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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
87
very good

695 Ratings
THE BROS
68
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 695
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: 695 | Reviews: 446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rajendra82
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer came in a handsome 750 ml. bomber with the obligatory wire cage and cork. As the cork was pulled the wonderful aromas of cherry, brown sugar, and slightly grass hops filled the air. The pour revealed the body to be quite dark brown, with a small head that was short lived. The carbonation level was quite low. The taste was spicy, roasty, and not the least bit boozy. Brown sugar, cinnamon, mint, and nutmeg were the stars of the show here followed by a crackling dry hoppy finish. Mouthfeel was full but not overbearingly so. The alcohol was sneakily hidden under these layers. This is good craftsmanship.

rajendra82, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of maxpower
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged, Dark and cloudy reddish-brown in color, big thick clingy brown head, sweet fruity and bready aroma, full bodied, alcohol hidden very well, smooth and velvety mouthfeel, finishes a little sweet, this is a great Belgian ale, very drinkable and tasty.

maxpower, Jan 02, 2005
Photo of Naerhu
2.73/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle.
Appearance: Beautiful dark evil looking amber, with a brownish head and great lacing.
Aroma: Massive anise, ginger, minty hoppiness and brown sugar.
Taste: Hot alcohol not balanced with the malt. Sweet, bitter, and sour, and again no balance. Cloves, nutmeg and rough cinnamon.
I should have followed Venom's advice and spread my drinking of this over three hours, but I entirely lost interest. I was thinking it would have likely improved with exposure to air, but with all the other beers at the tasting, why bother?
Mouthfeel: A tad hot and and at the same time creamy.
Drinkability: Anything this unbalanced, and/or requiring three hours to grow on you in order to appreciate it is not drinkable to me.

Naerhu, Dec 26, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Classic looking 750ml brown glass bottle, tall dark and handsome with a very nice looking colorful label that invited me to pick this one up, its looks really classy, the dark black label, gold lettering and a lovely colorful Xmas scene, slightly different label to tat shown in the BA avatar. Thumbed cork is restrained in an all black steel wire & flat cap cage, the black flat cap has the Het Anker Coat of Arms in gold, the cork is also imprinted with this, which adds to the quality presentation. A small black paper neck label chokes the bulbous bottle top and just has a miniature version of the main neck label. The main black & gold label covers 270° of the circumference of the bottles body; apart from the colorful Xmas scene it includes information on the beer to the left and the importer to the right. Listed as Alc. 10% Vol. Excellent high quality presentation all round.

Appearance: I poured this into a freshly cleaned and rinsed Duvel Goblet. Immediately this poured it looked mightily impressive. A lovely smooth headed quickly but carefully from the controlled pour. Light tan brown it rested high in the glass. The body was a dark coppery brown with some ruby hints when artificially lit. Clear at first, only the last top-up introduced some of the sedimentary yeast, but I really didn’t care, it looked fantastic in the Duvel Goblet. Head remains throughout but slowly rescinds in depth, lacing is awesome.

Nose: Immediately as the cork came out, there was a strong whiff of liquorice at my desk. Instantly recognized, I love liquorice too….but once poured the nose developed a more complex character. Alcoholic malts, some anise bitterness, dark fruits, dates, plums, figs and brown sugar all help to create a beautifully enticing aroma. Superb!

Taste: Polished black liquorice underlies the thick carpet like entrance of malts and alcohol fill the entrance hallway and invites you to come in with a cheeky yet irresistible charm. I want to take the Stairs and get straight into the bedroom with this one! Sweetish malts at first, the alcohol acts as a solvent to deliver more liquorice again, figs and dark fruits with some peppery spices. Warming on the throat during the swallow, this is a real belly warmer once ingested. Has a dry alcohol warming liquorice finish that is a little raw at times.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth, yet the alcohol adds some raw power to the feel in the finish. Even so, this leaves a luxurious Axminster Shagpile feel on the tongue as you sink into this as you would a waterbed. Solid yet controlled and finely dispersed carbonation give yet more body. Thick and fruity with a very Port like presence, an easy 4.5.

Drinkability: Well, I had the 750ml for a while, a phone call or two interrupted me, but yet I still managed to slowly sip and drink this one throughout the night.

Overall: Superb, excellent value for money Christmas Ale from Belgium and definitely worth picking some up for the Cellar, I suspect a year will take a little off of the alcoholic edge that it displays right now. Powerful and Fruity right now but I’m sure this will mellow into a beautifully smooth mature monster with 12 months cellaring under the belt.

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 25, 2004
Photo of crookedhalo
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark rum colored with a small beige ring of bubbles. Complex aromas; star anise, prune, gingerbread, an all-round malty and spicy smelling beer, even down to the subtle hopping which comes across herbal and minty. This is one syrupy muther of a beer. Good thing it is amply carbonated to keep the maltiness of the beer in check. It does retain a slickness on the tongue. Flavors abound similar to the aroma; but more molasses and brown sugar come through in its heavy maltiness. The finish gets drier and more medicinal as all the flavors meld together. A nice Christmas offering.

crookedhalo, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of marburg
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glistening varnished wood look with a blistering tan head. A slick, not-quite-sweet assortment of licorice fragrances. Jagermeister, plum skins, dried roots, and cooked brown sugar highlight the aroma. Baked woodchips and sweetened caramel malt are initial notable flavors on the palate. Allspice and cardamom, some roasted chocolate, and rich, dark pumpernickel. Just spicy enough to fit the Xmas beer mold but not wild or outlandish. A solid holiday beer for anyone.

