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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

672 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 672
Reviews: 442
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.9%
Wants: 19
Gots: 31 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 672 | Reviews: 442 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
JohnnyDuvel

Florida

4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first impression with this brew is that it is a dead ringer for Three Philosophers. I'd have to try them side by side, but the similarity is uncanny, with the sweet, almost cherry -like taste. Seems sweeter than the normal Gouden, but very good and quite warming. Dark, deep, and substantial. Not to be missed as a seasonal...

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2006 03:49:27 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of Hautacam
Hautacam

Connecticut

4.78/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the ' 05 brew. I aged it for one year.
Pours out dark brown with huge tan head. Laces and settles to about 1/8 ".
Smells mostly of malt and chocolate. Some hints of spice.
Taste is very complex...loads of sweet malt..buttery, touches of licorice, cherry, caramel , toffee, chocolate, butterscotch ...some dried fruits and even some bubblegum.This is a heady brew. Just gets more intense as it warms up. Alcohol barely noticable.
Thick, rich, velvety mouthfeel .
Damn , this stuff is good. This is a dessert beer....although I enjoyed it with roasted chestnuts...it would definitely stand up alone. Quite the brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2006 01:46:47 | More by Hautacam
Photo of yelterdow
yelterdow

New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml corked and caged bottle from last year's stash. Cellared for one year and served in a Chimay chalice at about 55°.

Appearance- Pours a crystal clear ruby/chestnut color, with a fast-growing light tan crown that grows to three fingers, eventually settling to a thin layer. The beautiful sound is the classic muted, insulated impact of beer to an expanding head. A phenomenal geyser of effervescence launching from the etched bottom of my glass replenishes the middle constantly. Sheets of paper-thin walls of lacing line the insides.

Smell- Notes of evergreen ferns, peppermint (maybe spearmint), lemon rind, sassafras, brandy, and some residual alcohol boom from the glass... this is Winter in the deep woods! Candy canes, wreaths, twigs, it's incredible the pictures that come to mind with aromas like these. With each swirl, the character grows deeper and even more enjoyable.

Taste- Gingerbread, cinnamon, mulled holiday wine, sassafras, peppermint tea... obviously with 6 different herbs and spices (none of which are divulged on Het Anker's site), this is a thrill ride for the tastebuds. The Belgian hops that linger long after the swallow just go on for days... and the alcohol isn't quite so much a "burning" as it is a soft fire. As it opens up, it disappears completely. Stupendous sipping.

Mouthfeel- The soft, prickly sensation in the mouth tickles the tongue... then it softens eloquently and expands like soapsuds in a perfect, exquisite progression. After the swallow, there is a charming afterglow that is hard to put into words. Extraordinary.

Drinkability- Let's see... I've been sipping and reviewing this beer for over an hour and a half. I still have ½ remaining in the bottle, with no desire for this tasting to end anytime soon. In a nutshell, it would be a tragedy to miss out on sampling this wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2006 04:12:35 | More by yelterdow
Photo of bruachan
bruachan

District of Columbia

4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

served this with thanksgiving dinner. i wish i could discern a bottling date

it's dark brown with ruby highlights. the head is quite nice and the lacing decent as well. alcohol comes through distinctly in the aroma (can't say that i begrudge a 10.5% beer for that) with bigtime spices and dark fruit—dried cherries included. the flavor matches and adds some malt body for everything to hold onto. it's a very warming brew (thus a successful drink for the holidays, i suppose), and certainly complex

yum yum

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2006 02:33:54 | More by bruachan
Photo of Darkale
Darkale

Virginia

4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The head is khaki and short-lived, with a spotty lacing, like Indonesian islands all around the inside of your glass. Aroma is sweet and musty, like warm candy in the cellar, with a backbone of something sharp that slides through the fuzzy sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, just shy of thick, with alcohol burning along the edge. Taste is very complicated. I am picking up cherry, chocolate, a hint of coffee, a drumline of hops. The tongue is coated, at first, with sweetness, and ends with a tingle of hops. A nice, complicated, sip-through-the-Sunday beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2006 19:16:22 | More by Darkale
Photo of oelergud
oelergud

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged bomber. The label says 10% abv, not 10.50.
Very dark almost opaque brownish red body. Light brown head mostly medium bubbles. Great retention and clumpy lace.
Sweet caramel and molasses. Lots of spice and butter.
Soft sweet and round malts with just abit of hops. Quite strong but not overwhelming. The alcohol is only faintly noticeable. Shortlived aftertaste of sweet toffee malts and spice.
Full body smooth yet not much coating.
Highly drinkable winter brew.

-Oelergud

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 21:06:49 | More by oelergud
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap, 12 oz. in a large snifter at Concordia Ale house, Portland. This was the 2005 vintage.

A: Deep dark brown, rather muddy looking with about 1/2 finger of head, ok retention. Decent depth of color but rather unimpressive overall...

S: Lots of sweet fruit, malts, yeast spices and alcohol.

T: Great sweet flavors of cherries, raisins, brown sugar, anise and a subtle smokiness. Rich & bold flavors, definitely a strong beer but the alcohol is pretty well masked.

M: Moderately carbonated - a bit like drinking a semi-flat cola. Fuller mouthfeel and body, clinging sweetness without being cloying. Good clean finish with just a little bitterness.

D: A wonderful beer to sip on after dinner on a rainy, cool evening. Excellent flavor and balance make this a winner. Not just a winter beer - I give it a strong recommendation.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2006 17:05:19 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Jredner
Jredner

Florida

3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2006 00:23:25 | More by Jredner
Photo of beerogre
beerogre

New York

4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2006 02:07:16 | More by beerogre
Photo of clickpush
clickpush

Pennsylvania

4.97/5  rDev +25.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2006 20:55:00 | More by clickpush
Photo of neonbrown82
neonbrown82

Nebraska

3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2006 02:22:45 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of TheBungyo
TheBungyo

Washington

4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
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.
Note:
Paired it with some smoked gouda and that worked well. However, I would choose something a bit more sharp next time.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2006 07:28:03 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 21:09:11 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2006 02:05:09 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2006 08:10:09 | More by DogFood11
Photo of Lnedrive14
Lnedrive14

Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 15:16:04 | More by Lnedrive14
Photo of Hobbz
Hobbz

Rhode Island

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2006 00:19:56 | More by Hobbz
Photo of Dithyramb
Dithyramb

Maryland

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2006 14:01:49 | More by Dithyramb
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.13/5  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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2006 18:53:59 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of spiffylubes
spiffylubes

Virginia

4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
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)

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2006 01:57:59 | More by spiffylubes
Photo of sweethome
sweethome

Illinois

3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
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...

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2006 05:16:03 | More by sweethome
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2006 12:06:58 | More by Gavage
Photo of arguemaniac
arguemaniac

Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 05:47:50 | More by arguemaniac
Photo of evh883
evh883

Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2005 22:51:59 | More by evh883
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2005 00:44:00 | More by mmmbeer
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.