1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

719 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 719
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.48%
Wants: 24
Gots: 46 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 719 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigdaddypolite
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of PintOHops
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass - Tulip

A - A nice mahogany color with a 2-finger tan head. Head retention seems decent. I can't really make out much C02 by looking at the brew. I got some splotches left here and there on my glass.

S - The first thing I get is that Belgian yeast, sweet, brown sugar, clove, and soft banana. I also get a decently strong presence of alcohol. Soft spices in the way of cinnamon are noticeable as well. As it warmed I began to pick up orange peel and ginger, pretty nice.

T - The first thing I picked up is soft spices in the way of ginger and clove. Quickly following is brown sugar, vanilla and dates. What I get next is a bright slam of alcohol. It floods the palate and practically washes away the soft flavor profile. I don't pick up any hop characteristics, and bitterness is so mild it's practically absent.

M - Soft crispness, smooth and creamy with a medium body.

O - Overall I think it could use some aging, as the alcohol is pretty noticeable and seems to wash away the flavors off your tongue. I think the beer looks fantastic, and although the alcohol is a bit strong for my liking, I would buy this again and age it just a bit. Definitely recommended to Belgian brew fans. Cheers!

Photo of JosiahS
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

glass: Tulip

A very dark brown, muddy looking at times but mahogany-colored at others. semi-find bubbles on the head, about 2 fingers, off-white.

Aroma is strong on the alcohol but blends nicely with a spicy almost woody aroma. There's also a fair amount of sourness, or what i like to call "fermented veg" along with bubblegum from the yeast. Underneath i get hints of caramel, dates, fig, brown sugar and cherry.

Flavors are not what i expected, its sweet but not overly so. Its alcoholic but blends so nicely i almost welcome the flavor. It's thick but juicy in the mouth with medium bubbles. Its packed with Belgian yeast characteristics alongside deep fruits, like date and fig.

at 10% ABV, i like this more than i thought i would but it's, end the end, still a bit boozy for my preferences.

Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of jeezie
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of ej285701
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of jayhawk73
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noel pours a dark mahagony color w/ a one finger perfect cocoa head. Great lacing on my snifter glass as well. Even when held to light, you can't really see anything other than orange highlights. The smell is fantastic. Fig, prune, raisin, licorice, and some spices are the main things I get. This beer smells like a holiday beer should. It's super complex, and just keeps getting better w/ every whiff. The taste is great too, just not to the same level- I'm nitpicking here. Huge malt backbone, w/ just the right amount of fruit, yeast, and spices. All melded into a giant cyclone of Christmas cheer. The only thing I can ding it on is that I'd like to have it be a little less sweet. Otherwise it's where the smell score is. Feel is decadent. Amazingly complex, smooth, silky w/ a bite at the end. I imagine this beer would age really nicely. I don't really get any of the 10.5% ABV in this either. Maybe a lingering note in the aftertaste if anything. All in all, a world class brew. I will buy this whenever I find it. Cheers.

Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +26.9%
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 Chaney
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Christmas beer of the season. Merry Christmas everyone! ....but let us all celebrate Thanksgiving first.

Vintage 2010 (aged for a year).

A: Poured a dark, dark, brown/maroon color, with a half inch head that melted down to a healthy ring around the brew... with added benefits on the side of the glass.

S: Faint/moderate licorice first, much like their Easter entry, but I also got a bit of fruity figness for sure.

T: Licorice, with fresh filtered water, and dark fruit: figs, prunes, and Christmas spices that should be familiar to the novice - pro beer peep... The Belgian character of this one was there, but wasn't in-your-face.

M: Ridiculous lacing that was in the shape of bats on my glass. The carbonation was fine for this style.

O: If it's Christmas time, you know an unbecoming beer geek, who is just getting into the hobby, and Belgian beers are his/her thing... direct them to this beer.

Photo of taigor
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into chalice glass.

