Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

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BA SCORE
88
very good

730 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.48%
Wants: 25
Gots: 52 | 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
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Ratings: 730 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of fastd03
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Through my extensive beer sampling over the past decade, the tap version of this beer remains the single best beer I have ever had. While the bottled version has slightly less vibrant color and isn't quite as flavorful, the tap version I had several years ago at The Brickskeller in Washington D.C. remains the only beer I have ever gone back and ordered a second time the The Brickskeller. It has a beautiful color, and more importantly, the warm, rich flavor of a Belgian winter ale, topped off with a hint of sweetness. Fresh off the tap, served in a thick goblet, this beer is truly unequalled.

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

Merry Christmas in July!

bottled date: 3-2010

A-dark chestnut with a thin light tan head. beautiful.

S-pine needles, sweetgum leaves, and black licorice. this smells amazing and complex.

T-comes in with a great taste of dark belgian malts and black licorice. its a nice warming flavor. has a great biscuty context to it, it then transitions to an after-taste of licorice, belgian sugars, and caramel.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is just great tasting. i could drink this all night long, which is hard to say for many beers of this weight. i like the Noel spin on the style. it doesn't get old, in fact, i wish i could've had a lot more.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

About a ifnger of cream-colored foamy head and almost opaque ruby body. Some lacing.

Boozy, raisiny nose with some fig and banana.

Taste is rich-- bananas foster, dark plum and fruit-- even a little blueberry. There's an aftertaste, but not a bad one. Slightly dry in the finish but very sweet overall (not cloying). Delicious.

Mouthfeel has some present, slightly coarse carbonation.

This is nice, and I say that as someone who holds the bar pretty high for Brouerij Het Anker. A bit more Christmasy than Gouden Carolus Classic, and not as sweet as Kaiser Blauw.

Photo of dyoung3
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in goblet glass at Thirsty Monk in Asheville, NC.

Appearance: Ever so slight reddish hue when held up to the light but otherwise black. I can't remember the head retention or any other qualities based on sight.

Smell: Again, the subtleties of the nose have escaped me but I do remember classic dried fruits, some Belgian-yeast presence, and some spice.

Taste: LICORICE! I HATE licorice as a food in itself, but man did I enjoy it in this beer. Incredibly flavorful for me and exactly what I was looking for at the time. I REALLY enjoyed this beer's flavor even though the rating on BA has been on the low side.

Mouthfeel: As expected for a 10.5% ABV. Pleasant and warming on a cold evening.

Overall: Highly recommend. My favorite style is Christmas beers so perhaps I am biased, but this is definitely one of my favorite beers overall. Wam, Bam, thank you Ma'am.

Photo of Krakistophales
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a super dark burgundy with about 2 fingers of a slightly tan head that recedes into a solid half inch film.

S: Mint, ginger, dark fruits, berries, creamy sweetness, caramel

T: Berries and mint hit first, with more assorted spice in the middle, and a creamy sweet croissant-like finish towards the end.

M: Thick, full, heavy, warms nicely, slightly sticky.

O: I'm quite pleased with this one. It's sweet, creamy, aromatic, and has a hint of spice that seems to blend well and is rather balanced.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It may be a bit ambitious for me to try to tackle this beer at almost 1:30 AM when I have to be up at 6AM...but what the heck. I have had some pretty mild beers so far tonight, so this will be my dessert. Let's give it a go:

Appearance: Pours very dark, but when you look at the stream poured into the glass, you can tell that the beer is pretty clear and has a bit of a reddish tint to it. There is a solid 3" head of antique white bubbles that was creamy looking and didn't look like it was going anywhere anytime soon. The head hadn't noticeably fallen in a few minutes, so I am diving in anyway. There is some solid lacing left on the glass after drinking the beer and the head never completely goes away. Even 15 minutes after the pour, there is still a rocky looking 1/8"+ head on the beer.

Aroma: Lots of fruity esters with dark fruits and bready yeasts along with some evident alcohol already. Definitely has the dark malt complexity of the finer Belgian beers with sweet almost resiny syrupy complexity. As the beer sits there is a little more hops noticeable, but they aren't challenging the elements of the malt and alcohol much, but they are starting to show up to add complexity, which is nice.

