Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
Fremont Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark StarBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States
Oatmeal Stout
Ranked #3
Ranked #357
4.43 | pDev: 6.55%
Sep 07, 2022
May 12, 2012
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark StarBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
Notes: Formerly known as Kentucky Dark Star (KDS), Imperial Oatmeal Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels.

2020: Blend of 24, 18, 12 and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 7-12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. 12.7%
2019: Blend of 24, 18, 12, and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 7-12 year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. 13.1%
2018: Blend of 24, 18, 12 and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 7-12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. 13.6%
2017: Blend of 18, 12 and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. 13.1%
2016: Blend of 18, 12 and 8-month bourbon barrel-aged Dark Star in 12-year old Kentucky Bourbon barrels. 14.5%
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of hops_for_thought
Reviewed by hops_for_thought from New York

4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2019 BA Dark Star

Poured from a bottle into a tasting glass

L: pours a very dark black brown, moderately viscous, with a moderate dark khaki head. Fades after a minute or so, but not entirely. Solid legs with each sip

S: rich, full nose that steers clear of being too much. Lots of bitter baking chocolate leads, healthy amount of barrel influence close behind. Get caramel, vanilla, oak. Bit of alcohol to round it out - quite nice and layered

T: follows the nose well, big wave of bitter chocolate to open. A refreshing departure from pastry stouts, as the aroma suggested. After that first wave of chocolate there’s a healthy amount of bourbon barrel - vanilla; caramel; oak; some straight bourbon too. Abv heat pleasantly present. Bitterness sticks around throughout, leading to a long finish

F: medium+ body; medium/- carbonation. Smooth - not overly full but no means thin

O: really excellent, full flavored stout that demonstrates what’s possible without adjuncts. No signs of oxidation. More bitter and less “thiccc” than the usual stouts of today, just good!
Sep 07, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by EMV from Pennsylvania

Jun 09, 2022
Photo of CaptainHate
Reviewed by CaptainHate from Ohio

4.74/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
My daughter gave me this 2021 as a Christmas present so it's only right that I split it with her husband (no lie, I thought I tried this previously because if something like this is new to me I drink alone). Just an outstanding oatmeal stout. Very bourbon and chocolate forward but still very much in balance. If I had ready access to this it would be a permanent cellar resident.
Jun 03, 2022
Rated: 4 by BigIronH from Michigan

May 18, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by shigg85 from Japan

May 08, 2022
Rated: 4.68 by bigpoppa67 from Wisconsin

Mar 18, 2022
Rated: 4.38 by Mikexw from New York

Mar 13, 2022
Photo of jonphisher
Reviewed by jonphisher from New Jersey

4.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Very viscous looking pour, it yields a nice thick head that lingers much longer than most barrel stouts. Settles to thin layer of light brown with some islands of more dense congregations of bubbles. Upon swirling it really sticks to the glass and the light brown head grows and laces a little.

First thing that popped into my head after initial smell was chocolate ice cream, some oaky coconut, slightest nose tickle of alcohol, some leather.

Taste is very fudgy chocolate forward with some vanilla and oak, dark fruit notes as well.

This drinks so decadent; it’s full on viscous with mouth feeling thick, low and smooth carbonation, mouth coating, just the slightest warming sensation in tinkle in the throat, a slight roasty bitterness.
Feb 28, 2022
Photo of Gatch
Reviewed by Gatch from Massachusetts

4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
2020 bottle, the first of two bottles, about a year and a half of rest. Huge roasty nose with plenty of vanilla and bourbon and woody barrel goodness. Same in the flavor but just SO smooth and mellow. Complex like a heavy red wine. Incredibly drinkable with the perfect amount of booziness at this point of aging. Just stellar. Can’t find any faults. Likely the greatest oatmeal stout I’ve ever experienced.
Feb 16, 2022
Photo of WunderLlama
Reviewed by WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
2018 vintage barrel aged Dark Star imperial oatmeal stout aged in bourbon barrels - limited 2018 release , ABV 13.6%

“Because beer matters”

Waxed and capped Bottle received in Bif14 from @snaotheus, opened with a Fremont bottle opener (same sender ) and poured into a treehouse snifter

