Gouden Carolus Classic - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic

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715 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 715
Reviews: 381
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.71%
Wants: 44
Gots: 63 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 715 | Reviews: 381 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BretSikkink
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color with some red highlight around the edges. Head is minimal, perhaps white or a little tan. Tight enough for some lacing though. Nose is super fruity, with lots of rotten apple and banana amongst the dark fruits like raisins. Slightly spicy, but not as much as many of the style; more earthy, almost German doppelbock.

Even fruitier flavor profile than the nose lead me towards - don't always follow your nose... the dark fruits are there, the apple and pear are present. The yeastiness of banana and spicy clove aren't quite there, but some herbal notes jump in to take their places. Nutty in the finish, with some seltzer water notes, and so little alcohol that it's a little mind-blowing. I've had pale ales go down rougher than this. Aftertaste is woody behind the sweetness, with a note of tobacco or oak waaay back there. Overall impression is of very malty sweetness that gives way to a beautifully melded and balanced whole.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, whisking the alcohol far above palate-level, and elevating this from a moderately good-tasting beer into a finely-crafted, drinkable ale. My experience with Gouden Carolus left me with high expectations, but the Classic really hit the right notes for this style.

Photo of mmahut
3.48/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark-bronze colour with short-lasted carbonated head.

S: Caramel and sugar with fruity tones - apple, citrus, pear.

T: Complex taste matching the smell. Sugar with dark malt and fruits... alcohol is hidden.

M: Medium body with high carbonation.

D: If you like sweetness this is your beer.

Photo of Daniell
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very nice dark malty/amber red colour. Excellent lacing too. This is while the head/lacing lasts though, which isn't all that long. 4

S: ah now this is interesting. Vaguely funky? Yeast smell. Smell also reminds me of cherries. There is strong malt presence here giving it a sweetness. I really like the funky yeast, it coupled with the malt makes the brew smell really rich and almost chocolatey (and toffee-ey) in a dry, sulphuric, stouty way. 4.5

T: the body tastes like cherries also. Sweet and thick cherries blended with some other dark fruits, but still cherries. 4

M: thick and well carbonated. 4

D: The sweetness is perhaps cloying after a time. 3.5

While rochefort 10 is the plum of dark beers, this is the cherry. Very nice.

Photo of juju7
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Regal looking red body with a HUGE billowy head that stuck around persistently. I might be the only one who thinks so, but I've always thought this beer has a kind of UK/Belgian vibe as opposed to straight up Belgian. Some slight wine like vinous, dried fruit like aromas. Palate is very elegant. Dry and yeasty but with that vinous flavour coming back again. Almost port-like, absolutely gorgeous. Alcohol is well in check. Carbonation is spot-on. Truly good stuff.

Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured cloudy dark amber-brown in color into a goblet. A light amount of carbonation is visible. The head doesn't last that long, but some lacey patterns of bubbles linger on the surface.
S: There's a significant amount of malty sweetness in the aroma, which contains notes of cherries, plums and prunes.
T: The taste is relatively sweet and has flavors of dark fruits--as in the aroma--plus notes of caramel malts and hints of spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, very smooth and rather thick.
D: The alcohol is well hidden so it's very easy to consume, although this beer is better as one that is sipped.

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

11.2 oz bottle to oversized wine glass. No date or batch number visible.

A: Pours with a two finger, super creamy off-white head full of tiny tightly knit bubbles. Medium length retention slowly fades to a steady collar. The body is russet colored, mostly opaque. Ruby edges line the glass. Spare to fare lacing.

S & T: Sweet molasses malts and noticeably Belgian yeast, semi earthy. Alcohol infused dark fruits. Scents of tobacco and prune throughout the nose. Long flavor duration with moderate sweetness. This brew has wonderful flavor and nose, but I can't help compare it to it's bigger brother. And knowing what BSDAs can be, the Classic is a notch or two inferior to the Cuvee van de Keizer in just about each category.

