Kentucky Dark Star (KDS) | Fremont Brewing Company

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Kentucky Dark Star (KDS)Kentucky Dark Star (KDS)

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in 15 year old single use 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.

Added by barleywinefiend on 05-12-2012

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Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 468
Photo of pistolpeat
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had this around town a few times, at festivals & at the brewery, but this is my first go at a bottle.

Appearance: Poured a rich, inky black with a sticky, foamy espresso cap. The head clung to the outer rim of the glass, leaving behind a silky lacing as I drank.

Aroma: Whoa. A warming, soft & complex bourbon shines with a roasty coconut, vanilla, mild char and some oaky chocolate. Very alluring & intricate.

Taste: Smooth and outstanding. Bursting with flavor without being intense or overwhelming. That roasted coconut from the nose hits the tongue first, followed by a creamy chocolate roast & smooth bourbon. Rich oatiness, vanilla, and more creaminess go down in the finish. Just awesome.

Mouthfeel: Superb mouthfeel. No overpowering textures or flavors to dominant the palate. Smooth, full-bodied, creamy, and full of complexity. So easy to drink.

Overall: All parts of this beer were incredible to me. Nothing in the Pacific Northwest even comes close to this stout. Fremont clearly is leaps and bounds ahead of other Washington brewers for quality of beer, creativity, and craftsmanship. KDS is delicious- better than the Bourbon Abominale, and adds multi-dimensions to the regular Dark Star. This beer will age nicely, getting richer and more complex as time goes by. WA has a hidden gem here….

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Photo of laminam
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 Bottle (11% even though the bottle say otherwise)

This is truly a masterpiece from Fremont. It's got everything I want from a bourbon stout. This stuff is loaded with candy sweetness, undertones of vanilla, caramel, and a hot whif of booze to finish it off.

It's a big oatmeal stout, so it's not thin like Velvet Merkin, or overly strong with chocolate like Parabola, or b-bomb. It's... perfect. I could drink this forever.

The only complaint I can think of is that it's a little too hot, but it should mellow out quite nicely in a year or two. I'm going back today to buy two more bottles.

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Photo of dar482
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer pours out in a dark color with a touch of brown in the light. The beer is oily black in the glass with a slightly fluffy dark tan head.

The aroma hits of bourbon, tons of vanilla, a touch of coconut, fudge, milk chocolate, chocolate mousse, figs, dark cherries.

The flavor hits up front of vanilla, almost like Vanilla Rye, but without getting to an extract flavor. Bourbon, caramel, coconut macaroon, Whoppers, milk chocolate, as the beer cleans up with some residual sweetness, but a crisp finish leaving longing lingering of vanilla, coffee, and coconut.

Easily one of the best BA stouts around, beating many heavy hitters like Assassin and Vanilla Rye.

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Photo of bonghitta
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Delicious, even better than the B-Bomb. Seriously great stuff. Very Bourbony, very strong. Caramelly on the front end, awesome aftertaste. Freemont really outdid themselves with this release, everyone knows them for the B-Bombs, but it looks like the KDark is gonna be a new favoritie from them.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 release A-

A: Poured a deep, deep brownish near black with good carbonation leaving a nice brownish cap, good lacing and head retention

S: Rich cocoa, milk chocolate, roastiness, vanilla and bourbon

T: This beer was tasty start to finish. Nice balance of smooth cocoa, bitter cocoa, wood, vanilla notes and a smooth blend of bourbon. A small dose of coffee. This beer is well done and not overly done.

M: Big body, creamy, well rounded. Lots of flavor here. The tasting notes mesh well.

O: Very good and so smooth, easy to drink. Well played.


2013 release A++

A: Poured a deep, deep brownish near black with good carbonation leaving a nice brownish cap, great lacing and head retention. This beer poured fuller than the previous launch. It poured and appeared world class!

S: Rich cocoa with loads and lods of flaked oats, roasted goodness, light hints of vanilla, coffee and bourbon

T: My initial sip was DAMN fine. Immediate boner. Nice balance of milk chocolate, oats and coffee. The barrell is so well blended into this beer. Coconuts, vanilla, more oats midway with a nice smooth bourbon flavor. The finish is down right remarkable. Full, lush, a bit of sweetness, coffee, cocoa and oats.

M: Full bodied, well carbonated, sexy and lush, creamy, oh my

O: Fremont really outdid themselves again. I would dare say this the finest beer they have produced to date and they cranked out some true gems over the past year! The body was dialed up, I am assuming from an additional truckload of oats. It kicks Velvet Merkin in the balls. The amount of flavor and feel of this beer is mindblowing. I've had some of the finer stouts in the world and personally, for me, this takes the cake.

