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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Ratings: 633 |  Reviews: 359
Photo of atigerlife
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

No date stamp, so I'm not sure how old this one is. I've probably had it a little more than a year.

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. A 2 finger light brown creamy head. Good lacing. Very nice start.

Aroma of dark fruits, sweet, malts.

Taste of green apples, light coffee, spices and yeasty. A mixture of fruits and rather tart.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and dry.

Overall, a rather unusual taste and certainly not what I was expecting. Rather hard to classify this brew.

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

dark reddish brown. tan head. good retention and lace. taste and nose are a superbly balanced blend of funk, horse blanket, rum soaked raisins, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, a touch of roastiness and cola. yes, there is a wierd cola-like sodaish thing going on in there that works beautifully. simply fantastic. signature fantome funk with very well integrated spice and turned up to 11. Soft and slick medium-full body with just a touch of heat and a tiny tingle. extremely easy to drink for such a big beer. fantome does it again. not a typical beer, and not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml Bottle Capped and Corked

Poured a murky dark reddish brown with a thin light tan head.

First thing that hits the nose is that Fantome funk. It's amazing to me how unique and distinct the smell of all there beers is. Sour, tart and sweet. Raisins, dates and figs as well as some spice (cinnamon, maybe some ginger) on the nose. In the way back of the nose is the faint hint of coffee or cocoa nibs. A truly wonderful nose, I could sit smelling this all night.

The taste is funky, a bit sour, barnyardy. Dark fruits , maybe a bit of pine. The cocoa observed in the nose is there toward the finish, like powdery dark chocolate.

Medium body, with an average level of carbonation.

An awesome beer, I wish I had picked up a bottle or two more

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

A dark brown beer with an off-white head. Lots of carbonation.

Smell of dark malts, caramel with a chocolate roast covered by a blanket of tartness. Cherries and wood.

Taste is not as huge as expected from the smell. Normally Fantome beers have a tartness that balances on the edge of battery acid to genious. This beer has just about the right amount of sour to make the beer complex. Together with the mild roastness of the dark malt, I get the impression of cherries. I can't tell if there are any spices in here, maybe, but I am guessing now, some orange peel and clove.
Mouthfeel is medium and aftertaste is dry and lingering tart and woody.

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Photo of number1bum
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as a Secret Santa gift from stefgriff. Merry Christmas to me. Thanks Stef.

Pours a dark, mahogany sort of brown with reddish hues - very dark in the glass, completely opaque. About two fingers of creamy tan head build on top. Head settles slowly and keeps an excellent full lace, and some splashes of stick that slip slowly back down the sides of the glass after each sip.

First whiff reveals the typical Fantome yeast, sour and funky, followed by dark fruits, like raisins and cherries. More comes out as it warms. First is a dark caramel/molasses aroma with a nice sweetness and a musty quality to it, and more dark fruit. Then come some spices and some cocoa and an woodsy earthiness. A lot going on here, and you have to let it warm to appreciate all of it. Even then you still probably won't; I know I am not.

Taste starts off quite sour; mouth-puckeringly so. It's funky and tart with some cherry flavor. As my mouth calms back down from the tartness it starts to get some malty sweetness and more of the other components that I found in the nose. There is some deeply caramelized sweetness and a bit of chocolate, but not a milky chocolate but rather a dark, Belgian, slightly bitter chocolate. There is some spice and an overall musty, earthiness to it, as well. Like the smell there is a lot going on, and with the initial tartness even more so. I like it a lot, but I can't quite say that I love it.

Mouthfeel is not quite as full bodied as I had figured given the abv, but is on the plus side of a medium body. It's slightly chalky in the finish and on the dry side, as well.

This is quite a complex beer and definitely a great holiday treat. It's very good, although not quite great in my opinion. Still another high quality offering from a great brewery.

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Photo of stumac
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Odd Saisons coming out of this brewery....

this brew pours up a murky reddish brown color with a nice off white head... the nose is sweet malts and a nice funky aroma... the taste is funky (Get Down!), sweet malts, subtle hops, full bodied, low carbo, a nice Saison...

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

Pours hazy amber with a huge white head. The honey and coriander are up front inthe nose, as is the malt and yeast. Very spicy. The pepper gives it a spiciness that I haven't had before in a beer this sweet. The chocolate malt and the honey are very sweet, btu kept in check because of it. An underlying musty fruitiness is there throughout. There is just so much going on in this beer it makes it kind of hard to describe. I definitelty recommend this one.

