Fantôme De Noel | Brasserie Fantôme

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Fantôme De NoelFantôme De Noel
Very Good
643 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: 643 |  Reviews: 361
Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, ruby brown color with full, tan head. Head falls relatively slow. Decent lacing.

Some sweet malt in the aroma, deep in that is. Plenty of funk and brettanomyces.

As soon as it hits your tongue you get a huge tartness. Lots of farmhouse funk and brettanomyces. Nice.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Tart.

Nice. Good farmhouse, worth a try.

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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 ToasterChef
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an aged cellar temperature bottle into a Delirium Noel goblet. I've had this bottle for about a year. There is no best by date--the label is not notched.

This is a brown/plum colored beer. It is opaque. A head of brown foam settled to a skim. A good film and some foam is left coating the sides of the glass. Sour black cherries fill the nose of this beer. Some candi sugar gives it a touch of sweetness. This is a fine smelling beer! The flavor isn't as sweet as the aroma. It is a dry, crisp tasting beer. There is a little red grape juice, some farmhouse funk and a sour finish. This is a full-bodied beer that leaves a slick, thin coat. Carbonation is on the lower end of the spectrum. Drinkability is high. I could enjoy a lot of this beer. It doesn't taste like a 10% ABV beer and the sour characteristics don't appear to be strong enough to get tiresome. I'm going to enjoy this bottle.

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Photo of chumba526
4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2009 vintage that aged for a year and was placed on tap for the occasion of Christmas Eve.

The ale appears amber red in color with a small white head.

It smells toasty and caramel like. There is a mild vanilla, cherry, fruity grassy and herbal flavor. I almost get a fruit punch smell, a grape smell and a plum smell. The smell of this ale is extremely amazing and is very complex.

It tastes slightly acidic/ sour; there is a nice fruity grape flavor. There is a great yeast flavor that adds a bit of a barnyard funky flavor to the beer. There is also a slight pepper flavor and a bit of a caramel flavor to the beer as well. The beer is pretty complex and there are a lot of flavors in the beer but they all complement each other very nicely.

The mouth feel is smooth and nice and the carbonation is moderate low.

The drinkability is really good for the alcohol percentage I can drink a few of these quite easily. The beer has a great balance to it and goes down smooth.

Overall a great beer that was really smooth and seemed to have aged very nicely. This is the best saison/ farmhouse ale I have ever had though it did not taste like a stereotypical saison. It was a great beer to have on Christmas Eve.

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

Appearance - This is a medium-brown in color with a good head and tons of floaties.

Smell - The mild funk is squared with a fairly sweet malt base that actually would be at home in a BSDA. The funk is moldy lemon with a bit of peppered vodka and light grassy herbs.

Taste - The lemon comes out more in the taste and there's an astringent radish flavor that I didn't pick up at the nose. The malty backbone is far off at this point. There's a light white wine character to the taste as well.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied and a bit on the flat side.

Drinkability - This was enjoyable enough but not as substantial as I remember the 2002 and prior vintages.

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Photo of philbe311
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
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...

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Photo of DaveHS
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 11/05/10 notes. Had at a small tasting thanks to Brad (ygtbsm94); thanks man. 2007 vintage.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with light carbonation evident and an inch of off white head.

s - Smells of yeast, spices, sugar, and some dark fruit.

t - Tastes of spices, Belgian yeast, sweet dark fruits, and sugar. Fruit tastes slightly weird/off from how I think it should taste.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A decent saison but the taste was a little off. Would be willing to give another shot.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad!

Vintage December 2007

This beer appears a dark cherry color with a decent sized head that leaves a fair amount of lacing. The aroma is of dark fruits, spices, and yeast. The beer tastes good, with a very rich and hearty flavor. This is definitely not a typical saison. It drinks more like a hybrid saison/Christmas ale, which seems to be the obvious intention. The beer is medium bodied and has a stronger alcohol presence than I expected, especially given the age of the beer. This is a nice beer for the holidays, and good for sharing a few ways. A small glass is plenty.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

750 mL green bottle, capped and corked, with no notches on the label, poured into a tulip.

