Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition
Fremont Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee EditionBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition
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English Oatmeal Stout
Ranked #3
Ranked #155
4.52 | pDev: 5.75%
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee EditionBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition
Notes: Imperial Oatmeal Stout with Coffee Aged in Bourbon Barrels.

2019: Blend of 24, 18, 12, and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 7-12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. ABV: 12.4%

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: 111 | Ratings: 855 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jheimbigner
3.97/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

coffee usually creates a slightly astringent flavor for me in beers. this one is no exception. i would take base, other two variants over this any day

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Photo of hopley
4.42/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2017 bottle drank out of a tulip on 04.04.20

Poured thick and dark with a nice cream colored half inch head, some of which lingered around the edges of the glass for the remainder of the pour. I couldn't get much aroma but it's just not a strong suit of mine - I'm sure it was there. Taste was dominated by strong dark coffee. As it warmed, the barrel notes really came out and I really enjoyed it; the sweetness was nuanced and perhaps hidden in the bitterness such that it wasn't so much in your face as you typically get in so many of today's pastry stouts so this was a nice change. I didn't get much of the typical oatmeal stout flavors, but that also might have been masked in the roadty coffee notes and the barrel taste. As I write my review, I realize this is quite a complex beer but for me, it was rather two note - dark coffee and bourbon barrel. If that's what you want - this will hit the spot - and it hit the spot for me last night. If you can get the rest of the beauty, good on you, there's a lot here! (And I've got a 2016 bottle aging as well!) Cheers!

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Photo of beersampler6
4.27/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very good oatmeal stout, solid and tasty but a little disappointing considering the high expectations I had for this one. It’s supposed to be ranked #3 on BA but I found it a little uninspiring. 2017 edition printed on bottle. Pours a thick black opaque color with just a little film of tan head and minimal scant lingering lacing. Smells outstanding, great dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, malt, toffee, bourbon, oak, nuttiness and a little raisin. Taste follows the nose, but not quite as rich or flavorful as I was expecting. Almost like a flatter regular coffee stout. Lacked some depth and complexity. Not as creamy or smooth as most oatmeal stouts either, but still had a nice velvety mouthfeel with good carbonation. As the beer warmed the alcohol became a little more noticeable, both in the aromas and taste. I enjoyed this one but preferred the other beers from this series.

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Photo of UWDAWG
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter.

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

Smell- Coffee, chocolate, oats.

Taste- Coffee, chocolate, smoky oats, boozy.

Feel- Full body, smooth finish, sticky coffee favor that lingers, syrup like, below average carbonation.

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Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bark brown almost black. Thick and viscous looking as it pours. Finger of dense khaki colored head. Strong lacing.

Nose is smooth warming bourbon. Sits graciously rather aggressively. Roasty coffee. Rich, complex, detailed. Nice malt profile as well. Complimentary to everything else going on here. Very relaxed brew. This brew knows it's the most important one in the room and it doesn't have to announce its dominance. The waft of alcohol coming from the glass has no problem shouting it's presence on the other hand.

Taste follows the nose. Smooth, woody bourbon. Nice sweetness mixing with mild dark fruit notes. Big coffee providing a layer of bold, roasty bitterness. The coffee in this is very nice. Something that wasn't present on the nose was a little bit of chocolate.

Mouthfeel is fullbodied with mild carbonation. Velvety smooth. I love the consistency of oatmeal stouts. Amazing stuff.

A lot of barrel aged stouts are huge, bombastic things. Like Parabola or BCBS, you get the strong malt or barrel presence, which can be done well. But here, what Fremont does perfectly, is balance. Delicate, nuanced, expertly crafted precision. Every flavor profile coming through, not one louder than the other. It's no surprise that this sits just below Rusty Nail in terms of top Oatmeal Stouts. Fremont has this style on lockdown.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz 2017 bottle (blue wax) served in a little Cantillon glass.

Pours black and still with no head...and then a ring of light brown rises up slowly from the darkness. Smell is coffee, oats, vanilla, maple syrup.

