Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition | Fremont Brewing Company

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee EditionBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition
777 Ratings
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee EditionBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States

Style: English Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout with Coffee

This year’s release is a blend of 18, 12, and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. This special edition adds cold brew coffee to delight the senses and soothe the soul.

IBU: 50

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 777 |  Reviews: 92
Reviews by IPeteA91:
Photo of IPeteA91
4.76/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

More User Reviews:
Photo of dar482
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In the words of Rob Thomas, "Cause you're so smooth."

This beer did not disappoint from the already top tier barrel aged stout base. A nutty roasted coffee up front, a smooth rounding bourbon, vanilla, milk chocolate that lingers on and on, a touch of coffee bitterness on the finish.

Against the touted Barrel Aged Vietnamese Speedway, this beer destroyed that beer with its pure balance and upfront coffee flavors.

 419 characters

Photo of amano_h
4.64/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat widely-known fun fact: Founders Kay Bee eSs is actually not a barrel-aged version of the Breakfast Stout.

Whereas the Michigan stalwarts do not make a direct bourbon barrel-aged port to their most excellent seasonal oatmeal stout, at least not to my knowledge, there is a beer that is brewed every year that comes close to being its hypothetical spiritual successor, and I would say that is the Barrel Aged Dark Star Coffee Edition.

Like most other reviews have pointed out so far, this brew is definitely and unequivocally coffee-forward. Whereas some have even gone as far as to label it the most coffee-forward KDS ever, having only tried two vintages of the brew including this one, I would not be able to comment upon that fact, but straight out of the cellar and into the glass, the coffee does obscure every other aroma escaping into the air.

Upon letting it sit--and you should, since this stuff holds just as much, if not more alcohol than a bottle of wine--rich thick notes of double chocolate fudge, roasted malts, jammy dark figs, lactose, and some caramel tickle the nose hairs. Coffee remains dominant throughout the drinking experience, but the other nuances form some kind of a velvet cake-like mesh of aromas to counteract the coffee.

Coffee, coffee, coffee, at first, but moist velvet cake becomes a lot more assertive the more you let the brew sit. Dark chocolate, moist pound cake, caramel, black currants, and a hint of licorice balance out the initial coffee tsunami. Fremont Brewing has done amazingly well in curbing the more obtuse oaky, smoky qualities of the bourbon yet bringing out the sweeter caramel and vanilla notes with this one, the masterful blending of bourbon almost reminds me of Hill Farmstead's Damon, if it weren't for the slight hint of booze that shyly creeps up toward the end.

Medium-bodied which is slightly more substantial than its hypothetically non-BA cousin. Gorgeous creamy initial mouthfeel with a slick grainy oatmeal consistency toward the back end. Gentle non-invasive carbonation, with only a minutiae of heat detectable, not in the throat--interestingly enough--but on the tip of my forehead. Boy am I glad I still have a handful of these left in the cellar.

 2,231 characters

Photo of woemad
4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz wax-encrusted bottle purchased at the Rocket Market on Spokane’s South Hill for $17.49, I believe. This may be the most expensive individual bottle of beer I’ve purchased, though not by the ounce. And can we please move on from the damn waxed bottles (blaming you, especially, Deschutes!)? I'll be fishing wax chunks out of the corners of my kitchen, after having to chip away with a knife, for the next week!

Poured the color of inky black shadows, with a big, creamy dark mocha colored head that dropped after a few minutes in my Iron Goat snifter. Although the high alcohol content of this beer made me think there wouldn’t be a lasting head, nearly half an inch of dark foam stayed atop the beer.

Coffee and oaky bourbon notes in the nose – more bourbon than coffee. Smells like it’s a hot one, alcohol-wise.

More balanced tasting than I expected, though with less coffee than I expected as well. Like the Spice Wars version, the coffee enhances rather than dominates the taste, which is hedonistically rich. Lots of brown sugar, toffee, pipe tobacco, coffee, wood, figs and bourbon. Although the bourbon flavor is present, it doesn’t drink like it has a high alcohol content (which it certainly has) at first. Rather, the booziness sneaks up on any sipper that isn’t wary (or can’t read the freaking label). Eventually (with a 10oz snifter, it took three pours), the booze was fairly strong, but that was after nearly an hour of being at room temperature.