M: Medium to medium full body with just the right amount of alcohol poking through. I think my bottle is relatively fresh and so I believe that aging will significantly improve the nose, flavor and mouthfeel. My scoring, of course, indicates that this brew is plenty delicious as is.

D: First and foremost, this is great beer. The drinkability, however, is barely average in my opinion. I feel that the alcohol should have been either lowered a bit or better incorporated. Again, this would probably rectify itself with some time in the cellar. But why cellar the Classic when you can cellar the Cuvee...?

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

Appearance - Pours a bright, clear dark brown with ruby highlights, no lacing.
Smell - Dark fruit / sweetness.
Taste - Dark fruit, rum raisin, sweet malts.
Mouthfeel - Smooth, medium-bodied with moderate to light carbonation.
Drinkability - Quite drinkable, the abv isn't noticeable.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep burgundy color with a frothy off-white cap that musters up plenty of lace. Malt aromas practically fill the room from the get go. Huge dough, over-ripe fruit and grain notes make up the nose. The taste is an expansive onslaught of malt. The dense breadyness is augmented by burnt brown sugar, hazelnuts, raisin bran, plums, field berries, vanilla etc. The list of flavors goes on and on. Hops are very restrained, providing only a leafy herbal flavor in the back. Alcohol is very restrained throughout, giving only a complimentary bit of warmth in the finish. the mouthfeel is very full bodied and almost viscous.

This is a very pleasant BSDA. Lots of flavors to contemplate as you savour it. Definitely worth a try, you'll love it if you like malty beer.

Photo of Avagadro
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: opaque in the open, and murky-brown when held to the light. Head is well presented at first, but quickly fades away.color is woody-brown.

S: heavy fruit, in the form of bubblegum, apricot, and banana. There is also a slight brown sugar note.

T: flavor follows the nose, with heavy fruit and a touch of rum.

M: medium body with moderate carbonation and a delicate finish.

D: a great representation of the style, though, a touch estery for my taste.

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

A - Pours a dark clear brown with a loosely put together 2 finger head with a few large bubbles punctuating its barely off white surface. The head quickly dissipates leaving small remnants of the head on the surface and a solid ring around the sides. Leaves solid lacing around the glass as I drink it, I love beers that do this.

S - Smells pretty good actually. For some reason, I wasn't expecting much from this. I smell brown sugar, sweet plums, dark apples and pears. When I first smelled it, I got a large wiff of alcohol, but since then can only smell a small amount of it. Another note is potentially some brandy notes.

T - Sweetness on the tongue upon first sip. But in a very good, surprising sort of way. Everything from the nose comes into play here. The apples really come out after the initial sweetness of brown sugar. The alcohol is more present than expected from an 8.5% beer. This may be the first BSDA that I actually really enjoy.

M - A little bit on the thick side. Reminding me of the thickness of some barleywines. The carbonation is not enough to cut through how thick this is. Not to say the carbonation is bad either, I think it works for this beer.

D - A little bit thick, a little too boozy. I'll be fine with 1 of these.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Really good Belgian brown. Had this with a generous hunk of Stilton. Not too bad a combo.

Big, malty 2 inch head in a tulip. Soft milk chocolate brown/burnt umber suede texture in the look.

Vague hop character and alcohol in the nose, along with caramel and chocolate.

Initially, lots of burnt caramel and milk chocolate in the flavor, later giving way (but hardly disapperaing) to syrupy coffee flavors and a pleasant warm finish.

About as good as McChouffe when it comes to Belgian brown ales. A pleasure to look at and drink. Warrants multiple purchases of and relishment of, oh yeah.

Photo of FreshHawk
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark mahogany amber color with a large, thicky, creamy, frothy, very light beige head. Very good retention and a nice thick creamy lacing left.

S - Nice mix of fruit and spiced (orange, some dark fruit, coriander, and clove) and some dark malt, molasses/brown sugar, caramel, and some rum soaked fruit.

