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Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

397 Reviews
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Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-13-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 397 | Ratings: 826
Photo of nout72
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

And yet another great Belgian dark ale.
Very smooth and only a bit short on spicyness, in comparison with a Chimay Blue or St. Bernardus Abt 12 or Prior 8. The mouhfeel is fuller and rounder than the Chimay though. The sweetness is ideal, the aftertaste isn't too lingering.
Again, rating beer is ridiculous, because honestly I am not sure if I like this beer better than Chimay or a Rochefort, and really is it important? Price-wise this beer is in the same range as St. Bernardus Abt 12, and slightly pricier than a Chimay.
Let me say that it is good to know that there are many Belgian dark ales I enjoy and I will just pick the one by lowest price or just at random, you certainly never can go wrong with any of them.

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Photo of teromous
3.51/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The back of the bottle has 04/05/2014

Appearance: Dark brown opaque body that shows some lighter shades of brown around the edges as light shines in. The head is this massive fluffy cap of creamy fine bubbles. The head is a light shade of khaki and it has very good head retention and lacing.

Aroma: The head tends to obscure the aroma quite a bit. I ended up having to work the glass a bit to get any real noticeable aroma. Mostly it is just this really sweet smelling caramel aroma that is even a bit buttery.

Taste: That sweet caramel makes an appearance in the flavor as well. It doesn't taste buttery like it smells. There is just a touch of a woody character and some maple syrup but the flavor as a whole is very watered down and light. No bitterness at any point while drinking the beer.

Mouthfeel: It is extremely velvety from the carbonation but the body is surprisingly light. It doesn't have much of a finish. There is really no finish at all; it just ends abruptly.

Overall: It's not a very impressive Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It feels extremely light and at times while drinking it even felt thin. I am having this beer a little over two years from the date listed on the bottle. I would try a fresher bottle to see if maybe more flavor is present. It is still a very enjoyable beer to drink and the delicacy of the beer is applaudable but overall I think it wouldn't be a beer I would buy more than one of.

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Photo of OlaB
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Black color, gives of a good top of head, really nice lacings on the sides of the glass

A: Raisins, cherrys,roasted malts, some hints of cocoa and chocolate

T&F: Starts with malts that gives a nice sweetness , goes over to the fuity flavours in the middle. Dark fruits, cherrys and burned sugar, The flavours are very well balanced in this beer. alcohol content are very well masked.
The finishing and aftertaste is a nice bitterness that last for a good while and almost reminds me of cherrys

O: A great belgian dark ale that i enjoyed every sip off. It was also great to finally try one of the carolus beers since i heard a lot about it but not been able to find before today

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Photo of spacecake9
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Ommegang goblet.
A - Pours a dark reddish brown with a tan head that does not go away and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.
S - I mostly smell dried raisins or prunes.
T - Flavor is more raisins and dark cherry.
M - Mouth feel is medium, carbonation is above medium. Alcohol is not noticeable.
O - I'm a sucker for Belgians, and this did not disappoint. Let this warm a bit so all the flavors come out. Het Anker has become a new favorite brewer for me.

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Photo of chinchill
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

cellared 330 ml bottle from Asheville (NC) served in a Belgian snifter. June 2013 bottling date.

Appearance: just OK, with a rather weak head over a dark, hazy brown body. Spotty lacing.

Aroma and Flavor: Superb, especially the aroma. Loads of toffee, dark ripe fruits and dried fruit. The flavor does have a touch more alcohol than optimal but I can't fault the enticing aroma.

Feel: medium carbonation in a medium-light body. 8.5% ABV is mostly hidden.

O: Excellent! Allowed to warm but continued to improve, gaining complexity, with further warming.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle, pours a hazey murky dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma dark malts, prune, brown sugar, toffee. Taste prune, caramel, brown sugar, candy, toffee. Very nice.

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Photo of jonb5
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into Kasteel goblet.

A: Very dark amber, just about opaque, one finger tanned head, moderate retention, decent amount of lacing.

S: Prune, not an overly pronounced aroma.

T: Prune, molasses, burnt candy sugar, no hint of booze.

M: Light creamy texture, not too much carbonation.

O: Everything that is to be expected from a BSDA, without doing anything to stand out from the crowd, hid the booze really well.

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Photo of gautch726
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An almost perfect beer. It pours an umber red-gold with a thick offwhite head. This beers strong point for me is the taste. It has a perfect balance of fruit and malt with minimal bitter aftertaste. It hits you hard and falls off easy. Well done by the brewer.

