Total Score: 9/10
Season’s Greetings from those lovely chaps at Fantôme! Well, yes you’re right – it’s not Christmas, but for the first time in what feels like ages it’s starting to cool down in Queensland, perfect time to crack open a De Noel and feast on the (no doubt) delicious goo inside. I’ve only tried one Fantôme thus far, Pissenlit, which was rather excellent and enough to convince me that Dany Prignon and team have a special energy happening in Belgium, which for a country that brews the best beer in the world they still like to do things by the book (only difference being their book is massive and unique to the rest of the world). Another thing – this beer contains honey, and I do love the rare beers out there that utilise this valuable ingredient.
Poured from a 750ml corked and crown capped bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Aye she looks great: deep red/brown burnt umber body, possibly cloudy but hard to tell, with a nice bold Ecru head that thins out to a lace ring. Loving this colour – it’s like a murky forest waiting to be explored. 9/10.
S: Getting hints of dark fruits (plum, fig and sweet cherry) mixing with a woody and tart black cherry note, there’s a real forest floor vibe as well. Hints of honey and clove in the background… bit of cardamom pods too. This definitely strikes me, from the aroma at least, of a Saison that will peak when it’s warmer and more flavours/aromas come out to play. 8/10.
T: Nice! Flavour is somewhere between a Saison and a spiced Mead, with notes of: Dark fruits, woody (one might even say spruce – at least the label says it) tones, honey, clove, cardamom, pepper, and a touch of tart black cherry. Thankfully the tart cherry is more of a background attraction than the main star – as you well know my enjoyment of Rodenbach Caractère Rouge was soured [pun intended] by the amount of sourness in that brew. Finish adds a light herbal bitterness. As a winter warmer it fails in that the 10% ABV is very well hidden… or it succeeds depending on your views, me I like a winter warmer to give me a slight kick at the end if only to slow me down – Fantôme De Noel has little of that “kick”. 9/10.
M: Pretty luscious with a mid to heavy bodied and a creamy Weizen-esque carbonation, great stuff. 9/10.
D: All round another winner for Fantôme, who are quick becoming a favourite of mine. Their beers are deceptively simple and complex at the same time, Dany Prignon is a master of brewing. Gobias some more! 10/10.
Food match: If it ain’t turkey it ain’t worth eating with cranberry sauce.