1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Fantôme De Noel - Brasserie Fantôme

Not Rated.
Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel

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

551 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 551
Reviews: 345
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 24
Gots: 73 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie Fantôme visit their website

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 551 | Reviews: 345 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy brown almost black with a dark tan head. Plenty of carbonation. Fruity aroma with some burnt sugar maltiness. Lots of black pepper in the flavor. Dark malt in the finish with a nice bit of sourness.
A little spicy for my taste, a very interesting beer, but I don't think I could drink much.

homebrewhawk, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of russpowell
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lot E 07 Enjoyed Christmas Eve

Poured an effervescent mahogany/ebony with purple tinges & 2 fingers of tan head. A bit of lacing & no head retention

S: Vinegar, sourness, leather & mushroom funkiness. I also get oaky notes& compost

T: Tartness, raisins, oaky dryness a touch of medicinal/licorice flavor up front. Then warming booze along with figs & dates once this warms along with apple skins & brown sugar. Finishes slightly fruity ( dates & apricots), dry with appleskins & balsamic vinegar

MF: Slick, medium bodied with low carbonation & much dryness

Drank very easy for the abv, but too dry to session on. All in all, a pretty good saison, a lot of complexity here

russpowell, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of ntillemans
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice, unexpectedly dark...reddish brown color with a finger of tan head (poured fairly slowly)

S - Very nice smell, like an excellent flemish sour...with a hint of the saison smell...but I would have expected a flemish sour taste the way it smelled

T - I was surprised by the taste of it. It was so unexpected that I disliked the taste of it , at first. My wife immediately liked it alot. I was thrown by the woody flavor of it and bitter sour taste. But the complexity seduced me and I came to appreciate it much more s I continued to drink it. It's unusual though...not sure whether I could highly recommend something so peculiar.

M - Lighter than I expected but pleasant...with a nice tingle on the tongue

D - This one was so unusual that I'm not sure how drinkable it is. I'm liking it more and more towards the end of the glass I'm drinking right now. But I'm not ready to crack another bottle. Maybe there's just a little too much going on with this one.

ntillemans, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of brdc
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Capped and corked large bottle, poured into a tulip.

Very dark, almost impenetrable although generates some red highlights when held against the light. Topping it, the tan head is quite fluffy, creamy, and cling to the side of the glass with every sip.
The aroma is an interesting combination of a fruit lambic, a flanders red and a strong belgian; multiple fruits, mostly dark, sweetish caramel, some added tartness and then some earthiness to vaguely remind this is a saison (is it?).

Quite unexpectedly, the body is light to medium, which is a bit off, particularly for something peaking at 10% ABV. Nonetheless, it is pleasant, starting spicy, going tart, fruity then sweetish, and goes back and forth. It keeps you guessing all the way. My favorite saison (?), my favorite Fantome, with a bit more body, would be a complete masterpiece. Very worthwhile nonetheless, but don't pair it with heavy foods as I did.

brdc, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love the beers from Fantome, but wish they could sometimes restrain themselves when it comes to mixing in lambic and/or gueuze into thier recipes. That being said...

The beer pours a very dark brown with very good head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty subdued, but one gets a hint of sweet malt, spices and a blast of sour. This is a very interesting beer on the palate. It tastes like a spicey brown dubbel, but with a goodly dollop of lambic or gueuze. So there is a considerable sour component, which wears on me a bit. Still, I had no trouble at all drinking this, and considering the abv., the drinkability of this beer is amazing. I would guess it to be around 6%, not the 10% indicated on the bottle. The beer has a light, fluffy mouth feel, and is medium bodied.

As is usual with Fantome, once again they have crafted an interesting, very complex beer.

John_M, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked and capped bottle into a goblet.

Pours a dark chocolate brown with a large caramel colored head that eventually settled down to a nice foamy covering that left fantasctic lacing down the side of the glass. Aroma is sweet chocolate mixed with spices followed by some sour dark fruit notes.

Taste profile matches the aroma. Cocoa sweetness that is nicely mixed with some subtle spiciness and finishes rather strongly with a pronounced sour cherry tartness. The mouthfeel is interesting. It's very light on carbonation but still feels medium bodied with a nice silky character that slides over the tongue. The alcohol is very well hidden for a 10% beer, the only trace being a faint one in the nose.

