Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker
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Ratings: 682 | Reviews: 444 | Display Reviews Only:
4.6/5 rDev +16.2%
75 cl. bottle from 2003. Pours a garnet color with an off white three finger head. Smells of black pepper, vanilla, mint, and caramel with a whiff of alcohol. Has a creamy yet lively mouthfeel. Medium to heavy bodied. Has a complex fruit, spice flavor of plums, apples, cinnamon, and black pepper, among others. Finishes with a nice peppery alcohol tang.
Another excellent brew from Anker.
09-30-2004 07:47:45 | More by beerceller99
5/5 rDev +26.3%
One of the best holiday beers made. It sells out very quickly, so if you are lucky enough to find one, grab it.
I've visited the brewery. There are about five people working there and they can't make a lot of beer. It's a wonderful thing that their beers actually are distributed in the US.
This beer is warm, soft feeling yet powerful in taste.
Take the time to find one every year.
08-05-2004 02:51:06 | More by dougnboston
4.28/5 rDev +8.1%
Cloudy dark brown, good off-white film, fully lasting. Spicy nose, christmas spruce, minty. Mild alcohol comes through, but youd never guess 10%. Spiced old ale reminiscent. Very yeasty, cloves, maybe chocolate, christmas cake fruitiness+prunes+dates and other dark fruits, leafy, coffeeish. Complex like most of its kind. Red licorice and toffee malt sweetness, very tea-like in mouth, lemon notes. Fluffy heavy body, high carbonation...Marvellous christmas beer, stylish and flavorful. Props to you Larry!
07-05-2004 17:07:53 | More by Rastacouere
4.22/5 rDev +6.6%
The beer poured a clear golden deep amber with a tan small bubbled head which was compact and laced the glass.
The aroma was banana and fruity with a substantial malt backbone and complexity.
The flavor was malty and fruity with more banana and a very complex maltiness that becomes alcoholic.
The finish was dry but left a malty impression long into the aftertaste. The body was medium.
750 ml bottle. I've had this puppy in cold storage for quite some time just waiting for the right chance to open it.
06-30-2004 23:43:41 | More by GCBrewingCo
4.45/5 rDev +12.4%
Carefully poured, it's deep ruby body is just slightly hazy and appears almost brown beneath its full head of frothy tan foam. The head retention is quite good and it leaves some very nice lace as well. The nose is rich and exciting but not overtly bold, revealing more and more of itself with each sniff. Cola (cardamom) is evident upfront, backed by a note of sweet black licorice (from star anise) and some prune-like fruit. Nutmeg and cinnamon creep in along with some tropical fruit, the suggestion of caramel and cocoa, and a splash of thin alcohol. It's lightly tingly across the tongue with an exceptionally fine, median carbonation and a medium light body. In the flavor, fruit is initially suggested with a combination of berries, cherries, pluums, and tropical notes that quickly become drenched in cola syrup. Chocolatey notes approach but hesitate to actually make an entrance; and sweet anise becomes dominant at the swallow. Alcohol skirts around the edges as well, always present but without ever really making itself known. It finishes dry but with the suggestion of sweetness, similar to molasses; and with a light dusting of ginger and peppery spiciness. Quite remarkable! As complex as it is, it's actually very focused. An impressively spiced holiday ale that deserves a place at the dinner table: working equally well as an apertif, mid-meal accompanyment with a wide variety of dishes, balancing dessert beer, after-dinner drink or night-cap. A brilliant diamond in the rough!
06-28-2004 01:39:01 | More by NeroFiddled
4.13/5 rDev +4.3%
Ruby-glazed brown under a foam tan dome of slow departure.
Nose ripe with raspberries and plums, cut by cinnamon and nutmeg, and carried through with a port alcohol essence.
Begins quite sweet, with candied berries, plum, and figs. Spicing is ever-present, but intermitent. Backdrop of cola-syrup (my sole complaint here). Pockets of clove and nutmeg. Cinnamon is fairly subdued, but may be the most consistently visable of the trio. Liquorice and molasses hues gain prominance as this gains temperature. As it reaches room temp, a persuasive mocha note it spot-lit. The finish is Noble and light herb bittered. But hopping is of little regard here. Some mellow brandy alcohol ebbs are noticed late, but the strength is mystically hidden for the most part.
A full bodied brew, given levity by its airiness. Very drinkable. Though not necessarily quickly.
A good one here.
04-14-2004 21:53:16 | More by cokes
4.63/5 rDev +16.9%
A fascinating label on this one. Santa riding through the air with Gouden Carolus prominantly displayed in Gold lettering. A definate "eye catcher" in the bottle collection.
Pours with an amazing color. Purple with ascents of yellow, orange and red. Beautiful color, it glows in the light. However, a pretty lousy Belgian head.
Smells like fruit punch.
