Fantôme De Noel - Brasserie Fantôme
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Ratings: 544 | Reviews: 344 | Display Reviews Only:
3.8/5 rDev -3.1%
This guy only makes great saisons, but this isn't his best. Was below average in my March 25 Xmas beer playoff. Still reasonable saison. Pepper, sour dark. Creamy medium plus mouthfeel. Barnyard smell, but not the most barnyard of all the Fantome I have tried. Fresh from Belgium.
03-25-2005 20:40:11 | More by Sammy
4.38/5 rDev +11.7%
Lot # E. Best before 10/2013.
Pours a murky orange red with a 1 inch fizzy tan head that settles to a circle of foam around the edge of the glass. No lacing on this one. Smell is of sour cherries and sugary/spice aromas. Taste is of sour cherries, spices, slight vinegar, and subtle spice flavors. There is a sour acidity that lingers on the tongue after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a very crisp and fizzy mouthfeel. Overall, I really enjoyed this one but if I tried it blind the last thing I would think it was would be a saison. This is much more like a kriek lambic or other sour beer in my opinion. However, this is quite tasty no matter what.
01-16-2012 05:08:14 | More by UCLABrewN84
3.73/5 rDev -4.8%
Fantome tasting last weekend, served in a Fantome tulip.
Pours a dark brown color with a bit of a reddish hue. Short head and a bit of lacing. The nose is a bit of Fantome character with spice and some dark malt. Hints of dark fruit. The flavor is similar with a dark-malt presence. Medium body with moderate carbonation. Pretty good.
11-10-2011 12:04:35 | More by Thorpe429
4.2/5 rDev +7.1%
A: The beer is cloudy brownish amber in color and poured with a thin head that faded away very rapidly and left lacy patterns of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of apples, sourness and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a mild amount of sourness.
M: It feels light-bodied and slightly tart on the palate and has a light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is extremely easy to drink because there no traces of alcohol detectable in the smell or taste.
01-01-2011 22:17:05 | More by metter98
3.23/5 rDev -17.6%
Glowing blood orange that looks almost phosphorescent when the rays of the setting sun are allowed to diffuse through the liquid. Fantome de Noel looks like no other Fantome beer that I've ever seen and is easily festive enough to live up to the promise of its name. A sponge-like crown of pale golden orange foam looks good as well. I love how sunlight often turns great looking beer into stunning looking beer.
Most all offerings from this brewery share a signature scent that makes their origins instantly identifiable. Describing that aroma accurately is another matter entirely. This one is brown malty, sour fruity and warmly spicy. I suppose it was too much to expect Brasserie Fantome to deliver anything resembling a conventional Christmas beer, with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and the like. I would have been happier with something along those lines however.
I have no idea how old this bottle is. I have to believe that it's fairly fresh though since the unnotched 'best by' date portion of the label starts at '07 and runs through '12. I only bring that up because the beer feels old in the mouth. By that I mean that it feels thin and broken down rather than young and supple. Light and airy would have been out of place, but at least it would have been enjoyable. For a 10% ABV winter warmer/saison, the mouthfeel that has been provided is completely unacceptable.
Given the mouthfeel, the flavor profile has a tough row to hoe. The beer simply doesn't stay in contact with the taste buds long enough for any sort of depth or complexity to become apparent. I guess that means that there isn't any. Sour, heavily spiced fruit (unripe apples especially) is the flavor focus, along with a heavy dose of that trademark Fantome funk and too much acetic acid for its own good.
Almost all Fantome beer is dizzyingly complex on first blush. Halfway through the bottle one begins to realize that it all makes a wacky sort of sense. What seemed to clash becomes complementary; what seemed odd and different becomes enjoyable and familiar. I'm sorry to say that none of those things are happening with this beer. It's my least favorite Fantome to date.