I read a handful of reviews on this site before drinking this to get a better idea of what I should expect. They didn't help. I read more reviews on the other site. They didn't help. I drank this beer. That didn't help. My typical BA-style review is useless in attempting to describe this beer. Adding to the confusion, from the appearance, smell and taste I would never guess this is a saison. So far, so good for a Fantome beer. Appearance is a dark, clear ruby brown with a thick light tan head. Aroma is fruity and vinous with mild malt and chocolate/spice undertones. Flavor is consistently across the map including: grapes, coffee, dark fruit, roast malt, Belgian yeast, chocolate, cinnamon, pepper, vomit, vomit aftertaste, clove, tomato, general vegetive-ness. Yes, it pretty much runs the spectrum; oscillating between disparate flavors, with the strongest acidic, vegetive and vomit notes appearing in the finish at warmer serving temperatures. I realize this makes the beer sound repulsive, but its not meant to. As with other Fantome beers, this delightful intractable, indescribable qualities is what makes the beer enjoyable and fascinating. This is one of my least favorite Fantome beers, yet I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone. Quite remarkable for what a saison can do.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

surprisingly effervescent for such a high abv and a nose that does not express the intense amount of well placed spicing. pour is the color of a fresh press watered down coffee with a nice off white head and a nose of brisk skunky malt. straw and orangepeel but more something that is savory and not overpowering sweet. palate is a culmination of things with that core of a mineral tight palate of a saison and a subtle sour tart in the background. not at all heavy. chocolate mild cocoa, plum, persimmon, clove, orange peel, and hazelnut... sweet but not gritty. a mild smoky even. very very subtle delicate palate to something that would seem decedent but instead is a smooth, savory, boutique of winter.

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Photo of carpezytha
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip at 60 F.

A: Murky rusty cider color, with very aggressive head that settles without much of a trace. First glass has significant yeast deposits!
S: Apple pie,
T: Sour dried peaches, mahogany, rustic leather, with a nice yeast kick.
M: Very creamy and well balanced mouthfeel, good carbonation and no disagreeable heat.
D: Very well done, I think I will pour at a lower temp next time just to observe the transitions. This is a special occasion beer that deserves undivided attention.

This beer points out what a "Saison" can be- it is really a style that has IMO about the widest range of sub-styles there is. I would like to do a side by side comparison with "Glazen Toren's Saison D'Erpe-Mere winter edition"(very rare) in the future. Both breweries are dedicated to digging into the roots of this and other styles.

I suspect they used two different yeasts here, on for primary and one in the bottle. There is some suspended dark yeast in the last pour, but the first our immediately deposited some white yeast in the bottom of the glass.

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

Poured a deep dark chocolate brown with reddish highlights with a half finger of head that left a little sticky lacing on the glass. The nose had tart like characteristics which consisted of slight brett, faint vinegar, and acidic notes but also had some spiceness that was made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, slight vanilla. It had a little underlying fruit, and oaky notes. Upfront the taste was a tart for sure like the nose but was a little more dominate over the rest of the ingredients. There was still some christmas style spiceness but it also had some charcoal smokey characters that were a little weird for me but was not bad that added dimension and was surprisingly tasty. This brew was medium body with a fair amount of carbonation that had a slight sweet, spicey,smokey and tart finish. It drank well and was thrown off by the the smokiness from the beer but it ended up being a good trait that made the brew that much more complex and flavorfull. I honestly enjoy beers like this one that have lot of flavor that contrast each other. It could easily be a hit or miss for other people.

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Photo of VerbingNouns
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

July 25: Christmas in July!
750mL poured into an Allagash tulip

A - dark cherry wood brown with thin taupe head made of very fine bubble

S - fruity and oaky, some sour aroma reminiscent of brett

T - creamy tart taste, only mild hints of oak. no brett to speak of, but plenty of saison flavor. it actually reminds me of a very smooth, rich wine

M - hearty mouthfeel, plenty of weight and body. very smooth

D - rich, flavorful, easy to swallow

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Photo of jgasparine
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 750mL Bottle:

A- Poured from the bottle with a diffuse haze layer and just a bit of edge lacing, over an almost completely opaque red-orange-amber body with no visible carbonation.

