Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

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very good

465 Reviews

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Reviews: 465
Hads: 779
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 19.6%
Wants: 27
Gots: 74 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 465 | Hads: 779
Photo of Jredner
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rich sweet malt and dark fruits flood the nose. There is a musky perfumey flourish as well. Body is a murky brown and holds two fingers of mocha thickness in the creamy, but bubbly, head. Fore is somewhat toasty with malts and there are mild sweet fruit flavors. Alcohol is fairly hot and assertive through the middle and the finish is midly bitter and almost tart and acidic. Some very mild spiciness as well. Overall a good beer, but doesn’t tie things together nearly as well as the Carolus Classic.

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Photo of beerogre
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Even though tonight is as far away from Christmas as it is possible to be, I decided in the beer store that this was to be the main beer highlight of the weekend that I would be trying for the first time (well, this and the Ommegang Hennepin Saison I had last night).

Well, it's pretty good and quite naturally improves as one works ones way down the goblet, as the beer warms. I think I prefer Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or - Cuvée Van De Keizer, from the same stable, but still, this a fine offering and not far behind at all.

Having that Licorice element in there definitely helps bribe this judge when it comes to holding up the scoring cards, as does the warming strength and very well balanced sweetness.

Overall an excellent beer, whether you pull it out of your Christmas stocking or pop the cork outside on your deck to celebrate Midsummer's night.

Updated August 19, 2013 - In the intervening seven years since I first reviewed this beer, my palate has gravitated more towards IPAs, than the darker, sweeter beers which I was formally so fond of, but even so, this beer is every bit as good as I remember it and definitely a classic.

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Photo of clickpush
4.97/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour: 750ml bottle to tulip glass. A large light tan 2-3 finger head appears over a dark copper body, and just a couple trails of tiny bubbles coming up the side of the glass. The head lasts several minutes and leaves a fluffy layer on top of the beer that looks as thick as meringue.

Nose: Smells like gumdrops and a lit up pine tree sitting in someone's living room. Allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, and a faint dustiness to it that does a good job at keeping the alcohol at bay.

Mouth: A huge warm alcohol spiciness combines with the above mentioned spices, raisins, and bananas to make an extremely complex and enjoyable dessert beer. Hardly any hop presence at all, but it's really not needed in this one.

With this beer you can taste Christmas all year round!

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours to a nice brownish amber color with a velvety white head. Fairly cloudy. Looks good, though lacing could be better.

The smell is good. Very phenolic and spicy. Slightly medicinal. Hints of black anise and spices. The taste is very similar to the smell. Quite fruity and sweet, though it dries off at the end with the spices. Anise is present throughout, though not enough to make me sick. Reminds me almost of a Jaegermeister beer, as bad as that sounds. Reminds me of winter, though, which is good for a Noel.

Decent body. The alcohol is fairly well hidden beneath the spices. It stands to be much more drinkable without the medicinal phenols, but otherwise it is an excellent beer.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If I was having a bad day, this is certainly a beer I wouldn't mind coming home to. Pour is a tad more brown than amber, with tan head sealing the deal. Aroma is sugary sweet, like a black cherry pie out of the oven. Taste is brown sugar, cherries and a bit of buttery maple syrup. I'd say this is devine. Mouthfeel is good and velvety. I bought one bottle but certainly will buy it again. This is a fix for a Belgian craving.
Paired it with some smoked gouda and that worked well. However, I would choose something a bit more sharp next time.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a stunning looking ale: dark-brown with a ruby glaze, bubbles dancing toward the top like a light snowfall in reverse, crowned with a creamy mocha head. Thick walls of lace.

Smells of rum-soaked raisins, sweet malts and a grassy earthiness. A bit of the alcohol shows through, but it's not overpowering.

Tastes of lightly roasted malt, chocolate cake doughnuts, whipped cream, rum, figs, raisins. High ABV is well-hidden.

Mouthfeel is interesting. The head makes for a creamy, milky delivery, but the body is a bit thinner than expected for this style and flavor. The creaminess wins out.

A sweet, smooth, complex, creamy holiday ale that I can't wait to drink again next holiday season.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle. Allowed this beer a few months in my cellar before opening.

Appearance- Yielded a spritzy head with bad retention but very good lacing consistant throughout the beer. Color was a russett, ruby, amber, dried blood color.

Smell- Bananas hit the snoot pretty hard with some tart red apples and sweet licorice to balance the chiquita onslaught.