Fantome comes through with a another beer that once again makes a huge impression on me. A warming and immensely drinkable personality and eclectic mix of holiday flavors as only Fantome can do make this a holiday sipper to savor.

Kegatron, Nov 26, 2007
Photo of nickfl
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

nickfl, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of mfhlucky13
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark deep reddish black, like cola. Not much head, but a nice caramel colored ring. Lots of sour fruit notes and maybe a little coffee and spice. Thin to medium in the mouth but it hangs on your cheeks with a little funk. Light acidity. Easy to drink, because I keep trying to figure out all that I'm tasting.

mfhlucky13, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of Domingo
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle of this at the Falling Rock on 11/3. This is actually last year's item.
Pours a hazy deep red color with a 1/8" head on the top of it. As you work your way down, the head settles a little, but never completely goes away. I've only had a few saisons and this is my first flavored one. I was expecting something pale, so this was a fun surprise.
Smell is definitely Belgian. Yeast and grassy hops with a sour vinegar note. Not really picking up a ton of festive spices in the smell.
Taste starts off sour, but you can definitely pick out the new spices in the flavor. Cinnamon and allspice. Hops are there in the background, but they really just keep this from being too sour or spicy. I have to say I enjoy this. The spices aren't as "in your face" as most holiday beers, but they there and add an extra zing.
Mouthfeel is thick and it helps retain all of the flavor.
Admittedly pricing my be prohibitive, but this was a beer I'd love to have more of. Belgian holiday beers are becoming some of my favorites.

Domingo, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark brown with a nice initial head that faded to a wispy cap and created some slight lacing. The smell is mostly sour, Rodenbach like up front. Some interesting spice notes on the finish with cinammon, nutmeg and other Christmas spices. This creates an unusual interplay with the sour notes. The taste is similar- beautifully integrated sour and spice notes. Very smooth and earthy with dark fruit throughout as well. The mouthfeeel is very smooth and somewhat light- refreshing, which is a nice break for a winter seasonal. The fact that this is last year's brew pprobably has soured it up some and helped integrate the flavors. As usual, a very nice product from this brewery.

Georgiabeer, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of weeare138
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark brown with crimson edges when held to the light. A 2 finger beige head fades into a silky, creamy head and thick collar. Sticky streaks of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of tart citrus, black grapes, plums, caramel, bananas, apricots, prunes, oxidized bread, and apples.
Taste is mainly summed up through the listed aromas, along with gooseberries, and a tart grape flavor shining through on top of oak and mild funk.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, grapey, funky with apple, and fizziness that ends in a slightly acidic and vinuous oaky note.

weeare138, Sep 21, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a little pricey but actually worth the price given the quality. It had a dark black color with brown edges I instantly enjoyed the smells of dark sour fruits like sour cherries or raspberries. The taste was like sour dark tart fruits such as blueberries and it puckers my mouth a little. This brew also has some funkiness going on in the background and a dry mouthfeel (which I assume is due to the high Abv which I can’t detect). This is very good and I look forward to the rest of the Fantome beers I can find.

ArrogantB, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of Viggo
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Love me some Fantomes!

This pours a clear dark red/brown, thick tan head, settles to a thin layer, some nice lacing, decent retention. Smell is sweet, very malty, spices, caramel, bread, Fantome funk, sour citrus, yeast, bit of iron, nice. Taste is like the aroma, spicy, caramel, funk, ginger and cinnamon, iron, bit of a weak finish but the funk murders your palate. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied, medium carbonation, very smooth, hides the alcohol well. Fantome never disappoints me.

Viggo, May 28, 2007
Photo of Lexx
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Viggo for this one!
Deep, deep, clear ruby tone with huge, rocky, soapy beige head.
It smells like, well, Fantome. Sweet, irony funk with some sour cherry and carob. blackberry jam, the salty kind of black licorice.
The taste is a very subdued black cherry with a slightly bitter finish that comes out of nowhere. I couldnt believe this one was 10%
The mouthfeel was quite smooth - this was extremely drinkable.

