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Fantôme De Noel - Brasserie Fantôme

Not Rated.
Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel

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

549 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 549
Reviews: 345
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 24
Gots: 74 | FT: 1
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: 549 | Reviews: 345 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

WVbeergeek, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantome De Noel was served from a 750 ml corked and capped bottle with no bottling date. In a glass chalice, the vigorously effervescent beer was a murky reddish orange-brown color and was topped with a low tan head that left thick and creamy lacing. The nose was complex and seducing, with a moderately tart lemon essence that was immediately countered by assertive creamy strawberry and raspberry esters. All of this was topped with spicy notes of nutmeg and cinnamon. I found myself exploring the nose for a long length of time before I even considered taking a sip. When I did get around to actually tasting the beer, I was suprised by what I found as I was expecting the usual Fantome saison flavor profile. The beer was much more a Belgian strong dark than a saison, with a smooth and moderately sweet strawberry/peach malt base that was spiced with coriander, bitter orange peel, and a number of undecipherable subtler others...pehaps star anise, black pepper, and nutmeg? This loveliness deftly transitions in an rounded bitter and seemingly dry oaky finish that winks at you with hints of that trademark Fantome sourness. Mystery lingers on the palate long after a sip is taken. Alcohol is well hidden throughout. The silky smooth body and the fluffy carbonation enhanced the experience considerably. The flow and balance of the flavors betray the genious of the brewer behind this brew. Fantome proves that they can do the Belgian strong dark style as well as they can saisons.

HiroProtagonist, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of mophie
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ok, it's been awhile since my last review (forgive me Father, for I have sinned...). I had fairly high expectations for this beer based on the one other Fantome beer I've had; maybe just a tad too high. Anyway, as others have noted, the beer has an apple-cider appearance, which I like, and a vigorous tan head that disappates but comes back quickly if you swirl the glass. Smell was a little funky at first, but soon gave way to a subtle farmhouse-and-apple aroma. Nice. There's also a hint of apple in the taste, along with dark fruit (currant, date), but the predominant flavor (to me) is pepper. Perhaps a bit of clove as well. Fairly high carbonation provides a lively sensation on the tongue, though there's also a slight chalkiness that I'm not quite crazy about. Still, this is a damn good beer that I will buy again, and I have an extreme amount of respect for the Fantome artisans who haunt the Ardennes.

mophie, Feb 16, 2004
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fantome is one of my all time favorite breweries in the world. Pours out a slightly cloudy brownish-red color. Extremely effervesant which creates a large head. The smell is spicy, fruity and sweet. I pick up notes of raisins and dates as well. The taste is similar with more of a sour note coming through at the end. Alcohol is hidden extremely well but does leave a bit of a delayed burning. With all this carbonation, it is extremely explosive in the mouth. Very different from all the other Christmas seasonal beers. The body seems to be a bit thin but very refreshing and drinkable. This is a beer that I will try every year.

CharlesRiver, Jan 31, 2004
Photo of RedBaron
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Although I opened this bottle about a month past Christmas, I'm sure the spirit of Fantome will forgive me! At any rate, this is a pretty good Christmas ale from a nicely established Belgian artisanal brewery.

The 750ml bottle poured nicely, with a strongly carbonated start, but the head settled nicely shortly afterward. The color of the beer was a seductive dark mahogany, and the head was dull tan. The smell wasn't anything unique or unusal, but had the nice expectant characteristic of a Belgian, unfiltered farmhouse ale: kind of musky, with just a hint of a holiday spice (perhaps coriander?). The initial taste was of apples and raisins (yum), and the finish was of yeasty residual fruitiness, that left me reflecting nicely on each sip. This is a very drinkable, and enjoyable brew. But at 10%abv, gotta watch out!

This isn't my favorite holiday beer, and it's really not my favorite Fantome offering, but all said this is a very enjoyable beer to relax with, and well worth the money and time spent getting it.

