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Fantôme De Noel - Brasserie Fantôme

Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

528 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 528
Reviews: 342
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 14.54%


Brewed by:
Brasserie Fantôme visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: taez555 on 12-03-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 528 | Reviews: 342 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ocelot2500
ocelot2500

Arizona

3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rust color with an off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of some earthy notes along with some fruit overtones.

Tastes of the fruit notes mostly with some spiciness to round it out. Fruits lead off with dates, raisins, and figs. The fruitiness gives it a sherry feel. Moderate sweetness comes through and adds a slight candied effect to the fruits. Peppery yeast and some earthy hops come through and cut the sweetness. Finishes fairly dry.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty good, but not quite what I want out of a saison.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 23:42:17 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up while on a beerventure with BPK59.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice super dark roasty rich mahogany stain hue with a one finger light tan hue that left minimal side lacing but very nice blanket retention.

S - Soft barnyard funk and light lemons. Some roasted qualities there, faint faint licorice. Deep in the nose though I get a faint hint of rubber. Hmm...

T - That nice faint barnyard funk to start, pleasant and lightly lemon. Then things get aggressive, strong roast notes, slightly sweet and bitter. Actually quite bitter, with a rather boozy finish. Actually, this is a messy finish.

M - Mouthfeel is solid, just like your typical Fantome . Good carbonation, really the only good feature.

O - Overall I was disappointed by this one. That slightly off putting nose along with the mediocre taste made this a massive disappointment.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 03:17:38 | More by rudzud
Photo of Beerandboards
Beerandboards

New Mexico

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 into a tall wine glass. Pressure cap and cork.

A - cork comes out of the refrigerated bottle with a loud pop. No gush. Pours with a large chunky white head that reduces shortly. Some whisps and a crown remain. Color is sort of a mix between a golden brown and ruby red, if that makes any sense. Like a apple cider, but more opaque.

S - apple cider vinegar, some bready yeast, pear and other crisp fresh fruit.

T - I'm not super well versed in Belgians, but this sort of reminds me of a cross between a bier de garde and a saison. It's kind of the best of both worlds. It's crisper and more tart than a bier de garde, but it has a nicer and deeper body than the saisons I've had. There's a little bit of funk hanging around. As it warms up some juicy fruit flavors come out, spiced apple and grape are there. Very nice.

M - good. Tingly carbonation. Light medium mouthfeel.

O - I saw this at a bottle shop and immediately grabbed it because its never here. I really liked it. Very crisp clean flavors. Really tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 23:06:10 | More by Beerandboards
Photo of Chico1985
Chico1985

Massachusetts

3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 vintage drank two days before Xmas 2012. Once again, much thanks to Cam for sharing.

This one pours a hazy reddish brown. An off-white retains pretty well leaving bits of lace.

Pretty decent scent, a mix of sour notes, apple, various musty fruits, weird veggie notes and yeast.

Taste is weaker to me, not bad though. Apple, spice, and yeast stick out the most to me, along with herbal notes, dark fruit and some bread. Definitely a bit oddball but not as appealing as many Fantomes.

Pretty good mouthfeel, a bit high on the carbonation maybe, hides the booze well as usual for this brewery.

Trying a Fantome is always a mysterious adventure and this was no different...however this one wasn't quite as good compared to their other offerings.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 19:03:43 | More by Chico1985
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Continuing my saison kick, I'm pleased to crack this gem. Acquired at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, California. Cost was around $15.00 USD. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz green glass (come on!) bottle with pressure cap over an embedded cork served slightly chilled into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given the brewery, its reputation, and my previous experiences with Fantome's saisons. I like the style when it's properly executed, and Fantome tends to deliver. 10% ABV confirmed.

Imported by the Shelton Bastards.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. I love the label.

Yields an extremely satisfying cork pop upon opening. No issues with beer surging up or anything.

A: Pours a three finger light beige-khaki colour head of slight cream, nice frothy foam, pretty good thickness, and fantastic retention for the high ABV; she'll probably retain for a good eight minutes. Not too shabby for 10%. Lacing seems okay; a little is sticking as the head recedes. Body colour is an understated dark caramel-copper; nontransparent but translucent. No yeast particles are visible, but then this pour is from the upper end of the bottle. No bubble show. A good appearance for a saison - especially with respect to the head, though I must say the body colour is a bit darker than I expected.

