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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

749 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 749
Reviews: 462
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 15.44%
Wants: 26
Gots: 59 | FT: 1
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 749 | Reviews: 462 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gehrig
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this at the sterling Sun Singer. Noel pitches a cloudy brown with ruby trim, topped with three fingers of foamy white head, excellent. The nose is full of fruit, particularly dried fruit, and spices. Lots of berry, plum, raisin, molasses, and cinnamon.

Terrific taste, well balanced with sweet fruit in harmony with dried fruit. Each mouthful brings either or in creamy fashion, doing so much to make this as special as it with an outstanding mouthfeel. This is truly excellent beer. The drinkability suffers slightly only because of the wooziness I felt near the end of the bottle. The high ABV (10.5%) does kick in, but that's more than easy to take.

Tremendous BSDA, one of my favorites.

Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

Been sitting on this one for over a year.

Poured into a tulip a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty with some yeast, figs, raisins, plums, and some nice tones of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very nice tones of dark fruit and caramel. Medium body, a nice balance/complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from these guy's, highly recommended.

Photo of jenjenbelanger
4.85/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my very first review so please bear with me! I will get better at this!! Had this beer on draft just before Christmas at my local pub. Served in a snifter. Smell extremely aromatic. Taste Heavenly. Definately a holiday beer with many complex spices and fruit flavors. Heavy, full bodied, nothing missing in this beer. One glass per sitting for me. Loved this beer so much I searched high and low to buy some for my Christmas Eve party. Needless to say, everyone wanted more and it can't be found!!! Next year I will buy a case and HIDE IT!

Photo of acrawf6
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a clear dark amber brown with a frothy tan head. Was a little suprised there was no sediment.

Smell. Sweet with a dominant candy banana smell and a little apple. The banana gives it a nice creaminess in the aroma.

Taste. Certainly on the sweet side, initial tastes of bananas, but then a yogurt like fruitiness really kicks in with the creaminess. Aftertaste is warming and gets just a small touch of a spice. Very interesting malt character.

Mouthfeel. Body really fills out despite the large amount of carbonation. The full body seems to get fuller as it warms and the alcohol comes through.

Overall, an interesting beer that's flavor is quite different than most others in the style. I like it, but i think there are others i would go after when in the mood.

Photo of markaberrant
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pours clear, deep amber, but hard to keep chunks of yeast out of glass with the bottle still being over 1/3 full. Visible carbonation streams. Light tan head, creamy and persistant. Leaves a sheet of lace.

S - great malty aroma, fresh, very nutty. Some fruit and spice are in the background, but rather faint. Spice more noticable as it warms. Outstanding.

T - rum soaked pears, caramel, unique spice note in the finish - nutmeg perhaps? Also some toasty biscuit in the aftertaste.

M - exceptionally smooth, not heavy bodied, but it does feel a touch sticky and coats the mouth. Alcohol is barely noticable until a warming slowly builds in the throat. Lively carbonation is not prickly, which I think matches the beer perfectly.

D - this is like heaven in a glass. I'm kicking myself for waiting almost a year to finally try it, and for only picking up 1 bottle!

This is a damn near perfect beer. In my opinion, it is everything Maudite wishes it was.. a kick ass strong red belgian. I am drinking this bottle way too fast, but I honestly don't care. It's THAT good. Can't wait to try out the other offerings from this brewer that are lurking in my beer fridge...

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brick Store Pub in a Gouden Carolus glass. Poured a very dark brown, almost black with a decent head that fades somewhat quickly but that leaves some excellent lacing. Lots of licorice and anis aromas coming from the glass, and the same is true of the flavors. Licorice up front, followed by a delicious sweet breadiness, followed by a hit of anis on the finish. The mouthfeel is big and creamy, and though it's got a high abv, its not hot at all. Overall it is a wonderful winter warmer with a slightly different flavor profile from the rest.

Photo of SaintsFan
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cola-brown into my glass. About an inch or so of head which gradually recedes to a thin layer of foam at the top of the glass.

Not a ton in the nose here...some general roasted malt and sugary sweetness, as well as some minty winter spices.

