1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

764 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 764
Reviews: 469
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.23%
Wants: 27
Gots: 64 | 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
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: 764 | Reviews: 469 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bkilpatr
2.18/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Chimay glass. 11/23/08.

Pours a deep brown color with hints of ruby around the edges. About a finger of light tan head that slowly dropped to a thin layer. Aroma is very yeasty and fruity with toffee, cherry, caramel, sweet malt, and a heavy dose of alcohol.

Taste starts with a bunch of sweet malt and darker fruits. Lots of cherry and toffee and a sweet biscuit taste. Plenty of peppery spice. There's a bit of fusel alcohol taste as well.

Feel is medium-full bodied with ample carbonation. There's a bunch of warming from the alcohol. Drinkability is not that great. Between the alcohol taste and the heat, it's not that easy to drink.

Overall, kind of a mess. Too much alcohol in the taste and feel makes for an unpleasant experience. A lower alcohol content could have made for a much better beer.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear bold copper with thin off white head.

S - Prunes, raisins, figs followed by big dose of banana with Christmas spices as it warms of nutmeg, ginger, cinamon and maybe a touch of eggnog. Spicy pepper also comes into play.

T - Sweet, juicy caramel, dark fruits, belgian candi sugar. Very sweet, near cloying mixed with candied fruits.

M - Medium to full body with low carbonation and slightly sticky.

D - Tasty but a little too sweet for me.

Photo of scottoale
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This seasonal comes in a 750ml. brown bottle with a code that looks like L0870 on the left side of the large front label. This brew pours a deep, dark mahogany with red highlights and a thick finger plus of tan head. The head recedes slowly and laces quite well.

The smell is sweet...really sweet, fruity and spicy. Most noticeable is banana, yeast, cotton candy and over-ripened plum.

The taste is equally as sweet and very fruity with some notable clove spice. Again, lots of banana, plum, cotton candy, yeast and a very subtle note of alcohol. Overall just a little too sweet with a lack balance to the finish. Light-medium body with acceptable carbonation for this style, the mouthfeel is a bit watery and the sweetness becomes a bit much, before long. Although quite drinkable with the alcohol hidden fairly well, my expectations for this brew were a bit stifled. Probably opt for a tastier holiday selection next time.

Photo of theopholis
3.47/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Deep, extremely clear brown with ruby hues when held to the light. The head is massive foamy light tan colored affair that refuses to die. Leaves a fair amount of lace, although there is little effervescencing. When it finally subsides a clingy sticky ring and lacing.

Smell- Lots of dark fruits off the starting line. Prunes, raisins, figs, etc. The dark fruit aroma is huge. Followed by a hint of banana esters. Very inviting, but also oddly fearsome.

Taste- Not nearly as complex as aroma let on. The anise comes through with a bit of some kind of candy sugar and cocoa. Again, lots of complex, dark fruits. As it warms, it gets better, but not that extremely rich, complex blend of tastes that a lot of Belgian holiday beers have.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation (which is to style).

Drinkability- Good, but not great. The taste had e a bizarre cafeteria feel to it.

Photo of BWH3
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown with red hues when held to the light. The head is massive foamy cocoa colored affair that refuses to die. When it finally subsides a clingy sticky ring and lacing.

S: I can discern anise, cola, cocoa, banana esters, raisin/prune. These aromas combine to form a savory enticing ale.

T: Not quite as complex as aroma let on. The anise comes through with a bit of cola. Phenol spice on the palate could be more. The heat in the belly is a nice kicker. The taste of the alcohol is a bit much.

M: Appropriately thin yet interestingly creamy taste. Amazing head retention and carbonation. Can not get any better.

D: A must try but one may be enough.

Photo of surfnebr
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, golden brown with a light head. Carbonation is light and lacing is limited.

The nose initially comes off with raisins, big malt, maple syrup with a light alcohol. As it warmed up you get more xmas spices; nutmeg, cinnamon, almost a malty egg nog.

This beer is a holiday party in your mouth. I poured about five minutes after I took it out of the fridge, and waited to drink it for ten minutes after that. Cranberries, cinnamon, egg nog, nutmeg, malt with much less booze than I expected. The mouth feel was much lighter than I thought it should be, and I liked it. This is a dangerous beer in that it goes down too smooth. This would be a hard beer to put down once you start, if you have more than one available.

The appearance did not do justice for the beer. Understand that beer is 10% + so the light appearance of the beer, lack of lacing was a bit surprising.

Photo of John_M
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours a a dark brownish amber color with very good head retention and lacing. This beer looks impressive. On the nose I get some cherry, cola and spice, all of which combines very nicely to make the aroma very enticing. On the palate this beer is just delicious. There is a delightful maraschino cherry flavor, coupled with cola, vanilla and chocolate. The beer is medium sweet, with a very long, smooth, rich finish. This beer is just decadent. Alcohol is pretty well disguised, though you can tell it's up there.

An excellent X-mas beer. The best I've had this year so far. Good stuff.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on-tap at the Kulminator in Antwerp, Belgium...

Pours a murky dark brown with tinges of mahogany topped by a frothy tan head. Smells quite yeasty and spicy, breadiness, cinnamon, clove and some strident aniselicorice aromas.

Taste evokes the holidays! Cinnamons, ginger, cloves and nutmeg are evident. Dark fruit and breadiness with a fair amount of anise. Very full bodied with a sweet finish and sweet spice and licorice in the finish. Nice warming from the ample alcohol as well.

Lovely x-mas beer!

