Bourbon Crusaders Charbay Review

Bourbon Crusaders Charbay Review

As far as I know the Bourbon Crusaders Charbay is only the second private barrel of Charbay that’s been released. The first one being the now legendary LAWS Charbay which I tried recently and was suitably impressed with what ended up in my glass that evening.

To say theBourbon Crusaders Charbay was on that level is tough, but to say that it’s approaching is easy. It’s not as complex, but it’s far cry better than releases like the Charbay S or R5.

The Bourbon Crusaders Charbay was distilled from 2 different IPAs and a stout. The distillate of each was then “glass aged” for 2 years before being put into a barrel. Also added to that barrel was some fresh malt and fresh stout distillate and then the whole concoction was aged for 5 years before the Bourbon Crusaders came along and unleashed it upon the world.

Bourbon Crusaders Charbay Info

Region: California, USA

Distiller: Charbay
Mashbill: Beer
Cask: ex-Bourbon
Age: 5 Years
ABV: 73.5%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Batch: Bourbon Crusader’s

Price: N/A – Private Group Bottling

Bourbon Crusaders Charbay Review

Copperish yellow

Pine, hops, cinnamon heavy spice, dark sweets, orange marmalade and light mineral water nature. Add some water and bits of lemon, grapefruit rinds and waxy candy show up. It’s interesting, but it doesn’t really grab my attention. Like nearly every Charbay I’ve had it feels like it’s missing something.

Pine, hops, waxy lemon rind and bitter grapefruit attempts to be balanced out by some candy sweetness, generic “fruit” and some light bits of butterscotch, vanilla and marmalade. Like the nose it’s interesting and I can easily drink it, but it’s not my thing.

Long with notes of pine, hops, lemon, grapefruit and an earthy “herbal” character.

Ok balance, medium body and a light, albeit hot, feel. Water helps smooth it out a bit.

Charbay always leaves me feeling like I just ate a pot Rice Krispies treat that’s missing an ingredient. Yes, that’s right pot. I’ve read a lot of reviews of Charbay that dances around it, but a good amount of Charbays taste like you’ve just pureed an edible and poured it in a glass. If you’ve never had an edible, but you’ve had any of the numbered Charbays you now know what it tastes like to eat pot. Which I’ve obviously done, several times, but wasn’t my thing. I like alcohol more.

I’ve tried Charbay 2-4, S, R5 and the LAWS Charbay and while the numbered ones and the LAWS bottling are tasty and drinkable (S and R5 are not) there’s just something about them that always leaves me feeling like something is missing. I know a lot of folks who love Charbay and if it’s your thing then you’d probably love this Bourbon Crusaders Charbay – if you can find a bottle.

For my tastes the Bourbon Crusaders Charbay hits about middle of the pack of the good Charbays I’ve tried. The LAWS bottle definitely ranking the highest, but still that only landed around a high B+ / low A- for me (89/90). All I can say is that Charbay just isn’t really my speed.

SCORE: 85/100 (B)

Bourbon Crusaders Charbay Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 85
  • Palate - 85
  • Finish - 85
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 85


Bourbon Crusaders Charbay is good if you like Charbay. But, it’s just not my thing.

Bourbon Crusaders Charbay Label

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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2 Responses to Bourbon Crusaders Charbay Review

  1. I finally tried this, and felt very similar, but I would have rated it more like an 80. It’s interesting, and totally unique in my experience, but it’s not really something I’d want to drink again (at least for the price). The appeal seems to have as much to do with the novelty of drinking distilled IPA, and the geek credentials of the distiller, as it does with the actual flavor of the spirit. The pot character is really in your face, nice to see someone finally call it out.

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