Feel of the beer could've been a bit heavier, but still nice. The smell had too much off a bite for my taste. Great beer overall.

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Photo of Kevin_Langford
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Overall, a great beer. This was actually a bit sweet mixed with a darker beer flavor, which I really enjoyed. At first, I was thinking there was some sort of liqueur mixed in or something. The smell actually wasn't my favorite, but the taste was good across the palate, so that made up for it. In spite of being pretty dark, it was smooth and not too oppressive. I'd get this again, for sure.

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Photo of MrDell
3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


Gouden Carolus – Classic best before 05.05.2018.

Appearance: Black, big three finger off white head, dropping off to half a finger. Lots of lacing left on glass. Excellent head retention.

Aroma: Dark malt, yeast (which has similar aroma to Gulden Draak) and alcohol.

Taste: Smokey, faint liquorice… and not much else really. It is very easy to drink and it has obviously been produced to the highest standards considering the amount of lacing that has been left on the glass but for me, it’s just not complex enough.

Mouthfeel: Dry and bitter on sides of tongue. Fairly low in body considering the abv.

Overall: A friend recommended this to me and claimed it to be the best beer in the world at the moment – good it is, best in the world it most definitely isn’t. It’s a very solid all-rounder, being so well balanced, but there isn’t that wow factor that so many other dark Belgian beers have – Rochefort, Achel, Westvleteren, St. Bernardus etc etc etc. It’s fairly watery when compared to these, which may be to some peoples tastes but I prefer something a bit more weighty with the big, dark, strong brews.
To sum up, it’s not a bad beer but it is seriously lacking in character. While I am enjoying it more than the bottle of Bush (AKA Scaldis) that I had before it this evening, it still gets a lower score for being too middle of the road. 6.99 / 10.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, almoust black with a two finger high, beige head. A lot of lacing stays on the glass.

Nose: Brown sugar, vanilla, caramel malt, molasses, dark berries, dried fruit, spice and toffee.
Taste: Caramel, toffee, roasted malt, dark fruit, molasses and brown sugar.
Body: Full body. Medium carbonation. Soft, rich mouthfeel.

A great strong ale! Love the sweet but not oversweet soft taste and the beatiful nose. Only 2.39 Euro at Beergium a bargain !

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 330ml bottle in a Biere de Miel tulip at Monk's Cafe, Philly

Look: not too much head, dark black
Smell: a lot of sugary, molasses smell. Reminding me of Ayinger Celebrator, interestingly.
Taste: sweet, much tastes of molasses. Some faint dark cherry taste.
Feel: The liquid is very chewy, lusty. High viscosity
Overall: It's a really good BSDA with sweet taste. I'll have more of it in the future.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3.41/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The head of medium size, beige and not very durable. All the time in the glass is foamed ring.
Fruit aromas: plums, cherries but also caramel and spices, crust of bread.
The taste and the first impression is that the Gouden Carolus is a "fat" but at the same time velvety.
It is rich in fruity notes like the aroma is sweet but without exaggeration and has a very clearly defined in alcohol, which intensely heats up, "burn" palate. Do not sensed gentian, or rather was very small. The beer is average or even low-saturated, is very drinkable. Maybe there is a little heavy but very enjoyable. Gouden Carolus is already a classic and is definitely a must to taste
on the list of every beer tastes.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a nice off white head that takes a while to dissipate. The lacing lingers at the edge of the glass and some of the head lies on the top of the beer. The beer itself is an opaque dark brown that looks like toffee.

The beer smell is fairly malty with a bit of Belgian sugar notes as well. The smell has some nice dark fruit notes but they aren't very strong.

The beer taste is much more maltier and fruity with a bit of sugary flavor to it. The dark fruits are much more present and the malty is just as sweet. The taste also has a fleeting earthy note towards the end. There is also a slightly sweet alcohol taste to it and a bit of molasses as well. In addition to the dark fruits, the beer has a pear taste that gets lost.

The mouthfeel is heavy bodied with some biting carbonation. The beer is smooth but feels a bit lighter and watery than it should for the beer type.

Overall, not a bad strong dark ale.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from Beers Of Europe website (£2.89):
An enjoyable beer that proved easy enough to drink but in truth didn't really strike me as a memorable offering or one that I'd be all that likely to go back to in the future. There was nothing wrong with the beer as such, it just seemed to be missing that special something that would have found be rating it higher. This was partially down to the beer following a fairly predictable pattern from nose to taste with the ripe fruits and sweetness staying consistent throughout; a decent beer but there are better Belgian offerings out there to be had.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: Looks very dark brown with an ivory one finger head.