Lexx, May 26, 2007
Photo of geexploitation
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark russet color with a near-black middle and a dark tan, lace-leaving head. Funky smell of brett mixed with stone fruits and some understated spiciness. Lightly sweet smells, like simple syrup infused with fruit, also make an appearance. On the palate, sour and stony acidity comes first, followed by nickel mixed with savory spices. Well defined hop bitterness. Sour cherries dominate the mid-palate before the hops and brett take over again toward the end. Mouthfeel is rather still considering the substantial carbonation. Overall, I enjoyed this but not overly so. The funky/tart aesthetic is interesting, but it hardly screams "christmas" or even "winter" to me. The ABV is up there, but the flavors are things I would enjoy in warmer weather. Still, it's an interesting, unique and tasty beer.

geexploitation, Apr 29, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle capped and corked. It pours a murky mud puddle brown, with a light caramel spot glowing near the bottom. The four-finger beige head is volcanoes up quite intensely, creating some foamy craters, but receds rather quickly.

The aroma is dominated by apple, toasty malt and yeast, and a flare of spices. The flavor is quite tart, the yeasts combining to deliver a strong presence of apple, pear, grapefruit, and strong doses of fruity sugar. Some ginger, light cinnamon, and other less defined spice elements also make appearances. The alcohol is merely a ghost on, flaring slightly on the finish.

It is light bodied. The tartness somewhat overwhelms the brew, which somewhat lacks in complexity and weight. I wish the malt was a bit more assertive. It is rather drinkable though, once geared toward the high sugar content. Solid but not spetacular.

Osiris9588, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of cjgator3
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Capped and corked 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. The aroma is sour dark fruits, malt and yeast and some spice. My reaction after the first sip was: "10%? You have got to be kidding me!" This beer hides the high alcohol as good as any other I have had. The taste is a little tart with doughy malt, spice and I am picking up some tobacco flavors as well in the taste. The finish is dry. The taste is certainly good but I was somewhat let down in it's lack of complexity. Overall, another good brew from Fantome that is suprisingly drinkable despite it's high ABV.

cjgator3, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of Gavage
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: cloudy dark brown in color with a thick three finger head. Some spotty lacing developed.

Smell: hints of sourness and chocolate are easily detectable.

Taste: pitted fruit sweetness, chocolate, pepper, hint of barnyard funk and some alcohol. Some overall soft sourness coats the beer. Mild bitterness rounds it out.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Medium bodied beer. Short aftertaste with most flavors sticking around on the tongue.

Drinkability: this is a good slow sipping and warming winter brew. Definitely worth trying on a cold winter evening.

Gavage, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of rayjay
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the trade, ClockworkOrange.

Uncorking the bottle, the first thing I noticed was the smell of the cork, which was funky and tart. The nose of the actual beer was a bit different; dust, Belgian yeast, Coca-Cola with a spritz of lemon, complete with that fizzy up-your-nose smell as long as the head was bubbling. Dark brown in appearance, almost like a dubbel; the head and carbonation, and lack of lace, give it away as a Belgian-bred brew. The once active head has by now faded into oblivion, leaving a completely flat looking beer. Most beers would look boring from doing so; perhaps only Fantome could pull it off this skillfully, because it's still beautiful to look at.

Taste: first off, VERY well hidden alcohol, almost confusing as it's labeled as 10% abv. Dusty chocolate malts upfront, and rich, carmel, old ale/barleywine notes dancing undernearth. Mouthfeel is...careful how I word it...the carbonation is just barely there, and the beer should seem very flat, but it's so full of life instead. Very similar to rich white wine, one that does not have tannins and doesn't finish dry. This beer finishes as soft and subtle as water. Just barely sour, like a gueuze was blended in at a very low proportion.

Reminiscant of finely aged Courage Russian Imperial Stout. Cellar temp is perfect; one degree colder would be a crime. Outstanding beer from a top notch brewery, one I couldn't recommend more. Cheers!

rayjay, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of numenor1
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 version.

