Dark Star Porter | Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Dark Star PorterDark Star Porter
223 Ratings
Dark Star PorterDark Star Porter

Brewed by:
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Kentucky, United States

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A rich and robust blend of light, caramel, and dark malts sets the stage for BBC Dark Star Porter’s robust presence on the palate. This smooth but robust porter has complex notes of chocolate and roasted grains balanced by additions of traditional English hops, creating a delicious chocolaty and smooth ale.

35 IBU

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 07-30-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 223 |  Reviews: 151
Photo of xtacyturbo
3.25/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an imperial pint glass, served at about 45 degrees.

Dark Star pours a very dark brown, almost black. At first it was topped with a half-inch thick creamy head that quickly settled to a foamy ring.

The aroma- roasty toasty, smells of roasted malts and coffee, with a hint of unsweetened cocoa- and not much else.

Taste-wise, just roasted, roasted, roasted. Very dominant flavor of roasted malts. Not much hint of coffee or chocolate at all, and not much hop flavor either. Doesn't carry a very complex flavor; I swirled this one around in my mouth many times searching for something more, but it just wasn't there.

Dark Star hits the tongue with a prickly carbonation. It leaves a slick, wet feeling on the palate that I don't particularly like, and wasn't as dry as I had expected from the style.

It's quite drinkable when cold, but drinkability declines as it warms- a pattern opposite what I usually prefer. It's unfortunate that this happens, as when drinking a brew of this style I don't like to hurry.

While it sounds like I'm trashing it, Dark Star is fairly tasty, but not my top pick. Definitely better than your average beer, but there are many better choices out there. I was hoping for the best after finding this beer from my hometown of Louisville, but next time I think I'll try one of their other styles.

 1,374 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle courtesy of kmpitz2.
I am pouring at room temp into a pint glass.
The beer pours a deep rich dark brown with only hints of mahogany at the edges of the glass. A creamy beige head of 1 cm foams up easily and clings to the sides of the glass as it recedes slowly to a sturdy surface layer.
The aroma is roasted malt predominantly with hints of chocolate and caramel as well. No hop presence that I can detect.
The first sip reveals a silky smooth body with fine yet tingly carbonation.
The flavor is similar to the nose, all malt. I get some sweet chocolate up front then roasted malt and some burnt caramel. The roasted flavor lingers on my palate for a bit. The beer is very easy to drink and I think I could down a few of these quite happily on any given nite. There is no hint of alcohol anywhere and the smoothness and good flavor make it a winner!

 865 characters

Photo of swid
3.26/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer #7 (of 13) from my beer purchase in Indiana.

Bluegrass Dark Star Porter pours a (upon first glance) black color into my pint glass; when held up to the light, a dark brown/ruby color becomes evident. Atop the nearly (but not completely) opaque porter rests a 1", light brown head; this soon collapses down into a thick, soapy ring. Moderate carbonation and light lacing. The aroma is quite average: Chocolate and roasted coffee notes are present, as is a restrained "earthy" smell. That's it.

The taste is better than the smell, but not the appearance. The flavors seem to be a jumbled mix of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, toasted malts, and a mild floral bitterness; no one flavor dominates overall. Mouthfeel is quite light; the acidity of this beer combines with the lightness and fizziness of the mouthfeel to mount a small attack on the tongue. Finishes crisp, and leaves an acidic/coffee aftertaste.

This was my first beer from Kentucky; it started out with a great deal of promise once I poured it in the glass. However, I found myself liking it a bit less with each sip. I can't recommend it, given the large number of (in my opinion) better American stouts out there. However, as always, YMMV.

 1,218 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz single, hauled by kmpitz2

is this one named for the dead song or is that strictly a coincidence? either way...

appearance: dark, almost pitch black, maybe a ruby tint, just maybe...very light brown head and creamy lacing

smell: cocoa powder, roasted malts, some coffee bean, a dark fruitiness going on in the background, earthy

taste: burnt coffee, cocoa powder, dark roast, dark fruit, some mild hoppiness, toasted malts...somthing missing here i think

mouthfeel: not as creamy as i'd like

drinkability: pretty drinkable

 544 characters

Photo of nlmartin
3.32/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: At first glance poured a perfect black; however, upon further looking definately had a ruby opaqueness. Minimal head that was colored off white.

Smell: The expected chocolates and coffees are pleasantly in place. Small amount of fruity goodness drifting in the background.

