Fantôme De Noel
Brasserie Fantôme

Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel
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Style:
Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #512
ABV:
10%
Score:
89
Ranked #9,000
Avg:
3.97 | pDev: 13.35%
Reviews:
363
Ratings:
646
From:
Brasserie Fantôme
 
Belgium
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  34
Gots
  85
SCORE
89
Very Good
Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel
Notes: This ever-evolving offering is said to be spiced with honey, caramel, black pepper, coriander and (per usual with Fantôme) a number of other special secret ingredients. A rich, dark-flavored beer with lots of deep-roasted chocolate malt, but still fairly dry, with a hint of sourness at the core. It is very spicy, with some winter spruce flavor in the bargain. The wild yeast sourness also adds to its welcoming character.
Reviews: 363 | Ratings: 646 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by doktorhops:
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doktorhops from Australia

4.48/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Season’s Greetings from those lovely chaps at Fantôme! Well, yes you’re right - it’s not Christmas, but for the first time in what feels like ages it’s starting to cool down in Queensland, perfect time to crack open a De Noel and feast on the (no doubt) delicious goo inside. I’ve only tried one Fantôme thus far, Pissenlit, which was rather excellent and enough to convince me that Dany Prignon and team have a special energy happening in Belgium, which for a country that brews the best beer in the world they still like to do things by the book (only difference being their book is massive and unique to the rest of the world). Another thing - this beer contains honey, and I do love the rare beers out there that utilise this valuable ingredient.

Poured from a 750ml corked and crown capped bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Aye she looks great: deep red/brown burnt umber body, possibly cloudy but hard to tell, with a nice bold Ecru head that thins out to a lace ring. Loving this colour - it’s like a murky forest waiting to be explored. 9/10.

S: Getting hints of dark fruits (plum, fig and sweet cherry) mixing with a woody and tart black cherry note, there’s a real forest floor vibe as well. Hints of honey and clove in the background... bit of cardamom pods too. This definitely strikes me, from the aroma at least, of a Saison that will peak when it’s warmer and more flavours/aromas come out to play. 8/10.

T: Nice! Flavour is somewhere between a Saison and a spiced Mead, with notes of: Dark fruits, woody (one might even say spruce - at least the label says it) tones, honey, clove, cardamom, pepper, and a touch of tart black cherry. Thankfully the tart cherry is more of a background attraction than the main star - as you well know my enjoyment of Rodenbach Caractère Rouge was soured [pun intended] by the amount of sourness in that brew. Finish adds a light herbal bitterness. As a winter warmer it fails in that the 10% ABV is very well hidden... or it succeeds depending on your views, me I like a winter warmer to give me a slight kick at the end if only to slow me down - Fantôme De Noel has little of that “kick”. 9/10.

M: Pretty luscious with a mid to heavy bodied and a creamy Weizen-esque carbonation, great stuff. 9/10.

D: All round another winner for Fantôme, who are quick becoming a favourite of mine. Their beers are deceptively simple and complex at the same time, Dany Prignon is a master of brewing. Gobias some more! 10/10.

Food match: If it ain’t turkey it ain’t worth eating with cranberry sauce.

May 10, 2018
More User Reviews:
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
Beer-A-Lot from Virginia

4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice, unique beer. Alcohol is very well hidden. Almost a sour component to taste. But a dryness too. Soft, delicate, smooth. Very fun to drink. Easy to go down.

Dec 18, 2014
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantôme de Noel pours a brilliant deep garnet with a ½” bone white finely bubbled foam cap. Yeasty aromas with a blend of fresh and overripe fruit waft up from the glass with hints of spice, dark sugars and alcohol. A spicy palate combines chocolate, fruit, spice, slightly over ripe fruit, toffee, with a slight alcohol sweetness. The Brettanomyces character is just coming on board with most impact on the texture producing a very fine, soft carbonation. The sweetness from the malt nicely balances the wild yeast tastes. It is effervescent, medium bodied, and has very smooth alcohol.