Taste is coffee and chocolate, vanilla, less oats. Maybe still a little hint of maple, but that might by oak and vanilla playing interestingly together. Fairly sweet, but with a surprisingly dry, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and dry (maybe I should say, not as heavy and thick as I would expect). Overall, excellent beer.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.84/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle

Pours oil black, brown ring for a head.

Aroma is of rich cocoa, coffee, pecan, walnut, toasted biscuit, molasses, and vanilla.

Flavor is of molasses, fig, coffee, cocoa, pecan pie, walnut, oak, oatmeal, and bourbon.

Full viscous body, tingly carbonation on the tongue. Boozy warmth going down.

Exceptional. One of the best stouts I've had in a while. Great appearance, great flavor, very slow sipper to enjoy over time. Get it if you have the chance.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.34/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer is a black color with a small, quickly disappearing tan head.
Aroma of dark fruit and roasted malt. A little booze.
Taste improves on the nose. Espresso, milk chocolate, raisins, vanilla, and bourbon.
Very smooth and easy to drink. Would never guess it is 12.4% ABV.

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Photo of aleigator
4.18/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours coal black with a bigger, beige head, soon receeding to a thicker lacing atop the glass.

Smells of dried raisins, glazed caramel and layers of milk chocolate among spicy, old oak. Got an additional coffee punch to it, bringing toasted hazelnuts and dried blueberries to the nose.

Has a soft, smooth mouthfeel among a complex body, exhibiting a long lasting booze dryness.

Tastes of charred malts, which brings chocolate covered coffee beans to the palate, offering a wooden note, which then brings the spicy barrel up. Has a whipped cream quality, soothing the warming, not yet biting oak barrel, creating a pleasant, spicy peak among coffee and coals. Finishes heavier on the coffee and whipped cream interplay with additional licorice and sweet caramel, amped up by a long going alcohol glow.

Very well balanced, smooth and decadent stout, featuring a great, subtle coffee presence.

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Photo of Sammy
4.14/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I thought superior to base. Bold coffee taste dominates the bourbon barrelling character. Carbonation here beyond four years. Glad I went for this, glad I shared it.

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Photo of Roguer
4.41/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2018 edition

Beautiful beer, with excellent head production for the style (more than a full finger), and very good retention as well; 10 minutes after the pour, there is still a thin layer of dark foam covering almost the entire top of the ebony body, and a fairly thick collar lining the edge of the glass.

The nose is promising: initially sweet, with chocolate, brown sugar, toffee, red grapes, cream, vanilla, coconut, and light bourbon mash, it quickly turns sharp and aggressive, with coffee, oak, and bourbon mash. This hits all the right notes, and implies that one should expect the full weight of the 13.6% ABV to fall upon the palate.

Similarly and immediately aggressive on the palate, with bourbon and coffee leading the way. Caramel, coffee, and brown sugar at first; strong bourbon mash following, along with oak, red grapes, and molasses; very light char and nuts; a bit of booze, assertive but not harsh; coconut and vanilla tones; chocolate malt.

Mouth-filling body with no fizz, and while the high ABV eventually builds some sting, you can really savor this one for quite a while before the swallow, allowing the flavors to really wash across your tongue and palate. Surprisingly semi-dry finish, with mostly dull tones of oak and ground coffee lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth, creamy, and thin (not watery) for the style, instead of thick and chewy.

Shockingly strong fruity tones from the coffee here - berries and earth inimitable to certain coffees (e.g. Ethiopian Harrar, or certain South American roasts); I'm not sure I've ever noticed this effect in a coffee stout before. Although that's not my favorite kind of coffee roast, it's damn impressive nonetheless. It also lasts and lasts, with these tones of barrel and coffee lingering for a good 5-10 minutes after the sip.

This is not quite on the level of BCBCS, but it is definitely playing the same game, on the same level.

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Photo of rudzud
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade and shared with JLindros. 2017 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark black hue with a thin mocha head that fades to leave light lacing and a thin blanket. Excellent lacing.

