Fantôme Saison D’Erezée - Hiver
A nice treat from the Brasserie Fantôme, Hiver, is a winter saison and is brewed with spices, this bottle is from the recent batch in 2011. A mildly aggressive pour yields a very large and billowing stark white head, about 2 and a half fingers high that takes about 4-5 minutes to recede into a nice layer of frothy foam and leaves behind some pretty nice webbed lacing. The color is a nice hazy amber, a bit clearer than I would have anticipated, but still spot on for the style, lots of bubbles rising to the top but no signs of any floating sediment. The aroma is very pleasant, ample barnyard funkiness, lemon zest, coriander, allspice come to mind. Some lighter floral elements appear, a bit of grassiness and perhaps some tart green apples all play together with the spicing making this a pretty complex nose, I definitely had to stick my face in the glass a few times to really get everything that was going on and it seemed with each whiff of the beer, something new popped out. The flavors are a bit more muted, nice yeast character, and the spices are definitely there, certainly coriander, allspice with a fair amount of grain that isn’t really in the nose, a bit of the funkiness comes through in the flavors, but almost all of the floral and tart fruit elements are gone. A nice dry finish highlights the spicing and yeast. The body, nice and full with moderate to higher carbonation for a saison is really nice and coats the mouth and tongue well.
Verdict: Delicious saison from Fantôme. The flavors were a bit more muted than the nose led on, but this is a great saison for any Belgian lover, it gets a bit more interesting and spice heavy as it warms up making for one fine beer. (4.18/5)