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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
87
very good

695 Ratings
THE BROS
68
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 695
Reviews: 446
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 14.94%
Wants: 20
Gots: 36 | 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: 695 | Reviews: 446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tectactoe
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

tectactoe, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad Mex Robinson I'm going to say thanks to Nick, he's one of the bartenders/servers who has had experience working at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse. Needless to say I know he's a fan of Gouden Carolus Tripel and if he saw that they could get a keg of the Noel I'm sure he swayed somebody to make that decision. Appearance: Deep ruby brown light white bubbly effervescent head scattered lacing on the chalice. Aroma: Deep plum spiced nutmeg and other chirstmas spices infused with warming alcohol fruit notes of raisins and apples, nice. Taste: Strong sweetness layers of spice, fruit, and alcohol complexities. Not quite as solid as it has been in the bottle, but damn good nonetheless one of the best Belgian Christmas offerings. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied solid carbonation effervescent tickles the palate a bit. Drinkability: A winter warmer of a devine caliber draft was an experience definitely amazing in the bottle but still great flavorful experience on tap.

WVbeergeek, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of cokes
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby-glazed brown under a foam tan dome of slow departure.
Nose ripe with raspberries and plums, cut by cinnamon and nutmeg, and carried through with a port alcohol essence.
Begins quite sweet, with candied berries, plum, and figs. Spicing is ever-present, but intermitent. Backdrop of cola-syrup (my sole complaint here). Pockets of clove and nutmeg. Cinnamon is fairly subdued, but may be the most consistently visable of the trio. Liquorice and molasses hues gain prominance as this gains temperature. As it reaches room temp, a persuasive mocha note it spot-lit. The finish is Noble and light herb bittered. But hopping is of little regard here. Some mellow brandy alcohol ebbs are noticed late, but the strength is mystically hidden for the most part.
A full bodied brew, given levity by its airiness. Very drinkable. Though not necessarily quickly.
A good one here.

cokes, Apr 14, 2004
Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - slightly hazy deep purple, tall tan head retained very well, settling at a solid covering
S - bananas and sweet plumb, light cloves, licorice, and alcohol
T - rich plumb and grape, sweet licorice candy, clove spiciness, and a phenolic finish
M - full bodied effervescent, smooth and spicy with the high alcohol blending fairly
D - generally sweet and rich fruitiness, the alcohol is strong but well balanced and works with the flavours, a high octane holiday treat

joemcgrath27, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of KTCamm
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from champagne bottle into perfect pint glass.

Pours very dark brown, some maroon hints and a layer of foam. Chocolate cherry nose, and other assorted fruits. Cola too. Sweet belgian candi sugar taste but balanced well. Earthy hop close - not in a bitter sense, but in a flavored one. A bit boozy. Rich.

KTCamm, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle into 8oz snifter.

Very dark red, with lighter ruby red highlights in the light. A light tan one finger head develops, then slowly settles to a thin rim along the glass.

Strong sugary and candy like fruit aromas are very noticeable. A little bit of spice is there, and the phenols seem low. The alcohol makes its way through, but more when the beer warms.

The flavor of this one is very interesting. The standard fruity flavors are there, which makes it very sweet. But there is a very odd flavor mixed in from the spices, which tastes almost like pepperoni, which is more distinct in the aftertaste. My only guess is this is just a phenolic flavor. It seems a little out of place, but it doesn't make the beer awful or anything. It's just an odd characteristic. Medium bodied with good carbonation. The finish is loaded with that weird spicy flavor.

Even though this one tastes like it was "dry-hopped" with kielbasa, it still seems to be a pretty good brew. I'm sure other people will interpret the flavors as something else. Recommended.

BeerSox, Nov 26, 2007
Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: 2012 Vintage

A: Pours a murky reddish brown in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation visible along the edges of the glass and some amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall creamy foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark fruit malty sweetness (plum and prunes are most dominant) along with just a hint of spices/anise/licorice.

