1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

682 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 682
Reviews: 444
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.9%
Wants: 20
Gots: 32 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website

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: 682 | Reviews: 444 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%

A - Quite a good look as it pours; nearly black with a healthy tan head which recedes a bit too quickly. Not so much lace.

S - It has a somewhat minor aroma, mostly malty, with nuances of caramel, citric-7up , spicy alcohol, and a bit of hazelnut-cocoa.

T - Flavor-wise, it has a lot in common with a Doppelbock. Raisin and dark bread dominate the palette, punctuated by a spicy alcohol twang. As it airs out, the malt acquires suggestions of nutty cocoa fused with plum and prune flavors, anise and cardamom, and perhaps a bit of nectarine as well. Though the alcohol component is a discernible flavor characteristic, it does not drink 'hot', and generally it hides the ABV fairly well.

M - Softly carbonated, with a big, rich vinous feel to it. It is, however, not dry or astringent in any measure; indeed, it is quite the opposite.

D - This brew is very nice, not tremendously challenging, but very easily appreciated and enjoyed.

05-03-2010 02:14:26 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of pzrhsau

District of Columbia

4.2/5  rDev +6.1%

A nice little bottle i sat on for about 5 months and my will to let it sit any longer broke.
Appearance: Nice rich brown color with hints of orange and a superior head accenting the cloudy beer.
Smell: Very spicy and malty with scents like cinnamon and other christmas spices we expect from a beer during the holidays.
Taste: Good balance of flavor and alcohol. Very warm and filling with a good bready spiciness from the yeast.
Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Very drinkable for such a big beer. Smooth and full with a good carbonation.

04-04-2010 21:23:28 | More by pzrhsau
Photo of chaz01


4.65/5  rDev +17.4%

Had this on draught at a special Belgium event at Chappy's in Dayton -- served in a special 6 oz wine-like tasting glass.

A: Dark brown amber with a brown head and some nice lacing.

S: Dark fruit flavors, plums and dates.

T: Initially a bit of chocolate flavor that turns into black licorice taste. I don't normally like licorice, but it works well in this beer. Fruity and spicy tones such as plums, dates and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated.

D: Delicious on it's own, or would go well as a dessert beer. One of my favorites Belgium Christmas beers, what a pleasant surprise to see it available in the Spring.

04-04-2010 14:22:36 | More by chaz01
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4/5  rDev +1%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a brown color with about a finger and a half of off white foam. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, some bready malts, and booze. Maybe a hint of some spices as well.

t - Tastes mostly of dark fruits, especially raisins and dates.I also got a little bit of banana, as well as the taste of sweet malts and a tiny hint of booze, but not as much as in the smell. Pretty nice.

m - A sticky sweet taste with a medium body and little carbonation. A little alcohol taste to it but considering the ABV not too bad.

d - I thought this was an above average Belgian. I enjoyed the sweet smell and taste of dark fruits and sweet malts, and would definitely try this again.

03-08-2010 04:12:14 | More by mdfb79
Photo of adamette


4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

Live review. Poured from the 750ML bottle that I purchased yesterday for $8.89 at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor. "Belgian Ale" printed on top of right side of label and the following code printed on left side of label: 0970 but I am not sure what that means. Poured into my silver rimmed Westvleteren goblet.

A Light brown creamy head over dark brown body that glows a nice mahogany in front of direct light. 4.0

S Some dark fruits but a nice sweet malt predominates along with a warmth of alcohol to the nose. The dark fruits that I smell here are similar to that of the Carolus D'Or (Van de Keiser) but they are more nicely balanced in this beer. Welcoming, warming, interesting, inviting. 4.0

T Just as the smell suggested, the dark fruits are nicely balanced with sweet malt, warm alcohol and a nice Belgian yeast taste that all works very nicely. I don't know about the "Noel" aspect of the beer but I could enjoy these every day of the year. 4.5

M Big beer with high ABV, sweet malt, dark fruits and Belgian yeast tastes competing for the taster's attention. There is an apsect of syrupy stickiness as well. The significant, creamy head adds a welcome smoothness to all of it too. I cannot imagine a better, more interesting feel. 5.0

D This is one hell of a big beer so I will only be drinking this bottle (which I likely should have shared with someone else!). The style, the ABV and the sheer bigness of this beer drives down the drinkability. All of that being said, this is a delicious beer so repeated sips were a pleasure. 3.5

Notes: The final in my short series of Het Anker beers, likely my favorite.

