1. One Hundred Mags (Rule). Check out the sneak peek of BeerAdvocate magazine #100, plus some of the changes coming your way.

Fantôme Black Ghost - Brasserie Fantôme

Not Rated.
Fantôme Black GhostFantôme Black Ghost

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

186 Ratings
THE BROS
65
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 186
Reviews: 145
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 18.96%
Wants: 37
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie Fantôme visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: francisweizen on 01-06-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 186 | Reviews: 145
Photo of biboergosum
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml capped and corked Burgundian bottle. Casper's evil twin graces the label. Thanks to hoppypocket for the trade.

This beer pours a cloudy, near-opaque murky brownish-amber colour, with tons of tiny rising bubbles, which seem to make the foamy, puffy, but heretofore stabilized beige head grow before my eyes, above the glass, into a weird set jello like state. Anyways, after a coon's age, I get some weakly distributed spotty lace around the glass.

It smells of smoldering tire fires, meaty caramel malt, earthy yeast, woody Islay peat, singed leaves, BBQ'd dark fruit, cheesy funk, battered coriander and black pepper, tanned leather, and herbal, soapy hops. The taste is thankfully dialed down a bit, the smoke restrained to a certain degree, yet it still permeates everything - the peppy, funky yeast, the fleshy black fruit, the sweating leather, the cocoa-tinged bready pale malt, the bludgeoned, and indistinct spice, and the herbal, leafy hops.

The bubbles are, as noted, a bit retarded in their over-ebullient nature, but actually settle down after more than a wee spell, the body medium-light in weight, and hardly smooth, as that cannot possibly be this one's game. It finishes mostly dry, the lingering ashy, peaty, and just plain smoky essence hard to define otherwise, even if there is other stuff with more pleasant things going on.

Wow. Wasn't expecting that. So, take a gentle, easy-drinking style, and lay waste to it - literal scorched earth, baby! Christ on a crutch, I have to work to find something nice to say about this. Ok, um, the overbearing smoke and overreaching carbonation aren't everything here - it just seems like it most of the time. Might make a good grilling marinade, I suppose.

Photo of jrenihan
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle does not appear to be dated, despite the label having the ability to accommodate dating.

Beer is very murky and brownish. Not the "black ghost" advertised. Opaque. Large off-white head. Excellent retention.

Smell is yeasty, with some accompanying smoke. Malty, wood notes. Not what I expected!

Taste contains yeast quite strongly. Plenty of malt character, bready with a slight fruit flavour. Noticeable sweetness. Wood. Spices are quite evident but hard for me to single out- perhaps clove and nutmeg? Smoke is present in the flavour but not as strongly as the nose- strongest in the finish. Unusual flavour but not in a good way.

Rather heavy, with moderate carbonation. Oddly bulky, and quite astringent.

Overall, quite disappointing. The regular Fantome is certainly one of my favourite beers, but this one is not very good. The fruit elements are nice, but the woody character of the beer does not fit and does not work.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
1.33/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to capra12 for this one. 75ml corked and capped bottle into a Cantillon tulip.

Pours a 2 finger frothy, cream colored head with good retention. Beer is a clear dark grape juice color. Lacing is stringy and patchy with good cling. Thin but oily legs. Very pretty.

This one smells something awful. Notes of peppercorn, coriander, tart dark fruit, dust, and must... all of which would be ok if it wasn't for the overwhelmingly tart vomit odor emanating from this brew. Yikes.

Opens roasted malt, rust, pepper flakes, poppy seed, and dirt. Tastes like someone dug up a grave and put the soil in this beer. Aftertaste of bitter ash, dirty water, and rust. It doesn't get much worse than this.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. But really, how do you get a feel for the body of a beer that you can barely keep down? Goes down (unfortunately) thin and with a bit of booziness. Finishes messy with a harsh, linginerg, punishing aftertaste.

I can say with confidence that this is the worst beer that I've ever had the displeasure of reviewing. Like someone took dirt, ash, rust, and all things vile, mixed it into a saison, and bottled it. A miss if there ever was one.