Sm: Caramel and biscuit malts are the first thing I get, along with some milky lactic notes. Spruce is definitely there as a tone throughout, shaping it much the same way I'd expect well-executed barrel aging to shape a stout; remarkable. Lots of spice, but they're so subtly executed and complementary it's hard to distinguish them. That, and I'm just that not refined at detecting them, okay? :) I search for the chocolate malt mentioned on the label don't find it. Some hints of roast, sure. Yeast is there, lurking behind the abovementioned lactic notes. Regarding the spices, I'd hazard nutmeg, clove, and coriander - though the spruce nicely covers them up. A delightfully subtle aroma all around, and one of substantial strength. I can't wait to try it. It's certainly appealing and alive. Still, it does lack the deep brett character of a saison like, say, Avec Les Bon Voeux.

T/Mf: Milky and lactic throughout, teasing the palate with a smooth tingle as it emerges in waves. Subtle spruce is there in the background tying everything together; not that it needs it: the balance is impeccable. Subtle spices (probably coriander and clove, but maybe not nutmeg) accentuate the understated unobtrusive biscuit and light caramalts that comprise the delicate foundation. If there's roasted chocolate malt in this, I'm not finding it. The lactic notes are dominant, hiding the yeast - which itself runs counterpoint to the spices, blurring the line between flavours arising from actual spicing and the spicy character of the yeast. It's largely smooth and wet throughout, but does dry on the climax to coax out the flavour, providing a fleeting moment in which the subtleties stand aside to let the core flavour through. It's neutrally hopped, with a hint of bitterness but only minimal floral character at best. Hopping here is to preserve. A touch sour right on the climax - perhaps the lactic yeast adding a flourish. It's quite nicely built for a saison, and the ABV is nowhere to be found. Undercarbonated, aiding drinkability but reducing presence on the palate to its detriment (perhaps its largest flaw). Perfect thickness. A remarkable saison.

Dr: Very drinkable for its high ABV, which is extraordinarily well hidden. I love the subtlety, but I would like more complexity. It certainly doesn't lack depth, but there are better saisons to be had - and I'm pretty sure Fantome brews a handful of them itself. As a saison (as in, implicitly a seasonal), it's nicely tailored to the winter. Sure, maybe that should be d'Hiver, but if Fantome wants to use Christmas as an excuse to brew two winter seasonals, I'm more than fine with that. That said, this is a pricey one - especially considering that other better beers from Fantome cost pretty much the same.

B

I actually wish I'd served it a bit colder. Refrigerate fully and let rest for about 15-20 minutes before serving.

Drank fine out of a goblet, but I'd have preferred a tulip - the narrower, the better.

It seems to lack sufficient carbonation to age well. I'd drink it fresh. Save your cellar for Fantome's other saisons.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 05:43:40 | More by kojevergas
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantôme de Noël has an otherworldly appearance; its concealed, black-ish exterior warms only as far as Concord-purple to the light. Still, you can't see anything inside, it looks blind; its perfect clarity can't be appreciated because of the deep complexion. The surface is completely flat.

If I were to write my reaction upon first smelling the beer, well, let's just say that I'd have to clean up the language. It is without doubt one of the most unique bouquets I've smelled in some time. Notes of musty wood, black fruits and grape must/pomace instill a sherry or port-like quality.

This may be one of the darkest, richest saisons I've tried - balsam wood, cola, cassis, honey, black licorice, wild forest berries, dried herbs are among the many notes that might be appreciated on the palate. Still, it remains stylistically tart and 'funky' - a dusty, slightly sour texture ushers in the finish.

Despite the beer's massive, tannic black fruit and bright berry endnote, it is classically dry and yeasty. I'm unsure whether to serve it as a welcome drink or an after-dinner libation. This particular bottle (vintage unlisted, but aged at least 7+ years) is definitely oxidative and recalls a sherry or port.

Fantôme de Noël, like virtually all of this brewery's offerings, is the liquid equivalent of a Salvador Dali painting - combining flamboyant personality and technical virtuosity, it is prolific. This eccentric Belgian producer makes a worthwhile, if unconventional Christmas ale that will leave a mark, and a memory, with those who drink it.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 01:39:17 | More by biegaman
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Vintage bottle 2008

Pours a hazy orange-ish color, and a bit chunky, with a small white head. In the aroma, sour fruit, yet mellow and pleasant. In the taste, a sour bite, tart fruits, and a small presence of earth. A small sour bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry yeastiness and small tartness in the aftertaste. Big sour fruit, especially pears, earthy, and fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 16:11:21 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage split with Chico1985. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pours with a very murky, brown body. An off-white head forms with a foamy texture and has decent retention. Small bubbly ring crowns the beer but no lace seems to form significantly.