Taste is very good. A smooth drinker, as the alcohol is well masked. The yeasty, spicy Belgian flavor is around, as are flavors of brown sugar, licorice, and maybe some caramel. Not super complex, but good.

Mouthfeel is also good, and drinkability is high, given the well masked alcohol and general good taste.

All in all, a nice BSDA, but not a world beater.

Photo of kimcgolf
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Typical Christmas beer, that was super thick with very dominant alcohol. Poured a dark brown with thin head that lingered awhile and left okay lacing. For me, there were only two dominant features throughout this beer....black licorice and alcohol. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of black licorice, and so whatever else was in this beer was lost to me, as I just kept getting sidetracked by this taste.

IDefinitely a winter warmer at 10.5% abv, just not my favorite.

Photo of reginaldo
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this at the Dive Bar in Worcester, MA. It was cellared for 2 years. By far the most complex beer I've ever had. Very hard to pinpoint all of the flavors. Definitely some licorice but not overpowering. A whole variety of fruits and spices including cinnamon, raisin, plum, cherry, etc. All these flavors blended well. This definitely is the type of beer that you'll want to sip on to really appreciate the complexity. I recommend this brew, but only if you cellar it. I'm not usually big on the overly spiced Christmas beers, but this is one of the best I've had to date.

Photo of mntlover
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brown, ruby red when held to the light, sports a nice khaki head that leaves some good lace down my tulip.

Aroma is sweet candy sugars on top of malt, molasses decent dose of liquorice. Underneath the sweet and malt some dark fruits and light spice show thru.

Taste is malt, candy sugars, good dose of liquorice with dates and plums peaking out. Little too much liquorice for my tastes. Leaves a lingering Christmas spices and hints of herbal hops

Mouthfeel is good nice medium with a decent but mellow carbonation through out the experience.

Drinkability is ok just a little to much liquorice for my tastes but if thats not a problem for you probably, you will enjoy this one a bunch.

Photo of davidt
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark ruby-brown with a small head. The aroma is sweet malt and fruity. The taste is slightly sweet malt, with dark fruits and complex spices and molasses. Nice mouth feel and warming when swallowed. We enjoyed this as our Christmas Eve beer. The high ABC went down very smoothly.

Photo of letsgopens
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

This BSDA pours a cloudy woody brown with some bright amber highlights. The fluffy off white head recedes to just a bit of spotty lace.

Sweet molasses and fruit come out initially in the nose; dark and lighter fruit alike. Some toasty dark bread and a buttery character as well. Lots of sugary, candy-like sweetness as well.

Very sweet with lots a dark fruit; raisin, date, and some nice warmth. Rum soaked raisins come to mind. Again very candy-like in the sweetness. Raw sugar and somewhat syrupy. Some maraschino cherry and toasty bread in the finish. Like a old style fruit cake in a glass. The loaf kind soaked in rum or bourbon. Not this pansy bunt cake stuff!

Smooth and a bit syrupy with a velvety texture on the tongue. Plenty of warmth and moderate carbonation. A nice fruity/sweet/Belgian holiday treat. Not something I would necessarily drink during the warmer months though.

Photo of taez555
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a ruby dark brown coca cola colored body with a mild off-white head.

Nose has a strong alcohol note and extremely strong black licorice smells. Honestly at fist it smells like nyquil. Milk chocolate, licorice, liquid caramel and some mild phenols dominate the smell. It's a queer mix, but surprisingly inviting for the winter months.

Taste is medium to full bodied. Taste is dominated, like the nose by a strong mix of licorice and milk chocolate. Cloves, star anise, dry nutmeg, and cinnamon stick stand out as well, but the combination really give it a strong licorice taste. Hop bitterness is kept to a minimum and just enough to balance it out. Finishes with a lingering dry licorice, natural root, sort of flavor.

Some one read the recipe that said 1 teaspoon and accidentally put in 1 tablespoon. Tooo much spice. It's like drinking nyquil beer, or beer mixed with black licorice. I like the idea of the spice beer, but this is just too over the top.