Photo of Thorpe429
2.44/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Moll for this one. Served in a Fantome tulip. Nose has a bit of light caramel with some bread crust. Slight nuttiness and dry yeast. Flavor is a bit tannic and oxidized. Odd. Another one I wasn't really a fan of (same night as Sante-16!), but I'm glad to have finally tried it and knocked it off my Fantome wish list.

Photo of ehammond1
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle

Acquired via online purchase

A murky, cloudy dark brown with a huge dark khaki colored head that stays and stays and stays, eventually cascading down into thick chunks of sticky lace.

A somewhat strange aroma of grass, hay, barnyard, some peat, and mild smoke character. Different than any other Fantome offering I've had. The smoke and peat character emerge more and more as the beer warms.

The flavor is too not like anything I've had before, though that's not surprising given Fantome's reputation. Smoke, peat, some feet, barnyard, grass, and a mild earthy hop character interplay with one another. It's interesting, but not one of the more pleasant Fantome offerings I've had.

Medium bodied with high, slightly creamy, carbonation.

I'm glad I tried it, but I don't need to have another. I wouldn't turn it down though, either.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 10.25.12.

A - Pours a murky brown with a very large, tan head that fades slowly.

S - Funk, oak, and a mix of spices.

T - Funky, leather, pipe smoke, earthy.

D - Good carbonation with a heavier body.

O - Dark, deep and dirty. Not sure about this one.

Photo of drabmuh
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks Michael, filling in my Fantome gaps slowly. This beer was sort of a disaster but before I give it a horrible review I want to go on record that will try this again in the future, a bottle of recent vintage and give it one more chance, but as this bottle stands it was like drinking the floor of a forest, dirt and twigs.

Beer is dark brown and really hazy, very hazy. no head, no lacing, no retention.

Aroma is dirt and mild smokiness...odd.

Beer is medium in body and tastes like dirt and wood. Weird. I did not like it.

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly cloudy reddish copper color with a nice 2 finger fluffy khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Good spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of coriander, cherry, clove, raisin, roasted grain, pear, earth, hay, cocoa, peppercorn, must, light funk, and yeast spices. Very nice and interesting aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of cherry, pear, raisin, roasted grain, cocoa, coriander, clove, earth, hay, pepper, grass, toast, herbal, must, and yeast spiciness. Fair amount of peppery spice on the finish; with lingering notes of cherry, dried fruits, roasted grain, cocoa, clove, pepper, toast, earth, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance between roasted flavors and spiciness; great amount of flavor complexity. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and fairly crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden for 8%, with pretty much zero warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is an excellent dark saison! A lot of nice complexity and balance of flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Very unique and interesting; but very enjoyable.

Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml poured into a matching Fantome tulip. This is the "noire de noire" version which I am uncertain if that makes it any different from the normal Black Ghost. In my glass, it appears a very clouded light brown color. When held to the light, it appears more of a deep copper to amber with some yellowish hints around the edges. A rich 2 finger cap of fluffy yellowish/tan head sits atop and maintains throughout the entire duration with a finger's strength supported by a constant stream of bubbles rushing to the surface. As the cap fades, it leaves strings and spots of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma starts with a bit of dark fruit quality faintly reminiscent of apples and quickly turns to a spice like pepper. As it opens up, there is some leather quality to this that mixes with earth and something that is almost soapy. More earthiness comes out of this brew as it warms up, but it takes on more of a hop earthiness with a very muted note of citrus.

The taste is significantly more bitter than I was expecting. It has hop flavoring that is herbal, earthy, floral and rindy. When small sips are taken, there is a bit of fruit and citrus character but it is dominated by a wet leathery flavor. Mid palate a taste of dark graininess somewhat like chocolate is present but it dissolves fairly fast into the bitterness. The aftertaste is quite herbal and drying with a faint soapy flavor just like the aroma led on.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation that visually looks effervescent but in the feel it is spot on for the style. This brew really has me scratching my head. It was not what I was expecting and there seems like an exaggerated bitterness here that doesn't quite fully come from hops. I can only imagine that the mystery ingredient or "spices" here might be bringing there own level of bitterness into this brew. Of all the Fantome offerings I have had, this one is quite reminiscent of a cross between the second batch of Clos Preal and BBB Dark White. Unfortuantely, those 2 brews I just mentioned are among my least favorite of Dany's offerings.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is full of spices, with some additional dark fruit notes and some strong Belgian yeast. The flavor is very complex. I get some light tartness and funk from the Belgian yeast, but I also get some spices, caramel malt, orange and apple notes. A slightly funky, spicy and fruit saison that works very well together. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of amphion1065
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from 2009, enjoyed at Lord Hobo from a tulip. Reviewed from notes.

