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: 357 | Ratings: 632
Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, lightly chilled, corked and capped. Pours dark brown, cloudy, murky and mysterious. minimal head and minimal lacing that slides down the side of the glass.
Nose is richly complex, musty, earthy, juniper and minty evergreen.
medium bodied , strong sipper
Notes of herbs, pepper, gin, anise, mint. Interesting brew. Differant for a saison, almost crosses over to Strong dark ale territory. Love the style, love the brewery, love this complex, heady and subtly outrageous brew. Seek this one out and enjoy every sip

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Photo of Bighuge
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown tone. Not much light gets through this one. Thin layer of off white foam on top. Lacing is more than adequate. Nice aroma. Funky farmhouse aromas are more in the background with sour fruit tones and dry, cedar-like woodiness in the forefront. It also has a ghostly sweet cookie dough aroma that is very appealing. The flavors of this beer are so damn smooth and assimilated. Excellent. RIght up there with Ete and Black Ghost as Fantome's best offerings. Some light farmyard tones, earthy and musty yeastiness, a little soy sauce character and bready malts. But there's also some brown sugar and cinamon goodness. A little ethanol sting, but incorporated nicely into the structure of this beer. Nice smooth mouthfeel with barely a prick of carbonation. This is one fine beer overall.

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Photo of Hagbard
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky dark brown, this beer resembles a glass of muddy swamp water, which is actually a good thing. A medium 2 finger creamy head forms and leaves plenty of lacing on the way down. This doesn't look like any Saison I've ever seen before, as it's listed on BA. In fact, it doesn't smell or taste quite like on either. On the other hand, it doesn't quite smell or taste like any style I've ever had before. The aroma is very musty. Moldy, wet hay. Horse blanket wrapped around plums. Strange. The taste is an explosion of dark flavors. Farmyard smells dominate the beginning, then yield to overripe dark fruits, let's call them plums. The middle is defined by a light sweetness, far from cloying. As the finish approaches, the sweetness fades to a bit of bitterness. Finishes very dry. This is a wonderfully strange beer, unlike any I've had. I didn't like it very much in the beginning, but it grew on me. By the end of the bottle I wished there another glass left!

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Green 75 cl bottle, corked & capped. No dates.

Deep rustic bronze. Topped by an impressive head of light beige foam.

Spicy & inviting. Sublte aromas of plum.

Earthy, spicy, & rustic. Complex in its subtleness. Lovely notes of anise & plums. Somewhat nutty. Finishes dry with an herbal flavour & a bready / yeasty note that lingers. Medium-full bodied, relaxed carbonation. Most impressive.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a dark brown beer with orange highlights. There is a thick tawney beige head that leaves a lovely trail of lace on the glass. The aroma has a dried fruit sweetness to it with a light yeasty background. The flavor begins with anice honey sweetness followed by a spiceyness around the sides of your tongue then there is a tasty hint of roasted malt on the finish.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tawny brown with a huge head this beer was cellared for a year. The nose is yeasty and old in a good way. This is a big refined beer that tastes like a Double with more fruitcake notes. The finish was full and smooth with a light sweetness to follow. This is a first class christmas beer that should be cellared for a few years.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Major disappointment. I just had the Fantome Saison recently, and it was excellent and unique. I saved this for Christmas Eve, to share with my wife. She couldn't finish half a glass. Strange smell (vinegar like). Taste was the same. Somewhere between a dry Italian red wine and a Gulden Draak (which I didn't care for). It got a little better as it warmed (or maybe I could tolerate it better as I warmed?). Just strange. Probably tasted less like a beer than any I've had. Sour, sweet and kind of flat. Won't be on my Christmas list next year. At least I had an Anchor X-Mas to wash down my cookie!

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky brown color with a fluffy offwhite head that recedes quite quickly without any lace. Aromas from this brew remind me of passion and tropical fruits, specifically mangos, coconut, pineapple with just a hint of apple cider. There is also some yeast notes in the mix as well as some spice. Initial flavors are an odd mix of these sweet fruits (mainly pineapple and coconut) along with some tones of maltiness that gives off a hint of chocolate like flavors. The fruit tones dominate throughout most of this beer and the finish is extremely sweet (probably from some nice candy sugar). There is also a slight tart acidic tone to this brew but for the most part the sweetness and fruits mute it. Finally a warming alcohol is just noticeable after a few sips. The body to this brew is fairly light and the alcohol is barely noticeable due to the extreme sweetness. Overall this beer is not bad, but nothing exceptional for a brewery that makes black ghost and their signature "saison". Personally I would not have this one again.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served from a 750ml into a chouffe tulip

appearance: like everyone says, this beer is murky and dark brown. you can see a brilliant reddish brown color while pouring, and the head is huge and creamy in a tulip glass, which leaves great 3-D lacing.

this beer smells of sour cherries and oranges.. the smell reminds me of the taste of sour candies like sweettarts...

the taste is explosive.. a true christmas beer and what i imagine when i think of the genre. heavy fruit flavors, lots of smokiness and wood. has an aftertaste that reminds me of a dry red wine with a 2nd wave of caramel taste to follow... what a well-concieved beer.

the other big plus here is how the 10% is almost completely hidden. extremely drinkable in the wintertime. baking cookies and drinking fantome noel has made the day fly by much too quickly... one of the better beers i've reviewed on here. makes me want to try the black ghost- i've previously had bad experiences with rotten fantome batches.