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Photo of Toriless
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance: who cares! It was dark with a nice creamy head. what more do you want so long as it not grey or something weird.

smell: vanilla, chocolate, oak

taste: near prefect, this is exactly the taste that fills my brain when I hear the word STOUT. It was the best beer of the 20 I shared tastings with at the festival. I agree with the other reviewer about the vanilla, chocolate, oak, bourbon undertones but they were also nicely balanced and not cloying as vanilla or chocolate can be if over done.

mouthfeel: creamy and smoothe

I got to figure out where I can get this stuff on a regular basis. Yummy!

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Photo of beercam
4.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

KDS! Been anticipating this one for about three years now. Fully delivered. If you can dismiss ten fidy out there gates you know we're working with some special liquid. So delicious. 15% abv

This is a top 3 for whiskey barrel stouts...

An obviously profound brewing triumph, potentially best stout of 2016.

Seattle Baby Preserve Mother Earth

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Photo of hop_chomper
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black waxed bomber, poured an oily black color. Heavy tan cap that was maybe a finger thick. Creamy and foamy.

Nose is like smelling a soft chocolate truffle made with toasted coconut, vanilla, and rich bourbon. This beer smells fantastic! Easily the best part, finishing with lots of woody bourbon, anise, licorice and light smoke.

Taste, much like the nose, is incredible. Deep, roasty malts, smooth bourbon kick, bittersweet cocoa, speckled with hints of vanilla & some charred oak. Lots of depth here. When warmed, notes of licorice, creamy oats, more wood, maybe a touch of sweet cherry, all add to the roasted malt profile.

Mouthfeel is creamy. Not as thick and chewy as a lot of stouts tend to be, but I think that's the oats help to create a softer body, giving the beer flavor & texture without being intense. Age will bring the mouthfeel thicker, add complexity, and really take this to another level.

I acquired this beer in a trade for Darkness and I must say, I think I got the better end of the deal. One of the better barrel aged stouts I've ever had. Rivals KBS, BCBS, Parabola, etc. any day of the week. I should have traded for another.

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Photo of Stardusthotel83
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Super dark color, nice creamy gray head with dark swirls. Excellent taste, coffee, vanilla, and the bourbon blend perfectly. This is probably the second best beer ive ever had. (The first also being from Freemont)

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Photo of MjBrewhouse
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow! Where to start? 2014 Vintage. Poured into snifter, dark with dark tan head.

S: Bourbon up front with chocolate, coffee, oak,alcohol. The Bourbon is king of all the olfactory delights.I can't stop putting my nose in the glass to inhale all the wonderful delights coming out of the glass.

T: Taste is similar to nose with oak and bourbon right in your face followed by coffee, chocolate, vanilla and oats with nice warming alcohol finish. Very balanced smooth and enjoyable.

M: Rich creamy with medium viscosity but perfect for this style.

O: This is one of the finest BA stouts I've had the pleasure to try. I can only imagine a year or two in the cellar would enhance this offering quite well.

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Photo of kevwcamp
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Updating my review for 2013. I think last year's vintage had a homer bump to it. This year's is the real deal at 11% and with a thicker mouthfeel, no homer hype. I just had kbs and black note this weekend too so I have a good frame of reference.

A: Pours jet black with a nice inch of tan foam, settles quickly. Nothing unusual, but looks great!

S: This is the best part. I could smell this all day. Rich vanilla, coconut, chocolate notes.

T: I liked the base beer, it was good not great. No surprise that this is a full step above with the added barrel character. More vanilla, coconut, chocolate with mild booze and hints of dark fruit.

M: At a new and improved 11% the alcohol is not totally hidden, but seems more in balance than last year. The rich and thick mouthfeel is a big improvement over last year.

O: Bravo again, Fremont. You raised the bar.

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Photo of Ksoden1186
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

2014 vintage.

Pours midnight black. Very small kaki colored head. Perfect-looking stout.

Such a perfectly balanced stout. The nose offers up the bourbon, chocolate, toffee. Bourbon is predominate.

The bourbon comes through initially, but doesn't overshadow everything else. The roasted malt, cocoa, caramel, coffee all have their place. Bourbon again on the back end and aftertaste.

Perfect mouthfeel. Motor oil consistency. Coats the mouth and flavors stay around a while.

