Fantôme Black Ghost | Brasserie Fantôme

very good
188 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 188 |  Reviews: 146
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 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 Jwale73
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped and corked bottle served at 48 degrees in my DT snifter. Freshness dating not indicated on the label, but cork reads 086/47704. Poured a deep mahogany with some ruby highlights when backlight. One inch off-white head with latte-like consistency with tiny pockets embedded in the cap - eventually recedes into a thin, consistent skim. Half moon swath of lacing coats one side of the glass; decent legs on this one. Nose is a bit musty/spicy, muted dark fruit with a vinous/acidic quality. Taste is quite dry and a little woody; not getting the typical sweet and malty I've come to associate with the style. A little tart and also getting some nutmeg towards the back. Moutfeel falls between light-and medium-bodied with a nice, consistent background carbonation that keeps it lively and refreshing. Not my favorite offering from Fantôme, but alcohol is well-hidden and there's a nice complexity and refreshing quality that makes it fairly drinkable.

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Photo of Gmann
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Out of a 750ml capped bottle. ATTENTION BRASSERIE FANTOME how about putting a cork into your bottles!!! Most of my experience with your brews have been semi-flat. Anywho, off of the soapbox and onto the review. Pours a deep mahogeny color and after a dead hard pour I got a small soapy at first but firmed up head. The aroma is of lemons and green apple skins, sour and funky. Not what I was expecting from a dark brew. The taste up front is of lemons with some raspberry sweetness, perhaps some sour cherry. Not what I really expect from a BSDA, its not sugary with deep fruit flavors, kind of light with tart and/or sour flavors. Kind of refreshing, actually. The feel, feels a bit dead. Can use a good kick of carbonation. This is as soft as soft can be without being outright flat. Finishes with a tart/sour kick to keep any sweetness in check. I got probably a bit of an old bottle, I'm just not sure as the few bottles that I have had from this brewery have been exactly like this. So not sure if this is how they intended their beers to be or they are just old. Old or not this is a pretty refreshing beer, easy to drink, light.

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Photo of gford217
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL cap and corked bottle courtesy of pghlee at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy reddish amber with a big thick head that recedes quickly to a collar and leaves spotty lacing.

The aroma is an interesting mix of sweet saison-like smells and spices with a bit of dark roasted malts and even a bit of sugary sweetness. On top of all of this is a hint of the typical Fantome funk...lots going on.

The taste is has the Belgian yeast backbone with a quick tart hit up front. There are some definitely spices, especially in the finish, probably coriander and some others I can't identify. Again, there are some dark roasted characteristics that make things very unique.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied for a BSDA if that's what you call this.

As usual, a unique brew from Fantome that has a whole bunch of things going on that doesn't quite come together perfectly. Interesting and tasty, but not great.

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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 tmoneyba
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Dilly Deli.

Poured clear dark brown color with a large fizzy brown head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Aroma was as complex modetate spicy nutty sweet and alcohol. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Heavy dark fruit bittersweet flavor with a heavy bittersweet finish with medium alcohol bite.

Good strange brew.

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Photo of errantnight
3.09/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Well I keep ticking off the Fantomes... and as much as I LOVE regular ole Fantome, only the Hiver has really made my toes curl.

Pours a hazy, brown, dirty looking liquid with initially promising finger and a half or so of head... that dissipates rather quickly. Minimal lacing, although reasonable retention. It's just a bit murky looking since it's thin around the edges.

Aroma is really, really enticing on the other hand. Forward sour cherry notes with a bit of ripe fruit and supporting horse blanket funk. Mmmm!

Unfortunately, on the palate, the question is how did the aroma miss making it to the gullet? Smacks of a beer with wild yeasties that have gone on far too long. Thin, with subtle aromatic notes of flowers and herbs muddled and minute behind a sharp twang of cherry. Kind of like a flanders red minus the velvety texture and rich malty brown beer notes.

Maybe I overrate the mouthfeel, but it feels like a nice, easy, drinkable Belgian. The flavor just got stripped out, and I'm not sure beefing up the body would fix that (although perhaps by packing the flavor back in, the body would be beefed up, but that's not the same).

It's innocuous, smells great, and is refreshing. For $15 a bottle. No thank you.

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Photo of rye726
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another truly unique artisan ale from Fantome. Pours a Glowing orangish brown with a thin tan head. The nose has fresh fruits, peppery yeast, damp manure ridden soils, and a bouquete of herbs and spices. I would call this a blend between a Flanders Red and a Saison. Fresh fruits, subtle musty funk, flowery hops, and earthy Belgian yeast. A clean, crisp body with delicate carbonation and a somewhat dry finish. Superbly balanced ale that pairs well with fine meats and cheese.

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Photo of ballewblake
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Duvel tulip.

Half finger tan head that kills quick. Brown body, cloudy, ring head around, opaque. Nose is mellow but a little funky. Taste has some carbonation in it, sour, funky! Sourt notes really take away from all the other flavors. Great drinkability for a dark sour. Up to par with the saison that I love.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, capped and corked. Lots of carbonation on the cork pop but no surge. The beer is murky, tan orange brown, lots of floating yeast particles. The smell is not really BSDA to me, more funky and Fantome-y. Sour apple cider, barnyard, and who knows what spices. The taste is not easy to nail in words, but has elements you'd associate with Fantome, some sour bite but not too much, a little fruity, maybe almost dusty. As with all their beers, this Fantome is unique and good.