Taste- This brew starts with bananas and then leads into some candied apples and caramel. The middle follows seemlessly with black licorice and slightly toasted malt. The finish is a tart yet sweet apple brandy.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation and a pretty light body make this beer very enjoyable. It is nice to notice the flavors change with each degree rise in temperature. The licorice flavor becomes more prevalent as the bheer warms.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.66/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was trying to save this but I've seen it around at my local haunts in full stock so its safe to gobble and enjoy.

Not much for appearance but I really dont care much about that. copper to deep red, medium carbonation. Spicey smell.

Whoa Boy!! This brew is not for the faint of heart. No, Nooo, its not a hop bomb to make ya shiver this is a malted, sweet black liquorice induced stong ale. Spicey edge (Ginger creeps in?) is the biggest seperation from the emperor. Cinnamon some sweetness that is dark, maybe some brown sugar. Sharp closure as the carbonation is snappy. Bigtime nightcapper material. Hits with a huge warming effect, Yum. A tinge of sour at the end in the aftertaste. Awww Fuck this is a goood beer.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2003 Bottle

A: Medium brown with a very thin tan head. It's kind of a weird look for a beer - fairly hazy for such a dark brew.

S/T: People seemed to complain about the alcohol strength, but I think the cellaring mellowed that out quite a bit. The alcohol presence is almost nonexistant. Chock full of spices in this bad larry. Lots of fruity sweetness, mostly from things like cherries and plums. The contrast between the spices and the fruits give the beer a wonderful balance.

M/D: I don't generally expect "hazy" to equal "creamy," but in this case it holds true. Drinkability is INSANELY high, given the beer style and the alcohol content. I definitely think this is a product of the aging. Mild carbonation, and even a bit of a drying effect as the beer leaves the palate.

Quite a nice brew. Would enjoy a younger version to compare.

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Photo of Hobbz
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Big bomber as pictured with no freshness dating to spot. Purchased from the great beer joint in Hamden.
Appearance: Poured a ruddy soupy brown with a pretty limb half inch head. Okay retention, but excellent lacing on my Unibroue tulip.
Smell: Sweet spicey alcohol
Taste: Full flavored brew. Predominantly running the show is a spicey malty goodness. Loads of caramel and toffee mix about with anise, cinammon and coriander. As it warms, you get a bit of brown sugar soaked in some strong alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, yet weighed down by a sugary sweetness and warming alcohol.
Drinkability: Nice winter warming, sipping brews and unwrapping presents beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad Mex Robinson I'm going to say thanks to Nick, he's one of the bartenders/servers who has had experience working at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse. Needless to say I know he's a fan of Gouden Carolus Tripel and if he saw that they could get a keg of the Noel I'm sure he swayed somebody to make that decision. Appearance: Deep ruby brown light white bubbly effervescent head scattered lacing on the chalice. Aroma: Deep plum spiced nutmeg and other chirstmas spices infused with warming alcohol fruit notes of raisins and apples, nice. Taste: Strong sweetness layers of spice, fruit, and alcohol complexities. Not quite as solid as it has been in the bottle, but damn good nonetheless one of the best Belgian Christmas offerings. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied solid carbonation effervescent tickles the palate a bit. Drinkability: A winter warmer of a devine caliber draft was an experience definitely amazing in the bottle but still great flavorful experience on tap.

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Photo of spiffylubes
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown/amber with about a finger of slowly dissipating head, leaving a couple millimeters of creamy head at the top. Little lacing while head dissipates, but considerable amount while being drunk. Very strong smells of cherries, spices like cinnamon and maybe some clove. Slight alcoholy sweet smell as well. Similar tastes, with loads of cherry and sweet alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth, slight warmth from alcohol, with a sweet aftertaste. Fairly drinkable, one bottle is more than enough (as it is with most 750 mLs for me)

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Photo of sweethome
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours with cloudy dark amber to brown color. An off white head, leaves little lace. Poured in a belgian goblet.

Nose of coriander and anice. Fruitiness present - dried cherries and plums. The mouthfeel is full and quite alcoholic. Rather chewy malts, but the spiciness just overpowers the malts. Hops can't cut through the spice either.

It does not take long for the alcohol strength to show itself - provides quite a warming feeling.

The spice just dominates...anice is most powerful, with plenty of coriander. Some dried fruit in the midmouth, but spice lingers on the finish.

Tone down the spice and this 750 ml would be much more drinkable. My belgian beer fan friend I shared this with couldn't drink much more than a few sips due to "over spicing." I concur.

So close, but yet so far from being a great belgian Christmas beer...

