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Fantôme De Noel - Brasserie Fantôme

Not Rated.
Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

586 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 586
Reviews: 353
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 28
Gots: 84 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brasserie Fantôme visit their website

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: taez555 on 12-03-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 586 | Reviews: 353
Photo of neonbrown82
2.56/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer is a disappointment, especially considering how much I've liked other beers by Fantome. It's disgustingly dry, remniscient of a gin. The beer looks nice, but that's about all it has going for it.

It pours to a nutty brown color with amber hues. Fairly cloudy from all the residuals and sediment. Nice thick off-white foam. Very little lacing.

From the smell I could tell that I wouldn't like this beer. Has a very dry and tart sourness to the nose. Light hints of sweet malt and candi sugar, but it even smells incredibly dry and funky.

As I suspected, it's so dry that it barely seems to have a taste. Has a bit of a rasberry vinegar tartness to it as well, but that's as far as the flavor seems to come out. Too funky for my tastes.

The body is very dry and thus seems to be very light. No hint of the 10% alcohol. I don't think I'll ever try this beer again.

Photo of ypsifly
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Capped and corked 750 that is notched for a best before date purchased at Main Street in Ann Arbor and poured into a tulip.

Mahogany under a light tan head of a couple inches that slowly falls under the weight of the abv turning into a lightly veiled ring. Not much lace effect to speak of.

Dark fruits and some spice dominate the nose. Musty Saison tartness with chalky yeast, wood, and sour aromas.

Good carbonation keeps the mouth lively. Slight puckering. Malty upfront and it has some of the dark fruits from the nose. Slightly acidic in the middle with some wood flavors. Spicy. There's a pinch of cinnamon and licorice and a dry finish with lingering spice and tart citrus. Very complex and evenly balanced.

The complexity of aromas and flavors add to this beers drinkability. The high price and abv, however, will limit my future enjoyment of this beer. Either way, good stuff and I will keep this one in mind when the time for X-mas beers comes around again.

Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of akorsak
1.88/5  rDev -52%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I am drinking a 750 mL bottle poured into the Chimay goblet. The ale has been in the fridge for only about 1/2 an hour, so it is cool, but not cold.

Appearance: Once again, Brasserie Fantôme confounds me. This beer looks nothing like what I expect a saison to look like. Instead it is a deep ruby red color. It poured with vigourous head, but the head did not last long and it certainly left no hint of lace.

Smell: The ale has a roasted aroma to it. There is also an aroma that approximates a Flemish sour ale (think Rodenbach). I think that that sour smell seals the deal that it is a saison (as the color completely threw me for a loop).

Taste: While Brasserie Fantôme often creates sublime brilliance, they just as often create an ale that is barely drinkable. They have done the latter here. More than any other ale (including spiced tripels), this ale tastes of fresh ground black pepper. The yeast provides a bit of wild flavor to go against that pepper but it is not enough.

Mouthfeel: The ale's unusual concoction of flavors does not translate into a pleasant tasting ale.

Drinkability: I don't like it and do not recommend it. Stick to Fantôme Saison from Brasserie Fantôme. The other offerings will more likely than not disappoint you.

**EDIT**: After finishing my review, I realized that the beer tastes terrible and I ended up dumping 60% of the bomber down the sink. Based on this, mouthfeel and drinkability fell from 2.0 and 2.5, respectively, down to 1.0 for each.

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

cork pops and some foam escapes, not much. Odor indicates this has roasted or porter-like notes. pours good 33% head in chimay glass.i cannot find a date on the bottle but I believe I bought this before xmas '03, small chance a year after that. this bottle has US labelling and warnings, so I assume I bought in domestically.

front end of taste is typical fantome barnyard taste, with some dark malt and later roasted./stout-like notes into the aftertaste. my first taste of this was a surprise, I wondered if i had bought a belgian stout.

further into the bottle, spicy notes and more roast character begins to dominate. as other reviews have noted, the 10% is undetectable. this beer is entirely too easy to drink and could probably be drunk at session speed. An excellently crafted product.

Photo of jhu1995
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was a very dark brown with a think, fluffy, tan head. Was somewhat surprised by how dark it was. Smell was average, and mostly sour and tart. Taste was interesting. Had the typical sourness/sweaty funk (but in a good way) with a nice hit of chocolate and some mellow sweetness in the finish. Fizzy and sweet in the mouth with a good amount of body. For a 10% ABV beer, the drinkability was pretty good, but not one that you would keep reaching for. A very interesting beer.

