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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

465 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 465
Hads: 785
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 19.6%
Wants: 30
Gots: 83 | FT: 0
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Reviews: 465 | Hads: 785
Photo of newton99
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pouring a very dark brown, black almost, with reddish brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and very nice lacing. The nose is a spice bomb. A blend of mace, nutmeg and anise, with some eucalyptus, cola, mildly burnt sugar, this is a little too spiced for my liking. The cola notes here bring to mind discount sodas. Alcohol is reasonably well hidden. In addition, there's quite a bit of dark fruit present, with prunes and figs.

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Photo of silverking
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First off, let me say that the cork is a nice touch. It pours a deep, beautiful, transparent Mahogony with a tan head. The head begins to recede, but never really dissapears. The lacing is exquisite. It holds for a second or two and then forms rivers and trubutaries through itself that all eventually lead to the sea of delectable belgian ale that lies below. The aroma carries warming notes of anise, dark fruit, yeast, and alcohol. The palate is very much like a nice glass of cabernet. It is a bit tart up front but then it rounds off nicely with rich notes of bread and anise. The anise carries over into the finish and joins yeast in a wonderful union of flavor. The carbonation is a little heavy, but its full mouthfeel counteracts it. It leaves a slight tackiness on the lips from it higher than average gravity. I usually frown upon this and I think that it is the downfall of many winter brew's, but somehow this beer makes it work. This beer forced a smile across my face from sheer joy.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Lot number 12071 indicated on the back label. Pours a dull mahogany hue with a consistent, 1.5 inch, light tan head the sizzles and pops as it slowly recedes into a clumpy quarter inch cap. Nose suggests dark fruit, anise and orange Aspergum. Tastes pretty much like it smells - no real surprises here. There's also a slightly oxidized quality that comes out towards the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium (but closer to light) with an even carbonation that falls just shy of being lively. There's also just a kiss of residual heat that lingers between quaffs as well as a slight acidity. Overall, not a bad example of the style, but not my favorite from this brewer. Not sure what a little age might do to this, but it might be worth laying down a bottle for a year or two.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a snifter

Appearance – Pours a chestnut/mahogany color with a two finger tan colored head. The head has a good level of retention slowly fading over time to leave a great level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma has a big spicy and roasty aroma. There is a strong roasted bready aroma mixed with notes of Christmas spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and licorice). These stronger aromas are accompanied by notes of dark fruits, a lighter yeasty smell as well as a moderate presence of a boozy smell.

Taste – The taste starts with flavors a blend of roasted malt breadiness and some dark fruit flavors of raisin and prune. Spice flavors of nutmeg, licorice and anise then come to the tongue. At this point the tastes create a rather smooth flavor on the tongue. The breadiness and sweeter flavors of the dark fruits start to fade. A more red wine like flavor then starts coming to the tongue. It starts out light and smooth, but gets more tannin like in flavor as the taste moves to the end. At the end, the boozy taste is quite strong and with all the flavors it leaves a nice warming aftertaste that tasted somewhat like a mix of warming spiced mulled wine fruity brew to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the medium side in its creaminess for a brew of 10.5 % with a carbonation level that was a little on the higher side. for the style it was rather nice creating a good drinkability but yet keeping one in check of its strength.

Overall- This is a rather nice Belgian Christmas brew. It has a decent boozy flavor, but yet is still very flavorful and pleasant to drink.

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into my Pumking chalice. Dark brown in color with a thin, sticky head to it. Really nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a big dark fruit presence to it with notes of plum, fig and raisin all present. I get some notes of clove and anise to it as well. The spices are nicely balanced with the malty flavors. Nice aroma for a holiday spiced beer.

The taste follows up with some very rich and sweet dark fruit flavors. Fig and plum seem to lead the way. The spices are a little more reserved but I do get more of the clove and anise towards the finish. Enough bitterness comes out in the finish to keep the sweet dark fruits from becoming cloyingly sweet. It comes together very well and again the spices are nicely balanced with the malt flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being about average for the style. Overall, I thought it was a very good holiday spiced beer. They didn't go overboard on the spices, which I appreciate. The dark fruit flavors were also particularly nice in it. It came together very well and is one of the better holiday spiced beers I've had in a while.