Brewers notes: 2018: Blend of 24, 18, 12 and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 7-12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. 13.6%. A blend of 24,18,12 and 8 month bba dark star in 7-12 year old Kentucky bourbon barrels.the roasted and xhoxolate malts complement the smooth oats to bring you a stout delight wrapped in the gentle embrace of bba warmth. A touch of sweetness dances in balance with the hood to finish with a wave , and then she’s gone. Down and dirty:,2 row pale , roast barley, crystal-60, chocolate and carafe-2 malts with flaked oats and Willa kettle, Columbus and cascade hops

Dark cola brown liquid , dense pencil thick brown layer settles to a ring and island , scant lacings

Aroma is bourbon, brown sugar , dark fruits, raisins

Taste is dark fruits, raisins, dark fruits, chocolate notes as the glass warms , bourbon taste without the heat , gentle roast malts with no char

Mouthfeel is boozy without the heat, fizzy, smooth, syrupy, mouth watering

Good beer here @snaotheus

2021 limited release

Taste is licorice, cocoa powder, leather, tobacco
Feb 13, 2022
Rated: 4.78 by irishevans from California

Dec 06, 2021
Rated: 4.64 by JerryHelper from Arizona

Dec 06, 2021
Rated: 4.39 by smithj4 from New York

Nov 29, 2021
Photo of mschrei
Reviewed by mschrei from Illinois

4.69/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
2020 vintage. Standard dark stout, has a very healthy, very long lasting head and lacing. That’s one of the best qualities of this beer. Smell is very barrel forward, with vanilla notes and a slight tang. Taste is extremely well balanced: roasty dark malt and warm vanilla barrel notes play exceptionally well together. A velvety smooth feel. Medium bodied, mild mouth watering finish, and a boozy presence that isn’t overpowering. Rating it before it warms and rounds, but will change if necessary. All in all, an excellent barrel aged oatmeal stout, and worthy of the reputation.
Nov 25, 2021
Photo of Captain69
Rated by Captain69 from Illinois

4.11/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
great beer if you can get a hold of one - 4 different aged stouts blended together . unbelievale taste strong malty and great mouth watering flavors
Nov 23, 2021
Rated: 4.12 by Chilmer from Iowa

Nov 14, 2021
Rated: 4.4 by o29 from Texas

Oct 31, 2021
Photo of JohnnyHopps
Reviewed by JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
Appearance - The beer poured a pitch black color with a dark mocha head.

Smell - The bourbon in the nose was rather sublime. The dryness of the oats came through as well.

Taste - Baker’s chocolate led the way with a bourbon backbone. There were piney malts, which seemed to border on mintiness. It was decadent with darkness. Dark chocolate lingered in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The beer was quite thick, coating the tongue and mouth nicely.

Overall - Straight barrel aged stouts withouts adjuncts are nice.
Oct 30, 2021
Rated: 4.19 by PDinunzi from New Jersey

Oct 28, 2021
Photo of Patrick2012
Rated by Patrick2012 from California

4.67/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
2021 Limited Release. Poured in a wine glass.
Bourbon forward with chocolate, dark fruits, and smokey oak following. Excellent stout.
Oct 22, 2021
Rated: 5 by Resistance88 from California

Sep 21, 2021
Photo of Holderness
Reviewed by Holderness from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
L -- Jet black in the glass with a surprisingly robust mocha-hued head produced with moderately aerated pour. Good retention and lacing
S -- Rich chocolate, herbal hop, char, leather, black licorice, earth, oak
T -- Largely follows the nose. Almost has an RIS-like bitterness to it. The bourbon character is much more prevalent -- almost wet barrel
F -- Soft mouthfeel from all the oats, and very palate-coating. Minimal velvety carb
O -- Just a hair on the bitter/herbal side. Otherwise quite nice

Aug 26, 2021
Photo of hopley
Reviewed by hopley from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2017 bottle drank 7/2021 from a Barreled Souls tulip. Aged well. Beautiful pour and nice frothy head that lasted throughout the drink. Roasty but smooth character. Thick but not overly thick mouthfeel. Note my bottle was 14.0% ABV, not as suggested on the notes, so they must have done a few different batches. Glad I finally got to try this one, and a nice one at that! Cheers!

