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Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter - Karbach Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Aged HellfighterBourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter

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52 Reviews

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Reviews: 52
Hads: 392
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 11.21%
Wants: 139
Gots: 121 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Karbach Brewing Co. visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BgThang on 06-05-2012

F.U.N. Series 003 (Apr 2012) aged in barrels from Heaven Hill Distillery which included: Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, and Old Fitzgerald

F.U.N. Series 005 (May 2013) aged in barrels from Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, and Old Fitzgerald

F.U.N. Series 007 (Nov. 2013) aged in barrels from Makers Mark and Four Roses
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 52 | Hads: 392
Photo of tofuspeedstar
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just good lord man. This is like, all I could ask for in a fucking beer.

If you haven't tried it, try it.

If you can't get it, they just recently bottled it, so trade for it.


Pours dark as night, tan head that lingers throughout the experience...tastes...it's like candy in a bottle...smells amazing, and coats the mouth. The booze is hidden so well and the bourbon barrel shines through perfectly..


if you see this, bottle it more. JUST SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

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Photo of Premo88
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber poured into stout glass -- the label designation is No. 005

L: black with toffee head that percolates like coffee then blooms big time -- what a pour! huge lacing

S: coffee/espresso, BOURBON -- man, can you smell the juice ... loads of alcohol in the nose, almost like Windex; sweet figs (?) but not crossing over into darker malt raisins ... very sweet dark red wine. a bit of vanilla in it, then as it warms up, sweet biscuits ... like a damn euro pale lager or brown ale ... that super sweet light malt smell

T: big alcohol ... but coffee/espresso and dark chocolate work with the alcohol (single-malt scotch at times, i'd swear) to give it a great taste. it's not hiding the booze, though ... the aftertaste lingers like sugar and scotch

F: perfect. loads of carbonation and a silky feel give it a fullness that's undeniable. never feels "lumpy" like a lot of big stout/porters feel to me.

O: it's boozy, but it's tasty ... the upshot is a semi-sweet chocolate tasting beer with coffee notes that show through the alcohol notes. honestly, i can't say if it's better than a regular Hellfighter -- both are good.

NOTE -- I've now had this beer through the 007 designation and the current BBH version in 2015, on tap and in the bomber bottle, and it is PERFECT every time. It's by far my favorite barrel-aged beer, so I've re-calibrated its score because it deserves it.

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Photo of Wayne17
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours black like my soul, tan head. Nice lacing down the glass. Smells of dark chocolate, dark malts, bourbon. Taste is super roasty and the barrel is right there perfectly complimenting this rich malty beer. The thing I like about Hellfighter is it's a nice change from some BBA porters/stouts that tend to get super sweet. And sometimes I love a super sweet beer but Hellfighter keeps it more hot and smokey rather than sweet. Karbach rarely disappoints me, and it really doesn't get much better than BBA Hellfighter.

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Photo of StArnoldFan
4.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a pint from the growler I got at Nobi Public House. Almost no head but that might be from the loss of carb. from the growler. Poured a dark brown/black color. Smells of strong bourbon to me. High alcohol content masked very well on this one. Tastes again of good bourbon flavor. This is a solid barrel aged porter, I hope I can find a few more bottles when it hits the shelves.

Poured into a snifter from a bottle today. Needed to re-review and add some points. Perfect pour, nice and black with a thick head. Just a beautiful beer with the best nose ever. Just about perfect for me. Karbach is taking over with these F.U.N. series beers.

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Photo of Ford
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Karbach brewery tasting.

High alcohol content. The bourbon really smooths it out. So easy to drink. Great dark color. Did I mention the fantastic smell. Just awesome.

Probably the best beer I've tried. Wish it was something I could get regularly, but then it might not be as special. Karbach hit this one out of the park. I can't wait to have it again.

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Photo of Hops4Pops
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

32 oz growler.
Expectations are very high.
A: Aggressive pour into a tulip. Pitch black in color. Light shown through it reveals a very dark reddish brown color. Pretty strong flashlight and fresh batteries. Can only barely see through this beer! Small thin tan head dissipated quickly. Oily light lacing.
S: Wow. Big Beer. Bourbon, chocolate, malts, tiny bit of hops.
T: Very good! Very balanced except for the ABV sticking out a little bit. I expected that however considering it was aged in bourbon barrels and is over 10 percent. Pretty much tastes exactly how it smells. Bitterness comes in the back end. Very nice
M: Smooth and creamy up from with the warmth on the finish. It has a "come hither" mouthfeel to it.
O: An outstanding beer in my humble opinion. This is a big boy beer. Strong. Outspoken. Unique. Right on. Appropriately named, it begs for a fight. After I finish this growler, I think it may have won. Going to let it warm up a lot to see what else I can find buried in it.

