1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

766 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 766
Reviews: 470
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.23%
Wants: 27
Gots: 65 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gusler on 11-24-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 766 | Reviews: 470
Photo of Vixie
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours what at first looks black, but when held up to the light it is actually a deep ruby red. Forms a large tan head which lasts for a bit.

Hard for me to tell exactly what this smells like, but it's is nice. Reminds me of Christmas goodies being bakes, fruit and cinnamon and spiced cider.

Very spicy beer here. Starts out hot, a lot of spice and the alcohol is very much present, a surprise for this style of beer. Tastes a bit like cinnamon candy as well as raisin and a bit of pepper, all backed by alcohol.

Feel is smooth and full.

Very much an interesting beer, it's a bit spicier than I expect for the style. There is no doubt this is a holiday beer, the smell and taste fit in perfectly with that time of year. A bit too strong to drink a lot of, but a good one to have on a cold night, it will warm you right up.

Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of enelson
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of thecheapies
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


750ml bottle into two brandy snifters.

Dark, plummy brown. Bubbly head recedes to a static ring with some washy surface foam.

Big yeasty aromas with loads of fruity esters, vinous qualities, and spice notes. Sweet licorice, rum raisin, attic, blackberry jam, clove, and booze.

Spice notes on the tongue with big, dark, toasted malts in full force. Very tiny on the hop. Boozy finish with a warming throat-swallow. The licorice is there again, but more subdued. Winey, in a light-bodied red sort of way. A little metallic or tinny. A lot happening on the roof of my mouth as well.

Leading into mouthfeel, this is a wet and milky brew. Medium-high carbonation. Feels like a Belgian Strong Dark, for sure, but this one's still a bit hot. More complex than most Belgian Christmas offerings on the nose, maybe not so much on the taste. I remember it being much more satisfying when I've had it on tap.


2012 Gouden Carolus Noel, assumedly. 'L0870'. Poured into a Corsendonk Christmas goblet.

Pours a dark brown with lots of swirling floaties. Hard to control the head during the pour, but it's sitting at a nice cropped lip--khaki in color.

Nutty Belgian yeast, raisin, dried trail mix fruits, candi sugar, and other quad-like aromas. A little vinous, a little bit of red currant.

Surprisingly, not the licorice bomb that were the last few years'. Unhumble yeast strain exercises nutty and sweet esters. Candi sugar, raisin, desserty breads, dried dark fruits, alcohol, and a hint of sweet licorice rope. Standardized versus previous vintages; it's more of a typical Belgian Strong Dark, but not exceptional or exciting. Still an elegant holiday beer. A drink I want to drink.

Hefty in the body with some added creaminess. The carbonation picks up in the back of the throat. A rich feel.

A beer enjoyed more by myself in the past two years. It's been ramped back on the spices, but it still fits for what it is... a well-made Belgian Christmas beer.

Photo of Alldayson734
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Brabander
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, this is a funny beer with a taste and smell which is totally different from other Christmwas beers.

I bought this beer in the shop of Bierparadijs in Meer, Belgium.

Poured in my Struise glass this beer looks very nice, deep darkbrown with four fingers head. Nice, no... superlacing. Bottle best before november 2014.

They trew a lot of 'anijs' in this beer and that makes this beer very nice to drink. Very soft and round drinkable.

Photo of IPA35
4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pretty, dark beer with an off white head.

Smells good from a distance..
Yeast, dark fruits and spice. Lovely.

Sweet dark fruits up front, followed by dark malts with a sweet and again fruity finish. Good stuff.
Some alcohol. Maybe even hints of bubblegum and salty liquorice.

Mouthfeel is medium with medium carbonation.

Overal a very nice Christmas beer.

Photo of cooler4life
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Forms a 2 finger fluffy off-white head that recedes calmly from a steady pour. Lacing is fantastic and covers the sides of the glass with very fine bubbles. Color is a very dark brown. Carbonation is strong with multiple streams seen around the sides of the glass.

