Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

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BA SCORE
88
very good

774 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 774
Reviews: 472
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.23%
Wants: 27
Gots: 71 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 774 | Reviews: 472
Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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 UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin’s Delirium Cafe in Sierra Madre, CA.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, medicinal spices, and licorice. Taste is much the same with a licorice flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice aromas and flavors that make it easy to drink.

Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice dark brown with some garnet hues. Nice of white head. The nose brings forward some dark fruits, booze, and quite a bit of wintry spice. Lots of black licorice. The taste is caramel, bread, dark fruit, dates, alcohol, and some nice nutmeg, clove, and a bit of other spices. Loads of anise. Overpoweringly so. Medium mouthfeel; a bit creamy. Drinks quite well and is a nice addition our holiday lineup.

Photo of brentk56
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
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

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In true Gouden Carolus brand fashion, the namesake carries a breath of flavor that's equally as succulent, rich, and drinkable as their Cuvee van der Kiaser- exceeding expectations.

Upon the pour, the beer revealed a deep brown, solid ruby hue, with a mild murky translucency. The head retention was uncanny, with a great ability to lace.

Aromas are big, plump character of malt, berries, fruit, earthyness, and mustiness. Flavors are sweetly malty, toasty, tart, sweet, fruity (plumbs, dates, figs, grapes...) woody, nutty....I could go on for hours. The beer just has a tremendous amount of complexity and well balanced to boot.

The texture is a soothing, alcoholiclly thinned, mildly tart, rich, mouth filling roundness. Finishes with a balanced dryness and sweetness and a lingering grape, malt flavor.

This one is certainly a classic. Possibly even better than the Kaiser.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy brown color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet candy and anis is dominating and quite enjoyable and almost reminiscent of Rochefort. Taste is a nice mix between strong Belgian malt, sweet candy and anis. There is some sweetness but it never goes overboard and provides great balance with some light typical Belgian yeast. It appears that this brewery just won’t stop to amaze me with all those great beers.

Photo of largadeer
2.12/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Draft at The Trappist. Dark amber-brown with fair clarity and a sticky off-white head. Smells strongly medicinal; herbal with black licorice, cough syrup, menthol, caramelized malt and solvent. Palate is similar, huge kick of anise and mint, strong on the herbal/medicinal flavors. Alcohol is less noticeable on the tongue. Finishes with semi-sweet dark candi sugar and an herbal astringency that reminds me of bitters. Not particularly enjoyable.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

Photo of biboergosum
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to get all the "Noel" festivities accomplished during the holidays proper, so, now, while things have calmed down, and the Canadian Juniors have driven me to drink...

This beer pours a cloudy, over-mixed iced tea brown colour, with two thick fingers of thin billowy off-white head, which settles at an even pace, eventually rendering just a low ring of lace around the glass. It smells of stewed fleshy fruit - banana and plum, primarily, some brown sugar, and straight, edgy booze. The taste is big, big fruity malt - dates, raisins, and sweet cherries - nougaty, nutty thin toffee, boozy, fermenting red grapes, and muddled Christmas spices - cinnamon and cloves being at least somewhat discernible. The carbonation is noticeable, but fine and agreeable, the body pretty full and creamy, yet still a bit airy. It finishes with a zingy, soused fruitiness, and an echo of toasted caramel malt.

A whole lot of modern Christmas jammed into this bottle, yessiree. However, it's less the obvious sweet and spiced usual suspects, and more of the relaxed and mellow, but also an underlying restrained insanity so currently associated with the season - simpler than you imagine, but easily dismissed until it's all over...

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark chestnut brown body topped with a quarter inch off creamy, off-white head. Very thick, very coating lacing as it goes.

Smell: Earthy, spicy, malty nose with notes of anise, prune, black currants and, wait, is that Jäger I'm smelling?

Taste: Sweet caramel, spiced molasses, black licorice, and candied fruits blended with a full shot, no, make that two shots of Jägermeister. The heavy malts, fruits, and bitter herbal liqueur all vie for dominance. Who's the winner? Well, I'll just say you get a bit more Jäger on the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Grr, when I get my hands on whoever dropped a shot of Jägermeister in my Gouden Carolus Noël, I'll take my shoe to them!

