Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Chocolate, Vanilla & Maple Syrup
Fremont Brewing Company

Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Chocolate, Vanilla & Maple SyrupBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Chocolate, Vanilla & Maple Syrup
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Stout - American Imperial
4.46 | pDev: 7.17%
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Chocolate, Vanilla & Maple SyrupBourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Chocolate, Vanilla & Maple Syrup
Notes: This year’s release is a blend of 24, 18, 12, and 8-month Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Star in 7-12-year old Kentucky bourbon barrels. The roasted and chocolate malts complement the smooth oats to bring you a stout delight wrapped in the gentle embrace of bourbon barrel-aged warmth. A touch of sweetness dances in balance with the hops to finish with a wave, and then she’s gone
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 68 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out pitch black with a single line of dark brown foam even on a hard pour.

Nose is roasty and aggressive. If I didn't know any better, I would have guessed this was a Russian Imperial. Medium bourbon and barrel presence with big, rich, bold roasty malt notes. This reminds me a lot of Parabola. I don't get Chocolate, Vanilla, or Maple unfortunately.

Taste is a little bit more expressive. Its that same big barrel aged stout beast but there are slight hints of chocolate. Quick flashes that give you images of brownies and baked goods. There is also slight bits of vanilla that brighten up the brew. While it is strong, its not as unrelenting as Parabola. Still im not getting Maple.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, smooth perfection. Very mild carbonation. This is what to expect every time you get a Fremont Oatmeal Stout. Amazing stuff.

Overall this one is a little far off home plate than what I expected. Still great nonetheless but I don't remember if the malt was quite as aggressive as Coffee Dark Star or Rusty Nail. I'll have to check back with my 2017 Rusty Nail bottle. Anyway, a great brew.

Dec 09, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brown tinted midnight black opaque body with a creamy brown head. Bourbon warmth and oak barrel set up the nose with the adjunct vanilla, maple, and chocolate, get some smoke, bittersweet chocolate syrup, oat, and roasted barley. Taste is the longest sip I can remember, it just keeps going! Char, earth, wood start our adventure, then the bourbon, molasses, and bitters, followed by subtle oat, brown sugar, maple, and bittersweet chocolate syrup before maple candy with a vanilla flair ends it all with a boozy bite. Drawbacks: wants more integration and gets very sweet, especially for an oatmeal stout. The feel is not dampened by the sweetness, great barrel character and oat/malt/barley base providing an earthy and rustic backbone.

Sep 16, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Viscous tar black with a burnt mocha head that dies down quickly to a fluid but densely fine film and thin tan ring.

A delectably smooth and moderately thick body melds well with both the chocolatey malt and added chocolate that work perfectly together while playing well with a lightly charred, peppery bourbon barrel presence. Immediately accenting and even inching to the fore is a substantial vanilla contribution that has a creamy cupcake icing flavor to it, but also a deeper bean note in the background.

The maple doesn't seem to add a lot of character to the brew, but the barrel continues to shine on subsequent sips and especially on the exhale, with a tingly heat and a faint hint of campfire coal ash. The nearly full body has a fine carbonation running throughout, coming to a numbing, semi-dry and only minimally sticky finish.

Aug 29, 2020
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Scotchboy from Idaho

4.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap in Nampa ID.

A: Dark, velvety pour yields minimal head and lace.

S: Sweetness and spirit; maple is prominent as well as vanilla and bourbon, with milk chocolate notes and some roast character as well.

T: The maple on this draft is nice; there is a decadent sweetness but it isn’t overpowering, you still get plenty of dark roast, oak and bourbon. Hints of coffee too, with impressions of mocha.

MF: Velvety full mouthfeel, lower carbonation. Not quite the fullness of other Dark Stars I’ve tried but still ‘big’.

O: A very nice offering, I was stoked to try it and it didn’t disappoint.

Jun 18, 2020
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CraftFan5 from New Jersey

5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

9 June 2020 - Beer #115

Corona Day #89

Price: $24.99 at Bob's Liquors in Seattle, WA

Appearance: 5 - entirely opaque black with stunning tan lacing.

Nose: 5 - pretty much all barrel. No chocolate, vanilla, or maple to speak of, but the barrel is heavenly.

