Fantôme De Noel | Brasserie Fantôme

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Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel
Very Good
640 Ratings
Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel

Brewed by:
Brasserie Fantôme

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by taez555 on 12-03-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 640 |  Reviews: 360
Photo of ScottP
1.25/5  rDev -68%

Photo of crnipeter
1.52/5  rDev -61.1%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

750 ml into tulip. Back-label promises an experience by saying "Brewer Dany Prignon is known for his....creative and adventurous brews."
Pours spuming, deep amber hazy body topped by instantly dissipating ivory head. A saison should pour long lasting, dense head but obviously not this one. Fruity esters lacking aroma is completely overwhelmed by dominant sourness with spiciness I couldn't tell whether derived from hops, yeast phenolics or actual spices used. Light malt and evident spicy alcohol. The flavor is supposed to be citrusy fruity esters and spiciness wrapped in soft malt with additional sourness and alcohol. Instead, the sourness is overpowering, followed by somewhat peppery and nutmeg-like spiciness. Well attenuated malt and high carbonation lend dry finish with spicy aftertaste. Fruity esters and hoppy bitterness I was expecting are largely ignored here. Although spiciness and sourness of saison beers commonly increase with alcohol strength they are overdone, regardless of the 10% ABV. Fantome Noel is a proof that adventurousness and creativity are not necessarily a good thing.

In short: a one-dimensional saison whose sourness and spiciness dominate in the balance.

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Photo of garbercury
1.59/5  rDev -59.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Must preface that I am a huge proponent of Fantome, one of my favorite breweries so it pains me to slam one of his beers...

A---Dark hue, reddish tint, plenty of carbonation with this one.

S---Indicative of what is to come, smelled like bad tomatoes.

T---Terrible, like bad tomato soup with chestnut flavoring added for extra shock value.

M---Fine, I guess.

D---This beer is truly a terrible, twenty dollar drain pour. I am hopeful, based on reading other's reviews, that I got a bad bottle. Honestly the worst beer I have tasted in a long time.

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Photo of doubleipa
1.64/5  rDev -58.1%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This had to be a baaaad bottle, but I'll rate anyway. I was so looking forward to having this on Christmas Day. What a dissapointment. The appearance was wonderful: creamy head that was mostly lasting. Nice dark color. The aroma was absolutley awful. Cider, soap. more cider, and cardboard. I knew it was bad at that point. I'm nut sure how the bottle went bad. There was plenty of pop when I took the cork out and plenty of carbonation. I hope I can get another bottle and update this review as I love most all Fantome beers.

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Photo of Zorro
1.76/5  rDev -55%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Darkest Saison that I have ever seen.

Pours a dark brown almost black beer with a tall light brown head.

Smell is tart grape juice and cork.

Taste is sour. Very lambic like and seriously sour. I couldn't drink more than two mouthfuls of this. I checked the other reviews and this is supposed to be a sour beer.

Mouthfeel is vinegar.

Pure crap in a bottle, a very expensive drain pour beer.

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Photo of akorsak
1.88/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -48.8%

Photo of ndak
2/5  rDev -48.8%

Photo of donkeyrunner
2.12/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Muddy caramel color with a large, frothy, sand colored head. Head melts like Frosty in July and leaves only a spitwad skim floating around my glass.

Brown bread, anis, and raisin German stollen aroma. Messy.

Tastes as messy as it smells. Anis, bruised MacIntosh apple and not much else. Thin, fizzy mouthfeel wipes the palette too quickly.

I've come to expect engrossing, complex masterpieces from Fantome. This is a bummer.

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Photo of mttaylor1066
2.16/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Well, if you like gueze, you might like this 2010 version of fantome de Noel. I was expecting a saison.

But for me, this isn't a beer that I can finish. It is sour and funky with the aftertaste of lemon peel. Tastes like a mix of old and fresh Belgian lambics.

I guess you have to be in the mood to enjoy a beer like this. I doubt I will ever be in that mood.

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Photo of oceanside
2.26/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

They only thing I have to say is it had a taste akin to sucking on dirty pennies. There were many other flavors but after every sip I would get a strong metallic flavor. The cork crumbled when trying to open this bottle and I don't know if this had an impact on the taste or if the bottle was just simply bad. For me it was a great disappointment because it was my first fantome and it was a holiday beer to boot.

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Photo of AndyEdgar
2.31/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

an absolutely terrible offering from Fantome. Just too much going on here

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Photo of bigfnjoe
2.34/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured from a corked bottle into a Dogfish snifter. Merry Christmas!

A- pours a dark, murky shade of amber with a paper thin offwhite head that quickly fades away to nothingness. Well...that's a very disappointing start. Just an ugly looking beer with no head at all.

S- nice aroma of grapes comes through, but not much more than that. Again, disappointing...I expect more nuance from Fantome

T- very one dimensional. Some light grape and apple, and not much else at all. Disappointing

M- flat as a board. Thin bodied. Dammit.

