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Fantasy Factory - Karben4 Brewing

Not Rated.
Fantasy FactoryFantasy Factory

Educational use only; do not reuse.

44 Reviews
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 44
Hads: 366
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 35
Gots: 75 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Karben4 Brewing visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Ri0 on 06-11-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 44 | Hads: 366
Photo of kbwalters
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured cold into a tulip glass. Bottled on 10/11/14, consumed on 10/28/14.
Look = 4.5 Pours a cloudy golden orange color with two fingers of frothy off white head. Great retention and great lace on this one.
Aroma = 4.75 Super juicy hops, citrus and tropical fruits. Orange juice, smell wonderful.
Taste = 4.0 Citrus and tropical fruit hops lead the way. Theres a bit of sweet malt balance in the middle followed by a mild bitter finish.
Feel = 3.75 Light bodied and light to medium carbonation - comes off a little watery and a little flat though refreshing.
Drinkability = 4.25 Hoppy and juicy, easy drinking IPA.
Overall = 4.25 Aroma really stands out on this one. Great all around beer, hurt a little by the mouthfeel. (727 characters)

Photo of pkalix
4.26/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

very cloudy and i swear i got a wholesome 'belgian yeast' on the nose..... but the aroma off the bottle was excellent! hard to explain, but a very hearty, hoppy aroma.....
fruity taste.... orange, citrus..... very 'amateur-ish' flavor, yet very, very good.... not refined.
heavy on the palate.
all these qualities together gives it the 'amateur' (maybe like a homebrew?) feel but it is very tasty and delicious!
awesome label artwork also..... is he blowing flames out of his a$$$???? (484 characters)

Photo of PHBoiler
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice orange body with average carb. Smell is juicy. This is a well balanced IPA. You get notes of bitterness, citrus juice, and sweet malt. Nothing really shines but all is well integrated. Mouthfeel is slick. (214 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Hopcat in Madison, WI.

Overall a very good IPA; probably the best non-New Glarus WI beer I had last weekend. Citrus hops, grapefruit, oranges, resin, pine hops, and fruity malts. Light bitter bite but pretty easy to drink. Would like to have it again. (262 characters)

Photo of Circles313
4.91/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This brew should be in the best 10 IPA's of all time!

It's light, crisp & refreshing while still juicy with an amazing body! Notes of; Grapefruit, Orange, mango, tangerines & pear. (182 characters)

Photo of core42
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is an excellent version of a Midwest style IPA where it has a great hoppy, almost orange juicy smell to it. It has great hop presence up front but that malty backbone to keep it in check. This is a great IPA (214 characters)

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First tasted from draft in a pint glass at Monk's on July 5, 2015. Tasted in a Spiegelau IPA glass from a 12 oz bottle for this review. Look is cloudy golden orange, quickly fading head and lingering lacing. Smell is a complex combination of bitter citrus fruit and floral notes balanced with sweet malts. Taste is citrus fruit balanced nicely with sweet malts. Feel medium but velvety smooth finish. (405 characters)

Photo of richj1970
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into goblet. No visible bottle date.

A: Golden orange with one finger white head that dissipated fairly quickly. Some sticky lacing.

S: Light floral and citrus hops.

T: Grapefruit and orange zest mixed with a nice balanced malt backbone. Hints of a little spice that I can't quite place.

M: Medium body and average carbonation. Finish is slightly bitter.

O: Very nice IPA. My first beer from Karben4 and I might need to try a few more. (477 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy orange, lasting coverage, there's some floating sediment in suspension. Spotty bits of lace around the edges.

Fresh citrusy aroma, grapefruit pith, fairly mild.

Bittersweet flavors of orange zest and grapefruit, dry and lightly bitter aftertaste. Light pale malt undercurrent present too, thankfully not sticky sweet. Nicely balanced and very drinkable, it's medium bodied and flavorful. (396 characters)

Photo of TheSSG
3.47/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dense, frothy white head with great retention. Bright citrus aroma. Hazy, straw color. Starts with a very bitter, citrus rind flavor. Smooths out considerably to a flash of malt with lots of remaining citrus. Lingering citrus rind.