I had hoped that getting into the bottom of the bottle would result in at least a minor increase in flavor intensity and mouthfeel viscosity, but it hasn't. The thing that's absolutely amazing is that I can detect no hint of alcohol. This is, quite possibly, the best-masked 10.0% ABV ale in existence. Given all of the above, I wonder if the brewery didn't put a 5.0% saison into the wrong bottle.
Fantome de Noel is an oddball beer from an oddball brewery. I use that term affectionately when describing Brasserie Fantome since I love most of what they brew. I use it less than affectionately in describing this disappointing seasonal ale.
12-14-2006 22:57:42 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.33/5 rDev +10.5%
Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a rocky, but underwhelming, head that leaves more film than lacing
Smell: Various dark fruits (dates and figs) and spices (allspice and cinnamon) waft from the glass
Taste: The initial neutral malt flavor provides a platform for a range of different tastes - dark fruit, holiday spices and a touch of sweetness as well as piney bitterness; after the swallow, the beer changes character with a finish that is spicy, lemony and slightly sour, but still retains a hint of the figgy sweetness
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation
Drinkability: A range of flavors; like all of the Fantôme beers, this one was unusual
04-02-2006 18:56:07 | More by brentk56
4.35/5 rDev +11%
maroonish colored brown. Almost a garnet color with lots of hints of reddish tones around the outside and bottom. Nearly opague as well. A large tan head of about three fingers high
Lots of musty wild yeast and a touch of some earthy and woody like smells as well. Very hard to describe, but as others have noted, almost a salty or briney like smell to it. It was very odd, very full and very good. Some light fruit notes way in the back but they were pretty much obscured. deep musty bread like tones mingled in with a very big presence of yeast.
Nice medium body had alot of carbonation which led to a very nice creamy feel. Great follow through and really no slickness here at all. This was very good.
11-20-2011 03:31:39 | More by mikesgroove
3.63/5 rDev -7.4%
Rustic, earthy, and spicy. If you're wishing for that time machine that can take you back to when the term "farmhouse" meant something, then what's there not to love in this charming artisnal ale?
The beer's rusty color perfectly preserves its signature yeasty haze. The combination of color and cloud makes the beer look dense, but its abundance of carbonation and billowing rust-stained foam tells me that the beer is lighter and zestier. Oddly light on lace, the beer simply doesn't stick to the glass well although its persistent retention depicts high quality.
Strong earthy spiciness sets the aromatic tone with rye, peppercorn, clove, damp wood, soil, smoke, and an overall floral bouquet. Underlying malt elements of bread crust, dough, and caramelized barley support the spice notes but never rival for attention. Light on fruit, the scent of bruised peach, pear, and apricot have a light showing as the beer warms.
Grain sweetness kicks off the taste in a short-lived manner. Soon after, acidic notes of apple and lemon take hold and create a bridge toward the flavors of rye and whole wheat bread. It's overall husky tastes seems to complement well the flavors of peppercorn, smoked malt, light cumin, clove, and paradise seed. With little hops to mention, the balance of the beer relies on acidity and yeast spices to counteract the grain sweetness and earthen malts.
Incredibly characterful, the beer still retains a lighter overall body despite its creamy upstart and mild sweetness. The beer simply does a lot of work between the front palate and finish. Ending spicy, earthy, dry, and with mild warmth; there's also a naked tannin texture that creates mild powdery sensations.
The beer reminds me of readings that hark back to times when malts were kilned over open fires and a darker, smokier beer was produced. Though recent develops yield cleaner results, I'm glad that these examples are still around to give this beer enthusiast as grounded sense of wonderment.
01-29-2013 07:11:42 | More by BEERchitect
3.5/5 rDev -10.7%
Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a super huge light brown foamy head with excellent retention. Aroma of sweet candy, spices which may includes some pepper and some sourness. Taste is quite eclectic with something that resemble like sweet candy at first and then I got it with a mix between pepper, sour malt and dry finish form some weird hops. Body is lighter then expected for such a beer and alcohol is well hidden. Not bad overall but not great either. It just seems like too many things are going on at once.