This is one of the best beers I've had this year. Didn't know much about it before receiving it and was extremely surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. I knew it would be great, but didn't expect it to blow me away as much as it did. This is a ba stout that I could drink every week.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours motor oil black pitch with a cream, but fizzling dark mocha head that leaves a small trace on the glass throughout. The nose is sweetly intense and malty with roasted malts which lend that oat based flavor, vanilla fudge, some liquorice, dark chocolate, charred wood, dark roast coffee, some toasted coconut, toffee, and bourbon goodness. Taste mirrors the aromatic qualities of the beer along with slightly sweet, bitter effects along with roasted malts, oatmeal, vanilla, oak, figs, some roast coffee, chocolate covered cherries in brandy, toasted coconut, and that warming bourbon alcohol. Mouthfeel is soft, velvety, round, slightly boozy hot and full bodied. Finish is slightly sweet, bitter and malty with roasted malts, pumpernickel bread, vanilla fudge, and caramelized hazelnuts. Just pure bliss here! This is a straightforward beer and the best in every discipline found in a quality beer. The balance was just phenomenal.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is an amazing beer... 2012 version so it has a little time on it...

Big notes of bourbon and oak present in the aromas and flavor dept... im pairing this beer with some Nakhla Double Apple in my hookah and they go together terrifically... there's an anise note in the double that complements this brew and has me on point...

The brewery states that this is an oatmeal stout but it feels a little bigger and richer to me... not necessarily richer on the palate but in the flavor dept...

Seeing as its International Stout Day, I thought I would pull this one out of the back of my beer fridge and I'm glad I did... a chilly November night, some strong Egyptian tobacco and this beer... off the hook...

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

A Pours a pitch black topped off with a mocha head with decent retention.

S Mostly bourbon with a bit of vanilla and oak. Good but a touch one dimensional.

T Quite complex with lots of chocolate, oatmeal backed up with bourbon and a hint of roast and vanilla.

M Silky smooth and very creamy.

Overall this is an excellent beer from Fremont that shows why they might be the best brewery in the state. Its good looking, complex and has an excellent mouthfeel. My only complaint is the fact that the nose is slightly one dimensional. Other then that this one lives up to the hype.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.71/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Shared by starrdogg. Split four ways. Thanks Matt.

The beer is dark brown with a small, beige head. Sparse lacing on the wine glass. The aroma brings roast, malt, a subtle barrel presence. Smells balanced, refined, and awesome. The taste does not disappoint, offering a smooth, silky, roasted malt goodness. Medium bodied with moderately low carbonation. Overall, a really tasty stout. Glad I got to sample this.

23 Jan 2015
Having this again tonight. World class. Masterfully done.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle shared by Curran the other day, thanks man!

This one pours a very dark black, with a small head, and essentially no lacing.

Smells like bourbon, chocolate, sweet coffee, caramel, and vanilla.

This is a really well done and luxurious BA stout. There's a lot of barrel here, silky vanilla, earthy bourbon, and some oak. The taste is super smooth and rounded. The ABV is 14.5% according to the bottle, which is really hard for me to believe given how smooth and subdued the booze is here. Just a job well done here for sure.

This is thick bodied, very creamy and silky on the palate, with a moderate level of carbonation.

An exemplary barrel-aged stout, just absolutely delicious, and stands up with the biggest names in the BA game.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage poured in to snifter.

A - Deep black with a thin layer of mocha brown coloured head.

S - A big sweetness - vanilla, oatmeal, chocolate, char and a big oak presence.

T - Sweet vanilla, bourbon and chocolate fudge with char and a big oak/woodiness present throughout. Roast. Extremely smooth for the ABV. Becomes even more smooth and flavourful as it warms to room temperature.

M - Full body. Creamy and silky. Light carbonation.

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Photo of TheEarl
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had my first non-festival pour of KDS, from a waxed 22 ounce bottle of the inaugural 2012 release, in a snifter, on 7/18/2012.

Appearance: Blackish brown with an oily looking tan head and sparse lacing.

Smell: The aroma is bourbon forward with oak/vanilla and a slight grainy/bready note at the end.

Taste: KDS tastes just like it smells. Initially, there is a sweet and remarkably smooth bourbon character that opens into oak, vanilla, and bread flavors, and finishes with dark chocolate. For a big stout, I get very little or no coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium/full bodied, viscous, and light on bubbles. Despite the 9.5% ABV, there is no heat whatsoever. For an oatmeal stout, KDS is, perhaps, a bit light bodied.

