mwsf (360) - San Francisco, California, USA - AUG 11, 2007
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: AUG 27, 2007 Big thanks to alanC for sharing! This was not tasted under ideal conditions--I was recovering from the flu--but I could not pass up an opportunity to taste this extremely rare beer. I’ll do my best to give accurate descriptions. As the other raters have mentioned, this one is a gusher! The beer had set for weeks after shipment and still it was very hazy with a cloudy brown appearance. Huge head in the glass. Complex aroma with big yeast elements. Some bubblegum. Tobacco. Some hop aroma. Slightly fruity. Very earthy flavor up front. Some chocolate. A slightly odd underlying bitterness that I would attribute to the dandelions. Also, a slightly odd flavor that I can only describe as "freezer burn." While the term "freezer burn" doesn’t sound appealing, it really isn’t a negative. I get similar flavors from some of the t’Smisje beers. Nice finish. Fairly dry. Very nice beer.
presario (4834) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - MAY 10, 2007
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAY 11, 2007 Bottle 14/20. Bought this for $320 Cdn to aid a girl in France? to have surgery for a rare disease. Bid through Babblebelt and Shelton Brothers. Bid in April. Came to USA in the summer. For the $ worried about customs and had it shipped to Washington for Oakes to bring into Canada. Unfortunately DSL lost it and Shelton sent another bottle. Oakes brough it into Canada in December and mailed to Calgary. 13 months later we are at the tasting. One of four empty bottles I am currently saving. 10 minutes to pour due to a giant head. Looks like a cinamon puff pastry on a grey-red-brown liquid. Moderate spice farmhouse aroma. Dark rich herbal spice flavour. A taste I will call dandelion and spice. Surprising spice finish. A very good beer. The ratings may be somewhat inflated due to rarity and cost.
SoLan (1550) - Florida, USA - FEB 18, 2007
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Big time thanks to boboski for sharing this one with Degarth and me. Bottle #4/20. Dark amber/brown topped by 3cm of dense, creamy, tan head that can be brought back to life with agitation. First smell is hops. Unexpected. Floral and spicy hops followed by the signature Fantome funk- musty and just a touch sour, sweet malts, earth, and vegetation in the background. I love saisons. Flavor of black and white pepper, green plants, floral and spicy hops, light musty, sour, earthiness, sweet malt with just a touch of richness, and zesty, airy yeast. Dry finish. No hint of the 12% abv. Full body is perfectly balanced - creamy, foamy, smooth. Truly exceptional brew. Deserves a spot near the top of any list.
boboski (1095) - Alabama, USA - JAN 11, 2007
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: DEC 21, 2007 The beer that almost got away.
#4 of 20! The whole idea of this beer had me so excited I was bouncing around Degarth’s house, so eager with anticipation. What a wonderful, and crazy experience it turned out to be. I read the review from Ernest and prepared myself for a possible gusher, opening this bottle and then running for the sink, scrambling to find a glass to pour it in, hollering for the other two glasses to be placed in front of me. I didn’t want to lose one drop of this precious nectar.
I finished pouring the last into Degarth’s glass, holding the bottle with my left hand, reaching across my body. As I bring the bottle back towards the counter,
BAM! I hit my glass on the inside lip and lop off one quarter of the top, leaving mere millimeters of space between broken glass and drinkable beer.
I scream in panic, hailing for another glass, anything! I can’t lose this, it’s irreplaceable. Joe comes to the rescue and I ever so carefully dump the unscathed liquid into another vessel. DAMN, that was close.
This special beer poured a masterful, booming head that released the best citric aroma I’ve ever encountered, anywhere, with a light tan head. The aroma was MASSIVE hops, so lively. Aroma included strawberry shortcake, dandelions, wood, must and a good dose of Fantome funk, French style. Taste was magnificent, engrossing. This beer featured complexity only Dany could pull off, his special blending of unusual ingredients in peak form. Extraordinary is almost an insult.
NYHarvey (2153) - New York, New York, USA - JAN 4, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 5, 2007 Massive thanks go out to Jason (boboski) for sharing this incredibly rare beer with me and SoLan.