Rich, velvety, coating mouthfeel to this. It’s like a fine beer carpet on the tongue.

I was going to drink this after the Super Bowl, win or lose, but the infuriating way my ‘hawks lost it left too bad a taste in my mouth to link that game to this beer, so instead it’s following a late breakfast a week later, which is proving more enjoyable. I could get used to this – it’s good for my wallet it’s already such a “walez bro’” beer, as I’d look silly drinking a snifter of this while soliciting spare change on the sidewalk!

 2,033 characters

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

Acquired this recently from a good trader buddy named Doug and boy am I glad I did!! Amazing barrel and coffee notes but yet a smooth finish ! Nice coffee aroma when you pop it as well! My opinion this beats this years BCBCS!!

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Intense mix of coffee and cocoa. Earthy touch of oak creates a natural harmony. Some bourbon blends well. Some sweet notes without becoming cloying. Something about it strikes me as simple and effortless despite all the elements that went in to it. Goes down entirely too easy. The oats are so silky and creamy on the tongue.

Overall, this was an egregious effort by Fremont. Don't drink it. Give all your bottles to me so that I can properly dispose (into my belly)!

 478 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours out very black with a wisp of head. Roasted malt, coffee, espresso, dark and milk chocolate. This is super solid. Nice thick mouthfeel. Great barrel flavors of oak and vanilla. It's really good.

 201 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.36/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

650ml blue waxed 2014 bottle poured into tulip a ways back (from notes) can't thank Rutager enough for this one

A black right out of the bottle, two fingers of foam is as dark as they come, not the best retention and just a few spots of lace but I'm impressed by how dark the foam is

S bakers chocolate and bourbon come out strong, coffees there but not that intense, boozy barrel, vanilla, a hint of spice, and more charred bourbon barrel, smells great

T much more coffee then the nose but the booze comes out a little stronger to, much like the nose just way more coffee and booze

M not as thick as I'd guess from the color but far from thin, bubbles cream it up but shes a little hot, very intense long lasting burnt coffee finish

O heaps of barrel, the coffee works well, a little time to mellow would help its cause but its a great beer today

If I had a second bottle I'd lay it down for a couple years and even then I doubt the booze and coffee would fade all that much. Intense brew for sure that's worth seeking out.

 1,035 characters

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

Look: This has a dark brown body that may be a little thin. The Head is a darker mocha and, what makes up for the thin body is the lacing. The lacing is very fine, appearing creamy, slick and slippery. This beer melts beautifully from the sides of my favorite 15.5 ounce brandy snifter. Little roundish islands and a thinner, bunched up halo are left behind after the head fades away.
Smell: Caramel and brown sugar are first, there is also some ash. Coffee, vanilla, dark malts, and bourbon also make an appearance. The aroma is sweet smelling and rich.
Taste: I am impressed. The taste follows the smell, but roast plays a more significant role than expected. There isn't a great deal of roast, but with my first sip, roast stuck out. Nonetheless, this beer is tasty.
Feel: The beer has a full and fine mouth feel. I dig the fine, thick lather. The body is not as thin as I thought. It appeared thin, but does not feel that way. Bravo.

Overall - This is my first time having this beer in 2015. The first tasting of most well-crafted beers are always special, life the first time. This is much smoother and more balanced than BCBCS. Drink-ability is high. Nine times out of ten, I would actually enjoy this better than BCBCS.

 1,253 characters

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

Black with a ring of tan head and some lace, looks identical to the regular edition. Big coffee and bourbon, oak and a bit of alcohol, roast, chocolate and vanilla, absolutely seamless integration of everything. Taste is like the nose, coffee and bourbon, roast, vanilla chocolate and oak, mild alcohol aftertaste. Lightly carbonated, fairly full bodied but feels a bit lighter than the regular edition. Outstanding, certainly worth seeking out.

 446 characters

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Cwarwick812
4.66/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tbryan5
4.67/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of delaced21
4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of johnny_chimpo
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of oddlandf
4.16/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of JayGreezy
4.74/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of mmcurran
4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chossboss
4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Prospero
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of gibgink
4.21/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition from Fremont Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.52 out of 5 with 777 ratings