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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

683 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 683
Reviews: 445
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.9%
Wants: 20
Gots: 32 | 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: 683 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hdofu
hdofu

Maryland

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

Had a bottle aged a few years and dang was it good. it was lightly headed an light colored tasted initially sweet with a tangy sour finish. Smell was also sweet. The predominate flavors were almonds. It had a smooth flavor. I could have sipped on this all evening.

12-26-2009 00:20:41 | More by hdofu
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +11.1%

Gouden Carolus Noël conceals its Christmas cheer. At a glance it might appear dismal and dusky, like a cold winter night, but if you hold it right up into the light you'll see that it is in fact bedecked in a glinty scarlet red wrapping. Its head, though much dissipated, is just like a garland wreath and steadily remains tightly knit around the beer's perimeter.

Belgian Strong Dark Ales - the good ones, anyhow - all smell of spice and sweet malt and yeasty dried fruit-like esters. This has all those qualities as well as something extra. There is the distinct scent of black licorice (the alcohol combines to make it resemble a throat lozenge); if anise wasn't used in the recipe I'd be shocked. The aroma, I finally realize, smells exactly like how plum pudding tastes - how appropriate for a Christmas beer!

Every Het Anker beer I've tried to date has tasted fantastic - this one included. Once again, plum pudding makes a convenient way of summing it up. To leave it at that, however, would be being too simplistic; the beer is layered with flavour. A gift basket of spices - anise, coriander, clove, ginger root - spruces up the taste of brown sugar-coated roasted yams. Sweet, toffee-ish malts and dark fruits are also ever present.

This thing has legs - it keeps running from flavour to flavour. The mouthfeel, too, has plenty of dimension; it shifts between sticky-sweet and spicy. It's like drinking caramelized brown sugar and a liquefied plum pudding. The texture is lush and the alcohol procures a Grand Marnier-like aftertaste. It will warm your holiday spirit but isn't likely to burn it.

Of all of Belgium's great breweries I'd have to say that Het Anker has to be one of the greatest. And while I recognize this as just my opinion, I'd leave it up to anyone to try this Noël beer (or their Tripel or their Classic or their Cuvee de Keiser, etc) and try and argue me. I just assume the town of Mechelen has a traditional Christmas carol that makes some mention of this beer - because if it doesn't already, it definitely should.

12-23-2009 05:31:42 | More by biegaman
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.35/5  rDev +9.8%

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a dark mahogany, burnt umber colour, with a nice finger of off-tan head, good Brussels lace.

S: Definite candy sugar, candied fruit, butterum candy, sweet smelling if you get my drift.

T: Heavy notes of brown sugar and characteristic Belgian fruit esters. Chocolate covered cherries, orange marmalade, molasses and raisins are clearly evident. Clear Belgian flavour and character.

M: Smooth and silky, not terribly robust, but it's there for sure. Very soft carbonation.

D: Way too drinkable for it's size, great flavour, this beer could be dangerous at a Christmas party.

12-22-2009 22:16:21 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of elgiacomo
elgiacomo

Georgia

3.95/5  rDev -0.3%

2008 750ml bottle. Pours brown with a small light beige head. Leaves a little spotty lacing.

Big fruity, malty aroma, some yeast.

Flavor is dark fruit, raisin, plums, prunes, some cherry, light notes of apple, banana, yeast. Some alcohol. Sweet malty finish.

Some stickiness. Medium carbonation.

Very nice. Excellent Belgian style Christmas beer!

12-20-2009 19:18:39 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

4.43/5  rDev +11.9%

Decent chestnut hue with a sizeable tan head-typical big Belgian carbonation level. Nicely sweet and deep aroma-a lot of dried fruits and caramel sugars. Very malty and sweet flavor. Mildly spicy but more from the yeast then any spices per se. Sugary. Lingering bite though not bitter. Heavy mouthfeel. I quite like this though I could se how someone might find it over the top in sweetness and the like. Taken for what I think it is I like it in moderation. Nice full dessert like beer.

