Review: Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Dark Star Spice Wars | Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine
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Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Dark Star Spice Wars
89 out of 100
Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Dark Star Spice Wars

Style: Spiced Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

ABV: 14.5

89
Aroma: 11
Appearance: 3
Flavor: 18
Mouthfeel: 4

Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Dark Star Spice Wars

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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.”

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