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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
478 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor
Read the review
BEER STATS
Reviews:
478
Ratings:
827
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.1%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
95
For Trade:
0
Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gusler on 11-24-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 478 | Ratings: 827
Photo of Lnedrive14
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2003 Bottle

A: Medium brown with a very thin tan head. It's kind of a weird look for a beer - fairly hazy for such a dark brew.

S/T: People seemed to complain about the alcohol strength, but I think the cellaring mellowed that out quite a bit. The alcohol presence is almost nonexistant. Chock full of spices in this bad larry. Lots of fruity sweetness, mostly from things like cherries and plums. The contrast between the spices and the fruits give the beer a wonderful balance.

M/D: I don't generally expect "hazy" to equal "creamy," but in this case it holds true. Drinkability is INSANELY high, given the beer style and the alcohol content. I definitely think this is a product of the aging. Mild carbonation, and even a bit of a drying effect as the beer leaves the palate.

Quite a nice brew. Would enjoy a younger version to compare.

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Photo of beergoot
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date: 06/08/2015, ABV 10,5%

Mahogany hued body with a thick, frothy head. Fruits and nuts aroma; pineapple, lemon and orange peel; spicy; citrus and pine. Candied fruits with touches of peppermint and anise in the flavor; caramel. Heavy body; dense and sweet on the palate.

The damn thing smells like a holiday fruitcake and packs in many of the flavors (and none of this is meant in a disparaging way). Wow! For a big, seasonal Belgian dark ale, this beer pretty much nails the classical European sweets available during the winter holidays. There's no way this would be a regular heavy, dark ale treat, but it just seems to the occasion. Yes, its heavy and sweet, but the load of additional smells and flavors that you pickup are truly amazing. A very fitting beer for the start of the winter holidays.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Utterly fabulous. I poured the first glass of this baby and just inhaled the aroma for a matter of minutes. Without a doubt the best aroma i have yet encountered in a beer. It had me entranced.

Flavor is just a *tad* forward on the alcohol, but still marvelous. Quite drinkable considering the intense flavor, ABV, and complexity. Definitely spiced, but subtly so that nothing jumps out at me. I'm drinking it thinking "this is spiced" but i don't think of one spice in particular, which is how spicing should be. Hops are present on the follow through, but just enough to keep the balance.

World class all the way.

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Photo of whynot44
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rich hazy copper/mahogany color with a substantial creamy light tan head that persists and leaves some nice sticky lacing.

The aroma is cloves, plums, figs, brown sugar, malt, yeast, pine and alcohol.

The taste is the same with some additional hints of dates, coriander and chocolate with some herbal notes as well. Every sip seems to turn up something new, licorice?, cherries?, ginger?. mint? There's no end to the complexity on this one. Brandy/wine flavors creep in.

Full bodied, creamy smooth, easy to drink, but this one is for sipping and savoring. Finishes still sweet but offset by the spices and substantial alcohol warmth. This one doesn't sneak up on you like some Belgian strong ales. You know the alcohol is there but it is just so smooth. Not an everyday beer but would be great after dinner on a cold winter day.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Undated 750 that is corked and caged poured into a chalice.

Deep brown with slight reddish edges and two dense fingers of light tan that has unreal retention and leaves a lumpy sheet of lace that coats the inside of the glass. Beautiful!

Lots of yeast and spices in the nose. Bananas, bubblegum, clove, nutmeg, dark sugars, raw fruitcake dough, and something that smells a bit like a freshly made holiday wreath. Awesome!

Malts and dark fruits upfront with something that tastes like Pepsi, licorice, nutmeg, sweet yeast flavors, and a dash of peppery alcohol in the background. The flavor reminds me of the '96 Anchor OSA, but much bolder with a sweeter finish. I really like this one.

Nice full velvety mouth, no oils left in its wake. Delicious. If it wasn't for the abv I could sip this in front of the fire all night.