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Photo of JeffreyJDavis
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a corked 750ml into a Chimay Chalice.

A: Pours dark chestnut / mahogany with a one finger toffee colored head which dissipates relatively quickly to a thin cap.

N: Very strong licorice / anise nose when cold, this settles down a bit once the beer warms, but never really goes away. Additional scents of rum soaked stone fruit, vanilla, spices. Smells relatively boozy.

T: Follows the nose. For me the licorice is pretty dominant when the beer is cold. If you like that, pop and drink this pretty cold. If anise / licorice is not your thing , open it and let it warm for 20 minutes, a totally different beer. Nice dark fruits , bourbon / rum notes, vanilla, spice, and a little peppery on the finish, which is nice. You might almost guess that this was aged in bourbon barrels or similar. Nice complex warming booziness, without burning.

MF: Quite nice and silky, with a medium to heavy body but balanced by solid carbonation which helps to spread the flavors out.

Overall, a nice Belgian strong Christmas ale, but probably not my favorite (Corsendonk, Delirium or St B). The licorice notes were a little offputting for me. Nevertheless a relatively complex and well-assembled ale. I recommend letting it warm to 50 - 55F.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
4.77/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh man, I am excited for this one! This season I decided to try every Christmas beer that came out. I started at Total Wine & More and made my way through the list. I also attended a winter beer class at the Scottsdale location, and this beer was on the list. Nearly every seasonal beer I tried was boring, and didn’t live up to my expectations. Not sure what my expectations were, but nothing like what I was tasting. Then I tried this one… and my mind was blown! I was SO impressed with the flavor in this beer. It is sweet, loaded with booze, and has a LONG lingering aftertaste. Everything about this beer is enjoyable. The only thing I have had recently that comes close is the Terrible from Unibroue. Guess this is why I like Belgian beers!

I hope Total Wine & More lowers the price on these before they are gone. I would love to have one of these sitting in the cellar. Let’s start drinking. I can’t sit here and smell this any longer! Bottoms up, people.

In the Glass: I don’t even want to drink this. It looks GREAT in the glass. The head has been sitting there for a good five minutes. I could literally take a spoon to it… it’s that thick! The tasting notes mention red… but there isn’t any red here. It’s black. Coffee black. Hence the style, I guess! This looks nice and thick sitting there, and just begs for me to smell it! Let’s see what she smells like.

Nose: The nose is insanely fruity. I am getting a ton of raisins right off the bat. On a second whiff, I am picking up additional dark fruit notes… think plums and apricots. The beer looks great. Now it smells incredible. I can’t imagine what this will taste like. Like I said, I had this in a beer class a few weeks ago. I am sure a few months in the bottle and my attention to detail here will help me enjoy this beer even more. Let’s drink!

(Oh, I forgot to mention the lace. When I swirl this, the head just sticks to the side of the glass. It’s like glue. PERFECT lace.)

Flavor: Holy crap. This is just as good as I remember. The raisin flavor kicks things off, and your mouth just journeys through several dark fruit flavors including those same notes I was grabbing in the nose. You would never know this is 10.5% ABV. The mouthfeel is also nice, but we will get to that. I am just so impressed with the flavor. I can close my eyes and imagine myself by a fire just enjoying good conversation and good food. I wouldn’t even know where to begin pairing this with food. From meets and cheeses to breads and salads, this is a beer best served with a meal. Such a great flavor!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel here is incredible. It is thick, almost like syrup… but drinks and goes down nice. The burp is also amazing. Those same flavors I was talking about come rushing back, and while a burp is not an enjoyable experience, you will want to burp to this one! The mouthfeel also gets smooth as this beer heats up. The flavors change, and the overall beer drinking experience changes.

