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Kentucky Dark Star - Fremont Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kentucky Dark StarKentucky Dark Star

Educational use only; do not reuse.

82 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 82
Hads: 392
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 19.07%
Wants: 395
Gots: 116 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: barleywinefiend on 05-12-2012

Our Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in 15 year old single use Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. The roasted and chocolate malts complement the smooth oats to bring you a stout delight wrapped in the gentle embrace of Bourbon Barrel aged warmth. A touch of sweetness dances in balance with the hops to finish with a wave and then she’s gone.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 82 | Hads: 392
Reviews by starrdogg:
Photo of starrdogg
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of dar482
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer pours out in a dark color with a touch of brown in the light. The beer is oily black in the glass with a slightly fluffy dark tan head.

The aroma hits of bourbon, tons of vanilla, a touch of coconut, fudge, milk chocolate, chocolate mousse, figs, dark cherries.

The flavor hits up front of vanilla, almost like Vanilla Rye, but without getting to an extract flavor. Bourbon, caramel, coconut macaroon, Whoppers, milk chocolate, as the beer cleans up with some residual sweetness, but a crisp finish leaving longing lingering of vanilla, coffee, and coconut.

Easily one of the best BA stouts around, beating many heavy hitters like Assassin and Vanilla Rye.

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Photo of Ksoden1186
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

2014 vintage.

Pours midnight black. Very small kaki colored head. Perfect-looking stout.

Such a perfectly balanced stout. The nose offers up the bourbon, chocolate, toffee. Bourbon is predominate.

The bourbon comes through initially, but doesn't overshadow everything else. The roasted malt, cocoa, caramel, coffee all have their place. Bourbon again on the back end and aftertaste.

Perfect mouthfeel. Motor oil consistency. Coats the mouth and flavors stay around a while.

This is one of the best beers I've had this year. Didn't know much about it before receiving it and was extremely surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. I knew it would be great, but didn't expect it to blow me away as much as it did. This is a ba stout that I could drink every week.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours motor oil black pitch with a cream, but fizzling dark mocha head that leaves a small trace on the glass throughout. The nose is sweetly intense and malty with roasted malts which lend that oat based flavor, vanilla fudge, some liquorice, dark chocolate, charred wood, dark roast coffee, some toasted coconut, toffee, and bourbon goodness. Taste mirrors the aromatic qualities of the beer along with slightly sweet, bitter effects along with roasted malts, oatmeal, vanilla, oak, figs, some roast coffee, chocolate covered cherries in brandy, toasted coconut, and that warming bourbon alcohol. Mouthfeel is soft, velvety, round, slightly boozy hot and full bodied. Finish is slightly sweet, bitter and malty with roasted malts, pumpernickel bread, vanilla fudge, and caramelized hazelnuts. Just pure bliss here! This is a straightforward beer and the best in every discipline found in a quality beer. The balance was just phenomenal.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 release A-

A: Poured a deep, deep brownish near black with good carbonation leaving a nice brownish cap, good lacing and head retention

S: Rich cocoa, milk chocolate, roastiness, vanilla and bourbon

T: This beer was tasty start to finish. Nice balance of smooth cocoa, bitter cocoa, wood, vanilla notes and a smooth blend of bourbon. A small dose of coffee. This beer is well done and not overly done.

M: Big body, creamy, well rounded. Lots of flavor here. The tasting notes mesh well.

O: Very good and so smooth, easy to drink. Well played.


2013 release A++

A: Poured a deep, deep brownish near black with good carbonation leaving a nice brownish cap, great lacing and head retention. This beer poured fuller than the previous launch. It poured and appeared world class!

S: Rich cocoa with loads and lods of flaked oats, roasted goodness, light hints of vanilla, coffee and bourbon

T: My initial sip was DAMN fine. Immediate boner. Nice balance of milk chocolate, oats and coffee. The barrell is so well blended into this beer. Coconuts, vanilla, more oats midway with a nice smooth bourbon flavor. The finish is down right remarkable. Full, lush, a bit of sweetness, coffee, cocoa and oats.

