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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

690 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 690
Reviews: 445
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 14.94%
Wants: 20
Gots: 35 | 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: 690 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer appears dark chestnut brown with a formidable khaki head. Ample lacing and lasting head retention. The aroma offers malt, sweet spice, brown sugar, dark fruit, alcohol. Sweet breads, dark fruit, spices, malt, brown sugar, and Christmas cookies in the flavor. Quite sweet throughout - I am glad to be splitting this bottle. Licorice, candies, decadent holiday sweets, fruitcake. Complex and well done, though a bit cloying for my taste. The feel is thin to medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Overall, a bit too sweet, though well done and enjoyable. Best in small quantities.

Huhzubendah, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked & caged bottle 2008 version. I shared this one with some friends as I thought it would be a chore to kill the whole bottle. Into a snifter.

A-Gouden Carolus Noel pours out a semi thick looking syrup. It has a dark brown to mahogany/copper like color. A very weak head tries it's best to even reach 1/2 of an inch in height but it doesent have the legs to achieve it. Maybe a bad bottle?

S- A whole lot of dark fruits including those in the citrus category. Ripe banana % spicy yeast. Some figs, dates and a lot of prunes in the nose. As it warms some candy like gum comes up as well as spices.

T- Follows the smell with the prunes overshadowing the banana. Some raisins and caramel with a pinch of chocolate. Nutmeg and cinnamon and toasted malts. A lot of sweet sugars with some cherry & licorice in the finish.

M- Light to medium bodied with some carb make this one an easy drinker. This is a little flat at times and could be more lively. A bit of alcohol in the mouth plus some warming effects.

D- At 10.5% this one's a sipper for sure and i'm glad i shared the bottle as I probably would not have finished this alone. Not the best BSDA but worth a shot. The balance of the flavors could improve.

BARFLYB, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of jdhilt
4.65/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two-fingered creamy white head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy mahogany color. Strong carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Raisin/plum nose. Flavor - sweet raisin, caramel and spices, high ABV is noticeable. Nice Christmas ale. 750ml bottle, gift from Liquid Solutions Oregon City Or.

jdhilt, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

afsdan, May 22, 2014
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, murky amber brown brew, poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice. Tightly beaded off white head and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell: Some hops, licorice, Christmas spices. All are quite apparent in a fairly strong aroma.

Taste: Decidedly malty, with some brown sugar, date and fig tones. Aniseed like spice. Black licorice is also a dominant flavor coupled with the spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, also has a lingering spicy finish and the flavors stick with you.

Drinkability: A warming winter offering from Gouden Carolus. The black licorice is a love it or hate it thing, and is the main flavor in the beer. Would go nice with some gingerbread cookies.

Stinkypuss, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Mebuzzard, Aug 02, 2014
Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle
Caged/Corked

Been sitting on this one for over a year.

Poured into a tulip a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty with some yeast, figs, raisins, plums, and some nice tones of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very nice tones of dark fruit and caramel. Medium body, a nice balance/complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from these guy's, highly recommended.

Wasatch, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of ppoitras
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Moan & Dove, Amherst, MA. Presented in a almost straight-sided Saison DuPont glass.

Arrives with a 1/4" beige head above the dark caramel-hued brew. Head is somewhat short-lived, yet exhibits good lacing. Aroma is sweet malts with an alcohol tinge. Taste follows the nose, with spicy Belgian notes. Mouthfeel and drinkability both excellent. Excellent holiday brew.

ppoitras, Feb 13, 2005
Photo of smakawhat
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2009 9 9 stamped bottle resembling a nice dark dark brown giving off a great dark mahogony hue around edges, big head and retention.

Fascinating smell of chewy licorice and a floral/perfume quality. Sometimes it even smells like a candied rose or something. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and dark spices.

