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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

678 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 678
Reviews: 442
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.9%
Wants: 20
Gots: 31 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 678 | Reviews: 442 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerNemesis
BeerNemesis

New York

4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noël | 330 ml. | 10.5% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Brouwerij Het Anker
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Glass: Ommegang chalice

Appearance:
Murky brown with ruby highlights; There's little foam and it falls quickly.

Aroma:
Remarkably pungent and boozy. Plums and prunes come through amid heavy spicing. There's a whisky-like background.

Taste:
Commanding notes of alcohol wrapped in dark fruit--figs soaked in single malt, dates, plums, and raisins--and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg. There is a panoply of flavors, including something like licorice and others I can't quite identify. All of this rests on a substantial, porous malt base, oozing chocolate, caramel. The finish is roasty, almost charred, and the alcohol leaves a tingle on the tip of my tongue. There's an almost meaty aftertaste, that I think can be attributed to the char.

Mouthfeel:
Thick but slick, it glides along the tongue as the ample carbonation leaves a prickly sensation in its wake.

Harmony:
I was suspicious at first, but this just goes to show you never to let preconceptions get the better of you. Brouwerij Het Anker has concocted an amazingly flavorful and complex brew that is a feast in and of itself. I don't know what to say about balance, other than that all the flavors hit the taste buds within such a short span, you end up processing them seconds later. This isn't bad, but it seems just a little clumsy. Otherwise, a great brew.

Would I get it again?:
Yes, actually.

Bottled: ?
Served: 01.03.2011

Price = $4.99 at Whole Foods

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 23:57:20 | More by BeerNemesis
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

2.1/5  rDev -47%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Draft at The Trappist. Dark amber-brown with fair clarity and a sticky off-white head. Smells strongly medicinal; herbal with black licorice, cough syrup, menthol, caramelized malt and solvent. Palate is similar, huge kick of anise and mint, strong on the herbal/medicinal flavors. Alcohol is less noticeable on the tongue. Finishes with semi-sweet dark candi sugar and an herbal astringency that reminds me of bitters. Not particularly enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 04:01:09 | More by largadeer
Photo of BeerDawgs
BeerDawgs

Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A dark brown. Nice head retention. Nice lace on the glass.

S - Sweet. Bubblegum flavors.

T - Sweet. Malts are overwhelming. Honey flavors. Orange. Syrupy possibly

M - High carbonation. Medium bodied.

D - Its very tasty, but you are done after 1.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 03:32:29 | More by BeerDawgs
Photo of beerpirates
beerpirates

Belgium

3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottel poured into my cantillon glas

Mild fruity and spicy aroma. Deep reddish brown body, light tan head. Flavor is very rich, moderately sweet. All kinds of ripe fruits, yeasty malt, and a lively highly carbonated mouthfeel. Warming alcohol in both the flavor and the finish. All in all, this is a extremely tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2010 17:22:24 | More by beerpirates
Photo of Haybeerman
Haybeerman

Colorado

3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color; a little ruby on the edges. Poured a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a bubbly skim. Patches of lace dotted the glass.

S: Caramel, candi sugar and spice. Plenty of alcohol.

T: Dark fruit and alcohol up front; a it like cough syrup. More malt character as the beer warmed. Dry and hot.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol.

D: Between the sharp sweetness and the alcohol I didn't find it very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 03:47:02 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of argock
argock

Virginia

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Refermented in bottle on 03/08/10. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop for $2.75.

A: Thick honey-amber with short and quickly dissipating off-white head with minimal lacing.

S: Strong caramel maltiness with dark fruitiness like raisins and figs with a short blast of berry alcohol and herbal, earthy hops.

T: Flavor mirrors the aroma very closely with muted spice notes a big caramel maltiness, fig, date, raisin, and some heat that is not overbearing. Hops are earthy and smooth out the finish.

M: Very thick and lush with low carbonation -- very elixir-like.

D: I really enjoyed this, but I can see how people see it as a jam-like sugar fest as it is very sweet. I am glad the spice components are background but they don't forget the hops and the alcohol contributes a warming, complement to the sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 00:59:41 | More by argock
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a review of the 2008 brew which was stored at the brewery for two years and opened at the 16th Essen Christmas beer festival 2010.