Aftertaste: This might be the most impressive aftertaste I have had to date. It is not overwhelming, but there is a subtle sweetness that just sits on your palate for a while. As the beer slides down your throat, the fruity flavors turn dry, and the sweetness kicks in. Every time I swallow the flavor profile changes just a little, and I have a hard time going back for another sip!

The beer manager at Total Wine & More loves Belgian beers. He likes this one and the Gouden Carolus Easter. This is better than the Easter offering. But they are both good beers. We drank this one cold, but it has been sitting out for a good thirty minutes. If you have the chance to try this, get two. Throw one in the cellar for a few years… because this beer will only mellow out with time. Hands down the best Christmas offering of 2012. Can’t wait to try this again next year!!!

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Photo of Hopswagger
2.53/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

P: Dense mahogany body with bright ruby highlighted edges. Minimal silky khaki head that dissipates to a cola like roof. Beautiful lacing that climbs the glass.

S: Licorice bomb! Notes of candied malt, oak, caramel apples, pepper and a pinch of cayenne.

T/M: Taste follows the nose but more aggressive spices and spiced rum soaked figs. Full sticky body with spicy numbing carbonation. Finish is dry with lingering smoke, aggressive booze, apple peels and pepper.

O: I was let down with this one. The licorice was way too powerful and the customary flavors were faint and hidden. Once it warms it become much easier to drink but is still far from great. A hot mess of a BSDA that is not one to hunt down.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Merry Christmas to me!

Pours a thick, extremely dark amber into a tulip glass, a 1/4" blonde head cap soon falling to a sticky ring that clings to the walls as I sip.

The smell is sweet and cloying, and immediately hits me with licorice or anise; There's a definite festive sweet spiced quality to this, bringing to mind Christmases past.

Each sip is a massive burst of flavors - licorice and aged whiskey with lots of vanilla, rum and blackcurrant, lemon and orange. So many flavors my palate hardly knows how to separate them!

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a light fizz on each swallow that spreads the delicious flavors of this brew over the tongue.

Overall a fantastic brew, this one really hits the spot on Christmas night. I love licorice and this beer has that flavor in plenty, but if you're not a licorice fan it has much else to recommend it.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Opaque amber body, surmounted by a small, dense off-white head., which quickly fades The lacing is thick and unbroken.

Aroma: Lots of dark fruit, bourbon, burnt caramel, sugar, molasses, and earth. It really is as complex as that.

Taste: Opens with molasses, brown sugar, soon afterward, sweet alcohol, then dark fruits. Midway through the taste, there are a profusion of spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Dark fruits are also a dominating presence, particularly plums and raisins. Throughout the taste, there is a strong presence of whiskey flavors, as if the beer had been fermented in bourbon barrels. The ABV of this beer (10.00%) makes itself known with an strong undercurrent of sweet, vinous alcohol. The taste draws to a close with a lingering , sweet whiskey note and a strong licorice presence.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft and velvety. Simply superb.

Drinkability/notes: An over-the-top example in terms of quality.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-five point four ounce Belgian-style brown glass bomber with a cork and cage, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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Photo of puboflyons
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the caged, corked 750 ml. bottle. 2012 batch with a marking of 08/09/11-11066. Sampled on Christmas Day 2012.

It pours a very dark amber brown with a small beige head that does not linger terribly long.

The aroma has a lot of character including dark malts, Belgian sugars, yeast, cranberry, cherries, and licorice but despite all of that the main character is hard liquor.

The body is strong and bold

The taste is like a fruity barleywine with lots of alcohol-enhanced malts, sweetness, and a kind of dark fruit juiciness with a slightly lingering finish. Something I will remember.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a very dark, almost black, cloudy brown with a really nice head and decent lacing

S-brown sugar, pecan, a little bit of spice like nutmeg or cinnamon, apple skin, a doughy smell as well, some raisin

T-up front sweetness with a dry back end; apple skin soaked in brown sugar syrup with pecans; the spice, whatever it is, is faint-might become more noticeable as it warms; it's well balanced, but doesn't pop out at me

M-a little more carbonated than expected, but fairly smooth with pleasant aftertaste

