1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.

Gouden Carolus Classic - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Classic Alström Bros
Ratings: 715 | Reviews: 381 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Trizzle
2.28/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark brown, murky body with a thin tight white head, good sticky lace.

Smells of acetone, raisins, prunes and strangely enough: carrot cake.

The flavour is unfortunately rather 1 dimensional.Sweet brown sugar and christmas fruits. A touch cloying. Waiting and waiting for some dryness/bitterness but nothing. No hops, no dark roasted malts. Just sweet with a light nail polish remover funk in the aftertaste. Conditioned in too hot an environment??

The mouth feel is a tad thin with some quite astringent tanins.

The nail polish, tanins and unbalanced cloying sweetness really kills any kind of real enjoyment of this puppy.

I know I have bashed this beer a bit but I am a huuuge Gouden Carolus fan and their Cuvee Van Der Kaiser Blauw is one of my all time favourites. Perhaps unfair comparisons but this guy didn't stack up. I may also have gotten a dodgy bottle.

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

The beer pours a dark amber, almost brown color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice crystal malt scent along with a subtle Belgian yeast fruitiness. It's sweet smelling with a wonderful caramel aroma. The taste is incredible. It's so smooth, yet full of depth and complexity. It has a rich, caramel sweetness that goes down without effort and finishes with a gentle yeast character. It's fruity, but not overly so. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is as drinkable a Belgian ale as I've ever had. Recommended.

Photo of jrallen34
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I drank this from a 11.2 oz bottle into a Gouden chalice.

This beer pours a dark brown with little to no head.

The aroma is very light malts, you can totally smell the inverted sugar in the form of caramel, awesome.

The taste is super malty as well showing off nice caramel/molasses.

The feel is great and this is super easy to drink.

This beer is awesome, I would encourage all to drink this.

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

Pours dark brown with a huge dense persistent head. Smell is earthy yeasty phenolic with some sweetness. Taste is caramelly with a molasses note although not high in sweetness. Plums and other dark fruits. Earthy. Finishes dry. Slight warming alcohol. Pleasant slightly bitter aftertaste. Full bodied. Pretty easy to drink for it's strength. Overall a really good Belgian.

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

330 mL bottled poured into an oversized wine glass

A - dark amber-brown colour, almost opaque. 8 -10 mm of creamy coloured head, that dropped slowly to a fine layer that persisted.

S - sweet with dark fruit aromas, some yeast aromas, alcohol can be noticed.

T - spicy with dark fruits. Complex with yeast flavours

M - heayish and well carbonated, creamy feel

D - excellent, really enjoyable with complex flavours, alcohol can be noticed but aonly in later stages. One of the most enjoyable beers i've tasted

Photo of soupyman10
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one on-tap after having it out of the bottle. Haven't yet been disappointed by anything Gouden Carolus related. This one's in keeping.

A fruity, spiced malty brew. All kinds of different sweet toffees involved, as well as various dried fruits - prunes and raisins - along with some caramel. A really nice, Christmas-y seeming flavor. Utterly drinkable and delicious. Would definitely pick it up again if I had the opportunity.

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

Poured this one into a wine glass; nice deep copper/ruby with an off-white head tailing back into a film with nice retention and pretty lacing. Nice looking beer, that's for sure!

Smells fruity and spicy. Nice, but a bit more muted than I had expected.

Taste is really complex...hard to describe but here goes. My first thought was "wow...tangy"...and then it immediately filled out with a nice blend of carbonation and dark fruits, then the warmth of the alcohol hit with the mediciney (is that a word?) phenolics tailing shortly after. And then the flavours just kept coming...reminds me a bit of the St. Paul Double, though that was quite a while ago. Like it, but the phenolics were a bit more than I found strictly enjoyable. Extremely mild hops, but not completely absent...like a dubbel. Says "Belgian-style dubbel" on the label...is this beer classified right?

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a nicely balanced carbonation. Tails off a little quicker than I had expected, though...not as much viscosity.

It's a drinkable beer. Finishes more crisply than I had expected, too. Sure, there are lingering tastes, but it's just a mild and pleasant lingering...nothing poking out to bother you.

All in all, this is a very nice beer. I would happily drink this again given the chance. If only the phenolics were tamed down a bit, I'd be back at the LCBO tomorrow to stock up before it's gone.

Photo of ujsplace
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice.

A: Pours a thick, bulbous head that is off-white and lasts a good while with very nice lacing. The brew is slightly lighter than the bottle. Sort of like an old worn copper penny that has taken on that dark brownish color.

S: Bready yeasts, sweet dark fruit and some alcohol.

T: Sweet malts, herbal hops, dark fruits, hint of chocolate and a nicely spiced alcoholic finish. Pretty complex to my palate, there seems to be a lot of flavors here that meld together very nicely.

M: Thick and carbonated, creamy good stuff.

D: This is one hell of a dangerous brew. I think that most people would really enjoy this. Overall, the warming effect is very nice. I could definitely get into this with good friends, just hanging out..