Photo of joepais
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Its Christmas vacation at my house and I thought this would be a good one to help me relax in a house full of screaming teens (hopefully it works)
The 750 ml bottle poured amber -ish brown the head for how long that it lasted in my Chimay challis was brownish but it turned to a nice lace. The mouth feel on this is incredibly smooth and it has a nice carbonation on the tongue. Aromas of sweet candy sugar along with Christmas spices (cinnamon, anise, cloves) with some dark fruit thrown in .Flavors of sweet malt , licorice along with a nice clean bitter finish to me it taste more like a spice than a hop bitter . It has a warming alcohol effect as well so this is a great winter sipper I will be looking for another one of these to put away for next year

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown-ish amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, cinnamon and licorice. In the taste, licorice and hints of alcohol and cinnamon. A spicy and alcohol bite in the mouthfeel and a dry cinnamon and sweet alcohol in the aftertaste. Shows a small amount of alcohol but mostly hidden, nice flavors and very tasty.

Photo of Risser09
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oubce bottle poured into a wine glass - Xmas Eve enjoyment - Cellar temp.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with plenty of activity. Carbonation is plentiful, and sticks to the walls of the beer glass. The head reaches about one inch high Receeds quickly. It is tan in color.

Smell: Raisin, plum, fig and more dark fruit. Alcohol and fruity esters. Nutty aromas of hazelnut, almond and pecan. Cardamom and clove. complex.

Taste: Nutty and boozy. Hazelnut, almond, plum, rum raisin. Very deep flavors and lots of them. The alcohol is high but welcomed on this nice Christmas Eve. I plan on cellaring the other bottle to revisit by 2010 (according to the bottle.

Mouthfeel: Boozy, with plenty of spice and vigor. Belgian yeast is prevalent. Nice nuttiness in the finish.

Drinkability: Kinda of boozy and lots of phenols, but this is a winner. Spicy with Belgian yeast but nutty. I didn't know this brewery made a Christmas ale! Perfect for an Eve like this one! Cheers!

Photo of NCSUdo
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330 mL bottle

A: Pours a clear dark brown under a little less than a fingers worth of white head. No lace, OK retention.

S: Smells of spice and herbs dominate. First blast of a strong black licorice and some peppermint character. A sweet caramel malt makes an appearance underneath.

T: Taste of black licorice dominates up front, a nice bitterness in the finish with a hint of alcohol. Hints of darker fruit throughout.

M/D: Full. slightly creamy bodied, a bit high on the carbonation, drinkability is good, but not great, as this is quite the hardy ale and at 10.50% you aren't going to throw very many of these babies back. Overall, this one is a seasonal treat.

Photo of kajerm
2.8/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Map Room a few days ago.

Pours ruby red and cloudy as hell with a billowy off-white head that sits just above the rim of the glass.

The aroma is full of heavy, malty sweetness with some figs and a weird note of anise that I can't remember ever smelling or tasting in a beer. Some other spices-- clove and cinnamon, mainly-- are present, as are alcohol and fruity esters.

Tastes like it smells, but much, much sweeter. This is just too cloying for me (and I like some sickeningly sweet maltbombs), and it's especially weird with the black licorice flavor, which would be interesting and refreshing in another beer.

The mouthfeel is syrupy and somewhat chewy.

Not much in the way of drinkability.

Photo of ccrida
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml poured into my Gouden Carolus chalice, the Noel is a hazy caramel with a small off-white head that quickly settles, leaving moderate lace.

Smell is very rich, caramel and cured dark stone fruit like dates, raisins and fig. Also a nice buttery diacetyl. Awesome

Taste is rich dark malt, spicy yeast and carmalized sugar with lots of phenols. There's also a hint of allspice and a vinous, port like quality as well, but with a dry, dusty finish. Overall very spicy, but pleasant and not at all astringent. Much better then I remember.

Mouthfeel is sticky syrup, but light in the belly.

Drinkability is rather high, as the taste is good and the finish is pretty clean and quick. If you like it, then you'll probably really like it.