Great sweet nutmeg and hard candy palate with a great mouthfeel that seems perfectly balance between body (not wet or syrupy) and afterfinish that is noticeable but not overpowering. Highly alcohol masked as well for 10.5

Drinkability is very desirable, but truly a Christmas beer. I can't see myself having this in July when it's 90 degrees out of course ;) but... why would you want to ;)

smakawhat, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

brandoman63, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours a a dark brownish amber color with very good head retention and lacing. This beer looks impressive. On the nose I get some cherry, cola and spice, all of which combines very nicely to make the aroma very enticing. On the palate this beer is just delicious. There is a delightful maraschino cherry flavor, coupled with cola, vanilla and chocolate. The beer is medium sweet, with a very long, smooth, rich finish. This beer is just decadent. Alcohol is pretty well disguised, though you can tell it's up there.

An excellent X-mas beer. The best I've had this year so far. Good stuff.

John_M, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of biegaman
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noël conceals its Christmas cheer. At a glance it might appear dismal and dusky, like a cold winter night, but if you hold it right up into the light you'll see that it is in fact bedecked in a glinty scarlet red wrapping. Its head, though much dissipated, is just like a garland wreath and steadily remains tightly knit around the beer's perimeter.

Belgian Strong Dark Ales - the good ones, anyhow - all smell of spice and sweet malt and yeasty dried fruit-like esters. This has all those qualities as well as something extra. There is the distinct scent of black licorice (the alcohol combines to make it resemble a throat lozenge); if anise wasn't used in the recipe I'd be shocked. The aroma, I finally realize, smells exactly like how plum pudding tastes - how appropriate for a Christmas beer!

Every Het Anker beer I've tried to date has tasted fantastic - this one included. Once again, plum pudding makes a convenient way of summing it up. To leave it at that, however, would be being too simplistic; the beer is layered with flavour. A gift basket of spices - anise, coriander, clove, ginger root - spruces up the taste of brown sugar-coated roasted yams. Sweet, toffee-ish malts and dark fruits are also ever present.

This thing has legs - it keeps running from flavour to flavour. The mouthfeel, too, has plenty of dimension; it shifts between sticky-sweet and spicy. It's like drinking caramelized brown sugar and a liquefied plum pudding. The texture is lush and the alcohol procures a Grand Marnier-like aftertaste. It will warm your holiday spirit but isn't likely to burn it.

Of all of Belgium's great breweries I'd have to say that Het Anker has to be one of the greatest. And while I recognize this as just my opinion, I'd leave it up to anyone to try this Noël beer (or their Tripel or their Classic or their Cuvee de Keiser, etc) and try and argue me. I just assume the town of Mechelen has a traditional Christmas carol that makes some mention of this beer - because if it doesn't already, it definitely should.

biegaman, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a raisins, dark friluit and some pine. Estery as well.

The taste consisted of a sweet caramel, raisin, candy sugar and a touch of alcohol.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and complex strong ale.

plaid75, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into my Pumking chalice. Dark brown in color with a thin, sticky head to it. Really nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a big dark fruit presence to it with notes of plum, fig and raisin all present. I get some notes of clove and anise to it as well. The spices are nicely balanced with the malty flavors. Nice aroma for a holiday spiced beer.

The taste follows up with some very rich and sweet dark fruit flavors. Fig and plum seem to lead the way. The spices are a little more reserved but I do get more of the clove and anise towards the finish. Enough bitterness comes out in the finish to keep the sweet dark fruits from becoming cloyingly sweet. It comes together very well and again the spices are nicely balanced with the malt flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being about average for the style. Overall, I thought it was a very good holiday spiced beer. They didn't go overboard on the spices, which I appreciate. The dark fruit flavors were also particularly nice in it. It came together very well and is one of the better holiday spiced beers I've had in a while.

billab914, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

dmorgan310, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of Bighuge
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer has a murky muddy brown appearance. A slight beige head sits on top. Lacing is only adequate. The aroma has a sweet rock candy like presence. Very inviting. A little malt as well and hints of alcohol. This beer is nicely put together. Many layered complexities emerge through the drinking process. First, the alcohol makes its presence. But that takes a backseat in no time at all as the waves of candy, fruit and malt take over. But then the alcohol comes back and stays for the duration. Signs of wood and yeast come and go as well. But the alcohol taste is the mainstay, and for that reason, I dock the drinkability and give it an avg. rating in that department. The lingering bitter alcohol taste is not pleasurable. Looking past that one minor fault, I'd say this is pretty good, but I'd not spend the big bucks for it again.