My bottle review wasn't overly kind to this beer, what a diffence a couple of years in a cask makes!

The liquorice flavours that almost ruined my bottle review were almost completely gone, to be replaced by blackberries and plums.

The aroma was Port like with sweet molasses and Christamssy spices added, as was the rich taste and mouthfeel. Someone mentioned 'cough sweets' in the beer tasting notes at the festival and that is a good choice of the words too. That liquorice flavour from my bottle review now coming back into play as the mouth dries giving the beer an alcoholic, malty, cough sweet sort of taste.

Anker matured this specially for two years, I thank them for that.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2010 11:09:16 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of Daredevil
Daredevil

Switzerland

3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

almost opaque tobacco color
nose is dominated by licorice
lots of licorice in the taste as well, however well integrated in a rich bouquet of flavors including malty and fruity (pomegranate, plums, dates) notes
interesting brew, a hint too sticky-sweety for my taste but definitely worth a try

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 10:21:57 | More by Daredevil
Photo of beertunes
beertunes

Washington

4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in 10oz glass and shared with some friends. Poured a clean, clear reddish mahogany with a tall fluffy tan head that had very good retention and surprisingly light lacing.

The aroma was a very pleasing blend of malt, yeast and spices.The taste didn't have as much of a yeast taste, but the solid malt foundation supports the spiciness nicely.

The body was a bit lighter than I expected, but was very crisp with a dry finish. Drinkability was excellent, I may go grab a couple more bottles of this.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2010 00:55:03 | More by beertunes
Photo of stcules
stcules

Italy

3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color, almost no reflexes. One finger of beige foam.
In the smell candy sugar, sugary. And malt.
Better taste, with candy sugar, maltiness, molasses. Fruity note (gooseberry). Sweet, spicy, christmas- like. Marzipan.
Alcohol well hidden, good body.
Warming aftertaste, very malty, with marzipan.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 18:15:29 | More by stcules
Photo of IceTrey9785
IceTrey9785

Virginia

3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 750ml bottle into an over-sized burgundy glass...

A: Really dark tawny color, with a nice tan head that lasts the whole beer. At least a finger of foam which was nice. You can tell by the appearance that the brew is creamy and rich.

S: Wow -- a lot of spices, maybe too many. I got tarragon, anise seed, white pepper, figs, different stone fruit, and maybe a hint of vanilla bean and ginger. It smells festive (as it should), but really intense. I was afraid this was going to be a really sweet beer. The alcohol definitely surfaces as well -- kinda prickly.

T&M: The first thing you notice is how rich and creamy the ale feels in your mouth. Brown sugar, baking spices, currants, and dark black fruit are predominant. There are a few hints of peppery spice, but the caramelized malt really covers up a lot of additional flavors. The finish is not that great -- way too much alcohol burn that overwhelms the dark fruit that should emerge.

In general, this beer has potential. I like the smell and the attempt at a very festive fruit-forward beer, but it falls way short. The alcohol is way too high and just ruins the whole experience. Maybe if they had kept the abv to about 9% max, it would be a lot more balanced. I don't regret buying this beer, but I'll definitely think twice before purchasing it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 14:36:28 | More by IceTrey9785
Photo of IronCitySteve
IronCitySteve

Pennsylvania

1.83/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Had on tap at Fatheads Pittsburgh.

A: Pours a dark brown color that does not let in any light. Provides a thick foam head with nice retention and some nice lacing.

S: Alcohol, dark fruit, sugared candy and lots of anise.

T: A lot of alcohol up front with some dark fruit. Has a cough syrup type taste with too much alcohol dominating. As this warms, the malt character comes out a tad more, but the alcohol still dominates.

M: Leaves a biting alcohol taste on the palate.

D: Not really a brew for me, high on alcohol taste.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2010 14:22:41 | More by IronCitySteve
Photo of DPFRD
DPFRD

Arizona

3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark, nearly opaque, coffee hued head.

S- Spicy and boozy with some sweet malty aromas.

T- Sweet and malty, heavy phenol action. Some raisin dark cherry and licorice notes prevail. Kind of winey.

M- Medium to heavy body, mild carbonation.