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

Time for another season of the Xmas ales and conveniently, have you noticed, the nights are longer?

This is the 2007 vintage tasted in Dec, 08.

A: Cloudy brown, pours with massive head, foam kept coming out of the bottle even though chilled. Caused me to make awkward mouth gestures to the bottle which made my dog bark. Fortunately, no one else was around and eventually all settled down.

S: Dried fruit: raisins, cherries, caramelized sugar, wet wool.

T: Sour fruit and citrus(lemon), roasty dark malt, a little cocoa, with a dry peppery finish.

M: Light and refreshing, effervescent, dry, with a lingering pepperness.

D: For an Xmas ale, one that is dark, spicy, light, and not too sweet and a little funky.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 5/11/08. Bottle. Pours a dark brown with a light tan head that persists. Aroma of sweet/sour fruits (reminds me of a sour ale, like Duchesse de Bourgogne), also maybe some raisins. The flavor was a surprise, based on the aroma, very much of coffee and roast initially, as well as some sweet and sour notes. As the beer warmed, the sweet/sour notes became more pronounced. This is an interesting beer and not exactly what I expected from a saison (I have had exactly one beer that is similar to this--Captain Lawrence Smoke from the Oak Wine barrel, which is a porter...). Anyway, its blend of sourness and roast/coffee is fairly unique, so it was interesting to try. However, as I had more of it, I didn't really care for it anymore, so in the end it was just ok.
8/4/7/3/14 (3.6/5)

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.17/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Isn't that just special? Pours a murky black color with some reddish hues through out. A good head but did need help with the pour. Ok retention and lacing.

The nose is very unique. The first thing I notice is the wine characteristics. Some white and red wine like notes. Some stronger yeasty aromas with a light funk on the backend. Very fruity with cherries and a light fig aroma. Some malty characteristics with chocolate and a touch of roast.

The taste brings out more of the malt but still noticeable wine characteristics. The malt has a light feel but has more of a chocolate flavor. The cherries come out more with a black cherry flavor. Mixes oddly with a more white wine grape flavor. Some red but limited. No real spice or hop character.

The body is moderate with a light carbonation. Some tannin like finish that is off. Overall a different style of beer. Very unique, but with that said I would like less wine notes and more beer.

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

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours a murky brown with a light tan head with good retention, minor lacing.

S: Strong notes of roast, some chocolate, cherry, lemongrass, coriander.

T: Herbal flavour, lemon, cherry, black pepper and a lot of yeast character hit at first. The beer finishes with major chocolate notes and has a drying hop finish. Does have a musty leather, minty character as well, possibly some Brett jumped in.

M: Medium-bodied, smooth, very yeasty, rustic feel, definitely a farmhouse ale.

D: A nice beer, a sipper for me, I think that a 12 oz. bottle would be perfect for this beer, it's kind of hard to get through a whole 750. Kind of the opposite of a Belgian brew - I thought it tasted better colder, I got a lot more chocolate character, your experience may vary. Don't think I'll buy it again since it is very expensive ~ $17, though I'd go for it again on-tap if it ever became available.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

Pours a medium chestnut brown with a faint tan head that fades. No lacing on the glass.

Aroma is immediately yeasty and spicy. Leads into roasted malt and dark fruity smells.

Roasted malt upfront with a hint of cocoa. Becomes yeasty and mildly spicy with mild dark fruity flavors. Mild bitterness and a hnt of herbal hops. Finishes rather clean and dry.

Medium-full body, very light carbonation.

Very tasty and interesting brew. Not sure what style really defines this beer, but it was a nice choice to quench my thirst for a Belgian beer.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks! Split, w/ my portion poured into an Allagash flute.

Appearance: An incredibly hazy chocolatey brown garnet-hued beer with a fuzzy one-finger ring of white foam with average retention. Runny, streaky white glittery foam.

Aroma: Very strange. Chocolate and cherries and yeast and earthyness. Lots of roasted malty notes, barnyard funk.

Taste: Dry, spicy, with tons of toasty notes, dark fruits - raisins mainly - light fruits - cherries, pears - a mild hop bitterness, earthy roasted coffee, and a buttload of yeastyness.

