Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

465 Reviews

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Reviews: 465
Hads: 779
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 19.6%
Wants: 27
Gots: 74 | 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: 465 | Hads: 779
Photo of Cozzatoad
3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle, a leftover from the christmas season at a local pub

A- Very dark brown. Light brown head that has a lot of small bubbles but disappears too quickly, leaving some lacing around the glass

S- Strong sweet malts with some caramel, liquorice and dark fruits undertones. That would be very nice if it wasn't for a strong metallic alcohol aroma that gets too dominant

T- The flavour range is wide and very interesting. At first you feel a porto-like taste, probably from the sweet malts, that is not uncommon with quads. Then you can also feel that the beer is creamy, with some stoutish undertones to it (toffee, liquorice). There are some more flavours that come along with the malt (caramel, dark fruits). Plus, there is also a strong and spicy alcoholic feel that gets very strong at times

M- A wide range of flavours as i mentioned, but really badly mixed up. This beer has a big and wonderful creamy body that is meant to feel smooth, but there are a lot of issues. First, flavours can be felt only at times and then they vanish in the following sips, this beer feels uncanny. Second, the alcohol is too strong, burns the palate and ruins the creamy feel. Third, a roasted feel that has nothing to do with what the beer is meant to be shows up at times and makes this beer even stranger

D- As just pointed out, this beer is badly mixed up. It is also a bit stomaching, so the drinkability really takes a big hit

This beer has what it takes to be a great beer (a big and yet smooth body, a great range of flavours) but it is badly balanced. That's a shame

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a snifter

Appearance – Pours a chestnut/mahogany color with a two finger tan colored head. The head has a good level of retention slowly fading over time to leave a great level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma has a big spicy and roasty aroma. There is a strong roasted bready aroma mixed with notes of Christmas spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and licorice). These stronger aromas are accompanied by notes of dark fruits, a lighter yeasty smell as well as a moderate presence of a boozy smell.

Taste – The taste starts with flavors a blend of roasted malt breadiness and some dark fruit flavors of raisin and prune. Spice flavors of nutmeg, licorice and anise then come to the tongue. At this point the tastes create a rather smooth flavor on the tongue. The breadiness and sweeter flavors of the dark fruits start to fade. A more red wine like flavor then starts coming to the tongue. It starts out light and smooth, but gets more tannin like in flavor as the taste moves to the end. At the end, the boozy taste is quite strong and with all the flavors it leaves a nice warming aftertaste that tasted somewhat like a mix of warming spiced mulled wine fruity brew to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the medium side in its creaminess for a brew of 10.5 % with a carbonation level that was a little on the higher side. for the style it was rather nice creating a good drinkability but yet keeping one in check of its strength.

Overall- This is a rather nice Belgian Christmas brew. It has a decent boozy flavor, but yet is still very flavorful and pleasant to drink.

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Photo of goochpunch
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours out the color of water after having soaked raisins in it with a thinnish, off-white, frothy head. Leaves some scattered lace. Smell is of anise, all-spice, cinnamon, ginger, and citrus peel along with some spiciness from the yeast, some dark, brown-sugary malts, and a touch of alcohol. The licorice/cinnamon thing reminds me of biscochitos which would be very apropros for a holiday beer. Taste is overwhelmed by anise and fennel seed flavors with the other spices regulated to the background. Malt sweetness is prevalent though. Mouthfeel is not too thick or heavy considering the sweetness and the carbonation is lively. The anise is a bit much for me and hinders drinkability.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from a tap at the Map Room into a chalice.

The beer pours dark brown with a light tan decent retention and lacing.

The aroma is light with a little spice, same thing with the taste.

The feel is ok, the drinkability is limited.

Overall, not a great the feel is to light, the taste is light and too much spice.

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Photo of illidurit
3.31/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Dark cloudy brown color with a creamy tan head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is boozy with lots of orange peel, cinnamon, and fig. A little too boozy for me though. Flavor is similar; there's a sweet dark maltiness doused in fusels with tropical and dark fruits and heavy spicing. Full bodied and warming, not hugely drinkable from all the alcohol.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured cola black with a finger of fluffy khaki head. Strong, sweet aroma of molasses and licorice spice.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, creamy, borderline-syrupy mouthfeel. Intense, almost overpowering black licorice sweetness up front with caramel and hints of banana, citrus, and spice. Quite a bit of boozy warmth on the finish.