The aroma features snapped tree branches like pine, oak and conifers, along with very concentrated herbal notes that I’d assume are the influence of the dandelions. There is a musty, earthy element that probably approximates the bottom of a Shaman’s sweaty, leather medicine bag. Along with that is the strong influence of green tobacco and then a pretty massive dose of hops for one of Fantome’s beers.The concentration of aroma is massive. You really have to smell it to believe how incredibly aromatic it is.
The body isa murky dark brown and holds a creamy looking tan head that fades slowly, but readily teases back up to its full thumb thickness.
The fore is very herbal (dandelions?) and reminds me very much of green peanuts. There are some intense vegetal notes, musty earthen loam, parsnips, raw spinach....this beer is the polar opposite of sweet. It has a strong, yet varied earthy, vegetal, herbal flavor to it.
The mouthfeel is also very unique. Jason describes it as "Creamy fireworks." That is particuarly apt. It’s smoothe and creamy, but has range to the texture of its mouthfeel and combines with the impossibly vast flavor range to literally drop creamy explosions on your tongue. I’m just in awe of Fantome beers.
The awful thing is this beer was waaaay green and will be 10X better with several years of aging.
luckygirl (1223) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 18, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Ernest is truly the best boyfriend EVER! Thanks, Babe!<P>
Night of the millionth RB rating. Bottle #11 and it’s a gusher. The dark brown beer is full of yeasty murk. Pin-head sized off-white particulate carried around the glass by the currents of carbonation. The head is massive, off-white, foamy and is mostly lasting. Head coats, clings, and laces the glass like a milk shake.<P>
The aroma is truly unique. Full of everything wild and unpredictable that one would expect/hope for—topped with a layer of pointy hop. It’s malty with light notes of roasted grain, moderate caramel, trace of coffee; Hoppy with heavy resinous pine notes, moderate lemon zest; Yeasty with light -to-moderate notes of horseblanket, barnyard; Miscellany include a light note of bitter dandelion greens, mild pepper, spicy alcohol, trace of clove, gingerbread and apple peel.<P>
The flavor is lightly-to-moderately sweet. moderately-to-heavily bitter, lightly acidic with a long, moderately bittersweet finish.<P>
The body is full, the texture is velvety and the carbonation is lively.<P>
Ernest (6603) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 18, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle #11, shared only with my special love, luckygirl.
Head is initially huge, frothy, light brown, fully lasting.
Body is murky dark brown, bottle conditioned (and then some...tons of yeast in here).
Aroma is moderately to heavily malty (roasted grain, coffee, toasted bread, nuts, caramel), lightly to moderately hoppy (resin, grapefruit), lightly yeasty (barnyard, cobwebs), with notes of undergrowth, earth, clove, bark, pepper, oregano, wildflowers, pipe tobacco, plum, etc., etc.
Flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, lightly to moderately bitter.
Finish is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, moderately to heavily bitter.
Medium to full body, syrupy/velvety/watery texture, lively carbonation, moderately alcoholic.
First, I have to apologize to all my local RateBeer pals who would have loved to share in this rarest of the rare. But I have quite a few beer friends here, and there’s just no way to make one bottle stretch that far. So I decided back when I bid on this that the only person special enough to share this with would be my special lady, luckygirl. And rather than make a big production out of it, we simply sat down one night and opened it. In the spirit of Sideways, there is simply no "perfect" time and place other than the moment in which you are. And this beer is indeed a special beer beyond its rarity. It is one of the most rich and decadent beers that has ever carried the Fantôme moniker (and likely the strongest as well). Think of the Noel and you’ll be somewhere in the right ball park. It’s a unique creation, but you would have already guessed that. The aroma has elements that remind me of green (or American) hops, quite resinous...my first reaction was surprisingly that it reminded me of an American barleywine. But ultimately this beer is mostly about the malt and fermentation characters, so despite my lack of joy for these types of hop aromas, there is so much else going on here that it really doesn’t matter. And certainly American barleywines that can reach this level of complexity would win me over just the same. Delicious stuff. I should just shut up at this point and say that I am delighted to have tried such an amazingly low-production/rare beer, shared it with my love, and monetarily helped in some small way to a good cause. Huge cheers to Dany Prignon, Gilles Didier, Didier Cornet, and the Sheltons for making it happen.