12-19-2009 05:20:38 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of rapidsequence
rapidsequence

Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +0.5%

Corked and caged 750.

Appearance: What a great looking beer. Clear dark ruby color with a big frothy, rocky head. Every pour leaves another huge head that fades to 1/2 inch or so, leaving some nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet, spicy, and richly malty. Chocolately, bready malt. Licorice, orange, and alcohol. Interesting, complex, but not as broad as some.

Taste: Bready, spicy, boozy, and sweet. Midway back, there is a fair amount of bitter/sourness that I assume is from orange peel. The licorice I smelled is also a pretty prominent flavor. Lots of other spices and pepperiness too. Sweet, bready finish. A little too sweet and too orangey. Nice though.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation, creamy and pretty nice in the mouth.

Drinkability: Its a nice beer, a Christmas treat, but not something you'd really want to buy over one of several better Belgian darks. The sweetness would be fine, but there's not quite enough huge maltiness to balance it. The bitter orange and pepper also becomes overbearing.

12-19-2009 00:59:30 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of dqrull
dqrull

Sweden

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Kinda boring looks on this one, little to no head, minimal lacing on the glass, a dark hue of red/brown that is quite appealing though.

Damn! This smells really nice of star anise, liqourice is abundant, but it really seems to be well fitted into the brew, I get some sweet notes of malt and some other spices as well, but the liqourice is slightly overpowering.

A bit on the boozy side, and the sweetness doesnt really match it. A great deal of liqourice in on the palate as well, really lots, almost a bit too intense, some other spices that are hard to place, maybe ginger? Anyway, the liqourice is well integrated into this brew, if they just had kept it a little bit more mellow, as it is now it is a bit too overpowering.

Feels a little too boozy in the mouth, and it has a fairly weak carbonation not the creamy muouthfeel I usually delight in with this kind of belgian brew usually.

Still a very interesting beer! Love how they have gotten such an intense liqourice-attack without it just mashing the rest of the brew to shit, try it if you can, special!

12-18-2009 22:01:24 | More by dqrull
Photo of Brez07
Brez07

Maine

3.88/5  rDev -2%

Reviewing from last night's notes. On tap at Novare Res, 10oz pour into a Goulden Carolus chalice

A: Dark, murky red hue with no head. Doesn't leave any lacing

S: First thing that strikes me is that this beer smells like black licorice. A nice anise scent with some other spices including ginger

T: Very smooth, black licorice taste. Malts make their presence known. The alcohol is fairly present, similar to sambuca. Nice at first, but tough to bear as I continued to drink

M: Creamy and smooth. Good carbonation. Light to medium bodied

D: Incredibly easy, although the anise taste is a little much towards the end. One and done for me, but glad I could try this

12-18-2009 00:41:05 | More by Brez07
Photo of CharlatanSin
CharlatanSin

Connecticut

2.98/5  rDev -24.7%

A 2008 version served on tap into a tulip at Amsterdam Ale House. Pricey, but hey, it's the holiday season, so why not?

Appearance: A nice dark reddish brown, with a big honkin' tan head that leaves big time lacing.

Smell: Picking up a good dose of yeasty white bread, and then the sweetness pounds you. Brown sugar and plum mostly for me.

Taste: Well...not so good. The sweetness is overpowering. It tastes like purple Robitussin. If I start tripping balls, I'll think the bartender switched it up on me. The "tussin" taste is a mix of plum and strong alcohol. Now, generally I don't mind a boozy beer, but this one's all out of balance.To be fair, it gets better as it gets warmer, as some nutmeg and other festive spices start to show their head.

Mouthfeel: The booze dominates the mouthfeel as well. I don't mind that all that much. Other than that, it's got a medium body and good carbonation.

Drinkability: The tussin quality kills this one for me.

