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Gouden Carolus Classic - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic

Educational use only; do not reuse.

385 Reviews

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Reviews: 385
Hads: 768
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.25%
Wants: 56
Gots: 99 | 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
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Reviews: 385 | Hads: 768
Photo of Philousa
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This looks black, but against the light I get some leather and dark ruby on the edges. The head is nearly white and billowy, what little there is. A swirl conjures up a dense pillow of foam that is inviting. I get lots of caramel and candied sugar in the nose. Smells airy and creamy. Also a little bit of vanilla and oak, with some biscuit and oatmeal. Lots of juicy fruit up front on the palate: strawberry, cranberry. It fades quickly to thick, rich caramel, sweet candied sugar, some leather, and a bit of that coppery metallic flavor. The mouth feel is silky and slightly watery. Finish is balanced, but tending towards dry. The candied sugar in this does not linger in the throat and annoy like many other Belgians. This is a luxurious drink that is complex and rewards the patient. (788 characters)

Photo of mikeg67
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Pours brown with a long lasting off-white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of yeast, brown sugar, dark fruit, caramel, spicy hops and alcohol. Body is full and smooth. Plums, raisins, brown sugar, bready malt, spicy hops and alcohol fill the mouth. Finish is long, semi-dry. Wonderful brew. (303 characters)

Photo of Serge
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours the colour of dark milk chocolate with a disappearing lacing of white head. Smells of thick caramel syrup, brown sugar and Belgian yeast. The mouthfeel is remarkable; thick, velvety and sweet. Tastes of peppery carbonation at the front of the palate, deliciously sweet caramel in the middle and the trademark banana/clove flavour from the Belgian yeast right at the back of the palate. (391 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and spices. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but basic. (582 characters)

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

A: Reddish brown thick with a good amount of bubbles.

S: It's like... very herbaceous. Earthy and spicy... Maybe some maple. Interesting.

T: Very odd. It has a weird like... tumeric flavor almost. Maybe some thyme. That maple comes through a little bit. A little sweet and sour action as well. It's pretty interesting but the alcohol comes through a bit much.

M: A little overly bubbly a little musty but sits decent.

Overall a very unique beer. It has a lot of different aspects and I seem to notice something new with every sip. My problem is it's a little too complicated almost and the taste, although unique, isn't overly pleasing to me. I appreciate it but I probably wouldn't rush to have another. (710 characters)

Photo of mscudder
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer well over a year ago and loved it. Having it again with a more primed palette. Poured into a snifter.

A - A beautiful deep opaque black body with a royal ivory head. Solid.

S - Vivid nose on this one. Caramel apples, cherries, fresh spices, chocolate and some smooth malts. Fantastic complexity with refined balance.

T - What a rich, sweet beer at this level of ABV. Starts with some aggressiveness rich flavor; namely cherries, caramelized sugar and a touch of licorice. Follows with some complexity and a creamy nature which matches the slowing sweetness with perfection. Concludes with just a touch of warmth (I would never blindly guess an ABV above 7%) and a bit of dryness. Truly excellent.

M - A large medium body with average carbonation that compliments the style well.

O - I really love this beer. The sweetness is crisp and delicious while retaining a degree of drinkability. The heavy malt sweetness is a pleasure for a closing drink. Not quite sure I would have this aside from a desert occasion (similar to La Fin Du Monde) but I really enjoy it! (1,081 characters)

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

Beer is a dark chestnut brown, decent-sized beige head. OK retention, decent lacing.

Smell is quite big. Contains raisin, date, chocolate, nuts, yeast and a bit of alcohol. Quite malty, with some caramel notes.

Taste is like the smell, but sweeter than expected. Raisin, fig, chocolate, caramel and bread. Brown sugar. More alcohol than expected for 8.5%. A good but fairly standard BSDA.

Full bodied, moderate to high carbonation. A bit bready, some alcohol heat.

Overall, quite tasty. Not a world class BSDA but a very nice one. (536 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a 3 finger foamy tan head with good retention and lacing. The aroma has green apples, figs, dates, raisins, and black licorice.

