1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Kentucky Dark Star - Fremont Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kentucky Dark StarKentucky Dark Star

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

242 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 242
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 255
Gots: 70 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: barleywinefiend on 05-12-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 242 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shilt
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Shilt, Aug 28, 2012
Photo of fbc24
5/5  rDev +16.8%

fbc24, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Huhzubendah, Aug 26, 2012
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

coreyfmcdonald, Aug 23, 2012
Photo of gpawned
4/5  rDev -6.5%

gpawned, Aug 22, 2012
Photo of cosmicevan
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

cosmicevan, Aug 21, 2012
Photo of jbuddle
2.75/5  rDev -35.7%

jbuddle, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of hopluva1
4/5  rDev -6.5%

hopluva1, Aug 16, 2012
Photo of hop_chomper
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black waxed bomber, poured an oily black color. Heavy tan cap that was maybe a finger thick. Creamy and foamy.

Nose is like smelling a soft chocolate truffle made with toasted coconut, vanilla, and rich bourbon. This beer smells fantastic! Easily the best part, finishing with lots of woody bourbon, anise, licorice and light smoke.

Taste, much like the nose, is incredible. Deep, roasty malts, smooth bourbon kick, bittersweet cocoa, speckled with hints of vanilla & some charred oak. Lots of depth here. When warmed, notes of licorice, creamy oats, more wood, maybe a touch of sweet cherry, all add to the roasted malt profile.

Mouthfeel is creamy. Not as thick and chewy as a lot of stouts tend to be, but I think that's the oats help to create a softer body, giving the beer flavor & texture without being intense. Age will bring the mouthfeel thicker, add complexity, and really take this to another level.

I acquired this beer in a trade for Darkness and I must say, I think I got the better end of the deal. One of the better barrel aged stouts I've ever had. Rivals KBS, BCBS, Parabola, etc. any day of the week. I should have traded for another.

hop_chomper, Aug 14, 2012
Photo of Sarlacc83
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle courtesy of NWer. Thanks!

A: Heavy pour yields pure black body and thin lacing. Decent legs.

N: Extremely chocolately. Very nice bourbon flavoring on the nose. Fudge, fudge, and more fudge. Some espresso. Little bit of oatmeal.

T: Lots of dark chocolate, espresso, and a well integrated bourbon presence. Little bit of caramel and vanilla and coconut. The oatmeal’s here, and only a slight alcohol burn. This is very well integrated.

M: Medium feel and somewhat heavy. About right for a BA Oatmeal Stout.

O: Impressive effort from Fremont Brewing. Highly drinkable, but don’t age, in my opinion. There's not enough body for to stretch this one out too long.

Sarlacc83, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of beerandcycling88
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

A Pours a pitch black topped off with a mocha head with decent retention.

S Mostly bourbon with a bit of vanilla and oak. Good but a touch one dimensional.

T Quite complex with lots of chocolate, oatmeal backed up with bourbon and a hint of roast and vanilla.

M Silky smooth and very creamy.

Overall this is an excellent beer from Fremont that shows why they might be the best brewery in the state. Its good looking, complex and has an excellent mouthfeel. My only complaint is the fact that the nose is slightly one dimensional. Other then that this one lives up to the hype.

beerandcycling88, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of beertunes
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

beertunes, Aug 12, 2012
Photo of corby112
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

corby112, Aug 12, 2012
Photo of pistolpeat
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had this around town a few times, at festivals & at the brewery, but this is my first go at a bottle.

Appearance: Poured a rich, inky black with a sticky, foamy espresso cap. The head clung to the outer rim of the glass, leaving behind a silky lacing as I drank.

Aroma: Whoa. A warming, soft & complex bourbon shines with a roasty coconut, vanilla, mild char and some oaky chocolate. Very alluring & intricate.

Taste: Smooth and outstanding. Bursting with flavor without being intense or overwhelming. That roasted coconut from the nose hits the tongue first, followed by a creamy chocolate roast & smooth bourbon. Rich oatiness, vanilla, and more creaminess go down in the finish. Just awesome.

Mouthfeel: Superb mouthfeel. No overpowering textures or flavors to dominant the palate. Smooth, full-bodied, creamy, and full of complexity. So easy to drink.

Overall: All parts of this beer were incredible to me. Nothing in the Pacific Northwest even comes close to this stout. Fremont clearly is leaps and bounds ahead of other Washington brewers for quality of beer, creativity, and craftsmanship. KDS is delicious- better than the Bourbon Abominale, and adds multi-dimensions to the regular Dark Star. This beer will age nicely, getting richer and more complex as time goes by. WA has a hidden gem here….

pistolpeat, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of draheim
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2012) into a snifter. Pours a deep brown/black w/ a fizzy mocha head that settles pretty quickly to a thin film. A narrow band of garnet light shines through around the perimeter of the glass.

Aroma is rich bourbon, chocolate, oak, vanilla, and dark fruit as it warms.

Taste is dark roasted malt, strong bourbon, bitter chocolate, oak, vanilla, and booze.

Mouthfeel is slick and coating, just a tad thin. Carbonation is just right. Finishes dry.

Overall a rich, solid imperial stout. Falls a bit short of the complexity of beers like Parabola and KBS, but a very enjoyable sipper of a beer.

draheim, Aug 07, 2012
Photo of SpdKilz
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to sukwonee for this beer. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a complete black into my darkness tulip. About a half finger of mocha colored head is achieved with a moderate pour.

Smell – Roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, cocoa and milk chocolate. Quite intoxicating actually.

