Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
Fremont Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark StarBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
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English Oatmeal Stout
Ranked #4
Ranked #259
4.45 | pDev: 6.52%
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark StarBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
Notes: Formerly known as Kentucky Dark Star (KDS), Imperial Oatmeal Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels.

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%
Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 1,123 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.87/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: really dark, nearly opaque. Some cola highlights when held to light.
Smell: huge, rich nose of in your face bourbon tempered by velvety smooth vanilla chocolate.
Taste: like the nose, just a stellar blend of in your face richness, and perfectly matched softer notes.

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Photo of beergoot
4.31/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The 2017 version...

Jet black body; thin yet lasting tannish head, thick and creamy. A mildly heady scent blend of cocoa and bourbon; a bit spicy with some esters present. Spicy flavor highlighting anise and licorice; light bourbon taste; boozy. Heavy body yet somewhat thin for the style; alcohol heat with some bourbon burn; light syrup.

This is a fiery treat. I wonder what the fresh version would have been like. Perhaps a bit richer in the mouthfeel and fuller in the aroma. But there is no denying the intensity of the taste.

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Photo of 5toutman75
4.52/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Opening a 2015 release on 4/10/20

I haven't had this enough to know what the aging has done to change it, but I can say it's so super smooth and complex. This easily ranks up there with some of my all time favorite regular BA stouts. If there's any let down it's in the slightly thinner feel than my favorite from Goose and Perennial. The alcohol is very well hidden as I'd hope from an aged stout. It's on the more bitter side than sweet which I prefer. Some stouts get too sweet and I can only enjoy them for 8oz. I could drink a whole bottle of this easily.

Worth the hype and respect. I need more of it.

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Photo of UWDAWG
4.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Look- Black, frothy medium brown head, average head retention, above average lacing.

Smell- Bourbon, oats, chocolate.

Taste- Bourbon (caramel, vanilla, oak), roasted oats, sweet, chocolate.

Feel- Smooth finish, sticky sweet finish, syrup like, full body, slightly below average carbonation.

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Photo of stevoj
4.1/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Grunt fill from Albertsons. Pours out like an oil slick, black and sticky, flat. Aroma us toasty and smoky, woody, boozy. Taste is full on ready grains, burnt toast, ashy, dark chocolate. Alcohol heat kicks in late , rising up the gullet with a slow burn. Really thick and creamy.

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Photo of rand
4.71/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Toronado SD, into a small goblet

Dark (dark) brown ale, barely a wispy head as the brew’s viscosity keeps everything contained. Coffee-vanilla nose, with oak and earthy grains balancing strong notes of burnt sugar. Bourbon-forward flavors, caramelly and oaky. Smart move barrel-aging an oatmeal stout, as the stodgy complexion and earthy, grainy undertones help to control the sugary aspects. Still closes with a long, sweet finish.

One of my favorite BA beers I’ve had recently. Grainy oatmeal is a nice, balancing component and ramps up quaffability.

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Photo of JamFuel
4.59/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage.

Pours sludgily from the bottle jet black, settling with a thin cap of tan head.

Smell is powerful and roasty with notes of coffee, chocolate, fudge, vanilla, fudge and cardamom. Some charred hints as well as some rum raisin. Barrel notes are there but not huge.

Taste is soft but powerful and intense, Notes of coffee, oak, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon. Some charred sandalwood hints in the back, along with some rum and dried fruit. Just a bit of bitterness on the finish. The booze is felt, but not tasted. Very complex, adding bits and pieces as it warms.

Mouthfeel is medum to full, smooth and well carbonated.

Overall, a terrific stout, rich and strong, but still very balanced. Had no trouble finish the bomber myself.

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Photo of hreb
4.09/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is the 2017 Fremont Barrel Aged Dark Star, which I'm reviewing in January 2020, after personally cellaring it for the duration (most of that time at fridge temperature, though served slightly warmer).

Beer is oil slick black and forms little head. Strong aroma of bourbon: oaky booze and vanilla. Flavor is layered with blackened barley, nutty goodness, and that strong flavor of kentucky bourbon. Mouthfeel is thin from alcohol and flaked oats. Alcohol content tips the scales at 14.0% for this vintage, and it's no surprise from the taste. Carbonation is also extremely subtle, at least at this age, which works well with the chocolate and vanilla flavors.