Pour looks like pepsi. Tan, diminishing head without lacing and pepsi color. Much darker than anticipated. Nose isn't as vibrant as expected. Reticent spices, definite allspice and sour notes as well mixed with fruity esters. Flavors explode onto the palate. Upfront is lots of cinnamon and allspice immediately giving way to sour dark fruits(stewed black cherry and spiced plum) then again returning to spice through the finish with surprisingly gentle bitterness. High levels of chocolate malt throughout. Mouthfeel is medium with ample carbonation, keeping it light. My mouth tells me that this is not 10% alcohol, but my eyes and the label say differently. Unbelievably drinkable.

numenor1, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Big tan head on a cloudy dark colored body. When held to light you can see amber and brown hues.
S- Very interesting smell. You can smell the european hops and the yeast through a chocolate malt character. Maybe even a hint of coffee and roasted malts also. Pretty big in the chocolate malt. I am sure I am missing a few aromas too.
T- Once again a interesting flavor. It is almost like a stout or porter saison. There are roasted malts that come through pretty big with some light European hops also. The yeast comes through too. Very light spices but are there. Hint of alcohol on the tongue with a very light warming in the back of throat. Light hop and malt bitterness lingers on the tongue. Few other flavors I just can't seem to put my finger on. Very complex brew. Maybe even a light dark fruit. There might even be a hint of mint chocolate in it?
M- Medium to thin body with low carbonation.
D- This is a truly unique beer. Never tasted anything like this. Totally different than all their others (that I have tried so far). I just don't know if it's the kind of difference I like or if it's a bit to weird.

BlindPig, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of scott
4.83/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is so complex, I'm afraid that I may not be completely accurate with my review.
Beautiful, austere pour of bliss. It consists of a dark, cola-esque body with a enormously large spritzy head.
Pungent, yet compelling. Floral, but somehow sour. I love it. I could breath this all day long.
Tastes like a morel mushroom, meets beef broth but burps like stilton. If you know food, and you like big beers, here's your match.
This breathes life into anomaly again for me. Fantome consistently rocks my world.

scott, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of doubleipa
1.63/5  rDev -58.4%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This had to be a baaaad bottle, but I'll rate anyway. I was so looking forward to having this on Christmas Day. What a dissapointment. The appearance was wonderful: creamy head that was mostly lasting. Nice dark color. The aroma was absolutley awful. Cider, soap. more cider, and cardboard. I knew it was bad at that point. I'm nut sure how the bottle went bad. There was plenty of pop when I took the cork out and plenty of carbonation. I hope I can get another bottle and update this review as I love most all Fantome beers.

doubleipa, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burgundy red color with an enormous head that literally drapes the glass in lace. Tightly packed torrents of carbonation bubbles race to the surface. The aroma is of pears, apples, berries, minerals, cinnamon, rye bread and musty hay.

The taste is immensely complex like all Fantome beers Ive tried. Lots of spices, cloves, cinnamon, all spice, pepper etc. mix with ripe apples, pears and pineapples. Some light sherryish alcohol is noticeable in the background. A light and refreshing sourness builds in the middle. The finish is awesome, very spicey, fruity, bitter and sour. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and only a small bit of alcohol numbing.

This beer doesnt taste like a 10% brew. Its very light and fruity with an immense spice flavor and a lot of other flavors I can't put my finger on. I love the Fantome beers, the most enigmatic beers Ive tried.

CAMRAhardliner, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of cabsandking
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Excellent light tan head, good retention and stick. Black color with some dim brown shades coming through the snifter. Nice range of aromas; sour cranberry, caramel malt, chocolate and fruity waves of sweet and tart. The first sip displays and interesting contrast with bitter, smokey, and sour fruits up front followed by earthy, yeasty, burnt grains and ending with something sweeter and chocolate notes. Medium body and excellent mouthfeel that is thin, delicately silky, and creamy around the edges with a slight crisp micro bubble feel at the end. Later in the bottle reveals chary, burnt caramel, cocoa powder, waves of bitter spruce, and grape tannins. Chocolate notes carry over into the finish but leave quickly. A complex and exciting beer but not something you can not drink a whole lot of, once a year a nice treat.

cabsandking, Dec 31, 2006
Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
88 out of 100 based on 551 ratings.