1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

694 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 694
Reviews: 446
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 14.94%
Wants: 20
Gots: 36 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Gusler on 11-24-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 694 | Reviews: 446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

RblWthACoz, Jan 24, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Slatetank, May 16, 2013
Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +18.5%
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

russpowell, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

jlindros, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
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...

feloniousmonk, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

WesWes, Nov 03, 2004
Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

mdfb79, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Mora2000, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

jwc215, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.83/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I pop the cork on the 750 a blast of raisin aroma emanates form the bottle. Plum aromas mixed with alcoholic rum like notes escape as I pour this lightly hazy amber-brown beer. A dense tan to light brown head tops the Noël. There are some notes of dried fig in the aroma as well, overall a phenomenally enticing aroma to this beer, and I have yet to taste it.

The taste; a rich brew, though light bodied given its 10.5% alcohol by volume, by no means light though. There is some definite spiciness here, seems like some coriander along with some other spices have been used, though because this beer is so rich and fruity it may just be the Belgian yeast character. This beer finishes with a definite alcoholic bite, though it is not overbearing and goes well with the spice notes. Lightly sweet with raisin and other dark fruit notes are in the fore front of this beer. There is no real bitterness, the spices and alcohol counter-point the sweetness and fruity flavors. This beer is incredibly good, and incredibly under-rated. I am certainly going to get a couple more bottles of this to age, next winter these could be stunning. This is just a damn good winter seasonal beer, certainly the best I have had yet this year.

Gueuzedude, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of Halcyondays
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a dark mahogany, burnt umber colour, with a nice finger of off-tan head, good Brussels lace.

S: Definite candy sugar, candied fruit, butterum candy, sweet smelling if you get my drift.

T: Heavy notes of brown sugar and characteristic Belgian fruit esters. Chocolate covered cherries, orange marmalade, molasses and raisins are clearly evident. Clear Belgian flavour and character.

M: Smooth and silky, not terribly robust, but it's there for sure. Very soft carbonation.

D: Way too drinkable for it's size, great flavour, this beer could be dangerous at a Christmas party.

Halcyondays, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of BlackHaddock
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a review of the 2008 brew which was stored at the brewery for two years and opened at the 16th Essen Christmas beer festival 2010.

My bottle review wasn't overly kind to this beer, what a diffence a couple of years in a cask makes!

The liquorice flavours that almost ruined my bottle review were almost completely gone, to be replaced by blackberries and plums.

The aroma was Port like with sweet molasses and Christamssy spices added, as was the rich taste and mouthfeel. Someone mentioned 'cough sweets' in the beer tasting notes at the festival and that is a good choice of the words too. That liquorice flavour from my bottle review now coming back into play as the mouth dries giving the beer an alcoholic, malty, cough sweet sort of taste.

Anker matured this specially for two years, I thank them for that.

BlackHaddock, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of Gavage
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy brown color with a one finger head. The head slowly falls to a spotty surface foam. Some spotty lacing develops through the drink.

Smell: spices, caramels, and alcohol.

Taste: this beer is flavor packed and fits the season it is brewed for. Cinammon, raisins, brown sugar, caramel, ripe plums, hints of licorice, yeast, and alcohol are neatly balanced with a spicy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium to heavy in body. Lightly crisp at the start with a long smooth finish of the sugary sweetness, spiciness and alcohol.

Drinkability: this is a wonderful "sittin' by the fire" sipping type of beer. I finished the bottle in a little over an hour. Worth seeking this out.

Gavage, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of GClarkage
4.65/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

GClarkage, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +1.3%

InspectorBob, May 27, 2013
Photo of corby112
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a large forhty head. Very malty, spicy aroma with hints of dark fruit, chocolate and pepper. Sweet matly alcohol taste up front with a dry, peppery finish with hints of raisin and dark cherries.

corby112, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of weeare138
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 750 mL corked & caged bottle from this past release...
Appears a murky, amber-toned brown with a small, creamy tan head that slowly fades into a floating cap of milky froth. Plenty of scattered chunks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of fig, raisins, caramel, candi-sugar, apples, anise, cinnamon, molasses, and brown sugar.
Taste is of the blended aromas in a sugary, plumy mix that has hints of tobacco leaf and doughy yeast.
Mouthfeel is medium/full bodied, sugary sweet up front with a smooth, warming cake-like dessert enjoyability.

weeare138, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  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.

dbrauneis, Nov 07, 2013
Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, cork and cage, pours dark brown, murky and cloudy, dark tan head, good retention and well developed sticky lacing. Nose is strongly anise, ginger, alcohol and burnt fruits. this is a lovely and complex BSDA. Alcohol evident, warming. Notes of dark sugars, burnt fruit, smoke, vanilla, bananas, jam, dark malt. This strong brew has it going on in many directions. Fine winter treat.