RedBaron, Jan 28, 2004
Photo of chaduvel
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown tea color with a fizzy but sticky head of khaki. Smell is complex and consistent with other Fantome's. Some barn, sour, red fruits and apple. Taste matches the aroma with a significant apple and raison flavor. Honey, dark sweet fruits, mango?, Carbonation levels of a lambic, and a fine malt and yeasty backbone that reminds us that this is a beer, another magical spooky Fantome beer. Not as good as the Hiver.

chaduvel, Jan 07, 2004
Photo of mickeymac
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided to make this the Ghost of Christmas Present. Poured from a green 750 with the Fantome spook on the label, the beer is a nice looking brownish red with a fairly thick head that leaves a thin layer on top of the beer after subsiding. The smell is barnyard funk, some fruit, a bit of spice, just detectable hops, and an undercurrent of alcohol. As usual with Fantome, the taste is a bit eccentric. It's sour enough to pucker the mouth but also sweet with ripe fruit flavors. The 10% abv is very well-hidden, contributing to the drinkability. This is another beer that will keep me looking for Fantome.

mickeymac, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of stcules
4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This bottle is almost 10 year old...

Dark mahogany colour, almost black. Stout-like foam, creamy, brown and compact.
Smell and flavour: liquorice, coffee, grapes, plum, candy sugar, cherries in alcohol, alcohol (not too much, but it is perceptible), vanilla.
Taste: liquorice again, toasted (malt), creme caramel, evident alpine herbs, burnt (a lot), sugar and citrus fruit in the background (tart).
Great aftertaste: a complete range of flavour: chicory, rhubarb, artichoke, and again the same notes of the taste.
Good body.

Imagine: Little gnomes, drunk of peated and iodine whisky, that roll a burned and toasted oak barrel, happily drinking a bitter chicory coffee.

stcules, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of taez555
3.13/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a bottle of this to enjoy for the Christmas holiday.

It poured a rather clear, maybe just a hint of haze, brown body with almost no head. Of course at 10% the little bit I could get was more than expected.

The nose was a little tricky to make out. A lot of earth smells some spice.

The taste is where this beer truly becomes interesting. Medium bodied, very smooth and drinkable. An insane mix of flavors; wood, cork, black pepper, oak, grass, dirt, malt, spice, brick, whole nutmeg, ginger, mint leafs. It tasted medicinal with a slight bitterness. The scary thing is the alcohol is completely hidden. Basically it tasted like a farmhouse Saison with just this crazy mix of natural earth flavors. I kept thinking this is what beer tasted like 1000 years ago with every sip.

Overall I found this beer really tough to drink. I’d take a sip and enjoy it, completely amused by the myriad of earth flavors. Then I’d wait a minute and not want to take another sip as if I was a kid again taking medicine. And this cycle would go on every sip. Basically it’s an interesting beer, but not one I’ll be trying again anytime soon.

taez555, Dec 27, 2003
Photo of BeefyMee
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I served a 750ml bottle of this at Christmas dinner with the early courses of shrimp cocktail, antipasto, and stuffed clams.

Appearance: It looked pretty good after the pour, dark but not extremely so, and I was looking forward to tasting it.

Smell: The smell was the best thing about this beer. There was some fruitiness but also a substantial malt aroma that I found pleasing.

Taste: Sour. Fruity. Big letdown. Others at the table were drinking Cold Duck, which I found to have a somewhat comparable taste. The 10% alcohol did not come through very much. I think this is because the sour fruitiness is so strong.

A drinkable dinner beer but not something I enjoyed very much. The alcohol is pretty much hidden but watch out, that phantom will sneak up behind you. Not a bad beer; just not for me. Either this is your thing or it's not.

BeefyMee, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: I spied this bottle lurking at the bottom of the Cooler in the Stuffed Sandwich during a recent trip. The Fantôme Ghost had one eye on me and the other on Santa and his Reindeer. Corked and listed as 10% ABV.

I shared this 750ml with fellow BA’s Davo and DavidBanner.

Appearance: Very hazy red-brown color with average carbonation. Thin whispy head formed slowly; light tan in color and broken at times.

