In a blind tasting by BJCP trained experts, this beer rated


Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Dark Star Spice Wars

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.”