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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

769 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 769
Reviews: 471
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.23%
Wants: 27
Gots: 69 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gusler on 11-24-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 769 | Reviews: 471
Reviews by Rockfarmer:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark cloudy brown with some white head. Great aroma of choclate and spice, vanilla, and citrus orange. Very smooth mouthfeel, and while all of the tastes do not materialize boldy, it is very tasty and refreshing.A great brewery.
thanks for bringing in IPFreely.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In true Gouden Carolus brand fashion, the namesake carries a breath of flavor that's equally as succulent, rich, and drinkable as their Cuvee van der Kiaser- exceeding expectations.

Upon the pour, the beer revealed a deep brown, solid ruby hue, with a mild murky translucency. The head retention was uncanny, with a great ability to lace.

Aromas are big, plump character of malt, berries, fruit, earthyness, and mustiness. Flavors are sweetly malty, toasty, tart, sweet, fruity (plumbs, dates, figs, grapes...) woody, nutty....I could go on for hours. The beer just has a tremendous amount of complexity and well balanced to boot.

The texture is a soothing, alcoholiclly thinned, mildly tart, rich, mouth filling roundness. Finishes with a balanced dryness and sweetness and a lingering grape, malt flavor.

This one is certainly a classic. Possibly even better than the Kaiser.

Photo of Popsinc
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: a brown pour with a minimal tan head.

Smell: the nose is sugary sweet with a large amount of organe essence and cotton candy to boot.

Taste: a nice sweetness again highlighted by oranges and light spice....cinnamon and nutmeg...the sweet n spice combine nicely to represent a Christmas kinda flavour.

Mouthfeel: a smooth and medium bodies beer. good balance

Drinkability: not my favorite of all the christmas beers but a fine drink nonetheless.

Photo of RoyalT
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Deep, rich reddish-brown in color with a rather smallish head that dissipated quickly.

Smell - This one is a boat load of dark flavors. Tobacco, plums, and licorice come to mind at first. There's also some overripe apples rolled in cinnamon. All of this is laced with big alcohol notes and a small yeast base.

Taste - The licorice leads the way here, trumping the sweet fruity notes and making the yeast difficult to detect. The alcohol is big as well. Belgian Sambucca?

After about 30 minutes, once the ale warms, the dark malt and yeast come out of hiding just enough to fit the style. The alcohol though is still quite noticeable, even after developing a bit of a buzz.

Mouthfeel - A hefty medium in the body and a bit on the dry side.

Drinkability - This one is a real sipper. You have to be a big fan of exotic ales to enjoy this one. It is like nothing that I've ever had before and markedly different even from the other Gouden's that I've popped. Don't leave this one under a novice's Christmas tree, but with a 4+ average and only 22 reviews a BA Buddy might really appreciate it.

I also highly recommend drinking the bulk of this bottle after it warms to almost room temperature. Anything much colder than that and you'll miss out on the modest yeast flavors.

Comments - My 2003 vintage was at 10.0 not the 10.5 listed on the site. Also, the bottle says that this will age well, and I think that it would indeed improve from a year of cellaring.

Update - I cellared a 2005 for three years and popped it open tonight in May 2008 for no real reason. Boy oh boy I was right about the cellaring. This beer is amazing. The Appearance, with its never-ending lacing, was gorgeous and inviting. The Smell is a deep, wicked blend of darkish sweets, rich malts, and light yeast, the Taste is an explosion of huge malt and a plethora of fruits especially dates and raisins, the Mouthfeel is full and lively carbonated, and the Drinkability is non-stop. One of the best Christmas time beers I've ever had.

PS: LOL at my original 2003 comment that only 22 BAs had reviewed it. It's like over 200 now.

Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Oak Cafe. Pours a deep, deep murky brown color, ruby hints here and there; off-white, almost beige head that reduced fairly quickly. Little bits of lacing here and there, but not much, especially by the end of the pint.

The aroma of this beer, simply put, is unlike anything. It's a collaboration of so much shit packed all into one, but yet it works so well together and the parts compliment the whole, rather than destroy it. Sweet malt, faint chocolate, dark fruits; prunes, raisins, plums, raspberries, toffee, caramel, spices; nutmeg, anise, ginger. Then you lift your nose away from the glass and say, "what the F is this going to taste like?" Hopefully as good as it smells.

The taste is even more complex than the aroma - lots of spice and sweetness, front to back, side to side, a complete malt explosion. Deep sweet fruits; overripe sugar-coated plums, dates, boozy raisins, cranberries, toffee, brown sugar, nutmeg, coriander, light cinnamon, anise, earthy esters.... What. The. Hell. Slightly boozy, bourbon and whiskey notes all around, but it works well with the sweetness. Earthy and sweet through and through, virtually no hop or floral flavors. Silky and smooth on the palate, medium-thick body, slightly sticky, medium carbonation.

