Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter - Karbach Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 273 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
3.55/5 rDev -18.2%
Thanks to Tieman for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.
2013 vintage. F.U. N. Series 007.
Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with an earthy wood and bourbon presence.
01-06-2014 06:23:02 | More by UCLABrewN84
4.1/5 rDev -5.5%
Nearly black in color with soft carbonation. Intense vanilla and wood notes with a mild booziness. A nice roasted malt aroma, dark chocolate, and a hint of coffee. Just a bit of caramel sweetness. The flavor is quite nice with a nice chocolate, caramel, and roast combination along with the intense barrel flavors of bourbon, wood, and vanilla. Still a touch boozy, but enjoyable.
08-04-2012 19:42:03 | More by womencantsail
4.25/5 rDev -2.1%
22oz brown bomber
Nearly pitch black, tight tan lacing does a great job staying together as well as sticking to the glass. Fresh barrel booze, wood, roasted grain, dried dark fruit, vanilla, coffee grounds and rose water pummel the nose. Extremely smooth, lots of wood, creamy full body, boozy from both the barrel and its own strength. Burnt raisins, vanilla, peppery alcohol, espresso, unsweetened dark chocolate, black berries, roasty finish.
A lot of fun sipping this one, the barrel aged character is very bold though the beer is just big enough to stay balanced. The brewers intention was met here, worth the hunt to find a bottle or two.
03-07-2013 01:54:24 | More by Jason
4.1/5 rDev -5.5%
they tell me this is the best texas has to offer, and after a careful drinking of this stuff, I still have to give a nod of the cap to jester kings better beers, but this is downright impressive. it pours a chalky black color with an inch of dense off white foam that leaves sexy lacing all along the glass. the nose is bourbon heavy, really intense warming alcohols and some gentle sweetness. I like that its a porter not a stout, the English ale yeast is evident, and the malts just aren't quite as big, which gives this a degree of drinkability for this time of year. its got a lot of character in the grains, maybe even some rye in here, but more than anything I taste a gentle chocolate roast and some patient vanilla that doesn't really open up until the finish. alcohol isn't quite hot, but its very resonant in the finish. I like that its not too sweet, and finishes a little dry. full body but not brutal. a wonderful example of the style, and a beer I will look forward to drinking again. a nice introduction to karbach, ill have to find some more of their stuff.
05-31-2013 19:12:28 | More by StonedTrippin
4.23/5 rDev -2.5%
Growler from Whole Foods in Houston.
The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a few small brown bubbles, but no real head. The aroma is heavy on the brown sugar and vanilla, with a hint of whiskey thrown in. The flavor has a lot of wood and whiskey notes, as well as a good dose of maple. The molasses and vanilla notes are also present. I get a little chocolate and roasted malt in the flavor, but this beer is all about the whiskey barrel aging. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation. Delicious.
10-18-2012 02:38:30 | More by Mora2000
3.31/5 rDev -23.7%
Ah, the current 11th highest rated Southwest beer. Fun Series 007. 1 litre swing-top growler filled at The Growler Room and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings, but I wasn't too impressed with the base beer. Reviewed as an imperial porter.
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.
Swingtop yields a healthy pop upon removal, indicating adequate carbonation.
A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.
Pours a one finger wide head of gorgeous supply complexion and nice smooth even consistency. It's got a great khaki colour to it and has ample creaminess and thickness. Appears soft. Head retention is pretty good - about 4-5 minutes. Nice even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass when you tilt it, but doesn't really hold.
Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black - a darker black than the base beer, to be sure - but still not quite a jet black per se. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.
Overall, it's about what you'd expect from an imperial porter. It's not unique or special, but is certainly appealing. There are no obvious flaws here.
Sm: The bourbon notes are quite prominent, eclipsing any aromatics of the base beer. It's pretty vanilla-forward, with oak taking a backseat. It isn't the toasted oak wood I crave in a great bourbon beer, but it's oak alright. If I really search, I can find the dark malt sweetness of the base beer, but it's shockingly faint. I do find cream, caramel, chocolate (malt), and perhaps marshmallow. I don't find the lactose sugar notes or brown sugar I noticed in the base beer.