S: Smells very alcoholic, with notes of dark fruits like plums and figs.

T: Tastes uncomfortably sweet almost not bitter at all, hard to finish like drinking from the mash tun.

F: Medium body with low carbonation.

O: It says that is the best dark beer of the world, I almost cound´t finish it due to it´s overwhelming sweetness.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red/brown colour, weak head. Smell: cherry, plums. Taste: cherry, plums, red wine. Very malty and sweet, almost no hops. No match to blue Chimay or Rochefort 8 (painfully sweet for me), but I can understand why some people like it.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

App: pours reddish brown color with off white thick head with fine lacing.

Smell: malty, yeasty, hint of citrus a lot of nonspecific esters.

Taste: malt forward, dark fruits (prune, plum, raisin), hint of hop and nice clean finish

Mouth: medium body nice carbonation to provide some astringency and prevent from becoming syrupy.

Overall: Very good for the style, I’d recommend, though in the future would choose the tripel over the classic.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep brown with a finger and a half of off white head that breaks leaving some nice lacing behind. The smell is dark fruits, molasses and brown sugar. The taste is sweet with the dark fruits dominating. Brown sugars and a touch of alcohol are also present. The feel is smooth, but this is a heavyish beer. Carbonation is moderate.

A very nice BSDA, I had this one with a couple of years on it and it just seemed to go down smooth and easy.

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Photo of delta490
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

An excellent Belgian Strong Ale. It pours a dark ruby color, with a\ nice creamy head and some lacing. As the brewery notes mention, it is a maltier beer, with a hint of spice and fruit. The 8.5% ABV is hidden very well and not particularly noticeable in the taste, only your head.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Pours two fingers of light tan head on a dark brown colored body.
The aroma is caramel, spices and brown sugar.
The taste is mild sweetness at first, more brown sugar sweetness middle to end, some figs to finish.
The texture is soft but thicker with low carbonation.
Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Liquor Shed in Casper, $10.99 for the 2013 750ml bottle.

A nice pop when I pulled the cork but no gushing, thankfully, it pours a clear? deep mahogany with a 2 finger hof and of course, nice lacing.

Lots of caramel malt, mixed with some toffee and fruity notes in the smell. Pitted fruits, me thinks. No, I'm thinking of a Bartlett. Anywho, it's a very nice aroma going on.

I do appreciate the pear flavour I'm getting straight off. Toffee follows and something semi sweet..I'll read the label...molasses? Okay. Nothing realy on the bitter side going on but this is not an overly sweet brew either.

Sipping further in, I get a mild heat from the alcohol but it's not a huge distraction.

Close to if not full bodied, medium carbonation, makes for a great mouthfeel, eh?

This is classically delicious and a real joy to sip on. Well worth the price I paid for it.

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Photo of henkmudi
4.49/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Smell of fresh barley, hay, honeycomb wax. Copper, red, dark orange, foam dense and persistent. First taste tobacco, chocolate, coffee, malt. Resembles top quality rose wines and finest single malt whiskeys. Only minus is to much sweet and caramel. Strong, tasty looking for heavy food, or it can serve as glass before sleep.

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Photo of BWED
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle poured into a chalice.

A- Deep hazed brown body. Creamy light tan head. Nice rings of lacing and very leggy.

S- Molasses, caramel, some sweet bread. Super malty aroma.

T- Sweet but not as overbearing as the aroma suggested. Malt and molasses. Slight fruit character comes out.

M- Creamy, full body. Very subtle, fine carbonation. And a clean wet finish.

O- Yum. The malty notes in this are fantastic. Molasses caramel, and the depth of this beer is great. Temp change brings more intense flavors out. Very nice.

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Photo of FLima
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Brown reddish color with a thick two finger beige head with good retention and leaving lots of laces.
Nice aroma with notes of raisins, spices, candied sugar, licorice, prunes, apple puree and grapes.
Delicious flavor with spiced notes, candied sugar, plums, figs, cocoa, red wine and vanilla. Quite dry aftertaste with a mild bitterness.
Velvet full body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 8.5% abv is very well hidden.
Excellent beer combining rich spices and fruits notes. Sweetness that does not bother. Very easy to drink, I remember to taste it while I was adventuring in the world of craft beer, and still tastes great.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
92 out of 100 based on 397 ratings.