A - Poured dark mahogany almost black non-transparent color with huge head that dissipated very slowly leaving lots of lacing around the glass.

S - Spices predominate with slightly fruity and yesty scent.

T - Sweet dark fruits and bready yeast to start with spices, caramel, and honey to follow.

M - Medium bodied with above average carbonation.

O - Excellent Noel and in my opinion one of the best. I highly recommend it.

Photo of airlift
4.9/5  rDev +24.4%
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 Cheesemoose
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not sure on vintage. 750ml served into my St. Feullien chalice.

A murky brown brew with a lovely fine khaki head, and even though it recedes quickly. does leave a nice edge.

Sweet, luscious, rum soaked dark fruits dominates the nose. Some cherry, vanilla, and oak remnants, though the malt base is on the rather extreme side of things. Some notes of brown sugar, clove and cinnamon. A bit boozy, though approachable nonetheless.

Approaches with such a fruit filled boquot your mouth starts watering even before your lips reach the glass. The experience really plays off the mid palate, dancing between the rum soaked raisins that dominate the malts to the spice notes that trickle down your throat. Well spiced. Excellent flavors, lovely balance and a nice warming kick that says this is a winter beer through.

A bit sticky, though not thick. Well balanced. Fine, fine compliment to the style though out of place with the majority of the BSDA's you see out there today. Looking forward to my next.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.88/5  rDev +23.9%
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 AgentMunky
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a footed, cylindrical glass at Michael's Bistro. Bottle 0970. Listed as a 2009 vintage. From notes. Reviewed 7 July 2011.

A: A nice finger of head fades quickly and just coats the surface. The beer is dark brown with ruby edges; orangey in the light. Really nice. Barely translucent.

S: Grapes, brandy/port, grape peels. No alcohol.

T/M: Complex, deep, and scrumptious. Slightly carbonated with a bit of edgy spice. Perhaps the best Christmas ale I've encountered, and the oldest. Tart, tasty, and full of fruit. Yeasty red grapes verge on wineyness. The aftertaste is smooth and bursting with fruit -- strawberry, dried apricot, peach, green apple. Light and spritely throughout...yum. Sweet malts completely dominate the taste, but are moderated by the tartness of fruit. Impeccable.

O: Absolutely delicious; absolutely recommended. I love this beer, and can't wait to drink it again. Quite drinkable, despite the ABV and heaviness.

Photo of fastd03
5/5  rDev +26.9%
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 AdamBear
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Merry Christmas in July!

bottled date: 3-2010

A-dark chestnut with a thin light tan head. beautiful.

S-pine needles, sweetgum leaves, and black licorice. this smells amazing and complex.

T-comes in with a great taste of dark belgian malts and black licorice. its a nice warming flavor. has a great biscuty context to it, it then transitions to an after-taste of licorice, belgian sugars, and caramel.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is just great tasting. i could drink this all night long, which is hard to say for many beers of this weight. i like the Noel spin on the style. it doesn't get old, in fact, i wish i could've had a lot more.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

About a ifnger of cream-colored foamy head and almost opaque ruby body. Some lacing.

Boozy, raisiny nose with some fig and banana.

Taste is rich-- bananas foster, dark plum and fruit-- even a little blueberry. There's an aftertaste, but not a bad one. Slightly dry in the finish but very sweet overall (not cloying). Delicious.

Mouthfeel has some present, slightly coarse carbonation.

This is nice, and I say that as someone who holds the bar pretty high for Brouerij Het Anker. A bit more Christmasy than Gouden Carolus Classic, and not as sweet as Kaiser Blauw.

Photo of dyoung3
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in goblet glass at Thirsty Monk in Asheville, NC.

Appearance: Ever so slight reddish hue when held up to the light but otherwise black. I can't remember the head retention or any other qualities based on sight.

Smell: Again, the subtleties of the nose have escaped me but I do remember classic dried fruits, some Belgian-yeast presence, and some spice.

