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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
478 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor
Read the review
BEER STATS
Reviews:
478
Ratings:
827
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.1%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
95
For Trade:
0
Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gusler on 11-24-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 478 | Ratings: 827
Photo of DogFood11
4.66/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was trying to save this but I've seen it around at my local haunts in full stock so its safe to gobble and enjoy.

Not much for appearance but I really dont care much about that. copper to deep red, medium carbonation. Spicey smell.

Whoa Boy!! This brew is not for the faint of heart. No, Nooo, its not a hop bomb to make ya shiver this is a malted, sweet black liquorice induced stong ale. Spicey edge (Ginger creeps in?) is the biggest seperation from the emperor. Cinnamon some sweetness that is dark, maybe some brown sugar. Sharp closure as the carbonation is snappy. Bigtime nightcapper material. Hits with a huge warming effect, Yum. A tinge of sour at the end in the aftertaste. Awww Fuck this is a goood beer.

 726 characters

Photo of Lnedrive14
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2003 Bottle

A: Medium brown with a very thin tan head. It's kind of a weird look for a beer - fairly hazy for such a dark brew.

S/T: People seemed to complain about the alcohol strength, but I think the cellaring mellowed that out quite a bit. The alcohol presence is almost nonexistant. Chock full of spices in this bad larry. Lots of fruity sweetness, mostly from things like cherries and plums. The contrast between the spices and the fruits give the beer a wonderful balance.

M/D: I don't generally expect "hazy" to equal "creamy," but in this case it holds true. Drinkability is INSANELY high, given the beer style and the alcohol content. I definitely think this is a product of the aging. Mild carbonation, and even a bit of a drying effect as the beer leaves the palate.

Quite a nice brew. Would enjoy a younger version to compare.

 855 characters

Photo of Hobbz
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this delicious beer on tap recently at the Brickskeller in DC. Was very much surprised to see it on tap, especially since I only had come across bottles when recently in the Bierlands of Belgium.

Drained from tap into appropriate glasses with full finger foam with the deep dark brown beer settling in nicely below. By the time these glasses were brought down below to the keller much of the suds had subsided - this is a 10+ percenter, after all...

The aroma was full-bodied candy-malt with also big nose of licorice and minty shades; in background, the age-old yet subtle yeast-bite.

The taste really was like candied-beer in a glass, matched with bold beer alcohol and perceptions of it hitting quite substantially (did someone mention schapps? well, gladly a strech). Yet all in all with each sip being more like a medium sized gulp, this seasonal truly is a tasty and drinkable beer. I really also liked the seemingly higher levels of carbonation in this one. Besides the above taste profiles were friuty and spicy notes (plums, anise - maybe coriander).

Enjoyed every last drop.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Big bomber as pictured with no freshness dating to spot. Purchased from the great beer joint in Hamden.
Appearance: Poured a ruddy soupy brown with a pretty limb half inch head. Okay retention, but excellent lacing on my Unibroue tulip.
Smell: Sweet spicey alcohol
Taste: Full flavored brew. Predominantly running the show is a spicey malty goodness. Loads of caramel and toffee mix about with anise, cinammon and coriander. As it warms, you get a bit of brown sugar soaked in some strong alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, yet weighed down by a sugary sweetness and warming alcohol.
Drinkability: Nice winter warming, sipping brews and unwrapping presents beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad Mex Robinson I'm going to say thanks to Nick, he's one of the bartenders/servers who has had experience working at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse. Needless to say I know he's a fan of Gouden Carolus Tripel and if he saw that they could get a keg of the Noel I'm sure he swayed somebody to make that decision. Appearance: Deep ruby brown light white bubbly effervescent head scattered lacing on the chalice. Aroma: Deep plum spiced nutmeg and other chirstmas spices infused with warming alcohol fruit notes of raisins and apples, nice. Taste: Strong sweetness layers of spice, fruit, and alcohol complexities. Not quite as solid as it has been in the bottle, but damn good nonetheless one of the best Belgian Christmas offerings. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied solid carbonation effervescent tickles the palate a bit. Drinkability: A winter warmer of a devine caliber draft was an experience definitely amazing in the bottle but still great flavorful experience on tap.

 961 characters

Photo of spiffylubes
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown/amber with about a finger of slowly dissipating head, leaving a couple millimeters of creamy head at the top. Little lacing while head dissipates, but considerable amount while being drunk. Very strong smells of cherries, spices like cinnamon and maybe some clove. Slight alcoholy sweet smell as well. Similar tastes, with loads of cherry and sweet alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth, slight warmth from alcohol, with a sweet aftertaste. Fairly drinkable, one bottle is more than enough (as it is with most 750 mLs for me)

 536 characters

Photo of sweethome
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours with cloudy dark amber to brown color. An off white head, leaves little lace. Poured in a belgian goblet.

Nose of coriander and anice. Fruitiness present - dried cherries and plums. The mouthfeel is full and quite alcoholic. Rather chewy malts, but the spiciness just overpowers the malts. Hops can't cut through the spice either.

