Kentucky Dark Star - Fremont Brewing Company

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Kentucky Dark StarKentucky Dark Star

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

380 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 380
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 382
Gots: 121 | FT: 18
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 380 | Reviews: 82
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to robL for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some really nice barrel aged flavors.

Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 bottling

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown color with a rather modest head that quickly fades to a ringlet though it leaves a nice lacing pattern behind

Smell: German chocolate cake with caramel icing and some oats in the background; quite a whiff of the Bourbon barrel, as well

Taste: Caramel and chocolate, up front, with building flavors of coconut, vanilla and Bourbon, in the middle, heralding the arrival of some astringent alcohol, as well; hops appear, adding a bitter balance, after the swallow, though the finish is filled with chocolate and Bourbon tones

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Overall: As others have noted, this beer is a bit thin in the mouthfeel and lacks some complexity; still, it is a joy to drink and I am glad I was able to find a bottle when I was in Seattle last summer

Photo of largadeer
3.69/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Jason. Dark blackened amber body with a finger of lasting froth. Looks pretty legit. Ton of whiskey on the nose, along with some spiciness, oak and vanilla. Tastes strongly of bourbon, caramel and vanilla; the barrel is pretty dominant here. It's somewhat thin on the palate, but not offensively so. The finish is sweet with a touch of drying oak. This is pretty good, but nothing particularly special.

Photo of jlindros
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
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!

Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage, consumed July, 2014.

Dark brown-black pour, with a dark tan head that displayed good retention and laced the glass upon swirling. In the nose, roast and toast, dark malts and oak, notes of vanilla, coconut, coffee, with a decent bourbon heat. I thought this was a pretty standard bourbon stout, tastewise, decent dark roasty malts and coffee, bourbon-soaked oak and neutral alcohol, lighter notes of char and vanilla. Medium body, somewhat thinner than I'd expect for the style. But still good overall. Not great, but good.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark black with a small khaki colored head, which reduces to a thin cap on top. Very thin lacing forms on the sides and is gone relatively quickly.

S: Very nice mixture of bourbon, chocolate, and oatmeal. There is a lot going on in the aroma, chocolate chips, chocolate, vanilla, some brown sugar, a little bit of oak and vanilla.

T: More bourbon with a bit more roasted malt. More chocolate, both bittersweet and some dark, a touch of vanilla, and brown sugar.

M: Medium bodied, maybe a touch thin, but based on previous reviews I expected it to be thinner, with moderate carbonation. ABV hidden very nicely.

O: Definitely a big fan of this beer. The bourbon is blended nicely with the chocolate and oatmeal flavors. Yes, it is a little thin for style, but I don't think it is really detracting from the beer overall. Very easy drinking, though I plan to sip on this one for a while.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Shared by starrdogg. Split four ways. Thanks Matt.

The beer is dark brown with a small, beige head. Sparse lacing on the wine glass. The aroma brings roast, malt, a subtle barrel presence. Smells balanced, refined, and awesome. The taste does not disappoint, offering a smooth, silky, roasted malt goodness. Medium bodied with moderately low carbonation. Overall, a really tasty stout. Glad I got to sample this.

23 Jan 2015
Having this again tonight. World class. Masterfully done.

Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft at Brouwers Cafe in Seattle, WA.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger mocha head that slowly settles into a thick lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Beautiful bourbon aroma with a nicely integrated barrel character that doesn't overpower the other notes.  Hints of toasted oak, vanilla and coconut along with spicy bourbon, dark chocolate, coffee bean, oatmeal and toast.

Chewy full body with a strong barrel presence that dominates the roasted malt notes lingering into a spicy, boozy finish.  Lots of spicy bourbon along with dry oak and subtle vanilla.  Not as smooth or well balanced as I expected based on the nose.  The malts become more evident as it warns with hints of silky dark chocolate, burnt toast and oatmeal.  Lots of bourbon and pretty dry/roasted to the point where it's almost acrid.  Abv is pretty evident with lots of boozy sweetness and warmth in the finish.  A bit harsh but still tasty.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.76/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Not quite black. Khaki collar and some faint wisps.

Smell - Bourbon. Really raw bourbon flavor. Even some of the corn aroma you get from bourbon. Some coffee malt, but otherwise it's mostly barrel.

Taste - Like the smell, it's mostly bourbon. Some roasted malt comes out as a coffee flavor, too. As much bourbon as there is, there isn't a ton of heat to it.

Mouthfeel - A little light. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Bourbon dominates this one. Way too strong compared to the stout. Had this next to Elijah Craih 20 Eclipse and Event Horizon. It was my least favorite of the three.

Photo of barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

Photo of John_M
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage poured in to snifter.

A - Deep black with a thin layer of mocha brown coloured head.

S - A big sweetness - vanilla, oatmeal, chocolate, char and a big oak presence.

T - Sweet vanilla, bourbon and chocolate fudge with char and a big oak/woodiness present throughout. Roast. Extremely smooth for the ABV. Becomes even more smooth and flavourful as it warms to room temperature.

M - Full body. Creamy and silky. Light carbonation.

Photo of aasher
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by Rillo at the Charlotte Tasting 2012. Thanks Rillo!

KDS pours a full bodied, viscous dark, dark brown in color with a slight beige lacing around the glass. The nose is big, smooth, silky, and has a touch of bourbon. The flavors are very smooth, very approachable. There is the perfect amount of roast, a full yet smooth body, and a subtle amount of bourbon. It could use more bourbon, in my opinion, but it is very, very well integrated and balanced. It drinks full in body and very smooth with no alcohol presence. This is a really nice beer. I'm glad I could try it.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours pitch black with a thin brown head that dissipates to a thin film and ring around the glass. Tempting aroma of bourbon, vanilla and chocolate. There must be some toasted malt in there, but the bourbon is dominant. Flavor is a seamless roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, hints of oak but with bourbon ascendant. At first the flavor seems subdued, but except for bourbon, none of the flavors are really more dominant than the others making it difficult to figure out the components of the flavor. Medium bodied with slight creaminess, perhaps a bit thin for an oatmeal stout. A very nicely balanced bourbon stout that is incredibly smooth. I had to pace myself to respect the ABV. Delicious.