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Photo of newton99
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pouring a very dark brown, black almost, with reddish brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and very nice lacing. The nose is a spice bomb. A blend of mace, nutmeg and anise, with some eucalyptus, cola, mildly burnt sugar, this is a little too spiced for my liking. The cola notes here bring to mind discount sodas. Alcohol is reasonably well hidden. In addition, there's quite a bit of dark fruit present, with prunes and figs.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pours clear, deep amber, but hard to keep chunks of yeast out of glass with the bottle still being over 1/3 full. Visible carbonation streams. Light tan head, creamy and persistant. Leaves a sheet of lace.

S - great malty aroma, fresh, very nutty. Some fruit and spice are in the background, but rather faint. Spice more noticable as it warms. Outstanding.

T - rum soaked pears, caramel, unique spice note in the finish - nutmeg perhaps? Also some toasty biscuit in the aftertaste.

M - exceptionally smooth, not heavy bodied, but it does feel a touch sticky and coats the mouth. Alcohol is barely noticable until a warming slowly builds in the throat. Lively carbonation is not prickly, which I think matches the beer perfectly.

D - this is like heaven in a glass. I'm kicking myself for waiting almost a year to finally try it, and for only picking up 1 bottle!

This is a damn near perfect beer. In my opinion, it is everything Maudite wishes it was.. a kick ass strong red belgian. I am drinking this bottle way too fast, but I honestly don't care. It's THAT good. Can't wait to try out the other offerings from this brewer that are lurking in my beer fridge...

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Toronado SF in December, and now in a bottle that I purchased from Healthy Spirits. I've been looking for this one for a while.

Served it into a goblet for myself and a large Duvel tulip for a friend. Head looks phenomenal in the tulip, but not so great in the goblet. Beautiful dark black with ruby highlights.

Smell is subtle but molasses, figs, and raisins are detectable.

Taste is spicy up front, followed by bananas, chocolate cake, and some ripe fruit, spice on the exit, too. Very complex and tasty.

Much smoother than Cuvee VDK, which is also very good. But this is creamy and leaves only a slight tingle on the tongue. Despite the high a.b.v., I'd still love to drink these all night. Just wish it was easier to find.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a footed, cylindrical glass at Michael's Bistro. Bottle 0970. Listed as a 2009 vintage. From notes. Reviewed 7 July 2011.

A: A nice finger of head fades quickly and just coats the surface. The beer is dark brown with ruby edges; orangey in the light. Really nice. Barely translucent.

S: Grapes, brandy/port, grape peels. No alcohol.

T/M: Complex, deep, and scrumptious. Slightly carbonated with a bit of edgy spice. Perhaps the best Christmas ale I've encountered, and the oldest. Tart, tasty, and full of fruit. Yeasty red grapes verge on wineyness. The aftertaste is smooth and bursting with fruit -- strawberry, dried apricot, peach, green apple. Light and spritely throughout...yum. Sweet malts completely dominate the taste, but are moderated by the tartness of fruit. Impeccable.

O: Absolutely delicious; absolutely recommended. I love this beer, and can't wait to drink it again. Quite drinkable, despite the ABV and heaviness.

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Photo of Crosling
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fascinating label on this one. Santa riding through the air with Gouden Carolus prominantly displayed in Gold lettering. A definate "eye catcher" in the bottle collection.

Pours with an amazing color. Purple with ascents of yellow, orange and red. Beautiful color, it glows in the light. However, a pretty lousy Belgian head.

Smells like fruit punch.

WOW! Sour red grapes, cherries, red licorice, raisins and caramel up front. Finishes with a somewhat sour, sweet malt and chocolate-caramel combination with a hint of alcohol. Tastes unbelieveable!

Probably my last Belgian Noel for the year (sadness), but what a one to end with! This is one hell of a beer! Can't wait for next year.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this at the sterling Sun Singer. Noel pitches a cloudy brown with ruby trim, topped with three fingers of foamy white head, excellent. The nose is full of fruit, particularly dried fruit, and spices. Lots of berry, plum, raisin, molasses, and cinnamon.

