Fantôme Black Ghost | Brasserie Fantôme

very good
146 Reviews
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Fantôme Black GhostFantôme Black Ghost

Brewed by:
Brasserie Fantôme

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by francisweizen on 01-06-2004

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Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 188
Photo of kmcnair
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish red hue, and makes a thick tan head. Musty aroma, like a barnyard, dark fruits like plums and cherries. Flavor is very interesting, cherries, bittersweet chocolate, spicy pepper, bakers yeast. Mouthfeel is thick and full on the palate, leaves a very rich coating on the throat. This is a tasty beer, well done and very interesting for the style. The funky characters take this to an unusual place.

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Photo of MrSeth
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nutty brown color, but once in the glass, it's black. 2" light brown head that sticks around for a while. Not any real lacing.

The smell is of molasses candy, fresh baked french bread, and musk.

The flavor, which is supposed to be a big secret, seems like anise [licorice neccos] to me. There are also plums and black cherries in the taste.

Good mouthfeel, very wet, a short finish with some pucker. I think this ale would be an excellent addition to Peking duck with white rice and Chinese broccoli.

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Photo of Beersignal
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown with a medium head that fared average in the retention department, no lacing really but I wasn't expecting any from this beer.

At first smell, this brew reminded me of a Flanders ale (Rodenbach Grand Cru, or Duchesse de Bourgogne) with its rather pungent acidic and fruity aromas. It was a welcome change from the hoppier and maltier ales which I have been drinking as of late.

The flavours of this beer were right in line with the aroma profile. Fruity and tart with a dominant undercurrent of green apples and grapes. The beer's vinous traits were accented by a bracing dryness towards the finish that, I think, would make it a perfect apéritif before sitting down at a table for a long meal or as an accompaniment for this feast. Surprising dryness for a beer with this high an alcohol content.

Very hard to find in Canada, I want to extend many thanks to Goldorak for giving me this bottle as a Christmas present. I owe you one Martin!

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Photo of danadeny
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purple labeled version. Something about this beer (i can't put my finger on it) is delicously drinkable. Dark brown bubbly body, off white frothy head. Smells yeasty, musty-earthy, slight fruit, and a espresso-chocolate, almost too complex, i was getting confused wondering if i was really smelling all this. tastes of chocolate and coffee aftertastes. awesome ballance, light sweetness, hard to pick out some flavors, earthy-musty, light roasted malt, light bitter hops.mouthfeel is watery smooth. drinkability is high because of it's overall ballance.

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Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been looking around for this for some time and was very happy that i found it and picked it up.
pours a deep rich mahogany brown with hints of ruby tones when held to the light. A nice 3 finger head appears and stays leaving great lace throughout.
Aroma was chocolate, cherries, plums and other fruity esters.
Taste was of chocolate covered cherries with hints of plum and caramel fudge. This was full bodied smooth, rich and leaves a very heavy coating in the mouth that lingers and leaves you wanting more. Definite must try if your in to artisan belgian ales.

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Photo of ejquin
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Sunny and cloudy orange/brown with decent white head

S: Vinegar and acid. Sour cherries and brett funk.

T/M: Sour and bitter. Acidic with vinegar notes but a quick, short finish and dry.

M: good carbonation.

Ovr: Good, not great to me. Not as complex as I expected.

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

I'm getting into sour beers so am giving this one a try.

A - brown coffee color with deep mohogany hues and a finger of beige head that's rather creamy.
S - scents of marachino cherries and fig.
T - A mix of flavors hit my tongue. Toffee, caramel, raisins, cocoa with a medium subdued, but present, tartness to it.
M&Dr - medium bodied, okay carbonation ending on a dry note. I didnt care much for this one. I'd drink it again, but wont go out of my way. Nice brew though.

EDIT: I had this again today and had to up my taste score. The tartness seems more present and i like it more.