Photo of beertunes
3.78/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Barely tolerated 22oz bottle poured into chalice. Poured black, no light came through, even when I put a flashlight behind it. The beer had just the faintest wisp of head with zero retention or lacing.

In the nose the bourbon dominated, which is generally a warning sign for me, with the nice base brew being relatively hidden. However, on the tongue the beer shows up nicely and the bourbon complements, not competes with, the beer. The gentle roast and chocolate notes offer a nice counter-point to the beer and bourbon flavors. The alcohol wasn't apparent.

The body was a bit thin for my expectations in this style, I want a big stout to be almost chewy. Drinkabilty depends on your taste for the style, if you like big, almost boozy stouts you'll like this beer. If you like a booze bomb of a brew you'll be mildly disappointed. Overall a very nice beer and another fine job from the crew at Fremont. A must try if can, and good luck finding some.

Photo of Duff27
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big three finger deep mocha colored head. Dark brown body.

Big time oak sniffs, hidden cocoa.

Chocolate initially. Sharp/sweeter bourbon notes in the second act. Oak is there but not as prominent as it is in the nose. Would guess the ABV a dash higher than stated.

Creamy mouthfeel, smooth. Lower end of carbonation.

Favorites of KDS were the nose and the mouthfeel, the sharp booze notes I could do without. Thanks to ford0626 for the trade!

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle opened on 7.27.12.

A - Pours a dark opaque brown with a small thin light brown head that moves quickly to the edges.

S - Bourbon, molasses, chocolate, slight wood and vanilla.

T - Similar to the nose. Bourbon and molasses hits you first, then a sweet maple, vanilla and wood finish. Delicious.

D - A thinner body with good carbonation.

O - Very nice. I have had this on tap several times. While the bottle isn't quite as good, it is still expceptional. Nice molasses, booze, vanilla and wood. Thin, but delicous.

Photo of wordemupg
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
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

Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, brouwers

appearance: served in an unbranded 12oz snifter, ebony body, thick creamy chocolate cap

smell: vanillia, oak, chocolate, angel's panties

taste: if these sky-high fremont reviews are still surprising you, you arent paying close enough attention. This beer stole the show at brouwers stout-fest. if you like the barrel effect on b-bomb, expect to love this - decadent notes of oak, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon.

mouthfeel: sinfully creamy, alcohol buried

overall: Fremont is really on to something - best brewery in Washington by a wide margin.

Photo of rudzud
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to cmrillo for sharing this one during the One Year Anniversary of My Wreck Tasting! Served from bottle into a Crooked Stave ‘Crooked Line’ tulip. Poured pitch black with a half finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, vanilla, wood, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malt, wood, and milk chocolate. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The flavor on this one was really quite nice and complex. The sweetness from the milk chocolate and vanilla mixed extremely well with the dark chocolate and roasted malt going on. This made this one quite easy to drink and was a crowd pleaser for the most part. The aroma wasn’t quite on par with the flavor but was definitely no slouch. If you are lucky enough to have one of these make sure that you try it, if you don’t what are you waiting for? You won’t regret it.

Photo of maximum12
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blessings upon the dwellings of bfg75 & pwnzilla, each of whom sent me a bottle of this brew. After trying the Interurban IPA, I wanted more Fremont. Who knew? This country is fairly littered with bitsy breweries I know nothing about. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

3/4 inch of black wax gives way to a skillfully wielded implement of death, bringing to light a black, black liquid. Bubby for so heavy a fellow. Sniff. Yizza. Beautiful bourbon, vanilla, big Hershey's, milky, cocoa, geez. The only thing I don't smell is new car. Gorgeous.

Kentucky Dark Star would be a plant-the-flag beer for any brewery in the country. The bourbon, chocolate, & vanilla mixture is have-a-butler decadent. Roast & bitterness crawl through the hedge of flavors mid-palate, & the bitterness really puts a pliers on the tongue. Sweet malts & slick oatmeal tidy up afterwards. If there were a category for "good taste sticking in your mouth after you swallow" it would be a pure 5. No doubt that I could've taken this bomber flying solo.

Beautiful. Disappearing fast. Excellent beer that borders on the elite; I'm surprised the West Coast allowed any of these to reach escape velocity.

Photo of cosmicevan
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from a tasting on 8/15. thanks to BeerWorld for bringing this one out.

a - deep dark with a thin off tan grey head that leaves a ring around the surface. swirling the brew brings it back to life.

s - nice roase. some oats. some barrel.

t - very malty. roasty. some powdered chocolate. some bourbon notes. oaty but not rich and thick like i would hope.

m - a bit thin for an oatmeal stout. the barrel seems to work in some thinness?

o - pretty nice. nothing crazy. glad to try it. good, but not great. surprising to see it is an oatmeal stout as it is a bit thin. perhaps i would dig this more in a different setting, but adjacent to the monster brews i'm consuming this evening, this one seems a bit thin and lacking, but still enjoyable. just doesn't seem to deserve the rave reviews it is getting (in my opinion). glad to try it, but not something i'd seek out. it wasn't all that popular at the tasting in general as many people were offering up their pour to others who enjoyed it more. definitely not a crowd fav.

Photo of thegerm87
3.28/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Booze, chocolate, vanilla cake. Thin, underdeveloped and overrated.

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Kentucky Dark Star from Fremont Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.