Taste: Dark fruit are the most predominant part of this beer, but the alcohol, carbonation and sweetness play on the palate big time. The beer is medium bodied, but the carbonation is high, so it masks any residual sugars well. There is sweetness in this beer that is quite bold and is giving a bit of a syrupy impression on the palate, but the attenuation and carbonation prevent the beer from getting cloying at all. The finish is all about the sweet, and even though there are some hops to taste, there isn't much in the way of balancing hops, so the sweetness runs wild on the palate for the finish.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. The sweet balance is a little high for my taste, and that is surprising as I am a malt-head. The high carbonation really does a lot for this beer to make it more drinkable. I don't know what else to say other than that this is a good beer and that I would be proud to have brewed the equivalent...but there are a number of other beers in this category that pass this one up. This is a tough category. This beer is no slouch, but is only "pretty good" when held up to the greats in this category.

Photo of Adamthome1
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
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 devilishprune
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gouden Carolus Noel 12/11/10

A. Dark brown with red highlights when held up to a light. No head retention

S. Mainly licorice, with the alcohol scent hidden very well.

T. Taste follows the nose, but this beer tastes strangely like an undercarbonated Coke. Alcohol is still hidden very well. Very sweet at the beginning.

M. Light body, but very high carbonation.

D. The high alcohol will sneak up on you in this one, I would say that it's pretty drinkable.

Photo of Cozzatoad
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle, a leftover from the christmas season at a local pub

A- Very dark brown. Light brown head that has a lot of small bubbles but disappears too quickly, leaving some lacing around the glass

S- Strong sweet malts with some caramel, liquorice and dark fruits undertones. That would be very nice if it wasn't for a strong metallic alcohol aroma that gets too dominant

T- The flavour range is wide and very interesting. At first you feel a porto-like taste, probably from the sweet malts, that is not uncommon with quads. Then you can also feel that the beer is creamy, with some stoutish undertones to it (toffee, liquorice). There are some more flavours that come along with the malt (caramel, dark fruits). Plus, there is also a strong and spicy alcoholic feel that gets very strong at times

M- A wide range of flavours as i mentioned, but really badly mixed up. This beer has a big and wonderful creamy body that is meant to feel smooth, but there are a lot of issues. First, flavours can be felt only at times and then they vanish in the following sips, this beer feels uncanny. Second, the alcohol is too strong, burns the palate and ruins the creamy feel. Third, a roasted feel that has nothing to do with what the beer is meant to be shows up at times and makes this beer even stranger

D- As just pointed out, this beer is badly mixed up. It is also a bit stomaching, so the drinkability really takes a big hit

This beer has what it takes to be a great beer (a big and yet smooth body, a great range of flavours) but it is badly balanced. That's a shame

Photo of 77ships
3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 Vintage, tried it Feb. 2011
From notes, on-tap@Kulminator:

A: very dark brown, cannot see through it, white head that leaves plenty of lacing
S: dark fruits (including the typical Belgian raisins), sweet malt, toffee
T: like pure liquorice, liquorice taste dominated so strongly that it was almost as if I was drinking liquid liquorice, also toffee, dark fruits, sweet malt, brown sugar, it is sweet to top it off
M: on the heavier side, certainly not thick but somewhere in that direction, certainly up there for a Belgian beer, not a lot of carbonation to speak of
D: this is basically liquor liquorice to me, quirky once but could not even imagine drinking this ever once again but who knows

Photo of teromous
1.95/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dated 23/09/09 on bottle. 1PT 9.4FL.oz in a corked bottle.

A: Pours a medium brown color into what becomes a very dark brown and nearly black glassful. It has a substantial cola-tan head. The lacing consists of very large bubbles and the head stands up pretty well.

S: It smells sweet and slightly fruity (prune-like), with some of the malt coming through. It has a hint of licorice smell. I can smell the alcohol, and there is a hint of metal. The scent isn't all that pleasant because the alcohol and metallic scents mask most of the complexity.

T: It has a strong flavor to it, almost like a barleywine. It tastes a little off compared to similar style beers...it could just be the age or a difference in brewing methods. It's authentically Belgian but it doesn't taste quite right. It's a little sour and I can taste the hops but it's not bitter. I don't get any "Belgian Yeast" character at all. It's very roasty.

