Fantome: Dark White (Belgium: Saison: 4.7% ABV)
Visual: Hazy apricot skin body. Massive yellowed white loose bubbled head. Moderate carbonation.
Nose: Wheaty. Peppercorn. Coriander. Slightly bitter.
Body: Lemon syrup. Lime meringue. Pepper. Bitter and earthy. Peach. Vanilla. Light brown sugar. Apricot.
Finish: Bitter, earthy and peppery. Charred wood. Wheaty. Acrid. Gunpowder tea. Apricot. Vanilla. high level of hop character.
Conclusion: This is probably the harshest edged of the Fantome beers that I have tried so far. It doesn’t list itself as a saison on the bottle, but seems to closely follow that style with a wheaty character and robust rustic bitterness.
Up front in the early parts of the body it as actually pretty well delivered; Easy drinking, and at a moderate abv it seems placed right for the citrus notes amongst a light pepper character. Quite moreish and so I was expecting another Fantome classic.
Then the latter half of the beer comes in and takes you into the finish via what feels like being hit by a sledgehammer. It is a huge mix of earthy character, charred wood, pepper and gunpowder tea. The lasting notes are an acrid oak and pepper punch to the taste buds. It doesn’t fit. The hop character feels almost nanny state like, which is a beer I enjoy, but the style doesn’t work well when transplanted into a totally different beer.
It was so close to being awesome as well. The balance of sweetness and bitterness in the early body is excellent and gives pleasant contrasting notes that is far too easy to drink. Maybe I should be happy that the bitter backstop breaks your progress and forces you to slow down, but it definitely hurts the overall feel of the beer. As you get used to the beer it seems to balance the two halves better, maybe it is acclimatising, maybe it is the beer warming; Either way it never quite reaches a perfect balance though – the rough second half is always present.
Half awesome, half over harsh. Well made but not to my tastes. I would say it is the weakest Fantome so far – still an ok beer, but flawed in the finish.
Background: I can’t even get the energy together to point out that surely dark white is grey. Anyway, Fantome – huge fan of Fantome and especially their saisons. A quick google around online shows that there seems to be some dispute on if this is a saison or not. It seems saison like to me so I have listed it under that. Drunk while listening to the Electronic Super Joy OST, it is ok – mainly listening to it as I had just completed the game and its DLC and noticed it came with the soundtrack. Game was ok, but no Super Meat Boy. Decided to use the wheat ale glass craft beer sis gave me at Christmas. Not quite the correct style, but it was the only glass I had not tried so wanted to give it a run. Thanks sis.