Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

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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: 73 | 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
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Reviews: 464 | Hads: 777
Photo of Zach136
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up Christmas Eve 2014, bottle said 30/07/2013. So I'm guessing it's the 2013 vintage.

Appearance: Deep ruby/brown, off white head with pretty good lacing.

Aroma: Fairly intense sugar plum candy, raisons and assorted dark fruit with some bready/biscuity character. No alcohol.

Flavor: More of the same as the nose, dark fruit and candy sweetness, hints of chocolate, but a much more present booze.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with a warming boozy finish. (463 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look: hazy dark tan...looks like sorghum syrup with a head. thick tan head with loads of messy lacing.
smell: spice, vanilla, dark fruits. Very nicely blended range of aromas.
taste: more of the same. all the flavors of the nose blended into one tasty brew.
overall: Great beer. Had this lined up for Christmas eve and we never got to it. Wish we had. (351 characters)

Photo of little_star
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Licorice, licorice, licorice. Lots of it. Syrupy, sweet, rich, and boozy. It's not the best of the Gouden Carolus beers, but it does remind me of Christmas.
Cheers. (164 characters)

Photo of AJacob81
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Hopleaf this past weekend. This must be a different beast from a keg than a bottle, or maybe freshness makes a big difference, because this was one of the best Christmas beers I've ever had, and I don't understand the more tepid reviews below.

Anyway, this came to me in a Carolus-branded goblet, and the head had settled to a nice foamy beige ring. The ale itself was a rich mahogany hue with auburn accents. The nose was a bit muted, but gingerbread and fruitcake were ascendant, with strong supporting turns from cocoa, cinnamon, and cardamom. As the beer warmed and opened up a little more, later sniffs revealed burnt brown sugar, orange zest, and the slightest hint of mint. The taste contains everything from the nose, along with a strong note of Fig Newtons that dominates throughout. Also, the mint is much more prominent, bringing to mind freshly cut spearmint which I found delightful. The feel is silky smooth, with just enough carbonation to keep the sips coming.

I really enjoyed this beer, but I'm hesitant to seek it out bottled based on what I'm seeing from others. If not, we'll always have the Hopleaf. Hoping it's back on draft there next winter. (1,178 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 7/2013:
Pours dark brown, but with an obvious clarity when viewing the edges. Head is tan and builds up decently. Sustainability if head is great, and lacing is significant. Nose is toffee, some root beer, some other spices are obvious with a bit of heat, but also maybe a bit of diacetyl.

Taste is dark bread, sweet root flavors, rhubarb, some dark cherry, and perhaps some ginger and cinnamon. Later in the taste, the root beer flavor "evolves" into a mild peppermint flavor (might be imagining this), however I think this came across as alcohol burn when cold. Feel is around medium in body and smoothness; carbonation is a tad light considering head.

The "peppermint" flavor threw me a bit. This beer is a tad confusing, it has some good things going for it, but also some iffy notes. (809 characters)

Photo of 57md
4.07/5  rDev +1%

Bottle dated as best before 1st August 2011. I’m guessing that makes this a 2010 vintage… Score!

Brownish copper. Caramel notes abound in the nose. The flavor profile is distinctly malt forward complemented with sweet notes of caramel and molasses. The alcohol is in check but surprisingly still pokes through in the slightest way on the finish. Slightly tart on the finish as well.

I’ve heard that this beer is really hot when it is young. I can’t say because this aged beauty was my first try. I can say that I definitely liked the four-year old version quite a bit. (584 characters)

Photo of mr-jj
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Trails End. Nitro.

Pours a dark brown with a nice tan head. A very pretty nitro beer. Smell is quite nice - Christmas spices, dark fruits and booze. Very appropriate for winter. Flavor is similar to the nose with lots of sweetness, dark fruit and booze. Body is lighter than expected, with nice carbonation.