It does not take long for the alcohol strength to show itself - provides quite a warming feeling.

The spice just dominates...anice is most powerful, with plenty of coriander. Some dried fruit in the midmouth, but spice lingers on the finish.

Tone down the spice and this 750 ml would be much more drinkable. My belgian beer fan friend I shared this with couldn't drink much more than a few sips due to "over spicing." I concur.

So close, but yet so far from being a great belgian Christmas beer...

 849 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy brown color with a one finger head. The head slowly falls to a spotty surface foam. Some spotty lacing develops through the drink.

Smell: spices, caramels, and alcohol.

Taste: this beer is flavor packed and fits the season it is brewed for. Cinammon, raisins, brown sugar, caramel, ripe plums, hints of licorice, yeast, and alcohol are neatly balanced with a spicy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium to heavy in body. Lightly crisp at the start with a long smooth finish of the sugary sweetness, spiciness and alcohol.

Drinkability: this is a wonderful "sittin' by the fire" sipping type of beer. I finished the bottle in a little over an hour. Worth seeking this out.

 703 characters

Photo of arguemaniac
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An aged example from… Damn, 2003…

A strong and delicious Belgium ale with multi-faceted fruitiness: certainly dark fruit flavors (raisins, dates, etc) but also some light fruits as well, such as some appely sweetness up front and a touch of acidic green grape in the finish (just a hint though). Of course there is the robust, sugary maltiness with notes of caramel, toffee, and even chocolate. Thrown into the mix is a pleasant spice profile featuring nutmeg, cinnamon, and some clove. A sharp alcohol bite tops of this brew’s flavor pretty much from start to finish. Highly recommended!

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Photo of evh883
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being that the Belgian brews are my favorites, I loved this one. It had a very dark and opaque amber/brown color with a nice head that faded rather quickly. I loved the aroma of the beer which had some cinnamon and nutmeg standing and also a slight fruitiness. I picked up a ton of molasses flavor with some berry notes along the aromatic flavor mentioned before. This is a truly exceptional beer and made my Christmas Eve evening a memorable one.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL cork-n-cage bottle that could be a year or two old as the label has some wear. Served in a Chimay chalice on Christmas eve. Pours a deep garnet with a 1 finger tan head that reduces to a quarter inch of creamy foam. Smells of holiday spices and some malts. The most prominent flavors are cinnamon and anise, but they're followed with spiciness, yeast, ginger?, clove?, and alcohol. Good spices, but not enough beer flavor. The body is medium to thick and it's easy enough to drink for the 10% beer it is, but I was expecting something more from my first winter Belgian.

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Photo of paterlodie
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB16-10-06. Good brown head and nice darkbrown almost black beercollor. Nose is very esterfruity making it into a bubblegum and bananamix. Some darkmalt arome comming trough aswell as some candy and high alcohol content obvious. Taste is sweet and alcoholic with good roastnote that goes well with the alcohol and bitterness aswell as a good nutty arome. Highly carbonated with it making taste even more bombastic but IMO very unbalanced to the sweet and alcoholic side. Certainly something else and drinkable but to me one glass is enough.

 540 characters

Photo of carln26
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper to brown in color. Very hazy with a light fluffy tan colored head. The nose is a mélange of toffee, nuts, dates, cinnamon, all spice and mild orange on the finish. The flavor is spice up front. Coriander, and orange peel. There is a lot of malt sweetness. Figs, dates, and toffee come through in the middle. Then some fresh bread. Mild bitterness throughout accentuated by the orange in the finish. This has a thinner mouth feel than the Cuvée Van De Keizer. A bit slick. Mild alcohol warming and a nice drinkability. Merry Christmas.

 548 characters

Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

wow another awesome xmas ale. wow another good gouden carolus...

appearance: nice dark brown amber. lacing was sparce. nice thick head.

smell: somewhere in the vein of chocolate covered bananas. a bit of hops and slight traces of alcohol, sugar cane, and plums.

taste: man there's a lot goin on here. sugar cane, plums, raisins, a nice bouquet of spices; cinnamon or nutmeg perhaps?

mouthfeel: nice and robust. the flavors really showed through as it warms to the taste. a lil hoppy.

drinkability: excellent. despite the high alcohol content, this beer could be drank, or sipped and enjoyed rather, until memorial day.

 633 characters

Photo of davidchollar
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a very dark brown with red on the edges when held to the light, thousands of tiny bubbles make an active carbonation leading to a massive tan head that stays forever. this looks similar to others of this style, and it looks so so yummy.

smells like raisin bread beer. fruity, wheaty, even some sweet bubble gum. definitely a strong abv but pretty subtle considering. there is a lot going on in the nose, and the alcohol takes a back seat to the complex bouquet of aromas.

i'm never going to drink wine again. why waste your time with that shit when there's beer out there like this. complex, powerful, creamy, bitter dry and strong. if i had to come up with any negatives, i would say this is perhaps a bit rummy. maybe it's intentional for the christmas style, but i taste rum and eggnog. not a bad thing at all. this is an excellent one to sip and quaff, sip and quaff ...

