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 davidt
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark ruby-brown with a small head. The aroma is sweet malt and fruity. The taste is slightly sweet malt, with dark fruits and complex spices and molasses. Nice mouth feel and warming when swallowed. We enjoyed this as our Christmas Eve beer. The high ABC went down very smoothly.

Photo of TMB0424
3.54/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ blind tiger ale house.

Poured a dark ruby body with a slight off white head. Disappeared very quickly into a small cap, leaving very light lacing along the tulip.

Aroma is extremely sweet and nice smelling. Sugary caramel, molasses, gingerbread, and tons of cinnamon. Honey-coated plums lurk in the background. Extremely nice smelling - the cinnamon is very pleasing.

It tastes pretty much how it smells - although sweeter, which is not a good thing. The cinnamon aroma takes somewhat of a backseat to the honey coated dark fruit and molasses, and it's just too sweet. It's nice to sip on (it went well with my lunch there) but it just got old halfway through the glass because of its intense sweetness.

Mouthfeel is decent, as it has somewhat of a soda-like feel to it. Very odd. It's full bodied with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. This is not a poor brew by any means, as it definitely has one of the more unique and pleasing aromas I've encountered recently. It's just not my thing, way too sweet. The mouthfeel is kind of "off" as well.

Photo of raoulduke37
4.58/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

Photo of rustymoore
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an deep brown with large creamy tan that seems to last forever with excellent lacing. Easily best part about this beer.

S: Interesting but nothing that could really pick out...I think there might be too much going on in the aroma.

T: Ok but really just tastes more like a mediocre Belgian rather than much of a Christmas beer. Very sweet (too much so in my opinion) somewhat watery with several fruit notes coming through as well as caramel.

M: Somewhat flat after I expected a good amount of carbonation.

D: Definitely wouldn't recommend more than a sampling of this...too sweet.

Photo of farHillsBrewer
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tasted 3 Belgian Christmas Ales and prefered this one.
The color was reddish brown with a slight brownish head.
The taste was quite complex: bread pudding, plums, caramel, cinnamon and just the barest trace of alcohol.
Wonderful warming mouthfeel and quite drinkable.
After the other 2 I tried, I wanted another of these.

Photo of goblet
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the bottles size is 750ml with a nice christmasy label with a date of 8/21/2010 popped the cork and gave it a pour into my goblet.

Appearance:nice fadeing fast frothy head ,little retention time the color is a deep brown with reddish highlights, after a few sips got specks of lacing .

smell:lots of malt and whisky alcohol aroma with fruits perhap prunes and figs ,very little hops are evident in this brew ,some spicy grains.

Taste: the whisky/scotch alcohol flavor jumps out at you, an odd blend of maltiness some weird spice that i can`t quite place .it`s complex and all over the place ,some dark fruit some grains,interesting.

Mouthfeel:medium body and malty and very spicy feel on the palate,very complex with alot of alcohol after taste .

Drinkability:it`s very complex and open to alot of interpretation ,is it christmasy ? i don`t know, maybe with a fruit cake but that has alot to say .

Photo of wardough
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the local YardHouse.

Overall-awesome. A great sipper on a cold winter night.
A: Poured on tap into a goblet. about 1/2 in head that disperses to lacing.
S: Figs, raisins, cognac. It's a party down there. Jump on in.
T: It's definitely a party. The alcohol warms you up, followed by the sweet taste of figs and raisins.
M: Heavy mouthfeel. Very light carbonation.
D: I drank a few of these and they went down with ease. For the style, very easy to drink.

Photo of ricke49
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with as much lacing as i've seen anywhere.

S: fig pudding

T: Fruity with lots of subtle alcohol at the back

M: Very enjoyable; good body (though thiner than expected).

D: would be better in winter or at least on a cool day....but even on a warm day the alcohol taste was not over the top and blended well with the figgy, date, raisen essence.

Photo of ROMER79
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter 2007 bottle

The pour was a nice one, a nice dark brown with a thick fluffy three finger head with great retention. The head laces the glass for a good while. Right off the bat I could catch caramel and chocolate in my first sniff. There may even be hints of nuts and fruit, but I definitely caught the alcohol fragrance. It tasted almost like chocolate cake with caramel and roasted malts at first, but after a few sips I caught the strong alcoholic after notes. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick and drinkability is good, but this is definitely a beer to sip and enjoy.

