Purchased in Vermont. Pours a cloudy golden-amber with loads of chunky sediments floating through it. Foamy warm cap, big, still coming out of the bottle, long lasting and foaming the rim. Aromas of sourness (almost vinegary), weird yeasty and a little fruitiness. The taste is like plastic, with the hops that might be chemicals, more than grassy natural. Spices showing on the head, that is about the nicest thing of this brew. This bitter plastic feel is not good. Not a fan.
Bottled (from Cracked Kettle). Amber colour, mediumsized beige head. Aroma is barnyard, lots of spices and herbs. Flavour is spices, yeast, herbs and some hints of caramel. Quite brutal, but balanced. Semidry palate. With yeast in it gets a bit more bready and solid from the spicyness.
Bottle shared with Crown and my wife. Pours a murky amber or brownish color with a short lived off-white head. Patchy head retention and very little lacing. This is my second Fantome and I don't know what they put in these things but they sure are tasty. This is fruity with some cloves but also yeasty barnyard flavors, some dark fruit, musty with peppers and slightly sour in the finish. Not hard to drink either. Nice one.
An interesting beer given to me by a friend. The Winter Phantom he called it, and it took me a few minutes to figure out what he was talking about. It pours a golden-orange with a light tan head. The aroma is very earthy and musty with more yeasty hints than anything else. The flavour is slightly sweet malts with some peppery and hoppy hints in the finish. Pretty good in my books
Ehhh...I can’t say I was digging this. Nice pour and aroma of mild funk. This thing had a really strong herbal spice flavor that really, really tasted like strong oregano. The beer reminded me of a tomato pie...and that wasn’t a great thing. Some fruitiness and mild funk underneath that seemed like it would have been good if someone didn’t come along while I wasn’t looking and put all this oregano in my beer.
Winter 2007 / 2008 Release; Sampled February 2008
A very dusty yeast as it is roused quite easily in the short trip from fridge to counter. As soon as I pop the cork it begins to gush, though not s fast that I am not able to get all of the bottles precious cargo into my glass. A careful pour produces an almost three-finger thick, pale white head. The beer is quite light for a winter brew (definitely lighter than when I last had this) and it would be reasonably clear if not for the clumpy dancing yeast chunks that populate the well carbonated brew. The beer is a slightly amber tinged, honey color. The aroma has a distinct bread-like / biscuit like malt character to it up front, but then quickly picks up fruity notes (that are accented by a light tartness) of melon, lightly tart plums and perhaps a touch of apple. An earthy, herbal spice character also plays a significant role with notes of distinct cumin (so much so that it makes me think of Mexican food), some light citrus peel, perhaps a touch of coriander like aromatics and a touch of yeast-spiciness.
Lightly tart tasting, but still has just enough sweetness to help accent fruit flavors. The beer is quite light bodied and has a zesty carbonation to it that provides a smooth, peppery bite. A distinct, earthy spice note really lingers on in the finish; it is a sort of cross between milk weed, cumin and coriander stalks. The fruit notes provide flavors of star fruit, touches of tart plum, green melon, some tropical fruit note that is not quite ripe and notes of green grapes. What ever the origin of the spice notes, it leaves a touch of a tannic, slightly astringent, mouth coating character that really lingers on the palate for quite some time after each sip. As the beer warms up a bit it picks up soft notes of anise and with the herbal notes even something like a fresh fennel bulb. The malt plays a slight role in the flavor, but does provide a nice bready grain character in the finish, as well as some grassy grain flavors, sweet malt notes and a touch of soda cracker dry malt flavors.
I really like this years release, the slightly under-ripe tropical fruit note pairs quite well with the earthy spice notes and the light tartness. It is a perfect example of a Saison (even for the Winter Season); a rustically refined appearance, flavors that are quirky, dynamic, characterful and complex, this beer keeps me engaged and interested in the flavor combinations as it flows across my palate.
Sampled November 2004, New shipment
This beer pours a hazy amber-plum color. The head is creamy and frothy and has a light brown tint to it. The aroma is nice and fruity with notes of crisp apple, tart plum, tamarind, and raisins. There is perhaps a hint of other aromatics such as molasses, chocolate, and damp earth, but the fruity notes definitely dominate.
The taste is lightly sour up front and finishes with a crisp bite of apples, with a late hit of roast coffee bitterness. This beer is quite well balanced and much more tasty than the Fantome "Winter" that I last had. This beer is quite light on the palate, as all of Dany’s beers are, and the rich flavor notes make this a perfect Winter Saison. There are definitely notes of chocolate in this beer, but the fruity notes dominate like in the nose. I get notes of plum, raisin, fig, and apple. There is also a certain woodiness here, which hits the back of my mouth. This beer is really quite good, it is so perfectly in balance right now. I am not too sure how this one will age (given its perfect balance right now), but you can certainly count on me stashing a few away to find out.
Sampling of old bottle, pre-new corks; August 2004 7/6/6/8/8
Pours a hazy amber color with a tan head. It has a slightly sour aroma with some strong notes of real cloves; it reminds me of a rich, dark, dense spice cake. I also get hints of a fruity raisin aroma, but the sweet clove really dominates the aroma.
The taste is tart up front and then the clove kicks in. The clove seems almost too much at first. The front of each sip is quite enjoyable, it is just the phenolic clove finish that brings this beer down. There is a lingering toasted malt note to this beer as well. As I get deeper into my glass the clove begins to be tamed a bit as my palate becomes used to it.
While certainly the worst beer I have ever had from Fantome, it is still pretty enjoyable. I can’t even imagine having a young un-aged version of this beer, the clove must have been overpowering. I will certainly have to try another years sample of this.
Poured a very very cloudy orange/brown color with okay head and lacing. Aroma was very peppery and lots of other spices. Flavor was much them same, very different then i was expecting from this style was funky but pepper funky.
Pours a murky orangey color with a nice initial head, but manageable (surprising considering the loud chirping pop upon bottle opening). Lacing was only ok. The aroma was strong peppers, even some hot peppers, crazy spicing. The flavor was strong black pepper, hot peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables, surprisingly a very excellent blend, a great way for a winter beer to head, learn something American ginger and spice Christmas fools. Mouthfeel was well-carbonated, hearty, full.
Bottle: Poured a dirty dark yellow color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of weird spice mix with some strong Saaz hops. Taste is incredibly dry probably from the mix of spices and hops but doesn’t really excite my taste buds. Body is about average and carbonation is quite low. Not bad but just doesn’t provide the magic that I usually find in Fantome beers.