D- Great brew. A bit sweet, but the quality of this brew is incredible and it is a true experience for the palette.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 09:02:51 | More by DPFRD
Photo of mjw06
mjw06

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looked gorgeous in my snifter, rich head that left a faint lacing on top of a cherry black color.

The smell is of liquor, dark cherries, caramel, and a bit of tropical fruit. Very full smell that feels the nose. I'm sure there's much more in there that I had difficulty picking out.

Taste is full and mildly complex, but thin, and leaves only the taste of alcohol when its all said and done. I don't know if this more attributed to the taste or the feel, but either way, they don't work very well together. Every bit of flavor is just that, a bit, that hits at the beginning but disappears completely by the finish.

This style can be particularly difficult to drink, at least relative to the manner in which most drink other beers. But truthfully, when I drink a belgian dark, the warm alcohol taste and feel is of course expected, but I'd like to get cozy with a little more than that. This beer kind of fails in that area, as I wouldn't seek this beer out again, though I still think its a good beer/winter selection.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 06:35:03 | More by mjw06
Photo of donniecuffs
donniecuffs

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

At the Mohawk House in Sparta, NJ. Into a tulip, it poured an opaque brown, with one finger of tan head that both retained and laced well, with no visible carbonation. Smelled of big spiciness, sour plums, candied pears, and a hint of alcohol presence. The taste confirmed the candied pear presence first and foremost, along with sour plum and black cherry, and then finished on a sweet note, with the alcohol well-hidden throughout, or at least much moreso than in the nose. Smooth and of medium thickness; very little carbonation. Tastes like a nice warming beer, though the abundance of sour plum and pear almost made it too fruitcakey for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2010 03:53:17 | More by donniecuffs
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, murky amber brown brew, poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice. Tightly beaded off white head and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell: Some hops, licorice, Christmas spices. All are quite apparent in a fairly strong aroma.

Taste: Decidedly malty, with some brown sugar, date and fig tones. Aniseed like spice. Black licorice is also a dominant flavor coupled with the spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, also has a lingering spicy finish and the flavors stick with you.

Drinkability: A warming winter offering from Gouden Carolus. The black licorice is a love it or hate it thing, and is the main flavor in the beer. Would go nice with some gingerbread cookies.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2010 17:41:56 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of andrenaline
andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to my neighbour for hooking me up with this little diddy!

A - Pours a dark murky brown with two thumbs of off-white head with really solid retention and some fine sticky lacing.

S - Fruity nose with grapes and plums, followed by spices of nutmeg and cinnamon. Sweet alcohol lingers on the finish.

T - Pretty intense flavours which became more prominent as it warmed. Some dark cocoa malts, followed by some black licorice, sweet cherries (almost medicinal) and peppery spices. Nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon are also making their presence known.

M - A lighter bodied ale, full of carbonation, but goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

D - Overall, this was one tasty ale. That being said, I'm not certain I could take down more than one bomber of this stuff. The ABV is relatively well hidden, but at 10.5% it's tough to be inconspicuous. The flavour bouquet is quite unique and intense, and a worthy offering for any fan of dark Belgians.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 05:51:23 | More by andrenaline
Photo of scootny
scootny

New York

4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rich full holiday ale with spices blended to perfection. Dark and lovely in the glass with a thick head and plenty of lace. Notes of rum, port, spiced cakes and dark fruits. Taste is all that and more with a gentle alcohol warming. Caramel center sits atop dark sweet breads. Mild hops let the sweetness linger in the finish as the heat subtly glides in. Dry and mostly clean with a bit of sweet port. Feel is almost quad like in its richness but not quite. Smooth full carbonation with a nice weight to the fluid. Goes down quite well and the abv never really shows itself until you feel it. A new fave for the holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 05:06:03 | More by scootny
Photo of drummstikk
drummstikk

California

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark hazy brown with minimal head, smells of port: grapes, sugar, and chalk. Tastes of chocolate malt, white wine, dark caramel malts, phenols, and walnuts! Finish is exceptionally dry with oxidized malt flavors and a unique phenolic taste that really goes beyond traditional descriptors of cloves, bandaids, or medicine. It combines with a minearaly finish to produce a gummy, plasticy aroma, kind of like the bonding agent in plywood. But, you know, in a good way.