WOW! Sour red grapes, cherries, red licorice, raisins and caramel up front. Finishes with a somewhat sour, sweet malt and chocolate-caramel combination with a hint of alcohol. Tastes unbelieveable!
Probably my last Belgian Noel for the year (sadness), but what a one to end with! This is one hell of a beer! Can't wait for next year.
01-16-2004 06:11:10 | More by Crosling
3.5/5 rDev -11.6%
75cl Corked bottle No date. Poured a hazy deep amber color with a thin tan head which settled to a thin film. Aroma has a sugary sweetness to it, some bready malt and fruit overtones. Alcohol shows up as it warms. Has a medium body that is smooth with a crispy finish. Flavor is sweet with malt almost barley style. Some fruit and a bit of spiciness also detectable. Overall not a bad seasonal.
01-15-2004 21:08:07 | More by BierReise
3.45/5 rDev -12.9%
Had a glass of the Gouden Carolus Noel at my winter beer tasting with friends. Pours a very red color with slight brown tones and a medium-to-small head.
The scent? I wasn't able to describe the strong scent of this beer. Something sweet. Maybe anise? Licorice? Some other spice. It's very noticeable, but I wasn't able to come up with the right words for a decent descrption. Interesting, that's for sure.
The taste is minty, with licorice and anise tones. As it warmed, the best word I came up with was "meaty." Not really sure what that means or how it applies to beer, but as with the scent, this beer really confused me. The mouthfeel, as expected with something described as meaty, was quite heavy.
Though very interesting, this beer was very hard to drink. Maybe it would be easier if consumed with some red meat, but it's certainly not a sipping beer.
01-13-2004 21:49:02 | More by jahred
4.47/5 rDev +12.9%
A dark beer with reddish corners, it poured out with little head or lace. Oh well. Smelled like an artisanal laundry list: chocolate, dark malt, licorice, cherries, sour esters, apricot. Had that only-Belgians-could-do aspect of a yeasty funk covered in malt that has been vigorously chewed by attenuation. Complex without being muddled, this beer is wonderful for its immediately comforting profile with obvious connections to wintry aromas. Christmas in a bottle, indeed.
Tastes of dark malt with some undistinguished fruity flavors, most like cherries in a sense, yet pleasing in its estery fruit punch mix. Shows lots of alcohol with opening, yet never noxious because its complex in a winey and big Beligan way. A chocolate-like earthiness supports the whole profile. For me, the moderate mouthfeel comes across a little too low, and does need a little carbonation.
A tasty beer, and one of the best Christmas beers. A big, strong, and impressive beer.
01-11-2004 19:35:12 | More by nomad
3.98/5 rDev +0.5%
With its very dark brown color and deep reddish highlights, this beer reminds me of Corsendonk Christmas Ale. It has a large, deep fawn head with a melted marshmallow sheen. It leaves sparse, sudsy spatters of lacing on the glass as I drink. The smell is heavy with licorice and anise, and the first taste almost bowls me over with them. The finish contains lots of molasses; it's not very sweet molasses, but neither is it bitter like the Anchor OSA. I think that's the best thing this beer has going for it: it's heavy, but it toes the line between bitter and sweet so well that it manages not to be overly cloying.
It takes me a lot of examination to figure out the procession of tastes in this one, mostly because the licorice/anise wallop covers up some of the secondary tastes. The first stage is well-rounded, and when I look beyond the blast of licorice I see that this comes from the overtones of bitter caramel and syrupy fruitiness. The second stage is highly carbonated and laden with anise. The finish is extremely dry and tingly, with a smoldering finish way on the back of my tongue. Again, there's some molasses in there, but it's almost smoky in its texture. It's also tangy but not overly sugary or cloying; it reminds me of bitter apricots. The bottle says that it ages well, and given the tastes I just experienced I'll bet that's true. I plan to get a few bottles of this and open them next year to see if the hard edges on this beer have been rounded out. If so, it will move up in my estimation from very good to excellent.
12-29-2003 06:19:33 | More by Weissenheimer
4.08/5 rDev +3%
Pourer a very dark brown/maaroon with orange highlights. Had an enormous that disappeared quickly but left alcohol tannins along the side of the glass and lots of lace. Aroma is dark fruits, figs, dates and like along with lighter citrus fruits, orange or lemon. Belgian Candy sugar also present with just a hint of bubble gum. Taste is very pleasant and warming, mouthfeel is classic Belgian, slightly warming and alcoholic yet also very effervescent. Flavor is somewhat sour but also has toffee and caramel hints.
Very good brew.
12-27-2003 02:38:16 | More by CRJMellor
4.33/5 rDev +9.3%
Sampled on draft at Lucky Baldwin's and at the Stuffed Sandwich.
Deep Amber brew with a white head that slowly disappears over time.
