Review: Charbay 4 yr. Pilsner

Updated: Jan 22



Charbay 4 yr. Pilsner - T5C - 73.4%


Charbay III is a pipedream pour for me. If I wouldn't pony up for a bottle when it went on sale for 25% off the ~$400 retail, I'm just not that committed to trying it no matter how many amazing notes I read. And I'm okay with that. It will live on in legend for me like the unicorn blanco Charbay master distiller, Marko Karakasevic, crafted with Carlos Camarena.


At this stage of the game, we've seen American distillers and brewers collaborate on a variety of projects, trading barrels back and forth and distilling finished craft beer in to whiskey. While they haven't all been hits, certain Charbay releases have managed high praise among critics and enthusiasts in this distilling niche. Unfortunately, availability and pricing means their projects often get lost in the noise of a competitive global market.


This selection also started its life as a bottle-ready Pilsner (ignore the "IPA" on the label), but spent two fewer years in oak than Charbay III. It's bottled at hazmat proof (140+) selected by T5C, a private barrel group who picked the old cognac I enjoyed a couple weeks ago.

Nose: Round. Young. Feisty. Candy-shunked hops. Some glue and meaty funk. Bit of sweet white wine. Caramel. Chocolate. Plenty of heat. Young wood.

Flavor: Marajuana edibles bomb with caramel, grapefruit and lime zest. Young wood front to back.


Structure: Dense and long. You’re chewing it… for a minute. You’ll taste it after you brush your teeth tomorrow.


Alcohol Integration: It’s hot. You could totally add water but what’s the point. Let it be fun. It carries the nearly 150 proof exceptionally. Water muddles the complexity on the nose (before it ever gets the heat in check) and concentrates all the palate action toward the finish, killing the dense opening. Water does pop the candied citrus notes (sour gummy edibles) though.


Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) You may hate this. It's intense. For $80, I'd always keep a bottle in rotation. But standard Charbay releases in that price range haven't garnered the same excitement as barrels like this or Charbay III.

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Grab an assortment of edibles from the nearest dispensary.


Archived Scores

Rating System

10 - Reevaluate The Budget

9 - Stash Two (If Able)

8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Anything Else To Drink?

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour


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