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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
90
outstanding

464 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor

(Read More)
Reviews: 464
Hads: 777
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.66%
Wants: 27
Gots: 74 | FT: 0
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Reviews: 464 | Hads: 777
Photo of 77ships
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
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 (701 characters)

Photo of IceTrey9785
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
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. (1,324 characters)

Photo of taez555
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
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. (976 characters)

Photo of willjschmidt
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
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. (458 characters)

Photo of stcules
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
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. (301 characters)

Photo of vanrassel
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
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. (706 characters)

Photo of sweethome
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
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... (849 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
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. (435 characters)

Photo of SShelly
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
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... (474 characters)

Photo of Todd
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
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 WillCarrera
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
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. (820 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
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. (732 characters)

Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
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... (481 characters)

Photo of grittybrews
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
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. (457 characters)

Photo of illidurit
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
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. (382 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
3.32/5  rDev -17.6%
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. (686 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.32/5  rDev -17.6%
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. (327 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
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. (1,650 characters)

Photo of Cozzatoad
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
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 (1,573 characters)

Photo of rustymoore
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an deep brown with large creamy tan that seems to last forever with excellent lacing. Easily best part about this beer.

S: Interesting but nothing that could really pick out...I think there might be too much going on in the aroma.

T: Ok but really just tastes more like a mediocre Belgian rather than much of a Christmas beer. Very sweet (too much so in my opinion) somewhat watery with several fruit notes coming through as well as caramel.

M: Somewhat flat after I expected a good amount of carbonation.

D: Definitely wouldn't recommend more than a sampling of this...too sweet. (594 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
3.39/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle on 1/8/11, $5.29/11.2oz, poured into a tulip.

A "winter warmer" for sure, but a complex mess and an ugly pour. The alcohol will sneak up on you, but it does not balance the malty sweetness. Not a drain pour, but never again. A very disappointing beer based on my previous experience with and general affection for Carolus. 3.25

A – Pours a cloudy, murky, muddy brown (-) with a beige mousey one-finger head, totally opaque, good lacing. 2.75

S – Sweet port-like, vinous, alcohol – a little whiskey, definitely raisins and figs, spiciness is faint to non-existent. 3.75

T – Sweet malt, some liqueur qualities. 3.25

MF – Medium-bodied, some alcohol warmth in the finish and lasting on the palate, not solventy but close. 3.75 (745 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazed brown with a tan head that descends to a patch.

The smell is of caramel candy, vanilla, and alcohol.

The taste is of caramel candy, vanilla, and a subtle apple/pear fruitiness. Very sweet - almost sticky.

It has a thickish medium body. A bit syrupy.

A bit too sweet, boozy and almost too syrupy for me to really enjoy this one too much. It has a nice enough sweet candy, with a bit of a fruity character for slow sipping, but too sweet for the whole thing - Glad to have shared it. (525 characters)

Photo of truthbrew
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage, served at 54F. Pours a crimson with brown hints, unstable brown fluffy (but short lived) head. Dominate aroma is anise which almost covers the alcohol. I am not particularily fond of anise, but this beer did improve and it seemed to blend as the bottle slowly emptied (wow... 750ml of 10.5% abv can take a bit). Feels chewy thick in the mouthfeel. More anise on the exhale.

I am a fan of all other Het Anker beers, so hard to fault this for anything other than personal preference, which makes this review harder. Will review again in a few weeks then again in a year or two, but this I will need to warm up to a bit. A great candidate for cellaring and I'm sure that the strong anise will die down after a long cold conditioning. (748 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Lot number 12071 indicated on the back label. Pours a dull mahogany hue with a consistent, 1.5 inch, light tan head the sizzles and pops as it slowly recedes into a clumpy quarter inch cap. Nose suggests dark fruit, anise and orange Aspergum. Tastes pretty much like it smells - no real surprises here. There's also a slightly oxidized quality that comes out towards the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium (but closer to light) with an even carbonation that falls just shy of being lively. There's also just a kiss of residual heat that lingers between quaffs as well as a slight acidity. Overall, not a bad example of the style, but not my favorite from this brewer. Not sure what a little age might do to this, but it might be worth laying down a bottle for a year or two. (825 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL cork-n-cage bottle that could be a year or two old as the label has some wear. Served in a Chimay chalice on Christmas eve. Pours a deep garnet with a 1 finger tan head that reduces to a quarter inch of creamy foam. Smells of holiday spices and some malts. The most prominent flavors are cinnamon and anise, but they're followed with spiciness, yeast, ginger?, clove?, and alcohol. Good spices, but not enough beer flavor. The body is medium to thick and it's easy enough to drink for the 10% beer it is, but I was expecting something more from my first winter Belgian. (576 characters)

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
90 out of 100 based on 464 ratings.