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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

724 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 724
Reviews: 451
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.48%
Wants: 24
Gots: 49 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 724 | Reviews: 451 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Haybeerman
3.13/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color; a little ruby on the edges. Poured a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a bubbly skim. Patches of lace dotted the glass.

S: Caramel, candi sugar and spice. Plenty of alcohol.

T: Dark fruit and alcohol up front; a it like cough syrup. More malt character as the beer warmed. Dry and hot.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol.

D: Between the sharp sweetness and the alcohol I didn't find it very drinkable.

Photo of argock
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Refermented in bottle on 03/08/10. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop for $2.75.

A: Thick honey-amber with short and quickly dissipating off-white head with minimal lacing.

S: Strong caramel maltiness with dark fruitiness like raisins and figs with a short blast of berry alcohol and herbal, earthy hops.

T: Flavor mirrors the aroma very closely with muted spice notes a big caramel maltiness, fig, date, raisin, and some heat that is not overbearing. Hops are earthy and smooth out the finish.

M: Very thick and lush with low carbonation -- very elixir-like.

D: I really enjoyed this, but I can see how people see it as a jam-like sugar fest as it is very sweet. I am glad the spice components are background but they don't forget the hops and the alcohol contributes a warming, complement to the sweetness.

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a review of the 2008 brew which was stored at the brewery for two years and opened at the 16th Essen Christmas beer festival 2010.

My bottle review wasn't overly kind to this beer, what a diffence a couple of years in a cask makes!

The liquorice flavours that almost ruined my bottle review were almost completely gone, to be replaced by blackberries and plums.

The aroma was Port like with sweet molasses and Christamssy spices added, as was the rich taste and mouthfeel. Someone mentioned 'cough sweets' in the beer tasting notes at the festival and that is a good choice of the words too. That liquorice flavour from my bottle review now coming back into play as the mouth dries giving the beer an alcoholic, malty, cough sweet sort of taste.

Anker matured this specially for two years, I thank them for that.

Photo of Daredevil
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

almost opaque tobacco color
nose is dominated by licorice
lots of licorice in the taste as well, however well integrated in a rich bouquet of flavors including malty and fruity (pomegranate, plums, dates) notes
interesting brew, a hint too sticky-sweety for my taste but definitely worth a try

Photo of beertunes
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of stcules
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color, almost no reflexes. One finger of beige foam.
In the smell candy sugar, sugary. And malt.
Better taste, with candy sugar, maltiness, molasses. Fruity note (gooseberry). Sweet, spicy, christmas- like. Marzipan.
Alcohol well hidden, good body.
Warming aftertaste, very malty, with marzipan.

Photo of IceTrey9785
3.15/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 750ml bottle into an over-sized burgundy glass...

A: Really dark tawny color, with a nice tan head that lasts the whole beer. At least a finger of foam which was nice. You can tell by the appearance that the brew is creamy and rich.

S: Wow -- a lot of spices, maybe too many. I got tarragon, anise seed, white pepper, figs, different stone fruit, and maybe a hint of vanilla bean and ginger. It smells festive (as it should), but really intense. I was afraid this was going to be a really sweet beer. The alcohol definitely surfaces as well -- kinda prickly.

T&M: The first thing you notice is how rich and creamy the ale feels in your mouth. Brown sugar, baking spices, currants, and dark black fruit are predominant. There are a few hints of peppery spice, but the caramelized malt really covers up a lot of additional flavors. The finish is not that great -- way too much alcohol burn that overwhelms the dark fruit that should emerge.

In general, this beer has potential. I like the smell and the attempt at a very festive fruit-forward beer, but it falls way short. The alcohol is way too high and just ruins the whole experience. Maybe if they had kept the abv to about 9% max, it would be a lot more balanced. I don't regret buying this beer, but I'll definitely think twice before purchasing it again.

Photo of IronCitySteve
1.83/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Had on tap at Fatheads Pittsburgh.

A: Pours a dark brown color that does not let in any light. Provides a thick foam head with nice retention and some nice lacing.

S: Alcohol, dark fruit, sugared candy and lots of anise.

T: A lot of alcohol up front with some dark fruit. Has a cough syrup type taste with too much alcohol dominating. As this warms, the malt character comes out a tad more, but the alcohol still dominates.

M: Leaves a biting alcohol taste on the palate.

D: Not really a brew for me, high on alcohol taste.

Photo of DPFRD
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
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 mjw06
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Photo of donniecuffs
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

Photo of andrenaline
3.9/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of scootny
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Photo of drummstikk
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
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 sartoric
4.53/5  rDev +15%
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

Photo of smakawhat
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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 ;)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
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

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Photo of kiddynamite920
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of rarbring
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Photo of Daniellobo
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of BMoney575
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of mithrascruor
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 724 ratings.