Fantasy Factory | Karben4 Brewing

79 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Fantasy FactoryFantasy Factory

Brewed by:
Karben4 Brewing
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Ri0 on 06-11-2013

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 567
Photo of KensWorld
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle dated 1/2017. Great label graphics, gun toting cat on fire farting unicorn, what they smoking up there in Madison.

Hazey honey color with 1 finger off white head that has great retention.

Smells sub par, no hoppy aroma.

Tastes is malt forward. Not much hop presence. Slightly bitter.

It feels more like an English IPA.

Lacking that intenseness of coastal IPAs but still having more overall drinkablity then most.

 430 characters

Photo of beerguy04
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark orange. Smells of fruit, citrus, and pine. Taste is okay. Has a piney bitterness. Not much citrus or fruit notes. Mouthfeel is average for an IPA. Overall good, but not great.

 193 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle. Deep orange body. Smells of bready malts, a little fruitiness, some citrus, and floral hops. Tastes again of very bready malts. Kinda sweet. Spicy hops with pine resin in the back end. Medium body. Definitely a malty IPA. I'm used to citrus bombs at this point. This has a nice English malty flavor and an old-school balanced hop profile.

 362 characters

Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Kelly!

A: A hazy orange amber in color, with a light tan head.

S: Smells like grapefruit and orange peel. Light honey.

T: Orange peel, citrus and tropical fruit. Nice bitterness and a decent touch of malt.

M: Medium in body, with fairly aggressive carbonation and a dry finish.

O: Overall a damn fine beer. thanks Kelly.

 336 characters

Photo of Ferretferret
4.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Out of around 100-150 beers, this is my second favorite, and my favorite of the ones available at every bar (at least, in Madison). The runaway hit of Karben4, that "The Bros" have not yet heard of this one should be criminal! This is the single favorite IPA of 3/4 of the people I talk to, and the favorite beer of many. If you want something that defines every IPA flavor in one, with a citrus splash usurped by a pine finish, this is it.

 440 characters

Photo of B-rett
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Bright orange with little head. Looks like an orange drink.
S-Light citrus and pine. Very appealing.
T-Definitely two layers of flavor. First sweet citrus juice followed shortly after by pine and roasted malt to finish.
M-Juicy is the best word. Well carbonated.
O-Who could pass up a bottle with a cat riding on a unicorn? Tasty IPA and definitely a brewery I'll have to visit next time I'm in Madison.

 409 characters

Photo of ksimons
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a dark orange color with a fingers worth of rocky white head

S-citrus, tropical fruits, and caramel malt

T-citrus, grapefruit, pine, and light caramel

M-medium body and crisp carbonation

Overall a nice IPA, easy drinking but enough hops to make it stand out

 264 characters

Photo of FBarber
3.74/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a bright opaque but seemingly not hazy orange color. Terribly thin white head lingers around the edges of the beer.

Smell is very juicy - notes of orange, grapefruit, caramel malts and tons of dank weed.

Taste follows the nose with notes of orange, orange marmalade, grass, dank weed, herbs, and a strong bitter finish. Solid malt backbone is noted. Pervasive weed flavors are noted throughout.

Feel is light and crisp yet its not thin. Medium carbonation. Bitter finish produces some dryness in the mouth.

Overall a nice old school style IPA.

 557 characters

Photo of Jaypeajus
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Looks hazy orange little bit of a ring. Smells very mild, grapefruit rind, tinge of hops. Taste/feel at front is sweet citrus, mid hops shine, and is a piney finish. Overall decent. Artwork is great BTW

 202 characters

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with The-Adjunct-Hippie. 12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours hazy/cloudy golden orange color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pepper, pine, biscuit, light honey/toast, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of bright citrus/fruity/earthy hops and moderate pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pepper, pine, biscuit, light honey/toast, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Moderate pine/spicy/citrus peel bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, pepper, pine, biscuit, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/fruity/earthy hops and moderate pale malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero lingering hop astringency after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitterness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/grainy/sticky, and lightly resinous balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 6.3%. Overall this is a great IPA! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/fruity/earthy hops and moderate pale malt flavors; very smooth, easy, and pretty refreshing to drink. A really well balanced IPA that has great hop vibrancy, without being too bitter or drying. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,829 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark orange color with full opacity. Head is 1 finger tall with a 45 degree pour and fades to a thin ring after a few moments.

Fresh aromas of mango, tea, orange pith, biscuit malt, and pink grapefruit.

Flavor is much more dank than expected, super herbal. Some spiciness as well, followed with hints of grapefruit, orange pith, and cantaloupe rind. Very firmly herbal and bitter though.

Super carbonated, quite creamy though, with a nice semi-dry parch on the finish.

Overall, quite an impressive IPA. If I had to describe it, it wouldn't be fruity - it would be totally dank, herbal, and juicy. It's super good though, worth seeking out for sure.

 656 characters

Photo of robbieracer
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Superb IPA, my nephew introduced me to this beer while visiting in Wisconsin. Was my favorite beer back there, drank it on draft and in bottles. crisp, clean taste, not too bitter with nice finish. Looking forward to trying this again in the future.