S - Big aromas of barrel notes galore. Tons of wood, almost dust level, great bourbon notes. The chocolate malt is subtle, almost licorice like an Abyss. The alcohol is nonexistent. There is light oat in the background as well.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with nice huge bourbon notes, good vanilla and barrel, good chocolate malts, nice darker fruits and licorice. The finish's almost bitter spicy hops. Really weird.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, creamy, alcohol hidden nicely. Really smooth.

O - Overall this was a very solid stout, however, I think this suffered a bit of age. As good as this was I had higher expectations. The bourbon was still excellent though.

Serving Type: bottle

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Photo of jlindros
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to rudzud, 2017
Pours a very dark thick foamy rich 1+ finger head with great retention and sticky lacing, pitch black thick beer good legs

Nose big barrel, tons of toasted and vanilla oak barrel, with some bourbon, almost wood dust, big baking spice and licorice, spicy hop notes and roasty dark malt but not char level, some fudgey dark chocolate and chocolate marshmallow, little mocha coffee note,

Taste big barrel, big charred oak, dusty oak tannin and vanilla barrel, some bourbon whiskey, then fudgey dark chocolate, but not a ton, a strange vegetal peppery like baking spice on the middle I don't like as much, earthy coffee, some vanilla, light alcohol, later gets drier but spicy earthy roasty finish that gets a little difficult, with some alcohol too

Mouth is fuller bod richer, lighter carb, medium warming carb

Overall good, not incredible but very good, maybe a bit too much age

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Photo of MacMalt
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2018 release. Received from @woemad in a BIF box. Poured into a pub glass. It pours a dark walnut with cola hues at the bottom of the glass. The creamy, medium mocha-colored head faded slowly leaving a thin film of lacing inside the glass. It's highly aromatic with roasted malt, oatmeal, bourbon, freshly-brewed coffee, caramel, nuts, cocoa, tobacco, and earthy char. The taste opens with notes of both fresh and burnt coffee, oats, bakers chocolate, burnt nuts, leather, and char. As the glass breathes and warms, I'm noticing more caramel sweetness and just a hint of black cherry on the tip of the tongue. The bourbon is clearly evident but it doesn't overpower the other flavors, which are nicely balanced and nuanced. Despite the burnt notes there is surprisingly little bitterness at the finish. This Stout has a thick, creamy mouth feel with low/moderate carbonation. There is no escaping the 13.6% ABV, which is more than just warming. Sip this one slowly. Savor it because it is one of the best Oatmeal Stouts you'll encounter. Thanks, @woemad for the chance to drink this exquisite Stout.

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Photo of emyers
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Near black with a thin tan lacing.

Nose: coffee-forward but still with a strong bourbon and oak presence.

Taste: coffee up front followed by bourbon. Some dark fruit and more coffee in the finish. Great depth and balance.

Feel: medium-full body, medium-low carbonation.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.51/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from fridge temp. Pours black and night, with very little dark head. The coffee is dominant on the nose. Chocolate, maple, vanilla, fudge, roasted malts. Taste is super intense. Lots of roasted malts, burnt wood, coffee grounds, vanilla, and chocolate. A nice bourbon backbone is throughout. The alcohol is definitely prominent - a slight bourbon aftertaste. Mouthfeel is actually a bit thin - not as creamy as expected. Overall, amazing.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.57/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with a one finger tan head. Nice amount of sticky lacing.

S - Aroma is coffee, vanilla, coocnut and bourbon.

T - The taste coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, cocnut, toffee and bourbon.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - The hype is real on this one. Tremendous balance of flavors and deceptively smooth for 13.1%.