S- Has more of a tart feel than I would have imagined. Tart apple almost sour notes hit me first with spices, dark fruit, grape and some funky notes following.

T- The tart fruit feel from the nose isn't as prevalent here but there are still notes of apple, white grapes, raisins and lemons. It seems like Fantome always has a plethora of fruit feel going on in it's beers. The yeast has a Saison feel bringing pepper, lemon, dark fruit and spicy floral notes. Definitely has an herbal feel and almost ends up being like a Saison/Gueuze/Flemish hybrid.

MF- Light and dried out body with a creamy/foamy feel overall. Lower end carbonation but the foam factor still exists. Slightly bitter spiciness and some tarts.

Very interesting and complex. I always have a harder time describing Fantomes than anything else. This beer gets better and better with each sip as layers of flavor seem to unfold. I guess it's not surprising that a Fantome beer seems to be a hybrid of styles and ages well.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 21:27:48 | More by cbutova
Photo of JeffreyJDavis
JeffreyJDavis

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

3rd Christmas beer - 2012

A: Poured from a 750ml bottle (bottle cap, no cork) into a Riedel stemless goblet. Nice ruby colored beer with a lovely 3 finger thick fluffy chestnut pillow head. Great retention, but not a lot of lacing. Really great looking beer, but not what I expected from something with Saison/Farmhouse on the label. Pretty clear at first but a lot of yeast as I got into the bottom third of the bottle.

S: Interesting nose combining grapes, sour apples, cherries, a little brett funk and a strange metallic note. Doesn't smell like a Christmas beer. But it's a Belgian, for sure.

T: Taste for me is dominated by tart cherry, green apple and grape notes. Despite the Noel designation and descriptors on the label talking about heavily spiced, I just don't get much of that at all. Flavor is almost like an expressively carbonated Flanders sour. No crisp pepperiness that I would normally look for in a Saison. I was amazed that this is 10% ABV, I never noticed it in the nose or on the tongue, just a little bit in the legs, post tasting.

MF: I would say this is a little on the thin side. You get a bit of the granulairity from the yeast, but the overall mouth feel is thin to me. Missing the dry pepper finish I would expect from a Saison.

I'm not super familiar with Fantome, but I know they have quite a following. This is a nice beer, but to me, it is not really a Saison and certainly doesn't bring much Noel / Christmas spiciness to the mix. Regardless, I enjoyed it, and would certainly buy it again, I just wouldn't wait until next Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 00:22:36 | More by JeffreyJDavis
Photo of bigfnjoe
bigfnjoe

Pennsylvania

2.33/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured from a corked bottle into a Dogfish snifter. Merry Christmas!

A- pours a dark, murky shade of amber with a paper thin offwhite head that quickly fades away to nothingness. Well...that's a very disappointing start. Just an ugly looking beer with no head at all.

S- nice aroma of grapes comes through, but not much more than that. Again, disappointing...I expect more nuance from Fantome

T- very one dimensional. Some light grape and apple, and not much else at all. Disappointing

M- flat as a board. Thin bodied. Dammit.

O- this one went down the drain after a few sips. Flat and bland is no way to go through life

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 20:52:36 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Bottle opened on 12.19.12

A - Pours a cloudy, carmel brown with a fizzy one inch tan head that fades rather quickly.

S - Carmel, spices, toast.

T - Belgian yead, Christmas spices, Cinnamin, nutmeg, etc and a sweet bready malt.

D - Decent carbonation and a medium body.

O - Nice Christmas spice with a Belgian twist.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 07:13:02 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of WynnO
WynnO

Florida

4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Consumed at the Redlight Redlight, Orlando, 8 Dec 2012.

Poured into a mid-size snifter, this beer settled to a tan, opaque, cloudy affair. Head was light and frothy.

Danny's special conglomeration of spices were present on the nose as usual, although not as strong as I would like. That problem would have solved had I allowed five minutes to pass before dipping my schnoz into it.

Taste? Incredible I think. Balance is fantastic. Not a single taste bud is insulted as this one flows from bottle to stomach. It's just a tremendous Saison.

It was slightly gritty on the tongue, however this was anticipated given its look, and it fit the bill.