The taste is sweet, with green apples, figs, dates, raisins, black licorice, cherries, brown sugar, and a little pepper at the end. As sweet as this beer is, it is not overly sweet.

Full bodied with modest carbonation, and the alcohol is well hidden. A bottle like this could be put in a cellar for a long time, and would age beautifully. Highly recommended. (512 characters)

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

appearance: Amber / light brown transparent colored. Creme foam top.

smell: First i get is brown sugar. It's very sugary. I get some herbal hints, can't really put my finger around it. Caramel/toffee with some sweet malts.

taste: I get brown sugar, caramel, figs, prune, raisins, apple and a bit of a nutty / yeasty / herbal aftertaste. It lingers nicely.

mouthfeel: Nicely rounded. Fluid with just a slighty dry finish. Medium carbonation.

overall: I must say, my first one didn't really do it for me. So it probably depends on my mood. The second one was very enjoyable. It's a very easy and sweet beer. You don't get much of the alcohol due the sweetness. I like the yeasty, dark fruit and brown sugar and nutty aroma combo. If i had to criticize it, it would probably be that it's maybe too sweet. Which is nice if you crave for sweetness, but therefor lacks a bit of a kick and surprise as a whole. But if you're in the mood for something like this, it's really great. (980 characters)

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

330ml bottle poured in its own glass.

A: Pours a dark amber nutty clear color. Forms a small yellow head. Not many lacings left

S: Smell is very sweet like a Belgian beer should be. Candy sugar, sweet grains. Very fruity easters, dark fruits mainly. Alcohol

T: Follows the nose, a sweet Belgian style beer. Sweet candy upfront, sweet malts. Very bready. Mild earthy bitterness

M: Heavy creamy molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Sweet candy upfront and mild earthy bitter aftertaste

O: Very drinkable. A little bit overwhelming alcohol in the nose but still a great beer (582 characters)

4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle. Snifter glass. Enjoyed on jun´12. Pours dark Brown in color with light beige, creamy, lasting crown. Hints of nutmeg liquor, toasted malts, slightly sugary fragancy & yeast to the nose. Sweet toasted malty upfront. Gentle sugary mouthfeel, ripe & dried fruit – dates & raisins- flavors. No hops. Lingers creamy with kind warming ABV. Full body, soft carbonation. Wow!! (385 characters)

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

A- Poured into my tulip glass....comes out hazy and a milk chocolate brown in color....hard to say what the carbonation is like with this one. The head is a tan color, about two fingers thick at first and has decent retention, eventually settling down to a thick film. Lacing is excellent, with lots of sticky foam clinging to the glass. A nice looking brew!

S- This is quite malty in the aroma, and there is hints of dark, along with tropical fruits, such as raisin, banana, prune etc. There are some hints of various spices including clove and black pepper. The alcohol is hidden quite well, with just a mild whiff noted.

T- Well the alcoholic punch definitely shows up on the palate and takes a couple of sips to get used to. There is malt and toffee sweetness, which is countered by syrupy overripe fruit, along with spicy notes and an earthy dry-ish finish....going back into this after it's warmed up a couple degrees, there is some milk chocolate flavor in this as well. Quite nice and well balanced!

M- Solid medium body and rich smooth carbonation really makes this a delight to sip on. The flavors really are alive on the palate!

O- I find this to be really easy drinking in general, especially once the alcohol mellows. Lots of flavor, and balanced well between sweet and dry, this one isn't a beer that one wants to chug, per se, but this deserves to be enjoyed....it changes slightly as it warms, but keeps you feeling cozy. I recommend this brew for sure and will seek it out in the future! (1,508 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a small bottle into a Duvel tulip. A jaw-droppingly beautiful clear, dark mahogany color with a nice 2-finger head that dissipates pretty quickly. Getting some of the classic raisin-like dark fruit notes on the nose. Also getting some cherry-like notes. Overall, the nose is too faint to be memorable.