Is it good? It's excellent. As a bourbon barrel aged beer, it's amazing. But as an imperial stout... my favorites focus on chocolate, coffee, and roasted barley flavors first, and bourbon second. So this will not dethrone my top beers.

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Photo of Buck89
4.32/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Nice looking, with a thick tan head that slowly settled and left a resilient cap for the duration of the drink. Lots on bourbon on the first whiff. Deeper inspection brought roasted grain, coffee, chocolate, and floral hoppy notes. Taste largely followed with bourbon dominating the opening, followed by a rich, roasty, chocolatey flavor bathed in the barrel. The feel was big but silky and not sweet. Slight warming on the finish as expected but not boozy. This deserves it's reputation.

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Photo of beersampler6
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another outstanding beer from this Dark Star series. I had previously tried the Spice Wars version so was really looking forward to this one. 2017 version. Looks great, nice thick syrupy black opaque color with some tan head and small rings of lingering lacing that persisted. Again drank this one once it had been out of the fridge for 2 hours, so wasn't too cold like my usual stouts. Smells of rich dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, malt, bourbon and oak. Tastes similarly, great balance and complexity and depth. Flavors were out of this world. Smooth, sticky, rich mouthfeel that coated the palate and just the right amount of moderate carbonation. Works as a sipper with both savory dinner and sweeter dessert. Amazing!

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Photo of heydre
4.23/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2019 vintage that is near black pour with thin tan head. Slight raisin/cherry up front followed by booze and barrel oak. Hard to tell the chocolate from the coffee so not much candy or bitterness. Roasty malt and a GREAT buzz!

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Photo of micada
4.68/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2019 22oz poured cellar temp, hard to a tulip glass. Color is deep opaque chestnut. Two-finger open-cell head that burns down to a thin mocha ring. Nose is sweet bourbon with some leather on deep sniff. First sips are slight hop bite immediately overtaken by sweet smokey oaky malt and bourbon aftertaste. Reminds me of GI BCBS on the front with a bit of Parabola on the back. Mouthfeel is medium thin and slightly effervescent. Boozy char is very present but doesn’t get in the way. Alcohol is strong enough to say hello. Too delicious to let it get too warm. Excellent beverage.

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Photo of lucius10
4.44/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet chocolate and slightly boozy aromatics on this one! Taste follows with a well-balanced chocolate vibe. Not to much barrel and not too boozy! Good depth!

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Photo of mkh012
4.37/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

10 oz. on tap.

Pours near-black with a tan head and lacing.

The nose and taste feature notes of dark chocolate, raisin, bourbon, and wood.

The mouthfeel is medium for the style.

Overall, very good.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2018 release. I received it from @woemad in an NBS BIF. Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. It pours a very dark walnut color with a foamy, mocha-colored cap that dissipated quickly leaving a thin film of lacing inside the glass. The smell is bourbon-forward, along with roasted malt, spices, tobacco, char, and a raisin. Wow, this is extraordinary! There is earthy malt, dark chocolate, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, leather, tobacco, raisin, black cherry, and lots of bourbon, which adds significant flavor but is not overpowering. I'm really enjoying the dark fruit notes. Each flavor compliments the others. It's one of the most flavorful stouts I've ever had. The feel is luxurious with moderate carbonation, and the 13.6% ABV is warming at first but quickly becomes potent. Overall, this is exquisite! It's lovingly-crafted with lots of flavors. It would make a superb dessert beer; hopefully, the meal is good enough to justify it!

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Photo of Sammy
4.06/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Complex and held up well for 4 years. Barrelling under control. Did the wax help? Slick mouthfeel. Sufficient Chocolate/anise character. Rich and well made.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.42/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2018 vintage; Poured from a waxed-capped 22oz bomber into my Portsmouth tulip.

Seal brown body, tan head, one finger of dense foam, sticky, then sandy lacing, fine glossy tears, very good retention.

Bourbon in the nose is rich and mellow with tobacco and vanilla along with lower notes of faint stewed peach, pecan, etc.
Malt bill peaks through at times with roast barley, cocoa nibs, and toast.

Bombastic palate entry thundering along with gratuitous waves of spirit, barrel notes, and deep malt. Moderate grassy bitterness with a hint of orange and forest floor is quickly subsumed by the grain bill which is complex and potent yet soft and gently sweet (from the oats). Medium-dry finish features earth and a touch of charred wood.