This beer is incredibly unique and it's hard to say I've had anything quite like it before. TONS of flavors in the aroma and on the palate, I'm sure I missed a ton of stuff even. Super complex and ever-evolving, this one gets even better as it reaches 60 F. Certainly a treat, might be too powerful to have more than one, but that one should be savored and handled delicately.

Photo of MadScientist
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is a dark copper with excellent clarity. The light tan head is rocky with decent retention and leaving moderate lacing on the glass.

S: Moderate raisins and red cherry esters with a some alcohol sweetness and very light molasses are the first smells to greet you. There is a light aroma of dark malts and some prunes as well. No hops a light diacetyl. There are very light spicy phenols.

T: A mix of dark cherry fruitiness, caramel malt sweetness and alcohol dominate the flavor at moderate levels. There is a moderately-low hops bitterness and no perceived hops flavor. The spiciness is far more pronounced in the flavor than the aroma coming to dominating in the finish with the alcohol and some slight bitterness. The balance is fruity and spicy with a slight tilt towards the bitterness while having a dry finish.

M: A medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation and a light slickness that makes it feel a bit heavier on the palate. There is a substantial amount of heat with out being hot and some creaminess.

O: This is a dark complex beer that doesn't hide the booze but certainly makes it go down some. While not my favorite style this one hits most of the style points but manages to be a bit of a mess for my taste with a syrupy fruit start and a fairly dry finish.

Bottle mark is "26/08/11"

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.49/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Brouwerij Het Anker is supposedly one of the oldest working breweries in Belgium, dating back to the 1300s. Back in 2002, they started brewing Gouden Carlolus Noël after a 38-year hiatus. This dark Winter Ale is brewed with three different hops and six different herbs and spices.

Creamy-looking small-bubbled lace retains well, and the dark brown color displays a glowing clarity. Heavy aroma of dark malts, black pepper, bitter orange peel, earth, faint vanilla, black currants, lavender, a hint of fusel alcohol and other vague spice tones. Smooth and creamy mouth feel off of a full body. Beefy, with a juicy caramel malt splash up front. An alcoholic bite thrashes the taste buds. Spicy, with suggestions of white pepper. The fruity, alcoholic esters drop a tropical bomb. Kiwi, pineapple and papaya come to mind. This has hot fermentation written all over it. Unfortunately, the fi nish and aftertaste is dominated by this hard, lingering alcohol character, and it does not get better as the beer warms up. A mess.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml bottle. Medium brown color, thin head, well-carbonated. It had a fruity and spicy aroma. A dark fruit taste, with warming spices. Pleasant enough, but I wouldn't want a lot in one sitting. I'm not sure the fruit and spice combination works that well for me, but at the same time it does seem a little different from the typical Christmas beers.

Photo of Todd
3.26/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from the 2002 Kerstbierfestival, Essen, Belgium.

Dark brown with a snapping, dissipating head. Big alcohol aroma that's port-like. Some butter, herbal and fruitiness. Semi-prickly start on the palate, smoothing into a big malt character of caramel, toffee and coffee. Notes of grape. Spicy alcohol. Dry, yeasty finish. Warming.

Photo of merlin48
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml, corked and caged bottle with attractive winter scene art on the label, as shown in the pic. Pours a clear, ruby chestnut body with a thick and creamy tan head that rises to one inch in height in my goblet. Excellent retention and lots of clingly patch lace.
Aroma begins very fruity, with overripe bananas and dark fruits. Prunes, figs, and currants are picked up by the nose. A prominent note of black licorice is a bit distracting.
Mouthfeel begins with a chewy note of black licorice that seems to stick to the roof of my mouth. Medium to full body with effervescent carbonation.
Taste feautures lots of dark fruit esters. Prunes, figs, and currants mirror the aroma. Bitterness is served up by herbal hops and earthy yeast notes. The dominant flavor, as room temperature is reached, is chewy black licorice and spicy anise. Some clove and cinnamon are also noted. The 10.5 % abv is also noticed, and could have been better concealed.
Overall, a pretty fine winter sipping Belgian strong dark ale, but the black licorice/anise component is somewhat overdone.

Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, cork and cage, pours dark brown, murky and cloudy, dark tan head, good retention and well developed sticky lacing. Nose is strongly anise, ginger, alcohol and burnt fruits. this is a lovely and complex BSDA. Alcohol evident, warming. Notes of dark sugars, burnt fruit, smoke, vanilla, bananas, jam, dark malt. This strong brew has it going on in many directions. Fine winter treat.

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a large tan head. The first aroma is nothing but licorice, which is not a smell I really enjoy. As the beer airs out a bit, I get some prunes, cherries and Belgian yeast notes.