T: Upfront there is a moderate amount of malty sweetness with stronger flavors of dark fruits (plum and prunes). That is followed by a light to moderate flavor of anise/licorice and Belgian yeast. Light notes of alcohol in the finish as the beer warms up.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some light notes of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: This is a great beer for the winter/holiday season - perfect for sipping along side the fireplace on a chilly. A very nice representation of the BSDA style, especially since it has strong dark fruit aromas/flavors but without very much sweetness.

dbrauneis, Nov 07, 2013
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Quite a good look as it pours; nearly black with a healthy tan head which recedes a bit too quickly. Not so much lace.

S - It has a somewhat minor aroma, mostly malty, with nuances of caramel, citric-7up , spicy alcohol, and a bit of hazelnut-cocoa.

T - Flavor-wise, it has a lot in common with a Doppelbock. Raisin and dark bread dominate the palette, punctuated by a spicy alcohol twang. As it airs out, the malt acquires suggestions of nutty cocoa fused with plum and prune flavors, anise and cardamom, and perhaps a bit of nectarine as well. Though the alcohol component is a discernible flavor characteristic, it does not drink 'hot', and generally it hides the ABV fairly well.

M - Softly carbonated, with a big, rich vinous feel to it. It is, however, not dry or astringent in any measure; indeed, it is quite the opposite.

D - This brew is very nice, not tremendously challenging, but very easily appreciated and enjoyed.

ktrillionaire, May 03, 2010
Photo of karait95
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: very nice dark color, with some reddish when against light but in general dark brown almost not transparent, the carbonation is rich forming a big head over the beer that dissipates not too fast leaving a permanent well formed layer on top of the beer, the color of the head is a light brown formed of small condensed bubbles.

S: Fruity aroma, specifically prunes can be sensed at once, a back support of toasted malts can also be tested and at the end a little strong alcohol presence can also be smelt.

T: Taste is pretty good also a complex combination of fruits, toasted malts, hops (but not too much, just enough for little flavor) and of course the alcohol of a strong ale.

M: Even the alcohol is high in this beer the sensation is not bad, it start with some sweetness and changes slowly and smoothly into a little bittersweetness with a pronounced ending that remains long in the back of the mouth.

karait95, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of gerardoluna
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sep 15, 2008
[Eyes] Dark brown like the classic color with a moorefoamy white head.
[Nouse] The aroma is festive and strong... Christmas fruity with hints of banana, malt caramel, yeast, vanilla, and brown cuban sugar.
[Mouth] Great Full body with nice and gentile carbonation, notes of flavors of sweet, strong fruits, sugar and yeast. The Afther taste is long and sweet with a touch of caramel and vanilla. mmm!

Serving type: bottle

gerardoluna, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of Shiredave
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one poured a dark red/amber color with a clotted tan head that slumped quickly leaving lacy spatters behind. Very clear with slow carbonation visible.

Aroma is classic Belgian holidaleish - rich toffee and deep fruit notes along side some dark grain and chocolate scents. Alcohol is evident but not quarrelsome with the softer aromas.

Flavors of the same ripe fruits and candy sugar sweetness flood the mouth up front. Rich, dark malt flavors mix in and then vanish to leave a strong smokey bitterness and lingering caramel and alcohol sweetness.

Body is medium to almost full tho something seems missing- this has all the components yet fails to impress. I think this may mellow in the bottle in 2 - 6 months into something a little more rounded and complex - complexity and meshing of flavors may develop with a few months age. Very easy and tasty to drink - went real well with roasted and salted pecans and brie on crusty bread.

Shiredave, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of gford217
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 750 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Pours a clear copper topped by a one-finger creamy head that lingers as a small cap for a few minutes and leaves good lacing.

The aroma is fairly subtle and mostly sweet caramel malts and candi sugar. There are hints of spices but not much and certainly less prominent than the alcohol whiffs I got.

