Hellfighter - Karbach Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 126 | Reviews: 16 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
On tap at Anvil.
The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a large brown head. The aroma has some big chocolate notes, as well as some roasted malt. The flavor is also very bold. I get a ton of chocolate and roasted malt, as well as a hint of coffee. The beer is fairly sweet overall and very enjoyable. The alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering. Thick, creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
Serving type: on-tap
07-30-2012 02:29:15 | More by Mora2000
2.78/5 rDev -29.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25
I'm excited to try this given it's the base beer for what is currently ranked #11 on the Top 50 Southwest list. 32oz grumbler filled at The Growler Room a few days ago and served into an Avery stem-tulip in low altitude Austin, TX.
Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given its current 88 rating.
Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.
Pours no head whatsoever - not even a floater ring.
Body colour is a rather dark brown-black - but not quite a jet black. Opaque. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.
Far from the sleekest imperial porter I've seen. I'm pretty unimpressed by the appearance, but given that this is a growler review I'm optimistic. Appears undercarbonated.
Sm: Dark malts, black strap molasses, chocolate malt, lactose sugar, sassafras, root beer, cola nut, and some vaguely medicinal vinous character.
No hop profile, alcohol, or yeast character is detectable.
Overall, it's an inoffensive aroma of below average strength. There's just nothing here that really grabs me. So far, it's a rather generic imperial porter with little to set it apart.
T: The build is cohesive but shockingly shallow, lacking any real depth of flavour at all. Far from gestalt. It's got a pretty standard malt base - just dark malts and chocolate malts. There's some cola nut and sassafras character in there too, as well as some unbecoming vinous character that doesn't belong in a porter. I also pick up hints of brown sugar and lactose sugar.
No hop profile, yeast character, or alcohol comes through.
There's very little happening here, and what little there is doesn't feel neatly balanced. The notes coexist but there isn't any intricate integration of notes or anything. The painful simplicity isn't doing it any favors, and there's no subtlety or nuance at all. I'm pretty underwhelmed. I will say it's nuttier than anticipated given the style.
Flavour duration is surprisingly brief. Flavour intensity is low. Mediocre amplitude.
I don't know that I like this. Not only is it boring, frankly it's rather insipid. That said, I am grateful there aren't any off-notes, and I'm surprised the alcohol doesn't come through more. I'd probably guess it was 7% if I tried it blind. I really want some roasted barley character, but there's hardly any here.
Mf: Undercarbonated - likely because it's a growler pour. Smooth and wet. A bit sticky. Should be creamier and softer. Too thin. Borders almost on watery. Lacks body and weight on the palate. It's fleeting - not a good characteristic for an imperial porter. Bad presence on the palate.
Not oily, astringent, dirty, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.
Overall, the texture is to style but doesn't coax much out from the flavour profile. More oomph is needed.
Dr: I can't see why this was chosen as the base beer for a bourbon barrel brew; the quality just isn't there. Maybe it's like Fifty Fifty's Totality in that it's meant to be a bit more neutral so that the barrel character can really dominate. As a stand-alone imperial porter, it's very forgettable. That said, its well-disguised alcohol content will get you drunk, and it might make a nice break from the heavy bludgeoning porters and stouts flooding the market. I certainly wouldn't buy it again, and I wouldn't recommend it to friends, but I doubt I'll have any issues finishing all 32 oz of it. Ultimately, it's not a bad porter - just a disappointing and bland one. It's hard to love and hard to hate. Certainly not Karbach's best work. Might be better on-draught (or even nitro).
If you're looking for a great imperial porter, try Ballast Point's Victory At Sea instead.
Serving type: growler
01-21-2014 06:28:52 | More by kojevergas
United Kingdom (Wales)
3.74/5 rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Light tan head. Color is black.
Flavor profile: rich chocolate, caramel, toffee, and a touch of nuts. Roasted malts and coffee.
Mouthfeel: roasted and smooth. Full bodied. Ends dry and roasted.
Overall, a solid porter. This is boarder line stout. Full flavored.
Serving type: bottle
01-17-2014 05:59:18 | More by mothman
3.58/5 rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense khaki head with awesome retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of caramel, raisin, chocolate, roasted malt, floral, pine, toast, licorice, molasses, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Ok aromas with solid balance of flavors; but is very weak and lacking prominent roasted malt qualities, with much more fruitiness present. Taste of caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, raisin, floral, pine, brown sugar, toast, licorice, and roasted earthiness. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, toast, brown sugar, floral, pine, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Nice balance and complexity of roasted and dark malt flavors; with moderate amount of hop presence and some fairly astringent bitterness lingering after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very solid imperial porter. The weak aromas and astringent hoppiness really knocked it down for me; but this was still an enjoyable offering overall.
Serving type: bottle
06-20-2013 04:51:18 | More by superspak
3.76/5 rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
22 oz bottle pours a rich black color with a billowing brown head, even with a gentle pour. Retention is awesome and lacing even better. Not even a sheet of lace...more like a wall. Amazing looking beer.
Nose is surprisingly fruity, like strawberries covered in melted Charleston Chew. Malts are chocolaty and smooth. Keeps the roast and caramel to a minimum. Smells decent, but a far cry from the barrel-aged Hellfighter.
Taste maintains the fruity profile in the flavor along with a big alcohol wash. The malts are understated, but nicely flavored...I just wish they were a bit bolder. Hops are there in a leafy-background kind of way, but I cant help but think a different varietal might have worked better. Mouthfeel is great, nice and creamy, plenty full for a porter. The alcohol is a little rough right now, hoping that smooths out at some point. It is pretty tasty, but unfortunately I have had the bourbon barrel aged Hellfighter a few times before finally trying this and it aint even close!
Serving type: bottle
03-20-2013 23:24:47 | More by twiggamortis420
4.33/5 rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
On tap at BRC in Houston, TX
A: Pours an opaque black color. No light gets through at all. A two finger tan head rises with good retention. The foam gently recedes to leave some light lace behind.
S: Very subtle at first. Though as this warms lots of nuances come out. Roasted malt, toasted bread/biscuit aromas. Chocolate, and some vanilla sweetness.
T: This is excellent. Some roasted coffee. Slightly bitter/sweet milk chocolate. A nice roasted malt flavor along with some toasted bread/biscuits. A light lingering vanilla sweetness. I love it.
M/D: A medium to full body. Low on the carbonation, but not under carbonated at all. So smooth and velvety. This is incredibly easy and enjoyable to drink. The alcohol is not noticeable in the least.
This is an excellent "Imperial Porter." I love it, and another great beer from Karbach. Highly recommended.
Serving type: on-tap
12-19-2011 01:55:25 | More by champ103
Hellfighter from Karbach Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.