09-08-2006 16:58:19 | More by Phyl21ca
3.25/5 rDev -17.1%
Pours a dark mahogany color with a large off-white head. Not quite what I was expecting from the nose. A bit of sour dark fruit and herbal notes to go along with various spices, especially pepper. There is some sweetness of malt to it and maybe a bit of yeast. The flavor is sort of sweet and sour with a pronounced prune and raisin flavor. Some more of the herbal notes are there as are somewhat faint spices. Weird. Not really my favorite Fantome.
01-04-2012 21:55:23 | More by womencantsail
4.4/5 rDev +12.2%
750ml bottle - $8.00 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Appearance: Pours out a medium brown body, thoroughly hazed, with a tall, foamy, though brief, beige head.
Smell: Initial notes of toasted, brown sugar sprinkled bread, heavy dose of farmhouse cider, iced champagne mignonette, and a few stray golden raisins. Then, a bit of berry chutney, vanilla sugar, fragrant gentian, allspice, alligator pepper, and spiced honey candies.
Taste: Toasty malts, a thin sliver of caramel, light-colored brown sugar, but not too terribly much in the way of overall sweetness. Sips of sharp champagne vinegar, a few bits of shredded mint leaf, then more alcohol tossed, chopped fruits tasting of apples, berries, and peaches. Prickly spicy accents balanced by some hints of amber honey and vanilla, so, you've got all this stuff going on without anything overstaying its welcome. Acidic, cidery, lightly spicy but also a bit lightly sweet on well-carbonated finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. High carbonation, crucial to keeping the proceedings moving along fine fashion, without anything become cloying, just languishing on the tongue.
Overall: I'll admit, I was more than a bit hesitant towards purchasing this one. I find many of the X-mas brews to be overtly spiced, more than I'd prefer and some being so heavy and cloying that you're still wrestling with the flavor like hard-shell plastic electronic packaging hours later. Not the case here, as the effusive carbonation is really the key. I was surprisingly delighted.
04-19-2012 19:05:03 | More by ChainGangGuy
4.05/5 rDev +3.3%
2007-2008 release, new label, not same as pictured.
Seething and building foam, initially a three finger head that settles down to one. Reddish glint in the light, otherwise a dark brown body.
Berry aroma, some vanilla and marshmallow is apparent with a swirl. Toasted malt also, with a deeper inhalation.
Cranberry, leather, and dry tobacco. Mild tartness, carbonation mellows after a half hour or so. Creamy feel, long and earthy finish. Some bittersweet chocolate cherry essence. Overall enjoyable, probably best shared due to the fading carbonation.
750mL bottle, 2005 edition.
Pours with a creeping head of tan foam, color is a deep ruddy brown. Smell is tart, with a little farm funk in there. Alternately sweet and boozy smelling.
Taste is sweet at first, then earthy & bittersweet like baker's chocolate. After warming, a lemon peel note comes out. Full mouthfeel, moderately carbonated. A little strong, but not over the top...think rum cake.
A little grapey in the aftertaste.
I managed to finish a bottle, but would reccommend sharing.
09-13-2008 02:18:22 | More by emerge077
4.22/5 rDev +7.7%
A - Poured out a burgundy color with a two-finger, off-white head of thick foamy head. Lengthy retention with a good deal of bubbles and it left sheets of lace.
S - It had a spicy, yeasty aroma with a good malty nose. There were some fruit notes.
T - It was spicy with a malty backbone. A nice candy sugar flavor with some dried fruits. It simply got better and better as I drank it.
M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.
D - This is a really good beer. I love Fantome beers and this is no exception.
03-08-2011 02:10:13 | More by zeff80
3.5/5 rDev -10.7%
Appearance - Dark and opaque, chestnut in color with two inches of foam from a gentle pour.
Smell - Very earthy. Tobacco, leather, a bit of spicy citrus.