Jan 31, 2015
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13 from Ohio

3.27/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance - uncorks with impressive force, blowing the cork remover off the bottle as it rested on top for a moment. Wow. A quick pour into a Sam Adams drinking glass yielded one finger of beer and the rest foam, to the top of the glass. That's bubbly. This will definitely take some time to get the glass filled up. The head slowly fades back, showing a bright reddish amber beer below miles of drying manila foam.

Aroma - a little yeasty, a little sweetness, definitely funky. Light roasty elements with warming, along with some general savory like aromas.

Taste - maybe the first time I've ever picked up on the leathery component of this kind of beer, holding the first mouthful for a bit and just breathing. Has a smoky element too, and though I was concerned that this would be too funky to enjoy, it is not. The tartness, some general malt sweetness, and the aforementioned flavors make for an interesting mix of flavor. It's not really moving me towards the style as a pick, but it'll drink. The swallow shows a little more smoky/rauch type flavor as the abv warms the finish.

Mouthfeel - super-crisp with the bubbles, the bead will likely not quit for the entire bottle. Medium body with light slickness.

Overall - not a huge fan of the style, so these intense samples are more challenging. I am having no trouble getting familiar with the flavors at play and appreciate them, but this isn't one I'd get again.

Apr 30, 2014
Photo of philbe311
philbe311 from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A unique capped and corked bottle...

A - Slightly more than a fingers worthy of creamy lush slightly off-white head... Minimal retention gives way to an uneven lacing with a slightly thicker collar... The color is a murky light to medium brown... Some stray sluggish carbonation can be seen towards the top of the glass...

S - Slightly musky... Overly ripened sweet dark fruit... Dates... Cherries... Raisins... There are some mild Belgian yeast notes beneath... Some subtle caramel and toffee notes... A solid aroma that is inviting, but is slightly lacking in terms of complexity...

T - Cherries... Some additional dark fruit characteristics... Some Belgian yeast profile... Perhaps a bit of holiday spicing... Some subtle leather notes... Touches of vanilla... There's a lot going on, but their is very little interplay between the separate components...

M - Slightly thin with very limited carbonation... Sort of stagnant... Medium bodied... Slightly sticky... Slightly sleek... A little bit of a kick on the finish...

D - I struggle with this one in terms of both Saison style guidelines and as a holiday offering... This one seems to miss the mark of both accounts... With this being my first Fantome offering, I'm hoping the rest of their catalog has much more to offer... This does hide the 10% ABV well... However, otherwise this one really falls short for me...

Dec 19, 2010
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SocalKicks from California

3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Sep 29, 2014
Photo of BeerBuilder
BeerBuilder from Minnesota

4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a murky brownish color with a tan head. The aroma is malty, sweet, caramelly, with brown sugars and a hint of chocolate. It also has a herbal yeasty character to it. The flavor is yeasty and herbal, with a sweet brown sugar maltiness. Very smooth and nice drinking. Another welcome brew from Fantome.

Dec 26, 2004
Photo of DaveHS
DaveHS from California

4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark cherry color, with heaps of creamy, khaki colored head. Leaves lots of sticky lacing. The nose is a confusing interplay of sweet and sour. Wild berries, honey, sweet caramel malts, white wine grapes, chocolate and clove. It sounds crazy, but all these flavors work together. The first sip hits the palate like a hot mess, not offering too much in the way of individual flavors. At first this beer comes across as muddled and overdone. But after a few sips,individual characteristics become more clear. There's a push/pull dynamic that makes for very interesting drinking. The lightly tart acidity versus the medium bodied, malty base. The Christmas spices playing against the earthy funk. Random bursts of pomegranate sourness, smoothed out by subtle touches of oak. This beer is the work of a mad scientist. Beware the 10% ABV, it's very well hidden.

Dec 05, 2010
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SalMineo from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Mar 19, 2012
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francisweizen from Alaska

4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
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!

Oct 31, 2003
Photo of dasenebler
dasenebler from Maine

4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottling, I think. 750 ml.