I'll grant that I drank this in a dark bar, but the beer appeared almost black at first. Virtually no head on this one.

The aroma is absolutely wonderful. Absolutely huge brett notes, pungent and funky with a very clear tartness. I could smell the funk as soon as my glass was poured, and this truly does remind me of a dark sour. Apart from that very strong, earthy sourness, there is a slight hint of cocoa.

Gotta love Fantôme - there's virtually no sourness at all in the taste. Instead, there's a rich array of flavors that are at once evocative of an totally different from many BSDAs. Chocolate and a curious mix of baking spices. Belgian yeast. Lightly smoked malts, with a little touch of bacon. It's absurd, but it really does work.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but it's not terrible. For such a complex beer, this was really quite easy to drink.

I ordered this bottle expecting whimsy, and I wasn't disappointed. Totally bizarre and idiosyncratic - I expected nothing less.

Photo of mrfrancis
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with a thin white mousse that surprisingly laces pretty deep into the glass.

S: The nose is interesting, and as other reviewers have noted, is reminiscent of a sour Flanders red ale. Suggestions of black cherry, spiced pears, apples, oak, and lactic, funky yeast are very apparent on the nose.

T: Opens sweet and smooth with notes of caramel, red apple, black cherry, pear, dark bread, woody spice, oak, must, and lactic, sour yeast. The finish is tart and funky with a combination of spice, caramel, yeast, and fruit flavors. Surprisingly, there is no alcohol burn whatsoever.

M: Medium-bodied, dry, and firm with subtle carbonation. Easier to drink than one would expect.

O: This seems to be another one of those beers that I like and others don't. Regardless of what one thinks of it, it is very different from most Belgian saisons. Worth a shot.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

trying to get ahold of some more fantome bottles so if you read this feel free to send some more my way.

Poured a beautiful clear brown with a huge frothy head. Smell was very spicey, grassy and earthy tones with a hint of sweetness. The taste was classic belgian and very nicely done. Fruitness and spices predominate, no hint of alcohol, which at 8%abv is incredible. Really smooth and effortless in drinkability. This is a fantastic brew, way too easy to drink, honestly the easiest 8% I have ever had.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
2.79/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml from somewhere in Colorado, I can't honestly remember where I got this or how much I paid for it. Into a NB Globe.

A: More red in color than anything else has an off white head, not quite an inch worth that recedes to a cap about a quarter of an inch thick. Decent clarity on the initial pour. Interesting looking beer.

S: Pretty light in the nose initially, quite phenolic, after it breathes a bit of a spicy profile starts to show itself and a few burnt malts. Definitely not a typical Fantome beer. Black pepper is definitely in there as well. Not sure on this one.

T: Very odd, some lacto notes and maybe a bit of funk, and then a weird malt profile of slight roast and and a bit of a pilsner malt bite to it as well. After that there are some pretty distinct notes of black pepper. Pretty decent amount of bitterness in the finish. Maybe just a touch of oxidation in there as well. Hmm...I'm not sold on this one. Strange, and really not that enjoyable, seems really watered down for a beer this 8%.

M: Very light bodied, fairly strong carbonation, also fairly dry. Once again, very watery beer.

D: Probably my least favorite beer, to date, from Fantome. Very watered down and strange tasting, I'm going to have to say that the black pepper flavor is not pleasing at all to my palate and that's the main spice that stands out for me. Not very enjoyable, but I will finish the bottle. A rare miss from Fantome.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml shared courtesy of viggo I believe - thanks man!

