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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

738 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 738
Reviews: 458
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 15.44%
Wants: 26
Gots: 55 | 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: 738 | Reviews: 458 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pipinmalikonj
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer in this instance is better in bottle then on draft. Many will say Belgians are that way, that is what I got from people recently in Belgium (I was recently there).

I have seen it both ways, I had the draft version of the same in Oakland at a really excellent Belgium beer bar called "The Trappist". They love Belgiums and treat them like a parent lovingly treats a new born. So I don't believe they or the importer really did wrong by the draft version. It was certinally tasty, however I would say the 750ml Bottle was better.

The powerful yeasty (like bread just starting to bake yeasty bread smell is pleasant and warming.

The Appearance brownish rusty color is inviting.

The taste is rich, warming and a slight current fruit taste. Carmel comes through on the finish and it is so good to sip and enjoy.

Hours of time can be spent with this Wonderful Christmas Beer, contemplating the end of the free world, or enjoying an Episode of Southpark.

Photo of oneturbucfan
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of cld253
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of bkaj21
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of fastd03
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Through my extensive beer sampling over the past decade, the tap version of this beer remains the single best beer I have ever had. While the bottled version has slightly less vibrant color and isn't quite as flavorful, the tap version I had several years ago at The Brickskeller in Washington D.C. remains the only beer I have ever gone back and ordered a second time the The Brickskeller. It has a beautiful color, and more importantly, the warm, rich flavor of a Belgian winter ale, topped off with a hint of sweetness. Fresh off the tap, served in a thick goblet, this beer is truly unequalled.

Photo of swean
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of Campodog
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of clickpush
4.97/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour: 750ml bottle to tulip glass. A large light tan 2-3 finger head appears over a dark copper body, and just a couple trails of tiny bubbles coming up the side of the glass. The head lasts several minutes and leaves a fluffy layer on top of the beer that looks as thick as meringue.

Nose: Smells like gumdrops and a lit up pine tree sitting in someone's living room. Allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, and a faint dustiness to it that does a good job at keeping the alcohol at bay.

Mouth: A huge warm alcohol spiciness combines with the above mentioned spices, raisins, and bananas to make an extremely complex and enjoyable dessert beer. Hardly any hop presence at all, but it's really not needed in this one.

With this beer you can taste Christmas all year round!

Photo of airlift
4.9/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I visited my family in Germany early september. took a trip to Belgian beer weekend in Brussels. My son and I were tasting for about 3 hrs. I'm 63, think of myself as one who enjoys good microbrews,never wrote a review before now so, I really can't get "descriptive" in my review. I will tell you this.After tasting many the only one that really sticks in my mind is the Gouden carolus noel/ christmas. It had a deep dark and heavy fruit bread flavor. I beleive the Alc. was 10.5 I hope I hope can find it at home in MA.

Photo of mrbigpappa
4.88/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.88/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle of 2007 vintage at Brouwer's Cafe in Seattle.

A: 3/8" mocha coloured head that left a nice lacing over dark mahogany coloured liquid.

S: Cloves, cinnamon, apples and cherries.

T: Peppermint, cinnamon, apple and malt. A beautiful taste.

M: Medium viscosity with a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: This beer fast-forwarded me to Christmas with its spices and other flavours. A beautiful and smooth beer.

Photo of 6string
4.85/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hands down, the best Christmas brew I've had so far in my quest for good beer. My wife first picked one up for me in France, so when we made a 2nd trip, I picked up two more bottles (and continue to regret not buying more!).

Poured in my Delirium glass, mild head, poured a dark but clean (no sediment) appearance. Hints of chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, a real Christmas aroma, if you will. The taste was very smooth rich, leaving hints of caramel, coffee and chocolate. No bitter aftertaste, and you can feel the 10% but there's no aggressive attack. My first bottle cooled in the fridge just over two hours and was nice and frosty when it came out. I let it warm a few minutes before I really dove in!

I know 5's are supposed to be rare, but I truly believe, personally, that for me this beer could not be improved. It's an awesome beer, I'd easily buy a case to keep on hand for friend and family occasions.

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 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.

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.

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...)

Photo of RBorsato
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky copper color with a low light brown head. Strong spicy aroma (coriander and black pepper) with lots of phenolic alcohol overtones and dark fruits. Tastes much like it smells with lots of dark fruit and spices; Big and Rich !! Medium-full bodied and very warming.

Not just another Double-Dubbel ... !!

Per Label: Since 1369

($8.09 / 25.4 oz corked and caged champagne style bottle)

Photo of rickyleepotts
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh man, I am excited for this one! This season I decided to try every Christmas beer that came out. I started at Total Wine & More and made my way through the list. I also attended a winter beer class at the Scottsdale location, and this beer was on the list. Nearly every seasonal beer I tried was boring, and didn’t live up to my expectations. Not sure what my expectations were, but nothing like what I was tasting. Then I tried this one… and my mind was blown! I was SO impressed with the flavor in this beer. It is sweet, loaded with booze, and has a LONG lingering aftertaste. Everything about this beer is enjoyable. The only thing I have had recently that comes close is the Terrible from Unibroue. Guess this is why I like Belgian beers!

