Great Lakes Blackout Stout & Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

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BrooklynandBlackout.jpgGreat Lakes Blackout stout is one of those ales whose reputation proceeds it, as a result it's hard to track down a four-pack. So I was excited to give it a try and wanted something as a baseline to compare it with. Black Chocolate Stout is exceedingly good this year, so I thought it would be the perfect ale to do a side by side comparison with. I have broken down the flavor characteristics below. The bottom line is that I will not be buying Great Lakes Blackout Stout ever again, as the Black Chocolate Stout is clearly the winner here, it is also easier to find and cheaper to buy.

The Blackout Stout (BS) pours a reddish jet black with a white head and an earthy, grainy, peaty aroma that turns to a mild sulfur as it warms. Black Chocolate Stout (BCS) pours a deep dark brown, not as dark as the BS, with a darker cream colored head and better head retention than BS. BCS has a viscous body while BS has a bit lighter body that is still sufficient for an Imperial Stout. BS is creamy and smooth without the mildly astringent malty bite of BCS. BCS coats the tongue with a velvety texture not present in the BS.

All in all, these are both excellent high quality stouts with a malty sweetness, complexity, and smoothness. However the BCS has more of a toffee caramel sweetness that I enjoy, while the BS has a bolder, dryer, roasted malt, flavor profile. The 'problem' with the Blackout stout is that is has a very strong unmashed malt arouma. I am not sure if this comes from the Harrington basemalt or some other factor. It tends toward the characteristics of Rahr basemalt, but much stronger. This graininess is so strong that it detracts from the ale, and gives me a mild feeling of wanting to vomit.

My take on the Great Lakes Blackout Stout probably seems a bit harsh, and it is. I took notes on these ales a couple of weeks ago. Just now I opened a second Great Lakes Blackout Stout, it's good, very good. It's sweet, roasty, and finishes with a little tobacco on the tongue. Unfortunately while a good stout, that holds its own against many an Imperial Stout, it just can't hold up to the greatness of Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout. So while my initial comments were that I will never buy it again - making it perhaps seem like a bad stout - it's not a bad ale, nothing could be further from the truth. It just doesn't suit my tastes like Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout. As of today's tasting the strong unmashed malt aroma seems to be fading, but I would prefer it was never there to start with.

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This page contains a single entry by Brewmaster published on December 26, 2012 2:18 PM.

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