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Photo of Skidz
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml green bottle, corked and capped. Rolled for yeasty goodness.

Pours out a deep, dark, murky amber brown and sits a hollow, dark burnt sienna, showing little signs of light, only a murmur on the nether regions of the glass. Large tan head caps with migrant lacings and leaves a nice thick skim on the surface.

Smells of fresh leather and musty malts. Sweet and tangy innards. Orange peel and lemon zest with hints of nectarines and fresh field strawberries sitting in warm hay. Nice roasted character. Mild spiciness lends a refreshing note of brown, leafy hops, birchwood and walnuts.

Tastes very faintly of malts, roasty and filled with nutty toastiness. Tangy fruit flavors of orange and lemon ensue. Wooden notes of toasted cedar work into an increasing alcholic presence. Yeast flavors create an aura of fresh doughiness. Herbal hop flavors coat the toungue with spice and finishes with a nice bitterness with conintuing spiciness and alcoholic warmth.

Smooth in the mouth with a crisp carbonation profile in a medium-full body. Dances across the mouth with Christmas cheer.

Full and flavorful with good yeast presence. Alcohol well balanced within hop spiciness and fruit flavors. A refreshing Christmastime beer.

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Photo of aracauna
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Even long before the bottom of the bottle, the body is a dark, murky brown with a sizeable head that soon fades to a ring of foam and a weather pattern. The aroma suggests tartness that never arrives along with a spicy yeastiness and suggestions of the coming malt flavor. The flavor is like breakfast. Apples, melon and mandarin oranges arrive first, sailing on the plentiful carbonation, as the fruit begins to fade, dark toast and a touch of coffee rise up. A very tasty ale and another success from Fantome.

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Photo of Guinness4me
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Since I've not tried this style of beer before, I'll try to keep my negative comments to a minimum. I'm sure Fantome makes a great product and this brew could be indicative of its style, so I kept my ratings at a fair "average".

The beer poured a dark porter-like color, dark and mysterious, with little head and a bit of settlement at the bottom of my tulip glass.

The smell? Musty, sour, hoppy and a bit malty. I have an antique mohair teddy bear that smells just like it.

The taste was as musty and sour as the smell. My hubby tried to help: "Take bigger gulps...don't sip it!" followed by "It's better as it warms...really!" Again, I won't rate it poorly since it might be the style, but to me it was like slightly carbonated malt vinegar and grain alcohol.

The almost sharp mouthfeel is odd as well. My throat tries to close as it hits the back of my tongue. I'm getting hives.

I'll force this one down in the name of Beer Advocacy.

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Photo of lou91
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer smelled and looked great. On the nose were apple cider, mulling spices and tart sour candy. It pours rich, thick and an opaque unfiltered dark brown. Wow this is good – like a beer cider with crisp, clean refreshing flavors and some interesting spices-faint cinnamon, clove and apple cider just as it smelled. The alcohol is well hidden in such a refreshing saison. As it warms the “umph” comes through, making a clear statement that this is a serious Christmas beer.

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Photo of Wildman
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a very dark, murky red amber color and formed an off white bubbly head that left circular lace as it subsided. An aroma of sour fruit, malt and some hops. A flavor of malt, spices and sour fruit yet packing some sweetness perhaps from the alcohol. The body is somewhat creamy with the finish of it being quite sprite with some sourness and a hint of spice. A nice beer, but like many holiday beers, tough to peg to a style.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a reddish orange with an off white stiff head. It was a pretty beer to look at, sitting there in the glass modeling its foam, but in my opinion, that was the best part. The aroma was roasty with caramel and toffee scent and a rich malty aroma. The flavor was downright dirty. I mean, it had a dirt taste to it. A bark, earthy flavor with caramel, pepper, and a grassiness to it. Sadly, the best way to describe the flavor is a sand or dirt roastiness. Definetly not my favorite beer from the great brewers at Fantôme.

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

Dark Burgundy.

Bizarre. sweet bouquet of strawberries, dates, dark fruits (cherries and plums), chocolate, medicines, spices and bizarre Fantome yeast.

Tastes begins with a variety of fruit and spice (cherries, prunes, red apples), earth, tree branches, vinegar and finishes with a sense of dry and bitter chocolate. Warming, full bodied and very different compared to other Fantomes but still phenomenal in nearly every aspect.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

75 cl. bottle pours a cloudy dark copper colored liquid. Has a sweet, spicy caramel, red wine smell. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Has a semi sweet caramel, raison, date flavor. Finishes with a slight alcohol bitterness. A decent dark Belgium but not worth the $9.99 price tag.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
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?

