Hellfighter | Karbach Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
88
very good
163 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karbach Brewing Co.
Texas, United States
karbachbrewing.com

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by champ103 on 12-19-2011

BEER STATS
Ratings:
163
Reviews:
21
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
11.78%
 
 
Wants:
19
Gots:
29
For Trade:
3
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 163 |  Reviews: 21
Photo of rjgbeeradvo
1/5  rDev -74.9%

Photo of sheltone60
2/5  rDev -49.9%

Photo of kojevergas
2.76/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I'm excited to try this given it's the base beer for what is currently ranked #11 on the Top 50 Southwest list. 32oz grumbler filled at The Growler Room a few days ago and served into an Avery stem-tulip in low altitude Austin, TX.

Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given its current 88 rating.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours no head whatsoever - not even a floater ring.

Body colour is a rather dark brown-black - but not quite a jet black. Opaque. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Far from the sleekest imperial porter I've seen. I'm pretty unimpressed by the appearance, but given that this is a growler review I'm optimistic. Appears undercarbonated.

Sm: Dark malts, black strap molasses, chocolate malt, lactose sugar, sassafras, root beer, cola nut, and some vaguely medicinal vinous character.

No hop profile, alcohol, or yeast character is detectable.

Overall, it's an inoffensive aroma of below average strength. There's just nothing here that really grabs me. So far, it's a rather generic imperial porter with little to set it apart.

T: The build is cohesive but shockingly shallow, lacking any real depth of flavour at all. Far from gestalt. It's got a pretty standard malt base - just dark malts and chocolate malts. There's some cola nut and sassafras character in there too, as well as some unbecoming vinous character that doesn't belong in a porter. I also pick up hints of brown sugar and lactose sugar.

No hop profile, yeast character, or alcohol comes through.

There's very little happening here, and what little there is doesn't feel neatly balanced. The notes coexist but there isn't any intricate integration of notes or anything. The painful simplicity isn't doing it any favors, and there's no subtlety or nuance at all. I'm pretty underwhelmed. I will say it's nuttier than anticipated given the style.

Flavour duration is surprisingly brief. Flavour intensity is low. Mediocre amplitude.

I don't know that I like this. Not only is it boring, frankly it's rather insipid. That said, I am grateful there aren't any off-notes, and I'm surprised the alcohol doesn't come through more. I'd probably guess it was 7% if I tried it blind. I really want some roasted barley character, but there's hardly any here.

Mf: Undercarbonated - likely because it's a growler pour. Smooth and wet. A bit sticky. Should be creamier and softer. Too thin. Borders almost on watery. Lacks body and weight on the palate. It's fleeting - not a good characteristic for an imperial porter. Bad presence on the palate.

Not oily, astringent, dirty, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Overall, the texture is to style but doesn't coax much out from the flavour profile. More oomph is needed.

Dr: I can't see why this was chosen as the base beer for a bourbon barrel brew; the quality just isn't there. Maybe it's like Fifty Fifty's Totality in that it's meant to be a bit more neutral so that the barrel character can really dominate. As a stand-alone imperial porter, it's very forgettable. That said, its well-disguised alcohol content will get you drunk, and it might make a nice break from the heavy bludgeoning porters and stouts flooding the market. I certainly wouldn't buy it again, and I wouldn't recommend it to friends, but I doubt I'll have any issues finishing all 32 oz of it. Ultimately, it's not a bad porter - just a disappointing and bland one. It's hard to love and hard to hate. Certainly not Karbach's best work. Might be better on-draught (or even nitro).

If you're looking for a great imperial porter, try Ballast Point's Victory At Sea instead.

Low C

 3,841 characters

Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of wejohnsn
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of jerefreakinmiah
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of IvanJ126
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of biochembrewer
3.05/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a ~12oz snifter on-tap at the Flying Saucer-Houston. As with most beers at the Saucer, poured much too cold for the style, so I let it warm up to about 50 before evaluating.

A: approximately a 1" khaki to light mocha colored head that dissipates within 1.5 to 2 minutes. The beer is very dark, almost an opaque brown, but not quite full-on black. An SRM probably around 55 or so? Lets minimal light through, except on edges. Minimal to no lacing.

S: As it warms, you get a slight alcohol nose. The largest or most detectable malt aromas are dark roast and coffee notes. Slight biscuity notes as well. Slight notes of hops under the malt backbone in the aroma.

T: Hops up front and immediately noticeable. After, the malty flavors and a minute bit of residual sweetness present. Very pleasant deluge of dark and roasty, even some chocolate notes. Hops are also somewhat present in the finish and have a slight unpleasant lingering that coats the back of the tongue after tasting.

M: Very round, creamy, and medium mouthfeel. Pleasant. Slightly chewy.

O: Overall, a good "imperial porter" with a very pleasant taste for a 9.5% ABV beer. A bit too hoppy for the style (not only IMO, but also per BJCP guidelines) even considering the high alcohol from a big grain bill. Also, the unpleasant lingering bitterness from the hops detracted from the overall experience. If this gets bottled any time soon, grab some and cellar them for a year and I think the taste will GREATLY improve as the bitterness quiets down a bit. Looking forward to seeing some tweaking with this recipe as Karbach gets their feet.

 1,617 characters

Photo of cfrobrew
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of ShanePB
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of ericat78
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of martyl1000
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

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

Photo of Fireslayer
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Thedrizzle
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Lare453
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Jeckel
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of rdooley
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of GumDropButtons
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of KShophead
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of illy0sis
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of superspak
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense khaki head with awesome retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of caramel, raisin, chocolate, roasted malt, floral, pine, toast, licorice, molasses, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Ok aromas with solid balance of flavors; but is very weak and lacking prominent roasted malt qualities, with much more fruitiness present. Taste of caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, raisin, floral, pine, brown sugar, toast, licorice, and roasted earthiness. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, toast, brown sugar, floral, pine, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Nice balance and complexity of roasted and dark malt flavors; with moderate amount of hop presence and some fairly astringent bitterness lingering after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very solid imperial porter. The weak aromas and astringent hoppiness really knocked it down for me; but this was still an enjoyable offering overall.

 1,331 characters

Photo of Magery
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Shafaegalo
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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Hellfighter from Karbach Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 163 ratings.
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