Taste: LICORICE! I HATE licorice as a food in itself, but man did I enjoy it in this beer. Incredibly flavorful for me and exactly what I was looking for at the time. I REALLY enjoyed this beer's flavor even though the rating on BA has been on the low side.

Mouthfeel: As expected for a 10.5% ABV. Pleasant and warming on a cold evening.

Overall: Highly recommend. My favorite style is Christmas beers so perhaps I am biased, but this is definitely one of my favorite beers overall. Wam, Bam, thank you Ma'am.

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

A: Pours a super dark burgundy with about 2 fingers of a slightly tan head that recedes into a solid half inch film.

S: Spices, dark fruits, berries, creamy sweetness, caramel

T: Sweetness and dark berries hit the palate first, the middle is full of spice, creamy and breadiness like a croissant, and the finish is bittersweet, aromatic, and a bit tart and sour, like a black currant finish.

M: Thick, full, heavy, warms nicely, slightly sticky.

O: I'm quite pleased with this one. It's sweet, creamy, aromatic, and has a hint of spice that seems to blend well and is rather balanced.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It may be a bit ambitious for me to try to tackle this beer at almost 1:30 AM when I have to be up at 6AM...but what the heck. I have had some pretty mild beers so far tonight, so this will be my dessert. Let's give it a go:

Appearance: Pours very dark, but when you look at the stream poured into the glass, you can tell that the beer is pretty clear and has a bit of a reddish tint to it. There is a solid 3" head of antique white bubbles that was creamy looking and didn't look like it was going anywhere anytime soon. The head hadn't noticeably fallen in a few minutes, so I am diving in anyway. There is some solid lacing left on the glass after drinking the beer and the head never completely goes away. Even 15 minutes after the pour, there is still a rocky looking 1/8"+ head on the beer.

Aroma: Lots of fruity esters with dark fruits and bready yeasts along with some evident alcohol already. Definitely has the dark malt complexity of the finer Belgian beers with sweet almost resiny syrupy complexity. As the beer sits there is a little more hops noticeable, but they aren't challenging the elements of the malt and alcohol much, but they are starting to show up to add complexity, which is nice.

Taste: Dark fruit are the most predominant part of this beer, but the alcohol, carbonation and sweetness play on the palate big time. The beer is medium bodied, but the carbonation is high, so it masks any residual sugars well. There is sweetness in this beer that is quite bold and is giving a bit of a syrupy impression on the palate, but the attenuation and carbonation prevent the beer from getting cloying at all. The finish is all about the sweet, and even though there are some hops to taste, there isn't much in the way of balancing hops, so the sweetness runs wild on the palate for the finish.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. The sweet balance is a little high for my taste, and that is surprising as I am a malt-head. The high carbonation really does a lot for this beer to make it more drinkable. I don't know what else to say other than that this is a good beer and that I would be proud to have brewed the equivalent...but there are a number of other beers in this category that pass this one up. This is a tough category. This beer is no slouch, but is only "pretty good" when held up to the greats in this category.

Photo of Adamthome1
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1pt 9.4 oz bottle; corked bottle opens with similar pressure to champagne, pours a very nice 3 fingered head (and that was with a slow pour, don't pour this one too fast!). label: 9/16/2010, batch 1076

Darker than expected; almost black, but I can see some light through my glass, head retention is great and the head is one of the thicket heads you will find.

Smells earthy, sweet - like granny smith apples, grassy, very typical Belgian style smell

Black liquorish hits right away, it's a roasty, dark flavor, root beer, some stout caramel dark hints, and surprisingly the 10.5% alcohol is very prevalent, I was expecting it to be masked well. Aftertaste is very warm, great winter ale, I am having mine late this year. There is a metallic character that's different, maybe undesirable to some but I am used to it from some of the eastern European beers I prefer.