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Photo of grub
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this one has been on my wants list for a looong time. finally found one on a recent trip to merchants in dearborn.

750ml bottle, corked and capped. sampled dec 27/08.

pours deep red-brown with a big fluffy tan head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves a few spots of lace behind.

aroma is definitely fantome - and good. their usual yeast character is there. white bread and cracker. a bit fruity. some light spice. touch of alcohol, but certainly not 8% worth. a bit toasty too, with a little nutty character coming through.

taste is good. wow, i didn't expect the sourness from the aroma, but it's surely there - not really in a vinegary way, more in a sour fruit way. sour cherry. light citrus. white and whole wheat bread. bit of cracker. just a hint of fruity sweetness appears from time to time, then disappears just as quickly. the fruity depth is great, with shades of dark fruit, citrus, and other sour fruit thrown together. balancing that all is just a hint of alcohol and a touch of yeasty spice.

mouthfeel is great. medium-high carbonation level. right around or slightly under medium body with a nice dry finish.

drinkability is great. i love the interplay of the sourness, fruitiness, and light malty background. this is pretty unmistakably fantome, and quite tasty. would i call it a BSDA? probably not, but it is interesting and it works. good stuff.

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Photo of Viggo
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and capped bottle, big thanks to grub for sharing this. Had never seen this one in the stores until last weekend.

Pours a cloudy orange, very murky, thick light tan head forms, drops to a very thick layer, drops some nice lacing on the glass, looks pretty good. Smell is like Fantome, yeasty, some bready malty, funky, spices, sour/sweet, spruce, chocolate, quite malty, neat stuff. Taste is real sour, funky, vinegar and brett, chocolate, malty, grainy and biscuity malt, lemons, light bit of fruit near the finish, quite sour in the end, not too complex. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, pretty smooth and easy to drink, real nice sourness. Very drying in the finish, but a bit watery. Nice and very interesting but like most Fantomes just a bit watery and not as complex as they first seem. Thanks Russ!

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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 PittBeerGirl
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured into my Chimay chalice.

A- Body is a very foggy murky brown color that pours with absolutely no head...and this glass exaggerates and maintains head very nicely. A lot of white yeast sediment chunks can be seen whirling about the body of this brew. The chunks are a bit too large and abundant for my taste.

S- Yeast funk, cola, and some dark fruit. Smell is mild but good.

T- A little bit of tart dark fruit upfront with a cola flavored background. Yeast is there too. The finish is consistent with the initial flavor and not much of a hop punch is offered.

M- The chunky yeast sediment detracts a little bit form the mouthfeel which isn't as smooth and creamy as I would like but it's still there and low carbonation.

D-Decent beer but I won't pay $14 for it again. Not the best in the Fantome lineup. I did enjoy it though

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Photo of ccrida
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle that I've cellared for a little over 6 months, poured into my cherished Fantome tulip, Black ghost is a murky chestnut with a large, light tan head with big, frothy bubbles, it grows like some kind of chemical reaction, but doesn't overwhelm the glass with foam. I've never seen such a violent, turbulent settling of a beer, with tons of bubbles agitating chunks of sediment. Once it settles, the spritzers remain to support a collar, but it doesn't leave a flex of lace. Looks like apple cider, with the last full pour looking almost turkey gravy thick!

Smell is very vinous, lactic tart fruitness, grapes and lemons.

Taste is fruity, musty, and vinous, with a light sourness that makes me glad I gave this a ½ year to age. There's a hint of vinegar reminiscent of a oud bruin, but also an herbal woodiness, damp but fresh. I wouldn't be surprised if this was using some bizarre ingredients, 'shrooms, herbs and moss by the taste, but who knows? Wow, incredibly complex, I really shouldn't have tried to categorize it. I love the fruits, tart lemons and sweet grapes, it's the Purplesaurous Rex of Fantomes! I particularly love the finish, sugary sweet. I was expecting more of a Belgian Stout, but this is perfect for the late fall season and my general mood today!

Mouthfeel is very light and dry, highly digestible. The dry pucker counters the stillness, and overall it's pretty silky.

Drinkability is great, a little tart, a lot going on, but really easy going down. I have to say I didn't have the highest hopes, but this is really fantastic. So glad I have another bottle or two in the stash, this is a totally unique, yet at the same time so totally trademark Fantome. This was my choice for cracking midnight on my 30th birthday, and I couldn't have chosen better.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

How do you see a black ghost if they lights are out? Pours a lighter shade of black, if that is possible, that is similar to a schwartz if it were. Boarder line dark brown. Ok clarity, but a good soft white head. Did hide to the edge and very limited retention throughout.

