Fantôme De Noel | Brasserie Fantôme

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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

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Reviews: 358 | Ratings: 632
Photo of dar482
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a murky copper brown color with some reddish hues.

The aroma has a Belgian strong dark characteristic. Almost like Rochefort 8. A bit of alcohol, spice, tons of raisin, plums, figs, some caramel sweetness. Quite vibrant, almost a bit tart smelling.

The flavor again is this bright wonderful flavor. Almost a light red wine flavor. Tons of grape, plum skin, boozy raisin, a bit of spice and white pepper. A bit of caramel sweetness in there. The highlight is a strong drying on the end. The alcohol is well balanced and tastes very much like wine with its acidity and drying. It’s very much rice wine, plum wine, and a red table wine.

A really interesting brew. Super drinkable. Great with food. Perfect for wine drinkers.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- when I popped the cork on this baby it literally knocked the hat off my head. Upon pouring, my tulip immediately filled with an expanse of airy beige foam. So far this is pretty intense. It slowly settles down over a hazy burnt reddish body with massive drippings of lace.

S- funky, spicy, earthy and fruity. All the things I love. It's big on peppery spice and and brett type barnyard funk with a nice background of sour cherries. Somewhat woodsy with suggestions of leather and just a hint of clove.

T- it's got that same indescribable "fantome flavor" as the others. Almost smoky but not quite. Almost petroleum like yet not really. Almost lavender but not so flowery. Almost cantaloupe and almost plum but neither of the two. A definite leading metallic edge gives way to a mild fruity tartness that magically transitions to a sweet chocolatey finish with only a whisper of roasted grain. Peppery spice pairs with leafy herbal hop bitterness in the end to balance the sweet. Even at 10%, there is only the slightest evidence of alcohol. Spooky.

MF- juicy and amply carbonated with a very dry finish. Residual very yeasty feel as well as the perception of tannins. Leftovers in my beard taste floral.

D- what a wholly unique flavor these fantome beers have. Hard to believe this one has such high abv the way it's going down. And a jingle jingle jingle

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Surprisingly dark mahogany pour with a two finger beige head with decent retention and great lacing. The nose is funky and sour with hints of dark fruit, brown sugar, subtle cinnamon, a touch of cocoa, and a slightly vinous character. The taste follows suit with the funky sourness definitely the star along with some unexpected smoke entering the picture. Also getting hints of plums, black cherries, pine, ground pepper, subtle cinnamon and chocolate, and as in the nose, a very distinct vinous character. The mouthfeel is tangy and tart with above average carbonation with a bitter, dry finish. The 10% ABV is very well hidden. Overall, not at all what I was expecting, but very unique and kind of tasty in an odd way.

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Photo of Etan
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into a tulip.

A: Pours a dark reddish caramel color with a large beige head.

S: Soft fig and raspberry-like acidity, caramel, mild clove and sweet grain.

T: Taste brings prune, tannic spicy bitterness, hint of cocoa, light plummy oxidation, molasses, vaguely herbal finish.

M: Medium-bodied with almost-frothy carbonation.

O: The aroma on this is really nice, with the taste being a little more rough around the edges with a bit of oxidation and the spices. Quite an interesting beer and pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge pop occurs after the cork is removed. The beer is a reddish-brown colour, and there is a mountainous beige head on top. Just enormous. Fades steadily.

Nose is quite spicy, a variety of spices present. Chocolate. Dark fruits. Yeast.

Flavour is interesting. Juicy dark fruits (including grape, plum and cherry), chocolate, spices, perhaps a bit of honey. Finish is slightly tart. A relatively dry beer.

Full bodied, moderate to strongly carbonated. A bit astringent. Dry.

Overall, quite good. Not the best beer I have had from Fantome, but far better than the worst!

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Photo of MarioM
4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml poured into a RR stemmed glass

A: Nice and clear mahogany color, medium to high carbonation with a nice creamy light tan head. Nice moderate lacing from the lingering head. Very nice lookin beer.

S: Funky dark fruits with a light lactic sourness. A little weird but in a very very good way. A little chocolate and fruity candy.

T: Whoa! Light smokiness, funky funk, nice tartness, dark fruits and a whole lot f I don't know but I Like it a lot. Weird, complex, funky funk and delicious. Alcohol is not really coming throug but nice balance of flavors and incredibly interesting. Spice is just right for a Noel and very drinkable any time of the year. There's an incredible smoothness very similar to the Fantome Saison but with added comexites of the dark fruit character and delicious funky smokiness.

M: Moderate to high carbonation with good fruitiness ad light tartness with some dark fruit coming and staying till the end. Funky smokiness lingers and is very complex with dark fruitiness, so unique and I can not get enough of this beer! Yum!

O: An incredibly interesting beer by one of te most unique breweries in the world. I love this beer! Please try if you see it! Great complexities with a weird funky twist that just works.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml, 2009
Lost Abbey tulip

A: Pours a brownish amber color. Lots of carbonation. Tight bubbles bottle carbed head. Lots of rushing bubbles.