M: The mouthful is a little raw. It bites back with an unpleasantness which makes it hard to drink. On a positive note it is a large bold beer that says "I'm here".

D: I can't drink more than a bottle of it. It has a very high alcohol content, and when drinking it you can taste it. The roasted flavor amplifies the alcohol flavor somehow and just makes it hard to stomach. It's not blended together well. I would not drink this again.

Photo of AlexF
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour a deep ruby-brown colour. Creamy head that disappears quickly.

Fragrence of cooked grapes, anise, brownies, overrippen fruits.

Holy damn anise-sweetness-coholy! This is an intense brew. Could have use a little more subtelty. But still, it's a straight to the point X-mas brew that will warm you up. Syrupy, heavy, intense.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a mini Tripel Karmeliet tulip. 10% ABV, 03/08/10 printed on the label.

Thanks to bnieman for this brew!

A - The brew pours a dark brown, almost impossible to see through. Held up to light it's a hazed-over dark mahogany color. A nice tan head springs up and lowers slowly but with very little lace left over, especially for a Belgian.

S - Notes of pine and juniper add spice to the otherwise low nose. Deep malts and dark candi-sugar present sweetness but it doesn't stand out big. Molasses and maple are suggested too. Smooth and round, Belgian yeast and dark fruit esters are present as well but low. The heavy but low aroma lets out fig and plum as it warms.

T - Mild spicy esters give Nöel a nice little kick. Notes of pine and juniper from the nose with fig and plum bring out good characteristics. The roasted chocolate malt never gets bitter in part to the Belgian dark candi sugar. Lingering coffee flavor on the finish.

M - Medium-full bodied and smooth with a touch of crisper carbonation through the finish. Nöel has a mild spice and balanced sweetness that lingers.

D - The alcohol is very well hidden in this brew. While mild, the spice and fruit aspects really make Nöel a nice holiday brew.

Photo of wmtxbb
2.68/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Hazy dark brew with a finger sized head on top.

Scent: Pears, dates, cinnamon, pepper and a little alcohol.

Taste: Liqourish, an assortment of fruits, molasses, maple syrup, toffee, sweet malts, peppermint, and alcohol. Finish is dry. Flavors don't seem to mix well.

Drinkability: Incredibly complex. Not something to drink on a whim. By the time I got to the end of the bottle I poured the rest of this beer out. It's a shame; I really can't put my finger on what's wrong with this beer.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - slightly hazy deep purple, tall tan head retained very well, settling at a solid covering
S - bananas and sweet plumb, light cloves, licorice, and alcohol
T - rich plumb and grape, sweet licorice candy, clove spiciness, and a phenolic finish
M - full bodied effervescent, smooth and spicy with the high alcohol blending fairly
D - generally sweet and rich fruitiness, the alcohol is strong but well balanced and works with the flavours, a high octane holiday treat

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into snifter. Clear dark brown with ruby tinges and a thin, tan head. The aroma immediately lets you know what youre in for. Rich winey alcohol hit followed up by powerful orange-tart fruit notes with cinnamon and spice in the background. Flavour is packed with dried fruit, dark muscovado, figs and cherries. Chocolate malts also feature. Superbly balanced sweet-spice finish. The alcohol has an immediate impact with a warming glow spreading outwards. Very rich, full palate with light carbonation it carries the alcohol well.

Photo of Radome
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 330 ml bottle into a snifter.

A - Beer is dark brown and cloudy. The head is tan with tiny creamy bubbles. It maintains a thin layer throughout and has nice lacing.

S - Very rich aroma. Biscuity malt, plums, raisins, alcohol notes that remind me of port. In the background there is a vinegar smell that leaves a cloying or heavy impression at the end of the sniff.

T - The taste backs up the aroma. Plums, raisins, malt and alcohol mix together, but a heavy sweetness detracts. There is a vinegar or soy sauce hint in the background that I don't care for.

M - Body is heavy. The alcohol is detectable but not burning. Carbonation gives a smoothness but not real fizz.

D - Overall, I don't care for this as much as the standard Gouden Carolus. There are nice flavors and aromas, but they get muddled by a heavy sweetness and vinegar note that leave an overall cloying impression.