Billolick, Jan 25, 2005
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark mahogany color with a small dirty cap

S: Black liquorice comes off with some hints at spice, fruits

T: Blacl liquorice is dominant, not over the top but the dominant flavor. Some carame, spice, dark and medium fruits

M: Nice and subtle, not to sweet, no carbonation issues

D: Average. Interesting

barleywinefiend, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brick Store Pub in a Gouden Carolus glass. Poured a very dark brown, almost black with a decent head that fades somewhat quickly but that leaves some excellent lacing. Lots of licorice and anis aromas coming from the glass, and the same is true of the flavors. Licorice up front, followed by a delicious sweet breadiness, followed by a hit of anis on the finish. The mouthfeel is big and creamy, and though it's got a high abv, its not hot at all. Overall it is a wonderful winter warmer with a slightly different flavor profile from the rest.

Georgiabeer, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As a revisit, this is the 7th beer on my 2008-9 Belgian Winter Ale tasting "panel"; no freshness info. is provided on the label/bottle, served just cool, not chilled, in Hapkin's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: pours a deep mahogany hue with very moderate steams of carbonation and a huge dark beige froth that sustains remarkably well, leaving untidy lacing all round as it finally dissipates... Considering how clear the liquid and the bottle are, I suspect this ale might be filtered rather than bottle-conditioned?
S: utterly aromatic, with lots of caramelised apples, overripe black plums, and sweet herb-tea to ride on top of a deeper layer of jammy dark fruits/black-berries, hawthorn-fruit candy, highly fruit estery notes, black-sugary bitter-sweetness with a touch of treacle. Thickly fruity, showing a great depth and body already on the nose, but never alcoholic or sharply estery.
T: a smooth and lubricating swallow of syrupy black malts, jammy black/blue-berries, raisins, plus mild spiciness (like a treacle fruit-cake flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and powdered licorice), is subtly balanced by a mixed herbal essence like black herb syrup plus an intriguing flow of flowery/grapey fragrance (almost like the Muscat grape). Lightly oily in the finish, but not thick or cloying at all due to the contribution of a deepening bitter-sweet herbal touch from hops and yeastiness.
M&D: incredibly smooth on the palate with a lubricating mouthfeel and very little carbonation, this is a dangerously drinkable X'mas ale that has a 110% flavour and body to offer than meets the "tongue"... The overall complexity is decent, but somehow the sweet side of the story does manage to dominate the second part of the mouthfeel and renders an eventually, slightly sour-fruity edge like all sweeties. Apart from this, I have no complaint at all about this ale.

* Tasting Date: 07/06/06
Coming in a 330ml brown bottle, BB 09/08/08, served lightly-chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.
4 A: deep dark ruby hue, creamy but restrained layer of off-white head, slowly settling down and leaving very tight lacing.
4 S: deeply perfumy fruit-esters and sticky sweet fruits (ripe black cherries+fig jam+raisins+banana-oil yeasty), slightly alc. winey, but less syrupy than the tap version; an assertive, thickly-textured caramely maltiness stays firmly in the background, laced with a touch of creamy coconut-milk and burned palm-sugar. A touch too sweet to my liking, but not cloying by any means.
4 T: a mildly sour-sweet raisiny flavour comes along with plenty of preserved fruits upfront; the ensuing profound dark-malty overtone comes rather light, neither heavy nor sticky on the palate; gradually a semi-dryish sweet undertone of dried fruits, licorice and yeasts develops, leaving a faint trace of warming alc. lurking deep down the throat.
5 M&4.5 D: incre...dibly smooth and light on the mouthfeel, where the ultra-subtle carbonation is balanced well with the velvety-smooth texture and a slightly tangy kickback as a healthy balancer. Overall, not terribly complex, but this bottled-version outperforms the tap version by a mile, for its delicate body and balance, easily tricking one (me, at least) to believe it's a 7-8%abv.(at most) dark ale. Extre...mely dan...gerously drinkable it is, yet utterly enjoyable be it X'mas, Easter, Chinese New Year, summer solstice, or whichever else occasion.... Cheers!!

wl0307, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

superspak, Feb 06, 2014
Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

ejimhof, Dec 25, 2012
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 694 ratings.