1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  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

686 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 686
Reviews: 445
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.9%
Wants: 20
Gots: 33 | 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: 686 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rapidsequence
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.8%
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 -0.8%
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
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle. best by date of 20/08/11

dark, dark ruby color, almost opaque. no sediment at all. nice beige head slowly recedes to a wispy layer. nice lacing.

aroma of licorice and sweet caramel candies. rasins, cherry and plums, then more licorice and maybe cinnamon or nutmeg. more malt, caramel and cola. grassy hint from the hops in the back?

cherry fruit and maple syrup sweetness on the palate, with more caramel. licorice, cinnamon, anise and nutmeg to the spice note. gentle hop bitterness. cherries mix with gentle phenols and trace of alcohol.

not too thin, smooth. finishes with slight texture. lively carbonation is almost spritzy, but backs off just in time to remain subtle and complementary.

nice, but overall just a little TOO much going on with the sweet/spice spectrum.

tai4ji2x, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of Popsinc
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Popsinc, Nov 05, 2003
Photo of Jredner
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rich sweet malt and dark fruits flood the nose. There is a musky perfumey flourish as well. Body is a murky brown and holds two fingers of mocha thickness in the creamy, but bubbly, head. Fore is somewhat toasty with malts and there are mild sweet fruit flavors. Alcohol is fairly hot and assertive through the middle and the finish is midly bitter and almost tart and acidic. Some very mild spiciness as well. Overall a good beer, but doesn’t tie things together nearly as well as the Carolus Classic.

Jredner, Jun 30, 2006
Photo of neonbrown82
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours to a nice brownish amber color with a velvety white head. Fairly cloudy. Looks good, though lacing could be better.

The smell is good. Very phenolic and spicy. Slightly medicinal. Hints of black anise and spices. The taste is very similar to the smell. Quite fruity and sweet, though it dries off at the end with the spices. Anise is present throughout, though not enough to make me sick. Reminds me almost of a Jaegermeister beer, as bad as that sounds. Reminds me of winter, though, which is good for a Noel.

Decent body. The alcohol is fairly well hidden beneath the spices. It stands to be much more drinkable without the medicinal phenols, but otherwise it is an excellent beer.

neonbrown82, May 17, 2006
Photo of DaveHS
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin, dark tan head. Almost no lacing. Aromas of dark stewed fruit, anise, chocolate covered cherries, pumpernickel and the obligatory nutmeg and cinnamon. Strong flavors of brown sugar, overripe banana, caramel, and anise. A flavor reminiscent of "circus peanut" candy in the back palate. The body is milky and rich. It seems to melt into the palate, creating a lingering finish. Very pleasant fresh, but I prefer bottles with a few years on them.

DaveHS, May 23, 2010
Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Ho-Ho Belgian Christmas.

Light creamy head, little lacing, dark molasses brown ruby color.

Nose complex and weird, holiday spices cinnamon, clove, nutmeg maybe, hints of citrus, booze, light coffee, creamy malts and caramel, molasses, candi sugar, OK but just all over the place.

Taste malty, caramel malts and reddish malts galore, semi sweet, light candi sugar and molasses, light biscuit, vanilla, spices with more holiday spices, little creamy, earthy and herbal little tannic flavor probably from the spices or barely detectable hops. Light estery booze. Finishes a bit boozy, drier but sticky syrupy feel, more spices and caramel reddish malts, hint of dark fruits finally.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb, warming almost tingly booze.

Overall nice except the earthy herbal tannic taste I'm not a fan of. Decent spices held in check, great almost barleywine malt profile, tasty and decent booze profile.

jlindros, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of JorisP
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Coulour; deep-dark but with obvious reddish shine.
Nose: raisins, madeira, some roasted malts and molasses.
Taste: immediately surprising spritzy acidity. Then fruity-estery taste takes over, raisins again.
Aftertaste & mouthfeel: Fruity flavour keeps fruit-acids as characteristic. palate is rather thinnish, but with a throat-warming alcohol effect.

JorisP, Dec 10, 2002
Photo of andrenaline
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to my neighbour for hooking me up with this little diddy!