01-29-2010 23:14:42 | More by adamette
Photo of Lunch


4.05/5  rDev +2.3%

Served from a 330ml bottle, purchased at Wells in Baltimore, MD, back in winter of 2006/2007, into my Gouden Carolus goblet at an appropriate temperature (01/21/10).

A: Pours a murky, dark, mahogany brown with slight faint ruby hues and two fingers of a creamy off-white head with excellent retention and lacing.

S: Pleasant aroma of dark fruits, blueberries, Belgian yeast, raisins, plums, and clove.

T: Raisins and blueberries hit first with lushes layers of dark fruit and an estery Belgian yeast. This beer has aged nicely, maturing into a much more well-rounded and balanced Belgian Strong Dark Ale with nuances in its flavor profile coming more to the surface.

M: Medium to thick-bodied with creamy, smooth carbonation. I found this to be the best part of the beer.

D: Easy to drink, especially since the 10.5% abv is well hidden, but the richness of the flavor and rather thick mouthfeel limit its consumption to just a couple bottles.

Overall this is a very nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a winter seasonal flair. With about three years of age under its belt, this beer as matured nicely and seems superior to it fresh. Recommended.

01-27-2010 14:36:21 | More by Lunch
Photo of rustymoore


3.38/5  rDev -14.6%

A: Pours an deep brown with large creamy tan that seems to last forever with excellent lacing. Easily best part about this beer.

S: Interesting but nothing that could really pick out...I think there might be too much going on in the aroma.

T: Ok but really just tastes more like a mediocre Belgian rather than much of a Christmas beer. Very sweet (too much so in my opinion) somewhat watery with several fruit notes coming through as well as caramel.

M: Somewhat flat after I expected a good amount of carbonation.

D: Definitely wouldn't recommend more than a sampling of this...too sweet.

01-24-2010 19:56:01 | More by rustymoore
Photo of Buttermaker


3.7/5  rDev -6.6%

Not much on the nose but a nice creamy head. Taste: Holy Caramel Bomb! This Belgium Ale tastes like a double bock crossed with a root beer. It's still very drinkable, especially on a cold December evening. There's plenty of depth (cinnamon, prunes, banana), but I prefer something with a little more balance. (I'm not sure they used hops at all.) They do great job of disguising the 10.5% ABV, it's wonderfully warming but not at all harsh.

Recommended music pairing: Ray Charles - That Spirit of Christmas

01-22-2010 03:51:15 | More by Buttermaker
Photo of ianjsullivan


4/5  rDev +1%

Serving: 750 ml poured into a Duvel chalice

A: Reddish brown with a nice thick brownish white fluffy head. Nice lacing and retention. When held up to the light the color is red like Santa's suit, nice carbonation can be seen.

S: Malt and sweet spice, fruity, banana and kiwi.

T: Quite a complex amount of flavors, malt and bread yeast, fruity notes on a pleasing long finish. Alcohol is present at the end, but, over all, nicely blended.

M: The ample carbonation stops the beer from being cloying. It beings creamy and finishes with cream, only at the end turning to a crisp clean.

D: 10.5 does not make this beer one to be consumed in earnest.

Overall: I don't know if they have changed the recipe since the Bros reviewed it, but, it was a great beer for me. There is a lot going on, and it could be restrained a bit better, however, the flavors do work together, particularly in the finish. There is a bit of sweet and alcohol that is not blended completely out by the hit of spice at the end. Overall though, one of the better noels I've had this year.

01-22-2010 02:42:34 | More by ianjsullivan
Photo of rebel1771


4/5  rDev +1%

A: Pours a dark reddish brown color with a tan head that fades quickly.

S: Banana nut bread right up front along with candied fruit and a malty twang.

T: Bread flavors start out with a heavy alcohol kick. Heavy candied fruit flavors with a decent malt body finished with a spicy banana note.

D: This is one tasty brew, along with one heck of a heavy hitter. A couple of these and you'll be wearing the old wobbly boot.

01-20-2010 23:41:10 | More by rebel1771
Photo of eduardolinhalis


3.23/5  rDev -18.4%

0.33l bottle poured in a chalice.

