Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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 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)

Photo of tillmac62
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent dark brown with a thick tan head that lingers and laces well. The nose is of dark sweet malt with a hint of dark fruit and chocolate. Medium bodied and well carbonated. This beer is full of flavor that masks the 10% alcohol well. Extremely well balanced. The taste is dark malt, with chocolate undertones, blended with spice and licorice with a very slight alcohol finish. Finishes clean with a burst of dark malt against spice and alcohol. An excellent Christmas Ale. I just did a side by side against St. Bernardus Christmas ale, on 12/4/13. Gouden is far superior in terms of body, complexity and flavor. (627 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black, 2 finger beige head, really sticky.
Smells sweet and fruity, of banana, dark fruit, ripe fruit jam, also lots of caramel and traditional spices. This should be tasty, if not overly sweet.
Very sweet malts, with truckloads of caramel and chocolate, but there's also a dark roastiness, creating notes of (very sweet) coffee. Doughy yeasts creating a "Christmas cake" kind of taste, but they're also very spicy, with nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, cocoa powder, hints of vanilla, faint licorice, prickly peppercorn and minty notes of anise seed. Fruitiness is lower than expected, but brings dark fruit jam, slightly acidic red apples and some sweet red grapes with a musty characteristic. The herbal spices lead to the hops in the end, mildly bitter, with a nice finish.
The mouthfeel is chewy, chunky, sliding down the throat, with a mild carbonation. Alcohol is a bit more than warming, with a faint (very faint) booziness, not ruining the beer though.
A nice Christmas ale, not the sweetest of the bunch, but still for people with a sweet tooth. Perfect for the season. (1,083 characters)

Photo of zookerman182
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy red color with a very small and non existent head.
Aroma is very boozy and full of dark fruit and cherries.
Taste is cherries, raisins, prunes, figs, very nice holiday beer.
Mouthfeel is really nice, almost creamy.
Sweet tasting beer with nice carbonation. (271 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (1,175 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 KTCamm
4.11/5  rDev +2%
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. (311 characters)

Photo of Murrhey
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330-ml bottle into a tulip glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. Reviewed live. Expectations are relatively high. Either bottled date or best-by date is Jan. 8, 2012. I really hope it is the former and not the latter. Although with the high ABV, I imagine it wouldn't be ruined by a year anyway. I could be wrong.

A- Three-finger thick, attractive light brown color. Amazingly long retention for the ABV. Thick fluffy core with fairly large bubbles. Lasts about three minutes. Clingy spotty lacing. Murky walnut colored brew with very little clarity.

S- Deep alcohol notes and spicy. Very fragrant and boozy. Nice notes.

T- Boozy and nice even-handled flavors. Spices and yeasts are very present here.

M- Vinous and wet. Sticky remainder on the feel.

O- Booze-bomb and it tastes like it. (807 characters)

Photo of beerthirtysa
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a: nice ruby-red color, but almost brunette unless held directly in the light. weak, off-white head with decent, but not thick, lacing.

s: alcohol predominates along with malt overtones. some gentle hops and plenty of dark cheery and blueberry.

t: smooth as silk. sweet, chewy malt with hints of molasses. alcohol noticeable. slightly hoppy finish.

m: a bit oily in consistency but very inoffensive. lusciously rich texture. carbonation effervesces only slightly on the way to the back of the throat.

o: a very pleasant ale that, though high in alcohol content, is extremely drinkable brew. one to enjoy with friends on a cold winter evening. (647 characters)

Photo of newton99
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
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. (484 characters)

Photo of silverking
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First off, let me say that the cork is a nice touch. It pours a deep, beautiful, transparent Mahogony with a tan head. The head begins to recede, but never really dissapears. The lacing is exquisite. It holds for a second or two and then forms rivers and trubutaries through itself that all eventually lead to the sea of delectable belgian ale that lies below. The aroma carries warming notes of anise, dark fruit, yeast, and alcohol. The palate is very much like a nice glass of cabernet. It is a bit tart up front but then it rounds off nicely with rich notes of bread and anise. The anise carries over into the finish and joins yeast in a wonderful union of flavor. The carbonation is a little heavy, but its full mouthfeel counteracts it. It leaves a slight tackiness on the lips from it higher than average gravity. I usually frown upon this and I think that it is the downfall of many winter brew's, but somehow this beer makes it work. This beer forced a smile across my face from sheer joy. (998 characters)

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