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Photo of Jimmy_Kneecaps
4.79/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2018 Dark Star Coffee Edition from Freemont

Pitch black, thick, and oily. Dark dark dark brown around the edges and no light coming through. Half finger of mocha colored head dissipated quickly into smaller islands of lace that rest on top. The aroma is crazy layered and intense. The slightest hint of bourbon tickles my nostrils first, followed quickly by fudgy chocolate and a bitter roast underneath. Layers and waves of flavor hit some warmth and bourbon tingle the tongue to mix with dark chocolate, bitter coffee roast, and fudge. The mouthfeel is tricky, feeling chewy at times, but never thick. There’s no trace of the alcohol content in this. The barrels have lent the perfect amount of bourbon flavor without overpowering other elements. This is fantastic, and has achieved perma-want status!

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Photo of darktronica
4.34/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2018 release, obtained in a trade from raticus. A superb BBA oatmeal stout with coffee, where all of the elements contribute just what you want and expect from a top-notch ale. Prominent barrel character, with oak, vanilla, and boozy heat, layered on an excellent base stout, rich and chocolatey with a full, smooth mouthfeel from the oats. The coffee accentuates the rich chocolate notes while adding an earthy bitterness and lightly nutty flavor. World-class, for sure.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

Poured into a Tree House glass a very nice dark brown color, with some pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy one-finger 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, coffee, roasty. The taste is very nice, awesome, malty, hoppy, with a very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, very nice bourbon/oak, nice touch of coffee, 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. Definitely nice to see this one around here. Recommended!

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Photo of CanConPhilly
4.49/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - 1-finger dark mocha head takes several minutes to recede, leaving behind a pitch black body.

S - coffee first, then bourbon, chocolate, vanilla.

T - lots of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and barrel, all in perfect balance. Booze is present but restrained. Secondary flavors of oak, figs, anise, smoke, caramel, and tobacco. Low bitterness. Low sweetness. Moderate-low booziness.

F - medium-full body with average carb.

O - a wonderfully-balanced brew, especially for the abv.

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Photo of eppCOS
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A fantastic BBA imperial coffee stout.
L - Dark as night, thick lacing around glass, black as Satan's bunghole
S - Where the nose hits the road; fantastic roast/coffee aromas, a little bourbon in the background
T - Fluorescence of the full taste; not hot, smooth, balanced. Definitely a bit coffee-sweet but so good.
F - Nearly perfect, great carbonation, not overly so. Not cloying.
O- Still one of the best coffee BBA RIS out there. Nicely done.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.39/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Imperial on Alberta for their Fremont event.

Black with a dark brown head with good retention and lacing, this looks solid. Huge coffee notes with cream, chocolate, earth, medium roast. Mild roasted Brazil and macadamia nut. Mild coffee bitterness pairs well with buckwheat honey, earth and leather. Licorice and anise less pronounced than the regular BA DS. Excellent

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Photo of augustgarage
4.39/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2018 edition (blue wax)- adds 24-month aged (oatmeal) stout, and uses barrels that housed 7-12 year old bourbon; 13.6%ABV.

Poured from a bomber into my Bruery tulip.

Opaque bistre body, camel foam, resolving to a rouse-able surface slick and lasting collar. Fine sandy lacing, viscous but thin tears.

Brown sugar, dark roast coffee, chocolate ganache, vanilla, tobacco, and rich bourbon fill the nose.

Sweet, rich, roasty, malty, tannic palate entry. Moderate bitterness, with hints of rosemary, thyme, and forest floor as the hops hover around the edges of the abyssal depths of bourbon/coffee, the latter finally surrendering to the former in the finish. Low notes of caramel, loam, and blueberry emerge as the ale warms.

A touch hot, the alcohol while by no means overwhelming, is unapologetic.

Well balanced with impressive layering of ages and ingredients (particularly in the malt bill).

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

L:. Pours a pitch black with a small white tan head and no lacing on the glass.

S:. Strong notes of bourbon vanilla, chocolate and coffee, with notes of some cherry.

T:. Strong notes of bourbon and vanilla mix with a earthy and slightly bitter coffee, some chocolate and a note of cherry to make a truly luxurious stout. Alcohol is a bit noticeable.

F:. Full thick body and smooth and slightly creamy carbonation.

O:. This is truly a world class stout.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition from Fremont Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 855 ratings