Pours a cloudy, near opaque mahogany. Small bubbly head sticks around pretty well. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma is excellent, with lots of acidity, funk and Belgian sourness.

Flavor is surprisingly tart. Definitely a beer for sour enthusiasts. Personally, I love the flavor. Vinous and acidic, with notes of vanilla and sour apples. Aftertaste is bitter and pleasantly rindy and leathery. Carbonation is high, but very smooth. Barely noticed the 10 percent alcohol content.

This stuff is really awesome, and I could see myself trying the other Fantome offerings, albeit occasionally given the price.

Feb 28, 2010
Photo of fdig23
fdig23 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Dec 30, 2013
Photo of Truh
Truh from New Hampshire

3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Found myself under the mistletoe with this one on 12/7/2004. 1 pt. 9.4 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a glass made for Allagash.

Ghost of carbonation that piles more around the edges. Hazy, apple cider hue, but lighter, with tons of action. Sweet rock candy, light brown sugar, prunes, and gargly malt on nose. Egads, kind of a crank of juniper, rose hip, grape-like vinous notes and a spring astringency that cuts down the center of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, through the mouth to the eye, through the eye of the needle. In the end, kind of cagey and harsh.

Mar 15, 2005
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babaracas from Florida

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky red/orange/brown with a dense but quick-fading finger of cream colored foam. Wanted to be a gusher, but wasn't. Smell: caramel, dates, grain twang, doughy with spices... cardamom and maybe a tiny bit of clove. Plum as it warms more. Taste: unripe plum meets cocoa, brown bread, tons of caramel, with red apple skin, cardamom, maybe cinnamon? in the finish. It captures the winter / christmas beer motif very well without going overboard on sweetness or spices. Low carb, on the cusp of full-bodied, abv only hinted at in the finish.

May 23, 2014
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Anonymous1 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +0.8%

May 10, 2013
Photo of Morris729
Morris729 from Texas

4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby amber color with a thin bubbly head that soon faded into a collar of lace. Nose is a blend of several aromas—some horse blanket, a spicy fruitiness, and a yeasty earthiness. Taste has lots of dark fruit (fig, raisins, plums) and even a bit of candied apple blended with a good amount of Belgian spice. A bit of the horse blanket funk that was in the aroma is also present in the taste along with a bit of a leathery flavor. Is this a Saison or a Belgian Strong Dark Ale? Either way, it’s pretty darn good.

Sep 15, 2006
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JAHMUR from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Nov 20, 2011
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe from Michigan

3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another new Fantome bottle, another lottery ticket. Saw this sitting on a shelf in Toledo and felt like rolling the dice. Fantome de Noel pours a glowing ruby and brown color with translucent that only peaks through at the edges. Such a volatile head; big, bubbly, and growing with the power of a thousand suns, it has a gray-ish tint and takes its time settling to a collar.

I take a sniff and I don't love it. Not right away, at least. I guess I didn't what to expect, but I wasn't expecting such a spiced Belgian style ale, which is how each whiff makes it seem. Heavy yeast, bread, bubblegum, and mild banana sweetness, spiced with tons of coriander, clove, pepper, even a faint twinge of mint. There's probably not actually any mint in this beer, but c'mon, just lemme have this one.

The aroma doesn't get any better with some warmth and/or time, although it does grow on me a little bit more, besides the fact that it's spiced more along the lines of a winter warmer than a Belgian ale even. The first sip opens up to a bit more fruit than was available in the aroma; mild plums and grapes and pear skins, sitting on top of a huge, yeast blanket that screams with more bubblegum and clove.

Fantome wouldn't be anything without the funk, and on top of being a science experiment spiced beer, this sucker is funky as hell. Cheesecloth, wet cork, damp hay, and a back-end chalkiness that I'm not sure whether is a product of the yeast, the malt, the spices, or Dany accidentally knocked a bucket of sidewalk chalk into the brew kettle and said "fuck it".