The beer is medium-bodied with a firm, yet lively mouthfeel (from carbonation) and the flavor is primarily sweet and fruity. The taste follows the nose quite well. Sweet, jammy, fruity notes on the front of the palate are joined by nice carbonation that opens things up as the flavors get just a bit tart. I could spend 30 minutes trying to pick out all the different fruit flavors that are there. On the finish, there's a nice lingering alcohol warmth.

Nice beer. Those Belgians really know how to produce dark, fruity beers like this. (852 characters)

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

A: A very dark amber pour with a large tan head adorning it. Fades slowly, leaving decent lashes of lacing all over the glass.

S: Raisins, fig, caramel, and a bit of banana. A bit spicy too.

T: Lots of caramel malt with fig and toffee. Raisins, apples and a bit of molasses follow in the middle. Spicy aftertaste with maybe some black pepper. Maybe hints of brown sugar in there? Nice balance of flavors. Touch dry in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

O: A smooth and well balanced malty BSDA. A little sweet but not overly so. Easy drinking. (560 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sometime soon i'm going to be doing a vertical tasting of the cuvee from this brewery, so I'm excited to try this one. No bottled on date but the guy at the liqour store said the bottle said it's about a year old and I believe, he knows me well and knows I can appreciate an aged beer so he has no reason to lie to get me to buy it.

Pours a very hazy straight up brown color with a huge off white head. Nose is comprised of rich cocoa covered espresso beans, vanilla beans, chocolate layer cake with underlying notes of figs and belgian candy sugar.

Lacing is stellar.

Fruitier than the nose lets on with absolutely no chocolate. Lots of carbonation, big in body. Amazingly subtle, Sweet brandy soaked fruit. Mild tannins. Amazing clean finish with a slightly sweet after taste but nothing cloying. Body thins out a touch on the swallow leaving way for a slightly crisp finish. Amazingly the flavors all hold together through the vigorous carbonation. balance comes in the form of a touch of earthy yeast flavors.

Incredible balance and slightly sweet. Very drinkable. But nothing crazy or out of the ordinary. (1,114 characters)

Photo of dansmcd
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A finger and a half of dense eggshell head caps a deep dark mahogany brown. Webby sheets of lace later.

S - Blackberry, chocolate, yeast and coffee.

T - Cream, chocolate and lots of dark berries.

M - Moderate carbonation, smooth medium body. Sweet finish.

O - Beautiful flavours and incredibly drinkable for an 8.5% abv ale. (332 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany with three fingers of beige head that fades into a thin cap with great lacing.

S: Some slight spice aromas up front followed by lots of bubblegum and candy sugar. There's an odd aroma that smells similar to fermenting fruit in there as well. Sweet, buttery bread aromas bring up the finish.

T: The spice notes are a bit stronger here, and the bubblegum and candy sugar not quite so. Dark fruit flavors are also intertwined, with the finish being bready with a slight alcohol warmth.

M: Medium body with mid-high carbonation, this beer is dry and nicely attenuated so that even with its high abv, it's quite drinkable. The alcohol presence does detract from it somewhat.

O: A good beer, overall. The aroma is interesting, though a bit odd, but it is still tasty and drinkable. (805 characters)

Photo of Filosoof
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I ordered a Gouden Carolus. That was the only thing the menu card mentioned about this beer.

Getting it, I have to admit that I couldn't find out whether this was the Cuvee van de Keizer, wich I already knew, or something else. I didn't know the Classic yet. So it was quite a blind tasting!

When I was tasting this beer, and the waitress told that this was the classic, I concluded: this one is maybe even beter than the Cuvee. Strange, because the Cuvee is more complex and more expensive? No, I think this one is maybe even beter, because of the lower alcohol. It is more drinkable because of that and level interesting. The mouthfeel is absolutely fabulous! 5.0 overall. This beer is the name Classic worthy. (714 characters)

Photo of Mar02x
3.17/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With thanks to BA Andrejes, I was able to try this beer. Andrejes brought his beer to a tasting organized by Fiona de Lange (the Dutch beer lady). Andrejes cellared this beer for 23 years!!! Yes people this beer was bottled in 1989.

A - A clear brown fluid with no head whatsoever.

S - It has got the smell of a medium dry sherry.

