Fantôme De Noel | Brasserie Fantôme

BA SCORE
88
very good
633 Ratings
THE BROS
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Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie Fantôme
Belgium
fantome.be

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
633
Reviews:
359
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
13.52%
 
 
Wants:
30
Gots:
85
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 633 |  Reviews: 359
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This guy only makes great saisons, but this isn't his best. Was below average in my March 25 Xmas beer playoff. Still reasonable saison. Pepper, sour dark. Creamy medium plus mouthfeel. Barnyard smell, but not the most barnyard of all the Fantome I have tried. Fresh from Belgium.

 280 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of jaydoc
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of spycow
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lot # E. Best before 10/2013.

Pours a murky orange red with a 1 inch fizzy tan head that settles to a circle of foam around the edge of the glass. No lacing on this one. Smell is of sour cherries and sugary/spice aromas. Taste is of sour cherries, spices, slight vinegar, and subtle spice flavors. There is a sour acidity that lingers on the tongue after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a very crisp and fizzy mouthfeel. Overall, I really enjoyed this one but if I tried it blind the last thing I would think it was would be a saison. This is much more like a kriek lambic or other sour beer in my opinion. However, this is quite tasty no matter what.

 679 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

a cool saison for the holidays with fantoms special yeast, which is awesome stuff thats made them famous. light rusty brown in color with a massive and lasting several inches of fluff off white head and some fish food yeast floaters. the nose on this is alcoholic and foresty, i get a ton of spruce or pine tree in this, and a small dose of roast malt. in the taste the pine is more reserved but still present. i taste the alcohol, and i like to in this style every once in awhile. 10% abv is a lot for a saison, but it works in this winter context. moderate spice and big body too. this is really well carbonated but it still feels much heavier than their other stuff. for 15 bucks I'm not sure i would buy this again, at ten bucks i would for sure. its in that zone for me, but a very cool take on winter/holiday beer.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is cloudy brownish amber in color and poured with a thin head that faded away very rapidly and left lacy patterns of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of apples, sourness and spices in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a mild amount of sourness.
M: It feels light-bodied and slightly tart on the palate and has a light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is extremely easy to drink because there no traces of alcohol detectable in the smell or taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rustic, earthy, and spicy. If you're wishing for that time machine that can take you back to when the term "farmhouse" meant something, then what's there not to love in this charming artisnal ale?

The beer's rusty color perfectly preserves its signature yeasty haze. The combination of color and cloud makes the beer look dense, but its abundance of carbonation and billowing rust-stained foam tells me that the beer is lighter and zestier. Oddly light on lace, the beer simply doesn't stick to the glass well although its persistent retention depicts high quality.

Strong earthy spiciness sets the aromatic tone with rye, peppercorn, clove, damp wood, soil, smoke, and an overall floral bouquet. Underlying malt elements of bread crust, dough, and caramelized barley support the spice notes but never rival for attention. Light on fruit, the scent of bruised peach, pear, and apricot have a light showing as the beer warms.

Grain sweetness kicks off the taste in a short-lived manner. Soon after, acidic notes of apple and lemon take hold and create a bridge toward the flavors of rye and whole wheat bread. It's overall husky tastes seems to complement well the flavors of peppercorn, smoked malt, light cumin, clove, and paradise seed. With little hops to mention, the balance of the beer relies on acidity and yeast spices to counteract the grain sweetness and earthen malts.

Incredibly characterful, the beer still retains a lighter overall body despite its creamy upstart and mild sweetness. The beer simply does a lot of work between the front palate and finish. Ending spicy, earthy, dry, and with mild warmth; there's also a naked tannin texture that creates mild powdery sensations.

The beer reminds me of readings that hark back to times when malts were kilned over open fires and a darker, smokier beer was produced. Though recent develops yield cleaner results, I'm glad that these examples are still around to give this beer enthusiast as grounded sense of wonderment.

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Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of kojevergas
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Continuing my saison kick, I'm pleased to crack this gem. Acquired at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, California. Cost was around $15.00 USD. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz green glass (come on!) bottle with pressure cap over an embedded cork served slightly chilled into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given the brewery, its reputation, and my previous experiences with Fantome's saisons. I like the style when it's properly executed, and Fantome tends to deliver. 10% ABV confirmed.

Imported by the Shelton Bastards.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. I love the label.

Yields an extremely satisfying cork pop upon opening. No issues with beer surging up or anything.

A: Pours a three finger light beige-khaki colour head of slight cream, nice frothy foam, pretty good thickness, and fantastic retention for the high ABV; she'll probably retain for a good eight minutes. Not too shabby for 10%. Lacing seems okay; a little is sticking as the head recedes. Body colour is an understated dark caramel-copper; nontransparent but translucent. No yeast particles are visible, but then this pour is from the upper end of the bottle. No bubble show. A good appearance for a saison - especially with respect to the head, though I must say the body colour is a bit darker than I expected.

Sm: Caramel and biscuit malts are the first thing I get, along with some milky lactic notes. Spruce is definitely there as a tone throughout, shaping it much the same way I'd expect well-executed barrel aging to shape a stout; remarkable. Lots of spice, but they're so subtly executed and complementary it's hard to distinguish them. That, and I'm just that not refined at detecting them, okay? :) I search for the chocolate malt mentioned on the label don't find it. Some hints of roast, sure. Yeast is there, lurking behind the abovementioned lactic notes. Regarding the spices, I'd hazard nutmeg, clove, and coriander - though the spruce nicely covers them up. A delightfully subtle aroma all around, and one of substantial strength. I can't wait to try it. It's certainly appealing and alive. Still, it does lack the deep brett character of a saison like, say, Avec Les Bon Voeux.