Photo of rudzud
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*2008 Vintage*

A - Nice dark mahongany pour with a one finger head that is super thick leaving massive side lacing along with big thick clumps atop the brew.

S - Mostly subdued muted notes of dark fruits and licorice. Really nice sugar notes.

T - Powerful almost salty fruit notes. Kind of weird but theres a light olive and prune/dark fruit notes. Very random flavours with that salty interplay but there is some nice strong earth notes.

M - Light body with low carbonation. Not syrupy at all. Just feels great on the tongue.

D - Tastes really good but that odd saltyness throws me off. Light mouthfeel is good but some aspects of this dark ale could be better.

Photo of ocelot2500
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black color with a tight off-white head that leaves a god amount of lacing.

Smells of sweet, dark fruits and some alcohol.

Tastes of deep fruit notes with a spicy notes. Fruits are characterized by raisins and figs. Sweetness is moderate. Spicy notes of ginger, clove, and anise add depth to the sweet fruits. Alcohol is noticeable, but is pleasant in its presentation as it does not overpower anything else presented.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation. Has a sticky, syrupy finish which works well with the sweetness.

Photo of kwjd
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at Burp Castle in New York City. Pours a dark brown colour with thin off-white head and nice lacing. Smells strongly of black licorice, with cinnamon and brown sugar. I cannot stress how strong the black licorice was, which was too much for me. Trying to keep an open mind since it isn't my favourite flavour, but it was too much. A little bit boozy as well. Big carbonation level. I could only get through about half of this and gave it to a friend. Though he did enjoy it.

Photo of dragonWhale
2.28/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The most intriguing thing on tap at Washington Commons in BKny. Well, the 2nd most, but that wasn't on tap anymore.

Brown and murky. Mysterious and dangerous. Smell of spices, malt and anise.
I sip, anise. I gulp, anise. Everything I taste, anise. Bullshit, anise. Unbalanced, overspiced, kinda gross. This will be my last affair with this beer. I'm actually exceptionally puzzled that this was deemed a worthy affair by these brewers whom I consider to have mastered the art of not deluding me into thinking their beer is good. Unfortunately, this will make me think twice of ordering any of their beers in the future.

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

750ml bottle bought from Beersofeurope.co.uk... aged for about 18 months...

Poured a deep dark burgundy red colour. Creamy head poured quite loose and foamy then faded to just a thin ring around the edge... light carbonation... some sticky lacing...

Aroma - Dark spicy fruits (raisins, prunes, some blackcurrents, light banana), strong toasted toffee maltiness, some molasses notes, light aniseed hints, some light rum traces, vanilla, light oakiness, some nuttiness, peppery hops...

Taste - Quite spicy vinuous fruits (definite raisins and prunes, spicy apples, some strawberries and blackcurrents), brown sugar / toffee sweetness, toasted bready maltiness, strong Belgian yeastiness, light brandy notes, Christmas spices (nutmeg and light cinnamon), nice warming alcohol, liquorice hints, spicy hops...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry then some smoothness coming through after.. Medium / full bodied... Pretty drinkable considering the strength...

Overall - An excellent Christmas beer - perfect for a cold winters night. Highly recommended...

Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
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 bucklemyshoe
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 12/23/2010:

#9 - 12 beers of Christmas. 750 mL bottle at 42* into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: This pours a very dark brown color with amber hues and a thick, two-finger head of heavily carbonated white foam.

S: The nose shows aromas of bananas, booze-soaked dark fruits, and spicy earthiness. I wish there was more to it.

T: The taste is of plums, ripe red grapes, bananas, brandy, and a spicy yeast character.

M: The body is medium with average carbonation and a sticky and somewhat hot finish.

D: This is a bit boozier than I'd prefer and it wasn't very complex.

Photo of willjschmidt
3.18/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours a very murky brown with a thin tan head.

S: Sweet toffee malt, a bot of booze.

T: Slightly sweet malt in the form of toffee and brown sugar. A bit of spice and white pepper. Very hot and boozy in the finish. A bit muddled.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

D: I did not enjoy this one as much as I had hoped I would. The hot alcohol in the finish is not very pleasant.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
88 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.