T - Initially fairly sweet with a good amount of caramel and toffee malt, some banana and bubblegum (similar to a dunkelwizen), and some fruitiness (both citrusy and dark fruit along with some golden fruit). Then some of the spices (clove in particular but also coriander and other typical Belgian spices) come out and there is a bit more of a kick. Faint hints of chocolate and licorice in the background, not much but just enough to be detected every once in a while. Finishes with a good amount of fruity flavors and the malt lingers a bit after the sip.

M - Light to medium body, pretty light for the style, with slightly above average carbonation. Somewhat sticky flavors but the beer is a little smooth, not really creamy though.

D - Good drinkability. Good amount of fruit and sweetness but not cloying or over the top. Easy to drink with a nice mix and balance of flavors. A bit of a sipper, but the alcohol is very well hidden.

Notes: A very nice beer to sip on. A good amount of full fruity flavors including dark fruit, golden fruit, and citrus all mixing (dark most prominent). It is a bit digestif liqueur/port like in that it is pretty fruity and full flavors. Very enjoyable easy to drink beer.

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

Appearance: A deep reddish amber in color, spotty lacing on the glass.

Smell: Malt up front, doughy and bready. Just a whiff of chocolate as well.

Taste: Light raisen bread flavor, malty with some hints of toffee. Earthy hop adds some bitterness to round everything off.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied yet smooth. Certainly some warming booze.

Drinkability: A pretty good beer, this supposed classic is worthy of such praise. Best enjoyed in the colder months, since it is warming and soothing.

Photo of WildMaverick1200
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had one of these last night, right after a Duvel.

The waiter poured this dark brown ale into a funny-looking mug. It had a small fluffy off-white head which lasted for quite a while. Sexy beer indeed.

Smelled sweet, with malts and toffee jumping out of the mix.

Even more malts and toffee in the taste, with a pleasant alcohol warmth right in the background. This beer's balance is just absolutely perfect, and yet the flavors remain perfectly distinguishable. Incredible!

Nice feel, creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability is incredible. You'll finish it before you have a chance to look a the ABV. Really, very drinkable for a strong beer.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Affligem goblet. A dark, opaque ruby-brown hue, with about a half inch of pillowy head that dissolved quickly into little islands and a ring. Some lacing, but not much.

The nose is rich and malty, with notes of grapes, raisins, toffee and crystallized fruit. A bit of yeast character as well.

This brew is terrific! Malty and fruity, with notes of grapes, pear and cherry. Toffee and caramel in the mix as well. Finishes dry and tart with a touch of hop character. The alcohol comes in to play here, but it doesn't detract. Reminds me very much of Affligem Dubbel. A great sipper.

Silky and smooth, with only light carbonation. Went down amazingly well; if I had a few more of them, they'd go down fast.

Just a terrific BSPA, enjoyable from start to finish. I tend to like sweeter strong ales, and this one truly did it for me.

Photo of Radome
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.0 - Fluffy, creamy, lush head is off-white. Beer is dark brown with ruby highlights and is not quite clear when held up to light.

Smell - 4.0 - Dark fruit sweetness offset by a hint of vinegar. No hops present, as expected. Aroma is surprisingly muted and hard to pick up, despite the huge taste.

Taste - 5.0 - Huge flavor explosion of dark (but not acrid or roasted) malts, candi sugar and dark fruits. Just when you think there is nothing to balance the sweetness, a brace of hops bitterness hits in the end. Under it all is a hint of funkiness that reminds me of vinegar.

Mouthfeel - 4.5 - Thick and chewy body, with definite creaminess from the fine carbonation. Mouth-coating but not negatively cloying.

Drinkability - 4.0 - Body is fairly heavy but the overall experience is so smooth and creamy that you hardly notice. Alcohol is well hidden. This is like a big glass of chocolate milk. You don't want one all the time, and you don't want a lot of them, but when the time is right it's very satisfying.