Mouthfeel: Spicy, crisp, effervescent, but medium-bodied, very-fine bubbled, and creamy. Great.

Drinkability: A very strange one. Not sure if the fruity notes and the dark malty notes really work well with the earthy yeasty saison notes in this one ... and the alcohol's a little up there. It improves as it warms, but it's still a weird one.

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Photo of JBogan
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This pours a very dark brown (can't see through it at all) with a large tan creamy head which leaves excellent lacing. A fine looking beer.

Smells of dark chocolate and maybe even a bit of cherries and marshmallow.

Tastes much as it smells, with chocolate being the taste that comes to the fore. Again some cherry present, however I also noticed a slight bit of a citric taste (perhaps lemon) as well. This brew hides the alcohol very well, as I couldn't detect it at all. This one can really sneak up on you.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Medium to thick bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation and creaminess. One of the best in this regard that I can recall.

This was a very enjoyable seasonal from Fantome. This was my first bottle of this, but I'll pick up another if they have any left and maybe store it for a while to see what if any differences there are when aged. Nice brew!

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

Capped and corked big bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Dates on the side but not notched, and not sure why. This should be able to hold up for a long time regardless, but that's still a bit nonsensical.

Appearance: A deep red hazy and full with light brown lacing, beautiful looking, though I wish there was more lacing. Head stays slightly above the glass once it dissipates.

Smell: Big red wine, vinous yeast, and phenolics at first, fresh grapes, strawberries, some grapefruit, mild earthy funk, roasted malt bitterness, field of flowers with subsequent pours, hints of bitter chocolate, lemon hop sourness. Tons of things going on in a very heady way, and it seems that each bottle would probably bring new things.

Taste: At first, out of the fridge, a lot of toasted malt and mild bitter chocolate, and as it warms the fruitier, berry red whine characteristics start to come out, along with some hop sourness, earthy and grassy phenolics sans too much funk, and more roasted malt bitterness. Finishes long as a complex combination of the sour, roasted, and bitter flavors, extremely complex and singular and weird. No discerning of alcohol for me whatsoever, which is especially nice with the 10% abv.

Mouthfeel: Full and spritzy and medium-bodied, with a nice effervescence at the swallow and a great balance with everything.

Drinkability: A great experienece for my first Fantome and I wish I could find a few more and will be seeking this, and others, out to try and to cellar. Highly singular and complex with much to admire in every sip.

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Photo of burnstar
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with nice sized long lasting head. Nice lacing also. Smell is yeasty, earthy, and phenolic. Some tangy notes in the nose as well- grapefruit and lemons. Taste has a mild sweetness. Again a strong earthiness. Pretty complex- notes of dark fruit, citrus, and pine. The flavors are all very well rounded and mellow. Very distinct. The more I drink this the more I'm appreciating it's subtlety. Full bodied and lightly carbonated. Although the high alcohol level is well hidden, this is definitely a sipper.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my dad for picking this up for me from Capones outside of Philly. Unexpectedly black, very dark, almost opaque. Short, well supported light brown head. Laces uniformly, with a nice bubble cascade. Smells like juniper berries, underripe grapefruits, dark chocolate. Flavor is aggressive and spicy. Huge smack of juniper, making it taste a lot like gin and beer. Some floral characteristics, like jasmine but a bit weedier, like dandelions. Mild bark-like graininess. Barest hint of oranges, roasted grains on the finish. Complex, interesting and delicious. Medium to full bodied. A great, great beer from Fantome. Mmmm.

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Photo of badbeer
2.6/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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


A: snifter. pours an extremely hazy mahogany color, mostly red. Light tan head, with some reddish hues. great retention and mild lacing.

S: strong sweet sours. strong sour berry aromas. toms of spices. a lot of sweet malts as well, some roasted notes.

T: not as much sour in the flavor as there was in the nose. I get lots of bourbon qualities. vanilla, coconut, ans some smoky flavors. Makes me feel that it is barrel aged? Some big spice flavors, as well as some fall fruits, apples, figs, pears, and plums.

M: rich and creamy. mellow carbonation. wonderful mouthfeel.

D: all I can say is Boo-Yah!! I will be searching for this again.

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

This one simply "Fantome de Noel". Many t'anks out to brother drunkmonk for hooking me up!!!!