Decent Belgium Dark Strong Ale. Nice spicy and fruity perfume.

A: Nice Brown/Amber color. Quite clean
S: Dark fruits (plum and grapes) and spices
T: Strong. ABV is high and you can fell it. Sweet toffee. Belgium yeasts (less relevant). Rum. Smells better than tastes
M: Sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end. Soft carbonation and strong alcohol taste
D: Low drinkability. Too strong taste for me. Might be a good beer but overloaded me...

01-15-2010 22:51:18 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of DaveJanssen


4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Slpit a 750mL two ways, poured into Russian River globes.

Ar: Super fruity an floral, plum, rich fruit dark heavy grape, *licorice, rummy spice, alcohol, raisin, caramel and toffee, spice, chocolate, overall a rich, sweet and full aroma

Ap: Low light tan head, hints of lace, good retention, clear brown with red highlights

T: Rummy, heavy toffee, plum and raisin, sweet and fruity, caramel, light whiskey spice/oak, dried fruit, light herbal hop in aftertaste, complex, chocolate, a rum and coke like sweet and spice quality, unique

M: Full wet and sweet, alc warmth but clean alcohol and appropriate, low/medium carbonation

O: great sipping beer, very rich and sweet, nice spiciness, complex, very quad-like

01-15-2010 00:05:19 | More by DaveJanssen
Photo of jrallen34


3.33/5  rDev -15.9%

I drank this from a tap at the Map Room into a chalice.

The beer pours dark brown with a light tan decent retention and lacing.

The aroma is light with a little spice, same thing with the taste.

The feel is ok, the drinkability is limited.

Overall, not a great the feel is to light, the taste is light and too much spice.

01-10-2010 19:34:58 | More by jrallen34
Photo of CMW


3.85/5  rDev -2.8%

A - Pours a very dark brown. Much darker than I expected, almost like a porter. The head is at least two inches and tan in color. Retention is massive as it is taking me at least five minutes to let it settle enough to drink.

S - Smell is dominated by candied dark fruits, yeast, and alcohol.

T - The sweeter is definitely noticeable up front. The taste reminds me of candied figs and raisins. After the sweetness fades, the malt is noticeable along with the yeast. There is some balance but the sweetness is definitely more powerful. Slight warming in the end.

M - Medium carbonation but this has more of a syrupy feel.

D - I like this beer quite a bit I will definitely buy one again next year.

01-10-2010 05:13:14 | More by CMW
Photo of ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +9.3%

750ml brought by my dad from Alberta, shared with him. Pours a cola brown with a finger plus of head that slowly dies down, doesn't leave any lacing down the glass.

Nose is hints of ginger and anise, a nice toffe-ish malt base. Intriguing, unique.

This is a really tasty yet unique Christmas ale. Ginger and anise play a major role in the spicing giving it almost a cola flavour, nice plum fruits coming from the yeast, well attenuated body without being overly thick - medium mouthfeel, a hint of spiciness, a light sweetness weaving through to balance all the spices and the light drying in the finish. Just a hint of booze, especially as it warms but nothing distracting, just warming.

Very pleasant, another winner from Het Anker. Not your typical Christmas fare but I would gladly grab for this one again next Yule season.

01-01-2010 00:12:00 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of bort11


3.8/5  rDev -4%

750 ml corked bottle, poured into a St. Bernardus goblet. This fizzy dark tan head that is quick to recede. Small spots float on the surface with a pencil thin ring around the edge. Color is a dark ruby red. There are nice refracting effects when held to the light. Not the most visually fascinating Belgian, so we'll see how the rest stands up.

Smell has that distinct musty Belgian yeast aroma, but there are some some fruity notes as well. I'm going to go with a dark cherry. Taste brings in more spices. There is definitely some orange peel, and there is a little cinnamon and ginger.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for me, but the carbonation is pretty crisp. I think is would go with more body and less carbonation, but that's me. For a 10.5 it goes down really fast. There is a mild alcohol burn, but the spices keep it shadowed.

12-31-2009 03:51:26 | More by bort11
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.08/5  rDev +3%

2008 release, on-tap 12/29/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a bright crimson color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, Belgian yeast, dark fruit and some spice.