Overall: KDS is outstanding and, in my view, ranks alongside KBS and Parabola. I’m surprised at how much I love this beer as I’m not a huge fan of the standard Dark Star--a beer I find overly grainy and too thin. It will be very interesting to see how this beer evolves in the cellar and how the releases change year-to-year.

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Photo of floridadrift
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

As good as CCBomb, in its own category. Fremont has some incredible base beers and variants, highly recommended, worth trading for and a solid imperial stout from Washington, the best I've had from that region this far. So chocolately, light bourbon notes and nice, dark fruit flavors blend well.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours black as night with one of the darkest colored heads that I have ever seen. The head is sizeable and hangs around a good while. The lacing is phenomenal and the head is a dark chocolate in color. This beer looks delicious in the glass.

S- Sweet malt and bourbon notes greet the nose right up front on this beer. Tons of barrel notes are up front with good char and vanilla notes. Semi-bitter dark malts and just a touch of hops are on the back end of the scent. Really just a good blend of base beer malt and barrel characteristics.

T- Starts with a muted malt base that is mostly dark and slightly bitter. A ton of chocolate malt that is immediately countered with a bunch of barrel profile is the initial flavor profile. The barrel and malts mellow out in the middle and provide a largely oaky and mellow chocolate flavor overall. The whiskey really shines through on the back end of this drink and displays some good char and oak flavors. The lingering flavor on the tongue is some malt, but a lot of bourbon and corn bite.

M- Thick, smooth, and shockingly light on the palate, this beer drinks like a dream. The alcohol is barely warming, let alone noticeable. The drink is silky smooth, yet still has a good amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a pretty damn good beer. There are great notes of both base beer and barrel, making the overall drinking experience very pleasurable. The amount of barrel that is present is awesome and really adds another layer of complexity. In the end, this is a great beer.

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Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz pour into a snifter. On tap at Brouwers, Back in Black 5-11-12

A: Very Dark brown to black with a tan to brown head that sticks around for quite a while.

S: Fremont killed it here. Aromas of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, milk chocolate, charred malts and subtle oak.

T: Taste follows the nose. Toasted coconut, chocolate and bready dark malts. Great barrel character on this beer yet the base beer still stands strong and at only 8%.

M: Perfect amount of carbonation and the oats add a wonderful mouthfeel to the beer.

O: Not really anything bad to say about this beer. I had it next to Ivan the Terrible and couldn't put the Dark Star down. Alcohol was not mentioned because it was nearly non existent. Secures my faith in Seattle beer.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, released today at FBC.
Abv = 9.5% not the 8% listed.

Second time tasting, first in bottle.

Pour: Ink black with a soapy ring of espresso tan head and thick espresso head at edge of glass.

Nose: Hits the spot big time! Vanilla, fudge, toasted coconut, caramel, malt balls, and smooth bourbon.

Taste: My god this beer is truly outstanding. It was my favorite at SBW, Back in Black stout Fest and now I remember why. Rich, oats, slight coffee, vanilla, fudge, coconut, slight oak, and smooth bourbon. WTH? No alcohol present all. Just that smooth...

Mouthfeel: Perfectly creamy. This is less thick than most imperial stouts but it is perfect here. A truly impressive mouthfeel.

Overall: Like I always say, "Fremont owns WA." Their lineup constantly impresses me. 1800 bottles made. Seriously get is impressive. I'm not a "homer" by any means but Fremont has never messed up a beer...never. This and BA Abominable are definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love Fremont so much I propped this one up in my mind for the last couple years as an Abominable equal. Now I'd say that depends on your preference. This beer is amazing and the little bit of heat is welome in this brew, but for me the vanilla quality of the barrel is stronger than I like and I'd trade it for a BBA Abominable any day. If you love vanilla this will become your favorite. Best aged an additional year.

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Photo of mr-jj
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Color is black with a tan head. Semi-sticky lacing. Smell is delightful - lots of bourbon, chocolate and coffee with some anise and dark fruits. Flavor matches the nose with bourbon on the palate followed by cocoa, vanilla, anise and some dark fruit. Just a touch of hop bitterness on the finish dries your mouth and demands the next sip. Body is full with just enough carbonation to balance the syrupy texture and make it a creamy delight.

Overall, this is one fantastic beer. I recently had the opportunity to drink it side-by-side with BCBS and It easily held its own. It was a toss-up among the tasters as to which was better.

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Kentucky Dark Star (KDS) from Fremont Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 468 ratings.
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