Photo of GreenWBush
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

$10.25 at my local bar, which I thought was an exceptional deal especially considering how phenomenal their straight Saison is.

The labeling of this beer says it contains only malt, hops, yeast, and refermentation sugars. No spicing for a seasonal beer? I'm surprised but Dany does work some magic with even the most base-line ingredients.

Evacuating from the bottle, this beer is a murky brown with undercurrents of scarlet. The carbonation is vigorous and stacks in multi-tiered layers, whooshing and whirring all the while. Gorgeous, and much like good seasonal beers seems to scream 'Winter/Holiday'.

The nose of the beer catches me off guard because the closest I can come to articulating it is 'ketchup'. Weirdly vinegar-y notes mingled in with biscuity malt tones and the aged/polished leather yeast consistency I find in many Saisons. Nuttiness and caramel also come to mind, but the overarching effect being 'oak' or aged wood. Sour fruit: dates, figs, raisins.

The taste is interestingly funky, as is generally par for the course with Fantome. The 'ketchup' impression I noticed on the nose is gone, replaced by wisps of vinegar. Aged wood and oak seem to rise up to the forefront of the flavor profile meeting halfway with spicy dried fruit and intense leather-y yeast.

In terms of mouthfeel and drinkability, this is a stunner. I would have called you a liar if you presented this to me as a 10% beer. Silky smooth, it coats the mouth with blissful candy sugar and fudge-like malt pressing up against the aged fruit and oak. Gets better and better as you drink it. I didn't enjoy this as much as the regular Saison but a mystery to behold.

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

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a dark opaque body with a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles. The head is a creamy, bubbly mat that has a light tan color with a hint of red in it.

S- There is a slight tart sour note with some soft pale malt and wheat notes.

T- The taste has a peppery spicy start that has a soft funk that follows. The funk is not cheese or barnyard but very mild and a bit earthy with a hint of grapefruit. There is a nice hop bitterness and green hop flavor at the finish. As it warms there are some nice soft oak notes in the pepper at the beginning.

M- The mouthfeel has a nice lightness with a slight fizz texture. No alcohol warmth at all.

D- Wow a dark colored, hoppy saison. This is a very nice beer and very smooth with soft subtleties. I never know what to expect when I open a fantome and I have yet to be let down.

Photo of Jredner
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage. Aroma is STRONG and imparts spice and chocolate malt. I found that odd, but welcome. Hazy light brown with a head that is creamy and screams drink me. The flavor is highly chocolate in the fore, but fades to strong coffee flavor due to some sourness in the finish. This is a flavor I love immensely and actively seek out. I can’t believe how well the chocolate malts reach their potential in this style. It tastes like a spiked chocolate/coffee with a complex funky saison thrown in and it really makes a statement. The flavor is beautiful and the feel of the beer is amazing. A fantastic MUST TRY beer.

And at 10% the alcohol is amazingly well masked. I’d guess 6.5% if asked based on the flavor.

Photo of nvsblman
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark brown, with almost no light getting through. There's a nice fluffy brown head. Really fruity aroma, lots of plums and cherries. The aroma is spicy too, with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hint of black pepper and licorice. A little bit of horse blanket in the background. A really sour punch with plenty of fruit in the flavor. Different sips seem to bring different fruits. Cherry, plum, peach, maybe even a little pineapple. Well carbonated with a dry finish. This was a pretty good beer to enjoy all afternoon long.

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I saw somebody sniff the cork on t.v. so I decided to give it a try. Hoowee! Tart dandelions. Ok, now on to the beer review. Glowing caramel beer pours from the bottle and darkens to a deep brown in the glass. The head is thick and solid, light brown in color, but nothing in the way of lacing. Aroma is similar, but milder. Zesty lemon, some earthy cocoa, and an underlying vinuous quality. Tastes more like it looks then like it smells (whew!). I was expecting tart and got a mild bitterness up front. The earthy cocoa carried through along with a few spring flowers and a blueberry for good measure. The only hint of lemon zest was in my burp. Body is pretty much right up the middle, which is light for a beer this big and good if you ask me. It's warming without being overly alcoholic. A solid beer that takes elements from several styles and makes one tasty treat.

Photo of bruachan
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

split an '01 bottle at brickskeller

i was a little surprised by the color: an opaque tobacco. the head on top was relentless from a high level of carbonation, which imparted a spritzy mouthfeel. the nose boasted that great aged saison aroma: oaky vinous musty, along with some pine and a zing of some minty/wintergreen smell

the 10% is nowhere to me found; i almost don't believe the label. little sign of the roasted malts that the color originally threatened, except for the tiniest footnote of hazelnut at the end of a sip. the tart aged vinous character came out more as it warmed and a detectable bitterness lingered softly and the acidic dry finish wrapped it all up. some of my burps tasted like orange peel

Photo of yelterdow
2.44/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Duvel tulip at several degrees above fridge temperature.

