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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
89
very good

699 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 699
Reviews: 446
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 14.94%
Wants: 22
Gots: 38 | 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
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Ratings: 699 | Reviews: 446 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of drewbage
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

drewbage, Dec 14, 2003
Photo of ecoboy
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

ecoboy, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of ToolHead
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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...)

ToolHead, Dec 02, 2003
Photo of ngandhi
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

ngandhi, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

RoyalT, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.83/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Gueuzedude, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of beergurujr
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

beergurujr, Nov 11, 2003
Photo of Popsinc
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Popsinc, Nov 05, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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!

francisweizen, Nov 03, 2003
Photo of Todd
3.28/5  rDev -17%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Todd, Oct 12, 2003
Photo of Bighuge
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Bighuge, Feb 17, 2003
Photo of marc77
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

marc77, Jan 16, 2003
Photo of Wildman
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Wildman, Jan 11, 2003
Photo of hyuga
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hazy deep reddish-brown in color, with a cream-colored head that disappears quickly. Very nice aroma. Many spices are present. Belgian candy sugar, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, even some eggnog. Banana and yeast spiciness also play a part. Alcohol is noticeable. Quite complex. On to the flavors. Cloves, candy sugar, and sweeter winter spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) are noticeable at first. Yeast spiciness comes in next, along with some bready malt and alcohol. I think I'm picking up some caramel malt as well. It's such a complex brew, it's hard to pick out everything. Definitely Christmasy. Full-bodied and rich. Nice and smooth in the mouthfeel department. Excellent brew! It could definitely be cellared for a while. My mom bought this bottle for me for Christmas. It's very much appreciated and enjoyed!

hyuga, Jan 04, 2003
Photo of StevieW
4.72/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml brown bottle with the cork and cage. Non-descript blue label. $9.50 price tag....yea I said $9.50, so I read the reviews and Its Christmas so what the hell, right ?
Murky brown color, like the Ohio River in the spring. Head thicker and more dense than your average Denny's Nightime Dishwasher. (Sorry..that was uncalled for.) Smell was super smooth and rich. Full of fruits, and traditional Christmas spices. First taste was a rich combination and ample amounts of plums, figs, earthy fruits and a bottle and a half of cinnamon. Taste stayed creamy and rich. Sediment swirl yeiled anouther explosion of smells.Christmas in a bottle about sums it up. Alcohol sneeks by at 10.5%, but at one point was just shy of Cherry Nyquil. I guess you could say, slightly medicinal. Not a bad thing at all, IMO. This bottle got better and more flavorful as the night went on. Took me about 2.5 hours to drink, and savor. Medium bodied, perfectly carbonated, and super smooth. A Christmas beer to enjoy. Cheers to all the ba's who tried this before.

StevieW, Dec 30, 2002
Photo of Murph
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Beautiful clear dark mahogany color with a 1/4" brownish head that sinks to a thick, creamy film that has a nice lacing effect on the glass. Huge sweet maltiness with big dark candy sugar aspects in the nose. Some very nice, and nicely subtle, fruity and spicy qualities. Getting some light nutmeg and cinnamon along with some nice fig and raisin aromas. Big sweet candy maltiness all over the tongue right off the bat. Lightly spiced fruits in the background. Some nice cinnamon, nutmeg, and peppery spices with some tasty raisins and light baked apple dumpling characteristics. Slightly thin body through the middle of the brew before finishing with a nice malty sweet flourish that is accompanied by a nice warming alcohol quality. Warm and tasty but a little thin in the middle that drops the mouthfeel a bit. An excellent brew with good warming qualities for the cold Holiday season. The slightly lighter aspects of the brew lend to an even better drinkability. I could both drink several of these and would definitely be willing to get a few more at a later date. An excellent brew and worthy of a purchase if you see it. A big thanks to Bill at the Alexandria Whole Foods for letting me sample this one and enticing me to buy it.

Murph, Dec 25, 2002
Photo of mophie
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, a really nice holiday treat. Deep brown-ruby-ginger in color, with an inviting tan head that fades to wispy laces across the surface. How to describe the smell? Anise definitely comes to mind, and mince meat pie. There's a fresh loaf of cinnamon bread baking in the background as well. There's anise in the taste (or maybe horehound?), definitely caramel-sweet, with a spicy, peppery alcohol finish. Nice. Keeps you warm and toasty, and is worthy of sharing with close friends in front of the fire.

mophie, Dec 23, 2002
Photo of ADR
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big hazy ginger brown with a large bottle-conditioned tan head (in a Duvel glass)...laces are thick rings with underhanging tracks. Very fruity aroma, lots of cling peaches and syrup and definite ginger impressions. Wow, smooth as a molasses cookie with a mulled pear cider, counterpointed by a crisp but non-assertive hopping. Aftertaste is just slightly vinous with continuing fresh fruit and ginger. This puppy is a fine holiday brew, a little on the hepped-up alcohol but nice light-medium body, lower carbonation, and fresh flavors.

ADR, Dec 13, 2002
Photo of JorisP
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Coulour; deep-dark but with obvious reddish shine.
Nose: raisins, madeira, some roasted malts and molasses.
Taste: immediately surprising spritzy acidity. Then fruity-estery taste takes over, raisins again.
Aftertaste & mouthfeel: Fruity flavour keeps fruit-acids as characteristic. palate is rather thinnish, but with a throat-warming alcohol effect.

JorisP, Dec 10, 2002
Photo of Gusler
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the pour, the beer appears to be a somewhat caliginous cherry red color, the head Bunyanesque in size, the texture creamy, with sticky sheets of lace to caress the glass. Nose is fruit sweet, over ripe apples and or banana comes to mind, malt tones and light caramel hints also present a treat for the old honker to sniff. The start is honey sweet, the top lean, the finish is pleasantly acidic, cheerfully hopped, dry and somewhat alcohol bitter aftertaste. Yes, it does “Warm the Tummy”, and should definitely be put in the “Winter Warmer” category. If you like strong high ABV beer this is a must try, but you may find it a bit pricey at $10.49 a 750ml bottle. Personally I don’t mind the price, because “I’m Worth It Baby”!

Gusler, Nov 24, 2002
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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 699 ratings.