Terrific taste, well balanced with sweet fruit in harmony with dried fruit. Each mouthful brings either or in creamy fashion, doing so much to make this as special as it with an outstanding mouthfeel. This is truly excellent beer. The drinkability suffers slightly only because of the wooziness I felt near the end of the bottle. The high ABV (10.5%) does kick in, but that's more than easy to take.

Tremendous BSDA, one of my favorites.

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Photo of hyuga
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hazy deep reddish-brown in color, with a cream-colored head that disappears quickly. Very nice aroma. Many spices are present. Belgian candy sugar, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, even some eggnog. Banana and yeast spiciness also play a part. Alcohol is noticeable. Quite complex. On to the flavors. Cloves, candy sugar, and sweeter winter spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) are noticeable at first. Yeast spiciness comes in next, along with some bready malt and alcohol. I think I'm picking up some caramel malt as well. It's such a complex brew, it's hard to pick out everything. Definitely Christmasy. Full-bodied and rich. Nice and smooth in the mouthfeel department. Excellent brew! It could definitely be cellared for a while. My mom bought this bottle for me for Christmas. It's very much appreciated and enjoyed!

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Photo of putnam
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at 65 deg. F.
Mahogany liquid with reddish, sour tan-colored welts of foam on top. The aromas are a classically proportioned array of black breads, butter, birchroot, brown sugar, licorice, chestnuts and caramelized blue berries. On the palate it is quite hedonistic, with a clear, warming, alcoholic richness that glows like dying embers. Rising from this there is an array of spiced incense and perfumes that recall Turkish open markets: Cardamom, coffee, brandied raisins, tamarind paste and fried dough. Intermixed with this exotic rush of sensations, there is a thread of smoldering pine. A Russian has visited this Anatolian campfire it seems.
This is a gorgeous beer.

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Photo of Risser09
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oubce bottle poured into a wine glass - Xmas Eve enjoyment - Cellar temp.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with plenty of activity. Carbonation is plentiful, and sticks to the walls of the beer glass. The head reaches about one inch high Receeds quickly. It is tan in color.

Smell: Raisin, plum, fig and more dark fruit. Alcohol and fruity esters. Nutty aromas of hazelnut, almond and pecan. Cardamom and clove. complex.

Taste: Nutty and boozy. Hazelnut, almond, plum, rum raisin. Very deep flavors and lots of them. The alcohol is high but welcomed on this nice Christmas Eve. I plan on cellaring the other bottle to revisit by 2010 (according to the bottle.

Mouthfeel: Boozy, with plenty of spice and vigor. Belgian yeast is prevalent. Nice nuttiness in the finish.

Drinkability: Kinda of boozy and lots of phenols, but this is a winner. Spicy with Belgian yeast but nutty. I didn't know this brewery made a Christmas ale! Perfect for an Eve like this one! Cheers!

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Photo of beerceller99
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

75 cl. bottle from 2003. Pours a garnet color with an off white three finger head. Smells of black pepper, vanilla, mint, and caramel with a whiff of alcohol. Has a creamy yet lively mouthfeel. Medium to heavy bodied. Has a complex fruit, spice flavor of plums, apples, cinnamon, and black pepper, among others. Finishes with a nice peppery alcohol tang.

Another excellent brew from Anker.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

X-mas 08

Lasting tan head over a drk brown body.

To sum up the smell: Spicy, malty and rich. Lots of drk fruits with assorted holiday spices, run soaked raisins and whiskey notes.

Flavor you ask?? malt biz-omb! Super sweet at first followed my lots of spice. The alcohol is pretty well hidden. Very rich and did I mention delicious?

THe feel is full bodied but not heavy in the slightest. Not as super carbonated as many other Dark Belgian ales, but isn't flat either. the texture is super silky and slightly syrupy.

Wow, I gotta say that nearly 2 years did wonders for this beer. Very balanced and delcious. Another winner from GC. Cheers!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky tawny with bright cranberry, orange and lemon highlights. As wonderful as the liquid itself is, the head is even more gorgeous. The golden brown sugar colored crown filled more than half the glass on the initial pour and was a reverse cascader that would have made a nitro pour blush. It's also a lace maker extraordinaire. A fantastic look.