Sugary licorice really overpowers this beer, rendering it cloying and almost Jägermeister-like. Hard to have too much.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.29/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

0.33l bottle poured in a chalice.

Decent Belgium Dark Strong Ale. Nice spicy and fruity perfume.

A: Nice Brown/Amber color. Quite clean
S: Dark fruits (plum and grapes) and spices
T: Strong. ABV is high and you can fell it. Sweet toffee. Belgium yeasts (less relevant). Rum. Smells better than tastes
M: Sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end. Soft carbonation and strong alcohol taste
D: Low drinkability. Too strong taste for me. Might be a good beer but overloaded me...

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Photo of WillCarrera
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle, bottled on 09/08/11, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a slightly weird shade of murky, dark brown, topped with a nice, thick off-white head that leaves good lacing.

S- Interesting aroma, lots of sweet dark malts, fruit, and a lot of christmas-ey spices (clove, nutmeg, allspice).

T- Lots of sweet dark malts, fruit, and some light spiciness, but from the middle through to the finish the flavor is dominated by a huge combination of vinous, anise and boozy flavors. It's simultaneously too sweet and too vinous. Weird. Bad.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, the booziness isn't quite as noticeable here and is only a bit warm.

O- This was pretty bad. The anise, sweetness and vinous flavors are all in the wrong proportions, and produce a beer that doesn't fit together and isn't fun to drink. Pass.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into large snifter

Pours a deep almost purpley blacked out color with a beige head resting on top. Faint retention with some spotty lacing on the glass.

Rich malts with a plethora of dark fruits. Candied notes with raisin, date, and fig. Sweet but still malty and somewhat boozy.

Dark fruits up front with a hint of burnt sugar. Dates and figs with some candied notes. Decent malt backbone, somewhat roasty, caramel and molasses notes are present. There's a faint metallic note somewhere in here too. Warming alcohol is present throughout, especially towards the finish.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, a little chewy and soft on the tongue. Pretty much middle of the pack for the style here, but not bad.

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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.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Let me preface what is going to be a contrarian review by saying I like — no, love — big Belgian beers. I absolutely adore Carolus d'Or Cuvée van de Keizer, too. But after two big bottles of Noel, I can't proclaim its greatness.

This beer's look and aroma hint at good things: a rich mahogany body with a compact beige head and a nice mix of yeast, prunes, dried fruit, black licorice and brown sugar for the nose.

That nice complexity doesn't transfer to the palate, however. Sharp alcohol, black licorice and a strong medicinal taste preface a dry, powdery yeast finish. The carbonation is moderate and the body feels right, but I just never warmed up to this beer — and not for lack of trying.

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Photo of sweethome
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours with cloudy dark amber to brown color. An off white head, leaves little lace. Poured in a belgian goblet.

Nose of coriander and anice. Fruitiness present - dried cherries and plums. The mouthfeel is full and quite alcoholic. Rather chewy malts, but the spiciness just overpowers the malts. Hops can't cut through the spice either.

It does not take long for the alcohol strength to show itself - provides quite a warming feeling.

The spice just dominates...anice is most powerful, with plenty of coriander. Some dried fruit in the midmouth, but spice lingers on the finish.

Tone down the spice and this 750 ml would be much more drinkable. My belgian beer fan friend I shared this with couldn't drink much more than a few sips due to "over spicing." I concur.

So close, but yet so far from being a great belgian Christmas beer...

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice dark brown with some garnet hues. Nice of white head. The nose brings forward some dark fruits, booze, and quite a bit of wintry spice. Lots of black licorice. The taste is caramel, bread, dark fruit, dates, alcohol, and some nice nutmeg, clove, and a bit of other spices. Loads of anise. Overpoweringly so. Medium mouthfeel; a bit creamy. Drinks quite well and is a nice addition our holiday lineup.