The flavor is also very heavy on the licorice. I also get a little roasted malt, caramel malt, cherries, prunes, yeast, brown sugar and some alcohol. Overall, the licorice is dominant.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of pat61
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brilliant ruby tinted chestnut under a 1” cream colored persistent foam collar that hugs the side of the glass.
S: Raisin, nutmeg, spice and faint chocolate.
T: Essence of fruitcake in a glass with dark dried fruit, light caramel, faint chocolate and a touch of anise and nutmeg.
F: A smooth, moussey texture supported by very fine soft carbonation to produce an airy, medium body.
O: A Belgian strong dark Christmas ale with a very fine creamy texture.

Photo of Jeffwildcat
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The anise and clove hit you immediately on this one. Bottle date is August 2013 so it has aged quite a bit. Abv says 10.5 but seems closer to 12. Very smooth and abc doesn't hit you you until 1/2 way. Certainly more of a Christmassy beer but had to open 1 of 2 I had. Glad I did.

Photo of ADR
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big hazy ginger brown with a large bottle-conditioned tan head (in a Duvel glass)...laces are thick rings with underhanging tracks. Very fruity aroma, lots of cling peaches and syrup and definite ginger impressions. Wow, smooth as a molasses cookie with a mulled pear cider, counterpointed by a crisp but non-assertive hopping. Aftertaste is just slightly vinous with continuing fresh fruit and ginger. This puppy is a fine holiday brew, a little on the hepped-up alcohol but nice light-medium body, lower carbonation, and fresh flavors.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad Mex Robinson I'm going to say thanks to Nick, he's one of the bartenders/servers who has had experience working at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse. Needless to say I know he's a fan of Gouden Carolus Tripel and if he saw that they could get a keg of the Noel I'm sure he swayed somebody to make that decision. Appearance: Deep ruby brown light white bubbly effervescent head scattered lacing on the chalice. Aroma: Deep plum spiced nutmeg and other chirstmas spices infused with warming alcohol fruit notes of raisins and apples, nice. Taste: Strong sweetness layers of spice, fruit, and alcohol complexities. Not quite as solid as it has been in the bottle, but damn good nonetheless one of the best Belgian Christmas offerings. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied solid carbonation effervescent tickles the palate a bit. Drinkability: A winter warmer of a devine caliber draft was an experience definitely amazing in the bottle but still great flavorful experience on tap.

Photo of timontheroad
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark reddish brown with a sparse tan head that faded immediately to a thin film. The aroma is sweet, with lots of licorice, some dark fruit notes and some spiciness. The taste is licorice and more licorice, with some cherry, raisin, figs, and kind of a "winey" taste. The mouthfeel is medium to light, with a bit of alcohol burn, very little carbonation. It seems like there's a lot of different flavors in this beer, but they aren't melded well. Not the best Christmas Ale out there, but a solid drinker nonetheless.

Photo of Shovelbum
4.44/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage.

Pours a one finger off-white head over a deep mahogany body. Small bubbles rise to the surface. The head recedes with a creamy ring around the edge and respectable lace. Aromas of vinous fruit—plums, raisins—some pear too. Slightly musty. The flavor is similarly delectable with wave after wave of malty complexity. It starts with caramel and dark fruit interwoven with a nice sweetness. More berry-like fruit emerges toward the middle and finish. Just enough bitterness toward the finish to add a slight crispness and balance. There are some unidentifiable spice notes from the yeast or spice additions that add complexity without being overdone. Medium to full-bodied. The carbonation is a bit low for a Belgian, but is still high enough to provide balance and prevent the sweet full body from being too slick.

Full of malty complexity in both aroma and flavor. It seems there are some spice additions, but they are properly done and add complexity without standing out as spices. A great winter-time sipper.

Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a clear deep brown color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. The lacing leaves a nice webbing on the glass.

Smells of licorice and anise, alcohol, and dark fruits, in that order. Very interesting.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet Belgian candy sugar hits up front for a split second before it's overtaken by licorice and anise. The licorice and anise stick around all the way through the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness that's backed up by subtle carbonation. This goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I'm not the biggest fan of licorice, but I still like this beer. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

Overall this is one of the more interesting Christmas beers that I've tried. Give this one a shot if for no other reason than for how unique it tastes.

Photo of ianjsullivan
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: 750 ml poured into a Duvel chalice

A: Reddish brown with a nice thick brownish white fluffy head. Nice lacing and retention. When held up to the light the color is red like Santa's suit, nice carbonation can be seen.

S: Malt and sweet spice, fruity, banana and kiwi.

T: Quite a complex amount of flavors, malt and bread yeast, fruity notes on a pleasing long finish. Alcohol is present at the end, but, over all, nicely blended.