Photo of EPseja
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 33cl bottle in a giant stemmed Petrus goblet at cellar temperature.

A - Warm, earthy brown with burnt amber highlights. Meringue-like, fluffy head pushes up almost an inch, and retreats lazily, leaving a tenacious, plush mat to obscure the beer's surface. Lacing is patchy and head retention is very respectable.

S - Massive malts and distinct candy sugars. Dark, overripe fruits and rich toffee. Any overt hoppiness is conspicuously absent - which is right for the style.

T - Light, savory sweetness that seems to swell and intensify as the beer moves back. Fruitiness reveals itself like the liquored jelly insides of a lightly toasted pastry. Gentle tartness in the middle that paves the way for a finish that's a touch on the sweet side, but not completely cloying due to the last-second presence of some light hop bittering.

M - Fantastically rich, creamy and satisfying, with just the right amount of fluffiness and tingle. Swallow is thick and viscous. Spot-on.

D - An excellent beer by any standard, and a wonderful way to wind down the evening. Full of flavor and balance as well as substance, this one is not to be overlooked.

Photo of GregPearson33
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber-red in color with a nice thickly laced head of small bubbles that held long after I poured it. It smells of sweet caramel, honey/toffee and malt... very sugary. The taste is fantastic! The whiff definitely doesn't lead one astray - the taste is similarly sweet and with those same notes - but I was especially surprised by how well the alcohol is hidden. I gave a taste of this to my dad (not a beer drinker) and not only did he thought it was delicious, but was blown away when I told him the ABV; "I could have 4 of these no problem". I concur with its drinkability which owes itself to a relatively light mouthfeel and low carbonation. Even though it's a little sweet for my taste, I think this is definitely a must-try brew.

Photo of Stigs
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, no date but i've had this for at least a year. served in an Ommegang chalice...

A - poured light khaki colored foam, it is loose and bubbly, somewhat frothy. had to stop about 3/4 through the pour because the glass was overflowing. small specks of brown sediment on top. the beer is very dark brown with ruby highlights...weird floating specks of sediment here as well.

S - sweet malts right away joined by some belgian yeast. notes of dark fruits, slight funk, and very subtle sourness.

T - mostly follows the nose...begins with some nice sweet malt and belgian yeast. the hops are surprisingly still present at the end supplying a swift bitter punch right when its needed. there is also a very noticeable peppery spice to this, adds a nice dimension to the drink. impressed.

M - tons and tons of tight carbonation...sharp and prickly in the mouth and kind of distracts from the wonderful taste.

D - color me impressed...one of those beers i wasnt expecting a whole lot of but really surprised me. went nicely with European cheese and crackers I've been snacking on. I'd really like to know the age on this because I feel it may be in its prime now.

Photo of boogyman
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glassware: Tulip

A- Color is a pretty much black unless you put it right up to the light and you can then see the slight dark reddish maroon color. You can also see it is pretty murky. Head is a good 1-2 fingers and it lingers around forever. Lacing is super sticky and awesome looking.

S- It smells warm and toasty. Dark malts are prevalent. Dark fruit comes to mind like cherries and plums.

T- Taste is strong of malts and not too much hops. I wanna say something like figs and some other kinds of spices like clove come from the taste buds. No alcohol to speak of.

M- This beer has a mouthfeel like I have never tasted. It goes down really smooth and has a very odd light wispy taste to it. I kind of think of it as the exact opposite of a really syrupy American Strong Ale. It flows across your tongue and doesn't leave much behind. Makes for a really easy to drink beer.

D- Given some of the details from the mouthfeel, this is a very light and drinkable beer. I would never guess this would be even close to 8.5% ABV just by tasting it. Quite a good beer.

Photo of irishking1977
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper/black that created a large white/tan head that dissipated into a robust amount of lacing. Nice.

S: Malty and sweet. Funky Belgian yeast is also present.