Taste: The expected chocolates and coffee are there along with a pleasant butter scotch taste.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: Somewhere between watery thin and light bodied. The buttery texture probably moves it towards light bodied. Maintains a sort of fizzy carbonation during drinking.

 620 characters

Photo of Morris729
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with a tall pillowy tan head that coats the walls of the glass with sheets of lace as it recedes. Nose is chocolaty roasted malts along with a touch of earthy peat. Taste begins with sweet malt and burnt coffee followed by unsweetened dark chocolate and dusty cocoa. A mild herbal hop bitterness is present in the finish along with more of the same burnt coffee that was present upfront. Not great, but worth a try if you get the chance. Thanks to yakko for the sample!

 514 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being from the distribution area, this is a beer that I have enjoyed ofter, buy only lately found new appreciation. It's big on the roasted barley, chocolates, and coffee flavors. More subtle in the nutty, barley, and toffee flavors. The BBC 'Americanized' this style by loading it with hops--so much that the tan head shows a slightly greenish tint. It's aromas are what you'd expect from a very hoppy porter with slight acidity and bittering from grain or husks. It's moderately thick and creamy. Finishes quite dry, despite the big sugars. Has a slight metalic flavor and shows some roughness in the swallow.

 611 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
2.44/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

courtesy of BiF 18 and lackenhauser

thick brown pour with no head or lacing. aroma smells like a mix between dirt and grass... some sweaty aromas and a bit of maltiness to go along with all the weirdness. tastes better than it smells, although it has a very penny-like aftertaste. in the foreground are light notes of roasted malt and european hops. a little too crisp and bubbly for my tastes, and overall too light for me as well. not a beer i'd revisit. maybe a bad bottle, but ill have to see this on tap in order to attempt a rereview.

 543 characters

Photo of Fish113d
3.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pouring slightly chilled into a tulip glass, this one pours a dark brown to black color with a cream-colored edge layer allowing no light to pass through the glass. Nothing very different or special about how it looks to me.

Aroma is some roasted coffee malts, along with some slight vanilla and some chocolate or cocoa. Again, good aroma, but nothing too overly complex about this one.

Taste is of a slight roasted malt, along with some chocolate, but on the swallow, the flavor changes to a rather musky light aftertaste.

Highly carbonated with a thin body, this yields decent flavor (nothing special, but decent), and a nice aftertaste. Seems just like a basic porter to me that's easy to drink and decently flavored, but just ordinary.

 749 characters

Photo of bceaglejoe
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the Bluegrass Brewing Company bar at Louisville's Standiford International Airport. Poured into a traditional pint glass.

Presentation: The beer poured a dark brown, almost black, color into the glass. It was totally opaque. There was an off-white head with decent retention, but it wasn't great. The top of the beer became rather flat as I continued to drink it. The scent was dominated by roasted malts and coffee, with a little bit of caramel. It enveloped my nose very well. It was about par for the course as American Porters go.

Tasting: The most prominent taste in this beer was coffee. The roasted malt characteristics, noted in the scent, were also very strong, particularly towards the middle and back of the tongue. It had a slightly smoky flavor at the end, combined with a small amount of bitterness. There was also a bit of chocolate flavor. It was a medium-bodied beer with no alcohol harshness as it rolled across my tongue. As a Porter, it was an easy-drinking, (presumably) low-alcohol beer that would be suitable for a session or for pairing with food. It lends itself to deep, "quaffing" sips.

I liked this American Porter because it represented the style very well. I would like to have this again sometime.

 1,250 characters

Photo of drunkensailor
2.41/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

from the bottle to a mug, fairly aggressive pour. Dark black color with a thick caramel creamy foam, visible flecks of something, makes me excited, 9reminds me of a few great barley wines). Light in the aroma, but did catch a bit of roasty sweetness, can't tell of what though. Taste is all right, notice a few subtleties to it (coffee, chacolate?) but the beer is a bit watery, not as thich and full bodied as the appearance would suggest. I've heard bad things about BBC from a few folks, so this is the first one of thier brews I've tried. I would say that while not the best porter, it was an enjoyable drink, and I'm now going to plan an outing of my other brew brethren to check out what else they have in store. I'll let you know ....

 741 characters

Photo of karengarys
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours dark leaving a bit of a carmel color head.

Smells malty, dark chocolatey.

Tastes like dark chocolate and hop. It is slightley watery, though.

Mouthfeel isn't bad, slightly creamy but also thin and wet.

