Happy Thanksgiving from the Braxton Family! If you’re like me, you’re probably keeping some bottles of Dark Charge in from last year’s Winter Block Party in your personal cellar and saving them for a fun occasion. For our family, Thanksgiving is that occasion! Each bottle of Dark Charge has great memories attached, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pop open a bottle and reflect on Dark Charge past.
In preparation last week, the brewing team and I sat down with some Dark Charge bottles from 2018 to taste and test the progression and change from aging in bottles for one year. We enjoyed reflecting on Dark Charge Past, and wrote everything down so we could give you some tips and tricks for enjoying cellared Dark Charge over the holidays! Check out 2018 Dark Charge 1 year tasting notes!
2018 Core Variants
2018 BBA Dark Charge.
Smokey tobacco on the nose. Initial taste is full of amazingly balanced vanilla & bourbon, followed with stone fruits like cherry and plum. The beer has developed in sweetness, but retains that oakiness from the barrels it was aged in. “This beer could be cellared indefinitely” was the consensus of the team. Perfect to open now, or keep aging.
2018 Dark Charge Mandarin.
Aromas of chocolate, rye spices and citrus. Mandarin is slightly faded, but flavors have converged to create a taste reminiscent of a chocolate covered orange. Spices from the rye barrels counter the sweetness from the mandarin perfectly. This variant was extremely well developed, and over time will continue to evolve. We all went back for a second glass. Enjoy now!
2018 Dark Charge Mole.
This fan favorite continues to amaze us every year. The first smells of this beer brought forward a lot of spice from the chiles, but upon tasting we found that spice from the chiles has been slightly muted, the bit of heat left in the beer came solely from the cinnamon. We predict the peppers will continue to fade, but the cinnamon and cocoa notes will develop well over time. Enjoy now, or continue aging if you love cinnamon!
2018 Coffee & Vanilla
The flavors of the coffee in this variant have developed into a taste that reminds us more of unroasted coffee. The vanilla has become very dominant in this variant, with the underlying base stout becoming more of a player here. We wouldn’t normally recommend this, but after we let the beer breathe for a few minutes, the aroma and taste of unroasted coffee dissipated and the roasty coffee finish became more evident. Caramel notes have developed throughout the beer. Enjoy now!
2018 Labs Pineapple and Poblano
While we loved this beer when we first released it, it would be an understatement to say that we love it even more now. If you haven’t opened this bottle yet, you’re in for a lovely surprise. The pineapple acidity and sweetness are the stars in this beer. Developing perfectly and coming through heavy. There is some smoke on the palate from the poblanos and a faint spice in the finish, but the pineapple tastes juicy and better than ever. Enjoy now!
2018 Three Year Vertical
The base Dark Charge from 2018, cellared in a smaller 500 mL bottle began with a nice roast and coffee aroma. Upon tasting you’ll find the carbonation levels have risen slightly, and that the alcohol is a bit hot. Chocolate, roast, and cherry notes are predominant in this beer. Like a heightened version of the base stout. Drink now!
Nice oaky aromas and sweet aromatics. This version aged into a beautifully balanced and well rounded beer. On the palate you’ll find some stone fruits, as well as a pleasant bourbon barrel vanilla flavor. Butterscotch, sweet honey and maple notes throughout. The most balanced and mellow Dark Charge of the bunch. Enjoy now, or continue cellaring!
Tons of chocolate aromas, like a freshly baked chocolate cake. The most bourbon character upon first smell. Earthy and umami taste, complex tannins make this variant the most evolved. You may notice some apple flavors have developed within the beer, along with a slight tobacco note. Barrel characteristic dominate. Enjoy now!
We hope you are able to enjoy some Dark Charge over the holiday! And of course, don’t forget to join us on Saturday, December 7th for 2019 Dark Charge Day! We’ve released all the variants, including the Cakebox & Barrel House Cognac. Don’t miss out on the biggest Dark Charge Day yet!