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Photo of garthwaite
4.82/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle provided by the very generous skyhand. Been sitting on this one for quite a while, waiting for a worthy occasion. Lively pour and it is dark, muddy approaching black. Gorgeous, big bubbled head. Nose of sweet cherries, vanilla, sour, & farmyard dusted with cocoa & espresso. Multi-layered & complex in the mouth with a delectable sour kicking finish. Some moderate bitterness accompanies rum soaked raisins, molasses, & a mysterious funk. Never have I tasted anything that approaches this flavor profile. Full bodied & active in the mouth with the unmistakeable sour funk finishing the brew beautifully along with a kiss of vanilla, blackberry, & cherry concentrate. Drinking this was truly a wild ride. Mysterious, inimitable invention.

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Photo of PatYoda
4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a muddy dark brown color with a perfectly smooth cream colored head that will not go away. Smell really hits you hard with dark fruits and mustiness all over the place. The taste is extremely complex as the sweet fruits assault the tip of the tongue first, then morph into some peppery spiciness which lingers. The funk is always there behind everything. There is a nice tart flavor hiding under everything as well. Almost too much to handle!

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Photo of BrewMonkey
1.63/5  rDev -57.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours amber to brown with off white head, not too much, recedes quickly without much lacing on the glass.

Aroma of sour cherries, grape juice, grape candy, bready yeast, sour fruit and a slight alcohol tickle.

Holy god that's awful tasting. The level of sourness attacks your tongue, beating it into a fetal position at the back of your throat. Mouthfeel is biting, that's all I can really say.

I think there is some kind of wierd flavor behind it all, but for gods sake, what's wrong with the reviewers giving this an A? It makes no sense whatsoever. If I served this to a group of 100 people, I'm fairly positive 98 of them would spit this back into their glass. Simply horrifying to the point that I wonder if the brewer is simply f'ing with people. And I think the Saison they make is one of the top 3 beers I have ever had. Bleh.

Edit: A few sips later I just need to add....disgusting. I'm starting to wonder if we got a bad or old bottle because some are suggesting this beer should be black, and ours was certianly dark amber, but nowhere near black. There was also a ton of goopy sediment at the bottom, far more than you would typically find in a bottle conditioned beer. So I suppose there is a chance this bottle was spoiled, and I hope so, because it was terrible. But since this is very difficult or prohibitively expensive to get, I'll have to stand by the review of the beer we had.

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Photo of nogoodreason
4.97/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A tesselation of beer, shapes emerging from other shapes and suddenly the whole picture is changed.

Opaque. Slightly darker than milk chocolate brown. The head is tan and fizzy. It's pretty, but nothing special, right?

Lemon, straw, earthy funk then a mildly obscured fruit cocktail then leather then that tart, earthy funk again, then some more leather then the fruit jumps out... what the hell is going on? There's a definite spice... I'll call it white pepper. This nose is incredible, and it simply won't stand still.

When is crosses your toungue, it's thinner in body than you'd expect, but it's not watery. It's bubbly enough, easy to sip. So unnassuming.

How do I describe the taste? Like the scent, it seems to change seamlessly from one shape to the next. At first, there's a lemony tartness with root celler must and funk. Then there's spicy white pepper, followed with chardonnay. It has some leather, and some strange, sundrenched flavor that I have no words to explain. Now it's Pumpernickel. One constant is the dark, musty aspect. If I was a ghost, I'd hang out in cellars as well.

When it finishes, it's Chardonnay with lemon zest in a root cellar. Next, it pretends that it's going back to that spicy white pepper but no, a moment later your mouth is filled with nutty cocoa powder. That taste hangs on your tounge forever.

I've had this beer before, but for some reason, this time I saw the ghost...

Phantasmal excellence.

 1,469 characters

Photo of studentofbeer
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up before i read any reviews or had any, and didn't expect something so dark and mysterious from fantome. My 750ml had a pinkish background rather than the blue pictured.

The color is somewhere between a very dark brown and a glowing red, very wood-like, with a khaki head that poured a good two fingers and then fell to a very slight coating over the top of the brew. Definitely pretty.

Smell is dark and fruity-- multitudes of dark fruit, with cinammon, milk chocolate, black licorice and yeasty herbalness like grass.