O-a solid beglain dark ale with spices. Its dangerously drinkable at 10%. Either its so well balanced out, or I can't detect it as easily anymore. I have other favorites out there when it comes to xmas ales (corsendonck probably still being my favorite), but this holds up pretty well. A bit disappointed, however, being that I really enjoyed this brewery's kaiser blue I had too high expectations

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33 cl bottle poured into an unbranded goblet

Pours a dark amber with a one and a half finger off-white head. Above average retention and abundant lacing. The nose is complex, some orange peel, boozy, rum-soaked burnt raisins, light earthiness and a bouquet of spices. Caramel and vanilla notes right off the bat, prunes, date, dried black cherries join in complemented by brown sugar, anise and ginger. Finishes semi-dry with warming alcohol. Smooth, silky, light syrupy mouthfeel, low carbonation. Overall a very nice holiday brew. Throughly enjoyed this one and won't hesitate to revisit it next year.

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Photo of hackmann
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brown body with a light tan head

Aroma: black licorice, sweet fancy raisin, coffee,

Flavors: the black licorice stands out to me … reminds me of Smith Brothers Licorice Cough Drops, then the coffee hits the palate and then hints of sweet fancy raisin, fig, and a touch of chocolate. I do not notice the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, very light bitter note hits the mid palate if you are paying attention, black licorice and a light roasted coffee with milk lingers on the aftertaste. Body weight seems to be medium-full. That 10.5% abv does not even seem to be a factor so, watch out.

Overall: at first I did not like this and then when I started to think about what I was smelling and tasting then, I started to like this ale. After all I love a good stick of black licorice but, this strong of licorice in beer ...

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

Poured from bottle into Hoppin Frog snifter. Beautiful mahogany color with sparse head, but impressive considering I've been cellaring this for 2 years. Smells of dried fruit and a faint barnyard funk. Nice.

I've heard this beer is notoriously sweet. So true. Normally this would be a drawback as far as I'm concerned, but in this case, the sweetness accentuates ands is accentuated by the Belgian yeast flavors. Flavors of dark fruit, a sweet biscuit, and tart limes.

Will be enjoying this one again next christmas.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Oak Cafe. Pours a deep, deep murky brown color, ruby hints here and there; off-white, almost beige head that reduced fairly quickly. Little bits of lacing here and there, but not much, especially by the end of the pint.

The aroma of this beer, simply put, is unlike anything. It's a collaboration of so much shit packed all into one, but yet it works so well together and the parts compliment the whole, rather than destroy it. Sweet malt, faint chocolate, dark fruits; prunes, raisins, plums, raspberries, toffee, caramel, spices; nutmeg, anise, ginger. Then you lift your nose away from the glass and say, "what the F is this going to taste like?" Hopefully as good as it smells.

The taste is even more complex than the aroma - lots of spice and sweetness, front to back, side to side, a complete malt explosion. Deep sweet fruits; overripe sugar-coated plums, dates, boozy raisins, cranberries, toffee, brown sugar, nutmeg, coriander, light cinnamon, anise, earthy esters.... What. The. Hell. Slightly boozy, bourbon and whiskey notes all around, but it works well with the sweetness. Earthy and sweet through and through, virtually no hop or floral flavors. Silky and smooth on the palate, medium-thick body, slightly sticky, medium carbonation.

This beer is incredibly unique and it's hard to say I've had anything quite like it before. TONS of flavors in the aroma and on the palate, I'm sure I missed a ton of stuff even. Super complex and ever-evolving, this one gets even better as it reaches 60 F. Certainly a treat, might be too powerful to have more than one, but that one should be savored and handled delicately.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin head with a reddish/brown colored body.
Smell is a hefty dose of licorice and chicory coffee. Heady but nice.
Taste is licorice also. Quite sweet overall. While it's good, it lacks complexity.
Texture is sticky, medium to thicker body and low carbonation.
A warming ale for sure but the licorice was a bit strong for me.