Finish is a bit bitter, but dry.

This isn't a bad porter, but it seems a bit thin to me, and not quite as robust as I would like. Give it a whirl anyway.

 376 characters

Photo of bruachan
3.86/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

my server gave me a to-the-brim pour but the guy next to me at the bar was drinking the same thing and had a nice head with some great lacing. deep, dark, but not opaque, with some garnet hues. i didn't get much an aroma since the head was nonexistant, but what did come through was decent

a little thin on the tongue, so the flavors were not concentrated. still a nice session porter, though

 395 characters

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice, earthy black malt scent that is roasted and dry. There is also some hop aroma as well. The taste is good. It has a smooth and rich patent and roasted malt flavor that goes down with ease and finishes dry and earthy. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a fine American porter. It has good aroma and taste; an excellent sessions ale.

 551 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity... Best before May, what I assume is 05, since 02/03/04 weren't marked, and there isn't a spot for 05.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a little 1/4" of tan head over the clear mahogany brew. Head, although diminutative, seems to stay constant, with average lacing for the style. Aroma is dark, roasty grains. Taste is dark malts, with a citrus note in the middle, then fades back to the slight coffee bitterness and chocolate sweetness battling it out. Mouthfeel is excellent, extra smooth, and the drinkability is great as well. Worth seeking out.

 634 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.82/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice black pour with deep ruby highlights when held up to the light. A tan head appears and falls to leave a nice ring. Lovely coffee tones waft into my nose, like I just opened a can of Folgers. HInts of cocoa and toasted barley. Very enjoyable nose.

First sip opens with a bitter coffee, there's a lot of burnt grains in there as well as hints of chocolate. I seem to sense a bit of lactic creaminess in there too. The nose is bigger than the flavor here and while it's enjoyable I was expecting more.

Mouthfeel has nice creamy aspects as well as a good medium body. Good for the style and seperates it from the stouts. I could have a few of these in one sitting...but it's not one I would search out. A good porter overall. Thanks to merlin48 for the opportunity to sample this brew.

 792 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a fairly dark drown with light reddish brown tints around the edges has a finger sized tan head that falls to a cap of foam, spotty lace. Aroma is slightly subdued coffee hints on lightly toasted caramel malt light pine hops some hints of chocolate. Taste is lightly roasted malts some light caramel sweetness still present light coffee flavors and bitterness and hints of chocolate and hops finish it off. Overall not a bad porter but nothing to jump up and down about, riding the middle lane between sweet and bitter. Mouthfeel is almost medium not a very robust porter. Drinkability is good, not exciting but very drinkable

 637 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.44/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark chocolate brown body with maroon edges and a thick, creamy, tan head. Good lacing.
The nose is made up of near-curdled chocolate milk, light tin, and minor roasted barley notes. Reminds me of a toned-down Viking Whole Stein with that sour tang.
Soft, sweetish milk flavors up front. Notes of chocolate come through mid-palate. Lightly bitter and roasty into the finish. Has an overall metallic echo to it. Finish is a tad bitter with lingering roasted sweetness. Not that impressive, but decent enough. Medium-bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Thanks to kmpitz2 for this bottle.

 593 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark color with a moderate tan head that sticks around. The aroma is dark and roasted malts and a little chocolate. Nice. The flavor has a lot of roasted malt character, but there is also some smokiness that makes things interesting. This is a pretty good porter. I'll probably have this again.

 307 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep maroon and mahogany with black streaks. Cream colored one-finger head leaves rings of lace on the glass.
Aroma of dark chocolate, roasted chestnuts and some dark wheat bread.
Flavors of chocolate and depply roasted coffee prevail. Little bit too much of charcoal hit and little too much roasted malt but not a bad offering.
Mouthfeel is highly carbonated maybe too mcuh so. Slightly sweet and chocolately aftertaste that is very pleasant. Thick beer.
Drinkability is good. Great if you consider it was an airport bar.