The flavor pulls out the fruit flavor with plum, fig, a bit winey. Very restrained and complex, it's a little sweet from fruit and milk chocolate flavor but there's a definite sourness or astringency that comes from the licorice and herbs that balances this beer. Also some nutty flavors present. The final impression is dark and fulfilling, with flavor to adapt to a variety of foods.

Mouthfeel is fantastic--I love beers like this that have a hint of carbonation but are so creamy and frothy. It's medium bodied but goes down very smooth with just a prickle of carbonation. Perfectly balanced with the rest of the beer. Drinkability is excellent--the taste and mouthfeel make this one and easy sipper, and the 8% abv disappears in the decadent flavor.

I almost feel like this is what New Belgium's 1554 may be trying to obtain. While that's a nice beer, this offering from fantome hits on all cylinders.

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Photo of brushtachio
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first ever Fantôme offering. Based on their reputation, I shouldn't be suprised to find a beer that doesn't seem to want to play nice with the other (sometimes legendary) members of it's style. This is the BSDA that sits in the back of the class, sporting a green goatee and making sarcastic comments everytime that holier than thou St. Bernardus raises his hand to answer yet another of the teacher's questions correctly. He may not be your favorite kid in the class, probably got put in there because he school didn't know where else to put him, but damn he keeps the class interesting.

Poured from a green bomber that was both capped and corked. Deep dark brown but far from black. Little to no head.

Probably served it a few degrees too cold but the smell definitely becomes more pronounced as it warms. Yeasty, musty but hinting at dark fruity sweetness that will suprisingly never show up in the taste. Sour twang in the nose proves a much more reliable agent of foreshadowing.

Taste has many of the components I expected and many I didn't. Each sip seems to emphasize one over the others giving you the impression that a vicious battle for supremacy between the flavors may be going on in the glass unbeknownst to you. Yeast, pepper, sour lemon, dried cherries, leather, earthy grass, my grandpa's bare dirt cellar.

Finish is very dry. Carbonation has some bite to it.

This is a sipper. One to give your palate a work out. One was enough but I enjoyed spreading the experience out for a couple of hours.

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Photo of NoHipTee
1.86/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours a very opaque light brown, almost orange. Medium head. Chunks of ??spices?? Sinificant amount of sediment in the bottom ot the bottle and in my slowly poured glass.

Smell is a pleasing sweetness that eludes to a smooth experience.

The taste is far from smooth. An sour tangy bite that left my tastebuds searching for redeeming qualities. The sweetness was barely enough to help me past the thought that this must have been a brewers error.

Mouthfeel too much sediment to get past and the complex flavors did not linger long enough to leave anything but a sour aftertaste on the tip of my tongue.

Low drinkability. Did not enjoy my venture into the roots of traditional style beer making.

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Photo of jjazz
4.82/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The crappy BA rating had me underestimating this one, but what a beer!

Taste is supremely complex, with cherries, cardamom, coffee, black pepper and much more. Sour, spicy, and really unique. The long, evolving finish is very interesting, and this beer has some serious character. Very funky.

My lowish appearance score comes from the poor head retention, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of this one at all.

I know I'll be buying this again, at which time I'll write a more in depth review, but for now, let me just say that this is one of the best, most distinctive, complex, and interesting Belgian darks out there. I think I can taste the action from the Fantome "microbial zoo" that I've read so much about. Awesome.

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Photo of yoko
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Most notable visually was the mounting tan head that exceeded 3 fingers in a Rapscallion snifter. Within minutes a gentle blanket with a swatch of darker sediment settled. With each taste a cascading lace adorned the glass. The brew poured a murky dark chocolate/black which allowed for no light to pass. The nose was the delight of this Black Ghost coming up sour with a cocoa base note. Sweets of black cherry/prune blend with the berry tartness of bosen and goose berries. Citrus, yeast, pepper, must, and carbonation finish the nose complex. The mouth and taste, for me were a disappointment, especially after my brethren's reviews. Mouthfeel was on the low end of the medium continuem; the last 2/3rds swept by an imbalanced dominance of carbonation and its subsequent bite. Dried grasses finished as did a bitter bite residual which remained after the upswing midway through the taste sample as did a dry yeast with musty hay notes. The finish thinned out reminding of a seltzer yet a high seated musty bitter remained in the palate.