Taste & mouthfeel - Light-bodied and bone dry. The flavor is bizarre and complex, ranging from leather and tobacco to lemon to habanero pepper to nutmeg. There's no trace of sweetness - it's hard to believe that this stuff is 10%. The earthy dryness of the finish immediately brings to mind good pipe tobacco.
Notes - Utterly strange beer. It's not something I could drink frequently, but it's very interesting.
03-19-2008 02:48:41 | More by largadeer
4.5/5 rDev +14.8%
As my internet connection has failed once again and I lost my "most eloquent and charmingly evocative" review... I'll just back it up with the basics. (And do a re-review when this year's batch comes out). It is a Fantome beer, right? So it's not quite a case of "How bad could it be?", but more of "How good is it?".
Well, I loved it. In fact, although I didn't find it very Xmas-y (meaning it's not overly spiced), I did appreciate that it would work well at any time of the year; and noted that it was my favorite X-mas beer of the year!
It was hard to pour with alot of effervescence that brought up the yeast and a full head. It eventually dropped to a thin lid, and then just a big-bubbled collar, but overall it held fairly well and left some very nice, wide swatches and tiny islands of lace. The robe beneath was a cloudy, reddish chesnut with glowing orange and amber highlights.
The nose is sweet with a touch of cola; candyish and doughy malt that's touched by caramel; licorice; sweet tarts; dripping, juicy fruits (some tart, some not); wood; and earth.
In the mouth it's lightly tingly (accented by its spiciness), medium bodied, and more airy as it warms (... a lot of the effervescence is released at the pour, leaving it smooth and somewhat creamy).
The flavor is much as the nose suggests, with a doughy malt base piled high with notes of fruit (raisin, prune, tart cherries, sour apple), drying sour oak, and spice (ginger, anise, coriander, cinnamon). It's not overtly complex, revealing its many components as you work your way through it; but it is very interesting and it finishes with a nice touch of wood and some spice (but not too much!).
An excellent, well-balanced X-mas beer!
08-04-2005 01:02:56 | More by NeroFiddled
3.43/5 rDev -12.5%
A - Dark brown, nearly opaque, with just a hint of amber showing through the bottom. Capped by a two finger, light brown head that leaves very little lace behind as it settles.
S - Earthy aroma. Smells of wet leaves, caraway seeds, and sage. Quite herbal and a bit sour.
T - Strange sour, almost salty flavor up front. Bready malt and more of the herbal caraway character that was in the aroma. Very earthy and herbal, mushrooms, wet soil... quite unusual. There is a lot of hop character in the finish and the bitterness plays off the earthy flavors quite well.
M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation.
D - This is not an easily drinkable beer. It is quite complex and very unusual (both characteristics I have come to expect from Fantome), but it is not as pleasant as the other beers that I have been fortunate enough to sample from this brewery. It is quite medicinal and, at times, almost reminds me of seaweed. The dark grains don't seem to have worked too well in this one; it isn't particularly roasty, it just has a slightly unpleasand oak character. I can't see much in this beer that conjures up the Christmas season.
11-19-2007 03:40:37 | More by nickfl
4/5 rDev +2%
2002 Vintage Xmas ale, Appearance: Cloudy mahogany brown amber tone with a massive fine bubbled head with awesome retention and fine speckled lacing. Aroma: Deep plum, raisin, spices, and tart apples in the mix here. Taste: Is very cidery in nature with oak barrel aging putting quite an edge on the flavor, an alcoholic mix of tart and obscure tones. Mouthfeel: Very bubbly almost overcarbonated sample, medium bodied Xmas Belgian ale. Drinkability: The oak edge is pretty hars cuts away from the drinkability, decent Belgian Xmas bier but there are so many great ones out there it's hard to say I would look for this one again.
02-23-2004 02:47:17 | More by WVbeergeek
Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
88 out of 100 based on 544 ratings.