T: Belgian yeast and malt dominate the taste, in addition to mild dark fruits. (cherries). Some hints of licorice (ehh) and brown sugar as well. As with most of the brews I've had from Carolus, the alcohol is hidden quite well. It's both good and bad to not be reminded by the brew how robust it really is.

M: Mildly creamy and a good amount of carbonation. Highly drinkable for a dark and strong brew.

D: Indeed, this one is somewhere in between a sipper and a session brew, simply because of it's high drinkability regardless of the ABV.

Photo of mulder1010
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ML poured into a tulip glass

A-- Poured a dark reddish brown. Tints of red all through the glass. Started with a big 2 finger light brown head that too its time to settle down. Left lacing all through the drop.

S-- Dark fruits and a touch of strawberry (nice). Has a jammy smell to this. Not overly sweet though. Does have a bit of an alcoholic nose to it but not as big as others.

T-- Dark fruit with some raisin as well. Alcohol taste is more apparent in the first taste. Has a bit of a cognac taste to this.

M-- Fruity, sweet cognac feel. Very nice. Carbonation is perfect and feels very nice in the mouth. Has a warming quality as well but that goes to the cognac feel.

D-- Alcohol is there but hidden well. Fruit flavors really stand out and actually think of drinking jam in a way. Very appealing gets much better as it warms up. Started drinking at about 45 degrees and got much deeper as it went over 50. 2 of these would be excellent and still would want more.

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

330ml bottle poured into Unibroue glass feb20 2010

A a clear dark amber with a big light tan head that has great retention and leaves decent lace. tonnes of carbonation in this one too

S some dark fruits with some molasses, some spice and brown sugar

T a little candied fruit and dried fruit to go along with all the things I smell, I also pick up on a little booze but it's well concealed. this beers pretty complex and I'm sure there's a fair bit I'm not picking up on

M thick for the color and quite creamy and smooth no complaints here

D this one is very drinkable for 8.5%alc, I was surprised by how quickly I finished it and how badly I craved another

I didn't know what to expect with this beer and I was quite happy with what I got. I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't try this beer, it's solid in all areas and underrated IMO

Photo of ludachris
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep and hazy amber with ruby red highlights and a finger of fizzy cream coloured head that leaves a decent amount of spotty lace.

Alcohol is somewhat heavy in the nose but mixes nicely with notes of yeast, strawberry, tart cherry, sticky raisons, and fresh bread.

The taste is toned down in comparison to the smell with the alcohol only making itself known by its warming feel. Cherries seem to be the dominant fruit with strawberries and hints of dark fruit close behind, all making themselves known over a bready backdrop.

Mouthfeel is oily and smooth with a touch of carbonation. Seems to be between medium and full bodied. Like many of the Belgians I've had, this one is very easy to drink.

Overall, a really nice interpretation of a BSDA, made even better by its availabilty to me. The only real weakness stemmed from the appearance with the weak and fizzy head, but that's a minor complaint when taking everything else into consideration. Those Belgians really know how to disguise their alcohol and this one is of no exception. Make sure to pick one up if you see it.

Photo of bartle
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a brilliant ruby hue and a fizzy white head. dissipates quickly, but laces the edges.

The nose is boosy, sweet stewed cherries, rose hips, lavender, some fresh bready notes from the yeast. A load of fresh fruit sugars hitting the nose, strawberries come to mind. A grassy finish on the nose as it warms a little.

This presents many notes of stewed plums, molasses, cherries, vanilla, grass, fresh baked bread, and a warming alcohol all dancing around on the tongue sparking different sensations each sip. The finish is fairly dry but still some sugar lasting on the tongue. Every sip pin points different flavours. Soft caramel notes are apparent that I never noticed in the nose. No harsh bitterness, alcohol is providing the balance of the malt.

High carbonation, yet a silky smooth body, and it is beyond drinkable.

Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
92 out of 100 based on 715 ratings.