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured, it's deep ruby body is just slightly hazy and appears almost brown beneath its full head of frothy tan foam. The head retention is quite good and it leaves some very nice lace as well. The nose is rich and exciting but not overtly bold, revealing more and more of itself with each sniff. Cola (cardamom) is evident upfront, backed by a note of sweet black licorice (from star anise) and some prune-like fruit. Nutmeg and cinnamon creep in along with some tropical fruit, the suggestion of caramel and cocoa, and a splash of thin alcohol. It's lightly tingly across the tongue with an exceptionally fine, median carbonation and a medium light body. In the flavor, fruit is initially suggested with a combination of berries, cherries, pluums, and tropical notes that quickly become drenched in cola syrup. Chocolatey notes approach but hesitate to actually make an entrance; and sweet anise becomes dominant at the swallow. Alcohol skirts around the edges as well, always present but without ever really making itself known. It finishes dry but with the suggestion of sweetness, similar to molasses; and with a light dusting of ginger and peppery spiciness. Quite remarkable! As complex as it is, it's actually very focused. An impressively spiced holiday ale that deserves a place at the dinner table: working equally well as an apertif, mid-meal accompanyment with a wide variety of dishes, balancing dessert beer, after-dinner drink or night-cap. A brilliant diamond in the rough!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 release, on-tap 12/29/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a bright crimson color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, Belgian yeast, dark fruit and some spice.

T: The taste is fruity with strong flavors of cherries, other dark fruits and brown sugar. Then a bready Belgian yeast and hearty malt character follow. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean for the style.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice stronger Belgian-style beer to drink for a while until it starts to catch up with you.

Photo of Kegatron
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a goblet.

Pours a deep, dark amber with a fairly nice sized poof of tanish white head retained well into a nice foamy covering. Lacing was good. Aroma is sweetness, yeast, deep notes of dark fruit, and alcohol.

Taste is dark malts, candy sweetness, mellow dark fruits, spices. Finishes with a fizzy bitterness and then a splash of sweetness and warmth. Mouthfeel is effervescent yet velvety. Alcohol is present but not overly noticeable, instead imparting more of a warming sensation.

Lots of deep notes of sweetness and spices and a warming alcohol effect make this a perfect Belgian beer for sipping by the fire during those cold winter nights.

Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Ho-Ho Belgian Christmas.

Light creamy head, little lacing, dark molasses brown ruby color.

Nose complex and weird, holiday spices cinnamon, clove, nutmeg maybe, hints of citrus, booze, light coffee, creamy malts and caramel, molasses, candi sugar, OK but just all over the place.

Taste malty, caramel malts and reddish malts galore, semi sweet, light candi sugar and molasses, light biscuit, vanilla, spices with more holiday spices, little creamy, earthy and herbal little tannic flavor probably from the spices or barely detectable hops. Light estery booze. Finishes a bit boozy, drier but sticky syrupy feel, more spices and caramel reddish malts, hint of dark fruits finally.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb, warming almost tingly booze.

Overall nice except the earthy herbal tannic taste I'm not a fan of. Decent spices held in check, great almost barleywine malt profile, tasty and decent booze profile.

Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
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

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshly tapped in a Gouden Carolus chalice.
Cast a dusky magenta, showing lighter crimson at the edges.
Slim beige head.

Gorgeous aroma. Sweetness. Cocoa. Dark fruit. Creamy. A raisin wrapped in chocolate, dipped in brandy, set on fire. Wine-like, at times.

Slick, sweet and delicious on the tongue. Slips through the mouth and tickles the senses. Warm, and wonderful. Molasses, brown sugar, figs, and carob. Then the booze speaks up. And I agree with everything it's saying.

Long, warming finish. Never too hot, never too sweet, just right.
Spice + fruit + magical Belgian malt and yeast = perfection.
Yum meets yum.
This is just right for tonight. It's what 3 below? Holy Cow!
I have half a mind to stay right here and finish the keg. Sounds like a plan...

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a brown color with about a finger and a half of off white foam. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, some bready malts, and booze. Maybe a hint of some spices as well.

t - Tastes mostly of dark fruits, especially raisins and dates.I also got a little bit of banana, as well as the taste of sweet malts and a tiny hint of booze, but not as much as in the smell. Pretty nice.

m - A sticky sweet taste with a medium body and little carbonation. A little alcohol taste to it but considering the ABV not too bad.

d - I thought this was an above average Belgian. I enjoyed the sweet smell and taste of dark fruits and sweet malts, and would definitely try this again.

Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazed brown with a tan head that descends to a patch.

The smell is of caramel candy, vanilla, and alcohol.

The taste is of caramel candy, vanilla, and a subtle apple/pear fruitiness. Very sweet - almost sticky.

It has a thickish medium body. A bit syrupy.

A bit too sweet, boozy and almost too syrupy for me to really enjoy this one too much. It has a nice enough sweet candy, with a bit of a fruity character for slow sipping, but too sweet for the whole thing - Glad to have shared it.

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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 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 Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a large tan head. The first aroma is nothing but licorice, which is not a smell I really enjoy. As the beer airs out a bit, I get some prunes, cherries and Belgian yeast notes.

The flavor is also very heavy on the licorice. I also get a little roasted malt, caramel malt, cherries, prunes, yeast, brown sugar and some alcohol. Overall, the licorice is dominant.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
88 out of 100 based on 774 ratings.