Photo of HopDerek
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark red/almost purple color with some sediment. 2+ fingers of foamy beige-tan head made up of tiny bubbles has good retention and leaves nice lacing. Smells of caramel, sugar plums, bananas, molasses, butter, Christmas spices, bread, and alcohol. The taste follows the aroma; caramel, banana, molasses, bread, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and dark fruits with a touch of licorice and enough of an alcohol warmth in the finish. Medium to medium full in body with good carbonation, syrupy but smooth with a nice sweetness from both malt and fruit but a little medicinal as it warms. A nice holiday ale, but the high alcohol notes leaves it at a once a year type brew.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.49/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Brouwerij Het Anker is supposedly one of the oldest working breweries in Belgium, dating back to the 1300s. Back in 2002, they started brewing Gouden Carlolus Noël after a 38-year hiatus. This dark Winter Ale is brewed with three different hops and six different herbs and spices.

Creamy-looking small-bubbled lace retains well, and the dark brown color displays a glowing clarity. Heavy aroma of dark malts, black pepper, bitter orange peel, earth, faint vanilla, black currants, lavender, a hint of fusel alcohol and other vague spice tones. Smooth and creamy mouth feel off of a full body. Beefy, with a juicy caramel malt splash up front. An alcoholic bite thrashes the taste buds. Spicy, with suggestions of white pepper. The fruity, alcoholic esters drop a tropical bomb. Kiwi, pineapple and papaya come to mind. This has hot fermentation written all over it. Unfortunately, the fi nish and aftertaste is dominated by this hard, lingering alcohol character, and it does not get better as the beer warms up. A mess.

Photo of macster
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy maroonish-brown hue with a huge, dense and durable off-white head. Thick lacing prevails throughout the glass.

Rich, fragrant aromas of raisin, fig, yeast, gingerbread, anise and dark caramel prevail.

Mouthfeel is exqisitely silky smooth and creamy. Very full and round.

Taste certainly does not disappoint with a blast of overwhelmingly delicious flavors to match the aroma along with a subtle presence of cocoa and licorice.

Superb drinkability with the 10% alcohol well hidden behind the plethora of flavors. A real classy holiday treat, even on a warm May night in Florida.

Photo of Derek
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Chestnut brown without any sediment, tan head, little retention, nice lace.

S: Dark fruit, orange rind (Curacao?), pleasant non-descript spicing, floral hops, fruit bread with candied fruit. More alcohol as it warms.

T: Very fruity, candied fruit, dark fruit, bready, nice spicing, marmalade, slight bitterness, alcohol is remarkably subtle.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body, moderate carbonation, warming alcohol finish.

D: Quite drinkable for its strength.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by date of 8/21/2010
750ml bottle, caged and corked

Pours a dark amber/ruby color with plenty of head, great retention, lots of patchy lacing.

Smell has a mild yeasty quality, mainly malt and brown sugar, sweet yet not overly aromatic, slight banana presence.

Taste is way too sweet, syrupy and sugary for its own good, nice buttery slickness though, heavy malt presence that dominates any subtle spices, some dark fruit lingers around but is also pushed to the back.

Photo of ROMER79
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter 2007 bottle

The pour was a nice one, a nice dark brown with a thick fluffy three finger head with great retention. The head laces the glass for a good while. Right off the bat I could catch caramel and chocolate in my first sniff. There may even be hints of nuts and fruit, but I definitely caught the alcohol fragrance. It tasted almost like chocolate cake with caramel and roasted malts at first, but after a few sips I caught the strong alcoholic after notes. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick and drinkability is good, but this is definitely a beer to sip and enjoy.

Photo of bditty187
4.74/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky, reddish brown in hue, the color is actually kind of attractive which is odd for the "style." Beige head, at the apex the foam was a half finger tall. Head retention was decent; a tight, firm cap lasted a few minutes before turning to a soapy cap that lasted the entire consumption. Sadly, there wasn't much subsequent lacing. Still, overall, the appearance was quite pleasant.

The nose offers a good amount of dark fruits and brandy before yielding to some awesome bubblegum aromas and spice. The more I smell this the more the fruit turns from generally dark to tropical with apricots, pears, and apples. Oh wait there is more! I get hints of vanilla, banana, nutmeg, cloves, coco, and some caramel. The nose is quite impressive, robust and complex but not brutish. The nose offers moderate-high potency... it is chatty and, yes, quite inviting. I can't wait to take a sip.

The palate is generally fruity, lightly buttery with wonderful bubblegum notes and a caramel/chocolate malt backbone not to mention some molasses and light brandy-rum flavors. Fruitiness includes: apples, figs, pears, peaches, apricots, dates, apples, and some melons. Rich. Deep. I love the subtle spiciness, cloves, nutmeg, peppermint, peppery, coriander too. Amazing. Licorice, fruitcake, cola as well... the finish is so smooth and so sweet. I am so impressed with palate; I love everything Gouden Carolus and Noel is no exception. This is one of the best Belgian Abbey-style beers I have ever had. This is simply a great beer.

Big aftertaste, lingering sweetness with some spiciness too... oh so pleasant, so rewarding. Medium in body, moderately low carbonation, the mouthfeel is heavenly.

Dear Nebraska BAs, I will do my best to get this beer into Nebraska next winter. No promises of course but God do I want it! This beer freaking rocks... it is so rich, so complex and yet so light and easy to drink. The alcohol is hidden aside from the belly warming and brain fuzziness. I bought my 750ml bottle in Lawrence, KS and if I knew it was anywhere this good I would have bought more. I can't overstate how lovely a quaff this is. Wow. Highly recommended!

Photo of Gehrig
4.58/5  rDev +16.2%
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
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
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
4.84/5  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
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
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
4.57/5  rDev +16%
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
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
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
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
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 -11.2%
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
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
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
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
88 out of 100 based on 764 ratings.