 252 characters

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For my 250th review, I chose a Wisconsin beer that I really enjoy that I've never gotten around to reviewing: Karben4's Fantasy Factory. I picked up a six-pack of 12 oz bottles at The Malt Shoppe in Milwaukee. No bottling code that I can see, but all the other bottles from the pack tasted quite fresh. Poured right from the fridge into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a cloudy, dirty apricot with about an inch of eggshell head that sticks around for a little while, falls to a moderate film and ring, and leaves mild lacing on the glass as it goes down. The lazy visible carbonation is mostly obscured by a good deal of very fine particulate that seems frozen in the glass.

S: A very unique and engaging bouquet on this one: there are orange and lemon citrus notes, pineapple notes, some melon, and some resinous pine. There's also a bit of grassy and tea-like hop aroma. The malts are bready and a bit toasty, which adds a nice element to the nose. As another BA mentioned, the whole show has a bit of a sugar cookie aroma to it.

T: Bready and sweeter caramel malts are there at the outset. Following on their heels is some bright, astringent hop flavor that tastes of lemon and orange. Toward the middle, there's a growing resinous pine presence, as well as grassy, spicy, and tea-like hop notes. Some melon and pineapple in the middle, with an accompanying sweetness and toasted quality from the malts. I'm enjoying where the malts help to take this flavor--they're definitely doing as much work as the hops here. The back end introduces some definite citrus rind/bitter resinous pine hop flavor, but there's still an underlying sweetness that keeps it from being abrasive.

F: This one is on the heftier side of light-bodied/the lightest side of medium-bodied, and it has a modest level of carbonation that keeps things lively and creamy on the palate. Smooth, astringent, creamy, and bitter in turns. While it does have a lighter body, I never got the impression that it tasted watery.

O: I'm a big fan of this IPA. I think the things I like most about it are its interesting and engaging aroma and somewhat offbeat flavor profile. The malts brings a sweet and toasty quality to the experience that really sets this one apart from most pale ales out there today. Which isn't to say that this one doesn't bring great hop flavor, because it really does have some great hop notes--a very nice blend of citrus, tropical, pine, and herbal. This one may not be for everyone, but I definitely recommend giving it a shot.

 2,516 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

L-Peach colored...little head...light lacing

S-Ripe citrus fruits...juicy tangerines and mandarin orange slices...also a good dose of toasty malt notes as well

T-Toasty malt and fresh citrus.....(see above)....hops less assertive on flavor....very balanced IPA...

F-Biggest knock is the carbonation and body....a bit thin and carbonation is very low which makes this slide down very quick....not a sipper...a drinker...

O-I like the balance and overall flavor and aroma. Not a hop bomb and probably more of an East Coast style IPA. I find it quite enjoyable and a refreshing change.

 589 characters

Photo of larryarms847
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy dark golden orange with a noticeable amount of flaky particulate which looks like the remnants of shaved orange skins.

Big juicy orange and lemony citrus fruit character, zesty and slightly grassy notes overpower any malt character in the aroma.

Pungent and juicy orange, lemon, pineapple, and some other slightly tropical fruit flavor.

Light-medium bodied, medium carbonation, nice prickly carbonation and smooth finish.

Overall, was very pleased with this beer as it's delicious. My only knock is the amount of particulate as it is definitely not yeast, which I don't mind in my beer, but looks like they need to filter better after mashing.

 665 characters

Photo of DJChaseTheBase
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this from a 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. I feel I may have received a slightly dated IPA here due to the lack of citrus taste and overwhelmed funky bitterness taste. The aroma was great w/ extreme citrus notes, then when tasting I couldn't find the taste I was smelling due to the bitterness overpowering the beer. I wish there was a date on the bottle so I knew when this was brewed. I guess I will have to go to Wisconsin and try this on tap, because I'm not feeling it this time.

 492 characters

Photo of Peepskp
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is an incredible IPA that needs more recognition. The dank smelling hops are really something special. Floral, citrus, well balanced. These guys know how to brew and are gonna be big.

 188 characters

Photo of woemad
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of the largesse of @Ri0. Not only is this my first Karbon4 beer, but before I received this, I’d never even heard of the brewery. No obvious freshness date. There is some sort of code stamped on the bottle but it either has nothing to do with a date, or I’ve had too much to drink to be able to figure it out. Incidentally, this is one fantastically weird beer label. For those not in the know, it’s of a bandanna-wearing cat riding a flame-snorting unicorn while brandishing what looks like a Colt .45 (the pistol, not the beer). Rainbows and a castle can be seen in the background, along with glitter(?) that is apparently hanging in the air. Weird stuff, and I own albums and books of artwork from the likes of H.R. Giger and Roger Dean!

Poured into a pseudo-IPA glass from Mad Bomber Brewing, this was a burnt orange-amber colored brew, hazy with some really tiny sedimentary guys floating about, so small they look like Don Ho’s favorite subject. Big, sudsy, beige-colored head, easily agitated back to life after it fell, with “beer neglige” style lace left on the glass.