This isn't too bad. It's a bit one-dimensional; citrus rind. Luckily, the bitterness isn't cumulative and lingering, which makes the finish enjoyable. It's well made, but not for me; I prefer the Midwest "Hoppy, but not too bitter" IPA. (482 characters)

Photo of Uhopia
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I feel sorry (not really) for all you folks that can't get a taste of a FF. Or just Fantasy, as the locals call it. Come on, who doesn't dig a black cat with a golden gun riding a fricken fire-breathing unicorn w rainbows and puppy dogs on the label! OK I made up the puppy dog thing but seriously, it's a great name with a great label on a bottle of a truly great beer. I'd give this baby the Pepsi Challenge to any APA, any AP where. (435 characters)

Photo of YalovaIA
3.46/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the reviews I have to guess this beer is a bit inconsistent. My batch, on tap at Paul's Club, had a very light nose. Taste was more crackery malt than I like and much less tropical fruits and citrus than other report. It got better as it warmed. I'd like to give it another shot and see how that batch goes. (313 characters)

Photo of pagriley
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- deep orange, like cloudy orange juice. Some lacing. Amazing color
S- sweet oranges, bitter citrus behind. Fantastic
T-orange rind with balanced malt sweetness. Very smooth and clean with almost perfect bitterness to round out
F- almost creamy with fine carbonation. Velvety and dangerously smooth

Overall a sublime IPA. New benchmark beer for me and awfully close to beating Zombie Dust as a personal favorite. Will be seeking this out very regularly (461 characters)

Photo of Mulcahey
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

Citrusy, hoppy goodness.

I'm (happily) not as sophisticated as most of the reviewers around here. I'm just drinking the beer. I'm not applying it to my vagina.

Here's how I review: If I've never enjoyed a beer more than the one I'm reviewing, then it gets a five. The rest are scaled accordingly. (320 characters)

Photo of scaliasux
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L - Harvest yellow. Quite hazy. Short but persistent foamy ivory head.
S - Grapefruit, orange, tropical hops. Light sweet bready malt.
T - Bready malts dampen the fruity and resiny hops. Grapefruit, orange, tropical flavors and bitterness are prominent, but rather less overpowering than many American IPAs (312 characters)

Photo of JamesStreet
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade with no bottled or best by date. Poured into small goblet
A- orange-straw color with a 1/2 finger of off-white head that produced medium-thick bubbles. Small amount of lacing down glass
S- grapefruit and pineapple primarily with some mango and orange secondary. Not overpowering hop blast because you do get a sense of some bread-like malt in there as well. Hidden in there are also floral hints of hibiscus and rose.
T- pretty nice malt/hop balance with the biscuity malt still making it's presence known. The primary nose of citrus continues in the taste as well although the bitterness is kept mild. Mango, orange marmalade and rose water also mingle in the back of the sip.
M- medium feel but seems a tad over-carbed.
O- very sweet extra in trade and tastes like what is becoming the standard profile for American IPAs. Nothing extraordinarily world-beating about this beer but it is definitely solid representation of its style. (957 characters)

Photo of Schmitfaced414
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a good beer with a great label. It was still worth the purchase, but I may have been too excited by the unicorn. I will look for it again next time I am traveling through Madison. Go Bucky!

For a more detailed review, See below by Kojevergas. (254 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"Fantasy Factory"

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded green pry-off pressure cap. Boasts some of the best label art I've ever seen.

Acquired: via trade with Duff27. Thanks, man!

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2015.
ABV: 6.3% ABV.
Style: IPA (per the label).
Serving Temp: Cold.
Serving vessel: Pilsner glass.
Expectations: High. I was pleasantly surprised with Silk Scorpion.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1 inch wide. Off-white colour. Nice creamy thick consistency. Even-keeled, soft-looking, and aptly frothy for the style. Leaves a light ring of lacing as it recedes.