There's no letdown in terms of the aroma. It's heavily spiced and dark fruity with a whiskyish edge to it that I love. It smells like this will be a big, bold, fascinatingly complex beer. I hope so since those are the best kind.

Gouden Carolus Noel is everything that I hoped it would be and more. I was impressed with Gouden Carolus Classic so I know what to expect from Brouwerij Het Anker. As the nose portended, this is a big, full-bodied, sweet, spicy BSDA. I wish I knew the spice additions because they add so much to the flavor profile.

The bottom floor is a massive malt base that brings to mind heavily roasted barley, molasses and raisin puree. The next few floors are occupied by Scotch whisky-soaked figs, dates and plums. And the penthouse suite of this towering skyscraper of a beer is where the spices live. I'll take a stab and say... ginger, clove, nutmeg, anise, coriander and sweet orange peel. Oh yeah, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Quite a few Christmas beers remind me of fruitcake. This one reminds me of mincemeat pie (minus the beef and the suet, of course). Its sweetness won't be to everyone's liking, but I absolutely love it. I'm having a hard time thinking of another beer that I'd rather sip at the conclusion of a multi-course Christmas feast. Just make sure you pour it into a crystal snifter.

The mouthfeel is pure pleasure. It's heavily silky, and even sticky on the finish, without being the least bit heavy. In my experience, only Belgian brewers are able to create big beers with such light, almost ethereal, mouthfeels. A typically Belgianesque amount of carbonation would not have worked, so it's a relief that the bubbles are so well-behaved. Noel is still far from subdued in the mouth, however.

Gouden Carolus Noel is one of the best Christmas beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. I'll have to check my reviews to be sure, but it might be the single best. I haven't yet completed my Christmas list this year. Given the fact that I've thorougly enjoyed the top half of this 750 (and can't wait to savor the bottom half), I'd have to say that a case of this incredible ale has just made its way to spot number one. I'm feeling pretty merry right now and expect to feel even merrier with each passing ounce. This is glorious, glorious beer.

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Photo of chaz01
4.61/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draught at a special Belgium event at Chappy's in Dayton -- served in a special 6 oz wine-like tasting glass.

A: Dark brown amber with a brown head and some nice lacing.

S: Dark fruit flavors, plums and dates.

T: Initially a bit of chocolate flavor that turns into black licorice taste. I don't normally like licorice, but it works well in this beer. Fruity and spicy tones such as plums, dates and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated.

D: Delicious on it's own, or would go well as a dessert beer. One of my favorites Belgium Christmas beers, what a pleasant surprise to see it available in the Spring.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two year old cellared bottle. Poured into an Ommegang flute. Pours a very dark red brown. Half finger fine light tan head with good retention and nice lacing. Looks good. Aroma of dark fruits, sweet dark malt, cherry and brown sugar with the dark sugar dominant. Delicious dark and light fruit, malt with the typical aged malt component. The sour fruit flavor has attenuated and blended in the the dark fruits and dark malts. Nicely integrated now. Full bodied and creamy, complex and a delight to drink. This two year old aged bottle is still an excellent strong dark. I'm not sure if it has improved, but it doesn't matter much.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two-fingered creamy white head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy mahogany color. Strong carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Raisin/plum nose. Flavor - sweet raisin, caramel and spices, high ABV is noticeable. Nice Christmas ale. 750ml bottle, gift from Liquid Solutions Oregon City Or.

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noel pours a dark mahagony color w/ a one finger perfect cocoa head. Great lacing on my snifter glass as well. Even when held to light, you can't really see anything other than orange highlights. The smell is fantastic. Fig, prune, raisin, licorice, and some spices are the main things I get. This beer smells like a holiday beer should. It's super complex, and just keeps getting better w/ every whiff. The taste is great too, just not to the same level- I'm nitpicking here. Huge malt backbone, w/ just the right amount of fruit, yeast, and spices. All melded into a giant cyclone of Christmas cheer. The only thing I can ding it on is that I'd like to have it be a little less sweet. Otherwise it's where the smell score is. Feel is decadent. Amazingly complex, smooth, silky w/ a bite at the end. I imagine this beer would age really nicely. I don't really get any of the 10.5% ABV in this either. Maybe a lingering note in the aftertaste if anything. All in all, a world class brew. I will buy this whenever I find it. Cheers.