Nose: One word Fantôme! Sour fruits and some yeasty mildy alcoholic tones. Light caramel hints. Funky, but not as funky as some Fantômes that I have had.

Taste: Darkish fruits that are emulsified in a sour mash of funky farmyard malts with some preservative hop like bitterness. Acidic in nature with a peppery middle that finishes with some aniseed like dry bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Despite the average carbonation, there is enough going off in this beer, and so many unknown ingredients to work out, that it sits well in the mouth and is far from thin. That said it is remarkably nonchalant for a 10% ABV Beer.

Drinkability: A nice beer that accompanied the few pickles that I had left from my Sandwich extremely well. The second pour topped up our mugs with the yeasty remnants which I found went well with some Fries that DavidBanner had just ordered. The 10% is well hidden.

Overall: Not as in yer face as some of the Fantômes, and don’t expect a traditional strong kick-ass Strong/Old Ale “Xmas” beer either – this is not your usual commercial Festive offering. It’s, erm, well, it’s Fantôme!!!

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What makes this Christmas Ale? Maybe it's the evil-looking snowman...or is it the Fantôme ghost?, leering down at Santa and his reindeer…that and the word "Noël" on the label. I don’t know!
After a big POP! upon popping the cork, it poured a muddled amber/brown with a big and thick fizzy and foamy beige head. Loads of laces are deposited along the way as I merrily gulp it down. Notice the bits and pieces of yeasty and protein solids floating and dancing in the murky liquid body. Aromas of damp earth and hay prevail. Nutty malt, yeast, hops and alcohol fuminess mingle with a bit of hard cider and vinegar smell. The malt is fairly robust. Flavors of prunes, brandied raisins biscuity malt, astringently bitter hops, clove and spices are quite noticeable. A flavor reminiscent of a crusty baguette dunked in dry sherry (not that I would) come to mind. It finishes dry with only a vague hint of its alcoholic potency. I just don't understand what makes this a Noël Bier.

BeerResearcher, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of cokes
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stained, ruby-brown. Toothy, monster, yellowed head.

If I can't wrap my head around my head around this, excuse me. Fantome always befuddles, and this simply confounds. It makes me not want to review, as any words are inadequate.
Forget the numbers, and go on sheer experience.

Nose of treacle, prunes, toffee. Vinous in a Cabernet Sauvignon sense. A screamingly tart uprising is noticed, but largely ignored. Smells much maltier, sweeter and fruitier than it actually is.

Ever wondered what happens when gueuze is mixed with brandy?
Now's your chance.

Begins with a dollop of raisin jam while still chilled. Prunes and traces of molasses. In comes a machete of searing tartness, with edges of tart green apples and gleaming blades of cranberries. It then turns more farmy, and more human. Blood, bile, sweat, tears. And not in the allegorical sense.
Literal.
Dry. Blistering. Painful....almost. Suggestions of vomit and urine. Appealing yet?
It should be.
Burnt raisins reappear, so do the cranberries along with a cognac/champagne blend. Sour grapes. Oxidized white wine. Hell, Cab traits make this Red too. Rust. Rancid ruby cherries. Tartness. Sourness. Foul, bad, rotten. Tablespoon upon tablespoon of vinegar.

Do you hate it yet?
I think I do.
But I love it too.

I can hardly drink it without shuddering. But I can hardly keep my lips away.
Everything that I seemingly detest about this brew seems exactly right.

Painful epiphany.
Sour, wronged revelation.

So truly Artisanal.
A Grand Cru vinaigrette.

I'll cop out and give it some meaningless numbers.
It deserves much better and far worse.