Body is very creamy and rich. If black liquorish wasn't so dominant I would really like this beer. Slightly above average though, not bad for the $3 discount bin at my local Hy-Vee Spirit shot...This is one to share with a friend, you're basically drinking 3.5 normal beers given the bottle size and alcohol content.

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

Gouden Carolus Noel 12/11/10

A. Dark brown with red highlights when held up to a light. No head retention

S. Mainly licorice, with the alcohol scent hidden very well.

T. Taste follows the nose, but this beer tastes strangely like an undercarbonated Coke. Alcohol is still hidden very well. Very sweet at the beginning.

M. Light body, but very high carbonation.

D. The high alcohol will sneak up on you in this one, I would say that it's pretty drinkable.

Photo of Cozzatoad
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle, a leftover from the christmas season at a local pub

A- Very dark brown. Light brown head that has a lot of small bubbles but disappears too quickly, leaving some lacing around the glass

S- Strong sweet malts with some caramel, liquorice and dark fruits undertones. That would be very nice if it wasn't for a strong metallic alcohol aroma that gets too dominant

T- The flavour range is wide and very interesting. At first you feel a porto-like taste, probably from the sweet malts, that is not uncommon with quads. Then you can also feel that the beer is creamy, with some stoutish undertones to it (toffee, liquorice). There are some more flavours that come along with the malt (caramel, dark fruits). Plus, there is also a strong and spicy alcoholic feel that gets very strong at times

M- A wide range of flavours as i mentioned, but really badly mixed up. This beer has a big and wonderful creamy body that is meant to feel smooth, but there are a lot of issues. First, flavours can be felt only at times and then they vanish in the following sips, this beer feels uncanny. Second, the alcohol is too strong, burns the palate and ruins the creamy feel. Third, a roasted feel that has nothing to do with what the beer is meant to be shows up at times and makes this beer even stranger

D- As just pointed out, this beer is badly mixed up. It is also a bit stomaching, so the drinkability really takes a big hit

This beer has what it takes to be a great beer (a big and yet smooth body, a great range of flavours) but it is badly balanced. That's a shame

Photo of 77ships
3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 Vintage, tried it Feb. 2011
From notes, on-tap@Kulminator:

A: very dark brown, cannot see through it, white head that leaves plenty of lacing
S: dark fruits (including the typical Belgian raisins), sweet malt, toffee
T: like pure liquorice, liquorice taste dominated so strongly that it was almost as if I was drinking liquid liquorice, also toffee, dark fruits, sweet malt, brown sugar, it is sweet to top it off
M: on the heavier side, certainly not thick but somewhere in that direction, certainly up there for a Belgian beer, not a lot of carbonation to speak of
D: this is basically liquor liquorice to me, quirky once but could not even imagine drinking this ever once again but who knows

Photo of teromous
1.95/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dated 23/09/09 on bottle. 1PT 9.4FL.oz in a corked bottle.

A: Pours a medium brown color into what becomes a very dark brown and nearly black glassful. It has a substantial cola-tan head. The lacing consists of very large bubbles and the head stands up pretty well.

S: It smells sweet and slightly fruity (prune-like), with some of the malt coming through. It has a hint of licorice smell. I can smell the alcohol, and there is a hint of metal. The scent isn't all that pleasant because the alcohol and metallic scents mask most of the complexity.

T: It has a strong flavor to it, almost like a barleywine. It tastes a little off compared to similar style beers...it could just be the age or a difference in brewing methods. It's authentically Belgian but it doesn't taste quite right. It's a little sour and I can taste the hops but it's not bitter. I don't get any "Belgian Yeast" character at all. It's very roasty.

M: The mouthful is a little raw. It bites back with an unpleasantness which makes it hard to drink. On a positive note it is a large bold beer that says "I'm here".

D: I can't drink more than a bottle of it. It has a very high alcohol content, and when drinking it you can taste it. The roasted flavor amplifies the alcohol flavor somehow and just makes it hard to stomach. It's not blended together well. I would not drink this again.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 719 ratings.