Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

My Photo
Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fantome Black Ghost

Today was a little annoying. Lots of problems, lots of lost time. . . Had a lengthy faculty senate meeting that, though interesting and moderately productive, was kind of exhausting.

Decided to direct a little energy into a beer I brought back from California, Fantome's Black Ghost, which I'm pretty sure I've never had before.

It's hardly black; I'd put it in within a half shade of Westmalle Dubbel. It's sort of dark and sepia-looking, but when you hold it up to the light it's kind of a reddish amber. It pours a decent-sized off-white-to-tan head.

Being a Fantome beer, it's pretty off-beat. I made a dark Saison in roughly this color range last year which turned out well--it plays toward more predictable Dubbel-ish fruit and spice notes. This, on the other hand, smells quite earthy, with some definite musty, cellar character and a cork note. There's something in the spice character (yeast or spicing?) which reminds me of Chinese food. I'm thinking it may be star anise.

Not unlike the regular Fantome I drank a couple weeks ago, this has a curious, minerally, super-dry thing going on. To steal my previous phrase, more or less, it's strangely tannic and crawls around your tongue. Kind of reminds me of tonic water, actually. I don't detect any suggestion of crystal malt, or dark candi sugars, so I'm thinking this is probably very like the regular saison, only with a touch of carafa or something for color. Anyway, for a dark beer, it's splendidly dry, sharp, minerally, lean--in short--totally unexpected in overall character. I wonder if you could tweak a Saison recipe in the direction of Fantome via a judicious addition of quinine???

Neat beer--I feel better.


Post a Comment

<< Home