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Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter - Karbach Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Aged HellfighterBourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

49 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 49
Hads: 384
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 136
Gots: 123 | 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: 49 | Hads: 384
Photo of wagenvolks
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (929 characters)

Photo of SSEngelbrecht
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

served on tap in a half pint glass.

The head was light with caramel color, the beer is black as my ex's soul.

The smell is dominated by the aromas imparted by the barrel: bourbon and oak, followed up with a licorice and dark chocolate.

The taste is pungent and the oak and bourbon flavors are very prominent, but the chocolate, licorice, coffee and roasted malt are still readily accessible. It has mild bitterness and the hop presence muted.

The beer has a medium mouthfeel not quite syrupy, not thin.

Overall this is a delicious example of a barrel aged porter, even though the line between porter and stout is pretty blurry. This beer is a gem, if you can find it. (672 characters)

Photo of Bluestar
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (1,454 characters)

Photo of DocJitsu
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque, dark, somewhat muddy brown with an average sized rootbeer colored head. A lot of sorghum, bourbon, and caramelized creme brulee on the nose. It has a mouthfeel that is pretty full and expansive, but not viscous. A bit of scorched smokiness blends well with sorghum, oak, and bourbon. There's quite a bit of hop bitterness for the style, but it is not overwhelming. It's a good sipper. (401 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to drummermattie02 for a 'trade' that involved him sending me a couple of Karbach bottles & me sending him...something. On Monday. Seemed like a good idea, still does. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Pour is the dark black of a porter (a 10.8% porter, yowza). Digging deep, but I'm not getting much off the surface of the beer nose-wise. Faint vanilla, sweet malts.

Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter takes a bit of time to grow on me; definitely a beer that needs a bit of cuddling to warm up. It's defined by a double-entendre of vanilla fudge right up front - & who doesn't love that? Bourbon nip is slow to show, just a peek of the goodies in the middle. Roast arrives, & it's nice & strong. Lots of sweet malt on the downside of the hill. The strong point might be the smoothness, this is creamy & lovely.

Clocks in around good. There's something odd about the beer; it doesn't quite meet my expectations about how a barrel-aged porter should taste, & I'm not sure why. Nonetheless, looking forward to my second Karbach beer. (1,037 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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. (646 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
4.11/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown throughout, light brown two finger head, meager retention.

Aroma: bourbon, oak, roast, burnt toast, milk chocolate, espresso beans, Subtle alcohol.

Taste: bittersweet cocoa, powdered sugar, oak, vanilla, caramel, light coffee roast, bourbon notes, tobacco.

***Has a good feel and body, nice melding flavors and a prett solid balance, all things considered. Well done and well rounded. (410 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (399 characters)

Photo of StArnoldFan
4.91/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

1/14/13
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.

2/2/13
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. (661 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

thanks to egrace84 for the share.

poured into tulip glass.

reviewed from notes taken 1/17/13.

Appearance: dark brown to light black bodied beer with 1 finger of medium brown head.

Smell: a splash of bourbon, vanilla and chocolate.

Taste: bourbon and fudge. a hint of bitter dark chocolate. vanilla and oak in the finish. Simple and effective.

Mouthfeel: low end of a medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation levels. Its a touch thin, but nothing distracting. Fairly smooth drinker.

Overall: Nice to see some good beer coming from Texas! Solid on all aspects of the beer just wish it was a little full feel on the beer. (641 characters)

Photo of lokieman
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
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... (886 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Near one inch light mocha head on a dark brown body. Good head retention.

Almost has a sweet vanilla nose to it. Yum!

Wow. Well integrated -bal presence with chocolate/fudge. Alcohol heat present but not overwhelming.

Very smooth. Lower end but adequate carbonation. Full mouthfeel.

Pleasantly surprised with this Texas offering. Half step below standout but definitely an under the radar beer. Thanks egrace84! (415 characters)

Photo of afluentturtle
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (878 characters)

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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! (339 characters)

Photo of tofuspeedstar
5/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINT MY BROTHERS.

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..

Karbach,

if you see this, bottle it more. JUST SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY (522 characters)

Photo of PhatAtUT
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (634 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (2,293 characters)

Photo of drummermattie02
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (646 characters)

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. (855 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (513 characters)

Photo of Ford
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
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. (369 characters)

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. (949 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (380 characters)

Photo of BgThang
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to canadianghetto for bringing this up from houston growler style.

The carbonation was little low on this, maybe due to the fact it was a growler.
The color is dark, not as a ris but definitely an imerial porter. dark with brownish notes.

THe smell was woody, bourbon, sweetness.

The motuhfell was thinner than I expected, but had a nice heat presence from the burbon.

THe taste was very similar to older viscosity with out the mega burbon overload OV has. It was a nice roasty, toffee, flavor with burbon backing it up. not over done.

Overall this is a descent beer for a young brewery whom continues to gain popularity.

Glad I got to try this one. (679 characters)

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter from Karbach Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.