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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

694 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 694
Reviews: 446
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 14.94%
Wants: 20
Gots: 36 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 694 | Reviews: 446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CMW
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

CMW, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of ritzkiss
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

ritzkiss, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of bort11
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

bort11, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Absumaster
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Absumaster, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of StJamesGate
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

StJamesGate, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of hdofu
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

hdofu, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

biegaman, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Halcyondays, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of elgiacomo
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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!

elgiacomo, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of lackenhauser
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

lackenhauser, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

rapidsequence, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of dqrull
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Kinda boring looks on this one, little to no head, minimal lacing on the glass, a dark hue of red/brown that is quite appealing though.

Damn! This smells really nice of star anise, liqourice is abundant, but it really seems to be well fitted into the brew, I get some sweet notes of malt and some other spices as well, but the liqourice is slightly overpowering.

A bit on the boozy side, and the sweetness doesnt really match it. A great deal of liqourice in on the palate as well, really lots, almost a bit too intense, some other spices that are hard to place, maybe ginger? Anyway, the liqourice is well integrated into this brew, if they just had kept it a little bit more mellow, as it is now it is a bit too overpowering.

Feels a little too boozy in the mouth, and it has a fairly weak carbonation not the creamy muouthfeel I usually delight in with this kind of belgian brew usually.

Still a very interesting beer! Love how they have gotten such an intense liqourice-attack without it just mashing the rest of the brew to shit, try it if you can, special!

dqrull, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of Brez07
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing from last night's notes. On tap at Novare Res, 10oz pour into a Goulden Carolus chalice

A: Dark, murky red hue with no head. Doesn't leave any lacing

S: First thing that strikes me is that this beer smells like black licorice. A nice anise scent with some other spices including ginger

T: Very smooth, black licorice taste. Malts make their presence known. The alcohol is fairly present, similar to sambuca. Nice at first, but tough to bear as I continued to drink

M: Creamy and smooth. Good carbonation. Light to medium bodied

D: Incredibly easy, although the anise taste is a little much towards the end. One and done for me, but glad I could try this

Brez07, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of CharlatanSin
2.98/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A 2008 version served on tap into a tulip at Amsterdam Ale House. Pricey, but hey, it's the holiday season, so why not?

Appearance: A nice dark reddish brown, with a big honkin' tan head that leaves big time lacing.

Smell: Picking up a good dose of yeasty white bread, and then the sweetness pounds you. Brown sugar and plum mostly for me.

Taste: Well...not so good. The sweetness is overpowering. It tastes like purple Robitussin. If I start tripping balls, I'll think the bartender switched it up on me. The "tussin" taste is a mix of plum and strong alcohol. Now, generally I don't mind a boozy beer, but this one's all out of balance.To be fair, it gets better as it gets warmer, as some nutmeg and other festive spices start to show their head.

Mouthfeel: The booze dominates the mouthfeel as well. I don't mind that all that much. Other than that, it's got a medium body and good carbonation.

Drinkability: The tussin quality kills this one for me.

CharlatanSin, Dec 17, 2009
Photo of sirdrinkwell
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours a hazy, molasses colored ruby with bountiful off-white head that patiently subsides to cake the sides of the glass...

s: richly sweet, i'm reminded almost of bubble gum in the yeast and malt combination, light and fresh florals..

t: sappy sweet in taste, on the backend the malts again meld into the breadiness of the yeast...

m: very smooth and sweet on the palate, balanced carbonation...

d: surprisingly light and refreshing given the +10% alc. content, this brew is a nice treat that i wouldn't mind trying again...

salud!

sirdrinkwell, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of Pencible
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a hazy ruby mahogany with lots of light tan head. It smelled like licorice and dark toffee and dry roasted barley, with some creamy yeast. It tasted like banana nut bread and cocoa powder, with some pear and licorice and creamy yeast. After warming some, it tasted much like root beer. It was oily with some smooth carbonation, and had a mild aftertaste with slight alcohol warming. Overall this had a good clean taste with great body, although I wasn't a huge fan of the flavor. I really prefer the rich maltiness of Van De Keizer, and would love to try that with a bit of added spices.

Pencible, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark, semi-translucent brown, definitely a good start. Aroma is strong, sharp and more like a good rum than a beer. Biting flavor is fruity, syrupy, sweet but not cloying. Texture is smooth and yet rough and strongly fizzy, biting the tongue and leaving a finish like an angry tomcat scratching on its way down.

Cyberkedi, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of colts9016
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had a little bit of a price tag and my wife thought that it would be addition to my cellar. I poured this beer into a snifter at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger medium tan head that has some retention. The head is foamy and creamy. The color of the beer is a dark brown color with rusty hues. The clarity of the beer is semi opaque with copper hues. There are some carbonation bubble visible.