Taste – Bourbon up front, for sure. Heavy vanilla follows (rich, real vanilla flavor). Roasty oak and malts, slight bittersweet cocoa mixed with a silky milk chocolate. Wow.

Mouthfeel – I have read that people think this is a bit thin. I can see this, but only faintly so. It is, in my opinion, perfect for this beer. I personally don’t like overly thick mouthfeels and this beer has a nice creamy texture, albeit a hint thin. I think it goes well with it.

Overall – No alcohol in the taste, though you do get a nice warming as it goes down. It is an unseasonably cool night here in the Midwest for August (just broke into the upper 60’s) and a perfect night for this on the porch. This is a well done beer and worth the hype it is getting. I am enjoying this thoroughly. I think I enjoy the rich vanilla flavors most of all, and feel that this is what BCBVS could have been (this is less sweet, a bit more roasted and oaky, hence my liking it over BCBVS). Cheers!

SpdKilz, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of brystmar
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Josh!

Pretty pour, dark body, plenty of tan head, leaves sticky bubbles on my glass. Smell starts off kinda boring but develops into a potent, complex aroma. Caramel and toffee atop the roasty bourbon, barely oxidized at all, really nice.

Conversely, the taste begins with a promising flavor profile that fades into mediocrity as it warns. Initially chock full of bittersweet dark chocolate, though this seems to die out as the bourbon takes its place. Can still taste the oatmeal; doesn't seem to be doing its job though. Body is somewhat chewy and smooth but surprisingly lacks the body expected from an oatmeal stout.

A good stout, not great.

brystmar, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of hopburster
4.75/5  rDev +11%

hopburster, Aug 01, 2012
Photo of TheEarl
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had my first non-festival pour of KDS, from a waxed 22 ounce bottle of the inaugural 2012 release, in a snifter, on 7/18/2012.

Appearance: Blackish brown with an oily looking tan head and sparse lacing.

Smell: The aroma is bourbon forward with oak/vanilla and a slight grainy/bready note at the end.

Taste: KDS tastes just like it smells. Initially, there is a sweet and remarkably smooth bourbon character that opens into oak, vanilla, and bread flavors, and finishes with dark chocolate. For a big stout, I get very little or no coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium/full bodied, viscous, and light on bubbles. Despite the 9.5% ABV, there is no heat whatsoever. For an oatmeal stout, KDS is, perhaps, a bit light bodied.

Overall: KDS is outstanding and, in my view, ranks alongside KBS and Parabola. I’m surprised at how much I love this beer as I’m not a huge fan of the standard Dark Star--a beer I find overly grainy and too thin. It will be very interesting to see how this beer evolves in the cellar and how the releases change year-to-year.

TheEarl, Jul 30, 2012
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

HuskyinPDX, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of Lordkrystic
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Lordkrystic, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of mfavoino
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 7/20/12 and served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Black with an espresso head that settles to just a rim of foam around the glass.

Smell: Immediately smell the bourbon and get some wood character as well. Vanilla and roasted malt character present.

Taste: Big bourbon notes, followed by smooth vanilla and milk chocolate flavors. Finishes with a great roasted malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: Still a bit of alcohol taste, even though the abv is lowish. Carbonation is low-medium. There seems to be a lot of people complaining about thinness, but considering this is an Oatmeal Stout, I don't think it's too off target.

Overall: Definitely worth the hype. Loving the bourbon flavor, chocolate, and roasted malts.

mfavoino, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

huge thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for sending this beer my way! Thanks Hollis!

Appearance: black bodied beer with one finger of mocha head. Spotty lace.

Smell: Very bourbon forward nose. Lots of oak and vanilla notes. Mild roasted grain notes.

Taste: This beer follows the nose to a tee. Huge bourbon and barrel notes; lots of vanilla and oak. Slightly chocolate aftertaste with even more bourbon!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. This beer is really smooth. The bourbon has a strong flavor in the beer, but has no burn to it. I could appreciate a little more thickness to this beer, but it has got a fairly silky and creamy mouthfeel.

Overall: Fremont is one hell of a brewery. This is my fourth beer from this brewery and I continue to look forward to getting each beer! The is a really nice BA Imperial Stout! Impressive smoothness and drinkablity within this traditionally big and heavy beer style.

4DAloveofSTOUT, Jul 20, 2012
Photo of Smurf2055
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a sip of this at Back in Black at Brouwer's, and again with a mini tasting with a Portland BA.

Pours black with a finger of tan head, not much retention, and some good carbonation. Pretty stout.

Smell has all the strong bourbon flavors a big barrel beer lover would look for. It's a bit of a sweeter smell, not boozy, but a lot of bourbon vanilla and a tiny hint of red fruit.

Taste is fantastic, you can still get a lot of the base beer (which I enjoyed). I think that's why I prefer this to Bourbon Abominable, which was an absolute Bourbon bomb, so much so that I could only pick out hints of the base beer. This one, while more subdued, catches the best parts of the bourbon flavor without it overpowering a fine oatmeal stout. Creamy, grainy, caramel, vanilla, and roasty chocolate.

The mouthfeel is also incredible. It doesn't bombard the palate, it doesn't have a lot of heat (an imperial oatmeal stout), so it's a lot easier drinking than you might expect.

Overall, the best bourbon barrel beer I've had from Washington, and something to be very proud of.

Smurf2055, Jul 16, 2012
Photo of BillHilly
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

BillHilly, Jul 16, 2012
Kentucky Dark Star from Fremont Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 242 ratings.