The nose has more of a white wine characteristic more than anything else. Noticeable grapes with some minor lactic sourness on the backend. No real malt characteristic but there are some minor esters, plums and figs mostly. Some light funk and spices, pepper mostly. There is a noticeable oxidation that is somewhat sherry like.

The taste is more subtle than the nose. The winey flavors back off a bit but are still there. Some sweetness up front but the sourness comes out quickly. Doesn't take long to adjust, but once you do the yeast characters really come out. Some bready almost flour-like notes but light against the lactic sour notes. A bit of funk but not as much as expected. Almost smooth in the finish that I associate with diacetyl.

Overall I know this is very unique. Not a traditional Belg Strong (if that is possible). But closer to a gueze and a belg black (like 1554).

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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 alexgash
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle.

Pours a dusky amber brown with orange edges. Tall, rocky, frothy, dirty khaki head. Good lacing. Caramel and sweet, sticky fruit on the nose along with metallic citrus (lemon) notes, cherry, musty barn, raspberries, and some grassy-hay accents. Interesting, as it seems most Fantomes are.

Flash of toasted malt up front before quickly turning to tart cherries and citrus. Sour, but not too puckering. Raspberries and strawberries mix with musty white grapes and pepper. Pretty good mix of tart and fruit and must. Medium bodied, with an oily feel. I don't know if I would call this a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but it's pretty tasty.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy deep amber with a light tan head. In the aroma, sweettarts, small roasty malt, and a small caramel presence. In the taste, somewhat watery, and a small white grape fruitiness. A smooth and medium mouthfeel, with a dry, sour, maltiness in the aftertaste. Kind of watery, small tartness, ok, but expecting more from Fantome.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

hit with the ester of dark fruit upon opening. pours a nice solid mahogany copper. bottle has a lot of junk in the trunk. big head that quickly turns to ring around edge of glass. smells of black fruit: fig, blue and black berry. sweet alcohol as it gets warmer. hint of sour oak. tastes is all that and some. fruit is there mostly fig, hardy fig skin blends well, sour wood, then dry cocoa and malt. about ten seconds after a few sips i noticed the light heat of pepper on the tongue. fantastic mix of flavors. a little watery on the feel as the carbonation disappears completely as you work your way down the bottle. not dense. crispy and dry. chocolate and pepper seems to dominate the texture in the aftermath. fantastic beer made for nothing but fantastic occasion. great for storage. probably even better with age.

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Photo of blakesell
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 750ml capped and corked bottle into my favourite Belgian style glass.

This bottle doesn't look quite like the one pictured here, I would guess that I have the more recent vintage, the label is pink instead of dark blue.

Appearance- Cork comes off with a nice pop, but not a lot of carbonation rising in the bottle. Beer pours a hazy brown red hue, nearly purple with gigantic chunks of yeast floating around in the glass. There is a finger and a half of foamy head that dissipates pretty quickly for a Belgian, and lacing clings to the sides lightly.

Smell- This beer smells funny, ha ha funny, cracked black pepper and spices upfront, there is a malty yeasty sweetness, and a strong sour backbone as Fantome is prone to giving off. Brettanamyces, and a little Lacto Bacillus giving a slight wild scent, a chocolate covered raspberry in there as well, a lot of smells in this beer. A little oak, a lot of red winy notes, no hints of alcohol or hops.

Taste- Creamy, more of the acidic dryness that was in the smell, very yeasty profile giving some nice estery flavors on the tongue. More red wine notes again, very similar to a good Cabernet, this could go well with a juicy steak, or some stinky cheese which I plan to pair with it after this review. That sour funk is not overpowering and invites me to sip further. Tangy fruits are pretty thick in the taste as well, and the peppery spices, almost a sour cherry fruit flavour.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, not warming, highly carbonated, medium full bodied, refreshingly puckering.

Drinkability- Pretty high on the drinkability scale. I'm glad I have another set back for cellaring, and if I find more, I'll cellar them too. Dany from Fantome really knows his stuff.

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Photo of froghop
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pour is a cloudy dark brown with a small beige head, good lacing.

smell is faint, musty, some dark fruits, almost a red wine smell.

taste is sour, dark fruits (prune, raisin, red grapes), malt in the back, some spice, dry ending, thick mouth-feel, some bitterness, sour lingering aftertaste.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 750 to Coronado pint...

Nice dulce de leche head topping caramel apple body

Sour aroma with bountiful yeast electricity backed by soild malt presenece, along with subtle vinegar notes.

Whooo-eee, dat's saaar. Crisp and clean though-yeast electricity delivers with mild yet strong malt and oak backbone. Slight piney hops and a little horse blanket in there. Nice stuff.

Tight sour pucker with even oak from start to finish.

This should be savored. Clean but tightness may preclude sessionability.

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Photo of illidurit
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Dark brown color with a mocha head that's on the modest side considering the force of the pour. Aroma is very strange: lemon, leather, and some kind of spiciness do not exactly scream BSDA. Flavor is strong on menthol/lemongrass with an even white pepper note that dominates the finish. Musty and earthy, at times vegetal and at times fruity. Mouthfeel is a little thin and a little undercarbonated. Totally unique but kind of weird and I'm not sure I like the combination of flavor notes.

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