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Photo of Bluestar
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

wow. absolutely blown away by the quality of this beer.

let me start by saying that I am happy to have another bottle of this, and I wish I had of been smart enough to buy more. Hopefully the brewery decides to make more of this down the road... and deliver it right down the road to my house...

been a while since i reviewed a beer, so here we go...

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a snifter.

A - a small 1/2 pinky finger beige tinged head appears on the pour, which dissipates to a thin white lining around the glass. a swirl easily brings it back. Color is almost a pitch black, can see a brown/deep burnt red tinge around the edge when held to the light..

S - Bourbon and vanilla are the dominate notes, oak and dark, unsweetened chocolate in the background.

T - again, bourbon dominates, dark chocolate a little more prevalent here, nice woody notes, some roasted malt and strong coffee flavors as well.

M - Par for Karbach. This is what this brewery does consistently very well. Hard to fault them here, but at the same time, not really any better/worse than normal. A nice full mouthfeel, with just the right amount of carbonation, but not viscous/thick in the slightest sense.

O - a fantastic beer that I would run out and buy more of it I thought there were any stores that still had it (and I live within 5 miles of the brewery). A fantastic beer for someone who enjoys nice porters and single malt scotches/bourbons. Highly recommend.

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Photo of champ103
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

New review on 01-05-13

A much needed updated review. I have had this several more times since my first review. Plenty of times at the brewery, and most recently on tap at Jackson's Watering Hole of all places. Go figure. Either I was off my rocker the first time around, or I had a bad keg...Anyway here you go.

A: Pours opaque black color. A two finger tan head forms with excellent retention. Spiderweb looking lace is left all the way down the glass. Very impressive considering the high ABV and barrel aged to boot.
S: Oh man everything is perfectly integrated. At first the roasted malt hits you in the nose. Then deep dark bakers chocolate. I love roasted and toasted malt, and this has them in spades. Then comes the barrel. So well integrated. Wood, smoke, vanilla. Amazing.
T: Follows the nose. A big roasted and toasted malt character. Bread and biscuit. Dark chocolate. Smoke, wood, vanilla from the barrels. An amazing integration.
M/D: A full body and moderate carbonation. So silky smooth. This is like silk. Just a lushes full body that works perfectly. If I did not know better, I could drink this like water. So enjoyable and easy to drink. The alcohol is non nonexistent. A real treat.

Besides my first go around, which I thought was rather one sided, this has constantly been one of the best barrel aged beers around. Let alone Texas. Like I said, a much needed update to a beer that can hold its own, and maybe best Bourbon County Stout. For me that is saying something.

Original review on 06-11-2012

On tap at Hay Merchant in Houston, TX.

A: Pours a near opaque black color. A one finger bubbly tan head forms and sticks around for a minute. The head finally recedes to nothing.
S: Bourbon, wood, slight char. Vanilla and chocolate. Not much else.
T: Follows the nose, and fairly simple. Big woody Bourbon flavors. Light charred wood with a big sweetness. Vanilla and chocolate. Some lingering alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. Medium carbonation, and maybe just a tad watery. Another slow sipper. The bourbony alcohol flavors take its tool.

I like it, just not nearly as good as the base beer. I think the Bourbon barrel has muted this a bit. All the great nuances in the base are taken over by the barrel. Nice try, but I will take regular Hellfighter any day.

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Photo of chinchill
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Big Hops Growler Station in San Antonio during a Karbach tap takeover.

Excellent appearance with an exceptionally creamy and durable tan head.
Excellent use of barrel aging: the whisky and wood are prominent but do not bury the fine porter base. Near perfect bitter/sweet balance. Very smooth full body with spot on carbonation.

O: highly recommended.

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Photo of BryantForestry
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

#007 in the series - Nov 20, 2013

excellent beer, great taste, color and feel

smell is very bourbonic

sorry guys no eloquent waxing


Not sure what F.U.N means

I recommend the beer, the brewery and the store

thank you Trey at Speck's in Conroe, Texas

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle (003) into a snifter.