 534 characters

Photo of bditty187
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Largely brown, close to black in the middle with ruby highlights, especially when held to a light. The appearance is not as dark or dense as many Porters I’ve seen. An off-white head of a finger quickly formed and then rapidly faded away to a foamy cap, thicker around the edge of the glass. The head retention could have been better. Subsequent lacing was spotty and it didn’t cling well. The bouquet is soft with notes of coffee and chocolate being the focal point. It seems like the coffee has just a touch of cream in it. The nose really isn’t that complex nor is it that potent. There is an invitation but all it really says is, “I’m a Porter.” I translate that to “drink me.” So I do. The palate is straightforward and simple, however this doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty. This is a good Porter. The malty flavors, like the nose, are coffee with a dash of cream and some stray chocolate notes and a small amount of roast. Towards the finish a fair amount of hop bitterness is found. The hops seem to impart a small amount of grassy flavor. As the aftertaste is formed a muddled dry, milky, malty, roasty taste settles on the tongue. This could be improved. The mouthfeel is a bit slight, it isn’t grossly thin but it is rather weak for the style. The carbonation is moderately low but workable. This plenty drinkable and likeable enough to drink again but I can think of many other Porters I’d pull off the shelves before this one. However if it were not for SheepNutz I would have never tried this one at all, so thanks!

 1,535 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Almost opaque, ruby-accented mahogany. Light is just visible all the way through the glass when it's held up to the bright afternoon sun. The head is dark tan edging into light brown and is on the large side. It persists nicely, never falling lower than a half-finger, and deposits an average amount of lace in the process.

The nose is enjoyable; mostly 'coffee with cream' along with a good deal of roasted malt. Accent aromas include chocolate and the barest whiff of hops. This is a very good porter. Oddly enough, chocolate is more bold on the palate and actually overpowers coffee. That's a good thing. Generally speaking, I prefer chocolate-dominant porters and stouts to coffee-dominant ones. The level of roastiness is just about perfect for the style.

Those sneaky hops are still there, providing a counterpoint to the roasted malt and lightly sweetened chocolate. The mouthfeel manages to be smooth and somewhat rich, stopping short of actual creaminess, and the carbonation is spot-on. The bubbles are barely noticeable, just how I like 'em. Drinkability is very good; the bottle was gone in no time.

Dark Star is a wonderful porter from the Bluegrass state and those of you who have ready access should be grateful. As I am grateful to SheepNutz for giving me the opportunity to sample this delicious beer.

 1,330 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.77/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours very dark into a Belgian glass. Half finger of mocha head end up at a sparse covering. Active carbonation is seen around the edges, feeding the head.

Aroma - dark roasty coffee/chocolate. Good, deep aromas, how a porter oughtta smell.

Taste - charcoal, burnt coffee beans, a down to business porter. Some mild sweetness and very mild hopping. Ends on a smoky note. I dig it.

Mouthfeel - good weight for the style. Fine feeling all the way around, what a gem!

Drinkability - easily my favorite from BBC. Serious taste, not too heavy, not too high in hooch. Yum.

 591 characters

Photo of Mitchster
3.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours to a clear dark-brown with ruby accents, forming a tall, rocky tan head with excellent retention and nice lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is satisfying with pleasant notes of mild sweet green hops, deeply roasted grains, bitter cocoa, dark coffee and husky grains. As I swirl the glass, there is an undeniable odor of horse shit, tobacco, and walnuts, and it's not just my imagination. Mouthfeel is piquant and nearly spritzy with brisk water and a slightly less than medium body. Taste begins with some medium intensity spicy floral flavor hops, followed by tart roasted grains, thinly brewed full-city roast coffee, and some pleasant apple and pear esters. The finish is semi-dry, woody, and brisk with high carbonate water accenting the grainy bite. As it warms, black walnuts make an anticipated entrance.

This is a decent porter, but it just doesn't do much for me. Very middle-of-the-road. I would prefer more body and roasted character, a smoother mouthfeel, and less hop flavor. The horse-shit aroma only bugs me if I swirl the glass. Still, it's enough to keep me away from a 2nd bottle.

 1,112 characters

Photo of DrewBeechum
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Provided by the kind auspices of a ground trade in Cincinatti by brewdlyhooked13. (Check him out if you run to that city.)

Sampled from a 12 oz brown bottle, in my 16 oz San Francisco Strong Ale glass.

Aroma is sweet, fruity and slightly winey with a smell of old grapes with slightly puckered skins. Apples are the dominant fruit of the aroma. As the beer warms, a larger coffee roast starts to round through the edges and appear throgh the rest of the fruit.

The flavor is immediately a blend of hops, apples, rusty apples and hops. But the growing roast character quickly wipes all but the hops off the palate.

Finish is strongly roasted with just a bit of butter in the touch with a long roasted acidic burnt bite that keeps going to the final touch.

Interesting bit of an American porter.

 810 characters

Dark Star Porter from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 223 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.