Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter | Karbach Brewing Co.

Bourbon Barrel Aged HellfighterBourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter
BA SCORE
94.2%
Liked This Beer
4.31 w/ 537 ratings
Bourbon Barrel Aged HellfighterBourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
F.U.N. Series 003 (Apr 2012) aged in barrels from Heaven Hill Distillery which included: Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, and Old Fitzgerald

F.U.N. Series 005 (May 2013) aged in barrels from Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, and Old Fitzgerald

F.U.N. Series 007 (Nov. 2013) aged in barrels from Makers Mark and Four Roses

Added by BgThang on 06-05-2012

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#633
Reviews:
80
Ratings:
537
Liked:
506
Avg:
4.31/5
pDev:
10.67%
Alströms:
4.25
 
 
Wants:
157
Gots:
179
Trade:
20
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 537 |  Reviews: 80
Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Haymarket. Coconut and a little acidic.

53 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Tieman for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

2013 vintage. F.U. N. Series 007.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with an earthy wood and bourbon presence.

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

they tell me this is the best texas has to offer, and after a careful drinking of this stuff, I still have to give a nod of the cap to jester kings better beers, but this is downright impressive. it pours a chalky black color with an inch of dense off white foam that leaves sexy lacing all along the glass. the nose is bourbon heavy, really intense warming alcohols and some gentle sweetness. I like that its a porter not a stout, the English ale yeast is evident, and the malts just aren't quite as big, which gives this a degree of drinkability for this time of year. its got a lot of character in the grains, maybe even some rye in here, but more than anything I taste a gentle chocolate roast and some patient vanilla that doesn't really open up until the finish. alcohol isn't quite hot, but its very resonant in the finish. I like that its not too sweet, and finishes a little dry. full body but not brutal. a wonderful example of the style, and a beer I will look forward to drinking again. a nice introduction to karbach, ill have to find some more of their stuff.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kojevergas
3.32/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Ah, the current 11th highest rated Southwest beer. Fun Series 007. 1 litre swing-top growler filled at The Growler Room and served into a stem-tulip at low altitude in Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings, but I wasn't too impressed with the base. Reviewed as an imperial porter.

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.

Swingtop yields a healthy pop upon removal, indicating adequate carbonation.

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

Pours a one finger wide head of gorgeous supply complexion and nice smooth even consistency. It's got a great khaki colour to it and has ample creaminess and thickness. Appears soft. Head retention is pretty good - about 4-5 minutes. Nice even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass when you tilt it, but doesn't really hold.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black - a darker black than the base beer, to be sure - but still not quite a jet black per se. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's about what you'd expect from an imperial porter. It's not unique or special, but is certainly appealing. There are no obvious flaws here.

Sm: The bourbon notes are prominent, eclipsing the aromatics of the base. It's pretty vanilla-forward, with oak taking a backseat. It isn't the toasted oak wood I crave in a great bourbon beer, but it's oak alright. If I search, I find the dark malt sweetness of the base , but it's faint. I do find cream, caramel, chocolate (malt), and perhaps marshmallow. I don't find the lactose sugar notes or brown sugar I noticed in the base beer.

Overall, vanilla is dominant. It's a pleasant if timid aroma of below average strength. Rarely are imperial porters so tame.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. I also have trouble identifying any sort of hop profile. It's certainly more on the sweet end than the bitter end.

T: The bourbon overwhelms the base beer, supplanting it almost entirely. Sure, you've got the dark malt/chocolate malt sweetness of the base propping up the bourbon barrel notes, but for the most part the base has been eclipsed by the barrel. I like to see better integration of barrel notes into beer; ideally the barrel should complement nuances already present in the base beer and coax out more complexity, subtlety, and depth of flavour, but that isn't the case here. This is just an insipid imperial porter drowned in bourbon.

But don't get me wrong; the bourbon notes are spot-on. Wonderful vanilla is dominant, with some backing oak present as well. (Though as abovementioned, it's not the toasted oak you'd find in a more sophisticated brew like Backwoods Bastard).

Marshmallow, cream, caramel, maybe toffee. I'm getting a hint of sassafras and cola nut - maybe because I know to look for them having experienced them in the base.