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Photo of Gavage
4.22/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An aged example from… Damn, 2003…

A strong and delicious Belgium ale with multi-faceted fruitiness: certainly dark fruit flavors (raisins, dates, etc) but also some light fruits as well, such as some appely sweetness up front and a touch of acidic green grape in the finish (just a hint though). Of course there is the robust, sugary maltiness with notes of caramel, toffee, and even chocolate. Thrown into the mix is a pleasant spice profile featuring nutmeg, cinnamon, and some clove. A sharp alcohol bite tops of this brew’s flavor pretty much from start to finish. Highly recommended!

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Photo of evh883
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being that the Belgian brews are my favorites, I loved this one. It had a very dark and opaque amber/brown color with a nice head that faded rather quickly. I loved the aroma of the beer which had some cinnamon and nutmeg standing and also a slight fruitiness. I picked up a ton of molasses flavor with some berry notes along the aromatic flavor mentioned before. This is a truly exceptional beer and made my Christmas Eve evening a memorable one.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL cork-n-cage bottle that could be a year or two old as the label has some wear. Served in a Chimay chalice on Christmas eve. Pours a deep garnet with a 1 finger tan head that reduces to a quarter inch of creamy foam. Smells of holiday spices and some malts. The most prominent flavors are cinnamon and anise, but they're followed with spiciness, yeast, ginger?, clove?, and alcohol. Good spices, but not enough beer flavor. The body is medium to thick and it's easy enough to drink for the 10% beer it is, but I was expecting something more from my first winter Belgian.

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Photo of paterlodie
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB16-10-06. Good brown head and nice darkbrown almost black beercollor. Nose is very esterfruity making it into a bubblegum and bananamix. Some darkmalt arome comming trough aswell as some candy and high alcohol content obvious. Taste is sweet and alcoholic with good roastnote that goes well with the alcohol and bitterness aswell as a good nutty arome. Highly carbonated with it making taste even more bombastic but IMO very unbalanced to the sweet and alcoholic side. Certainly something else and drinkable but to me one glass is enough.

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Photo of carln26
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper to brown in color. Very hazy with a light fluffy tan colored head. The nose is a mélange of toffee, nuts, dates, cinnamon, all spice and mild orange on the finish. The flavor is spice up front. Coriander, and orange peel. There is a lot of malt sweetness. Figs, dates, and toffee come through in the middle. Then some fresh bread. Mild bitterness throughout accentuated by the orange in the finish. This has a thinner mouth feel than the Cuvée Van De Keizer. A bit slick. Mild alcohol warming and a nice drinkability. Merry Christmas.

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Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

wow another awesome xmas ale. wow another good gouden carolus...

appearance: nice dark brown amber. lacing was sparce. nice thick head.

smell: somewhere in the vein of chocolate covered bananas. a bit of hops and slight traces of alcohol, sugar cane, and plums.

taste: man there's a lot goin on here. sugar cane, plums, raisins, a nice bouquet of spices; cinnamon or nutmeg perhaps?

mouthfeel: nice and robust. the flavors really showed through as it warms to the taste. a lil hoppy.

drinkability: excellent. despite the high alcohol content, this beer could be drank, or sipped and enjoyed rather, until memorial day.

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Photo of davidchollar
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a very dark brown with red on the edges when held to the light, thousands of tiny bubbles make an active carbonation leading to a massive tan head that stays forever. this looks similar to others of this style, and it looks so so yummy.

smells like raisin bread beer. fruity, wheaty, even some sweet bubble gum. definitely a strong abv but pretty subtle considering. there is a lot going on in the nose, and the alcohol takes a back seat to the complex bouquet of aromas.

i'm never going to drink wine again. why waste your time with that shit when there's beer out there like this. complex, powerful, creamy, bitter dry and strong. if i had to come up with any negatives, i would say this is perhaps a bit rummy. maybe it's intentional for the christmas style, but i taste rum and eggnog. not a bad thing at all. this is an excellent one to sip and quaff, sip and quaff ...

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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.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked bottle. Gouden Carolus Noel pours out a dark brown color with a big tan head. The aroma is nutmeg, licorice, and fruit. Lots of licorice flavor in this beer, along with dark fruit and spices. A little caramel and some flavor that is sort of smokey. Surprisingly smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Great drinkability. This 750 ml bottle went down very easily, and it's at 10% abv. Perhaps not as complex as some Belgians, but the flavor is very nice anyway.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is a 2005 bottle. Pours a nice rosewood, with a lasting head. Some lacing is noticed. I could not begin to discern the individual aromas. Spices abound.

Taste is really good. I usually steer clear of holiday spiced beers, but Brennan at Kahn's seemed pretty stoked to have this on the shelf, so I got two. This beer is heavily spiced, and I expect to buy more for cellaring until next year. Mouthfeel is heavy, and moderately carbonated. More drinkable than I expected, 750ml is no problem.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 465 ratings.