Style: Spiced Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Dark Star Spice Wars
What the brewers say
“This year’s release is a blend of 18, 12, and 8-month bourbon barrel–aged KDS Dark Star in 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.”
What our panel thought
Aroma: “Fruity esters of pear or cherry with some dried fruit, creating a lighter, fruitier, surprisingly fresh aroma for a barrel-aged beer. Barrel aromas of bourbon, light vanilla, oak. Spices include cinnamon, holiday spices, clove, orange, juniper, and pine, with a hint of chile. Chocolate is present, along with some tobacco. Kind of hard to identify the base beer underneath.”
Flavor: “The sweetness from the base beer helps to balance the spice characters of potpourri and cinnamon spice. The cherry and orange esters dominate, with some vanilla to smooth things out. Roasted barley and caramel, with some chocolate and Tootsie Rolls. There’s quite a bit of alcoholic and chile heat that detracts and helps to accentuate the phenolic and floral characters, putting them a bit over the top. The hops bitterness and roasted malt flavors add a drying finish to an otherwise sweet beer.”
Overall: “For an in-your-face holiday beer, this is pretty good. The blend of spices and esters works but is subdued, and I really wanted more from the imperial and oak. It is subtle and tasty, even if it is light on the spicy notes. Nice chocolate and vanilla add fullness to the beer.”
The best new craft beers available in a beer store near you. Sponsored content.
New Belgium The Hemperor HPA®
Our brewers are always on the lookout for different hops varieties and the complexities and flavors new strains can bring. That’s where hemp comes into the picture. Without getting too nerdy, we found a unique way to recreate hemp terpene flavors in a beer, which complement the inclu- sion of hop flavors and hemp hearts (seeds) in a brand new, delicious way not to mention this beer is extremely dank! The flavors and aromas are so unique that it’s a style unto itself, hence HPA®.
Tröegs Independent Brewing Hop Knife
Cracking open a Hop Knife takes me right to the hops fields in Yakima,’ says our brewmaster, John Trogner. ‘When we’re out there for harvest, walking the fields and talking to the farmers, those notes of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit are everywhere. For me, Hop Knife embodies that whole experience.’
High Hops Brewery Dr. Pat’s Double IPA
Who is Dr. Pat? A dentist, third-generation farmer, and cofounder of High Hops Brewery. Dr. Pat cultivated our on-site hops farm in 2007, which led to the opening of High Hops Brewery in 2012. It’s his recipe that creates this malty, heavily hopped beer. We brew it with continuous hops additions using hops grown in that same field more than 10 years later.