S- Slightly tart nose... showing signs of lactic, possibly acetic infection. A little saline on the nose as well. A little bit of spiciness coming from the nose over a mild musty fruitiness. Surprisingly no EtOH, malt nor hop aromas from the nose.

T- Wow. A faint Vienna malt flavor is almost overwhelmed by some non-descript spices and mild lactic sourness. Some dark fruity esters really kick in the midpalate. The finish is mildly dry with lingering tartness and impressions of dark rum-soaked fruit.

M- Thin body, with very delicate carbonation. Slight astringency.

D- The alcohol is exceptionally well-hidden here. Dangerously hidden. A nice fruity and spicy brew that demonstrates how a touch of lactic sourness can go a long way in a beer.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark garnet chestnut color with an average sized, foamy, sticky off-white/toasted marshmallow color head. Decent retention with a nice layer of sticky lace.

S - A lot of dark fruit, especially a plum, fig, and other vinous, jamy fruits. Also plenty of spice with cinnamon, nutmeg, and some clove and pepper. A bit of a sweet bready aroma as well. Somewhat Christmasy with a spiced sweet bread aroma, but it isn't overly Christmasy.

T - Similar to the nose with plenty of dark fruit and it is pretty plumy and slightly vinous. Good amount of spice with cinnamon and nutmeg being the strongest with some clove, pepper, and anise as well. Fair amount of Christmas flavors, especially the spices. Some sweet, dark bready malt base. In the background there is some more traditional Saison/Fantome spice and yeast.

M - Medium body with medium to high carbonation. A bit of a zesty feel, but a touch of smoothness as well.

D - Pretty drinkable beer with the ABV very well hidden. Spice and dark fruit combine well with the typical Fantome/saison flavors. Doesn't overpower the palate.

Notes: Tasty offering from a great brewery, although this is not my favorite of their beers. Fairly Christmas like in the spices and dark fruit, but it didn't necessarily strike me as a Christmas beer. All together this was an interesting offering from a good brewery, but I probably wouldn't get it again, but it is worth a try.

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Photo of garbercury
1.59/5  rDev -59.4%
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 Patrick999
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I brought this to a tasting. Reviewed from notes dutifully made on the iPhone.

Poured a murky brown, dark for a saison. Good carbonation, sometimes this is lacking with Fantomes.

Aroma is earthy and spicy - good but honestly a little muddled.

In the taste a little tomato, thyme, an Italian meal in a glass. To me this tastes a lot like Hiver, which I suppose shouldn't surprise me. Good, not great by Fantome standards.

The most notable, praise-worthy thing I could find about this beer was how well 10% ABV disappeared into the void. That's really strong for a saison. I figured I'd be able to taste it more, but it was truly nowhere to be found, no exaggeration. I have no idea how this was accomplished.

Had a light mouthfeel, again covering up its real strength. Didn't even feel like 10%.

It's certainly drinkable at this level. Not my favorite Fantome, but worthy of a "good" score. I'd drink it again.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a corked and capped 750 into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a muddy orange with a massive 4 inch, off-beige head that leaves little streaks of lacing down the sides of the glass. Honestly, the color of the beer is fairly ugly. Really muddled. The aroma is oddly intense. Up front is a underlying sourness that's found in many of Fantôme beers. Within the depths of the aroma, it almost presents itself as a sour pie cherry. Underneath the sourness comes vague spiciness, no single spice that I can put my finger on. A very slight bit of damp earth comes through that I think must come from the yeast profile they use. The flavor is really tart at its heart. Sour pie cherries leave a lingering tartness on the palate. It's really the dominate flavor in the beer. After the tartness comes a muddled spice profile but i just cant make out any single flavor. Nothing particularly "Christmas-y" about it. Only a slight bit of damp earth and grass come through. Almost a grapefruit like astringency to it. The mouthfeel is almost perfect for a Saison. Nice and dry, leaving a sandpaper like feeling on the tongue and making the palate linger for another sip. Fantôme is a wonderfully eclectic brewery. They do wonderful beer and try crazy things with Saisons. This fall's in between the two.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been on a Fantome kick of late, picking up every one I can find. I grabbed this at State Line the other day.