Pours a ruddy brown with hints of cherry and tinges of purple - loads of yeast in the bottom.

This is one funky duck - makes me think Flanders Red meets Black Saison. Peppery on the entry with a serious funky sour cherry kick, fruit cake, vinegar, light lemon, caramel malt, some wood. Sour pucker ending, light sweetness throughout. Not bad but it seems kind of disjointed and the oddness sort of wears on you, just not that drinkable.

Photo of bobsy
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an extremely strange goose.

Dark brown pour with a tan head that laced well. Flanders red meets fruit lambic meets saison in the nose. Funk and sour fruit. Interesting and unexpected. Flavour has much of the same. The funkiness of a saison is there, but so is the sour fruitiness of a flanders red, coming to the fore with a big cherry character. This all combines somewhat uneasily with a light roast. Medium-light body with a spritzy carb.

There are certainly a lot of things going on here, and its an interesting beer, but it doesn't quite come together as I hoped. Still enjoyable, but I expected a bit more from Fantome.

Cheers to Eric for bringing this over a while back.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a Tank 7 tulip. Bottle conditioned. Poured a reddish brown with a finger of off white head. Fruity aroma, Belgian yeast spice, and a touch of sourness. As it warmed pepper came out in the aroma. Sweetness up front. A bit of tartness. Pepper lingers in the finish, but is not overwhelming. Light to medium bodied. Very easy drinking. Another interesting beer from Fantome.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at the Brick Store Pub, courtesy of Lee. Thanks! Pours a hazy reddish brown with a thin head. Interesting aromas of toast and bubblegum- not a combination you get a lot. Pretty different beer than most that the brewery make. Much roastier, and quite a bit more bitter, and less of the straight-up saison style. Problem is, that's what the brewery does best. The roastiness is interesting, but more a distraction really. It overwhelms any herbal or peppery characteristics often found in these beers. Very smooth in the mouth, and pleasant enough, but doesn't sing.

Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Richard.

A: The pour is dark brown color, nearly black with a nice tan head to go with it.

S: The nose offers up a nice acidity and lemon tartness with subtle hints of roasted malts. Quite a bit of fruit notes such as cherries, unripe plums, and raisins.

T: Lots of nice fruit flavors going on here, black cherries, plums, raisins, and maybe even some currants. A moderate lactic tartness that works nicely with the roast and fruits.

M: The body is light to medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: This is one delicious beverage. Fantome is sort of hit or miss with me, but this one was a definite winner.

Photo of augustgarage
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL capped-and-corked green-glass bottle into my Oerbier glass.

Burnt umber-tinged bole liquid which glows a soft coppery chestnut when held up to the sun. Thick creamy wheat colored head which recedes to a half finger of whipped foam - superior retention, slow running sand-dune-like lacing with (oddly) phantom shaped tears.

Musty aromatics with dark fruit, and farmhouse (or maybe attic) scents along with faint malt, cocoa, loam, and spice. Very subdued overall.

The sour palate entry is unmistakably Fantôme suggesting Brett., crab apples, lemon zest, and Luxardo. Some noble hop notes along with lightly roasted speciality (and pils?) malt add depth, while there is a faint herbal/spice note (dandelions, cardamom, burdock root?) leading into an earthy, dry, mineral-rich (but still very tart) finish.

Creamy, effervescent, medium-bodied, and a touch astringent.

Supposedly this started out as a sort of hybrid of a Saison and an Irish Dry Stout - the former is much more identifiable here, but the malt profile, puckering sourness, and odd spice profile makes this brew truly defiant of style guidelines (and thus, that much more difficult to rate).

Photo of hwwty4
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to publicly thank my darling Sister for bringing this to me from Colorado.