Nose: A very rich dark malt with toasted, yeasty, caramel, bread notes. A bright spice profile with some sweetness. There is some plum, cherries, and raisins giving this brew a lot of fruity esters. The alcohol is present with some solvent hints. A subtle hop aroma with floral, wood, and citrus.

Taste: A deep rich dark malt, caramel, yeasty, and toasted bread give this beer a good base. The flavor are complex and rich of plum,tart cherries, raisins round up the fruity esters. There are some subtle hop notes, of floral, wood, and citrus. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming.

Overall: A rich, dense, chewy slightly carbonated, and creamy. The body of the beer is thick and the finish is medium full. This beer has a lot flavor and complexity. I was rather surprised by how good this beer was. I am enjoying it very much.

colts9016, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of brdc
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Large corked bottle in a series of Christmas beers. Have to say right off the bat this is hands down the best one.

Poured into a goblet, it shows a deep burgundy color, perhaps one shade darker. Like the true belgian masterpieces, it has a fantastic creamy, dense light tan head that grows and grows, lasts forever, and coats the sides of the glass. I have mentioned this before, but nobody beats the belgians in presentation, even though I lack buckeyenation's eloquence.
Aroma is just as fantastic; it comes strong right out of the glass as you pour it, sending layers of dark fruits, caramel, candy sugar, and a multitude of spices. Right after Scaldis Noel Premium, which was a great beer, this one just built on that flavor, as incredible as it might have sounded after the Scaldis.
Full bodied and creamy as it crosses the palate, the flavor keeps up with presentation and aroma in this outstanding beer.
Heavily malted, obviously on the sweet side but never cloying; abundant fruitiness, caramel, balanced by lots of spices and just a hint of alcohol that just warms up, but never really creates an unpleasant "heat".
An absolutely spectacular nightcap, which won many people including non beer geeks. Definitely need to get more for next year. An absolute must for a Christmas party finish.

brdc, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of macpapi
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml, corked bottle. Bottle scene depicts Santa Claus (or Pere Noel) being pulled upward in his sleigh by his reindeer. A snowy Belgian village lies beneath.

Pours a very dark brown color with hints of amber when held up to the light. There is a very full--two-finger head--with a good deal of lacing.

Smell is malty up front, followed by a great deal of sweetness. There are hints of molasses, candied sugar, and dark fruits (mostly plums, cherries, figs), followed by the unmistakable whiff of banana. Alcohol sting is definitely noted in the nostrils. This is quite a complex and very nice aroma.

Taste is dominated by very deep malt with the additional presence of dark, candied fruit, and deep molasses. There is a very full and somewhat syrrupy flavor here. ABV is noted by stinging finish on the palate.

Mouthfeel is full, somewhat sludgy, and biting with high alcohol content. Quite a presence here.

Overall, this is a nice brew. It's relatively complex and pleasantly flavorful. Warming alcohol makes finishing this 750 ml bottle a bit of a challenge, but I'm willing to take one for the team.

macpapi, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of SShelly
3.2/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at verdugo, labeled as christmas not noel,

I feel like this is a different beer from the "noel" ive had in the bottle...

aroma is a big shot of anise/black licorice with a little bit of sweet malt behind.

flavor is dominated by the same anise, some dark fruit, sweet malt and a light blend of other spices.

not the most enjoyable christmas beer ive had, way too much licorice not enough malt...have had this out of a bottle and dont remember it being like this...

SShelly, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of noslenwerd
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brownish Magenta color, typical creamy looking head.

S: Spicey and sweet

T: Wow... this is a great noel beer. Might be a little sweet for some but just perfect for me. Lots of brown sugar/molasses taste, with light christmas spices. Reminds me a lot of Kasteel Donker, but not as sweet.

M: Typical Belgian Dark Ale Mouthfeel. Creamy and smooth.

Summary: One of my top three winter warmers. I will undoubtedly be drinking this one again.

noslenwerd, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of TLove
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2009 bottle, poured into Chimay goblet. This beer comes alive once the top cracks open.

Excellent color but little to no retention and a thin, almost nonexistent brown head. Beer warms quickly and gives off some heavy dark fruit scents, coupled with currant, quince, and chocolate. Brown bread and black cherry in the mouth with some ground anise, licorice, and coriander seed (kind of like a sugary Anisette, which is made using these ingredients). A little cinnamon and nutmeg to throw in some complex Christmas flavors and give some serious spice depth to this beer.

The sheer viscosity and complexity of the beer can be a bit overwhelming at first, but as the carbonation winds down and the beer warms up, the beer reveals a sour, unbalanced construction that I did not expect from Brouwerij Het Anker. It doesn't break the beer, but it does make it a bit difficult to drink.

TLove, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of Travlr
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 1 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown color with a thick white long lasting head. Chocolate and roasted coffee aroma. Very strong alcohol taste throughout. Some notes of semi-sweet chocolate and malt with used coffee grounds. Slightly bitter finish. Average all the way.

Travlr, Oct 19, 2009
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 694 ratings.