Advent Beer Calendar: Day 12: Fantôme Spéciale De Noël

Fantome Speciale de NoelToday’s pick is from Belgium: Fantôme Spéciale De Noël. This monster has 10% alcohol by volume, and this strength is not for the faint of heart—if you don’t like barleywines, it’s probable that you won’t like this, either.

Part of the reason I picked it is because I rather liked the name; literally translated (ignoring the obvious "special" part), it becomes "Ghost of Christmas" or "Christmas Ghost." I like the Dickensian Christmas Carol sound of that, although the label is a little more cartoony than the "ghost of Christmas future" image floating around in my head.

BeerAdvocate gives it a score of 88, with a solid 99% approval rating. From reading the reviews I think you can expect an atypically-strong Belgian beer through-and-through. Here’s a sample:

The flavor was smooth as silk with a nice caramel maltiness coupled with dark fruit flavors of raisins, figs, prunes and plums. The bittering from the hops balanced the flavors and kept the malt charge in check. The flavor was earthy and spicy and well achieved. The complexity was very, very nice and those same bready aromas came forth in the flavor.

Sounds excellent.