Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Spice Wars
Fremont Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Spice WarsBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Spice Wars
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Stout - Oatmeal
Ranked #5
ABV:
14.5%
Score:
96
Ranked #590
Avg:
4.38 | pDev: 7.08%
Reviews:
59
Ratings:
342
From:
Fremont Brewing Company
 
Washington, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  91
Gots
  86
SCORE
96
World-Class
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Spice WarsBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Spice Wars
Notes: Our Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in 15 year old single use Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. Spice wars adds vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves.
Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 342 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by ManapuaMan:
Photo of ManapuaMan
ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consistently high marks across the board for all the BA Dark Star variants. You know what you'll get from the beer, regardless of the flavor additive: an impeccably crafted, barrel-heavy-but-still-somehow-balanced beer that incredibly smooth, silky and packs a nuanced flavor-cascade in every sip.

This version comes strong with warming, holiday-inspired flavors like nutmeg and cinnamon. Both are present and unmistakable and will heavily influence the aroma and taste. The glass will literally emit a bouquet of fucking holiday goodness before every sip. Remarkable.

Everything else, however, is trademark Fremont.

Jan 29, 2019
More User Reviews:
Photo of woemad
woemad from Washington

4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz wax-encrusted bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s for $17.49. This is officially the most expensive bottle of beer I’ve ever purchased.

Poured into a St. Bernardus goblet, this was a gloriously viscous-looking shade of darkness that denied light any point of entry, with a big, creamy and sudsy mocha-colored head. Said head dropped rather quickly, leaving snatches of foam on the sides of the glass.

Wonderful aroma. Oaky barrel smells, some boozy bourbon scents, roasty and sweet notes, and even some red wine scents. Surprisingly, the spices don’t seem to stand out, they give off just a sense that they are there.

The spices are more obvious in the taste, which they enhance rather than dominate. They balance themselves with the opening blast of bourbon and roasted malts. No one spice seems to stand out more than any other (for the record it’s cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, vanilla and clove) and they perform a service rather like a nice picture frame does for
a painting. Without the spices, this would still be an outstanding barrel-aged stout, but their presence adds an extra sheen to the experience. The flavors imparted by the bourbon-barrels hovers in the background, like a warm, soft blanket of booze. Hops don’t stand out much – there’s just too much else going on – but they become a little more obvious at the swallow, which ends on a sharp zap.

Full bodied, with a velvety, coating mouthfeel.

What a beer! I was intimidated by the price for a long time, and finally made the plunge this morning, and was a little bummed out the coffee version of KDS was sold out. Never mind, Spice Wars makes up for any disappointment I momentarily felt. I could drink this all day, and I’d be thoroughly drunk, but it would be worth it. This might be the best beer I’ve had – hyperbole written in its boozy glow, yes, but this backs it up.

Dec 21, 2014
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Medium khaki head. Medium collar.

Smell - Lots of bourbon. Quite boozy. Spicy. Cinnamon and nutmeg and such.

Taste - Tastes much fudgier. Bourbon is strong again. Lots of caramel. Spicy finish. More generically spicy than just cinnamon, but it lingers.

Mouthfeel - Boozy as hell. Medium heavy.

Overall - Flavorful, but it's boozy as hell and a little tough to drink.

Nov 25, 2014
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass with a fine, half finger light brown head with great retention and lacing. Great aroma of sweet dark toasted malt, bourbon and piney seasonal spicing, with an odd woody note like fresh allspice. Flavor is rich dark toasted malt, chocolate, bourbon, winter holiday spicing of cinnamon, allspice, ginger. Finishes with bourbony sweet dark malt, dark chocolate, slight dark dried fruit and lightly lingering spices. Great creamy body and mouth feel. I expect the best from Fremont and this still pushed the envelope. Admittedly I'm a sucker for bourbon stouts, but this really has everything, great malt, bourbon, excellent mouth feel and the spices are complex and interesting but very deftly used, they sit in the background and enhance the rest. Possibly my favorite Fremont brew to date. Really nicely done.

Dec 11, 2014
Photo of Rutager
Rutager from Canada

4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance. Looks pretty similar to the coffee edition. Viscous and very black in the glass. Forget passing light, there's some black hole shit going on here. Topped with almost a finger of khaki-brown head.

Smell. A good amount of cloves (fuck) and some cinnamon, sweet vanilla and bourbon, chocolate and a touch of molasses and dark malt coming through. Was REALLY hoping the cloves wouldn't be overdone but they really come through here. Very fresh bottle though so there's still hope. Nice besides that.