marburg, Dec 19, 2004
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stopped by Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena yesterday and was like a kid in a candy store. Christmas Ales, foreign and domestic, graced the taps, among them this offering from Brouwerij Het Anker. I got a pint in a Grottenbier chalice (and got to keep the glass) as part of a Christmas special. Gouden Carolus Noël had a turbid mahogany color with a dense, creamy tan head that left great sheets of lace clinging to the glass. Very attractive.
The nose was an enticing mix of fruity sweetness, hearty malt notes, and a variety of spices. Plums, dates, and raisins represented the fruits while nutmeg, cinnamon, anise and, more faintly, some clove headed the spice list. The alcohol content barely registered with just a faint hint of how potent this Christmas brew was.
The taste was immediately sweet thanks to the flavors of candied plums and raisins all drizzled with caramel. Some bready malt flavor made this seem like a liquid Christmas cookie. Prominently figuring in the flavor parade were nutmeg and licorice. Cinnamon and clove played a supporting role and added to the wonderful complexity of this holiday beer. The anise taste built through the finish. The finish had a slightly peppery bite. The alcohol content made its presence felt with a warming burst in the throat and belly. The feel was full, rich and creamy.
Overall, this was a wonderful winter warmer, even on a warm afternoon in SoCal. Deliciously complex and great to look at, Gouden Carolus Noël is one holiday ale worth going to great lengths to try.

Boilermaker88, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany in color with a creamy tan head. Nice lacing after each sip. The aroma is malty sweet and spicy. It has a anise and nutmeg aroma, along with a bit of mint. It has some oily, resiny aromas as well. The flavor is malty with the nutmeg and anise. It has a hidden Anchor OSA flavor to it. Kinda resiny and piney. It is smooth and creamy. It is medium-full in body and very easy drinking for its strength. Very nice.

BeerBuilder, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of mickeymac
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's, it's reddish-brown with a thick tan head. The smell is a tantalizing mix of dark ripe fruit, sugary candy, and spice. The taste of plum and grape bounce off anise and hints of cardamom. It has a a nice, chunky mouthfeel. This was my first beer of the evening (on an empty stomach). Neither the smell or taste hinted at the 10.5% abv. However, the warming effect and rush of alcohol to the head told a different story. The whole affair seems like a nice take-off on Grand Cru of the Emperor. It's most certainly another winner from Anker.

mickeymac, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of truthbrew
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage, served at 54F. Pours a crimson with brown hints, unstable brown fluffy (but short lived) head. Dominate aroma is anise which almost covers the alcohol. I am not particularily fond of anise, but this beer did improve and it seemed to blend as the bottle slowly emptied (wow... 750ml of 10.5% abv can take a bit). Feels chewy thick in the mouthfeel. More anise on the exhale.

I am a fan of all other Het Anker beers, so hard to fault this for anything other than personal preference, which makes this review harder. Will review again in a few weeks then again in a year or two, but this I will need to warm up to a bit. A great candidate for cellaring and I'm sure that the strong anise will die down after a long cold conditioning.

truthbrew, Dec 05, 2004
Photo of putnam
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at 65 deg. F.
Mahogany liquid with reddish, sour tan-colored welts of foam on top. The aromas are a classically proportioned array of black breads, butter, birchroot, brown sugar, licorice, chestnuts and caramelized blue berries. On the palate it is quite hedonistic, with a clear, warming, alcoholic richness that glows like dying embers. Rising from this there is an array of spiced incense and perfumes that recall Turkish open markets: Cardamom, coffee, brandied raisins, tamarind paste and fried dough. Intermixed with this exotic rush of sensations, there is a thread of smoldering pine. A Russian has visited this Anatolian campfire it seems.
This is a gorgeous beer.

putnam, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of Truh
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spied a partridge in a pear tree with this one on 11/26/2004. 10.5-oz.-looking stemmed glass pour at the right-on ACPH.

Just a hinted swirl of carbonation to begin, with more piling up on the edges. Claret, thick brown hue that echoes. Juicy plums, raisins, and juniper on nose, with a touch of port-like sweetness. Lovely malt gush with a brown sugar melt on the tongue. Lucious overall, and one I would gladly order up continuously throughout the holiday season, and beyond.

Truh, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a 1/4" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a dry, yet quite fruity scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with many spices and a yeasty finish. The taste is good. It has a sweet and fruity malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry, creamy, and a bit warm. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good brew. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

WesWes, Nov 03, 2004
Photo of beerceller99
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

beerceller99, Sep 30, 2004
Photo of dougnboston
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

dougnboston, Aug 05, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy dark brown, good off-white film, fully lasting. Spicy nose, christmas spruce, minty. Mild alcohol comes through, but you’d 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!

Rastacouere, Jul 05, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

GCBrewingCo, Jul 01, 2004
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

NeroFiddled, Jun 28, 2004
Photo of cokes
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

cokes, Apr 14, 2004
Photo of Crosling
4.63/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Crosling, Jan 16, 2004
Photo of BierReise
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

BierReise, Jan 15, 2004
Photo of jahred
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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.

jahred, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of nomad
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

nomad, Jan 11, 2004
Photo of Weissenheimer
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Weissenheimer, Dec 29, 2003
Photo of CRJMellor
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

CRJMellor, Dec 27, 2003
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
87 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.