2014 bottle drank 5/2022 from Trillium tulip. 11%. Think it's probably past its peak aging period - but don't get me wrong, in revisiting my ratings, the only one I might change is the look as the head was not as vibrant. But somewhat surprised I only rated it at 4.25, so revised the taste and overall ratings to 4.5 for good measure. This is a spectacular old school RIS no matter how you look at it.
Jul 18, 2021
Photo of jrc1093
Reviewed by jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.13/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2020 vintage (releasedon 10/1/20); consumed on 7/4/21

Pours a clean midnight black body capped with multiple fingers of fluffy, rocky, caramel-colored foam; good head retention leaves a finger of near-creamy cap, a large, frothy collar, and splotchy, short-lived veils of soapy, paper-thin lacing interspersed across the walls of the glass.

Aroma is coated in charred oak from the start, accented with earthy raisin and a steadily expressive barrel spice feeding into burnt dark chocolate and wisps of smoked toffee against a boggy bourbon profile already firm across the bouquet; heavy malt roast develops nuance through the back end, defined and deceptively deft in construction.

Taste offers a heavy barrel char upfront, fading to reveal candied prunes and an encroaching sweetness highlighted via burnt vanillins and silky milk chocolate eventually darkening to bakers cocoa; tinges of bourbon come through on the back end while a resurgent oaky char melds with touches of caramel to finish.

Mouthfeel shows a medium-light body with a fluffy carbonation on the higher end of moderate dispersing a mild, charry texture into the mid-palate; an oily backing, slick with underlying roast to balance, becomes progressively dry toward the finish, with a rounded warmth sneaking through past the swallow.

A throwback profile of charry roast and subtle hop influence meets warming bourbon and burly barrel for a deceptively deep malt profile exploring rangy chocolate notes on a spectrum of bittersweetness; a classic feel with modern appeal, composed and approachably abrasive in its oaky appeal, and so incredibly well-made.
Jul 05, 2021
Photo of morimech
Reviewed by morimech from Minnesota

3.57/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
2018 release.
Chocolate brown color with a small head that fades to a thin cap. Aroma of alcohol, bourbon, and vanilla. Surprised by the lack of depth. The flavor is strong with alcohol upfront and personal and does not hold back. Notes of bourbon and oak with a bit of chocolate. Very sweet. Again surprised by the lack of depth. Starting to show its age as well with a bit of stale or wet cardboard flavor in the finish. Solid body and carbonation for a big stout. This is a very highly rated and beer and what I tasted did not warrant the score it has on this site.

2017 Release
I am liking this one more than the 2018. Could be just different days and different moods or maybe a difference in vintages. This seems to have less alcohol burn and influence with some more subtle flavor notes. I am picking up licorice, fudge, and a wisp of smoke. Also does not seem as sweet. I would rate this one L:4 S:4 T:4 F:4.25 O:4
Jun 20, 2021
Rated: 4.65 by SayBoom from Ukraine

Apr 30, 2021
Photo of Pinz412
Reviewed by Pinz412 from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
A 2019 bottle, poured into a snulip, was jet black in appearance with a one inch tan head. The aroma was all bourbon. While bourbon was quite forward in the taste, the underlying stout was the standout. Roasty with big notes of dark chocolate, a nicely bitter finish, and the essence of bourbon on the finish. Big bodied and silky smooth on the palate. This deserves every bit of of its reputation. Very well done.
Mar 31, 2021
Photo of erickc
Rated by erickc from Washington

4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Had on tap while socially distant outside at Special Brews Lynnwood, WA
Mar 17, 2021
Rated: 4.5 by paulish from New York

Mar 12, 2021
Photo of Pivopijak
Reviewed by Pivopijak from Washington

4.03/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
bottle into glass
Quickly vanishing medium brown head. Pours like motor oil and looks like it's ready to be changed. Smells like overly caramelized and roasted barley. Strong, dry blackstrap molasses initial flavor with dark roasted grain and finishes with that dark roasted grain note.
Feb 25, 2021
Photo of DIM
Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

4.83/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
2020 vintage. What a decadent treat! Intense, bitter, dark chocolate dominates. The effect of the barrel aging is perfect as far as I can tell, blending seamlessly with the base beer. Plenty of smooth, warming whiskey and a healthy hit of vanilla. As big as the barrel presence is, the bitter chocolate retains center stage. The mouthfeel is silky redolence.

My first from Fremont. The prospect of being able to procure more from these fine folks will prevent me from deleting the Tavour app. This is just incredible.

