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Gouden Carolus Classic - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic

Educational use only; do not reuse.

389 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 389
Hads: 791
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 15.09%
Wants: 60
Gots: 112 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-13-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Classic Alström Bros
Reviews: 389 | Hads: 791
Photo of ypsifly
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Undated 11.2oz poured into a chalice.

Dark brown, almost black to amber edges. Thick head of an inch that is the color of pancake batter that leaves sheets of lace as it goes down. Great retention. Strong retention.

The nose has a lot of yeast. Bubblegum, cloves, and bananas. This is a fine example of belgian yeast aromas. A little dark fruit and a pinch of something citric. There's some cookie dough made with real vanilla and some floral hops thrown into the mix as well. Very nice.

The first aspect I noticed was how it flowed into my mouth, filled it up, then glided away effortlessly. Damn fine mouthfeel.

Malty upfront with raisins, and sugars, some of the above mentioned yeast aromas are now tasted, some herbal hops towards the end. The alcohol does register as warming pepper, but it works well with the sweet flavors. Very tasty. I could get very wasted, very fast if sessioning this one.

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Photo of elricorico
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark reddish brown and had a large tan head. The head fell quite rapidly though, and left a thin half ring.

The smell is sweet, with candy sugar dominating. There is also raisin and prune and sweet cherry smell. The smell is a bit lighter than I had hoped for, but not by much.

The taste...paydirt! A beatiful mix of malt and candy sugar. Enters the mouth as a sweet dark cherry and runs through a few more of the dark ripe fruits. Candy sugar carries it through the mouth until the finish, which hints at semi-sweet chocolate and tart berry flavour. Very very nice.

Mouthfeel is smooth with medium body. For the amount of sweetness, the beer doesn't feel sticky, and goes down nicely. The alcohol is only faintly apparent in the beer's finish.

I like this one. It isn't the prettiest, and it doesn't put out the best aroma, but as far as drinking it goes, this is first class.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark color beer with a thick foamy brown head with excellent retention. Aroma of figs with sweet alcohol notes and typical Belgian yeast is easily identifiable and greatly enjoyable. Taste is quite rich with figs and plum sweetness with a thick body and warm alcohol note mix with lots of yeast. Very enjoyable though not my favourite from this fine brewery.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another exceptional beer from Het Anker. Poured into a Chimay chalice, beer pours a murky caramel brown with a nice lasting head. Aroma is slightly sweet, fruity. Taste is rich, creamy, citrus fruits mixed with some dark fruits, caramel maltiness and toffee. Alcohol is almost unnoticeable. Full, malty mouthfeel. Very drinkable, you could have a few of these no problem (at least on the tastebuds).

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark caramel color with a nice frothy head and plenty of lacing

Smell: Caramel apples, cherries and some nice rum soaked raisins

Taste: Sweet toffee flavors waft across the tongue; followed by some bandaid phenols; after the swallow, there is chocolate, cherries, raisins and prunes

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and well carbonated, in the Belgian style

Drinkability: A very nice Belgian Strong Dark; not as rich and deep as some, but definitely worth a look

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Photo of BeerNutta
3.72/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A = Dark dark brown. Almost black like the label.

S = sweet malts and dried fruits. ( Prunes, dates etc...)

T = Sweet malt followed by prunes then a slight bitter closer with an alcohol finish.

M = Less then moderate carbonation so you can distinquish the flavours. Low alcohol burn.

D = Not a session beer. The 8.5 finishes that off. Not cheap either.

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Photo of Albinoh
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, with some head that eventualy vanishes. Sweet, malty smell, you can also sense the alcohol. Malty, sweet taste a little fruity, almost what you expect. Alcohol bites a little bit more than i would like, but its not bad. Medium body.

I preffer the tripel or the ambrio Gouden Carolus over this one, but a good beer after all. Maybe this one is a bit more standard, not intended to surprise.

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Photo of ADR
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small 330 ml bottle...hazy dark brown appearance with little in the way of noticeable highlights. Nice frothy tan head, lots of thick laces stick on the glass in sheets. Muted aromas, a sense of woodiness and musky leaves, perhaps lacking in a big statement. Medium body, nice active carbonation. Well-composed flavors, definitive yeasts, some almost strident notes of currant and berries subsiding in a nice transition to an overall pleasing maltiness. Still, lingers as light and not ponderous from beginning to end. Some senses of earthy tannins with a contrasting sense of accented brightness. A very pleasant and quaffable beer.

