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Kentucky Dark Star - Fremont Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Kentucky Dark StarKentucky Dark Star

Educational use only; do not reuse.

82 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 82
Hads: 392
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 19.07%
Wants: 399
Gots: 117 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company visit their website
Washington, United States

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

Availability: Rotating

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

Our Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in 15 year old single use Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. The roasted and chocolate malts complement the smooth oats to bring you a stout delight wrapped in the gentle embrace of Bourbon Barrel aged warmth. A touch of sweetness dances in balance with the hops to finish with a wave and then she’s gone.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 82 | Hads: 392
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of aasher
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.05/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks, Jason.

A: Pours a black body with a short-lived brown head. No lacing.

S: The booze from the barrel shines through; vanilla, bourbon, some caramel, oak. Some roast. The aroma feels a bit weak. I was hoping for nuances of dark fruits, possibly some oxidation... None of that.

T: The bourbon barrel complements the base beer; vanilla, bourbon, and oak are in balance (with the latter appearing near the finish). The base beer is kind of weak and unresolved; I pick up roast with some chocolate.

M: Medium-bodied or thinner, which is disappointing. There's a smoothness on the finish that reminds me of an oatmeal stout [EDIT: I found out this was brewed with oats. Duh]. No heat.

O: I had a long argument with largadeer about this. We opened it next to some other barrel-aged stouts that receive relatively little acclaim (Marble Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, BA Peche Mortel, Older Viscosity), and it didn't hold up next to any of them. Chris argued that this was "average -- a B," to which I nearly lost my shit and clocked him one. Average means a C. Anyway, this is above average, but in a world with the above, as well as BA Hunahpu's, Black Tuesday, Eclipse, KBS, CBS, BCBS, BA Speedway, Parabola, Berzerker, BA Dark Lord, Churchill's Finest Hour, and more, I can't put this near the top tier. It's obviously barrel-aged from the nose and taste, but both are lacking in complexity and the mouthfeel is thin. There are no obvious flaws, but it's not a standout, either.

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Photo of maximum12
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of Treebs
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. waxed bomber served in a CBS snifter. 2012 Release. Big thanks to Matt (mfavoino) for sending the PNW treat my way.

A: Pours a dark black color with a khaki colored head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin cap and collar.

S: Smooth bourbon and oatmeal first fill the nose. Chocolate cake, roasted malts, and a slight dash of dark fruit round out the beer. There is a touch of oak and some vanilla sweetness as well. This smells amazing.

T: Smooth bourbon, some oak and a dash of roasted malts up front. Dried oats and some chocolate pop up in the middle and the finish is a toffee-like sweetness. The barrel flavors are definitely smooth and well integrated.

M: Medium bodied with a nice medium carbonation level. It is a tad thin, but it doesn't detract anything from the overall make up of the beer.

O: The nose on this beer is incredible, but the taste doesn't quite live up to it. It's still a really well put together beer and I wouldn't hesitate to have it again. Blending the barrels really helped this beer out as I don't think the base can really stand up to being in a barrel for some long on it's own. Fremont keeps pumping out some good stuff and I'm glad I've got a hook up! Thanks again Matt!

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Brandon for sharing this.
The beer pours a dark black with almost no head and no residual coating inside glass. The nose is very boozy, but the alcohol itself is well masked. It's very sweet with big notes of vanilla, coconut and chocolate. The taste is chocolatey with smooth buttery bourbon caramel and a lingering woodiness. The beer has a lighter body than expected, but is still very smooth and decadent. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.71/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.53/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

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Photo of hop_chomper
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
4.12/5  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.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.73/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of beertunes
3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of pistolpeat
5/5  rDev +16.3%
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….

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Photo of draheim
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
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!

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Photo of brystmar
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of TheEarl
4.69/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.47/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of mfavoino
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of Smurf2055
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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

Delicious, even better than the B-Bomb. Seriously great stuff. Very Bourbony, very strong. Caramelly on the front end, awesome aftertaste. Freemont really outdid themselves with this release, everyone knows them for the B-Bombs, but it looks like the KDark is gonna be a new favoritie from them.

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