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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 643 |  Reviews: 361
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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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 bottle purchased from Riley's in Madison a year or so ago. This bottle is at least 2 years old and perhaps much more. It's hard to tell with Riley's and there are no best by or brew on dates on the label.

Appearance: Cloudy, medium brown body with a lasting but thin tan skim.

Aroma: Expected Fantome yeast aromas of sour fruits and dust. Some gym sock qualities. Mildly oxidized metals. Some spice - cinnamon and allspice?

Taste: Apples and winter spice, funky yeast, some oxidization, generic fruit cake flavors, spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light bodied and heading towards low carbonation. Moderate funk. No notice what-so-ever of the 10% abv. Numbs and tingles the tongue.

Drinkability: Easy to drink but somewhat dull. I've had better Noel in the past. This bottle could be a touch older than prime (please don't get on my case review national socialists. I've had 9 year-old Fantome that kicked ass so to me it is worth seeing if their beers can last. Noel might be one that cannot).

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of ccrida
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my Fantome tulip, the Fantôme de Noel (no 'special' on my label, which is more modern looking, red/black/white only) is a dark hazy garnet with a medium sized pillowy ivory head that is long lasting but leaves light lace. Served at cellar temp.

Smell is very unique, soft and fruity, a little sour, tropical citrus and damp earth. I really dig it.

Taste is a bit of a let down from the fantastic aroma, where the roasted malt seems to beat out the fruity esters, with traces of strawberry, grass, mint, molasses, iron, tin and cola. And while there's a noticeable must, damp and earthy, there's no real lactic or sour buggy flavors on the dry, clean finish. ABV is totally hidden.

Mouthfeel is flat but light and smooth.

Drinkability is pretty good, especially for the ABV. Fantôme de Noel isn't a mind-blower, but it's interesting, distinguished by the flavor of strawberries and cream. I've been anxious to try for quite some time, and glad I finally got to. I'd heard they didn't make any this year, and then this shows up when it's almost March, so I'm not sure what the story is other then I assume it's pretty new (the unticked best before boxes on the label start in 08).

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Photo of blakesell
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml capped and corked bottle into a widened pilsner glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a reddish brown with a creamy tan/brown head that looks like ants are running thru it. When the head dies down there is roughly 3 fingers of carbonation with lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

Smell- Fruity and spicy with herbs, lemons, and the Fantome yeast which is quite recognizable. Lots of spices.. a hint of cinnamon. Big sourness coming off of this.

Taste- Nutmeg, corriander, pepper, and a puckering tartness which I think is supposed to be here as it doesn't taste entirely out of place. Alcohol is not too perceptible but there is a certain solvent quality to the beer. Herbs and fruits also become apparent with big tart citrus. Cinnamon is here as well. This is one bizarre brew.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, a solvent like quality to the alcohol that leaves a drying puckering feel on the tongue with a bit of a peppery spice. Highly carbonated.

Drinkability- A nice different saison with qualities that I would only expect to see from fantome. Not for everyone, but it seems to always work for me.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This capped and corked bottle pours out a dirty penny colored copper with hints of ruby redness. Dark cream colored head tops off this bubbly brew. This saison is a bit darker than many others I've enjoyed. Intriguing to say the least.

Smells very funky of horse blanket and earthy mustiness. Less hay and hops than something along the lines of Saison Dupont or Hennepin and more sweet malts. This is certainly from Belgium.

Tastes similar to its smells with a tart funk that is difficult to describe, but easy to enjoy. I'm not entirely certain what qualifies this of its seasonal title, but it does contain subtle hints of spice that unless focused upon can easily pass unnoticed. Nice sour wood-like tones with tart fruits.

The mouthfeel comes off as light and effervescent. This is not a big and powerful winter warmer as the label could lead you to believe. Dangerously drinkable and nearly comes off tasting like a sessionable ale. Winter and saison style can be a tough combination to pull off and while this may not have done just that it was enjoyable nonetheless.

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

Bottle consumed on ukranian christmas (I think) big shout out for all my ukranian friends out there...

Appearance- deep stout like appearance with a huge offwhite head. Great lacing.

Nose- licorce, some chocolate and twinge of funkiness.

Taste- big licorce, dusty and dry as a popcorn fart. Lots of other spices I can't pick out. Sourness is there, but more so just a dusty, dark fruit weird ass beer, but I'm not complaining. Some powdered chocolate taste as well.
Mouthfeel- thing bodied for such an otherwise rich beer. Very drying in the mouth. Drinkability is medium. A bottle best shared, but I took this beast on by myself.

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

750ml corked and capped bottle bought from aged for about 18 months... poured into a Fantome glass

Poured a deep mahogany red / brown colour. Dirty tan head poured quite thick and rocky then faded to a decent frothy coating... quite a lot of big carbonation bubbles drift to the surface... some random sticky lacing...

Aroma - Lots of blackcurrent, black cherry and fig fruity notes, quite herbal and grassy, cough mixture notes (anise ?), tons of freshly cut wet hay notes, mushroom, light muscovado sugar and treacle sweetness, earthy funkiness coming through, leathery, some roasted nuttiness, dark and slightly roasted malts...

Taste – Quite strange - not how i expected.... lots of grass and hay notes, very herbal although i can't quite put my finger on what exactly... some musty funk notes, some breadiness, a lot of red wine notes - definite blackcurrents and red grapes, Flanders red ale notes, liquorice, very little sweetness, some soy sauce notes, lightly roasted malts...

Feel - Pretty sharp and dry.. surprisingly light bodied... very drinkable for a 10% brew - the alcohol is very well hidden...