Poured a corked and capped 750 into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a pale root beer brown with a massive 4-inch cap that leaves some sticky lacing down the sides of the glass. Crazy head retention. It seems like there is always a inch of frothy capping sitting on top of the beer. The aroma is odd, yet complex. Up front comes an odd underlying sourness, that doesn't derive itself from brett or green bottle funk. Very subtle, yet pronounced. Next comes a light cocoa powder, a bit of nutmeg, an overall nuttiness, and just a bit of over ripe apples. The flavor is amazing. The profile starts out with just a slight bit of bitter bakers chocolate. Followed closely by nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Almost no fruit is available in the profile. A very light bit of sulfur from the green bottle funk, along with a base sourness. There is almost a coffee astringency to the very end of the flavor profile. I'm very torn on the mouthfeel. For a Saison, it would be great. For a BSDA, it's just not quite right. It's thin and dry, leaves the palate screaming for another sip. I love it, it's the type of mouthfeel I find in my favorite Saisons but this isn't a Saison, but, honestly, it really isn't a BSDA either. It's more or less a hybrid of the two styles. Overall, I find it exciting. Love it. Really looking forward to reviewing other Fantôme beers.

Photo of beethousand
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this out of the bottle; didn't enjoy this as much as other Fantome beers.

Interesting herbal aromas and flavors, but overall a bit too dominant, especially as the beer warmed up. The nose was the highlight of the beer; the taste and mouthfeel did not measure up to the nose. Dry and alkaline in the mouthfeel--there are a decent amount of drying characteristics created in the mouth by this beer.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Pours a deep ruby-brown with a nice foamy head that lingers nicely. The smell is figgy, hoppy (sorta), and has a bite of alcohol to it. The taste is overtly musty (almost dusty) with a twinge of hopiness and yeastiness (almost akin to a wheat beer). Unlike the smell, the booziness does not come out in the taste, which, coupled with a lightly medium body, makes the beer more drinkable than most, though the taste is something that one must get used to.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours a rusty dark brown, full white head, some lace.

S: Ruddy lemon, funk, some acid, lots of malt and winter spice.

T: Dark malt, dark fruit - currants, prunes, with some cinnamon. Lemons and limes, citric acid in there too. Pretty one-dimensional outright flavour akin with the nose.

M: Mild acidity, good body and drinkable for sure.

D: A weird beer, farmhouse and Old World. I liked it's weirdness, but not a beer, I said, hey I need to try this again. The dark Fantome beers haven't been really doing it for me so far.

Photo of adamette
2.14/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Live review. The third of four consecutive Fantôme beers that I purchased for $13.99 one day at the Beer Engine in Lakewood. I have been wanting to drink these since I got them a few months ago and now is the time as I approach my 800th review. Poured from the 1 pint, 9.4 oz. green bottle which was corked and capped but removing the cap resulted in no carbonation release, it was all held in by the cork. Lot # and "best by" date not marked on the label of my bottle. The little chart is there but nothing is marked. The cork has the exact same mark as the regular Fantôme Saison, 086/477044. Poured into my gold rimmed Ommegang "Westvleteren" style goblet.

A Light brown, creamy head that started out as about 2 inches but dissipated down to a thin layer on top of the brown/orange translucent body. Good look that is reminiscent of more classic Belgian Strong Dark Ales. 4.0

S Strong Belgian yeast, malt smells. Sniffs taken later in the bottle pour revealed more of the rotten, putrid tastes that I describe below and so I am going to lower my smell rating from 3.5 to 2.5

T Not good. I am a fan of Belgian beers and Fantôme beers in particular but this one has a rotten kind of taste that is not welcome. I don't know if that is the "Noire de Noire" aspect or what but it makes it difficult to drink. Behind the rotten grains taste is the malt and probably the yeast but it is difficult for me to get past that rotten wood taste. I have reason to believe that the beer was fresh and not skunked since removing the cork released a fair amount of "mist." 2.0

M Sharp with the rotten tastes, strong, not well hidden ABV and malt. Not a good feel which is heavily influenced by the taste. 2.0

D Not good at all. I drank about 14 ounces of it and simply could not keep drinking this beer. I could not believe it but it became a drain pour after a few minutes of consideration. 1.5

Notes: A big dissapointment due to the rotten grains taste that I got. I would not recommend this beer unless someone can advise me that this bottle was not typical.

to view more.
Fantôme Black Ghost from Brasserie Fantôme
86 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.