1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

698 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 698
Reviews: 446
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 14.94%
Wants: 21
Gots: 38 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Gusler on 11-24-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 698 | Reviews: 446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jrfehon33
4/5  rDev +1.3%

jrfehon33, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of maxpower
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged, Dark and cloudy reddish-brown in color, big thick clingy brown head, sweet fruity and bready aroma, full bodied, alcohol hidden very well, smooth and velvety mouthfeel, finishes a little sweet, this is a great Belgian ale, very drinkable and tasty.

maxpower, Jan 02, 2005
Photo of TrickkyGangsta
4/5  rDev +1.3%

TrickkyGangsta, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25 cl bottle shared at Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting, 12.18.11.

Half finger light brown head, quick dissipation resulting in thin broken layer of head on top of dark brown body, several streams of slow rising bubbles visible around edge of glass. Stone fruit dominated nose, plums and currants, big dose of dark candi sugar, floral hops. Taste mirrors nose, more plums than currants or raisins, sweetness from the formidable dose of candi sugar, a bit of spice vanilla, floral hops not bitter. Mouthfeel is medium, decent effervescence. Wondering if this taste a bit more full in the big bottle, I preferred the St. Bernardus to this, might benefit from some aging.

jdense, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +1.3%

nickfl, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of johnd513
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a redish brown color with a nice two finger tan head. I gotta say this one looks great in my Duvel tulip. Smells of sweet fruits - cherries, figs and raisins and a cherry, a liquor smell that i can't quite place and alcohol at the end. Tastes of tart/sweet fruits - raisins, dark malt and alcohol at the end. The mouthfeel is light yet very smooth. Drinkability is decent but I don't think I would have another because of the high alcohol content and high price tag.

johnd513, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Sparky44, Apr 26, 2013
Photo of tripledbrew
4/5  rDev +1.3%

tripledbrew, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of jeffaz02t
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, with a red hue. Nice thick head.

S: Spicy, with alcohol being very apparent.

T: Warm alcohol, spicy, very very malty.

M: Med. heavy, average carbonation.

D: Great great great. I love this beer. Could drink all night, but would end up on the floor if I did!

jeffaz02t, Mar 26, 2007
Photo of kingjohnh
4/5  rDev +1.3%

kingjohnh, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of dalecooper
4/5  rDev +1.3%

dalecooper, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a mini Tripel Karmeliet tulip. 10% ABV, 03/08/10 printed on the label.

Thanks to bnieman for this brew!

A - The brew pours a dark brown, almost impossible to see through. Held up to light it's a hazed-over dark mahogany color. A nice tan head springs up and lowers slowly but with very little lace left over, especially for a Belgian.

S - Notes of pine and juniper add spice to the otherwise low nose. Deep malts and dark candi-sugar present sweetness but it doesn't stand out big. Molasses and maple are suggested too. Smooth and round, Belgian yeast and dark fruit esters are present as well but low. The heavy but low aroma lets out fig and plum as it warms.

T - Mild spicy esters give Nöel a nice little kick. Notes of pine and juniper from the nose with fig and plum bring out good characteristics. The roasted chocolate malt never gets bitter in part to the Belgian dark candi sugar. Lingering coffee flavor on the finish.

M - Medium-full bodied and smooth with a touch of crisper carbonation through the finish. Nöel has a mild spice and balanced sweetness that lingers.

D - The alcohol is very well hidden in this brew. While mild, the spice and fruit aspects really make Nöel a nice holiday brew.

BeerFMAndy, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of Weissenheimer
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With its very dark brown color and deep reddish highlights, this beer reminds me of Corsendonk Christmas Ale. It has a large, deep fawn head with a melted marshmallow sheen. It leaves sparse, sudsy spatters of lacing on the glass as I drink. The smell is heavy with licorice and anise, and the first taste almost bowls me over with them. The finish contains lots of molasses; it's not very sweet molasses, but neither is it bitter like the Anchor OSA. I think that's the best thing this beer has going for it: it's heavy, but it toes the line between bitter and sweet so well that it manages not to be overly cloying.

It takes me a lot of examination to figure out the procession of tastes in this one, mostly because the licorice/anise wallop covers up some of the secondary tastes. The first stage is well-rounded, and when I look beyond the blast of licorice I see that this comes from the overtones of bitter caramel and syrupy fruitiness. The second stage is highly carbonated and laden with anise. The finish is extremely dry and tingly, with a smoldering finish way on the back of my tongue. Again, there's some molasses in there, but it's almost smoky in its texture. It's also tangy but not overly sugary or cloying; it reminds me of bitter apricots. The bottle says that it ages well, and given the tastes I just experienced I'll bet that's true. I plan to get a few bottles of this and open them next year to see if the hard edges on this beer have been rounded out. If so, it will move up in my estimation from very good to excellent.