Overall, a very good beer that I enjoyed a lot. (376 characters)

Photo of M_J_Z
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Had this on draft last night. I enjoyed it. 3.75-4. It didn't blow me away but it was tasty. Very solid for the style. Definitely something I'd order again, though this isn't my favorite style and I'm not overly crazy about Belgian beers. (238 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark reddish brown with a sparse tan head that faded immediately to a thin film. The aroma is sweet, with lots of licorice, some dark fruit notes and some spiciness. The taste is licorice and more licorice, with some cherry, raisin, figs, and kind of a "winey" taste. The mouthfeel is medium to light, with a bit of alcohol burn, very little carbonation. It seems like there's a lot of different flavors in this beer, but they aren't melded well. Not the best Christmas Ale out there, but a solid drinker nonetheless. (527 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev +3%

Had a 2008 bottle last week and here is review. Poured a reddish brown body with minimal head and lace and a velvety aroma that is boozy and woody while giving off spices like pepper and ginger and dark fruits like black cherry, figs and raisins.
The beer is oh so sweet and smooth and for the booziness and flavors it packs it really is only medium bodied and not thick/syrupy at all.
Maybe too sweet for some, and with the aged bottle I had too boozy, but the sweetness from spices and fruits, such as candi sugar, figs, hints of toffee and caramel, spices like anise and ginger, and vanilla bourbon sweetness, just really pack a great punch for me.
I found balance in the beer with touches of bread like malt and yeast so no too sweet and has a mild finish thanks to well hidden booze. (791 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 2 years ago, probably got 3 or more years on it.

Pours an opaque deep brown with a dense, frothy khaki head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Rum-soaked date nut bread overwhelms the initial aroma. Reminds me exactly of Christmas at grandma's. Notes of raisins and treacle emerge.

Flavor is rife with dark fruit character. Prunes, dates, booze, figs, plums, and bruised cherries underlie a cloyingly sweet, candi sugar backbone. Cola comes to mind in subsequent sips.

Body is smooth and rich, fairly full, with minimal carbonation.

Sweeter than I had hoped, but the complex ester character is phenomenal. Still boozy and warming, this could probably age a few more years. Some oxidized sherry notes would counter the sweetness well, if they developed. The longer this beer lingered open, the better it got. Slightly tart sherry notes came out more, making it much less cloying. (893 characters)

Photo of Jeffwildcat
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The anise and clove hit you immediately on this one. Bottle date is August 2013 so it has aged quite a bit. Abv says 10.5 but seems closer to 12. Very smooth and abc doesn't hit you you until 1/2 way. Certainly more of a Christmassy beer but had to open 1 of 2 I had. Glad I did. (279 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noel has a thin, cream-colored or beige head, a medium-brown, appearance, fierce bubble streams, and some thin lacing left behind. The aroma is sharp- sweet, rich, spiced bread, licorice, alligator pepper, fruit, and other assorted herbs and spices, which I can’t pin down. Taste is similar, with an overriding licorice aspect. There is even a menthol note upon inhalation and exhalation. Mouthfeel is medium to thick and somewhat prickly, and Gouden Carolus Noel finishes mostly dry and decently drinkable. Alcohol is not picked up, except faintly in the background. Overall, this is a super beer!

RJT (621 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 DJLehnherr
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured this out of a bottle on a sunny but coldish early March day, and pairing it with chicken roasted in a beer-based sauce. Pour out an opaque dark-brown color with only a very little foamy white head, which falls away quickly. Smells of sweet malt with maybe a hint of vanilla and even licorice-like scents…

Quite sweet to the taste, on the first sip. Nice toasty-burnt maltiness there, but the caramel sweetness dominates, more than I expected. Sourness, too, on the lingering taste, but only a little cherry fruitiness — I’m getting more of that licorice-anise taste/scent again… Pleasant mix overall, very little carbonation.

This beer has 10% ABV, believe it or not, but the alcohol content is quite hidden behind its sweet/dark character. It catching up to me by the end of the bottle, this beer packs quite the ABV punch!

Paired well with the chicken, mashed potatoes and beer-based gravy on a cold day, if you ask me, and I’d gladly drink it again. Quite strong, however, so be prepared! (1,014 characters)

Photo of hosehead83
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a "bomber" bottle into a balloon glass.
Dark brown in color, with a nice sturdy head of frothy tan foam.
Aroma-Spices, dark fruit, figs, anise
Taste-Sweetly spiced figs, raisins, plums, anise. Very rich and smooth for strength. A bit on the sweetish side for my taste. A slow sipper. (295 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/6/2012. Pours lightly cloudy very dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, cherry, plum, prune, fig, licorice, molasses, toast, candi sugar, brown bread, herbal, light clove, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of dark malt/candi sugar and fruity yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, prune, cherry, fig, licorice, molasses, candi sugar, toast, herbal, light pepper, clove, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, licorice, molasses, toast, candi sugar, pepper, light clove, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible balance and complexity of dark malt/candi sugar and fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately slick, smooth, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding Belgian strong dark ale. All around awesome complexity and balance of dark candi sugar malt and fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,471 characters)

Photo of Tedro
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
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 (297 characters)

Photo of BierJager89
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark purple, almost black with a mocha head.