Just how the style should look, dark brown with a thin cap of custard foam--could use a bit more retention but I'll let it slide given the ABV and barrel-aging. Aromas of sweet vanilla and milk chocolate plus light roast. Barrel notes are in the background, hiding a bit, but ever-present.

The flavor is perhaps one of the best usages of barrel-aging I've encountered in quite some time. I'd place BB Hellfighter up there with some of Firestone Walker's better examples (Parabola, Sucaba) in that respect. The imperial porter flavors of coffee, roast, and chocolate balance perfectly with vanilla sugars and caramel from the bourbon soaked wood. Mouthfeel is appropriately medium in body with a pitch-perfect carbonation level. Lingering flavors of tangy coffee, dark fruit, and more bourbon. Overall, a masterpiece of a beer and highly drinkable. A solo bomber kill is entirely within reason.

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Photo of chrismann65
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is just one of the best BA. Porter I have ever tasted .! Rich vanilla, bourbon, roasted malt, and chocolate. ! Houston we have a winner , Wow great Job Karbach !! I'm Drinking #07. BA, Hellfighter...Can't wait for the new BBH. will be released several times a year, sometimes with other ingredients (cherries anyone?) in the mix. The brew's rich malt character, along with chocolate and vanilla notes, make it the perfect beer to warm your toes! What a nice beer , WOW . !!!

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Photo of stumac
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the F.U.N. 007

Drinking this little beauty at Craft Pride's Karbach Party!

Pours up dark brown with a decent tan head. Nice lacing. Nose is vanilla and caramel and big oaky. Very rich aroma. Flavor is same as nose. Slightly smoky. Crispy fresh carbo. Full bodied. I dig this.

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Photo of drummermattie02
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another football game, another Karbach beer. Growler this time, but hopefully bottles soon.

A - brown, borderline black with a dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

S - Big bourbon/vanilla aroma, not too hot, almost mellow. Reminds me a bit of Parabola.

T - Extremely integrated barrel flavor, the base beer stands up well and there is a good bit of vanilla here too. The finish has a bit of roast to it and the barrel flavors linger.

M - minimal carbonation and dense feel, but I think a) that's OK for a beer like this and b) it's a growler. Very drinkable despite the heavy weight - 32 oz was way too easy...

Bottles will be fun to try.

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Photo of d5001986
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

32oz growler poured into tulip.

A: Pitch black with large, foamy, tan colored head.

S: Powerful booze and roasted malt up front. Chocolate, caramel, and molasses.

T: Sweet and boozy with good roasted character. I also pick up molasses and vanilla.

M: Medium bodied, surprisingly refreshing.

O: I thought this was very good. The strong roasted character was a plus for me, very drinkable!

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Photo of bobv
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured (medium on the vigorous scale) into a Tree House snifter.
Not quite black with a one inch tan head, which has dissipated slowly.

S: Ah, roasty vanilla and bourbon at first.
As it warms a bit, mocha!

T: Ooh, baby!
Milk chocolate and bourbon!

M: So frickin' nice and velvety!

O: Please, sir, may I have another!!!
Definitely in my top 5 BBA Porters!
Thanks John!

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

FUN Series 005. One of the great BA porters. Pours very dark brown, definitely not black, mocha colored head that lingers, sticking to the glass. Nose is bakers chocolate, cocoa, a hint of licorice, vanilla / oak, lots of caramel & brown sugar bourbon sweetness. Flavor stays shy of hot but there is a ton of bourbon. Finish brings in more of that licorice and maybe a bit of molasses. Plenty thick for the style but light enough to remain nimble.

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Photo of PhatAtUT
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into snifter.

A: great looking beer. dark cola brown, almost black. thick creamy head.

S: scores well here too. obvious bourbon and vanilla notes. sweet, bready. smells like a dessert.

T: tastes like it smells. reminds me of kbs at first sip. sweet vanilla and warming bourbon. dark roasted malt. toffee.

M: full bodied and creamy. very easy to drink. a little warming from the alcohol, but its not hot. coats the mouth.

O: i had tried this one on draught about a year ago and recall liking it but not being blown away. i was blown away by this bottle and will now try to find some more. this is a great beer.

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Photo of lokieman
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz. bottle to Live Oak pilsner glass. Thanks rainerschuhsler for the bottle!