Weissenheimer, Dec 29, 2003
Photo of rapidsequence
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Corked and caged 750.

Appearance: What a great looking beer. Clear dark ruby color with a big frothy, rocky head. Every pour leaves another huge head that fades to 1/2 inch or so, leaving some nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet, spicy, and richly malty. Chocolately, bready malt. Licorice, orange, and alcohol. Interesting, complex, but not as broad as some.

Taste: Bready, spicy, boozy, and sweet. Midway back, there is a fair amount of bitter/sourness that I assume is from orange peel. The licorice I smelled is also a pretty prominent flavor. Lots of other spices and pepperiness too. Sweet, bready finish. A little too sweet and too orangey. Nice though.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation, creamy and pretty nice in the mouth.

Drinkability: Its a nice beer, a Christmas treat, but not something you'd really want to buy over one of several better Belgian darks. The sweetness would be fine, but there's not quite enough huge maltiness to balance it. The bitter orange and pepper also becomes overbearing.

rapidsequence, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of Vixie
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours what at first looks black, but when held up to the light it is actually a deep ruby red. Forms a large tan head which lasts for a bit.

Hard for me to tell exactly what this smells like, but it's is nice. Reminds me of Christmas goodies being bakes, fruit and cinnamon and spiced cider.

Very spicy beer here. Starts out hot, a lot of spice and the alcohol is very much present, a surprise for this style of beer. Tastes a bit like cinnamon candy as well as raisin and a bit of pepper, all backed by alcohol.

Feel is smooth and full.

Very much an interesting beer, it's a bit spicier than I expect for the style. There is no doubt this is a holiday beer, the smell and taste fit in perfectly with that time of year. A bit too strong to drink a lot of, but a good one to have on a cold night, it will warm you right up.

Vixie, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of mdmako
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - colored dark brown with light tan head. The head retains beautifully and there is a ton of lacing. Looks incredible!

S - Bananas that are beyond ripe mixed with much spice is very powerful. You can also smell the high alcohol content. There is almost a creamy smell to it as well. Comes together to give off a solid "christmasy" smell.

T - Much more balanced than the smell. There are a lot of spices, mostly the ones associated with christmas. Maybe a little cinnimon and nutmeg. Still some banana flavor but not very powerful. Some alcohol taste but between that and the spices you get a nice warming taste.

M - Warming yet medium carbonation. A crisp start with a somewhat smooth finish.

D - A definate choice for those christmas times. I drank it in the summer and still enjoyed it though.

mdmako, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of Suds
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This dark reddish-amber brew has a fantastic aroma. The smell is, at first, dominated by lightly roasted malts, but soon a load of esters pop forward. Banana, clove, and peach are prominent. By the time the beer warms a little, though, the aroma is full-on licorice. The licorice flavor is intense and penetrating. Wonderful range of smells! The flavor is also interesting, although it tends to be a little too sugary for my tastes. Malt is the foremost taste. Lots of residual sugars (you can taste them on the lips). There's a little yeast, and a little alcohol. Nice warming...nearly tongue numbing by the end of the bottle. The beer is medium in body, and lower in carbonation than it could have been. Firm, long lasting, soapy head too. Not bad at all..

Suds, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of elgiacomo
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2008 750ml bottle. Pours brown with a small light beige head. Leaves a little spotty lacing.

Big fruity, malty aroma, some yeast.

Flavor is dark fruit, raisin, plums, prunes, some cherry, light notes of apple, banana, yeast. Some alcohol. Sweet malty finish.

Some stickiness. Medium carbonation.

Very nice. Excellent Belgian style Christmas beer!

elgiacomo, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of Brabander
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, this is a funny beer with a taste and smell which is totally different from other Christmwas beers.

I bought this beer in the shop of Bierparadijs in Meer, Belgium.

Poured in my Struise glass this beer looks very nice, deep darkbrown with four fingers head. Nice, no... superlacing. Bottle best before november 2014.

They trew a lot of 'anijs' in this beer and that makes this beer very nice to drink. Very soft and round drinkable.