Taste: 5 - amazingly complex. Everything is just blended together so well, and the barrel is perfect.

Mouth: 5 - along the best mouthfeels I've experienced. Unbelievably smooth from the oatmeal stout base.

Overall: 5 - fantastic, a true standout in the series.

Stay safe out there, my friends.


Jun 16, 2020
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DefenCorps from Oregon

4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Orenco Taphouse.

Jet black with a dense, dark brown head that falls off to a thin ring rapidly, this is solid. Maple and vanilla with a nice mellow coconut and bourbon heart along with a rich dark chocolate, dark honey, rich and creamy. The palate opens rich and balanced, a blend of bourbon, vanilla, maple, coconut, all from the barrel along with rich dark chocolate, mildly sweet, tempered by a moderate roasted malt bitterness that only serves to amplify the sweetness, particularly the coconut notes. The chocolate is rich and deep, with layers of bitterness and dark fruit, along with a cocoa note. The midpalate is particularly unctuous and decadent, creamy and rich like a good dark chocolate ganache. Full in body, softly and creamy in carbonation, this beer has a long, bitter finish with vanilla and a light maple sweetness. Quite excellent.

Jun 13, 2020
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darktronica from Indiana

4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As fudgey as I've ever smelled on the nose of a beer, morphing into boozy brownie batter once it hits the palate. Rich and redolent, not overwhelming on the maple notes, which works for me. Moderately thin compared to expectations, but still pleasingly smooth.

May 30, 2020
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JamFuel from Sweden

4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick, smooth and jet black with a finger and a half of chocolate colored foam.

Smell is rich and sweet with notes of chocolate, maple syrup, coffee, vanilla and some charred oak.

Taset is powerful and roasty with huge notes of chocolate and coffee along with plenty of charred oak and cocoa. Lesser hints of sweet maple syrup and nuts bring on a long finish with a bit of bitterness. Plenty of booze, but mostly in feel rather than taste.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous with good carbonation.

Overall, an outstanding stout, everything I was hoping for.

Apr 19, 2020
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beersampler6 from Michigan

4.41/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tremendous beer, well worth the trouble it took to acquire it online. 2019 edition. Pours a thick syrupy black opaque color with some fluffy tan head and just some small rings of lingering lacing. Smells nice, strong dark chocolate fudge and dark roast coffee, malt, caramel, vanilla, lightly toasted nuts, raisin, brown sugar, bourbon, oak and some weaker maple syrup in the background. Taste follows the nose, and I appreciated how the maple syrup sweetness wasn't overpowering or cloying. Nice dark rich flavors, complex and well balanced. A slow sipper but only a mild alcohol burn as the beer warmed. Smooth, sticky mouthfeel that coated the palate, perfect amount of carbonation. This Dark Star series has been a real pleasure.

Mar 03, 2020
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BEER88 from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect for a cold day. Looks like used motor oil and a khaki head. Smells of bourbon, dark fruit, milk chocolate, and roasted coffee. Taste was Roast then to chocolate and vanilla, moving to that barrel mid palate, finishing with maple. Feel was slick, thicc and chewy. Overall this was solid but it is still a bit hot maybe another couple months before it’s at its prime IMO!!

Feb 09, 2020
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BerryKumquat from California

4.14/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Dark brown.
S: Strong syrup with a hint of chocolate.
T: Strong syrup flavor with a bit of chocolate and vanilla but lots of barrel flavor.
F: Wood and syrup.
O: This is 60% as strong version of Rogue XS Old Crustacean.

Feb 09, 2020
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zonker17 from Texas

4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour at Pine Box. Black with beige head, good retention and lacing. Nose has the chocolate, vanilla in the back. Taste is hard to nail, but vanilla is on top, boozy finish. Huge body and sweet.

Feb 03, 2020
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mogulskier from California

4.68/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is an incredible beer.

Aroma is vanilla and maple syrup. Smells fantastic. Definitely pick up the alcohol though.

Taste pretty much follows the nose in terms of the vanilla and maple, but now on the finish the chocolate comes into play on the backend. Comes together so nicely, but even more impressive, is that the alcohol burn is not as strong as on the nose. This should age beautifully. I don't expect the maple to fade.

A wonderfully crafted beer. These guys are Fremont Brewing are and have been on their A-game year in and year out. This is so delicious.