Photo of Agent1
4.66/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A brewery with experience. Let's see what this seasonal ale has to offer. With maybe a surprise ending at the end??

....

Appearance - A very dark, stern ale with amazing head retention. Faint, strong amber/ deep ruby coloration around the edges of my Gouden Carolus glass (when light manages to get through). An off-white, beige head with a slightly brown hue. Very rich and creamy. Thick head.

Smell - Strong notes of cherry, dark malts, light woodsy aroma with possibly even whiskey. Dark fruits with a light hop on the nose. Not much though. Quite spicy and sugary. Without tasting, it hints at being very sweet. Anise (a common trait of almost all Het Anker products) and dark, dried figs.

Taste - Smoke, whiskey/ scotch, ripe cherries, anise (black liquorice flavors), wood and barrel (this beer is definitely casked in something) with plenty of herbs and spices (I cannot seem to figure out which, and it's driving me nuts!). Hints of hops. Maybe traces of cinnamon, although very subtle. The alcohol, sugars and herb notes almost create the impression of cinnamon. This is definitely not as balanced as other Het Anker recipes, but it is still overwhelming delicious and impressive. A tad on the sugary side, but hell, it's Christmas!! This is one to bust out and overload on sweets!

Mouthfeel - The sugars and smokey notes really create a massive PUNCH here. After only one glass I am feeling this. A staunch kick-off to Christmas for sure. This is smooth and sweet. Again, a tad on the sugary side and the alcohol isn't fully hidden. But I am willing to cut this some slack being it's Christmas and the rum and the scotch are a-flowin'.

Overall - If you are not a fan of Christmas treats and toothaches, then perhaps this is not for you. A plethora of sweet notes, whiskey (wood and smoke), brown sugar and cherries with anise. As far as brewing goes, I am fairly confident that this is the Classic aged in wood barrels each year. I am not entirely sure if it is scotch or whiskey, but nonetheless, it is aged and perhaps a few more ingredients are thrown in as well. Amazing and festive. Love this beer!

Photo of ninkasibrew
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 't Brugs Beertje.
Pours brown with medium carbonation
smell is sweet and candy.
Taste is sweet but mostly dominated by licorice. mouthfeel is medium to full.

Photo of nerdrocker101
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with ruby hedges. The head is tan and lays on the body like a blanket of dirty snow. Lacing linger mostly at the ring but become sparse below the surface.

The nose is spicy with hints of mint. An odd description I know, but nothing I haven't experienced before and certainly not a turnoff.

Sugary and malty. Like some sort of holiday pudding or bread. Somewhat spicy with an almost dry characteristic like cinnamon gives off.

Warming with a medium-full body. Not too bubbly, but enough to accentuate the warmth of this brew.

Very good Christmas ale. This would make an excellent accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner.

Photo of veggiemafia
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Fathead's in a goblet.

Good dark ruddy reddish black with some remnant of a light bone colored head. Almost no lacing.

Smell is nice, rum, cherries, honey, and a good bit of alcohol. The alcohol has a character like bourbon or something.

Taste is big on a few things to me, cherries, plums, honey and alcohol. The cherry component though tastes kind of sour, like wild cherries, but it tastes somewhat artificial, and I thought it was just me, but my buddy said the same thing when he tried it. It's kind of like whatever artificial cherry flavor they add to Pepsi.

Mouthfeel is substantial and sticky, pretty nice, and carbonation really makes a pleasant appearance when you take a big sip.

I probably couldn't have more than a couple of these, that cherry thing is weeeeird.

Photo of Vec2267
4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - murky brown, ample tan foam that comes back to life with a swirl, nice lace

S - anise, sugar, dark fruits (raisin), orange, alcohol - incredibly aromatic

T - anise dominates, molasses/brown sugar, raisin/figs, cinnamon, alcohol not evident - very complex - lots of dark fruit flavors

M - lush, rich, enough effervescence to not become syrupy

O - fruitcake in a bottle - everything from Het Anker is a malt bomb - this is no exception, but there is a ton of spice to provide balance and contrast - the complexity is what makes this beer

Photo of Weissenheimer
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With its very dark brown color and deep reddish highlights, this beer reminds me of Corsendonk Christmas Ale. It has a large, deep fawn head with a melted marshmallow sheen. It leaves sparse, sudsy spatters of lacing on the glass as I drink. The smell is heavy with licorice and anise, and the first taste almost bowls me over with them. The finish contains lots of molasses; it's not very sweet molasses, but neither is it bitter like the Anchor OSA. I think that's the best thing this beer has going for it: it's heavy, but it toes the line between bitter and sweet so well that it manages not to be overly cloying.