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Photo of Vec2267
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - murky brown, ample tan foam that comes back to life with a swirl, nice lace

S - anise, sugar, dark fruits (raisin), orange, alcohol - incredibly aromatic

T - anise dominates, molasses/brown sugar, raisin/figs, cinnamon, alcohol not evident - very complex - lots of dark fruit flavors

M - lush, rich, enough effervescence to not become syrupy

O - fruitcake in a bottle - everything from Het Anker is a malt bomb - this is no exception, but there is a ton of spice to provide balance and contrast - the complexity is what makes this beer

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Photo of MadScientist
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is a dark copper with excellent clarity. The light tan head is rocky with decent retention and leaving moderate lacing on the glass.

S: Moderate raisins and red cherry esters with a some alcohol sweetness and very light molasses are the first smells to greet you. There is a light aroma of dark malts and some prunes as well. No hops a light diacetyl. There are very light spicy phenols.

T: A mix of dark cherry fruitiness, caramel malt sweetness and alcohol dominate the flavor at moderate levels. There is a moderately-low hops bitterness and no perceived hops flavor. The spiciness is far more pronounced in the flavor than the aroma coming to dominating in the finish with the alcohol and some slight bitterness. The balance is fruity and spicy with a slight tilt towards the bitterness while having a dry finish.

M: A medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation and a light slickness that makes it feel a bit heavier on the palate. There is a substantial amount of heat with out being hot and some creaminess.

O: This is a dark complex beer that doesn't hide the booze but certainly makes it go down some. While not my favorite style this one hits most of the style points but manages to be a bit of a mess for my taste with a syrupy fruit start and a fairly dry finish.

Bottle mark is "26/08/11"

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin’s Delirium Cafe in Sierra Madre, CA.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, medicinal spices, and licorice. Taste is much the same with a licorice flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice aromas and flavors that make it easy to drink.

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Photo of Eddxii
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled in September 2010, this particular bottle of Gouden Carolus Noël has definitely had some time to ferment further in the bottle. The result is enhanced sweetness and an unfortunate muddling of its several spicy and fruity flavors into a solid, if uninteresting, dark strong ale. It pours a cloudy dark amber with a medium head that dissipates immediately. A healthy off-white lacing around the surface carries on from start to finish.

It begins with a medium body, but as it finishes the syrupy side comes though to add thickness. The aroma is soft and sweet, but overly underwhelming. I will say that for a 10%ABV, you can hardly taste the alcohol elements behind the dark fruit. The Noël carries the spiciness you’d expect from a Christmas beer, but nothing too overpowering and nothing too “Christmas-y”. The sorts of spices that come out beneath the fruit notes are just as welcome in May as they are in front of the fire in winter. A subtle licorice pervades every taste, but it never goes fully into raw anise. Its muddy nature does a disservice to the various fruit flavors therein, with only a dark cherry really emerging from the more general dark fruit flavors.

Overall the Gouden Carolus Noël represents a decent Christmas beer. There are better and there are certainly worse. Though on tap this beer was not the best, the flavors that emerged from that serving far outweigh the cloudiness of tastes that take over after aging.

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

Bottle from Beertopia in Omaha, NE
Bottled 2010-09-16
Poured into a New Belgium globe glass

Gouden Carolus Noel is one of my preferred winter Belgians, as I can always expect it to feature robust anise and malt flavors blended to perfection. While a bit "hot," the spice and malt flavors are strong enough to overpower this in all but the mouthfeel. A nice, pleasant, warming beer that is superb for winter sipping.

Pours a 2cm head of light tan bubbles, small in size and fairly dense, with good retention, eventually descending to a 0.5cm cap atop the beer. Head leaves a complex labyrinth of lacing as it descends, and is modified and reinforced with every sip. Body is a very dark brownish-red amber color, fairly transparent, with plenty of visible carbonation streaming up along the sides of the glass.

Aroma of strong anise atop caramel malts, dried cherries, and modest ethanol. The dominant scent is definitely anise, but it's supported nicely by the other fruit and malt components.