A - Pours a dark murky brown with two thumbs of off-white head with really solid retention and some fine sticky lacing.

S - Fruity nose with grapes and plums, followed by spices of nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet alcohol lingers on the finish.

T - Pretty intense flavours which became more prominent as it warmed. Some dark cocoa malts, followed by some black licorice, sweet cherries (almost medicinal) and peppery spices. Nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon are also making their presence known.

M - A lighter bodied ale, full of carbonation, but goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

D - Overall, this was one tasty ale. That being said, I'm not certain I could take down more than one bomber of this stuff. The ABV is relatively well hidden, but at 10.5% it's tough to be inconspicuous. The flavour bouquet is quite unique and intense, and a worthy offering for any fan of dark Belgians.

andrenaline, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of SaintsFan
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cola-brown into my glass. About an inch or so of head which gradually recedes to a thin layer of foam at the top of the glass.

Not a ton in the nose here...some general roasted malt and sugary sweetness, as well as some minty winter spices.

Taste is very good. A smooth drinker, as the alcohol is well masked. The yeasty, spicy Belgian flavor is around, as are flavors of brown sugar, licorice, and maybe some caramel. Not super complex, but good.

Mouthfeel is also good, and drinkability is high, given the well masked alcohol and general good taste.

All in all, a nice BSDA, but not a world beater.

SaintsFan, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of NCSUdo
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330 mL bottle

A: Pours a clear dark brown under a little less than a fingers worth of white head. No lace, OK retention.

S: Smells of spice and herbs dominate. First blast of a strong black licorice and some peppermint character. A sweet caramel malt makes an appearance underneath.

T: Taste of black licorice dominates up front, a nice bitterness in the finish with a hint of alcohol. Hints of darker fruit throughout.

M/D: Full. slightly creamy bodied, a bit high on the carbonation, drinkability is good, but not great, as this is quite the hardy ale and at 10.50% you aren't going to throw very many of these babies back. Overall, this one is a seasonal treat.

NCSUdo, Dec 22, 2007
Photo of shirfan
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice: ruby-brown with very little head.

Mild pear, sawdust, dusty yeast in the nose. Not especially pungent.

Taste is good, but a bit subdued. Nothing really "pops", although this makes for a nicely balanced beer. Slightly sour, oaky notes prevail, almost a bit wine-like. Black cherry and brown pear. Not especially sweet, and there's a slightly medicinal note in the finish.

High carbonation, fairly well-hidden ABV. Complex, unusual flavors make this a good choice for slow sipping.

shirfan, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of Bierman9
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carolus Noel? Christmas Eve day is close enough, no? ;-) Enjoyed from a 750ml bottle, 10.0% abv listed on the label but no freshness dating found. A golden silhouette of 3 horses (as opposed to reindeer) pulls a small sleigh with a jolly Sinter Klaas within over a snow-bedecked hamlet.

Pours a lovely, deep amber, ruby color into the chalice. Carbo is sporadic and slow, rising towards a thin, fine, light tan head. A little bit of lacing is left within, though not a whole lot. The biers color, though, is gorgeous! Aroma lies a bit between a combo of some tropical fruit and dark fruit. A touch candyish, as well, though mild overall. A smidge of prickliness makes a lightning-quick attack on the palate, though it does little damage to the enjoyment. Body is solidly medium; no more, no less.

Flavor is lightly sweet with, again, a candy-like touch and almost a hint of brown sugar (almost). Most noticeable here is the fruity character. Similar to the aroma, it shows some bits of figs, a little grapiness, and a small share of green apple. It's a bit powdery and dry in the finish. A 10.0% abv? Where? Hardly felt a thing... Pretty tasty, overall. Not a world-beater, but still satisfying.

Prosit!!

overall: 3.9
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

952

Bierman9, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of AlexF
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour a deep ruby-brown colour. Creamy head that disappears quickly.

Fragrence of cooked grapes, anise, brownies, overrippen fruits.

Holy damn anise-sweetness-coholy! This is an intense brew. Could have use a little more subtelty. But still, it's a straight to the point X-mas brew that will warm you up. Syrupy, heavy, intense.

AlexF, Feb 24, 2011
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 686 ratings.