It takes me a lot of examination to figure out the procession of tastes in this one, mostly because the licorice/anise wallop covers up some of the secondary tastes. The first stage is well-rounded, and when I look beyond the blast of licorice I see that this comes from the overtones of bitter caramel and syrupy fruitiness. The second stage is highly carbonated and laden with anise. The finish is extremely dry and tingly, with a smoldering finish way on the back of my tongue. Again, there's some molasses in there, but it's almost smoky in its texture. It's also tangy but not overly sugary or cloying; it reminds me of bitter apricots. The bottle says that it ages well, and given the tastes I just experienced I'll bet that's true. I plan to get a few bottles of this and open them next year to see if the hard edges on this beer have been rounded out. If so, it will move up in my estimation from very good to excellent.

Photo of Adamthome1
3.52/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1pt 9.4 oz bottle; corked bottle opens with similar pressure to champagne, pours a very nice 3 fingered head (and that was with a slow pour, don't pour this one too fast!). label: 9/16/2010, batch 1076

Darker than expected; almost black, but I can see some light through my glass, head retention is great and the head is one of the thicket heads you will find.

Smells earthy, sweet - like granny smith apples, grassy, very typical Belgian style smell

Black liquorish hits right away, it's a roasty, dark flavor, root beer, some stout caramel dark hints, and surprisingly the 10.5% alcohol is very prevalent, I was expecting it to be masked well. Aftertaste is very warm, great winter ale, I am having mine late this year. There is a metallic character that's different, maybe undesirable to some but I am used to it from some of the eastern European beers I prefer.

Body is very creamy and rich. If black liquorish wasn't so dominant I would really like this beer. Slightly above average though, not bad for the $3 discount bin at my local Hy-Vee Spirit shot...This is one to share with a friend, you're basically drinking 3.5 normal beers given the bottle size and alcohol content.

Photo of zuggy9
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love this Belgian ale. It pours dark coppery-brown, with a nice beige head and great lacing. The smell is rich and strong. A lot of malt and fruit is apparent, with some sharp qualities. The taste is rich also, with a dense sweetness mixed with some fruit. It's quite creamy and is very full bodied. Very drinkable, despite knocking you for a loop with the 10.5% ABV. I can't wait for next season!

Photo of DPFRD
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark, nearly opaque, coffee hued head.

S- Spicy and boozy with some sweet malty aromas.

T- Sweet and malty, heavy phenol action. Some raisin dark cherry and licorice notes prevail. Kind of winey.

M- Medium to heavy body, mild carbonation.

D- Great brew. A bit sweet, but the quality of this brew is incredible and it is a true experience for the palette.

Photo of adrock7309
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 2010 bottle i picked up at Four Firkins into a small Chimay goblet.

Head was small and what little was there faded quickly.

Aroma was typical belgian with some bready yeast, dark fruit, cherry, and plenty of candied banana. There was also some mild spice.

Flavor early on was mostly dark fruit and bananas. As it warmed the banana flavor faded slightly and a ton of koolaid like cherry introduced itself. I was patient with this beer as I thought it would be more quad like and less fruit. Overall i was satisfied but wouldnt buy it again.

Photo of Hobbz
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this delicious beer on tap recently at the Brickskeller in DC. Was very much surprised to see it on tap, especially since I only had come across bottles when recently in the Bierlands of Belgium.

Drained from tap into appropriate glasses with full finger foam with the deep dark brown beer settling in nicely below. By the time these glasses were brought down below to the keller much of the suds had subsided - this is a 10+ percenter, after all...

The aroma was full-bodied candy-malt with also big nose of licorice and minty shades; in background, the age-old yet subtle yeast-bite.