O- this one went down the drain after a few sips. Flat and bland is no way to go through life

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Photo of yelterdow
2.44/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of MasterSki
2.45/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Got this in a BIF a few years back from mymrnngjckt. Unknown vintage, but it's 2008 or earlier. There's a pristine best before portion on the label that ends at 2012. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - A finger-plus of dark tan foam settles to a thin cap and thick collar, but no lace. Brown body with some amber highlights when held to the light.

S - Hmm...this is pretty bad. Vinegar, cork, oxidation, some musk and sweat, odd herbs and minerals.

T - Taste is not as complex, but instead features a delightful blend of mlld sourness, cardboard, phenolics, and minerals. Some of the advertised spruce is still present, imparting a minty character.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium-full body with perhaps a touch of grain to it. Pleasant carbonation, and well-hidden alcohol.

D - I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this, seeing as it is Fantôme. Perhaps someone will open a delicious bottle of this beer next week - who knows? In any case, this was pretty terrible.

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Photo of vermilcj
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

Photo of leodarko
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

Photo of jmarsh123
2.51/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky red orange with a reddish head.

Smells of strong spices, some raisins and bready graininess. A little bit of tartness as well.

Flavor somewhat follows although everything kind of seems disjointed. Spices seem to fight with the normal grainy funky flavors.

A bit too light with a bit too much carbonation.

Some good stuff is present here, but this beer is very confusing. The flavors don't work especially well together.

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Photo of harrymel
2.55/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Unknown lot (no notches)

pours a good looking dark garnet with brown hues. A fine light latte foam sits atop. Fleeting sheets of lace fall. I'm smelling apple skins, nutty yeast, some nougat and a little metal.

The flavor follows with a bit more of the yeasty character and a hint of a raisin layer. A relatively doughy character, the beer is really yeasty. Even the mouthfeel is heavy, but with excessive carbonation and a dry finish.

This beer is interesting, but I'm likely not to purchase a second bottle. I've only had one other Fantome, and that was fantastic, but this one is not impressing me.

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Photo of neonbrown82
2.56/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of badbeer
2.6/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with red hues, tan colored head with very good retention and lacing. In the aroma I got old grass clippings, green beans, some slight spice, and maybe a little fruitiness as it warmed. Same characteristics in the taste, except there was none of the fruitiness. Just wasn't good, would not seek this out.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.63/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Bottle (2010?)

Texas Liquor
Carlsbad, CA

(Aged for...1+ - 3 years)

One of the prettier Fantomes. A slightly hazed light copper or dark amber in color with a very persistent, large-bubbled light khaki head. Somewhat sticky lines of stick left down the glass. A pretty, darker saison.

Fairly nice aroma, though it also seems fairly standard for Fantome (which is a good thing). Wet, freshly cut grass, along with some faded dark fruit character, a bit of an earthy, outside barnyard yeast character, and some dry hay.

The flavor, unfortunately, does not follow the aroma. Highly bitter, lots of smoke, some plastic, lots of sharp cinnamon, and asphalt/drag strip are all present notes here. I don't know how else to describe the strange things I'm tasting. Though, perhaps there's a touch of dark fruit.

Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation, though there are strange, sandy, solid elements to this brew. Not good.

I'm not going to be able to get through much of this guy. Though to it's credit, this beer does look and smell nice!

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Photo of josanguapo
2.68/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 1x04. Smooth, a bit acidic. Bad smell. Better in taste. I could finish it without much trouble, but Im not sure if I like it. Not much wintery. Not worth its high price

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Photo of TurdFurgison
2.69/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Loving Fantome beers as I do, this was a disappointing review to write. From a 750mL bottle, corked and capped, with smudges indicating best by Dec 2011 (I'm guessing this means it was brewed 1 year ago). The beer is dark orange, a reddish tint, clear with some fine floaties, thin frothy layer that never quite dissipates. The aroma was an immediate turn-off, it smelled more like an American barleywine than any other saison from Fantome. As different as each Fantome beer can be, they generally have shared some common DNA. This one just doesn't seem related to the others at all. Lots of caramel malt, some spice but not much, possibly only the bare minimum of hops based on smell. The taste is just the same, spiced barleywine. Probably the most unacceptable aspect to me was the thin mouthfeel, although that's unfair as the taste is really objectionable to me as well. By far this is my least favorite from the brewery. If you can try only one Fantome beer, let it NOT be this one.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.74/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a CCB snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Dark amber body. Small off white head, but no retention.

Smell - Yeasty. A little funky. Overpowered by booze and caramel malts, though. Just seems really big for a saison. None of the delicate aromas are coming through.

Taste - Bready and yeasty immediately. Sweet and boozy as I drink it. Again, it's lost some of the saison qualities because of the sweet malts and alcohol. Sweet and slightly sour finish. Interesting, but not redeeming.

Mouthfeel - Thick, not saison-ish. Not what I was looking for when I opened this beer. The sweet and sour finish becomes more off-putting as I drink it.

Overall - Not a good offering from Fantome. I don't get any spices, which I imagine this Christmas saison is supposed to have.

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Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 640 ratings