M: Full bodied, well carbonated, sexy and lush, creamy, decadent...my oh my

O: Fremont really outdid themselves again. I would dare say this the finest beer they have produced to date and they cranked out some true gems over the past year! The body was dialed up, I am assuming from an additional truckload of oats. It kicks Velvet Merkin in the balls. The amount of flavor and feel of this beer is mindblowing. I've had some of the finer stouts in the world and personally, for me, this takes the cake.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%

A - Thick, black and treacly. Spot on.

S - Vanilla and sweet bourbon. Grade C maple syrup. Bourbon heat right at then end.

T - Roasted malts manifest themselves massively as coffee flavours, so much so that I asked the bartender if they brewed this with coffee. It's not coffee on the level of Bcbcs, for example, but it's still highly prevalent. A little plain chocolate creeps into the finish. Maple syrup-like sweetness. On the barrel-aged spectrum this sits midway between Bcbs and Bcbcs in terms of flavour profile and the quality is right up there too.

M - Slick, thick and heavy. Gives ample support to the abv and strong flavours.

O - Do not be fooled by the 4.28 rating. This is a top tier stout, right up there with the likes of Bcbs. I can hardly wait for the vanilla variant to be released later this year.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Kevin for cracking his bottle! Kentucky Dark Star is definitely dark, but it's far from the darkest stout I've seen, as there are still some deep shades of brown that can be found inside of this brew. The tan head wastes no time settling to a thin, little collar around the edges. Definitely a powerful looking brew, but maybe not as omnipotent as its namesake.

Slick milk chocolate, light coffee and warming bourbon notes, like the hardened version of a Kahlua and Creme that your mother makes when she's had a long day. Light vanilla in the back-end, everything is very smooth and sweet here, without being sickeningly so. The bourbon works to keep everything tame without setting your nostrils on fire, and it does an admirable job.

Like the aroma, the taste is almost equally as smooth. It's never hot, but the bourbon certainly does a warming job on your throat and belly. There's also a good amount of oak that gets introduced to your taste buds with each and every sip. Sweet, milky, creamy cocoa nibs, smooth oatmeal notes in the finish, and a lasting, savory hint of earth and chocolate cake.

Kentucky Dark Star is a surprisingly decadent and borderline desert-like beer. With the name, the bottle, and the stigma, you might be expecting a huge bourbon bomb; a boozy and overly powerful beast, when really, you've got a smooth and warming, delicate desert… Something to slowly sip after a big meal. The oats make for a nice mouth feel, smooth, creamy, fitting.

I was pretty pleasantly surprised by this one. Not something I would be able to have all the time (or much of, for that matter) as the delicacy and sweetness does tend to build over time and take a mild toll on the palate, but the 8-ish oz I had were great, and certainly a nice treat. Not as brash as you may think, this beer is actually quite elegant.

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Photo of kevwcamp
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Updating my review for 2013. I think last year's vintage had a homer bump to it. This year's is the real deal at 11% and with a thicker mouthfeel, no homer hype. I just had kbs and black note this weekend too so I have a good frame of reference.

A: Pours jet black with a nice inch of tan foam, settles quickly. Nothing unusual, but looks great!

S: This is the best part. I could smell this all day. Rich vanilla, coconut, chocolate notes.

T: I liked the base beer, it was good not great. No surprise that this is a full step above with the added barrel character. More vanilla, coconut, chocolate with mild booze and hints of dark fruit.

M: At a new and improved 11% the alcohol is not totally hidden, but seems more in balance than last year. The rich and thick mouthfeel is a big improvement over last year.

O: Bravo again, Fremont. You raised the bar.

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Photo of stratusjeans
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: black, no light allowed through. Medium tan (some reviews say khaki, I would say dark khaki) head.

S: Bourbon! A little sweetness, roast malt.

T: Bourbon again! Definitely the strongest flavor but not so much that it depends out the rest. Quite a bit of sweetness and dark roast malt. Some vanilla too. I'm looking for coffee but I don't get any in this beer. Flavor doesn't linger too long and finishes with an alcohol burn.

M: medium thick but didn't fully coat the inside of your mouth. Nice forward carbonation adds to the experience of each sip.

O: enjoy this beer quite a bit. Definitely for sipping and for bourbon fans. Luckily it comes in a 22oz bottle so it'll last you a full night.