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

Interesting, distinctive, layered and tasty. Definitely worth trying - but not my immediate personal favourite. And still I give the taste a "4.5"... confusing, I know...

It pours dark with a dense tan head which eventually recedes to a thin layer. Only when held directly against a light do you see it's nice clear strawberry tone. Very little lacing.

The aroma is a bit boozy right away but dissipates once you let the head settle. Afterwards, the dark fruit, strawberry/cherry, chocolate and phenolic notes are more prominant.

The taste is interesting and distinctive from the other trappist/abbey dubbels I've had. This has the steely caramel and dark fruit-raisin characteristics but also something else that I'll only classify as "earthy-phenolic" that transitions to strawberry/cherry in the finish. Quite malty, candy sweet and no bitterness. The phenolic character is interesting but also distracts me from loving the taste.

Then...things start (and continue to change) as I get further into the drink. Layers of flavour are unveiled from that "phenolic" aroma as time passes. You can find a huge complexity of flavours as the beer warms up and you let your tastebuds wander: berries, orange, banana, bubblegum, candy suger... and somehow almost becomes wine-like...but in a good kinda way ;)

The mouthfeel is lightly syrupy, smooth and still a little creamy, in part , due to the carbonation which is fine and a little low (I'd like to try this from another vessel type).

This is actually described in fine print on the bottle as a "dubbel style gold award 2007" so the Belgian Strong Dark Ale may be a misclassification here.

Photo of EatsTacos
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a foamy, thin head and no real lacing

The aroma is roasted malt, raisins, alcohol, licorice and toasted candied sugar.

This is quite a sweet beer, but there is enough complexity to keep things interesting. Candied sugar provides a sweet malt backbone that reminds me of black licorice, vanilla, and waffles. There is some black pepper spice and yeast character with an alcoholic warmth.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied with a sharp carbonation.

Photo of mintjellie
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark brown turning ruby red when held to the light. Half-finger light-brown head with fairly poor retention, but a decent amount of lace. Huge banana cake and prune aroma complemented by notes of caramel and booze. The scent is deep, warm, and inviting, and I find myself impressed by this beer before even taking my first sip. Prunes and raisins are first on the palate, followed by banana and a hint of vanilla. There's a treacle sweetness throughout; a spicy, warming kick of alcohol in the finish. Approaching medium in body with somewhat low carbonation. Lightly syrupy and deadly drinkable. One should be enough, but I still want more.

This is the second brew I've had from Brouwerij Het Anker, and both have been delicious. I really hope the LCBO brings in more of this brewers products in the future.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark ruby red with a hefty brown foam. Nose has some funk, lots of caramel and dark, rich fruit, toffee, and dark sugars. Tons of big malty flavours is this - caramel, dark fruit, apple and tea - very candy-like in some respects. Very sweet - a bit too much IMO. In the balance the bitterness seems somewhat mild. I would call this a dessert beer more than anything. Fairly light body but not too much carbonation. Fairly drinkable but not quite my thing.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper/brown with the customary thick, creamy head.
Aroma shows note of port, brown sugar, treacle, doughy yeast and sweet bready malt.
Flavours are massively rich. Very sweet with loads of treacle and dark candi sugar, as well as more of the doughy yeast and peppery phenols. Alcohol is quite powerful (which only increases the stature of this beer) to the point of becoming overpowering.
Carbonation is quite high, which partially helps to dry out the finish.
Too sweet, and too boozy for my liking.

Photo of jbonapar
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased in a 330ml bottle.

Appearance - Medium to dark ruby brown with a thick head that quickly dissipates.

Smell - Minerals, subtle bubble gum the alcohol stands out in the smell. Raisins are strong in the smell.

Taste - Wonderfull sweet brew with the alcohol well hidden. Brown sugar and raisins are strong flavors with a spicy peppery finish. Minimal hops. Slight overtone of overripe banana with prunes.

A good beer, a nice one to drink on its own or to start off the night.

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

This beer lives up to the hype. To me it seems like an extremely well-made dubbel, rather than a BSDA. But it works either way. 330ml bottle from the LCBO, sampled in a tulip.

Pours a blackish-brown body with the faintest ruby hues and a thin off-white head. Cream coloured lacing speckles the glass. Smell is deep, dark berry fruits with a trace of sugary yeast and alcohol. Taste is blueberries, black currant, and field berries upfront, followed by vanilla and vinous grape skin in the body. Finishes sweet with very little aftertaste; some plum and prune flavours are apparent. Alcohol is undetectable. Mouthfeel is velvety and luxurious with only a hint of dryness. 'Smooth' doesn't do this beer justice. Overall, this is one of the better Belgians that I've tried. A delectable treat with subtle, fruity complexities.

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

Pours a dark muddy brown, a deep rich and somewhat clear amber when held to the light. A jagged ring of foam forms at the outside of the glass with a few islands of foam lying within.

The nose is somewhat phenolic with alcohol present, it is reminiscent of chocolate milk, but mostly it's raisiny. It's fairly subdued and straightforward, rather disappointingly.

