Fantome Pritemp Saison

Fantome: Printemps Saison (Belgium: Saison: 8% ABV)

Visual: Hazy reddened orange. Off white head that soon diminishes. The head has a sud like nature.

Nose: Jiff lemon. Ginger. Orange zest. Washing up liquid.

Body: Honey. Lime and lemon sherbet. Barley cakes. Fresh orange juice. Cinnamon. Lemon sponge. Key lime pie. Strawberry in the middle.

Finish: Fresh lime. Golden syrup. Light aniseed. Kiwi

Conclusion: Wow, ok, this is nothing like what I expected. I had been somewhat primed to expect a similar beer to their normal Saison but with a spring twist. Nope. This is an as fresh as can be beer full of lemon cakes and cinnamon spice. It is like a mashed up batch of Mr Kipling’s Lemon slices that have been mixed up with key lime pie and shoved in a beer. It is intense, and can come in too strong. The aroma is so fresh that it reminds me of the artificial citrus notes you can get in washing up liquid at times.

This is combined with very Easter styled sweetness with notes of honey and golden syrup. This is in no way a subtle beer. The citrus is huge and the sweetness sugar shock. It is very fruity, with all those aforementioned flavors and even occasionally strawberry coming out. Slightly sharp and utterly refreshing, while being insulin requiring levels of sweet at the same time.

It does feel a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut though. The flavours would probably be just as interesting if they were more subtle, and may even be better. This would also have the benefit of letting the base saison show a bit more. Here it does not seem to have much of the rustic base character at all.

It is astonishing fun though, fresh from the moment of popping the cork, to the last moments of the finish. A rare beer that seems too big and brash. It reminds me of what I said about the recent Dupont beer. They have already made a nigh perfect saison, and they can’t just turn out that again and say “jobs done” so they turn out this. Not just different, but radically different, and I can’t blame them for that and, in fact, respect the risk taking.

It has resulted in a beer that is so enthusiastic that it is putting forth all the notes all the time. Reigning it back a bit could have made it another classic saison, but it still very fun and enjoyable for all that.

Background: After the exceptional Fantome Saison I have been keeping my eye open for their beers. So when I found this, their seasonal spring saison, I had to grab it. This was found, again, at Brewdog Bristol. This was drunk while listening to ” another cold cup of coffee from the Clash” to nick a phrase.