Aroma is big with malt and fruit - red apples, raisins, grapes, pineapples stewed with spices.
Flavor is caramel, anise, toffee and peaches with a long chewy body.
The finish grows drier as spices take over finishing with the growing heat of ginger combined with alcohol.
12-14-2003 07:26:21 | More by drewbage
4.38/5 rDev +10.6%
How hard is it to let something you've never tried sit in the cellar? I drank this one on the fresh side, to be sure.
Off white head made of bubbles of mixed size. Coppery hue in the light, with obvious sediment.
Biscuity malt start to the taste and mouthfeel. Malt beginning gives way to dried sour fruit notes and surprisingly clean finish. Round bit of syrup in the mouthfeel. No spice. Super complex, super warm, alcohol content very noticeable.
Recommended at any age.
12-11-2003 17:30:54 | More by ecoboy
4.8/5 rDev +21.2%
Presentation: 75 cl corked bottle. Poured into a Leffe chalice.
Dark reddish-brown, nice beige/tan head w/ good retention.
Enormous, warm, spicy, in-your-face aroma full of the best Christmas has to offer. And then some.
Gorgeously balanced taste; the powerful, richly warming, and complex spiciness is kept beautifully in check by a nice, bitter finish. Mouthfeel and drinkability are through the roof; I had to pace myself in order not to finish this one too quickly. Wow.
This is one of the best beers I've tasted, and certainly the best winter seasonal, easily surpassing even the magnificent Brøckhouse Julebryg 2003. All in all, not the worst beer to kick off my BA reviewing career... :-)
(I cannot wait to see how this one ages; I'm afraid I'll have to ask my girlfriend to hide the key to the cellar, lest I prematurely break open one or more of the eight bottles of Gouden Carolus Christmas I've stashed there...)
12-02-2003 14:35:00 | More by ToolHead
4.22/5 rDev +6.6%
Tawny port and alcohol nose that opens to a wildly sticky sweetness reminiscent of toffee and candy corn. This beer is held together by a solid bittering and light graininess that isn't as yeasty as most Belgians. The finish has a touch of alcohol and spice, perhaps licorice. Gouden Carolus is an angry mother -- punishing, bitter, and firm, but ultimately warm and sweet.
12-01-2003 02:15:08 | More by ngandhi
4.8/5 rDev +21.2%
Appearance - Deep, rich reddish-brown in color with a rather smallish head that dissipated quickly.
Smell - This one is a boat load of dark flavors. Tobacco, plums, and licorice come to mind at first. There's also some overripe apples rolled in cinnamon. All of this is laced with big alcohol notes and a small yeast base.
Taste - The licorice leads the way here, trumping the sweet fruity notes and making the yeast difficult to detect. The alcohol is big as well. Belgian Sambucca?
After about 30 minutes, once the ale warms, the dark malt and yeast come out of hiding just enough to fit the style. The alcohol though is still quite noticeable, even after developing a bit of a buzz.
Mouthfeel - A hefty medium in the body and a bit on the dry side.
Drinkability - This one is a real sipper. You have to be a big fan of exotic ales to enjoy this one. It is like nothing that I've ever had before and markedly different even from the other Gouden's that I've popped. Don't leave this one under a novice's Christmas tree, but with a 4+ average and only 22 reviews a BA Buddy might really appreciate it.
I also highly recommend drinking the bulk of this bottle after it warms to almost room temperature. Anything much colder than that and you'll miss out on the modest yeast flavors.
Comments - My 2003 vintage was at 10.0 not the 10.5 listed on the site. Also, the bottle says that this will age well, and I think that it would indeed improve from a year of cellaring.
Update - I cellared a 2005 for three years and popped it open tonight in May 2008 for no real reason. Boy oh boy I was right about the cellaring. This beer is amazing. The Appearance, with its never-ending lacing, was gorgeous and inviting. The Smell is a deep, wicked blend of darkish sweets, rich malts, and light yeast, the Taste is an explosion of huge malt and a plethora of fruits especially dates and raisins, the Mouthfeel is full and lively carbonated, and the Drinkability is non-stop. One of the best Christmas time beers I've ever had.
PS: LOL at my original 2003 comment that only 22 BAs had reviewed it. It's like over 200 now.
11-30-2003 05:05:40 | More by RoyalT
4.83/5 rDev +22%
As I pop the cork on the 750 a blast of raisin aroma emanates form the bottle. Plum aromas mixed with alcoholic rum like notes escape as I pour this lightly hazy amber-brown beer. A dense tan to light brown head tops the Noël. There are some notes of dried fig in the aroma as well, overall a phenomenally enticing aroma to this beer, and I have yet to taste it.
