When I think about how many great breweries there are in the mid-West region there is one that comes to the top of the list every time, and that is Great Lakes brewing in Cleveland, OH. I am not saying they are the best in the mid-West, but I am saying they are one of the best in our little part of the world in my personal opinion. We unfortunately do not get Great Lakes here anymore, but they are not hard to find, and they are quite plentiful in all neighboring states, and also in the South Bend area. I picked up a four pack of fresh blackout stout on a recent trip to Michigan.
Beer: Great Lakes Blackout Stout
Brewer: Great Lakes Brewing
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Availability: Seasonal starting in February
Appearance: Pours a dark opaque black hue with pecan colored highlights around the edges and a rather small thin brown head that left minimal lacing.
Smell: The nose brings to mind roasted malt and dark chocolate. I can liken it to a cup of black coffee with a big spoonful of bitter chocolate in it.
Taste: The coffee is more subtle in the flavor profile, but the rich malt profile comes in very strong with dark fruit and a touch of black licorice on the palate.
Mouthfeel: This is nice and chewy, and the alcohol is not really noticeable at all.
Drinkability: This drinks quite easy for 9% ABV, and I could drink more than one of these in a sitting with relative ease.
Overall this is a top notch stout, and worth getting your hands on a four pack if you are near this beer at all. It has all the qualities of any great Russian Imperial Stout, but I think has one of the best drinkability factors of any RIS that I've come across.