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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.
very good

466 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 466
Hads: 784
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 19.6%
Wants: 30
Gots: 83 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 466 | Hads: 784
Reviews by rickyleepotts:
Photo of rickyleepotts
4.77/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh man, I am excited for this one! This season I decided to try every Christmas beer that came out. I started at Total Wine & More and made my way through the list. I also attended a winter beer class at the Scottsdale location, and this beer was on the list. Nearly every seasonal beer I tried was boring, and didn’t live up to my expectations. Not sure what my expectations were, but nothing like what I was tasting. Then I tried this one… and my mind was blown! I was SO impressed with the flavor in this beer. It is sweet, loaded with booze, and has a LONG lingering aftertaste. Everything about this beer is enjoyable. The only thing I have had recently that comes close is the Terrible from Unibroue. Guess this is why I like Belgian beers!

I hope Total Wine & More lowers the price on these before they are gone. I would love to have one of these sitting in the cellar. Let’s start drinking. I can’t sit here and smell this any longer! Bottoms up, people.

In the Glass: I don’t even want to drink this. It looks GREAT in the glass. The head has been sitting there for a good five minutes. I could literally take a spoon to it… it’s that thick! The tasting notes mention red… but there isn’t any red here. It’s black. Coffee black. Hence the style, I guess! This looks nice and thick sitting there, and just begs for me to smell it! Let’s see what she smells like.

Nose: The nose is insanely fruity. I am getting a ton of raisins right off the bat. On a second whiff, I am picking up additional dark fruit notes… think plums and apricots. The beer looks great. Now it smells incredible. I can’t imagine what this will taste like. Like I said, I had this in a beer class a few weeks ago. I am sure a few months in the bottle and my attention to detail here will help me enjoy this beer even more. Let’s drink!

(Oh, I forgot to mention the lace. When I swirl this, the head just sticks to the side of the glass. It’s like glue. PERFECT lace.)

Flavor: Holy crap. This is just as good as I remember. The raisin flavor kicks things off, and your mouth just journeys through several dark fruit flavors including those same notes I was grabbing in the nose. You would never know this is 10.5% ABV. The mouthfeel is also nice, but we will get to that. I am just so impressed with the flavor. I can close my eyes and imagine myself by a fire just enjoying good conversation and good food. I wouldn’t even know where to begin pairing this with food. From meets and cheeses to breads and salads, this is a beer best served with a meal. Such a great flavor!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel here is incredible. It is thick, almost like syrup… but drinks and goes down nice. The burp is also amazing. Those same flavors I was talking about come rushing back, and while a burp is not an enjoyable experience, you will want to burp to this one! The mouthfeel also gets smooth as this beer heats up. The flavors change, and the overall beer drinking experience changes.

Aftertaste: This might be the most impressive aftertaste I have had to date. It is not overwhelming, but there is a subtle sweetness that just sits on your palate for a while. As the beer slides down your throat, the fruity flavors turn dry, and the sweetness kicks in. Every time I swallow the flavor profile changes just a little, and I have a hard time going back for another sip!

The beer manager at Total Wine & More loves Belgian beers. He likes this one and the Gouden Carolus Easter. This is better than the Easter offering. But they are both good beers. We drank this one cold, but it has been sitting out for a good thirty minutes. If you have the chance to try this, get two. Throw one in the cellar for a few years… because this beer will only mellow out with time. Hands down the best Christmas offering of 2012. Can’t wait to try this again next year!!!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.77/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

 2,119 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 262 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 884 characters

Photo of Popsinc
3.9/5  rDev -2%
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.

 468 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev +4%
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.

 1,643 characters

Photo of MadScientist
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
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"

 1,327 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of dcurrin
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.49/5  rDev -37.4%
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.

 1,083 characters

Photo of Satyr179
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

 352 characters

Photo of Todd
3.26/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

 336 characters

Photo of Doomcifer
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Jason
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of merlin48
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

 1,077 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

 395 characters

Photo of reitzbrewing
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

 445 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Janeinma
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of pat61
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

 462 characters

Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Mantooth
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of dmk91
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 466 ratings.