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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
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Ratings: 690 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mjw06
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looked gorgeous in my snifter, rich head that left a faint lacing on top of a cherry black color.

The smell is of liquor, dark cherries, caramel, and a bit of tropical fruit. Very full smell that feels the nose. I'm sure there's much more in there that I had difficulty picking out.

Taste is full and mildly complex, but thin, and leaves only the taste of alcohol when its all said and done. I don't know if this more attributed to the taste or the feel, but either way, they don't work very well together. Every bit of flavor is just that, a bit, that hits at the beginning but disappears completely by the finish.

This style can be particularly difficult to drink, at least relative to the manner in which most drink other beers. But truthfully, when I drink a belgian dark, the warm alcohol taste and feel is of course expected, but I'd like to get cozy with a little more than that. This beer kind of fails in that area, as I wouldn't seek this beer out again, though I still think its a good beer/winter selection.

mjw06, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of donniecuffs
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

At the Mohawk House in Sparta, NJ. Into a tulip, it poured an opaque brown, with one finger of tan head that both retained and laced well, with no visible carbonation. Smelled of big spiciness, sour plums, candied pears, and a hint of alcohol presence. The taste confirmed the candied pear presence first and foremost, along with sour plum and black cherry, and then finished on a sweet note, with the alcohol well-hidden throughout, or at least much moreso than in the nose. Smooth and of medium thickness; very little carbonation. Tastes like a nice warming beer, though the abundance of sour plum and pear almost made it too fruitcakey for me.

donniecuffs, Dec 22, 2010
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 andrenaline
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to my neighbour for hooking me up with this little diddy!

A - Pours a dark murky brown with two thumbs of off-white head with really solid retention and some fine sticky lacing.

S - Fruity nose with grapes and plums, followed by spices of nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet alcohol lingers on the finish.

T - Pretty intense flavours which became more prominent as it warmed. Some dark cocoa malts, followed by some black licorice, sweet cherries (almost medicinal) and peppery spices. Nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon are also making their presence known.

M - A lighter bodied ale, full of carbonation, but goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

D - Overall, this was one tasty ale. That being said, I'm not certain I could take down more than one bomber of this stuff. The ABV is relatively well hidden, but at 10.5% it's tough to be inconspicuous. The flavour bouquet is quite unique and intense, and a worthy offering for any fan of dark Belgians.

andrenaline, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of scootny
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rich full holiday ale with spices blended to perfection. Dark and lovely in the glass with a thick head and plenty of lace. Notes of rum, port, spiced cakes and dark fruits. Taste is all that and more with a gentle alcohol warming. Caramel center sits atop dark sweet breads. Mild hops let the sweetness linger in the finish as the heat subtly glides in. Dry and mostly clean with a bit of sweet port. Feel is almost quad like in its richness but not quite. Smooth full carbonation with a nice weight to the fluid. Goes down quite well and the abv never really shows itself until you feel it. A new fave for the holiday season.

scootny, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of drummstikk
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

drummstikk, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of sartoric
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle opened at home and poured in a Gouden Carolous cup.
Pour a nice dark brown with tan head. Immediately the complex aroma hits you with malty and caramel fragrance, then came the licorice and a spicy background and some rhubarb. Sweetness and Bitterness are well balanced.

Its full slightly sticky body and soft carbonation make this brew a wonderful pairing for "Cassoeula" a typical Milan's winter old and poor recipe made by stewed pork parts (rind,rib,ear,snout,foot,lil' sausages) and savoy cabbage.

Aging is strongly recommended. After 1 year the body and smoothness that didn't met my expectations last year (that doesn't mean I didn't enjoyed this beer ;) ) are now very satisfactory

sartoric, Dec 15, 2010
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 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 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 kiddynamite920
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A reddish, dark brown with a head that is a mix of tight laced bubbles and large bubbles. Showing signs of lacing with some short legs.

S: Aroma is quite full of Belgian yeast characteristics. Sweet, banana and bubble gum with some alcohol esters. Also picking up some mint but nothing along the lines of cinnamon or clove. A bit of prickly alcohol.

T: Taste is actually quite crisp, sweetness of the Belgian yeast at first that finishes quickly with a good carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden here and can only be detected on the very end of the sip. Big on the banana and sweet estery notes. Dark fruit notes with some bready qualities. Still having a hard time deciphering this from a BSDA, looking for something wintery here.

M: Carbonation seems low on the initial sip, yet builds as it begins to sizzle on the teeth towards the end. The body is nice on this beer and you certainly get no heat indication of the abv.

D: Very enjoyable beer, very drinkable. Not what I would expect from a Christmas style beer though. So judging this stylistically it is a great beer, but when they slapped the word "Noel" on it I would hope for something that reminds me of the season.

kiddynamite920, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of rarbring
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A light hazy brown orange beer, a solid off-white head leaving good lacing, and is having curtains.