Bighuge, Feb 17, 2003
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ML bottle picked up at the Boise Coop for $4.75; poured into my standard red wine glass.

Pours a deep burgandy red with a nice 3/4 inch lite tan head. Crystal clear and with no yeast haze (the bottle says "refermented in the bottle, I don't believe it") and absolutely no yeast left in the bottle.

Aromas of fruitcake and spices ... almond cake ... make that rum cake, but all of that plays a second fiddle to the sweetness and the "yeastiness".

Wow, I must start paying better attention to Belgian Holiday brews .... this is really good .... really really good. Definately a sipper, but no reason to hold that against it. Flavor is complex and at the same time all over the place ... it bounces all over your tounge. Sweet, peppery ... I get ginger and a little sweet orange peel.... maybe a little metallic but I could be imagining things. I can't say it enough ... big and uniting fruitiness ... plums, cherries and applesauce. Finishes enough oddly enough with a long but lite and lingering young port. Nice carbonation, but possibly a little aggressive; sorta lightly rips the flavors away, I think it would be fine with a slightly less carbonation level.

Don't know what to say about this brewing company, I remember loving their amber and triple... but this was something pretty special. I will probably pick up a 4-pack for the cellar even though I don't believed they're bottle conditioned.

JohnGalt1, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

KAF, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

rolltide8425, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Chestnut brown without any sediment, tan head, little retention, nice lace.

S: Dark fruit, orange rind (Curacao?), pleasant non-descript spicing, floral hops, fruit bread with candied fruit. More alcohol as it warms.

T: Very fruity, candied fruit, dark fruit, bready, nice spicing, marmalade, slight bitterness, alcohol is remarkably subtle.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body, moderate carbonation, warming alcohol finish.

D: Quite drinkable for its strength.

Derek, May 14, 2008
Photo of Tone
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of mint, spice, slight hop, sweet malt, and slight licorice. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of spice, slight sweet malt, cream, licorice, and hint of yeast. Overall, an interesting beer - good appearance, aroma, and blend.

Tone, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of beertunes
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in 10oz glass and shared with some friends. Poured a clean, clear reddish mahogany with a tall fluffy tan head that had very good retention and surprisingly light lacing.

The aroma was a very pleasing blend of malt, yeast and spices.The taste didn't have as much of a yeast taste, but the solid malt foundation supports the spiciness nicely.

The body was a bit lighter than I expected, but was very crisp with a dry finish. Drinkability was excellent, I may go grab a couple more bottles of this.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

beertunes, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a clear deep brown color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. The lacing leaves a nice webbing on the glass.

Smells of licorice and anise, alcohol, and dark fruits, in that order. Very interesting.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet Belgian candy sugar hits up front for a split second before it's overtaken by licorice and anise. The licorice and anise stick around all the way through the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness that's backed up by subtle carbonation. This goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I'm not the biggest fan of licorice, but I still like this beer. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

Overall this is one of the more interesting Christmas beers that I've tried. Give this one a shot if for no other reason than for how unique it tastes.

glid02, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of Gusler
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the pour, the beer appears to be a somewhat caliginous cherry red color, the head Bunyanesque in size, the texture creamy, with sticky sheets of lace to caress the glass. Nose is fruit sweet, over ripe apples and or banana comes to mind, malt tones and light caramel hints also present a treat for the old honker to sniff. The start is honey sweet, the top lean, the finish is pleasantly acidic, cheerfully hopped, dry and somewhat alcohol bitter aftertaste. Yes, it does “Warm the Tummy”, and should definitely be put in the “Winter Warmer” category. If you like strong high ABV beer this is a must try, but you may find it a bit pricey at $10.49 a 750ml bottle. Personally I don’t mind the price, because “I’m Worth It Baby”!

Gusler, Nov 24, 2002
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 690 ratings.