S: Nutmeg, cinnamon, maybe some cloves, cherry, currants and maybe figs in the nose.

T: Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, fig, cherry and dark fruit.

M: Full bodied and smoothish.

O: A delicious combination of fruit flavors, though perhaps not as christmasy as some other winter abbey ales. (336 characters)

Photo of Hopscat
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (850 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown color on the edges that sits very dark brown/black in the glass. About a finger of head on the pour but subsides quickly to a thin head which was present while drinking. Low active carbonation in glass while drinking.

Smell: Grassy herbal tones greet the drinker right away. Heavily spiced yet balanced yeast character warms up the body. Getting plenty of traditional belgian characteristics with bready, banana, and clove accents.

Taste: Cinnamon, ginger, and heavy spices dominate the front of this brew. Spices continue to comes in waves on the palate for a long time. Tones on the front linger through the body and slightly yield toward the back end for dough, fruit, soap, and leafy greens.

Mouthfeel: A great combination of soft drinkable tones and surprising complexity.

Overall: I tend to avoid Christmas style beers but this is a very good one. The spiced tones are done well without completely taking over this brew. Outstandingly drinkable especially at 10.5%. (1,000 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, split, westvleteren chalce

2008 vintage

In honor of loving memories of a morning in Mechelen. I was stoked to get a 5-year old bottle of this at a very fair price @bottleworks. This is pretty spice forward, particularly clove, ginger, and mint. The body is a little on the light side - fading dark fruit and tempered alcohol. Not at the top of my list of belgian christmas ales, but still a sentimental favorite. (428 characters)

Photo of fx20736
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 4pk from Beers of the World in November 2013. Poured from a 330ml bottle into a St Bernardus Chalice. Served at cellar temp.

Appearance: very dark with a tan, foaming head, scant lacing.

Aroma: Licorice. Lots of licorice i]with a touch of cloves in the background. Maybe some earthy spearmint too. Very unique, quite intoxicating.

Mouthfeel: soft, supple, bouyant.

Taste: Burnt brown sugar/ molasses with a spicy, spearmint kiss.

Notes: Unlike any other Belgian Dark Ale, this is a unique, interesting and tasty beer. Wish I had more of it. (555 characters)

Photo of zac16125
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL into a tulip
2013 Vintage

Pours very dark brown almost black, 2.5 fingers width of tan head and a small amount of lacing. Aroma is heavy black licorice, anise , and peppery spice. Taste follows the nose with black licorice, but also has lots of dark fruits, a bit of clove spice and toffee. Mouthfeel is full bodied, heavier carbonation, no hint of ABV and good drinkability. Overall, a great BSD Christmas ale. I really enjoyed this one. (445 characters)

Photo of farrago
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Mild dusting of a head across the surface, dark tan brown, swiftly pulls back to the glass sides, the lacing streaks are quite thin but have some stick to them. Murky dark brown colored liquid with more of a yellow tint than anything else, not a lot of visible effervescence, nothing truly remarkable about how it looks. The nose offers licorice, cola, orange spice, lightly roasted chocolate, fig, date, banana and hint of green apple, pleasing for how it does not overdo the sweetness and stays openly knit and airy, finishes with lingering nutmeg, cinnamon and splash of witch hazel. Medium-bodied, for its relative sweetness and mouth grip it has decent fluidity. Carbonation is light but generally up to the task. Initially tastes like a root beer float. Vanilla, malted milk balls, ginger, licorice, orange citrus, Brazil nuts and butterscotch predominate. The fruit has a darker complexion here with prune and cherry trumping the date and fig, not really showing a lot of esters nor breadiness. Likewise, no boozy “heat” on display although you can feel it once a good portion of the bottle is gone. Gains peppery bite as it warms. Fashions a dry, punctuated finish which helps it marshal an argument for being a good food beer and not just an after dinner sipper. (1,275 characters)

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