2017 Dark Charge Tasting Notes: 1 Year

Happy Thanksgiving from Braxton Brewing Company!
We know some of you may still be cellaring older Dark Charge bottles, and Thanksgiving is a great time to pop them open and share with friends and family! Or… Keep them all to yourself.

Our brewing team recently sat down with the full 2017 lineup to evaluate whether or not they believe you should keep cellaring or break into those bottles. It’s tough work but hey, someone has to do it. Below, we’ve summarized their findings and recommendations. Read on to find out our recommendations and what to expect from 2017 Dark Charge!


Bourbon Barrel Aged
Aromas of Chocolate and Bourbon, Slight warmth on the palate with flavors of chocolate and black cherry
Absolutely delicious and aging very nicely.  Will continue to cellar well but worth opening now if you have multiple bottles.

2 Yr Maple 23
Tannic, some caramel with woody and earthy notes.
Drink now if you haven’t already

Labs Pinot Noir Aged with Grape Must
Ripe grapes, wine, subtle roasty and chocolate notes that compliment the fruitiness of this variant.
Wine flavors becoming more and more pronounced.  Delicious now but is aging gracefully.

Strong vanilla aroma, chocolate notes are fading as the vanilla moves to the forefront.  Nice roast to compliment the vanilla.
Drink now if you haven’t already.

Cherry Vanilla
Vanilla dominates the aroma.  Although cherry has mostly faded, there is a nice cherry/stonefruit note on the mid-palate.
Drink now if you haven’t already.

Green coffee aroma with vanilla and coffee dominating flavor once your palate acclimates.
Drink now if you haven’t already.

Aroma of cinnamon, and vanilla reminiscent of snickerdoodles.  Slight heat from the peppers on the finish.  Very tasty.
Delicious now, but would take a little more age well.

When you purchase your 2018 bottles, the first thing we want you to understand is that your Dark Charge is ready to drink right now if you choose. Many craft beer lovers believe that “big beers” like these high ABV Stouts are better if aged. Others subscribe to the theory that all beer is best consumed fresh. If you choose the freshness route, just know that your Dark Charge was bottled just days prior to its release – it is at the pinnacle of freshness.

Storing your Dark Charge for later (cellaring) is largely a personal journey and a perfectly acceptable practice in the craft beer experience. However, cellaring offers no guarantees that the beer will be any better than when it was fresh. But if you choose to cellar your Dark Charge, we’d like to give you a few helpful tips to help ensure the highest quality possible:

  • Beer Style: Craft beers over 7 percent ABV with strong flavors tend to handle age better than others. Dark Charge fits this category. *Light – Ultraviolet light reacts with compounds in beer to develop the dreaded skunky character. Keep your Dark Charge in the dark.
  • Temperature: Warmer temperatures speed up the effects of aging. Keep beers cool when aging, we recommend temperatures around 55 degrees. Always avoid drastic and repeated temperature changes.
  • Movement: Agitation contributes to effects of oxidation and age. Most people cellar their bottles standing upright which helps any sediment to fall to the bottom naturally. While this works fine, if you have the space, consider storing your Dark Charge inverted or angled to avoid air ingress.


Three months after the Dark Charge release our brewing team will be releasing their first tasting notes which will provide a broad and complete assessment of flavor profile changes that they have noticed in the bottles that they are aging. This additional information may aid in your decision making as to when to drink it. When you reach the point in time when you are ready to consume your Dark Charge, we highly recommend chilling upright in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

Whether you choose to enjoy your Dark Charge immediately or plan to cellar it, just know that we truly appreciate your purchase and hope that you enjoy this beer as much as we did making it for you. And as always, remember to “lift one to life!”