1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

751 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 751
Reviews: 464
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.23%
Wants: 26
Gots: 64 | 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:
Beer added by: Gusler on 11-24-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 751 | Reviews: 464 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wardough
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the local YardHouse.

Overall-awesome. A great sipper on a cold winter night.
A: Poured on tap into a goblet. about 1/2 in head that disperses to lacing.
S: Figs, raisins, cognac. It's a party down there. Jump on in.
T: It's definitely a party. The alcohol warms you up, followed by the sweet taste of figs and raisins.
M: Heavy mouthfeel. Very light carbonation.
D: I drank a few of these and they went down with ease. For the style, very easy to drink.

Photo of ricke49
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with as much lacing as i've seen anywhere.

S: fig pudding

T: Fruity with lots of subtle alcohol at the back

M: Very enjoyable; good body (though thiner than expected).

D: would be better in winter or at least on a cool day....but even on a warm day the alcohol taste was not over the top and blended well with the figgy, date, raisen essence.

Photo of impending
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into a tulip. Pours an opaque mahogany with medium coffee ice cream colored head which receded fairly quickly.

Aroma of port wine reached me from the bottle. Nose is strong, intense, dark fruits about to rot which someone spilt port wine upon - wonderful, very interesting.

Full bodied chewy mouthfeel. Definitely a Noël brew. Sweet, figs and other dark fruits plucked from a rum cake. Anise and nutmeg are prominent, excellent complexity. Phenols can be the bane of a belgian, here they are aggressively, exquisitely blended. The warmth of the alcohol keeps the taste in balance. The aftertaste which is the sum of all the flavors lingers nicely.

A good example of a brew only the Belgians provide.
cheers
jd

Photo of beertunes
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in 10oz glass and shared with some friends. Poured a clean, clear reddish mahogany with a tall fluffy tan head that had very good retention and surprisingly light lacing.

The aroma was a very pleasing blend of malt, yeast and spices.The taste didn't have as much of a yeast taste, but the solid malt foundation supports the spiciness nicely.

The body was a bit lighter than I expected, but was very crisp with a dry finish. Drinkability was excellent, I may go grab a couple more bottles of this.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

Photo of t0rin0
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Lucky Baldwins 10th Annual Belgian fest on 2/15/09.

Pours a clear dark brown/red color. 1/2" head. Decent head retention and lacing.

Aroma is of a belgian brown ale. Sweetness and black licorice are present.

Flavor is of roastiness, sweet cherry, black licroice, and caramel. Wonderfully complex and interesting. A little peppery too.

Body is medium and very drinkable.

Photo of MaevaS
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%

Photo of KTCamm
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2009 9 9 stamped bottle resembling a nice dark dark brown giving off a great dark mahogony hue around edges, big head and retention.

Fascinating smell of chewy licorice and a floral/perfume quality. Sometimes it even smells like a candied rose or something. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and dark spices.

Great sweet nutmeg and hard candy palate with a great mouthfeel that seems perfectly balance between body (not wet or syrupy) and afterfinish that is noticeable but not overpowering. Highly alcohol masked as well for 10.5

Drinkability is very desirable, but truly a Christmas beer. I can't see myself having this in July when it's 90 degrees out of course ;) but... why would you want to ;)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  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.

Photo of chanokokoro
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33 cl bottle poured into an unbranded goblet

Pours a dark amber with a one and a half finger off-white head. Above average retention and abundant lacing. The nose is complex, some orange peel, boozy, rum-soaked burnt raisins, light earthiness and a bouquet of spices. Caramel and vanilla notes right off the bat, prunes, date, dried black cherries join in complemented by brown sugar, anise and ginger. Finishes semi-dry with warming alcohol. Smooth, silky, light syrupy mouthfeel, low carbonation. Overall a very nice holiday brew. Throughly enjoyed this one and won't hesitate to revisit it next year.

Photo of BMoney575
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 11-29-10
3-8-10 date on bottle.
10% abv.

Pours a very deep and cloudy brown color, with just a slight tan head right in the center. Very thick and viscous-looking.

Smell is intense caramel malt, sweet and buttery, with lots of alcohol to really liven things up. Aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove are there, adding a nice complexity.

Taste is the same caramel as the smell at first, followed by an unexpected kick of hop bitterness. The booze comes in next, accenting the bitterness. The finish is tart and earthy, will more bitterness on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very slick, with a nice thickness. Mild carbonation keeps things suits the flavors well.