S: I pick up a boozy anise aroma first, followed by a dark fruits, mostly raisin and plum. It smells very sweet, strong traces of toffee and brown sugar.

T: Chocolate, blackberry, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses. Finishes with a malty nuttiness. The ABV is mostly concealed by the spicy, fruity flavors.

M: Smooth. Tanginess of the strong carbonation and warming of the ABV are really nice. Leaves a thin coating of sweet nuttiness on the palate which contributes to the high drinkability factor.

O: A fantastic example of holiday winter warmer. Who needs a fireplace when you can have a Carolus Noël?

Photo of Mscarpen
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of headbucket
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of capeannbass36
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Amesbury Ale House. Served in a Boulevard Brewery tulip.

A- A cloudy cocoa brown with slightly red highlights. Small tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- Sweet and spicy. Caramel.

T- Caramel. Sweet malt. Clove and coriander. Dark fruits. Pretty complex for my semi-educated, beer related taste buds.

M- Light carbonation. Slick. Smooth.

O- Definitely a taste bud pleaser. Could not imagine attempting 3 of these. Atleast not if I were driving. YUM!

Photo of Chrily
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of prototypic
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gouden Carolus Noël pours a very dark amber color. It’s a little hazy, but light cuts through and shows nice burgundy highlights. A light tan head sits on top. It only rises to about a finger in height before falling back. It held steady on the surface for a bit. Lacing was sticky and moderate as it descended.

The nose is good. It’s definitely fruity. Dark fruit notes are relatively strong. Plum and raisin easily shine. Other fruit scents of apple, pear, and berries are also notes. It smells sweet and malty. Caramel malts are definitely in the mix. Perhaps a little bit of chocolate as well. There are earthy characteristics that linger throughout. It has light fruit cake-ish scent, but it’s not offensive. Belgian yeast and a host of spices emerge. Spicy notes include clove, ginger, and perhaps a little coriander. Alcohol is more prominent than anticipated. Smells good.

The flavor is excellent. The malt base consists of sweet caramel and cocoa-esque chocolate. It’s flavorful and sturdy. A host of fruit flavors follow – raisin, plum, light berries, and a little apple. Belgian yeast is noted and tastes delicious. Spices quickly follow and complement the fruit flavors extremely well. Ginger, coriander, and clove are the most notable, although there are surely others. It does taste a little like fruit cake, but it’s really not bad. Just very deep and complex. An interesting smoky flavor winds up each sip. It’s nice and really adds something. I like it. Alcohol is there in flavor, but it isn’t warm or hot. Finishes malty and sweet with a host spicy notes.

Gouden Carolus Noël has a medium body. Carbonation seems active, but the bubbles feel light and soft. It is nice and smooth. This 750 is disappearing quickly. Finishing it off will not be a problem.

I’m yet to have anything close to a bad beer from Brouwerij Het Anker. That places brews high quality beer. Gouden Carolus Noël is exactly that. It’s deep, complex, and packed with flavor. It’s impressive. If you see a bottle around, grab one. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Photo of CHADMC3
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich chestnut brown with ruby hues beneath the light tan head that fades quickly but leaves traces of lacing for the duration of the beer.

Generous dark fruit aromas float from the glass such as cherries, grapes, and raisins with hints of winter spices, dark malts, and Belgian yeast to accompany them.

The flavor offers abundant dark fruits similar to the aroma with sweet cherries and vinous grapes. More dark malts in the flavor with spices and woody notes and a fruity finish that offers cherries and plums.

Medium to full in body with medium carbonation and offering a smooth and warming finish.

Great Belgian Christmas beer. Just the right blend of traditional Belgian Strong Dark characteristics with the woody and spice notes one may expect from a Christmas brew.

Photo of Balvenie
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of draheim
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle (botteld 9/8/2011) into a chalice. Pours a crystal clear mahogany w/ a minimal off-white head.

Aroma is Belgian yeast, dark sweet malt, brown sugar, fruit and spice.

Taste follows nose. Dark malt, raisins & other dark fruit, spice and nice warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is velvety & luxurious.