Overall---a world class Saison. Fantome RULES.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 15:45:38 | More by WynnO
Photo of WillCarrera
WillCarrera

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, no specific bottled on date but it's the 2012 vintage, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep garnet color, only a bit of light gets through, topped with a couple fingers of creamy beige head, which has good retention and lacing.

S- An interesting blend of spice (cinnamon, allspice), dark fruit and a slightly tart candied apple aroma. Also some yeast and funk.

T- Similar to the aroma, has flavors of cinnamon, allspice, and a tart apple flavor that's a bit more prominent than in the aroma. Dark fruit and caramel provide some sweetness. There's also a ncie amount of yeast and funk. Has a dry tannic finish with some wood and grape notes.

M- Medium-bodied, has a smooth feel with a very dry finish.

O- An interesting beer, while it isn't their best, this is another solid showing from Fantome.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 08:43:29 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon

Rhode Island

3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 12/9/12

Appearance: Cloudy, light brown - frothy, off-white head - nice head retention, leaves some nice streaks of lacing

Smell: Classic Fantôme yeast and funk - Belgian yeasty funk with some general weirdness - clove, pepper, and some other spices - some grainy sweetness, some honey, and some light fruits - nice level of sweetness overall - lightly grassy

Taste: And, surprisingly, it tastes like a Fantôme beer - vaguely musty, yeasty - Belgian yeast flavors including bananas, cloves, and pepper - lightly spicy - some light fruits, such as apples and pears - spicy, yet clean for the style - lightly sweet, very mildly bitter, no alcohol flavor - lightly grassy and earthy, with some damp basement - perhaps a bit watery overall, which is odd

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely dry, nicely carbonated, smooth

Overall: Yeah it's Fantôme, but what makes it "Noel"?

This is a solid beer. But I don't know what makes it particularly ... seasonal. Perhaps it's a little sweeter and spicier than the "average" Fantôme, but I realize that statement isn't particularly meaningful. Ultimately, it's good, but not the best that the brewery has to offer.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 01:21:16 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
Goblinmunkey7

Massachusetts

3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to angrybabboon for sharing the bottle.

Appearance: Dark, burnt amber/orange. Hazed. Ruddy. Head is off-white/dirty-white, Starts with a solid cap. Dense, creamy, with some solid bubbles. Drops to a wispy cap and loose bubbly collar in short order. Retention after that point is decent.

Smell: Honey, hay, ginger, and caramel malts. Backing biscuity sweetness coupled with some slight funk. Grassy. Sweet and fruity. Apples, pears, and apricots. Very mellow malt influence. Nice punch of yeast through the middle. Tiny hints of spiciness. Some clove and ripe banana.

Taste: Faint peppery spiciness. Very light caramel malt sweetness. Yeast is a bit more aggressive than the nose would indicate. Big pushes of clove and overripe banana. So much fruit going on. Ripe, mealy pear and apricot mixed with a dry red apple. Some tannic apple skin. Lemon zest, hay, musty basement, and grass. That typical Fantome funk. Very damp and musty. Green apple skin. Some overall malt sweetness. Building spiciness as the beer warms. Maintains a slightly tart edge on top of it all. Something akin to nutmeg in the back as well. Winter spices.

Mouthfeel: The usual dry, slightly light side of medium body. Carbonation is on the higher side of medium. Drinks like a Fantome.

Overall: Hi, my name is Fantome and I make a beer with spices. You should try it.

One of the less awesome takes from Fantome. I genuinely believe they make the same beer with minor tweaks. This minor tweak is not necessarily a good thing. The spice compliment tends to clash with the yeast and malt body I've come to associate with Fantome beers. It's almost there, but falls short.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 00:52:34 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of DrinkSlurm
DrinkSlurm

Connecticut

4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber bottle purchased just a few days earlier. Ive been meaning to have this for a while, so what better time than now. Fantome is one of my favorite breweries so this is already biased.
First thing that shocked me was the lack of cork??? WTF? I love the 2nd backup cork in the bottles...well...one less step to get to the good stuff.

Poured into my crooked stave tulip. Pours a burnt orangey brown with a finger of tan head. Tan lacing and a nice rim remains throughout the duration of the glass.
Very nice caramel and brett funk, hay, earth...nice.
Taste is just awesome. Nice sweet caramel nutty toffee up front but followed by a great sour brett funk, ending with some peppery spice notes.
Nicely complex..better as it warms.
Like any Fantome, more than worth a try. Love this brew...well worth the $14.99.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 02:35:42 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bell's tulip on 11/27/12

The color is a dark copper with brown and plum hues woven in. Dense; can't see through this critter. Fizzy three finger head dissipates slowly, leaving no lace. Second pour has some floaties.