Drinkability is quite good, the flavors are big but well balanced and the abv helps more than it hurts.

Overall, a very good beer, if not particularly unique.

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a 1/4" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a dry, yet quite fruity scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with many spices and a yeasty finish. The taste is good. It has a sweet and fruity malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry, creamy, and a bit warm. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good brew. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

Photo of scottyb88
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a very dark, almost black, cloudy brown with a really nice head and decent lacing

S-brown sugar, pecan, a little bit of spice like nutmeg or cinnamon, apple skin, a doughy smell as well, some raisin

T-up front sweetness with a dry back end; apple skin soaked in brown sugar syrup with pecans; the spice, whatever it is, is faint-might become more noticeable as it warms; it's well balanced, but doesn't pop out at me

M-a little more carbonated than expected, but fairly smooth with pleasant aftertaste

O-a solid beglain dark ale with spices. Its dangerously drinkable at 10%. Either its so well balanced out, or I can't detect it as easily anymore. I have other favorites out there when it comes to xmas ales (corsendonck probably still being my favorite), but this holds up pretty well. A bit disappointed, however, being that I really enjoyed this brewery's kaiser blue I had too high expectations

Photo of nerdrocker101
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with ruby hedges. The head is tan and lays on the body like a blanket of dirty snow. Lacing linger mostly at the ring but become sparse below the surface.

The nose is spicy with hints of mint. An odd description I know, but nothing I haven't experienced before and certainly not a turnoff.

Sugary and malty. Like some sort of holiday pudding or bread. Somewhat spicy with an almost dry characteristic like cinnamon gives off.

Warming with a medium-full body. Not too bubbly, but enough to accentuate the warmth of this brew.

Very good Christmas ale. This would make an excellent accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner.

Photo of macpapi
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml, corked bottle. Bottle scene depicts Santa Claus (or Pere Noel) being pulled upward in his sleigh by his reindeer. A snowy Belgian village lies beneath.

Pours a very dark brown color with hints of amber when held up to the light. There is a very full--two-finger head--with a good deal of lacing.

Smell is malty up front, followed by a great deal of sweetness. There are hints of molasses, candied sugar, and dark fruits (mostly plums, cherries, figs), followed by the unmistakable whiff of banana. Alcohol sting is definitely noted in the nostrils. This is quite a complex and very nice aroma.

Taste is dominated by very deep malt with the additional presence of dark, candied fruit, and deep molasses. There is a very full and somewhat syrrupy flavor here. ABV is noted by stinging finish on the palate.

Mouthfeel is full, somewhat sludgy, and biting with high alcohol content. Quite a presence here.

Overall, this is a nice brew. It's relatively complex and pleasantly flavorful. Warming alcohol makes finishing this 750 ml bottle a bit of a challenge, but I'm willing to take one for the team.

Photo of craytonic
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark cranberry-ruby-orange. Nice head and lace

Smell: Heavy and dark with a touch of whiskey. Dates, plums, figs, cherries, malts, brown sugar, black licorice, tobacco, molasses, dark rum. Also some spices - black currants, clove, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, coriander.

Taste: I never noticed any alcohol. A little wine-like, but thicker. Very similar to the smell, with emphasis on the dark fruits. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Good, but not as good as the brewery's top offering. Heavy and almost a little sticky.

Drinkability: Excellent. I had it by itself, but would be perfect for an after-christmas dinner treat.

Photo of fido
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a nice red amber color, Short head and a little bit of lace; Smell is fruity, very nice aroma; Taste is sweet, flavor of caramel or honey, fruits and malt; Mouthfeel is dry; Drinkability is good, easy to drink.

Nice Chrtistmas brew.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of cokes
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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

Photo of gerardoluna
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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

Photo of Shiredave
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of essie
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this on tap several months back at the Kulminator (it was only a couple weeks old from the brewery), but my notes were unfortunately somewhat sparse. That said, here's what I wrote down:

Dark in color with a nice off-white head. Smells and tastes of dark malts with a heavy anise overtone; very smooth and rich, with a medium body. Drinkability suffers a little from the heavy taste of anise and the high abv, but it's still an awesome beer that's definitely worth trying.

Photo of Daniellobo
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
88 out of 100 based on 751 ratings.