T - Dry, watery en lots of taste. It is like drinking a watery sherry.

M - A light to medium carbonation, no bitterness.

O - A real different taste compared to the original. A funny experiment and my first experience of a beer this old. (572 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle from volunteering the BBF back in September and have finally decided to enjoy after a nice Saturday night working at the restaurant. 11.2 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a small head that has reduced to a thin layer and left some lacing on the glass. A hazy and thick brown with no clarity and they signs of carbonation coming up the sides of the glass.

Smell: dark fruits baby. bananas, raisins, molasses, figs, plums, cherries, holy smokes. Super malty too. Can't wait to try a sip.

Taste: all of above is blended well, alcohol is noticeable given the 8.5%, delidious too.

Mouthfeel: carbonation seemed high, but still easily smooth enough to drink, full bodied, sipper, got easier to drink as it got warmer, and super delicious.

Overall: Pretty solid beer and wish I waited more than 5 months to enjoy it. Oh well, it was still enjoyable and enjoyed to the last drop. Need to get me more of this soon and sit on it for a few years. I still more beers from volunteering in my stash and not sure what I am going to move on to next. (1,092 characters)

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

Served in a tulip glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a very dark brown color with a ½” light tan head that persists and leaves behind spider web lacing as it recedes. Sipping creates more spider web lacing which clings to the sides of the glass so that when the beer is more than half done there is an intricate network of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is rich and full of figs and dark caramel. There are also hints of tobacco and licorice.

Taste: The flavors were strong and assertive, with tobacco and licorice showing first and most strongly. Then the fruitiness emerged with both dark fruit (figs and plums) and orchard fruits (apples and pears) popping out here and there. There was some sweetness that reminds of caramelized brown sugar. Eventually some nice chocolate puts in an appearance as well.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is on the full side of medium bodied and quite smooth. The carbonation is active, persistent and just strong enough to keep things active. The finish is relatively long with a touch of alcohol noticeable as it slides through the fruitiness to a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: Initially my impression was that this was a bit strong and overwhelming. But as I sipped my way through I found that each sip followed the last naturally and easily. If pressed for two words to describe this beer I’d say they are “complex” and “complex.” ☺ But I would not use the word subtle. This one is assertive and lets you know it is there, even though some flavors take a while to emerge. My overall impression was that this beer deserves close attention and the time spent to enjoy it slowly it as it warms through a range of temperatures. (1,785 characters)

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

Pours a dark brown body. Three finger head stays nicely with good lacing.

Aromas of figs, caramel, toffee, butterscotch.

Taste is more restrained than the nose would indicate. Warmly alcoholic with sherry notes. Belgian yeast, raisins, fruitcake.

Mouthfeel quite light for the ABV. A little creamy.

Good example of style, however, somewhat light overall of flavour. (369 characters)

Photo of u2carew
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle
A) Pours with a finger thick head then settles to a thin lacing on top. Dark mahogany body.
S) Raisins. Plums. Roasted malts.
T) Brown sugar. Hints of molasses and clove. Finishes with a hint of alcohol.
M) Fizzy. Medium body. Alcohol warmth.
O) A delicious Belgian brew. I would definitely have another one. (322 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a dark brown color with a fluffy tan colored head on top. The retention isn't too bad here along with the lacing. The smell of the beer is lightly malty with some roasted aromas. The taste of the beer was pretty good, lots of malty flavors in there along with some burnt flavors. The mouthfeel was nice, lightly creamy feel along with some good carbonation. Overall this beer was good, I would probably try it again one day. (443 characters)

Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Troegs Mad Elf.

A: Dark amber with particles and three-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a while and left great lacing.

S: Dark fruit like sugar candy. Some yeast.

T: Solid sweetness and light bitterness. Complex, spicy, Belgian yeast. Pretty good.

M: Medium bodied with soft carbonation. Silky smooth and warm. Slightly dry.

O: Looks great, smells so sweet, and tastes like a great Belgian ale. Smooth, warm feel too. This is definitely better than the Troegs Mad Elf. (528 characters)

Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
92 out of 100 based on 385 ratings.