Kentucky Dark Star - Fremont Brewing Company

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Kentucky Dark StarKentucky Dark Star

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

78 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 78
Hads: 383
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 4.15%
Wants: 382
Gots: 118 | 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: 78 | Hads: 383
Photo of bfg75
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
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! (347 characters)

Photo of kevwcamp
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (860 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: pours black with half a finger of light brown head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: roasted malts with sweet chocolate, vanilla, oak, and smooth bourbon. There are also notes of caramel, burnt sugar, and toffee.

T: roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, burnt sugar, oak, toffee, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. It finishes a little boozy and sweet.

M: thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is lively rather than creamy.

O: a pretty solid bbal stout overall. I'd like a bit more from the stout and a bit freamier body, but it's still quite enjoyable. (580 characters)

Photo of laminam
5/5  rDev +15.2%
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. (599 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (1,840 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.76/5  rDev -13.4%
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. (656 characters)

Photo of mhksuccess
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from a 22oz bottle into ballast pt snifter
it pours very dark and little to no head
smell to me seemed slightly boozy and hint of chocolate toffee
taste was malt that of an oatmeal stout with a hint of booze
heavy chocolate very nice
extremely smooth and enjoyable
would definite have again (298 characters)

Photo of Brandywine
3.71/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Poured a fingers worth of a mocha brown head. Pitch black with thick alcohol legs and tight lacing.

Smell: Chocolate, roasted notes, bourbon, caramelized brown sugar, vanilla bean, subtle booze but definitely not unpleasant. There's a smokiness as well.

Taste: Tip of the tongue is bourbon that rolls into semi-sweet chocolatea and smokey notes with some sweetness. End of the to tongue is oats rolled in chocolate and milk cream. There's a richer but more mild flavor to Kentucky darkstar now that it's been aged. There's subtle vanilla that gets mixed in with the other flavors. No booze on the the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Overall: While still a great beer I don't think cellaring has helped this one. It's picked up a creamy sweetness but the awesome smoke and roasted notes have mellowed a lot. The beer is also much too thin for its style. (903 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
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 (874 characters)

Photo of claaark13
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cory, this was poured from a bottle at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - Pours an opaque black with a thin head. Sticks alright, but overall looks pretty good considering that the lacing maintains itself so well.

S - Tons of oak upfront. Dark malts in the background after trying really hard to get past the oak, a little chocolate.

T - Bready chocolate, dryness from the oak starts to blend, sugary roasted malt, smooth finish that leaves a lot of sweet oak lingering. Barrel is a little too dominating, but it is overall still well balanced.

M - Fairly light.

O - I'll admit that the flavor is very good considering that this is a BA Oatmeal Stout. Actually, it has got to be the best of it's style, which is why I'm comfortable bumping up the overall. (780 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (726 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Pours a viscous pitch black with a thin collar of dark brown head. Barrel come through first on the ode and presents a deep charred oaky character followed by roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa, a touch of licorice, and bourbon. The flavored meld very nicely and present a smooth liquid chocolate quality backed up by vanilla and oak. The mouthfeel is rich and decadent with a creamy quality. Overall, this massive stout is bold while being well balanced. (471 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.59/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one had been on my list for quite a while before Doops pulled it out along side an awesomely impressive 2012 Bourbon Abominable a few weeks back. Cheers for the killer Fremont night dude!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2012
Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in 15yr old Kentucky bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: Pours out transparent brown and yields a 1½ finger, medium looking, creamy tan head with good retention. Clear black body with medium levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a creamy foam cap with a stream of carbonation to the top. A half wisp remains until the end leaving touches of lacing. Too transparent for the style, but the head was nice, averaging it out.

SMELL: Roasted malts, pure, dark chocolate, and some nice oat aromas for sure. Mild bourbon with vanilla, sweet cream, a hint of coconut and some milk chocolate. Mild bourbon, but the bouquet from the barrel is quite enticing.

TASTE: Roasted flavors and cocoa powder up front, though a little mild initially. Oats and chocolate through the middle into the swallow. A medium but lingering aftertaste with more barrel notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet cream and coconut flavors. Some roasted notes and dark chocolate from the base beer meshes well with the barrel flavors in the finish. This is very nicely balanced, though not as bold as hoped perhaps.

PALATE: Medium body and very creamy smooth on the palate. Slightly higher levels of carbonation and somewhat light on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes a touch dry. No heat. A little lighter perhaps, but velvety creamy smooth for sure. Lovely oat notes.

OVERALL: Though not quite as impressive a beer as the 2012 Abominable, this was a solid and enjoyable oatmeal stout. Listed at 9.5%, but it feels and drinks more like a 6% beer. As such, I'd like to see slightly bolder flavors and a thicker, heavier feel for top marks here. That said, I found this very enjoyable and would gladly drink it regularly if it was available to me. Really well balanced and velvety smooth; a very easy drinking bourbon barrel stout. Thanks again for sharing Doops! (2,107 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.69/5  rDev -15%
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. (410 characters)

Photo of sleuthdog
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Huge thank you to tut2528 for opening this!
Poured into Founders Bolt Cutter glass

Pour: A dark brown to more so black color with absolutely no head formation. A calm beer with decent alcohol legs.

Smell: A bit of bourbon smell with dark chocolate, molasses and some roastiness. I guess I can reach for some of the oats.