The smell is fruity, sweet syrup, licorice, like stepping into a fine candy shop.

The taste is complex, swinging between licorice, green Stilton, dried figs and port wine.

Medium carbonation, soft and a full complex body.

A very nice Christmas beer, rewarding to just sip and enjoy.

rarbring, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

lHefty and boozy dark ale with a great sipping quality.

Presentation: 330 ml capped brown bottle. Black label with a festive oval illustrated with a snowed scene where Santa rides with the "horses" in the sky. Side narrative offers background of the brewery, with general brew notes. Notes Alc. by Vol. (10.0%) Served in a snifter.

A - Dark brown pour with dark burgundy edges, generous foamy head, good retention and surface memory and some touches of lacing.

S - Nice nose, sweet, hinting at molasses and dark fruits, Belgium yeast sense with a boozy whiff.

T - Complex range, pretty hefty with a prominent boozy edge that rides pushing up with strength the caramel, raisins, plums. dash of anise. Yeasty touch in the back with a hint of spiciness.

M - Medium-full body with generous carbonation that fades adequately as the brew progresses. Boozy lingering finish.

D - Nice and pleasing sipper. It comes together as a notable drinking experience.

Notes: Sure the booze has a bit of a prominent edge, but it is not out of sync with brews offering a similar profile or some of the other Gouden Carolus I've tried, for instance it may lack some of the nuances and complexities of the reserve but this is worth picking up and repeating in any case.

Daniellobo, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of BMoney575
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 11-29-10
3-8-10 date on bottle.
10% abv.

Pours a very deep and cloudy brown color, with just a slight tan head right in the center. Very thick and viscous-looking.

Smell is intense caramel malt, sweet and buttery, with lots of alcohol to really liven things up. Aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove are there, adding a nice complexity.

Taste is the same caramel as the smell at first, followed by an unexpected kick of hop bitterness. The booze comes in next, accenting the bitterness. The finish is tart and earthy, will more bitterness on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very slick, with a nice thickness. Mild carbonation keeps things suits the flavors well.

Drinkability is quite good, the flavors are big but well balanced and the abv helps more than it hurts.

Overall, a very good beer, if not particularly unique.

BMoney575, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of mithrascruor
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a solid dark brown/black color. Head is off-white and slightly tan; fairly creamy with some big bubbles. Slowly dissipates into a heavy film.

Smell: Initial aroma of fruits (cherries, pear, and plums in particular). There's a hint of sourness in there too.

Taste: Again, quite fruity with plums and pear. There's a great level malt sweetness - not too sweet, though. A bit of honey, anise, and other spices come out later, and then there's some bitterness at the finish and into the aftertaste (which is mostly honey and bitterness). There's some warmness, but no outright taste of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite smooth. Doesn't feel dense at all. Moderate amount of carbonation, but it is very light and tingly; not distracting at all.

Drinkability: Very drinkable - despite the high alcohol content, it isn't present in the flavor. And the taste is good without being too intense.

A very nice Belgian Christmas-time ale. The flavors here are a bit different from some others, but it works quite well. The alcohol gives it a nice "winter warmer" effect too, without actually tasting the alcohol.

mithrascruor, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a short, creamy tan head that hangs out forever as a thick film over a deep brown body with orange edges. Plenty of carbonation present. Great lacing.

Light, citric aroma, touch of peppermint, and then licorice root comes through as it warms.

Flavor is of black licorice candy, with a touch of ginger and honey. Fruitcake-like candy / candied fruit comes through as it warms.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and creamy - almost reminded me of a nearly flat ginger ale, with more depth/body.

Big points on drinkability - this would be a lot of fun on draft, and if you ever need to choke down grandma's fruitcake, just pour one of these to pair with it - it would make it taste good.

BeerImmediately, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of grittybrews
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured cola black with a finger of fluffy khaki head. Strong, sweet aroma of molasses and licorice spice.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, creamy, borderline-syrupy mouthfeel. Intense, almost overpowering black licorice sweetness up front with caramel and hints of banana, citrus, and spice. Quite a bit of boozy warmth on the finish.

Sugary licorice really overpowers this beer, rendering it cloying and almost Jägermeister-like. Hard to have too much.

grittybrews, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of rand
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From bottle to wine glass

Aged for 1 year

A: Pours out a dark brown, completely opaque, forming a big fluffy head. Amazing retention - as it very slowly recedes, the brew leaves a wall of sticky lacing.

S: The nose is ripe fruits and freshly baked sweetbread. Big tropical tones accent the fruity profile...mango, papaya, banana. Alcohol volatiles and carbonation stream the yeasty brew - powerful aroma.