There are all sorts of things going on in the aroma. In no particular order: Scorched brown sugar, maple, raisin, hints of dark cherry, dark berries and skins, ripe fruits, pollen and honey, faint ginger, peppermint, pine forests, candied sugars and layers of sugars. Mild tartness to balance out the sweetness.

The flavor is both less tart and less sugary than I was expecting. While there are both to some extent, there is much more of an earthy, musty funk. Raisin, plum, over-ripe apple, cobwebs, old paper, spiced bread and some residual dark sugars. Has something of a toasted, dry finish despite the sugars.

The feel starts off riddled with ample carbonation; however, it opens to an easily medium body with lingering sugar stickiness, especially toward the end of the glass when carbonation is low and the beer is particularly warm.

There is much to take in and enjoy here; complexities and layers abound. It's captivating throughout. I was so inclined to swirl up the dregs and dump them in the last several ounces; this results in a more prominent spiciness. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 06:29:00 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Served at about 55 degrees.

I may not be a fan of all Fantome beers, but I have to admit they all look really amazing and this one doesn't disappoint. A real gorgeous kind of brick red with a classic rising column of fire of carbonation in the middle. Slow thin tan bubbles come on the edges of the glass. Head is kind of shampoo foamy but holds real well, and leaves sudsy speckled lacing on the glass. A real looker.

Nose is a bit of sweet malt, but a nice bit of sour sensations. . Dry and mild brett character. Little bretty heat too but some candy like Belgian sugar as well. Pretty interesting.

Bready finish giving dryness along with the bread with hints of sourdough. Peppery a bit with a good sting on the tongue. Hints at a quick fast white pepper. Sweet malt action, low acidic bent kind of like rice vinegar, with a light body, and very smooth carbonation.

Overall a real easy drinking and flavorful saison, full and varied with real nice balance in the palate. I can enjoy more of this, and I think I will make it a regular for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2012 00:49:43 | More by smakawhat
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped and corked bottle purchased from K & L in Redwood City, CA around a year before reviewing. Shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable in Sydney during our Fantôme tasting day.

Pours a lovely slightly hazed red-amber colour with a fine but subdued head of yellow-beige. Minimal lacing, and really surprisingly little retention given the other Fantôme beers we've had today. Body is solid and heavy, with a pleasant effervescent but fine carbonation throughout. Looks very good indeed. A bigger head would have given it a 5.

Nose is sticky and sweet, but with an underlying earthy funk and a hint of acidity that really lends some oddity and some depth to it. Strawberry jam laced with sawdust, or sweet fermenting fruit. Some dustiness comes through, suggesting a pleasant age that has perhaps integrated the characters a little more.

Taste is deeper and darker than the other beers we've had today, with the malt taking a more prominent role, and the yeast providing a more deep dark fruit and pudding character. Some pepper and a hint of antiseptic towards the finish, along with a wash of funk and organics that sets this apart from another big dark Belgian brew.

Feel is lovely. Smooth and rich, but with a lightness from the acidity which allows the beer to express itself, and lightens the load of the complexity.

Overall, this is really good, and a very nice diversion from the regular Fantôme range. The depth is very, very good indeed, but the omnipresent acidity really cuts it back and makes it accessible and refreshing. Really very good stuff indeed.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 06:36:16 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of bluejacket74
bluejacket74

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml capped and corked bottle, I believe it's at least a 2011 bottle since I bought it last year. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours a reddish/amber color with about an inch off-white head that fizzled away quickly. There's a small amount of lacing. The brew smells like dark fruit, bready malt, yeast, sweet spices, caramel, and some wood. It tastes like dark fruit (mostly cherries), caramel, bready malt, sweet and peppery spice, and some chocolate. I think it's mostly sweet and spicy tasting, but there's a slight tartness noticeable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and has a good amount of soft carbonation. It's a good brew and is also easy to drink as the alcohol is well hidden. Definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 21:48:43 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy red orange color with a nice 2-3 finger fairly dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big apple, cherry, pear, rock candy, brown sugar, toast, caramel, earth, hay, pepper, coriander, and yeast spiciness. Very nice aromas with good strength and balance. The nose on this is very unique and interesting. Taste of apple, cherry, raisin, pear, pepper, toast, earth, hay, grass, coriander, caramel, honey, and yeast spiciness. Lightly tart earthiness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruits, cherry, earth, hay, pepper, coriander, caramel, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of flavors with good complexity; nice malty/peppery flavor balance; no cloying flavors at all after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a slick, creamy, and slightly prickly mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent saison! Very interesting and unique; but this is very nicely complex and well balanced; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2012 04:36:29 | More by superspak
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zeledonia

Minnesota

3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up this past winter. Tasted 1 September 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours fairly dark for a saison, a medium-dark amber. Clear and bright, despite the dark color. Big dense cream-colored head, pillowing and cratering as it subsides. Good lacing, too. Nice.