Flavor opens with a complex arrangement of spices that range from anise to mild cinnamon and cumin. Just below the spices is a rich, dark maltiness, very similar to a dubbel malt bill, that introduces some caramel or diluted molasses flavor with dark Belgian candi sugar. Belgian yeast esters add dried cherries and dates. A mild flash of ethanol in the close, more complimentary than anything else, leading to an aftertaste of candi sugar sweetness and some residual anise flavor.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy bodied, with medium level carbonation that is rather "soft." Alcohol is fairly well felt, warming and mild burning along the tongue, nostrils, and back of the throat. Aside from the ethanol, the beer is pleasant to sip, the mouthfeel being smooth and pillowy, aside from the heat of the fusel alcohols. Finish is semi-dry with little remaining stickiness.

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Photo of jeremy13586
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from this past Christmas that I found tucked away.

The color was a very deep amber, with ruby around the edges. The head was a shade light of khaki and it disappear rather quickly.

I didn't get too much in the nose other than spice and alcohol. Some faint dark fruits.

Spicy and herbal. Some mint and booze. A bit of a sweet backbone. A bit muddy. Finishes with the slightest hint of chocolate.

Pretty smooth overall. Medium bodied.

I've had this in years past, but found it pretty unexciting this time around. I've only had it on draft before and found it to be more enjoyable in that format (or at least from what I can remember). I'll have to buy and drink a fresh bottle next winter and see how it compares.

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Photo of Ricelikesbeer
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I made sure to buy one of these (750 ml bottle) around Christmas time this year to see what I thought of it at a later date. Today is 4-14-2012. The date on the bottle reads 9-8-2011.


Hazy pour, heavily carbonated, The bottle gave off plenty of smoky-looking fumes from all of the co2 escaping. the beer is a murky dark brown, almost a purple-ish color with red highlites held up to light.


A heavy whiff produces plenty of spice character, mostly licorice or anise. There is a sweetness there behind that smell, but it is pretty overpowering. I can pick up a slight hint of bready malt as well.


A deep gulp gives me a huge burst of flavor on the tongue, mostly sweetness up front, then spice and more anise, then booziness and a good balanced dryness. This is a big beer all around, and the dryness really helps drink this beer. I get a lot of the typical gouden carolus candy sweetness. I am reminded of gummy bears or jolly ranchers. The maltiness is really juicy and complex. A bit more layers even produce the typical stone fruit flavors. This one is really quite sweet though, which I typically enjoy. There is no hop presence here anywhere in the experience.


Medium-heavy body, but the carbonation/dryness of this lends to a velvet-like smoothness. Their is a lot of alcohol and warming sensation, but the alcohol isn't super solvent.


This is a big/sweet monster. The anise flavor is almost overwhelming, but the overall complexity of the yeast and other sugars dials this one in for me. It is very sweet and more of a nightcap or dessert beer, but I really enjoy it. I'll buy this one each Christmas time, and I even was inspired to brew something quite similar.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.66/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, best by 3rd August 2010. I bought this at Chevy Chase back in 2008 IIRC.

Pouring a very dark brown, black almost, with reddish brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and very nice lacing. The nose is a spice bomb. A blend of mace, nutmeg and anise, with some eucalyptus, cola, mildly burnt sugar, this is a little too spiced for my liking. The cola notes here bring to mind discount sodas. Alcohol is reasonably well hidden. In addition, there's quite a bit of dark fruit present, with prunes and figs.

The palate opens with the mildly burnt sugar and cola being most noticeable, with the spices following. Again, the dominant notes are mace and nutmeg, with a little bit of clove and cinnamon thrown in. The burnt sugar does pair well with the fruity notes, making this rather dessert-like.The mid-palate is moderately sweet, with buckwheat honey, more cola and a mildly minty alcohol note. A little sweet yet drying on the finish with lingering burnt sugar, cola and mace, this beer is medium bodied and has a nice, creamy carbonation. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the yeast, which adds a mildly bubblegum-like flavor. The flavors here are nice, but really, not quite for my palate. Recommended, this is one of those beers where the whole is better than the sum of the parts (and hence, my overall score of 4 despite the S/T/M being 3.5s)

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 465 ratings.