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Photo of Sammy
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

better than a wine, better than a port. Beautiful wine dark. Like a great barleywine, and can be aged for years more.Gorgeous aroma, cherries. Sweet raisin, plum, light brown sugar dry mix. Complementary spices of clove and cinammon with cherry. Can drink anytime for satisfaction. Medium mouthfeel, not overpowering.

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Photo of Pepeton
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 330 ml bottle with a best before well into in 2008.
According to the labels the ABV is 8.5%, not 8% as the BA database states.

Pours a beautiful dark red brew, with a matching head and some lacing.

Smell is complex: Faint pine nuts come all the sudden at first, ripe fruits, (bananas maybe), spices and much more. Impressive.

Taste is also complex: Malts above all, of course; some grass-herbal flavors, yeasty and lots of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is dry, amazingly crisp with a grest bitterness as an aftertaste.

I'll buy this ale anytime, but reserve it for my mild Mexican winters.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Came in a 4-pack, same as the tripel, same 330 ml brown bottles. No translation quirks on the importer's label on the back of the bottles as with the tripel.

This is a very sexy appealing ale, a luminescent cherry oak body with bright garnet highlights, when held to direct light it almost gives this seemingly nutty opaque brown appearance a glow from within.

Wood chips, blackstrap molasses, and an earthy soil character strike me first on the nose, along with salted black licorice and husky dark nut shells, and the faintest impression of anise trying to claw its way to the surface of such a thick and musky profile. Then I get a whiff of rum-soaked cherries, perhaps just the molasses shape-shifting over time.

Nutty, woody, earthy, this is all what comes to mind upon the first sip, and yet none of them really pin it down. Peaty.... The flavour is very dry, a dry sherry character lasts throughout as well, with bright points of sweetness in the guise of white grapes, sweet cherries and dried figs. Bloody hell, this flavour is more complex than it seems, and difficult to follow and pin down, it tends to metamorph after each sip. Halfway down the glass a milder, sweeter presence appears, on a bed of dried fruit pulled along by the molasses, with a rich, rummy brown sugary finish. The aftertaste leaves my mouth sticky with the presence of fig newtons.

The mouthfeel starts out thickish and dry, but towards the end of the glass it become thin and vinuous, sticky sweet.

Very curious indeed, I'm not sure what I really think about this stuff at the end, except that it's an ale that gives you a lot to contemplate and explore and decipher. Definitely not a session beer, but more for those who like solving mysteries and pouring over clues that tend to shift and morph over time--like a Scooby-Doo mystery that DOESN'T end with the surly old neighbour dressed up as a monster or alien, who would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids. I am left with the traces of thick crumbly brown sugar-coated date bread in my mouth as I finish this glass and this review, if nothing else this is a very filling ale.

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

The classic comes in the same bottle as the Triple, the only difference is the colour of the label: black for the classic and golden for the triple. 330 ml bottle, best before of April 2008. A dark mollasses brown in the chalice glass, tinges of ruby and rosewood. A greatly appealing colour, topped by an ample bone-white head, fine and creamy, leaving sticky sheets of lace. I think my glass deadened the head a little somehow--the first time I poured this beer, into the exact same glass, I got a much larger and much more consistent foam. The colour of the beer is so rich and substantial-looking that it gives off a great variety of hues, some purple and some more ebony. I get a bitter woodiness in the aroma immediately; also wormwood. Oak, wood chips, raisins and brown sugar. I was expecting it to be different: there exist all the classic dark aromas of this style(like Trois Pistoles, etc) but this hard-to-describe aroma really sets it apart and makes it a little unique. The sweetness is nicely balanced, giving blackberries, dark candy and licorice. Sniffing above the glass gives the earthy-wood aromas, along with the spicy phenols. In closer I smell cloves and cinnamon; red grapes and red wine, merlot, tannic. The fruitiness is behind all these in the form of red apples, dried prunes, as well as some pear and nectarine. A subtle aroma, but one with great layers of complexity. I cannot get enough of it. The taste delivers on the aroma's promise. Again, like the Triple, this is very velvety and pillowy on the tongue. Tree bark and oak mix with the roasted sweet maltiness at first. In the middle is a little chocolately dustiness, similar to dark roasted coffee. The finish is fruit-filled and very coffee-like, or even similar to hot chocolate. Alcohol is only noticeable in the aftertaste. The finish is syrupy and quite sweet, but it still allows for some sourish grassy astringency to come through(possibly from the hops.) Lowly carbonated and easy to drink, though quite sweet. This really is fantastic, and anyone who tries this and Gouden Carolus Triple can consider themselves privileged. Paired nicely with havarti, though the beer's alcohol overpowered it a little. Het Anker Brewery is definitely one of my favourite discoveries of the year.