As it warms, I pick up an identifiably English character - I think from the yeast. I love that element, and wish it was more pronounced.

No hops, or alcohol is/are identifiable. It's certainly sweet, but not cloying.

This isn't a complex, subtle, deep, intricate, or nuanced imperial porter. Nor is it much of a porter. Has some nice bourbon notes - I just wish it offered more in terms of the base beer. I do like it, but I'm unconvinced it's deserving of its ranking as the #11 Southwest beer. Average duration/intensity of flavour.

Mf: Sticky. Silky. Smooth and wet. Nicely full-bodied and thick. The texture is strong enough to support the flavour profile, but I don't know that it really coaxes much out of it; there isn't a perfect marriage of texture to taste here but it gets the job done and doesn't distract. Decent presence on the palate. A bit overcarbonated.

Has warmth on the backend which manifests mainly as a pleasing sensation in the stomach.

Decent execution. The stand-out for me is the light softness of it.

Dr: You've got to start with a more flavorful base to really execute a bourbon barrel aged imperial porter right. This brew pales in comparison to superior beers in its class, but it's a nice dark brew that will satisfy fans of bourbon in their beer. I might nab it on-draught if I have the opportunity, but I wouldn't jump at the chance to buy it again for home consumption. Hides its alcohol nicely and I find it pretty drinkable for what should be a sipper. I'll have no trouble killing the litre I purchased.

Drinks best from a snifter.

B-

***
02.20.15:

1 finger wide head is smooth, soft, and luscious. Opaque black colour.

Sm: Overly bourbony, overwhelming the base. Cream, vanilla, dark malts.

T/Mf: Creamy, with a bourbon-forward profile that overwhelms the base beer entirely. Vanilla. Not balanced in terms of barrel/base, but balanced overall.

O: A sipper, sure, but nevertheless enjoyable. Probably Karbach's best work, but that isn't saying much. Far from world-class.

Low B-

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Photo of brentk56
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Arrives pitch black without much head; a bit of a swirl helps out and creates some dots of lacing

Smell: Dark chocolate and roasted malt, brown sugar, vanilla, coffee and Bourbon

Taste: Dark chocolate and roast, up front, with brown sugar and vanilla in the middle; a hint of dark fruit joins with the coffee and Bourbon, after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: Glad to find this on tap while in Houston; a pretty impressive beer with the Bourbon deftly handled

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Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with icetrauma. 22 ounce bottle into tulip glass; No. 005, bottled in May 2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 2 finger dense dark tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, brown sugar, toast, vanilla, toffee, clove, oak, bourbon, light char, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, light char, toast, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, clove, oak, bourbon, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Light roast/barrel bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, toast, toffee, vanilla, clove, oak, brown sugar, light char, light coffee, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/barrel flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and moderately slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent barrel aged porter! All around great complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and barrel flavors; and quite smooth to sip on for the high ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1st pour from the keg at the petrol station.

Snifter. Tan head color is black.

A fair amount of roast with a nice dose of oak and bourbon. Vanilla and lots of chocolate. Fairly sweet. Lots of malts.

Very smooth and creamy. Full bodied but ends a little dry.

Overall, not BCS good, but still pretty solid and tasty. I'd give it a try!

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

FUN Series 005. One of the great BA porters. Pours very dark brown, definitely not black, mocha colored head that lingers, sticking to the glass. Nose is bakers chocolate, cocoa, a hint of licorice, vanilla / oak, lots of caramel & brown sugar bourbon sweetness. Flavor stays shy of hot but there is a ton of bourbon. Finish brings in more of that licorice and maybe a bit of molasses. Plenty thick for the style but light enough to remain nimble.

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Photo of chinchill
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Big Hops Growler Station in San Antonio during a Karbach tap takeover.

Excellent appearance with an exceptionally creamy and durable tan head.
Excellent use of barrel aging: the whisky and wood are prominent but do not bury the fine porter base. Near perfect bitter/sweet balance. Very smooth full body with spot on carbonation.

O: highly recommended.

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Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Hellfighter from Karbach Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94.2% out of 100 with 537 ratings
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