The taste amps up the spices a bit with a definite peppery finish. The sweetness of the candi sugar and dark fruits are dominant up until the finish where the peppers and alcohol are more detectable.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth with decent carbonation. It's sticky sweet on the palate with the peppers tickling the tongue at the end.

This is one of the better Belgian holiday ales I've had, mainly because I actually enjoyed having that slightly peppery finish which differentiated it from a normal BSDA. Tasty.

gford217, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle. Allowed this beer a few months in my cellar before opening.

Appearance- Yielded a spritzy head with bad retention but very good lacing consistant throughout the beer. Color was a russett, ruby, amber, dried blood color.

Smell- Bananas hit the snoot pretty hard with some tart red apples and sweet licorice to balance the chiquita onslaught.

Taste- This brew starts with bananas and then leads into some candied apples and caramel. The middle follows seemlessly with black licorice and slightly toasted malt. The finish is a tart yet sweet apple brandy.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation and a pretty light body make this beer very enjoyable. It is nice to notice the flavors change with each degree rise in temperature. The licorice flavor becomes more prevalent as the bheer warms.

scruffwhor, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of Daniellobo
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

lHefty and boozy dark ale with a great sipping quality.

Presentation: 330 ml capped brown bottle. Black label with a festive oval illustrated with a snowed scene where Santa rides with the "horses" in the sky. Side narrative offers background of the brewery, with general brew notes. Notes Alc. by Vol. (10.0%) Served in a snifter.

A - Dark brown pour with dark burgundy edges, generous foamy head, good retention and surface memory and some touches of lacing.

S - Nice nose, sweet, hinting at molasses and dark fruits, Belgium yeast sense with a boozy whiff.

T - Complex range, pretty hefty with a prominent boozy edge that rides pushing up with strength the caramel, raisins, plums. dash of anise. Yeasty touch in the back with a hint of spiciness.

M - Medium-full body with generous carbonation that fades adequately as the brew progresses. Boozy lingering finish.

D - Nice and pleasing sipper. It comes together as a notable drinking experience.

Notes: Sure the booze has a bit of a prominent edge, but it is not out of sync with brews offering a similar profile or some of the other Gouden Carolus I've tried, for instance it may lack some of the nuances and complexities of the reserve but this is worth picking up and repeating in any case.

Daniellobo, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of Tedro
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Great beer! For Me definitely something to reserve for the cold weather. It definitely has a holiday flair to it. My friends took a taste and they said they'd drink it year round. Not a year round beer for me personally but delicious nonetheless. An herbal and licorice flavor is prominent. Cheers

Tedro, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of Hopscat
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful look to this , black and very opaque .Beige head about 1/2 inch that settles slowly to good cover with nice lacing on sides of glass.
Smells of dark char, licorice, dark fruit, some herbal hops and candi sugar and licorice or allspice ?
Tastes rich with malts / sweetness - molasses upfront and then the spicey shows up with licorice- allspice - and some other stuff - 6 spices are added per the notes. I'd rate higher but the licorice is too strong for me. Alcohol is well masked even with warming.
Mouthfeel is med heavy with about right carbonation . Creamy feel invites more sipping.
Overall this isn't my favorite style. The licorice flavor just overwhelmed the rest though my second bottle a couple weeks later wasn't so overwhelming. Only my third strong dark belgian so experience is limited. Like Delirium Tremens much better.

Hopscat, Jan 17, 2014
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours dark brown with little head, but more than classic. nose is spicy and sweet. at first one tastes the sweet ambree taste of most het anker brews, but quickly licorice and alcohol tones, maybe some coriander emerge. not as smooth as i expected from one of belgiums finest brouwerijs, but very unique in style and a great winter warming effect.

AKBelgianBeast, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Sammy, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of ocelot2500
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with a tight off-white head that leaves a god amount of lacing.