Not as full bodied as I wanted, but the flavors more than make up for it. What amazes me is that each flavor is distinguishable from each other. And you get the wonderful barrel character.

A real winner and highly recommend getting at least 2 bottles; one now and one for aging a few years. Now, with < 4 months on it, this is incredible. I can only see this getting better.

Jan 26, 2020
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours espresso brown with a thin mocha head that fades to a ringlet; very leggy with spots of lacing

Smell: The vanilla and maple syrup elements are distinctive, enveloped by chocolate syrup and Bourbon tones

Taste: Very sweet, from the outset, with the vanilla and maple syrup mixing with the chocolate syrup; the Bourbon arrives, through the middle, and in just the right amount to provide a crescendo in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation; rich and warm

Overall: Rich, full bodied and well-constructed; tasty in small quantities before the sweetness overwhelms

Jan 11, 2020
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Limazulu from Idaho

5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2019 Nitro version on draft at Beir:30 pub
A-Not quite solid black, the nitro gave it a creamy tan two-tone when viewed through bright light. Exceptionally creamy head that persisted remarkably long given the high ABV
S-Chocolate and maple heaven.
T-more of the same. Very sweet but it was expected and the sweetness was offset with just enough long lingering bitterness to cleanse the palate.
M-Full (-) body that was divine on nitro.

Jan 04, 2020
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a very dark black color, with a small fluffy head, and not much lacing.

This one smells like roasted malt, bourbon, caramel, creamy vanilla, fudge, and oak. I unfortunately don't get any maple, but it still smells very good.

The maple is definitely subtle here, but it's still very tasty. The barrel on this beer is killer, like basically every beer in this series, or Fremont in general. There's some oak spice, caramelly bourbon tones, and a feeling of the vanilla being enhanced - between the barrel and the actual vanilla infusion. I definitely would want more maple, but it does keep the beer from being too cloying. There's some nice roast, and lots of rich dark chocolate to keep the balance.

This is creamy, and medium bodied, and very drinkability, with very little boozines.

This is extremely well crafted, as I've grown to expect from Fremont. Even though I'd maybe want more maple here, it's hard to find much fault with this.

Jan 02, 2020
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again to rawfish for suggesting a spot dripping with Fremont. How this stuff just sits on shelves is a mystery akin to why Milana Vayntrub hasn't been crowned sexiest human alive. Ever. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Black. The vanilla & chocolate pop in the nose, along with a sweetness. The barrel is playing hide and seek amongst the other ingredients.

Dark Star - Barrel Aged w/Chocolate, Vanilla, & Maple Syrup sounds like someone has found a sequel to the Lord of the Rings in Tolkien's desk. The taste is close, to. Liquid Hershey's Fudge greets the palate - man, I loved that stuff - along with a strong push of vanilla, & tooth-decaying rager of Wisconsin maple syrup. Deep, lovely malts. Barrel is pretty much missing, but who cares. Not pastry thick, but plenty of staying power. I'm sucking this down like a whirlpool; this will be close to a record disappearance.

It's rare that a beer that describes good stuff on the bottle can back it up. This is one of those cases, though if there was actual barrel, this might have split my pants. Bloody excellent beer.

Dec 26, 2019
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.58/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle. Black with a khaki head. Smells of chocolate, vanilla, and maple. Sweet milk chocolate and bourbon. Tastes of much stronger bourbon. Milk chocolate. Vanilla. Maple finish. Boozy finish, too. Heavy but tasty. Good in small quantities.

Dec 22, 2019
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.16/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Dark brown with a one-finger mocha head, average retention and lacing.

S: Rich and sweet, almost entirely high quality vanilla on the nose, a little raisin, but as it warms it displays a wonderful hot cocao.

T: Piles of vanilla beans and some booze, a touch of maple syrup on the back of the tasting. Not nearly a bitter enough backbone. Not nearly as complex as it's Fremont peers unfortunately.

F: A bit thinner than the others in Fremont's barrel aging program. Some heat for it being new, but not enough to bother me. I'd prefer it over losing the adjuncts to any degree, except maybe a little vanilla.