Overall a really nice strong dark ale that hits all the right sweet spots on Christmas Eve.

Photo of ksimons
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a chestnut brown with light ruby highlights. Half a fingers worth of cream head leaves some bubbly laces on top.

S-rich malts, dark fruits, and orange. Good except I don't feel like the orange smell fits

T-taste is similar to the smell, lots of rich malt, plums and raisins, orange, and a light citrus bitterness. A small bit of alcohol warming

M-medium to full body, moderate carbonation

Overall I like it, but I am not loving the orange taste. I really wanted to like this since I like Het Anker a lot, but this one just isn't grabbing me. After finishing the beer started to grow on me, it is very mellow and has a nice complexity to it.

Photo of Daktyls
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Agent1
4.66/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A brewery with experience. Let's see what this seasonal ale has to offer. With maybe a surprise ending at the end??


Appearance - A very dark, stern ale with amazing head retention. Faint, strong amber/ deep ruby coloration around the edges of my Gouden Carolus glass (when light manages to get through). An off-white, beige head with a slightly brown hue. Very rich and creamy. Thick head.

Smell - Strong notes of cherry, dark malts, light woodsy aroma with possibly even whiskey. Dark fruits with a light hop on the nose. Not much though. Quite spicy and sugary. Without tasting, it hints at being very sweet. Anise (a common trait of almost all Het Anker products) and dark, dried figs.

Taste - Smoke, whiskey/ scotch, ripe cherries, anise (black liquorice flavors), wood and barrel (this beer is definitely casked in something) with plenty of herbs and spices (I cannot seem to figure out which, and it's driving me nuts!). Hints of hops. Maybe traces of cinnamon, although very subtle. The alcohol, sugars and herb notes almost create the impression of cinnamon. This is definitely not as balanced as other Het Anker recipes, but it is still overwhelming delicious and impressive. A tad on the sugary side, but hell, it's Christmas!! This is one to bust out and overload on sweets!

Mouthfeel - The sugars and smokey notes really create a massive PUNCH here. After only one glass I am feeling this. A staunch kick-off to Christmas for sure. This is smooth and sweet. Again, a tad on the sugary side and the alcohol isn't fully hidden. But I am willing to cut this some slack being it's Christmas and the rum and the scotch are a-flowin'.

Overall - If you are not a fan of Christmas treats and toothaches, then perhaps this is not for you. A plethora of sweet notes, whiskey (wood and smoke), brown sugar and cherries with anise. As far as brewing goes, I am fairly confident that this is the Classic aged in wood barrels each year. I am not entirely sure if it is scotch or whiskey, but nonetheless, it is aged and perhaps a few more ingredients are thrown in as well. Amazing and festive. Love this beer!

Photo of Harkrank
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of bsuedekum
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Cylinsier
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Pours an opaque nutty brown, two inch plus head is off white, dissipates slow, leaves a film.

Smells of champagne grapes, esters, fresh grain malts, and floral resin hops.

Tastes of grapes and fresh grain malts. The hops are almost nonexistent. Bretty yeast as well.

Body is medium to full with soft tingles of carbonation.

Overall a delicious and enjoyable holiday brew, but I've had a few Belgian christmas offerings I'd pick before this. Still, nothing to turn your nose up at.

Photo of CelticAleMan
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Bleeberspliegan
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

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

25 cl bottle shared at Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting, 12.18.11.

Half finger light brown head, quick dissipation resulting in thin broken layer of head on top of dark brown body, several streams of slow rising bubbles visible around edge of glass. Stone fruit dominated nose, plums and currants, big dose of dark candi sugar, floral hops. Taste mirrors nose, more plums than currants or raisins, sweetness from the formidable dose of candi sugar, a bit of spice vanilla, floral hops not bitter. Mouthfeel is medium, decent effervescence. Wondering if this taste a bit more full in the big bottle, I preferred the St. Bernardus to this, might benefit from some aging.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
88 out of 100 based on 766 ratings.