Retention: ~4-5 minutes. Pretty good for the style.

BODY: Striking, with an unusual haziness suggestive of hop oils. Translucent transparent yellow-copper of below average vibrance. No yeast particles or hop sediment is visible, but I wouldn't call it a clean appearance.

Appears well-carbonated, with a body indicative of a lack of filtration.

AROMA: Pale malts, biscuit malt, graham cracker, clean barley. The malts seem nicely in step with the hop profile, which is comprised of dank resins, pleasant floral character, and some tropical fruit (primarily mango and tangerine). Given the tropical leanings, I suspect new world hop varieties were used (I'm not great at guessing, but maybe mosaic, galaxy, or the like).

No yeast character, booze, or off-notes are detectable.

Aromatic intensity: above average.

Suggests a sticky coating brew with a rough-around-the-edges balance and a ripe taste.

TASTE: The pale malt backbone is bolstered by some English leaning biscuit malt as well as a dab of caramalt and some pleasant graham cracker character on the fringe.

The hop profile is dominated by tropical fruit: mango, tangerine, maybe a bit of pineapple (which is a note I usually despise in beer, but it doesn't bother me here). Resinous, with touches of dank herbal character. It's a biteen candied, which doesn't do it any favours. In spite of the tangerine, I'm reticent to call this citrusy; there aren't juicy fruity bursts of orange or grapefruit. It has some floral character, of course, but it's secondary to the ripe tropical fruit. As it comes to temperature, I pick up on some faint pith, but no real fruit peel. A kiss of bitter rind, sure.

Depth of flavour: Average.
Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Average, though notable considering its scant 6.30% ABV.
Flavour amplitude: Nice.

It's a decently balanced brew, but isn't quite dialed in; there's not a harmony of malts to hops, and I find it a bit too sweet. It's complex for its modest ABV, but sure there are far more intricate IPAs out there.

No yeast character or off-notes come through, though the alcohol is far more noticeable than it should be.

Constructively, I'd like to see them tone down the sweetness (starting with removing the candied element and some caramalt) and play up the fruit. The pineapple needs to go, and some flaked malts would leaven the body appropriately.

TEXTURE: Chewy, slightly oily, medium-bodied, and a touch too thick. Smooth and wet enough to be refreshing without going full-out slick and reducing flavour duration. Overcarbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

This mouthfeel complements the taste well enough, but doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to the flavour profile and fails to elevate the beer. No notes are accentuated, aside from maybe the mild hop oil flavour. A cleaner, lighter body would provide more effective delivery of flavour.

OVERALL: Drinkable though this is, the discerning drinker will be unimpressed. It's a nice IPA from Wisconsin and I'm glad I got to try it, but the wide availability of superior offerings will make this a brew I don't intend to revisit. Far from world-class, but it's clearly an inspired brew, and won't disappoint.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle!

C+ (3.16) (3,979 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Bell's tulip. Obviously the beer is unfiltered as lots of particulate have settled on the bottom (nothing wrong with that). The pour is quite hazy but a really attractive orange and apricot color that makes me thirsty just looking at it. It sports a thin layer of dingy white head. Really delightful nose on this one. Lots of ripe tropical fruit, primarily oranges, peaches, grapefruit, and pineapple.

Medium body, firm feel, and a really nice hop-forward flavor. Ample malt backbone, some fresh bread and marmalade and then some biting hop flavors of fresh grapefruit, lemon rind, rosehips, white pepper, and apricots. Nice stoney finish with plenty of lingering oily hop notes.

My first beer from Karben4 and I thought it was terrific. A top notch aggressive American IPA that hopheads will love, but it isn't ridiculously out of balance either. (877 characters)

Photo of martyl1000
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I take that back: it IS as good as I thought. Better, even. I'm raising my most recent score (3.98) to 4.20.

Why change my mind (again)? I had this last night at The Spot, side by side with that other legendary Madison APA, Hopalicious. I've always thought of Hopalicious (4.10) as a truly good pale. Not on the order of Zombie Dust or Pseudo Sue, but quality, nonetheless.