Smell is oddly fruity, and slightly honey-sweet. Has the melony character that I've encountered in many Belgian-style beers, but not usually in actual Belgian beers (the most obvious example of this flavor is Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Wild). Maybe those places are getting their yeast from Fantome. Bit of spice, but mostly it's pulpy fruit. But somehow it really pops, filling the nose with its essence.

Taste isn't bad, but it's rather dull. Doesn't have much that really feels like a saison, or anything to make me really like it. Some fruity almost-sweet, a bit of spice, some pine needles (spruce?), and a bitter fade in the end. Okay, but uninspiring.

Mouthfeel is fine. Feels viscous, despite being relatively light. Looks more carbonated than it feels - a little lower than I'd like, but I can still drink it just fine.

My first beer from Fantome, and I'm not overwhelmed. Not really what I was expecting, and drinks more like a BSDA than a saison. So I'm reviewing it like an unspecified Belgian. Based on that, it's meh, maybe meh plus. Fruity, but lacking depth and complexity.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 03:07:32 | More by zeledonia
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Alieniloquium

Florida

2.73/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a CCB snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Dark amber body. Small off white head, but no retention.

Smell - Yeasty. A little funky. Overpowered by booze and caramel malts, though. Just seems really big for a saison. None of the delicate aromas are coming through.

Taste - Bready and yeasty immediately. Sweet and boozy as I drink it. Again, it's lost some of the saison qualities because of the sweet malts and alcohol. Sweet and slightly sour finish. Interesting, but not redeeming.

Mouthfeel - Thick, not saison-ish. Not what I was looking for when I opened this beer. The sweet and sour finish becomes more off-putting as I drink it.

Overall - Not a good offering from Fantome. I don't get any spices, which I imagine this Christmas saison is supposed to have.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 16:45:54 | More by Alieniloquium
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mrfrancis

Kentucky

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky, hazy browish amber with a fizzy off-white head that recedes quickly. Little chunks of yeast are evident in the glass.

S: Aromas of baking spices, oak, tobacco, lactic yeast, and dark fruits are apparent on the nose.

T: Notes of caramel, biscuit, tobacco, leather, oak, black pepper, honey, fennel, anise, clove, dark bread, and lactic yeast wash across the palate. The finish is oddly clipped for a Fantome beer, with notes of holiday spices, oak, and lactic, funky yeast very apparent.

M: Medium-to-full in body, very dry, and chalky. Carbonation is quite heavy. Alcohol presence is muted. This one can sneak up on you fast.

O: This is a very good saison, but it is likely not Fantome's best effort overall. This year's version of Fantome de Noel is oddly clean and quite a bit breadier than expected, foregoing the brewery's trademark yeastiness and funkiness in favor of a maltier, spicier, more subdued character. In the end, Fantome de Noel is a very good ale, but likely won't win over fans of the brewery's more idiosyncratic brews.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 14:30:43 | More by mrfrancis
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EgadBananas

Louisiana

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JM03 for the bottle!

Pours a muddled brownish color. Towards the end, with yeast poured in, it's even more opaque and brownish. Head was tan, and about a finger or two, but didn't stick around for too terribly long. The aroma had a very minor acidity to it, some funkiness and earthy notes, spices and a slight brown sugar quality. The taste is a bit more sweet, again with a slight brown sugar-type sweetness. There's little bits of funk, acid, and wet hay notes, complimented with some earthy spices and Belgian yeast notes. There was a slight bit of slickness to the feel, but the carbonation had a hair of prickliness to it, giving it a nicer feel.

This is rather high abv-wise for a Saison, but unlike another high ABV Saison that I've had from Big Sky, it was well-hidden aside from giving it a bit more body for the style.

I've heard that Fantome can have some variance issues bottle to bottle, but it looks like I got a good one and in the end, It's an enjoyable one.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 01:12:06 | More by EgadBananas
Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
88 out of 100 based on 528 ratings.