I hope Total Wine & More lowers the price on these before they are gone. I would love to have one of these sitting in the cellar. Let’s start drinking. I can’t sit here and smell this any longer! Bottoms up, people.

In the Glass: I don’t even want to drink this. It looks GREAT in the glass. The head has been sitting there for a good five minutes. I could literally take a spoon to it… it’s that thick! The tasting notes mention red… but there isn’t any red here. It’s black. Coffee black. Hence the style, I guess! This looks nice and thick sitting there, and just begs for me to smell it! Let’s see what she smells like.

Nose: The nose is insanely fruity. I am getting a ton of raisins right off the bat. On a second whiff, I am picking up additional dark fruit notes… think plums and apricots. The beer looks great. Now it smells incredible. I can’t imagine what this will taste like. Like I said, I had this in a beer class a few weeks ago. I am sure a few months in the bottle and my attention to detail here will help me enjoy this beer even more. Let’s drink!

(Oh, I forgot to mention the lace. When I swirl this, the head just sticks to the side of the glass. It’s like glue. PERFECT lace.)

Flavor: Holy crap. This is just as good as I remember. The raisin flavor kicks things off, and your mouth just journeys through several dark fruit flavors including those same notes I was grabbing in the nose. You would never know this is 10.5% ABV. The mouthfeel is also nice, but we will get to that. I am just so impressed with the flavor. I can close my eyes and imagine myself by a fire just enjoying good conversation and good food. I wouldn’t even know where to begin pairing this with food. From meets and cheeses to breads and salads, this is a beer best served with a meal. Such a great flavor!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel here is incredible. It is thick, almost like syrup… but drinks and goes down nice. The burp is also amazing. Those same flavors I was talking about come rushing back, and while a burp is not an enjoyable experience, you will want to burp to this one! The mouthfeel also gets smooth as this beer heats up. The flavors change, and the overall beer drinking experience changes.

Aftertaste: This might be the most impressive aftertaste I have had to date. It is not overwhelming, but there is a subtle sweetness that just sits on your palate for a while. As the beer slides down your throat, the fruity flavors turn dry, and the sweetness kicks in. Every time I swallow the flavor profile changes just a little, and I have a hard time going back for another sip!

The beer manager at Total Wine & More loves Belgian beers. He likes this one and the Gouden Carolus Easter. This is better than the Easter offering. But they are both good beers. We drank this one cold, but it has been sitting out for a good thirty minutes. If you have the chance to try this, get two. Throw one in the cellar for a few years… because this beer will only mellow out with time. Hands down the best Christmas offering of 2012. Can’t wait to try this again next year!!!

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 vintage on tap at the Stuffed Sandwich

A: Chestnut amber with minimal activity under the hood. Head is medium beige made up of semi tight bubbles. As it falls, a fine layer remains on top.

S: Fresh anise, caramel, fig, honey and blackberries

T: Begins lightly herbal with obvious anise qualities. The anise is concentrated, like and extract that was created from soaking seeds in vodka. Alcohol vapors rise to the nose filling with licorice memories from my childhood. A base of submissive dark malt is hard to describe...almost like a mild chocolate component to support the licorice, like an Andes candy. Licorice flavor has ridiculous amounts of depth which platueas and peaks at so many levels. Finishes spicy and lively with caramel simmering under the herbal flavors. Aftertaste is herbal yet fruity.

M: Medium body with a decent mouthfeel. Highly carbonated like most Belgians.

D: I love this beer. In a world of copy cat beers, this one stands out as unique. I can see how some dislike it though, perhaps too much licorice. Personally, I think its near perfect. One of the best Xmas beers ever made.

Photo of bditty187
4.78/5  rDev +21%
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 Hautacam
4.78/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the ' 05 brew. I aged it for one year.
Pours out dark brown with huge tan head. Laces and settles to about 1/8 ".
Smells mostly of malt and chocolate. Some hints of spice.
Taste is very complex...loads of sweet malt..buttery, touches of licorice, cherry, caramel , toffee, chocolate, butterscotch ...some dried fruits and even some bubblegum.This is a heady brew. Just gets more intense as it warms up. Alcohol barely noticable.
Thick, rich, velvety mouthfeel .
Damn , this stuff is good. This is a dessert beer....although I enjoyed it with roasted chestnuts...it would definitely stand up alone. Quite the brew.

Photo of gdfan47
4.78/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a really really dark brown , that I would almost say black, but when I held it up towards a light i could see it was more brown than black, has a small off white head with a good amount of froathy inviting lacing
S- chocolate and black Licorice, some light cinnamon as well
T- the black Licroice really stuck out in my mind, the chocolate was also there, it finished with some other wonderful spics, maybe ginger... not overly sweet very very pleasant
M- really smooth, goes down alot easier than I thought it was considering how dark it is
D- normally I dont give such high marks for such a high abv beer... but wow this is hidden so very well.. I would have guessed this beers abv to be about 5.5

Im gonna go out on a limb and say this one is kinda rare... but even it isnt drink this one up and enjoy

Photo of OpusMike
4.76/5  rDev +20.5%

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 738 ratings.