The pour is quite beautiful, a deep crimson with nice reddish brown highlights. There's a thin, brown head with excellent retention and there is some lacing too, more, in fact, than the Gubna I drank right before this.

The nose is unreal. This is very Bon Chien like, opening with a beautiful acetic sourness blended with with a strong leather character and some grainy tannins. A mellow fruit character is present with some red grape. Mildly spicy, I get some cinnamon, vanilla, some brown sugar and maybe some allspice? Certainly the best X'mas beer I've had.

The beer, unfortunately, doesn't taste as good. While the flavors hinted at on the nose are present, they seem a little disjointed. Opening with some tartness, a blend of light lemon and mostly acetic character, there's a slight butteriness to the palate. The spices are a little more noticeable, with cinnamon and nutmeg standing out, along with a slight astringency too. A mild sweetness is present as well, a blend of brown sugar, caramel and honey. Drying on the finish with some sourness and a moderate tannic astringency, this beer is medium in body with moderate carbonation and is something I'm going to enjoy drinking over the next hour or two.

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

Got to tell ya -- never have I seen foam like this one was sporting. It wanted OUT of the bottle in a BIG way once the cork was pulled from the 750ml bottle. Not even in champagne have I seen such a fountain.. and 30+ minutes later, foam was STILL creeping its way out. We're talking some busy little yeast.

That said, I have no complaints with the beer itself. Seems to me to be similar to a gueuze, only more user-friendly -- in that it's less outright funkified and sweatgland, and more drinkable and enjoyable as a beer in itself, from my admittedly narrow American perspective. But then this is my first saison. All I know is my tastebuds are playing and standing up and saying howdy. Mouthfeel, flavour, nose -- hell, this sucker has got it in spades. Not sure if it's a Saison™ -- but damn sure I like it.

No complaints. Finished the whole 750ml by my lonesome, though I'm sure the counter I opened it on got its share -- which is sad, but what can you do, when you drink a Christmas ale in March? All I know is that those were some ANXIOUS yeast, and that I think this thing is the bomb. Honestly -- Fantôme rocks. I am going to be looking for all their stuff in future.

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Photo of champ103
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a cloudy copper/brown color. A two finger white head forms. The foam finally recedes to a ring that sticks around throughout. Light lace.
S: A fruity tartness up front. Citrus, apples, grapefruit are dominate. Bread, biscuit, and yeast lingers.
T: Sweet malt and fruity. Lightly tart. Lots of yeast. Some spicy flavors. Maybe an odd chocolate flavor lingers on? Strange, but interesting.
M/D: A medium body that has crisp carbonation. Not hard to sip on. Though, it is good that I am splitting a bottle with a friend. I would not be able to finish this by myself.

Like most Fantome beers, this is really interesting. Though that does not equate to me wanting to get this beer again. Good to try once, but that is enough for me.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma- light, mostly a sweet aroma from what I would guess is caramunich, a lightly grassy note, brett is definately there but not overwhelming...all barnyard in character, not all that appealing really

Appearance- turbid bronze with not much head

Taste - floral, fruity, super tart, strong hey character, horsey, brett really running the show, sourness hangs on the tounge, has moments of citrus and bay spice, funky, still refreshing pie cherry in the finish, kind of a rosemerry character too

MR- light bodied, and super acidic

Overall - pretty much a straight brett beer, interesting, but probably not one I'll be returning too without a cheese pairing or something, might be good at a holiday meal, would be fun to cellar and see what esle the brett does

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Photo of dasenebler
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

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Fantôme De Noel from Brasserie Fantôme
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 643 ratings