Brabander, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of ommegangpbr
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into my Chimay goblet with this one.
Not so pretty for generally a very pretty style of brew. Pours a murky reddish brown with not too much head and hardly any lacing to speak of.
Scents are style appropriate with a twist or two. Bubblegum comes to mind up front. Some fermented fruit scents are prevalent along with a bit of banana. Maybe a lot of banana, along the lines of a homemade milkshake.
The flavor is Chimay red with the volume turned up. I recently re-encountered the red Chimay and while I still felt it was a bit too mild I appreciated what it was trying to accomplish. This brew makes me appreciate that even more. Still quite subtle for something almost 11% strong. Golden raisins come to mind. Some medicinal characteristics are there but they are not off-putting. A bit of plum is here, actually, quite a bit of fresh, ripe plum is here.
I'd expect something a bit spicier from a Christmas ale but this is nice. This is quite fitting for a cold night in front of an open fire with some tasty treats to nibble on. The lack of density could make this much more accessible than other examples of the style that have as much booze as this one does.
Quite nice. Ignore my scoring and get some as soon as you can.

ommegangpbr, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of beckje01
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark amber look with a thick quarter inch head.

S- Nice fruity nose with some malt background.

T- Some orange and spice, which is a nice mix of the two. And a good solid malt background.

M- Good thickness with the right amount of carbonation.

D- Sipper but nice and fun to share.

beckje01, Apr 27, 2007
Photo of HopDerek
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark red/almost purple color with some sediment. 2+ fingers of foamy beige-tan head made up of tiny bubbles has good retention and leaves nice lacing. Smells of caramel, sugar plums, bananas, molasses, butter, Christmas spices, bread, and alcohol. The taste follows the aroma; caramel, banana, molasses, bread, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and dark fruits with a touch of licorice and enough of an alcohol warmth in the finish. Medium to medium full in body with good carbonation, syrupy but smooth with a nice sweetness from both malt and fruit but a little medicinal as it warms. A nice holiday ale, but the high alcohol notes leaves it at a once a year type brew.

HopDerek, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of falloutsnow
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle from Beertopia in Omaha, NE
Bottled 2010-09-16
Poured into a New Belgium globe glass

Gouden Carolus Noel is one of my preferred winter Belgians, as I can always expect it to feature robust anise and malt flavors blended to perfection. While a bit "hot," the spice and malt flavors are strong enough to overpower this in all but the mouthfeel. A nice, pleasant, warming beer that is superb for winter sipping.

Pours a 2cm head of light tan bubbles, small in size and fairly dense, with good retention, eventually descending to a 0.5cm cap atop the beer. Head leaves a complex labyrinth of lacing as it descends, and is modified and reinforced with every sip. Body is a very dark brownish-red amber color, fairly transparent, with plenty of visible carbonation streaming up along the sides of the glass.

Aroma of strong anise atop caramel malts, dried cherries, and modest ethanol. The dominant scent is definitely anise, but it's supported nicely by the other fruit and malt components.

Flavor opens with a complex arrangement of spices that range from anise to mild cinnamon and cumin. Just below the spices is a rich, dark maltiness, very similar to a dubbel malt bill, that introduces some caramel or diluted molasses flavor with dark Belgian candi sugar. Belgian yeast esters add dried cherries and dates. A mild flash of ethanol in the close, more complimentary than anything else, leading to an aftertaste of candi sugar sweetness and some residual anise flavor.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy bodied, with medium level carbonation that is rather "soft." Alcohol is fairly well felt, warming and mild burning along the tongue, nostrils, and back of the throat. Aside from the ethanol, the beer is pleasant to sip, the mouthfeel being smooth and pillowy, aside from the heat of the fusel alcohols. Finish is semi-dry with little remaining stickiness.

falloutsnow, Jun 11, 2012
Photo of Fatehunter
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin head with a reddish/brown colored body.
Smell is a hefty dose of licorice and chicory coffee. Heady but nice.
Taste is licorice also. Quite sweet overall. While it's good, it lacks complexity.
Texture is sticky, medium to thicker body and low carbonation.
A warming ale for sure but the licorice was a bit strong for me.

Fatehunter, Nov 30, 2012
Photo of goblet
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the bottles size is 750ml with a nice christmasy label with a date of 8/21/2010 popped the cork and gave it a pour into my goblet.

Appearance:nice fadeing fast frothy head ,little retention time the color is a deep brown with reddish highlights, after a few sips got specks of lacing .

smell:lots of malt and whisky alcohol aroma with fruits perhap prunes and figs ,very little hops are evident in this brew ,some spicy grains.

Taste: the whisky/scotch alcohol flavor jumps out at you, an odd blend of maltiness some weird spice that i can`t quite place .it`s complex and all over the place ,some dark fruit some grains,interesting.

Mouthfeel:medium body and malty and very spicy feel on the palate,very complex with alot of alcohol after taste .

Drinkability:it`s very complex and open to alot of interpretation ,is it christmasy ? i don`t know, maybe with a fruit cake but that has alot to say .

goblet, May 01, 2009
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 698 ratings.