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Photo of bfg75
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a different beast than last year's batch. Much bigger, pours thick and black with a small head. Taste is spectacular and up there with some of the better BA stouts I've had. Drinks smooth, lots of chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon. Sweet but not overwhelming...I liked the last batch, but man, this is a vast improvement.

Way to go Fremont!

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Photo of jlindros
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to rudzud for sharing this, the winner of the night, 2013 vintage.

Light fizzy head fades instantly, long legs,, oily silky, pitch black, slick oily appearance.

Nose is like black Tuesday without the booze... huge chewy dark malts, cocoa notes, caramel, fudge, dark choc, cocoa notes, lots of oats and creamy, and with some nice bourbon and barrel notes.

Taste is great! Dark malts, chewy fudgey malts, dark thick cocoa, chewy oats, little bitter earthy hops, creamy, with some nice vanilla toasty barrel notes, fudgey oatmeal, etc. So velvety, thick rich creamy like thick feel, little bourbon note too. Finish is drier but a creamy touch oat mouth coating, velvety touch chewy oats, very fudgey, cocoa and mild bitter bite lingering.

Mouth is big bod, creamy fudgey thick creamy oatmeal like, decent carb, hidden booze.

Overall phenomenal!

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Photo of laminam
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Bottle (11% even though the bottle say otherwise)

This is truly a masterpiece from Fremont. It's got everything I want from a bourbon stout. This stuff is loaded with candy sweetness, undertones of vanilla, caramel, and a hot whif of booze to finish it off.

It's a big oatmeal stout, so it's not thin like Velvet Merkin, or overly strong with chocolate like Parabola, or b-bomb. It's... perfect. I could drink this forever.

The only complaint I can think of is that it's a little too hot, but it should mellow out quite nicely in a year or two. I'm going back today to buy two more bottles.

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Photo of John_M
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Graciously provided by Larry (NWer). I believe this is the new 2013 version.

The beer pours a brooding, blackish brown color with good head retention and decent lacing. The head is mocha colored otherwise, and this is another one of those beers that just looks as if it's seen some serious barrel aging. The nose is very impressive as well, and also shows considerable barrel aging, as I pick up a sweet nose of malt balls, vanilla, milk chocolate and fine coffee. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though I thought it just a tad thin on the mid palate. Otherwise, this moderately sweet stout is just delicious, with a soft, creamy mouthfilling component that is very impressive. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, making the beer entirely too easy to drink. The 9.5% abv. is almost unnoticeable, making it entirely too easy to slurp this bad boy down without giving it a second thought. Interestingly, I initially didn't pick up all that much bourbon on the nose or palate, but as the beer warmed, it really came on strong. Just an all around excellent beer from the folks at Fremont Brewing.

(Note: It worked out that I tried this beer the same weekend I had a glass of the 2013 Abyss over at the brewpub. This stuff is great, but IMHO, it's still a notch below the Abyss, which seemed to have more depth, richness and complexity. Still an altogether excellent beer, and one I'm very, very glad to have had the opportunity to try. Thanks Larry!)

Edit from 2/15. Recently tried the 2014 edition, and I'm wondering if the brewer has been tweaking the recipe a bit. The 2014 seemed richer, with more of a bourbon presence, and with slightly higher alcohol as well. Not sure it merits a score increase, but have to say that I did enjoy the 2014 a bit more than the previous bottle I had.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. Tasted 14 September 2013.

Pours black, sludgy, and thick. One finger of coffee brown head, good retention, fine lacing.

Smell is gentle bourbon with a nice added oaty sweetness and smoothness. Rich, fluffy, brown, and potent.

Taste is excellent. It comes in waves, sometimes bringing more of the barrel, but smoothed out barrel, and sometimes feeling more like a big oatmeal stout. I love the combination of those two characters, and all the little nuances that pop up in between. Chocolate, bourbon, sweet corn. Definitely on the sweet side, with very little bitterness from either roast or hops. I'm digging this.

Mouthfeel is simply outstanding. Very thick and very heavy, sludgy like used engine oil. But then it's got so much oat in the feel, I start seeing flakes floating in front of me. All the rough edges smoothed out by that fluffy oaty smoothness. Carbonation is a touch higher than many big stouts. And the combined lightness from the oats and carb balance out the heaviness so well. Fantastic.