Overall - A very good and (as usual) slightly strange brew from Fantome... definitely worth a try though...

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Photo of homebrewhawk
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy brown almost black with a dark tan head. Plenty of carbonation. Fruity aroma with some burnt sugar maltiness. Lots of black pepper in the flavor. Dark malt in the finish with a nice bit of sourness.
A little spicy for my taste, a very interesting beer, but I don't think I could drink much.

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Photo of russpowell
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lot E 07 Enjoyed Christmas Eve

Poured an effervescent mahogany/ebony with purple tinges & 2 fingers of tan head. A bit of lacing & no head retention

S: Vinegar, sourness, leather & mushroom funkiness. I also get oaky notes& compost

T: Tartness, raisins, oaky dryness a touch of medicinal/licorice flavor up front. Then warming booze along with figs & dates once this warms along with apple skins & brown sugar. Finishes slightly fruity ( dates & apricots), dry with appleskins & balsamic vinegar

MF: Slick, medium bodied with low carbonation & much dryness

Drank very easy for the abv, but too dry to session on. All in all, a pretty good saison, a lot of complexity here

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Photo of ntillemans
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice, unexpectedly dark...reddish brown color with a finger of tan head (poured fairly slowly)

S - Very nice smell, like an excellent flemish sour...with a hint of the saison smell...but I would have expected a flemish sour taste the way it smelled

T - I was surprised by the taste of it. It was so unexpected that I disliked the taste of it , at first. My wife immediately liked it alot. I was thrown by the woody flavor of it and bitter sour taste. But the complexity seduced me and I came to appreciate it much more s I continued to drink it. It's unusual though...not sure whether I could highly recommend something so peculiar.

M - Lighter than I expected but pleasant...with a nice tingle on the tongue

D - This one was so unusual that I'm not sure how drinkable it is. I'm liking it more and more towards the end of the glass I'm drinking right now. But I'm not ready to crack another bottle. Maybe there's just a little too much going on with this one.

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Photo of brdc
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Capped and corked large bottle, poured into a tulip.

Very dark, almost impenetrable although generates some red highlights when held against the light. Topping it, the tan head is quite fluffy, creamy, and cling to the side of the glass with every sip.
The aroma is an interesting combination of a fruit lambic, a flanders red and a strong belgian; multiple fruits, mostly dark, sweetish caramel, some added tartness and then some earthiness to vaguely remind this is a saison (is it?).

Quite unexpectedly, the body is light to medium, which is a bit off, particularly for something peaking at 10% ABV. Nonetheless, it is pleasant, starting spicy, going tart, fruity then sweetish, and goes back and forth. It keeps you guessing all the way. My favorite saison (?), my favorite Fantome, with a bit more body, would be a complete masterpiece. Very worthwhile nonetheless, but don't pair it with heavy foods as I did.

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Photo of John_M
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love the beers from Fantome, but wish they could sometimes restrain themselves when it comes to mixing in lambic and/or gueuze into thier recipes. That being said...

The beer pours a very dark brown with very good head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty subdued, but one gets a hint of sweet malt, spices and a blast of sour. This is a very interesting beer on the palate. It tastes like a spicey brown dubbel, but with a goodly dollop of lambic or gueuze. So there is a considerable sour component, which wears on me a bit. Still, I had no trouble at all drinking this, and considering the abv., the drinkability of this beer is amazing. I would guess it to be around 6%, not the 10% indicated on the bottle. The beer has a light, fluffy mouth feel, and is medium bodied.

As is usual with Fantome, once again they have crafted an interesting, very complex beer.

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

750ml corked and capped bottle into a goblet.

Pours a dark chocolate brown with a large caramel colored head that eventually settled down to a nice foamy covering that left fantasctic lacing down the side of the glass. Aroma is sweet chocolate mixed with spices followed by some sour dark fruit notes.

Taste profile matches the aroma. Cocoa sweetness that is nicely mixed with some subtle spiciness and finishes rather strongly with a pronounced sour cherry tartness. The mouthfeel is interesting. It's very light on carbonation but still feels medium bodied with a nice silky character that slides over the tongue. The alcohol is very well hidden for a 10% beer, the only trace being a faint one in the nose.

Fantome comes through with a another beer that once again makes a huge impression on me. A warming and immensely drinkable personality and eclectic mix of holiday flavors as only Fantome can do make this a holiday sipper to savor.

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Photo of nickfl
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark brown, nearly opaque, with just a hint of amber showing through the bottom. Capped by a two finger, light brown head that leaves very little lace behind as it settles.

S - Earthy aroma. Smells of wet leaves, caraway seeds, and sage. Quite herbal and a bit sour.

T - Strange sour, almost salty flavor up front. Bready malt and more of the herbal caraway character that was in the aroma. Very earthy and herbal, mushrooms, wet soil... quite unusual. There is a lot of hop character in the finish and the bitterness plays off the earthy flavors quite well.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation.

D - This is not an easily drinkable beer. It is quite complex and very unusual (both characteristics I have come to expect from Fantome), but it is not as pleasant as the other beers that I have been fortunate enough to sample from this brewery. It is quite medicinal and, at times, almost reminds me of seaweed. The dark grains don't seem to have worked too well in this one; it isn't particularly roasty, it just has a slightly unpleasand oak character. I can't see much in this beer that conjures up the Christmas season.

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Photo of mfhlucky13
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark deep reddish black, like cola. Not much head, but a nice caramel colored ring. Lots of sour fruit notes and maybe a little coffee and spice. Thin to medium in the mouth but it hangs on your cheeks with a little funk. Light acidity. Easy to drink, because I keep trying to figure out all that I'm tasting.

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