Fantasy Factory - Karben4 Brewing

Not Rated.
Fantasy FactoryFantasy Factory

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

37 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 335
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 32
Gots: 68 | FT: 1
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: 37 | Hads: 335
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

Wow.
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

ANOTHER UPDATE: 6/12/15
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:

TIER 1:
Zombie Dust
Pseudo Sue
Alpha King
Moon Man
~
TIER 2:
Yum Yum
Fantasy Factory
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
~
TIER 3:
Hopalicious
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)

Photo of nickapalooza86
4.98/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours very similar to the Ale Asylum beers when they were brewing on this system, super hazy little head half finger if that, but super hazy... Nice deep orange color

Smell well ya this is Citra hopped, big grapefruit, pineapple, nice tropical burst followed by a heavy pine residue, getting some nice crackery malts underneath

Taste is grapefruit first, some orange, big on the pine resin, definite malt backbone with mostly bready tones cuts through in the middle, but as soon as it came is gone for some lemon and grapefruit bitterness.... Wow just wow amazing

Mouthfeel is medium light, very dry as one would expect from this hop assault. Some nice coating resin.

Well glad I grabbed I grabbed a case on my family Christmas trip to the Dells/Baraboo area wish I would have grabbed two.

Once this because widely available I no longer see the reason to pay a bomber premium for PsuedoSue... Well don Karben4!!!! Well done indeed. (944 characters)

Photo of Trifecta1
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Amber. Moderate sized head from a fairly aggressive pour. Beautiful lacing. Very appealing.

S - One sniff and I can see why people love this stuff. Dank nugs with pineapple, mango, orange zest. Mouth-watering.

T - Moderately sweet, slightly bitter. Very fruity, mainly tastes of pineapple and orange. Gets a bit more biscuity as it warms; I'd suggest slightly chilling this, as you'll get more fruit and less cracker taste. Impressive.

M - Milky, about right on the carbonation. Reminds me a bit of a lighter Lagunitas Sucks.

O - A very tasty and impressive offering from a brewery I have never sampled before. Next time I'm in Madison I have to pay them a visit. Great single IPA. Get some if you can.

9.99 for a 6-pack. (730 characters)

Photo of workingclassbrew
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

For a Lager guy this is my favorite IPA, brewed in my hometown. Been available on tap at the local bowling alley for a while. Nice to see Karben 4 got a bottling line.

Poured into a pint glass, a nic very cloudy light orange, and when I hold it toward the light cloudy yellow. No head, looks flat if pulled from a beer engine.

Heavy grapefruit aroma, little pine resin smell.

Man I could quaff this down quick. Its a dry bitter beer from start to finish. The malts there to show its a beer, but the bitter, dy, and grapefruit hits you the entire time. The mouthfeel is heavy, shows you really got something special. Well, I put it down for 20 min. Same malt,dry, grapefruit.

Overall a beautiful beer. (710 characters)

Photo of mr-jj
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an IPA glass from a 12 oz bottle. First batch of bottling brought out by a friend.

Color is light amber, slightly hazy with a thick white head. Good retention and lacing. Aroma is strong Citra hops - tropical and citric - smells delicious. Flavor is more of the same - great citrus and tropical flavors on the palate balanced by some caramel malt that finishes with a nice bitterness with a touch of grapefruit. An excellent example of Citra. Body is medium with moderate carbonation.

Overall, a delicious IPA in the same style as Zombie Dust and PseudoSue. Maybe just a touch less amazing than those two beers, but excellent nonetheless. (658 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. 2231 71B0931 is the bottle code. Flown out by a friend of a friend.

Pours slightly hazy, white-amber, with a small head and lots of carbonation. Smell is hops and (don't laugh -- this is honestly my response) marshmallow. Fortunately, the hops smell delicious, and are way more prevalent than the marshmallow. Powerfully sweet citrus aroma, fades to slight pine resin, tiny bit of flower.

Taste is milder than the aroma. Dominated more by bitterness, but overall a little too mild. Bitterness reminds me of grapefruit slightly more than it reminds me of pine.

Mouthfeel is dry and resinous. Overall, very good.

----
2014-12-17
My friend gave me another one because he couldn't believe I smelled marshmallow. If weird descriptors is all it takes to get repeats of good beers...I think I taste porcupine. And electricity.

Poured into a tulip again. Even with marshmallow on the mind, it doesn't remind me so much of marshmallow anymore. Still something sweet and creamy, though. Maybe like an Orange Julius? Well, maybe more marshmallowy as it starts to warm up a little bit, but still definitely not as pronounced as I recall. (1,164 characters)

Photo of mjpolzin
4.05/5  rDev -4%

A fragrant, delicious IPA that is loaded with fruity, piney hop taste. Up until a week ago, it was only available on tap here in Madison. Now that it is in bottles, it may become one of my "go to" beers. I can't put it quite on the same level as most of Toppling Goliath's pale ales but since this beer is local and available in six packs, it makes it an easy choice to always have on hand. Probably better bang for your buck than most TG beers. (445 characters)

Photo of Paul_the_Beer_Fan
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Quite the beer, glad to see it in a bottle.
I understand this is the first day it is being sold so this is just about as fresh as it comes and the balance of this beer is something else. (187 characters)

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Fantasy Factory from Karben4 Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.