Appearance- Pours a clear, raisiny brown with a reddish hue beneath. Off-white to light tan head, 1" thick at first... settling to a foamy rim.

Smell- Initial sour cherry funk laced with brett... wild and funky yeast notes. Sweet garbage. Old musty barn. Rotting perishables. Some alcohol presence. Yuck.

Taste- Bitter, rotten, rancid fruit and old food... this could damn well be what brewing first tasted like 1000 years ago. Lemon, old funky fruit. While I respect the interpretation of the style, this is not at all appealing to me.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Average carbonation gives out early in the tasting, while the viscosity does nothing for the unpleasant array of aromas and taste. Not recommended.

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and capped. Fantome de Noel pours out a murky dark brown with some suspended particles in it. The light brown head is very large and lasts a long time. The aroma is strawberrries, vinegar, spices, and the Fantome barnyard smell (I don't know the actual name for it, but it's instantly recognizable). Tangy flavor with lots of fruit, including cherries, strawberries, and melon. Woody oak flavor throughout. Pepper and clove spice. The yeast provides a lot of flavor. I really enjoy the yeasty last couple inches of the bottle. Medium to full mouthfeel. At 10% abv, this is the strongest Fantome beer, but I sense no sign of that fact. This is yet another masterpiece from one of the best breweries in the world.

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

Figured that after a year of sittin' on this bottle that was a gift from PopeDX, today, Christmas 2005. Pours a murky dark brown black with no light slipping through in a Chimay glass. A huge frothy 2" cratered airy head cap immediately settles to a skim island.

Nose of a quizzical Earthy airy quality. Some light malty hazy scent. Some light fruit nose. Just an easy clean light scent.

First swigs: Total surprise of tart lemony lime Granny Smith apple and sour almost lambic that fades fast to a clean yet sour linger. Almost like a hard cider taste. *Sorry!* I call 'em like I see 'em. Tartness abounds. A touch of Earthiness.

Feel is thin and lightly carbonated with a gentle roll of soft suds. Completely hidden ABV! Wow! 10.0% yer kiddin'! Easy drinkability. Just like lemonade. Yum!

Last swigs: A little critique is that it is a bit one dimensional. Typical of Fantôme to be so sneaky and wild. Reminds me of Russian River, a bit. There might be some brett in there. Just because I had some earlier today, this reminds me of DFH Au Curant.

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

750 mL with cork and crown. Cloudy dark brown with amber-orange highlights; dense and foamy ecru head. Subtle aromas of yeasty bread dough and some grassy hops. The taste shows the tart funkiness characteristic of Saisons, but this is subdued by an insistent maltiness that never gets too sweet. Some spices are there for sure: anise, cloves, pepper (maybe allspice?). Nice grassy vegetable aftertaste. Yeast pour fills out with a distinct tart apple flavor, sweet and fruity. Creamy mouthfeel with slight carbonation. This is quite drinkable although I prefer other Saisons, particularly other offerings from Fantome. Paired nicely with braised brussels sprouts and leeks. Seek out!

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not really what I was expecting at all, and doesn't really live up to the hype I heard before finally procuring a bottle.

Pours a cloudy deep and dark chestnut in color with a fizzy white head that lacked retention. Nose is a bit on the weak side, wafts of dark fruit and very yeasty. Taste is similar, very "dirty" lots of earthy elements in this one. Very slick in the mouthfeel to begin with but is quite dry finishing. Not overly appealing, one was enough.


Photo of watermelonman
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This poured to a very dark brown with hints of red. The head is substantial and lasts well while leaving some nice lace.

The smell is interesting and pleasing, bringing dark sugars and fruits together with the sourness of wild yeast. The taste adds some light spices and a substantial amount of chocolate. The mouthfeel is full and very smooth. Drinkability is absolutely absurd for the alcohol content.

