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Fantasy Factory - Karben4 Brewing

Not Rated.
Fantasy FactoryFantasy Factory

Educational use only; do not reuse.

294 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 294
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 30
Gots: 52 | FT: 0
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 294 | Reviews: 47
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Karben4 in Madison, WI. Full pint poured into a Karben4 snifter today, 1/27/2014.

App- dark copper body, cloudy and comes with a finger white head with ok retention, leaving a thin film. Some lacing as the glass empties.

Smell- faint citrus. Grapefruit, tangerines, passion fruit is all there but not explosive like other citra IPAs such as ZD. Malt forward, with a sweet breadiness and caramel backbone on the nose.

Flavor- malty with a nice citra contribution. Bread, caramel, a bit of toffee. Grapefruit, pineapple, oranges are there but the malt is the most forward component.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, not too thick or thin, good carbonation. Not slick or resinous, easy to drink for sure. Almost sessionable, no sign of ABV.

Overall- nice malty citra IPA. Not the most flavorful but quite drinkable and brings just enough interesting character to the drinking experience. I prefer the juiciness of Hill Farmstead pale ales and pseudoSue, both of which definitely bring a nice juicy element to the experience, but hey this is a lot easier for me to get.

Photo of Etan
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brickhouse BBQ.

A. Pours an unattractive burnt caramel with a small white head.

S. Aroma brings sticky citrus, vanilla, caramel malt, toasted grain, pine.

T. Taste brings brown bread, tangerine, grassy resin, bready with sweet citrus.

M. Light-bodied with light carbonation.

O. A hoppy IPA in the American vein, but with a bit of a malty English character. Not bad.

Photo of jwc215
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%

Pours hazed golden amber with a thick white head that leaves plenty of lacing.

The smell is of robust citrus - grapefruit, orange, pineapple (hint of lime?)...

The taste is of upfront juicy citrus, vague hint of resin, with a sweet kiss of barley in the middle, leading again to a juicy, citric, bitter dry finish.

It is a chewy IPA. A wonderful IPA - just balanced enough to keep it complex and smooth. The hops are aromatic and flavorful. Very nicely done!

Photo of getatmeimevil
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of nickapalooza86
4.98/5  rDev +20.6%
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.

Photo of bound4er
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Bernie's Tap Room on 7/1/13. Notes from memory.

Hazy light amber appearance with a nice two finger head. Smells tropical with citrus and mango really jumping out of the glass. Taste is really clean and fresh with the citrus hops balanced nicely by bready malt. Mouthfeel is oily and slick without being too heavy. Overall this is a fantastic beer - probably one of the better IPA's I've had from a Wisconsin brewer. Karben4 is 2 for 2 with beers I have tried from them - Silk Scorpion being the other.

Photo of JamesStreet
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of Vonerichs
3.79/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy amber color with a finger of off white head. There's a little spotty lacing.

It has the smell of a balanced ipa. Citrus and bread. A touch of caramel.

It has a little too much of the bready malt for my liking. Nice orange and grapefruit hop profile.

Mouthfeel is soft, if not a little light on the carbonation.

A good ipa and has more balance than most.

Photo of scaliasux
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
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

Photo of ceeman
4.74/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful golden colored IPA with nice amount of carbonation and great citrus IPA taste. My only complaint is that it is a little light in the mouthfeel category, but sometimes that's even a good thing. When the brewery starts bottling soon this will be a staple in my fridge. Fantastic beer.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of milwaukee512
4.99/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a fantastic beer from a new Madison brewery.

Photo of Ri0
4.66/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at the brewery in snifter. Is this the IPA I've been dreaming of finding in Madison?

A - Beautiful light golden orange color with a nice fluffy white 2 finger head that slowly falls into a thin ring that clings to the glass. Lacing paints the glass in a delicate white web.

S - The smell, oh that wonderful smell. The Citra dominates the aroma. It is like I am standing in a tropical grove of oranges, pineapples, grapefruit, and mango. Floral, pine, and soft sweet honey biscuit round out a magnificent and transcending aroma.

T - Wow! My taste buds are overcome with joy as waves of tropical fruits and citrus pummel my palate. Absolutely fantastic taste is citrus, pineapples and mangoes. A touch of sweet honey biscuit round it out. A bit of slight grapefruit and pine bitter in the finish.

M - Zippy carbonation with oily hop residue left on the tongue make it a fantasy to drink.

Finally an amazing Citra hopped IPA that I have been waiting for in Madison. Absolute dream beer. The 3 hops used for amazing taste are Citra, Galena, and Cluster. Big citrus flavor. Great job Karben4. Look forward to more of you beers! Calling all Madison BA's who want Citra, this is the IPA for you!

Photo of marquette3693
5/5  rDev +21.1%


Photo of Kinne122
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best IPA I've had in awhile. My mouth waters every time the bartender says they have fantasy factory on tap

Photo of djhowell
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a glass (and then a growler) from their tap room. It pours a bright orange with a healthy head and leaves a little lacing. It's a nicely balanced, citrus-y and tropical fruit-y IPA that the Madison area has been missing. This is my favorite offering from Karben4 so far. The growler did not last long.

Photo of stouts4me
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Big,fruity,juicy, taste and nose. Delicious.

Photo of martyl1000
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of workingclassbrew
3.8/5  rDev -8%
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.

Photo of mikebcpa
3.15/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solid IPA, but nothing there that makes it above average.

Photo of AlyssaMk22
4.99/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Truly one of my personal favs.

Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -23.5%
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)

Photo of knepper
4.62/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Damn - an absolute tropical fruit bomb in a glass. Fruity Pebbles, dank, fresh papaya, with enough malt character to let you know this is still a beer and not pure hop extract. Its a great beer and easily the best IPA currently being brewed in Wisconsin.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of Paul_the_Beer_Fan
4.75/5  rDev +15%

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.

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Fantasy Factory from Karben4 Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 294 ratings.