More breweries should make barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stouts. I'm sure this one could be surpassed, but I really really like it.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

650ml black waxed 2014 bottle poured into tulip a ways back (from notes) big cheers towards Rutager for sending it my way

A black liquid with a deep cola edge, two fingers of mocha foam hangs around for a while but strangely only leaves random lace after the foam falls, it has some wide legs after a swirl that I wouldn't expect at 11%

S heaps of charred wood and bourbon, plenty of barrel going on here, coco, vanilla, chocolate covered raisins, more bourbon, a little burnt coconut, no overly complex but it has a very strong nose, intense even

T bourbon barrel reigns supreme but plenty of booze comes with it, just a hint of coffee I didn't smell, not far from the nose but a little extra booze

M not as thick as one would guess but far from thin, slick on the palate, a little sticky on the lips and a fair amount of heat holding it back

O I like all the barrel notes but it needs time to mellow out as its a little hot... well a lot hot actually but still solid stuff

I'm guessing this one picked up a little liquor in the barrel, I'd age a second bottle if I had one but that being said she's still drinking well just puts a little hair on your chest is all

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Photo of mabermud
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pretty good.

Ultra dark with a minimal mocha head that quickly retreats to a thin halo. I smell bourbon, stout, bitter chocolate, and mild coffee. Taste is somewhat like Grandfather Raven, but not as distinct. This imperial stout is pushing it. It is balanced, but it isn't. It is teetering. The taste follows the smell, but is on the verge or too much. Mouthfeel is heavy and almost too sweet.

Overall, this is something very good. If I had not had Grandfather Raven before this, I probably would have thought this was nectar of the gods. Nonetheless, it is not. I enjoy Grandfather Raven much more. Compared to others, it is up there. It is splendid and worth the effort to find.

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Photo of MjBrewhouse
4.81/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow! Where to start? 2014 Vintage. Poured into snifter, dark with dark tan head.

S: Bourbon up front with chocolate, coffee, oak,alcohol. The Bourbon is king of all the olfactory delights.I can't stop putting my nose in the glass to inhale all the wonderful delights coming out of the glass.

T: Taste is similar to nose with oak and bourbon right in your face followed by coffee, chocolate, vanilla and oats with nice warming alcohol finish. Very balanced smooth and enjoyable.

M: Rich creamy with medium viscosity but perfect for this style.

O: This is one of the finest BA stouts I've had the pleasure to try. I can only imagine a year or two in the cellar would enhance this offering quite well.

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Photo of rudzud
4.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with JLindros and Threelions. 2013 vintage

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice black hue with no head, great legs though.

S - Aromas of oats, bourbon, fudge, and balance. The bourbon and chocolate are awesome. Incredibly balanced, creamy oats, holy cow!

T - Taste is nutty chocolate fudge, bourbon, creamy oats, roast malts. This is absurdly balanced. Rich chocolate, bourbon, roast malts, creamy oats, barrel, vanilla. Super fudge and nuts. Again, super balanced.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, velvet, creamy oats, wow.

O - Overall this beer was really good. Almost black Tuesday, super balanced. Holy cow. Phenomenal.

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Photo of PacNWDad
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Fremont Brewery. Great color - a dark mahogany, opaque. Tiny amount of khaki head. Dense lace that settles back quickly. Toffee, coffee, roasted malt, a hint of clove. Starts sweet, then some sourness from the barrel and a bit of bitterness from the hops. Very complex, with some warmth from the alcohol. Full body, rich, but not cloying. Lightly carbonated, with a long finish. An excellent beer that will only get better with time based on the high ABV.

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Photo of mothman
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage
Tan head. Black in color.

Only flaw is a little too much peat/roast. Other than that, I really enjoy it! Bcs good. Great barrel flavors, not hot, not over powering. Cocoa and chocolate. Oak and coffee roast.

Smooth and creamy light roast.

Overall, very nice. Want to try more of this and the variants!

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Photo of DanGeo
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of Schlais
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of NWer
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of bishopdc0
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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Kentucky Dark Star from Fremont Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.