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Photo of TPSReports
3.38/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Dark rudy amber color with nice head -- reddish light brown.

Strong fruity nose with alcohol. A bit of malt here too.

Taste doesn't mask the potency here. Strong fruit, with large sweet flavor. The sweetness of this brew is a surprise.

Mouthfeel is very nice and creamy with appropriate carbonation.

For me, this beer is too sweet to drink regularly.

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

I hope that I am reviewing the right beer. My lable says Carolus D'or. This was the only Het Anker @ 8% so I believe it is.

Pours out a dark brownish-red color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. The smell is very malty sweet with hints of raisins and candy sugar. I am expecting this beer to be very sweet.

The first thing I noticed is how big this beer is. The flavors really jump out at you. It kind of reminds me of Ommegang but with a bit more sweet malty sugars.

The malt hits you right away and stays througout. Complex. I pick up some alcohol notes towards the end. This fades and gives way to more sugary flavors. Overall a wonderful beer but not easily drinkable for me as it is very sweet.

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

The classic Gouden Carolus pours a hazy, dark chestnut brown body beneath a frothy head of light tan foam that holds well and leaves some nice, thin Brussels lace.
Once it warms a bit, the nose is quite welcoming, and offers darkened brown sugar, some dark fruit (mainly raisins), and a spritz of orange.
In the mouth it's delicately zesty on the tongue with a very fine, natural carbonation and medium body.
The flavor offers a briliant, sugary mix of raisins and light toffee with a hint of orange-chocolate in the background. The yeast also tosses in some bubblegum-like phenolics (sugar and clove-like spice) that turns it a touch candyish. Some herbal hops appear at the swallow and lend it an earthy, mineralish edge that helps to round out its candyish character. The bitterness is a touch limited as might be expected, but it punches through the malt midway, and there's enough there to keep it from becoming cloying in the long-lingering finish. The alcohol, although it's only 8%, does appear once it warms, but it never becomes excessive and actually adds a touch of spiciness that's welcome against the candyish malt. Quite nice.

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Photo of hefevice
4.59/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. YEAH BABY!! Deep cloudy dark brown (poured in all the yeast) with good head and plenty of lace. Smells DIVINE, sweet dark smooth brown sugar, rum and raisins. Tastes even better, smooth, sweet then dry and crisp. Almost perfect palate with a slightly warm and dry alcoholic finish. God this stuff is good; Trios Pistols sans the slightly off bits. YUM!

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Photo of MrSeth
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a large tulip shaped glass with an almost opaque dark brown color and a huge 4+ inch tan head. Lots of lace. Right away the smell jumps out at you with brown sugar, dried dates, figs and malty undertones. The mouthfeel is a dry, medium bodied and fully coating goodness. Lots of dried fruits come to mind in the flavor, again dried dates and figs. The alcohol is not that obvious at first, it doesn't hang over the ale. Nor does it compete with the rest of the flavor profile, but it's in there! After a medium finish, the alcohol makes itself known with a warming feeling in the belly. All-around there is alot to appreciate in this ale, but the exceptional balance is what makes it shine for me.

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Photo of revdrjbob
3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had at the Little Belgian Brasserie, Kingston, Canberra.
Poured a dark hazy brown, with a dark thick creamy head. Plenty of Belgian lace clinging to the glass.
Aroma: Evident alcohol, a sweet rumminess, dark malt, candy and caramel. Hints of raisin and dark fruits.
Flavour: Sweet, caramel, an almost honeyish flavour, with ddak malts and chocolate. A slight bitterness on the end, and a touch of candy.
Toatally awesome.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark, deep red color, and if you're not careful, you could end up with glass full of 90% head. i did this, since i havent drank these since belgie.. bought some 11.2 oz bottles and lugged them back- reviewing one now.

aroma is unique.. like an angel food cake with alcohol and malts in the finish.

tastes smooth, with alot of butterscotch and buttered popcorn.. butter! smooth! malt! yeast! almost no detectable alcohol. a beautiful beer and the 2nd best carolus.. try the noel! this one would be a perfect session beer if you were rocking the hotel erasmus in brugge..