Taste. Sweet dark chocolate and smooth bourbon, cloves for sure but not as pronounced as the smell, caramel, a little cinnamon and nutmeg ...right about the perfect level for these. A little molasses and a bit of dark roasty malt.

Mouthfeel. On the low side of full bodied, Low+ smooth carbonation.

Overall. Okay, I admit I hate cloves. They suck and so do you if you like them. Like raw onions, this spice is way overused and rarely in a complementary way. This isn't an extreme example or anything, but If the cloves were backed off a notch we'd really be in business here. Good stuff, maybe some age will mellow things out a bit.

Nov 14, 2014
Photo of mr-jj
mr-jj from Washington

4.04/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Split between two snifters - 2014 edition (the only one)

Color is dark brown with a thin mocha head. Good lacing. Smell is cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and roasted malt with a bit of bourbon. Flavor is dominated by the spice blend, but somehow it works. The underlying bourbon and roasted malt are just present enough to provide complexity and to prevent the spice blend from being overpowering. Mouthfeel is very nice - smooth and creamy. Overall, a very good BBA stout.

Nov 26, 2015
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile from District of Columbia

3.15/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Dec 23, 2014
Photo of stage_master
stage_master from New York

4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dec 29, 2019
Photo of 5toutman75
5toutman75 from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Best part about it is the thick mouthfeel and spice combination. It’s the perfect Christmas beer to me. Sometimes these spiced stouts can overdo it but I think they hit the mark. I wonder what a fresh bottle would taste like though. It could use more barrel character but I love the barrel forward stouts more than most. Glad I could have this bottle!

Dec 01, 2019
Photo of kemoarps
kemoarps from Washington

4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

...obviously from 2014 as that's the only year it was made (I think).

Beautiful onyx body. Distinguished dark brown head settles in nicely.

Still got some definite alcohol, but also beautiful molasses and chocolate and delicate folds of roast and vanilla and nutmeg and cloves.

So creamy and complex and delicious. At once smoothe as a dream and effervescent as a late night celebration. The alcohol gives it a level of heat almost like peppers on the back end that ensures it stays a sipper and lets me prolong the experience.
Flavours of creamy coconut and chocolate and bourbon and nutmeg and molasses and all the other promises...

This is incredible. I remembered a stronger spice presence fresh, which doesn't surprise me, and I wish I had grabbed a couple more (in general, but also specifically) so that I might continue to see how it evolves and grows. I can only imagine what another couple of years would do to make this velvety deliciousness even more accessible, toning down the heat a few degrees still and bolstering the depth and smoothe complexity.

Or maybe I'm just talking out of my ass. But either way, in no way do I regret making this my birthday brew.

Oct 15, 2015
Photo of gopens44
gopens44 from Virginia

4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nose has bourbon, vanilla and chocolate as it's most notable calling cards to start with a little molasses tying it together.

Initial taste is reminiscent of egg nog of all things! Actually, that's high praise from me since I do love egg nog, but what I think I am getting is the interplay between the bourbon and spices. Once I convince myself that it isn't egg nog, I start to notice mostly whiskey. Finish is a touch hot but whether it's the heat from the alcohol or the subtle spice, I can't discern but the extreme dryness on the finish is voting for alcohol.

It feels so incredibly creamy. Medium bodied and silky with just a bit of tingling on the finish.

Very nice beer to say the least. Not on overwhelming bourbon bomb like a KBS or BCBS, but far more depth for its age that doesn't overwhelm the subtle characteristics.

Aug 24, 2015
Photo of GeorgeAKeim
GeorgeAKeim from Oregon

4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aug 19, 2020
Photo of chippo33
chippo33 from Vermont

4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov 16, 2016
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks from California

4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Feb 25, 2015
Photo of Kramerbarthomer
Kramerbarthomer from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev -3%

Dec 13, 2014
Photo of Jvrdz24
Jvrdz24 from Texas

4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Apr 13, 2015
Photo of AdamP
AdamP from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aug 27, 2015
Photo of MarkyMOD
MarkyMOD from Colorado

4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dec 19, 2016
Photo of smartassboiler
smartassboiler from Illinois

4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov 13, 2016
Photo of NHhomebrewguy
NHhomebrewguy from New Hampshire

4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Jan 27, 2015
Photo of IPAchris
IPAchris from Pennsylvania

4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apr 06, 2015
Photo of Bonna
Bonna from Illinois

3.89/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov 15, 2016
Photo of Dactrius
Dactrius from Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nov 14, 2017
Photo of evilcatfish
evilcatfish from Missouri

4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Feb 27, 2015
Photo of Sarge3130
Sarge3130 from Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mar 15, 2015
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Spice Wars from Fremont Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 342 ratings