12-17-2009 05:55:09 | More by CharlatanSin
Photo of sirdrinkwell
sirdrinkwell

Florida

4/5  rDev +1%

a: pours a hazy, molasses colored ruby with bountiful off-white head that patiently subsides to cake the sides of the glass...

s: richly sweet, i'm reminded almost of bubble gum in the yeast and malt combination, light and fresh florals..

t: sappy sweet in taste, on the backend the malts again meld into the breadiness of the yeast...

m: very smooth and sweet on the palate, balanced carbonation...

d: surprisingly light and refreshing given the +10% alc. content, this brew is a nice treat that i wouldn't mind trying again...

salud!

12-15-2009 03:15:27 | More by sirdrinkwell
Photo of Pencible
Pencible

Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -5.8%

This poured a hazy ruby mahogany with lots of light tan head. It smelled like licorice and dark toffee and dry roasted barley, with some creamy yeast. It tasted like banana nut bread and cocoa powder, with some pear and licorice and creamy yeast. After warming some, it tasted much like root beer. It was oily with some smooth carbonation, and had a mild aftertaste with slight alcohol warming. Overall this had a good clean taste with great body, although I wasn't a huge fan of the flavor. I really prefer the rich maltiness of Van De Keizer, and would love to try that with a bit of added spices.

12-14-2009 19:33:40 | More by Pencible
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

3.83/5  rDev -3.3%

This one pours a dark, semi-translucent brown, definitely a good start. Aroma is strong, sharp and more like a good rum than a beer. Biting flavor is fruity, syrupy, sweet but not cloying. Texture is smooth and yet rough and strongly fizzy, biting the tongue and leaving a finish like an angry tomcat scratching on its way down.

12-13-2009 04:09:12 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of colts9016
colts9016

Idaho

4.05/5  rDev +2.3%

This beer had a little bit of a price tag and my wife thought that it would be addition to my cellar. I poured this beer into a snifter at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger medium tan head that has some retention. The head is foamy and creamy. The color of the beer is a dark brown color with rusty hues. The clarity of the beer is semi opaque with copper hues. There are some carbonation bubble visible.

Nose: A very rich dark malt with toasted, yeasty, caramel, bread notes. A bright spice profile with some sweetness. There is some plum, cherries, and raisins giving this brew a lot of fruity esters. The alcohol is present with some solvent hints. A subtle hop aroma with floral, wood, and citrus.

Taste: A deep rich dark malt, caramel, yeasty, and toasted bread give this beer a good base. The flavor are complex and rich of plum,tart cherries, raisins round up the fruity esters. There are some subtle hop notes, of floral, wood, and citrus. Alcohol is present but not overwhelming.

Overall: A rich, dense, chewy slightly carbonated, and creamy. The body of the beer is thick and the finish is medium full. This beer has a lot flavor and complexity. I was rather surprised by how good this beer was. I am enjoying it very much.

12-11-2009 02:05:13 | More by colts9016
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +26.3%

Large corked bottle in a series of Christmas beers. Have to say right off the bat this is hands down the best one.

Poured into a goblet, it shows a deep burgundy color, perhaps one shade darker. Like the true belgian masterpieces, it has a fantastic creamy, dense light tan head that grows and grows, lasts forever, and coats the sides of the glass. I have mentioned this before, but nobody beats the belgians in presentation, even though I lack buckeyenation's eloquence.
Aroma is just as fantastic; it comes strong right out of the glass as you pour it, sending layers of dark fruits, caramel, candy sugar, and a multitude of spices. Right after Scaldis Noel Premium, which was a great beer, this one just built on that flavor, as incredible as it might have sounded after the Scaldis.
Full bodied and creamy as it crosses the palate, the flavor keeps up with presentation and aroma in this outstanding beer.
Heavily malted, obviously on the sweet side but never cloying; abundant fruitiness, caramel, balanced by lots of spices and just a hint of alcohol that just warms up, but never really creates an unpleasant "heat".
An absolutely spectacular nightcap, which won many people including non beer geeks. Definitely need to get more for next year. An absolute must for a Christmas party finish.