The nose is the nicest part of this beverage. This kind of carbonation is not of my suit, nor do I find it in harmony with the overall character of this style. With all the hype I was dearly disappointed.

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Photo of tdrshayden
1.82/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The aroma has me baffled; funky peppery, yeast aroma. The flavor doesn't get much better, spicy apple with a faint hint of chocolate, but unfortunately the peppery flavor overpowered everything else. Not sure if the bottle has turned bad or this is really what the beer is supposed to be. This is perhaps the worst beer by Fantome that I have had yet.

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Photo of IrishMike
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bottled 2005 (purple label) and purchased from my local liquor store at $8.99 for a 750ml bottle. Cork was nearly impossible to remove, or perhaps i'm just a wuss.

Appearance- Pours into the glass with a menacingly dark color (deep brown, almost black) with a 1" dark tan head that strangely dissipates into a very large ring around the glass. In the center lies a massive pool that initially refuses to go anywhere. A little lacing to top it off. Let it settle for three minutes or so, however, and the head and lacing are completely gone. There's something about this that seems almost.... mysterious...

Smell- there's quite a bit going on here, that's for sure. A very earthy and natural tone sets the stage, gently blending into a yeasty and, oddly enough, coffee odor. Dark chocolate and that belgian spice character also noted. Slowly changes over the process; seems to take on slightly different notes every time i take a wiff.

Taste- a beer that can be both sedate and strong all at the same time, the beer seems to actually build momentum from the start of the sip until the end of the aftertaste. More and more seems to compile itself over time; starting out with a musty and earthy character (eating dirt? nah, that seems a bit harsh), then the yeast flies in, out come the spices, dark fruits, the dark chocolate, the expresso, and everything else. Really starts out small and then explodes. Long (and i mean somewhere in the realm of ten seconds) after i swallowed, a roasted bitterness and warming sensation abruptly entered. This beer tastes weird. Weird in the best way possible.

mouthfeel- I'm generally a fan of full-bodied brews (i.e. extremely heavy), something that i usually don't associate with Belgian beers. But this actually had quite a nice mouthfeel to it, very full and rich.

drinkability- I'm halfway through this bottle as we speak and there is absolutely no signs of me slowing down. This beer is such a curious creation that i'm actually finding myself drinking more and more in a futile effort of trying to figure it out. I expect that this entire 750 will be gone within the hour. I assume then tomorrow i'll purchase another bottle to try the same thing, and so the cycle will continue. Frightening drinkability.

There's something i can't quite figure out with this beer. I mean, yeah i certainly enjoyed it (perhaps a little too much), but it also frustrates me drinking it. Every time i think i have it completely figured out, it changes on me. Evil. Pure evil. Black Ghost is indeed a apt name for this mysterious brew. Buy it if you enjoy a good challenge.

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Photo of LaPeste
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750ml capped bottle from Vendome in North Hollywood $15.99.

A: Poured into a tulip glass. Dark Brown with hints of red, hardly any head. Looks inviting.

S: Smell is mild, chocolate, ripe fruit, yeast

T: Yeast, chemical, very slight sour, some ripe fruit

M: Slight carbonation, light bodied, not very well balanced

D: Alcohol is well concealed, easy to drink but it doesn't really make you want to

This is the second Fantome variety in two days that has disappointed. I think it's time for me to move on from trying them all.

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Photo of beethousand
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this out of the bottle; didn't enjoy this as much as other Fantome beers.

Interesting herbal aromas and flavors, but overall a bit too dominant, especially as the beer warmed up. The nose was the highlight of the beer; the taste and mouthfeel did not measure up to the nose. Dry and alkaline in the mouthfeel--there are a decent amount of drying characteristics created in the mouth by this beer.

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Fantôme Black Ghost from Brasserie Fantôme
3.84 out of 5 based on 188 ratings.
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