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Photo of granger10
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a really dark auburn brown color. Good amount of yeast floaties in there and a solid tan head. Really dark for a Belgian. Smell is intensely alchoholic mixed with a strong raisiny flavor. Its nice, but I don't know if that will translate to a good flavor. The body is a bit weak which doesn't help. There's lots of dark fruits with plums, raisins, and figs. I don't really notice much else other than fruits and alcohol. Well, as it warms I get more of a nutty/yeasty flavor for the base which helps this beer get a little bigger in body. But the super dark fruits and alcohol sting are wearing on me after a bit. Finish is acidic and mildly dry. Really sharp flavors around the edges, I bet this mixes well with sharp cheddar cheese, unfortunately I'm eating it with hambuger helper. I think a small bottle would be enough, but I'm going to finish the 750 anyways. Good beer in small amounts or with sharp cheeses (guess) but nothing I'd have too often.

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Photo of schemb
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this twice over the course of 9 days at Redbones. Initialy a nice standard Belgian dark, similar to some of the Binks. It was the second taste that really merits a review. By the ninth day it had mutated into liquid candied sweet potatoes - the kind with generous amounts of brown sugar and molasses. I swear some of RB's sweet potato pie and sweet bbq sauce had changed the keg by osmosis. Probably not what was supposed to happen but truely groovy decay.

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Photo of Boto
4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught: This one poured a dark reddish-brown with a thick creamy off-white head. I was suprised that the aroma was a bit weak for the style. There were some noted of fruits (plums et. al.) and caramel. The tatse was much better than the aroma. It had a caramel sweetness, with fruits in the background. The after-taste was a bit sour/tart. A very nice beer.

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Photo of GreenCard
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: on the light side of chestnut brown, good clarity, medium layer of tan foam with OK head retention, some lace

Aroma: spiced rum, roasty malt sweetness, tequila(?), wood tannin, bubble gum, clove, light Belgian hops, speculoos, licorice, bananas

Flavor: mild malt sweetness with some burnt caramel, hint of licorice and clove, alcohol, touch of coffee roastiness, slightly tart, finishes semi-dry with an aftertaste of clove and roasted chestnuts

Mouthfeel: medium body, tight carbonation, alcohol warmth

Other comments: I was briefly reminded of Rocheforte 8 when I took my first few sips. It's a bit cleaner than that beer, though. I was surprised to see that it is not bottle conditioned (at least that is the case for the 33cl version). Quite a delightful beer!

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Photo of woemad
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle purchased at The Viking in Spokane for $5.

Poured a hazy dark brown with a big, light tan head. Lots of lace.

Smell was very malty, but also with a certain nuttiness and spicy notes. Not as rich or balanced as the aroma from a St. Bernardus Abt. 12, but good nonetheless.

The taste of this was of sweet maltiness balanced by a coriander-like spiciness, along with a nutty taste. While not exceptional tasting, this was still quite good.

Not as full-bodied as I thought it would be. In fact, I think it's a trifle thin for the style.

This a rather nice, drinkable Belgian. The 8.5% abv is difficult to detect, so I'd be careful with repeated pints. The biggest problem I have with this is the price. A similar quantity of Chimay Blue is over a dollar cheaper at The Viking, and Gouden Carolus, while good, isn't worth the added expense.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one surprised me. I had read some lukewarm reviews and had passed it by in the liquor store any number of times. I had the chance to try it on tap and gave it a chance. It pours a hazy amber color with a brownish head that lasts for quite a while.

The aroma is sweetish with some sweet malt and fruitiness but balanced at the end by some pepper and citrus. The taste is fruity as well but is not overly sweet being balanced by the malts and a peppery kick. There are hints of berries, citrus, and grapes with a balancing spiciness. The grapiness was the most surprising element.

This is very satisfying on the palate with the right balance of carbonation to make it peppy and the sweetness to provide the body. This would be more drinkable if it was just a little less sweet.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
92 out of 100 based on 389 ratings.