Photo of bitterdestroyer
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

hands down, one of the best beers i've ever had...

appearance: a lil murky, deep reddish brown, more lacing than you can shake a stick at. nice head.

smell: fruity, spicy. do i smell raisins? or plums? or peppermint? all of the above my friend. a very full bouquet. more full than any winter brew i've had thus far.

taste: nectar of the gods. sweet, hoppy, spicy, fruity, nutty, tart. there was sooo much goin on here. there was definitely a party goin on in my mouth (and yes, everyone was invited, smart ass).

mouthfeel: like i said, it was a party, people. silky smooth, light and bubbly.

drinkablilty: well this was the rub. taking the alcohol content into consideration, i couldn't do more than one bottle in a nite. i'm a lightweight.

overview: loved it, loved it, loved it. do yourself a favor if you have this at your disposal pick up multiple bottles. you'll be glad you did.

Photo of whartontallboy
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is in all likelihood a 2004 bottling; I purchased it August 2005.

Pours out majestically into my tulip, a muddy, murky tea/cola-brown that lets just a little light through and had a majestic 3" head of tight, foamy bubbles that slowly recedes over the course of a half hour, leaving huge sheets of lace and a pillowy layer on the body. I don't usually give 5's for appearance, but this outshines even the other Fantomes I've tried.

Smell is somewhat typical of the brewery and style: yeasty, barnyard funk, some dark fruits, a bit of alcohol, and a little bit of sourness. However, there's a much sweeter bubblegum-and-candy-sugar aroma that wafts up out, too, that's somewhat unusual but still inviting.

This sweetness follows over into the flavor. There's definitely a sugary-sweetness in there, but it's balanced almost point-for-point by a substantial sour funkiness where the yeast creeps in. A certain spiciness is in there, as well as some plum flavors and the occasional peach/nectarine/apricot flavors as well. It dries out at the end, not quite as much as the flagship regular Fantome, and the sour/sweet interplay lingers into the aftertaste, as does a lightly smoked/roasted walnut flavor.

Mouthfeel is suitably light and bubbly, just barely tickling your tongue.

Overall: Beautiful in the glass and quite tasty as well. I'm not sure I'd prefer it to the regular Fantome every day of the week, but this one has its charms despite its considerable sourness.

Photo of paterlodie
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

No freshnesdate but probably fresh. Nice but overewelming presance with light gushing probably due to overcarbonisation. Head lasts well and beercollor is nice and deep brown with some particles in there. Nose is very peppery& clove spiced, roasty and nice caramel next to the usual funk of "wild" ones as there is a good cherie note in there with the fantome house caracter also. Full and alcoholic taste with lots of roast and good bitterness. Bombastic and peppery spiced with cinnamon makes at a complex and heavy experience but overall good mouthfeel. Heavy and slowly drinkable but a good taste and somthing else as the regular winterwarmer IMO.

Photo of dwvarner77
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark caramel color, with a thick mocha-colored foamy head that falls to retain a thin frosting.
A lot going on in the nose; there's a funky tart smell along with a good deal of yeast and raisin.
Flavor is also funky at first; a sour spicy flavor, but that is then backed up by a great deal of a dark bready malt, giving me a slight chocolate or coffee-ish aftertaste with a touch of spice. I get a hint of the 10% ABV in the aftertaste too, but it's not overpowering.
Mouthfeel is nice; not too thick, a light active carbonation present. Good mouthfeel increases drinkability, unlike some other christmastime styles that possess a sticky, syrupy character IMO.

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

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!

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.85/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer poured into the chalice slightly hazy amber brown with a tan and frothy head which rose slightly and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with an earthy and slightly grassy presence. The beer contained a nice dark caramel aroma and some dark fruit presence of figs and plums. The aroma was also slightly spicy and slightly bready.

The flavor was smooth as silk with a nice caramel maltiness coupled with dark fruit flavors of raisins, figs, prunes and plums. The bittering from the hops balanced the flavors and kept the malt charge in check. The flavor was earthy and spicy and well achieved. The complexity was very, very nice and those same bready aromas came forth in the flavor.

The finish was just dry with a lasting dark caramel and bready flavor with dark fruits and alcohol, heck the whole darn flavor palate lasted into the aftertaste and begged me to have another taste. The body was just above medium and well done. This ain't no Saison, this a Belgian Strong Dark and a darn good one at that.

750 ml corked and capped bottle. Christmas in JULY!

Note: I had this once before and it was sour and not very drinkable. A friend picked this bottle up in Charlottesville, VA at Wine Warehouse and this is probably the best Fantome I have ever had.

Photo of clvand0
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a cloudy dark brown color with a tall head that has nice retention and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of spices and funk, typical for the Fantome. Some slight raisin notes in there. The flavor has a strong maltiness with some chocolate and a lot of the Fantome funk. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is moderate. The drinkability is great for 10% abv.

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Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
88 out of 100 based on 586 ratings.