; and (2) they planned on releasing the beer on a vintage basis, meaning that the bottles would be marked (presumably with colored wax caps unique to each year) to signify the vintage year.

This has not exactly happened.  While the release date seems consistent with the aforementioned plan, there's no vintage marking on the bottle.  It comes with the standard metal cap with the words "Great Lakes Brewing Company" circularly displayed, encircling a smaller circle of lettering reading "Cleveland, Ohio".   The only date signature on the bottle is a "5/5/12" date on the back, which is 6 months from now and seems more like an expiration date (which it's surely not).  Despite the huge alcohol volume on this beer, they are still not discernibly releasing it in vintage fashion. This is too bad; that would have been cool to have a wax cap for a beer of such great value. 

Second, you may have to travel to several stores to get this beer.  It appears that this year stores are limiting sales of it. West Lakeview Liquors, for example, limited it to one per customer.  I want to see what Armanetti's Beverages plans to do as their e-mail blast mentioned nothing about a per-customer limit.  Be on the lookout for such restrictions at your local bodega. 

As soon as I can procure at least a couple of more bottles - I want to age a couple, after all a beer of this quality and ABV that is worthy of vintage status is ideal for aging - I will write up a current bottle of this.

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