Taste: I am getting smoke and char with bourbon and vanilla. Oak and bourbon though dominate. Some alcohol burn but oh so mild.

Mouthfeel: This is where this beer shines. A creamy palate coating silkiness creates a pleasant feel.

Overall: I have heard mixed reviews on this and can see why. It is enjoyable but actually not worth the hype to me. (672 characters)

Photo of tut2528
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

thanks to Jaap for helping me land this one (a personal big want)!

A: pours a very dark brown almost black. there was very minimal head formation, and what was created via forced carbonation, is dark brown.

S: big bourbon and oak, a slight alcohol soaked raisin, dark chocolate, roast malt, with slight sweet molasses. a vanilla touch lies in the back. there is just a subtle hint of oats in there, but i feel like im reaching for it.

T: big smokiness (like a bon fire), a bourbon blast, more oats here than in the aroma, a nice creamy vanilla finish. there is just touch of chocolate but it really isnt all that much.

M: lighter side of medium bodied, no carbonation. it does leave a nice coating of bourbon and vanilla sweetness on the palate though which is really enjoyable.

O: love the fact that I finally have tried this beer. and thanks again Jaap for helping me out with this one. Its a very enjoyable Oatmeal beer for sure. Just wish there was a tad more complexity to this one. (995 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours shiny black, with a ring of light brown head.

S: Kind of a strong, nutty cocoa, straight bourbon underneath, a little vanilla and smoke/char and coconut.

T: Chocolate, sweet and tasty bourbon which doesn't quite meld with the base, cola, and a little char and brown sugar.

M: Meduim-full, creamy body and medium-light carbonation.

O: Pretty good. Strikes a nice balance between the thicker BA stouts and the thinner ones (thick BCBS vs. KBS). The bourbon doesn't integrate as well as it could, though. Pretty drinkable, the alcohol is not noticeable at all. (598 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to sonicalligator for sending this my way. I asked for Fremont and he delivered! Pours jet black into a tulip. There is a very small amount of bubbles forming a tiny head.

The aroma is full of sweet rich chocolate. There is some vanilla. This is enticing.

The taste has a lot of chocolate and molasses. The finish has a mild hint of wood and vanilla. This is mostly sweet, without a ton of hop bitterness.

The carbonation on this is very soft that makes for a nice smooth drinking brew. I like this one a lot. This has none of the harshness that some barrel aged stouts bring. It may lack some of the complexity too, but it still has a broad enough range of flavors for my liking. (695 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a small coffee head reducing to a wisp on top. Slight lacing.

Chocolate in the aroma along with a lot of oats, brown sugar and vanilla. Smells like a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie with a little booze.

Lots of roasted malt in the flavor that wasn't evident in the aroma. Chocolate, vanill and brown sugar all come out too brought together with the chewy oatmeal. Booze is in the background. It add a bit of heat, but the vanilla component comes through more than straight booze.

Mouthfeel is what prevents this from being top notch. A little bit too thin bodied for the style and I wish the bourbon would shine through more especially on a beer so young. I'm not sure this one will age nicely.

I enjoyed this beer and I love what oatmeal can bring to a stout. I wish there were a little more body and a little more booze. The flavors and texture are there. Improvements in a few areas could make this world class. (937 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter

A - Dark chocolate brown. Very opaque with a reflective body. Small mocha colored head that only sits on the side

S - The whiskey makes itself known in the one as it hits you upfront. There is slight oak and the roasted malt that you'd expect in an oatmeal stout. I also get a slight vanilla / maple in the back

T - Light roasted malts up front. Slight whiskey kick with vanilla and oak hit in the middle. The finish is slight dark chocolate, roasted malt and whiskey, which gives it a slight roasted and boozy kick

MF - Light body with a slight syrupy sweetness. Finish is slightly astringent from the roasted malt and bourbon

O - Solid beer with a lot of flavor for an oatmeal stout. However, since this is an oatmeal stout, it's a bit lighter than I'd like it to be and lighter in flavor than some of the great beers out there (863 characters)

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.3/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2012 edition split with steepH2O...I always enjoy when Chris and I can drink beers together. It just doesn't happen enough. Thanks for stopping by!

Well, this is one of the most pleasant waxed bottles I've ever had the chance to encounter. One swift swipe and it peels away like undergarments on prom.

Looks like a stout. The tannish-cinnamon head is a nice looker before she settles into the depths. A bit of spatter as residue, but not much.

Smells like the brownest of the brown liquors...so tempting! Whats that...you want me to drink you? But I'm in the middle of a trial. Excuse me...Hello David, I'm really tempted!

The taste and mouthfeel are a letdown. Up front is the Dr. Pepper vibe followed followed by some nice chocolate cake notes. Bourbon imparts a light vanilla and the oats provide a smoothness in body. However, the body is so thin and light that the bourbon just seems to sit atop the fray rather than meld into the base. The finish is actually watery. All the potential here just sort of falls off a cliff at the finish.

For all the promise I thought this beer held....I really enjoy a good oatmeal stout and I really appreciate quality barrel aging...this is just sort of a miss. Too much carbonation, too little integration, and just not enough body to carry this through. In a crowded field I'm actually surprised how high the reviews are for this beer. A real letdown considering the beauty of B-Bomb. (1,432 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (537 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
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. (1,061 characters)

Photo of aasher
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (578 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (903 characters)

Kentucky Dark Star from Fremont Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.