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Photo of maxpower
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy and hazy dull reddish-brown color, huge frothy clingy off white head that leaves a sticky lacing in the glass, fruity green apple and yeasty aromas. Fruity and spicy with some caramel flavor, nice sourness in the finish. Medium bodied with a crisp and carbonated mouthfeel.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Muddy brown, initially wearing a spectacular beige head for a 10% sour beer, but fully diminishing to a ring. Woody aroma and in its sense flanders sour ale like, but this is not aged in oak barrels, is it? Balsamic aroma, very earthy. The alcohol just comes out as a mild fragrance, you’d never guess 10%. Lots of nutmeg and cloves. Dark bread yeast character. Leafy cherries and raspberry tree branches fruity tones. Much more acid than I expected on the tongue, I like this. Fruity, woody, sour, spicy, well blended and very intense. Earthy, strawberry jam and vinegary flavors, big fantôme funk. Bitter spicy finish: lingering and warming. Typical airy and foamy body with lively carbonation and astringence from the puckering acidity. Delicious offering.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown, two finger-head that goes quickly leaving no lace, pour slowly. Some yeast left in bottle. Deep ruby color. Very good carbonation. Medium bodied. Starts malty and sweet, finishes with a good mix of hops and malt. $8.55 for a 750ml bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, Ma.

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Photo of marc77
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Deep crimson hue with a slight haze. Covered by a one fingered, persistent, dense, light tan head. Sparse lace remains. Notes of red licorice and vanilla bean upfront in aroma. Following are hints of tart, underripe cherry and butterscotch. Damp wood and musty earth notes add a rustic contrast. Trace minty ethanol and clove phenol. Very well rounded, yet seductive aromawise. Incipient in flavor is a combination of lightly sweetened dry cocoa and ripe cherry. Becomes transiently tropical in ester character, with mellow banana esters ensuing concomitantly with hints of pineapple. Oak character is steadfast throughout and adds a complementary buttery vanilla bean note along with an agreeably slight woody, tannic bitterness. Spicing is incredibly well integrated and combines with malt and ester profile seemlessly. Nearly overt is a juniper like note and dried orange peel tinge. Devoid of alcohol abrasiveness, with only a comforting, enveloping warmth emerging after a deliberation. Hop bitterness is appropriately meager, yet suffices to preclude overbearing residual sweetness. A touch shy in body to support the complex and supple malt backbone. A notch more of dextrins would complete it. Surprisingly moderate in carbonation for a "saison". Finishes with fleeting hints of clove sprinklied vanilla sugar cookie and trace minty ethanol. Quite a delicious brew that's superlatively drinkable as well. Heavy handed in vanilla character, but not cloying at all. Posseses an elegant ester and spice balance. With a greater malt complexity this would be amongst the best. Wonderful.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 Vintage Xmas ale, Appearance: Cloudy mahogany brown amber tone with a massive fine bubbled head with awesome retention and fine speckled lacing. Aroma: Deep plum, raisin, spices, and tart apples in the mix here. Taste: Is very cidery in nature with oak barrel aging putting quite an edge on the flavor, an alcoholic mix of tart and obscure tones. Mouthfeel: Very bubbly almost overcarbonated sample, medium bodied Xmas Belgian ale. Drinkability: The oak edge is pretty hars cuts away from the drinkability, decent Belgian Xmas bier but there are so many great ones out there it's hard to say I would look for this one again.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantome De Noel was served from a 750 ml corked and capped bottle with no bottling date. In a glass chalice, the vigorously effervescent beer was a murky reddish orange-brown color and was topped with a low tan head that left thick and creamy lacing. The nose was complex and seducing, with a moderately tart lemon essence that was immediately countered by assertive creamy strawberry and raspberry esters. All of this was topped with spicy notes of nutmeg and cinnamon. I found myself exploring the nose for a long length of time before I even considered taking a sip. When I did get around to actually tasting the beer, I was suprised by what I found as I was expecting the usual Fantome saison flavor profile. The beer was much more a Belgian strong dark than a saison, with a smooth and moderately sweet strawberry/peach malt base that was spiced with coriander, bitter orange peel, and a number of undecipherable subtler others...pehaps star anise, black pepper, and nutmeg? This loveliness deftly transitions in an rounded bitter and seemingly dry oaky finish that winks at you with hints of that trademark Fantome sourness. Mystery lingers on the palate long after a sip is taken. Alcohol is well hidden throughout. The silky smooth body and the fluffy carbonation enhanced the experience considerably. The flow and balance of the flavors betray the genious of the brewer behind this brew. Fantome proves that they can do the Belgian strong dark style as well as they can saisons.

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