12-10-2009 01:47:28 | More by brdc
Photo of macpapi
macpapi

Maryland

4.1/5  rDev +3.5%

Poured from a 750 ml, corked bottle. Bottle scene depicts Santa Claus (or Pere Noel) being pulled upward in his sleigh by his reindeer. A snowy Belgian village lies beneath.

Pours a very dark brown color with hints of amber when held up to the light. There is a very full--two-finger head--with a good deal of lacing.

Smell is malty up front, followed by a great deal of sweetness. There are hints of molasses, candied sugar, and dark fruits (mostly plums, cherries, figs), followed by the unmistakable whiff of banana. Alcohol sting is definitely noted in the nostrils. This is quite a complex and very nice aroma.

Taste is dominated by very deep malt with the additional presence of dark, candied fruit, and deep molasses. There is a very full and somewhat syrrupy flavor here. ABV is noted by stinging finish on the palate.

Mouthfeel is full, somewhat sludgy, and biting with high alcohol content. Quite a presence here.

Overall, this is a nice brew. It's relatively complex and pleasantly flavorful. Warming alcohol makes finishing this 750 ml bottle a bit of a challenge, but I'm willing to take one for the team.

12-10-2009 00:31:54 | More by macpapi
Photo of SShelly
SShelly

Oregon

3.2/5  rDev -19.2%

On tap at verdugo, labeled as christmas not noel,

I feel like this is a different beer from the "noel" ive had in the bottle...

aroma is a big shot of anise/black licorice with a little bit of sweet malt behind.

flavor is dominated by the same anise, some dark fruit, sweet malt and a light blend of other spices.

not the most enjoyable christmas beer ive had, way too much licorice not enough malt...have had this out of a bottle and dont remember it being like this...

12-08-2009 04:57:14 | More by SShelly
Photo of noslenwerd
noslenwerd

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

A: Brownish Magenta color, typical creamy looking head.

S: Spicey and sweet

T: Wow... this is a great noel beer. Might be a little sweet for some but just perfect for me. Lots of brown sugar/molasses taste, with light christmas spices. Reminds me a lot of Kasteel Donker, but not as sweet.

M: Typical Belgian Dark Ale Mouthfeel. Creamy and smooth.

Summary: One of my top three winter warmers. I will undoubtedly be drinking this one again.

12-02-2009 02:08:50 | More by noslenwerd
Photo of TLove
TLove

District of Columbia

3.63/5  rDev -8.3%

2009 bottle, poured into Chimay goblet. This beer comes alive once the top cracks open.

Excellent color but little to no retention and a thin, almost nonexistent brown head. Beer warms quickly and gives off some heavy dark fruit scents, coupled with currant, quince, and chocolate. Brown bread and black cherry in the mouth with some ground anise, licorice, and coriander seed (kind of like a sugary Anisette, which is made using these ingredients). A little cinnamon and nutmeg to throw in some complex Christmas flavors and give some serious spice depth to this beer.

The sheer viscosity and complexity of the beer can be a bit overwhelming at first, but as the carbonation winds down and the beer warms up, the beer reveals a sour, unbalanced construction that I did not expect from Brouwerij Het Anker. It doesn't break the beer, but it does make it a bit difficult to drink.

11-18-2009 02:01:47 | More by TLove
Photo of Travlr
Travlr

District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Dark reddish brown color with a thick white long lasting head. Chocolate and roasted coffee aroma. Very strong alcohol taste throughout. Some notes of semi-sweet chocolate and malt with used coffee grounds. Slightly bitter finish. Average all the way.

10-19-2009 01:14:33 | More by Travlr
Photo of Hojaminbag
Hojaminbag

Colorado

3.65/5  rDev -7.8%

A body that looks dark brown but when held up to the light is actually a deep ruby color at the center, lightening to an orange hue at its edges. About a finger of light tan head has OK retention and leaves a few scraps of lacing behind.

There are some spicy/herbal characteristics in the nose such as nutmeg and cinnamon. The strongest aroma is that of dark fruits including cherries especially.