Very spiced and very heavy with a booming clove, pepper, and yeast-ladden and bone dry finish. Medium bodied, lots of carbonation, though the body is a little to heavy to be effervescent, it's just a touch away from a cream mouth feel. Another strange brew from Fantome, one that I did not enjoy quite as much as the rest. It's decent, sure, but one of my least favorites of the bunch.

Jul 17, 2013
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, here it is, mid-September, and what better time to open this bottle of Fantome Noel?
Stolid eggplant and plummy appearance, resting under a cakey, creamy topping of beigish froth.
Nose is generously spicy, mixed with dark fruits, cherries, and berries, grapes and dates.
Taste, mmm,magificent! Active carbonation, brief acidity, but a full flood of complex fruity/ spicy flavors delivers it's payload on the palate with the first sip. Marvelous mouthfeel, paints all corners of the senses with this deliciousness, with a citric twist interjecting now and then. Yeast looms large in the flavor, as well, leaving more of a feel of a spicy raisin cake, or something similar. I never, ever would guess that this is a 10 % brew, but we're only halfway in, so we've only just begun to plunder the full effects of this bottle. Gets better and better as I deplete it...medium body, medium-length, but sweet and spicy finish, softly drifts from the palate, lingers just long enough to keep the impression of eternal delight not far from the mind.
This is really nice, if not incredibly impressive, but that's not always necessary, is it? A super saison, spicy in just right amount to remain highly pleasurable and not a chore...I say, as long as this is what is promised in the holiday season, who needs Santa Claus?

Sep 16, 2004
Photo of sjccmd
sjccmd from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark chestnut brown, slightly murky. Very fizzy very light tan head bubbles quickly and recedes leavings a ring around the glass that sticks around.

Smells of rich caramel sweetness and brown sugar. Grassy and tart yeast. Slightly funky.

The first sip is surprisingly much more tart than the aroma led on. Apple cider rounded off very nicely with roasted malts and spices. It fulfills both saison and Belgian Christmas ale qualities. A little light for a Christmas ale and rich and roasty for a saison, but it works for me.

Sparkly mouthfeel. Pretty light and heavy on carbonation. Considering it is a winter seasonal, I'd like it to have more body. The roasty character would benefit more even if it's still a bright and tart saison.

There is virtually no hint of the 10% abv. I almost wonder how correct that estimate is. It's a light bodied beer but not without flavor. I don't feel like this beer should be limited to the winter. I could drink this anytime.

May 16, 2010
Photo of Lucho
Lucho from Florida

4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay Chalice.

Appearance: Pours a rust red with some sediment. Forms a massive white loose white head that gradually fades to a small head with patches of foam that collect around the surface.

Smell: Black Cherries covered in dark chocolate. There are subtle hints of winter seasonal spices such as cloves and allspice. I just wish It was still the holidays.

Taste: Bitter Sweet Chocolate with some sweet finish that are reminiscent of biting into a chocolate covered cherry. Right on the money with the smell. Easy drinking for 10%. The sign of a great one.

Mouthfeel: Light on the tongue with some carbonation. Almost dances around your mouth.

Overall: This sets the curve for a holiday beer that has it all...10% ABV, Fruit, Spice, and bitterness. I wonder how this will age?

Feb 23, 2013
Photo of taez555
taez555 from Vermont

3.11/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

Dec 27, 2003
Photo of bonkers
bonkers from New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a bomber into a SA perfect pint glass, murky orange pour with a moderate six=zed white head. The aroma is citrusy, spicey, light barn yard quality. The flavor is non offensive, light citrus, light grass, some spices, light funkiness, drying finish. The body is light, good carbonation(below average for a saison), no noticeable alcohol. A decent saison, although for $15 I am expecting beter than decent. I think I am just going to stick to his original saison instead of the differnt varities.

Jan 01, 2012
Photo of JRBecks
JRBecks from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Dec 27, 2012
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser from Maryland

4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Nov 10, 2003
Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 646 ratings