A: Pours very dark as expected. Little thinner than I was expecting...light head. Looks like a barrel aged stout.

S: Vanilla, oak, dark fruit, roasted malt. A bit of sweet chocolate.

T: Follows the nose well. Bitter bourbon bite up front, slight hops followed by a roasty sweetness. Very well done.

M: Little thinner than I would have liked and this detracts from the mouthfeel for me. My only knock on this fine brew. Doesn't come close to killing the experience for me but could be improved.

O: My expectations were blown away. Wasn't expecting this kind of greatness from a little, upstart brewery out of Houston. Fantastic BA Imperial Porter...It pains me to say that I would take this over Black Butte XXIV. I love Deschutes...but this is something special. Keep 'em coming Karbach...

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Photo of cvm4
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No. 005 in the series

A - Pours black and has a dark caramel head. The retention is lacking, but it's a solid looking imperial porter.

S - Smell is a bourbon barrel dream. The bourbon is dominate here. It's backed up by vanilla, dark chocolate and a bit of licorice.

T - Gobs of oaky bourbon goodness. Just as dominate is the expresso, dark chocolate and vanilla. Slight licorice. Really delivers on the taste.

M - Medium bodied with perfect carbonation. Once warmed, it can feel a little bit syrupy &/or cloying.

O - To me, an imperial porter is basically a ramped up stout. This is a pretty awesome one at that.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, Winter 2013 release
Kennett Winterfest plastic cup

A: This pours out a deep amber leading to dark brown. Thought it might be a little darker, but it is only a porter. Reddish edges. Collar of tan for the head. Some lacing bits.

S: Dark fruits. Vanilla. Oak. Dark chocolate. Some roast coffee.

T: Dark chocolate. Deep rich cocoa. Vanilla. Oaks. Nice roast. Dry finish.

M: Big medium to big.

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Photo of afluentturtle
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a pint glass.

Appearance: Flat black with about a finger of tan/khaki head. A little bit lacing down the glass.

Smell: Whoa tons of burboun up front, not as much as straight up hard stuff but this beer is really hot. Chocolate, and toffe, roast malts also detectable. Just a hint of vanilla.

Taste: Deep dark chocolate and bourbon. A little bit of spice and vanilla. The bourbon flavor really pairs well but it's just a little to"fresh" for me. Given time to mellow out this beer could be epic.

Mouthfeel: Probably my favorite part of this beer. Excellent carbonation and feel, there is no better way to describe it then like smooth velvety liquid bliss. Incredibly easy to drink.

Overall: A must have! Wish I could drink it more often. My only compliant is that it had too much bourbon heat, but surely a year or so of aging would mellow it out.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Scott for the growler!

Pours black with a small tan head leaving spots and good lacing. Looks a little too bubbly.

Rich notes of chocolate and raisins in the aroma. A slight bourbon nose, but takes a backseat to other flavors.

I could tell this would be tasty when I got flavor out of it while still cold. Lots of chocolate and rich roasted coffee up front. A bit of raisin/fig, but not as much as the nose. A little smoke and licorice as well. Then the bourbon kicks in. Biting booze at the back end to provide some heat, but doesn't completely overpower the base. Finishes with almost a rye like spiciness along with the booze.

Medium to full bodied. Carbonation is perhaps a touch high for the style, but pretty close. Alcohol is present, but not harsh.

Might tasty and major props to my friend for hooking me up with this. Very tasty brew.

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Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes, opened as part of a haul from a great group of Texas BA's. Poured from a mini growler into a tasting glass. Pretty close to black in color with a thin tan head clinging to the edges of the glass.

I get some very nice notes of Bourbon, brown sugar, oak and dark chocolate to it. It really comes together very well. The Bourbon is a little more subtle in it, but really compliments it nicely.

The taste shows more of the dark chocolate flavors to it throughout. The Bourbon, brown sugar and oak all really compliment well without overpowering the base beer. A little more roasted malt bitterness comes out in the finish to help give it some balance.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with moderate carbonation. Overall, it was a very solid beer that really came together well. The bourbon wasn't that bold in it, but really played a complimenting role well. This one was definitely one of the highlights of the afternoon.

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Photo of pmangold
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

almost missed this one at a share. what a great BA porter. wasn't too thick or thin - the bourbon was a pleasant addition to the rich flavors of the chocolatey porter.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter from Karbach Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.