Smells of sweet, dark fruits and some alcohol.

Tastes of deep fruit notes with a spicy notes. Fruits are characterized by raisins and figs. Sweetness is moderate. Spicy notes of ginger, clove, and anise add depth to the sweet fruits. Alcohol is noticeable, but is pleasant in its presentation as it does not overpower anything else presented.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation. Has a sticky, syrupy finish which works well with the sweetness.

ocelot2500, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very dark reddish brown in color. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of dark fruits in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, flavors of dark fruits—particularly plums and prunes—stand out in particular. It has a light to moderate amount of malty sweetness. Hints of licorice are noticeable in the aftertaste, particularly as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of warming from the alcohol.
O: This beer is a good representation of the style and has good drinkability because it’s neither too fruity nor too sweet and has a nice malty backbone. It is a good selection so sip next to a fireplace on a cold winter night.

metter98, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Chestnut brown without any sediment, tan head, little retention, nice lace.

S: Dark fruit, orange rind (Curacao?), pleasant non-descript spicing, floral hops, fruit bread with candied fruit. More alcohol as it warms.

T: Very fruity, candied fruit, dark fruit, bready, nice spicing, marmalade, slight bitterness, alcohol is remarkably subtle.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body, moderate carbonation, warming alcohol finish.

D: Quite drinkable for its strength.

Derek, May 14, 2008
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked bottle. Gouden Carolus Noel pours out a dark brown color with a big tan head. The aroma is nutmeg, licorice, and fruit. Lots of licorice flavor in this beer, along with dark fruit and spices. A little caramel and some flavor that is sort of smokey. Surprisingly smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Great drinkability. This 750 ml bottle went down very easily, and it's at 10% abv. Perhaps not as complex as some Belgians, but the flavor is very nice anyway.

beveragecaptain, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Hoppin Frog snifter. Beautiful mahogany color with sparse head, but impressive considering I've been cellaring this for 2 years. Smells of dried fruit and a faint barnyard funk. Nice.

I've heard this beer is notoriously sweet. So true. Normally this would be a drawback as far as I'm concerned, but in this case, the sweetness accentuates ands is accentuated by the Belgian yeast flavors. Flavors of dark fruit, a sweet biscuit, and tart limes.

Will be enjoying this one again next christmas.

ProudBeerSnob, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of orfeu
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my new AleSmith tulip that I received from b0ldfacelies -- a perfect vessel for a special Xmas beer. Cherry-blood bronze with a smooth and creamy dust-khaki foam cap. Aromas of overripe banana, nutmeg, clove, powdered ginger, cinnamon, farmyardy yeast funk, lemon zest and a finishing scent of earthy grain husks. Tart applesauce and raisin puree flavor mixed with mashed banana and a funky vegetal spiciness in the aftertaste -- sort of like brussels sprouts. Lingering "country" yeast flavors. Noticeable alcohol buzz all around the flavor and mouthfeel, but nothing that's too distracting from the overall taste experience. Surprisingly light in body for such a big, flavorful beer. Moderate alcohol slickness is barely perceptible, leading to extremely easy drinkability, especially given the big flavor and high alcohol content. In all, a very nice choice for a special holiday beer.

orfeu, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a mysterious brown color with a nice beige head that drops to a film but leaves a curtain of lace

Smell: Dr. Pepper and licorice are most apparent, along with tones of cinnamon and nutmeg; clearly some alcohol, too

Taste: Starts out with the licorice and Dr. Pepper taste, which gets sweeter by mid-palate; after the swallow, a whole range of fruit and spices appear, including cardamom, vanilla, pineapple, orange peel and cinnamon. There are some dark fruit flavors in there, too. Some alcohol is apparent in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: Well here we have Christmas in July; the beer has settled down somewhat, based on some complaints about fusel alcohol; it should be cellared for six months to a year to let everything mellow out

brentk56, Jul 20, 2007
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
87 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.