Fantasy Factory - Karben4 Brewing

Not Rated.
Fantasy FactoryFantasy Factory

Educational use only; do not reuse.

322 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 322
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.89%
Wants: 32
Gots: 60 | 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: 322 | Reviews: 53
Reviews by kawilliams81:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
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 -0.5%
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 +5.6%

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 +4.9%
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 +20.9%
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 +5.1%
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 -0.5%
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%
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 richj1970
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of scaliasux
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
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 Uhopia
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of ceeman
4.74/5  rDev +15%
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 +1.9%
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 +21.1%
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 +13.1%
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 +21.4%


Photo of Kinne122
5/5  rDev +21.4%
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 +10.4%
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 +9.2%

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

Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great label, unfortunately the beer isn't - dull.

Photo of martyl1000
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of workingclassbrew
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
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 -23.5%
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 +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Truly one of my personal favs.

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Fantasy Factory from Karben4 Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 322 ratings.