O: This is more in the barleywine vein for me and while I never really loved Spice Wars I'm amazed to say that this one fell below for me. Fremont's Barrel Aging program is by far my favorite and I never miss an opportunity to share or sing their praises. This one just fell short for me but I'm glad they continue to experiment and that I got to try it.

Dec 08, 2019
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Wasatch from Colorado

4.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22 oz. Bomber
Gold Wax/Capped
Limited 2019 Release

Poured into a Tree House glass a very nice dark brown/black 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 dark chocolate/toffee, pretty nice bourbon/oak note, vanilla, with some licorice, maple, roasty. The taste is very nice, awesome, malty, hoppy, with a very nice touch of dark chocolate/toffee, very nice bourbon/oakyness, very nice vanilla/maple sweetness, licorice, some roastyness. Full Body, ABV is hidden very nicely, a very tasty complex brew, awesome sipper. Overall, this is one pretty awesome brew. Definitely nice to see this one around here. Highly Recommended!

Nov 28, 2019
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rarigney from Washington

5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is deep dark brown with a thin mocha head that recedes fairly quickly leaving spotty lacing. Aroma is chocolate, oak, maple, and bourbon. The flavor perfectly matches the label; chocolate, vanilla, & maple syrup are all present and add a perfectly sweet complement to the slightly bitter dark roasted malt. Full bodied and velvety smooth with a gently warming, dark chocolate finish. Perfect way to start the holiday season on this Thanksgiving Day.

Nov 28, 2019
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

whoa! a new variant of this special series of beers, something to always be treasured, but now that maple is in the mix, i am in heaven. being new and all, this is predictably a little hot at this alcohol strength, impossible not to be really, but im not sure i want to cellar it too long at the risk of the maple being eaten up, its so incredibly rich and balanced now, id hate for the proportions to change much, even if there is some residual sugar in this. extremely special beer here, lucky to have had it on tap! i am amazed at how much chocolate there is in here, both in aroma and flavor, and how its both bitter and sweet, a dark, earthy baking chocolate meets a sweeter, more luxurious silky milk chocolate thing, both sides are present here. vanilla is natural bean and strong as well, perfect with the cocoa and the maple, which is present all the way through this. of course the base stout and bourbon barrel character is bold here as well, in tact, not overly done up by the added ingredients, which is always true of these, such great layers and respect for the original, i love that, so high end to me too, the quality and regal nature of this is through the roof. huge charred oak character and dark roast from the grain are balanced by desserty chocolate and vanilla, rich maple syrup, and all the velvety body i could imagine in a beer, not broken down much if at all by the alcohol, which stings a little going down as this warms, but does not diminish from the overall. a real special edition of this classic, maybe my favorite of them, i hope to try it in the bottled form as well. as good as this sort of thing ever gets, instant winner, i loved it!

Nov 26, 2019
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pants678 from California

3.08/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Black, head's not really there.


Might be picking out chocolate but not the other adjuncts. Alcohol's pronounced, no sweetness, some vanilla but that could also be the bourbon barrel. Tastes too bitter.

Carbonation is fine, viscosity too.

Nov 24, 2019
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John_M from Oregon

4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Arch Bridge today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with excellent head retention and light lacing. To no great surprise, this is a beer that appears to have seen considerable barrel aging. The nose is rich and exotic, showcasing considerable maple syrup, along with noticeable vanilla, dark chocolate and bourbon. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this rich full bodied, almost too sweet RIS. This is literally dessert in a glass, though the prominent bourbon flavor helps to cut the sweetness somewhat. Mouthfeel is is soft, full and very, very long, and the alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile (though you can definitely tell that the abv. is up there in this beer).

Yet another extremely impressive effort from Fremont. As others have pointed out, Fremont's barrel aging program takes a back seat to no one's.

Nov 09, 2019
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cherche from Washington

4.06/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Usually think Fremonts BA beers are second to none but this one was short if their others. Don’t get me wrong, it is still very good but just not at the level of the others. The look is great but the nose and taste are a bit muddied. Sweet bourbon is nice but the complexity of Fremonts other BA beers isn’t there. Feel is very good though. Overall I would say worth a try but if given the option between this and any other Fremont BA beer take the other. Still would take it over 90% of non-Fremont BA beers though.

Nov 09, 2019
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Chocolate, Vanilla & Maple Syrup from Fremont Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 68 ratings