Grapefruity hop nose, a little subdued. Not as piney smelling as a typical PNW IPA (the IPA “style” I’ve had the most of), but not as sweetly citrusy and juicy as a stereotypical New England IPA. Is this my first standard Midwestern IPA? I think it is.

While the grapefruit leads the charge, there’s a more herbal, tea-like hop flavor in the middle of the taste, whose bitterness comes to dominate the finish, which ends dry, like pretty much any IPA, but softer than the perhaps brash, piney bitter finishes I’m more used to.

More or less medium bodied, perhaps a little thinner than I’m used to for an IPA, but not to a deal-breaking extent. Slightly creamy, resiny mouthfeel.

It occurs to me that I don’t think I’ve ever had a Midwest IPA before! This makes me wonder if this is a standard IPA for the region. It’s definitely a take on the IPA that is different than what I encounter generally in my own region. It’s kinda like an English IPA, but with balls, if that makes any sense. I’m finding myself wishing I had a bunch of Midwest IPAs and embarking on a taste test saga to see if, indeed, I’ve tapped into a regional variation, but I’d probably just end up drunk. While not a type of IPA I'm used to, I'd definitely drink this again.

 2,385 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. The aroma features a lot of fresh resinous citrusy hops. The taste as the color suggests is nicely balanced with a big dose of hops and a nice malt backbone to help balance things out. Solid IPA.

 230 characters

Photo of Barnoloid
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Top notch IPA here - one that I had been waiting to get my hands on. Benefits from not being too imbalanced in any direction - easy drinking lower ABV IPA. The label art is awesome of course, and the appearance of the beer follows suit - burnt orange with a look like it has been run through an Instagram filter for added depth. This is fairly sessionable too - light citrus rind notes backed up by enough of a solid back end to keep things ticking along.

 455 characters

Photo of NolaHopHead
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Hazy amber with finger white head, great retention and coating lace. Aroma is mild tropical fruit, touch of sugary malt. Good balance here, starts with toasted malt but the hops show up quickly and take over. Mostly earthy pine and floral notes, a little fruit peeking in, but mostly resiny, touch of stem. Soft creamy medium mouthfeel. Very solid earthy IPA.

 379 characters

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -The beer was a golden orange color with a bubbly white head. Carbonation was visible.

Smell - There are modest citrus notes that blend with light grass/resin.

Taste - At the beginning, I detect orange rind, slight pineapple and a resiny twang. The light backbone brings to mind crackers, which lead nicely into a dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation is noted, quickly brushing away any sweet notes.

Overall - This is a fairly standard American IPA

 474 characters

Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$9.99 6-Pack
Discount Liquor - Milwaukee

Fantasy Factory is an orange libation. It glows like the setting sun when backlit. The touch of haze that runs throughout gives it that dusky appearance. The silky foam is linen white as it rises to a finger in height. Taking its sweet time to settles it leaves sheet lacing down the glass. Fantasy Factory is a damn good looking beer.

The nose is citrusy and softly tropical. Jammy orange marmalade gets things going before being met with peach rings, pineapple, and lime zest. This beer smells like a crazy fruit salad. There are some soft resins running through the backend as well. A Doughy maltiness makes up the majority of the malt profile but there's some sugar cookie in there as well.Nice.

The flavor profile is a little different from the nose. A sturdy resin and pine hoppiness is what grabs your attention and it pushes through from start to finish. The fruitiness plays accompaniment with grapefruit pith and soft pineapple. There is even a hint of florals going on in there. The malt profile is straight up sugar cookie and toast in the flavor, while that's noticeable this is no doubt geared toward hops.

The body sits at moderate in weight but a slick feel makes this beer incredibly easy to put away. The carbonation is nearly unnoticeable in that it's not prickly, aggressive nor nonexistent or flat. It's just right.
The bitterness builds to moderate and hovers around there throughout the drink. I can't say that I'm setting the glass down much while drinking this beer.

Fantasy Factory is a damn good beer from up 'der in Madison, you betcha. The hop profile is fruity and resinous jumping from one to the other. It's a highly drinkable libation as well.I'll certainly pick more of this up and the future and would recommend it to anyone.

 1,818 characters

Photo of Hopera
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

With a bottle like that, you don't even really need the beer to be good. Luckily, it's one of the strongest small craft brews I've had the pleasure of tasting on a whim. Super murky and wonderful, it takes the esb and ipa characteristics and blends them in a fine, earthy brew that is super drinkable. If you come across this, buy it!

 337 characters

Photo of Carb-Overlord
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

So this is what happens when final fantasy dorks form a brewing company... awesomeness. Strangely, what caught my eye in the store was the artwork. I keep asking myself, "is there fire shooting out the backside of that unicorn? ... huh... "

This is a very solid IPA. This has a fresh crisp feel with that citrusy grapefruit flavor upfront with a bitter backend (just like the flames of that unicorn). I would love this beer after push mowing the lawn or a marathon session of gaming. Well played team. Well played.

 521 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Fantasy Factory from Karben4 Brewing
4.16 out of 5 based on 567 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.