Overall, vanilla is dominant. It's a pleasant if timid aroma of below average strength. Rarely are imperial porters so tame.
No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. I also have trouble identifying any sort of hop profile. It's certainly more on the sweet end than the bitter end.
T: The bourbon overwhelms the base beer, supplanting it almost entirely. Sure, you've got the dark malt/chocolate malt sweetness of the base propping up the bourbon barrel notes, but for the most part the base has been eclipsed by the barrel. I like to see better integration of barrel notes into beer; ideally the barrel should complement nuances already present in the base beer and coax out more complexity, subtlety, and depth of flavour, but that isn't the case here. This is just an insipid imperial porter drowned in bourbon.
But don't get me wrong; the bourbon notes are spot-on. Wonderful vanilla is dominant, with some backing oak present as well. (Though as abovementioned, it's not the toasted oak you'd find in a more sophisticated brew like Backwoods Bastard).
Marshmallow, cream, caramel, maybe toffee. I feel like I'm getting a hint of sassafras and cola nut, but that just be because I know to look for them having experienced them in the base.
To be fair, as it warms, I pick up an identifiably English character - I think from the yeast. I love that element of this porter, and wish it was more pronounced.
No hops, or alcohol is/are identifiable. It's certainly sweet, but not cloying.
This isn't a complex, subtle, deep, intricate, or nuanced imperial porter. Nor is it much of a porter in general. It has some nice bourbon notes going for it - I just wish it offered more in terms of the beer component. I do like it, but I'm not convinced it's deserving of its current ranking as the #11 Southwest beer. Average duration and intensity of flavour.
Mf: Sticky. Silky. Smooth and wet. Nicely full-bodied and thick. The texture is strong enough to support the flavour profile, but I don't know that it really coaxes much out of it; there isn't a perfect marriage of texture to taste here but it gets the job done and doesn't distract. Decent presence on the palate. A biteen overcarbonated (even from a growler!).
Not oily, astringent, gushed, hot, boozy, or wet. There is a bit of warmth on the backend which manifests itself mainly as a pleasing sensation in the stomach.
Decent execution. The stand-out for me is the light softness of it.
Dr: You've got to start with a more flavorful base to really execute a bourbon barrel aged imperial porter right. This brew pales in comparison to superior beers in its class, but it's a nice dark brew that will satisfy fans of bourbon in their beer. I might nab it on-draught if I have the opportunity, but I wouldn't jump at the chance to buy it again for home consumption. It hides its alcohol content nicely and I find it pretty drinkable for what should be a sipper. I'll have no trouble killing the litre I purchased, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Not Karbach's best work.
To be honest, I'd sooner take Ballast Point's Victory at Sea over this - bourbon barrel or not.
Probably drinks best from a snifter.
01-22-2014 06:45:30 | More by kojevergas
United Kingdom (Wales)
4/5 rDev -7.8%
1st pour from the keg at the petrol station.
Snifter. Tan head color is black.
A fair amount of roast with a nice dose of oak and bourbon. Vanilla and lots of chocolate. Fairly sweet. Lots of malts.
Very smooth and creamy. Full bodied but ends a little dry.
Overall, not BCS good, but still pretty solid and tasty. I'd give it a try!
01-12-2013 05:56:10 | More by mothman
4.23/5 rDev -2.5%
Got in a trade with icetrauma. 22 ounce bottle into tulip glass; No. 005, bottled in May 2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 2 finger dense dark tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, brown sugar, toast, vanilla, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, light char, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, light char, toast, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, clove, oak, bourbon, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Light roast/barrel bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, toast, toffee, vanilla, clove, oak, brown sugar, light char, light coffee, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/barrel flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and moderately slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent barrel aged porter! All around great complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and barrel flavors; and quite smooth to sip on for the high ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.
12-31-2013 00:17:25 | More by superspak
Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter from Karbach Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.