M: The ample carbonation stops the beer from being cloying. It beings creamy and finishes with cream, only at the end turning to a crisp clean.

D: 10.5 does not make this beer one to be consumed in earnest.

Overall: I don't know if they have changed the recipe since the Bros reviewed it, but, it was a great beer for me. There is a lot going on, and it could be restrained a bit better, however, the flavors do work together, particularly in the finish. There is a bit of sweet and alcohol that is not blended completely out by the hit of spice at the end. Overall though, one of the better noels I've had this year.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer has a deep dense brown body with a fizzy sounding light tan creamy head that beads lacing on the glass with each sip. There is a sea of microbubbles that glide up the side of the glass.
S- This beer has a brown sugar aroma with hints of cider and a slight woody note that takes on more of a cardboard quality as it warms but in a pleasant way.
T- The slightly sweet dark toffee flavor has brown sugar notes and some brown malt qualities about it with a soft alcohol note. The dry caramel flavor blends with a cider hint and a dry spice flavor in the finish grows as the beer warms but still remains soft and mysterious.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a very fine fizz that fills out the mouthfeel with each swallow. There is no real alcohol heat noticed.
D- This beer has a dry but fruity quality to the flavor and it rich but well blended in its complexity with flavors working well together. The alcohol is very well hidden.

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage 22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, cloudy, murky, deep mahogany color with a finger of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved into a halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that gathered in the center of the top of the beer.

Aroma: Tons of dried stone fruit, such as prunes, dates, cherries and raisins. I get notes of candied sugar, malt and Belgian yeast and some spices such as nutmeg, all-spice and brown sugar.

Taste: Delicious! Good, god there’s a lot of toffee! Tons of nutty, caramel-like brown sugar-like sweetness, balanced beautifully with toasted malt and Belgian-yeast! Fantastic!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, with no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.5%, there is a definite alcohol presence on the palate, imparting a very pleasant warmth in the mouth.

Overall: Goddamn, this is an absolutely AWESOME beer! I love the strong flavors of toffee and dried fruit. Absolutely, fantastically, delicious!


2013 vintage 22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, cloudy, murky, deep mahogany color with a finger of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved into a halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that gathered in the center of the top of the beer.

Aroma: Tons of dried stone fruit, such as prunes, dates, cherries and raisins. I get notes of candied sugar, malt and Belgian yeast and some spices such as nutmeg, all-spice and brown sugar.

Taste: Delicious! Again, strong notes of dried stone fruit, such as prunes, dates, cherries and raisins, beautifully balanced with some roasted malt, Belgian yeast, and candied sugar. Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, with no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.5%, there is a definite alcohol presence on the palate, imparting a very pleasant warmth in the mouth.

Overall: Goddamn, this is an absolutely awesome beer, but not quite as AWESOME as the aged 2011. I love the strong flavors of the dried fruit and candied sugar, which is balanced perfectly with the malt and yeast. Absolutely delicious!

Photo of wmtxbb
2.74/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Hazy dark brew with a finger sized head on top.

Scent: Pears, dates, cinnamon, pepper and a little alcohol.

Taste: Liqourish, an assortment of fruits, molasses, maple syrup, toffee, sweet malts, peppermint, and alcohol. Finish is dry. Flavors don't seem to mix well.

Drinkability: Incredibly complex. Not something to drink on a whim. By the time I got to the end of the bottle I poured the rest of this beer out. It's a shame; I really can't put my finger on what's wrong with this beer.

Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

wow another awesome xmas ale. wow another good gouden carolus...

appearance: nice dark brown amber. lacing was sparce. nice thick head.

smell: somewhere in the vein of chocolate covered bananas. a bit of hops and slight traces of alcohol, sugar cane, and plums.

taste: man there's a lot goin on here. sugar cane, plums, raisins, a nice bouquet of spices; cinnamon or nutmeg perhaps?

mouthfeel: nice and robust. the flavors really showed through as it warms to the taste. a lil hoppy.

drinkability: excellent. despite the high alcohol content, this beer could be drank, or sipped and enjoyed rather, until memorial day.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mmmmm....
Dark amber with a very creamy, thick full finger head that is just off-white. Slowly, every so slowly melting to very, very sticky lacing while maintaining dense cream-type head.

Aroma is just a touch of bubblegum under the sweet amber malts and Belgium sugars.

Tastes of golden candy malts...nicely sweet and warming for a holiday season. Some fruitiness in the swallow along with hefty alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth...Aftertaste is sweet malts and a little of the bubblegum noticed before. Alcohol continues to warm all of the way down for a very long time.

This is a big bottle. It will take a good hour and a half to finish it alone.
Poor me.
Poor poor pitiful me.
<grin>

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
88 out of 100 based on 769 ratings.