As you would expect, the taste follows the aroma. Up front comes a distinctive cinnamon taste followed by just a touch of nutmeg. "just a touch" is pretty relative, as nutmeg is very powerful. In Gouden Carolus Noel I would say it is equal to the cinnamon flavor. After that is a dash of anise. Next is the dark fruit that might a bit of prune, but is mostly dark cherry. Actually, the more I drink of this and the warmer it gets, the harder it is to distinguish whether the spices are first, or the fruit comes first, or they all occur at once. Either way, each sip brings something just slightly different. The back of my nose hairs burn a bit from the alcohol, and a touch of alcoholic taste comes a long with the warming. Underneath all of this is some malt, which I would say taste like a biscotti with a slight almond flavor to it that pairs with a toasted flavor. Maybe this is a bit strange, but just saying "biscuity" didn't cut it here.

Moderate body, but fairly high carbonation. I think the body works for the flavors here.

Pretty drinkable beer overall; a little boozy-tasting though.

08-29-2009 21:48:53 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of mdmako
mdmako

Michigan

3.95/5  rDev -0.3%

A - colored dark brown with light tan head. The head retains beautifully and there is a ton of lacing. Looks incredible!

S - Bananas that are beyond ripe mixed with much spice is very powerful. You can also smell the high alcohol content. There is almost a creamy smell to it as well. Comes together to give off a solid "christmasy" smell.

T - Much more balanced than the smell. There are a lot of spices, mostly the ones associated with christmas. Maybe a little cinnimon and nutmeg. Still some banana flavor but not very powerful. Some alcohol taste but between that and the spices you get a nice warming taste.

M - Warming yet medium carbonation. A crisp start with a somewhat smooth finish.

D - A definate choice for those christmas times. I drank it in the summer and still enjoyed it though.

08-28-2009 03:01:49 | More by mdmako
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +6.1%

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into corsendonk chalice on aug24 2009

A dark brownish amber when held up too light, fast falling three finger head that leaves a fair amount of lace from nothing more then a film of bubbles

S lots of spices and over-ripe banana, i smell booze but not the 10.5% i see on the bottle.

T different but good, as it smells but much more. I get some brown sugar/caramel, dark fruits and licorice. The booze i could smell is there but not as strong. Interesting indeed

M not too thick, good carbonation about what i hoped for

D overall i was happy with this beer, pretty easy too drink and well worth trying

This one kept me interested, i found myself taking sip after sip trying too place each taste. although i found it unusual, i must admit it grew on me as i got too know it.

(The third time I've had to edit this review before i finished the bottle) as it warms the flavors really come through and add to its complexity. Please don't drink this cold!!

08-25-2009 06:23:16 | More by wordemupg
Photo of dankbrew21
dankbrew21

Oregon

3.65/5  rDev -7.8%

Reviewed on 5/27/09

Bottle has a picture of Santa riding a sleigh pulled by horses instead of reindeer. Pured into my widemouth kasteel glass. Beautiful big head. Dark brown, almost no light coming through.

Aromas of sugar, slight banana and lots of spices. Tastes full flavored and warm! Has a slight coppery taste to it. No unpleasant alcohol burn but the warmth lets you know it's there. Some brown sugar and cinnamon come through. Very tasty indeed.

Medium drnkability.

08-13-2009 16:22:42 | More by dankbrew21
Photo of thierrynantes
thierrynantes

France

4.22/5  rDev +6.6%

Beer bottle (33 cl.), tasted in 2007.

Appearance : dark red amber color, with tan foamy head.
Smell : sweet and fruity aromas, with notes of caramel.
Taste and mouthfeel : sweet malty with liquorice and spices flavors.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style Belgian strong dark ale (to drink at cellar t°).

07-28-2009 18:42:24 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

4/5  rDev +1%

Poured a deep dark amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a raisins, dark friluit and some pine. Estery as well.

The taste consisted of a sweet caramel, raisin, candy sugar and a touch of alcohol.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and complex strong ale.

07-23-2009 16:55:35 | More by plaid75
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 683 ratings.