T: The fruity esters dominate the front of the sip and the tropical tones of the nose are immediately noticed. Figs, raisins, and a raspberry/strawberry candy tinge join in. The alcohol warms but doesn't bite - surprisingly subdued for it's style and ABV. Although there are the many described layers of flavor, there's little to balance the sweet, fruity onslaught, and the sugary sweetness can be a bit much. Finishes sweet and sticky.

M: Rich, creamy, frothy. Carbonation is light, and the full-bodied complexion leaves a trail of residue with each swallow.

D: Definitely meant to be sipped. This brew is far from boring, but it's not delicious: there are a lot of sweet fruity layers to be pondered and observed, but the flavor profile is disjointed. It might take me awhile to drink through this.

Notes: The brew has a lot of interesting characteristics and an expansive flavor profile. And I love Het Anker. But ultimately there's just too much going on and the multitude of tastes almost confuse your palate. Although I like beers with unique and complicated profiles, I like the flavors to blend into a sort of singularity. This brew's flavors, although interesting and distinct, are conflicting and awkward.

rand, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of nerdrocker101
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

nerdrocker101, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of jsh420
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

guessign this bottle to be 2 years old

pours cloudy amber brown with a 1 finger tan head that left no lacing

smells of nutty fruit malts belgian yeast and some booze

taste - oh yeah thats the stuff - semi sweet nutty caramel toffee fruity malts leaves a nice aftertaste of chocolate malt

mouthfeel is light little thin with low carbonation - very smooth

drinkability is good - very easy driniking for a 10.5% brew

jsh420, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of adrock7309
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

adrock7309, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of Trizzle
1.65/5  rDev -58.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours lively - a shaken coke, and like a shaken coke it's big sparse head fades in seconds. Body is a not unpleasant red brown but hazy even at room temp.

Aroma is big and there is plenty going on.. Candy sugar, acetone, cherrys, stale port, orange rind, alcohol and some Belgian yeast. A motley and jarring combination.

Taste? Fuck. Well, nail polish remover and cherry sherbet dominate. Cheap white rum, more stale port , some cola and toffee syrup' Very cloying. I know I've mentioned white rum but the alcohol is actually reasonably well hidden. (behind cherry sherbet and acetone)

Medium light in the malt, low carbonation.

Obviously not my sort of drop and very undrinkable for mine.

This was supposed to be my after work Friday treat. I'm tipping it and switching to my Bunnahabhain single cask. So there.

Trizzle, Nov 05, 2010
Photo of impending
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into a tulip. Pours an opaque mahogany with medium coffee ice cream colored head which receded fairly quickly.

Aroma of port wine reached me from the bottle. Nose is strong, intense, dark fruits about to rot which someone spilt port wine upon - wonderful, very interesting.

Full bodied chewy mouthfeel. Definitely a Noël brew. Sweet, figs and other dark fruits plucked from a rum cake. Anise and nutmeg are prominent, excellent complexity. Phenols can be the bane of a belgian, here they are aggressively, exquisitely blended. The warmth of the alcohol keeps the taste in balance. The aftertaste which is the sum of all the flavors lingers nicely.

A good example of a brew only the Belgians provide.
cheers
jd

impending, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.2/5  rDev -19%
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.

Thorpe429, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of bamadog
3.03/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review is from notes taken on 10/9/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark cola brown and starts with a 2 finger fluffy tan head with decent retention; body is dark and murky, almost entirely opaque; thick fluffy strands and webs of lacing are left behind as the fair head slowly dwindles to a full and uneven frothy cap.

Smell: Smells like a TON of over-ripe, dark fruits, Belgian candi and spices; definite presence of alcohol. I'm a little nervous about the sweetness now as I'm feeling it's going to be cloying... Not awful and nice and robust, but damn, that sweetness...

Taste: Yep, overly sweet and ripe dark fruits and lots of them; lots of the Belgian candi and what would be a nice backing of caramel malts if they weren't totally owned by the fruits and near-cloying sweetness; definite booziness and presence of the Belgian spices (cardamom, cloves, etc.); bit of a mess and medicinal (not in a good kind of way, but like a syrupy sweet cough syrup or flu medicine) and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight with moderately strong carbonation that is not overpowering and very fitting for the style; a moderately thick and semi-dry coating is left behind and the belly is left feeling just a little bit warm from the ABV.

Drinkability: Meh -- not something that I'll be seeking out as it's too sweet and medicinal; the ABV would also prove to be a bit much as well; ultimately, if the sweetness is something you like, this may be your beer, but as for me, I like a bit more balance with the spices, and if it's going to be sweet, I like it to be more from the caramel maltiness as I feel it blends better and allows other aspects to come through.

bamadog, Oct 10, 2010
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 690 ratings.