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Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle pours deep chesnut (garnet when held to the light) with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Bannanas, iron, alcohol & breaddy notes

T: Chocolate, bannanas, cakeyness, & a kiss of earthy hops up front. Oak, caramel, tannins & pine follow. Fruitty notes come through as this warms (pears, peaches, & berrys) with mucho warmth. Finishes, dry,oaky, fruitty & with a little hint of bananna split, plus a little licorice aftertaste!

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, with a little chewyness

Super drinkability for the abv! This a interesting/complex, beautiful winter warmer that is helping fight off the chill here! One of the better x-mas begians I've tasted, If not the best

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Photo of ojiikun
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a bottle of this in November as a christmas present to myself. Being probably the most pricey brew I've ever had, expectations are high.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tupil glass. Strongly carbonated - the cork nearly came out on it's own. Well-controleld head that can be coaxed up with swirling - plenty of potential but no mess. Body is dark reddish-brown, beautifully translucent but not chunky. Champagne bubbles play along the sides for the whole bottle.

Smell is intensely of sweet bubblegum, cardamom, bread, pears, caramel and too many other complexities to list. Notably absent is a strong hop smell of any sort. Nothing but candi sugar and yeasty malts. The sweetness suggests the alcohol content to the beer-wise, but the booze itself is well-masked.

Taste is briefly sweet, then more on the peppery, dry side. Deep and balanced spice and citrus notes. Never tart or bitter, despite the complexity. The bubblegum flavour nearly conflicts at this point, but fades by the end of the sip. As the bottle warms, the belgian yeast really opens up.

Mouthfeel is silky, sparkly, and clean. Leaves the palate incredibly clean and ready for more. I imagine this could pair well with many foods, if it weren't such a waste of a gourmet brew.

Incredibly drinkable for over 10%. Probably dangerous to have more than one bottle in the house!

Smell and taste are exciting, but taste is actually unremarkable. However, the experience of a beer this drinkable and this strong is something to be sought. A near-perfect expression of the concept of very strong beers, suited for both the newcomer and the snob alike.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

01/07/05- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco.

Presentation- Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance- A dark reddish-brown pour. Almost like liquid milk chocolate. 3/4 inch head with above average lacing.

Smell- Full of fruits. Mostly muted citrus fruits. Maybe nectarines, peaches, maybe plums?

Taste- Lots of licorice, which I normally dispise, but in this case it served it's purpose. Lots of sweet toned down fruity tastes also. Maybe a bit of burnt banana taste.

Mouthfeel- Very lightly carbonated and a full mouthfeel made this one super to enjoy.

Drinkability- Very new and odd taste to me, but was fantastic. I will be looking for this one in a bottle if I can find it around here. Glad I venutred off my path to try this one at $7.00 a glass.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a very dark maroon or plum color, almost a very dark brown with reddish highlights. Almost looks like a red wine of sorts. Big frothy cream colored head that has excellent retention. Fantastic sticky lacing hangs onto the glass.
S: Huge sugary belgian notes--Mostly candied and spicy laden with alcohol. Malty and yeasty with slight floral notes--a bit leafy also. Clove, coriander and dark fruit--mostly fig and plum--notes also come through.
T/M: Candied malt notes with some caramel, butterscotch, cloves, spices, etc. Big and hugely complex with spices dominating the flavors. Fruitiness hangs onto the tongue and tastebuds. Amazingly smooth and soft on the palate--I'm in shock about how smooth this beer is. Creamyness slowly glides across the tongue making it's way towards the back of the mouth. It's almost as if I'm consuming silk. Yeastyness has a fruity component to it, mostly of plums and blackberries.
D: Drinkable? Smooth and subtle, this is a wonderful example of the style. One of the most drinkable beers I've had. Abv goes completely unmasked, until it warms in the chest about three quarters of the way through the bottle.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.