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Photo of SShelly
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at verdugo, labeled as christmas not noel,

I feel like this is a different beer from the "noel" ive had in the bottle...

aroma is a big shot of anise/black licorice with a little bit of sweet malt behind.

flavor is dominated by the same anise, some dark fruit, sweet malt and a light blend of other spices.

not the most enjoyable christmas beer ive had, way too much licorice not enough malt...have had this out of a bottle and dont remember it being like this...

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Photo of IceTrey9785
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 750ml bottle into an over-sized burgundy glass...

A: Really dark tawny color, with a nice tan head that lasts the whole beer. At least a finger of foam which was nice. You can tell by the appearance that the brew is creamy and rich.

S: Wow -- a lot of spices, maybe too many. I got tarragon, anise seed, white pepper, figs, different stone fruit, and maybe a hint of vanilla bean and ginger. It smells festive (as it should), but really intense. I was afraid this was going to be a really sweet beer. The alcohol definitely surfaces as well -- kinda prickly.

T&M: The first thing you notice is how rich and creamy the ale feels in your mouth. Brown sugar, baking spices, currants, and dark black fruit are predominant. There are a few hints of peppery spice, but the caramelized malt really covers up a lot of additional flavors. The finish is not that great -- way too much alcohol burn that overwhelms the dark fruit that should emerge.

In general, this beer has potential. I like the smell and the attempt at a very festive fruit-forward beer, but it falls way short. The alcohol is way too high and just ruins the whole experience. Maybe if they had kept the abv to about 9% max, it would be a lot more balanced. I don't regret buying this beer, but I'll definitely think twice before purchasing it again.

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Photo of taez555
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a ruby dark brown coca cola colored body with a mild off-white head.

Nose has a strong alcohol note and extremely strong black licorice smells. Honestly at fist it smells like nyquil. Milk chocolate, licorice, liquid caramel and some mild phenols dominate the smell. It's a queer mix, but surprisingly inviting for the winter months.

Taste is medium to full bodied. Taste is dominated, like the nose by a strong mix of licorice and milk chocolate. Cloves, star anise, dry nutmeg, and cinnamon stick stand out as well, but the combination really give it a strong licorice taste. Hop bitterness is kept to a minimum and just enough to balance it out. Finishes with a lingering dry licorice, natural root, sort of flavor.

Some one read the recipe that said 1 teaspoon and accidentally put in 1 tablespoon. Tooo much spice. It's like drinking nyquil beer, or beer mixed with black licorice. I like the idea of the spice beer, but this is just too over the top.

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Photo of willjschmidt
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours a very murky brown with a thin tan head.

S: Sweet toffee malt, a bot of booze.

T: Slightly sweet malt in the form of toffee and brown sugar. A bit of spice and white pepper. Very hot and boozy in the finish. A bit muddled.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

D: I did not enjoy this one as much as I had hoped I would. The hot alcohol in the finish is not very pleasant.

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Photo of stcules
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color, almost no reflexes. One finger of beige foam.
In the smell candy sugar, sugary. And malt.
Better taste, with candy sugar, maltiness, molasses. Fruity note (gooseberry). Sweet, spicy, christmas- like. Marzipan.
Alcohol well hidden, good body.
Warming aftertaste, very malty, with marzipan.

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Photo of 77ships
3.18/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 Vintage, tried it Feb. 2011
From notes, on-tap@Kulminator:

A: very dark brown, cannot see through it, white head that leaves plenty of lacing
S: dark fruits (including the typical Belgian raisins), sweet malt, toffee
T: like pure liquorice, liquorice taste dominated so strongly that it was almost as if I was drinking liquid liquorice, also toffee, dark fruits, sweet malt, brown sugar, it is sweet to top it off
M: on the heavier side, certainly not thick but somewhere in that direction, certainly up there for a Belgian beer, not a lot of carbonation to speak of
D: this is basically liquor liquorice to me, quirky once but could not even imagine drinking this ever once again but who knows

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Photo of LennyV
3.16/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Growler purchased at halftime. Pours a dark mohagoney into my Leyerth Breweries glass. Small tan head with some nice lacing.

Smells of alcohol and malt.

Taste if full of ,at with some mouth warming alcohol. Finish is dry.

Mouth feels silky smooth, nicely carbonated.

Not my favorite. This brew is all malt. I prefer some more hops to balance the tastse. Abv is 10.5% so drink carefully

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.15/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color; a little ruby on the edges. Poured a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a bubbly skim. Patches of lace dotted the glass.