Hot alcohols play around with the phenols, while the good old fashioned ethanol warms your face and belly. The experience is a bit like riding on Santa's sleigh while huffing glue.

Body is medium and carbonation is light. I am not able to distinguish individual spices but I believe they're there, working at the complexities in my glass, begging me to try this again in a different mood, a different context, so I might find them. Others may have dinged this beer for its unique phenolic flavors, but I find them to be just as weird as anything else! This beer gets high marks from me for its dry finish and complex port-like aromatics, mixed with a sweet middle of caramel malt.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 02:25:54 | More by drummstikk
Photo of sartoric
sartoric

Italy

4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle opened at home and poured in a Gouden Carolous cup.
Pour a nice dark brown with tan head. Immediately the complex aroma hits you with malty and caramel fragrance, then came the licorice and a spicy background and some rhubarb. Sweetness and Bitterness are well balanced.

Its full slightly sticky body and soft carbonation make this brew a wonderful pairing for "Cassoeula" a typical Milan's winter old and poor recipe made by stewed pork parts (rind,rib,ear,snout,foot,lil' sausages) and savoy cabbage.

Aging is strongly recommended. After 1 year the body and smoothness that didn't met my expectations last year (that doesn't mean I didn't enjoyed this beer ;) ) are now very satisfactory

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2010 23:25:50 | More by sartoric
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2009 9 9 stamped bottle resembling a nice dark dark brown giving off a great dark mahogony hue around edges, big head and retention.

Fascinating smell of chewy licorice and a floral/perfume quality. Sometimes it even smells like a candied rose or something. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and dark spices.

Great sweet nutmeg and hard candy palate with a great mouthfeel that seems perfectly balance between body (not wet or syrupy) and afterfinish that is noticeable but not overpowering. Highly alcohol masked as well for 10.5

Drinkability is very desirable, but truly a Christmas beer. I can't see myself having this in July when it's 90 degrees out of course ;) but... why would you want to ;)

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2010 16:52:44 | More by smakawhat
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark mahogany color with a small dirty cap

S: Black liquorice comes off with some hints at spice, fruits

T: Blacl liquorice is dominant, not over the top but the dominant flavor. Some carame, spice, dark and medium fruits

M: Nice and subtle, not to sweet, no carbonation issues

D: Average. Interesting

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2010 16:35:17 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a large tan head. The first aroma is nothing but licorice, which is not a smell I really enjoy. As the beer airs out a bit, I get some prunes, cherries and Belgian yeast notes.

The flavor is also very heavy on the licorice. I also get a little roasted malt, caramel malt, cherries, prunes, yeast, brown sugar and some alcohol. Overall, the licorice is dominant.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 05:35:00 | More by Mora2000
Photo of kiddynamite920
kiddynamite920

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A reddish, dark brown with a head that is a mix of tight laced bubbles and large bubbles. Showing signs of lacing with some short legs.

S: Aroma is quite full of Belgian yeast characteristics. Sweet, banana and bubble gum with some alcohol esters. Also picking up some mint but nothing along the lines of cinnamon or clove. A bit of prickly alcohol.

T: Taste is actually quite crisp, sweetness of the Belgian yeast at first that finishes quickly with a good carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden here and can only be detected on the very end of the sip. Big on the banana and sweet estery notes. Dark fruit notes with some bready qualities. Still having a hard time deciphering this from a BSDA, looking for something wintery here.

M: Carbonation seems low on the initial sip, yet builds as it begins to sizzle on the teeth towards the end. The body is nice on this beer and you certainly get no heat indication of the abv.

D: Very enjoyable beer, very drinkable. Not what I would expect from a Christmas style beer though. So judging this stylistically it is a great beer, but when they slapped the word "Noel" on it I would hope for something that reminds me of the season.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 04:51:58 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of rarbring
rarbring

Sweden

4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A light hazy brown orange beer, a solid off-white head leaving good lacing, and is having curtains.

The smell is fruity, sweet syrup, licorice, like stepping into a fine candy shop.

The taste is complex, swinging between licorice, green Stilton, dried figs and port wine.

Medium carbonation, soft and a full complex body.

A very nice Christmas beer, rewarding to just sip and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 22:15:34 | More by rarbring
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.