S: Smells like it might have turned. Maybe just the Xmas spices and funk mixing.

T: It's very strange. So highly carbed it's like it's champagne. Muted spice bill is there. Funk. Weird off esters. Dry finish. So carbed.

M: Lighter side of medium. Very high carbonation

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Photo of Slatetank
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this bottle at Teresa's shared with tenderbranson69 enjoyed from two tulip glasses.

the color is a dark caramel brown with reddish hues and mostly hazed with thin tan cap that settles quickly with ultrafine bead. The lace sticks and carbonation is visible. The smell is very complex-it combines some stone fruit elements which bring to mind dark cherry and slight toasted grain aroma with slight funk from the yeast. The feel is great slightly tart with moderately high carbonation and semi sweet body with mild alcohol and light acidity with a very dry finish.

The flavor is very good the yeast does most of the work with some fruity belgian aspects which combine mild cherry tinges with subtle nutty malt tinges and light tangy yeast funkiness which has a slight dried fruit acidity with some mild sweetness from the malt toning the sour and spiced flavors slightly. A very interesting and drinkable beer, very flavorful and I am glad I tried it.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant red colour, cloudy but bright. Beige head, dense and thick, good retention. Lacing is decent.

Smells odd. Very sweet, with poached apple, cherry notes and merlot. Hint of barnyard funk on the midpoint. Otherwise, sweet.

Taste is more fruity again, with cherry, blackberry and some hints of peach. slightly dark, and mildly funky on the back with light phenolic notes. Coffee on here as well, otherwise all dark fruits and tart. The sourness comes as a bit of a surprise, but it's a welcome one.

Smooth enough, bit of fizz, bit dry, but alright.

Weird beer, no doubt. But balanced enough to be enjoyed.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.63/5  rDev -32.9%
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 TrappistJohnMD
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours muddy orange-amber with creamy to almost light tan head that lingers well in Fantome tulip.

Smell is fruit, bubblegum, grass and hint of some spice.

Taste is similar to smell but a bit more muted. Hints of fruit and grass. Sweet maltiness with just a bit of tart. Minimal bitterness late.

Mouthfeel is a little thin but very drinkable and refreshing.

Overall this was excellent. I love Fantome.

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Photo of Lucho
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
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?

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Photo of elNopalero
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cracked this one open after drooling over it for a few months. Meant to give it some more time to age but the occasion called for something special. Always a treat, Fantome.

This poured a ruddy, raisin-y cloudy red-amber with a heap of foam that died down into a thick, creamy layer.

The aroma is difficult to nail down. It is not like anything I would expect. While nosing it I imagined something akin to sour cherries atop a layer of stone fruit. Would the souring emerge with more time? Alas it is too late for me to find out. The label’s description mentions notes of chocolate or chocolate malt. While I can see how those lent this some color there isn’t a roast aroma on it in the least.

The flavor is equally intriguing, with hints of stone fruit followed by a similar sour cherry-like tartness but nothing dominates to the point of excluding everything else out. This has a long, dry finish. It is savory, if I can say that about a beer, and refreshingly tart. The closest comparison I could think of would be a Rodenbach with more of a body blended with a saison. And that doesn’t even come close to describing it. Loved it. At this point I’ll drink anything with that ghost on it.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It opens with a mighty pop and a fog pours out of the neck. A very exciting start!

A - A cloudy reddish/brown body with an ample tan head. Darker than just about every "saison" I've had, but that's part of the point, I guess.

S - Tart cherries are probably the most dominant thing. Floral/earthy notes (this seems characteristic of Fantôme). Fairly simple, but nice.

T - This has many flavors that remind me of a dubbel. It's very malty with some dark fruit characteristics (like the cherries), but there is a tartness to it, as well as some smoke and roasted notes. Very weird combinations, a unique taste.

M - aggressive in booze and carbonation. The tartness is slightly puckering. It's not complacent.

O - a very interesting beer, and pretty good too.

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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 MattSweatshirt
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draft at Delerium Cafe

Holy shiz as not expecting such a dark Saison. Wow. Head is thick and creamy and off-white. The body is a hazy brown.

A weird melange of spice, some sweetness, wide open field.

Tastes like smoked malt is in it. It is a little meaty. Spice comes out peppery and it's got a sweeter sugar and holiday spice to it as well. Not the best combo. Light and prickly carbonation.

One of the weirdest beers I've run into. I don't even know.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rust color with an off-white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of some earthy notes along with some fruit overtones.

Tastes of the fruit notes mostly with some spiciness to round it out. Fruits lead off with dates, raisins, and figs. The fruitiness gives it a sherry feel. Moderate sweetness comes through and adds a slight candied effect to the fruits. Peppery yeast and some earthy hops come through and cut the sweetness. Finishes fairly dry.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty good, but not quite what I want out of a saison.

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Photo of rudzud
3.44/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up while on a beerventure with BPK59.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice super dark roasty rich mahogany stain hue with a one finger light tan hue that left minimal side lacing but very nice blanket retention.