The taste really was like candied-beer in a glass, matched with bold beer alcohol and perceptions of it hitting quite substantially (did someone mention schapps? well, gladly a strech). Yet all in all with each sip being more like a medium sized gulp, this seasonal truly is a tasty and drinkable beer. I really also liked the seemingly higher levels of carbonation in this one. Besides the above taste profiles were friuty and spicy notes (plums, anise - maybe coriander).

Enjoyed every last drop.

Photo of KingG
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 edition.
Poured into my Duvel tulip glass and served at cellar temp.

Appearance is very good. Dark red/almost purple colored beer with a very nice plump, light mocha colored head. No murkiness yet haunting with a dark shadow-like appearance. Very nice lacing coats the inside of the glass as well.

Smell is good. Sweet, fruity malts jump out with an earthiness that's welcome. Belgian yeast fragrance is there as well.

Taste is above-average. Bubblegum, unripe plum, raisins and a HUGE alcohol burst initially. The alcohol was almost over-bearing in the taste at first. After a few sips you get used to it though. However, i wish it wasn't so prevalent in the taste. Burped and it tasted like bubblegum.

Mouthfeel is good. The heat from the alcohol in the back of the throat takes away a point. Other than that, a perfectly carbonated beer.

Drinkability is above-average. One 750ML bottle was enough.

Overall: A decent Belgian beer that's a little rough around the edges. I'm hoping the alcohol fumes calm down when i age a few bottles.

Photo of akokandy
2.76/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle caged and corked poured into my Corsendonk tulip.

A- Dark, dark red with 2+ inches of head. After a few sips, the head died down and left some cool lacing patterns. A cool-looking beer in the glass.

S- Smells like white wine with some red fruit aromas.

T- Alcohol is definitely detectable. Red fruit flavors, especially grape, predominate. There is a wine dryness to the finish and a strong yeast note. The overall flavor is tart, yet also sweet. In-your-face flavor, but too much alcohol/wine flavor for me to really enjoy.

M- A lot of carbonation and a medium-full body.

D- I had a hard time finishing the first glass. The flavor is too tart, too sweet, too much. I feel it was overdone and it was hard to get through the bottle.

Photo of gerardoluna
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sep 15, 2008
[Eyes] Dark brown like the classic color with a moorefoamy white head.
[Nouse] The aroma is festive and strong... Christmas fruity with hints of banana, malt caramel, yeast, vanilla, and brown cuban sugar.
[Mouth] Great Full body with nice and gentile carbonation, notes of flavors of sweet, strong fruits, sugar and yeast. The Afther taste is long and sweet with a touch of caramel and vanilla. mmm!

Serving type: bottle

Photo of drummstikk
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark hazy brown with minimal head, smells of port: grapes, sugar, and chalk. Tastes of chocolate malt, white wine, dark caramel malts, phenols, and walnuts! Finish is exceptionally dry with oxidized malt flavors and a unique phenolic taste that really goes beyond traditional descriptors of cloves, bandaids, or medicine. It combines with a minearaly finish to produce a gummy, plasticy aroma, kind of like the bonding agent in plywood. But, you know, in a good way.

Hot alcohols play around with the phenols, while the good old fashioned ethanol warms your face and belly. The experience is a bit like riding on Santa's sleigh while huffing glue.

Body is medium and carbonation is light. I am not able to distinguish individual spices but I believe they're there, working at the complexities in my glass, begging me to try this again in a different mood, a different context, so I might find them. Others may have dinged this beer for its unique phenolic flavors, but I find them to be just as weird as anything else! This beer gets high marks from me for its dry finish and complex port-like aromatics, mixed with a sweet middle of caramel malt.

Photo of NoHipTee
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a chilled bottle.

A: dark amber appearance. Medium head that leaves a moderate amount of lacing. Thinnish froth that quickly settles to a pleasing "just big enough to touch my mustache" thickness.

S: a sweet odor that does hint at the high alcohol content a caramel and "old english" after shave scent.

T: a sweet almost dessert type of belgian ale that leaves a hint of licorice and anise on the palate. Not bitter at all. Not a very complex beer.

M: somewhat thin and watery for all the flavor and odor packed into this bottle.

D: Drinkable but not at the top of its class. Smooth but not good enough to linger in my memory much past my next trip to the bathroom.

A good beer but not a great Belgian.

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