Pours a root beer brown with a shallow wispy light tan head that fades quickly without lacing. A good amount of suspended goodness in the carefully poured top half of the bottle. The smell is reserved, but unique for this style. It has an earthy NECCO wafer chocolate character and mint over pear and hints of dark fruit. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel has a distinct tang of hop and alcohol, but it doesn't have the lead role in this play. Full flavored, the mouth lightens up the chocolate pears'n figs taste. A real easy drinker, the 10% ABV is REALLY well hidden in the mouth and taste. Highly recommended.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ML bottle just purchased corked from State Line Liquors in Maryland for $12.99...
Pours a deep, dark, ruby-red colored-hue with a modest foamy head that quickly receded and left hardly any lacing around the serving glass... Definitely does not look or smell like a Saison at all... More like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale...
Thick malty aroma replete with figs, prunes, dates, raisins, and currants...
The taste justified my opinion that this beer can certainly qualify as a strong dark ale and definitely not a Saison...
Taste was less thick and rich than the aroma, yet still very filling and sastisfying, with chocolate nuances, figs, prunes, dark raisins thrown into the mix... Best thing about this was that, as usual, Fantome did very well to shadow the hefty 10% ABV...
Creamy mouthfeel, with only a slight hint of the powerful alcohol pervading this brew... Definitely strong enough to be considered an adequate winter warmer...
Decent enough drinkability for such a high ABV beer...
Worth a try...

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

400th review!

Capped & corked 0.75l bottle into a Unibroue tulip; cork #086/477044

Opening the bottle releases a gush of carbonation that confines it to my sink for about five minutes. When the fizz finally settles enough for a pour, a surprisingly dark, murky, mahogany-amber liquid fills the glass. Small yeast particles float listlessly beneath an initally towering light tan head that receds to a well-retained ring and thin cap of foam. I've yet to smell a beer quite like Fantome Noel...a fresh swirl of the tulip brings about notes of rich leather, sweet tobacco, fig, raisin, apple, dark resins, spicy hops, and a ton of caramel hops. The caramel base is quite unlike any I've come across; unlike the sweet, lighter american caramel notes, it comes across as dank, musty, and funky.

The flavor is a little lighter than I anticipated. The yeast adds some funk to the front of the palate and sours the back of the tongue while dark fruits and light toffee notes are detected as well. The alcohol is well-masked, but contributes a warming sensation to both mouth and stomach. A medium-thick body with a lighter carbonation level than expected rolls across the tongue as the yeast and hops combine to leave a funky, spicy finish. All in all, this was an interesting beer experience, and one that I recommend. Although I doubt I'll soon make another Fantome Noel purchase, I will definately be trying their other varieties.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, corked and capped

A: Deep rusty brown under a big tan head. A little bit of lace, some retention.

S: Yeasty, some caramel, bit of dark fruit, sweet, saison character definitely is there, but accompanied by very nice Belgian dark ale hints.

T: Again yeasty, fruity, both dark and tropical, caramel, a bit warming on the way down, sweet, earthy, splash of very light chocolate, mild bitterness, not as dry as a normal saison. Extremely good.

M/D: Not as carbonated as your run of the mill saison, a little slick, full bodied. Really good drinkability for 10%. I had an idea that this one might be darker then usual, but I was very surprised with characteristics it showed. This seems more like a dark ale then saison, but the saison character is there. Really a nice beer.

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Photo of libertygrails
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a capped and corked 1 PT 9,4 FL.OZ. dinner bottle into a vintage Schlitz "The Beer that made Milwaukee Famous" goblet. One of 4 i recently found in a local Flea Market.

Appearance: Winey, hazel brown color, minimal head, spare carbonation.

Nose: Malty, fruit cake, alcohol

Palate: Tobacco, coffee, cinnamon/all spice, yeasty/bready, dried fruits, figs, faint Merlot-esque notes.

Mouthfeel/Finish: Somewhat light and flat.

Drinkability: This is one to share and get other opinions.

Overall, a wee bit underwhelmed with this Ale. In fact, i've been somewhat ambivalent with the majority of Fantome product i've tried so far. My fave being the Hiver so far. I guess i should have reviewed that one, but was entertaining company at the time. I'm still on the Quest for one that knocks me out.

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