The taste; a rich brew, though light bodied given its 10.5% alcohol by volume, by no means light though. There is some definite spiciness here, seems like some coriander along with some other spices have been used, though because this beer is so rich and fruity it may just be the Belgian yeast character. This beer finishes with a definite alcoholic bite, though it is not overbearing and goes well with the spice notes. Lightly sweet with raisin and other dark fruit notes are in the fore front of this beer. There is no real bitterness, the spices and alcohol counter-point the sweetness and fruity flavors. This beer is incredibly good, and incredibly under-rated. I am certainly going to get a couple more bottles of this to age, next winter these could be stunning. This is just a damn good winter seasonal beer, certainly the best I have had yet this year.
11-23-2003 18:54:58 | More by Gueuzedude
4.08/5 rDev +3%
750 ml cork-finished brown bottle. label states beer is 10%, not 10.5% as shown on this website.
nice brown-amber coluor with red highlights. small light tan head lasts down to the bottom of the glass.
star anise and rich sweet caramel malt aromas.
flavours as above with lots of dark fruits such as plums. no hoppiness to speak of, yet some sort of resiny tang present.
finish is long and sweet. perhaps a bit flabby, but good nonetheless.
11-11-2003 01:40:25 | More by beergurujr
3.9/5 rDev -1.5%
Appearance: a brown pour with a minimal tan head.
Smell: the nose is sugary sweet with a large amount of organe essence and cotton candy to boot.
Taste: a nice sweetness again highlighted by oranges and light spice....cinnamon and nutmeg...the sweet n spice combine nicely to represent a Christmas kinda flavour.
Mouthfeel: a smooth and medium bodies beer. good balance
Drinkability: not my favorite of all the christmas beers but a fine drink nonetheless.
11-05-2003 05:27:56 | More by Popsinc
3.73/5 rDev -5.8%
This belgian beer was hardcore. This poured a nice dark golden/amber colour with a huge cap of white foam. The aromas were of alcohol, and were medicinal and spicy. The taste was spicy with a strange after-taste. The mouthfeel was just right and the drinkability was decent. This was an interesting belgian x-mas beer to say the least!
11-03-2003 15:16:19 | More by francisweizen
3.28/5 rDev -17.2%
Notes from the 2002 Kerstbierfestival, Essen, Belgium.
Dark brown with a snapping, dissipating head. Big alcohol aroma that's port-like. Some butter, herbal and fruitiness. Semi-prickly start on the palate, smoothing into a big malt character of caramel, toffee and coffee. Notes of grape. Spicy alcohol. Dry, yeasty finish. Warming.
10-12-2003 21:52:55 | More by Todd
3.88/5 rDev -2%
This beer has a murky muddy brown appearance. A slight beige head sits on top. Lacing is only adequate. The aroma has a sweet rock candy like presence. Very inviting. A little malt as well and hints of alcohol. This beer is nicely put together. Many layered complexities emerge through the drinking process. First, the alcohol makes its presence. But that takes a backseat in no time at all as the waves of candy, fruit and malt take over. But then the alcohol comes back and stays for the duration. Signs of wood and yeast come and go as well. But the alcohol taste is the mainstay, and for that reason, I dock the drinkability and give it an avg. rating in that department. The lingering bitter alcohol taste is not pleasurable. Looking past that one minor fault, I'd say this is pretty good, but I'd not spend the big bucks for it again.
02-17-2003 19:26:12 | More by Bighuge
4.3/5 rDev +8.6%
Brilliantly clear deep crimson hue. Ominously thick, stiff tan head with rounded peaks leaves parallel bubble rings interconnected by web like lace. Banana esters and ripe cherry like fruit dominate the aroma, w/ notes of mellow carob and dark caramel malt secondary. Hints of spicy cinnamon and ginger surface as the beer breathes. Chocolate laced sweetness upfront in flavor leads into a malt profile comprised of biscuit and butter contrasted by a light fruity melange of woody maple syrup and dried date notes. Sweetness takes on a molasses note mid palate and couples with the subtle ripe banana esters to lend a brown sugar sprinkled banana split impression. Hop bitterness struggles to assert itself, but soundly loses to resounding, yet judicious malt sweetness. Medium bodied and superbly smooth in mouthfeel. Finishes w/ a fading light caramel and bittersweet chocolate combination. Carolus Noel is a delicious brew. Its rich, yet simple malt character, stately fruitiness and well controlled residual sweetness lend it superlative drinkability. A perfect brew for a five degree Fahrenheit Kansas night.
01-16-2003 17:41:09 | More by marc77
4.08/5 rDev +3%
This beer poured a deep reddish amber color and formed a light tan bubbly head that left some circular lace. Quite a bit of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, caramel, spices and dark fruit. A flavor of malt, caramel and fruits. Some elements of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg are also present. A very heavy flavor presence to this beer.
01-11-2003 18:35:18 | More by Wildman
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.