Nice, deep, rich flavor. Sweet caramel and dark fruits. Raisins and chocolate show up here as well. Fairly dry finish. Alcohol is present and lingers a little in aftertaste; it's nicely warming. There's a bit of oak like vanilla and some mild spice. Very nice and complex but just a tad bit rough around the edges, if I'm to nitpick.

It's medium bodied and the carbonation plays nicely with the flavor.

This is my first time trying this beer and I really like it. I'll definitely pick up more and cellar some just to see how it does with a bit of age on it.

Photo of Ralphus
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Gouden Carolus which means "Golden Charles" is a a strong dark ale that Het Anker is known best for. The title refers to a gold coin with the head of Empoeror Charles V imprinted on it.

This beer looks seductive with it's deep brown mahogany color. The offwhite head settles to a ring of foam and leaves a small amount of lacing down the side of the tulip glass it was poured in.

The smell initially is all dark fruits and rum.. but upon closer inspection there is a definite smokiness to be picked up. Very interesting. The taste is a little slow to get started but them blooms into a sweet rich dark raisins, rum with a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is quite good. With the sweetness I was expecting a syrup like consistency but it is nowhere to be found. The drink is actually quite light.

Drinkability is average. I wouldn't be able to pack many of these away and the sweetness could definitely get to you.

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

Served on draft. Beer poured into a snifter. Brown and clear, beer looks great. Head is diffuse, large bubbles surrounded by smaller ones, white. Head forms near the edge of the glass, some lacing, minimal carbonation.

Caramel, raison, some roast, high malt sweetness and some alcohol. There is no hop character, and none was expected.

Beer is smooth, wonderful. Gouden Carolus does not make a bad beer. This is a great example of a fine beverage from them. Nutty flavor, finishes cleanly. Beer is definitely on the sweet side as opposed to bitter. There is close to no bitterness in this beer at all. No aftertaste and mouthfeel is medium. Another great Belgian ale.

Photo of pootz
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle

pours a lightly clouded dark brown ale with ruby highlights in the chalice. 2 finger puffy tan cap lasts well and laces.

Complex aromas, dark fruit, treacle, cocoa, herbs spice, sweet cookie dough. nice

Complex character and peppery mouth feel. Front side gives dark fruits and some vinous grape skin qualities then hints of sweetness, roast cocoa, licorice and vanilla, ....long warming finish. Sweet vinous after taste.

....nice complexity of flavours but too sugary for my taste in ales.

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

Wow my review miraculously disappeared, oh well. Here it goes again: Pours a very dark reddish-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a thin layer, not much lacing.

Smells of brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, cloves, chocolate, bubblegum, oak, smells somewhat like a nice spiced run as the alcohol comes out.

This is a very sweet and malty beer. Brown sugar, bananas, cloves, chocolate, apples, vanilla, oak, cotton candy, bubblegum, and some grassy hops which is unusual in this style. So much hitting my taste buds, this is a very complex beer.

Smooth, somewhat thick mouthfeel, and still very drinkable, this is a fantastic beer, and I bet it ages like a mean bitch!

Photo of rhollman
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark brown

Smell - Sweet aroma

Taste - Complex burst of flavors

Mouth Feel - Not dry, very sweet

Drinkability - As it warms up the caramel and brown sugar sweetness becomes very noticeable. Nice burst of complex flavors but very sweet and not dry - Great!

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

Pours a burnt caramel with a large tan head. Spotty lacing.

Sweet on the nose... not too much else, just a malty sweetness.

This beer is loaded up with malt flavours. Date-like sweetness right up front giving way to burnt caramel and finally to some earthy tones. Warming alcohol brings up the rear.

Nice beer, but too sweet for more than one in a sitting.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black colour with solid carbonation. Laces the glass very nicely. Taste is very sweet, with a hint of dark fruits. Its very easy to drink and the 8.5% abv is hidden quite well. Not a bad belgian ale overall. Would definately consider buying this again.

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

This poured a hazy dark mahogany with some tan head. It smelled like toffee and banana and nutty malt, with some bready yeast and chocolate. It tasted like rich toffee and caramel, with nutty malt and bready yeast and some earthy chocolate. It was slightly thick with some carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this was a very nice beer with good taste and body. It hid the alcohol well and was so very easy to drink. It almost seemed half like a Belgian dark ale, and half like a Scotch ale, with tons of sweet malt. It wasn't quite as complex or delicate/refined as the dark Van De Keizer, but it was still a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle, thanks to Shawn for grabbing me some.

Pours a clear dark red, almost mahogany, very thick light tan head forms, slowly settles down to a very thick layer and ring, drops a ton of lace all over the glass, looks pretty good. Smell is nice, very very fruity, fruit salad, strawberries and blackberries, mango, banana smoothie, some biscuit, caramel and brown sugar sweetness, light spice and alcohol, pretty nice. Taste is similar, a ton of banana and brown sugar up front, raisin and caramel, very fruity, strawberries and a bit of cherry, bready malt, alcohol, some spice, more banana, wheat, pretty cool character. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation, a bit of a syrupy mouthfeel, but pretty drinkable and the ABV is done nicely.

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