T: The taste is fruity with strong flavors of cherries, other dark fruits and brown sugar. Then a bready Belgian yeast and hearty malt character follow. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean for the style.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice stronger Belgian-style beer to drink for a while until it starts to catch up with you.

12-30-2009 17:10:56 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of Absumaster


4.28/5  rDev +8.1%

A dark brown/reddish beer with a faint head.

Smell is malty with strong notes of candisugar. A spicy addition of what we think is staranise and coriander.

Taste is malty and sweet. The beer is syrupy without being overly sticky. The spices are a little less present than the smell would make me suspect. Some Christmas beers have a thin mouthfeel, but this beer is full-bodied. The mix of the malt and the spices combined with the strong caramel malt base make this a great Christmas beers.

12-29-2009 18:21:32 | More by Absumaster
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Pours emerald with a loose tawny fast-fading head that leaves only trailers of lace. Nose is strawberries and clove with some bubblegum and caramel - mouthwatering! Light chocolate and all spice up front, Belgian yeast is there, an ester pop, and tutti frutti to finish. A tight ginger beer linger. Chewy and fizzy with plenty of burn.

Some interesting flavors but too hot and estery to be very drinkable.

12-27-2009 22:40:11 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of hdofu


4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

Had a bottle aged a few years and dang was it good. it was lightly headed an light colored tasted initially sweet with a tangy sour finish. Smell was also sweet. The predominate flavors were almonds. It had a smooth flavor. I could have sipped on this all evening.

12-26-2009 00:20:41 | More by hdofu
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +11.1%

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.

12-23-2009 05:31:42 | More by biegaman
Photo of Halcyondays


4.35/5  rDev +9.8%

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a dark mahogany, burnt umber colour, with a nice finger of off-tan head, good Brussels lace.

S: Definite candy sugar, candied fruit, butterum candy, sweet smelling if you get my drift.

T: Heavy notes of brown sugar and characteristic Belgian fruit esters. Chocolate covered cherries, orange marmalade, molasses and raisins are clearly evident. Clear Belgian flavour and character.

M: Smooth and silky, not terribly robust, but it's there for sure. Very soft carbonation.

D: Way too drinkable for it's size, great flavour, this beer could be dangerous at a Christmas party.

12-22-2009 22:16:21 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of elgiacomo


3.95/5  rDev -0.3%

2008 750ml bottle. Pours brown with a small light beige head. Leaves a little spotty lacing.

Big fruity, malty aroma, some yeast.

Flavor is dark fruit, raisin, plums, prunes, some cherry, light notes of apple, banana, yeast. Some alcohol. Sweet malty finish.

Some stickiness. Medium carbonation.

Very nice. Excellent Belgian style Christmas beer!

12-20-2009 19:18:39 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of lackenhauser


4.43/5  rDev +11.9%

Decent chestnut hue with a sizeable tan head-typical big Belgian carbonation level. Nicely sweet and deep aroma-a lot of dried fruits and caramel sugars. Very malty and sweet flavor. Mildly spicy but more from the yeast then any spices per se. Sugary. Lingering bite though not bitter. Heavy mouthfeel. I quite like this though I could se how someone might find it over the top in sweetness and the like. Taken for what I think it is I like it in moderation. Nice full dessert like beer.

12-19-2009 05:20:38 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of rapidsequence


3.98/5  rDev +0.5%

Corked and caged 750.

Appearance: What a great looking beer. Clear dark ruby color with a big frothy, rocky head. Every pour leaves another huge head that fades to 1/2 inch or so, leaving some nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet, spicy, and richly malty. Chocolately, bready malt. Licorice, orange, and alcohol. Interesting, complex, but not as broad as some.

Taste: Bready, spicy, boozy, and sweet. Midway back, there is a fair amount of bitter/sourness that I assume is from orange peel. The licorice I smelled is also a pretty prominent flavor. Lots of other spices and pepperiness too. Sweet, bready finish. A little too sweet and too orangey. Nice though.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation, creamy and pretty nice in the mouth.

Drinkability: Its a nice beer, a Christmas treat, but not something you'd really want to buy over one of several better Belgian darks. The sweetness would be fine, but there's not quite enough huge maltiness to balance it. The bitter orange and pepper also becomes overbearing.

12-19-2009 00:59:30 | More by rapidsequence
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.