S - Soft barnyard funk and light lemons. Some roasted qualities there, faint faint licorice. Deep in the nose though I get a faint hint of rubber. Hmm...

T - That nice faint barnyard funk to start, pleasant and lightly lemon. Then things get aggressive, strong roast notes, slightly sweet and bitter. Actually quite bitter, with a rather boozy finish. Actually, this is a messy finish.

M - Mouthfeel is solid, just like your typical Fantome . Good carbonation, really the only good feature.

O - Overall I was disappointed by this one. That slightly off putting nose along with the mediocre taste made this a massive disappointment.

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

Poured from a 750 into a tall wine glass. Pressure cap and cork.

A - cork comes out of the refrigerated bottle with a loud pop. No gush. Pours with a large chunky white head that reduces shortly. Some whisps and a crown remain. Color is sort of a mix between a golden brown and ruby red, if that makes any sense. Like a apple cider, but more opaque.

S - apple cider vinegar, some bready yeast, pear and other crisp fresh fruit.

T - I'm not super well versed in Belgians, but this sort of reminds me of a cross between a bier de garde and a saison. It's kind of the best of both worlds. It's crisper and more tart than a bier de garde, but it has a nicer and deeper body than the saisons I've had. There's a little bit of funk hanging around. As it warms up some juicy fruit flavors come out, spiced apple and grape are there. Very nice.

M - good. Tingly carbonation. Light medium mouthfeel.

O - I saw this at a bottle shop and immediately grabbed it because its never here. I really liked it. Very crisp clean flavors. Really tasty.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 vintage drank two days before Xmas 2012. Once again, much thanks to Cam for sharing.

This one pours a hazy reddish brown. An off-white retains pretty well leaving bits of lace.

Pretty decent scent, a mix of sour notes, apple, various musty fruits, weird veggie notes and yeast.

Taste is weaker to me, not bad though. Apple, spice, and yeast stick out the most to me, along with herbal notes, dark fruit and some bread. Definitely a bit oddball but not as appealing as many Fantomes.

Pretty good mouthfeel, a bit high on the carbonation maybe, hides the booze well as usual for this brewery.

Trying a Fantome is always a mysterious adventure and this was no different...however this one wasn't quite as good compared to their other offerings.

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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.


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 biegaman
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantôme de Noël has an otherworldly appearance; its concealed, black-ish exterior warms only as far as Concord-purple to the light. Still, you can't see anything inside, it looks blind; its perfect clarity can't be appreciated because of the deep complexion. The surface is completely flat.

If I were to write my reaction upon first smelling the beer, well, let's just say that I'd have to clean up the language. It is without doubt one of the most unique bouquets I've smelled in some time. Notes of musty wood, black fruits and grape must/pomace instill a sherry or port-like quality.

This may be one of the darkest, richest saisons I've tried - balsam wood, cola, cassis, honey, black licorice, wild forest berries, dried herbs are among the many notes that might be appreciated on the palate. Still, it remains stylistically tart and 'funky' - a dusty, slightly sour texture ushers in the finish.

Despite the beer's massive, tannic black fruit and bright berry endnote, it is classically dry and yeasty. I'm unsure whether to serve it as a welcome drink or an after-dinner libation. This particular bottle (vintage unlisted, but aged at least 7+ years) is definitely oxidative and recalls a sherry or port.

Fantôme de Noël, like virtually all of this brewery's offerings, is the liquid equivalent of a Salvador Dali painting - combining flamboyant personality and technical virtuosity, it is prolific. This eccentric Belgian producer makes a worthwhile, if unconventional Christmas ale that will leave a mark, and a memory, with those who drink it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Vintage bottle 2008

Pours a hazy orange-ish color, and a bit chunky, with a small white head. In the aroma, sour fruit, yet mellow and pleasant. In the taste, a sour bite, tart fruits, and a small presence of earth. A small sour bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry yeastiness and small tartness in the aftertaste. Big sour fruit, especially pears, earthy, and fantastic.

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Photo of cbutova
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage split with Chico1985. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pours with a very murky, brown body. An off-white head forms with a foamy texture and has decent retention. Small bubbly ring crowns the beer but no lace seems to form significantly.

S- Has more of a tart feel than I would have imagined. Tart apple almost sour notes hit me first with spices, dark fruit, grape and some funky notes following.

T- The tart fruit feel from the nose isn't as prevalent here but there are still notes of apple, white grapes, raisins and lemons. It seems like Fantome always has a plethora of fruit feel going on in it's beers. The yeast has a Saison feel bringing pepper, lemon, dark fruit and spicy floral notes. Definitely has an herbal feel and almost ends up being like a Saison/Gueuze/Flemish hybrid.

MF- Light and dried out body with a creamy/foamy feel overall. Lower end carbonation but the foam factor still exists. Slightly bitter spiciness and some tarts.

Very interesting and complex. I always have a harder time describing Fantomes than anything else. This beer gets better and better with each sip as layers of flavor seem to unfold. I guess it's not surprising that a Fantome beer seems to be a hybrid of styles and ages well.

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Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
3.92 out of 5 based on 632 ratings.
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