Full bodied, oily, and well carbonated. Soft, not-quite-hot, but certainly warming. Slightly tannic with some hints of black tea and baker's chocolate.

Leans heavily on the barrel for flavor, but the base beer is very large on its own. Reasonably balanced, and strong enough to savor slowly.

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Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with two fingers of tan head.
The bourbon barrel is the main thing I smell at first. Also getting dark roasty malts, dark fruits, and chocolate.
Taste follows, lots of barrel notes, roasty malts, dark fruits, and chocolate. As it warmed the chocolate became more evident than the fruits. Lingering bourbon.
Medium body, good carb, a little bit of heat.
Overall an excellent straightforward BA stout.

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Photo of Roguer
4.52/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly flawless beer in almost every aspect.

Outstanding appearance, with good head production and retention for the style. Both on the nose and palate, this is big and roasty, really coming across as an RIS + oatmeal + bourbon barrel aging. It's hugely roasty, charred, bitter, and smooth.

With no additional flavoring ingredients, the bourbon really shines, and it comes through quite strong, with sweet and sour mash along with oak.

In an era of flavored stouts, this is a throwback to a straightforward BBA imperial stout, and it's damn good.

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Photo of BerryKumquat
4.34/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark brown.
S: Maple syrup smell.
T: Dark bold start with bourbon and oatmeal in the middle and a syrup finish.
F: Thick, bold, dark.
O: An alternative to Rogue XS Barleywine that is more drinkable..

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Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.39/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: so thick and silky. Minimal carbonation – only enough to indicate this isn’t a still beer. Immediately after that, the beer settles to viscous velvet. Glass coating when swirled. Legs, Syrupy.

Aroma: bourbon, fudge/dark chocolate, molasses and raisins. Very inviting.

Flavor: molasses-sweet, dark chocolate, bourbon, raisins and oak; like a very moist bourbon cake.

Mouthfeel: a heavy weight stout. Very nice. The weight of this mandates a sipper.

Overall: this beer is very well executed at every metric. The flavor, however, seems to be at the back of the line, i.e. every other metric is better executed than the flavor. Very good nonetheless, but I don’t think this beer deserves its $21 price (22oz bottle).

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Photo of Wasatch
4.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Bomber
Black Wax/Capped
Limited 2018 Release
ABV: 13.6%

Poured into a chalice a very nice dark brown color, with some pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy one-finger plus tan head, which also leaves a pretty nice medium size island, and some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is very nice, malty, hoppy, with a very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, pretty nice bourbon/oak note, vanilla, with some licorice, roasty. The taste is very nice, awesome, malty, hoppy, with a very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, very nice bourbon/oak, very nice vanilla sweetness, licorice, nice roastyness. Full Body, ABV is hidden very nicely, a very tasty complex brew, a very nice sipper. Overall, this is one pretty awesome brew. If I see another bottle I will pick it up. Definitely nice to see this one around here. Recommended!

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Photo of bl00
4.29/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 bottle- pours deep black, brown head dissipates quickly to collar of large to fine bubbles. Nose is coffee, cocoa, some barrel and mineral notes . Taste is huge bomb of chocolate followed by mellow whiskey notes, caramel as well. Mouthfeel is creamy, slight soft carb. As a whole really enjoyable, drinking great. Thank you @woemad!

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Imperial on Alberta for their Fremont event.

Black with a dark brown head with good retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose has dark caramel, toffee, licorice, leather and anise. The anise, licorice and caramel notes dominate the body. A creamy mild coffee with cacao nibs is present. Full in body and softly carbonated, this is excellent.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.53/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage poured right after the 2018 was released. Poured from fridge temp into a teku. Pours motor oil black with very little head. Nose is thick and creamy chocolate, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, maple, bark, roasted malts, and a bit of lactose. Taste is incredible. A touch of bitterness on the back end - almost a coffee grounds note. Upfront is huge licorice, chocolate, vanilla, milk, dark fruit, and a touch of maple. Mouthfeel is super thick and viscous - just how it should be. The alcohol is noticeable but not overbearing. Overall, this is a masterpiece of a BA stout.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star from Fremont Brewing Company
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 1123 ratings