S: Caramel, candi sugar and spice. Plenty of alcohol.

T: Dark fruit and alcohol up front; a it like cough syrup. More malt character as the beer warmed. Dry and hot.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol.

D: Between the sharp sweetness and the alcohol I didn't find it very drinkable.

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Photo of kwjd
3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at Burp Castle in New York City. Pours a dark brown colour with thin off-white head and nice lacing. Smells strongly of black licorice, with cinnamon and brown sugar. I cannot stress how strong the black licorice was, which was too much for me. Trying to keep an open mind since it isn't my favourite flavour, but it was too much. A little bit boozy as well. Big carbonation level. I could only get through about half of this and gave it to a friend. Though he did enjoy it.

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Photo of bamadog
3.08/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review is from notes taken on 10/9/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark cola brown and starts with a 2 finger fluffy tan head with decent retention; body is dark and murky, almost entirely opaque; thick fluffy strands and webs of lacing are left behind as the fair head slowly dwindles to a full and uneven frothy cap.

Smell: Smells like a TON of over-ripe, dark fruits, Belgian candi and spices; definite presence of alcohol. I'm a little nervous about the sweetness now as I'm feeling it's going to be cloying... Not awful and nice and robust, but damn, that sweetness...

Taste: Yep, overly sweet and ripe dark fruits and lots of them; lots of the Belgian candi and what would be a nice backing of caramel malts if they weren't totally owned by the fruits and near-cloying sweetness; definite booziness and presence of the Belgian spices (cardamom, cloves, etc.); bit of a mess and medicinal (not in a good kind of way, but like a syrupy sweet cough syrup or flu medicine) and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight with moderately strong carbonation that is not overpowering and very fitting for the style; a moderately thick and semi-dry coating is left behind and the belly is left feeling just a little bit warm from the ABV.

Drinkability: Meh -- not something that I'll be seeking out as it's too sweet and medicinal; the ABV would also prove to be a bit much as well; ultimately, if the sweetness is something you like, this may be your beer, but as for me, I like a bit more balance with the spices, and if it's going to be sweet, I like it to be more from the caramel maltiness as I feel it blends better and allows other aspects to come through.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, dark mahogny colored beer with a two finger high, offwhite head.

Nose: licorice, herbs, toth-paste! (I know it's crazy), peppermint, milk and ice-cream.
Taste: Licorice, salmiak, peppermint, honey, syrup, brown sugar and sugar, sugar, sugar.... This is SWEEET!
Body: Medium body with a light, crisp, carbonation. The sweetness is overwhelming. The ABV: 10.5% is well hidden.

WTF is this? I'm not shure if I like it or hate it... Not what I expected. Almoust like a big bottle of Jägermeister. Well I have to decide... For this money you can buy great beer - This is not great, it is strange... I don't want strange... So conclusion - Buy something else!

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Photo of Eddxii
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled in September 2010, this particular bottle of Gouden Carolus Noël has definitely had some time to ferment further in the bottle. The result is enhanced sweetness and an unfortunate muddling of its several spicy and fruity flavors into a solid, if uninteresting, dark strong ale. It pours a cloudy dark amber with a medium head that dissipates immediately. A healthy off-white lacing around the surface carries on from start to finish.

It begins with a medium body, but as it finishes the syrupy side comes though to add thickness. The aroma is soft and sweet, but overly underwhelming. I will say that for a 10%ABV, you can hardly taste the alcohol elements behind the dark fruit. The Noël carries the spiciness you’d expect from a Christmas beer, but nothing too overpowering and nothing too “Christmas-y”. The sorts of spices that come out beneath the fruit notes are just as welcome in May as they are in front of the fire in winter. A subtle licorice pervades every taste, but it never goes fully into raw anise. Its muddy nature does a disservice to the various fruit flavors therein, with only a dark cherry really emerging from the more general dark fruit flavors.

Overall the Gouden Carolus Noël represents a decent Christmas beer. There are better and there are certainly worse. Though on tap this beer was not the best, the flavors that emerged from that serving far outweigh the cloudiness of tastes that take over after aging.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 465 ratings.