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Kentucky Dark Star | Fremont Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class
89 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
89
Ratings:
446
Avg:
4.32
pDev:
8.33%
 
 
Wants:
429
Gots:
143
For Trade:
20
Kentucky Dark StarKentucky Dark Star
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

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.

Added by barleywinefiend on 05-12-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 446
Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%

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 jlindros
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
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 rudzud
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
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 Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of Joshpu
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Release. Poured from the bomber to a snifter.

A: Poured black, what head was there was tan.

S: Mostly bourbon, vanilla. Big oak and dark fruit/chocolate, oatmeal.

T: The taste follows the nose well, except there is a sweeter dark chocolate/fudge on the taste. Oatmeal. Almost a caramel sweetness as it warms. Some coffee in some sips as well.

M: Light to medium bodied. Pretty light and easy to drink. Sticky mouth feel.

Overall a good stout. Very easy to drink and pleasant. I like stouts with a thicker body but it's a nice change. This is like a better version of Velvet Merkin.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of mc4z
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter, split. Pours a dark black with a good medium brown head. The nose is strong in the bottom with lots of vanilla and oak. There's also a good amount of chocolate. The flavor also leans heavily toward the bourbon, but there's also some toffee, oats, and chocolate. The mouthfeel is smooth with a slight alcohol bite. Overall this is another great barrel aged offering from Fremont.

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Photo of John_M
4.32/5  rDev 0%
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 barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +15.7%
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 Tilley4
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is an amazing beer... 2012 version so it has a little time on it...

Big notes of bourbon and oak present in the aromas and flavor dept... im pairing this beer with some Nakhla Double Apple in my hookah and they go together terrifically... there's an anise note in the double that complements this brew and has me on point...

The brewery states that this is an oatmeal stout but it feels a little bigger and richer to me... not necessarily richer on the palate but in the flavor dept...

Seeing as its International Stout Day, I thought I would pull this one out of the back of my beer fridge and I'm glad I did... a chilly November night, some strong Egyptian tobacco and this beer... off the hook...

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Photo of zeledonia
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
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 bfg75
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
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 kevwcamp
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
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 n2185
3.92/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of laminam
5/5  rDev +15.7%
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 tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
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 Alieniloquium
3.76/5  rDev -13%
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.

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Photo of mhksuccess
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
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

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Photo of Brandywine
3.71/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
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

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Photo of claaark13
3.91/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.59/5  rDev -16.9%
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!

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Photo of largadeer
3.69/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

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Kentucky Dark Star from Fremont Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.