 880 characters

Photo of farHillsBrewer
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tasted 3 Belgian Christmas Ales and prefered this one.
The color was reddish brown with a slight brownish head.
The taste was quite complex: bread pudding, plums, caramel, cinnamon and just the barest trace of alcohol.
Wonderful warming mouthfeel and quite drinkable.
After the other 2 I tried, I wanted another of these.

 327 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked bottle. Gouden Carolus Noel pours out a dark brown color with a big tan head. The aroma is nutmeg, licorice, and fruit. Lots of licorice flavor in this beer, along with dark fruit and spices. A little caramel and some flavor that is sort of smokey. Surprisingly smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Great drinkability. This 750 ml bottle went down very easily, and it's at 10% abv. Perhaps not as complex as some Belgians, but the flavor is very nice anyway.

 484 characters

Photo of Sephiroth
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is a 2005 bottle. Pours a nice rosewood, with a lasting head. Some lacing is noticed. I could not begin to discern the individual aromas. Spices abound.

Taste is really good. I usually steer clear of holiday spiced beers, but Brennan at Kahn's seemed pretty stoked to have this on the shelf, so I got two. This beer is heavily spiced, and I expect to buy more for cellaring until next year. Mouthfeel is heavy, and moderately carbonated. More drinkable than I expected, 750ml is no problem.

 507 characters

Photo of stof0048
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 Bottle
A: Dark brown/red, mildly cloudy, nice fluffy white head about 1/8" with moderate lacing.

S: Plums, dark sugars, touch of alcohol... nice sweet smell.

T: Hints of anise, plums, brown sugar, dark malts... This one has a slightly "bitier" taste than the 2003 I recently had. Somewhat stronger taste of alcohol than '03 as well.

M: Moderate carbonation on the tongue, rolls over the palate smoothly, medium body.

D: A little on the strong side to drink more than one in an evening, but a wonderful winter beer nevertheless. This is one of my all-time favorites!

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Photo of veggiemafia
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Fathead's in a goblet.

Good dark ruddy reddish black with some remnant of a light bone colored head. Almost no lacing.

Smell is nice, rum, cherries, honey, and a good bit of alcohol. The alcohol has a character like bourbon or something.

Taste is big on a few things to me, cherries, plums, honey and alcohol. The cherry component though tastes kind of sour, like wild cherries, but it tastes somewhat artificial, and I thought it was just me, but my buddy said the same thing when he tried it. It's kind of like whatever artificial cherry flavor they add to Pepsi.

Mouthfeel is substantial and sticky, pretty nice, and carbonation really makes a pleasant appearance when you take a big sip.

I probably couldn't have more than a couple of these, that cherry thing is weeeeird.

 801 characters

Photo of sinistrsam
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a dark-amber pour, with a small head dissapating quickly. It smelled of cinnamo and sweet malt, with dark fruits and a lot of complex spiciness. The taste definitely confirmed all of this; lots of dark fruits and spices (cinnamon, nutmet, pepper), alcohol, hops, malt. The finish was once agin very smooth and crisp, pleasant, very warming.

 349 characters

Photo of JanM
3.44/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is supposed to be an exceptional beer but I have to say that I was not that impressed. It had a nice dark red-brown color and good beige foam. But the smell was rather faint. The taste was sweet and fruit-candy like with a streak of must. Alcohol burn in the throat and some liqourice taste after a while. It's a beer that will not disappoint anyone but I think it lacks a distinctive character. Maybe I got a bad bottle?

 426 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 Bottle: Sample at WFM. Dark brown with a thin beige head and decent lacing. Lots of sweet malts and spices in the nose. The body is pretty chewy with more sweet malt, ginger and fruit flavors. The finish is flavorful, with more spices and a nice woody character. The alcohol is kept in check very well too, making for an enjoyable brew from start to finish.

 362 characters

Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Utterly fabulous. I poured the first glass of this baby and just inhaled the aroma for a matter of minutes. Without a doubt the best aroma i have yet encountered in a beer. It had me entranced.

Flavor is just a *tad* forward on the alcohol, but still marvelous. Quite drinkable considering the intense flavor, ABV, and complexity. Definitely spiced, but subtly so that nothing jumps out at me. I'm drinking it thinking "this is spiced" but i don't think of one spice in particular, which is how spicing should be. Hops are present on the follow through, but just enough to keep the balance.

World class all the way.

 621 characters

Photo of tesguino
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Abelgian corked beer in 3/4 of liter bottle; smell tarred scent, also presents displays fruity touch, carbolic too; full bodied taste, thickness, a little carameled; serve in a belgian goblet glass, try with variety of goat mexican cheese, a premium gourmet beer, try too with mexican haute cuisine, like appetizer; 90% recommended.

 332 characters

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.