T/Mf: Milky and lactic throughout, teasing the palate with a smooth tingle as it emerges in waves. Subtle spruce is there in the background tying everything together; not that it needs it: the balance is impeccable. Subtle spices (probably coriander and clove, but maybe not nutmeg) accentuate the understated unobtrusive biscuit and light caramalts that comprise the delicate foundation. If there's roasted chocolate malt in this, I'm not finding it. The lactic notes are dominant, hiding the yeast - which itself runs counterpoint to the spices, blurring the line between flavours arising from actual spicing and the spicy character of the yeast. It's largely smooth and wet throughout, but does dry on the climax to coax out the flavour, providing a fleeting moment in which the subtleties stand aside to let the core flavour through. It's neutrally hopped, with a hint of bitterness but only minimal floral character at best. Hopping here is to preserve. A touch sour right on the climax - perhaps the lactic yeast adding a flourish. It's quite nicely built for a saison, and the ABV is nowhere to be found. Undercarbonated, aiding drinkability but reducing presence on the palate to its detriment (perhaps its largest flaw). Perfect thickness. A remarkable saison.

Dr: Very drinkable for its high ABV, which is extraordinarily well hidden. I love the subtlety, but I would like more complexity. It certainly doesn't lack depth, but there are better saisons to be had - and I'm pretty sure Fantome brews a handful of them itself. As a saison (as in, implicitly a seasonal), it's nicely tailored to the winter. Sure, maybe that should be d'Hiver, but if Fantome wants to use Christmas as an excuse to brew two winter seasonals, I'm more than fine with that. That said, this is a pricey one - especially considering that other better beers from Fantome cost pretty much the same.

B

I actually wish I'd served it a bit colder. Refrigerate fully and let rest for about 15-20 minutes before serving.

Drank fine out of a goblet, but I'd have preferred a tulip - the narrower, the better.

It seems to lack sufficient carbonation to age well. I'd drink it fresh. Save your cellar for Fantome's other saisons.

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a rocky, but underwhelming, head that leaves more film than lacing

Smell: Various dark fruits (dates and figs) and spices (allspice and cinnamon) waft from the glass

Taste: The initial neutral malt flavor provides a platform for a range of different tastes - dark fruit, holiday spices and a touch of sweetness as well as piney bitterness; after the swallow, the beer changes character with a finish that is spicy, lemony and slightly sour, but still retains a hint of the figgy sweetness

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: A range of flavors; like all of the Fantôme beers, this one was unusual

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Photo of emerge077
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007-2008 release, new label, not same as pictured.

Seething and building foam, initially a three finger head that settles down to one. Reddish glint in the light, otherwise a dark brown body.

Berry aroma, some vanilla and marshmallow is apparent with a swirl. Toasted malt also, with a deeper inhalation.

Cranberry, leather, and dry tobacco. Mild tartness, carbonation mellows after a half hour or so. Creamy feel, long and earthy finish. Some bittersweet chocolate cherry essence. Overall enjoyable, probably best shared due to the fading carbonation.

Original review:
750mL bottle, 2005 edition.

Pours with a creeping head of tan foam, color is a deep ruddy brown. Smell is tart, with a little farm funk in there. Alternately sweet and boozy smelling.

Taste is sweet at first, then earthy & bittersweet like baker's chocolate. After warming, a lemon peel note comes out. Full mouthfeel, moderately carbonated. A little strong, but not over the top...think rum cake.

A little grapey in the aftertaste.

I managed to finish a bottle, but would reccommend sharing.
4.05 overall.

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Photo of oline73
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet. This was opened during a New Years Eve Tasting.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a layer of fluffy off white head that fades to a ring.

Smell: Sweet malt with a strong fruity characteristic. The fruity notes remind me of banana, cherry, and some citrus. There is also a hint of tartness/sourness.

Taste: Light and sweet, there is a ton of fruit in this one. The cherry and banana from the smell are present. I'm also picking up some spices and the mild tartness. The finish is sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I love the fruitiness of this beer. Light and refreshing, I would definitely have another. This brewery hasn't disappointed me yet.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a super huge light brown foamy head with excellent retention. Aroma of sweet candy, spices which may includes some pepper and some sourness. Taste is quite eclectic with something that resemble like sweet candy at first and then I got it with a mix between pepper, sour malt and dry finish form some weird hops. Body is lighter then expected for such a beer and alcohol is well hidden. Not bad overall but not great either. It just seems like too many things are going on at once.

 523 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark and opaque, chestnut in color with two inches of foam from a gentle pour.

Smell - Very earthy. Tobacco, leather, a bit of spicy citrus.

Taste & mouthfeel - Light-bodied and bone dry. The flavor is bizarre and complex, ranging from leather and tobacco to lemon to habanero pepper to nutmeg. There's no trace of sweetness - it's hard to believe that this stuff is 10%. The earthy dryness of the finish immediately brings to mind good pipe tobacco.

Notes - Utterly strange beer. It's not something I could drink frequently, but it's very interesting.

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Photo of zeff80
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a burgundy color with a two-finger, off-white head of thick foamy head. Lengthy retention with a good deal of bubbles and it left sheets of lace.

S - It had a spicy, yeasty aroma with a good malty nose. There were some fruit notes.

T - It was spicy with a malty backbone. A nice candy sugar flavor with some dried fruits. It simply got better and better as I drank it.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a really good beer. I love Fantome beers and this is no exception.

 549 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

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Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
3.92 out of 5 based on 633 ratings.
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