(I'm reviewing this as an APA. Karben4 labels this an IPA, but it's way more APA.)

Now that I've measured Fantasy Factory against the yardstick of Hopalicious, I see FF as a cut above. I'd place it on my hierarchy like so:

Zombie Dust
Pseudo Sue
Alpha King
Moon Man
Yum Yum
Fantasy Factory
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Tallgrass 8-bit
Bend the Knee
Tokyo Sauna

I'll also downgrade my score of Hopalicious from 4.1 to 3.87.
UPDATE: 4/9/15
No, it's not nearly as good as I thought. Certainly not "exceptionally good." Too bitter. No malt. No sweet fruit.

In the same tier as (though well, well short of) New Glarus Moon Man or GL Burning River. No where near the realm of Alpha King, Pseudo Sue, or Zombie Dust.

On tap at Baldwin Street Grill. Badgers basketball.

Orig. score: 4.08
Oh, wow. Exceptionally good. I'm having this at an open party for the upcoming UW artist in residence, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, of Afro-Cuban All stars fame. (1,435 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours golden in color with a slight haze and a fluffy white head that retains nicely. Smell has bright crisp fruity hop aromas forward with notes of citrus guava, mango, and papaya over malty aromas of sweet candy like caramel and rich grainy aroma. Taste follows the nose with tropical fruit flavors of mango papaya guava and citrus along with loads of semi sweet caramel malt and some booze and very faint bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of hop oils and resin and a light alcohol bite in the finish. (532 characters)

Photo of krustster
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I honestly think this is a perfect IPA. It hits all the right notes for me. Crisp tropical/citrus taste, with some hints of pine and earth and just the right level of bitterness, somewhat dry, full bodied without being overly malty, I don't even know. I don't have the words to describe how much I love this beer. And the artwork and holographic label are utterly fantastic. Even the six-pack itself looks great. I think this is the only bottled beer they have so far and I'd say it's a smart move. You may as well work hard and slowly at delivering unique product that people will have good reason to buy instead of having a dull, well-rounded lineup that will languish in obscurity once the novelty wears off. (711 characters)

Photo of Dragyourbone1
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Frequency in Madison.

A: Cloudy orange with slight puffy head that dissipated fairly quickly.
S: Hoppy Citrus aroma; resiny; raisiny?. Made my mouth water.
T: Bitter and tangy with some body at the front, yet with a dry finish.
M: Surprisingly full and effervescent.
O: Bartender said it was the only IPA he liked and I can taste why. Very drinkable. If I find this in bottle, I'll grab some, but it's damn fine on tap.

Just as good as on draught.
Surprised to see this at the nearby Copp's grocery store and I grabbed the last 6'er.
The label is totally trippy - A gun-toting, head-banded cat standing on a firebreathing, red-eyed unicorn, in front of a 16-bit castle and rainbow.

M: Not at all dry at the finish.

O: I've been waiting for Karben4 to bottle this ever since trying this on tap a few months ago. Just like I rememebered. This is quite delicious.
At 6.3% ABV, it not a heavyweight, but it's so delicious and easy drinking that one can still get in trouble prettty quick. (1,017 characters)

Photo of getatmeimevil
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap.
Just brilliant stuff, absolutely love it. It's smooth but somehow still possesses all the bite and bitterness that I love from a good IPA. My only complaint is not having an awesome bottle to add to my collection. Oh well, I needed a new years resolution. (267 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a medium copper color with a nice thick, soapy lacing ring.

S - Loads of tropical fruit rind: pineapple, grapefruit, sweet red grapefruit, and very dry crackery malt underneath.

T - Lots of citrus and pine bitter bite over top of dry cracker malt. No hop complexity, a straight up bitter hop assault.

M - Dry finish, crisp lingering bitterness, coats the mouth with pine resin and bitter grapefruit.

O - A very solid IPA. (436 characters)

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Fantasy Factory from Karben4 Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.