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into my Chimay goblet with this one.
Not so pretty for generally a very pretty style of brew. Pours a murky reddish brown with not too much head and hardly any lacing to speak of.
Scents are style appropriate with a twist or two. Bubblegum comes to mind up front. Some fermented fruit scents are prevalent along with a bit of banana. Maybe a lot of banana, along the lines of a homemade milkshake.
The flavor is Chimay red with the volume turned up. I recently re-encountered the red Chimay and while I still felt it was a bit too mild I appreciated what it was trying to accomplish. This brew makes me appreciate that even more. Still quite subtle for something almost 11% strong. Golden raisins come to mind. Some medicinal characteristics are there but they are not off-putting. A bit of plum is here, actually, quite a bit of fresh, ripe plum is here.
I'd expect something a bit spicier from a Christmas ale but this is nice. This is quite fitting for a cold night in front of an open fire with some tasty treats to nibble on. The lack of density could make this much more accessible than other examples of the style that have as much booze as this one does.
Quite nice. Ignore my scoring and get some as soon as you can.

Photo of IPAcraig
4.68/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I poured this into my De Garre snifter from an 11.2 oz bottle.

This beer has a very deep, ruby brown body with a massive light brown head. The head retention was superior and the lace was very sticky. Perfect.

The beer smells like Christmas pie. The dark fruit wafts from the snifter speckled with hints of nutmeg, cream, and brown sugar.

This beer is fantastic. It is sweet without being cloying. It has body, but still remains appropriately dry for a Belgian. Cinnamon really jumps out at me in the taste with some dark fruit sweetness.

This beer is everything I want in a Belgian Christmas beer. I will buy more before the season is up.

Photo of Kegatron
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a goblet.

Pours a deep, dark amber with a fairly nice sized poof of tanish white head retained well into a nice foamy covering. Lacing was good. Aroma is sweetness, yeast, deep notes of dark fruit, and alcohol.

Taste is dark malts, candy sweetness, mellow dark fruits, spices. Finishes with a fizzy bitterness and then a splash of sweetness and warmth. Mouthfeel is effervescent yet velvety. Alcohol is present but not overly noticeable, instead imparting more of a warming sensation.

Lots of deep notes of sweetness and spices and a warming alcohol effect make this a perfect Belgian beer for sipping by the fire during those cold winter nights.

Photo of Lupin
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I will now commence the battle of the Christmas Ales with Gouden Carolus Noel.

Pours dark brown with good clarity. Pillowy head recedes in my La Chouffe tulip to under 1/4"

Aroma is rich, with dry spices, a little bit of maltiness, and that usual sugar/alcoholic sweetness that makes these beers my favorite style to drink.

First sip is snappy, and dark Licorice and Sambuca are the first things that come to mind. Spicy and medicinal, but also sweet. These characteristics are bound to express themselves more as it warms. The spices have a little bit of a dry sourness to them that leads to both a bright flavor and a very alcoholic finish. That's not to say it isn't smooth, just a mite bit unbalanced.

If you like a good spicy belgian, you've probably already tried the other Gouden Garolus offerings. The Grand Cru of the Emperor is pretty reliable. This one reminds me a little more of the Ambrio (I may be wrong here, I get this one mixed up with the classic in my memory) in its very distinct flavor profile.

Overall, a good choice and a very distinctive first tasting for the season. I will probably snag another bottle of this before the end of the holidays because it's a good example of the broad 'style' of spicy holiday Ales.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby color, smallish head, nice lace.

Sweet smell of banana bread, cooked figs, fruitcake, alcohol, sweet hot spices. Some sweet corn, like fresh cornbread. Heady. Good.

Tastes of sweet malt and dark candy, fig and candied fruit, plum skin, warm gingery spice, alcohol. Well balanced, and very tasty. Long dark candied fruity boozy finish.

Great smooth textured carbonation, and almost syrupy but not cloying.

Heady and warming, yet very drinkable. Great enjoyable beer.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours dark brown with little head, but more than classic. nose is spicy and sweet. at first one tastes the sweet ambree taste of most het anker brews, but quickly licorice and alcohol tones, maybe some coriander emerge. not as smooth as i expected from one of belgiums finest brouwerijs, but very unique in style and a great winter warming effect.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 749 ratings.