As an experience, this is a 5, no doubt.

cokes, Dec 13, 2003
Photo of yen157
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured slightly reddish-brown, murky-as-hell, and capped by a foamy, definitively Fantome, sticky head. Beer was tart up front followed by milk chocolate. In that regard, it was very similar to their ’00 Winter beer. Ripe red berries appear as the beer warms from slightly below cellar temperature to RT. This is great stuff. Besides Printemps draft, I have loved everything I have had from these guys.

yen157, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of moulefrite
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely color-perfect dark caramel. The lack of stick and lace detracts a bit though. Aromas are redolent of German d-bocks, chocolate, raisin, nuts-some fruity malt aromas as well. A treat to the tastes buds, with a low carbonation mouthfeel and a fine ability to hide strong levels of alcohol. Loads of flavor here, including raisin, prune, baking spice, malted chocolate milk, and savory nut. Another elegent ,and very artisinal offering from one of the classics, that demands trying-if you can find any!!

moulefrite, Nov 26, 2003
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.63/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2004 Bottling, Sampled November 2004
This beer has an incredibly enticing aroma of slightly acidic apples and raisins as I pour this beer. It pours a semi-hazy rich amber color, and is topped by a full tan to light amber colored head. The aroma is quite fruity from a distance and as I go in for a closer smell the sharp acidic fruitiness becomes more apparent and is joined by notes of chocolate, and a very subtle spiciness that hints at cinnamon, clove, liquorish, ginger, vanilla. Basically this smells like a rich, fruity, subtle spice cake. The aroma is quite intriguing and is on par with the best from the Fantôme Brasserie.

The taste is soft and creamy up front, but finishes with a rich note of chocolate, which seems to be derived from roasted malts. As I let the flavors linger in my mouth, I get a definite dark malt finish that is reminiscent of a lightly roasted breakfast blend coffee. This beer is quite tasty, and I really like the abrupt transition between creamy soft and fruity upfront to the chocolately roasty finish.

I go in for another round of sniffing, and I start to pick up notes of fresh herbal fennel, a hint of vinegar (which seems to be only a suggestion from the spicy character here, as opposed to actual acetic acid), a finish that has a damp cellar-like character to it, and some definite notes of ginger aromatics. There is a certain, entirely obvious, yet not so much that I can pick it out, spice here in the nose that I should recognize, but just can't quite put my finger on, what is it? Egad, the aroma of this beer is just intoxicating, the beer is at about 58*F (##*C) and is at the perfect temperature for smelling. Ok, it is now a 1/2 hour later, and I have had a revelation, I am pretty sure that this aroma is cardamom, it is in the taste as well.

The taste, while not quite as intoxicating as the aroma, is quite enticing and strikes a very good balance between soft notes and notes of more solid sharp character. The soft notes that I get consist of notes of apple, plum, tamarind, vanilla, raisin, and cinnamon. The sharp notes that I sense remind me of coffee, sharply acidic apples, a certain woodiness, a light herbal character, definitely a combination of light astringent notes, and that lingering chocolate note really hits my taste buds.

Dany has done a masterful job of pairing his house character with subtle spiciness and a hint of rich roast malt notes. This is my perfect ideal for a Christmas Saison. What a complete treat.


2003 Bottling, Sampled November 2003
A hazy amber-brown color with orange notes when held up to the light. It is well carbonated which creates a good sized tan head. As I pour the beer I get an aroma of something like fruit & sherry. Upon closer sniffing I get notes of dark fruit (plum) and a spicy yeast character. It tastes a bit sherry like, but I am confused on whether this is oxidation induced, my guess is not. There is a lightly sweet flavor up front and it finishes with a funky mustiness that evokes thoughts of chewing on old cobwebs. A fairly soft beer up front but leads to a certain astringency. Pretty good but doesn't quite live up to the bar set by the regular Fantome. I must say it hides its alcohol very well, at 10% it certainly sneaks up on you. Overall a pleasing spicy brew that is fairly complex.
Rated 4.05 / 3.5/4/4.5/3.5/4

Gueuzedude, Nov 22, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage served chilled in 4 oz. cups at the Stephen Beaumont beer dinner at RFD's.

Appearance: Hazy nut brown color with reddish highlights. Topped by a quite sizable offwhite head which settles down to a good layer. No lacing was left on the cup. Don't think it would've stuck to glass.