Revisited 2020 vintage in December 2021. Still amazing.
Feb 11, 2021
Photo of SushiSakeBeer
Rated by SushiSakeBeer from Oregon

4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Very drinkable for a heavy
Feb 11, 2021
Photo of DoctorZombies
Reviewed by DoctorZombies from Florida

4.65/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Poured at 58 degrees. Black with ruby edges; dark tan head; some cap retention; solid ring; soapy lacing; medium legs. Nose is bourbon, charred oak; boozy retro nasal. Bitter sweet dark chocolate entry; some earthy bitterness from hops (Willamette, Cascade and Columbus); oak, vanilla and dried fruit middle; cocoa finish. Almost full (oats) body; moderate minus carbonation; warmth in mouth from 13.1% abv; light carbonation; dry barrel finish. Overall, very well balanced between base and barrel flavors; alcohol is barely noticeable; long oaky/chocolate linger.
Feb 07, 2021
Rated: 3.99 by SFC21 from Florida

Jan 30, 2021
Rated: 4.19 by Dharmelink from Wisconsin

Jan 16, 2021
Rated: 4.39 by SG_H44 from Korea (South)

Jan 03, 2021
Photo of Guaro
Reviewed by Guaro from Italy

4.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Black as the night with creamy cappuccino foam. Elegant scent, caramel, milk chocolate, coffee, plum, raisins, vanilla, bourbon. On the palate, chocolate, molasses, caramel and dehydrated dark fruit, vanilla, roasted coffee and malt, decisive hopping, very light tobacco note and robust but sweet ethyl whiskey embrace. Sumptuous aftertaste of whiskey chocolate. Full body, soft, round and viscous, low carbonation. Excellent balance between sweet and bitter.
Jan 03, 2021
Rated: 4.47 by WDJersey from Colorado

Jan 03, 2021
Photo of DarkLordScott
Reviewed by DarkLordScott from Wisconsin

4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
2019 version rated.

A deep black pour that aggressively strangles light that tries to enter it. Wafts of bourbon barrels, sticky sweet chocolate and vanilla entice as you pour. A thin head of foam covers the pour.

Taste immediately presents heavy bourbon, maple and complex notes that swirl lingeringly along the tongue and on down. Rich, deep chocolate sweet overtones, laced with vanilla with thick, delicious maple syrupness grab tight of your throat and never let go. As it warms slightly, it assumes a more balanced profile. However, too warm and it does lose some character. Keep well chilled but not too cold. This is a special brew that boldly knocks on the door, demands to be let in and refuses to leave your living room with no apologies. If you think you're worthy, pick it up.
Jan 02, 2021
Photo of Snowcrash000
Reviewed by Snowcrash000 from Germany

3.97/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
Pours a pitch-black coloration with a large, creamy, mocha-colored head. Smells of lightly roasted, sweet caramel malt, some chocolate and vanilla, lighter coffee and bourbon, as well as just a hint of charred oak. Taste is a good balance of roasted, quite caramelly malt, molasses, chocolate, coffee and vanilla, with a distinct Bourbon presence and slight hints of tobacco, leather and charred oak also coming through. Finishes rather sweet, with a very light bitterness and some chocolate, coffee, vanilla and Bourbon lingering in the aftertaste. Full mouthfeel with a rich body and light carbonation.

I have to say that having this right after the base beer was a rather interesting experience and I probaly prefered the non-barrel-aged version of this to be honest, which was just way better balanced for my personal taste. The long aging in barrels has basically caused the bitter, herbal hops, which represented a great counterpoint to the already quite caramelly sweet beer to completely fade away and has also added even more sweetness in the form of some distinct vanilla accents, which also seem to overshadow the roasted malts a little here, along with the mildly boozy Bourbon note.

While this is a much richer beer than the base stout, with a slightly thicker mouthfeel and some nice additional bourbon, vanilla and oak notes, it does not feel distinctly more complex, as these just overshadow some of the more interesting notes of the base beer, while the balance is noteably worse in my personal opinion. Don't get me wrong, this still makes for a very enjoyable BA stout with a very nice, warming, but not quite too boozy Bourbon presence in the finish, but overall it's just too sweet and a tiny tad too boozy for my personal taste, while I also much prefered the more roasted nose of the base beer to the sweeter and more boozy aroma of this.
Dec 25, 2020
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star from Fremont Brewing Company
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 1179 ratings