Smell: Sour apple and tart cherry aromas dominate. Some oaky wood smells as well. Bracing.

Taste: Very sour, almost vinegary. Brackish cherry and tannic wood. Quite unique.

Mouthfeel: Very puckering and quite light bodied. Cleansed the palate with aplomb.

Drinkability: You really need to have food with this. The high acidity would doubtlessly give you heartburn without something to munch on. Not for the meek.

Other: Paired with a grilled venison salad of field greens and topped with a framboise vinaigrette. The woody tannins and brassy arugula played off each other quite nicely, but otherwise there was some struggle between the two. The venison was not gamy enough, apparently.

ManekiNeko, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of lackenhauser
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very little carbonation and no head.Pours a muddy amber color.Nice aroma-spicy-cinnamon,cloves-slightly earthy.Great flavor-malty.No hop bitternesss.Somewhat sweet-spices again-brandy like flavor dominates.Full mouthfeel-nice body to it.A nice treat overall.$10 was a bit steep-definately something you want for a special occassion.Well worth trying.

lackenhauser, Nov 10, 2003
Photo of BierReise
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 corked bottle with 086/477044 on cork. Can't crack that code. Dark amber colored and showing ruby red when held up to light. Short lived head and minimal lacing. Great aroma of fruity malt with a slight sour earthiness. Nice smooth medium body with alcohol masked better than Gene Simmons. Nice flavored ale with a slight bitterness. Malty and yeasty with a sweet and sour fruitiness. I'm impressed with this one. Very nice.

BierReise, Nov 04, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was highly enjoyable. It poured a dark amber colour with a lovely, huge, white head. The aromas are all over the board, consisting of barnyard funk, belgian spices, yeast, candy sugar, hops, malts, and more. The taste is heavily alcoholic but the alcohol is hidden quite well. There is such a great blend of spices and flavors in this beer, that it is nearly unconcievable to me! The mouthfeel is nice and round, neither too thick or too thin. The drinkability you may ask? Utterly brilliant for a Belgian ale of this size. Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year. This ale brings tidings of joy!

francisweizen, Oct 31, 2003
Photo of hyuga
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy mahogany liquid with a big, rocky head. Not much in the head retention department. Aroma of tart apple mixed with heavy caramel malt and earthiness. Tree-like. On the palate, it's peppery, fruity, woody, and leafy. Strong sweet malt backbone. Alcohol warms. Smooth yet tingly and spicy. Burning peppery and alcoholic finish. Great beer, a bit overpowering to the senses, but very enjoyable.

hyuga, Aug 23, 2003
Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked bottle: What a great beer! The corkk pulls out with a loud "pffft". The color is that of cloudy brown with a hint of red to it. Ther is a thick, creamy tan head on it. Lingers for a pretty good time. Very interesting bouquet. I smell fruit and spices, but they are very blended and complex. Somewhat sourness, and maybe a hint of caramel coming out of the others. The taste has a very interesting sour sweetness to it. Just as complex as the aroma. This is a truly unique and interesting beer.

Boto, Jun 30, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a mystical purplish red color, the head gigantic, frothy to the max; the left over lace sticky thick sheets to conceal the glass. The aroma of ripe plums, malt, light hints of fusel alcohol, sweet and quite appealing. Ambrosial at the start, the top middling in mouth feel, the finish bitingly acidic, the hops poke through as the beer warms a bit, the aftertaste dry and lingering. The 10% ABV makes itself felt as it is quite a “Winter Warmer”, and also quite a quaffable brew.

Gusler, Dec 23, 2002
Photo of rastaman
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown colour, very decent head, which lasts, strong spicy cinamon aroma, almost a bit of a acidic nose aswell. Very acidic, bitter/sour flavour, a bit of apple, cinamon and even cherry in there aswell, my only problem with this beer was the slight fizzy mouthfeel it had, but otherwise, pretty nice.

rastaman, Jul 30, 2002
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Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
88 out of 100 based on 549 ratings.